Desktop CD-ROM burners capable of making individual discs has attracted the attention of visual artists and created the opportunity for computer artists to make their work more widely available. During the development of the exhibition, ‘Burning the Interface <Artists CD-ROM>’ for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, in March 1996, some 130 artists sent-in work for consideration. The paper previews the range of strategies employed by the artists in designing the screen interface and some of the issues raised by the artworks concerning the interactive and the immersive states of engagement are considered.
During 1993, various manufacturers marketed desktop CD-ROM burners capable of making an individual compact disc – read only memory, a desktop technology initially intended for the archiving of company accounts and records. Besides attracting commerce however, the technology has also attracted the attention of artists. This medium of storage could be said to mirror the impact of the arrival of bronze casting on the development of the art object – plasticity and permanence. By directly working with clay and bronze, such as those in 5th Greece, or in a developing technology such as digital data and CD-ROM, the artist will reveal more quickly than the technical specialist the fir11 range of a new mediums potential together with the distortions that the technology can bring within the broader spectrum of communication issues. The ephemeral and fugitive nature of much computer-based work has restricted its exhibition potential to one-off installations or playout through video/film recording, and so on. The option to acquire work and thus experience it over a period of time has been restricted. More recently, parking art on a Web site has become a most intriguing option, particularly as lack of bandwidth has tested the ingenuity and patience of artist and
audience alike and introduced fresh nuances to the term ephemeral, the subject of much intelligent research by artists alone. In this context, contemporary artists are using the computer/CD-ROM medium for the storage of work needing frequent acquisition to large files. The development of this me dium has addressed several of the earlier ‘problem areas’.
- Mike Leggett curated the exhibition Burning the Interface — Artists’ CD-ROM for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia (1994/95). He has film and video work in collections in Europe, North America and Australia.
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