Issue 20 Transvergence - May 2005
While not ever truly pin-pointing one set definition of transvergence,
SWITCH sought out questions and explorations that transcend the
interdisciplinary and attempt to form a hybrid of cultural experiences.
Using Marcus Novak’s "Speciation, Transvergence, Allogenesis: Notes on
the Production of the Alien" as a spring-board, SWITCH Issue 20
vectored into ideas from artists, scientists, futurists, educators,
linguists, and even the man on the street.
Issue 19 Post Code/Proxy Identity - Dec. 2004
Issue 18 Interface: Software as Cultural Production
Issue 17 Collaboration
In 1995 SWITCH began what has become a valuable historic documentation
of the evolving theoretical and critical discourse within new media.
With the launch of Issue 17, Collaboration, we have evolved this role
even further by introducing an experimental platform for exploring new
content publication models.
Issue 16 Social Networks 2
Issue 15 Social Networks 1
If any social system functions and exists within a describable, measurable network structure, then the question at hand is: can any network structure be described as a social system? In this issue Social & Networks we explore, describe, define, represent and even test social network theories on individuals, organizations, art and technology. Like most social theory we are looking at how individuals, organizations, and software exist and behave within a network. With the bombardment of interactive capability in the past few years our social networks are quite extensive and complex. They have become increasingly more difficult to describe and visually represent. Switch aims to look beyond the expected and into areas relevant to artists today.
Issue 14 Institutions
Issue 13 Database
One of the most important developments of the 20th century was the proliferation of the database into every fiber of Western cultural fabric, (which of course has had profound global impact). The rise of companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Sun Microsystems, Wal-Mart, AOL, and Oracle Corporation are among the notorious manifestations (including the Internet itself), that have in one way or another reaped the benefits of database. From "just-in-time" delivery and picking systems to inventory, process, and financial management, database enables significant and culturally transforming productivity gains that are manifested ultimately in the distribution of atoms and the actual. No doubt, the roots of this revolution can be traced through figures such as George Boole, Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Kurt Gödel, Claude Shannon, Alan Turing and E.F. Codd, but the changes wrought by this revolution have been most intense in the very recent past.
Issue 12 Games
Forums of public intersection between computer games and art have
surfaced with accelerated frequency over the course of the last year.
To briefly chart some of the recent terrain, The Doors of Perception Conference in Amsterdam took place in the fall of 1998 with it’s focus on Play and included some games by artists, the Synworld conference and exhibit at Public Netbase in Vienna occurred in May of 1999, the Interactive Frictions conference and exhibit met at USC in Los Angeles in June of 1999, the Game Over exhibit was presented at the Institute of Design in Zurich in July and the upcoming online Re: play
Panel organized by Eyebeam Atelier and TechBC is scheduled for July and
August of 1999. Computer gaming is emerging as the dominant form of
media interpolation into shared social apparatuses even at the expense
of television and film. As an entertainment form linked to online
network data flow, computer gaming is at the present time more open
than television ever was to reinvention and rearticulation of its
genres and modes of interactivity, sign systems and politics of
representation. The time seems ripe for critical intervention from
artists and theorists, who follow in the wake of the fervid cultural
sabotage and shape shifting of the game fan players and hackers
themselves. Equally imperative is an examination of the historical
underpinnings of given computer gaming tropes in military and filmic
simulation technologies and early computer programming.
Issue 11 The Interview Issue
Interviews with Sandy Stone, David Brin, Claude Guillemot, Sadie Plant, Manuel De Landa, and C5
Issue 10 Net/Work/Art
1998 has been an interesting year for network art. At the beginning of the year, the net.art lists were alive with the controversy surrounding the identity thefts of the likes of Mark Amerika, Peter Weibel, and Timothy Druckrey. That particular performance, still unclaimed by its author[s], conceptually underscored the weaknesses of treating liquid identity and becoming in cyberspace as the ontological foundations for dematerialized network art forms. Most authors, as it turns out, don't want to be unstable identities. Even Deleuze and Guattari put their own names on their books! Related to this problem of liquid identity as art form is the relative dearth of development in another of the often speculated foundations for computer art practice: virtual reality. Simulations of Cartesian space and virtual worlds wherein the artist is conjured as author/storyteller have not progressed significantly; except perhaps in the realm of industrial strength gaming. The ontology and identity of the author, still a contested space, continues to suffer from the received habits of narrative literature.
Issue 9 Electronic Gender
This issue of Switch developed out of the Chik Tek '97 conference and
exhibition held here in San Jose, California, last November. In that
forum, participants discussed various aspects of women artists working
in/with technology, including whether women needed to have a
gender-specific forum at all. These questions triggered a debate that
could have continued and which Helen Wood took up in her series of
post-conference interviews (see "Chik Tek Symposium Revisited").
Issue 8 Art and Military
In this version, Volume 3 Number 3, Winter 1997, Switch is proud to
present an interview with philosopher, technologist and former
front-line artist Manuel De Landa. In his latest work, One Thousand Years of Non-Linear History,
De Landa challenges methodologies that view history through the lens of
linguistics, texts, and economics by instead examining the relationship
of societies to the flow of matter, energy, information and the related
technological escalations. In his previous book, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines,
he had explored the life-like qualities of physical phenomena at points
of singularity, along with the mechanical physics of military conflict
viewed from various organizational levels, in order to speculate the
convergence of the biological phylum and machinic phylum in a
contingent and ultimately inseparable evolutionary complex.
Issue 7 Art of the World Wide Web, Part 2
Issue 6 Art of the World Wide Web
No doubt about it. The Web is expanding at a phenomenal rate. Daily, thousands of new sites are being submitted to search engines. Amid this explosive number of web sites, artists are exploring a new territory. In our collaborative efforts, the Switch
staff determined a distinction between "art of the Web" and. "art on
the Web." Numerous discussions and sometimes heated debates over the
past few months have led us to the conclusion that this is an immense
and developing subject, -- a unique area with which artists are
attempting to form a relationship. It was decided that in order to
examine its many facets, the best strategy would be for us to cover the
subject in two issues.
Issue 5 Interactive Narrative
Switch, in this issue,
examines online interactive narrative. Virtual environments or spaces
created by text such as MUDs, MUSHes, and MOOs are described by Sherry
Turkle in her recent book, Life on the Screen:
In MUDs, instead of using computer hardware to immerse themselves in a vivid world of sensation, users immerse themselves
Issue 4 Sound
This issue of Switch focuses on an area that includes a broad
spectrum of artists and theoreticians who possess innovative and varied
ideas. They use creative thought and experimentation with new
technologies to speak the ancient language of "Sound" in new ways.
Issue 3 Artificial Life
Rudy Rucker's article describes some of the simplest forms of artificial life:
small self-modulating algorithms that leave trails of colored pixels on
a computer screen (cellular automata). Using the word "life" for these
graphic traces tugs at our sense of credibility, especially since they
appear similar to many screen-savers which are, as we all know, just
Issue 2 Virtual Reality
Welcome to our second issue of Switch. This time we focus on Virtual
Reality, with its seductive promise of three-dimensional immersive
environments. The desire for multiple convincing worlds available at a
command comes from an imagination desiring to escape the limits of the
everyday world. We want to explore a simulated fantasyland and replace
for a time the difficult one we know.
Issue 1 Information on the Internet - May 1995