JIP - JavaMuseum Interview Project

Survey: Sonya Rademeyer

Sonya Rademeyer
Stellenbosch, South Africa

  • artist biography
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    Interview/survey: 10 questions

    Since a reasonable time, digital media entered the field of art and extended the traditional definition of art through some new , but very essential components.
    Do you think it is like that and if yes, tell me more about these components and how they changed the perception of art?

    I think that art has forever been changed by digital media. For me perhaps
    the outstanding component in this transmutation is one of temporality. by
    this I not only mean the (obvious) immediacy involved in digital media, but
    our own embodied temporality that is altered through and by it. This in
    effect, changes the way in which art is perceived, in that the experience
    (for me) becomes a much more horizontal than a vertical one.

    A relevant section of digital art represents Internet based art. The
    Internet was hardly existing, but artists conquered already this new field for their artistic activities.
    Can the work of these early artists be compared with those who work with
    advanced technologies nowadays? What changed until these days ? What might be the perspectives for future developments?

    Reflecting back on the arts and the sciences I cannot help but viewing them as being similar. Both require visualization as well as intuition, and both are directed towards what is often as yet unknown. In effect, they have historically worked side-by-side in experimentation although their methodologies may differ. What makes going to the moon any different than an artist at the forefront of technology? I embrace the collaborations currently occurring between artists and scientists.

    The education in the field of New Media art, including Internet based art,
    started late compared with the general speed of technological development and acceptance. So, generations of artists who used the Internet as their artistic working field were not educated in this new discipline(s) and technologies, but had rather an interdisciplinary approach.
    What Do you think, would be the best way to teach young people how to deal
    with the Internet as an environment of art?

    Personally, I come from the viewpoint of experimentation. Although (formal) training is valuable, it may not necessarily be of benefit to the young new-media artist. I regard the act of experimentation as pivotal in the search and practice of the artistic-self, and am therefore weary of technique itself. Often – more often than not – it is in the ‘accidents’ that the most interesting work is born…both within the art and sciences.

    What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the Internet to you in
    concern of art, are they just tools for expressing artistic intentions, or have they rather an ideological character, as it can be found with many “netartists”, or what else do they mean to you? Many ³Internet based artists² work on ³engaged² themes and subjects, for instance, in social, political, cultural etc concern.
    Which contents are you particularly interested in, personally and from an
    artcritical point of view.

    An interesting question. There is a duality here for me: yes, of course it
    is a medium; a way to express oneself creatively (as would be paint, pastels or graphite). However, the exchange that occurs within the ‘medium’ alters the singularity of the concept thereof. The Other becomes equally important in art making, as the interactivity thereof is interdependent on one another. I am personally interested in social and cultural issues of exchange that can possibly contribute to greater understanding of each other.

    The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted on the net, there are
    dozens of definitions which mostly are even contradictory.
    How do you define “netart” or if you like the description “Internet based
    art” better? Do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria? Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?

    A difficult one!The question would be: who determines (or should determine)what constitutes aesthetic criteria for netart (other than curators)? Personally, the options of other net-based artists criticizing my art work does not hold much water for me. As there appears to be no structure of critique in net-based art, the bottom line here for me is self-honesty. The authenticity of self – and ultimately the work of art itself then – then becomes the criteria.

    ³Art on the net² has the advantage and the disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in Internet which defines also its right to exist.
    Do you think, that ³art based on the Internet², can be called still like
    that, even if it is just used offline?

    For me it is the concept of the space – the symbolic space – more than a
    ‘virtual’ space wherein it exists. The idea of the artwork being in this
    space is a sign itself for existing. I dislike the term virtual, as it has
    references to sight, whereas idea points to a consciousness rather. Using my body (as I always do) as point of reference, I cannot help but use the
    metaphor of sleep: when I am sleeping I am sub-conscious in my existence.
    All my ideas, everything that makes me who and what I am is embodied within the ‘offline’ state. So also with net-based-art: it is exists even when offline.

    Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art demands an active viewer or user, and needs the audience much more and in different ways than any other art discipline before. How do you think would be good ways to stimulate the user to dive into this new world of art?
    What do you think represents an appropriate environment to present net based art to an audience, is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in front of his personal computer, is it any public context, or is it rather the context of art in general or media art in particular, or anything else.? If you would be in the position to create an environment for presenting this type of art in physical space, how would you do it?

    If it was up to me to create such an environment, I am sure that I would
    want it to be experienced and set up in a larger, more public context.
    Almost like telephone booths that are randomly placed within the public
    arena: intimate yet accessible within everyday life. Is this unrealistic?

    As Internet based art, as well as other art forms using new technologies are (globally seen) still not widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do you think could be an appropriate solution to change this situation?

    Exposure I think. Many people are still very afraid of technology (myself
    included) and don’t necessarily make the logical deduction that art can be
    based and expressed in this media. What I do think is problematic from the
    artists point of view, is that often this type of artwork doesn’t sell, so
    artists often have to revert back to ‘sellable’ art to survive.

    The Internet is sometimes called a kind of ³democratic² environment,
    The conventional art practice is anything else than that, but selective by
    using filters of different kind. The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be different. Do you think the current practice of
    dealing with Internet based art is such different or rather the described
    conventional way through (also curatorial) filtering?
    Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who
    publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?

    My personal experience is that the art-on-the-net is selected in a much more honest way (refer to question 5) and has been a light at the end of a tunnel for me. More conservative, traditional art societies use the filters (I like that term!) which can exclude artists with great potential. Net-based art allows for more honest work as artists are less concerned with what would be ‘gallery pleasing’. Yes, I believe that every human being is born creative.
    If this can free up and allow individuals to realize and express that
    creativity, we would have less strife and war on our planet.

    Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any
    technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its
    roots? And what about the users of Internet based art?

    Not at all. Art should be experienced for what it is. This takes me back,
    once again, to the honesty I experience in internet art. The Other is in
    fact unknown, yet part of the experience. It is the engagement with that art work however that remains pivotal