FOUNDING MANIFESTO :: Our Artistic Mission (1998)

This is our credo:

1. First, the Internet is about content, not just a conduit for it. The nature of the technology changes content—not just access and distribution—with implications across the full range of artistic expression and subject matter.

2. Second, Location One is about convergence. We are bringing together creativity along the two standards that have governed the history of human expression: the axis of expressive discipline and the axis of available technology.

3. Third, Location One is a catalyst. We select talent, stimulate interaction, supply resources, and provide real and virtual forums. We enable things both cool and consequential to happen. New media transform artistic expression. Conventional barriers of time and distance are erased. With them depart a myriad of social, political and cultural distinctions. Access, distribution, participation become universal (and affordable).

4. Creative alternatives proliferate. These things are known. Less widely understood is the degree to which technology transforms content. Or, more accurately, continues a transformation that began midway through the 20th century. A work of art begins with its creators. But, more than ever before, it also encompasses its audience, interactivity and the potential for ongoing evolution.

5. Location One is creating a new environment for contemporary art, one that is rich in interdisciplinary context. The new media are interactive—but so have always been live events. Our unique opportunity lies in the linkage between live performance, exhibition and dialogue and electronic broadcast, feedback and interaction. Each of our activities will comprise some combination of live and electronic elements, according to the vision of their creators.

6. We assign a central place to new media and the internet in our presentation of contemporary art. Our focus, however, differs from others encouraging cultural application of new media. We believe—and this is our central belief—that there is extraordinary value to be gained from the collaboration of new media artists with artists from every other artistic and expressive discipline.

We applaud the countless efforts underway elsewhere to explore purely digital work, to enhance technical expertise and extend access and delivery; our contribution will lie in the implications of media convergence for artistic content. The work we commission asks contemporary artists—painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians, poets, storytellers—to collaborate with computer, video and new media artists. We have seen their minds stretch, their work grow, and their audiences come alive. What emerges from these collaborations is unique, unexpected, provocative…and sometimes brilliant.

7. The media re-invent the content. We will continue to put together imaginative combinations of proven and promising talents from both the physical and virtual sides of the house of creativity. We encourage them to explore, to learn, to discuss, to argue, and ultimately to create, present and perform. We support their activity both with fellowships and with commissions for specific bodies of work. We place neither demand nor restriction on subject, style or medium. We are catalysts. We provide access to the tools and resources of the new media; they are beyond the limited means of most artists.

8. We support visiting artists and artists-in-residence. We encourage them to develop their work to the needs and opportunities of the live-performance-and-exhibition/Internet-streaming synthesis. This is not, we have found, a simple process; friction and dislocation are part of the price of new creative experience. In 1999 we opened our space in SoHo. It enables regular exhibitions of physical, digital and video art, live performances, workshops and discussions, and a broad range of collaborative and experimental effort. The space is linked electronically to our affiliated locations in the US, Japan, and Europe.

9. We broadcast daily, through our website and related electronic technology. We present not only the events taking place at our home and affiliated spaces, but also a wide range of other programs and electronic projects.

10. We are very selective. We function less as an aggregator site than as a relatively narrow portal opening onto convergent artistic content of a very high quality. We have found that our approach appeals to a wide spectrum of non-trivial users of technology—some are artists, many are relatively young, most are interested in artistic, technological or cultural innovation. We view the discussion and debate that the Web makes possible as central to the development of an artistic vocabulary of convergence. Perhaps more important, we view the transmission of our artists’ works and the consequent perceptual, conceptual or interactive response of the audience as integral elements of the works themselves.

Location One is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation incorporated in the State of New York, with funding from corporations, foundations and private individuals.