LEONARDO GALLERY: Perverting Technological Correctness

				Curatorial S T A T E M E N T
				        Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
				In keeping with the trend in contemporary 
				culture that art critic Lorne Falk calls 
				"Technologically Correct" (TC), considerable 
				resources are being allocated to revive the 
				battered archetypes of the "pioneer" 
				and "originality." Associated with 
				this revival, the militaristic "avant-garde" 
				metaphor, with its emphasis on conquest 
				and progress, reappears with an obnoxious 
				nostalgic undertone, as does the humanist 
				logic of re-birth and universality [1].

				That this white-male colonial model be 
				resuscitated after decades of voodoo from 
				feminists, deconstructivists, schizoanalysts 
				and minority-rights activists comes as no 
				surprise: the "maverick cowboy" who "just 
				does his thing" has always been a necessary 
				ingredient in the creation of new marketplaces 
				to fuel the capitalist venture.

				TC Art: The "Effect" Effect

				Art itself is becoming TC. In fact, media 
				art is frequently cited to vindicate the 
				TC trend. We are invited to marvel at 
				computers' improved capabilities and 
				resolution and to be seduced by their 
				evolutionary speed. Typically, TC art 
				empowers the user of the artwork by 
				mapping his or her actions to causal effects 
				in the environment---thus, TC art cannot be 
				divorced from the desire to police the 
				user by offering some kind of token control. 
				The special effects themselves become the 
				object of the artwork and the main incentive 
				for its contemplation---a phenomenon we 
				might call the "effect" effect [2].

				Technology Is Not First-Come First-Serve

				The nine artworks chosen here pervert 
				technological correctness: they are a 
				testament to the inevitability rather 
				than the novelty of technology. 
				These pieces embrace intervention, 
				criticism and humor. They tend to 
				restrict the participant to certain 
				pre-established perspectives, which 
				is an unfashionable stance in TC art. The 
				strength of these pieces is in the definition 
				and affirmation of their specific limitations, 
				rather than in the promise of their media.

				Here are a few strategies to pervert 
				technological correctness. Although each 
				artist comes under the heading of only one 
				strategy, many are shared between them:

				Simulation of Technology Itself

				Laura Kikauka's Hairbrain 2000 simulates a 
				head-mounted display---including tracking, 
				display and sound---with surplus industrial 
				and electrical parts. Half hair-dryer and half 
				meat-mincer, this piece invites virtual reality to reflect 
				upon itself as a moment of deep kitsch.

				Misuse of Technology

				Perry Hoberman's misemployment of bar-code 
				technology, which was originally designed 
				to read marketing information, gives way to 
				stimulating interaction with virtual objects 
				reminiscent of Rene Magritte's aesthetics.

				Stereotype Bending

				Responding to critics who claimed that he 
				could not be making "Native" art by working 
				with virtual reality, Lawrence Paul 
				Yuxweluptun declared, "I can advance my 
				culture in any way that I choose." 
				Technological correctness in the context 
				of a Native artist seems to have been 
				defined by some anthropologists to be 
				wood carving and other traditional 
				aboriginal crafts.

				Non-Digital Approach to Virtuality

				Artworks that are not "wired" are readily 
				invalidated by the TC. In spite of this, 
				Michael Maranda's Spheroramas reconstruct 
				space and time for an immersive telepresence 
				experience. Spheroramas are "mutant" 
				photographs that take the viewer hostage 
				and frame him or her within the scene.


				Marcel.lí Antúnez Roca's performance-
				installation Epizoo makes a direct 
				link between virtual and real violence. 
				Borrowing from the tradition of body art, the 
				artist's body becomes a sacrificial repository 
				of tele-torture as inflicted by the public. 
				Antúnez challenges the desensitization 
				caused by simulation, mediation and repetition.

				Questioning Our CultureÍs often Uncritical 
				Insistence on "Progress"

				Myth, philosophy, science and experience 
				coalesce in Nell Tenhaaf's piece, which 
				suggests possible parallels between our 
				curiosity in bio-technology and Oedipus's 
				own curiosity that led to his tragic demise.

				Performative Action

				Physically stripping the contents of his 
				computer and wearing the case on his head, 
				Miguel Angel Corona Alba's Macacintosh 
				character is an amusing manifestation of 
				the internalization of technology. In 
				Corona's art nothing is used as it was 
				intended to be: a spontaneous sequence of 
				actions and interactions determines the 
				meaning of each prop in the performance 

				Adapting the Digital to Reinterpret the Analog

				Trimpin has been adapting digital equipment 
				to play acoustic, analog sound for two 
				decades. Through custom-made electro-
				mechanical devices, he has played a variety 
				of existing and invented non-electronic 
				instruments through computer sequencing and 
				interaction. For Phffft, he designed 
				an interactive sound environment that is 
				computer-controlled but solely wind-powered.

				Ephemeral Intervention

				Using a wide range of tools including 
				explosives, wax, electronics and Jell-O, 
				César Martínez Silva is an artist whose 					performances and installations emphasize 
				site- and event-specificity (subject-
				oriented programming). In a TC age of perfect 
				replication, work that is process-based and 
				inherently undocumentable is rewarding at 
				the level of activism and direct experience.

				Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
				Modesta Lafuente 28, 3A
				Madrid 28003
				Email: 75337.1453@compuserve.com


				1. Some myths perpetuated by the TC 
				include that technology is (1) providing 
				a truly global culture; (2) introducing 
				infinite creative possibilities; 
				(3) to be trusted with the management 
				of resources both "natural" and "human"; 
				and (4) eradicating discrimination 
				on the basis of gender, race or class.

				2. Granted, art has always striven for 
				technological correctness (e.g. pers-
				pective drawing, the Bauhaus, Futurism) 
				and has always used special effects 
				(e.g. Mannerist anamorphism, Baroque 
				profusion, Modern collage), but in 
				contemporary media art, special effects 
				and content are inseparable. Paradoxically, 
				now and in the past, special effects are 
				rated in terms of their level of "realism" 
				rather than on their "specialness."

				 E X H I B I T I O N 

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