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From: Sztuka Fabryka <>

Reply-To: Geert.De.Decker@village.uunet.beSend an e-mail

Organization: Sztuka Fabryka
MIME-Version: 1.0
Subject: critical note


The past years internet has slowly entered the Mail-Art Network, even
some mail-artists speak about a separate e-mail-art network. Can we
point some critical notes about this e-mail-art network?

The basic idea that Internet is a dream of the world-without-boundaries,
with no geographic or time distances (cfr. A. Tisma), is exagerated. It
is true that the rate of people who are connected to the Internet is
growing every day, but this happens mostly in the industrial western
world. In these countries big companies lead the infrastructure for the
Internet-network, and this is costing them each day lots of dollars.
While at the same time in the rest of the world no investments take
place to supply several millions of people with this technology, infact
a majority of the world has even no possibility to apply electricity.
Within the western world itself there is a large amount of people that
does not have the possibility to use the Internet, or can't use it. Fear
for an uncontroled growing of technology or never have had the chance to
grow up with computer-technology are some of the reasons. Worser is that
even some people have big difficulties to provide themselves with the
basic needs of a good life, in America for example people die from
deseases that can be cured with 5 $, internet will never reach

The computerworld is moving fast, philosphicaly time goes 4 times
quicker in the computerworld than in human life. The technical
improvement and progress in program languages forces people to update
their knowledge every day, this is unnatural for every living human
being. Once each computerspecialist will realise that it is impossible
to update his knowledge every day, because next day his knowledge is
already old. According to the laws of nature this is "energy=0". There
have been many specialists in the early computersystems who realised
that they were not able to use new software when they bought a new
computer or when their company changed the system in the latest

Even when computer companies wants to believe us that current technology
is plug-and-play, we realise that it is nothing else but sales-talk,
because always you need the help of friends to solve system problems. By
the way how many of the internet users understand what it means
"MIME-type: audio/x-aiff"? Excuse me if we say that internet technology
is one of the most user unfriendly technologies of the world.
How can e-mail-art be the dream of a world without boundaries when it
needs so many energy, time and money to be part of it? When internet
will be slowly applied in more of our daily actions and services, it
will cause a bigger indeference between several cultures and populations
on this world and small communities. Major populations will get excluded
while a world without boundaries is the idea to grow nearer to them.

Let us have a look at the idea of e-mail-art, namely e-mail as a way of
sending ideas and art. Such as in the Mail-Art Network ideas and art
will be spread using the postal system, by means of letters, zines,
books, tapes, photocopy-art, rubberstamping, ...

E-mail-art is very unpersonal, so it is not usefull for any good
intimate communication, besides the possitive aspect of speed!
Communication is one of the most important components in the Mail-Art
Network that makes Mail-Art so interesting for hundreds of its
contributors. It is the expression of a persons individuality towards an
other person. And how this expression looks, is different for every
person and makes communication unique. Each person has his specific
voice, bodylanguage, handwriting, the placement of words on the paper,
... Each specific expression that makes a person an important part of
individuality within communication. While e-mail technology does not
give us the possibility to express our ideas and art on our own specific
individual creative way, without addapting ourselfs to the technology.
E-mail only gives us the possibility to send plain text that does not
highlight the individuality of the sender.

Besides this you can attach artwork images. I must say a very usefull
form of distributing information. It is only a pitty that these images
will never reach the beauty that a dimensional version has, an
attachment has lost his dimension of space. The speed of e-mail is a
positive evolution: you can react on each others ideas in a few moments
and spread it towards several other receivers. But speed can be
confusing for human mind, our brain needs time to arrange and overthink
messages, e-mail communication can soon become to complex. This
complexity causes problems in keeping up an overview in what a person
receives and sends. Ideas can be spread around so quickly and addept so
easily that there is no certainty about the source of all this

Internet can cause information sickness and can alienate people from
the real world, as there is also a world without internet, such as a
local neighbourhood. Access to worldwide information makes it a material
possession, the access to information on the internet is only stressed
by amount and time and not by quality.

E-mail-art is too complex, too quick and too much evolving in time and
technology that it is unsuitable to be a good instrument for the
democratization of art. Art needs slow and steady networks so that ideas
can enter and grow slowly into the minds of artists. The postal system
is accessable for every citizen on this globe and it needs no other
technology as pen and paper, and the knowledge of writing. With the
possibility of expressing his individuality in every way. But nothing
the less e-mail is also a positive technology to spread around
information quickly, only we have got to give all those who have no
access to e-mail the possibility to apply this information.