In 1997 Markus Huemer realised a web-installation "the rules are no game" that gathered in its concept three criteria, which Peter Weibel somewhere pointed out: distant correlation, reversibility and extension (1). The three criteria that are valid for all net-based art where a mutual influence between the image and the observer occurs and also where the relation observer - image extends into the virtual data-space, can be found again in the new work by Markus Huemer "Anyone Classic" (2005). As a foundation of the interaction between the observer and the image Huemer again takes a re-reading of modernist painting, which he then strategically integrates into a media conglomerate computer-interface/video-internet work. As with "the rules are no game" the Jackson Pollock's drip paintings are the reference that frames Huemer's work with the new media.
As with boarder phenomena of framed painting Pollock's drip paintings deal with the breach of hortus conclusus of imaginary representation after its reign has been clearly coming to an end. However Pollock didn't question the painting itself but the place that it occupied at the time: the place (the table, the canvas) that manifested the painting as a closed state - whereby it refused to see it as an event in reality but rather as a world of representation opposite to reality. Pollock's project "… to paint large moveable pictures which will function between the easel and the mural…"(2) followed consequently, parallel to abolishment of canvas, towards entering the painting. For Pollock it emerged necessarily in action and through the action. In place of calculated composition the image materialized itself in the frameworks of "the controlled chance" by using unconventional painting tools and procedures - the physical movement of the artist over the surface of the image realised an actual "being-in-image". The painting painted itself, it had, according to Pollock, "a life of its own". However Jackson Pollock was aware that his drip-paintings made between 1947 and 1950 represented only a "halfway state" - that he only began to explore and to open the space between "easel" and "mural". Since it finally rested with the contemplative experience of the observer facing the canvas who in his conceptions appropriates the processual "beingin- image" of the artist.
With the expansion in or the integration of the virtual dataspace as an elementary ingredient of the production of images Markus Huemer's net-installation establishes a transmedial continuation of Pollock's idea. The work "Anyone Classic" directly connects with the concept of "the controlled chance" on the productively-technical level. However, now the movements of the observer are what is being recorded through motion capturing by video camera, then recalculated and further presented by two whole-wall video projections showing abstract ever changing moving traces of colour. The image is being generated in real time since the relationship between the viewer and the painting (projection) is assigned to a never-ending process of mutual influences, which links temporally and causally the presence of the image with the presence of its observer. The loop recording - playback of the video technology enables the interactivity, which is manifested twofold: as an action creating the image and as a receptive behaviour that is necessarily parallel to the image creation. The painting "paints" itself through the mirroring of the movements around the black box, and the narcissism of viewer's self-observation is the highest guaranty for the image production. The design of the work doesn't allow the spectator to govern the interface video as an instrument for building images, because the mirroring of the self (the experience of one's own movements through the space) is corrupted through a "random choice" factor of the computer application. The programmed chance blurs the image creation by abstracting the movement into smooth approximation, which drives the black, white and blue dripping of colour in a Jackson Pollock's manner.
In the black box of recording and playback the mechanisms of distant correlation and reversibility (Markus Huemer uses both implicitly) are implemented in order to deconstruct the topos of "the artist as a creative medium". The author steps back and instead presents the achievements of technology. The artistic individuality is transformed into an attempt to congenially interpret a saying of the American colleague "new needs need new techniques" for our time. He does it ultimately with the way how he uses the extension of the imaging process: as a genuine web-installation "Anyone Classic" is accessible on all possible computers of the world through a simple log-in. In the frame of the screen the permanently changing image of the world lends itself multiplicated without any reference to its author or the place of its production. Huemer denies the distant observer any influence on the installation. For him there is only the contemplative observation and he will be included in a virtual audience which exists beyond the traditional painting, although he is at the same time captured in its conventional experience.
The space of art appears expanded, however it builds itself (still) over the realities appearing as heterogeneous and being artificially tied one onto the other; which would be abolished only by a new notion of the image. While Markus Huemer through conscious following of "someone classic" again fails to achieve that, he at the same time demonstrates the modernity of new media, shows their domination, instead of blurring their effects.
Original German title of work: Irgendein Klassiker
First presented at 11th IFCA, Slovenia.
Medium: Interactive net installation
Coding: David Eitzinger
Courtesy of: Galerie Michael Janssen, Köln