View on the Passages

by Daniele Perra

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Evanescences of the contemporary

By Daniele Perra

The entry into the art world of the computer, a means to create and visualize as yet unexplored universes, ideal instrument for the fine tuning of artificial environments that now can not only be observed but also traveled over, marked the beginning of a new Era. The possibility of connecting several distant computers through a network provided artists with new creative potential, making the network into a sort of "hypermedium" capable of unifying many communication channels, and of creating fusions among different levels of communication. The World Wide Web joins the domain of media such as radio, telephone, fax, TV, satellites for the connection and involvement of different places and realities by enabling a latent communication circuit through performances from afar or visual information exchanges in real time. The WWW not only provides the ability of moving a great amount of information, but is also able to house and store it.
Analog is substituted by digital transmission, with the capability of joining sound, image, and text files into one synthetic environment. The World Wide Web becomes a true network-based open space, a virtual arena in which many users are called to interact actively and to witness the generation of a novel map of the imaginary, of communication, of art.
The artist does not hesitate to take advantage of the proven functionality of this medium to investigate and explore new territory and modified representational patterns. He/she chooses and develops diverse aspects and potential of the same channel, at times blending areas of development, such as language-textual, iconic-representational, and interactive-hypertextual spheres.
The subjects emerging from the broad "experimental" realities in the network are manifold, and it is difficult to achieve their rigorous reconnaissance. One can roam from information piracy, sabotage and electronic kidnapping (etoy group and DigiCrime by Kevin McCurley) to the creation of widespread virtual communities (Tommaso Tozzi's VTTV); from the investigation of novel artificial spaces and mutated relational habitats (Giorgio Vaccarino's Move to Netville and Inhabiting Metropolis) to altered modes of constructing and using text (Maria Winslow's Electro Magnetic Poetry, Stuart Moulthrop's Hegirascope, Jacques Servin's Beast); from network censorship (Lisa Hutton's Variety is...) to researching identity beyond the monitor (Andrea Zapp's Last Entry: Bombay and S. Fabiao, T. Schamberger's Cyberclone2000); from the mutability of digital images through the participation of many net users and artists (Joop Greypink's Artifact Project and Ed Stastny's HyGrid) to the experimentation of new ways of visualization (Mark Pesce's WebEarth). Beyond personal inquiries in many fields of knowledge, directed to underline the numerous facets of contemporary thought, the artists inhabiting and orbiting around the WWW contribute to the creation of a shared "webness", that is, the awareness of utilizing a technology shaping the changed visual grammar that only in the Net can find its origin and development. And it is in the Net that "Passages", an art project conceived and edited by Manuela Corti, originated.

Generation "Passages"

"Passages" was born from the union of different elements, diverse personalities, and many operative tools. Thanks to the potential of the medium, the artists interpreted and represented the fragments of text by experimenting with many languages. Some of them created still images, morphs, animations, films, sounds, noise; others researched the capabilities of HTML language, yet others produced works needing the direct participation of the user, who becomes integral part of the work, and developed hypertextual visual paths.
The majority of artists, however, used more than one language, each time expanding their scope.

InteractivityAnimation Sound Movie Still Image Hypertext HTML QTVR
Manuela Corti Boris Jerenec Joop Greypink Eddie Tapp Robin Benson Manuela Corti Alessandro Barile Manuela Corti
Joop Greypink Manuela Corti Chris Engel Joop Greypink Denis José François Fabio Doctorovich Manuela Corti Lenara Verle
Boris Jerenec Elisabeth Fischer Manuela Corti Boris Jerenec Satoshi Sakanoshita Bruce Powell Angelo Cacciola Donati r12c8
Paulus Trisnadi Denis José François Eddie Tapp Manuela Corti Chris Engel r12c8 Brian Brascher r12c8
Lenara Verle Alessandro Barile Bruce Powell r12c8 Silvana Boone r12c8 Silvana Boone r12c8
Seppo K. Niranen Schwann r12c8 r12c8 Lenara Verle r12c8 Elisabeth Fischer r12c8
Brian Brascher Seppo K. Niranen r12c8 r12c8 Schwann r12c8 Daniel Alegi
Aaron Donsbach
r12c8 Bruce Powel r12c8 r12c8 Manuela Corti r12c8 r12c8 r12c8
r12c8 Brian Brascher r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8
r12c8 Gennaro Cicalese r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8
r12c8 Daniel Alegi
Aaron Donsbach
r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8 r12c8

The web site becomes a place where, because of the artists' different (geographic) origins, natural mixing of different languages, culture, life experiences, symbology, metaphors, and atmosphere takes place.
The spectator/browser scouts disparate environments: he/she gets lost in a labyrinthine path, looking for further relationships. Each artist's home page allows us to proceed towards new artificial spaces, to explore new territories through additional links. Even the Guest Book, located in the opening page, is an important element. The visitor can leave a physical trace of his/her transit (in addition to the automatic counter), thus enriching the project with comments and suggestions, and nourishing a long-range debate. Electronic mail represents, in this case, the preferred channel for the generation of a true network community, made up by the participating artists and by the actively interacting visitors.
The World Wide Web is becoming an extremely fascinating artistic experimental ground. Artists not only use the multiple capabilities of this medium, but also venture further, to discover new possibilities. For this reason it is sometime necessary to allow for long, patient waits in order to enjoy an image"heavy" in the loading, and forgive the need to unload on one's own hard disk new plug-ins to hear sounds or see animation.
Passages, in addition to involving the limited audience of the "network people", requires an attentive and thoughtful participation, not a hasty browsing.
Manuela Corti, in her exploration of the WWW, created with Passages a border zone, an electronic mosaic of text, images, and sounds, providing visitors with new and original visual avenues.


