The Canadian Artist Robert Adrian Smith, who had lived in Vienna, Austria, since 1972, passed away on Monday September 7th 2015. Robert Adrian X is widely known as an art and telecommunications pioneer, but also was a painter who developed an analytic, conceptual practice, uniting aesthetics and politics in his answers to the question “What is Art?”
Robert Adrian X is one of the true pioneers of art as telecommunications. This file presents just a few random samples from an interview with him about the need for a history of media art. Bob mixes his thoughts about the meaning of communications with his memoirs about working those technologies from the late 1970s onwards. The beginnings were characterised by the specifically Canadian situation, a vast country that needed telecommunications to keep its ends together.
Year by year Ars Electronica gets larger, greater and more successful. One visible sign of this success are the blinking lights of the ACE at night, like an upgraded spaceship out of 'Close Encounter of the Third Kind'.
This text is the preliminary outcome of a research project going back to 2003/2004 and developed jointly by Franz Xaver and Armin Medosch. It has a theoretical and artistic dimension as well as an activist one. At the point of its inception stood questions relating to the crisis of art in informational capitalism. The project sets out to bring some clarifications by word and deed about the relationships between art and technology, art and science and the role of the artist at the beginning of the 21st Century.
The most influential discourse on media art up to and around 1995 uncritically based itself on techno-science and the techno-imaginary which it creates. It offers a technologically deterministic interpretation of the relationship between societies and social change. This discourse was successful in institution building and is still very influential today, even though its foundations can shown to be problematic. This is the essence of my 2005 MA thesis on "Technological Determinism in Media Art" which I republish here due to difficulties with my old site.
This text is my first attempt to reflect some of the issues arising from the two Waves exhibitions. The exhibitions in Riga (2006) and Dortmund (2008) were conceived as research projects. By looking at waves as "a principle material and medium of art" the exhibitions were made with an outlook on building a bottom-up, materialist theory of media art.