In summer 1999 an association was founded under the title Forum for New Media, to support artistic/experimental operating with New Media. This happened within the scope of the initiative by the Culture Department of the Kantons Basel-Stadt and the Christoph Merian foundation, to get the Viper festival from Luzern to Basel. Apart from that, Basel already had a group of active artists who supported these initiatives.
In winter 1999/2000 a direction post for the Forum for New Media was advertised, including the commission to develop a plan for this new institution. In summer 2000, Annette Schindler became director and in October, she introduced to the public a conception for an online and offline mediation programme and cooperations in production.
The [plug.in] premises at St.Alban-Rheinweg 64 were inaugurated on October 16th and are open to the public until today. With its events and exhibitions [plug.in] soon closed a gap in the cultural life in Basel: A platform was built for the young, vitally developing media art which provided a new form of dealing with art. The [plug.in] activities supported and enforced the manifold media art scene of Basel and there were cooperations with: Viper; Hyperwerk; Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Basel; Medienwissenschaftliches Seminar der Universität Basel; Point-de-vue; Via; tweaklab; xcult and many other groups and individuals.
In the early summer of 2002 [plug.in] carried out an evaluation by an external expert, Annette Schönholzer. This evaluation showed plainly that [plug.in] is generally appreciated by the public and artists. The number of events, the quality of the programme and the public relation was considered as good or very good as well as the function of [plug.in] as a meeting place for people interested in media art, the interior design and technical infra structure, services in informing and dealing with visitors, [plug.in]'s local and national charisma, the professionality, experimentality and networking.