About Code Code

Israel has been accused of being just another satellite State of the fifty something
American states for many years. However, during the Nineties, Israel was to pursue a
strange new form of independence, courtesy of the World Wide Web. To conceive an
idea, program it, and be bought out by an American corporate monster has become the
new “Israeli dream”. Law and medicine school no longer monopolize Jewish mothers
dream of their son’s future, once the phrase “startup” infiltrated their jargon.

Of the bountiful hi-tech feast, only a few crumbs are offered to an accumulating crowd
of technology oriented art consumers in the multisphere-blogosphere communities. The
lack of intense creative activity online is explained by the general fatigue enveloping
programmers after long days of voluntary enslavement in one’s cubicle. Upon
questioning, programmers state that aside from the hard work and its financial reward,
they also seek projects that “satisfy the soul”. However, when given the opportunity to be
imaginative, the majority will flee as far as possible from any development environment.
Others refrain from make public their work, for fear that by doing so, they will create a
frivolous image of themselves throughout their professional milieu.

The art world, on the other hand, is synchronizing itself to the beat of technology with
various, intermittent efforts. However, it is always lacking developers with the relevant
skills. Despite the brave attempts of collaboration between artists, designers and
programmers, the critical mass of technological artwork nowadays, is generally created
by the same seven programs. Although these programs are designed to manifest any
creative vision, the dependence of artists upon a single dominant software company
makes for a vision conditioned by its tools. The medium consumes the message. Many
artworks are diminished, restrained and standardized by their software. Digital art 1.0 in
a web 2.0 era.

“Code art” is an evasive term. We chose to exhibit works that are based on
programming whether developed by the artist or not. In which the artist can participate
in the code writing, investigate its aesthetics and ethics, or distort, hack or else utilize it.
The code itself may remain in order, distorted or hacked.

Over the last two years, a small community of Israeli code artists has formed mostly
around the online 1024 gallery on the Walla! Tarbut [Culture] website. Many of artists
presenting their work here, have exhibited in the 1024 gallery, while others will do so in
the future. Regardless, they, nonetheless, hold a significant role in the formation and
growth of this community.

The works selected, reflect a different world to that which we are accustomed to see
in “digital art” exhibitions. All of them tackle political issues, from the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, via giant corporations collecting information about us, through violation of privacy
and copyrights, to civil protest. Warding off representations of an escapist, colorful
aesthetic, they all depict a (hyper)textual virtual reality which places users and user-
content center stage, with no “escape” key.

%d bloggers like this: