International Symposium
April 11 and 12, 1997
Turin Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea


Out of a chaos of arguments and conjectures about the future, the subject of the nets - especially Internet - continues to open up a whole new set of multiple perspectives and, at the same time, to arouse criticism. Next to the growing enthusiasm rising from a now tangible union between net connectivity and virtual reality (VRML, Shockwave, Real Audio, etc.), together with the enormous interest which the nets continue to draw from the scientific community, thanks to the growing opportunities of research synergies and social applications, we are currently witnessing - no use denying it - a situation of increasing concern: overloads of indiscriminate information, possible psychological disturbances and paradoxical expectations of blackouts are but a few of the most frequent reasons of doubt.It is very hard, even for those who insist on the creative and communicative aspects of the net, to ignore such alarming derivatives as viruses, acts of piracy, repressive and censorial actions by the governments, misuses by a more or less organized criminality.
In the meantime, in the so called "real" world, relegation and desperation are still growing, in an infosphere which, being at a technological disadvantage, is combining together in a new third world the suburbs of many big cities of advanced nations and enormous areas of underdeveloped countries.


In the light of the above, the seminar aims at inserting a few probes into the intangible but nevertheless real territories of the nets, including some metaphorical shadows which stems from them and often elude analysis. The perspective, as in the tradition of all the work done by the people who have gathered around the ARSLAB project in this last decade of the XXth Century (from the exhibitions of "ARSLAB 1 - Methods and Emotions", Mole Antonelliana, Turin, 1992, and "ARSLAB 2 - The Senses of the Virtual", Promotrice Belle Arti, Turin, 1995, to the seminars - once again in Turin - "Artistic intuition and artificial environment" and "The new artificial reality", Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, 1993 and 1995) is that of artistic experimentation, of crossings of boundaries between languages, of interchanges of reference systems and metaphors.

Once again, as it has often happened with artistic experimentation, different works, projects and theoretical considerations will help to trigger off the question whether art, from visual art to music and literature, is able to send off forewarning signals, possible solutions, chances of progress. Is the connective system of the nets, with its lights and shadows, really producing an epistemological fracture before our "traditional" expressive languages? Which are the actual tangible accomplishments offered us by artists, considered in a wide sense, who work in the net or who in any case put connectivity among their principal objectives?


During the seminar, various artistic experiences will be presented and, from his "Netville" outpost, Giorgio Vaccarino will outline some examples of these increasingly flowing texts and connecting "landscapes": "if the traditional forms of urban elements are more and more loosing their capability of being recognized, the cities should, as soon as possible, offer accesses to the virtual world, through the sites which are traditionally aimed to the urban communication; monuments and places must become the plastic interfaces with the numerical space".
The French artist Olivier Auber, "Generateur Poietique", which takes into account the relation between the collective author and net art.
From Germany, the Kr+cF (Knowbotic Research) with its "Dialogue with Knowbotic South", will investigate the symbiosis between the Artificial Intelligence and the experience of what the authors call "our new second nature".
Among the other artists there will also be Ennio Bertrand, Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss, Piero Gilardi, Tommaso Tozzi.
From the InterCommunication Center of Tokyo (ICC), will be presented the research-work and the accomplishments of one of the most important art foundations in Japan.
Among the experts, will take part to the symposium: Savino Bellasalma, Pier Luigi Capucci, Antonio Caronia, Giovanni Ferrero, Carlo Infante, Maria Grazia Mattei, Massimo Melotti, Riccardo Notte, Pier Giorgio Odifreddi, Riccardo Passoni, Franco Prono, Pierre Restany, Peter Schwarz, Lorenzo Taiuti and Tommaso Trini.
The symposium will be coordinated by Franco Torriani.

This symposium will include a few preliminary meetings:
- 19th October 1996, Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, Paris (in collaboration with Claude Faure and the Ars Technica association);
- February 1997, Goethe-Institut Turin, (in collaboration with the institute).


On the whole, the survey promoted by the ARSLAB Project Committee and the other events mentioned up to now, are all part of a wide research promoted by the ARSLAB Committee in view of the next exhibition, which should take place in Turin in 1998. One of the first outlines of the research, of which the meeting in Paris on the 19th of October 1996 at the Cité (La Villette) represents a preliminary stage, proposes at the opening phase three main leads: the codes, the interfaces and the rizomatic paths in art.
The question about codes, considered basically as systems of signals, concentrates on the trend which insists on the crossing over - in art as well - from form to codes, thus leading to the crossing over "from forces to codes", which, from an indeterministic scientific view, is a consequence of the abandonment of the physical paradigm in favour of the biological one. Beyond the relationship between human beings and machines, the discussion about interfaces begins with an exemplification, so to speak, of evolved interfaces. In this sense the example offered by the Knowbotic Research group is very appropriate. In their "Dialogue with the Knowbotic South", the interface is not a mere instrument to navigate in cyberspace any more, but it becomes rather the intelligent agent (the knowbot) which decodifies, selects and combines, in this particular case, the data from the monitoring sites in Antartica.
Even if the nets remain the main reference point, codes and interfaces are also considered under the aspect of a connectivity which can be traced, in different ways, throughout the artistic languages of the XXth Century. The reference model is that of the rhizomatic routes (as Deleuze elaborated them), which combine through underground impulses the "air monuments" of Balla with the computer aided nature of the Knowbotic Research, or the gestuality of the body-artist Marina Abramovitch with the physiological interface of the RV "Osmose" by Char Davies.

The symposium "The Shadow of the Nets" is supported by the the Cultural Council of the City of Turin.

Production: Arslab Project Committee, Turin.
The organization and the management are under the care of Extramuseum, Turin.

Contribution to the Symposium:
Ars Tehnica, Paris
Goethe-Institut, Turin
Mac Luhan Program, Toronto
ICC Tokyo;
Biennale del Mediterraneo, Turin
C.I.C.V. Montbéliard.

Technical and service collaboration:
Euphon, Turin, Lufthansa, Turin, Telecom Italia, Turin.

Information about Arslab 3 project:

Starting from November 1996, a meeting-space, ARSLAB BOULEVARD, is open on-line in collaboration with the Netville Project.
The URL of the site is:
To submit an intervention or to receive a "digest", contact:
Communication to "The Shadow of the Nets": c/o EXTRAMUSEUM * VIA SAN FRANCESCO DA PAOLA 16 * 10123 TORINO * ITALY * TEL +39 11 835060 * FAX 8127736 *

With theArsLab Committee are collaborating:
Philippe Bootz, Davide Bramante, Anna Marchisio, Bruna Piras, Antonio Rollo, Lucina Savarro, Elisabetta Tolosano



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