MEDIA ART 2.0 (MANIFESTO) by Aristarkh Chernyshev, Roman Minaev, Alexei Shulgin

9 04 2009

Today, when any critical artistic statement is drained of its power within the rigid frameworks of the unilateral capitalist world, a critical artist can no longer create while contemptuously looking down at commercial art and design that is governed exclusively by market laws.

At the same time as it becomes smarter and more refined, capitalism intrudes into most revolutionary, autonomous, and secluded areas of human activity. This is not to suggest that avant-garde art creation always stood in opposition to capitalism. The modernists, taking part in the evolution of design, worked in factories developing furniture and fabrics in order to bring art to the masses. Parallel to the evolution of Dada, the ready-made, and later, pop art, the theory and philosophy of art and culture contemplated the balance between the poles of capitalism and art, unique and mass-produced objects, high and low culture, professional and amateur, practical and dysfunctional. As the newest weapon of capitalism, information technologies dictate new social and cultural contexts and within these, uncover new challenges.

Our answer to the dilemma: Media Art 2.0

Media Art 2.0 goes beyond the limits of new media art

New media art today consists overwhelmingly of one-of-a-kind works presented by the authors themselves at festivals and specialized exhibitions. As a rule, such pieces are high-maintenance and complex in configuration — and thus are destined to remain in a media art ghetto. We propose all-in-one plug-and-play solutions. Media Art 2.0 presents art objects as technological products that are ready to be consumed here and now by anyone.

Media Art 2.0 is market-friendly art

We produce a limited number of copies (like Ferrari) and sell them at affordable prices (like Sony). This is possible because we develop our own reliable electronic devices and thus do not depend on overly complex multi-functional digital systems. Each piece has a unique edition number and the authentic signatures of its authors. We also offer limited lifetime warranties for our products.

Media Art 2.0 goes beyond the know-how of IT corporations

These corporations are not capable of transcending the pragmatism of their products. While attempting to enrich their products with artistic qualities, corporate designers follow the path of banal adornment — decoration with gold, Swarowski crystals, and diamonds — which raises the price and renders the products “exclusive.” Such an approach does not make a mobile phone or an MP3 player a work of art. Limited lifetime of electronics contradicts the apparently “eternal” value of the decorative materials.

Media Art 2.0 is the answer to the stagnation of the art market

It proposes a solution when the art market acquiesces to the demands of traditional art forms and is incapable of digesting truly contemporary artistic ideas. Our products harmoniously combine actual art, up-to-date techno-culture, design, and media art. We return to the roots of the avant-garde and occupy our own niche in the system of capitalist production and consumption. We address advanced consumers who are not satisfied by mass products – whether cool design gadgets or the endlessly reproduced traditional art forms.

Media Art 2.0 is the avant-garde of today

We return to art the things that design borrowed from art at the beginning of the 20th century: the search for new form and content; the artistic experiment as play; and the joy of everyday life. We live in a world of visual interfaces. Televisions, print advertisements, politics, shop-windows, show-business, internet services, bank systems are primarily interfaces whose task is to shape the process of information transfer and the translation of ideas. Working with visual interfaces, we make them visible and tangible. We uncover the structures of today’s world. This approach fills our products with a critical charge. In answering the challenges of today, we flush clean the media channels and establish new standards. By infiltrating public spaces and private homes, we bring art and alternative aesthetics into people´s everyday lives.

Moscow, June-September 2007.


9 04 2009

Electroboutique ( is a unique creative electronics production company, a media art gallery and an artist collective. Our products are developed in modern technologized forms: they are electronic devices and computer programs, being at the same time the pieces of actual art. Our products exist beyond national and cultural borders; they can be encountered in trendy interiors, as well as at contemporary art exhibitions and art fairs. Electroboutique’s amazing products merge together cool aesthetics and information technologies, modern design, pop-art and real-time data processing. Our techniques amalgamate open source and proprietary solutions with best media art inventions of past decades. We make up-to-date market-friendly art, following recent critical discourses. Pride ñ is a natural feeling of our products owners.

