[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: <eyebeam><blast> Internet, modernisation and net.art

Simon Biggs <simon@babar.demon.co.uk> writes:

In reference to Lev Manovich's piece...

Whilst I think a lot of what Lev has said is interesting and partially
true I feel he is missing one of the most important factors regarding
the net, perhaps because as yet the Net isn't as international in its
image as we would all like to think (it is still largely dominated by
the wealthy populations of the USA and similar countries). Lev mentions
that the Net is a modernising influence (note his use of American
spelling of this word - with which I feel very uncomfortable - and my
use of the English form). I really wonder what he means by
modernisation? Over the past twenty years or so this word, and all its
attendant associations, "modern" has become deeply problematic. Is Lev
aware of this, and how his argument simply deconstructs due to this?
Language is terribly important, let there be no doubt, as we will see...

The Net began as an almost strictly language based medium. I am not
refering to the binary systems that underly it, or the ASCI conventions
on top of that. I am refering to 'natural language', the spoken/written

Bandwidth has always been, and will remain for sometime, one of the
determining factors in the nature of the Net. Due to this the written
word has been, and still is, dominant amongst the media diffused across
the Net. One of the most interesting factors in language is its regional
differences and cultural peculiarities. The French are very different to
the English, in large part due to the differences between their
languages. Language functions to both communicate and to encode the
status quo. Of course languages evolve, some more quickly than others,
but as the European experience shows, languages (and the differences
they encode) are quite resilient...the more so the more open they are to

Language is one of the great cultural specifiers, one of the main forces
of difference on our planet. My feeling is that so long as the Internet
remains a language dominated medium, and the more the the Internet is
internationalised and thus becomes available to various linguistic
groups, then the more the Internet will tend to fragment and thus
possibilities for linguistic/cultural difference be enhanced.

An example is to do a search on French language websites. You will find
there are now many. For years there were few (the French had their own
internal network, Minitel, which slowed French usage of the Internet)
but now the French are embracing the Net. Rather than the emergence of
'internationalist' websites originating in France but written in English
or Franglais we find that most of these sites are in French, and
determined in their address to French socio-linguistic space.

Strangely, I get the feeling that in the world of art this is rather
less the case than in other cultural areas. Possibly the main factor for
this is the dominance of the Dollar in international art markets (and
New York and London in the making of the art star system) and thus,
rather ironically, art is a force against local cultural
differentiation. But this end of the art world, the end represented by
magazines such as Art Forum or Flash Art, by institutions such as MOMA,
is only a small part of the world's artistic cultures.

It is very possible, although I am not saying it is probable, as it is
too early to say, that the Net will lead to an accelerated localisation
of creative activity in relation to socio-linguistic space. If this
happens, then whether this might occur in contra-distinction to the
international art market, or whether it will actually have an impact on
that market, will remain to be seen.

I am not arguing that we are not in a process of cultural globalisation.
It is patently clear that we are, and that this process features a
disproportionate usage of the English language and American iconography
(probably the second most common media on the Net, after the written
word, is the 'icon'). But it is clear that as a dynamic this is not a
single mono-directional process, but highly complex with many
divergences. I would expect this to be reflected in one of the most
international (but not necessarily globalising) of all communications

The primary dynamic against cultural specificity in the artistic use of
the Internet is not the Net itself but the belief amongst so many
artists that to be successful they have to operate internationally, and
that their eyes must be firmly fixed on the classic objectives and
signifiers of international artistic success. Sadly, it is the lowest of
human drives...to collect fame, wealth and power...that seems to
dominate the macro-issues of international art practice (we have all
been appropriated by the forces of Capital). On the Internet we simply
see this replicated, and thus a map of our subject (cultural specificity
in an international arena) is there for all of us to study. However, I
will be interested to see how the Net evolves culturally and
linguistically over the next few years, not so much in its use by
artists (I feel we are too corrupted in the manner I have just mentioned
to be able to represent what we have set ourselves to speak about here),
but in terms of Net usage by other important cultural groups whose
interests are more particular to specific socio-cultural millieu (eg:
local politics, small business, education, etc).

If the Net does become the egalitarian medium that many expect it to
then groups such as these will come to represent a large proportion of
its usage, and have an equally determining impact on the look and feel
of the medium.

So, our question should not be whether 'national schools' of Net art
will emerge. In a sense this is an irrelevant question, an issue that
will cause us to take our eyes off what is actually far more important
in both cultural formation and in the measure of difference. Rather, we
should be looking at the nature of general Net usage.

Why should atists be so concerned with questions of art? Is it that art
has become so hermetic it is left only with its own image to
contemplate? I hope not! One of the reasons I have personally been
involved with the use of technology in art, and of the Internet in
particular, is that this allows the artist to transcend the limited and
mumified discourses that have dominated mainstream international
contemporary art for so long, not particularly because the technology
allows local socio-cultural issues to dominate (although it might
actually facilitate this, as I have argued it might above) but because
by working with media that have emerged from outside those mainstream
art discourses then as an artist one ipso facto becomes involved with
these other ways of speaking, these other ways of seeing.

It is my belief that it is in the synergy and synthesis of difference
that new things actually emerge. The new media, and particularly the
computer as an information storage, processing and communications
device, have functioned to enhance this process of synthesis. In this
sense Lev is absolutely correct...that computers, transportation
technologies, etc, have all led to an increase in this dynamic. Where he
is wrong is in assuming that this is automatically "modernising"
(whatever "modernising" might mean?) or globalising.

