In conversation with Eike

Short interview with computer artist EIKE (2000).

"About the things behind the mirror..."

Zsolt Kozma: Do your work and your thinking about the media follow a consistent line of thought? Is it possible to discern how you made the progression from film and video to computer art?

EIKE: Looking back, I can see that there was a process; each phase building upon the previous one. My work process is very slow - it can take one or two years, or more, for it to crystalise out the many tiny elements of my thinking process, and eventually there comes a point when it´s possible to say that the piece is finished. As I've already said, I occupy myself with a great many different things. I find, in retrospect, that structures have always been important to me: structures of thought, physical structures, or the structure of the space; one could refer rather romantically to the "things behind the mirror". In my computer art, I place importance on thinking within the medium. Of course, I´m interested in a contemporary way of thinking as well, by which I mean, for example, the notion that in order to achieve the same effect that an art work did one hundred years ago, it´s necessary to work with new structures which reflect contemporary conditions, or through a modern handling of the structures of old media.

After working with many different kinds of artistic forms (literature, music, drawing, etc.), I eventually came to the conclusion that film was my ideal medium, because it contains everything: pictures, word, sound, stories and so on. later, however, I came to miss the concrete presence of something that I would describe as "being", a thing that the viewer can grab on to; the tangible presence of energy; the existence of things; this is how I came to the installation. I had often made use of lighting and video effects, but always as one element of the work, because the balance between all the objects as well as the relationship to the space of the installation is important.

In 1994, I produced my first computer piece, Landing Place. With this first work, the possibilities for "endlessness" that the computer processes and the notion that it can harbour an art piece that transforms itself constantly, came to fascinate me. I think about virtual space in the same way I think about real space. I´m interested in the properties, the parameters, the structure and how virtual space influences the viewer´s perception. The term "virtual space" is actually nothing new. It has always existed in arts, in other form, of course. An example would be the "space" in which a fairytale takes place: This is a space that we cannot enter because of the physical nature of our bodies, but which we can create and influence, in terms of what happens there, and into which we can look.

The Virtuality Machine, one of my works which demonstrate this pronciple, consists of a half-mirrored cube which contains a pulsating lamp. It is part of the series that I call Computer Art without Computer. Video is also a virtual world, but not a limitless one, or to say it better, one that can't be adjusted anymore once completed. With the pulsating light in Virtuality Machine and the use of video, I can bring rhythm - time, so to speak - into the installation and show a number of perspectives at the same time.

INCREmental bursts this framework, in that the work changes constantly and never returns to any given state. This makes it a metaphor for computer art, because it wouldn´t be possible in any other medium.

(Mûertõ, Budapest, April 2000)

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