Highscreen, hacking public spaces with media archaeology


Net.Art already belongs to media archaeology as Oslo 2003 “Written in Stone” exhibition clearly stated. Exhibiting net art has always been all about commitment, because it is simply not possible to avoid interpretation if you want to show this art in a way that engages the audience in an exhibition space beyond the click of a mouse. But what happens if the action of exhibiting net.art, becomes an artwork in itself and the display area is the public space? In his latest public intervention “Highscreen” Aram Bartholl showed us how public spaces can be hacked by a curatorial act of media archeology. He revived dumped CRT screen from the streets of Berlin to show Internet art on them before the electronic devices, as he puts it, “eventually go to electronic hell”. He wondered around the town to find dumped monitors, which he connected to an external drive and powered to show works like ‘404’ by JODI 1997, ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ by Evan Roth 2010, ‘therevolvinginternet.com’ by Constant Dullaart 2010, ‘Super Mario Clouds’ by Cory Arcangel 2002. Most of the time, unaware pedestrians passed by without paying attention to the old devices and their swan song. Faithful to his art practice, Aram Bartholl thematises the relationships between net data space and public every day life. He questions the technology driven society and the tension of public on- and offline space: “In which form does the network data world manifest itself in our everyday life? What returns from cyberspace into physical space? How do digital innovations influence our everyday actions?” This specific project though digs deeper and engages with what the core of media archaeology is – ie is not necessarily about contextual information about past media, but creating such situations where you get into contact with media in its radical operability and temporality.

Valentina Culatti