[artinfo] Electroboutique @ Transmediale: Media Art 2.0

Alexei Shulgin alexei at easylife.org
Mon Feb 4 14:33:50 CET 2008

Electroboutique: Media Art 2.0

Today, when any critical artistic statement is drained of its power within the
rigid frameworks of the unilateral capitalist world, a critical artist can no
longer create while contemptuously looking down at commercial art and design
that is governed exclusively by market laws.

At the same time as it becomes smarter and more refined, capitalism intrudes
into most revolutionary, autonomous, and secluded areas of human activity.
This is not to suggest that avant-garde art creation always stood in opposition
to capitalism. The modernists, taking part in the evolution of design, worked
in factories developing furniture and fabrics in order to bring art to the
masses. Parallel to the evolution of Dada, the ready-made, and later, pop art,
the theory and philosophy of art and culture contemplated the balance between
the poles of capitalism and art, unique and mass-produced objects, high and low
culture, professional and amateur, practical and dysfunctional.  As the newest
weapon of capitalism, information technologies dictate new social and cultural
contexts and within these, uncover new challenges.

Our answer to the dilemma: Media Art 2.0

Media Art 2.0 goes beyond the limits of new media art

New media art today consists overwhelmingly of one-of-a-kind works presented by
the authors themselves at festivals and specialized exhibitions. As a rule,
such pieces are high-maintenance and complex in configuration -- and thus are
destined to remain in a media art ghetto. We propose all-in-one plug-and-play
solutions. Media Art 2.0 presents art objects as technological products that
are ready to be consumed here and now by anyone.

Media Art 2.0 is market-friendly art

We produce a limited number of copies (like 
Ferrari) and sell them at affordable
prices (like Sony). This is possible because we develop our own reliable
electronic devices and thus do not depend on overly complex multi-functional
digital systems. Each piece has a unique edition number and the authentic
signatures of its authors. We also offer limited 
lifetime warranties for our products.

Media Art 2.0 goes beyond the know-how of IT corporations

These corporations are not capable of transcending the pragmatism of their
products. While attempting to enrich their products with artistic qualities,
corporate designers follow the path of banal adornment -- decoration with gold,
Swarowski crystals, and diamonds -- which raises the price and renders the
products "exclusive." Such an approach does not make a mobile phone or an MP3
player a work of art. Limited lifetime of electronics contradicts the
apparently "eternal" value of the decorative materials.

Media Art 2.0 is the answer to the stagnation of the art market

It proposes a solution when the art market acquiesces to the demands of
traditional art forms and is incapable of digesting truly contemporary artistic
ideas. Our products harmoniously combine actual art, up-to-date techno-culture,
design, and media art.  We return to the roots of the avant-garde and occupy
our own niche in the system of capitalist production and consumption. We
address advanced consumers who are not satisfied by mass products -- whether
cool design gadgets or the endlessly reproduced traditional art forms.

Media Art 2.0 is the avant-garde of today

We return to art the things that design borrowed from art at the beginning of
the 20th century: the search for new form and content; the artistic experiment
as play; and the joy of everyday life.  We live in a world of visual
interfaces. Televisions, print advertisements, politics, shop-windows,
show-business, internet services, bank systems are primarily interfaces whose
task is to shape the process of information transfer and the translation of
ideas. Working with visual interfaces, we make them visible and tangible.  We
uncover the structures of today's world. This approach fills our products with
a critical charge. In answering the challenges of today, we flush clean the
media channels and establish new standards. By infiltrating public spaces and
private homes, we bring art and alternative 
aesthetics into people´s everyday lives.

Aristarkh Chernyshev, Roman Minaev, Alexei Shulgin.
Moscow, June-September 2007

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