| TESTER is the name we
have chosen for a project whose immediate origins lie in the Arte y Electricidad
This is a collective, decentralised project with participation from various
collaborators, each with different levels of involvement. It can essentially
be explained by looking at the "Who", "How" and "Why"-in other words, by answering
the following questions.
The TESTER project is
a proposal by Fundación
with backing and production from
Arteleku, www.arteleku.net , an
art centre located in San Sebastian, and dependent on the Provincial Government
of Gipuzkoa. The idea was first raised in 2002 with the sponsorship of the Basque
Government (and help in 2003 from Casa de Asia).
It ends in 2005.
TESTER centres on the
production and dissemination of contemporary artistic proposals, especially
those related to new technological possibilities. Technology is used as a
tool for production, as a medium of communication between the participants
and as a vehicle for disseminating the project. TESTER tries to focus on
local (international) spheres of creation, which do not have a presence or
a visibility on the international circuits or which do not get known through
the hegemonic panorama of the visual arts.
It is important to remember that TESTER is a system for detecting creative
activity, conceived as a project in process , a network and
a structure of production
TESTER has no single
TESTER 's target area consists of the so-called "dark areas" ,
meaning projects that are refused visibility because they adopt a critical distance
from the single network project, or which by their origin are located outside
the predominant geo-political framework. This could be the argument-matrix of
the project .
We therefore centre our attention on a certain idea of periphery,
a social and cultural periphery resulting out of the new global order, but
we also try to detect equally new peripheries happening very close to us which
multiply as a result of the system and the predominance of technology itself.
"The constitutive function of art practice implies that its central
function does not consist of telling stories, but rather of creating devices
on which that story can be built".
Through the way TESTER was set up, what we were trying to do was particularly
to address the means by which and the conditions under which production happens,
looking for alternatives and proposing new models of relationship
and mediation , which should always be in line with new contextual
situations, with new supports and with new systems for producing subjectivity.
(This circumstance is also in some ways, one of TESTER's "themes".)
At the same time, our experience in the artistic context of the Basque Country
and our analysis of the current state of the mechanisms of mediation, have
led us to try to bring our younger artists into contact with other working
dynamics, other artists and other networks. This decision springs out of the
need to integrate their work into international contexts, given that this is something
which has yet to be achieved by current institutional cultural policies.
Fundación Rodríguez operates from Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the
Basque Country, with the necessary support and backing from Arteleku, San
Sebastian, Basque Country.
TESTER's nodes operate from Lima (Peru), Johannesburg
(South Africa), Vienna (Austria), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Berlin (Germany)
and the Basque Country. They, in turn, have invited other participants from
around the world: Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, Germany, Israel, the Basque
Country, Bosnia, Austria, the United States, etc...
TESTER therefore resides in the continuous flow of communication between
all the participants without actually having a physical headquarters. Nonetheless,
the project's physical reference point lies in Arteleku.
Given the decentralised nature of the project, though, many of the participants
do not know each other and have never actually come together in a specific
The project, in continuous
process, seeks to set a working structure which does not submit to conventional
Fundación Rodríguez enters into a relationship with various
people (nodes) who in turn, put us in contact with other local areas of creation.
These do not have a major presence on the multimedia art circuits, either
because of their geographic location or because of their divergent nature.
Thus, a group of collaborators, who we shall call nodes ,
work together as an association to propose-once the initial theoretical and
conceptual aspects have been sorted out-a series of authors, artists, groups
or projects whose work will make up the final product.
TESTER is therefore process-driven, it is created along the way, basing
itself on a well defined timing which is closely kept to and which marks
the times of the project.
We use the term nodes to
refer to the six people who make up the central core of the project. These nodes working
in the TESTER project are:
Marina Grzinic (Ljubljana, Slovenia), José Carlos Mariategui (Lima,
Peru), Hito Steyerl (Berlin, Germany), Mark Neustetter (Johannesburg, South
Africa) and Oliver Ressler (Vienna, Austria).
A biography of each one is included below, although information is also available
on the website.
In 2003 Fundación
Rodríguez invited two nodes to form a starting group: Marina Grzinic
and José Carlos Mariategui. They in turn invited the other nodes
to make up the initial group.: Mark Neustetter, Hito Steyerl and Oliver
The definitive nodes subsequently invited a number of artists from their respective
geographical or ideological spheres to participate in the project. The first
work by these collaborators was included in the book "Trabajo de nodos. Adabegiak
lanean. Nodes at Work" published in June 2004.
The function of these
people is to provide the system with theoretical and conceptual support
and contribute new lines of transmission to the project. This "commission" works
to make TESTER possible by networking.
