7 Years And 39.1 Madas * (aka new (re-)statement of purpose) (2007)

by babel
1st January 2007

year 1

1/1/2000: 391-20: dada2mada
The transition from print to electronic (analog2digital, physicality2virtuality, one2zero, 120).

artEficial and babel discuss how to best set the engine in motion. A slow wind (wined) ensues for 1 year. Rules are set about issue style (any, as long as it doesn’t repeat a previous episode); participation (anyone, as long as one of the editors likes their work); periodicity (entirely flexible, but roughly aiming for the original 391’s 3 or 4 a year); site style – Futurist/Constructivist, at an imaginary (Russian) crossing point between babel’s Cubo-Futurists (Khlebnikov, Kruchenykh, Mayakovsky And Burliuk) and artEficial’s Constructivist architect Vladimir Tatlin.

Summer 2000: babel moves from the UK to Canada. artEficial moves from the UK to the USA.

Autumn 2000: artEficial meets the US-based Cynical Blues/Ardra/lilith.

year 2

1/1/2001: 391-21: antitram
aka ‘a n t i t r a m’, aka ‘say NO! to trams’. Revived from the streets of Cambridge, UK after 6 years of sporadic agitprop, and given a new home at 391.

1/5/2001: 391-22: Digital Divide
A lilith / artEficial / babel joint – a glorified videobiography conceptually wound tightly around three videos of the authors that no longer exist.

6/6/2001: 391-23: Monument (aka Monument To The Monument To The Third International)
artEficial/mycat8u’s masterpiece of theory and praxis that uses Tatlin’s revolutionary Monument to the Third International to give shape to 391’s aims and to those of (social) ‘network’ sites in general. No longer available (see Summer year 4).

18/6/2001: 391-24: Terminology Poets
aka ‘TP’. artEficial and lilith’s favourite pastime of chatroom provocations finally spills out into a full issue with its own messageboards. Their method of recruitment to the boards is to require a written testimony from the applicant, often responding to a question of artEficial and lilith’s choosing. Testimonies were naturally also required from artEficial, lilith and babel.

Summer 2001: artEficial, lilith and babel meet US-based lillyvon/lilyvon, Phooty Raskel, Cheeky, Champking and many others at Terminology Poets. The boards quickly become lively with conversations, observations, text and image mixes/remixes, dada-chat-theatre and pure nonsense.

1/10/2001: 391-25: Binary
The 011001 6 figure date proves too difficult for babel to resist, and a trip to eastern europe provides both new collaborators (musa/Inese Vepa And Georg Lakoc) and the figure-of-eight (‘infinity’) structure that navigates the collected poems, images and essays.

Autumn 2001: artEficial and babel meet the new yorker Binnorie through her DadaMonster site. Through Binnorie they also meet displaced-Californian Shixa (-Niente)/Creative Zero and her post-dada site ‘ev01ve’.

Autumn 2001: babel meets US-based Hooshla Fox.

year 3

TP’s membership fluctuates between 80 and 200: it is periodically culled by lilith and artEficial to keep lurkers out (“post or be banned”). This rule is maintained throughout TP’s existence.

artEficial meets US-based Marie Roget.

20/02/2002: 391-26: Tunnel
Shixa shows she can play at numerology too, releasing a one page multimedia manifesto of (/as) the tunnel on the palindromic day.

22/02/2002: 391-27: Level 7
Never one to be outdone, on 22/2/2 or 2 days later artEficial releases a complex multimedic tour through the theory and spiritual philosophy of ziggurats as relating to 391’s continuing development, employing a four-directional ‘infinity’ navigation that supercedes 391-25 whilst also invoking babel (historically a seven-stepped ziggurat) and networking with the cambridge-based artistic collective ‘digital disco’ who artEficial has known for over ten years. Further cementing this connection, 391:27 becomes the visual/navigational 7th level of digital disco’s website. No longer available (see Summer year 4).

9/3/2002: 391-28: Delivered The Hand Of Our Lady, Fatima To Marie Roget
Marie Roget and her US-based art collective release their poetic multimedic issue.

1/4/2002: After 391: Picabia’s Early Multimedia Experiments
babel returns to 391’s founder to understand why the longest running dada magazine came to a halt. The April Fool is that this is no April Fool.

