The Electrohype 2002 conference
October 24–25
Location: Filmstaden, Storgatan 22, Malmö Sweden
The conference was hold in English
Art and software – software as art
Electrohype is organizing a two-day conference, which will focus on software, software as an artistic tool and software as art. The conference will present a panel consisting of artists and theorists and will be a combination of presentations and continuous discussion. We will invite artists who write their own software, artists working close to programmers and theorists that closely follows the development in computer based art.
We are currently in the midst of an accelerated technological evolution. The artist’s role as an analyst and critic is therefore more important now than ever. Not only as an interpreter but also as a counterweight to the endless stream of technological innovations invading our private and public space.
Throughout the history of art there are many examples of artists using new technology in unexpected ways, this also applies to the transformation or shift from analogue to digital communication. Computer based art represents a new experimental art form combining the modernistic idea of enlightenment combined with the postmodern deconstructive skepticism.
In the artistic work process software as a tool is just as important as the computer. These days its presence is taken for granted but many of us actually have very limited knowledge about software. System and image processing software is regarded as standard components and are given little thought, as long as they work properly. The software is reduced to a basic tool or an invisible engine running out of a box placed discreetly out of sight.
Since the introduction of economically available personal computers in the middle of the eighties many artists started using the computer as a tool to reconstruct reality and our societies constant flow of information. Other artists started looking inwards, focusing on and exploring the internal and external processes run by the interplay between hardware and software.
Most software used by artists today was originally intended for commercial production, a fact that has been and still is a two-edged sword. On the one side developers have continuously provided new, better and cheaper software. On the not so bright side are the limitations and the presence of standard software elements that often can be noticed in the finished work of art. A direct consequence of this is a noticeable tendency where several artists are moving away from the standard packages and start creating their own software. Others are doing hard modifications on existing software transforming it to the tools they need. But software is no longer just a question of tools. There are also artists creating new software with the intention that the software itself will be the final art object. Whatever the approach or intention the artist has toward software generates an endless field of questions and problems. We will therefore dedicate these two days to focusing on the various aspects of software and simultaneously let the subject provide us with an angel of approach to look at the present status of computer based art.
To give the conference a clear direction we have raised the following questions:
• What are the possibilities and limitations related to standard software as an artistic tool?
• How does the transition between artist and software and between software and audience affect the artistic content?
• What does the process of creating artistic software look like? What lies in the future for the development of software as an art object?
• Can software art change our self-perception in relationship to the interplay between hardware, software and computer networks?