Australia Cultural Festival, launched on November 26, Online
Australia Day, is an exhibition of Australian online cultural
expression and aims to attract a wider audience for Australian
arts and culture online."
The Online Festival grew out of Project One, an online
arts and culture workshop held in Sydney on the 25th May 1999
as part of Online Australia Year, a commonwealth government
initiative coordinated by the National Office for the Information
Economy (NOIE). Three main issues presented themselves at
the workshop: how to connect with the new online audiences;
how to best present arts and culture online; and the fragmented
nature of the multitude of online strategies of Australian
arts and cultural organisations, government support bodies
and the many others who promote, support and exhibit arts
The Online Cultural Festival was proposed as a way to bring
together - in one virtual space - an example of the wealth
of Australian creative work on the web and the many organisations
supporting the development and exhibition of such work. This
support of course begins very much in the physical realm,
in the day-to-day issues of providing the infrastructure for
the arts community and arts' audiences alike. But with the
changes in digital media production and distribution technologies
this support now also extends beyond the geographical boundaries
of those institutions and onto the web.
The Festival offers a model of Australian cultural and arts
institutions working together online, making use of the web's
networking and promotional potentials. It also offers a wide
range of the strategies artists are using online in working
with and, sometimes against, new technologies and the rapid
pace of change and their effect on our lives.
The Festival was created with the aim of improving the visitor's
current experience of online exhibitions, sometimes a confusing
and frustrating experience on the web. This was effected by
making the Exhibitions resident, as far as possible, on one
fast internet server to give a "sense of place"
to those visiting the Exhibition website. The visitor can
then wander around the Exhibitions without getting lost on
the web, and with a similar access experience (access or download
times, the Exhibition navigation bar "framing" the
Exhibits, etc.) for each Exhibition visited.
All the exhibitions in the Festival are exemplary of their
different fields and varied objectives, and all work toward
overcoming the necessary limitations of these early days of
the web and digital media, and of variable budgets and resources.
It is best, as always, that they speak for themselves and
that the audience be the judge.
Exhibitions in the Festival are taken from the online work
of the participants and were in some cases specially made
for the Festival, abstracted from past and current exhibitions
and events, some are joint submissions, and all vary in direction
would like to thank the Festival Exhibitors and especially
the commissioning body, Online Australia, for their support
in the first year of what we hope will become an annual online
event. The Festival will remain online into 2000.
Our Reference Group has been of great assistance and their
views also inform the rationale and the future directions
of this event. We hope you enjoy the Online Australia Cultural
Festival, and having seen what is available on the web in
abstract - "on loan", as it were - take the time to visit
and more fully engage with the Festival participants' home
websites, and the expanding new worlds of culture online and
online culture, sometime soon.
production team at 3V:
de Bes, Run Designs
Thanks also to: Brendan Harkin, Thea Butler, Libby Blainey,
Christian Leru, Michael Sarroff, Roman Kolakowski, Morag White
and Push Productions, and Mark Rodger and the staff at Orange
All Exhibition sites and their contents are copyright 1999/2001
to the participating Exhibitors and contributing artists. All