F) Digital Cocooning (1995-96)

"Auskunft" at Depot Vienna - Honorable mention Prix Ars Electronica - Frankfurt Book Fair - World Wide Jam - Telematic Cities - Gunafa Clubbing / Internet Lounge - Popkomm 95 - Digital Cocooning - Kunstradio Station Rose Jingle 95 - Station Rose  Homepage goes online - Field Research in California USA - Mind Children CD-Single -  "Icons, Morphs & Samples" CD/CD-ROM - Howard Rheingold´s ELECTRIC  MINDS - Kunstradio Station Rose Jingle 96 - Electronic Weekend - Popkomm 96 - Komm 96 - Videoconference with Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey and others - Kursbuch Internet - Burning the Interface

F_ Digital Cocooning


//:cocooning = publishing notes
The Viennese start up sequence was a time filled with wishes, consisting of "TTT/Theorie, Trotz und Träumen", the dreaming of the "digital future". At least we had our very little computerset already then. This was an Amiga 500, a sampling keyboard and a printer, as well as a very simple digitizer. When we moved to Frankfurt we worked hard building up our studio, which became more and more complex throughout 91-93, the year we integrated Apple computers. Cause we lived in the studio, we didn´t see all the upgrading consciously. Suddenly, when Peter Weibel came to our studio in February 94, together with Christine Schoepf from the ORF/ars electronica, we started to realize how powerful our studio had become. Peter was more than impressed how we could work @home (we had all the machines here, and had not to go to classes at institutions) while we showed him the 1st demo of the ars electronica cdrom. He understood, what possibilities & independence we had through our studio. This should be the early moment to become a "broadcasting Station" Rose, which for sure was interesting to observe for Christine, who is part of the monopoly called austrian television/ORF. She was used to have a sort of "exclusive" power cause of this fact. Deciding what should be broadcasted and what not was on her daily schedule. Sitting in our humble studio in Frankfurt, and, getting in contact with the idea of a homestudio, a station like ours, must have been quite an experience for her, as we could see by her puzzled face.

So after we had finished the ars electronica cdrom in summer 95, we immediately started producing the next one, an abstract piece of Station Rose art, called "Icons, Morphs & Samples". It was an audio cd (50min) plus an interactice section, all in all a CDextra, released on Gunafa, licensed by PIAS Germany.

When this CDextra came on the market february 95, we had already begun with the very first version of our homepage. Besides a visit to California, where we should meet Timothy Leary in his house for the last time, we were so immersed in the studio, that doing cdroms and creating the homepage morphed into one another. It was the combination of the music industry, and the Austrian Ministry for art & science, in the person of curator Stella Rollig, that made it possible for STR to work a whole year on the development of the homepage. Supported this way, we couldn´t stop finding new ways in our work. Sound&visuals played together. We experimented with and produced many versions of quicktime movies. We spent most of the time in the studio, doing fewer live performances than the years before. We eliminated shopping except for once a week. We stayed in the studio & in cyberspace, excluding R(eal) L(ife) a lot more than ever before. STR had arrived somewhere we always had wanted to be, in the interactive on/offline Gunafa environment. When becoming aware of our new lifestyle, we found a word for it -> "digital cocooning". One of the songs on the cd was called "mind children". It came out later as a single as well. This was where we were heading for.

And, when thinking about that term "digital cocooning", we observed that it consisted of 2 opposite parts- one was a 70% exclusion of RL, and the other was opening up to the biggest audience we ever had. All at the same time. We didn't go to the streets or clubs to get in contact with many people, we stayed in - and had 50.000 hits on our homepage, as well a the most press ever for the cd, this cause of the professional job PIAS/Jutta Baechner had done. And, she and Klaus Maeck had arranged the participation of Station Rose at the POPKOMM panel on Multimedia, one of our rare outdoor events during that period.

WE STAYED IN (cyberspace) AND WERE MORE PUBLIC THAN EVER.
WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!
THROUGH DIGITAL COCOONING WE BECAME even more PUBLIC THAN BEFORE, reaching 10.000s of people while being in the studio was the clue.
When a little later in 1995 we tried to communicate as well as "sell" our experience to the german industry and the music/art scene to move on together, we didn´t get much response. Internet was no theme at all at that time. Almost nobody was into this, not many had even an email address. Only the German magazine SCREEN MULTIMEDIA was hooked, cause they updated their image, and for that were interested in a cooparation with artists. They offered us 5 full size, 4 colour pages to do our own thing, over half a year. It became the 3rd way to publish for Station Rose during that period. We created these pages with a lot of engagement, and were excited when they were published. They looked fab. Big. But, to our surprise, there was no feedback at all to it. We didn´t understand. Why were the Germans not more interested? Where was the problem? We would find out a lot later. It had to deal with the nonunderstanding of the new media, the new language of the net. When internet should become big, it would be more an invasion of the old media into the new one, but hardly a native thing. It would be a question of possessing and invading much more than anything else. This was the difficult as well as slow part of F).

elisa rose, on a hot summer day 98.