cite this article as
Currents in Electronic Literacy
Fall 2001 (5),
to Surveys main page
Reiner Strasser, living
and working in Wiesbaden, Germany, was born 1954 in Antwerpen,
Belgium. He studied art, art history and philosophy at the University
of Mainz, Germany in the 1970's. His Web works, international
collaborations, and Web art projects date from 1996. Strasser's
Web work has appeared in several exhibitions/publications since
1997, most recently in these e-zines: Riding the Meridian; Cauldron
and Net; Beehive; wigget.net; ArtOnLine (US); trAce (UK); TEXT
2 (Australia); and on several CD-ROM publications: The Little
Magazine, CD 22 Gravitational Intrigue, University of Albany,
NY, 1999; Dietsche Warande & Belfort, Elektronische Literatuur,
4.99, NL/B; ALIRE 11, revue de littératur animée
et interactive, Mots-Voir, France, 2000; DOC(K)S "un notre
web" (book and CD-ROM), Corse 2000; Net Art Guide (book
and CD-ROM version), Frauenhofer Institut, Germany 2000; and
in real space: Aix Art Contemporaine Web en Provence, France,1999;
Amour et Conscience, art show in Paris, 1999; AJAC 25th Art
Exhibition, Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, 1999; NOW Festival
Nottingham, GB, 1999; AJAC 2000, M.A.M., Tokyo, 2000; INFOS
'00 (honourable mention in the net art contest), Lubljana, Slovenia,
2000; E-Poetry festival, Buffalo/New York, 2001; FILE_2001 festival,
Museu da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo, 2001; medi@terra
01, Athens, 2001; and II Interpoesia, São Paulo, 2001.
do you define your work--what categorizations/classifications
(traditional or otherwise) would you use to distinguish
e-poetry in general and your work in particular?
E-poetry - electronic poetry,
digital poetry - in my view is poetry which is generated with
electronic, digital tools. There have appeared different notions
over the last few years. Some of them are: Animated Poetry
(Visual Poetry using animated letter-signs); Hypertext (Based)
Poetry (hypertextual, traditional text-based) poetry); Code
Poetry (generated by computer-programs, using computer languages);
and Multi-Media-Poetry or Mixed-Media-Poetry (with a fusion
of word, picture, and sound).
I myself prefer the notion of
i-poetry or i-art. My understanding of Poetry is not only
bound to words but also pictures, movies, etc. - a kind of
poetic_a la art - and an "I" with different meanings
- interactive, Internet, independent, ...., irritating, intriguing,
I like expressions/notions, which
are open in some kind of way, have multiple meanings. I-art
or i-poetry works in the triangle of "picture, word and
sound" + "interactivity," with interactivity
in its double meaning of "mechanical" and "mental/mind_y"
through interaction/participation of the recipient.
are you doing in e-poetry that cannot be done in more traditional
modes (such as linear paper)?
As mentioned before, using
"interactivity," "interactive elements,"
and "collaborating with other artists/poets worldwide."
The keywords for me in this
regard are: "poly-medial" and "hyper-medial."
you "collaborate" with others (for instance, outsource particular
technological aspects of a "poem"), do you feel this affects
the poem's "authorship?"
I have experienced different kinds of collaboration. The
"authorship" depends on the part participating
artists/poets play in the project or the character of the
project itself. Some examples: In 1997 I preferred "shared
authorship" (i.e., in small projects with Ted Warnell).
Ideal(istical)ly I wanted to remove authorship. Art standing
for its own sake. In "weak blood" (a 1999 collaboration
with 76 artists/poets), the authorship of the parts are
attributed to the contributing authors. In many projects
of "c.re.ations" (a "collection" of
projects, 1999-2001) authorship is shared once again.
Who are your readers and how are you interacting with
them? How is youraudience similar to and/or different from
that of the traditional poet's?
My readers? A difficult question. I think most of the people
are involved in the net-art or cyber-poetry (to use the
notion of Komninos) movement as creators, academics, or
readers. There is a smaller group of visitors "by chance."
Generally there is only rare feedback through e-mail, except
for some projects, where you can participate by sending
in "words." Especially in the second group there
are many people who have no (close) connection to art or
excites you about this new medium for poetry? And what particular
drawbacks (if any) does working with electronic technology
The fusion of different media and the collaborative aspect
are the most exciting for me. The fusion is the cause of
my own history of love for and works in different media
(writing, painting, film). Collaborations give a global
touch and are cultural experiences I would not get without
this medium. The drawback is at first the distance - I would
like to have the people I am working with - around me -
nearby and at hand - touchable. It is the missing of the
real presence. The electronic media by itself is a "time-eater."
There is always the danger to virtualize (to lose contact
to your real world). In my opinion, this is a general problem
of the medium.
How are you integrating/embracing other media such
as sound, animation, and navigation?
Smile - the methods differ
from project to project.
In my view every element (sound,
picture . . . ) is as important as the other. There is (it
is thought generally - surely it differs when looking at
a single project) no priority of an element to be fused/integrated
into a piece. I think the elements are embraced by the "content"
of the combination. It is less a formal criteria, but the
form nevertheless is also important.
kind of aesthetic is emerging in the field?
When looking at fusion you
may think that the aesthetics of the different media are
(simply) combined. But it happens not (only) in such a way.
Consider an example from painting. When you set a color
at the side of another, the visible character of the first
color changes. In "mixed media" the same happens.
The aesthetic changes by the combination and forms a new
kind of aesthetic. Looking at the different elements (alone),
especially the animation (not really unknown from film -
but I am thinking of "polylinear" structures here)
and the interactivity are unexplored fields.
do you think the future holds for e-poets and e-poetry?
Oh, that is a fictive question.
I would like to see a future where art and poetry influence/integrate
the whole (cultural) society.