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CONCEPT: Present the flux of digital culture
in the networked environment of the Internet
as a two month exhibition at the List
Visual Arts Center at MIT.

December 4, 1996, Wednesday
Everything is on schedule. Proposals come in and most are within the parameters of the exhibition. A few need rethinking but might work and the rest have nothing to do with networking. Replies are expected to go out by December 15th for this group who will have first choice in scheduled times.

The last big decision for the space is whether to have the projectors in the center or behind the screens. Remo is now leaning toward having them hang on the wall for back projection.

The wall treatment is going to be a four by four foot grid created with wire suspended on dowels protruding from the walls. On the grid a "bulletin board" will evolve over the length of the exhibition. This will be flexible and created "on-the-fly" using material generated by the planning and participation in the exhibition. It will flow and map the network that has been created.

A discussion about the biological vs. the mechanical view of science has started on the listserv and has possibilities for influence on the exhibition space. Remo, Rob and Marek are planning to meet on Sunday to experiment with wethods of visualization for the wall treatment.

December 10, 1996, Tuesday
Marek, Remo and Rob confronted the issue of the walls on Sunday. This is the last major physical site design issue left to resolve and nearly everyone concurs that it should be in some form of a "bulletin board" to display printed and other material for visitors to view. There will be a grid structure created out of various length rods protruding from the wall and wire, string or some other material will be run from rod to rod in three feet intervals. A full-scale model was constructed in the storefront to work with this week. There will be no graphic underneath as originally thought but some kind of interaction between the wall and the grid "skin".

Projection will be from the rear leaving the area encircled by the four screens in the middle of the room clear. Two slide projectors will project on to the wall or screens attached to the skin.

Trouble brewed on the listserv as members complained about the philosophical bent of much of the discussion and the emphasis on VRML and what some saw as up-scale technology. With guidance from Ebon PORT-MIT will now become a more workable forum. Rob will assume the traditional "moderator" role of impartiality and basically keep order and issue reports on a regular basis. These reports (tentatively called STATE O' PORT) will evolve into the daily schedule and informational report during the run of the exhibition. The reports will be posted on the Web site as well.

GH posted his proposal to the list as a guide for others and gave suggestions for other possible projects. Adrianne has been working on recruitment of participants and helping them prepare proposals.

Remo wrote the media fact sheet and will have it ready in the next couple of days. He and Rob will go over the proposals received so far and report back to the proposers as to the state of their projects by Friday.

The MIT designer is working on the announcement card using images captured from the 3-D version of the logo created by Marek earlier.

December 15, 1996, Sunday
Jennifer at the List Center rewrote the media fact sheet into a press release and with some revision it will be sent out this week. It was decided to play down the MIT connection since it causes confusion in that people think PORT is a production of the MIT or the Media Lab instead of artnetweb in association with the MIT List Visual Arts Center. A better title would have been PORT CAMBRIDGE and future exhibits will reflect the geographical location (PORT PARIS, PORT NEW YORK), rather than institutions.

The listserv is running smoother. Members are posting project descriptions and ideas. Marah Rosenberg has proposed a Ritual that may end up happening in some form.

The proposals received so far were gone through and either rejected, accepted or accepted with qualifications. Letters go out today and a participants section will be created on the Web site. Abstracts will also be posted on the listserv for discussion.

Adrianne Wortzel spoke on a panel titled "The Next Stage: Performance and Technology at the Crossroads" last night at Franklin Furnace. It was moderated by Heather Wagner and part of the blast5drama exhibition at Sandra Gering Gallery.

Daniel Georges, curator of "In The Flow: Alternate Authoring Strategies" at Franklin Furnace, is working on a sublayer of network mappings for the Gallery site walls. Marek has created what is pretty much a final VRML version of the site online. Members will meet there next week in Cyberhub and disucss any changes.

December 21, 1996, Saturday
Creating web pages for accepted projects and will be public by January 1. Accepting and rejecting proposals is probably the most difficult part of PORT since there are few criteria to work from. Decisions were made based on whether they fit within the parameters set up for the List center presentation and whether we would be able to work with the presenters to make it happen. That second condition meant that some very good proposals that should be in the exhibition had to be rejected this time. It is hoped that future PORTs will be able to accommodate them.

Rob will send out a STATE O' PORT summary to the listserv this week so list members will have a better idea of where the project stands at this point. Everything is on shedule and the main concern is that those who have committed to PORT be kept informed and any problems ironed out before January 25th.

The List space design is formalized and the main concern is in building the elements and collecting material for the "bulletin board" covering the walls.

December 28, 1996, Saturday





Greetings PORT-ers,

I've been promising for weeks to post a summary of our PORT discussions and now that things have slowed down, and I'm sick of Tickling Elmo, I'll make good on that promise.

