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<eyebeam><blast> Net Art Essay Lousy from Singapore and OZ


Net Art, Appropraton, n the Dsperson.

apologze frst of all for a stupd essay whose themes go nowhere, whose
letters take up space, but hardly on the order of someone beng bytten.

'm stupd.

To use the term "net art," am already appropratng a collocaton or syzygy
of thought, a hstory of such thought. To consttute t from wthout, as for
example, to consttute postmdernsm wthout reference to archtectural or
artworld postmodernsm, creates the possblty of a _splay_ of practces,
dscourses, functons.

Stupd stupd.

Such would be the case here, then, notng frst of all that net art s
always already a dsperson, that s an absorpton of audence to be delvered
from a varety of often ntmate locatons, nodes. That s, ds/play resdes
nowhere; only the address, abstracted, references a concrete machne,
protocols, paths, specfc fles, programs. For net art to be _ste specfc,_
a term often used, say, n 70s crtcsm, t need operate as an ntersttalty,
an nserton n a seres of terms, pages, applcatons, or tmes - so that ts
ste s generally constructed as a before and after - _ths_ effect
followng (but not necessarly) _that,_ or _ths_ aspect of a program
actvated - or _ths_ page affectng _that,_ and so forth.

'm so stupd.

Whatever poltcal economy there s wthn the dsperson s not determnatve,
technologcal or otherwse; even to consder net art as a seres of practces
overlooks the relatvely wde range of such. Java, f not javascrpt, for
example, as a full language, s capable of dong what any language can do,
that s, present ultmately (gven the bandwdth) any concevable audo-vsual
event across the net; the rest depends on the recevng apparatus.

There s always already the matter of governance, codes and nterferences;
f nsert an avatar nto a war program or sendmal confguraton fle, what
results s on the surface a breakdown n transmsson, but also mght create
a resdue or splatter, almost alve (bounced across or through the
protocols) that can be presented, dssected, n no other fashon. So that
there s a depth to the breakng or problematzng of codes (n the broadest
sense), and, as wth tradtonal concept art, such a problematc may also be
an experental or analytcal examnaton of the codes, ther poltcal economy,
ther rasters,ther normatve and emergency modes of operatons.


Remanng wthn the surface, say, of standard html codng, one can
nonetheless construct web pages through tradtonal aesthetc or desgn
approaches whch reflect the desres of the panter or desgner; ths s also
net art, to the effect that t partcpates n the dsperson. On the other
end of ths one-to-many stll-lfe presentaton, there are communtes,
self-desgnng (MOOs for example) or consttuted largely wthn the pregven
(lpMUDs for example), that nteract on a many-to-many dynamc foundaton;
these mght also be consdered net art, as mght any desgnng work on any
level of the net.

A net artst would presumably be someone who works prmarly across the
net, then (and by "net" refer to that dsperson of nterconnected
networks, the nternet - not mplyng that there s ether a totalty or that
all such networks are accessble to all users) - n ths manner, the artst
s defned by a splay of practces nvolvng, perhaps, computers and

s ths net art, no, yes, maybe? Now wll not nterfere.

want to emphasze dsperson (related to the concept of an "emsson," a
sourceless semotc spray of part-objects across the socal) and splay (a
spread of technques, delveres, languages, protocols, programs, objects,
part-objects, etc.) to emphasze, frst of all, the _suspenson_ (between
transmtter and producer) that occurs n net art, and second of all, the
relaton of net art to net communty, as n (net) art and (net) communty,
snce t s well to remember both the hgh-speed changes n the net (so that
art and communty develop) and the fact that a communty already has a
broad range of subjects, objects, practces, processes, and habt - that
net art s one component of the communty, perhaps nothng more.

(But she wll be stupd stupd. She wll be poor and cannot afford her
machne. She wll not have her machne. She wll be done wthout t.  She wll
not have her net art. She wll have none of t. She wll be done wthout t.)

