For The Original 1984
Cafe Network Project
Kit wrote the following manifesto for the original Electronic Cafe Network
they created for the 1984 Summer Olympics Arts Festival in Los Angeles.
For a long time they called it the "Networked Project," which was their
creative response to the arrival of the Orwellian year. The name of the
project was changed to acknowledge the importance of the informal community
venues they preferred to use as hosts for this encounter between the public
and powerful networking technologies. For a long time, the community
cafe idea had been neglected as an important informal human institution
in the US. Community cafes had always contributed to the quality
of community life in Europe and other parts of the world. Networking
culturally diverse community cafes during the Olympic Games seemed like
an idea worthy of replication on a global scale. In our current
world of wireless ubiquitous networking, this idea seems as quaint and
as rustic as sipping coffee at the local telegraph office. All of
the advances in human-to-human connectivity has not antiquated the value
of the informal community commons, and Starbucks is just another franchised
service provider. Cybercafes come and go in the US, but remain important
assets in most other parts of the world. The Electronic Cafe Network
Project was more ambitious as a concept, and wanted more in terms of community,
global, and sister city interaction -- a more dynamic environment than
surfing the net. The idea was simple: A network of new informal human
institution for showcasing, encountering, humanizing, and acculturating
world changing technologies. A place where a globally networked culture
might emerge that would enable consumers of information services to evolve
into the architects of services that served their interests rather that
the interests of Microsoft.
Cafe Network Project was installed and operational for seven weeks --
connecting culturally diverse communities throughout greater Los Angeles.
The artists were awarded a commissioned by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary
Art (MOCA), on behalf of the Olympics Arts Festival.
And now, the Manifesto:
WE MUST CREATE
AT THE SAME SCALE
AS WE CAN DESTROY
the arts are to take a role in shaping and humanizing emerging technological
environments, individuals and arts constituencies must begin to imagine
at a much larger scale of creativity.
must begin to create at the same scale as we can destroy, or else art,
and more dangerously the human spirit and imagination, will be rendered
decorative and impotent.
the boundaries between art and life dissolve it will be the result of
artists migrating towards a new order of artmaking, abandoning the conventional
standards and practices and becoming 'new practitioners' or systems integrators,
who produce situations, contexts, and permanent environments or utilities.
The 'new practitioners' can begin the process of healing the aesthetic
wound that has disfigured the business of Art, and continue the aesthetic
quest in more relevant directions.
creative activities must emerge such as multi-media creative solutions
networks, not simply computer networks for Artists, but rather multi-media
telecommunications networks with agendas that can engage multi-disciplinary
constituencies. This will require the development of new skills and the
cultivation of new relationships between the participants. The movement
is towards the control of a meaningful context, creating environments
not just to support art, but that create the possibility for new scales
of creativity across all disciplines and boundaries.
dark side of the "new world information order" suggests that a new scale
aesthetics be created. It will take several years from the time this work
begins for creative solutions networks of appropriate number, scale, velocity,
and dexterity to evolve to maturity. Consider: co-creating non-imperialistic,
multi-cultural or domestic agendas for community or global scale aesthetic
endeavors. Consider: the continuous re-invention of non-hierarchical telecom
networks that will allow people to bypass cultural gatekeepers and power
brokers. We must accept these kinds of challenges and recognize what can
be gained by solving them.
of this implies that there is a new way to be in the world. That the counterforce
to the scale of destruction is the scale of communication, and that our
legacy or epitaph will be determined in many ways by our ability to creatively
employ informal, multi-media, multi-cultural, conversational, telecommunications
and information technologies.
All rights reserved 1983 - 2001 Kit Galloway & Sherrie Rabinowitz