Interview: Tamara Lai

Agricola de Cologne (AdC) interviews Tamara Laï (TL)
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Tamara Lai
multidisciplinary artist living and working in Liege/Belgium

  • artist biography
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    10 questions—>

    AdC:
    You belong to an art scene using new technologies, you are an active representative of a genre dealing with Internet based art, called “netart”.
    When those artists started who are active since a longer time, the education in New Media was not yet such advanced like nowadays, often they came form different disciplines and had an interdisciplinary approach, those young artists who start now have partially this more advanced education, but rather not much experience in other disciplines.

    1.
    AdC:
    Tell me something about your educational background and what is influencing your work?
    TL:
    My artistic course is varied, starting with painting and video (Academie des beau-Arts de Liège ; video teacher : J.L. Nyst) & multi-media interactive communication (Science et Technologie Ed. , Ulg).

    Painting, writing, photograph, video, multi-media interactive, computer graphics… My artistic course is varied Some and i use to apply all those experiences through Net / Web art works. Some pieces projects being essentially plastical researches, others more litterary, conceptual or/and social documentary and so on.

    I control a series of mediums, tools and syntaxes which I combine with wish. It is a great chance I believe.

    2.
    AdC:
    The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted on the net, there are dozens of definitions which mostly are even contradictory.
How do you define “netart” or if you like the description “Internet based art” better,
do you think your work belongs to this specific genre, 
do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria?
    Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?
    TL:
    The interactivity is essential, who induces a non-linear way of thinking, with multiple associations of ideas, and which stimulates imagination, capacity of invention and thus intelligence. As for flows of the network, it is also desirable.

    But i don’t think there is absolute aesthetic criteria, the field is openwide, and we must experiment it, investigate with our own sensibilities and technical possibilities.

    3.
    AdC:
    What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the Internet to you,are they just tools for expressing your artistic intentions, or have they rather an ideological character, as it can be found with many “netartists”, or what else do they mean to you?
    TL:
    Freedom, in a certain sense ; contamination, communication ; sharing experiments.

    4.
    AdC:
    Many “Internet based artists” work on “engaged” themes and subjects, for instance, in social, political, cultural etc concern.
    Which contents are you particularly interested in, what are the subjects you are working on and what is your artistic message(s), if you have any, and what are your personal artistic visions for future artworking (if you have any)?
    TL:
    Awaking of the consciences. To release the spirits of the false beliefs and superstitions, of the fears which immobilize and make intolerant, insensitive and egoist.
    Art should aim to the universality. The local is a testimony but it must be integrated into a total step, likely to touch the public ones of various cultures. It is an extremely difficult exercise, that requires much reflexion, of humility and, probably, of ambition. For that, the Web is a phenomenal medium: it makes it possible to work of connection with artists of the whole world

    5.
    AdC:
    “Art on the net” has the advantage and the disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in Internet which defines also its right to exist.Do you think, that “art based on the Internet”, can be called still like that, even if it is just used offline?
    TL:
    see question/answer 2

    6.
    AdC:
    Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art demands an active viewer or user, and needs the audience much more and in different ways than any other art discipline before. How do you stimulate the user to dive into this new world of art?
    What do you think, represents an appropriate environment to present net based art to an audience, is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in front of his personal computer, is it any public context, or is it rather the context of art in general or media art in particular, or anything else.?
    If you would be in the position to create an environment for presenting this type of art in physical space, how would you do it?
    TL:
    I propose my works to the public by announcing them on a few ML and on my personal list, it is self-promotion, then it is as for the other media: TV, cinema, books, music etc.

    In physical space, i think that large screens with loud-spekers in few separated rooms are necessary. Or which would be the interest to see them elsewhere than at home?

    7.
    AdC:
    As Internet based art, as well as other art forms using new technologies are (globally seen) still not widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do you think could be an appropriate solution to change this situation?
    TL:
    As it is a rather young form of art still (10 years) known per few specialized people, events are needed, festivals… with articles not too complicated to explain to large public of what it acts, which are the various styles, categories, movements,…

    8.
    AdC:
    The Internet is called a kind of “democratic” environment, but the conventional art practice is anything else than that, but selective by using filters of different kind.
    The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be different. Do you think the current practice of dealing with Internet based art is such different or rather the described conventional way through (also curatorial) filtering?
    Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?
    TL:
    I prefer to say that anyone could be an artist, on the Net or anywhere. But having a great idea, or a talent it’s not enough to be an artist, or in effect, everybody is artist.

    « The single talent that I recognize to the artist worthy of this name, is that to conceive anticipatory “form-ideas”. As if it were going to seek them in a more or less distant future… With this faculty to be transported beyond the physical and psychic borders of its contemporaries and to define their contours to make them perceptible, it moves simultaneously the barriers of the senses (of perception) and opens on other prospects. By its work of retranscription, does the artist make act of “vision” or invention? “TL in ART-DEATH 2000) »

    9.
    AdC:
    Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its roots?
    TL:
    Probably. But it is indispensansable to have a basic Net / Web art culture.

    10.
    AdC:
    It is planned, to re-launch JavaMuseum – Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art www.javamuseum.org in 2007 in a new context, very likely even in physical space.
What would be your personal wishes and expectations connected to this re-launch ?
    TL:
    see question/answer 6 : large screens with loud-spekers in few separated rooms

    AdC:
    Thanks for taking your time.