But the hstory of the web, n fact, contradcts that, snce web communtes
(and all others wthn the darknet - text-based older applcatons of the
net - as well) are _consttuted_ themselves, at least n part, from
wthout; there are desgners and artsts nvolved n everythng from ThePalace
to RC bots - there are aesthetc crtera as well nvolved (not that artsts
or desgners necessarly have anythng to do wth aesthetcs). Languages
themselves - look at Perl (and for that matter, look at Perl poetry) -
are the result of aesthetc, as well as pragmatc (syntactc, semantc)
decsons; worlds are constructed languages (even .jpg or .gf standards
can be consdered bascally lngustc n nature). On ths level, all
communtes, net art, avatars, phenomena on the net are _legble,_
well-defned, f not well understood, able to be comprehended by everyone.
(For example kanj codng s legble to me, but not ts readng.) Whle ths
sees obvous, t s well to remember that the habtus n everyday lfe s not
so comprehendble, that the sgnfer leaks (across or through vsual or
other _aura_), that such thngs as the materal culture of the book have
not been gven the attenton they deserve. The body, too, s central to
everyday habtus - n a way dfferent from on-screen phenomena whch are
foreclosed. (For example, a MOO avatar exsts ndependently of the user
who created t, often endng n the body bag when the user s off-lne. The
avatar s well-defned wthn MOO programmng lang- uage, even f t
nadvertently breaks or hacks that language.)

(But she wll buld a new machne. She wll be done wth t. She wll have t,
ths new machne. She wll have done wth t.)

So that net art s legble, consttuted as such; t also oscllates (dependng
on the aesthetcs and condtons of the work - ncludng the poltcal and
fnancal economes at work) between eternty (n-fntely reproducble,
safeguarded aganst decay) and ephemeralty (web pages come and go, are
vulnerable to change from wthn or wthout, vulnerable to the machnes that
house them and ther mrrors -vulnerable n fact to servers, routers, and
the whole apparatus of the net (ncludng the abandonment of earler
languages and applcatons such as veronc, mm, and so forth). Net art can
play wth these ssues and consequences of temporalty (wear-and-tear,
changng admnstra- tons, even ncreased computer speeds whch render older
games obso- lete as ther runnng speed ncreases beyond that of human
bandwdth); these are factors that parallel, n hghly charged metaphorc
ways, everyday lfe outsde the computer.

Haha dd nterfere.

Net art can, of course, also program metaphors for lfe (or anythng else)
_wthn_ the computer, as everythng from the Elza program, Conway's Lfe,
A, AL, etc. demonstrates. Net art can then be hghly process-orented,
nteractve - and ths s a more common ground than gallery art, whch mght
also be nteractve, but even now tends towards queter aesthetcs - n fact
there s a whole aesthetcs of contemplaton wthn modernsm that remans at
work. But net art s not _necessarly_ dynamc, even though on a techncal
level t depends on a contnuous refreshng of the screen. (One mght say
that net art s an enuncaton, that t s a dynamc sgnfcaton n ths regard -
but ths mght be pushng the phenomenology nto the apparatus.)

would say that the net tself has a tendency towards the real, by whch
mean that as bandwdth ncreases, there s a trajectory towards a seamless
vrtual realty of one or another sort, and that net art occupes postons
wthn ths trajectory, n the sense of the openng of the "world of the
work." ASCart for example no longer appears cuttng-edge, no matter how t
s typed/cut; t has acheved the status of the trgnometrc, everythng
solved. Newsgroups on the other hand - whch largely use ASC- such as
alt.warlords or alt.- drty.whores or alt.adjectve.noun.verb.verb.verb,
work wthn lang- uagng worlds that relate to concept art, oulpos,
epstolary novels, and postmodern poetcs; the vrtual s constructed as n
any lterary formaton, and tends to hold ts own (n the mdst of ncreased
spam, however).

(But she wll have net art. She wll do wth net art. She wll have net art
on her new machne. She wll do wth her new machne, net art on her new
machne. She wll do wth t.)

So that f by "net art" one references, say, the vsual, n leu of or n
addton to language/typng, there s a raster to consder, a ras- ter of
ncreasng fneness and densty. And ths raster (here would also nclude
ssues of language, downloadng, RAM, etc.) demands hgher bandwdths; there
s a percolatng celng to the economy and class of the dsperson, then -
ssues of haves and havenots appear, whch are dfferent from those rased
by the gallery. Galleres are accessble, presumably, to everyone; not
everyone has a Pentum V or even an BM 286, or even relatvely free (.e.
outsde of K12/U) access to these.

