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 Shankar Barua
 Shankar Barua
 New Delhi, April 2002

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The IDEA

 Shankar Barua

Having sought since about 1996 to develop meaningful exhibitions and other events related to computer-based creative practices, I decided eventually to operate outside established systems to create a matrix for technology-based artists and related individuals/organizations from around India and the world to share their works, visions, aspirations, experiments and communiqués on a common platform that could be distributed, retrieved and archived for the future.

Since January 2000, this has taken the form of a six-monthly CD-gazette we call The IDEA (Indian Documentary of Electronic Arts), which is distributed free to about 1,000 identified e-artists and related individuals/organizations around the world. The IDEA is a largely experimental creative enterprise driven by personal passion, and could very well be without precedent as a six-monthly CD-gazette.

We have thus far produced five such gazettes, with the sixth due out about July 2002. Perhaps about a hundred artists from around the world have participated with their works (individually or otherwise) on the gazettes thus far. Content seeks to address all forms of computer-based creative practice, whether conceivable presently or not. Structure is somewhat similar to an absolutely 'no-frills' magazine, but set in plain-HTML, with texts, images, audio and video. Artists are generally expected to speak for themselves on this platform, and range from individual amateurs (including children) through independent professional artists, to related organizations and institutions. Our approach to content seeks to ensure a healthy degree of personal involvement and authenticity by including the expectation that all materials be sent in to us on CDs -- which we also archive for future students and researchers.

One of my primary inspirations behind this project derives from the perception that with real-world space rapidly shrinking for people across the world, and especially countries like India, virtual-space can provide an escape hatch for many creative activities. I am obviously also concerned that many major creative projects eventually come only before thin local elites, and then disappear forever. Finally, I would like to help e-artists place their works before worthy audiences, peers and clients outside their own geographical limits and also encourage them to work with each other across the world and across specializations.

One of the subsidiary intents with the project is to encourage artists we connect with to get together on projects of their own by learning about each other's works, getting to know each other and then moving forward with cross-specialized virtual teamwork across geographical boundaries. Several new creative enterprises and commissions have already evolved along these lines by this, but since we expect folks to get directly in touch with each other in these matters and draw no commissions or other direct reward, we don't really know anywhere near the whole of it.

For the record, I consider each gazette and the project in its entirety to be a personal creative enterprise or product in itself.

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