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October 21st, 2002: Electrohype 2002 - Interview with Lars Midbøe
October 21st, 2002]

Electrohype 2002 - Interview with Lars Midbøe
The first ever Nordic Biennale for computerbased art, Electrohype, takes place for the second time in Malmoe, Sweden from the 23rd to 27th October 2002 showing both Nordic and international artists. The first Electrohype exhibition took place in 2000. This time, the exhibition is supplemented with the conference 'Art and Software - Software as Art'. Lars Midbøe and Anne Kindvall are the two behind it all. During the busy last days of preparation, Kristine Ploug from managed to persuade Lars Midbøe to answer a couple of questions. Translated by Stine Berger. Photos: Electrohype's press photos.

Electrohype - exhibition

Östergatan 7, Malmö
Malmö Konsthall
S:t Johannesgatan 7, Malmö, Sweden
Opening times: Wednesday 23rd Oktober to Sunday the 27th October 11am- 5 pm

Participating artists: Laura Beloff/Erich Berger (Finland/Austria), Andrew C. Bulhak (Australia), Rikard Lundstedt (Sweden), Ellen Røed (Norway), Oncotype/Subsilo/Dinsen/Christiansen (Denmark), C. Anders Wallén (Sweden), John F. Simon, Jr. (US), Marek Walczak/Martin Wattenberg (US), Magnus Wassborg (Sverige), Thomas Broomé (Sweden), Helen Evans/Heiko Hansen (France), Lisa Jevbratt (Sweden), Federico Muelas (Spain), Paul Smith/Vicky Isley (UK), Gisle Frøysland (Norway), Victor Vina (UK)
'Art and Software - Software as Art'- conference booking required
Storgatan 22, Malmoe. Sweden
Speakers: Andreas Brøgger (Denmark) and John F. Simon, Jr. (US),
Further information:

How did Electrohype start?
Electrohype happened as a reaction to the fact that neither Sweden nor the Nordic countries as a whole had a forum for computer-based art. Anna Kindvall was, at the time, working at the Digitala Bildverkstaden in Malmö, where I was also a member and later worked there, too. We met up and discussed the possibility of arranging an event that could prove that good computer art does exist. Anna outlined an idea, which we have since developed. As we started to get our initial funding, it became necessary to create an organisation, and since then we have attracted more support which has enabled us to enlarge the scale of the project. Our original plan was to make just one exhibition, but the response at Electrohype 2000 was so overwhelmingly positive and we had lots of enquiries about when we would hold our next event. Since then we arranged two commissioned exhibitions (NIC 2001 in Copenhagen and Hotspot #3 Electrohype at Gotland, Sweden) while at the same time working on making Electrohype 2002 a reality.And so now we are here. Our exhibition opens on Wednesday, which means we have established the first ever Nordic Biennale for computer-based art. Also, as you probably know, we have received funding from 'Framtidens Kultur' (Future Culture, a Swedish funding organisation-ed.) to establish The Electrohype Centre, a place that's going to be a platform for our future activities. We will also attempt to make a few smaller exhibitions and seminars, everything with a focus on computer-based art and perhaps also artforms close to the genre in order to put computer-based art into perspective.

What are your backgrounds?
Anna graduated from Malmö Art School and has plenty of experience of using computers in her work. In 1997 she travelled to Holland where she studied New Media at Groeningen. Since then she has produced a great deal of interactive and web-based art. For more information visit:

My own background is in photography, and I started working with computers in the beginning of the nineties. With photography I soon discovered exciting possibilities, beyond the purely practical, and I have since worked with computers in conjunction with both sound as well as image and video. I have taught various digital techniques and worked as a technician at several Swedish art schools. But since 2000 I have primarily worked on Electrohype.

