[spectre] Web Tour Miltos Manetas
zabarvers at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 17 17:55:27 CET 2003
« Web Tour»
Pompidou Center - Cinema 2
Thursday 18th December - 8 pm
Since october 2002, the Ciném at s of Tomorrow have organized the
webtour, a monthly event focussing on the web creation in a chosen
country. Invited by Isabelle Arvers for this last edition dedicated
to Greece, Miltos Manetas presents NEEN, a new artistic movement and
the online artworks of Angelo Plessas and Andreas Angelidakis,
neenstars. We will discuss about the last NEEN statement: "The
Websites is the Art of our days".
Miltos Manetas is from Athens. He lived 10 years in Milan and now he
lives between NY and Los Angeles. Manetas has produced oil paintings
of wires, cables and computer hardware, created short looped
fragments of video games such as "Tomb Raider," and exhibited
computer-generated vibracolour prints among other things. But he was
impatient with critics and curators who had yet to come up with a
rallye good "-ism" for this new generation of creativity. After
securing financial assistance from Art Production Fund, Manetas went
out and hired Lexicon Branding, a California firm responsible for
creating such product names as Powerbook, Pentium, Zima, Swiffer and
Dasani. Lexicon's assignment was to create a name for this new
movement. In May 2000, during a packed press conference at the
Gagosian Gallery in Manhattan - and a panel of people like Harvard
cognitive scientist Steven Pinker ready to provide analysis of the
term -- Manetas unveiled a new word for an art movement. Actually, it
was the squeaky, synthetic voice of a Sony Vaio that made the
announcement. The word was "NEEN." (from the Salon.com article)
Andreas Angelidakis Architect for bots
Angelo Plessas - Web designer
Isabelle Arvers is a new media curator involved in net.art, digital
cinema and computer games culture. Upcoming projects: Game Time, a
game art exhibit in Melbourne, Australia, September 2004 and the
net.art section of the festival Banana RAM, Ancona, Italy, June 2004.
Mail interviews of Miltos Manetas, Andreas Angelidakis and Angelo
Plessas done by Isabelle Arvers in august 2002
IA : could you present the ElectronicOrphanage ? what is the aim of the EO ?
MM : ElectronicOrphanage is an international club for people who
produce art and theories, related with the world of the computer
The headquarters of EO , is a store front in Los Angeles, at Chung
King Road. In this pedestrian street, located in Chinatown, where you
can find the most avanguarde LA art galleries and designers, Miltos
Manetas and Mai Ueda, opened EO in Feb 2001. EO is a black cube,
where a large screen is left white for projections. When the
galleries in the street have openings, the Los Angeles EO is also
showing a piece , created for the occasion from a guest artist. The
rest of time, that space, is a studio where people ( the Orphans) are
"working" on neen and telic (check www.neen.org
<http://www.neen.org/>) . We are planning to open soon an EO in
Sangai, China and Goa, India.
IA : with who are you working in the EO ?
MM : People involved : Andreas Angelidakis*architecture, Mike Calvert
*art ,Amy Franceschini and Future Farmers* art, Joel Fox*art,
Juribot* human robot, Tim Jaeger* art ,Norman Klein * theory,Peter
Lunenfeld *theory, Lev Manovich * theory, Jonathan Maghen*webdesign,
Miltos Manetas*production *art , Sushi Matsuda*communications, Yvonne
Force * adviser, special projects, Jan Aman* adviser, special
projects, Angelo Plessas* art and webdesign,Francois Perrin
*architecture, Rafael Rozendaal*art, Steven Schkolne*art, Mark
Tranmer (Gnac) * music ,Nicola Tosicn * EO's CEO and webdesign, Mai
Ueda *production *art.
IA : could you describe the orphans ?
MM : They are orphans in terms of an ideology. In the past, people
would believe in a system of ideas such as Marxism or Anarchism or
whatever : they would belong to an intellectual family. Today
instead, we don't have any of those even if , most of us came from
similar schools of thought or from commun life expereiences. We are
very different from each other, we are orphans and we want to stay
such. But the ElectronicOrphans, are also people who understand the
power of computing: they are mastering this power and build samples
for the unconventional use of computing. In between the Eorphans,
there are 2 visible categories: people who are Telic and Neensters.
