Contemporary Art @ Boğaziçi - Interview Project, 2010

AVI ROSEN (Israel, 1955)

Fatma Kahraman, Avi Rosenfatma.kahraman@boun.edu.tr

I interviewed Avi Rosen. I wanted to do an interview with him, because he is interested in a subject that concerns all of us: cyberspace! He videotaped his life and save it on YouTube as a documentary. He says “Everyone will backup his life online. This data will be interconnected, so your life is my life.” In his works he makes use of Google Earth, like Martin John Callanan. He believes in digital society and also digital skin. He has a work called “Digital skin 2” It reminds me of Stelarc. He was born as Arkadiush like Stelarc, they are both from Middle East. Importantly, they believe that the physical body is abolished.

Fatma Kahraman: Firstly, could you talk about yourself, please.

Avi Rosen: My name is Avi Rosen, New Media Artist and thinker, living in Nesher (near Haifa) Israel.My education:
2010- Ph.D. Faculty of the Arts, the Art History department, Tel Aviv University.
The title of the thesis is: http://sipl.technion.ac.il/~avi/texts/tsc.pdf .
1999 M.Sc. Industrial Design, Technion I.I.T. Thesis subject: Art Inaternet Interaction http://www.technion.ac.il/~ravi/abstract.html .
1984 B.F.A. "Bezalel" Art Academy, Jerusalem. Computer art projects.
1976 Practical Engineer in Electronics at the "Junior Technical Collage", Haifa.
My CV:  http://sipl.technion.ac.il/~avi/cv.html

Fatma Kahraman: What about your first involvement in digital installations and interactive
fine art media works? How did you come to this field of art and what has been most influential for you?

Avi Rosen: Since I graduated in 1976 Practical Engineer in Electronics at the "Junior Technical Collage", I have been integrating electronics and arts. I believe life=art, especially in our cyber era. Some examples are computer art installation & performance at the "Bezalel" Art & Design Academy Jerusalem (1994), using video camera frame grabber & computer, the exhibition visitors became active participants in the animations. Another interactive piece is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-i9xaVMIPY Of course lot of my art is net art like "Big_Optics”, it was part of Istanbul "Web Biennale 2005"

Fatma Kahraman: What moves you most in life, either to inspire or upset you in terms of your works? What are your motivations for creating?

Avi Rosen: I believe art is everywhere, I turned my life to a artistic stream (duree), for the last 2.5 years I videotaped my life and saved it on YouTube as a documentary - Bits of My Life sequence (more than 35,000 videos from my cell phone)… My point of view became global and omnipresent. 

Fatma Kahraman: What technique do you use? Tell me something about the technical equipment such digital media, audio, installation, network you use.

Avi Rosen: I use every possible digital gadget, from cell phone, webcam, PC computer, Internet, photo shop, premiere, flash etc… I believe in low cost art free for download (see "FREE_ART" (1999).

Fatma Kahraman: Where are your works displayed and screened?

Avi Rosen: Mostly on the internet and new media & video art festivals world wide.
"digitalHYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj0-lFamDr4" skinHYPERLINK "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj0-lFamDr4" 2" interactive video art was screened at:
30th Festival International Cinéma Méditerranéen Montpellier. 24 Oct.-2 Nov. 2008.
13rd Canariasmediafest- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 28th October - 1st November 2008.
VIDEOHOLICA 2008 August 2008 Bulgaria.
Visions in the Nunnery, Bow Arts Trust. The Nunnery Gallery London 07-15.06.08.
CyBorg Film Festival , 4-8 June 2008 Anghiari (ar) Italy.

Fatma Kahraman: Could you please touch on “time and space” in your art a bit more detailed? Are matters interfaces for you?

Avi Rosen: My Ph.D. thesis subject was Time - space compression in cyberspace art. Here is a quote regarding time space: "The Cyberspace data sphere is an extended dimension (hyperbolic) of the global geography and the physical body, experienced by the surfer, cyber-flâneur. The computer is a suitable metaphoric vehicle for consuming electronically compressed cyber time-space. The cyber-flâneur passes through compressed data space-time populated with avatars and virtual objects. As Charles Baudelaire’s nineteenth century flâneur was a product of industrialization and modernity, a spectator of modern life in the rising urban sprawl, he is an upgraded product of New Media; the cyber- flâneur, an avatar - spectator of virtual data structures. He is an entity whose aim is to disappear in the time space of the digital city - a viewer who is everywhere and nowhere (superposition state) in possession of his anonymity. He is the one who experiences the fuzzy ontology of cyberspace (cyber-aura), an immediate time space where, as Paul Virilio argued ―the moment of departure is compressed to that of arrival. The flâneur's 'duree' is an impression of endless movement captured by passing through the social space of modernity, and projected on his mind. Super positioned by electronic gadgets, anonymous cyber-flâneur motionlessly witnessing digital data bases through their natural propensity for omni spatiotemporal presence within the boundaries of cyberspace."

Fatma Kahraman: “digital skin” is an interesting work. You use the advantage of Google Earth. There are scenes of places and you. Is it also a try to say “all of us individually are a part of the earth.” Could you talk a bit more about this project?

