The Media Artist as Functionary: Show-Bix, Århus 1968-71
Venue:Stockholm School of Economics, Soros Auditorium
Interactive media art does not adhere exclusively to the digital media scene – it did not ‘emerge’ suddenly with new technologies. Nor did it happen out of ‘convergences’ from older media. The ideas and impulses, maybe even the necessity, to make things ‘interactive’ was part of the art scene many decades before digital technologies left the laboratories. And, so, we must ask ourselves, once again, what this early electronic and pre-digital ‘technology’ brings into the situation we call ‘media art’? My paper will focus on the sandpits of interactivity in Copenhagen in 1959-65 and the practices of William Soya, Knud Hvidberg and Hans Sandmand. They are artists that pioneered the interactive art scene in Denmark – and, with contacts to the notorious post-surrealist media art scene in Stockholm, Fylkingen, they were part of an international scene. But most importantly, Soya, Hvidberg and Sandmand developed their own interactive poetics, which they were refining between 1959 and 1965 with some surprising results that are little known today. I will focus on two trajectories, especially: The Interactive sound installations of Hans Sandmand from 1959 and 1961 using the, at the time, very new technology of light-trickers; And the mysterious Orfeus Orfani project from 1963 realized in collaboration between William Soya and Knud Hvidberg using IBM punch paper machines and tape-recording and -editing technologies. I will argue that these three artists shared an interest, which was both artistic and political motivated, in engaging with the public and make it possible for the public to interact in the sense of interfere with the communication of the art work.
Morten Søndergaard (PhD) is Associate Professor and Curator of Interactive Media Art at Aalborg University Copenhagen (DK). Head of research of the Unheard Avant-garde project at the LARM audio archive infrastructure (2010-13) www.larm-archive.org. Formerly the Curator / Deputy Director at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde www.samtidskunst.dk (1999-2008) and Senior Curator and General Chair of the re-new festival of digital arts www.re-new.org Copenhagen 2010-12. In 2010, he commissioned Stelarc’s Internet Ear Project for the exhibition Biotopia – Art in the Wet Zone (2010-11) www.earonarm.net. He was curator of the Biotopia Revisited docu-exhibition at LEA’s digital platform (2012), and visiting curator at ZKM in Karlsruhe responsible for the Unheard Avant-garde in Scandinavia section at the Sound Art – Sound as Medium for Art exhibition (march 2012 – January 2013). Since April 2012, he is a contributing editor of Leonardo’s Electronic Almanac www.leoalmanac.org and General Chair of the LEA Sound Art Curating Conference Series www.soundartcurating.org.
Publications – selected (in English): Get Real – Real Time + Art (George Braziller, 2005), (w. Peter Weibel) Magnet (Kehrer Verlag, 2008), (w. Mogens Jacobsen) Re_action – The Digital Archive Experience (Aalborg University Press, 2009), and (w. Peter Weibel) Sound as Medium of Fine Art (forthcoming, MIT Press 2014).