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What I would like to evoke, about Image in general (the media-image, the technological image), is the perversity of the relationship between the image and its referent, the "supposed real"; it is the virtual and irreversible confusion of images and of the sphere of a reality, whose principle we can grasp less and less.

Is it live or Memorex? Is it a real or a virtual experience? As Jean Baudrillard noted more than a decade ago, the boundary between the real and the simulated, the simulacrum, is less and less distinct and is becoming more and more semipermeable, just like the mirror in Alice's looking-glass world. Artists have historically been at the forefront, blurring boundaries and crossing borders, penetrating the looking-glass, pushing the envelope with the R&D of their creative explorations utilizing new technologies, and in the process redefining the very notions of both art and artist. In our current postmodern Oz, a cyber-Toto as avatar yanks the curtain and reveals the wizard at the screen, confronting viewers with questions of authorship, physicality, identity, and space. In many of these cases, the art experience is no longer passive but requires some sort of (inter)active participation. Yet with all the hype and seduction accompanied by the dazzle of all the latest bells and whistles, many of these multimedia artists remind us that in spite of this technological revolution that we are living and breathing, a tool is after all just a tool. And the tools continue to change at hyperspeed. It's really the thought, the concept, that counts; here the journey is the destination where multimedia conveys the message. The artists presented in this chapter, and the multitude of those not included, reflect just how multi multimedia is.


In 1997, [Maryanne, ed.] Amacher received the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica Distinction for her artistic achievements in computer music for her work The Levi-Montalcini Variations.[6]

Amacher had been a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Advanced Visual Studies in the 1970s, and through her connections with colleagues from that time I was able to join her in a field trip down to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center in Palo Alto for my first virtual-reality experience in 1985, donning a VR helmet and becoming immersed in a wire-frame environment. Of course, the applications here involved militaristic flight simulations. Not for ten more years, back in New York, would I immerse myself in an artistic virtual-reality experience like Char Davies's Osmose (in an exhibition entitled Code, presented at Ricco Maresca Gallery in New York City). Prior to that experience, I had seen Patrice Caire's virtual-reality project—C.A.I.R.E. '94(Cyberhead. . . Am I Really Existing?), an artwork presented at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that allowed viewers to enter into a reconstructed model of the artist's head in a fictionalized, five-minute vertiginous journey by looking through a stereoscopic viewing device. The work raised issues about the interconnectedness of the body and the human creations of technology and information processing.



1. Jean Baudrillard, "Beyond Right and Wrong, or the Mischievous Genius of Image," in Resolution: A Critique of Video Art (Los Angeles: LACE, 1986).
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6. Maryanne Amacher received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in 1997 for her sound installation works. Recent projects include the creation of major works: a string quartet with an electroacoustic installation commissioned by the Kronos String Quartet and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and two new installation works produced in 1998 for the Kunstmuseum Bern Taktalos Festival and for Tunnel Vision in the three-story Maastunnel, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Several CD recordings have recently been released: Sound Characters (Making the Third Ear) (Tzadik, 1999) and works on the Asphodel Sombient Triology—The Storm of Drones (1996), The Swarm of Drones (1995), and The Throne of Drones (1995). Amacher was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.
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Last verified: August 1st 2013.