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FILMTEXT by Mark Amerika

FILMTEXT is a hybrid work of art that has appeared as a museum installation, a work of Internet art, an original World Wide Web soundtrack, an experimental artist e-book, and a series of live performances.  The work premiered at Mark Amerika’s How To Be An Internet Artist net art retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and was commissioned in part by Sony Playstation 2’s “Third Space” program.

Subtitled ‘MetaTourism: Interior Landscapes, Digital Thoughtography’, FILMTEXT investigates the interrelationships between biotech, games studies, digital narrative, and network culture. The work traces the nomadic movement of an alien light formerly known only as “The Digital Thoughtographer,” loosely inspired by the life and work of Ted Serios, who had the ability to psychically burn images from his mind onto film. Set in the language of computer games, FILMTEXT’s techno music, eerie alien lifeforms, space travel, and sound collages burdened with static and transmission noises, precariously negotiate the netherworlds between sound and noise, film and literature, human body and networked being.

Upon entering the URL, the work automatically launches the introduction. The work is highly interactive and the visitor is encouraged to seek out different areas of interaction. The use the navigation bar in the upper right corner is the suggested way of navigating from scene to scene (new scenes can be triggered by clicking on the Japanese characters located in this upper right corner navigation bar). There are eight scenes in total.

Created in the tradition of experimental filmmakers such as Dziga Vertov, Jean-Luc Godard, Maya Deren, and Chris Marker, the online version of FILMTEXT attempts to translate cinematic language into digitally expanded and interactive forms of art associated with emergent new media genres such as Internet art, hypertext, and motion graphic pictures.

The story of FILMTEXT resonates with pop culture genres such as science fiction movies, cyberpunk fiction, and interactive video game culture. The work challenges the interactive-participant to navigate their way through an ambient game space where “going to the next level” never guarantees anything except the chance to continue struggling to create a meaningful experience out of the cumbersome human-computer interface. In this regard, FILMTEXT is a philosophical investigation that plays with the animated Internet environment and its supposedly liberating potential to help free us from some of the encumbrances of material reality.

In addition to its premiere at Amerika’s retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, FILMTEXT has been exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (Australia), as well as group exhibitions at venues such as the European Media Arts Festival (Germany), the Center for Visual Art and Culture (Baltimore), The American Museum of the Moving Image (Queens), the 2012 Moscow International Film Festival in conjunction with the MediaLab, and SIGGRAPH 2002 (San Antonio).


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