Labs and Art

A context that influenced the concept of contemporary art in the last two decades of the last century.

Art comes from not knowing, explore, try and learn. The same applies to laboratories. Both concepts contain new ideas and utopias. This was the idea of New Media Art.

With this concepts were created in the “New Context”. In the history of the Stadtwerkstatt this connection appeared on different STWST-TV projects see The term was used by Wilder Efeu 1991, Parallelraumdisplay 1996, Clickscape 1997 u.v.a. used. The Infolab of Stadtwerkstatt is also closely related to others the labaratories (1996), (1995), (1992) and the “Laboratory for Visual Media ”(1989) at the University of Applied Arts (Peter Weibel).

But already in the early 1980s the Stadtwerkstatt was working on the process-oriented art in which the change, the development of the artwork was part of the concept.

The work-up of this art context in which the laboratory as a process is / was part of the artwork has / was dedicated to our colleague and friend Armin Medosch. The book was published by MIT-PRESS.
New Tendencies: Art at the Threshold of the Information Revolution (1961 - 1978). Book presentation in New York 2016. The book can also be obtained through the STWST.

Texte zum InfoLABs

Excerpt from our annual program 2016-2018

In search of new perspectives and current philosophical questions, we are searching for an art context for the “new media”. We try to communicate this through our projects. Above all, we see no future solutions to use “New Digital Media” in the arts. It is the working field of the laboratory that combines art and technology. At Infolab, we want to support those areas that allow us an autonomous view of these information technologies. Of course that does not mean that we ignore the new media or do not deal with them anymore. On the contrary, a fundamental technological study of these media should make it easier for us to recognize the problems of the present and translate them into artistic projects. The Infolab feeds many Stadtwerkstatt projects.

Infolab: Excursus Theory

Several years ago, we founded Infolab to show the problems and solutions of our machine information age. The laboratory sees itself as the logical consequence of the hacking and fablabs who have sweated the art context as creative biotopes in the last 20 years. As with these creative laboratories, we are not concerned with utopias through technology. For us, the question arises as to why information technology (IT) is available? Art arises from the creation of the artificial and the ability to abstraction. We want to use this abstraction ability in our considerations.
In addition to this reflection of the current state, the research that led us to the development of IT should be carried out. This raises the question: what is information - what is it? There is no credible view of science. Can we control the information? Information theory is currently the hottest theory in this field. On closer inspection, however, it is only a news theory and optimizes only the technique. First, we want to understand the information in and of itself before we bring it to the “recipients”.

What we know:

