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Hi-Tech Nostalgia
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Hi-Tech Nostalgia

Umělec magazine 2000/4

01.04.2000

media | en cs

The opening day of the two-month international hi-tech project Cafe9.net in the space of the NOD Gallery paradoxically unfolded in the spirit of nostalgia for the good ol’ days, back when civilization was trumpeting in the mono record player as its latest triumph and the swirling, poignant dust kicked up by the revolutionary avant-garde was still hanging in the air.
The festival of exhibitions, performances, lectures, workshops, videoconferences and online projects is to be centered around the NOD’s Internet café. The beautiful space with winding metal pipes and factory lamps offers eight Internet-wired computers and videoconference gadgetry. Before entering this space, however, the visitor is forced to walk through an exhibition of old record players (interactivity is perhaps dealt with by the fact that you may choose to play one of the records) and a smaller, agitprop room with its sights set against globalization. Politics goes perfectly well with modern technology; a number of activists use it to put across their ideas; some radical activists master it to such an extent that they’re able to use is as an effective weapon for targeted diversion. Here however people interested in new experiences and strategies in the art of protesting find an old machine gun, paving blocks, writing on the wall; all of which is overshadowed by two banners reading ”Revolution” and ”Avant-garde.” It may be that these two events opening the Cafe9 project suggest little knowledge of technology in the Czech Republic, so the program had to reach back in time into the past century. In the end you could also resort to stating that ideas are not what change, it is only the tools and technology used for their enforcement.
The upcoming two months, however, are to be filled with projects that will also reflect the time we’re currently living in and offer a peak into the future development of technologies and the society that uses them. The Cafe9 program consists of several categories: performances, exhibitions, live on-line projects, Internet projects, workshops and other productions. Eurovision2000 is one of the pivotal events, featuring series of screenings, lectures and discussions, some of which will be conducted via videoconferencing, connecting several cities in Europe. Participants from Germany, Austria, France, Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bulgaria will talk about issues concerning the new European order and the role of the media in today’s society.
Cafe9’s online projects include Radio Jelení (www.radiojeleni.cz), News@9 (a 20-minute news block), concerts (Bunuel Jam) and a Stories Exchange. Links to all Internet projects should be available at the Cafe9 website. But the space and technical equipment at the Internet café is also open to projects that have not been included in the original program and suggestions are still being accepted. Everything surrounding the latest technology is based on communication and Cafe9 is open to new ideas that could potentially be realized over the upcoming two months.
Three other exhibitions will be organized during Cafe9, one of which will present works by students of the New Media Department at the Fine Arts Academy in Prague (Sept. 20-Oct. 20, 2000).
Cafe9 is organized by several cities participating in this year’s European City of Culture with the Czech part of the program set up by the Center and Foundation for Contemporary Art. The Cafe9 detailed program and links to all events are available at www.cafe9.cz or www.cafe9.net. The project’s physical space is at NOD Gallery, Dlouhá 33, Prague 1.
(vš)




01.04.2000

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