Mediamatic Magazine vol 5#3 Preikschat, Wolfgang 1 jan 1990

Im Netz der Systeme

Dirk Baecker a.o., Ars Electronica (pub), Merve Verlag Berlin 1990 ISBN 3-88396-072-1, German text, pp.142, DM14,-


Im Netz der Systeme -

When the ‘network of systems’ becomes reality, as soon as the distinction between ‘transmitter’ and ‘receiver’ stops making sense, we shall have, in addition to the irrelevance of the difference, the unpretentiousness of the messages. And an anticipation of this - an ironical one, but one in no way meant ironically - is presented by a short publication issued by the Ars Electronica in Merve publications.

On reading through the seven texts, the reviewer of this unexpected script, which is in fact supposed to portray the theoretical-speculative substratum of the Ars 1989, was given the impression after only a short time that this was like fishing for electric eels with a string bag and a piece of old bread. The first contribution by Dirk Baecker (Die Kunst der Unterscheidungen - The Art of Differentiations) is based on a hypothesis (that we can only make headway with a sociologically clarified epistemology which is capable of taking up the question asked in the so-called cognitive sciences' about the differentiation of the observer), a hypothesis which is as interesting as a used lottery ticket.

The Werk zwischen Erfahrung und Markierung - Work between Experience and Marking may well pass as the title for an advanced German seminar - but what it has to do with the theme of the book will probably only come to light with the means provided by the computer generation after next. Mario Perniola’s Videokulturen als Spiegel - Video Cultures as a Mirror, a cursory testimony to the theme of video narcissism, characteristically translated by H.A.Einfalt, is also old hat.

Those who believe that they are back on firm (technical) ground with Franz Pichler's Netzfunktionen - Network Functions, will witness after only a few sentences how the author gets tangled up in his network of system-theoretical remarks and communication-technical descriptions of network functions and practical advice on the democratising of media participation, will be set right and at the same time experience something about the hope-arousing variation of subjunctive introductions such askis however to be hoped. In this channel there could, It would be particularly easy... For the sake of simplicity we shall leave out the next essays by Laszlo Beke (Im Netz des Quadratnetzes - In the Network of the Square Network) and Eva Meyer (Der Unterschied, der eine Umgebung schafft - The Difference which creates an Environment) and shall mention the last contribution which, with some fragmentary statements from the dromological Orbital-Gang, conveys an impression of Pool Processing and Connect It!- two network projects of the last Ars.

The publication, which allows no other conclusion than that of a superficial treatment of the theoretical-speculative side to 'telematics’ by Ars, conjures up the picture of an autistic romantic painter who, for pure amazement at the wide horizon of nature, forgets to paint.