RETHINKING ART IN THE DIGITAL ERA
by Arlindo Machado
As a result of the ever increasing assimilation of scientific and technological processes, Gonzalo Mezza undoubtedly occupies a privileged space among Latin-American artists who take part in the debate on the course that art has been taking over the last few years. Deploying since the early ‘70s ever more sophisticated technological resources, such as film, video, neon, laser projections, computers, computer networks, etc., for the elaboration of his creative works, Mezza ended up constructing a peculiar perspective of technical mediation.
Undoubtedly, the work of this important Chilean artist has proved to run parallel to the course taken by international technological poetics, while at the same time varying from them in some meaningful aspects, as his work also lets itself be influenced by the intense reality of this peculiar part of the world in which we live. It is very difficult to speak about geography when dealing with dematerialized works—works that move about in the form of energy and may be made available on a simultaneous basis via the Internet to any part of the planet—works that don’t have a definite appearance; which can be modified by their transmission channels or by those who have access to them. In fact, it is almost impossible to identify the great majority of works that nowadays move about in the Internet in terms of geographical origin or of local identity, for everything tends to become collective and global right after having been made available in the World Wide Web. Even the language tends to become homogeneous. Nevertheless, something in Mezza’s works tends to resist every chance to become uniform.
They always keep the mark of a specific visual quality that we have learned to identify historically as "belonging to the south," just as the icons and stylized forms of Andean or South Pacific, African or Easter Island civilizations belong to the south. Appearing in Mezza’s installations under a form that Gestalt Theory would not hesitate in calling pregnant, those icons define a visual purpose or a field of forces whose general outlines remain intact even when the works are submitted to the most disjunctive of interventions. With the widespread use of computers and the Internet, it has become commonplace to say that every work is always the result of a gigantic and unpredictable interaction that takes place under the form of a collective creation process. In other words, a work of art nowadays can no longer be understood as the expression of an individual subjectivity, but as a total cosmic process led by a kind of hypersubject (a term introduced by Mario Costa). The Internet would then be conceived of as a "live" organism, in which a kind of uncontrollable universal and collective conscience is being engendered. This organism purportedly "thinks" and "organizes" itself through countless interferences performed in its virtual body by people from around the world. But are we really watching the complete dissolution of the subject and of its space and time, the demise of the "artist" in favor of an anonymous and collective form of creation, the extinction of the local and circumstantial in the name of the general and global?
Mezza’s body of works seems to allow these issues to be viewed from a slightly different perspective.
Mezza’s most recent work (project M@R.CO.SUR, for instance, which has been in progress since 1995, and which was shown at the XXIII Bienal de São Paulo) seeks to point to innovative solutions to the issue of how to rethink art in our highly technology-centralized societies. The idea on which the project seems to be grounded is that a new stage in the course of mankind does not destroy the previous ones, but it superposes itself to them, producing results that are not necessarily predatory, just more complex. Instead of simply determining the death of painting, of the museum or the art gallery, of the specific place for the occurrence of art, Mezza formulates more intelligent issues that are also more in tune with a new ecological awareness. How to have a museum that is physically installed in a locality (a city, a country, a continent) dialog with the Internet? How to interconnect intangible, unlocalizable, globalized Internet events with the installation and performance located at a given space to where people must physically flow? How can the individual art work, materialized in a painting by an individual artist, find a new fruition environment and a new type of "viewer" no longer intent on adopting a passive reverential stance, but rather predisposed to undergo transformational assimilation processes? Mezza’s current project seeks to perform works, events, installations or event fields simultaneously in physical and electronic spaces without distinguishing in principle between an area reserved for art (the "white cube" of the art gallery) and a supposedly non-artistic environment (the Internet). Thus images (be they artistic or not) made available in the web may be accessed at a public event with defined hours and place to compose a unique, local and unrepeatable event.
