A new publication about net art

"Servers correspond to stargates, connecting routes between different worlds, are teleporter zones in the unreal tournament. Art servers stand as intermediate zones of commercial net sites and net art. Now it is a matter of reflecting on these crystallization points and their connections reflected in their facets, of thinking, acting and processing in an anthropological and sociological sense", says editor margarete jahrmann in the introductory essay of this small reader "art_server: stargate to netculture", which has just been published. And indeed, artservers are a central but so far under-theorized aspect of net art. Except for a conference that took place in london in 1998, this topic has unfortunately hardly been dealt with so far "art_server: stargate to netculture" now wants to catch up.

The paperback booklet summarizes lectures and artist statements that have been made in connection with three exhibitions that the editor, the viennese media artist margarete jahrmann, organized in the o.K. Centrum fur gegenwartskunst in linz has curated. What one learns about these exhibitions from "art_server" unfortunately little, though they seem to have been interesting attempts to solve a problem that has plagued net art from the beginning: the inability to exhibit it in traditional art spaces. Also the list of artists shows pleasantly little of the "usual suspects" at.

If you want to know more about who and how art servers are run, you will be disappointed: the reader largely ignores economic and social aspects and concentrates on the contextual and aesthetic significance of art servers. Even an overview of which art servers exist, how they came into being and who operates them is missing in the publication. Instead, theoretical essays predominate, some of which, however, are overloaded to the limit of readability with net gibberish and foppish anglicisms. Funnily enough, the only articles that can be read without an english-german dictionary are the artist statements translated from english. Thus "stagate" an interesting collection of sources, his self-chosen claim, the phanomenon "artserver" to present and analyze comprehensively, the reader does not come close.

Margartete jahrmann; o.K. Center for contemporary art oo (ed.): art_server: stargate to netculture – texte und positionen zu netz-kunst, -kontext und -kultur, vienna 2000 (triton verlag), 76 pages with 32 illustrations, german and english, os 220/30 dm, with contributions by konrad becker, eric davis, kristin lucas, james wallbank, margarete jahrmann, thomas feuerstein u.A.