Interview: Irene Coremberg

Agricola de Cologne (AdC) interviews Irene Coremberg (IC)
Irene Coremberg/Argentina works as a visual designer and teacher, with specialty in 3D modeling and animation, and had numerous exhibitions in Argentina.

More info see artist biography


10 questions—->

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.

Tell me something about your educational background and what is influencing your work?
My educational background begins in traditional arts. I’ve studied at two arts schools here
(Escuela de Artes Visuales de General San Martín, Instituto Universitario Nacional de Artes Visuales (IUNA)), and also photography (Asociación de Fotógrafos Profesionales de la República Argentina (AFPRA) and FotoClub Buenos Aires).
Later, I continued studying with local artists on painting, drawing and sculpture (Marta Córdova, Gabriel Microzsnik, Alberto Arregui). Also, I’ve participate in workshops about video in the Palermo University.
On new technologies, I studied computer technologies with local teachers (C. Fabian Frances), and studied New Media Arts in Instituto Universitario Nacional de Artes Visules (IUNA) and with Anahí Cáceres.
Later and now, I continue studying on my own, through books, and watching artworks.
Traditional and theoretical studies of art, give me the basic concepts about arts, the color, the space, the shape and the comprehension about great artists.
I use often 3D and animation, so sculpture and video helps me on manage virtual spaces and the 4º dimension: the time.
On studying New Media I’ve understand how all arts can integrate among them.

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?
I think that in a narrow sense, “Netart” would be referred not only to anything posted at www or at any artwork posted there, but it should include those artworks in the Internet that includes in their realization the capabilities from net: This is specially the Interactivity. Certainly, usually interactivity is only working on the ways that the artist wants to. But I’m not sure that only a play button will be enough to speak about “interactivity”. But I think that the more representative artworks in netart are those that include dynamic data base which are modified by users, those that works with many links, those that use the contribution of other people or artists to generate o recreate a new one, those that requires the active intervention from user to work properly, those what the same people can build with tools made by the artist or those that includes a feedback from people that should be included at the same project.
This is fascinating, because I think that this inclusion aspect is not only visible in the finished artwork but also in their construction. It is often necessary to include many people from different disciplines (programmers, designers, etc.); so, the result may be an “interactive” result from different minds working as only one, a new collective mind that is different from each integrant.
But this is referred to techniques criteria. Certainly, I don’t think that e.g. an informative site with a data base which grows up with the contribution of users may be an artwork. It should include a basis or foundation on their concept, common to all arts for is called “artwork” and not only “work”. It is not enough, I think, with informative, descriptive or utilitarian objectives.

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?
Personally, to search only aesthetic criteria in arts is not an objective in my life. This is not relevant for me as an only objective, and I can’t put my soul in that. I believe in the integration between all aspects in human life. I often hear that contemporary arts should not include human sense or objectives. It is said that this is a “cliché”. If this is yes or not a “cliché” is a response that each one must find in him. One knows the truth.
I think that Internet is the ideal media and the opportunity to transfer the net links to human links around the earth. Is the media to learn that perhaps, human are not so different among them. Often, netart works as a symbolic collective unconscious, and is by this media that we can explore, explicate, understand and integrate the diversity of cultures living in the world. Internet made this easier. Also, is a big opportunity to communicate all that the powerful people would want to hide behind silent. For me, is also a media that is similar to the brain and mind; brain like the hardware, and mind like software: intangible, without a material space, dynamic. So, digital media is also a metaphor from non-material world, and is by this media that I can express easier some metaphysical questions. But perhaps intangible worlds are developing themselves in order to meet material ones…

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).
I am interested special in two aspects. The first is: Through arts, I want to wake up the conscious about those mechanisms or power systems (in my country but also in the world) that are suffocating the human being in all sense: on his life, on his developing, on his soul and culture.
But I think that also this work can be developed in the other facet: If I want to defend someone who is being silent, I should talk about the repression, but also about the voice, the culture, the message that he is carrying. It is the night but also the day. For present and future I would like to become a channel or interpreter for perceives the cultural idiosyncrasy from American native people, which is a very wise one, and to recombine and transform their meanings in arts. His messages are more actual than never before.
But also I am interested about all here; from this mix of cultures who work for improve the life.

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?
I think that netart, in his born was pure, it means that Internet was de only channel valid for it. But now, it seems to evolve towards meeting more “material” shapes of arts, towards a kind of integration.
I think Netart can take this name even if it is showed off-line, if there is a version of that work on-line. I think the “ubiquity” and the ability to be “simultaneous”, it is said, the power that have this kind of artworks on cloning and living simultaneously in different places, even out of Internet, even on prints, ratify its essential; confirms its metaphor of ubiquity and the capabilities on to be simultaneous, in other levels.
The Internet is extended towards other human nets. The same work is showing in different levels. Arts meet arts.

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?
I think that, because this kind of art is still considered “new” and not well known (at least this is in my country), I imagine a “mixed show” with perhaps a traditional presentation of works, and a room with computers where people can do their experiences.
But I also think that only a presentation would be enough also, because one must think that the artistic event don’t finish in the show, this can be the beginning, and can continue later when people, now with more information, can enter at Internet world and participate actively in netart works.

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?
I’m not sure if there is a solution for that, only continue working with courage, because I see that the resistance to changes is living in the human essentials. Each new technique or new tendency in arts was refused at the beginnings. Perhaps the time and persistence will get more favour.
Netart has many properties that made it very distinctive among different kind of arts: There is not an “original”, there is not a “material”, and how can you put a price for an artwork that is living in a place so incorporeal like Internet is? All that may be difficult to accept for traditional artists.
Perhaps, making many exhibitions off-line in order to show and explain these new works can be a way to help on this proposal.

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?
I believe in a kind of filtering in order to improve the quality of these artworks. I think that to publish something in Internet is a cultural fact, but it not means that it will be an artistic fact, at least on my opinion.

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?
Yes, I think it is necessary because of the very special characteristics that this kind of art shows.

It is planned, to re-launch
JavaMuseum – Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art 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 ?
I hope that, after this stop and reflection among all of us, this relaunch will result in more powerful artworks, and if made also in physical space, this can mean an opening to meet a public that perhaps can see netart for the first time. And I considered that the presentations of net-artworks in physical space, will add another quality to netart: a bit of materiality to the in-materiality.
Perhaps it would be interest to present some workshops.
My wishes: all the best in this enterprise for all who participate in JavaMuseum: for you and your equipment, who work physically there, and for all artists who are virtually present through our works.

Thanks for taking your time.