Conversely, any one from anywhere in the world who navigates in the Internet may interfere on events that take place outside it, in a public space (a museum, a biennial), and may even have the result of their intervention in return. We often speak of "works" as a language habit, but in the context of Mezza’s oeuvre, it is clear that this term cannot be understood in the conventional sense, as something that has been completed, that is finished and that may be placed in circulation under an author’s signature. "Works" are now open processes in continual progress that accumulate results which, for their turn, feed new cycles. Other artists are allowed to interfere in the piece originally offered as a response to the artist’s initial gesture of departing from previously existing "works." Moreover, the viewers in attendance both at the installation’s physical space and in the virtual space of the Internet are also allowed to intervene in the process. Each time a work by Mezza is "reinstalled," it is already something different as it embodies the results of the most recent assemblies. But then, this may be a condition of every work of art of any time in history, for, strictly speaking, a work is never "ended," it is interrupted due to circumstances external to it.
Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote, for his turn, that the concept of a finished work is meaningful only in the context of religion or of weariness. Events currently taking place in cyberspace merely provide the structural evidence for that which is at the root of every creative process. If it were possible to sum it all up in a single paragraph, it could be said that Mezza’s most recent work makes it possible to better understand the complex process of interaction between all of the minds and sensitivities that make the advent of contemporary aesthetic experiences into a reality. Today’s artists may be compared to the conductor of an invisible orchestra made up of a variable number of creative agents. This analogy entails, of course, the demystification of a number of conventional—even arrogant—values inspired in the idea of "work" as a finished product that has been conceived by an individual creative genius who holds a position of superiority in the hierarchy of artistic skills.
When Mezza, makes his computers and works available to the visitors of his installations or to Internet travelers, when he makes it possible for others to occupy a part of the space of his works, he is really inserting his work into a dialog process where none of the parts produces a final determination. This is not to mean that art has been placed within the reach of every one, or that any one can make art, as it is sometimes heard or read in questionable discourses about a purported democratization of art. If on the one hand many of the results obtained in Mezza’s installations are the result of a complex interaction and could never have been premeditated or planned by the artist, on the other hand, they never could have emerged out of a merely conventional deployment of technical resources within their "normal" functioning parameters. If the results display qualities that we may view, in a new sense, as aesthetic, that’s because the "conductor" knew how to make the best out of the conjunction of factors. As for knowing whether the "work" obtained through that process is the creation of the artist who conceived it or of the visitors who interfered in it constitutes an insoluble question, and for that very reason, an obsolete one.
It is becoming increasingly less relevant to view contemporary aesthetic products and processes as individually motivated—as the manifestations of style of a unique genius, rather than a socially motivated work of interaction, in which the result can only consist of an interplay of tensions between the most varied agents and factors, a symbolic economy dialogic in nature. The artist involved in this process may become a catalyst that makes things happen in an unpredictable direction (i.e., in a non programmed way, free from industrial purposes) and, most important of all, within a perspective of expansion, in a direction that leads to increase in the complexity rate of the culture.
Sao Paulo. 1998Texto ,catalogo ,
0 + 1
Text By : Gonzalo Mezza (1997)
My work in the cyberspace, Museums and Public spaces, since 1970
represents the transformation and transition process that humanity is experiencing as the new millennium approaches. The visual arts are not aloof from this passage from the material to the virtual realm.
The new geopolitical and multicultural order among continents affected by the democratization of the huge advancements performed by ever more intelligent means of communication, alter the nature of the perception of time and space of the reproductive apparatus of the classical fine arts.
As in the Renaissance, the artist recovers his status as intellectual, scientific and technical craftsman. Nowadays, the avant-garde is everywhere free from the hegemonic power of the State.
Cyberspace provides the new base for the creative energy of contemporary thought.
With its endless network links, the Internet potentates new collective associations, connecting each human being with his or her peers, unhindered by frontiers and centers of power.
A true ocean of the digital neurons of knowledge, the Internet is open to the challenge of the new century as a metaphor of life, solidarity and relationship. It would be unlikely that humanity would survive the next millennium without it. Unmasking the self of elitist ideologies of Western aesthetics, art should not be viewed in opposition to the new cultural industry.
