Amnesia International

Darko Fritz

... Technology progresses. Art changes. It never progresses. Í [*] statement of the collective Anonima in May 1968, catalogue Űtendencije 4Ý (1968 - 69), Zagreb, 1970.

> The aspect IÝm interested in regarding the bind between the New Low Tech Media and this project is the curatorÝs (and artistÝs) *decision*, in the age of high tech, to deal with (and exhibit) low tech. IÝm interested in the politics behind such a gesture that ˝ in my little interpretation ˝ grounds on the *refusal* to take the technological progress for a given. Increasingly I receive the impression that the new media art is moving in the backwash of the canonical aesthetic and methodological values, and that the New Low Tech Media is one of better ways to confront this (and still not to become a Unabomber). Research in the genesis of technology, and the genesis of the rapport between technology and art seems to me as the ineluctable first step Í [*] Vuk Éosi╩, from the correspondence with Darko Fritz, February 2000.

> IÝm interested in juxtaposing several valuational and temporal elements, and actually in seeing on the spot the degree of interaction of these works, what will happened Í the media archaeology is interesting because of these principal questions of goals and means, *how and why* does the media art come about; how do art and technology relate to each other and, taken together, to society; question of strategies employed in a given period in the production, distribution and meaning of media art works (here exclusively those created using a computer). It seems interesting to me that in the years 1968-69, amidst the Cold war, it was possible to bring together, under the title ýComputers and Visual Researchţ, the authors and theoreticians from both blocks (USA, USSR, Argentina, West and East Europe). Back then files probably did not occupy more than 1Mb, yet graphics, films, objects, sculptures modelled in 3D, music, choreography were presentÍ Bona╦i╩ placed a large object *on permanent display* on the frontispiece of a department store in Zagreb. It seems to me that nowadays the possibility of choice and movement is incomparably greater Í yet it is interesting to see the results Í in the period 1968-72 nine thematic issues of the media art publication Űbit internationalÝ were published.> Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, progressive art has always been predominantly a low budget enterprise Í 30 years ago computer art pieces were mostly created on a then high tech equipment in a low tech manifestation. The high tech equipment was mostly owned by scientific institutions, because at that time it was there that computers could be found (presumably in the army as well, and still later in the education, since there were no PCs back then). They were mostly created, regardless of the production location and the ideology, within the scientific establishment, prevailingly in spare time and due to individual enthusiasm. > Í at the conference ýA new space for culture and society, new ideas in science and artţ, organised by the Council of Europe in 1996 in Prague, Mandelbrot recounted that once, as a young scientist, he was able only in an almost unofficial manner, at night, to upload his program for necessary processing on a then supercomputer Í smuggling Í [*] Darko Fritz, from the correspondence with Vuk Éosi╩, February 2000.

Í According to H. Franke the total informational capacity of the consciousness is 160 bits. This value is deduced from the fact that an information that has entered the consciousness has 16 bits and remains in it for ten seconds. An information theory finding decisive for the learning processes, as well as for the transfer of the aesthetic information patterns, is that only around 0,7 bit can be converted from consciousness into memory. ... [*] Herbert W. Franke: Cybernetic foundations of programmed art, Bit international br. 2: Computers and visual research, Zagreb, 1968.

Ű... and that in future the development of messages and means of communication, messages between Human and machines, between machines and Human, between machines and machines, is going to play an increasingly important role. Ű [*] N. Wiener: Human use of human beings, 1954.; an introductory quote in the catalogue Űtendencije 4Ý (1968 - 69), Zagreb, 1970.

... pure technology is always more interesting and more beautiful than the art amalgamated with technology. Í [*] statement by the collective Anonima in May 1968, catalogue Űtendencije 4Ý (1968 - 69), Zagreb, 1970.

Í But the machines already approached the man, faster than the man approached the machines. Í [*] Abraham A. Moles, introductory speech at the conference Computers and Visual Research, Zagreb, 1968., Bit International no. 2, 1968.

Í However, while the analogous computer works on the constantly variable values of a system analogous to the problem, a digital computer autonomously computes in accordance with the set program. It is the discovery of digital computer that unfolds the most significant field of computer art to date. Í Objects created by Vladimir Bona╦i╩ exclude the chance by means of a pseudo-random polynomial to the 18th power exhibited on a 36 meter long series of 18 objects placed on the fa┴ade of the NAMA department store in Zagreb. Finally, this exhibition should not be understood as a domination of technology, but rather as an effort to overcome the new technology and use it to achieve new results in the field of visual. [*] Boris Kelemen: Computer and visual research, catalogue Űtendencije 4Ý (1968 - 69), Zagreb, 1970.

... We concede that the next twenty years could be spent by artists in exploring and assimilating the potential of existing computers and their peripherals. ... A great deal of computer art embodies the limitation of existing techniques. The aesthetic demands of artists necessarily lead them to seek an alliance with the most advanced research in natural and artificial intelligence. [*] Gordon Hyde, Jonathan Benthall, Gustav Metzger: Zagreb Manifesto, 1969, Bit International: Dijalog sa strojem, 1971.

Í if the households are going to be connected through the television screens with the central computer units, as it is nowadays the case with the phones, then nothing will stand in the way of the possibility to present computer graphics by means of a screen. That possibility seems today utopian Í [*] Herbert W. Franke: Dru÷tveni aspekti kompjutorske umjetnosti [Social aspects of computer art], 1969, Bit International: Dalogue with the machine, 1971.

Í the first award winners in the now annual computer art contest organised by the ŰComputers and AutomationÝ were the member of the U.S ballistic team. There is no doubt that in the computer art the real avant-garde was army. Í Sculpture is the employment of already existing forces. That is clearly visible in the Egyptian monument sculpture. In the project ýFive Screens with a Computerţ IÝm dealing with the immense power that goes together with the exercise of government Í it should be placed between three residential buildings Í Computer that will control the sculpture can also be put to use for other purposes associated with the normal activities in the apartments. By means of telephone lines it can serve as a local convenient library for the inhabitants. ... [*] Gustav Metzger, exposition at the conference Computers and Visual Research, Zagreb, 1969., Bit International: Dijalog sa strojem, 1971.

... T.V. will be overshadowed by a C.V. (Computer vision) system combining and extending the present features of both computer and television systems removing the barrier of non-participation by the public. With increased free time, greater interest and activity we will be able to enjoy, and development of the arts and new tendencies should be in that direction. [*] Petar Milojev╩: xxx, Bit International: : Dalogue with the machine, 1971.

... ShouldnÝt the information aesthetics be able to use certain modelling techniques? The information it should model is the aesthetic information, such as it appears in nature and art. However, the dependency of aesthetic information on processes should be modelled as well, while conceiving the processes themselves as temporarily dependent information. ... [*] Georg Nees: Computer graphics and visual art, Bit International br. 2: Computers and Visual Research, Zagreb, 1968.