ARTISTS' USE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Heidi Grundmann

The history of media art seems to consist of very volatile processes of definition and re-definition, inclusion and exclusion - changing constantly in step with the changing methods of historians and other theoreticians and archivists, and with a production of art, which may or may not appear on the radar of academic or art institutions such as museums, festivals, art fairs, symposia, publications etc. With ever more refined methods and tools, historians try to archive and occasionally even reconstruct individual works of (media-) art and, by transposing them into new technologies, and thus severing them from their original technological, social and artistic contexts, submit them to the forces of canonization. As in all disciplines of art production, a majority of projects of media art are prey to the complementary forces of art historical oblivion.
There is, however, a gray zone of media-projects which do get mentioned in art historical texts but, regrettably, crucial aspects of context, conditions of their production and intention often go unnoticed, are neglected or even improperly compared to the media savvy and rich access to connectivity of (some) artists today.
In my presentation I will not so much draw on the ever-growing apparatus of the increasingly linked/networked archives of international media-art and its institutions but rather from my own journalistic and curatorial experiences of talking to artists, and occasionally even being a witness to the unfolding of their projects. Some of the projects I will talk about are by their very nature quite resistant to archiving and especially to reconstruction. Others were drawing on media-political contexts, which are hard to understand from the point of view of today’s conditions ... I will concentrate on examples of live satellite, TV, radio and other communication art projects of the 70s/80s and maybe early 90's.

Heidi Grundmann (Austria) has worked as cultural reporter, art and theatre critic, editor, program producer and consultant at the ORF (Austrian National Radio/TV) since the 70s. In1987 she created the radio program KUNSTRADIO-RADIOKUNST (original artworks for radio). KUNSTRADIO is a program broadcast weekly on Ö1, the cultural channel of the ORF. http://kunstradio.at
Heidi Grundmann was involved in innovative telematic radio-art projects and organized and curated several international symposia and exhibitions, related to art practice in the electronic media - especially radio, TV and the internet. She was the editor of several publications and lectures and writes on art and new media.

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