[ISEA94] Panel: Axel Wirths – Artistic Electronic Networking Experiences with the First Mobile Electronic Cafe International: Casino Container

Panel Statement

Panel: Nethics?

In 1992 the Casino Container was built as a mobile futuristic Café des Artistes by German designers and in collaboration with Axel Wirths, Ulrich Leistner and Sabine Voggenreiter the architectural structure of the Container changed into a network hobo for the ECI. During a journey from Cologne via Kassel to Venice and back to Cologne the crew started to work on experimental solutions for public spaces in the media age by redefining them as an extended virtual area and elaborating electronic nomadism as an upcoming way of life.

About 80 projects were developed in cooperation with network partners in Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Lyon, Helsinki, Aarhus, Cologne, Graz, Sydney, Fukui, Tokyo, and others. As a meeting point and Café des Artistes the Casino Container offered hospitality to the electronic travellers, the artists and the people in the different cities. Trying to combine the real and virtual world, the crew entered new areas which were never touched before. In times of a global
information society with its growing tyranny of privacy in closed chambers of one-way-communication the necessity for breaking through the barriers of fear against the alien into a real travelogue is more evident than ever before.
The possibilities and experiences of artistic electronic networking can be presented by making clear what is possible and what is mere media mysticism, what is interesting for public and what should have happened better inside an institutional media lab, and of course what could be the future for an international cooperation in art-networking. More than 50 artists from all over the world have worked on these different materials and they represent the state of the art
of network-art.

  • Axel Wirths (235 Media), born 1960, is founder and director of 235 MEDIA in Cologne, Germany,international media art distributor. He has organized several exhibitions, festivals and TV-series, held numerous lectures, written articles and got scholarships. 1991 Adolf Grimme award for TV series “Donnerstag”. Founder of the first Mobile Electronic Cafe. Since 1993 works as a curator for Media Arts at the Kunst und Ausstellungshalle of FRG in Bonn.