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LABoral Launches New Strategy Converting Its Web into a Platform for Artistic Experimentation
LABoral sees its website as an element of communication and a far-reaching tool for disseminating information to the public and all its audiences on its different activity area.
GIJON.- LABoral has set in motion a new online strategy which, at the same time, has converted its web into a platform for artistic experimentation. The new site http://www.laboralcentrodearte.org of the Gijón-based Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial has been equipped with greater functions to include more content and to facilitate its use as an extension of the Centre’s exhibition rooms, in addition to presenting artistic works created specifically for display on the Internet.

LABoral sees its website as an element of communication and a far-reaching tool for disseminating information to the public and all its audiences on its different activity areas: Exhibitions, Education_Training and Public Programmes, Research and Creation-production. Designed as a service and access platform to information on the Centre and its programmes, LABoral intends that its web page will play a determining role in the education and dissemination of new artistic forms and industrial creation.

Following the launch of this new online platform on 15 February, www.laboralcentrodearte.org now includes a greater amount of information, going beyond a stage in which many institutions still understand the web as “brochureware” (the word-for-word transfer of printed materials to web pages). LABoral´s new web takes a further step and not only publishes the detailed contents that an exhibition catalogue may have, but also includes videos, images and fuller information all interconnected to each other. The site is also accessible and visible for all mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android systems, etc.), adapting the images and graphics to different screen sizes.

Likewise, LABoral´s web is more experimental in the way the Centre of Art will use it as a platform for exhibitions of work and creations designed exclusively for online exhibition. In this way, LABoral no longer sees the web as an island, but as a node forming part of the network, with a clear connection to social networks and other webs.

As recently as last week, LABoral´s official site in Facebook reached 5,000 fans, which places it in third place among national and international organisations whose activities address modern art and/or art and new technologies. In first place came Ars Electronica from Austria, with 5,923 fans, followed by Eyebeam from New York totalling 5,116 fans. LABoral and its 5,000 friends was followed by Madrid’s CA2M Centre de Arte Dos de Mayo, with 4,600 fans; Medialab-Prado in Madrid, with 4,088; ZKMZentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie [Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany], with 3,846 fans and Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst, Amsterdam [Netherlands Media Art Institute] had 1,938 friends.

LABoral ´s new online strategy was developed by INTK-´It´s not that kind´- a creative studio, based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, which specialises in the development of online strategies for the cultural and creative sectors. Besides its commercial activity, INTK explores the intersections of Art, Technology and Society through its research and development of artistic projects. The studio sprang up from a select group of people experienced in working in interdisciplinary teams made up of individuals from many different backgrounds ranging from Fine Arts to Science.

Its manager, Rui Guerra, who takes part in open code source culture with a critical view on communities, has been collaborating with a team from LABoral. Rui Guerra completed his studies in Computer Science and New Media. In addition to his teaching, working and collaborating with several institutions in the Netherlands such as V2_, Piet Zwart Institute and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, he is the co-founder of INTK. His views on online strategies have been circulated and expounded at several conferences, and most recently at Media Libraries and Archives for the 21st Century, Public Interfaces and Digital Strategies for Heritage.

EXHIBITION ON THE WEB
The LABoral website will open for the first time as a platform for artistic expression with the online exhibition of the artwork www_hack by INTK. The work is a creative intervention onto a series of specific websites. A script installed on the host site allows all visitors to observe each others´ mouse movements at any one time. On a technical level, the work is based on a JavaScript that contacts a server where all individual mouse positions are stored, displaying all the cursors in ´real time´. In this way, users experience the virtual presence of others while they are controlled by a server.

Web platforms are being promoted as a privileged arena for emerging communities and open collaboration but www_hack aims to expose the internal web architecture as well as the protocols that reflect a server client hegemony in which users are isolated from information and from each other. The project demonstrates that the server-client relation isn’t as open as it would seem or free from power struggles. In fact, all clients are subject to the ´dictatorship´ of a server, which is intrinsic to web architecture.





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