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Re: <eyebeam><blast> art dead

8 messages were received on this subject, from Robert Cheatham, Clifford
Duffy, Sally Jane Norman, Bracha Lichtenberg-Ettinger, Olu Oguibe, Alan
Sondheim, and Carlos Basualdo

robert cheatham <zeug@noel.pd.org> writes:

Dead is an ok place to be, whether for art or artists. The problem comes
for the survivors.  Perhaps more accurately still,  the problem becomes
one of inability to mourn, how to handle bereavement, impoverishment,
loss, disruption, dissolution of identity formations based on
narcissistic attachment all of which some authors divide into the
categories of mourning and melancholia.

There are times (almost all the time, in fact, when i am sitting here in
my basement, alone, staring at the screen--what [or who] am i staring
at?) when the net seems a vast narcissistic apparatus, sometimes (when
I'm feeling good and my 'edges' are soft but pointed) of my own making
and reflection and sometimes (when i've lost my 'location' and I have no
idea how to repond or even what it would mean to respond) it feels
oppressive and threatening, some one ELSE'S narcissistic ego invading my
little cluttered space--and with no institutional  warrant on my side to
help me push back/reinforce my own boundaries.

There are times when the net seems mostly about denial (which I do not
take issues of access to go to the heart of, i would speak rather of a
denial that comes only WITH access, a denial that forms the cathected
heart of modernism and which postmodernism's various 'impossible
negotiations' have highlighted if not (impossibly?) resolved...and to a
degree, the net--in its concerns with technical mastery and
coding/decoding, is a re-version to/of modernism in technical drag...not
that we can have 'gone' anywhere with postmodernism.); the primary
denial being that of death, even with the posting of obituaries--which
is also true one might say--as Derrida has for example--of other systems
such as language--well Blanchot also--and photography, ala Benjamin.

So what form of solid(arid-y) can we find on the net that wouldn't have
a psychoanalytic component (matrix-child pair?). yet wouldn't have a
troublesome nostalgic melancholic air about it (which Habermas
associates with resurgence of 'localized' tribalism/violence /attemte to
dissolve the other)? For the technician (artist or otherwise) I assume
they assume this has a simple answer.

     "Short of traumatic crisis there are countless examples of a
      'localized spoling' which are necessary for the child's
      consolidation of self-structure.  It is precisely these localized
      disruptions of the dyadic relation between mother and child that
      make play both NECESSARY--this is bereavement--and POSSIBLE
      --this is potential empowerment; in order for the third modality
      to function, that is, for the potential space of play to feel
      a 'good enough' facilitating environment must be available. One
      summarize these points by way of an aphorism: Mourning
      without solidarilty is the beginning of madness."
                                     Stranded Objects, Eric Santner

     "What we know we will soon no longer have before us, this is what
becomes an image."
                 Walter Benjamin

p e r f o r a t i o n s


Clifford Duffy <cwduff@alcor.concordia.ca> writes:

                **** and art is Living. around the circles of its
creation, its creation which is indeed its credentials.

        Genet once said he wanted his plays performed in a cemetery . SO
the dead could see them. And a community of the living and the dead is
made and structured and what happens in art. It is a form of travel and
emotion magically investing its images and identities in and with the
dead. Art speaks to the dead and the living enter and exist the strange
passages where shamans come and go. Among the dead and living  the
dialogue makes room for the unborn, and the future is a desire machine
which hums with its song. On the net the dead and the living might just
have a chance to get close - the net as seance space, as ouijie board.


Sally Jane Norman <norman@wanadoo.fr> writes:

Not reading as deeply as I should be perhaps, but a bit perplexed about
the life'n death stuff that's going round at the moment. Which seems to
claim that time in the net is of a totally different quality to that
"out  there" in the real world, where we have to deal with the
vicissitudes of  life (and death). Dunno. (Human) life for me resides in
(breathing) ideas  as much as in breathing bodies, and I encounter these
both within and  without my electronic extensions (of life). Dead
friends' letters;  thoughts and words and works that touch me, from and
of people I've never  met and who may well be dead or alive; resounding
myths that well up from untrackable sources; I don't give a damn whether
these are vehicled in internetworks or in other purportedly
technologically less sophisticated communication networks in which I'm
inextricably enmeshed (books, figments gleaned from somebody else's
conversation at the bar, whatever). They open me to other times, other
registers of existence. Perhaps akin to the spatial "moirage", the
broiled physical and emotional geographies that a few other nomads have
been referring to in this discussion. Don't know where I'm going with
this, don't want to spin too tight or  long a yarn, but feel a bit
nettled about this timeless cyberspace stuff. So many aspects of our
everyday life are "timeless" or, rather, made of  impalpable, elusive,
qualities of time. They're no more hard and fast than the ideas I'm
throwing onto this screen. Life (and death) are everywhere there are
humans. One glorious unholy mess of us. Caught between Heraclitus's
"panta rhei", all things are in flux, and Bladerunner's last replicant's
"time to die". That's us. All over.

