Production houses for art and technology

The two case studies were produced in the context of Paradiso and in collaboration with many other partners in Amsterdam and abroad. It was possible to build the networked events because there was a rich cultural landscape in Amsterdam in which many people participated. Art and technology, particularly, had organized itself around a few 'production houses'. And those special places, which have a history and a dynamic of their own, were partners in the creation of the networked events. Making music and visual work with new digital technologies, which were very expensive in the early days, required special production places. The first 'production houses' for art and technology were established in the sixties. Composers of modern music gathered around STEIM in Amsterdam. Montevideo and Time Based Arts were artist-driven foundations for the visual electronic arts. At the end of the eighties V2 , an art and technology laboratory and conference location, began in Den Bosch (and it moved to Rotterdam in the mid nineties). The Mediamatic foundation, publisher of the first Dutch new media magazine Mediamaticnote 74 , created bridges between artistic and commercial clients by building and developing new notions of interactivity and was one of the first groups that moved from 'art' to 'design' as its main focus (even though Mediamatic still produces and hosts amazing art works using digital technology as their medium). During the 1980s it was mostly in the arts that new and unexpected uses of technology were taking place. During the 1990s, when Internet became part of the commercial realm, 'design' as a discipline acquired a different status, since designers played such a crucial role in the creation of applications for the new digital technologies. Art as a zone of 'free' exploration was challenged by the 'applied' approach of design.

The reason for starting a 'production house', or media centre, can be found in the production values of art and technology. It requires technical and digital expertise to build and use machines with which to make art, and these have proved hard to fund until the present day. Apart from a few artistsnote 75 , the formal art world, the funding bodies and the business world would not support artists who were involved in art and technology. This is a reason why all these centres were started. By setting up 'collectives', 'foundations', 'media centres' and 'labs', both the funding effort and the expertise is shared, and in doing so, space and time for artists to produce their work is created. The GHP and the 0+Ball profited from this infrastructure, which was created in the 1980s and earlier, and subsequently these two events proved to be an inspiration for events that took place during the 1990s.note 76