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[nettime-lat] Artbyte.. se murió...
:: óscar a. garcía : {AT} amsterdam.nettime.org: on Sat, 3 Nov 2001 16:35:07 +0100 (CET)

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[nettime-lat] Artbyte.. se murió...


Hace no mucho alguien por aquí lanzaba un correo-e queriendo provocar
preguntando las razones por las cuáles el Festival At/Syber de Arte
Electrónica no se había llevado acabo... pregunta por demás necia ante la
terrorifica coyuntura actual... Ahora me entero que Artbyte ha desaparecido
y que su tiraje era de 40,000 ejemplares... Y me entero justo en el momento
en que la imprenta está por entregarme el # 4 de At/Syber.... al final del
texto, que pueden leer tras estas lineas, Jason Spingarn-Koff dice; "the
global new media art community needs a print publication like the one
Artbyte was trying to become." Y yo me pregunto... ¿servirá de algo una
revista con intención, tiraje e interéses similar que se realiza desde el
tercer mundo y en español? Personalmente no lo creo... la miseria en México
ha generado una gran frustración canibal que hace más facil el asombro ante
el exotismo de lo extranjero, que hace más facil destruir que construir...
Lástima por Artbyte... y más lástima que At/Syber se haga desde el tercer
mundo, que dj Linga no tenga la fama de dj Spooky, que las ideas de Raymundo
Mier no tengan el alcance privilegiado en la distribución que tienen las de
Mark Dery y que aquí los artistas digitales compren y se maravillen con
Artbyte pero nunca procuren, ni apoyen, un medio propio e independiente que
refleje su propia realidad local y su pensar.... pequeños inconvenientes del

Un abrazo,
Óscar A. García
Director y Editor
:: At/Syber > revista de pensamiento y arte electrónica
[ de venta en almacenes y puestos de periódicos en todo méxico ]


Date: 10.31.2001
From: Jason Spingarn-Koff (jasonskoff {AT} yahoo.com)
Subject: Artbyte "Suspended"
Keywords: publish, fund, disppearance

After three and a half years of struggling to be the "magazine of
digital arts and culture," Artbyte appears to be giving up.

"With the economic situation and advertising, it would be crazy on my
part to go ahead," said publisher and Editor-in-Chief Gabriella Fanning.

Fanning is reluctant to say the magazine is dead, but this much is
clear: last Thursday she laid-off her editorial and advertising team in
New York, and publication is "suspended."

The final December issue is complete, but won't be printed unless more
advertisers or financial backers can be found, Fanning said. The
comprehensive website (http://artbyte.com) is also likely to close in
the coming months.

Since its first issue in October 1998, Artbyte tried to cover the wide
gamut of digital culture -- everything from Net art to electronic music
to video games. There seemed to be a growing niche: filling the gap
between mainstream technology magazines, like Wired, and specialized art
sites like Rhizome.

But bridging such a wide gulf isn't easy, as shown in the very first
issue: articles ranged from "Monsters of Grace: Philip Glass interviewed
about his new digital opera" to the less highbrow "Art of the Morph."

Recent issues featured cover stories on digital cinema, architectural
visions of the future, and artists who've "crossed-over" to new
technologies. Along the way, the magazine attracted some top thinkers
and personalities to its ranks, such as the Guggenheim's Jon Ippolito,
musician Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky), new media pundit Mark Dery, and
scholar Lev Manovich.

But the path was "tumultuous," and the magazine consumed a series of six
editors, said recent-hire Reena Jana -- whose first issue may never come
to press. Jana said the editorial switches were due to "growing pains,"
common to many new businesses. Still, all that change was confusing to
some readers.

"You never knew what the next Artbyte was going to be," said Rhizome
founder Mark Tribe. "I think they've been struggling for a long time to
define an identity and editorial voice and audience, and they never
really succeeded in creating a publication people felt they needed to

"I honestly wasn't completely sure who the audience was for the
magazine," said Magdalena Sawon, co-director of New York's Postmasters
Gallery. She said she liked the magazine, and read it often, but
sometimes found the arts coverage "a little spotty."

Even so, the magazine was widely read among fans of digital art and
culture, and circulation grew to 40,000. Artbyte seemed to be finally
reaching its stride.

"I'm thrilled to say that the publication has truly begun to come into
its own," wrote Jana in an introduction to the unpublished December
issue. "Our content reflects what [Artbyte] always was and is: smart,
informed, critical, yet fresh and fun, serving up analysis and images
that reflect how we live and create with new technologies."

The issue promised features on art, fashion, and atomic-age design;
extensive video game reviews; and even Ethan Hawke on digital

But the magazine still isn't profitable, said its publisher, especially
after advertising revenues plummeted with the dot-com bust. Fanning
financed Artbyte largely by herself, along with the magazine Art on

"To handle two publications on my own is quite heavy," she said. "At a
certain point I had to sacrifice one... My heart is broken." (Meanwhile,
Art on Paper will remain in print.)

Certainly the magazine isn't alone -- it seems the economic climate has
killed the lion's share of technology and media magazines, from The
Standard to Silicon Alley Reporter to Brill's Content.

And so, once again, digital culture faces a void. Sure, there's still
the UK's Mute magazine, the Leonardo journal, Rhizome, and glossy
magazines that occasionally cover art and technology. But what ties it
all together, and reaches a general audience?

"I think [Artbyte] has done some exceptional articles over the last few
years," said Steve Dietz, a prominent digital arts curator at the Walker
Art Center in Minneapolis. "Anytime there's a loss of intelligent
coverage of digital culture, that's a big loss... It will definitely
leave a gap."

"It's sad," agrees Tribe, "because I think the magazine could have been
successful. I think Artbyte's disappearance will leave a real gap in the
publishing world, and the global new media art community needs a print
publication like the one Artbyte was trying to become."


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