September 08, 2003
Nice piece of Ars

For once there's an excuse for my horrible typing, as this comes to you from a German qwertz keyboard instead of my usual qwerty.
After some fine weather, lovely museums, decent coffee, and cheap beer in Vienna I have moved on Ars Electronica in Linz, where terminals are abundant - so I thought I might as well post a little.

Vienna was great. I supplemented my understanding of Wienna by reading before my stay Musil's "Man without qualities", during my stay first "Wittgenstein's Vienna" - a book on the cultural background of Wittgensteins work, that does what seems like a fine job at describing the atmosphere of the town (I was glad to have read Musil first though) and finally Zweig's "The World of Yesterday". Zweig's book is realy impressive. He has a personal account - and indeed some personal experience that makes his account live - of everything important going on in Europe around the (last) turn of the century. And then apparently he knew everybody, from a old woman whose head had been touched by the hand of Goethe, to Rodin, whose atelier he visits. And he was there when they built the Panama canal (literally! Zweig went to Panama and saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time at the construction site).

The final connection to present day comes from the latest issue of Die Zeit that I picked up ot read on the train journey to Linz. It gives J?rgen Habermas' personal account of friendship with Theodor Adorno, who in turn took music lessons from Alban Berg - obviously an acquaintance of Zweig's.

Here in Linz the digital arts festival is in full swing, with a highly international (i.e. Japanese and American) crowd as well as a highly international (i.e. Japanese and American) list of artists. There is much to like about the stuff on display - mostly so when it is either essential or not apparent what the 'digital'/'electronic' is doing in the piece on display. What I mean by that is that the good pieces either use 'digital everyday life' as the offset for whatever is expressed - or is estethically pleasing to such an extent that the technique in play is completely irrelevant for the observer. The finesse in some of the work (and again - the japanese examples shine) is so stunning that you simply forget about the means of expression.

More on this later. I have had many good ideas and experiences with only half a day spent here yet. Meanwhile the Festival website is quite good - and even contains some of the webbased works on display (clearly the most boring and least promising category of work. It smacks of 1980's and 1990's 'interaction art' made with Macromedia Director).

Posted by Claus at September 08, 2003 02:28 PM | TrackBack (0)
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