Computer science and technology are powerful tools of human intelligence which may be instrumental in the demystification of supposedly universal theories of beauty, thus able to show that, in reality, such theories are only class-determined views on socially shared codes of communications and market formations.
Network cyberculture the new paradigm- constitutes a never before seen anthropological mutation.
Each neuron is a link toward the creation of a more just world that navigates among infinite galaxies since the time of the big bang.,
Each chip represents a check on the anthropophagite system of contemporary arts.
MCMXCVIl / S.XX
Gonzalo Mezza , 1997 Porto Alegre.Brazil
Recent Art in Chile / Copyin Eden
A pioneer of the art technology in Chile, released his work of the opposition between art and the new cultural industry, integrating media and technological mechanisms in combination with organic elements, such as ice or charcoal, has developed facilities, interactive through the Internet, urban interventions and in nature, multimedia installations, digital painting, video art, and photography. The peculiarity of their materials work does not limit the conceptual background to uan reflection on their use for art also raises issues resulting from this historic, geographic and overflowing as globalization, cultural identities, politics, religion and its symbols, and art history ecology Hence his work has been described as "technological humanism" (Margarita Schultz) with that proposed by the utopia of cyberculture. /Catalina Valdes
edited by Gerardo Mosquera
taken from the book Copying Eden
edited by Gerardo Mosquera Copy
All (five) Senses
by : Margarita Schultz
E-EVOLUTION GONZALO MEZZA IN MAVI MUSEUM
One should not be disconcerted by this title for a retrospective of the digital work made
One of the sense-making platforms of this IT artist is his articulation of the digital and the physical.
These are here, two elements comprising this veritable DNA of cyber-technology, the two basic elements for the construction of the entire universe of information. If we seek an analogy with the four components (adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine) comprising the double helix of molecular biology, with which the universe of life is built.
The development of digital works (cyber-prints) by Gonzalo Mezza coincides with a return to the sensibility of the most recent developments in the digital world. One of its most representative examples is the ARS ELECTRONICA festival in Linz. In its 2001 edition, to which I will refer here, this return to physicality was quite noticeable.
Something is happening in this field, a rediscovery-in another point of the spiral-of the force of the senses, which is firmly linked to information technologies (IT). Contrary to the predictions of many apocalyptic writers, the digital universe is the essential basis for the shared transmission of borderline scientific research between scientists in different points of the planet, as well as of remotely shared and exchanged artistic creativity.
Why E-EVOLUTION? E- is the indicator of electronic, today's prefix par excelence, which appears in various expressions such as e-medicine, e-learning, e-art just to name a few. What does this evolution mean in terms of this retrospective exhibition? One could think about it in simple terms as a moving from physical matter to electronic information. However, Gonzalo Mezza does not share the poorly disseminated notion of de-materialization as a process of exclusion and the gradual progress of digital technologies. As a humanist creator he is led every time to a return of the senses, to a recovery of the values of corporeality and physical matter.
Gonzalo Mezza has been a visionary champion of the need to maintain links with the real by materializing his images on synthetic fabrics. Emerging from within the computers, his images become physical in robotized fabrics that are in turn woven by electronic looms, the plasma of silica crystals on flat screens or gas-based screens. From this point, in an editing process, the artist explores and conducts the results of the images on the canvas itself, always seeking a higher degree of perfection. Manning the controls of the Metromedia® workstations-he becomes the true editor of the works.
His preoccupation with materializing is noticeable, also, when, in his exhibitions he combines computers with material elements such as ice, or coal, sugar and marble, among others.
In this sense, his work was the avant-garde within the avant-garde. This because the search for concrete matter to be represented jointly with his digital explorations has always been proof of his interest in what is perceivable through the senses. As I mentioned earlier, this is an increasingly recurrent phenomenon among digital artists, although it is possible to foretell where this process will lead.
