January 2006
Gerfried Stocker in a conversation with Helga Schager
ZEITGENOSSEN: The Self-Evidence of Transgressing Boundaries.

Their Internet work stands out as special because, in what is a social and primarily a public space, they carry out projects that are highly conceptual virtual constructs. By their work, they show which approach needs to be taken if you want to create independent room for action. They look back on long-standing experience in electronic networks. As early as at the beginning of the 1990ies, Ursula Hentschlaeger contributed to writing collaborative hypertexts, and Zelko Wiener, together with Robert Adrian X, worked on telecommunications projects which are today considered trailblazing ventures in Austria in the 1980ies.

By now, entering their spaces really means stepping inside, immersion - you always have the feeling that you are actually leaving the Internet. This accounts for a really different quality within this dominating and ubiquitous medium: amongst the onslaught of screenshot impressions we are constantly exposed to, you think that you have suddenly entered a museum or a really good gallery. The "street noise" fades out and you find yourself in the middle of a focused and accurately built structure. The two have managed to find a form for artists to use the Internet.

In their latest work PHANTASMA they bring the cornerstones of our cultural identity to this new cultural space that is the Internet. What ensues are osmotic situations, interfaces or points of contact where one thing gently merges into the other. You have barely seen first-rate pictures before foreign bodies emerge in these original photographs, computer-generated elements from acoustic scenarios or other interventions. Before you know, you find yourself in a no man's land between myth and reality, a fusion which leads to a new hybrid quality of experience.

Gerfried Stocker is Artistic Director of Ars Electronica and Helga Schager is editor of the Austrian Radio Journal SpaceFem FM.
Their conversation took place in December 2005.
Further extracts may be found in the CD series ”Listen to the Female Artist”, # 15, ISBN: 3-901815-35-X
Zeitgenossen > News > Interview p. 1