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Tester: Nodes at Work

The Fundacíon Rodríguez, Editor
Arteleku, Basque Government, Vitoria-Gautiez, Spain, 2006
264 pp. Paper, with DVD, $40 Euros
ISBN: 84-7907-449-3 (book); ISBN: 84-7907-486-8 (DVD).

Reviewed by Michael R. (Mike) Mosher
Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan 48710


This collection of essays, visuals, and involvements comes from the Basque country of Spain. It is accompanied by a double DVD containing 360 minutes of video——subtitled in the viewer's choice of Castillian Spanish, English, or the Basque people's language Euskara——as well as texts written in those three languages. There are six primary "nodes", intellectuals who contribute words and organization to the project, and presumably contacted the other contributors.

In her essay "Capitalism, Democracy and the Genetic Paradigm of Culture", Marina Gaznic of Ljubljana reviews methodologies of the organization of global art exhibitions, in light of the art market, property rights, economics, and hegemonic concepts. She frames the world in pre-1989 terms, as the First, Second (Soviet) and Third World. She dialogues with Oliver Ressler of Vienna on public "counter-globalization" manual, the billboards and signage of resistance <www.ressler.at> . Hito Steyerl of Berlin examines the "Showdown in Seattle" at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999. Steyerl claims the Seattle globalization protests were anticipated in the public sphere in a 1970 film by Godard and Mieville "Ici et Ailleurs", the French filmmakers' statement on the PLO.

Shulin Zhao writes on the utopian spirit of new media, and on art in the cinema; he asks "Who would happily refuse?" There are reports on the New Media Center www.kuda.org in Serbia, and on the Trinity Session in Johannesburg, South Africa. Marcos Neusteter of Johannesburg discusses several African artists, recolonized black art, and mobile subjects. Kien Nghi Ha finds and celebrates "hybrid capitalism" in the multiethnic international pop music and culture that bounces around the world. But isn't everybody, every place, multiethnic in its tastes in 2007? A month ago this reviewer was sitting in a taxi in Dakar, Senegal, as the driver spun his Bob Marley reggae tapes.

The accompanying DVD contains projects, photographs, collages, texts, documentation of collaborations and installations. Savants discuss hyperpolitics, South American artists, software interfaces and plug-in metaphors. José Carlos Maríategui muses on the meaning of the Tester project, a testing grounds for electronic art in the spheres of globalization and underdevelopment, and as a developmental laboratory for critical theory and contemporary education.




Updated 1st March 2007

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