Better than a robot

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Photo: Peter Yang

I logged into virtual worlds and began working inside them at the beginning of 2007. Those days were filled with tapenipulation, drumbots making, and a bit of circuit bending. I didn’t really liked working with computers back then. For me they were boring, and perhaps too easy. Modular synths and tapes seemed so much more interesting. Then I realised I didn’t liked computers because they allow much more intuitive ways of working. Everything is easier and simpler. All the work of building a synth, studying music, none of it matters when using computers. The knowledge might help, but it’s not necessary. And that’s our current reality. It’s very easy to become an artist nowadays if you use computers.

Suddenly, I had an epiphany: I rejected computer generated works because they were menacing my field of expertise. I think I even thought their existence was something unfair. This made me remember the words of a piano teacher (which I had considered too conservative): “Synths doomed musicians. The work of 90 can be done by them, so people prefer to pay the work of one, than the work of 90.”

I realised my thoughts were not very different from my professor’s. So I decided to act the opposite. Then I began making music with computers and inside virtual worlds and net communities. I realised the true beauty behind computer generated works, is that anyone can do them. Suddenly the web has been flooded with songs of unknown musicians thanks to myspace and soundcloud. And that’s amazing! One can visit soundcloud and listen to songs that were uploaded seconds ago. You just have to write that name on a browser to call them up. More than a collective place, the internet is a land where anything is possible.

After visiting a friend in New York, and seeing the shows in all the museums, as well as the galleries in Manhattan and Soho, I realised all the art they house is so contemporary. And it’s time for it to be that no more. That’s why since the beginning, S.T.A.R.S. has acted like a Trojan horse for reality. Our ultimate goal: to bring the art world together with the 21st century’s reality through the internet. The internet is all that the art world wishes, and claims to be. And thanks to its possibilities we’ve envisioned another art world. A new reality – one that offers a different future, to a “contemporary” art world that is still stuck in 1648.

Most of the people working with computers are not contemporary artists, so they haven’t been stuck to a specific form. They’re trying all the buttons and all the combinations. And that’s the beauty behind Digital Maoism. All the information on the web, each song, each image, each algorithm, they were all done by people. Nothing’s magically created, but somehow authorship disappears. What matters are the benefits that the network gets out of data. And that’s how art is gonna be. Art is becoming useful for people. Since the beginning we’ve done everything wrong, and the internet is giving us a chance to change that. Inside the internet, art may be free. And by free I do not mean cost-less, but rather the freedom to copy art and then adapt it to one’s own uses.

Franz Zubizarreta <franzubizarreta@gmail.com>

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