This group of collaborators, or nodes , work as an association
to propose-once the initial theoretical aspects have been sorted out-a series
of authors, artists, groups or projects whose work will make up the final
Each of the nodes has presented a particular local context which is denied
visibility on the hegemonic art circuit and which is looking to make connections
in alternative networks. Bringing them all together gives us a new creative
In the final phase, new projects have been associated to TESTER through the
nodes. These will be compiled on the double DVD to be released in summer 2005.>
We turned to a group
of people as the central core of the project in order to investigate other
forms of selection work, in a search for more horizontal, collective and
process-driven relations than those used in conventional curating formulae.
The first result is continuous dialogue, the multiplication of dialogue and debate,
an asset which we will still be left with after the actual project itself ends.
In the Arte y Electricidad (Art and Electricity) project, www.arteyelectricidad.net ,
the immediate reference point for TESTER, the map of relations we established
covered the whole of Spain. All the authors and projects associated with
that experience worked from their places of origin in different cities in
In TESTER, apart from taking a further step by starting from a group of
nodes, we also experimented with the scale of an area of international relations.
These relations are primarily defined by the idea of periphery.
TESTER 's target
area consists of the so-called "dark areas" , meaning
projects that are refused visibility because they adopt a critical distance
from the single network project, or which by their origin are located outside
the predominant geo-political framework.
We therefore centre our attention on a certain idea of periphery, a social
and cultural periphery resulting out of the new global order, but we also
try to detect equally new peripheries happening very close to us which multiply
as a result of the system and the predominance of technology itself.
is to generate a structure and form a network ,
and it therefore has an essentially dynamic structure, in a constant state
of flux. This "log" can be followed on the website: www.e-tester.net ,
the heart of the project.
- Contact and selection of nodes
- Consolidation of working structure (seminars in 2003 in
San Sebastian. Koldo Mitxelena Arts Centre )
- Publication of the book "TESTER, NODES AT WORK" and public
- Publication of the 2-DVD pack "TESTER" (in 2005).
- Distribution of book and DVD. Public presentations.
- A website is used as a catalyst for the
project, to produce and host different working materials.
- A mailing list between the nodes, which since 2002
has been the medium of communication between collaborators.
- To date we have conducted a range of activities and
these contacts have led to a publication- a book -the
first graphic container of the works produced, with essays, projects
and graphic contributions from the collaborators.
- Finally, TESTER will lead to products or work which
will be hosted on a double DVD (video and ROM),
and together with a publication, this will be the final result of
- Like Fundación Rodríguez's previous project, "Arte
y Electricidad", the presentations in different
formats, video-music sessions, sound performances, public interventions,
etc. might be another way of presenting this project.
In any case, no activity will substitute any other and they can all be compatible.
TESTER will be remain at the fringe of the final product, an experience of multimedia
creation in its broadest sense.
We say work or
projects because the contributions from collaborators are of different
kinds. There are finished pieces and projects in process.
There will be videos, pieces for the Internet, theoretical texts, graphic
work and photography. Some of them are complemented with information available
on the website; others have found in TESTER an initial support for a subsequent
long-term development; others have used it as the vehicle for dissemination.
TESTER is a platform of initiatives, more than a container of catalogued products.
Forming a new
network of relations, giving a strategic dissemination to their proposals
(always from a respectful treatment of their work as creators), enabling
each author to have control over their work through the authorship formulas
or "copyleft" they consider most suitable.
book; trabajo de nodos, adabegiak lanean, nodes at work"
The index of the publication, divided into three parts, shows in graphic
form the spread of the TESTER network, and the nodes that support it.
As well as contributing their own text (Section 1) each of these nodes or
coordinators has invited collaborators whose theoretical contribution is
contained in Section 2. Section 3 gives a foretaste of the artists' projects
to be produced in the next phase of TESTER
The book, published in Basque, Spanish and English, forms a compendium of
essays which is unprecedented in the Basque publishing panorama, relating
to digital culture, the new support systems for art and contemporary culture,
from a political conception of art.
The book has been published using the "Copyleft" formula, which promotes
the free circulation of knowledge and the collective enjoyment of intangible
goods. This concept refutes the restrictions of "copyright" and the prevailing
mercantilist views of intellectual property.
It was publicly presented on 10 June 2004 at Arteleku, Donostia.. It has since
been presented at EMOCAO, Sao Paulo (Brazil), ISEA 2004. Stockholm-Tallin-Helsinki,
Ars Electronica, Linz, (Austria), Salamanca, Bilbao, etc....
2005 the process of TESTER as a project will come to an end, when it will
be presented in the form of a double DVD containing all the material produced
during the process.
From that point on, the life of the project as a structure will be malleable
and undefined. On the one hand, the material generated will continue to be
distributed. And at the same time, the map of relations woven from the core
of the nodes will evolve rhizomatically, with some branches of the platform
coming to an end, others being transformed and in general, evolving in different
and still unknown ways.