Branka Ćurčić, Zoran Pantelić – Public Netbase: Non Stop Future, New Practices in Art and Media

Branka Ćurčić

Revolver, ISBN 9783865884558, Germany, 2008, English
t0/Public Netbase has undoubtedly played an important historical role in new media art and politics. Konrad Becker, its initiator and the visionary behind Public Netbase, placed the epicentre of its activities in Vienna in early nineties (its website was one of the very first on the scene with plenty of texts and biographies). This anthology of texts spans a decade of essays, which detail events from the early pioneer days to recent times. We enjoy recollections of many famous artists and performers who have stopped in the Austrian capital for conferences or performances. Edited by two of the friend association members, this book crystallizes the unique approach employed by Netbase from the very beginning. In fact, as Francisco de Sousa Webber (co-founder of Netbase) reminds, their tradition was “dissent, spectacle and guerrilla humour”. Thus the most influential new media culture institution in Vienna has always been involved with many challenging and controversial projects that were ahead of their time, despite threats to its long term survival in terms of a lack of public funding. Indeed, Netbase was one of the most radical efforts to unmask issues of state control and propaganda, funding subversive public art and discourse (for example, their (in)famous event “Sex, Lies and the Internet” that threatened their activities after loud complaints from Haider) Unmoved by these pressures, Becker never really stopped his work, actually shifting to a more personal level, publishing a number of books in the last few years and arranging his series of events and conferences all over the world. Thank God he never gave up.