View on PASSAGE 1
By Daniele Perra

"Relena is on the train, and the train is on the grass..."

A voyage through cities, wheat fields, the sea, until the return to the starting point. An apparent search for infinity, and at the same times the disappointing realization of earth's physical limits, and the monotony of repetition.

Manuela Corti is the originator of the whole project, and in each of 23 consecutive weeks she will be joined by three other artists. She takes us into the past, a past made of interminable waiting to expose the first photographic film with the wonders of reality, of cinematographic images flowing on the film frame by frame, of picture books with pages to be turned quickly in order to steal the whole image or the entire story told by the images. A piece extremely simple but fraught with a deep melancholy, the loneliness of a voyage to look for new emotions, to search for new lands.
Joop Greypink, photographer and interface designer, chooses the noise of the city, the subway trains speeding away through the bowels of the city, creeping metaphorically into the network flow, and traversing expanses of wheat and grass and buildings. The exciting initial impact is overturned by the extremely descriptive images superimposing cyclically.
Robin Benson, from New Zealand, architect and designer, has a passion for photography and digital synthesis. He shows us, with an animated GIF, an exploding sky hiding graphic dashes fading and transforming into a rigid textual grid. The train trip is transformed into a high altitude voyage, and Relena all of a sudden becomes another woman, another life.
The young and refined Boris Jerenec, from Slovenia, very fond of MUD, uses Java to create an image apparently still and motionless. It is the curiosity of the explorer that will discover, by passing the cursor over the blurry English text, the rotation of a world made out of words, that turns and turns and contains but fleeting images.


View on PASSAGE 2
By Daniele Perra

"The proclamation is posted on the subway, on city trains, in the stations, ... and, generally, in any other place of vital exhaustion..."

Again, we are in the presence of a displacement, of a physical transition, of an omnipresent power.

Francois Denis-Jose, who likes to define himself as Big Bird, is an expert of 3D digital effects. He says that he is English with a Spanish Mother and Caribbean Father, that he lived in the Netherlands for a long time, and presently resides in Germany. Therefore, who could better embody the mixing of languages and cultures, which is the foundation of the whole project? He contributes a static image, a sort of digital landscape hinting, through an out-of-focus treatment, at a face deep in thought, aloof, mysterious.
Elisabeth Fischer was born in Hungary and works in Canada as a painter, writer, and musician. Her contribution is a very fleeting image of a contortionist slowly fading away to leave the center stage to words, in turn disappearing with feathery lightness.
Chris Engel, a rather eclectic artist, illustrated the text by inserting a site in the web site. He produced a collage made of fragments of images, inserted in a surrealistic metropolitan landscape.
Manuela Corti’s piece is what could be defined a micro-video for internet use. No less than 500 frames are combined to create an animated GIF representing the dome of S.Peter’s metamorphosing, fragment by fragment, into a royal crown. The entire process is accompanied by the music of the Russian hymn from the movie “The Hunt for Red October” by John McTiernan.


View on PASSAGE 3
"It cannot be denied that the Chief, once, was a meek man. Once, the Chief was a young man with a sound head. He went to the movies every Sunday. He was a good student... How he changed nobody can say. If anybody can say, we don't know him."

Many are the factors that transformed the one who would become a chief into a rather disquieting and frightful character: a chief, indeed.

Nothing more ironic could be presented by the Japanese artist Satoshi Sakanoshita, who thinks that "cyber projects connect artists like a real web". In his home page, in addition to a link allowing the visitor to "enter" a visual trail formed by several family-album snapshots, Sakanoshita somehow illustrates, with two three-dimensional self-portraits, the metamorphosis of one person. The same metamorphosis, although not in the physical sense, which our "meek chief" probably underwent. After all, Sakanoshita's man is good: in his coat inside pocket he has a brilliant rose, instead of a gun.
Paulus Trisnadi, from Indonesia but at present working in California, is the first contributor to Passages who created an interactive animated image. It is an amusing little game, in which a game piece, kind of a crazed molecule, in the hand (mouse) of the user little by little defeats all other game pieces travelling casually in the same virtual space. His home page constitutes a poetic statement. "See, listen, smell, taste, feel" after all is a clear and direct encouragement to total interaction.
Manuela Corti starts from childhood. The image obtained from an old family picture of a child who looks all but angel-like, through an animated gif resembling the morphing of decomposing matter, becomes a monstrous being, made even more disquieting by the off-screen voice repeating over and over:"I'm the Chief, I'm the Chief"-.
Alessandro Barile fragments the narrative through a series of hypnotic flashes. A few sentences, from the English version of the piece, appear and disappear thanks to a dynamic play of superimpositions. The different frames, almost as if deranged, chase each other rapidly, without being able to modify their path.


View on PASSAGE 4
By Daniele Perra

"The Chinaman is the eldest accomplice....after a year he doesn’t remember what he had done, what he knew"

Here, we are at the boundary between life and death. A multifarious, unaware selfdom that lives the illusion of another life. The complexity of relationships; a hidden truth, waiting to be unveiled.

