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Previous Issues

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

We videotaped Cory Arcangel's NES mods, asked Alex Galloway whether he identifies with hacker culture, got to know one of the biggest technical problems Jim Campbell has ever solved, and played golf at the Silicon Valley Golf Classics. We contacted old-school technology artist STELARC and hypothesized about fear oriented programming. Meanwhile, students from the Human Machine Interface class studied and produced blogs en masse while others ran an exhibition downtown San Jose in cooperation with Phantom Galleries.

Issue 18 Interface: Software as Cultural Production

As software is continuing to gain importance, the CADRE Laboratory has been looking at the cultural embracement of software. This absorption into wide areas of our lives is occurring at times when software has already established a clear trajectory. It has had a highly military and commercial background and it is aiming at a reduction to "default software" in the tradition of Word, Photoshop and Yahoo Mail. Looking for alternatives is not a technical concern anymore but it is a cultural one.

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.

Influenced by the open-source approach of the very software we were utilizing, we began to look at ways to open the publication process to the public. While we will still have featured content from invited authors, we now encourage input and dialogue from all of our readers through comments and submissions to our "Discourse" section. The "Projects" section also allows active new media artists to submit works for curating, or, as in Ron Goldin's "Rivets + Denizens," explore the structural underpinnings of collaborative curating itself.

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

The confluence of fine art with various emerging technologies in the past 30+ years has had its' impact felt within a variety of art institutions. There has been much discussion of the entry of the various "new media" and technology arts into traditional museums, and the birth of new institutions whose sole mission it is to support such media. (Such as the venerable Ars Electronica Center, the relatively newly minted ZKM, or institutions still in the forge like the Eyebeam-Atelier Chelsea Center in New York, and the Beale Center for Art and Technology in California.) But there has been far less discussion of the entrance of new media and technology art into art academics. This collection of interviews with representatives of degree granting institutions in the new media art field simply represents a modest attempt to collect some basic research about such institutions into one place.

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 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
in a world of words. MUDs are text-based, social virtual reality. How does this world of words create what some call psychotherapy and otherscall addiction? Online users are intrigued with the ability to create and take on multiple identities. Many find they feel less inhibited and begin to develop the persona onlinethat they would like to be off line.

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 programs.

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