Concept

fluctuating images. contemporary media art
Verein zur Förderung zeitgenössischer Kunst mit neuen Medien e.V. (association for contemporary art with new media)

When fluctuating images opened its doors in the red light district of Stuttgart in March 2004, media art already had its acknowledged place in the art world. Nevertheless, the second part of the gallery name, “contemporary media art,” created some telling confusion. Visitors and the local press often described the venue as a “media gallery” or “media space,” unwittingly taking up a critical point of the discussion around media art: its focus on the technical aspect. The art drops out of the picture and all that remains is the (new) media . . . This very reductive notion of media art, however, was always contested by art theorists who felt that the exclusive focus on new media should be replaced by an analysis of specific artistic ways of dealing with the media—digital and analog—in general. Accordingly, fluctuating images started as a platform for contemporary works of art that added new and innovative perspectives to this kind of self-reflecting mediality. The aim was not only to present an aesthetic reflection on mediality, but to supplement it with scientific analysis, to create an interface between art and science. Based on this conceptual framework, fluctuating images developed some distinctive areas of interest: our early curatorial involvement with VJing grew into a focus on artistic audiovisual practices which resulted, among other things, in a two-year curatorial research project on visual music (2007–2008) and the publication Audio.Visual.—On Visual Music and Related Media (2009). This research focus subsequently led us to explore intersections between the field of audiovisual production and other practices such as performance, dance, design, and architecture.

In 2009, fluctuating images moved to Berlin and soon found a new home at General Public, an independent project space run collaboratively by a group of cultural workers, including visual artists and curators. These new surroundings proved very fruitful for fluctuating images’ transdisciplinary approach and resulted in a focused exploration of the considerable changes that artistic approaches within our fields of interest have undergone over the last years. Our world has become decidedly post-digital, we no longer live the glossy dream of the digital revolution, but its less shiny “afterglow,” to borrow the title of the 2014 transmediale. Post-digitality not only implies the natural co- and cross-existence of the digital and the analog—which has always been at the core of our critical analysis of mediality at fluctuating images—but also points to the very material side of digital immateriality: its political, geopolitical, and geophysical effects. The anthropocene has become our condition of life, which is why this condition must form the basis from which fluctuating images conceptualizes its presentations of, and reflections on, developments in art, design, and architecture.

Cornelia Lund and Holger Lund, August 2014

start: March 14, 2004, assocation since February 7, 2006
venues: 2004-2008 Stuttgart, 2009-on Berlin
October 2010 - September 2015 fluctuating images was a member of disk e.V./General Public (Berlin)
since February 2016 fluctuating images is a member of errant bodies (Berlin).
www.errantbodies.org/soundartspace.html

Aims:

- contemporary media art
- independent
- non-commercial
- international and regional orientation, alternating or combined
- interface between art – science – public
- discursive reflection and information on art

Publications:
via internet www.fluctuating-images.de/en/node/16

Financial structure:
basic expenses and expositions: private resources and sponsoring

Staff:
directors, curators and PR: Dr. Cornelia Lund and Dr. Holger Lund
vice director: Meike Frank
guest curators: Anja Füsti and Oliver Prechtl (Plattform für freie Musik); Matthias Siegert (Rotlichtkonzerte)
graphics: Jan Schöttler, Kai Heuser, Johannes Hennicke, Oliver Moore, Stapelberg & Fritz, Volker Kühn, Eva Schmeckenbecher, Ilja Knezovic, Eva-Maria Offermann
collaborators: Leonie Adelmann, Annerose Bach, Frederike Brocke, Florian Härle, Annette Helfferich, Myriam Elabdi, Eva-Maria Offermann, Gitte Lindmaier, Nicola Schmidt
translation: Lutz Eitel

Concept:
What is media art? First, media art can be defined as an art which uses media for aesthetic purposes. It also is an art which visibly questions the use of media as such. Media art, in brief, offers aesthetic products presenting reflections on media and mediality.
The notion of ’media art’ was established in the 1980s in connection with the digital New Media. For a long time, all forms of art using New Media for aesthetic purposes have been regarded as ’media art’. ’Media art’, according to this definition, does not necessarily contain reflections on media or mediality.
This very reductive notion of ’media art’, however, soon became an object of critical discussion among art theorists who felt that the the exclusive focus on New Media should be replaced by an analysis of specific artistic ways of dealing with media – digital and analogue – in general. This attempt was supported by the decline of the New Economy. Once the hype about New Economy had passed, a critical discussion of 'media art' could finally take place.
One could say that the reflection on media and mediality actually started to develop during the Renaissance. Important steps in this process were: the increasing significance of the individual, the institutionalization of artistic education and the theorization of the artistic genres (painting, sculpture and architecture). The paragone, the competition between the genres, was particularly contributing to the increasing awareness of specific uses of media. Artistic specialization and the concept of the uomo universale are two sides of this process.

The avantgardist positions of the late 19th century and the avantgardes of the early 20th century finally led to the so called “media turn“, theoretically condensed in MacLuhan’s famous dictum “the medium is the message“.
Since this media turn, artists have been extensively using the possibilities of aesthetic reflection on mediality in different media. The art gallery fluctuating images. contemporary media art wants to offer a platform to contemporary works of art which add new and innovative perspectives to this kind of self-reflecting mediality. Medial authenticity has been questioned for a long time, and since the war in Iraq (2003) one could even say that authenticity has imploded. The artistic consequences of this critcal analysis of media are the intensified search for new, authentic media forms as well as the search for valid metareflective methods. fluctuating images. contemporary media art wants to show these newly developed artistic strategies.

Interface between art and science: fluctuating images. contemporary media art is intended as a platform for the presentation of works of art as well as for reflection on art. The aesthetic reflection on mediality shall be supplemented by scientific analysis in collaboration with scientific institutions in order to create an interface between art and science. The interface between art and science has been rather neglected in Germany until now, even though projects based on this concept such as Artist-Research-Programmes are common practice in the international context.

fluctuating images. contemporary media art also wants to establish a regular intercourse between international and regional artistic productions, for example by combining local and international artistic production in group-exhibitions. Accordingly, the gallery is going to be closely associated with the local Stuttgart art scene and its activities will also give the local art scene the chance to get directly in touch with international artists.

A broader public shall be reached through programmes such as presentations, discussions with artists and guided tours open to the public. As a forum and interface between aesthetic and scientific reflection fluctuating images. contemporary media art is not only a platform for specialists but also wants to make current discussions accessible to the interested public through activities such as conferences or workshops.

Cornelia Lund and Holger Lund, March 2004