Bruce Powell submits from California a rather curious image, in which the background, an image of the Chinese Great Army made up of many clay soldiers, enfolds the shadow of a Chinese man, who is fishing alone in the same waters in which a skull floats: a clear and direct metaphor of foretold death. His home page shows a strong surrealistic imprint. The picture of Bruce and his child Francois becomes a kind of dreamy image, with flying cows floating discreetly over their heads.
Lenara Verle, designer and researcher from Brazil, interested in new art forms developed along with technological evolution, created a true portrait art gallery. One needs QuickTime VR plug-in in order to discover, inside an imaginary window, many faces that the user, by a play of zoom-in and -out, can either see in focus, or transform into shapeless spots. Her home page is an animated GIF that needs to be seen in slow motion, since it is a montage of many deranged frames.
Seppo K. Niiranen, architect, photographer, graphic designer, specialized in digital media, works in Finland. He plays on the relationship between image and writing. Two old people’s faces (a man and a woman) are superimposed to leave room for the text. The text is an object manipulated, changed by the artist, by the use of letters seemingly acquiring by themselves other meanings, other metaphors.
Manuela Corti’s contribution, this time without sound support, consists of an animated gif. Through the opening of colorful, and at time transparent, umbrellas (it is not a coincidence that the subject is a Chinese), the underlying face becomes a kind of multi-faced theatrical mask, emblematic of a multiple personality, the same tragic existence of a man who cannot remember, who does not know his own roots, who could easily disguise himself in the Great Army, or could take up anybody’s features through the enlargement of an out-of-focus face, made of ever expanding pixels.


View on PASSAGE 5
By Daniele Perra

"The sadist isn't a sadist from birth... an evil vision of life..."

The sadist, a troubling and at the same time mysterious character, who always elicited fear and curiosity, attraction and denial, that hidden force in a person manifesting itself as apparently gratuitous cruelty.

The young Slovenian Boris Jerenc, who already was seen in the first Passage, presents a rather disquieting animation.
The expressionistic-style face of an old man that makes the background is stained with blood. It is a pulsating face, at the same time diabolical, a symbol of iniquity) .
Manuela Corti adopts a forming of sadism that strikes fully the network crowd. A series of text screens (the literary reference is Plato's Republic) that follow each other (book after book) just by an easy and tempting click, exercise the patience of the network surfer, who waits, enters, piqued by curiosity, a manic hypertextual mechanism, until he/she reaches an image, a re-interpretation of "Christus" by Paul Klee in which a blood-red text flowing fluidly, thanks to the powers of Java, tells us: "One of the most interesting dissertations of mankind... was to justify the existence of Plato".
(Daniel Alegi & Aaron Donsbach) Daniel Alegi, Italian filmmaker residing in the US, and Aaron Donsbach, multimedia artist from Chicago, present a rather complex piece. What may appear just an old photograph in fact conceals a mix of many visual combinations. The user can reconstruct an ideal photographic set and complete the image, each time revealing new composition elements.
The great interpretive freedom, which the project is based upon, moves Gennaro Cicalese to translating the Passage into Neapolitan dialect. It seems that the artist wishes to show us, through a subtle play of superimposition, the different steps in the assembly of an image, which from motionless changes to a kind of automatic animation.


View on PASSAGE 6
By Daniele Perra

The Doctor. An ironic and cynical doctor, with an out-of-focus look.

Joop Greypink submits an interactive work. It is a very complex piece, extremely sophisticated, correlating the visual and linguistic aspects of this project. The users, by clicking the icon in the middle of a green background, open another small window, to see an eye staring through a kind of virtual porthole. When sweeping the mouse over the eye, all of a sudden the text appears (Dutch, English, Italian), and in turn can be modified, transformed, completely re-constructed according to both personal choices and disrupting random process. A sort of an interactive cut-up, that is completely in accord with the premises of “Passages”. This piece does not profit from a brief visit: it is necessary to unload it, so that the greatest possible number of combinations can be achieved, thus exploiting fully the potential of user’s participation.
Paulus Trisnadi, from Indonesia, contributed a sort of interactive game in one of the preceding Passages. Now he proposes a stationary image: an artificial face, made with brilliant, transparent colors which hide a sarcastic sneer, composed with the aid of the text in its natural horizontal reading position.
Denis-Jose François and Manuela Corti concentrate on the doctor’s ironic look. The former creates a virtual desktop, comprising a series of animated picts, on which lay two dead disks and the image of a doctor, complete with clinical files, and with flames instead of his head.
Manuela Corti, her image stationary and rather light (as far as number of K’s is concerned), shows on the breast pocket of a surgeon green gown what seems to be an usual identification card, and what becomes, thanks to a play of metaphorical superimposition, a tame stuffed bunny, comfortably stretched in a tray usually housing cold surgical instruments.


View on PASSAGE 7
By Daniele Perra

Relena listens to a recorded tape containing a scientific secret related to a contra-contraceptive formula invented by Mendel. Just a few drops of that compound could cause a gigantic population growth, an unstoppable pollution that only abortion could interrupt.

Robin Benson tries an experiment I believe very sophisticated but difficult to understand in a form of utilization such as the network, so fast and fragmented. The New Zealand artist in his first Passage broke off the text, leaving us to understand that, perhaps, it was because of his personal poetic interpretation. In actuality, the text continues now in his second contribution, thus creating a sort of involuntary (?) subset, that enriches the whole project with further cross-references and unexpected turns.
Manuela Corti's contribution is certainly multimedial, in its use of diverse expression tools and in its allowing each of them total autonomy. The image is a kind of cyber-lab, where an audio tape is literally inserted into the auditory system of a female figure (the artist). The figure then begins to emit words and phrases flowing against a background made of tens of storks, symbol of prosperity and fertility. By clicking on the first image, one enters a new web page, where one is struck by an obsessive and repetitive noise. This time the audio cassettes are spurting words and sentences, and transforming the excessive prosperity into a anticipated global catastrophe. After all, a sudden and out-of-proportion increase in the world population can only mean poverty, chaos, loss of individuality.
Schwann cyber-shaman, science-fiction writer who does not like to reveal his real identity, beams us (the reference to "Star Trek" is unavoidable) to a science-fiction environment where parallel worlds rotate around a solid pyramid, symbol of death and rebirth. The spider webs in the background (actually astral planes) could be a sort of metaphor for abortion, since they capture little cyber-creatures, the favorite food of artificial monsters hiding and multiplying inside the purest silicon of optic fibers.
Satoshi Sakanoshita, from Japan, creates a rather disquieting high-resolution still image. A hand, clad in a surgical glove, grabs forcefully a life-size audio tape. The predominant color is red, symbol of life and death. Murder and bloodshed on one hand, and vital flow (blood), food for unreal night creatures, always in search of fresh blood to drink, on the other.


