Andreas Broeckmann on Sat, 22 Aug 1998 21:27:18 +0100

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Syndicate: short report about vr@v2

V2_Organisation / V2_Lab: VIRTUAL REVOLUTIONS 2

In June/July 1998, V2_Organisation Rotterdam organised a week-long workshop
with eleven artists from seven East and West European countries. The
workshop was held in the new V2_Lab, International Laboratory for the
Unstable Media. During the week, the artists worked together under the
theme of 'Virtual Revolutions: The Doppelgaenger Revolution', exploring the
aesthetics and the politics of online identities. The theme raised the
question of personal identities in virtual environments. In a week of
brainstorming and hands-on workshop sessions, the participants explored
ideas about selves, others, avatars and agents in virtual environments.

Important features of this workshop were that the participants knew little
about each other's work before they came to Rotterdam, there was no
pressure to produce a specific result, and there was no strong leader who
would push the discussions or the working periods on the computers in a
certain direction. This openness was a risk because it meant that the group
had to find its own rhythm and goals for the week, but it also offered the
opportunity to allow for accidental and unexpected things to happen. In the
end, it seems that this strategy was successful, allowing for a very
relaxed and open process to unfold. An interesting observation was that the
consistency of the workshop was greatly enhanced by putting the
participants up in shared accommodation, so that they could also spend
leisure time in the mornings and evenings together with other workshoppers.

Several productive strands emerged from this process in which the
participants worked together in different constellations. One strand were
communication spaces and online environments like IRC, the Palace, MUDs,
etc. Palace-junkie Terhi Penttil� (FI) and Katja Martin (D) with her
expertise in designing multi-user and 3D-environments were joined, amongst
others, by Graziella Tomasi (NL), who is running an identity agency on the
Internet, and Anneke Pettican (UK) whose work has dealt a lot with
surveillance and urban existence. To this exciting mix, Taylor Nuttal (UK)
added his know-how and ideas about VRML-based design. In two separate
sessions, the artist Debra Solomon (NL) presented and discussed her current
online-performance project The_Living, and Kit Blake (NL) talked about the
Dutch Palace project Havendam, which he coordinated as a project leader.

Nikolay Milev and Dimitrina Sevova (BG) focused on the production of
several video interviews about the workshop and its themes. Dimitrina was
additionally helped by Vesna Manojlovic (YU) to bring her first WWW-project
online. Stefan Saskov (MK) also made extensive use of the video studio, as
did Daniel Garcia Andujar (ES) who was working on a new video clip for his
ongoing project, Technology To The People. Together with the Novi Sad-based
programmer Branko Milosavljevic (YU), Daniel also started a new project
which will be developed in the coming months. And a lot more was happening
in-between people, machines and online worlds.

A term that came up during the first discussions at the beginning of the
workshop was 'irrelevant encounters', and the question of what is
irrelevant, how you can define irrelevance and how you can make things and
memories irrelevant, became a red thread for many creative sessions and
conversations. The culmination of this was the participation of the whole
group in a net-radio broadcast on the last day of the workshop, under the
collective name of Sounds Irrelevant. This frantic online performance,
which saw the emergence of interface artist Jukka Ylitalo (FI) as 'DJ
Krasch' and the inception of the new genre of 'IRC-based text-to-speech
composition for live-streamed online radio', was a playful and exstatic
finale to a week in which many ideas circulated, projects and concepts were
forged and questioned, and in which friendships were made.

(VR @ V2_ was organised by V2_Organisation, Rotterdam, NL and coordinated
by Andreas Broeckmann <>, with special support from Anne
Nigten <>, manager of the V2_Lab. Results can be viewed at