Participating artists: LaTurbo Avedon, Petra Cortright, Harm van den Dorpel, Miron Galić, Yael Kanarek, Jan Robert Leegte, Cassie McQuater, Martine Neddam, Marisa Olson, Jonathan Puckey, Sabrina Ratté, Akihiko Taniguchi and Damon Zucconi
“A show about our awkwardness, aches and astonishment with our mediated selves. Do our avatars share our dreams at night?”
“It’s like being in an aquarium” – Josephine Bosma mentioned during a Jitsi gallery opening, observing 20 people side by side looking at each other, not knowing what to say in this precarious but novel condition. The Lockdown has accelerated our forced embrace with our mediated selves. Headaches, loss of focus, but also experimentation, resulting in new and exciting ways of communicating.
Our history with computers is also a history of our real-time representation within computers. It being an interactive medium, the machine needs our presence in some way; a mouse pointer, the typing of letters in a text field, a voice, moving avatar or video stream. But how deeply related we are with our representation, it operates in a different realm. The mirror or echo of our actions has a flavour of its own. This dissociation brings in a digital weird that becomes a new space.
This exhibition showcases works from 1998 to 2020, that all navigate this space, reflecting on how our disembodied selves echo back their unique presence.
MARTINE NEDDAM: DIGITAL FLESH & BLOOD (1998)
Manthos: In what way is the energy of virtual life passed on to real life? Or the other way round? Mouchette: Virtual life is a form of death. The body must be annihilated completely. Everything organic, biologic has to disappear from the communication: no more voice, no more breath, no more flesh, no more eyes… a perfect and total disembodiement! No wonder you hear so much about suicide on my site. Virtual life is a technologically complex form of suicide. Of course, subsequently, one can be reborn on the net as a new entity, in a form that one would choose and fabricate, as a living being with no teeth, no saliva, no skin, no smile. Instead of that, this being would have pixels, code, text characters. Here is my portrait, my spitting image: all I am is words and pixels put together by means of codes and viewed on a monitor. Once the suicide is successfully accomplished, real life comes back to haunt virtual life. The teeth and the smile return under the pixels, the kiss resurfaces under the screen. I made a work called Flesh&Blood where the viewer has to come closer and kiss the screen, lick the glass surface of the monitor and try to believe that there is a real living body in front of him/her. Is the illusion of life successful? Is the glass of the computer monitor cold or warm when you kiss it? My viewers are divided on this question… Rape, Murder and Suicide are easier when you use a keyboard shortcut in Leonardo Journal, volume 38, June 2005, MIT Press, extract of an interview of Mouchette by Manthos Santorineos
ONLINE EVENT Cultural Matter: Diana McCarty on A Techno-Feminist alphabet: From Cyberfeminism to Xenofeminism
We are glad to invite you to the online event of Cultural Matter: Diana McCarty on A Techno-Feminist alphabet: From Cyberfeminism to Xenofeminism (Pt.II) on Wednesday 1 April, 8 pm. The lecture by Diana McCarty will be live streamed online, followed by a conversation between artist Martine Neddam and Diana McCarty with a public Q&A moderated by Sanneke Huisman afterwards. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel where we will stream the lecture.
Diana McCarty Independent media producer and feminist media activist Diana McCarty is a founding editor of reboot.fm, the award winning free artists’ radio in Berlin; a co-founder of the radio networks Radia Network (radia.fm) and 24/3 FM Radio Network Berlin; and of the FACES (faces-I) online community for women, among other initiatives. She co-initiated the exhibition Nervous Systems: Quantified Life and the Social Question, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2016, Berlin, and actively collaborates with the experimental media project Luta ca caba inda. As a cyberpunk in the 1990s, she was active in independent internet culture with nettime, the MetaForum conference series, and different hacking spaces. Her work revolves around art, gender, politics, radical feminism, technology, and media.
Cultural Matter: Martine Neddam The history of online identities is tightly interwoven with the rise of the internet – the free and open space where you could be anyone you wanted to be. What role did – and do – artists play in this? How do they develop and manifest characters online? Early net artist Martine Neddam has been creating online personas that work with public feedback since 1996, far before the establishment of social media. Mouchette, David Still, Xiao Qian are all characters that she created anonymously. This edition of Cultural Matter 2019-20, you will get to know Neddam’s latest virtual persona that has been active as an online curator.