View on PASSAGE 8
By Daniele Perra

"Thick clouds of industrial black (most beautiful) appeared suddenly, diving like eagles on the lazy flowing water. In those areas the air smelled of iron filings and burnt motor oil..."

In this artificial landscape, recalling the reality undergoing structural modifications in Antonioni's extraordinary movie "Red Desert" (Deserto Rosso), fast runs the train in which the violent encounter between Relena and Vestigo Inani takes place. A brief encounter, but highly emotional.

Chris Engel concentrates on the landscape. The sound of a slowly moving train, becoming a labored and obsessive breath, takes us to discover images containing and realistically interpreting the text.
Manuela Corti stresses Vestigo Inani's action. By clicking on a screen showing a moving train, we are transported to the image of a muscular arm squeezing Relena's nose, and making it bleed incessantly.
Eddie Tapp, a professional American photographer, builds a series of images superimposing and fading like in a short film. The starting point is the image of a "Hollywood Barbie" behind a little window that seems to belong more to a prison cell than to an old long-distance train. A few key sentences flow over the image, and the likeness of the young woman is seen on the barren ground and on the cloudy sky. It is a rather "heavy" contribution to watch on-line. It is better to unload and enjoy it off-line, so as to discover all significant details.
Joop Greypink generates a visual alphabet, made of stylized icons inserted in a rigid table. The text runs in a small square, and the symbols are mixed and colored cyclically. The artist defines these icons "pictograms", representing a sort of "theoretical global language" that everybody can understand. Not by chance we are operating inside the network, a global container in which different cultures and languages mix and combine according to standards acknowledged by all inter-linked countries.


View on PASSAGE 9
By Daniele Perra

Search for origins, loss of them. A continuous running after the new, forgetting its evolution. Man-beast in a society looking for ever greater sensory stimuli.

Manuela Corti proposes a historical/artistic reinterpretation. A backward chronological leap from Klimt's Danae to 1507 Durer's Eve. A series of "panels" roll by, uncovering Eve whose image, with the help of the computer, is seen from the back like in a mirror, showing the fullness of her buttocks. The apple of sin is pulsating, and Eve's nakedness is censored by a snake made of linked words, which wraps around and dresses her.
Boris Jerenec constructs a very "light" animated pict, using the typical language of the internet. Some sentences take the form of newsgroup addresses, from Alt.erotica.bestiality to, and the images, among which the face of a yawning man, are formed through the enlarging of pixels. A small dot becomes a large square, which in turn dissolves to leave room for another image.
Lenara Verle creates a still image named "mandibula". In fact the image does not have a real title. However, should you unload this image into your hard disk by a simple "save this image as" command, you would uncover the reason for this free attribution of mine. A monster animal, something between pre-historical and science-fictional, is tangled up in a web of brilliant colors. Reiterations of a dangerous sharp toothed animal, ghost from our past and unclear future.
Fabio Doctorovich, born in Buenos Aires in 1961, editor of "Postypographika", a web site devoted to visual and virtual poetic experimentation, contributed an extremely sophisticated piece that fully embodies some of the primary elements of the "Passages" project. He transforms words into icons, and directs us through different frames to situations born out of one or more sentences. The image becomes a result of the words, and the words change meaning while changing shape and color. A clever mix between word and image, and this word-image undergoes distortions, gains three-dimensionality, until it fades to become integral part of the text of the last sentence.

It is just this connection among different languages and the use of multiple instruments that makes Passages an evolving container, able to capture and "memorize" creative waves and surprising and fascinating visual-textual associations.


View on the PASSAGE
10 11 12 13 14

By Daniele Perra

"Columnists on the Web get the first word but never the last. We are just sparks...The relationship between writer and reader has been altered: the columnist has less power, the reader more...Writing on the Web - and about it - suggests new possibilities in the way we communicate with one another...Columns become living entities rather than fixed, indeed passive, declarations..."
These are just a few rather emblematic sentences borrowed from "Media Rants. Postpolitics in the Digital Nation", a book by Jon Kats, staff journalist of the California site HotWired, recently published in the United States by HardWired.
At the base of his thought is the will to reveal the multiple possibilities of the Net and the potential it offers regarding information, and the conception and transmission of ideas. A fundamental element is interactivity, severely criticized by intellectuals, claims Constance Hale, editor of the book, because they fear they may lose control over their own ideas. On the contrary, it is just this idea of constant interchange, of revision of certain presumptions, of open discussion - even anonymous, as long as it is constructive - that makes the Net a "privileged" channel, as compared to other media. To "launch" an idea on the Net means to give Net surfers the choice of agreeing with or criticizing it by E-mail, a direct, unfiltered type of communication. Discussion forums become virtual arenas where one can leave a mark. I think it is necessary to start a sort of creative and constructive commitment among different entities within the network. Therefore, I decided to ask a question of the artists participating to the project for the next five weeks.
This should generate not only an exchange among the artists living in different parts of the world by setting a virtual, dynamic date, but also an open dialogue between who produces the work, his/her thought, and the surfer, who in the case of Passages becomes an unidentified user (one can only quantify the number of visitors of the site by the counter) acquiring the work visually and physically (should he/she decide to save the artist's work, an image, an animation, a sound file, in his/her hard disk). Encouraging the artist to a dialogue about his/her work also becomes a useful method of analysis, and emphasizes different operative units contributing to and kindling the interest in the experimentation of new expression channels.

