WEB PROJECTS no.10

Christina Goestl
Matrix.64
1999
In Matrix.64 Christina Goestl presents the "64 arts" of the Kama Sutra, in German and in English, and in the form of a tableau. This work plays with notions of accessibility to information on the Internet, the availability of even foreign (sanskrit) or very old (320-540 A.D) content, and the recovery and transformation of written material on this new medium. The artist proposes, then, to give visitors the benefit of the teachings of the Kama Sutra by integrating them into a new structure and by allowing them to add their own content to the originals. One should know that the "64 arts" are the result of many collaborators and that they were intended to be "improved" with time. Christina Goestl's project therefore respects the spirit of these works, in a sense, while also putting them in a form that contributes to an understanding of their meaning, thanks to the resources of the new medium.

 On perusing these texts, the visitor realizes that, much more than a technique of sexuality, it is a guide to pleasure that integrates many facets of life as well as advice on the sexuality proper. The project's "instruction manual," produced with Shockwave, concerns not the accomplishment of the actions described, but indeed one's orientation within this new structure of writing. The database is activated by each visitor as he or she sees fit and allows him or her to create groupings of these "arts," to weave links between texts dealing with sexuality as such and others dealing with other aspects of life. The texts are accessed through a "close-up," an enlargement that, again, does not directly give us erotic content, but allows us to select and focus on one or another of the arts by the same process. Complicit with the visitor, a play of diverted expectations is produced.

 The work relies on curiosity and on the search for knowledge to turn the activity into a playful itinerary, itself a source of pleasure, drawing the reader into an adventure that contrasts sharply with the easy consumption of pornographic images on the network. In this sense, it offers an alternative view of sexuality that proves to be open minded, humorous, and creative.
(uses Javascript, requires Shockwave)

Sylvie Parent 
Translation: Ron Ross
 

Centre International d'Art Contemporain de Montréal
Electronic Art Magazine no 10, March 2000

Reviews of works by:
Rachel Baker, Maurice Benayoun, Natalie Bookchin and Alexei Shulgin, Heath Bunting, Claude Closky, Janet Cohen, Keith Frank and Jon Ippolito, Christina Goestl, Valérie Lamontagne, Olia Lialina, Sabine Mai

Reviews by Anne-Marie Boisvert and Sylvie Parent