media & technology

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Just as we're all getting used to the idea of chatting over e-mail and surfing the Web, along comes another string to the bow of new technology - Internet performance.

While businessmen and politicians have been loudly Iauding the Net as the new marketplace for commerce and learning, the world's artists have been quietly transforming its ones and zeros into a means of creative expression.

Some of these artists have become stars, creating Net-fuelled works on a grand scale in the full glare of public and media. Aussie performance artist Stelarc, who wires up parts of his body to be controlled electronically across the Net, has earned a reputation for live displays that require wads of cash and elicit many inches of column space. Evidence of this can be seen when Stelarc performs his new work Parasite at Glasgow’s Arches this fortnight as part of Fotofeis 97.

Closer to home, Glasgow-based performance maverick Angus Farquhar of NVA has created spectacular multi- media shows, such as outdoor epic Stormy Waters and the indoor Virtual World Orchestra, at which Stelarc appeared. Staged with the help of significant funding and armies of crew, neither was deemed entirely successful, but that NVA were bold and necessary pioneers was in little doubt.

Equally close to home however, another electronic underground is rumbling. Beavering away on the Net without any backing at all are Edinburgh-based artists Simon Yuill and Lindsay Perth, aka Elevator. With Net antics including interactive soap opera and e-mail fortune cookies under their belts, the pair are now preparing to take Glasgow's forthcoming new communication technologies conference, JETAI ‘97, by storm, with a string of performances to complement the talks and discussions.

Taking place at Glasgow's Street Level Gallery, these performances, known collectively as Strut, aim to put

Electronic male: Stelarc demonstrates the future of performance

the creative back into computer and the human back into hard drive. The international cast of artists assembled by Yuill and Perth will do all from divulging secrets shared over the Net as part of a live performance, to sharing a virtual meal with women across the world.

Question is, why bother to use the Net for performance at all? For Yuill, it's a crucial development in a society that still sees technology as cold and unfriendly.

'Primarily the Internet is a communication medium that connects people. So it's interesting to push performance out over that medium. It [performance] helps bring you back to the sense of the physical that's involved in human contact, and it's juxtaposed with the huge distances covered by the Net.‘

Undeterred by the image of geeks using screens to separate themselves from the rest of the world, Yuill is one of those who reckons technology really can bring us together.

'lt's not the monitor that sits on your desktop,’ he says, ‘it’s the connection that counts.’ (Ellie Carr)

I Stelarc performs Parasite at the Arches, Glasgow, Fri 7 Nov (see Art listings). Strut performances take place at Street Level Gallery, Glasgow, Tue IB—Sat 15 Nov, various times.

David Carson Designer of Raygun magazine

Question; What have Microsoft’s 1998 campaign, Armani’s winter catalogue, Raygun magazine and the recent Meg Ryan movie Addicted To Love got in common?

Answer: They all bear the imprint of

David Carson: designs on the future

104 THE U31 7—20 Nov 1997

hotshot US designer - and former number seven world-ranked Surfer David Carson.

Carson, a sociology graduate who side-stepped formal training, and moved from surfing to designing Skateboard Magazine in the early 805, is giving a sneak preview of his new work and showcasing highlights from his back catalogue around Britain this fortnight. A generous helping of his visual pyrotechnics can also be found in his new book 2nd Sight, along With some poetically charged explanations.

Now heading his own company, Carson counts Nike, MTV, British Airways and Levi's among recent clients. Even so, he has stayed true to his experimental roots.

’What interests me is that even airlines are now realising the importance of this kind of visual language,’ he remarks. ’And they’re going to someone who, a couple of years ago, everyone said was unreadable.

Carson's influence on design ranges

from the purely inspirational, like hip UK desrgn outfit Tomato 'tney were the first to take what I’d been doing in Raygun and put it into film' to pure theft, like the recent Casio ad lifted directly from an early Raygun spread. But it's the individualistic spirit he pioneered marrying technology with an inturtion - that has become widespread.

'Being brought up in Southern California around the surfing culture, there's an attitude of "why not?” and there’s a bit of a rebel thing in it,’ he reflects. ’Actually, I've lost bought a house on the perfect surf break in the Caribbean. Hopefully, it'll double as a second studio and vacation spot. Even today in the middle of New York, I’m aware of the wind conditions. It’s just something that stays with you.’ Amen to that. (Deirdre Molloy)

I 2nd Sight: Grafik Design After The End Of Print is published by Laurence King at [25. David Carson gives an illustrated lecture at GFT, Glasgow, Thu 6 Nov, 6pm. Tickets: 332 81 28.


Games oWeb Sites 0CD ROMS


Colony Wars

(PlayStation £44.99)

This space blaster from the makers of Wipeout is every bit as stylish as you'd expect, with breathtaking graphics and an orchestral soundtrack that could have been used in Star Wars. The Star Wars film experience is always the benchmark for space games, and Colony Wars comes closer than most to attaining it, with large, locatable enemies and all the appropriate laser- flaring you could ask for. Its main failing, however, is that it lacks any real sense of context. Completing mission after similar mission doesn't really reveal how your progress relates to the wars of the title. More space opera, please.


Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight

(PC CD-ROM £39.99)

This IS a game that has appeal and context before you even open the box. Continuing the 3D Doom-style perspective of the original, you play a young Jedi Knight which means that, yes, you get to use a light sabre. You also have the pleasurable option of turning to the dark side of the Force during your training as well. The graphics engine has been improved to Quake standards, and a multi-player mode has been added. With the continuing publicity Star Wars receives, Jedi Knight is guaranteed to be a hit, and why not? It has everything you could ask for.


MOPy Fish ( Get yourself a virtual fish tank for free. The good-looking MOPy Fish will swim and play with you to your hearts content. As with most virtual pets, it needs to be cared for and maintained, lest, after a bout of Serious Fish Attitude, it flaps its gills for the last time and floats to the surface. Sponsored by Hewlett Packard, you can earn MOPy points every time you make a printout of your little darling, and these can be exchanged for rocks, plants and bubbles to enhance your aquarium. You can even exchange points on this Web site for aphrodisiacs, which will eliot a big, fishy kiss.