MAAP 1998: Mapping the Region
The inaugural MAAP festival was held in 1998, establishing an international program for ‘unmapped’ experimentation and creativity from Australia and the Asia Pacific region.
The late nineties captured a sense of urgency (expressed unanimously by government, industry and education) to explore creative content examining the phenomena of digital culture and new media technologies. It was this unique climate that gave rise to MAAP, and defined its character as facilitator and catalyst as well as curator and exhibitor.
MAAP’s response was to present and link artistic experimentation with industry research and products (software and hardware), government and tertiary education initiatives and cultural institutions. This approach gave rise to many ‘firsts’ in the presentation of new media art in Australia.
One landmark feature of the 1998 festival was Shoreline: particles and waves, curated by Beth Jackson, and presented at the Queensland Art Gallery. This was the first online art exhibition to be shown in a State Gallery or Museum in Australia, and followed just a year after the world’s first ever online exhibition was presented at a museum level.
A number of festival events and installations were netcast live on the MAAP festival website, which was both exciting and nail-biting, given the very early stages of such technology. Paul Brown’s Alien Spaces – an exhibition of computer-generated prints – was shown online from Singapore’s THE SUBSTATION GALLERY. Online content has remained an ongoing feature of MAAP festivals, allowing content to reach beyond geographical location.
The festival program was themed as ‘See, Seek, Speak’, comprising a screening program, interactive exhibition program and a combined conference, forum and training program. Events were held in a number of venues across Brisbane including the Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland State Library, Griffith University, Metro Arts, and the Institute of Modern Art.