ISEA98 – Introduction

Introductory / Welcoming Notes Title:

  • ISEA98 – Introduction



  • Introductory Statement

    ISEA98, the Ninth International Symposium on Electronic Art. Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Art & Design, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK 5 – 7 September 1998.

    And then it went boing and, out of energy, sprang the material world and the immaterial world, never to meet again except to nullify each other. And stuff went this way and anti-stuff went that way; two great directional swirls from an explosive seed bulged out and back on themselves at the same time in the pattern of an apple cut through vertically. The other horizontal cut produced islands of geometrical classicism: ideal forms of Plato’s cave. There was chaos and order together at the same time. And in the great swirl of matter there was a thickening and a glutinising Into balls and globules because of safety in numbers.

    Bits of the big boing hung there like fairy lights in the spiral. Far distant cousin globs follow the turn of the helter-skelter to become near neighbours to relative blobs. Folds, convolutions, and eddies imbrogliate themselves around the scattered embers. In the maelstrom of revolutions a sucked-together lump, occilating not too hot and not too cold, in a calm backwater, formed a clay pie-ball. The rain started to fall. Stretched out on this clay, in the sun, on the rack of gravity, laced, repeatedly, with water and chemical soup, life was imbrued in the forms of a little blood-clay man and a little blood-clay woman – miniscule and simple – together in one tiny form. The volcanoes burst beneath the oceans and delivered up a crusty, salty shell from the boiling waters.

    Heat split them.

    Salt bound them.

    Meat tubes held water inside beneath the rains. Clay begat meat and, later, meat begat silicon.
    Time sealed and solified. And, as it congealed and slowed, to our eager and inventive aminal minds it appeared faster and faster. We exhilerated in the paradox of speeding into slowness, not realising that, to win the race against speed itself, to become faster, maybe we must slow down. Certainly, a moment for reflection was called for. That moment was the Terror.

    TERROR is the climax of Manchester’s Digital .Summer (41 multimedia arts events that commenced with the re-build, using authentic materials, of the world’s first stored-programme computer, the “Baby”, in June. The organising host, Manchester Metropolitan University, Department of Fine Arts, has formed a partnership with Liverpool John Moore University and FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology) to deliver ISEA98. Revolution98, the complementary ISEA98 exhibition and events programme, organised by FACT has more than 100 diverse projects by artists from 29 different countries.