While the artists' fascination with space and place is a traditional one, new technology is revolutionizing not only communications but also artistic imagination. Some new media artists are using the web as a tool to expand the collaborative process, redefining concepts of relational space, community and the artwork itself.

Michelle Teran is one such media artist. She initiated a cyberweb project for the Norwegian Art Bienalle, Momentum (, ( which took place in Moss Norway throughout the summer of 2000. Teran is fascinated with the process of spontaneous and interactive art. She enjoys the challenges of creating non-linear, non- hierarchical and synergistic interactions through artistic exploration. Her experiments in art are living laboratories in social learning that cross national and physical boundaries. In her work space is expanded and timelines collapsed into a single but continual moment.

Michelle's Momentum project was a weekend of ambient theatre and live art activities placed in a social setting. Teran's work is exciting because she builds on the tradition of visual arts while meshing the multi-dimensions of sound, performance space and time. The interactivity of the medium allows her to play with democratic forms and encourages immediate collective expression.

The event was coordinated between Canada's Ryerson Polytechnical University, Motherboard at Norway's Bergen Electronic Art Centre and the Society for Old and New Media in Amsterdam. Participating artists in all three cities created spontaneous collaborations. The physical mixed with virtual place and was designed to facilitate a two-day dialogue between space, sound, image, live action and Tele-presence. Toys and tools of analog and digital video mixing, sound, media-based and sculpture installations, net art, and live performances were made available.It was divided into work/play stations with lounge islands placed in between. This allowed the participants and visitors to wander through the spaces, sit, relax, and even become performers in the event. Mediated viewing and participation was also possible from anywhere in the world through the Internet connection.

The Internet was used as a platform for exchange and simultaneously joined the three performance spaces. Although chaos and frustration did occasionally reign it was also the creative force.

The new technology has inspired other women artists like Teran to explore its many facets. Digital Me is another example of how the boundaries of traditional forms are being transformed. As a digital art site, Digital Me was a collective of artists who applied new interactive, multimedia concepts to the tradition of storytelling. Hearkening back to the days of campfires, the audience was allowed to participate,co-author and interact with the story teller in virtual space. Maid in CyberSpace is another feminist web art event sponsored by studioxx, a virtual space women's collective. This creative event reveals the evolution of the language and power of this new tool to expand our perceptions of space, place and experience of community. Virtual Squat by Leah Lazaruik's, one of the event's exhibitor's, is an example of the possibilities of this new form of expression. It is a powerful piece of dancing images, that tell a story, yet never quite linger long enough to be identified. The viewer is exhausted at the presentation, for at the moment one begins to rest and get comfortable with the presented scene, it moves position or a new one takes it place. The focus is in constant flux. She describes it as "the first online experience of squat life". The visual is no longer two dimensional but physically experiential.

I have provided just a sample of how women are using art to create spaces for healthy communities. Artistic endeavor allows for unique and renewed perspectives. Its fostering of individual expression is a fundamental building block for healthy communities. Yet it also, as we can see through these artists' eyes, challenges our perceptions. It can actively create collective experience, identity and its own places for healthy communities to grow. As we look to the future let us hope that the space continues to grow for our women's creative visions.


1. C. Becker," The Nature of Investigation, Artmaking in a Postmodern Era" in Accidental Audience : Urban Interventions by Artists ,edited Kym Pruesse, off\site collective,Toronto, 1999

IMAGES: Michelle Terans 'Momentum' performance - Toronto and Moss, Norway