[Spring 1998]

by Franck Michel

The Internet, that network of networks, is now a part of daily life for many of us; we surf the ’Net looking for things or just for entertainment. For artists, this communications tool comprises a new area of exploration with immense potential.

Some use it as the main support for their work, others as an infinite source of images for appropriation, and still others as an effective and inexpensive means of making their work available. It is also interesting to see how the thought processes and the structure that govern the Internet increasingly influence and impact upon the production of many contemporary artists, whether they aware of it or not, and whether or not they have any link with cyberspace. The model of the network has become a new formal mechanism.

In this issue, the last of our series on the notion of authenticity, we look at the networking of images, whether in cyberspace or via more traditional means. In this context, we present the work of Gerald Van Der Kaap from the Netherlands and Nathalie Caron and Petra Mueller from Quebec. I invite you also to read aesthetics theoretician Anne Cauquelin’s point of view attentively; she takes us through the twisting paths of the network and addresses the issue of authenticity of art in the technological era.

The Internet forms the basis for Van Der Kaap’s work. He creates network-works in which his own images are juxtaposed against images from the Internet. His pieces, veritable image fluxes, are presented both in cyberspace and in galleries. Mueller has decided to create works exclusively for the Internet. Combining texts and images – her own and those taken from the network – she creates fictive stories in a more linear structure. The images presented in this portfolio come, via the Internet, from the surveillance post separating Sweden and Russia.

Caron’s work has little to do with the Internet, except for its structure. She uses no pirated images or virtual production; however, her recent works function on the network mode – or, more precisely, that of the rhizome.1 Caron constructs her pieces from photographs accumulated over time, which she arranges, superimposes, cuts or pastes, creating fragments of stories in which faces, objects, places, landscapes, and pure moments of emotion cohabit and intertwine.

Whether their works are presented in galleries or on the Internet, these artists working from the networking of images are linked by a certain conception of the world related to that expounded by Deleuze and Guattari: a word constantly in a state of becoming, shot through with ephemeral moving lines that cut across, respond, cross, mingle, snap . . . We are in the world of the possible, where all notions of time and space are abolished. Whether the image is authentic – is what the image portrays real or fictional? –  is a question no longer asked. Each image, true or false, original or borrowed, is simply one image among others and, once used, open to new meanings. These images must be understood in their multitudes, in the links they forge with each other.

Finally, I would like to mention the departure of Marcel Blouin, a founder, with Hélène Monette, of Ciel Variable in 1985, and its co-editor (1992–96) and editor (1996–97). His contribution to CVphoto was essential, since he was one of the few to believe strongly enough in the future of Ciel Variable to bring the magazine out of the black hole into which it had fallen in 1992 after a number of successful years. It is thanks to him, to the organization he directed, VOX POPULI, and to Robert Legendre that Ciel Variable recovered and became CVphoto, the magazine we know today. We are infinitely grateful to him. With his departure, a page in CVphoto’s history is closed. His successor is artist Pierre Blache, the new director of VOX POPULI; we welcome Pierre and are certain that he will energetically meet the continual challenge of producing a high-quality magazine on a tight budget!

1 “Unlike trees and their roots, the rhizome connects any single point to any other single point, and each of its lines does not connect to lines of the same type, putting into play very different schemes of signs, and even states of non-signs. . . . There is neither beginning nor end, but always a middle, through which it pushes and overflows.” Gilles Deleuze et Félix Guattari, Mille plateaux, Paris, Minuit, 1980, p. 31.