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June 4th 2003: Electrohype-ROM: not just for nerds

[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 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: David Duchin.

Södra Förstadsgatan 18, Malmø
Thu-Fri: 14-18
Sat: 12-16
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 we’ve 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. You’ve 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. That’s why it’s very important that artists, curators, exhibition designers and technicians work closely together. We’ve been lucky to work with two very talented exhibition designers, Tandi Agrell and Johan Carlsson, who have both created noteworthy spaces for art. It’s 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, it’s important to set limits for individual artists in group shows, where it’s important to remember that there is more than one piece in the room, regardless of the fact that the artists are thinking about their work alone.

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. We’ve 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. It’s a challenge to make sure that one piece doesn’t strangle another.

Sinclair line-up

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 there’s one for computer based art as well.

Photos from the opening

More jodi:

Electrohype 2002 (Danish):
Interview with Lars Midbøe (Danish):


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