Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Survival Research Lab Turns 30

If you don't know about Mark Pauline and SRL, you should.

Image by Garth Webb

In 1990, at Art Futura in Barcelona, I got to attend the conference by being an "aide to SRL". While I did very little to help them, it was fascinating watching them up close as they prepared for a performance. It was at this conference that I formally met William Gibson, among others. It has been a touchstone in my life, as well as for many other artists in the tech field. It is amazing how many times over the last two decades that I have met some astounding pioneering artists who attended that particular Art Futura.

One of the most telling moments was when a lot of us were drinking at the Universal Bar and watching art videos on the TVs around the bar. At some point the screens started showing bomb POV shots as they fell to their targets. Lots of things started blowing up. We thought it must be an SRL performance video. Turns out it was CNN's coverage of the start of the first Gulf War as Bush Senior bombed Baghdad. Very surreal discussing how smart bombs must work with Bill Gibson while surrounded by the exotically beautiful Amazonian barmaids dancing to pulsing Euro-dance music.

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