[ISEA2011] Paper: Raivo Kelomees – Delay and Non-Materiality in Telecommunication Art


We can describe art as an asynchronous delivering of messages over physical or time distance. It maintains presence from the past and from far away, distant presence. Masters have been making artworks which are perceived by audience hundreds and thousands years later. It could be, that the sender of the artistic message has not been in existence for millennia (like authors of cave paintings). In this case, interaction between sender and recipient is not possible, but still, the act of delivery exists as there is a receiver.

We could create an imaginary axis of reception divisions, based on delay, where there are works of art on one side, whose ‘transmission’ to the receiver has lasted for millennia; and artworks sent and received in real time on the other side. Although this kind of formulation points to the vocabulary of information theory and though this viewpoint has been considered, art in this presentation has not been dealt with in this way.

Delays between performative acts and non-materiality in participative works are substantial attributes in new media art, but there are many examples in earlier art practice and art of the 20th century, which belong to the rich history of non-material art.

My interest in delay concerns its ability to be part of the concept, when delay between sequences of creation, elements of time-based artwork, exposition and reaction or feedback becomes an integral part of the interaction with the artwork and inseparable from it. Naturally, we can distinguish other episodes of delay, like one which is happening between creative intention of the artist and creative execution of the artwork.

I am discussing following works: “Telephone Paintings” by  László Moholy-Nagy, collaborative “Refresh project”, “FragMental Storm 02” by Exonemo, “Nothing Happens” by Nurit Bar-Shai and others.

  • Raivo Kelomees is an artist, critic and new media educator. Studied psychology, art history, and design in Tartu University and the Academy of Arts in Tallinn. Professor at the Fine Arts Department of Estonian Academy of Arts. Has published articles in main cultural and art magazines and newspapers of Estonia since 1985. Book author, “Surrealism” (Kunst Publishers, 1993) and an article collection  “Screen as a Membrane” (Tartu Art College proceedings, 2007). Doctoral thesis „Postmateriality in Art. Indeterministic Art Practices and Non-Material Art“ (Dissertationes Academiae Artium Estoniae 3, 2009).Participated in festivals and exhibitions: French-Baltic Video Art Festivals (Grand Prix in 1994); WRO 95, Wroclaw; Second International Video and Electronic Art Manifestation in Montreal 1995; 20th Tokyo Video Festival, 1998 (Silver Award); MuuMediaFestival in Helsinki (1998); Ars Electronica Mediathek, Linz (1999); 4th International Festival of New Film, Split (1999); ISEA 2000 (Paris); ISEA 2002 (Nagoya); FILE 2005 (Sao Paolo); Media Forum at the Moscow International Film Festival, 2006 (Moscow); Fluxus East. Fluxus Networks in Central Eastern Europe, Kumu Art Museum, 2008 (Tallinn) and many others.

Full text (PDF) p. 1336-1342