Peter Weibel
Peter Weibel was born on March 5, 1944 in Odessa, Ukraine. Having fled to Austria, he grew up in Ried im Innkreis, Upper Austria. When graduating from school in 1963 he studied French, film, and comparative literature for a year in Paris before transferring to medicine in Vienna in 1964, later changing to mathematical logic aka computer science. Peter Weibel‘s artistic work may be chiefly subsumed under such categories as concept art, performance, experimental film, video art, computer art and generally, so-called »media art.« Starting from semiotic and linguistic reflections (Jakobson, Peirce, Wittgenstein et al), Peter Weibel evolved an artistic language which led him from experimental literature to performance, from analog to digital media. In his performative actions he not only investigated the »media« of language and body but also film, video, audiotape, and interactive electronic, mechanical and digital sculptures, installations, and environments. He critically analyzed their function for the construction of reality. He used the media to liberate men from the burden of the body. His critique of language (in all codes) served as critique of reality. In addition to actions carried out in cooperation with representatives of the Wiener Aktionismus (he coined the term »Vienna Actionism«), from 1966 he worked on an »expanded cinema.« This work reflects the ideological and technical conditions of filmic representation. From 1969 on, Peter Weibel consequently developed these reflections further in videotapes as well as installations. With his Tele-Actions, which were transmitted by Austrian television (ORF) in 1972, he extended the limits of the gallery space and examined video technology in its application to the mass medium of television. In 1978, he also turned to music. Together with Loys Egg, he founded the music group »Hotel Morphila Orchester.« In the mid 1980s he examined the possibilities of computer assisted video processing. At the beginning of the 1990s, he realized his first interactive computer-based installations with which he, again, thematized the relationship between media and the construction of reality. With his numerous lectures, exhibitions, and publications on contemporary art, media history, media theory, philosophy, and history of science Weibel established himself as a central figure in European media art scene.