A/V interactive compositions on the NET by Sergio Maltagliati

Beginning with netOper@ in 1997, Sergio Maltagliati has created works on the Internet that combine audio and video elements into an intriguing interactive Internet experience. As far as a formal education, Maltagliati studied music at the Conservatory “Luigi Cherubini” in Florence, Italy. Shortly after he finished his education at the Conservatory he began to paint. He then created his own style of combining the two practices into interactive web sites where the viewer is invited to compose a unique work by simple mouse manipulations. Maltagliati often collaborated with a famous electronic music professor from Italy named Pietro Grossi. Grossi was the first person to introduce the infamous experimental musician from America, John Cage, to Italy in 1964. In 1965 Grossi was offered the first professorship teaching electronic music in Italy. The professorship was at the Conservatory in Florence where Maltagliati later attended.

This relationship manifested itself into netOper@ in the spring of 1997. The work was the first interactive web experience coming from Italy at the time, which to me really dates the project. To be the first to do anything is this world separates you from everybody else trying to accomplish that same task. It separates you in the way of being able to overstep the mental boundaries of disbelief, which many artists fall victim to. The experience that netOper@ brought to the web was fantastic; the “viewer” is transformed into the “doer”. Even if you are a three year old blasting away at the mouse you would be able enjoy the experience of this net art. On the other hand, if you approach the screen with the intent of creating your own dynamic composition, that is possible too.

The later works of Maltagliati went on to some more interactive pieces, but this time they involved cell phones. These where not as impressive given the capabilities of cell phones at the time, but nonetheless still challenged what was being done with current technology and it was involving the community on a large scale (just an early version of the recent invitation we received to be a part of the “Vectorial Elevation” collaborative light exhibition). This, to me, is extremely important. We have this technology that is supposed to make communicating easier through digital means. Many of us are using this digitization to confine our voices within a small, enclosed environment and not allowing it to really expand our social network. These projects, that can be found here at Maltagliati’s website (http://www.visualmusic.it/visualmusic.htm) area a great example of the ideal capabilities inherent in communication technology. At the time the state of the art cell-phone technology was the imode, which you can read about here-àhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-mode

This technology was developed in 1999 and was a sort of foundation for the common 3G networks we experience today.

After expanding his horizons, Maltagliati reunited with Grossi and created Circus 4 and Circus 8. These two projects are visually more interesting for me engage in because they were using the much larger audio and visual capabilities of the PC. All of these projects can be found at the site listed above and you can develop your own opinion of the work.