[ISEA95] Panel: Doug Back – The babbage disease

Panel Statement

Panel: The Ideology of Interactivity

We seem to have a difficulty dealing with our past, mostly we ignore it, certainly no one has written a historical/critical textbook that I can use in my art history class. If anyone knows of one please tell me.

We seem to have adopted this future perfect/past imperfect stance from the people that engineer our tools for us. This medium, the computer medium and the people that use it seem to be mesmerized by the future potential of it, it is rarely backwards looking and thus rarely reflective. A medium totally numbed out by it’s own reflection and of course apolitical. Being apolitical is a choice but it is difficult to have freedom without a history to reflect upon. We have come along way since the mid 70’s when the field was totally open and untainted by the territorial markings of other artists and the dogma of other media. So surely we should have, by now, come to terms with our present condition. But no, we seem to be stuck in some future place were everything about technology is OK. This seems to born out in the relationship we have with our audience, I’m sure we have all had the experience in which a person at an opening takes you aside to inform you that you could make a lot of money off your product if only you would make certain changes to your piece. Or in your piece they see a brave new
world, rarely do they see the work itself. But somehow the work is a point of departure into the near future. Even our public refuses to concentrate on that which is in front of them.

  • Doug Back has been making electronic art since 1979. He has shown this work across Canada and in Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Austria and in New York. He teaches at mechanics, art history, electronics and computer programming at The Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Canada.

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