The worlds of art and binary code may seem light-years apart, but last Thursday, April 19, Thundergulch, in connection with the Whitney Museum, brought artists who meld code and creativity to produce interactive masterpieces. The theaters of the Sony Wonder Technology Labs, on Madison, served as the studio backdrop for Thundergulch's (the new media arts initiative of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) ongoing panel discussions with new media artists. Thursday's event, which will be streamed on the Web, featured seven different artists whose work is currently being shown at the Whitney. Christiane Paul, the curator of the exhibit, hosted the event calling the show a "redefinition of the way we view data." Each of the artists work exists both in the physical location at the museum and in the virtual space of the World Wide Web. Adrianne Wortzel's robot Kiru, for example, can interact with museum-goers through a control panel on her Web site (www.camouflagetown.tv). Mark Napier's installation, Point to Point (www.potatoland.org/point), features a projection screen that captures movement not only from users scrolling along the screen with their mouse, but also by visitors passing by the large projection screen in the Whitney. Maciej Wisniewski, another exhibiting artist, whose work is titled Netomat (www.netomat.net), described the medium as having a subversive quality to it. "You don't know what is going to be put up," he says. "The content is not censored. The work is a process - it is not static. It evolves through the exhibit."
After the presentation, the artists and their admirers nibbled on cheese in a small reception room overlooking the arboretum in the Sony building. Kathy Burke, the director of Thundergulch, encouraged the guests to not only view the work at the museum, but also visit the Web sites of the art pieces to gain the full interactive experience of this exciting medium. The exhibit will show at the Whitney through June 10, 2001.