The Telic people are doing a lot of research, theory and planning.
They have a sense of duty . The Neen people instead are careless and
they are doing only Neen. Telic is encouraged and respected in the
ElectronicOrphanage, but the real target of the club is Neen.
IA : what do you think about this new creators generation ?
MM : I think that its the most interesting that came out after the
Dadaists. Finally, we are done with modern and postmodern: this
generation is creating new utopias.
IA : what are you looking for in network performances ?
MM : Performance is real space, is as much exhausted as installation
art. But looking on virtual bodies, creating them actually, because
they don't exist any great samples yet, can be a surprise. We start
working on this direction in 1998 . We introduced then CHELSEA WORLD
( www.chelseaworld.com <http://www.chelseaworld.com/>) , but the
artworld has been slow to catch up, mostly because they are Apple
users and Active Worlds are for PC. After Chelsea, we builded
WorldPlusPlus ( www.worldplusplus.com
<http://www.worldplusplus.com/>) and now is coming the Neen World.
This time, it will be a private universe, only for people who are
Neen or Telic. We decide to be more selective and to quit losing time
with the vast artworld.
IA : could you present your villette numerique's performance ? what is NEEN?
MM : We will build a new World in Active Worlds, called NEEN. This
will be a kind of a stage . Andreas Angelidakis will do the
architecture. The Neen World will be projected in the Villette
Numerique . The content of the performance, will be a preview and an
advertisement of a new show that we are preparing for CASCO in
Holland in November, called AFTERNEEN. We will also use the occasion
to present some selected pieces from the previous shows that
ElectronicOrphanage curated: www.biennale.net
<http://www.biennale.net/> and www.whitneybiennial.com
IA : do you think that art is for everybody ? if yes, what is the strategy ?
MM : art has never been for everybody and the same time is something
that everybody can do. It's an easy thing : just look around for what
has not been done yet and invent it. That's why we use Internet,
because there are all these .com spaces available. They are open
opportunities, if for example, you work on the concept of
miserability in the old world , you 'll come with aestetics that all
other artists are using in the same way. But if you decide to
register miserability.com, you have to find a very unique way to
rapresent the concept, because there is only one domain name
possible. Our strategy are names: we name what has not been done yet
and then it happens.
IA : video games in the world of the 11 September ?
MM : why not ? Videogame violence is white violence, while real
violence is a dark one. We can all use some white violence : its
therapeutic. Or maybe you mean that reality is more spectacular than
videogames ? In that case, videogames are opportunity for thought,
philosophical gardens , adorned with explosions, where we can meet,
walk together and talk.
IA : Where are you from ?
AA : I was born in Greece, but I'm 1/2 Norwegian, so I grew up in a
strange mix of two very different cultures, spending half the time in
Greece and 1/2 in Norway. I studied architecture at SCI-ARC in Los
Angeles, and through my friend Jim Isermann, I got to know the
contemporary art scene at a great moment. Later on I met Adelina von
Furstenberg, and through her I learned a lot more about contemporary
art. At more or less the same time I did my masters at Columbia
University which had just introduced the digital department.
IA : How did you meet M Manetas ?
AA : I met Miltos through the gallerist Emily Tsingou, when he was in
Greece participating in an exhibition by Adelina. At the time neither
of us had a computer, it was 1994, and I was just leaving for New
York to study at Columbia. We met again a few months later and we
both had our first Macs, and where totally addicted.
IA : What kind of collaboration do you have with him and with the orphans?
AA : I dont know if collaboration is the right term. I would say we
are part of the same landscape, a landscape in the sense of
intelectual topography. So of course we collaborate on many things,
discuss ideas, judge each others' work and quite often we do projects
IA : You are the EO frontstore architect ? what were the main ideas
at the origin of this project what were your constraints ?
AA : At the time, Manetas was doing the famous "cables on the floor"
paintings, and all his visual landscape was cables and hardware,
everywhere, which is almost unavoidable when you have many computers
in a space. My first reaction for EO was no cables, no hardware, no
floor and to definetly avoid the classic "computers on tables" view.