23/4/2002: 391-29: Access Points
From Hooshla Fox’s initial conception, Hooshla and babel rustle up an all-star cast of contributors to create a geographic parody of the social, political and cultural practices that function as Access Points in an average city.

Summer 2002: 391’s design is finessed, incorporating a new ‘broadcast’ section intended to act as a prototype for artEficial’s conception of a multiscreened ‘multimedia mix machine’.

Summer 2002: after 6 months of frenetic dada(net)working and creation, babel, Binnorie and Shixa and artEficial create The 404 to house collaborations between the four post-dada groups: 391.org, DadaMonster, ev01ve and artEficial’s nascent TramTV network.

Summer 2002: babel returns to the UK for 6 months, and meets spanish emigre Evoeh.

Summer 2002: lilyvon takes over as manager of 391-24: Terminology Poets.

3/9/2002: 391-30: 404
The 404 collaboratively produce a site that consequently undergoes several complete reworkings over the coming years, before settling (so far) on the current configuration, aka ‘testcard’ (babel) or ‘testcards’ (artEficial).

9/9/2002: 391-31: Videodynamism
Fresh from their 404 collaboration, artEficial and babel script a beginner’s guide to an often neglected facet of futurist aesthetics, known then as ‘photodynamism’, but here updated to accomodate the digital (animated) environment and so renamed ‘videodynamism’. Attached to the issue is another 391 ‘Mada’ manifesto (‘Videodynamism Manifesto’) that uses chance generation to remix the text on each load, ensuring the same manifesto will never be read twice.

Autumn 2002: Cynical Blues/lilith is no longer active.

year 4

23/2/2003: 391-32: twentythree
391 goes to the speakeasy, playfully speculating about what Picabia may have been doing in the year when no issues of 391 were published. The result of babel’s return to Canada; looking again to Francis Picabia for inspiration; and being again unable to resist the rare numerological combination of 2s and 3s.

2/4/2003: 391-33: die fliegen
This time inspired by Hugo Ball’s ‘flight out of time’ autobiography that chronicles the dada movement, babel exorcises his dislike of all buzzing insects with the aid of some artistic and vocal genius from Evoeh.

4/2003: neural.it review 391-32

Summer 2003: artEficial and babel split acrimoniously over an argument initially about catsitting, and then about money. artEficial requests his edited issues and manifestos are removed from 391 in protest at babel’s apparently hostile takeover. To compensate for the loss of artEficial and his unique foundation of post-constructivist political-economic theorisation, Evoeh and babel create a new mutually inhabited construct, ‘Escha Romain’.

Autumn 2003: artEficial’s TramTV network disappears. Escha Romain replaces TramTV as the fourth member of The 404.

year 5

24/2/2004: 391-34: Dadaventuras
After a long break, Evoeh and babel release their perpetually generated nonsense comic strips in english and spanish, paying homage to Evoeh’s (and Picabia’s) country of birth. Dadaventuras goes on to become of the most popular 391.org issues, validating 391’s new post-artEficial approach of accessibility and humour as a gentler route to obscurity.

Spring 2003: Shixa moves back to California and is no longer active.

4/2004: 391-34 is exhibited in Random

4/4/2004: 391-35: Krabatof
A primarily sonic episode by the swiss collective Krabatof that still continues to evolve.

6/2004: 391-34: Dadaventuras is exhibited in VI Salon Internacional de Arte Digital, Cuba

6/2004: 391-29: Access Points is selected for the Digital Visions exhibition at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada and an excellent accompanying review of 391 is written for the exhibition by Sherrie Law.

Summer 2004: Evoeh gives up all artistic practice and leaves the UK for Africa. Consequently Escha Romain becomes simply ‘Escha’.

10/2004: 391-34: Dadaventuras gets a special mention at the 3rd Annual Gangart Awards, Australia

11/2004: 391-32: twentythree and 391-33: die fliegen are shown at the Electronic Language International Festival (File) 2004, São Paulo, Brazil

11/11/2004: 391-36: Singaporeasy
Liz Swift releases an episode as part of ongoing research into ways of using hypertext to create digital scripts for use with live theatre work, fitting 391s conception of the modern (hyper)theatre (the development of Hugo Ball’s theatrical visions) while also casting a nod to 391-32’s speakeasy.

year 6

1/2005: babel meets the Turkish-born Serkan Isin and his visual poetry magazine Zinhar.

