openX - Ars Electronica Festival 1997
September 1997

The openX environment at the Ars Electronica Festival 97 in Linz was a more creative and more daring attempt at dealing with the difficulties of presenting net art in a festival situation. I will from now own use the term net art in the broader sense, meaning art practices based in the Internet, from WWW-based projects and live-audio experiments, to communication projects that use IRC (Internet Relay Chat), FTP (File Transfer Protocol), Telnet, and other Internet protocols.

More than ten different online projects were invited to work on the mezzanine of the Linz Design Center during the festival, and for a week over fifty people spent long days and evenings on their islands of tables and terminals in this localised archipelago of network creativity. Many of the people in the different projects knew and had worked with each other before and were now given the unique opportunity of being able to do what they always do in close physical vicinity: communicate, investigate, write, programme and design in the net.

openX was therefore an almost 1:1 representation of the situation in which net art is being created every day. Artists who sometimes know each other in person and sometimes not, work together in smaller communities which overlap with other such communities. More communication and creative potential is derived from the contacts between these groups, mutual contamination and transformation guaranteed. In practice, this concept worked only in part. The re-mapping of a translocal assemblage in a localised setting showed both advantages and disadvantages for the artists' cooperation. Maybe due to the unfamiliar opportunity, certainly due to a lack of time during the short five days of the festival, much of the situation's potential could not be realised and the artists went away again, slightly dizzy and confused like after a roller-coaster ride.


Unlike the Hybrid Workspace, openX had a smaller and probably more online audience, with many of the visitors having their own, often extensive experience with the networks. Yet, participants of both projects found it difficult to reconcile the wish to work together in the workshop, with the necessity to represent that work to a larger audience. Some were better at this than others, especially those who were dealing with campaign-like themes and strategies. But few were happy about the fact that their processual work was on display as though it was a performance about the artist at work. What they normally do at their terminals at home or in the studio was not only changed quite significantly through the sudden physical vicinity to the other artists, but was also exposed in a way that it normally isn't. Real-life presence and confrontation is normally not something that comes into play in net art, large parts of the net being a meshwork of distributed private spaces, rather than a public space.

Source: [Broeckmann1998] link(external link)

Kunstradio at openX

KUNSTRADIO used the opportunity presented by the OPENX project of the Ars Electronica Festival to explore the possibities of the new WEBCASTING technology in a "mini-studio" comprised of simple sound and video equipment and the powerful network connection of the Ars Electronica Center.
Source: link)

"The place looks like a computer factory (lots of monitors with humans staring at them, lots of humans with monitors staring at them...) but to think how much information will pass through this hall (lots of internet sites temporarily located here, for example) is breathtaking"
Source: link)

11-12 September, 1997: Radiokunstnacht/Radio-Art-Night
dedicated to the memory of William S.Burroughs
On Air: 22:17 - 24:00. on Österreich 1
00:00 - 06:00 on FM4
00:00 - 06:00 on Danmarks Radio, Kopenhagen
On Line: Real Audio Live, Webcams, IR Chats
On Site: ORF-Landesstudio Oberösterreich, Linz

"The KUNSTRADIO "LIVE RADIOART NIGHT" has a long tradition within the ARS ELECTRONICA FESTIVAL. The first live radio-event took place in 1989 ("Im Netz der Systeme") and had a strong Australian component, focusing on simultaneous intercontinental live-events and audience participation. During the 1995 Festival the regional studio of the ORF in Linz became the hub of HORIZONTAL RADIO, a 24 hour worldwide radio and Internet project. In 1996 one of the major contributions to the international project RIVERS&BRIDGES came from Linz as part of the Ars Electronica Festival."
Source: link)


1998: Acoustic Space/56h LIVE at Ars Electronica
1999: OpenX 1999 at Ars Electronica

Interviews from OpenX 1999 (by Paula Poole, with Mark Tribe, Rachel Baker, Eugene Thacker, Olia Lialina, RTmark, Usman Haque, Heath Bunting): link)

openX was organized and curated by August Black. Interviewed artists: Mark Tribe, Rachel Baker, Eugene Thacker, Olia Lialina, RTmark, Usman Haque, Heath Bunting. Also included in openX 1999 were: C5 Corporation, Fakeshop, B92 Radio Belgrade, TeleZone, Laura Bellof, Margarete Jahrmann & Max Mooswitzer of Konsum LinX3d, Radio FRO, OZOne/E-LAB/Xchange, Sound Drifting: I Silenzi Parlano Tra Loro, and the TNC Network.

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