today.getDate() Review

today.getDate() review by Keith Sanborn published on the thing

today.getDate()
a Web project by Diane Bertolo
an extremely short note
by Keith Sanborn – 07/29/2002

For a very long time, Diane Bertolo has quietly been making extraordinary work, beginning in painting. She was a member of the first wave of artists to issue forth from Buffalo’s legendary Hallwalls Gallery. Then, after buying a Vic20, and later, her first Mac, she gradually did less and less painting and began to concentrate more on interactive work. Her interactive work has taken various forms, from interactive installations to Web-based projects. Her concerns as a Web artist have ranged from the role of women in science and the archeology of psychic metaphors in electronic media to the assimilation of the human body into the virtual world.

Her work has a distilled elegance. She makes it all look so easy. It is not.

Several months ago, Diane Bertolo began a new project. Each day she makes two images: one a screenshot, the other a digital photograph. The mode we might think of as diaristic, but let’s face it, some diaries are more interesting than others. Seldom are we privileged to witness such an eye and such a mind at work, committing to a momentary insight, giving daily reality a shape which comprehends and clarifies, bringing us into a private world, one of many possible worlds we might inhabit. This is clearly one of the things meant by the words “visual intelligence.”

The interface couldn’t be more direct or self-explanatory, allowing us to navigate quickly through the array of images she is in the process of creating. This is not the most technologically complex project she has created, but its very transparency is its strength, an index to the modest courage of its self-revelation.

Don’t expect Nan Goldin’s fashionable, self-destructive icons vying for camera position, or trying fashionably to evade it, or indeed any great drama. These are quiet observations, deciphering the clues, tracking the signs within what Julio Cort├ízar once called “the magic net of coincidences which connects the world.”