sponsored by:

Newsletter 4/2002
4.Jg. / Nr. 24 - ISSN 1617-6901
earlier newsletter

ed. by Roberto Simanowski

Content Newsletter:
Spiel as Term / Hypertext / Interactive Media Art / Interview: Tholen / Manovich's "Language of New Media" / Interview: Karpen / Interview: Amerika / Programmer as Artist / Online Project "Shrink to fit"Computer Virus / Interfictions / McLuhan's "Understanding Media"

Spiel as Term between Hermeneutics, Hyperfiction and Computergame [German]

Manuela Kocher and Michael Böhler explore the term Spiel (play/game) and its possible potential as a key-concept linking post-kantian Aesthetics, Gadamer’s Hermeneutics and Iser’s Reader-Response Criticism as analytical tools for the new artistic genres of electronic hyperfiction and computer games. Tracing the history of the term Spiel as it oscillates between an abstract figurative meaning as a purely mental interplay between the different cognitive faculties and its reference to concrete performative acts in a leisurely purposeless mood the authors show their branching out into an outright dichotomy in the post-kantian Aesthetics and they postulate the re-convergence of the two meanings in the new artistic forms of literary hyperfictions and computer games.

Hypertext: Features, Research, Poetics [German]

Roberto Simanowski discusses some of the main problems with hypertext with the following conclusion: Contextualization and intertextuality of hypertext nodes bases on nodes as strict units which do not blend seamlessly with their neighbors. Instead of speaking about the death of the author one should announce the death of the reader. The link causes the carnevalisation of thinking rather than critical reflection. There is no new meaning of an hyperfiction by new navigation through it, at least not intended and designed by the author.

"Formen interaktiver Medienkunst", ed. by Peter Gendolla a.o. [German]

This anthology on new media focusses on interactivity instead of intermediality or hybridity and applies mainly sociological theory. Georg Christoph Tholen objects to this and comments the merits and faults of the 15 contributions.

Media Studies and Curricula: Interview with Georg Christoph Tholen [German]

Finding criteria to determine digital literature and broaden our cultural canon needs to pair proven ways of literature analysis with methods gained from current media studies. Prof. Dr. Georg Christoph Tholen was appointed as chair of the Institute for Media Studies of the University of Basel in 2001. Roberto Simanowski asked him about the main aspects of current media studies and their practice in Basel.

Metonymical Mov(i)es. Lev Manovich's "The Language of New Media" [English]

According to Lev Manovich in New Media we have to deal with a visual culture which is predominantly cinematographic. And indeed, Hollywood's and Silicon Valley's language of new media is massively cinematographic. However, Inke Arns could not really recognize the world Manovich is describing. She was missing all the other aspects of New Media as net art, media art, or net culture practices like chatting or SMS.

Creating and Understanding Digital Art: Interview with Richard Karpen [English]

"With regard to the nature of teaching and research, we are boldly experimenting with our curriculum. I can't say I know exactly what I'm doing, but I know that we must make changes in our arts curricula and just as in the process of making art, making a new arts program will require some adventurous thinking and taking some risks." Richard Karpen is Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media at the University of Washington in Seattle. Roberto Simanowski talked with him about the aim of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media and the relation between digital media and academic world.

Reconfiguring Education with Flexible Teachers: Interview with Mark Amerika [English]

"The very notion of an engaged net art practice focused on digital narrative and theory in cross-media platforms challenges our conventional assessment of what a certain kind of work or cultural production actually is. We need to reconfigure education and the pedagogical process associated with learning, especially when using new media technology in an arts and humanities context." In an earlier interview we talked with Mark Amerika about his works, about authorship, and about writing concepts on the net. Amerika has since been offered a professorship in the Fine Arts Faculty at the University of Colorado.

Texts, Scripts and Codes: The Programmer as Artist [German]

The programmer as modern wizard who is bound by the laws of her magic: if only one comma is missing nothing will work. The programmer as modern iconoclast in a time of visual spectacle: She puts letters beneath the screen to create images above. The programmer as law breaker when she publishes codes to free information from copy right which does not fall under the first Amendment. But what if one paints, sings, or performs the code? Does mathematic then becomes art? Reinhard Storz investigates this and other questions about the programmer as artist.

Online-Project "shrink to fit": Net Art and Theory Commissioned by Xcult.org [German/English]

10 artists were asked to produce net art (which does not demand more than 3 - 5 minutes of the viewer’s attention). 10 theorist were asked to write a text about it (which does not exceed 2500 characters in length). From August 2001 till May 2002 each month, a new sub-project and the accompanying text had been thrown open in "shrink to fit". dichtung-digital mirrors in cooperation with Xcult.org the finished project.

The @-Bomb: On Evil Geniuses Behind Apocalyptic Computer Virus [German]

Legend has it that virus writers are extremely talented computer scientists who for some reason have turned to the dark side of their craft. But a live encounter with one of them gives a hint at who they really are. A second look at their code shows that "between the lines" of executable code lies a second layer of secret global graffiti. A brief history of the virus industry shows the intimate relationship between virus writers and antivirus-programmers. And an anecdotal anthology of virus hoaxes indicates that in the weird world of viruses a rumour can wreak as much havoc as an actual infection. Hilmar Schmundt explores the wondrous netherworld of code gone haywire and nightmares come true and comes up with a surprising solution: narrative strategies to get out of a technological mess.

Interfictions. On Writing in the Net [German]

Introduction to "Interfictions. On Writing in the Net" by Roberto Simanowski. This book does not target literature which moves into the net but finally wants to end up in actual print. This book deals with 'literature' which comes from the net of digital code and is interactive, intermedial, and based on a hidden language of performance making it impossible to be printed out. The introduction discusses the shift of media, terms, features, and typology of digital literature as well their history and future.

The Messager is the Message. McLuhan's "Understanding Media" [German]

People considered him a populistic bletherer or a prophet of new media studies. People accused him of irrational arguments or praised the originality of his thoughts, one complained his vague terminology and one quoted him as often as possible. Today no media theory can avoid him. And all begin with his most famous statement: The Medium is the Message. Roberto Simanowski has read the book again and can explain why a woman with glasses is a "cold medium", provided the glasses are dark.

Newsletter 2002:

current - 1 - 2 - 3

Newsletter 2001:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

Newsletter 2000:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Newsletter 1999:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7