german version

media lab
september 22nd — october 22nd, 2000
albrecht dürer gesellschaft/ kunstverein nürnberg
The LIQUID HACKING LABORATORY is an experimental forum conceived by the Hamburg-based artist Cornelia Sollfrank. It is an attempt to go beyond traditional concepts of art production and art presentation, and offers the participating international artists and hackers as well as the interested public the opportunity for intense exchange. The LIQUID HACKING LABORATORY brings together three areas of different fundtionality: temporary media lab, public presentation, and exhibition. And it is exactly at the interface of these areas where a new arena of cultural activity and agency is emerging.

The media lab situation will go on for five days. Based on the idea of an informal transfer of knowledge, it will offer invited artists and hackers the opportunity to share their own knowledge and learn from colleagues who are specialized in different fields. While this section of the LIQUID HACKING LABORATORY is meant to foster an exchange between 'experts‘, and will therefore only be semi-open to the public, the planned evening presentations will make the work of the 'specialists‘ accessible to a wider community. In the exhibition section, which will last for another three weeks after the media lab, art works relating to the theme of the project will be shown to the public, most of them intended for interactive use.

The theme of the project is 'hacking strategies and art practice'. A classical computer hacker is defined as a person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and discovering how to stretch their capabilities; a person who programs enthusiastically; or a person who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. So hacking is not just about practical skills, but also about a certain spirit behind the actual activity. Perceiving hacking in a broader, not purely computer-oriented sense, there are a number of parallels between hacking and art practice. They have in common an activity based on a fresh and playful way of handling a specific 'material'. It is not about pre-determined or single-minded application, but about experimenting and exploring a system or a technology. Just as art should be able to penetrate common systems of perception and provoke by offering new perspectives, so should hacking where computer systems are concerned. Both are about disturbance and about questioning current thought systems. Consequently, hacking might be called an artistic approach to computer operation. Hackers are artists, and there are also artists who can be hackers. The LIQUID HACKING LABORATORY is about exploring this overlap, and bringing people from these two spheres together.

One of the aims of the LIQUID HACKING LABORATORY is to foster intense exchange and mutual learning between specialists of various orientations. Ideally, working together in the laboratory will lead to joint projects in the future, though the emphasis is on communication and learning rather than production. Meeting in real space and making personal contacts will speed up these processes, and is meant to complete and intensify netbased communication. Another aim would be to introduce and demonstrate hacking strategies to a broader public in order to make people look beyond the surfaces of contemporary representations of power.