Ilona Johanna Plattner
The scholarship of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for female media artists 2000 was awarded to Ilona Johanna Plattner.
Members of the three-person jury were Iris Dressler (founder of HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Dortmund), Christine Meierhofer (art historian, Berlin) and Dr. Friederike Wappler (lecturer at the Institute of Art History, Ruhr University Bochum).
The first scholarship from the state of NRW for a female media artist from NRW was awarded to Ilona Johanna Plattner, who applied with her concept for www.dieMystikerin.de: a web art project that questions the status of the real, the fictional and the virtual. www.dieMystikerin.de was presented in an expanded form (installation Stellen im Hirn und andersWo) as part of the exhibition Chiffren + Legenden (March/April 2001). Parallel to this, the mystic’s website was presented at the international film festival femme totale.
Stellen im Hirn und andersWo, spatial installation, 2001:
Based on the etymological meaning of place as “extreme end”, Stellen im Hirn und andersWo poses the question of reality, of its constitution and construction and of its media. Where is the furthest end, the unimaginable, where nothingness begins? Each place deals with a different set of themes and/or media, the handling and signification of contexts of perception. In different places at different times, different places are combined and modified. dieMystikerin as a switching point and germ cell questions what a person is, what constitutes a person in relation to communication media that do not require a physical presence. The material medium is different in each case, it influences and determines what is to be perceived. The places change in form and content, in image and text, in real and fictional, in concrete and virtual, in life and death; musical structures of repetition and variation. (Ilona Johanna Plattner)
www.dieMystikerin.de, web art project, since 2000, produced within the framework of the scholarship of the state of NRW for female media artists from NRW:
Everything starts with a tablet. The gap indicates a product, but it does not contain the substance to relieve the headache, but rather the writing that titles this web art work: The Mystic. The domain of the “mystic” has existed since May 2000, and since then the work has taken on ever new forms. It is a central component of a core work (“Stellen im Hirn und andersWo”) by the artist Ilona Johanna Plattner.
The “Mystic” is unthinkable as an offline work, because it calculates with the surfer’s subscription and reflects this through its structure appropriate to the web and the corresponding form. The use of simple coding, which always remains understandable even for the not too skilled layperson, refers to the history of the HTTP protocol and of HTML as a system for text transmission and page description from a time before multimedia. The work is not based on closure, but it is also not performative in the proper sense. However, it does deal with conditions that generally revolve around the concept of virtuality, language and the artist. In this sense, it is appropriate to the medium of the Internet. Not every update is an addition. Sometimes it is the small changes like deletions that cause irritation to the viewer.
The central aspect is the self-describing element and the question of identity in the age of digitality. Since its popularisation, the internet has deconstructively negotiated the concept of identity in many ways. Transgendering in chat rooms (but also in text-based adventures), for example, allowed a real-time set of communication rules to change name, gender or genre according to set conditions. The understanding of the respective community could be counted on. But what theorising about such phenomena largely ignored was the physical constitution, which led to exorbitant theoretical bubbles that, in extreme positions, already placed people in a nirvana of zero and one.
The term mystic functions as more than just a metaphor in Ilona Johanna Plattner’s work. By linking an ancient religious-intellectual phenomenon with the questioning of identity claims in our time, Plattner articulates a critique of the technocratic attitude towards the web. At the same time, however, the work intensively questions the networking of identity with the concept of the artist and plays this out on the basis of autobiographical details, which, strictly defined, are fictionalised by the medium. In order to clarify the ranges, Plattner repeatedly produces local installations of her work, extracts images, text fragments and arranges them into complex self-referential settings that expose the literariness of the internet in a circular way. In the process, the modularity in real space corresponds equally to the work on the internet.
In this context, www.dieMystikerin.de is both the centre and the periphery of a notion of identity, language and meaning that has begun to rotate. (Matthias Weiß)
Note: The website www.dieMystikerin.de has been offline since mid-2018. The last version can be read in the Internet Archive.
Ilona Johanna Plattner (*1961 in Dachau):Creating art is an act of liberation. I detach myself from the attributions, the morals and the existing viewpoints. I dissect and re-evaluate. Art is like a birth. To be born takes time and patience and skill and practice. Then, when art is born, when it spreads, it can shatter, comfort and cause rebellion. The power of art is one that is often underestimated. It works in the underground, in the unknowing, and it works in unpredictable ways.
Further information on the artist’s website