MONOSKOP project finished

MONOSKOP project began as an attempt to provide deeper historical framework for developments in media art and culture of the 2000s. Initial motivation was to respond to criticism addressed to “new media” scenes in Slovak and Czech republics mainly for their given status of incomprehensible avant-garde. Various new media groups and collectives organising free software workshops, working with audiovisual processing, operating online pirate radios, discussing filesharing, recycling old hardware, and treating the Internet as their home-brew communication medium were immersed in exploring new technologies of a networked era and did not struggle very much with constituting its own discourse within art history. On the contrary, many regarded the independence from art market and institutional mechanisms of a field of contemporary art as their constituent trait.

The result is a online publication with a historical overview of media art and culture and a bibliography.

Results and accomplishments of the project were:

  1. Free Online Publication of Historical Overview of Media Art and Culture in CEE
  2. A major achievement of the project is publication of contextual history of media
    art in Central and Eastern Europe. The objective was to track the emergence of
    what the researchers considered “new media”, or new technology of the time,
    all the way to the first examples of rejection of easel painting in the 1910s.
    We followed history of technology and partially also history of science. This
    included signal processing and mobile computing in the 2000s, web and streaming
    media in the 1990s, and earlier robotics, software, computers, video, film, and
    so on. We were particularly looking at how technology intersected with art, how
    artists approached emerging technology, what ends they put them to, and at the
    culture which emerged around such intersections. The resulting publication is
    structured in the following sections on a timeline:

    Constructivists, Futurists
    Literature, literary theory, aesthetics
    Audiovisual compositions, Synaesthesia
    Experimental film
    Computing and Cybernetics
    Electroacoustic music
    Multimedia environments
    Computer art, Dynamic objects, Cybernetic sculpture
    Video
    New media art, Media culture
    Media theory

    Inclusion of sound medium is one of the core contributions of media art to
    perception of art. Many media art works treat sound as their constitutive
    element enriching the sensory perception and aesthetic experience. Therefor it
    was crucial to include sound works (see “Audiovisual compositions” and
    “Electroacoustic music”) within history of media art.

    To be able to link otherwise under-documented role of technology and computing
    to history of media art we also included an extensive overview of history of
    computing and cybernetics in CEE.

    Each section is further divided into several subsections:
    Terms – listing key words unique for a genre.
    People – listing key artists and theorists of a particular genre.
    Networks – listing the most influential assemblages of artists, theorists,
    events and institutions.
    Events – listing major events of an international scope.
    Literature – listing primary literature for a subject, beyond regional focus.

    Each artist, theorist, event, organisation and network within the overview (400
    entries in total) is linked to its encyclopedia entry which includes further
    biographical information and links.

    The publication is linked from several Wikipedia pages, indexed by search
    engines and until this day it was accessed more than 8,000 times. It is freely
    available online at the address
    http://burundi.sk/monoskop/index.php/Media_art_in_Central_and_Eastern_Eu...

  3. Free Online Publication of Bibliography of Media and Culture in CEE
  4. One of the findings of the research was that historical media art in CEE is not
    only under-documented online, but there is also very scarce printed literature.
    To provide the stronger support for a further research we collected an extensive
    bibliography. Currently it contains 1,000 bibliographic entries ranging from
    books and catalogues, through brochures and pamphlets to journal articles and
    online essays. It follows the same structure as the first publication. It is
    freely available at the address
    http://burundi.sk/monoskop/index.php/Media_art_in_Central_and_Eastern_Eu...

  5. Establishment of the Network of Researchers and Art Historians
  6. Natural outcome of the research was a formation of a pioneering network of
    artists and researchers involved in various fields directly or indirectly
    related to history and preservation of media art and culture in CEE.

    Slovak artist and writer Michal Murin uses MONOSKOP as a primary educational
    resource for his students at art academies in Banská Bystrica and Košice,
    Slovakia, many of whom became contributors. MONOSKOP provides a curriculum
    resource also for the art historian Mária Rišková at the Fine Arts Academy
    in Bratislava, art historian Miloš Vojtěchovský at the Center for Audiovisual
    Studies at FAMU in Prague, and the list goes on.

    Kyiv-based FCCA curator Ianina Prudenko began to use MONOSKOP platform for her
    development of online archive of media art from Ukraine for which she was unable
    to find infrastructural support at her home country.

    Polish art critic Agnieszka Pokrywka wrote a master thesis about new media art
    in CEE in the 2000s and created a visualisation of MONOSKOP database.

    Other active MONOSKOP contributors include Polish art historian Joanna Walewska,
    Hungarian-Canadian artist and organiser Nina Czegledy, Croatian curator and art
    historian Darko Fritz, Slovak artist Jakub Pišek, Dutch-Bulgarian artist Rene
    Beekman, and many others.

    MONOSKOP is being referred by numerous writers, theoreticians and educators from
    the fields ranging from art theory, through film studies, to history of
    cybernetics, and provides a strong and participative platform for
    interdisciplinary studies.