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The 12hr-ISBN-JPEG Project

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 and Thailand.

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 activities 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 our world.

"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?"

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Site: http://www.saij-netart.de