I sense from Copenhagen that Malmö has a really 'happening' art scene, especially for digital art. For example last spring Lev Manovich (, one of the most respected theorists did a talk, and now Electrohype is running again for the second time…
Yes, Malmö has an exciting art scene especially at the grass-roots level. There are a great variety of projects and groups that seem to exist for anything from days through to months and beyond. Unfortunately a lot of the projects disappear before they ever get established properly. In Malmö quite a few people are interested in electronic music, and there are several courses where students can work with new media and technology which makes a good breeding ground for the creation of new art. I also feel that the smaller groups operating within a more flexible organisation are particularly successful at promoting themselves across the Øresund Region. It is easier to get in contact with like-minded people in Malmö/Copenhagen who are part of small groups rather than larger, more formal institutions.
For example, we have worked with LAB - a collaboration that was nice and simple to carry out, and I am aware that several other people in Malmö have worked both with LAB as well as other groups in Copenhagen.
Actually there's a bit of an amusing story to do with Lev Manovich. We received an email from him, where he told us that he was coming to Malmö, and that he would like to meet some of us from Electrohype. And as with a lot of people, he was surprised to discover that Electrohype is more or less just Anna and myself. A lot of people are under the impression that it is a large organisation.

Electrohype 2002Electrohype 2002
(l) Thomas Broomé (Sweden): HellHunt (r) Magnus Wassborg (Sweden): FulHack

Electrohype 2002 consists of a conference discussing theory as well as an exhibition. Is digital art more closely linked to art theory than other artforms?
No, I don't reckon that computer-based art has a closer link to art theory. If one looks back to the early nineties, it was very popular to theorise about photography, and for that reason computer-based art seems to have fallen in to that category of attracting theory because it is also a comparatively new media for the art world. Perhaps it also has something to do with the fact that a lot of people, who are interested in literature and poetry have approached the basic part of computer art: the programming. I know that there are strong links between these fields in Germany and Russia. Or it is probably natural that young theorists focus on this art form that they have experience of from their own lives.
They have grown up with the Commodore 64 computer and computers games and reckon that it is more interesting to work with computer art theory rather than for example oil paintings or 18th century architecture. There are quite a few parallels to Modernism that are interesting to the theorists - one can see links to the enlightenment and the optimism of the avant-garde.

How did you choose the participating artists?
We have our own way of choosing the art for our exhibitions. We announce a 'Call for Entries', which allows artists to apply to participate in the exhibition. At the same time we have a list of artists and works that that we have seen or heard of, during the time between exhibitions. This time around we received 250 applications from 31 different countries. Anna and I make a preliminary sorting and present it to a jury, and then we discuss what is good and less good, and slowly but surely we come up with a selection. Then we contact the artists we want to invite, and finally we have a selection that works well as an exhibition. This way we include good works from both the more established as well as less established artists. We also have an objective to include a certain percentage of Nordic artists in the exhibition to establish contact between the Nordic and international artists.
As I mentioned our aim is to help promote computer-based art and in relation to that it is important that the artists make connections.

What direction is Webart heading in? Have you detected any clear movements?
With Webart in particular it is hard to define a direction.
I don't even think that there is yet a definition of what Netart or Webart is. It is still being discussed in various forums.
Generally, if I was to point out a tendency, it would be that there seems to be a preoccupation amongst the artists to visualise the things that are actually happening on the internet. They are looking at the internal processes happening between human and machine and from machine to machine. Earlier on, a lot of people used the internet to distribute traditional fine art, or art which strongly refers to other traditions such as photography, film, and animation. Today one can experience works that for example visualise the traffic on a local network or installations that move the process out of the computer, into physical space. In particular I am thinking about the work of Lisa Jevbratts and Victor Vina.

Electrohype 2002Electrohype 2002
(l) Lisa Jevbratt's (Sweden): Out of the Ordinary. (r) Morten Schjødt, Peter Thillemann, Theis Barenkopf Dinesen, Anne Dorthe Christiansen, Oncotype, Subsilo (Denmark): Rekyl

Finally a bit about the definition of computer-based art. There are a lot of different terms: Digital art, Web art, Multimedia art etc. Electrohype works with the term 'computer-based' art.
As we were looking for works for our first exhibition we quickly discovered that it was necessary to set up a framework, as a tool for ourselves. The decision was to focus exclusively on works that need a computer to function and not works that can be translated into traditional linear mediums, for example animation that can be transferred onto videotape. Some people think that we are too dogmatic, but we reckon that there are already a lot of platforms supporting, for example, video art, and for that reason we wanted to put our energy into an area that we think needs a platform.
Today computers are everywhere, from home-PCs to mobile phones and microwaves. It could be hilarious to see an installation that is based on the computer in a Volvo

A report from the performance by Artificial Paradises at LAB in November 2001, arrangered, among others, by Electrohype. AP was performed on Friday nights during Electrohype 2002.


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