June 6 - 13 , 2003

The following is an extended article especially written for Net Art Review by Francesca de Nicolò. Francesca is our most recent contributor writing from Italy.

EGø, alias Enrico Glerean, è un musicista, programmatore, performer, veneziano, classe '77, attivo tra Padova, un paese vicino Venezia, e Roma, che da anni si interessa alla manipolazione del suono, ( il suo primo strumento è stato, un organo Bomtempi, molto in voga tra i bambini italiani negli anni ottanta). e dell'immagine. Utilizzando chiaramente e inequivocabilmente la macchina quale strumento cardine dalla sua ricerca.

EGø, è quindi contaminato da Cage, dalla cultura underground, da tutta quella che è l'idea di assimilazione dell'assemblatore, del contemporaneo DJ, da Warhol, sperimentatore e citazionista, altera il reale, seguendo un preciso disegno altamente poetico. [...] read more

Originally Published on 06/04/03
Jonah Brucker-Cohen's BumpList is the current Whitney Artport Gatepage. Here is the official description:

"BumpList is a mailing list aiming to re-examine the culture and rules of online email lists. BumpList only allows for a minimum amount of subscribers so that when a new person subscribes, the first person to subscribe is "bumped," or unsubscribed from the list. Once subscribed, you can only be unsubscribed if someone else subscribes and "bumps" you off. [...] The focus of the project is to determine if by attaching simple rules to communication mediums, the method and manner of correspondences that occur, as well as behaviors of connection, will change over time. "

The Bumplist project is released in a time when mailing lists are being reconsidered for their effectiveness as 'democratic' mediums of communication. An example of this is Nettime's decision to close the bold list because it takes too much time and effort to keep it up. The pros and cons are extensive and worth reading. The obvious debate is about who gets on the edited version of Nettime. Some of the threads that developed out of the initial email and worth noting are: Nettime bold is bleep and Nettime is dead.

The nettime debate is metaphorically contradicted in Brucker-Cohen's latest project; some subscribers get on the edited version of the Nettime list and some do not (in BumpList, the opposite happens: everyone gets on the list and everyone gets bumped off). Based on this, BumpList exposes people's yearning to belong to a community -- a Utopic one if possible, and the inevitable struggle that is necessary to belong. What is great about BumpList is that it strips the idea of communication itself and pushes the activity of belonging as the actual goal-- thereby making the subdued issue of power-shifting more obvious in a real situation.
:: Eduardo Navas ::

Originally published on 06/03/03
"Renga" is "a collaboration, between 11 artists, based on the ancient Japanese verse form of the same name, which translates as 'linked verse.'" A work was started by one artist and passed to the next to continue and so on until each artist had contributed. No stylistic requirements or limitations were placed on the artists; each was simply required to respond honestly.

The work can be viewed starting from any of the 11 points (Michael Szpakowski - Lewis Lacook - Joseph McElroy - Kate Southworth - Ivan Mejia - Curt Cloninger - Mark River - Brandon Barr - Jess Loseby - Marc Garrett - Ivan Pope) and navigated linearly, forwards or backwards. Yet, even here, the navigation has been nicely interrupted by Mark River's contribution which makes a hyperlink poem (in the poem and about the poem). Clever and Borges would be proud!
:: Garrett Lynch ::

The following reviews are 'double headers' which means that two contributors decided to write about the particular piece.

[1] Originally published on 05/30/03
"Suspended Gardens v2" is a project by Alex Dragulescu launched on 03/21/03, the day after the war in Iraq officially started.

The work is supposedly "a hybrid between an interactive flash game, a message board and a simulation system." Yet, to me, it seems more like a very relevant cross between a virtual memorial / graveyard and a space for documenting anti-war protest. The work is essentially a virtual garden where users can plant one of three plants whose growth is influenced by climate, population and oil--symbolic plants in a unique ecosphere, possibly planted as a mark of respect for the casualties, possibly planted as signs of protest.

Due to the way the space is required to evolve (i.e. dependant on user participation), time has been needed to allow the work to evolve / accumulate. Two months after its debut and following the end of the war, Suspended Gardens are now well worth a visit.
:: Garrett Lynch ::
[2]Originally published on 04/07/03
Suspended Gardens: Plant Flowers in Iraq is a Flash project combining messaging and gaming features that are unique to the internet. The project offers users a chance to express their sentiments on the current war in Iraq by symbolically planting flowers throughout the country. The generous gesture can also be complemented with comments. All information is then available for other visitors to view.

This is yet another Flash interface effectively using new features for database manipulation that points to the possibility of information access becoming more visually appealing while offering greater efficiency.

Suspended Gardens does fall short in a few areas. For one thing, the activity of planting flowers is abstracted as a generic humanitarian gesture with no real connection to a physical space, other than general statistics. That is, even though users can choose a planting area from a map of Iraq, there is no real contextualization to better understand the situation within the Middle Eastern Country. Also, there is no information as to whether this project will be enacted in real life once the war is over -- something that would be more beneficial to Iraq. This possibility would also develop a direct connection between Internet practices and real life results. Part of me hopes that the net piece is a proposal for a constructive global project; but, unfortunately, the website does not mention anything related to real life activity.
Artist: Alex Dragulescu
:: Eduardo Navas ::

Double header Reviews
[1]Originallly published on 05/29/03
Generally I would say I'd rather not have my eye gouged out with a dull spoon. However, I suppose I could appreciate an artistic simulation and commentary about an eye gouging if it were conceptually smart enough.
With that, I bring you South Beach Disco by Antonio Mendoza.

WARNING: Once you go in, you will not be able to get out without quitting your browser!

It's a dizzying array of pop-up windows, frantic animation, error messages, spam, porn, and the worst of what the web can be...all starting out innocently enough...until you curiously begin to click.

I found the whole experience fascinating and frustrating, oddly hypnotic yet infuriating. I was pissed off that I got trapped inside, but excited that someone was able to capture so brilliantly the dark side of the web and the way computers can interfere with our time and sanity.

Frustratingly brilliant! This can also be found at Cyborgfestival.com
:: Kristen Palana ::
[2] Originally published on 02/07/03
Disco demands to be "left alone." This site emphasizes _Javascript pop-up windows, eloquently combined with sound bites which tell the user to "leave it alone." Give the project a few minutes to let the various windows come up. A passive aggressive narrative develops for about two minutes. This is a good example of how collage has become extended and problematized on the net when it is combined with movement and sound.
Artist: Antonio Mendoza.
:: Eduardo Navas ::