Interview: Tautvydas Bajarkevicius


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Tautvydas Bajarkevicius
from Lithuania

  • artist biography
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    Interview: 10 questions

    1.
    Question
    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?

    Answer
    I wouldn’t state any fundamental change in perception of art only stressing technical characteristics – whether it’s internet in early 90’s, or cinema in the beginnings of 20 th century or other significant technological shift. Although it would be infantile to ignore the tremendous shift in a cultural field and it’s wider resonance through social and artistic networks.
    Hyper-media do-it-yourself possibilities (especially unfolding in web 2.0 experiences), expanded ways of meaningful interaction and totally evolutionary approach and practices of fluctuating distribution for me are most significant when speaking about change and definitions (which, in a nomadic manner, might flourish into various directions from these standpoints).

    2.
    Question
    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?

    Answer
    I actually started not as net-activist, but much more later, when internet has already became a commodity and was widely spread, forming media culture as an outcome. I think there is a significant difference in between the periods. First had ambitions to build a bit autonomous area of creativity, as an island in the internet. Later internet became not only a tool (of communication, art, networking etc.), but also the interconnected interdisciplinary and hyper-mediated sphere, and it’s finishing point is hard to grasp – whether it ends up in your bedroom and laptop filled with audiovisual samples and hyperlinks, whether it turns into internet broadcasting in real space with the kitchen smells around.

    3.
    Question
    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?

    Answer
    I doubt whether this question demands a linear answer. Internet is really a complex of various interconnected practices, so it gives a nearly unlimited possibilities of educational directions: from purely technical ones, to those, which include cultural studies, perception of audiovisual impressions converted digital data, psychology of hyper-media, possible and actual transformations of various artistic contexts when employing internet, internet collages and nomadism of non-linear experiences, or even such almost utopian concepts in a while – digital psychotherapy (some purely experimental methods in an early experimental stage, that I, as a pure amateur of psychology and psychotherapy, but a professional in the field of digital media try to employ time to time), etc.

    4.
    Question
    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.

    Answer
    I try not to engage with “purity” of art nor a field of practices that describes the term of “net-art”, “net-activism”, “tactical media” or simillar ones. Quoting Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek (who qoutes “Matrix”) – “I want a third pill”. And quoting John Cage “I no longer now, what the art is”. A both-sided dialouge with the Other, or with the audience in search for the fullfillment is most important for me. Technology is an important (more or less) tool, but it isn’t worth the brand new manifesto.

    5.
    Question
    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?

    Answer
    I’m not so much into these particular definitions. Blogging, net-labels, net-releases, concept of creative commons and remixing of culture has a much wider potential and possible directions for various practicies and theoretical articulation then those, constantly in search for institutional approvement or agenda and disciplinary umbrella.

    6.
    Question
    “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?

    Answer
    Time to time it appears to me, that the fixation of internet activities into autonomous internet zone only is more a disadvanted than the other way round. The “live” resonance in a physical space, from people you communicate directly are usually much more rewarding then even most impressive network collaboration with a tremendous and unexpected result. So at this point, practices I’m constantly involved are intended to shift their forms and relations in order to give new impulses and insights for every-day life experiences, live communication, new ways to look at the world outside the screen-and-speakers frame (but also within it).

    7.
    Question
    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?

    Answer
    As I already mentioned above, for me the dialouge and variety of it’s forms is nearly the most important goal concerning blogging experiences. In weblog practices you always have a community of virtual friends, or talking a bit more in a sophisticated way – an interconnected audience, from which you get first resonance and interaction.
    Although it is also interesting to realise various hyper-media projects in physical space, which I practice time to time, while presenting non-linear viewing and perception. It is always something in between live performance (audiovisual and/or physical one), a bit of a non-standard non-academic lecture, screenings, interviews, etc. It gives much more adequate impression about how your practice is conceived, what needs to be communicated in other ways, what possible experiences it might lead into, etc.

    8.
    Question
    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?

    Answer
    Combining various contexts and forms of expression and collective intelligence is usually rewarding not only as a personal, nearly sub-cultural experience, but also as a statement and need for something more alive within the frame of various institutional restrictions.

    9.
    Question
    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?

    Answer
    Democracy is always a bit ambiguous term. When “anything goes” becomes it’s synonym, than filters originate naturally – wordly, as in nature. Especially in times of digital reproduction, when so many objects are shouting for the attention.
    I would claim for other type of “art” notion, which could be separate from usual understanding in the frame of “art world”, “art market”. We know of do-it-yourself culture, amateur movements, subvertising activism, graffitti art and other practices, which also could be easily defined as art and they have nothing to do with internet-based art context. So I think the moste important battle happens in our own mind while conquering our own prejudices and stereotypes.
    Of course, the democratic features of internet environment give lots of possibilities and advantages. The creative use and nomadic post-digital travelling through our own experiences could give an impulse for liberating vibes and newly discovered artistic expressions.

    10.
    Question
    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?

    Answer
    Here you can’t give a universal receipt. Sometimes the lack of knowledge might protect from inertia and professional standartisation. On the other hand, there are lot’s of examples when flexible and fluent professionalism leads to grace, elegance and efficiency.