Event Cultural Matter: Diana McCarty on A Techno-Feminist alphabet: From Cyberfeminism to Xenofeminism (Pt.II) Wednesday 1 April, 8.00 PM, online Please subscribe to our YouTube channel Attend the Facebook event
Madja Edelstein-Gomez Madja Edelstein-Gomez (1960, Montevideo, Uruguay) is an independent curator who has curated several large thematic exhibitions (Bangalore, Buenos Aires, Prague, Tbilisi, Toronto). Edelstein-Gomez currently lives in Kuala Lumpur and Paris. She is also an activist working with several NGOs. Edelstein-Gomez created a manifesto and a group exhibition that revolves around the Recombinant, a concept where artificial intelligence and artists meet. Madja Edelstein-Gomez is the collaborative creation of Martine Neddam, Emmanuel Guez and Zombectro.
Martine Neddam Martine Neddam is an artist, researcher and teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. She uses language as raw material for her art, and many of her works center on the phenomena of speech acts, approaches to communication as well as to language and writing in public space. She has been working with virtual characters since 1996, the first and most famous one being Mouchette, a fictive thirteen-year-old that has meanwhile acquired cult status. Neddam’s virtual personae function as communications tools such that they have already facilitated the exchange between human beings via the medium of the artistic figure, and thereby anticipated the functionality of social media.
Cultural Matter Cultural Matter is a series of exhibitions and events that provide a platform for the international discussion of digital art and aims to develop new strategies for the presentation and preservation of these artworks. Also part of the Cultural Matter series: JODI, Jonas Lund, Rafaël Rozendaal, Amalia Ulman, Thomson & Craighead. Curated by: Sanneke Huisman and Jan Robert Leegte.
This programme is supported by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts) and Stichting Niemeijer Fonds.
The collection of the ZKM | Karlsruhe ranks among the largest media art collections in the world. It exemplifies the transformation of art in the face of changing technologies of production, reception, and distribution. Artists react to changes in media and sometimes anticipate developments that only years later will be taken for granted by society as a whole: they write the history of the future.
Media determine to a great extent how we express our thoughts and feelings, how we communicate, and how we remember the past. Johannes Gutenberg’s movable metal letters fundamentally changed Europe’s culture of knowledge in the middle of the 15th century, just as photography changed the fine arts in the middle of the 19th century, and the Internet transformed our entire private and public communication at the end of the 20th century. The development of art went from moving letters to moving images and moving viewers; from the book page to the website, from the canvas to the screen.
“Writing the History of the Future. Part I” looks at art from the middle of the 20th century onwards. The exhibition shows aesthetic experiments with script and language that engage with different media. It presents the first attempts at computer-generated graphics and poetry as well as contemporary works dedicated to the automation of the creative act. It also addresses the material conditions of individual and cultural memory – between erasing and forgetting, storing and remembering.
New technologies provide the individual with ever new means to create images, texts, and sounds. They expand her or his scope for action. The exhibition provides a precise insight into the history of viewer activation – from Op-Art to physical interventions in variable pictorial objects to the instructions for action of the art of the »performative turn«.
“these are a few of my favourite things…” is the title of this show.As part of the event Home Sequence, I have invited Michelle Son and Maartje Smits to exhibit in my house on 27/28/29/30 june 2019. I’m also showing some (text) objects in my house which I consider art, signed or unsigned.
Thursday 27 June 19/21:00 OPENING HOME SEQUENCE Friday 28 June 14/19:00 Saturday 29 June 14/19:00 Sunday 30 June 14/19:00
Here is my favourite version of this famous song. In the lyrics it says that the mere thought of the things you like makes you feel better. And I add: provided you can summon a beautiful list of them from your memory… or inside your own house. Added to my list of favourite things normally present in my house, are the works of Maartje Smits and Michelle Son.
The matter of mothers and mud An installation and intimate chatbot performance about motherhood and what happens if a writer or artist creates a baby. This performance will be taking place in the safe space of a spare bedroom. For optimal experience a smartphone is handy but it’s no necessity.
Performances on: Thursday the 27 th of June (time: 20:00) Friday the 28th of June (time: 18:00) Saturday the 29th of June (time:15:00) Max. 12 – 15 people per performance.
Maartje Smits is a poet in image and language. She investigates topics like ‘girliness’ and ‘nature’ by observing and infiltrating, operating in the limbo between art and literature. Her work consists of films, performances, texts and intimate confessions. Her books of (visual) poetry When you’re a girl and How I started a forest in my bathroom were published by publishing house De Harmonie.
“oh, na, na, na”
M’s largest room
“oh, na, na, na”
sticks that look like sketches of sticks
“bom bomm!… bom bomm!”
Scripting spaces is an activity that shapes Michelle Son’s artistic practice. Her interest in the paradox of language has developed into visual and experiential practices. This forms the structure for multiple media to activate a space, through sound, performance interventions, video, object-making or hybrid writing practices. Other subjects of interest stretch across notions of self-care, suburbia, cinema, flâneury, womanhood, wildness, diaspora and (in)direct communication.
