REVIEW: Edge Condition and other exhibits at ZeroOne/ISEA2006. Comments on the experience of the festival by Molly Hankwitz

Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin, Listening Post (detail), 2002-2005.

Mapping out the festival terrain from San Jose Mercury News insert…eager to see friends. Went to several exhibits – San Jose Art Museum and at South Hall…

“Edge Condition” – this is a beautifully curated exhibit at San Jose Art Museum. Young Hae Chang “Heavy Industries” one of my all time favorite works of web art. “Listening Post” –sound of chat installation was thoroughly amazing, while not having much, if any, concrete relationship to the internet as a particularly technoutopian space, it was a very impressive outpouring of internet noise! Tired looking artists sitting on the couches with eyes closed listening abounded.

I enjoyed Jennifer Steinkamp’s very pretty rooms of huge colorful electronic moving paintings and particularly the way they overlapped into each other in a giant three-d collage. Effects Design, the stellar projection architecture company in Novato, CA should really collaborate with her if they have not already done so. Sometimes its nice to just groove on spaces designed to make you feel good. But, what I really liked was the mix of new and old. I liked seeing early photographic collages of Lynn Hershman. “TV Land” is a great work of art, as is “Ruby’s Mood Swings”. These pictures have a lot of meaning for me.

Christiane Robbins’ work ‘I-5’ about the interstitial space of commuting and again, about air pollution data collection is a very precise work, stark and threatening in the museum space and demanding of one’s attention. There were references to John Cage’s music and performances and Peter Cook’s drawings for “Instant City” at the entrance. It was a heady trip. There was so much work, a lot of which came from San Francisco’s electro- conceptualists. Jim Cambell’s piece evoking, in absolute abstraction, the space of the street was stunning; all red and blinking.

As formalized works of electronic art, this show had many classic pieces, too. One of the late Nam June Paik’s TV large figurative sculptures. I love his work so much, very upset when he died. Still have a printed copy of the obituary posted to “nettime”. {It’s amazing how “nettime” exists in this completely unique space.}

I found myself thinking yesterday, the difference between Ars Electronica and ZeroOne is the lack of art media at ZeroOne. At Ars, you get artists radio for hours; mujsic, noise, interviews, performance. ORF devoted hours of kunstradio on the airwaves. ZeroOne needs this. I could find almost none, and often the cellular art required 3G phones. I didn’t have one. But one aspect of the media landscape I particularly liked the idea of and wanted to try was dialing in to hear the artists talk about the work on my cell phone. That was an innovation for learning about the works first hand. That’s meaningful and …a relatively public…overlay of communications technology onto the arts. In fact, in a city like San Jose, with so many artists coming in and not knowing their way around, the cell phone acts as a remarkable navigational tool for connecting and meeting up with friends.

Edge Conditions Website