A few years ago, I described the artistic work of Gonzalo Mezza in terms of a TECHNOLOGICAL HUMANISM. His current works in this field show that such a view was not mistaken.
TECHNOLOGICAL TOWARDS HUMANISM
by Margarita Schultz
"... At this moment I am leaving you, my heart tells me that I must express my last deseos.No aspire to greater glory than the consolidation of Greater Colombia." Excerpt from the last proclamation of Simón Bolívar. November 1830. Digital technology seems to dismiss the empirical situations and procedural developments in favor of a non tiempo.Ese place and not peculiar space-time can be appointed to the concepts of u-and u-topia Kronia (no place, no time).
Art Criticism and Aesthetics Professor of Faculty of Arts, University of Chile
by Margarita Schultz, 2005
interaction - collaboration - distribución.La joint construction of knowledge and / or artistic work, therefore, are scattered in cyberspace called. However, due to the existence of the Internet, the notion of collaboration assumes a different hue when compared with other forms of collaborative work (for example, the initial community work by corporations). It is the transformation of time-space correlation as to the possibility of: 1) work, work together, without relying on (or not require) a coordination of the timing, 2) act at a distance, as well from different parts of the world, or even at different locations within the same city. Interaction - collaboration - distribuciónEl work of production and communication of diverse information via the Internet is open-ended and distributive. Research Groups and creation are exponentially populating the territories of cyberspace. Enter mesh possible routes (Red) where, as we know, no predetermined paths is now a daily practice of real openness. That flow of information contains the conditions to enhance the knowledge (collective intelligence exhibited by P. Levy) as well as artistic and cultural phenomena.
As is overwhelming, on the other hand, it is impossible to know all the ramifications of a collaborative action, unless the project is to develop a closed loop between a finite set of pre-selected artists, and declaring an end of the process. Some visual artists adopted this approach (eg the Chilean Gonzalo Mezza creator for some of his works: see www.mezza.cl).
In the estimate of the artistic processes generated so far for 'colaborarte' it is clear that even made by artists, with all of its aesthetic and expressive craft, the main thing for them in this production is in the very experience of participation. Thus, again, for the original question was this game engine research project, collaborative art: art or creative experience? is the second term of this disjunction that counts. I mean the experience of creating. This makes it conducive to these works for educational and cultural Projections: stimulate the creation, value and forming imaginative creativity.
Virtual Digital Instalação interest via Internet
For Milan Ivelic
Uma vez que o tema da 23rd International Biennial of São Paulo é a 'desmaterialização da arte', we believe that Gonzalo Mezza seja um representante important for this event. From a 70's artistic investigations têm suas They turn to video art, photos and impressões a laser. Na década seguinte, dedicou-se, and continued to fazê-lo, e às possibilidades visuais da conceituais digital painting, using meios sofisticados.Seu eletrônicos projeto, baseado na da desmaterialização art, use technology eletrônica - na qual a subject materialidade enquanto da obra tangível physical foi aside and substituted deixar pela transmissão da informação visual via the Internet. Em nossa opinião, this work coerente é com o tema proposto for this evento.MAR.CO.SUR é uma instalação Multimedia uses computers to transmitirão as imagens do geradas from Atelier do artist, located not Chile. O público poderá interagir and interventions do nas imagens computer, as it was sailing from um tratasse virtual ocean (Pacific do Oceano Atlântico ao). Trata-se de uma metaphor refere à substituição das Transmissões that até então eram feitas by sea, symbolically represented by digital painting represented uma grande por um pela Caiaque sailing culture continent do not SUR.Abre Continental MAR-se, portanto to public or a possibilidade to participate and to reinterpret visual lhe informação é proposta. Assim, poderá deslocar forms and cores, incorporating text and também novos em contato com to enter deep estrutura da imagem, fazendo com que a proposta do artista em um processo becomes continuous, mesmo já concluída.MAR.CO.SUR being at work question to send e navegação Eurocentric cultural repeat informação somente em um sense. O 'digital Caiaque' retem and distributed as imagens deste nosso cultural universe or do assim as marginal and peripheral universe meio de seu centralização power internationally. Isso dá espaço ao multiculturalism as a phenomenon of resistance to this cultural hegemony. Esta é a origem identidade two problems of 'peripheral' faced superposição de imagens com a silk-specific advindas two natives da da Ilha de Páscoa, two Mapuche, Aymara, Maya, Inca, African and Asian com pictorial fragments of works from Latin American artists and Kahlo, Noah, Lam, Torres-Garcia and Matta. Isto retenção provides two pontos da load energy that do ato brotam painting; energy that is na própria base of retenção do processo eletrônico em sua da imagem e em sua desmaterialização leveza máximas.Outro important aspect gives digital painting Gonzalo Mezza propõe imagens learned própria nas quais tem works trabalhando há anos e que também são na baseadas cultural descentralização. Ilha de Páscoa, Hiroshima, Mururoa and disso são também fazem exemplos alusão to contaminated ou um olhar já pela ameaçado nuclear irradiação.