The question I asked of the artists in the next five Passages is:
"How did you interpret the current Passage as a visual network artist?"


Artists answers for Passage 10

Angelo Cacciola Donati
(Spain - Basque Provinces)
Here is how I interpreted the 10th Passage: the same procedure I use for every kind of creative work. I absorb the stimulus, and let it go inside me for a few days. Every once in a while I recall it, without expressing it. Therefore, I live in a condition much like water boiling inside a pot with a tight-fittingid. Blub, blub, blub! Until the time comes and I cannot stand this any more, so I sit at the computer and create the Web page(s). Of course, I make no distinction among sound, images, and text: the all are one inseparable feeling.

Manuela Corti
For Passage 10, I created a simple still image of a non-face face, wearing a pair of eyeglasses with brightly colored imaginary flags instead of lenses.
Chapter 5, the inspiration for this Passage, in my interpretation deals with language as it identifies with power. The flags/lenses say: "language and religion", that is, power not only in front of one's eyes, i.e. in everyday life, but also power as filter, as distorting lens. Colorful and cheerful at first sight, but particularistic and alienating in reality. Power seen in its pomposity; that is to say vision of power according to certain demands. Even what seems or appears strange is the expression of such a will.

Paulus Trisnadi
I am fortunate to deal with a passage that was written by a similar mind. I have always thought of a fantasy world, where I came from. It is a world where everybody is in peace and in love. Communication is done with no word involved. Gestures, color, facial expression, lights, sight. In my work for passage 10, I tried to get the viewer involved with my work as an interaction designer.
A form of engagement is needed for one to communicate and in the case of my work is the interaction via the use of a mouse (actually there is another way to interact with the work, but I'll let you find it out. Not important, but a joy for those who find the easter-egg.) Friendship is something to treasure, and with no communication, there is no friendship. And a global language of interaction is then introduced.

Seppo K. Niiranen
- work in progress -


Artists answers for Passage 11

Robin Benson
(New Zealand)
Briefly, the passage was read several times. The act of reading and musing over the contents was part of a cycle, a process of understanding and development of interpretation. This cycle is hermeneutic in nature. The same can be said about the image that emerged. References to revelation, process, and cycle, are clear. Finally, the material used to construct the image is of this place, where I live, where I make my home. Nobody remembered a time without a place, nor a place without a time.

Manuela Corti
It is hands writing over nothingness. The problem is that often he who wants to justify his own suicide, and is not greatly intelligent or greatly sensitive, is not able to give any justification. Also, even if one is able to, it is necessary to furnish a clear justification, holding immanently one's own death sentence, that is, the justification needs to contain the many more questions that it will generate. A justification that does not include implicit questions is just categorical.

Denis-Jose François
Whilst the passage about The Inquisitor had a sad feeling surrounding it, it also made me think of autopsies... I used these two overriding impressions I got from the passage to create the picture shown.
It began life as a black & white autopsy diagram taken from a 19th century medical handbook. I felt that the face had a certain sadness in it, which I enhanced by enlarging the picture by a factor of 50 and adding in the additional detail and colour.
For me, the picture/ passage represents the meeting of two worlds: The cold scientific world of exact medical science, and the blurred emotional world of suicide.

Bruce Powell
"I interpreted the passage as an autopsy scene. The corpse stares vacantly and does not wish to be disturbed, and shows its anger when the observer dares to touch the body. The corpse is outraged about the manner of its death and the coverup of the subsequent investigation. There is ambiguity in the manner, and even the cause of his death. He did not leave a suicide note, so the officials manufactured one--too many questions would be asked if there were not a suicide note. A gunshot is assumed yet no bullet has been recovered. There is no exit wound. This interpretation reflects some of the circumstances of the deaths of Vincent W. Foster , and Ron Brown, both close associates of President Clinton. Now that we know the President is a pathological liar we should re-examine these deaths."


Artists answers for Passage 12

Brian Brasher
Using an Apple Macintosh, I manipulated hand-drawn illustrations first in Macromedia FreeHand, and then in Adobe Photoshop. I also used ResEdit to create buttons and the individual frames for each animated GIF, these GIF files being assembled in GifBuilder. The necessary HTML was typed in SimpleText from out of my head (to give my passage that "natural" feel, that liklihood for mistakes and unintentional oddities).
With this passage I tried to create a juxtaposition and, perhaps, a symbolic misappropriation. Just as the Pontiff horribly re-interprets (read: misinterprets) tenents of the Faith, my passage attempts to rehash art of an early Christian structure into a modern multimedia format.
My personal philosophy concerning art as it relates to the worldwide web is one that finds the current web art situation, in which art objects are merely photographed/scanned and presented as simple JPEG files, grossly inadequate. I see the web as a canvas that an observer can "touch" and "manipulate", and web-based art should respond to that potential interaction.
Therefore, my passage interpretation presents interactivity at a primitive level somewhat akin, I believe, to the commonest Christian art of the first century. And as that art, so as the Faith it was based on, flourished, I hope that web art will as well.

