As a multi-disciplinary media artist operating from Cologne(Germany), I am working free-lance since I finished my studies in 1979. In the beginning, I worked with 'traditional' media as painting. But I was always looking for new artistic challenges. One working phase dedicated to another medium followed. Later, I came consequently to the development of spatial installations including different media, as photography, multi-media and computer. I would like to call the time of working until 1998 as the classical phase, since I was working with (meanwhile) classical media, even though it was always a kind of experimental work; I was always searching for the limits in using the media and in creating new contents. More than 100 individual exhibitions in cooperation with more than 70 museums throughout Europe were resulting from this phase. At the end of 1998, came a break in my life, which finished this very successful period and the connected artistic career.
It was in 2000, when I started a comeback as an artist, which meant to me a new life and a new artistic career since I was focusing now nearly my entire working on New Media and Internet, not or less in a commercial, but rather an artistic sense. The basis formed my wide experience in nearly all visual media, but also other artistic media and disciplines as music (I played violin for over 15 years, and once studied classical singing over several years), performance (I was a student in an actor's school for a certain period, took lessons in classical dancing and pantomime) and an intellectual basis through studies of art history, journalism and dramatic arts, later came a profound knowledge of computer languages and new media technologies, so that I was predestined to create multi-media works and executing all disciplines in responsibility of my own, and a certain talent for organizing and the eagerness to learn and to move on innovative fields.
This new environment of Internet gave me for the first time the chances to incorporate all my different talents into a variety of projects. On 01.01. 2000, I started the development of NewMediaArtProjectNetwork and its (currently) six corporate member sites. (check out a part of the NewMediaArtProjectNetwork project here)
This project represents, on one hand, a gigantic art project, which can be compared with the Universe and its galaxy systems, always changing and expanding. On the other hand, it represents the framework of the network and communication between the sites, participants and collaborating individuals, institutions of different kind and the active user. To him/her this art working is addressed, network as artworking.
The project as a whole is created in Flash, which represents an intuitive developing environment, offering all kind of representations and a high artistic freedom, if this can be stated at all, in this technology based environment.
A project, like NewMediaArtProjectNetwork, cannot be planned, and it was not planned, thus.
It developed from the creation and online publication of "A Virtual Memorial" (www.a-virtual-memorial.org) - a project which comes from the heart and is deeply connected with my personal history.
Since the first day online, the project took an unusual attraction and received an un-expected interest, particularly in English speaking countries. In the beginning, I started bi-lingual English-German, but since I became aware that my intensions where actually directed to a global community, I reduced the aspect of German (and thus, this locally limited) language and publish at present nearly exclusively in English, which is actually also the 'real' language of electronic writing.
The project has a typical Internet feature, it is ongoing. Each month a new project version is published showing new features, new subjects and new multi-media works connected to the subjects. The project changes its appearance and design continuously. It is made for users who visit the site more than once, and at best frequently.
The success and the feedback on this project encouraged me to create new and different project environments, such as le Musee di-visioniste (www.le-musee-divisionsite.org), an online museum based on philosophical ideas of my own,
A basic feature of this construction and, of course, part of the project as a whole, as well as part of the imbedded projects and subprojects, represents a variety of online communication tools, i.e. newsletter, press releases, calls for participation etc, which update continuously and, in an expanding way, information connected to the activities. They form a part of the success. It is evident, that the most visitors are entering the sites directly, thus without any reference from/to linked sites etc.
All projects/sites which form the network are active projects, however each one has a different speed of activity:
www.a-virtual-memorial.org represents the most active and, thus, the fastest and also most successful environment, which has on one hand strong collaborative structures enclosed, e.g. it creates frequently collaborative projects of different kinds: interactivity is not reduced to usual site interactivity.
Networking on different levels is intended to be initiated. I have different functions in this very comprehensive and also confusing construction/environment: I am artist and creator, but also editor, curator and mediator. It is my intention to create a variety of what ever, this means openness and tolerance. 'A Virtual Memorial' represents really a 'global' project, not only because it is placed in Internet and addressed to the global community, but also concerning the represented themes and subjects of global and local relevance, subjects which go down to humanity, something which unites all people in the world, which people of all kind can identify with. The starting point for anything is always humanity.
Le Musee di-visioniste www.le-musee-divisioniste,org, is based on my philosophical ideas of the divisionistic principle, thus in a certain way, it is the manifestation of my being. The museum has current a program running, called 'Featured Artists series'. Bi-monthly, another group of featured artists and their online or offline projects are presented in a changing exhibition environment. My function is to be the director of the museum and the curator and creator of the features. It is my intension to bring together different artists from different artistic and cultural backgrounds, and produce variety again this way. The museum has a strong integrating element, it sets up a bridge between the 'old' and 'new' media. In a philosophical sense, it represents defining oneself through others.
Another art environment forms JavaMuseum, www.javamuseum.org, dedicated exclusively to NewMedia, the Internet specific technologies used as artistic media. My function here is again to be the director, curator and creator of exhibition environments. The museum has a flexible programmation with annually changing structures. It started in 2001 with '1st of JAVA' series, to be continued in 2002 with '2nd of Java' series (currently running). The main emphasis represents the organization of an annual online competition/festival and giving annually an award, 'JavaArtist of the Year Award', which is given to outstanding New Media artists and their projects.
The Engaged Artists Directory, is meant to be a resource for the engaged artist. Artists working with engaged contents are invited to submit information, URL, etc. which are collected in the database and published in the specific www.engad.org environment. Further features are a list and information of the most popular media festivals world-wide, further a section for calls - a deadline list. Planned are a directory of media institutes on the globe and reviews connected to art and media. This environment is still in development and far from being complete. My function is to be the editor, publisher and creator of the changing environment.
The same is good for NMartproject.net, www.nmartproject.net, which has as a project and environment different functions. My personal function is to be an editor, publisher and creator of different environments. It is the place, where in future it will also house the hosting of my activities as a curator of exhibitions, already now the deadline lists are administered here, it houses different artists' features, and 'Agricola de Cologne Moving Picture Collection'. The latter represents a very comprehensive collection of multi-media works, I created for 'A Virtual Memorial' environment, and now extracted as stand alone applications in the 'collection'. All works are created according the principle of 'Simultaneous Associative Media Art Composing', my specific way of experimental electronic writing. Many of the works participated or participate currently in media festival around the globe, (see also actual biography on: http://www.agricola-de-cologne.de/bio/bio_agricola1.htm )
The same is good also for 'A Virtual Memorial', which participated already in a number of excellent conferences, exhibitions and festivals, very recently in April 2002 at 'Version 02 Festival - Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (USA)'. It received in 2001 at the Computer Space 2001 Festival in Sofia (Bulgaria) the 2nd Prize as best Foreign Multimedia Project.
The Universe of NewMediaArtProjectNetwork started on 01.01.2000 with a Big Bang and is expanding since then continuously and non-linear. Like in physical space, this universe has only one creator, that's me. But I am also the keeper and holder of guarantee that it will expand consequently as a network between the corporate sites and individuals, organizations, institutes and institutions in every part of the world, directed to all those the projects are addressed to: the global community, or better the individual user within this community. Like Universe, it is a completely non-commercial environment. It is a meeting place for all those who live, work and move on real level (the physical world), as well as and virtual level, the world of Internet. It is not only a place for culture and art, it is culture and it is art.
Wilfried Agricola de Cologne
D - 50676 Cologne