Those who have been with us from the beginning (Nov. 1, 1996) know that these discussions have roamed all over the place. This is good since the listserv was created to explore the possibilities of presentation of art online. This is bad if you are trying to figure out how you can participate in PORT, which opens January 25. If you want to submit a formal proposal you will find the guidelines and a proposal form at: http://artnetweb.com/port/guidelines/guidelines.html

However, If you've posted to the list you are, by default, a participant in PORT since the listserv is a "prelude" and integral to the exhibition. This may seem odd since it's unusual that an exhibition is made accessible before the opening date. Well, welcome to what could become the virtual art museum.

All of the posts have been read by the organizers and discussed and we thank you for the time you have given and the interest you have shown. We look forward to your continued participation. Your thoughts are important as the criteria for this type of exhibition is in an extremely ambiguous state.

Since the discussions have been so wide-ranging I thought I'd put a few of the ones I found interesting in this first "STATE O' PORT". Apologies if they are taken out of context and the posters should feel free to revive the threads they come from. Those who are new to the list are invited to add to them (be sure to put a new SUBJECT line in your post if you reply to this post).

Future STATE O' PORTs will include other threads. By the time of the exhibition opening this will be a daily newsletter that will keep subscribers up-to-date even if they are unable to participate in specific events.

We have around 70 subscribers and if you want to know who they are you simply send an email message to: listserv@home.ease.lsoft.com with the command REView PORT-MIT

If you want to read the previous posts there is an archive on the Web: http://home.ease.lsoft/archives/port-mit.html

Robbin Murphy listguy murph@artnetweb.com



On Tue, 10 Dec 1996, nita sturiale asked:

Will there be a space in the exhibition for viewing websites that exist as artworks but are not nec. timebased? You know, the old-style, antique, interpassive and doddering, read-and-respond website... I'd love to participate but wouldn't be able to committ to a performance once a week for two months at this late date.

Whew!! I feel ok about even asking this because of the opening created by Anita deWaard's comments about the need to open up the discussion a bit. You guys were getting scary there for a while. I appreciate the shift towards talking about the "brass tacks" of your ideas and the exhibition.

I make art, use computers and talk about art and science all the time but I don't work with VRML. So, Anita's comments and GH's response created a sense of relief for me and I feel less like a dusty relic. thanks.



On Tue, 10 Dec 1996, Marek Wolczak (marek@interport.net) wrote:

"VRML is a markup language for 3d. It was invented 2 years ago by people who wanted to network computers, and for the interface to that network to be 3d. Its non-proprietary, ie. it works on every platform. I started playing with vrml 3 months ago using a 486dx66 with 20mb ram. You can create vrml using any text editor, and many of the graphical editors (modellers) are available for free on the internet. Vrml is more difficult than html, but not that much, the only massive help to making vrml is if you have some experience with 3d work before, its probably easier for sculptors and architects - and that has nothing to do with the technology necessary to make vrml. To experience vrml you need a computer, a modem, and if you have a slow computer, patience."


The easy way to view vrml is to download Netscape 3.01 plus components (free): http://home.netscape.com/comprod/mirror/client_download.html

To add a vrml browser to your current web software, I recommend trying the vrml repository browser list: http://sdsc.edu/vrml/browsers.html

To look up info on vrml, find editors, etc.,then the same place: http://sdsc.edu/vrml/



On Mon, 9 Dec 1996, Cary Peppermint (capepper@MAILBOX.SYR.EDU) responds:

> Can real art be made in virtual spaces?

is not the ceiling of the sistine chapel a virtual space where we will never be granted the opportunity to grace or hold with our physical presence. does not mediation begin with my cultural gatherings and then how i would represent myself/interpret you. where is the perfect resolution? i believe it may not exist. possibly only sentiments exist between us which can at best convey approximations of our fluid undertakings. some orchestrations are more dynamically constructed than others (given) though is not media always media.

i raise these questions with hopes of pushing your proposal a bit onto a platform where we are not muddied and fixed by our inherent natures/designs but focused upon our how best to orchestrate our presence/sentiments. fish are excellent swimmers yet undoubtedly were not the first to discover the water. i propose (vaguely) we concentrate on becoming excellent swimmers.


Joseph Nechvatal replies to the same question:

More and more I am feeling that form and formal development in media now has a totally determining `social gradient', that is, is based upon the relationship of artists to corporate uses and purposes of new media. It seems useful to clearly specify what these purposes are, how they derive from and feed back upon independent cultural production. (How indeed `independent' production understands itself, its position, the identity of its practitioners is the question of the `avant-garde,' of subcultural positions.)

What frame of reference is there for media art activity besides the corporate? The gallery is the marketplace, the museum is a warehouse?

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