Be a node

Erich Berger


Chief Curator. LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón

LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial is focusing on art which isable to act, speak, question and reflect on contemporary issues within oursociety and current times, in art which is actively participating in theprocess of the constitution and survey of the human condition. For thispurpose LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial endorses anextended, open and interdisciplinarity view of visual arts from establishedpractices to new and emerging artistic genres. With this strategy LABfosters the ability for art to grow, expand and develop, to renew and refineits tools and capabilities for engagement, to be able to work on thecontemporary issues of our times.We have to recognize that technology and science are among the mostpotent forces transforming life on earth, influencing and shaping oursociety on every level. The integration of technology and its artefacts inour everyday life has advanced in a way that we perceive its presence assomething natural, we live in it and we perceive it as our second nature, ahybrid nature.Indisputable, the emergence of the electronic communication networksand the accompanying evolvement of a network or information society isone of the most significant recent transformations which happened on ahistorical timescale within no time. Art and creativity are not excludedfrom this process. Art always has been omnipresent. As a quintessentiallyhuman practice it embraces the world as a whole and is moving anddeveloping with time, permanently producing within a diverse range ofpractices.The exhibition banquette_nodos y redes is looking into art which explicitlyattends to the importance of the concepts of networks, not only on atechnical but also on a socio-cultural level. For art to be an activeparticipant in our life it is necessary to update and develop itself, to findways to express the contemporary and to be able to start a discourse andto lead a critique—it is a question of language. Media art is a form of artwhich encompasses manifold practices, but it grew out of theunderstanding that, to be able to act within an technological informed andelectronically mediated environment one has to adapt the languages oftechnology and media itself.Interestingly, the theory of communication itself offers us a very goodpicture on how traditional art and media art might differ. The philosopherPierre Levy summarized the artistic phenomena in the western world in the following manner1 that since centuries, a person, the artist, signs anobject or a special message, the work of art. The others, public, visitors,critics, perceive it, look at it and read it, interpret, evaluate and criticize it.No matter what the function of the work is, or how deeply it can touchsomebody, one thing remains the same, the role of sender and receiver -everybody has his/her place, artist sends, others receive-. What we canobserve currently in our network society is the development of new artforms in which this distinction between sender and receiver or producerand interpreter is not valid anymore. It allows the audience which is not anaudience anymore to experiment and play with other modalities ofcommunication and configuration. Instead of sending a message to areceiver who is outside of the creative process and who afterwards givessense and meaning to this work of art, the media artist now creates anenvironment and structure for production and communication, whichincludes the receiver into an event of the collective and transmutes theformer interpreter into an actor and which interfaces interpretation andcollective acting in a loop.What we can observe in art also happens on the level of society. Networktechnologies enable us to participate. These technologies are not one-waymedia like television where we still can see the clear distinction betweensender and receiver. Everybody now has the possibility of becoming anode, a crossing for receiving, processing and sending information withinthe networks.