Comune di Roma
Assessorato alle politiche culturali

Palazzo Delle Esposizioni
Rome, September 16 to October 30, 1998

The Sparkling Conscience
Dalla video arte all’arte interattiva
a cura di Paola Sega Serra Zanetti e Maria Grazia Tolomeo
"PASSAGES", project for an image
executed by Manuela Corti with the collaboration of 23 International artists
The project is a part of the section Web Art in the exhibit "La Coscienza Luccicante" (The Sparkling Conscience)

The project has been ideated and executed for experimenting in a direct and interactive way the communication potential of the new media network with a multi-media literary-artistic purpose, for experimenting in the field the multiple possibilities offered by the simultaneous direct communication among several artirts scattered over the planet, but working together in real time on the same project. The subject proposed to the artists from different countries who took part in the project was the re-translation in their respective language and the graphic interpretation of 23 passages taken from the novel "ANTROPOECCENTRICO" by Gianni Actis Barone (published by Edizioni dell'Ortica - Bologna Italy 1998). The whole project is presented in two languages (Italian and English), and benefits from the support of Daniele Perra, a specialist in multi-media communication and new technologies.

The project was conceived by Manuela Corti, a multimedia artist who has worked in the net for a few years. After an assiduous search performed through the web groups of the cultural societies of the world, and also utilizing the ties with former well-tested collaborators met in a previous web art project (Artifact - commissioned by D-Telekom, 1995), she contacted and selected a group of 22 artists. Manuela Corti used the novel "Antropoeccentrico" by Gianni Actis Barone as the meeting place to accomplish a large body of work in the aesthetic/literary field, using the computer interface as a technological medium. The planning phase of the work was very complex, because not only was it necessary to find artists willing to work on the project for about six months, and to ask an expert of multimedia communication and novel technologies, Daniele Perra, to participate for the same amount of time and with extraordinary dedication, given the sheer number of works to view and interpret, but also it was necessary to make the net users understand that the themes sent to the artists in Italian and English - thanks to Bruna Pegoraro Brylawski's on line translations from North Carolina - became modified in the different countries (where the artists actually operated) evoking by the sound-graphic translation and the translation into each one's mother tongue other perceptive interpretations. Therefore, the language used in the novel was a message the meaning of which could vary according to the artist's origin. To make this work uniform also required a constant network toil to timely coordinate the weekly new release. It was also necessary to create a meeting point, a web site. That is to say to create a space to collect the different contributions. In its present form, the work consists of 350 HTML pages, 500 files of static and animated images, 25 movies and 30 sound files, occupying a disk space of about 35MB (a rather impressive size, if one thinks that the site is devoted exclusively to an artistic event). Recently the magazine Flash Art (Summer 1998) stressed this event with an article by Gianni Romano, emphasizing the dichotomy between language and image that was created by this operation. It needs to be added that Manuela Corti, by her own choice and on purpose, did not want to be associated with any other site or organization already existing, because this choice on one hand would have invalidated the unified message that one wanted to communicate by the multimedia work, and on the other could have hidden all the work behind files or pages that did not belong to the project. To create a site is almost like to imagine a meeting place, and the original site, just because it was based on the imagination, later needed to be modified. To this day the welcome pages for the web visitors await new changes, such as is typical and necessary of web art. During the 23 weeks of active work, the site registered over 10,000 visitors, and was recognized with thousands of e-mail messages by artists interested in the progress of the work and curious visitors alike. To quote De Kerckhove, web art cannot be static, because in that way it would simply reproduce the art for a gallery or a museum, while the net survives on continuous connections making it unstable and therefore mutable. Manuela Corti's project is a good example of this, as it displays the mutable aspects that are created by multiple connections, and it also represents the initial part of a work that is presented in its awaiting phase. The web scholars know that the Internet plays a psycho-social role ever more cogent, since beside the most obvious aspect of communication-image-word-sound, and also beside the polycentric role of the web, the net is modifying languages, introducing words, acronyms, signs that will influence in the future years not only art, but also all those social aspects that make the global village the tribe of the future. Therefore, the curators of the exhibit, Maria Grazia Tolomeo Speranza e Paola Sega Serra Zanetti, elicited and accepted with enthusiasm Manuela Corti's project. Such a project, indeed, in its becoming without end points plays with the problem of consciousness, and provokes heightened attention and expectations for a continuous flow. Web art is also an occasion to clarify, define the situation, and the "sparkling conscience", through this new offering, is again represented as an indefinite becoming, as an exaggerated image of every ancient magic.

Participating artists and collaborators: Alegi (Italia), Barile (Italia), Benson (Nuova Zelanda), Boone (Brasile), Pegoraro-Brylawski (USA), Brascher (USA), Cacciola-Donati (Paesi Baschi), Cicalese (Italia), Corti (Italia), Doctorovich (Argentina), Donsbach (USA), Engel (Scozia), Fischer (Ungheria), Françoise (Inghilterra), Greypink (Olanda), Jerenec (Slovenia), Kantzky (Sud Africa), Niranen (Finlandia), Perra (Italia), Powell (USA), Sakanoshita (Giappone), Tapp (USA), Trisnadi (Indonesia), Verle (Brasile).

PASSAGES webmistress
M a n u e l a Co r t i