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A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

Gerfried Stocker's opening FleshFactor statement articulates a
collision of perceptions, a description of an environment perhaps
more dryly coined as the end of the 20th Century.  We have been
hurtling towards the future, intoxicated by its potential since
the 1950's, but now suddenly we seem to have come to the end of
the future as we knew it and it is now collapsing around us, upon
us.  This undoubtedly has something to do with our methodical
construction of the year 2000 as a launching pad--and the
explosion of millennial hype clouding and obscuring the time zone
we are entering.

Stocker suggests it might be profitable to take a look back over
our shoulder to see where we have come from and what we have done
and learned in the whoosh of the past couple of decades.  Ars
Electronica has been one significant structure erected to
attract, collect and give presence to what at times were very
weak signals emanating from artists working with electronic and
digital technologies.  Its institutional structure now offers one
impressive historical record, as do other institutions
(festivals, conferences, universities, research centers, museums
and arts and cultural organizations of all kinds around the
world) of an era marked by remarkable change.  Without succumbing
to nostalgia, it may make good sense to reflect on our recent
past, if nothing else to help us verify the value of our
trajectory as we head into turbulent, previously unexperienced
domains.  Institutions are only one variety of memory and
stability...socially arresting manifestations of
intelligence...what about the value of the individual in this
process of reflection and reorientation: his or her memory,
consciousness, intuition and instincts?

Tom Sherman, moderator, FleshFactor Net-Symposium

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