MAR.CO.SUR face ao Mercosul alusão as maps existissem navegação dois até hoje apresentam diferenças to each other. Esse final map navegação econômica assinado by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and, recently, Chile. Se o Mercado Comum do Cone Sul (Mercosul) navigates pelas águas da integração economy or Sea Continental Sul (MAR.CO.SUR) Question or former principal objective of dimensões alfandegárias comerciais e que não encontro permitem or two circles that deveriam acompanhar culturais this integration .
GONZALO MEZZA IN THE BIENNIAL
Justo Pastor Mellado
In his multimedia projects for the First Biennial of Visual Arts of Mercosur, Gonzalo Mezza works in the laying of a real-time virtual bridge between two specific symbolic places of the city of Porto Alegre, the Public Market and lysine do Gasômetro connected via the Internet, linked to each other and simultaneously to all five continents and, through hypertext, cyberspace, thousands of people can interact and participate in the work. This is a temporary storage location, classification and exchange of goods, on the one hand and on the other, a place of temporary storage, classification and exchange of cultural goods.
In the culture industry, these goods circulating in their condition of goods, have had the leisure market. It is important to note that the participation of Mezza intervention is as immaterial in the city, ensuring ar a particular type of connectivity, not only between two symbolic places of the city, but between institutions that extend, or at least problematize, the articulation betweenMHC and trade. Somehow this work means that places where tipping one over another.
Materially, the computer monitors on the market stores are converted to images, which in turn reproduce the events occurring in the Usina do Gasômetro, the relationship of this chimney, coal with the installation of bars s ice on the river bank Guaiba, it is the de-ice ice bar pigmented colors of the flags of the countries of Mercosur (melting of boundaries): the chimney remains, the bar is dematerialized, rather changes that do , and also transforms into a commodity among other necessities of daily life.
The work of de-ice waters of the Andes, South Pole and territorial Rios, corresponding to different moments in the work of Gonzalo Mezza, and iconic capital shares the same virtual space of the images reproduced from the production of cough market and images collected by the artist himself in his objectual recognition of the city of Porto Alegre.
Justo Pastor Mellado, art critic and curator, 1996
FREEZE, focus .. THE PLOT OF THE STORY
By Justo Pastor Mellado
To Freeze, to focus ... The scremo of History:
Gonzalo Mezza traveling outside of Canada when very young, in 1969, following an old myth of childhood come to Florence to study painting. But above all, because in the 70 Chilean art, the journey is an enterprise of knowledge, among others. However, the sun and the Mediterranean live, where he started studying photography and design. Alli comes in contact with the Catalans and conceptual juuuaqproduccion becomes involved.
Hockney once spoke about the closeness between Polaroid and sketch drawing. Something that can correct the sketch, acquiring a familiarity extreme re-enfoque.Como if repiticion the previous shutter always be wrong.
By: Justo Pastor Mellado
From the Painting NO
For the love of art and freedom of expression
Since 1983, Neo Conceptual work stage