JIP - JavaMuseum Interview ProjectJavaMuseum Project environmentsInterview: Clemente Padin
Agricola de Cologne (AdC) interviews Clemente Padin (CP)
Interview: 10 Questions
You belong to an art scene using new technologies, you are an active representative of a genre dealing with Internet based art, called “netart”. When those artists started who are active since a longer time, the education in New Media was not yet such advanced like nowadays, often they came form different disciplines and had an interdisciplinary approach, those young artists who start now have partially this more advanced education, but rather not much experience in other disciplines.
Tell me something about your educational background and what is influencing your work?
My work, i.e basically poetry, started when I was young as a response to love displeasures, something which is typical at that age and happens to also all people. Fortunately, this could evolve towards social and cultural disagreements of those times, disagreements which I needed to express myself, trying to impose my point of view. Fortunately also, I could change from “impose” to “propose” and my relationship with the world and people, improved significantly.
Without leaving old lines on my artistic expression, I began to turn from the verbal to the experimental poetry, from poetical performance to another a type of performance incorporating video and installations, graphics and life apinting manifested in “social- artistic events” in the streets.
Of course, from mid 90’s, I became jumbled in Netart and Computer Arts, and Networking, thanks to the practice developed in Mail Art, in which I was working from the late 60’s; above all, due to its interactive possibilities.
Thanks to that powerful tool of the interactivity, the evolution could happen without obstacles.
The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted on the net, there are dozens of definitions which mostly are even contradictory.
How do you define “netart” or if you like the description “Internet based art” better, do you think your work belongs to this specific genre, do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria? Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?
As a result of the ideological pressure that the cultural control mechanisms exert in the societies in favor of the hegemonic system in the society, is not strange that, in some places, talking about the artistic production, which should reflect the whole humanity, “Netart” is being distorted to the point that only is possible speak about it through an “independent” or “nonhistorical” speech, outside from the fallible human laws.
Or, as it happens in other cases, it is tried to separate “Netart”, alienating it of the social reality; which, in last instance, generate it.
As opposed to it, it is necessary to recover not only the artistic specifity from “networking”, but, also, to preserve its communicational efficacy, avoiding fall on the nets of art marketing, and talking about the art sense, to remove it outside from all that is known or ideologically imposed like “arts”.
We know that is no possible that “network” will be only the mirror about social, political or economic conditioners of the society. Also we know that is no possible to limit the artistic production to only political or social aspects, or at inverse, although those areas are interrelated to each other.
For these reasons the “net artist” roll, will depend on his relationship with those areas, and on which his own artistic conscience tell himself, about the life sense (the same that he wishes from the rest of humanity).
Many “Internet based artists” work on “engaged” themes and subjects, for instance, in social, political, cultural etc concern.
Which contents are you particularly interested in, what are the subjects you are working on and what is your artistic message(s), if you have any, and what are your personal artistic visions for future artworking (if you have any).
When talking about the roll playing by the artist in his work, we need to include the third guest in this relationship: the public or reader.
First of all, I prefer to speak about Arts in sense of “production”, made by this special being called “artist” or “poet”; in other words, not about a man in the social sense; otherwise, I’m talking about a special being emerged from that “magma” called “society”, who the circumstances of his life have made him a “cultural worker” or “artist”, and as all workers, tries to live on his work: the Arts.
The artist, including the experimental one, aspires to live “on” and not “for” his work. The standing social and economic system obligates him to take this last option, alienating their artworks in merchandises, transforming arts value from his use function to his change function, in other words, taking his work to market.
The artist is an artwork producer (not necessarily objects), in which the human essence is made as so, taking into account his “existence in the world” (Sartre).
Trough the dominion of the nature and thanks to the big technological advances in mercantile production, the human being is enabling to produce more and more products outside from the typical needs of his existence.
It is, indeed this capacity on producing surpluses which allows the satisfaction of more or less concrete and urgent requirements, until to reach the level of needs that are more specifically human: the art, the symbolic and esthetic aspects.
Of course, the roll of Arts is transcendent, is the foundation and basement of progressive (because it has not finished) “humanization” of the human being.
The artwork (the poesy), as it is a “communication product”, when demanding the participation of, at least, two interlocutors in situation of “active dialogue”, imposes one of the prominent characteristics of the “human”, the social relationship, which, at the same time in a symbolic way, takes into account his own being. This is my concept about the politician in arts, although art must be “artistic” in himself, in spite of the redundance.
“Art on the net” has the advantage and the disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in Internet which defines also its right to exist. Do you think, that “art based on the Internet”, can be called still like that, even if it is just used offline?