“these are a few of my favourite things…” Your own house has something comforting and familiar, just like a song you might hum to yourself. It hosts some of your favourite things. They might happen to be works of art, made by others or by yourself, or not even works of art, but just things or objects that you like having around. Things that bring you warmth, just by thinking of them. I’m inviting Maartje Smits and Michelle Son to show their art in my house, to mingle with the space, shake off the dust, or blow it away with new words or new things.
Martine Neddam is an artist who uses language as raw material. Speech acts, modes of address, words in the public space were always her favourite subjects by which she had several museum and gallery exhibitions and large scale public commissions. Since 1996 she has created virtual characters on the internet who lead an autonomous artistic existence in which the real author remains invisible, Mouchette among others. She has also built several online participatory interfaces. To obtain my address, and the hours of the show, follow the rules of the Home Sequence project: To receive the list of home addresses and the events schedule please RSVP to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org We kindly ask you not to circulate this document in order to keep overview of who obtained the list of private addresses of the participating artists. The list will be distributed few days before the opening. Home Sequence was initiated by Sascha Pohle and Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec in 2018
The Digital Canon (1960–2000) of the Netherlands. Experts from the field of digital culture selected twenty of the most prominent and influential works made on Dutch soil by artists who lived or worked here over a long period of time. The works and their makers are not all equally well known, yet this does not detract from their lasting influence on digital art and culture. Each of the works makes use of or responds to digital culture’s increasing impact on art and society. Discover these exceptional works of art here.
The project has been carried out by a core group (‘the expert group’) and in collaboration with numerous experts from the field. The core team consisted of Josephine Bosma (researcher and critic), Martijn van Boven (artist and tutor), Annet Dekker (researcher and curator), Sandra Fauconnier (art historian) and Jan Robert Leegte (artist and tutor). The project was coordinated by LIMA and supervised by Gaby Wijers (director) and Sanneke Huisman (curator). Additional national and international experts were involved in various international meetings. Together with them, a broadly supported selection was made, while the often authoritarian selection procedures that lie at the basis of canonization were critically reflected upon.
The result can be seen on a website dedicated to the project: www.digitalcanon.nl. The twenty canonical works here each have their own page with images, excerpts, videos, quotes from the artists and texts. The works have been researched for this purpose. In addition, the website also contains clear insight into the development of the selection presented and some critical texts about canonizing digital art. The design emphasizes this dual nature by dividing the website into a front and back. This innovative design is made by Yehwan Song. Song is a South Korean designer, web designer and web developer. She designs and develops experimental websites and interactive graphical interfaces. Song is known for her playful design in which she reverses and challenges the general understanding of web design both conceptually and visually.
Follow-up The canon is by no means an endpoint, but is the starting point for further investigation of the selected works. The first follow-up steps are already being taken. In addition to the website, an exhibition concept will be developed, which involves various relevant issues. For some of the selected works, for example, only documentation material is left and for other works restoration is needed. The canon is also a starting point for discussion and critical reflection, whereby canon formation and the selection procedure are critically examined. The title of the conversation between Josephine Bosma, Martijn van Boven, Annet Dekker, Sandra Fauconnier, Jan Robert Leegte and Gaby Wijers is significant from this point of view: “Canonization as an Activist Act”. The traditional form of canonization is used to open a conversation. The expert group invites the field to make its voice heard. The first external text has already been published on the website: Re-writing the Present: To Inhabit the Inhabitable by Willem van Weelden looks critically and philosophically at (the lack of) historical awareness in the field of canonization and preservation of digital art.
IMPAKT EXHIBITION: TRUTH THAT LIES Curated by Renata Šparada & Irena Borić, 9 February – 17 March 2019, IMPAKT Center for Media Culture, Lange Nieuwstraat 4, Utrecht. How we are being misinformed in the age of information.
Artists in the exhibition: Keren Cytter, Omer Fast, Harun Farocki, Sharon Hayes, Hrvoje Hiršl & Luis Rodil Fernández, Martine Neddam, Erica Scourti, Mladen Stilinović and The Yes Men
Social media sites and search engines are the key ingredients of the change from the manipulative form of propaganda of the past to the prevalence of the Post-truth paradigm of the present. How are words and ideas used to obscure and manipulate? The exhibition and panel discussion of Truth That Lies look at the different political and cultural strategies that have been used in our Post-truth reality and in our recent history.
