Interview: Anahi Caceres

Agricola de Cologne (AdC) interviews Anahi Cáceres (AC)

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Anahi Cáceres is living and working as a multidisciplinary artist in Buneos Aires/ Argentina.

More info see 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?
AC:
My educational background begins with my studies in the city of Córdoba (Argentina), in the traditional Academy of Arts. During the 70´s, I was influenced by national and international avant garde movements.
In the 80´s I started groups of investigation in new technologies and media, participating also in group exhibits, installations, (projections) and (street actions). These experiences opened the way for the interdiscipline that I began developing in the 90´s and continue nowadays. It goes from objects to installations, neo-conceptual theory, electronic art and netart.

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?
AC:
For me, netart is like art “of” and “in” the web, meaning that it uses determined programs (software) and thus having its own language, but also the web is its vehicle-support at the same time that is a system of interactive participation with the audience and the artist.
AdC:
do you think your work belongs to this specific genre?
AC:
I think that closed definitions limit the path that is being built. I think that my work is multiple and has different supports, among them, one of the most important because I dedicate more time to it is the web as a (support) of community art.
AdC:
do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria?
AC:
In 2001 I did a residence in Franklin Furnace, within “The Future of the Present” program, in which I did a performance for TV and the Web, where I proposed that Netart was a form o art and it could be compared through a semiotic operation (made) to a sacred object called YI_WE of Mapuche culture. This performance was called YIWE_YIWEb.
The mapuche YI_WE is a silver glass used in ceremonies to knit senses like space-time -simultaneity in a ceremonial communitarian work of art.
I proposed the idea of the appropriation of the Web to use it as a new way of making a “community ritual”. Communicating, exchanging, going further into depth are values that can be obtained from ceremonial art.
A synthesis of this concept can be seen in www.arteuna.com/Plastica/caceres_ceremonia.htm , and a synthesis of the FranklinFurnace/ParsonNYC 2001 project can be seen in
http://www.arteuna.com/talleres/Caceres/proyecto2001.htm
AdC:
Are there any esthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?
AC:
I don´t think so, as I don´t think it is contained in all of art. It would be more of an ethical criteria.

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?
AC:
The new technologies provide tools that have a great amplitude for expressions as a characteristic, an immense contention of diversities and an endless quantity of circuits to relate and reflect. But in reality, technology contradicts itself and for that the net-artists make evident the fact that it’s a tool to dominate situations and means but at the same time is manipulated, distorted, revolutionized.

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).
AC:
Precisely because of the before mentioned characteristics, the social themes are generally the most common contents. If Internet is not used by the artists and cultural producers, it will end up being a terrible instrument of Power for global domination. All my previous art works and future works on the Web have to do with this theme.
In this moment I direct an international Call to reflect about the 30 years since the military coup in Argentina. With the format of a Puzzle, the contents fill each piece of these 30 years. The participations are from different disciplines and ages knitting this way a pattern of social testimony that in thirty years it had never been brought together.

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?
AC:
I think that Internet is the new Babel tower, so immense and so vulnerable, but exists and its value can´t be ignored.
Virtuality is only the name of another reality. This type of existence may some day loose it all, just like humanity. But before that, there is a lot that can be done to make sure it never happens.

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?
AC:
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.?
AdC:
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?
AC:
I invite him, I show him. The most appropriate environment is that in which schools educate the children, the new users, owners of the future Internet. The user alone or sharing the screen only determines the differences between pleasure and displeasure that don´t really affect the work. That is the case of watching a movie that is a masterpiece in a cinema, giant screens in the streets or in DVD inside the PC. The movie exists for itself as a work of art.
If I could generate spaces to present this type of works I would do it in three parallel dimensions: public (cultural centers, schools, giant screen or different equipments), private (galleries, (big screens or different equipments) and unipersonal (PC). For the Public, as well as for the private, it would be necessary to have an economic plan to have availability of quality and quantity of appropriate equipment.

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?
AC:
I think that it is fundamental to spread it among other usual means. I also think that we need more theorists like José Luis Brea or Lourdes Cilleruelo. Thinkers that provide their knowledge to the traditional art critique so that it doesn´t ignore the Internet scene when talking about art.

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.
AC:
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?
AdC:
Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?
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?
AC:
When Internet is defined as Democratic space, it is always because the opposite happens in traditional spaces. In these spaces the use of filters for artists as well as for the public is something that repeats itself throughout all human activity. The control of power uses this model to protect and sophisticate its practice, expanding its environment.

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 ?
AC:
I wish to participate with a live performance.

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AdC:
Thanks for taking your time.