by Martin Breindl
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Radio art piece about the vanishing body through advancing media technologies and the stylisation of the artist's image resulting from this.
The modern human being seems to develop a strange attitude towards this thing called body: body would be something we have (in the sense of possess) and not something we are. Body would be something we could transcend without giving up our human nature. Body would have only nostalgic value.
One of the aims of advancing media technologies seems to be: providing us with facilities to transcend our bodies in near future. Research is done to transform the human essence into digital codes and flatliners crowd cyberpunk novels. The world view of modern computer engineering fulfils the continuous thread in western philosophy. Plato bows, Saint Augustine falls into ecstasy of his mysticism and Descartes laughs.
Artists of the sixties and seventies already pointed out this upcoming ideologisation of media. The evolution of these centuries' art itself seems to be a draft of this phenomenon:
At the beginning the body as instrument (body art) - the artist in his psycho-physical state as topic and material (here and now = performance); followed by the absent artist's presence as recorded media (here but not now = installation, sound-carrier; now but not here = radio, television); and last the (still unfinished) implementation of an artist's ideal into network (always and everywhere and at the same time never and nowhere).
The ironic point is that this development led to a stylisation of the artist's image: the artist as person in his physical presence (= open to attack) played a decreasing role. He was more and more replaced by his own avatar. Vito Acconci and General Idea were some of the artists who ironically commented this development.
"Wenn der Walzer beginnt, können wir uns nicht hinsetzen" by Vito Acconci (1978) and "Glamour" by General Idea (1979) are basis and material of "famous / glamorous". In several steps the so-called "message" is peeled off its bodily carrier. The voices appear dematerialised, transcending their origin towards the airwaves which spread them all over the country.
produced on the occasion of "RE-PLAY update", a series of projects relating to radio-art concepts of the 70s | commissioned and produced by ORF Kunstradio
first broadcasted on April 8th, 2001, ORF Ö1 Kunstradio-Radiokunst
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