Sally Jane Norman


Carlos Basualdo <cbasualdo@aol.com> wrote:

Should we assume then that this "here" may put us in a
>more intimate, in a more priviledged relationship with art? An art
>almost already dead? Or maybe you suggest that we should forget about

Bracha Lichtenberg - Ettinger <bracha@easynet.fr> writes:

Yes I guess I mean, among others, that art can only be safe as dead with
regards to claims that assimilates her entirly to other disciplines. And
also I draw maybe where and with regards to what I can participate in
our discussion. Art, on the internet or in other media concerns me if it
evokes affects and transform me, or you, with-in it, in ceating some
kinds of relations - an exterior yet intimate space with the unknown
other  with ethical value alongside aesthetic consequences. Art, for
me, has to do with fragilization and transference, which doesn't go
without risk of disintegration. Techniques of communication, like the
net, do not offer affective transmission and transformative
transference, in any case, not in any automatic way. If and when they
do, it is certainly not the fruit of the media's potentialities alone.
Most art I have seen on the net doesn't attain this point, and  don't
navigate on it to find it either these days. I am interested in the web
only inasmuch as it can interlace intersubjectivity, where by opening
distance I am still joining others and where in joining with opthers
each of us differentiates itself. This process inevitably involve
processing loss. To localize myself, as is the nice habit here: I am
from Tel Aviv, my studio is in Paris, I am coming and going between
these two places,I am in everlasting languishing to one place or
another, with a child in each, and travelling a lot in between, but when
in Paris I am usually autistically working in my studio, contemplating
for the last few years the figure of EURYDICE  betwen two death as
emblem of art and of the artist in our times  in the feminine. All kinds
of "advanced" techniques get mixed and culminate in my work into oil
painting, a monster that does not suppose to exist these days, and yet
it does - which shows that it is still artists who decide what technique
is relevant to their experience of the now. I have noticed that in the
recent Pompidou Center Exhibition "Face a l'Histoire" in the section
dedicated to the last 20 years, mine were the only oil paintings. This
feels quite alone. Sometimes when I do go out in Paris, it is to
Chevrier's seminar -  I'll look for you, Brian.... and to some
philosophy or psychoanalysis seminars. Making art, reflecting on it with
means of psychoanalytical theory, which is inseparable for me from
thinking feminine difference(s), and writing on the edges of aesthetics
and psychoanalysis is what I'm into. With this, never too far from
questions of death and trauma, and the transmission of their traces
in/by art and in/by therapy. I suppose I'll limit my interventions
mostly to issues touching upon these fields.


olu oguibe <ooguibe@undp.org> writes:

I am not sure I follow some of the philosophical turns in the discourse
of art and death in cyberspace, but let us say that the two prongs of
the argument are indeed most interesting.

First, it ought to be clear by now that the rhetoric of the death of
art, like that of the end of history, is one of those drivels that won't
be driven away, it seems. It is one that hinges on a particularly narrow
understanding of the meaning, borders, and nature of art; one that is as
socially insensitive as it is dangerously comical. Friends, there is a
lot more art--a lot more to art--than the oft insignificant, oft
unaccomplished pile of steel, fibre and celluloid that we produce for
collectors and curators. If this should disappoint society, then, which
quite fortunately is indeed not the case, that is no reason to conclude
that art is dead. When we proclaim the death of art, whose art do we
mean? What art?

Second, it does seem to me that in the course of countering the
post-mortem on art, it has been suggested that there might not be death
in cyberspace. Again I would like to differ on this point and suggest
instead that perenniality may not be synonymized with immortality, and
that there is indeed death in cyberspace. If death may be understood as
the termination of being in a particular form, the cessation of
existence within the frame of the natural, then certainly, there is
death in cyberspace, for life and existence on the network are
consequent upon a certain concreteness beyond the virtuality that we
ascribe to it, and upon decimation of the accessories of this
concreteness, existence desists. When a server ceases to exist, there is
not only a death but the probability of multiple deaths. When an arm or
node of the network is terminated, death occurs. For, friends, there is
corporeality in cyberspace, and wherever corporeality exists, so does

We may enjoy perenniality in cyberspace, even the miracle of rebirth.
But immortality is a fortune that we are denied as a rule, and this rule
extends even to the mediated reality of the virtual.

Olu Oguibe
Tampa, Florida


Alan Myouka Sondheim <sondheim@panix.com> writes:

why on earth is to prctice (contemporary) art to touch death? I see more
grandiose statements here than in the US constitution. Sorry... some
artists _deal with_ death, some don't, some deal with net death (however
that is defined) and some don't, I'm reprinting someone's post on the
death of a Webpage for another thing I'm editing, and so what?
is arpanet the death of the net?
the death of a moo the death of the net?
the death of someone like Michael Current the death of the net?
the death of anarcho-libertarianism the death of the net?
the death of the theory the death of the net?
does art have any thing necessarily to do with death?
does death? etc. etc.

for that matter, what is "no death in cyberspace"? Certainly there have
been enough dead protocols, systems, networks, etc.  - certainly enough
lost files, misappropriated files, etc. Yes the digital promises
eternity in an idea sense, but all of these discussions are ignoring
both the trends OUTSIDE OF ART and the political economy of the
Net/art/whatever itself/themselves.



Bracha Lichtenberg - Ettinger <bracha@easynet.fr> writes:
- The distance between the object and the trace - space - distance -
remains. What to do with thiese visual remains?
Ridding onself of the objects does not lead to abstraction. Ignoring the

object can tip the scale the other way.
- oblivion and unknowledge do not erase loss.
 - Erasing-tracing - isolating-drowning - housing and destroying; and we

live the erasure-trace.
- Erring, splice, wound, testimony.            "
from my Notes on Painting.


Carlos Basualdo <Cbasualdo@aol.com> writes:

Dear Ricardo,

In my previous intervention, I wanted to point out to the ambiguous
presence in the net of what deconstruction would call "the ghost" -even
taking into account its resonances in the more psychoanalytic concept of
the 'phantasm.' Also to the communicative aspect that seems to be
involved in the net, as informations takes "here" clearly and literally
the form of a message sent to somebody. So, there seems to be these two
aspects that permeate exchange in the net: the question of the ghostly
nature of our presence "here," and the question of our being in the
position of the one who puts the message in the bottle and throws it
awsy. My question was specifically referred to the possibility, and
implications, of practicing art from those positions.


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