Net artist Michael Atavar gives BBCi Arts an insight into his compelling online artworks. The interview was conducted via email - the following format reflects Michael's responses.
Interview by Rain Ashford, January 2002.
RA: Your work seems to be the antithesis to all the speed and madness of the www. How did you begin to take control of the medium and slow it to your own pace?
MA: I didn't have a plan.
The first thing I made online was a letter.
Just simple pages. with links.
So that became the blueprint for all the
One thing to say is that my work is very
But it needs the messiness and white
Also (just a note).
You can't take control of the medium.
It's already beyond our control and that's
Just accept what it gives you and try to
RA: What's the process of creating these journeys of discovery and what does the internet user gain from embarking on them?
MA: That's hard to say.
I think it comes out of what I would call
A feeling for the user, a kind of sympathy
Also an abstract quality, of light, that's
Just pure colour, straight into the living
Out of these two qualities - intimacy and
(How they are actually made is still
But a journey is a good way to put it.
Or just a journey is enough.
The first page is literally a step.
RA: Your works act as conversation between you and the user in an unusually personal way - were you surprised by the sensuality of your work?
MA: I'm glad you use the word sensuality.
I think it's very underestimated.
I hope that my work creates
Allowing the user to stay for a long time.
And some other things
Actually I just finished a VR work .sciis
it seems to me that we've dreamed up the
Sensuality, physical presence, being
In the digital environment these are the
RA: How did you get into Net art? - Did you have any formal training?
I usually learn enough html to make
(And I'm lucky to have enthusiastic
I used to make 3-D works that were live,
RA: Do you work with other digital artists?
MA: I work with programmers (who are also
RA: What/who are your influences?
MA: The things that influence my work are
Insignificant in a way.
Like a particular kind of light or
A plastic bag blowing down the road,
Walking down the stairs the other day
I stood and looked at it for a while.
It's these kinds of small things that
Otherwise a lot of painters, quite a long
Recently I've been looking again at the
He's an influence.
RA: Do you show your work in traditional galleries?
MA: I recently showed .sciis as a large
In a gallery.
I'm very interested in data projecting
Like it's a landscape.
With life-size physical representations of
RA: Do you have any favourite creative websites?
MA: I really like screensavers.
(Works that only live on screen).
So, even though it's obvious and
In the early 90s Ben Haller made two
I'd love to do a commercial screensaver.
Or a project with my kind of slowness for
RA: What is your next project?
MA: I'm making another interactive Virtual
It follows on from .sciis.
Uses natural forms and imagery and
And yes, it's another journey.
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