2020 – 20 Years Agricola de Cologne
On the beginning of the new Millenium, Agricola de Cologne manifested himself on 1 January 2000 as a virtual instance in a symbolical act on the net – combining in one single instance the new identity of an new media artist, curator, film und festival director, programmer and creator of culture and future, and a lot more. In order to leave no doubt about his gender, Wilfried was added as a first name, so people could call him by name.
Simultaneously, hardly manifested as a virtual instance, Agricola de Cologne started two project complexes online – The A Virtual Memorial Foundation – transforming the Internet into a place for commemorating and The New Museum of Networked Art under the name of NewMediaArtProjectNetwork://cologne, because the museum starting as an experiment was empty yet, and nobody knew how the things would be developing.
What had happened, which made it necessary to start a new Universe of art, this way?
Wilfried had existed as a physical person before already for nearly 50 years, but he lost this physical state when he fell into a coma in autumn 1998 caused by an endless series of traumatizations. On 31 December 1998 it was definitely clear, Wilfried was dead. He had fighted against, but once fallen into a self-chosen coma, he was leaving it up to his most beloved persons his mother and the unforgettable Micha to fight for his life.
His Mother and Micha were praying day and night, they arranged their own lives with Wilfried at the hospital, however later in 1999, the doctors at the hospital instructed Wilfried’s mother, there would be no chance, very likely Wilfried would never return to life, and she was requested to decide about Wilfried’s physical death. She decided for life, by taking Wilfried from the hospital after she and Micha had agreed, that Micha would install a kind of hospital room equipped with all life prolonging clinical instruments in the house he and Wilfried were sharing once.
One day in early June 1999, as the result of all the caring and praying, Wilfried openend unexpectedly his eyes – Wilfried had decided to return to life. But now only the real nightmare began, because as a newly born nearly 50 years old child, Wilfried had to learn living from point zero without any memory – and what was marking his future life, he had lost the affinity for the “material”, as well – he recognized physical things, he was looking at the painting on the wall, he was facing all the art works he created before he fell into the coma, money and monetary value, nothing material had any meaning to him. So, this was really the next shock because he was facing the world from a completely different dematerialized point of view, would he succeed ever in our materialistic world, at all?
But exactly all this was also the chance to start a new life, because like God he was giving the things his personal dematerialized meaning. It was incredible, how fast Wilfried was learning even he had problems in coordinating his limbs for a long time, but at the same time he felt, if he would not train his intellectual abilities, he would sooner or later die, nevertheless.
One day, he was reading in a scientific magazine an article, that coma patients in USA would train their brain by learning programming languages – he only said – “that’s it” and started spontaneously to learn the programming language JAVA.
When in 1999 the war in former Yugoslavia escalated , he felt for the first time addressed again as an artist to do something against the genocide in Serbia, but he did not know how, but the more he became an expert in JAVA, one day he told the world, he would now know what to do: programming artworks. Of course, it did not take much time and Wilfried had found out, that programming an artwork from point zero might take months or even years, so he recognized his chances by using already existing software, and in this case it was FLASH 3.0 by Macromedia, a software for creating intuitively multimedia contents.
In his farsightedness, already at the end of 1999 he installed his own server on the net. He wanted to be completely independent from any commercial interests and external influence and devote his new artistic life to pioneering in digital art.
Yes, and on 1 January 2000, Wilfried started his life experiment. After 20 years, on 1 January 2020, it can be stated, that this experiment was successful, successful in many immaterial concerns, it was representing again and again a new motivation to survive the numerous attacks theatening his physical life, and at the same time, can be stated, as well, that despite of the success during 2020 this experiment of “Agricola de Cologne” will come to its end after 20 years.
Will Wilfried start a new life for the next 20 years on 1 January 2021?