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Re: <eyebeam><blast> Art and Digital Practices

dear Tim & brave forum participants,

(i caught up with my blast-inbox tonight, just in time for Tim's
interesting remarks; i again made excerpts from the posts of the past
two weeks that i found worth commenting on like i did a while ago, but
the excerpts alone are 14K long, so i'll spare us the ordeal; so _much_
is being said here ...)

i want to briefly respond to Tim's analysis of the Webstalker and the
Internet Weather Report.  the Webstalker is probably one of the most
exciting art projects on/for the internet that i've seen in a while. one
reason is probably that it is not a web-application, but that it is an
independent piece of software that gives you a view of the underside of
the web.

>A friend who spent some time using the Stalker on the Microsoft site,
>claimed to have begun to see the more important corporate connections
>of the web-site through the mapping produced by the Stalker.

this (and some of the graphic maps that the webstalker produces) remind
me a bit of Hans Haacke's projects when he maps the owners of real
estate in New York or elsewhere; it is a similar way of reading a
certain surface reality against the grain, from a different, surprising
angle. the web - that would be the claim of the webstalker - has to be
read from the outside, fo instance from the perspective of html coding
and the hyperlink structure.

>He also concluded that,
>ultimately, the Stalker's productions were both beautiful and pointless.
>I'm not sure if they qualify as art but, I think
>they qualify as politics.

i think that the apparent pointlessness goes together with the art; it
screens off the political potential which is what makes the art
interesting - these kinds of differentiations are, i would argue, rather
pointless. it is more interesting to look at the productivity of certain
practices, very much like tim is doing it.

a question that follows on from his analysis is the relationship between
such mapping devices, and a notion of critical *agency*. is the
webstalker a purely descriptive tool, or does it allow for more or less
deliberate and controlled interventions into the mapped webspace? what
are artistic projects for the internet that try to tease out and develop
new, creative and/or critical forms of agency that are germane to this



PS: Brian, could you say a few words about the concept of 'possessive
individualism' - i remember from way back when that i looked at the book
by - was his name MacPherson?

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