petite mort In this issueSomething from Nothing No.3 2005
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I. HTML WRESTLING 101II. PROHIBIDO EL HIGH TECHIII. CURATING DOWN IN MEXICO

ABOVE: Arcangel Constantini on the steps of Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City were he curates the CyberLounge portion of the museum.
We discuss with Arcangel Constantini the evolution of his HTML wretling matches called Infomera. We also discuss the pros and cons of being a net-artist and curator in Mexico City. Through his promotion and support for Latin American digital art and culture he has proven that you can make something from immaterial ones and zeros...
 
I. HTML WRESTLING 101
 

 


Read related essay:
#24 CODE WARRIORS:
HTML Wrestling on the Wild Wild Web
for more on Infomera.



INFOMERA matchs of 2002


JUL 30 - 31
Superbad.com vs Redsmoke.com

August 6 - 7
Area3.net vs Subculture.com

August 13 - 14
Enconstructuccion.org(OFFLINE)
vs
No-Content.net

August 21 - 22
One38.org vs Kalx.com

AUG 27 - 28
Oculart.com vs Dream7.com

SEPT 3 - 4
Jim Punk vs d2b.org

SEPT 10 - 11
Muserna.org vs Unosunosyunosceros.com

 

 

 

 

We are here at Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City with Arcangel Constantini. How many HTML wrestling matches have you been organized so far?
In 2000 I started Infomera in Spain with Vicente Matallana of LAAGENCIA. At first, it was not a one to one battle, it actually started out as a collective intervention of a website. The focus was primarily on Latino-American artists, but later on we opened it to the rest of the world.

So originally the idea was more basic, where you had many artists manipulate html pages on one server?
Yes, that was the point. All I did was just create a user name and password for that specific server, and then I sent it to lots of different people and email-list.

So it was more like a server online where anybody who got the password could be part of?
The idea was to create this website that was ephemeral, not in a conceptual way, but ephemeral because you would have a lot of people intervening for a temporary period of time. What we found was that it was usually one or two people on the server at once. So as it organically took on this one-to-one structure Infomera became a sort of combative event. We still gave out the username and passwords to everybody so anyone could get on the server and throw some tomatoes at them.

How did that work out, did anybody abuse the free server?
Yeah, well during one of the first battles between SuperBad and Redsmoke, we had some hacker who was going into the server and deleting all their files. So for the first round they lost all their files.

Did you ever find out who did it?
No, never. [laughing]

Is that when you decided to change the way you conducted these battles?
Yeah, that’s when we had to change the matches to allow only the participants access to the server, but the other participants involved are allowed to participate even when they aren’t battling.

"In Lucha Libre there are 2 kinds of wrestlers: Los Rudos [the crude & rude ones] and Los Technico [the technical ones].  [...] This contrast can also be seen in the net-artist"

Do you see this as a positive thing or negative thing? The idea was originally very open to all, and I assume you were hoping for a very utopian type of online anarchy, but because of that one incident it somehow has to be more rules?
Yeah, it’s a conflict, because of that one person. I do have to say that it was fun when the deleting first begun but after a while it wasn’t any good.

Was that at all interesting to you?
Yeah, it was interesting because it came across as his form of expression. [laughing]

Even though it was sort of destructive?
Destructive, yeah. This sort of thing happens.

How did you come up with this idea? What was the concept behind this Infomera HTML Wrestling?
The idea was to create an ephemeral project for the Internet. The name of the website is the combination of two ideas "informacion" (Spanish: information) and "efimera" (Spanish: ephemeral; feminine version). I deal a lot with the isis and tropos process with objects and I was hoping to create a metaphor of this on the web.

Infomera.net is a process that happens on the web, two artists confront each other in a context elaborated as a metaphor within a specific period of time. Infomera.net is a conceptual performance/happening elaborated as a ludic expression that demonstrates the diffusion and execution of the technique between the confronting artists. It’s not really a fight; it’s more of a collective expression between two people, an event of user/artist expectations and unique situation's.

Do you think the wrestling part of it has something to do with you being Mexican? Do you think if you would’ve been born in say Germany that you might have used a different analogy?
Yeah, Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) is totally different than boxing (Wiki: Lucha Libre). Because boxing is more like a real fight: It’s about power and the punch! But wrestling is like a collaboration between two performers in order to create an interesting spectacle. It does contain the competitive aspect of a sport, but more importantly, to compete you really have become a singular act.

