Violence Online Festival
It tends to read rather glibly but you have to agree with Agricola de Cologne: "Violence was never more popular than today." A curator and media artist, Agricola de Cologne is the prime mover behind the Violence art project, an online festival reflecting the phenomenon of violence.
Launched a year ago at the multi-disciplinary art and media festival Violens Festival Tabor, in the Czech Republic, Version 8.0 is the latest instalment. It coincides with three physical events in August, namely Sao Paulo's FILE 2003 electronic language festival (August 14 - 24), the Nonetart Festival in Argentina (August 15 - 27) and a curated event at the Royal Gardens in Copenhagen.
The site offers over 300 artistic meditations on the phenomenon of violence, the various projects representing 42 countries - curiously enough there has been no South African participant yet. The project has been awarded a special prize by the organisation committee of the Computer Space Festival, and is featured on Blogwork, the website for the 50th Venice Biennale www.labiennale.org/blogwork.
In essence, the project is aimed at promoting dialogue. "Violence is an expression of speechlessness, of lack of communication.," this ever-expanding project offering strategies for communication, dialogue and networking.
"I'd like to apologise for all this..." writes a silhouetted artist, bashing away at his computer. Keywords of his thoughts stream up to the right ... eating, fat, apologies, bed, women, fly ... Clicking on to any of them takes one to a page which explores that word visually. Try roots, for example. The silhouetted artists is now huddled on the floor, and roots starting from the opposite side of the screen move inexorably towards him. Mouse him elsewhere, and the roots follow him. Choosing fly draws us into a discussion about whether or not flies should be swatted. The artist's solution: to squash them slightly and spend the rest of the day feeling guilty. Viewers are invited to enter this ethical dilemma, and many have, and their replies are on site.
Verdict: A rich and idiosyncratic site of 105 pages, with many diverting byways. The artist does not reveal his identity, but the site, set up in 1998. is supported by the Netherlands Foundation for Fine Arts, Design and Architecture.