Keywords: commercial protest, consumer electronic art, device art, media art 2.0, interactive, audio-visual, crititainment, no-brain, real-time, plug-and-play.

Exhibited works:

COMMERCIAL PROTEST (2007. LCD TV, videocamera, supermarket trolley, custom electronics. Size variable)


It is difficult to protest these days against capitalism, especially if you are a member of capitalist society and enjoy all its benefits. Any convincing form of protest very soon gets appropriated by the system and starts being used for its sake: in politics, in advertisement, in design, etc. But we want to protest! – and offer the new, realistic form: Commercial Protest. We protest in the form of a critical but/and commercially suitable artwork. Commercial Protest reveals the essence of modern people; – it shows what we are all made of. A viewer sees her own portrait as a mosaics made out of transnational companies logos (variant: consumer goods). These images are globally recognizable and constitute the visual language of today. The supermarket cart that contains the TV set emphasizes the ugliness of the ultimately consumerist world. We protest against such state of things with this piece and set a fair price on it.

DIGILUCK (2007. LED display, acryl, custom electronics. 85x55x6 cm)


Today like never before, it is obvious that coincidence and chance play major roles in achieving a success. When an electronic clock displays such digit combinations as 11:11, 22:22, 3:33, etc, we involuntary start thinking about some significant fortuity. But how one could turn this fortuity into desired regularity? How one can catch good luck? Digiluck deconstructs the electronic clock by displaying animations in random order instead of searching for lucky numbers. This work does not tell what luck is or how it can be. Digiluck just rethinks the notion of time as taken for a norm conventionality.

OUT OF CONTROL (2008. Smashed LCD TV, custom electronics. Size variable)


The work explores the aesthetics of signal error, techno-ludditism, and glitch. A half-destroyed TV constantly produces visual and audio glitches and shows a viewerís image processed through them. The screen scrolls, gets distorted and filled with colorful artifacts produced by damaged electronics. The shock of seeing a new expensive commodity destroyed reinforces already deep impression coming from immersing inside the malfunctioning system.

Paul Virilio points in his recent book The Information Bomb: “Modern science, having progressively become techno-science – the product of the fatal confusion between operational instrument and exploratory reseach – has slipped its philosophical moorings and lost its way, without anyone taking umbrage at this, except for a few ecological and religious leaders.”

INFO BOMB (2008. Mixed media, Internet, video projection. Size variable)


Responding to the challenge of the great thinker, we as artists propose our own take on the announced problem. Info-bomb explores the relationship between technology, speed, war and information. The inbo-bomb blasts with information; it carries a pervasive stream of propaganda that does not bring death, no, – it brings delightful paralysis and euthanasia.

LOADING (2007. Custom LED display. 50x50x6 cm)


Loading – this system message (among others: Connecting, Transferring) has recently become an important notion in describing highly technologized modern life, ever-going human-machine interaction. The work is called upon to reveal aesthetics of this seemingly banal data exchange process and to visualy present it as cultural phenomena.

Alexei Shulgin (Russian: Алексей Шульгин; born 1963 in Moscow) is a Russianborn contemporary artist, musician, and online curator. Working out of Moscow and Helsinki [1], Shulgin established the Immediate Photography Group in 1988 and started his career in this area of study. After 1990, he shifted his interests from photography to the Internet, and consequently, in 1994, founded Moscow-WWW-Art-LabWWW Art Lab, collaborating with many artists from London andSlovenia. That very same year, the artist created an online photo museum called”Hot Pictures”[2]. In 1997, Shulgin continued his work with the invention of Form Art (Form Art), and later that year the introduction of the easy life website (Easy Life). In 1999, Shulgin became Webmaster at FUFME, Inc. Since 2004, Shulgin has been a co-owner of Electroboutique (Electroboutique).