Inspired by George Orwell’s prescient novel 1984, the events take the shape of the two agencies in The Ministry of Truth, the propaganda agency of 1984’s dystopian government: the Fiction and the Records Department. The Fiction Department is represented by Truth That Lies, an exhibition exploring a use of language through gesture, manipulation, hate speech, algorithm, propaganda, make-believe or tautology.
The Records Department is mirrored in a panel called War on Facts. This panel will be organized on 8 February, prior to the opening of the exhibition, and it will address misinformation, alternative facts, fake news and information manipulation.
In this way Truth That Lies uses Orwellian “doublespeak” (a language that obscures) as a metaphor for our times, where misinformation is everywhere and its spread is amplified through technology. The programme researches the development of Post-truth, how it was used in the past, how it affects personal identity, and what the future would look like if things proceed from here.
Artists in the exhibition: Keren Cytter, Omer Fast, Harun Farocki, Sharon Hayes, Hrvoje Hiršl & Luis Rodil Fernández, Martine Neddam, Erica Scourti, Mladen Stilinović and The Yes Men
What: exhibition curated by Renata Šparada and Irena Borić When: 9 February – 17 March, Wed-Sun 12:00-17:00 Where: IMPAKT Center for Media Culture, Lange Nieuwstraat 4, Utrecht
I Hate Mouchette Martine Neddam The Netherlands, 1996 (2019) Installation and website
For Martine Neddam the ultimate way of expression is by means of fictitious identities. She uses her online character Mouchette to expose the neuralgic and soft spots of contemporary society organised and expressed on the web. In the work I Hate Mouchette the identity of Mouchette is constructed from hate-filled insults. The work shows how the post-truth age requires us to take a good look at the ways in which fake content reshapes opinions and identities, occasionally with fatal consequences.
MINI SYMPOSIUM NEoN Festival November 9, 2018 at 11:30 am – 4:30 pm Victoria and Albert Museum, Dundee Scotland With Martine Neddam, Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, Simon Meek and Daniel Herron
The mini symposium offers an opportunity for artists, academics, critics, theorists and practitioners to reflect on the current state of digital and new media art, and the wider theme of the festival. NEoN welcomes Tale of Tales to discuss their first videogame: The Endless Forest, a virtual world where people enjoy each other’s company regardless of language, status, age, gender or ethnicity, and Simon Meek, founder of The Secret Experiment, who is V&A Dundee’s first Designer in Residence and will share thoughts on his practice as a mixed-media storyteller. Chaired by Professor Sarah Cook (University of Glasgow).
About the Artists
Martine Neddam (NL) – is a native of France resident in Amsterdam since 1994, is an artist, research scientist and professor. She has been working with virtual characters since 1996, the first and most famous being Mouchette, a fictive thirteen-year-old, one of the earliest examples of Net Art.
Tale of Tales (BE) – Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn met online in the romantic age of cyberspace. Separated by an ocean they created applications that allowed them to touch among the wires. Samyn and Harvey are currently remaking The Endless Forest so that it can live another decade and provide a new generation of players with a joyful haven in cyberspace.
Simon Meek (UK) – V&A Dundee’s first Designer in Residence, mixed-media storyteller and founder and creative director of The Secret Experiment: videogame development studio and label of meaningful distractions. His most recent work, Beckett, is an abstract retelling of a missing person’s case where the investigator finds himself caught between the life he once had and that which he now lives.
Daniel Herron (UK) – Daniel’s research interests lie in how technology can positively impact life experiences, and his PhD work specifically focuses on how technology can support people in managing their digital things after a romantic relationship break up.
This event features presentations of three works of digital art and literature that allow users to engage and identify with on-screen characters: Mouchette.org (1996–ongoing) by Martine Neddam; The Pink of Stealth (2004) by Mendi and Keith Obadike; andPSYCHO NYMPH EXILE (2016) by Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Neotenomie, andSloane. A panel discussion with the artists will follow the presentations.
The works shown during this event all make use of hypertext—text that is organized in a nonlinear manner so that it can be read in any order. This form was an important inspiration for Tim Berners-Lee’s 1989 proposal of the “WorldWideWeb,” which he described as a “HyperText Project.” Today, most online user experiences are organized around vertical scrolling processes or other sequential browsing formats, with hypertext playing a less central role. However, artists continue to find that the nonlinear structure of hypertext makes for productively fluid relationships among artists, characters, and audiences. The works presented during this event, created between the 1990s and the present, make use of such relationships to build empathy, perform identity, and model alternate social possibilities.
30 September 2015 The Symposium “Historical Materialism” in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem invited me to remember the show I made there in 1994 (with its special catalogue). Here is my information about that show: Teylers Museum in Haarlem
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