straight up
"The socially revolutionary utopias of the historic avant-garde, movements of enlightenment, such as freedom of contract, equal opportunities and intercultural emancipation are now to be
implemented by technology."
ZKM Net art exhibition, Net_Condition

Peter Weibel | Net_Condition <1999>

Peter Weibel, pioneering Austrian media artist, curator and theorist, joined ZKM (Center for Art and Media) as its Chairman in 1999. As a longtime exponent of political manifestations in his earlier artistic and curatorial work, Weibel was determined to further his activist position towards art and culture through the emerging medium of Net art. As a result, Weibel conceived Net_Condition, and in the fall of 1999 – on the threshold of the new century – mounted an exhibition of over 100 projects that represented he says, "an introduction to the political-economical ideas, social practices and artistic applications of online communication in a Net society."

Weibel uses the exhibition to build a theoretical position on the state of Net Art, its function and properties as agency for aesthetic and social transformation. In his curatorial essay, Art/Politics in the On-line Universe, Weibel goes on to proclaim that, "The global Net is the driving force behind a radical economical, social and cultural revolution at the beginning of the next millennium." This utopian proposal mirrors the ideologies of such media theorists as Pierre Lévy and Roy Ascott, in which the collective, participatory nature of telematic art represents a new catalyst for the realization of socially and philosophically motivated aspirations. As Weibel concludes, "Net art has become the forum in which many of the liberating hopes of the historic avant-garde are expressed in new terms."