Friendly Collision – report by Arthur Bueno
The postcard-logo for the web-project Protocollision shows a Delft earthenware statue of a Dutch farm girl kissing a Sumo-wrestler. The meeting of Dutch and Japanese culture on the net remains in this instance a friendly coexistence rather than a collision. However, this might change during the two months the project is online as a work in progress. The "umbrella site" (designed by Squint), which features as the portal to the websites of 10 artists from both Holland and Japan, is not exactly the apex of accessibility: on the first screen you may even find some frustrated user-comments - but then again there is a helpful manual. Interaction, intervention and evolution are the key-features of the concept: the works can evolve as the participants make changes to each other's works - 'remix' them so to speak - and the site-interface allows you to follow a work through its evolutionary stages. It is a site that should be regularly revisited during the two months of its online existence.
Protocollision is a project of Kazunao Abe and Yukiko Shikata, and CELL, Initiator of Incidents. In selecting the artists the parties show different approaches: the Dutch (Daniel Rodenburg, DEPT., D.U.M.B., Gabrielle Marks and Stefan Kunzmann, Jodi, 0010) mostly already have a reputation in net.art while most of the Japanese (Kitsugu Maebayashi, exonemo, Double Negatives, Mami Iwasaki, Yuki Kimura) are relatively new to the medium. In the half-time score the Japanese works appear more autonomous and esthetical, while the Dutch are more inclined to concepts, to intervention, hacking, linking and stealing. Works like ParaSite, IT - Information Tautology, and Jodi's ***3Letter.NL Browser entirely feed on external websites, and within the Protocollision project 0010 and D.U.M.B started a symbiosis of mutual citation. Possibly the interaction will really get going only after the physical encounter during the Deaf00-presentation on Thursday 16th of November.
The Japanese inclination to the esthetical was also apparent in the '98 Cell project "Sync", in which Dutch and Japanese video-art was shown side by side in a Rotterdam movie theatre. That project was actually more typical to CELL, which aims to present art in the public space, Since 1997 they have initiated projects in, among others, a hospital, a bicycle-tunnel, and a Zoo, always making the surrounding environment an integral part of the experience. Protocollision, as their first purely net-based project, lacks that element: the net has no odour.