As the term used for numbering software programs, bêta version means a prototype that has pushed experimentation to the point where it is out in the forefront while admitting its imperfect state; perhaps only temporary, perhaps hopelessly flawed, it begins its distribution among users who are well aware of the risks. A result that has made it into the field of research, the beta version may still need a final metamorphosis if it is to really succeed, to reach its final destination and become effectively operational. Yet a beta version is interesting and presents a certain pleasure in demonstrations for itself and for discovering still other mutations. Isn’t art then a way of sticking with the bêta version?
Perhaps this is a facile response but it does have its rationale. To show experimentation at work in the new-media arts and locate the sources and the inspirers of such research and creation, Version bêta turns towards the venues, the labs and the collectives where art-oriented research is explicitly taking place. It makes no claims to evaluate or appraise the situation; Version bêta’s originality and pertinence lie in its efforts to draw on attentive, involved observers and correspondents the world over.
As one might expect, themes have naturally emerged, the result of current connections/oppositions: real time and process, time and space, the generative and the interactive, the real and the virtual, localization and mobility. But the theme of Version bêta will identify first and foremost with that beta of its title. It will play out in the classic connections between poetry and technique, research and creation, amateur and professional, the individual and the collective. It points to the position of a producer, actor and viewer of the age of real time and networks.
Version bêta will take place in Geneva and run from 31 October to 14 December 2008. The event will comprise five platforms:
installations, displays, demonstrations
documentaries and creations
actions, VJing, music
production of proposed works, works in progress