The information is an aid to make decisions. As far as we have researched with Dietmar Locher and others, we can get this information about our environment - by informing ourselves about something (eg on the Internet). But we can also make decisions about our feelings. These feelings are partly tied to the preservation of our body. As an example, I would like to quote the feeling of hunger, because making a decision to eat is not difficult. The decision on what to eat can be made dependent on environmental factors or looking up what is politically correct. Any decision is certainly a hybrid of all components.
With the development of a global machine information network, decisions become more and more important that can be understood by other people. Everything is always brought into a causal relationship. Here is my problem with IT. There is no room for new things in this one world. We have to justify ourselves if we decide differently than the others. The individual and thus the creativity and the intellect are pushed back. We have developed this global information network from our need for logic and truth ourselves. The creativity of individuals played an essential role in this development. A creativity that is no longer necessary in a causal system. A creative individual defines himself through his free will as an intellectual achievement. We also want to engage in non-causal things in our lab to preserve creativity. To do that, we need to take a closer look at the components of creativity. Creativity includes individuals and their goals. An individual is recognizable by his free will. On the subject of free will you can read in Wikipedia about the necessity of coincidence. For a technician, the question immediately arises: Where does this coincidence come from? Actually, a random generator would have to be built into the individual! Another source of information is feeling and intuition. These consist of the chemical messengers that serve to maintain the body and / or the sum information of the entire evolution, which are stored in our genes. One of the most important factors for creativity is also a spontaneous event that we do not really know when and why it is happening. This spontaneous event is actually the most important factor that enables the engine, the attractor, the interconnections of various sources of information. With luck, the brief moment that we call “brainstorm” arises. Chance becomes the most important element. He is responsible for the free will and for the attractor in the spontaneous event. In theory, a good random number generator defines itself over the distance to the system in which it is to be used. So chance must be outside of one
Causal system generated, otherwise he is good for nothing. We can also sense the place of chance in the world of emotions when we look into the setting sun and can not put in an infinite number of glittering light reflections on the sea horizon. The glimpse of a fire with the unpredictable flickering flames and sparkling embers. The splashing of a stream. The roar of the sea surf. The light reflections of the wave surface. Clouds and fog. In sum, the overall view of our earth must not be missing. A blue planet presents itself in a fascinating image of chaotic cloud constellations and the infinite glitter of the oceans in the sun. Chaos as a source of beauty works strangely in our logically and profit-driven world. It is usually the fractal transitional structures of the four basic elements that give us this potential of chance and creativity.
If we want to maintain creativity, we have to be part of our life before the global one
Protect information monsters that knows only a causal relationship and wants to integrate everything into it. Keeping the accident out is not a difficult task, because in a causal system there can be no coincidence. With the remaining components that contribute to creativity it will be more difficult. To do that, we want to define the clearest possible boundaries and create border crossings, which we should protect with firewalls. The logical causal world of the information network is even dependent on the acausal events.

With causal algorithms one can not generate a coincidence. But you need it to create uniqueness in the network through encryption techniques. As one of the first steps to an infolab we should get rid of the concept of art. Instead, we should only use the term acausal information. Acausal information does not work on the internet. The sources of creativity must remain in the reference system and can not be transferred to IT. They have to stay in the hearts of the people, in the dream worlds of individuals to create a reference position and so on
receive their soul energy.
But common values ​​in this acausal area are extremely dangerous and need to be scrutinized. These include religions, esotericism, shamanism and all similarities of emotions such as. Love and hate. In the field of acausal information, all commonly defined values ​​have a negative effect on personal creativity.

By incorporating individual values, it is possible to preserve our creativity. So we created this global information-processing monster machine, which is now cornering us, because it defines the logically comprehensible arguments as the better ones for us. When many of us bought the first home computers as a creative tool in the early 1980s, we did not yet know that this would increase the causality of our system and reduce creativity.
For the natural sciences, it is really only a matter of time when we can analyze the weather and all the chemical processes of the campfire. When all light refraction on clouds or waves are forecasted and thus our romanticism is completely disenchanted. Then it will be time for us humans to look for new sources of entropy.

Infolab is about all the acausal processes that need to be promoted. The acausal information, which until now has primarily conveyed art and quantum physics (true coincidence). The music, or the impressions of pictures and actions, etc. Works that have been created through the individual random generators of the artists. These are not about logical arguments to convey. In these areas, we want to stay at the terminus of acausal information so that we no longer have to argue with the concept of art - art is just a playground for the causal world and it has a fool-freedom. But that also means that critical questioning of things is not taken seriously. Excluded of course is that area of ​​acausal information with which a market value can be generated and thus integrated into the causal system. So if we want to get the motor to new ideas and creativity with the Infolab, we should think more about the concept of acausal information and forget the art in the future. As a result, areas are separated cleaner and are manageable. The generation
of the spontaneous event we have already in our hands - and that's a good thing. Historically, the Infolab is in the right place at Stadtwerkstatt. For decades, acausal information has been promoted here. Like other institutions, we have long believed in the creative potential of digital media. We have initiated media areas that have become independent associations. We were Utopians 30 years ago when we set milestones for the media city of Linz by believing in diversity and the desire to democratize the media. But now is the time to see who is coming in and out at our door.