Manuela Corti
Mankind is ephemeral in its certainties. It knows it, but pretends not to. Its future is a calculated part not only of the Universe, but also of what it does not know about itself. Therefore, it is a machine. It is the only machine, however, that knows it is worth more.
So I created an image of metaphysical suggestion, a stage (spaceship) floating in nothingness; the traveler is a man-machine, and in the stellar/psychological void, a funny pennant-man spins fast, silence is broken by a muffled sound.

Satoshi Sakanoshita
I usually work as a digital craftsman. I hear an order of my customer, and I digitize it accurately.
But I must know some visions in my mind in this project. It's both an exciting experience and an uneasy passage. While I see my own work, I think "Is this my mind-scape ?" I haven't gotten an answer about this question yet.

Eddie Tapp
(Georgia, USA)
Upon reading the passage... it was a visualization and interpretation of the right brain at that time, and co-ordinating that with an image(s) as an expression...


Artists answers for Passage 13

Silvana Boone
I consider this event as an important piece of work performed together with many artists from every part of the world. I think this is one of the most accessible and intelligent ways to reach many people at the same time, also because nowadays happenings on the net are increasing in number and in quality. It is very interesting to capture many impressions of the same theme, developed by different people from different countries. The still image I created for Passage 13 is a small fragment of a research I performed on a hypertext. It is a work based on Italo Calvino's "The Castle of Crossed Destinies", transformed into electronic hypertext, in the form of a CD-ROM structured like a kind of game to discover the fate of the characters, or perhaps of the player himself.

Manuela Corti
The search for an impossible and incomplete truth requires a constant falsification of it, because if it is true that per se every truth is impossible, then also every falsification is impossible. On one hand, one would want the perception, intended as true, of an inevitable explanation; on the other, one would want the explanation, intended as true, of a perception suspected as impossible. For this reason, "clicking" is the onset of the "big logos", that is, the primordial explosion of language: and therefore, in order to make himself understood, man was then forced to explain that explanation was not possible any more, and is always busy - how tiring - making believe as possible what was really possible in the false perceptions of thought.

Denis-Jose François
This passage led me to think (once again) of the current popular science of 'memes' and 'memetics'. A concept defined originally by Dr Richard Dawkins, a meme is the thought equivalent of a gene, and behaves in a similar way: ideas spread from person to person, into and out of groups. Strong ones survive, weak ones die out... and every iteration is slightly changed either through addition or subtraction.
So the passage set me thinking: What would a thought, and Idea, look like in its physical representation. So I set about to visualise a "Thought Molecule"...

(South Africa)
We are shining songs of light whirling into the technological night. We cut and paste ourselves into many different shapes and sizes as we reset our clocks and kiss the ceiling goodbye because we've all been communicating since humanity carried knowledge inside itself at the genetic level. Now we ride the unspeakable geometry of the fractal moment, striking out the fabric of reality because, like Teilhard says, the quest for meaning in cyberspace has been encoded. We focus on the unfocusable while our heartbeats sound like giant footsteps in hollow deserted places. We are just background windows. Unidentified life forms. Icons. The dust that scatters from a fireplace after the trance-dance is over, mingling at exchange points where energies slingshot back and forth. Mating for finite eternities with infinite fractals of benign abnormalities


Artists answers for Passage 14

Manuela Corti
The record turns, or rather runs like a wheel and the arm of the connecting rod makes it run or perhaps it is better to say sing. The arm makes it play as the mechanical component of action. Like, the arm makes the record play or perhaps it would be better to say it makes the record heard. But in the first instance, the one of the record, the arm must advance in order to make the record-wheel heard, while in the second, the one of the wheel, arm and wheel must maintain a fixed relationship in order to make the space in which we move heard. In both instances, time serves as the maximum measure of a given space, and time again is rest, silence, first in the case of the train, and then in the case of the record.

Chris Engel
The act of translating a literary extract into a visual interpretation can take many routes. Within illustrative art there is usually a trend towards pictorial representation of the content of the passage. Such images normally depict people, places, objects and/or actions and are a conventional method of keeping the reader interested, advertising content or helping to 'paint a picture' of the narrative rather like captioned photographs in the National Geographic magazine.

For Passage 14 I felt that the extract was meaningless as an isolated narrative in that the content had little to provide a nucleus for a conventional illustrative process. I therefore decided to make the text a stand-alone image, using distortion, colour and visual effects. The words became images and the image was intended to reflect not the meaning but the form of the words....rather like an illuminated manuscript. To further endorse this disassociation of word from content, I reproduced the text with sections 'blacked out' thus providing a pattern of words linked only by blank spaces that originally were the linguistic threads upon which meaning hung.

Joop Greypink
I used the initials of Vestigo Inani: "VI", which is the number "6". The cursor is switching between life and death. In the second part (after you click) you'll get a construction of railroad tracks by way of the repetition of randomly accessed words from the novel, while the cursor -as "VI"- is watching the changing situation. Every time "VI" is clicked, you get back to the life-death-situation.

Boris Jerenec
I quickly read the text just to get the first impression. The repetition was the keyword for me. The one I couldn't escape from. The one that reminded me of Drella and 'Images' by Lou Reed and John Cale. So I searched the web for an image worth repeating. I finally stole a photo from some page about my home town. Changed it a bit and repeated it. That's my work, I repeat what I see.


View on PASSAGE 15
By Daniele Perra

From Passage to Passage it becomes more and more interesting to discover how different artists coming from distant places and cultures interpret the same fragment of text, and share the difficulty in capturing the meaning of small portions of a long story. The fifteenth Passage constitutes a rather complex plot, since through many elements (a gun, a bullet, the Chief cautiously looking around, a story to be told) the Author creates many superimposed situations.