In the end though, time will tell...

Simon Biggs
London GB


Susanna Paasonen <suspaa@utu.fi> writes:

Well do we need national schools of net art? Led by great talents of
dictatorial artists likening those of the canonized male auteurs of
cinema, who have the vision needed for making "real" art on the web? And
who is this "we", anyway?

Those taking too seriously Richard Barbrooks' ideas of "digital
artesans" might be seduced by the idea of masters and apprentices neatly
tinkering in their workshops, producing net art with that precious
national difference... masters leading the way, apprentices with timid
smile on their lips following in his footsteps.

As if the net was not loaded enough with nationalist angendas without
artist practices trying to conform into ones as well... for national is
hardly synonymous with heterogenous, or with cultural differences

While discussing skills in net art, are we discussing technical skills,
or issues of content, skills in networking? Are we assuming the web
artist to be someone self-contained in his skills, independent in his
mastery of the medium, an Artist in the romantic sense - or, good lord,
a networker, capable of co-operation... at large from the lonely

People doing net projects carry with them different aesthetics,
politics, conceptual worlds, cultural backgrounds... and networks are
built across national borders, between different people. This is a far
cry from an actually "global" community in any real sense, but I would
not call it all Coca-cola either.

To me, all net (art) projects do not look the same. The claim makes as
much sense as saying "all television looks the same; that darn rayon
tube", or, "those engravings, just the same paper and ink!" There is not
just one neat master narrative to make about the net, net art, or the
"depth" of it.

In stead of conceptualizing the net as a flux (of modernity) effacing
cultural differences or commodifying them, as I understood mr. Manovich
doing, one might consider it a possible space for, of, differences, not
the least for those articulated separate from nationalist frameworks.

/////MacLuhan resurrected, pointing his blaming rigid finger at the
medium, does get attention. But it just might be that dead people don't
see all that well.



Damian Toro <yrkaw@yahoo.com> writes:

To relate Art (national art... or whatever...) with Coca-cola is like to
compare fire with water. Art by the Net can not be an industry, because
the capacity to "create" belongs to every and anyone. Consequently no
one has a monopoly. The Internet is only a medium to make REAL the
language (Not only VIRTUAL, and/or Fictional). This reality reflects not
a comercial matter; the definition of Art makes this logic... When Art
has not definition is not possible to find any kind of solid
conceptualization of the "subject" Art.

By the Internet, this "subject" does not exist as a estilistic
intention, or as a theoretical project. The non space that remains in/on
the cyberspace can be another form to understand, not what Art is, but
what Art is not.

There are no limits if everything anything and nothing can be or already
is Art. Does not matter what is "Art" is in this case, or yes?...


malgosia askanas <ma@panix.com> wrote:

> This discussion of access proceeds as if it was just a question of the

> artist having access to the Net.  Isn't there also, and perhaps more
> importantly, a question of audience?  Who is the audience for net art?

> This, too, starts with questions of access, no?  It starts with
> but doesn't stay there.

Udo Noll <un@dom.de> writes:

more specific, I think the techical quality & quantity of access is
underestimated. It makes a difference if you have to dial in and keep
the phone bill in mind or if you are connected via a T1 or similar. Our
'equator'-project (@ http://king.dom.de/)  is now up and running for
nearly  a year. The feedback is significant: some spent a lot of time
(and probably money) to  investigate its 1000+ nodes, and these users
like it as something  related to themselves. Others refuse to get closer
because the site doesn't  give an overview where they can get it
immedialtly. I guess that only few  really look at all the sites out
there. A question of time, money, speed...  but with an influence on the
perception of these projects.

// /me: core media exp // http://king.dom.de/ //


<hergueta@goofy.zdv.Uni-Mainz.de> writes:

>>via cybordelicsbot compiler
>yuuk initial 'poetic stroll' seems soon lost in politics
>gibberishm>qficksand -- not qn unusual but still an cnhjspy sigyt
bpavement> these days.
>Jouke Klybrhbezem Amsterdam

 Poetic st initic soon poeticksand

 your initicksand
 your in lost initicksand
 your in politics gibberish
quic seems st in poetial 'poetial 'poetial 'politics soon lost initics
quic st in lost initic stroll' seems gibberish
 your in lostroll' soon politic seems gibberish
quic strolitics gibberish
quics stroll' seems seems gibberish
quic soon politial 'poll' soon lostrolitial 'poetics seems gibberish
 your in lostroll' soon politics seems stroll' seems gibberish
 your in politics gibberish
quics seems st in lost in lostroll' seems seems st initic seems soon
lostroll' st in poetics seems gibberish
quics gibberish
quic stroll' seems soon politics gibberish
quics gibberish
 your in lostroll' seems soon lost initic soon lostroll' seems gibberish

 your in poetics gibberish


# no data/#removed bad words#[CHOOSE ONE:  ironic/absurd/rather


Adnan Ashraf <adnan.ashraf@bender.com> writes:

this posting is removed (request by the author)

a critical forum for artistic practice in the network
texts are the property of individual authors
to unsubscribe, send email to eyebeam@list.thing.net
with the following single line in the message body:
unsubscribe eyebeam-list
information and archive at http://www.eyebeam.org
Eyebeam Atelier/X Art Foundation http://www.blast.org