Curatorial Statement

The  2010 Ars Electronica Internet Shop!

Digital  Communities 2010 curated by Aram Bartholl

The Digital Communities category that  debuted in 2006 is being showcased on a larger scale this year. But just  how does one go about exhibiting a digital community, a network of  chaotic internet experts or a spontaneous Facebook group? Where and who  are all these people? What does this internet look like and where can I find it?

Your typical local internet shop represents the internet in a very basic, simple form. In what might be termed a semi-public space packed full of computers set up in little cubbyholes, anyone can get temporary internet  access at a very reasonable price. In contrast to the wireless internet  of mobile telephony/3G and WLAN that’s omnipresent and surrounds us  like the air we breathe, here the internet is confined to a particular  space. Several people gather at a semi-public place to simultaneously  use the internet individually. This type of internet café symbolizes the  prejudices held by a certain segment of Western society towards the  internet. For many, the internet is uncontrollable, deceitful,  emblematic of the decline of our culture. But in most parts of the  world, the internet café is the only place where people can get online.  It’s the only possibility to hook up to the big data stream and take  part in the (hopefully) free exchange of information with all its  attendant advantages. The internet is here!

A genuine original Linz internet shop  set up in  the Tabakfabrik constitutes Digital Communities’ core. It  features a fully functional kiosk purveying a nice selection of  merchandise, Turkish pop music, and 12 internet-capable computers  arrayed on quintessential internet café furniture. But that’s not all:  *TELE-INTERNET* is also a meeting place, project space, workshop area,  chill-out lounge, marketplace, lobby, stage, and co-working zone for the  digital communities that have convened in person. The principals of  prizewinning projects (winners and honorable mentions) as well as an  interesting assortment of internet activists, coders, artists and  purveyors of chaos will be working, discussing, performing and  presenting their work at tables, seating arrangements, on stage or on  the banks of the Danube. In addition to the digital communities’ diverse  projects, the classic core topics of the CCC (Golden Nica at the 2010  Prix Ars Electronica) will play an important role: private sphere,  internet & computer security, open source, etc. Plus, digital  communities (which succeeded the Prix Ars Electronica’s category  in 2006) will be represented by artistic positions in the form of  workshops, presentations and performances. How are artists working in  the fields of and new coming to terms with all the  developments in the internet?

*TELE-INTERNET* is an organically  growing structure, a hacker space, a conference, a stage, an exhibition,  a BarCamp, Commune 0/1, and a site for anyone who’s interested in  discussing the development of the internet, exchanging ideas, and  presenting their own projects. Ars Electronica festivalgoers are invited  to take the plunge and join the fun, to contribute to the discussion of  the social web, or to chill out on the couch with a clubmate and a  notebook.

Aram  Bartholl 2010

The Digital Communities presentations at the 2010 Ars Electronica Festival were developed on the basis of the SPEED SHOW exhibition format.

SPEED SHOW manifest

Hit an Internet-cafe, rent all computers they have and run a show on them for one night. All art works of the participating artists need to be on-line (not necessarily public) and are shown in a typical browser with standard plug-ins. Performance and life pieces may also use pre-installed communication programs (instant messaging, VOIP, video chat etc). Custom software (except browser add-ons) or off-line files are not permitted. Any creative physical modification to Internet cafe itself is not allowed. The show is public and takes place during normal opening hours of the Internet cafe/shop. All visitors are welcome to join the opening, enjoy the art (and to check their E-mail).

Aram Bartholl 2010

The SPEED SHOW exhibition series was started by Aram Bartholl in June 2010. The first show vol.1 took place in Berlin, vol.2 was shown in Vienna in July 2010. To be continued …

    2nd-6th September 2010
    Digital Communities, Ars Electronica

    curated by
    Aram Bartholl

    Inga Seidler & Jürgen Höbarth