Brian Brasher, from Alabama, merges a series of images and presents them in the usual format of movies on line. A virtual window tells a story, made of a few text elements, and many visual threads. I agree with Brian, who sees the Net as a canvas that the viewer can "touch" and "manipulate", although instead of a canvas we have a dynamic support to transform and interact with.
With Manuela Corti, we seem to enter and pry the set of a mystery movie. Action! The actor lies on the ground, maybe hit by a fatal shot. The beer in the glass is motionless, and there is already a small pool of blood.
Elisabeth Fischer's submission is rather cryptic. The blood-red message "Pistol Shot" seems to take over the whole screen, and the Chief's cautious glance becomes a conspiracy of silence. Somebody knows something, but cannot reveal it.
Lenara Verle creates a true horror mask. The image of a face, made up of giant pixels, emerges from a black and gloomy background, and completely invades the screen.
Could it be the sign of the Chief's foretold death?


View on PASSAGE 16
By Daniele Perra The weariness caused by a premature death, a loss of orientation.

Robin Benson created a black-and-white image graphically so soft and sensuous as to appear, the way it is partitioned, as a map for us to click on. In fact, the image conceals only one link that allows one, through the usual electronic mailbox, to send a message directly to the artist. Usually, in the WWW, the link that allows sending messages is rather recognizable, thanks to conventional icons, to the e-mail address, complete with "@"; or concealed behind a normal request for information or personal comments. The artist singularly transforms a service link into an image, or perhaps he takes the opposite approach, in any case stimulating the user to an immediate and dynamic contact.
Angelo Cacciola Donati rather than an image, constructs an image-background. The text is lost in a jarring (from the viewpoint of both color and form) visual mixture. Images superimpose and at the same time cancel each other, without any apparent hierarchical order.
Manuela Corti's work gravitates around the word "PROCLAMATION". Each letter takes unexpected paths. The viewer, based on his own interaction, individually decides the sequence of the different letters. A series of "warning signals", in the form of short beeps, assists the virtual trek of the user, who each time creates different and original reading paths. An intriguing work, requiring full user's participation.
Seppo K. Niranen explores the motion aspect in the communication of a message. He illustrates his personal interpretation of the different ways the body, in particular the hands, is used in a hypothetical verbal communication.
"IT" stands for Italian
"ENG" stands for English
"FIN" stands for Finnish.
The rhythm of hand movements seems to change according to the area of linguistic influence. Hands move deliberately, in slow motion, when the cursor is in the FIN area, increase their motion in the ENG area, until they reach an obsessive, almost hypnotic gesticulation in the area represented by IT. The three logos also hide the Italian, English, and Finnish text, interpreted visually. In addition to the text color, also the order of the sentences changes. The way the text is visually located changes according to the language used. Seppo's submission is extremely engaging, and elicits meditation. With the translation of a text in many languages, he stresses masterly all the elements inherent in different cultures and realities. His piece is unconstrained, rich, and surprisingly unique.


View on PASSAGE 17
By Daniele Perra

Whoever tries to reveal the intricate plot/unplot of this novel is lost! Will the murderer, with his 50 magnum, succeed in killing the Chief ?

Bruce Powell places his "virtual actors" in a dark underground passage, something in between a subway and a railroad tunnel. A few steps are heard in the distance. Bruce is able to achieve a rather disquieting atmosphere by the use of sound. A man, becoming an "animated gif", shoots a few shots, while the racket of the steps becomes more and more haunting.
Silvana Boone's contribution is very conceptual. She accents a few words in the passage by turning them red, and then utilizes them as a pattern to create an image. It is sort of a board, with a hole in the middle (a pistol shot?), in which the words are repeated continuously. Silvana creates an alternative reading path, through a hypertextual interaction ending in a quote by Calvino.
Manuela Corti presents an almost cartoonish sequence. The sound mirrors the moods of a sweet daisy, overwhelmed by a man's face so close to appear distorted, and terrorized by the imposing barrel of a gun. The simplicity of the images perhaps is functional to the effect of the various sounds determining and upsetting in a few instants the course of events.
Satoshi Sakanoshita submits a totally cerebral contribution. He stages the genesis of a murder. The gun becomes a sophisticated death machine that sights the victim from a distance, centers it, focuses it. Lucidly, Satoshi is able to render visually, through a large image, the victim's naïve unawareness and the assassin's ruthless awareness, without any actual blodshed.


View on PASSAGE 18
By Daniele Perra

Again we encounter the train, Relena, and a gun, the recurrent and obsessive elements in the author's mind.

Eddie Tapp concentrates on the first part of the text, and creates a short film fitting all the elements. To the sequential images of a mysterious woman (Relena?), a puffing train, and a pistol, he superimposes a series of sounds, increasing the suspense which, at times, permeates the pages.
Manuela Corti and Boris Jerenec seem to share an interest in " the remains of some fast food (not yet attacked by the beggar ants because of the nauseating odor), and an arrangement of human shit. ".
Boris freely associates human excreta to fast food, expressing not too indirectly the rejection of "packaged and unhealthy" food, while Manuela produces an image at the same time raw and emblematic. A few (giant) ants watch and examine the abandoned remains of fast food, uncaring of the bad smell they give out.
The writer's obsession for the train and the recurrent pistol shot seems to have transferred also to Denis-Jose François who, in a surreal environment, transforms the train in a giant and menacing rocket-projectile.


