In which circumstances or on what occasion did you introduce
[electricity or electronics] TELEMATICS or THE NETWORK into your work?
A key issue in my work for approximately twenty years has been
the creation of what I call "dialogical aesthetics." This
has entailed the creation of artworks that are predicated on the
interaction of sentient beings (and not only on the human perception
of objects). I have been also concerned with what can be referred
to as "the drama of distance" (perception based on geographically
remote connectivity) and the role of network topology in sensorial
experience. Networking has been crucial in the creation of dialogical
How can you describe the technical and aesthetical part played
by [electricity] TELEMATICS in the work you will be showing in the
[Electra] TELEMATIC CONNECTIONS exhibition? Please give your comments
as regards these points.
"Teleporting an Unknown State" is a biotelematic interactive
installation. In other words: it is a digital telecommunications
piece in which a biological process is an integral part of the work.
The installation creates the experience of the Internet as a life-supporting
system. In a very dark room a pedestal with earth serves as a nursery
for a single seed. Through a video projector suspended above and
facing the pedestal, remote individuals send light via the Internet
to enable this seed to photosynthesize and grow in total darkness.
The installation takes the idea of teleportation of particles (and
not of matter) out of its scientific context and transposes it to
the domain of social interaction enabled by the Internet. Following
my previous work with telematic interactive installation and my
exploration of non-semiological forms of communication with electronic
media, this installation uses the remote transmission of video images
not for their representational content but for their optical phenomenon
as wavefronts of light. Internet videoconferencing is used to teleport
light particles from several countries with the sole purpose of
enabling biological (and not artificial) life and growth in the
This piece operates a dramatic reversal of the regulated unidirectional
model imposed by broadcasting standards and the communications industry.
Rather than transmitting a specific message from one point to many
passive receivers, "Teleporting an Unknown State" creates
a new situation in which several individuals in remote countries
transmit light to a single point in the gallery space. The ethics
of Internet ecology and social network survival is made evident
in a distributed and collaborative effort. During the show, photosynthesis
depends on remote collective action. Birth, growth, and death on
the Internet form a horizon of possibilities that unfolds as participants
dynamically contribute to the work. Collaborative action and responsibility
through the network are essential for the survival of the organism.
According to you, which are the consequences that can arise
from the combination of art and contemporary TELEMATIC technology?
The combination of art and telematics is the strongest when telematics
acquires a signifying role in the work, i.e., when the piece cannot
exist as such by any other means. The term "contemporary telematic
technology" basically means the Internet and its myriad manifestations.
The current Internet has its own limits and potentials, which will
be expanded by the next Internet (Internet 2). Among the most important
consequences are the use of real time as an aesthetic parameter,
negotiation of meaning through dialogical interaction, the investigation
of distributed cognition in art, and the enabling of collective
agency on a global scale.
*These questions are based on ones asked by Frank Popper of the artists in his seminal exhibition Electra: Electricity and Electronics in the Art of the 20th Century in 1983 at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville Paris