D a t a P a n i c
Hypermedia and Network Realities
Oliver Marchart media theoretician. Lives in Vienna and London. Editor of the philosophical magazine: "Mesotes" Zeitschrift für philosophischen Ost-West Dialog Publications: (excerpt) Settlers, Indians and the Cavalry. The Sociotronics of a New Yet Unapproachable Continent, in: Digital Danube Digest, 1995 (New) Order. On the Final (Im-)Possibility of Resistance, Progress and Avant-Garde, in: Acta Filosofica (Laibach),Herbst 1995Oliver Marchart :
"Play with me! Or: Cyberspace as Toyspace"
The introductory lecture will take issue with the very relation and link between on- and off-line culture. How come we experience the Internet as a New Continent, and how come we construct this continent as playground. In Austrian - and not merely Austrian - electronic art the construction of the New Electronic Continent as playground is prevalent. Examples are Eva Wohlgemuth’s „Diana’s Digest" (Princess Diana as Barbie-doll), ORF Kunstradio’s „Auer Family" (Playmobil™-characters staging a family narrative), the theory-island „e-land"and other examples.
Taking the assumption that the Internet is nothing else than a new continent, a continent modelled upon America as the New World and upon the narrative of the „final frontier" as a starting point, the question arises why and how the playfulness and childishness of the American imaginary is transferred into „cyberspace". Therefore, the central thesis goes: The Internet as playground relates to one specific New World Narrative: to the Hanna-Barbera-cartoon Yogi-Bear.
Yogi-Bear belongs to a New World-space, „Jellystone-Park", located - like the Internet - somewhere in between a post-fordistic theme park and a wild-life preserve. However, behind the playground we find the fundamentally bad conscience. Yogi-Bear, who - in the cartoon narrative - stands in for the American Natives, incorporates the primal trauma of the American imaginary. An imaginary that is torn between extinction and „enculturation" of its Other.
The lecture presents net-art and net-culture as a form of play which on its part establishes a specific object-relation towards techno-toys (p