Isabel Saij was born and raised in France, where she
was educated in the studies of "visual art and
the science of art", and trained as a visual artist.
Following her thesis, entitled "Egon Schiele 1890/1918",
she resided in Cologne, Vienna, where she currently
works as a painter, interactive media designer and digital
artist. Her diverse perception of aspects of Austrian
culture allowed her to change her style, both in her
life and in her paintings. Upon her arrival in Austria
in the early 1980's, she created material paintings,
objects and installations. In the late 1990's, she ran
into problems exhibiting her work in galleries and exhibitions;
subsequently, circumstances arose which caused her to
utilize the Web to make art. Her talent enabled her
to exhibit her Net art pieces in various countries around
the world, including the United States, Russia, Brazil
Isabel's fields of interest include interactive visual
sound-based Web work, and experimental video/animation
Internet work. From Isabel's observations, the Net allows
for an attractive art proposal: it offers an inexpensive
means of distribution to a potential audience of millions,
bypassing museums, galleries and the art press. The
utilization of the Internet also supports a critique
of social change when members of a society begin to
use it for new purposes. Net art is a shift away from
demonstration, and towards communication through its
removal of the author. Net artists are better able to
covey their artistic activi ties to the public, while
not needing to affiliate it to any particular art movement.
Isabel appreciates working through the Net because the
audience does not have to physically travel in space
and time to visit art exhibitions, experience installations
or chat to fellow art lovers. This enables the viewer
to sit in front of their computer at home, and be left
with the decision to play, or not to play, with a piece.
The contacts, exchanges, discussions and reactions with
many people around the world fascinate and enthrall
Isabel, which is more enjoyable and allows her to have
a more social life than being alone in her atelier.
The Internet also gives her ability to react very rapidly
to important events, and to express and discuss her
opinions regarding sociological and political events.
Immediately, she found that she had new fields of expression
and interests in Net art. This change was welcome because
of her aversion to repeatedly performing the same tasks.
She has found the Net to undertake major transformations
because of its newfound status and institutional recognition.
Isabel's work entitled "Fence-off-fence" is
her first attempt in media video. The project consists
of 10 seconds of short videos about a wild boar, who
is constantly wondering around behind its fence (a river
and the sky were observed in the video, with high compression
used for image and sound). The soundtrack is technologically
involved and disturbing, which is in conflict with the
image of the natural wild boar. The grid (fence), sky
and the clouds are represented through three-dimensional
graphic animation. Isabel relates this fragmented, disjointed
and uneven project to her own life, which involved leaving
her native country and the having to learn to adapt
to a new environment. She claims that the cutting of
her project is chaotic, like stressed animals in cages,
and parallels attitudes of many residents of big cities.
Isabel's work is a reflection of her own journey, and
her commentary on the social and political events of
"Fence-off-fence" is a non-interactive piece
which Isabel claims to be inspired by life in cities,
animal life in zoos, and the limitations of our freedom.
She aims to show her dissatisfaction with the present
state of the condition between real world/virtual world,
and the confusion of the two worlds and the limits that
are imposed on us in real or virtual life by a sociological
metaphor. She proposes the wild boar as a metaphor for
this confusion, and works to portray the message that
the animal deserves habitation in the wild life in contrast
to a restraining fenced cage. Isabel chose the title:
"fence- off (a short breathing-space) -fence".
Why this jail and for what reason? Who needs that? As
Isabel reiterates in her artist statement, "We
live in a system which "thinks" for us, we
can't really believe we are free, it's a joke! What
kind of life do we live? What means "we"?
Who manipulates a political and social problem? What
kind of freedom do we enjoy? We have the same freedom
like this wild boar, which becomes day after day its
food and lives in its enclosures field. Our freedom
is nonsense. All is artifact. The only area where we
perhaps have a chance to preserve a secret garden is
our brain! But are we sure of it?"