11, No. 1 and No. 2
by Paul Groot, Editor
Mediamatic Foundation, Amsterdam, 2006
16 pp., illus. b/w. Includes DVD, region-free,
Subscriptions, 33 Euros/ 3 copies per
Distributed by Idea Books, http://www.ideabooks.nl
ISBN: 907-4728-332; ISBN: 907-4728-340.
Reviewed by Rob Harle
This review is concerned with the so-called
art magazine - Mediamatic Off-Line
- volume 11, nos. #1 and #2. The physical
presentation of the magazine is similar
to that of the childrens Golden
Book series. A thick cardboard cover,
with short articles, each accompanied
by an image. A DVD is included with each
edition that shows the same artists
work as reviewed in the magazine. The
DVD is in region-free, PAL format, and
the producers ask us to, "Please
personalize with sound".
I say so-called because the publication
is more like a brief catalogue than an
art magazine, most of which include in-depth
critical essays of artists and their work.
#1 features twelve artworks and #2 ten.
The text accompanying one black &
white image per artist throughout Mediamatic
is more a description of the artworks
and what the artists purpose was
in creating it, than a critical appraisal
of its impact, success or relevance.
In #1 the artists represented were asked,
"to think up a projection for the
façade of the Mediamatic Supermarket
building". For #2 the assignment
was, "to portray the dynamics of
the city", however, the artists seem
to have had a hidden agenda to portray
the differences between man and woman?
Paul Groot the editor, then, poses the
rhetorical question (inside cover #1),
"But who still dares to claim anything
is typically male or female?" There
are a number of these provocative type
comments throughout Mediamatic!
Mediamatic is, "
cultural space. We do exhibitions, public
presentations and artist workshops, we
co-produce media artists work, we
publish on line [www.mediamatic.net] and
off line". The cultural space is
physically in the Netherlands and most
of the artists are Dutch. Much of the
action is concentrated in or near the
IJ tunnel, which as I understand it, takes
traffic north out of Amsterdam. One artwork
Tunnel Vision by Jasper Van Den
Brink consists of a video camera attached
to the revolving barrel of a concrete
mixer travelling through the tunnel, even
the still shot has a vertiginous effect!
(p. 9 #2)
The publication is an easy pleasurable
read and provides a good idea of what
each artist is attempting to express.
Unfortunately the DVD proved to be a most
frustrating viewing experience. After
pressing Play, I was presented with a
list of the various artists superimposed
over a small central screen. After selecting
an artist and clicking OK, a brief preview
of the artists work ran on the small
screen, together with the highly irritating
sound loop of city traffic. I selected
artist two, same thing. It was only by
accident that I discovered, if I held
the OK button on the TV/DVD player remote
for over two seconds, the full work, on
the full screen was played.
Excellent! Why didnt the editor
provide instructions on how to use this
idiosyncratic DVD? Without knowing this,
the DVDs are worse than useless!
The artworks presented in Mediamatic
are varied, interesting, and a few of
them "groundbreaking". The back
cover blurb insists all are "groundbreaking".
Some are actually quite banal and despite
the new medium being used are just rehashes
of well-worn themes, despite protestations
of the artists that they are trying to
transcend fossilized art. This review
is not intended to critique or discuss
the actual artworks in any detail, so
I will leave that to the prospective viewer
who may choose to do so after becoming
aware of such artworks through this brief
catalogue/magazine. Nearly all artists
represented use photography, either still
or video, as an essential part of their
artistic projects. Their work is projected
outdoors and in this production "
transformed into internal wallpaper".
Mediamatic is published three times
a year and the subscription rate is 33
Euros. I guess that if only to keep one
informed of the latest art projects happening
in and around Amsterdam that is not too
much money to pay. The editors call for,
interesting projects to publish
on cd-rom or dvd". So it may be worth
checking out for new media artists for
this reason as well.