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dx and new media

Catherine David (
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 18:28:34 +0200

I have often described the documenta X as a cultural event, presenting contemporary aesthetic practices (the term "art" is no longer suitable for describing or summarizing the heterogeneous artistic methods of our time) in a manner as diverse as possible and in a variety of facets. In order to do justice to the wide spectrum of artistic forms of expression, in order to provide the propriate frameworks for critical analysis, interdisciplinary voices and individual tempos of presentation and reception, the documenta X is taking place in different "spaces".
By that I do not mean only the five exhibition locations along the pacours. Naturally the exhibition itself is one documenta X "space". But to the same degree so is the book - containing a wealth of images as well as providing an opportunitiy for the exhaustive treatment of theoretical issues. Or the "100 Days - 100 Guests" program - a lively forum for debate, hosting speakers who will address the aspects of our global culture represented neither in the exhibition nor in any other form. A special documenta space - special because it is subject to a unique set of laws - is the dX internet website. Of the concentric circles which constitute the cultural event documenta X, the website is so to speak the outermost ring. It allows participation in the event Kassel in the combination which distinguishes internet: within a framework both intimate and global, in one´s own living room and in the most varied corners of our world.


Thus the documenta X takes New Media into account, although I would clearly like to refute that unexplainably popular opinion that it will be an exhibition full of monitors and computer terminals. I have frequently been asked about my relationship to the New Media. My answer has always been: New technologies are nothing other than new means to an end. Alone they are of significance; it always depends upon how they are applied. I am against naive faith in progress, glorification of the possibilities of technological developments. Much of what today´s artists produce with New Media is very boring. But I am just as opposed to the deuncination of technology. For me technology in itself is not a category according to which I judge works. This type of categorization is just as outmoded as division into classical art genres (painting, sculpture...). I am interested in the idea of a project; ideally the means of realizing the project should arise from the idea itself.

In art the object is undergoing a crisis. There are increasing doubts as to wheter artistic expression really seeks a bounded, three-dimensional form, displayable within the classical presentation framework of the „white cube" and perceivable by the beholder in a frontal encounter (subject-object). In the virtual space formed by internet this crisis is particularly evident. The works or the artists evolve according to the specific characteristics of the medium and as a rule are therefore processual, interactive projects, neither hierarchically nor linearly structured. But it is the idea which is decisive, not the technological complexity.
It is my hope that the dX website will become a place or space in which
many captivating ideas are introduced, developed and discussed.

Catherine David