In response to the question that Ippolito posed in
his article about "what happens to constructions
of subjectivity that are based on interaction?"
a net art piece such as "Access Points" not
only justifies interactivity as part of the piece, it
is in fact necessary to integrate user-interactivity
"to open a greater space for dialogue within a
piece" (Babel). Similar to the Dada goal of finding
independence, the map of "Access Points" assists
viewers in locating themselves in relationship to different
geographies or access points, thereby creating a unique
narrative sequence for each individual. Although viewers
may at first find themselves alienated within this virtual
town, curiosity draws the viewer to search the map for
places with "a physical reality that people can
easily identify with" (Babel). The abstract representation
of the town does not take away from the user experience
in the exploration of the space, because "it is
more difficult to create a convincing digital simulacrum
of reality than it is to create a reality that only
exists digitally" (Joseph). It is precisely this
abstracted space that encourages the viewer to explore
and interact with the piece. Indeed, it was the abstract
paintings that induced the Zurich Dadaists to look for
new expression within dissolution.
When considering Hans Richter's Dada historically at
the Cabaret and the element of collaboration that resulted
in Dada creation. Since "new media art, and the
web more generally, could be seen as a huge multimedia
cabaret" (Joseph), the piece "Access Points"
is also naturally a form of a Cabaret, where it shares
the original Cabaret Voltaire's "enthusiasm on
mutual inspiration which started things moving"
(Richter 28). Within this intimate virtual town of "Access
Points", numerous pieces are exhibited including
pieces of interactive simultaneous poetry, manifestos,
abstract work, interactive photomontages, chance, and
also some other media elements including audio and animation.
These can be considered a digital representation of
a modern "Cabaret Voltaire". Moreover, since
the work that progressed in the Cabaret Voltaire consisted
of several artists and poets, the net piece follows
this route as well. The pieces by different contributors
created a different feeling and direction depending
on the mediums used, giving the viewer a need to explore
each access point and see how the message is delivered
in each piece.
In both the Cabaret and in "Access Points",
the work functions when the audience is considered as
part of the construction of the narrative. Within "Access
Points", the piece called "The Squat
is 'live' in the sense that comments are added by visitors"
(Babel), showing the significance of user collaboration
in the construction of the piece; "without the
input of many people
we will never be able to
adequately describe or reflect on the worlds we now
inhabit" (Ippolito). The input of a viewer on narrating
and constructing "Access Points" also adds
to the Dadaist interest of chance, "a new stimulus
to artistic creation" (Richter 51). Within the
exploration of MADA, the new media artists selected
elements of chance not only driven by their programming
abilities but encouraged by the hopes that the audience
In "Access Points", chance is found and possible
to tag in the interactive poetry pieces called "Musa
[Fly]" and "30 Pieces of Silver / Take the
Money and Run". These two pieces are an extension
of the original Dada simultaneous poetry forms from
the 1920's where looping narratives were composed from
different interactive elements. This mix of sound, imagery,
text, and interactivity creates an interactive photomontage,
ad this is well-suited to the possibilities of the internet.
The piece "Cat [Para]site" is a photomontage
of photos and cartoon cat drawings. This piece utilizes
in links, and rollover images, sound, and animation
which function unlike simultaneous poetry only when
the mouse is rolled over the element. The audio poems
and collages crate a post-Dada moment where shock moves
beyond that of visual.
The piece "Museum of Local Crafts" speaks
about production versus access. Although this piece
lacks the usage of typography found in the original
Dadaist manifestos, the element of animated imagery
is added to enhance the statement and places it in the
same revolutionary frame of earlier movements where
a manifesto directed the audience to participate.
With the integration of interactivity, abstract representations,
Cabaret-like collaboration, audience, chance, interactive
simultaneous poetry, interactive photomontage, and manifestos,
MADA has redefined Dada online. These elements are interwoven
in such a way that they are similar to the traditional
Dada practices but also fit in terms of new media structures.
391.org draws the viewer's attention to "point[s]
of access that is at once necessary and problematic"
(Babel). This delivery of "Access Points"
online re-iterates chance, new progress and the possibility
that the new or undisclosed is still plausible but is
contingent on decoding and understanding one's access