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FotoFest 2002 Exhibits
Organized by FotoFest

New Technology Exhibitions and Performances

Re-media: net art pieces

Re-media points to a re-definition of media and the re-consideration of concepts relating to mediated realities that is brought about by Internet art, specifically as it relates to photography. All of the net art pieces selected for Fotofest in some way relate to the medium of photography, be it through the use of photos or through expanding and reconfiguring notions of the photographic image.

Three of the works--"NYC Map," "Collected Visions," and "Identity Swap Database"--actually incorporate photographs. Making use of the archiving and hyperlinking features of the Internet, each of the projects addresses different issues relating to personal memories and identity, and their meaning and interpretation within a collective, distributed space.

Other projects ("Re:mote_corp@REALities," "SmellBytes" and "Multi-Cultural Recycler") explore questions surrounding the live, streamed image as we encounter it through Web cameras or CU See Me. The "live" image and communication distributed over a many-to-many broadcasting system does not only seem to up the ante when it comes to the supposed "realism" of photography; it also creates a new space for communication, aesthetics and social relationships.

The concept of the (photo) collage is at the core of both "Multi-Cultural Recycler" and "ęBots," which, respectively, use the Internet's potential for remote image manipulation and instant distribution to investigate the aesthetics of recycling and the validity of established boundaries of property and copyright.

While all of the projects in the net art selection of Fotofest are very much embedded in and defined by the medium they use, they also underline the various aspects of reconfiguration that the medium of photography is experiencing in the age of digital reproduction.

Amy Alexander
The Multi-Cultural Recycler
When a visitor accesses the "Multi-Cultural Recycler" website, the Recycler selects two to three sites from an assortment of sites with Web cameras, and downloads the most recent image from these cameras. After the images are selected and obtained, the Recycler digitally processes them in order to create the "recycled" image-a collage of the source materials. Alternatively, the visitor can assume responsibility for the selection of cameras by choosing the "Make your own Cultural Compost" option. This option also provides the opportunity for visitors to re-recycle images generated by previous visitors, who, by exhibiting their work in the Multi-Cultural Recycler Gallery, have given tacit approval to becoming objects of cultural recycling. Visitors to the Web site can also view the source images, and link to the original sites they are coming from in order to learn their original context.

Marketa Bankova
"NYCMap" is a virtual photo guide to New York City. While "walking" through the Web pages by following directionals (north, south, east, west), visitors may find themselves "standing" on a particular street, looking at photographs and reading stories or listening to sounds relating to them. In contrast to traditional maps, the aim of "NYCMap" is not to document the layout of the city or point out its most famous tourist attractions. Instead it strives to capture atmosphere and at the same time is a personal diary.

Heath Bunting and Olia Lialina
Identity Swap Database
The project invites users to submit their photo and personal information in order to create a database for switching identities. Visitors to the Web site may fill out a form listing "official" characteristics of identity-such as height, eye-color, nationality etc.-and donate a photo, and/or search the database for people who share these markers of identity and might be candidates for a possible "identity switch." As a conceptual project, the "Identity Swap Database" points to the fundamental differences between concepts of on-line and "physical" identity. Conventional passport-style ID labels and tags have become meaningless for understanding the "disembodied" virtual subject, and the easy reproduction and dissemination of information facilitates a virtual identity exchange.

Tina LaPorta
Re:mote_corp@REALities, 2001
"Re:Mote Corp Realities" weaves a linear remix of Web camera images (showing people connecting online on CU See Me sites), text extracted from real-time chats, and voiceovers of interviews with New York City net artists to create a kind of existential, telematic "You've Got Mail." While fragments of text extracted from online chat rooms are scrolling across the screen, two windows display images of participants from CU See Me sites and live web cams from dispersed geographical locations. The voiceover narrative consists of brief excerpts from interviews LaPorta conducted with artists, theorists, and curators who work with digital media. Juxtaposing different forms of communication (from text chat to the live image and interviews), LaPorta examines the effect of communication technologies on social relations.

Jenny Marketou
The protagonist of Jenny Marketou's Smell.Bytes-Chris.053-is a knowbot, an intelligent agent who, driven by his insatiable olfactory desires, "sniffs" out the Internet. Chris.053 is quite literally on a hunt for peoples' smells: grabbing their images from CU See Me chat rooms and inviting visitors to the site to submit an image of themselves, he analyzes their facial structures and breaks them down into bits and bytes-algorithms that correspond to smells such as lemony, musty, harsh, sandalwood, jam, or skunk. The website consists of an odor lab, a stinky gallery, as well as a fan club where people can participate in the analysis of their face and determination of their smell by submitting their images and sending "smell cards" to friends.

Mark Napier
©Bots invites visitors to the website to create a collage of a creature by choosing from categories of body parts (arms, legs, eyes etc.). The parts are components of familiar pop-culture icons, often copyrighted and created by corporations to represent their corporate identity or their products. These icons are memes, ideas and cultural information units that replicate through communication, live in our minds and might even influence our decisions. By allowing users to reconstruct this corporate property and distribute it on-line, ©Bots becomes a tool that combats the toxic effect of an overload of corporate meme and allows users to take back control over the meme population of their own minds.

Lorie Novak (with Clilly Castiglia, Betsey Kershaw, and Kerry O'Neill)
Collected Visions
Collected Visions is a participatory Web site that explores the relationship between family photographs and memory. Visitors submit images to a growing archive of family photographs and create photo stories. They can search and view images from the on-line database of more than 1200 images and then create and submit live photographic essays exploring the power of family snapshots. Changing exhibitions of selected submitted essays are presented in the Collected Visions Gallery and then archived in the Collected Visions Museum. Family snapshots and images from the media are used to explore the relationships between personal and collective memory. Collected Visions and its archive will serve as a testimony to the multiple visions of how we view the snapshot and family photographs at this time in history.

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