Avi Rosen: The Cyberspace is an extension of the human foot, eye and the skin. The electronic gadgets and the data sphere are Galactic immediate Torus like extension of the human central nervous system, and the stage of 'Digital Skin' performance. It creates virtual extension of Marcel Duchamp's unfinished "Big Glass" piece, his voice (manipulated by the speed of light) on the video explains it. The transparent Cyberbody (digital mummy) is located eternally in cyberspace superposition. The departure and arrival are compressed to a singularity (Paul Virilio), on the digital skin's surface. 'Digital Skin 2' video sequence is bricolage of my endless virtual voyages (‘Digital Skin' is another example of such trajectory) in cyberspace, superimposing personal data on public data base (Goggle Earth and Sky). My body digital data strips, merged with the earth and cosmos digital data strips produced by the satellites and telescopes. The digitalization of the universe and our body transformed it to a flat image displayed on the computer monitor ('Digital Skin'). The digital video sequences are the MEME for further construction/deconstruction of cyber audiovisual mutual memory and universal knowledge.
The real world turned into digital data, transferred to communication networks, that is, cyberspace. The new arrangement transformed the traveling experiment and its results drastically. The traveler (Cyber Flâneur), and the terrain, abandoned their real, slow surroundings in favor of new, fast digital space containing numerous fast trajectories. These trajectories written and distributed electronically at the speed of light, and within seconds reach any surfer worldwide. This activity equalized the speed of the Cyber Flâneur and the Cyberspace. The cyberspace is monitored by search engines such as Google Earth and Sky, involving hundreds of thousands of computers, servers that store in their memories the addresses of around ten billion WWW pages of Global and Galactic data. Connecting to the cyberspace by a central hub that links all the references in the network, for example, GPS, Google and cell phone, resemble reading information stored at the event horizon of a black hole by connecting its singularity. Every Cyber Flâneur connected to the cyberspace "downloads" the data stored in its singularity. The act of reading the map from the network simulates the cyberspace information wave function collapsing by means of the reader's submitted trajectory. The data that was in a state of superposition throughout the network, or in Roland Barthes' definition "multi-dimensional space in which many and varied writings are combined and meet, and none are foremost" becomes a single peak wave function that appears on the Cyber Flâneur's display or part of his expanded digital skin.

Fatma Kahraman: “Bits of My Life” is another interesting project for me. You say that probably everyone will backup his life online. Already now, there are many websites in which people share hundreds of their photos, videos, feelings. But what do you think about the reason why people want to share their life? Is there coming a global cyberspace society?

Avi Rosen: Yes, like in "facebook.com" There are more than 500 million users; in few years it will be the largest country worldwide. The net is nusphere (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) where the individual memory became mutual memory.

Fatma Kahraman: I wonder personally, how did you find people’s interest in Istanbul, in the Web Biennial 2005?

Avi Rosen: I'm not sure if the organizers addressed me or it was a call for artwork entries published online, but I sent my works and got accepted.

Fatma Kahraman: You mention digital skin and sculpture. Does your perspective have a common aspect with Stelarc?
    
Avi Rosen: We have the same name (I was born as Arkadiush like Stelarc, we are both Middle East (Cyprus & Israel), and we believe that the physical body is abolished. But I'm not so bold as Stelarc to implant a 3rd ear, I implant my bodie's data in cyberspace :)

Fatma Kahraman: Are there any new media artists or movement that you follow? Or are there any new media artists that you find similar to you?

Avi Rosen: I meet some academic colleagues from turkey at


GA2006 GENERATIVE ART CONFERENCE @ Politecnico di Milano University : Gulen Cagdas, Ethem Gurer. Last March I met Prof. Ozgur Izmirli at the 12th     Biennial Symposium for Arts and Technology.  Usually, one can never know what is the origin of the person addressing you in the internet.

 

 

 

Fatma Kahraman: Can we say that your works have a sociological or political aspect?

Avi Rosen: Yes, it's subversive, bypassing the traditional sociological and political powers. It’s interactive, free and random; no censorship.

Fatma Kahraman: What will be the future of new media? Do you think there will be positive changes?

Avi Rosen: The real world have turned into digital data, transferred to communication networks, that is, cyberspace. The new arrangement transformed the traveling experiment and its results drastically. The traveler (Cyber Flâneur) and the terrain abandoned their real, slow surroundings in favor of new and fast digital space containing numerous fast trajectories. These trajectories are written and distributed electronically at the speed of light, and within seconds reach any surfer worldwide. This activity equalized the speed of the Cyber Flâneur and the Cyberspace. The cyberspace is monitored by search engines such as Google Earth and Sky, involving hundreds of thousands of computer servers that store in their memories the addresses of around ten billion WWW pages of Global and Galactic data.

Fatma Kahraman: What is the role of the artist in society? What is the place of your work in society? Could media arts be regarded as avant-garde? So, is the work really easily obtainable to the average person?

Avi Rosen: The new media is the future "cybertopia" where every net surfer will be. The cyberspace is turning attention away from physical body extension, toward virtual structures of global digital data. In cyberspace artist and each surfer are privileged to transform their mind and physical body to cyber superposition. This revolution led to a radical change in the definition of artist, art object and art consumer. Reality has again become, as in the distant past, a mixture of the soul, dream, trance, and myth, together with the material tangibility of daily existence. The cyclic concept of time-space that dominated the prehistoric culture and was exchanged for logical and linear Western concepts returned to its mythological starting point. All are now particles of pure artistic sphere, gathering at the singularity of holistic consciousness in cyberspace hubs, the eternal habitat of art from now on.

Fatma Kahraman: What are your future plans? Any coming project that you could share with us?

Avi Rosen: Bits of My Life will turn to be bits of everybody’s life, since there are in average 1.5 cell phones per capita in Israel, Turkey and worldwide . So, probably everyone will backup his life online. This data will be interconnected, so your life will be my life.

Fatma Kahraman: Thank you very much.

Avi Rosen: It's my pleasure answering your questions.
 In conclusion, Avi Rosen is interested mostly in cyberspace. Cyberspace includes digital skin and cybersociety. He thinks that art is life and our life will become his life thanks to video-typing and new media art.