FEMALE AUDIENCE: You talked about the web as a free for all environment. So I guess artists can go ahead and do their own projects without having to relate to any form of hierarchy. So how do you see yourself as a curator in that context? Is this free-for-all idea a complete scam?
Benjamin Weil: Both of these solution can co-exist. Artists have the extraordinary potential of developing and presenting their work in an unmediated manner. I believe that what we are doing is very much about creating a context. I mean, if you take all the isolated artist-made web pages, there is a problem of access. So it remains confidential: there's so much information on the web that it's really hard to retrieve it, and I think that's one of the reasons why we also decided to go ahead and do äda'web as a project is to sort of like stimulate -- I mean help access to those pages eventually. We have a link page, for instance, besides what we produce ourselves.
But it is true that it's also -- it's got this incredible potential for being unmediated although as it's growing it's going to be harder and harder for people to find those pages.
Julia Scher: The thing that is still jumbo chunk of mediation, however, is the way in which we sit in front of a terminal, in front of monitor and hear a dronny buzz and hold onto a thing with one hand, and sit glued to a piece of glass, all this action taking place under glass often alone, often late at night, often sacrificing your own phone line communication with other people to gaze into digit blobs foaming froth at your mouth and at your lips while you sit there alone in the dark perhaps feeling despair that you don't know how to respond back to the page that's prompting you for your E-mail address.
So it can be sad and lonely and dark, and reflect the even further darkness to come.
MALE AUDIENCE: You talked about the revival of the myth of the frontier. But in actual fact, the web is already quite regulated. What are the effects of the new laws voted last fall by Congress?
Benjamin Weil: Well, there's censorship now in terms of like the type of content that you can put on the web, but you can still do pretty much a lot of things before getting noticed, particularly if you have a little page that is not mainstream. I mean if Time Warner, for instance, puts content that is deemed criticable by the new law, then chances are it will get noticed immediately. But if you put something on your home page and it's only your home page and you have like a few visitors but not so many, then there's a chance that it stays up for longer and that you don't get into real trouble.
I also think that there's a lot of institutions that are challenging the c onstituency of that law; in any case it's going to be very difficult to enforce. Julia mentioned hacking before. There are a lot of hidden sites, for instance: there are people who hack, you know, servers and put sites in there, and it's really like very, very discreet, and those sites will probably never be really identified. I mean they can't -- they could be, but it's like, you know, who's going to spend time screening the web all the time to make sure that there's absolutely no irrelevant material.
Julia Scher: So we're talking about aging which is actually really a cool subject. Given that most of your computers are less than ten years old and the images that come up on the web are spanking new, we're already beginning to see rotten old and putrefying web sites which is kind of interesting. Even though when you bring them up for the first time they might seem fresh and alive. If you've seen them for the last two years, maybe not so.
What kind of aging happens? On the other hand, what kind of thing might be ageless. Like the McDonalds site. Who's been to the McDonalds site? I mean, I see it as a place where people can go and date, where you can hang out and have french fries and sit around the table and meet someone. Like you wouldn't want McDonalds' structure to change it's virtual address remaining the same, but you might want to see a new potential date, friends in frenzy all the time.
The other thing is the construction of firewalls as a potentially really cool area for artists to roam and check out. A firewall is a construction which is meant to protect the server from illegal entry, and the constructions of these things are usually custom made. They're custom packaged to keep the server free from being penetrated by an outside force, and actually it's a cool way to get in and make an artwork about them or on them or do them or sell them or make fake ones, fake protection devices on the web.
Now, who thought of all these words: Home and Firewall and Server and Network, the Network Assets. So these are also interesting places for artists to roam free. It's still pretty wide open.
< BACK | NEXT>