Of course it is possible… to remove an artwork from net away of his communicative context; in other words, to make it offline, means to extract it from his natural scope, the virtual one (although if it is a paradox). It means to overturn the artwork to the mercantilism, to displace its use value (communicational value) to his change value (economic). This involves the acceptance of market exigencies, market which is commanded by sectors, who are only interested in lucre, gains, and manipulate the preferences and tendencies, the standards and consumption, etc, and, mainly, imposes the rules for a passive consumption. This would confirm the passive attitudes, which are so necessary for the conservation of the system, and consecrates the production of unique merchandises, controlled by arts and spectacle market, and the promiscuous consumption.
The ideal point, on my opinion, would be as far as possible to control everything or great part of the productive process, without forget the market rules. At least, to try that the artwork recovers his social function and return to be a legitimate expression from the society that originates it, and not an expression from speculative managements or ideological discourses. I say “without forget the market”, because is in that field where the artwork is produced, where the alternative circles will have to fight, counting for it with its only weapon: the aesthetic and informational functionality.
This way, the artwork recovers its power as a communication instrument (and not only a gain producer or a capitals accumulator), and at the same time it affirms his political sense (not in the sense of political groups), in a sublimated shape of the social conscious, and, like so, an instrument of knowledge whose function is to assist the social production in order to improve it since to make reach more and better levels (and lamentably, also the opposite).
Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art demands an active viewer or user.
and needs the audience much more and in different ways than any other art discipline before. How do you stimulate the user to dive into this new world of art?
What do you think, represents an appropriate environment to present net based art to an audience, is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in front of his personal computer, is it any public context, or is it rather the context of art in general or media art in particular, or anything else.?
If you would be in the position to create an environment for presenting this type of art in physical space, how would you do it?
This is really a difficult question…! We always will need an interface in order to appreciate the artworks.
For dance, a stage is needed, and also music, lights and or any thing that can work like such. For cinema, a hall, a drop scene, a camera…and so on. For Netart we needed computers and, possibly, multimedia transmitters, drop curtains, theaters, etc.
And like all supports, the virtual and electronic ones, offers his new and unexplored possibilities on expression: specially the virtual space, which is defined like a logical space, even if being drastically different, where electronic an algorithmic directives come together and are programmed in a coordinated way, and reveals hidden situations in which is needed to re-adjust all past experiences.
A spectral image that seems to be something that can be manipulated like any object from daily life, with the possibility of altering his behavior accord to logic laws programmed artificially.
The virtual artwork, like his congener (the material artwork), will always answer on the same way, since it contains all the necessary information for his accomplishment as an artwork.
Nevertheless, taking into account that it is a virtual object, since it is only a data set included in a program or memory, any physical behavior that one wants can be applied to it, if it is possible to be programmed (even the real physical laws).
Not only is possible for it to work accord to specifical programs, but also they can answer to different situations caused by the user, establishing on this way the interactivity between poet, work and user. In other way, and artists well know, nothing else is more effective than a new support to transgress the established codec and it is surely at the time of discovering new informations from the unexpected events.
As Internet based art, as well as other art forms using new technologies are (globally seen) still not widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do you think could be an appropriate solution to change this situation?
Often, these artworks are not fully accepted because are made over new supports, which are not fully known yet. All things that are new or misunderstood always generate behaviors of fear and distrust. But, when once surpassed this first stage, the new art is legitimized socially, and no longer there is return back.
Indeed, the new information that it is possible to be discovered when experimenting with new media and new materials, is not only creating new concepts and artistic products, but also, discuss the legitimacy of the language as an instrument of communication.
The entrance of the new information causes, necessarily, some movements and readjustments in social knowledge (so that is “already known” must leave to the “not still known” until that moment).
This causes many kinds of disturbs, and it is no limited to the specific field where the new information was discovered; on the contrary, it affects and modifies all areas of human activity.
That’s why is so difficult to globally consolidate Net Art.
Many people believe, with justice that is possible to affirm that Net Art (and any artistic genre) is a source of knowledge, and an alternative for the transformation of the reality.
The artistic work can be developed by no excluding ways: In the one hand, it’s trying to experiment with content and shapes already known, using algorithms or action models which are copied from new media, without transposing the codec from a language to another one; otherwise, with his own codec over those materials.
On the other hand, is possible to experiment directly with the new media, trying to discover its inedited possibilities of expression.
Obviously, this is more difficult since the contents (the meanings) are historic: only changes the way on transmitting them; and this has a narrow relationship with the advances in the development of science and technique at every moment of history.