So I decided to take everything off the floor, and have it hanging
from the ceiling. Then the main concept was to have the space
function as a drop-down navigation menu, a space designed as a
website. You can close the menu and see just a screen, or open it to
Basically EO is a screen, so when the menu-workstations are closed,
all you see is an empty space and a screen floating in the back. I
made the basic equivalence that a storefront is a screen. The only
constraint was the budget, but I decided to design the space as it
should be in an ideal world, and then build a demo-version instead.
IA : Do you work differently to build spaces for internet or for the
physical space ?
AA : Not really. What I usually try to achieve is a very abstact
quality, a moment when you dont know if what you see is a space or a
screen, a building or a computer rendering. So in the built projects,
I try to create this moment with materials that are native to the
built world, I try to achive virtuality not with technology but with
regular building materials. This moment could be described as NEEN,
which is an abstract term in itself, something that we recognize but
IA : I guess i understood that you will create the Neen architecture
for the villette numerique's performance. How do you imagine Neen's
world ? and then how will you create it with the help of the others ?
AA : At this stage the NEEN world will be on the Active Worlds
platform, which I'm familiar with since many years. I dont know yet
what it will be like, I am just starting to design it. The main idea
is to have a plateu for discussion and a home for every Neenster.
These will be separated by an empty space. As a schematic starting
point it will like the entrance to World++, but of course there will
be one crucial element that makes it Neen.
IA : What do you think about the concept of " event " in architecture ?
AA : I prefer buildings without people.
IA : Have you ever worked before on stage or performances ?
AA : Yes, a long time a go I used to do the sets for the art-techno
band called Stereo Nova, and recently I did Pause space in
Stockholms' Fargfabriken, where the photographer Jean-Pierre Khazem
staged performances with models.
IA : What is your next project ?
AA : Right now I'm working on developing + updating the brand
identity + new space / shop of Forever Laser Institut in Geneva,
designing a travelling museum retrospective of a well known artist, a
renovation of a house in Long Island city and a playground- landscape
in a school in Armenia.
IA : Where are you from ?
AP : I was born and raised in Athens,Greece with italian roots.I used
to work as CAD programmer few years ago until Flash 3 came out and I
started as a hobby to make some very simple animations.Maybe the
reason of this ,unconsciously ,was that i used to hate all these
cartoons and animations when I was a kid.
IA : How did you meet M Manetas ?
AP : Through Andreas Angelidakis.
IA : What kind of collaboration do you have ?
AP : He buys domains and I design flash animations.
IA : How do you work with the other orphans for webprojects?
AP : For example with my closest Neenster-friend Mai Ueda we worked
together on her web site.We were bored one night in Los Angeles and
suddenly Mai showed me a Comme des Garcons dress.We immediately came
up with the idea to make a flash animation from the patterns.The web
site was finished after half an hour.
IA : What is the meaning for you to create for internet ?
AP : I dont know if it means something, it is just the only place.
Its like being in the jungle, and you try to create a civilization,
you find a script, you test to see if you can start a fire.
IA : You often take internet or computers interfaces in your artwork,
do you think that there is a new aesthetics in it ?
AP : Thats the only thing I do.I make web sites as an artwork. Im
not sure if the aesthetic is new, but definetly the way you
experience is new, and the pressure to keep a user interested for
more than 5 seconds, without doing too much. That is the most
difficult thing , to keep interest but not necessarily to impress,
but to have the same fascination as looking at a beautifull sunset
maybe. Its always the same but something makes us look at it.
IA : What would you like to explore now ?
AP : I would like to interfere more with Active
Worlds(www.activeworlds.com).I was so amazed when I first walked as
an avatar in Chelsea and World++.I think it is the best place to hang
IA : Your definition of digital creation, what do you expect from it ?
AP : I think digital creation is endless.There are some things that
we loved last year and now we cannot stand. But something cool is
going on all the time.
IA : Your next project ?
AP : I have just finished the web site of British musician Gnac.
Now I am starting to design the website for an art magazine called
The Breeder (www.thebreedersystem.com) and also I will design some
avatars for the world NEEN.
MSN Search, le moteur de recherche qui pense comme vous !
More information about the SPECTRE