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Re: <eyebeam><blast> Prelude: Sensar Inc. Sees Eyes

I wish to respond to only a few issues raised in Olu Oguibe's well
considered post:

Olu Oguibe wrote:
> so far we have failed to make a
> distinction between the use of _the_ network as a vehicle for
> conventional art forms, and the emergence and recognition of art
> produced with the network as medium. and failing in this, not many
> noted or bothered to comment on the virtual absence of truly
> net. art.

This issue was given careful consideration in the (soon to be replaced
by a new) issue of Switch: http://switch.sjsu.edu. See Jan Ekengerg's
writing on the "Ontological Problems with Web Art" and my "Conjuring
post-worthlessness: Contemporary Web Art and the postmodern Context."
Both will remain available in the archive.

> i have gradually moved away from the preoccupation with economic
> explanations for lack of access. it is my conviction that in same
> that we acknowledge that different artists use different media decided

> through the vectors of preference, tradition, and means, we ought to
> recognize that not every artist--or individual for that matter--will
> have access to, need, approve of, or indeed desire, use of the
> i have also pointed out that when we consider how much those
> that we traditionally provide economic excuses for absence from the
> network, expend on technology, such arguments collapse irretrievably.
> when we consider, for instance, how much the inner cities spend on
> largely unnecessary pagers, home entertainment equipment, games and
> other technological tools, it is more difficult to argue that they
> cannot afford access to the network. In same manner, when consider
> artists expend on the conventional media of their practice, tempting
> though it may be, there is nevertheless little ground to suppose that
> their rather unimpressive efforts with the network as medium should be

> traced to deprivation.

Deprivation and lack of access seem to be local issues. In my geographic
context, California USA, there is clearly no excuse to be made revolving
around issues of access to the network or the necessary
techno-education. We have two inexpensive University systems and 103
Community Colleges, all of which make access to the technology quite
available. Semester classes in basic techno-topics can cost under $50 (+
books) for state residents. What we seem to lack, overall, is serious
attention to the intersection of art and technology except in a handful
of instances such as the CADRE Institute at SJSU, or at UCSD, Cal Arts,
and a few others.

*It would be interesting to hear reports from around the world regarding
the state of access to education and training in both art and

> there is a fourth issue concerning the manners in which the network
> affected or will and should affect both artistic and art-critical
> practices. much has been done along the lines of projection in the
> of social implications, visions for literary culture, the economy and
> the question of freedom of expression. we are yet to see truly
> prolegomena for artistic practice on the network. which promts one to
> admonish that we cut down on the diddly and get on with deep,
> philosophical explorations of the
> possibilities and implications of this new medium; that we, artists
> critics alike, review and rethink the timidity that still
> our attitudes and positions, and come up with challenging rather than
> simply witty ideas that could explode the very borders of artistic
> practice.

To be "truly visionary" sounds very good. But is it a useful goal, or a
model received from previous generations of artists and critics? As a
place to begin, we would need to define what is meant by "diddly" and
"deep"; not a simple problem, but a rather difficult kind of work,
perhaps best suited to the field of aesthetics. What are the "borders of
artistic practice?" Are they not diffuse, or already imploded to a
degree that they become meaningless? Isn't the idea of penetrating a
border a throwback to an expired avant-garde? I'm not sure how to begin
to delineate such concepts, and look forward to discussion regarding the

Brett Stalbaum

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