Interview: Calin Man

Agricola de Cologne (AdC) interviews Calin Man (CM)
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Calin Man
media artist from Arad/Romania

artist biography

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Interview: 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?
CM:
_ It seems that I’m closer to see my dream come true: I start forgetting all I have learned… as far as I remember I once studied literature and at some point my works could have been suspected of being built as a polemic on a bookish structure _ the rest is literature ;-)

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?
CM:
_ from the beginning I accepted the tern net.art for the simple reason that the syntagm looks graphically good on the display _ generally I don’t bother on finding my place on the net and I don’t necessarily want to prove something through my works _ I am a follower of the old saying since the times of the impressionists: ‘i’d like to be bête comme un peintre’ _ meaning that I prefer to work based on my instincts _ that doesn’t mean I am not aware of what is going on around me _ it has no relevance at all if the net based works are art or not _ it would be ok if we could renounce for some time theorizing/analysing works based on the principles of classical art _ the atmosphere would be more relaxed and though, the specifics of the net works would be emphasized more clearly _ e.g. interactivity rendered by the technology [hard&soft] + a new way of reading the composition of the screen due to the unexpected place of the pointer etc _

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?
CM:
_ the internet seemed to be a good teleportation instrument _ uploading still fascinates me: I stay comfortably hooked somewhere on the brink of the net connected to a server that I suspect is so far away that space doesn’t count anymore _ it is my way of accepting globalisation _

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).
CM:
_ after growing up in the communist regime where engaged art was the order of the day _ it is clear that any product that makes me think of such a tendency gives me the jitters _ it has been proven that art does not change the world and since this is about me I may say that I don’t wish to impose any rule just as I am not responsive to any constraints coming from outside _

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?
CM:
_ certainly, a net work only justifies its name online _ but, stretching the limits a bit, the offline alternative has the same status / it’s good as a backup or demo _

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?
CM:
_ until now I presented my net works in three versions: 1. online only; 2. as a installation in a physical space; 3. as a presentation in front of an audience. The most difficult version was the third one because the user was passive and had to follow the itinerary I proposed [however, I notice a major difference between the user and the contemplator of classical works of art _ the user is more on his toes and fastidious since the work is revealing itself to him only if he interacts _ this involves some effort (input) _ that is why commentaries are more substantial and pertinent]

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?
CM:
_ despite the fact that I don’t see it yet, the solution will come at the right time _ until then I like to repeat that as long as the digital work has no an original [manuscript, painting, etc] and can not be evaluated on the art market, the museums are still reluctant to buy this kind of works _ that puts net works in an uncertain position _ non the less interesting _

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?
CM:
_ anyone is free to put anything on the net but, inevitably a NETural selection is happening and, therefore, you can no longer speak about democracy _

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?
CM:
_ yep / and if they handle technology well they become artists _ just as artists can become curators if they have guts and they feel that one tendency or another have been neglected exactly by those curators with gaps in their technological knowledge _

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 ?
CM:
_ I wish success to the museum since it tries to put into equation exactly the status of net based works _

AdC:
Thanks for taking your time