2/2005: 391-34: Dadaventuras is exhibited in Thailand New Media Arts Festival 2005, Bangkok, Thailand

Spring 2005: antitram is 10 years old.

5/2005: 391-34: Dadaventuras is exhibited in FLUXUS 2005 – 5th International Film Festival On The Internet, Brazil

5/2005: 391-24: Terminology Poets suffers a massive drop in membership after MSN force it to migrate to their new Adult Worldgroups system. It does not recover.

5/5/2005: 391-37: Zinhar
A collaboration between babel and the Turkish Zinhar, combining barcodes, dna scanners, visual poetry and animated poetry in a game. The only issue published in 2005, Zinhar becomes 391’s most exhibited over the next 18 months.

7/2005: 391-34: Dadaventuras and 391-37: Zinhar are exhibited in Prog:ME, 1st Festival of Electronic Media of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

8/2005: 391-37: Zinhar is exhibited in the International Media Art Festival, Center For Contemporary Experimental Art, Yerevan, Armenia

8/2005: 391-34: Dadaventuras is exhibited in the 2nd International Exhibit Of Digital Art Orilla#05, Museum Of Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, Argentina

9/2005: babel meets US-based Justynn Tyme and his networks Dada YOW! and omphalosdada

9/2005: 391-37: Zinhar is exhibited in Electrofringe 2005, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

10/2005: babel meets Polish-born Magda Bielesz.

11/2005: 391-34: Dadaventuras and 391-37: Zinhar are jury selected works at the International Festival Of Electronic Art 404, Rosario, Argentina

11/2005: 391-37: Zinhar is exhibited in VAD Video And Digital Arts International Festival, Girona, Spain

12/2005: 391-37: Zinhar is exhibited in the first issue of Hyperrhiz

year 7

1/2006: The 7th year is launched by two very different manifestos: a reworking of Picabia by long-term 391 collaborator Samantha du Raeno, and the first Dada YOW! / 391.org collaboration ‘crown dada’. Dada YOW! replaces the now defunct ev01ve as the fourth member of The 404.

23/1/2006: 391-38: Urbanalities
babel and Evoeh’s final issue, created retrospectively after Evoeh’s move to Africa, is a 10 minute short story-poem-animated comic-musical. It is resolutely not interactive, and is 391’s first explicitly ‘contra’ (/vs) collaboration.

2/2006: 391.org and Dada YOW! begin broadcasting audio podcasts in three varieties (‘tymecasts’, ‘knotcasts’ and ‘dadacasts’) that feature a range of long-term and new collaborators. Over the next 6 months, 17 casts are released totalling over 4.5 hours of original audio dada material.

3/2006: 391-38: Urbanalities is selected for the first CD-ROM volume of Electronic Literature Collection, The Electronic Literature Organization, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA

5/2006: 391-37: Zinhar is ‘web-work’ category finalist, Seoul Net Festival, Seoul, Korea

6/2006: 391-37: Zinhar is exhibited in Hz issue 8

6/2006: 391-38: Urbanalities is a jury selected work (‘net art’ category) at the Eighth International Digital Art Exhibit and Colloquium, Havana, Cuba

31/7/2006: 391-39: Vertovia
The first half of a summer bumper ‘double’ issue, Vertovia is a generative random remix in English and Russian of Vertov’s ‘Man With A Movie Camera’, intentionally (and nostalgically) recalling erstwhile 391 editor artEficial’s affection for the director and his work.

1/8/2006: 391-40: Universal Wish
A collaborative (and Polish) issue, conceived by Magda Bielesz and realised with babel, making people’s wishes come (virtually) true.

8/2006: babel moves back to the UK.

9/2006: 391’s DadaWiki opens, allowing visitors to write and store their own texts as part of 391’s list of manifestos, an idea initially discussed with artEficial in Summer 2001.

10/2006: 391-38: Urbanalities is exhibited with the ELO collection vol 1 in Autostart: a festival of digital literature, Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

12/2006: 391-38: Urbanalities is Selected Finalist, Videomedeja 10th International Video Festival, Museum of Voivodina, Novi Sad, Serbia

12/2006: The 404 begins a new chapter.

* All information presented as facts may in fact be misremembered or misrepresented – please send objections and corrections to the usual address. Identification of the specific 39.1 madas is left to the reader’s own devices.

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