Welcome, I am Agricola de Cologne


avm_riga_220A-Team Latvia/A Virtual Memorial; Riga 2012 - initial meeting

A-Team/A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012 – from right to the left
Wilfried Agricola de Cologne, A Team artist, Dzintars Zilgalvis head of NOASS, Kate & Zanda (Team Noass)
Today, we had the project briefing talking about the procedure and the daily scheduling

Firstly, I would like to introduce myself.
My name is Agricola de Cologne. As the responsible artist of the A-Team Latvia, I am simultaneously a media artist and a curator and in these functions, I am also realizing also the project in Riga.

In 1980, I started as a visual artist, but changed the artistic field of activities when I decided on 1 January  2000 to dedicate my entire artistic working exclusively on the use of new media.  In the beginning, I was basically interested in exploring the Internet as a medium for art creating project platforms dedicated to certain topics and digital media, just  to name some – “A Virtual Memorial Foundation”(2000) – www.a-virtual-memorial.org, JavaMuseum – Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art (2000)  – www.javamuseum.org, one of the first virtual museums focused exclusively on virtual art or Violence Online Festival  (2003)– http://violence.newmediafest.org, a media art context dealing with violence as a topic – realized as a reaction on the Iraq war.

During this artistic research, specific characteristics of the Internet became relevant  like  participatory, collaborative or networking aspects which were confronting me with curating and taking responsibility for other artists and their works and projects , so one can say, “curating” became one of my new artistic expressions.

Since I was programming all the Internet based platforms and the multimedia contents myself, also digital video as a medium was capturing my attention. From 2003 on, I established myself also as a video artist – numerous videoart works and the participation in a lot of festivals give evidence of that – http://movingpictures.agricola-de-cologne.de.

In 2004, I continued my Internet based work by publishing SoundLAB  – http://soundlab.newmediafest.org – a platform focused on sonic art, and VideoChannel – the international videoart platform – http://videochannel.newmediafest.org, which became also in 2006 the founding basis for Cologne International Videoart Festival – http://coff.newmediafest.org. Firstly only planned as a mere online project, however, due to its successful programing,  the festival was developing soon a dual system consisting of an equal virtual component in form of the entire organization via the net, and the physical component in form of screenings and exhibitions in collaboration with numerous networking partners, like festivals or art institutions. The idea of a festival without a static festival location is manifesting itself particularly in the nomadic festival project „CologneOFF 20xx – videoart in a global context” – http://downloads.nmartproject.net/CologneOFF2012_eng.pdf starting in 2010 travelling around the globe, many times during a year accompanied by me.

The aspect of a global wide networking, is representing really one of the most essential aspects which the Internet is offering, so networking is forming the basis for all my current activities manifested in the experimental platform of art and new media –  “Le Musee di- visioniste –  the new museum of networked art – http://www.le-musee-divisioniste.org

Already since the beginning,  the topics „memory” and „identity” had captured my artistic working. The fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) had a fundamental influence on my entire life. As the result of travelling in the East of Europe and being confronted with the German history on the ground of Poland, Russia and many other countries,  I realized for the occasion of the 50th return of World War II, 1995 the installation of a mobile artistic memorial, which was exhibited between 1995 and 1998 43 times in Poland, Czech Republic and Germany under the patronage of Ignatz Bubis,  the late President of the Central Jewish Council of Germany, entitled: “A Living Memorial – Memorial Project against the Forgetting, Racism, Xenophobia and anti-Semitism”. The Internet based project „A Living Memorial Foundation”  – http://a-virtual-memorial.org , launched 2000,  was the consequent continuation of dealing with memory under new conditions of technology and time. During the years, my perceptions about art as a medium for transporting memory and my growing interest in “art and moving images” made me think about a new ways of dealing with the memory of the Holocaust. So I launched on 27 January 2010 ”SFC – Shoah Film Collection” – http://dts.engad.org ,   a worldwide unique initiative to encourage young artists generations to deal with the topic of Shoah (Holocaust) by using new technologies and contemporary approaches in order to keep vivid the memory of the collective trauma. In 2012, I created  a special event context “A Virtual Memorial – Commemorative Interventions”, which places SFC – Shoah Film Collection in the context of complementary interventions like lectures, workshops, courses, artists talks, panel discussion and much more, in order to activate the audience.

A Virtual Memorial Riga 2012 – Commemorative Interventions – the title of the media art project which I realize in Riga in the context of A-Team, can be understood as a pilot project and the first of a series of events to take place after Riga – http://riga2012.a-virtual-memorial.org

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