Now wll not nterfere agan.

Net art of course s net art, on and off the net; there are conferences,
off-lne publcatons, and so forth. One mght consder t as a dscursve
formaton, much as vdeo art also dsperses/dsports tself across a varety
of stes, all ultmately referencng the node of the apparatus tself. Net
art tends towards manfestos, poltczaton; power seems everywhere and
nowhere at all on the net, and there s the smple fact that every net
address s adjacent, just a clck away, from every other, from government
to anarchst commune. Everythng s equally close; t may be as easy to
dsrupt power as t s to communcate wth a frend. The potental s always
there; every ste tends towards the web page one s lookng at. Attenton
sktters; surfng s a reasonable term for the frsson of surface phenomena
and fetshzaton that characterzes the web.

(He wll love her new machne, her net art. He wll love her, she  wll love
her net art, her new machne.)

All of ths ponts, ths essay whch begns and then flounders, towards
nothng; every sentence here s hopelessly nave, and every concluson, f
there are any, s to be contested. have a desre to thnk through net art
as nothng more or less than another dscursve formaton whch eerly
parallels concept art - the same rgor, mystque, sense of "workng the
culture," seems to apply. nstead of seeng net art as a moment or n
transton, t develops through the same sorts of nsttutons (museums,
galleres, unverstes, syndcates) that art always has. The dfference s n
the potental varety, dsplay, splay, dsperson - all these terms sgnallng
an exhauston of praxs tself, as praxs forecloses aganst exhauston. There
s often lttle play or the relatve nformalty of hackng; there s a great
deal of asserton. Ths reflects the condton of contemporary art, whch
always has to assert tself for more than appearance's sake; n a deep
sense, at least n north amerca, no one takes t serously.

(She s not stupd on her new machne.)

The essay flounders, though, snce ths contrbutes nothng as well. 'd say
'd want to lve n such and such a communty, but wouldn't want to desgn t.
'd say, there are spaces openng wth delght everywhere and the messah s
seven years old and wll be taken up after death by others. 'd say, of
course, that there s none such, just as there sn't a node or vector,
just as the net through the densty of raster ncrasngly terns towards the
membrane, whch  hopelessly don't see becomng sentent anytme soon.
nstead, t parallels the rest of the culture, foreclosng, spreadng,
breakng nto peces, collapsng, coagulatng, as f there were a presence or
presences behnd the nodes.

(She does her net art on her new machne and s t not stupd on her new
machne. He loves her new machne.) recognze 'm stupd. 'm wrtng ths on the
way to Sngapore on the way to Sydney. 'm now wrtng ths n Sngapore. Ths
nert body travels at hgh speed just to be the beng whch s _gettng any-
where,_ on the net (here) n Sngapore whch connects fne to gol.com n
Fukuoka, more stutterng to panx.com n New York. But recognze 'm stupd,
the hurtlng body doesn't make a dfference, or the dfference t makes s n
the text, whch s always already foreclosed, always n a state of
suspenson, md-ar, although there are other bodes as f knockng on the net
through forms of representaton, the Zapatstas among them. All of these
practces nteract and hear and see them whch s a form of readng them.
can't con neologsms, nsert the "." nto net.art as f there were a break
or accomplshment by the presence of punctuaton. That s the fault of my

'm not 'd say stupd here.

'd say, here 'd tell you more about myself, as the essay begns to decay
from a poston t never had. But won't do that ether; t would be words,
such as mltary, amanuenss, gothc. t would be tal-endngs such as .txt,
.jpg, .cfg, .dll, .net. t would never be .art. t would never go
anywhere, but be flled wth the haphazardness of everyday lfe. t would be
lke what goes on before people get hold of t and turn t nto a
coagulaton, chapter-headngs, the true-real lst of potentals. 'd say t's
a hurtlng body. dspersed, splayed, played, spurted, emtted. t's say t's
a _luge._

(She drves the two-man luge.)

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