View on PASSAGE 19
By Daniele Perra

Poverty, in the Proclamation of the Red Pontiff of Climax to the Nation, takes different aspects.

Manuela Corti showcases the image of a woman who appears to be waiting quietly for the next customer. The face is in sharp contrast to the old, worn out body. The almost Cistercian music increases the feeling of endless waiting and squalor.
Brian Brascher presents an ordered matrix of arrows, interrupted by the image of a fly (an allegory of poverty). This is not an image to behold, but to travel over. The starting point is the very image of the fly, which, clicked on repeatedly, transforms the white arrows into as many black flies.
Paulus Trisnadi gives life to a community of microscopic moving black particles. The little entities move smoothly and change color, until gradually they become motionless, devoid of life.
Chris Engel correlates power and poverty. The night look of a city such as New York (Manhattan?), with its thousand lights, represents the signature of economic power, but at the same time of extreme poverty. An imaginary banknote preserves forever the faces of many powerful people. He alternates text with a series of images, in which sound accompanies vision, and the user has the "power" to interrupt it.


View on PASSAGE 20
By Daniele Perra

The "Zeitung der Zeit verschwendung" released a special night edition about the life of some suspicious instigators.

Manuela Corti throws on first page a personal phenomenology of troublemakers, located, literally, in the darkness of a night edition. The newspaper page becomes an interface that can be accessed by a click to throw light, through the process of interaction, on various news items where the image is predominant over the text. It is a clever reconstruction of hidden facts and characters that, once discovered, all of a sudden obtain uncomfortable notoriety.
Joop Greypink presents images from a Police criminal archive. By using a JavaScript he makes possible the superimposition of the faces, creating a composite of the subject. From the sum of the various images, the face of a presumed dangerous agitator emerges.
It appears that Elisabeth Fischer wishes to unify the different types of so-called agitators in the animal kingdom. Like a hypnotic urban light sign, the word "animals" runs obsessively across the screen, until it monopolizes our visual field.
Seppo K. Niranen creates an amusing play of superimposition. Colored sentences in many languages cycle over the negative images of two (exciting) bodies. By various fade-ins, the text becomes an integral part of the bodies. Thus, the iconography potential of the text is added to its meaning.


View on PASSAGE 21
By Daniele Perra

An article on the "Journal du huitieme jour" questions the usefulness of the army in an emergency.

Manuela Corti positions the soldiers in a trench, ready to fight the feared enemy on this side of the monitor. Simply by clicking on each soldier, one can achieve a virtual massacre. Only one optimistic soldier, perhaps the only patriot, will enjoy the thrill of victory or the agony of a probable defeat.
Robin Benson proposes again the slogan "make love not war". A luxuriant meadow where bees feed on the vital nectar of colorful flowers is the only "weapon" to fight the power in the hands of the few. Not casually, the artist prints over the image the message: "The masses by the few".
Silvana Boone, through repeated explosions of an almost atomic nature, exhibiting very intense luminosity, literally destroys the image of a soldier. The annihilation of an entire army, where it is even difficult to distinguish between victims and slayers.
Boris Jerenec presents a piece having a lot in common with a true video game. Once the target is identified, after being prompted by an audio signal, one has only to press a button (in this case only a swift click of the mouse button) to destroy in a few instants thousands of people and raze entire cities. Don't worry if the target is not reached on the first try: one can always try again.


View on PASSAGE 22
By Daniele Perra

Here we have another Proclamation of the Red Pontiff of Climax to the Nation. Apparently, tainted with a contagious virus hidden in the characters, the ink, the paper. In the communication of knowledge, then?

Manuela Corti, using QTVR Panorama, creates an artificial environment, a kind of Fantasy City made of words, completely transitable. In addition, in a small window it is possible to "accompany" manually the frames of a quick-time movie. A seemingly innocuous shooting test, where the targets are sheets of paper, becomes a manic self-destruction game.
Denis François José transcribes by hand the Pontiff's Proclamation on a regular piece of paper, where some words seem to be affected by the virus, that makes them unintelligible.
Satoshi Sakanoshita presents a very suggestive image: the Pontiff, drawn with a few essential streaks that seem to scratch the surface, paradoxically becomes a diabolic presence, his face deformed and disquieting.
Schwann with a few images freely creates another story. He sketches science fiction, apocalyptic visions, in which shining-eyed "replicants" witness an expected and imminent destruction of the universe. The forms wander in space looking for galaxies still not contaminated by deadly viruses.


View on PASSAGE 23
By Daniele Perra

The multi-fragment home page image, which grew more detailed with every Passage, finally reveals the title of the Novel and the Author's name. Manuela Corti transformed the book cover into a dynamic, interactive map.

We reached the end of the project. The train runs fast, and suddenly the mysterious phial reappears.

Manuela Corti presents a movie in which a lone man with an imposing shadow becomes a symbol of power. Power diminishing as the hours pass. The sun becomes a phial, and the powerful man (the Pontiff?) is transformed into a small, defenseless and scared dog barking in a deserted expanse.
Brian Brasher concentrates one's attention on the eccentricity of collecting. He meticulously compiles in folders a series of objects. Small quirks of a "powerful" collector.
Bruce Powell captures our attention with the sound of a fast train. In his hypertextual work, one can have a rest stop in the train toilet, switching the light on first, or discover, by clicking on the key, where the mysterious phial is hidden: lovely scent, which however is capable of destroying the entire world.
Eddie Tapp presents a rather enigmatic image. The most impressive part is the text engraved on the floor of a public place (the exit of a train station?), where people leave their tracks. An indelible text destined to last in the ages.