In his work, which includes the seminal DIAL H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997), Johan Grimonprez (BE, 1962) mainly investigates the use of mass media as a political instrument and the construction of realities in an era of infotainment and media saturation. The overall focus is on the idea of ‘zaptitude’ – the surreal poetry of the ‘channel hopping’, which enables the TV spectator to write his/her own story. In the ambulant video library project Beware! In Playing the Phantom, you become one (1994–1998) Grimonprez also questioned the image of the spectator as a passive consumer. Recently he created Manipulators (2005-2007), along with curator Charlotte Léouzon, a “You-Tube library” variant.
Artist Peter Horvath (CA, 1961) has experimented with photo montages for years, and in the domain of web technology he is essentially investigates how to enhance the qualities of his photo work beyond the two-dimensional context. In his current work he develops a web of fragmentary story lines, a framework of multi-coloured mosaics from which a ‘spectator’ can draw his own history by navigating. According to Horvath the web reflects the ongoing process of making choices, through which we appropriate the world around us, and as such it is the ideal medium to investigate the notions of identity, subjectivity and consciousness
Lev Manovich (RU, 1960) is a Visual Arts Professor at the University of California, where he lectures on media art and theory. His theoretical work, which includes the seminal book The Language of New Media (2003), is considered to be hugely influential in the transitional zone between old and new media, between audiovisual art and digital culture. In his own art practice he focuses, among other things, on the potential of digital cinema, such as in Little Movies (1997), one of the first video projects for the web, and the DVD Soft Cinema (2005), an exploration of the “database-cinema” concept.
Adrian Miles (AU, 1960) lectures on the theory and practice of hypermedia and interactive video at RMIT University, Melbourne. His research and applied work surrounding hypermedia, networked interactive video and Deleuzian philosophy in the context of digital poetry hes been published and presented all over the world. His current projects focus on the idea of ‘Softvideo’: video, which does not merely preserve its granular and fragmentary nature in a digital networked environment, but which is also completed with a link architecture, offering new perspectives on narrativity.
Tomas Rawlings & Ana Kronschnabl
Plugincinema.com is a platform which supports the creation and on-line distribution of on-line cinema projects. Its instigators are filmmaker Ana Kronschnabl (UK, 1969) and game designer Tomas Rawlings (UK, 1974 ). Together they wrote the book Plug In & Turn On: A Guide to Internet Filmmaking (2004) and are both involved in the media company FluffyLogic. Plugincinema, originally part of Kronschnabl’s doctoral research, has become an international reference in the world of web video.
Video maker Simon Ruschmeyer (DE, 1980) explores, in theory as well as practice, the borderline areas between classical audiovisual narration and the new possibilities proferred by interactivity and networked communication. Ruschmeyer has realised countless video projects and has recently completed his paper The Moving Web – Forms and Functions of Moving Images on the Internet. His research into new types of artistic production and distribution on the net can be visited on http://movingweb.org.
One of the major principles in the work of media artist and theoretician Keith Sanborn (US, 1952) is the investigation of public images and private perceptions. In his recent work he re-contextualizes web footage, partly as commentary on the current exploitation of user-generated content on such platforms as ‘YouTube’. Sanborn feels this “new” spectacle is less based on a collection of images, than on inter human relations, mediated through images. Resistance requires bringing forward the background to the foreground. “Don’t pay attention to the tiny man behind the curtain” – indeed: pay attention to the curtain.
Peter Westenberg (NL, 1968) is an artist, film and video maker and a member of the Brussels’ media collective Constant. He examines, among others, the requirements and conditions for collaboration and exchange in the – existing or non-existing – public space of the web. How does image shaping work in a network environment? What are the means, conditional to the creation of a joint image? Are affinity and familiarity reliable codecs? Collective video is investigated as the sum total of exchange processes – an amalgam of social, technical and legal protocols.