Global Living Diary of Digital Art

news, articles, and artist's experiences from around the world


Countries Without Borders, at Abraham Lubelski Gallery, was the third


>out of cyberspace by Internet based Renaissance2001 artists. Forty five

>artists from around the world sent work that was displayed in the two

>galleries, which are located across the street from each other on Broadway in

>New York City. The opening took place on a cool September evening in SoHo.

>Groups of people filled the busy streets; shopping, chatting in coffee shops

>or bars, and of course, attending openings.


>Access to the Gallery, is via a cramped metal lift that slowly ascends to the

>seventh floor. Guests are greeted at the entrance with a wall of information

>about R2001 and the CWB show. The space beyond consists of two large white

>rooms. The hardwood floors and tall walls of the gallery lend a stately

>appearance to the professionally presented, diverse body of work that makes up

>the exhibition.


>The front room contains an interesting mixed media piece, computers displaying

>digital art, and several groups of large paintings. The digital work, on one

>of the computers, cycles through web pages chock full of mesmerizing motion

>and color. This is the work of the show s curator and director Jolanta Gora-

>Wita. The painters work displayed in this room focuses on abstract space.

>Seiji Uoeka, Gerald O Connell,

Something that may surprise those who have seen my work at CWB: those

four pieces were done before I even owned a computer or learned how to

switch one on.

It illustrates an important point about 'digital' as a concept: it has

no content or meaning or significance outside storage, retrieval and

communication !

Computers are just dumb tools that make laborious and repetitive

arithmetical tasks fast and easy. When something is digitised, all that

has happened is that it has been reduced to a simple arithmetical

expression so that dumb software and hardware can process it.

So-called 'smart' software and Artificial Intelligence simply piles up

processes one after the other. It is still 'dumb'.

'Digital' hasn't caused much of a change in the content of art, and it

won't do. It is just another artists' tool.

It is making massive changes in the storage, retrieval and communication

of art, and through this the sociology of the art world will change. It

is about networking and communication. That is why R2001 is different. I

think we are the only people addressing the art-communication issue in

an ambitious and creative way - trying to do something constructive with

the fact that digitisation can bring artists together to share and show

their ideas in a new way: 'without borders', ie without the borders that

kept us locked in geographical, national, stylistic, curatorial etc.

boxes before digital communications freed us.

At CWB we have challenged the traditional 'social construction of public

taste' by allowing art to be brought together and and displayed as a

result of a new communications process.

The content of the work displayed is irrelevant. The way it came

together, and the new links between artists and the public, is

incredibly important.

Well done Yola for making this pioneering show possible !

But I think we need to become clearer in our minds about the importance

of what we have done !

I think Yola went a long way towards understanding this when she chose

the title for the show. Now, I would be interested to hear other

members' thoughts on these issues. In the coming months I will be trying

to put these ideas into documented form so that museums, galleries and

art critics/academics around the world can get a strong message about

R2001 and its importance. It will help me enormously to hear everybody's

thoughts on the matter, so that I can make the documentation fully

representative of the diversity of ideas that exists within the group.

(but please don't write and just say 'R2001 is wonderful' - we all know

that ! I want to know WHY, HOW, and what kind of difference it is

making to how you are all thinking about and making your own art)


> Jurek Kubina, and Aleksi Aaltonen confront

>traditional concepts of painting by exploring the digital mindset and it s

>effect on their medium. Many of the paintings have restricted or

>monochromatic palettes; some deal with the intrusion of the work into 3

>dimensional space; while others examine multiplicity of image and the

>minimization of narrative content.


>An open space comprises the center portion of the gallery. The work in this

>area includes a sound piece with several pen and ink drawings by Judith

>Juntura Miller, as well as, two nicely crafted books of digitally created

>images and text by Anne Eldredge Harris. The adjacent wall is adorned by a

>large body print. As we enter the back of the gallery there is a cluster of

>small, yet powerful, abstract charcoals by Japanese artist Yumi Matsumoto.


>The second room of the gallery is where the refreshments are, guests mill

>about sipping wine and discussing the show. The artwork here spans a variety

>of mediums including: several examples of digital and traditional photography,

>a well made found object assemblage by German artist Hans Kotter, and a few

>paintings whose scale ranges from small to immense. Along the far wall of this

>space is a video installation consisting of three TVs atop black pedestals.

>The black and white images displayed document a series of collaborative

>performances by ArtSite2000 that explore artificial restrictions and

>boundaries imposed by modern life. The videotapes are set on continuous loops

>causing hypnotic juxtapositions of images and sounds, filling the room with an

>Orwellian aura.


>The lights in the galleries front room are switched off for the final event of

>the opening, a projected presentation of HTML and Java based artwork by R2001

>members. A small crowd remains and gathers seated on the floor. The images are

>simple yet direct. They move, slide or fade away only to be replaced by other

>digital mosaics. This experimental work presents a glimpse of a new medium

>that artists are beginning to use to explore color, narrative, motion and



>With the conclusion of the digital presentation, the group of artists and

>their friends close up and head off to "Wax", a trendy New York night club

>around the corner from the gallery. Brawny bouncers stand outside, the place

>is roped off, and like many SoHo clubs they pick through the crowd, allowing

>only the hippest patrons inside. The gang from R2001 is shown in and we are

>seated on low velveteen couches around tables of food, graciously prepared by

>our hostess and her friends. The club is bathed in red and purple light, chic

>New Yorkers, in stylish dress, dance, sip martinis, and puff on cigars. The DJ

>is spinning music ranging from the Beastie Boys to the Gypsy Kings, quite a

>mix! A seemingly endless supply of wine keeps flowing. The cigarette smoke

>grows thick. Everyone is smiling, overcoming language barriers, and discussing

>art. Seiji, the founder of R2001, takes out a sketch pad, does some quick

>drawings and then passes the paper around. Others sketch as well, or laugh at

>the caricatures of themselves in the drawings.


>In a short period of time, a group of strangers with only a common bond based

>on art and the Internet has grown to become a small international family. The

>future is bright with opportunities. The technology will undoubtedly improve

>making global collaborations such as Country Without Borders more accessible.

>With this "do it yourself" spirit and a disregard for conventional wisdom,

>there is nothing to stop R2001 from fulfilling it s mission of creating a

>global art community for the new millennium.


Gerald O'Connell





[r2001 01354] my thoughts on CWB


Sat, 19 Sep 1998 13:46:21 +0100


"Gerald O'Connell" <>






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