Monday, October 11, 2004

Interact1 and the Man from Neen

I received a lovely chatty email from an old friend of mine in the UK, Bob Cotton. He has just put together an exhibition of interactive media in the Barbican in London called 'Interact1'. He is currently developing some interesting interactive TV programme concepts. He's already produced one successful show for BBC2 which was called 'Crisis Command'.

The Interact1 show respresents an interesting cross section of creative works ranging from information to product design:

The item that caught my eye was...the movement/manifesto started by Miltos Manetas who popularised the term 'Neen'.

"The word Manetas wanted was "not exclusively about technology in art, but more about the style, about the psychological landscape," he has explained. "We have two kind of lives now -- a real life and a simulated one. I wanted to give a name to this psychology."

In May 2000, during a packed press conference at the Gagosian Gallery in Manhattan -- and a panel of people like Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker ready to provide (tongue-in-cheek) analysis of the term -- Manetas unveiled the new word. Actually, it was the squeaky, synthetic voice of a Sony Vaio that made the announcement.
The word was "Neen."

In his subsequent
Neen Manifesto, Manetas declared that the term represented "a still undefined generation of visual artists. Some of them may belong to the contemporary art world; others are software creators, web designers and video game directors or animators." He later added: "The identity of a NEENSTER is his state of mind. Because he will publish everything on the web, his state of mind reflects on the public taste. NEENSTERS are public personas."

Glad to see there's still room in this world for media pranksters in the Malcolm Maclaren model...I find it really bizarre that Pinker of all people was present at the opening. Judging by what I've read (The Blank State) Pinker's appreciation of anything to do with contemporary visual or digital art is incredibly limited. Hmmm...strange.

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