JIP - JavaMuseum Interview Project

Survey: Tamar Schori

Tamar Schori
is a Tel-Aviv based artist practicing net.art and new media art since 1991.

  • artist biography
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    Since a reasonable time, digital media entered the field of art and extended the traditional definition of art through some new , but very essential components.
    Do you think it is like that and if yes, tell me more about these components and how they changed the perception of art?
    Perception of art had changed profoundly based on the change in focus: We no longer thrive for closed balanced systems, such as a well prepared composition, but seek to create an open system that focuses on change and content generation. We no longer exclude our art in well confined spaces but try to create it amongst the flow of communication and technology. The artist becomes a facilitator, and a system designer, but how different is he from a new media lab scientist? Or a flash mobber? The scientist is more equipped and the flash mobber is not bound at all. How and where do we fit in?

    A relevant section of digital art represents Internet based art. The Internet was hardly existing, but artists conquered already this new field for their artistic activities.
    Can the work of these early artists be compared with those who work with advanced technologies nowadays? What changed until these days ? What might be the perspectives for future developments?
    One cannot draw a direct line from the work of early net.artists to the work done today. Early net.artists worked with html, testing it, pushing its limits, teasing us, building false identities because they could (mouchette) and generally dealing with the medium as common to new disciplines.
    We face a rich on-line environment nowadays that poses different questions and challenges. New media is moving toward a matured state that enables us to concentrate on the user and on how he perceives our messages. Social software, and social networks, mesh-ups, etc, are opening new playgrounds and topics to tackle and explore.

    The education in the field of New Media art, including Internet based art, started late compared with the general speed of technological development and acceptance.
    So, generations of artists who used the Internet as their artistic working field were not educated in this new discipline(s) and technologies, but had rather an interdisciplinary approach.
    What Do you think, would be the best way to teach young people how to deal with the Internet as an environment of art?
    I believe one should offer a hand-on experience in required technologies, standard art education and theoretical new media studies. One should formulate challenges that will guide the students to develop projects in their communities.

    What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the Internet to you in concern of art, are they just tools for expressing 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?
    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, personally and from an artcritical point of view?
    I have a long lasting fascination with technology, it is intense and unexplained. I follow and think about many issues that rise with the advance of communication technologies. I feel as if I’m riding a wave of change and progress and I admire the growing sophistication of the collective knowledge that accumulates in the field. I’m aware of criticism but I don’t hold a critical point of view toward technology as an art medium or a social phenomenon. As an artist I prefer the “child in a candy store” approach, and I try to share this zeal with people who come to my on-site installations.

    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 “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria?
    Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?
    There are several keys to map internet base art based on: technology, the role of the user, the openness of the system, the critical approach and the physical aspects of the work. I believe it’s too early to determine which practices may be considered “pure” net.art, and I’m not sure this question is essential for the development of the medium.

    “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?
    The internet is a medium that can be used to produce, share and host works of art. The new possibility to publish content independently on a one to many mode, is exciting, it is harnessed successfully by so many blog writers, prunk setters, podcasters, ccv performers, webcam “stars”, etc. where in this flow does art exist, survive, attract crowds? Could we compete with the masses? Should we?

    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 think would be good ways to 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?
    When one creates or examine a net.art piece one should determine which would be the best way to “consume” it. There are pieces that are best experienced in the lonesome corners of one’s house, others may benefit from the presence of an audience. Some cannot be experienced alone at all. It depends.

    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 cannot say. I believe conferences, a critical context, a strong theoretical support system may help.

    The Internet is sometimes called a kind of “democratic” environment,
    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’m interested in collective consciousness and the power of the masses, in the context of social environments etc. and I find examples of successful applications that attract the attention of the masses usually by introducing a very simple singular act one can manipulate. It seems one can be popular if you keep it simple. The fine line between being simple and being too simple makes creating art in such a medium quite a challenge.

    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? And what about the users of Internet based art?
    Curators must have theoretical knowledge about technology and new media. Audiences are free to be what ever they are. The goal is to create an art piece that can experienced on many levels.