Truth, meaning and Peter Horvath @ Video Vortex

On: October 7, 2007
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About Rosa Menkman
I like to take photos, make movies and read about new media and art. Last year I graduated on internet art (wrote my master thesis on the internet collective Jodi). Now I am in the Research Master media studies. My blog my Flickr my my


Peter HorvathThis weekend Masters of Media visited Video Vortex in Brussels. Video Vortex is a recurring conference, organized by the Institute of Network Cultures and mainly focuses on the independent production and distribution of online video content. This time, the conference was concentrated on a couple questions of which one was: How are people utilizing the potential to independently produce and distribute independent video content on the Internet?

One of the speakers at the conference that tried to answer this question from a very personal point of view was the artist Peter Horvath. Peter Horvath works in video, sound, photo and new media. “Camera in hand since age 6, he inhaled darkroom fumes until his late 20’s, then began exploring time based art processes. He immersed himself in digital technologies at the birth of the Web, co-founded, a site for and adopted techniques of photo montage which he uses in his net and print based works.”

In his presentation, Peter gave a short introduction into his work and then showed a very beautiful selection. One of them, Tenderly yours (2005), stood out for me. In this work, Peter “resituates the personal, casual and ambiguous approach of French new wave cinema in a narrative that explores love, loss and memory.”

On Peter describes himself as a participant and investigator in the realm of new media art as it exists on the web. “The Web in its binary aspect mirrors the process of choice-making by which we navigate our environments, making it an ideal medium to discuss issues relating to the realm of subjective experience.”

Another work Peter showed, The Presence of Absence (2003), consists of fragmented narratives and sub-narratives that form and reform as multiple windows open and close, Orchestrating layers of history, resulting in an atmospheric investigations into different states of being. Consequently, its truth or meaning becomes a mere effect, generated by multiple (visual) languages. In his posthumous fragment, On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense, the classical philologist Friedrich Nietzsche argues:

“What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonymy’s, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.*

As is the case with so many digital works of art, the core of Peter Horvaths works seem to be lying in the use of digital technologies as a medium. In other words, the work of art is not only its material elements, but the immaterial (interactive) experience of the work, fairly dependent on technology and personal interpretation. Therefore, the work seems to become a hybrid form, in which at least part of it is highly ephemeral. This conclusion summons many questions on the experience, exposition and conservation of the work of art.

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