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[ 1 ] A Community of
People with No Time, 2001

[ 2 ] Victoria Vesna, Gerald A.
de Jong, David Beaudry

[ 3 ] Telematics

[ 4 ] Community of People
with No Time: Identity and
Collaboration Shifts
Victoria Vesna

[ 5 ] Appended Subjects and
Hybrid Incorporations
Jennifer Gonzalez

[ 6 ] From Agents and
Avatars to the Information
Victoria Vesna


In which circumstances or on what occasion did you introduce [electricity or electronics] TELEMATICS or THE NETWORK into your work?

The word "telematics" entered into my vocabulary in 1986 at the Venice Bienale. As it happened, my installation was right next to Brian Enos' work with light boxes and sound. Roy Ascott was Brian's teacher and introduced himself when he came by to say hello. At this stage, telematics entered into my subconscious, and meant very little. Six years later, in 1992, I was coordinating a large interactive networked painting at SIGGRAPH in Chicago. As it happened, I was right next to Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz who were presenting their electronic café; Eduardo Kac was exhibiting his work and someone handed me a one page description of an idea called the World Wide Web. Telematics surfaced in my mind quite forcefully and dramatically at that time. I started conceptualizing projects that consciously explored the possibility of networks and actively questioning its impact on our physical environment, social interaction and perception of self.

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.

One of the most unexpected developments of the "Notime" project is the physical manifestation of the structure. This was not originally planned, but while considering how we might control the projection, light, and sound in the installation, it became clear that we needed to construct a structure. This became even more critical in the context of an exhibition that would be traveling for some time. Although the intent from the start was very much to point to the interdependency of on- and offline spaces, this was amplified by the introduction of a specially designed space for the interaction. The structure was being built by Tim Quinn in parallel to the programming of the multi-user spaces by Gerald de Jong and the composition of sound by David Beaudry. There is no question that all of us were influenced in our decision making once the physical space became an important aspect of the installation. The interdependency of the physical and online space is critical in this work and the piece would not be able to exist or evolve without the networked connectivity.

According to you, which are the consequences that can arise from the combination of art and contemporary TELEMATIC technology?

In my mind, there is no question that the most important consequence of this combination is the shift to acceptance of ourselves as collective and distributed entities. This has major implications on the role of the audience, the cultural institutions that host the physical part of installations, and the entire notion of how these institutions function. Perhaps the most important factor that will play a role in this shift is in how artists operate and the emergence of collectives and teams, rather than single individuals leading projects. While working on developing "Notime," everyone who collaborated assumed a critical role and could not simply be replaced. We became a group that could be akin to a band with a lead singer, bass, lead guitar, drum and so on. I imagine that each project in the future would have a particular configuration of individuals that make up the group, and in some cases, the group would stay consistently the same. In my opinion, this alone gives this emerging field a very different flavor from the traditional art world, no matter how avant-garde it may be.

*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