[June 4th 2003]
A screen shot from the exhibition
Electrohype-ROM: not just for nerds
Malmø based Electrohype have just
opened a gallery for computer based art: Electrohype-ROM. Electrohype
run by Anna Kindvall and Lars Midbøe
has existed since 2000, and last Autumn they were behind
the first Nordic Biennial for this new art form. The first artists
showing at Electrohype-ROM are members of the legendary Dutch net.art
group Jodi. The exhibition 10 Programs Written in BASIC
© 1984 consists of 10 programmes written, as the title
suggests, in the classic computer language BASIC. Visitors to the
show are encouraged to re-programme the Sinclair machines and take
part in the formation of the work. kopenhagen dropped by for the
opening, and asked Lars Midbøe a few questions. Interview:
Kristine Ploug. Photo: Thomas Petersen. Translation:
Södra Förstadsgatan 18, Malmø
Exhibition continues until 19 June.
Up the stairs and to the left
What is Electrohype-ROM?
Electrohype-ROM is an expansion of the Electrohype Center, both
physically and in relation to the activities that Electrohype is
engaged in. The idea is to create a permanent physical exhibition
space where it is possible to see and experience computer based
art for longer periods of time than normal. Most often, computer
based art is shown in festivals for three to ten days. Here at Electrohype-ROM
this art form can be experienced in a more traditional gallery setting
where viewers would, for example, be able to return and take another
look several weeks later. Our exhibitions will generally run for
three weeks at a time.
Screen shots from the exhibition 10 Programs Written
in BASIC (c) 1984.
Electrohype-ROM functions as a test platform for computer
based art. One of Electrohypes most important jobs is to work for
the advancement of computer based art, and we see the establishment
of ROM as a natural step in the work weve begun. In addition
to the exhibition space, from September there will also be two study
areas in the room. There it will be possible to look at art, link
collections, and read books and magazines that would otherwise be
difficult to find. The target group for these study areas is made
up of students, theoreticians and the art interested public. We
receive many calls and questions from people and institutions that,
for example, would like to see and know more about this artform.
Now they can come here and study it in a peaceful environment.
Computers from the good old days ...
There is a discussion of what the best way to exhibit computer
based art is. Youve been exhibiting since Electrohype was
established in 2000. Do you have any thoughts about the process
of exhibiting computer based art?
Exhibiting computer based art presents a whole array of challenges,
aesthetically, theoretically and technically. Thats why its
very important that artists, curators, exhibition designers and
technicians work closely together. Weve been lucky to work
with two very talented exhibition designers, Tandi Agrell and Johan
Carlsson, who have both created noteworthy spaces for art. Its
also very important to listen to the artists wishes and respect
the demands and limits they have regarding the showing of their
work. I know that there are, for example, a couple of well known
net artists that absolutely refuse to have their work shown in galleries
or exhibition spaces, but they still end up with endless series
of discussions with gallerists that insist on showing their work
in the same way as paintings. On the other hand, its important
to set limits for individual artists in group shows, where its
important to remember that there is more than one piece in the room,
regardless of the fact that the artists are thinking about their
The public can, if they remember their BASIC, reprogramme
the computers if they like.
An exhibition with computer based art can easily start looking like
a technical workshop or a computer convention. The technical side
has to be there, but the challenge is in making the focus stay not
on the computers but on the art. Weve always put a lot of
energy into creating spaces that provide the public with a total
experience. But of course there are a lot of technical problems
with sound from other pieces, with lighting in situations where
dark is needed. Its a challenge to make sure that one piece
doesnt strangle another.
It is also our goal to get rid of the nerd element that
computer based art has by showing it in a more traditional gallery
in the same way that other forms of art are shown, while at the
same time showing what it is that makes this work special. Some
might find it strange to create an exhibition space for this artform,
but there are galleries that specialise in graphic art and blown
glass, and now theres one for computer based art as well.
Photos from the opening
Electrohype 2002 (Danish): http://www.kopenhagen.dk/indeximage/electrohype2002.htm
Interview with Lars Midbøe (Danish): http://www.kopenhagen.dk/interviews/Electro_dk.htm