There’s also certain levels of choreography involved in the sport.
Yes, more so in Lucha Libre, it’s almost all choreographed movements and jumps -it’s not just about strength.

 

 

RIGHT: In the summer of 2004 Infomera was held at El Centro in Mexico City. In the left-hand corner we have Cuban-American net-artist Antonio Mendoza aka Subculture and in the right-hand corner Mexican-American Antonio Serna aka Muserna.
For the opening night a physical ring was built in a small auditorium. It was surrounded by 3 screens:
one main screen showing the Infomera website, and two other display the desktops of the artists performing so you can see their every moves.

"Infomera" the HTML battle live at El Centro, Mexico City, summer 2004.
 
 


How did the event evolved into this physical form of a ring like the one we saw in the 2004 summer battle at El Centro?
We made a ring for the first time at an Infomera match in Buenos Aries, 2003. Brian Mackern (http://www.netart.org.uy) and I were scheduled to have a live match there. In the room where we supposed to combat, we made a ring last minute. It was a simulation of a ring, not one as detailed as the one in El Centro. We put chairs and we had posters and some rope, people were sitting around us and yelling. (laughs) In Lucha Libre there are two kinds of wrestlers: there are Los Rudos [the crude & rude ones] and Los Technicos [the technical ones]. They are two contrasting characters in wrestling. For example, in the way they develop their matches: some training and practice to create these spectacular movements [and techniques], while the other ones like inventing things in the moment. This contrast can also be seen on the net-artist: there are artists who are very technical; it takes them longer for their ideas to evolve, in some ways it is very orchestrated. Then there are artists more like Rudos, more spontaneous.

Can we still see all the results from these matches?
After the Infomera matches the server was closed, it was closed forever by the Consejo Mundial De Lucha Libre (International Federation of Wrestlers) -I’m kidding [laughing]!! Basically, the idea was to give the people the experience of the moment. During the matches you could have visited the Infomera website one moment and one minute later it would have changed, like real life. So as it was like in real life – all the html pages have stayed frozen on server, but they can no longer be seen as how they were presented the moment they were created. During the matches I took screenshots like a photographer to capturing the event. From those screenshots I created another piece call the Memoria. I took more than a hundred pictures of each match, and I fragmented these images so when you visit the website they re-build in a random and fragmented way to compose a screenshot of the battle. As soon as this captured moment is completed it disappears and a new fragments start to create a new screenshot. Much like the memories we have, always shifting and moving. It is on-line. Along with the posters, player cards and very weird interviews. (see player card gallery in #24 Code Warriors)

 



 
© 2005 Arcangel Constantini   © 2005 Arcangel Constantini   © 2005 Arcangel Constantini
 
     
ABOVE: screenshots from Atari-noise.com.
Since the age of 10, instead of pencil and paper, Arcangel used the static of Atari to decorate his room. Must have left mom wondering why the hell the electric bill was so high!!
II. PROHIBIDI EK HIGH TECH  

 

You are a digital artist yourself as well. When did you start working with digital format?
In the 80’s with Commodores and Amigas.

I remember the piece in which you modify an Atari. Tell us a little bit about that.
That piece’s name is called Atari Noise. I did it in ‘99 and it has been exhibited in different festivals. At the Interferences Festival 2001 in Belfort France, I got the first place for that piece. But going back to when I started making digital work. My introduction to Atari was very weird because at that time the Mexican borders were restricting imported goods from America, especially electronic goods. You could buy them on the black market but was very expensive and dangerous. During my mother’s trip to New York she got us an Atari. But when she returned to Mexico they took it from her at customs. So at my house we only receive the joy stick and the two games that are included with the Atari. We eventually had to bribe the officers at the customs department to get the console back. There were really no games in Mexico at the time so after a month of playing these two games all day long we became really obsessed. You’re supposed to turn off the console to change the cartridges, but in the hurry to change them, I would just pull the game out without turning it off. Often times these colored stripes [which can be seen in Atari Noise] would appear on the screen. I used to just leave those stripes on the tv as decoration in my room. I was about 10 years old at the time.

So you started young?
I think that definitely influenced me! [laughs]

I guess you can say that Atari Noise is about 20 some years in the making then.

 

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