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

<eyebeam><blast> precedents

One of the things that interests me about art made for the Web is the
way I see it echoing certain developments in the art of the sixties;
i.e. it thwarts pre-existing art distribution systems and markets; it
cannot easily be controlled by existing institutional power structures;
which immediately gives it an independent footing and presence. Of
course these observations are not exclusive to art; it's just that my
background is in art and art history so I immediately contextualize it
that way. Interestingly, art during the sixties tried to do much of the
same kinds of thwarting, and certainly succeeded in making the
distribution, marketing, and exhibition contexts a lot more evident, if
not changing them for once and for all -- it did change awareness,
certainly, and provided alternative ways of going about making and
showing and communicating art (the mail, the xerox machine, the
performance, ephemera, everyday activities) but by the eighties, more
traditional qualities crept back in (desire for objects, for marketable
commodities, for singular star personalities), at the same time that the
earlier work was being historicized and chronicled (and made precious
simply by virtue of its cultural importance). Now, the Internet seems to
provide a new opportunity, with many of the old qualities built into it
from the start -- independence, cheap and accessible (admittedly, only
in terms of geographical distances and speed of communication),
infinitely reproducible (hence non-unique, non-commodifiable). Another
built-in feature is the networked structure, which Jordan asks about in
his introduction. I am extremely interested in this element, too, and in
how virtual communities of like-minded individuals can work together to
produce work, often suppressing their own egos in the process. Again I
see parallels to early collectives in (admittedly American/European
centric) art -- Fluxus, Art & Language, Art Workers' Coalition, Colab,
Group Material (visit
http://www.franklinfurnace.org/flow/gpmat/gpmattxt.html to get some
info), and most recently, Parasite. Does anyone else see these
parallels? Am I imagining things?

Susan Hapgood

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