Following the lineage of Terminal 1.0 and 2.0, Cyberspace is explored in Terminal 3.0 from a social and cultural context. The web-based content is a collection of essays that relate to network-based art and an active chat room for the duration of the exhibition.
The chat room gives the online viewers an opportunity to interact with the Western Front New Media Curator, Alison Collins. Collins mentions at the end of her Terminal 3.0 introduction that she can be found lingering intermittently in the #westernfront chat room. I did take the time to choose a nickname for logging in and posted a short message. Since our time zones are on the opposite coasts of North America, Collins and I did not have a chance to have a live chat via the portal.
This inclusion of the chat room was a perfect interactive media addition to the Terminal 3.0 webpage, since CyberPowWow (CPW) no longer has those active online features. CPW began in the mid 1990’s and was a platform for network-based art made by Indigenous artists. Mikhel Proulx essay, CyberPowWow: Digital Natives and the Early Internet, outlines the network conditions of the group of artist’s who launched CPW, along with the rhetoric surrounding the global communication network.
I have not experienced the original online version of CPW. My perspective is from Proulx’s essay, the accompanying images of the artist’s web-based projects, along with browsing the online writing and works index. I consider Terminal 3.0 as a web-based reading room with its digital library. To get a little more insight of the cultural impact of CPW, I kept coming back to the site and reviewing the essays.
CPW network based-art and related events were on a biennial schedule for 8 years. Instead of confining the artist work to the website, the project also had “gathering-sites.” These gathering-sites would be at physical locations such as artist run centers in North America. The gatherings included a gallery opening and on-site computer stations to encourage engagement with the online version of CPW. In addition, there were tech-savvy gallery assistants to aid with the visitors personal Cyberspace experience. From my perspective of the readings, the events from CPW are what created the solid foundations for its longevity and outreach.
From Collins’ introduction she highlights how the Internet has had an impact on the evolutionary process of the social sphere. This includes concepts with social practice that are related to the engagement of people through the communicational modes of machines. CPW embodied this evolution of the Internet and social practice, but by considering the current state of the digital divide the project reached a presence beyond Cyberspace. The CPW artist’s awareness of the global network system social and cultural standing within the specific time-period (mid-1990’s) is one of the main aspects to their progress with the engagement of their viewers with the networked-based art.
This is outline in Proulx’s essay, which notates the digital divide as having limited accessibility to the Internet. A few examples that are included in the digital gap are a lower social economic background and the placement of Indigenous land in remote geographical locations that can be very far from fibre-optic cable areas. Proulx continues by referencing other early Internet social aspects from the mid 1990’s time-period; Cyberspace was less populated and it was not the norm for the majority to own a personal computer. The active engagement from the CPW gathering sites that responded to computer literacy and hands on experience with navigating the Web-based platform was effective in the early Internet stages of this networked-based art, because the viewers had the opportunity to be exposed to a distinct culture in an experimental collective environment.
Intentionally, my post does not mention the artwork and Indigenous background related to the CyberPowWow. I suggest browsing the online writing index from each biennial and the online works index published via links on the Terminal 3.0 webpage. From my online experience, this is the best exposure to the various stages and voices related to CyberPowWow. As a starting point from my view of physical sites and Cyberspace, I recommend Jolene Rickard’s First Nation Territory in Cyber Space Declared: No Treaties Needed, which is in the CyberPowWow 2 section of the online writing index category.
Collins, A. (2017) Introduction for Terminal 3.0 [Internet], Vancouver, Canada. Available from: http://terminal.front.bc.ca/ [Accessed January 22, 2017].
Proulx, M. (2017) CyberPowWow: Digital Natives and the Early Internet [Internet], Vancouver, Canada. Available from: http://terminal.front.bc.ca/ [Accessed January 22, 2017].
By: Carrie Ida Edinger
Carrie’s interest with new media is in interdisciplinary methods and the use of the Internet as a presentation site for evolving contemporary projects.