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<eyebeam><blast> identification/ART

A note to Margaret, followed by a general comment to everyone about the

There are two issues that you've brought up that have fascinated me in
your work.  The first is the issue of identification.  You have written
about this in terms of a transformation in identity-construction from
its (prior) basis in reflection and reliance upon distance.  This
distance is being evacuated (visible also in the collapse of the
distance needed for critical thought itself; narrowing of distance
between symbol and referent, etc.)  What procedure of identification
arises to take its place or augment it?  You suggest an "oral logic,"
based in injection and immersion, in the act of swallowing up or being
swallowed, where there are no separations across distance but continuous
interfoldings.  There are so many implications here, which speak for
many other issues brought up in this forum, not the least of them
citizenship (I relate this to Saskia Sassen's suggestion of a new form
of citizenship across state divides, based in a kind of territory no
longer marked solely by national or geographic separation).  It seems
that many problems, which hinge on the inability to connect small to
large, inside to outside, here to there, one to many, outside of
dichotomy and relation, can be addressed in this way.  The inability to
align these new forms of identification with forms of presence,
locality, embodiment, and political endeavor.

The second issue is that of connecting language, image, and the urban
environment -- representation and reality, 2d and 3d -- in new
meaning-landscapes that don't rely upon the familiar separations, but
which connect through conduits, effects, procedures.  You suggest that
the car, the mall, and the television can be seen in terms of one
interlocking mechanism the produces certain effects and registers
certain actions and processes.  It is interesting to think of a figure
of the "vehicle" as a provisional enclosure (real or imagined) that
mobilizes one across a landscape (real or imagined) and relates the
incommensurabilities here/there, now/later, inside/outside,
subject/object in a trajectory registered as travel.  It's interesting
to think about what hybrid landscape it is travelling through, what
"vehicularizes," what the conditions of this landscape are, what are its
coordinates, its horizons.  This suggests, among other things, an
alternate way of viewing the "screen," and the positioning of
trajectives ( as Virilio has suggested) in the place of objects.

Just one quick general comment about the forum.  Several participants
have mentioned that we're not talking enough about art.  I hope everyone
will not become impatient thinking that we aren't discussing art in this
forum.  The material that we are dealing with here is crucial for
understanding our territory, our tools, and the conditions in which we
produce, as artists and cultural practitioners working within the
emerging network paradigm.  We need rigorous interrogations of the
culture industry and the space of the network just as we once did of the
museum, and we need to keep open our assumptions about art at a time
when much creative endeavor is no longer being done under its name.  We
can't even begin under the assumptions that objects, images, and viewers
exist as such, mapping these as givens onto a space that is radically
changed, and for many different and complex reasons.  What we are doing
right now is groundwork necessary to understand new network formations. 
What we hope to articulate are network practices (very much how Saskia
uses the term) that suggest new formats for artistic endeavor, rather
than any narrow conception of "net art," which limits thinking about the
diversity of artistic practices within the network (which is not simply
the internet; see even Margaret's problematization of offline/online
divisions; the rise of mobile and ubiquitous computing; satellite
communications; hybrid networks; etc.).  We are very much aiming to
develop historical connections (for example next week our guest is
Martin Jay, and we will talk about the legacy of cartesian
perspectivalism for emerging visual constructions, generating some
productive art historical connections).  Our goal is to develop new
formats and procedures for artistic and critical intervention in the
network.  I am thrilled with the conversations and interventions that
are occurring here and what they suggest for new artistic practices and

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