Without that renovation of the artistic forms, or, in the other hand, with an obstinate safeguard and reiteration of traditional shapes, the warning is the freeze or reverses from that shapes.
The Internet is called a kind of “democratic” environment, but the conventional art practice is anything else than that, but selective by using filters of different kind.
The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be different. Do you think the current practice of dealing with Internet based aris such different or rather the described conventional way through (also curatorial) filtering. Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?
There are different criteria for analyze art. One o of them is according to its
One of them can been in the “functionality” and its different application on communication (use function) and the commercial interchange (change function) functionality; it takes into account where is applied.
In other words, if it is applied onto the communication (use function) of it is applied to the commercial interchange (change function).
As a medium Netart is neutral and it generally does not incorporate any ideology and generally do not imposes any ideology (although Netart send it, not only trough message, but also because is a media).
This is thus because the communication is empathized. The semantic option or the interpretation of sense depends on the receptivity from the other member or the communication. Its aesthetic functionality is his ability for to communicate without any obstacles.
Because there is not clearly any ideological imposition nor any cultural commands imposed by any power, there is not anyone who imposes his criteria, since each networker or netartist is a member of the communication process, and is not a commander who imposes his laws (although he is free to publish his ideas).
Because of the same reason, is no possible to imposes any value: ugy/beautiful, artistic/not-artistic and so on, by any person who represent authority or power, political or cultural, because doesn’t matter the beautifulness of the artistic products made following the standards which the system imposes and accepted; otherwise, the important thing is communicative functionality. The quality, is still being the decisive criterion, accord to Brecht, but no as an external brand imposes by the preferences or by the fruitive eagerness from a system that needs artworks from his ligitimity, but like a structural element that increases the possibilities on communication.
For that reason, Beuys criteria is genuine if using the point of view of the communication; as long as the work remains on a simbolic and rhetoric key, in other words, it must be an artwork.
Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its roots?
The advances in any field of human knowledge, increases the contents on techniques and knowledgement of the human repertory, and forces to each area of knowledgement and working, to recompose themselves, as a consequence of the new events (that’s why is so difficult to suppose that art can be isolated from the other systems).
At the artistic area, there are many examples: The discovers made by Freud made possible, among other things, the existence of the surrealism; the light decomposition made by impressionists in their pictures, represented the scientific concept about that element; it is considered that the photography eliminated the naturalism and realism, etc.
Networking is not an exception, and it is, for that reason, a consequence of these times, and of the pos-industrial development, is born of the human practice in genuine answer to the symbolic demands of this time, in these most special circumstances of century beginning in this global, electronic village, without borders and limits.
It is, then, obvious that curators must be prepared from the basis in arts, since it is only one, and he will always be the same one; the only things that changes are the different shapes showed by the different ways of expression (dance, music, panting, sculpture, theater, Netart, and so on), and, fundamentally, the supports (in our case, the electronic support).
It is planned, to re-launch
JavaMuseum - Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art
www.javamuseum.org in 2007 in a new context, very likely even in physical space.
What would be your personal wishes and expectations connected to this re-launch ?
The network is nearly 20 years old (the “network” of Robert Filliou, the utopian model of perpetual expansion of communication in all the humanity and at all the times), preservers his impulses although the system has tended him trips all along, trying to transform networking in a fetich, in order to satisfy his ideological needs, creating an ideal world, without contradictions, hiding behind multiple trivial signs the unjust and inhuman reality that suffers the great majority of the humanity, but also, trying to dissemble its anticommercial nature, his opposition to the consumption, by the purchase of artworks and files, or through his incorporation to the canons of “Fine arts”, and, consequently, its acceptance in Biennials, official magazines and galleries and art departments of standard Universities.
This confirms the material quality of network, as a communication product.
And, of course, has the specifical qualities of any product: by a side it takes part of the social production generated from the relationships between the author and the people and with the concrete media he used for the creation, and, also, is a helper for the same production, when favoring or to make difficult the processes referred to the interchange of ideas and procedures between members of the community, including, in our case, the network, becoming in important factor of that same production.
If we take into account his quality as a communication product, it transmits the artwork, the artistic object. I we speak about his aspect as an auxiliary product, it transmits the quality of the relationships of production, in which the netartist lives, including in this way the antagonism and contradictions which are present in those relationships assuming, thus, the ideology character. It’s difficult to do something: everything that generates benefits is quickly absorbed by the system; the same will happen if Netart leaves the field of explicit communication.
Thanks for taking your time.
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