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<eyebeam><blast> Agents of Space & Time
Eyebeam is one of the most interesting listserves I have lurked so far,
and I find myself frustrated in lacking the luxury of TIME to read
carefully all the posts, and even enter discussion... I liked the series
of questions posted, but must admit that even those I skimmed. Shorter
posts are easier to read on the fly and grab random ideas from, while
longer "papers" are saved for later, to be printed out and read when I
have more time.
Having said that, my first and most pressing question is in regard to
TIME. How does it become a tool on the artist palette? How does one
design an online space that propagates a community of people who have no
time? And, how may attention economies and the aesthetics of navigation
be consciously utilized in the creative process of online art work?
One of the most interesting things about networked art is that artists
working in this realm are usually informed by discourse such as the one
transpiring on this list. It is a "space" where theory can be put to
practice, and practitioners and theoreticians can work together, often
reaching the exciting point where the line is blurred. It is this very
intersection that defines the newly emerging field of networked art. But
not until a Networked Art Marketplace (NAM) emerges will it be a field
with players, not users. Certainly, the established marketplace, run by
thoughtforms too static to ever accomodate artistic practice on
distirbuted networks will not do.
If art is defined by the audience/market, and there is no marketplace
for online art, where does this position artists working on the net? How
may this marketplace manifest? (I wonder is Saskia has some thought on
I was delighted to read John Ippolito's passing remark early in the
discussion that "Minimalist, Conceptual, and Performance Art offer more
useful models for online art than artforms that may appear closer
genealogically, such as film, video installation, or kinetic sculpture."
Take for instance John Cage, who embraced chance and unpredictability,
and early on explored distributed space. His work was a mix of Zen and
Dada that is a natural for online art explorations. Cage's interest in
Eastern religion was fused with certain materialism that appealed to
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, whose ideas of experimentation and
space relate directly.
I was hoping that Ippolito would elaborate some more on how these models
may prove useful to online artists. Specifically I wish he would
elaborate on how we may learn from the problems of marketability of
conceptual work in the traditional art world?
Katherine Hayles's comments about the "posthuman" in which she quotes
Latour's quasi-object concept is right on! (In his scheme, it is more or
less incidental that some actors are human, some are not).
As a practitioner, I have in "real time" felt how issues surrounding the
body (or rather, bodies) manifest on the web. Through Bodies
INCorporated (see www.arts.ucsb.edu/bodiesinc), issues of off/online
identity, public and private space, corporate structure, online art and
museums/physical spaces and representation in cyberspace were put to
test. Thousands of bodies have participated, constructing their bodies,
being reduced to text files in Limbo, deleting themselves through
elaborate process in Necropolis and being shown (with all their data) in
Showplace which was also projected in physical gallery spaces.
When it came time for designing a space for these bodies to actually
communicate, I came to a creative impasse. Many have experienced the
various spaces, created bodies and moved on. What would compel them to
return over and over again? The people who interest me are as busy as I
am and have no TIME to chat online. A new and exciting challenge
emerged: how to conceptualize the design and function of our online
agents. Working with the invisible aesthetic is a difficult and complex
venture and requires a collaborative effort with input from people
working in many fields. Humanities have been typically left out of the
the software design process, resulting in architectures that are
embedded with most disturbing language and aesthetics. Agents are the
foundation of the emerging electronic marketplace and it is critical to
have the creative and philosophical community partcipate in their
construction. Thus the relevance of I/O/D4: 'The Web Stalker'. As more
work emerges on this level -- challenging the idea of artists and
humanists acting as "content providers" or entertainers -- there is a
real posibility of artists becoming real players and not simply users to
Just as we may learn from minimal, conceptual and performance artists of
early seventies, we may find that some of the most innovative use of
technology on the net can be seen in how stocks are being exchanged as
the "middleman" gets displaced. Electronic commerce is being developed
with dizzying speed. Are we watching idly as it is being defined for us?
Or is this an opportunity to help define the emerging marketplace as the
existing art world is sitting still, dazed and confused?
Finally a comment on Athena Tacha's brief post on feudalism which I
found both intriguing and confusing. What do you mean by money? I put
forward that in this (non) space TIME is "money". How we design the
space and the agencies that propel it, will determine the values we
operate with -- this has little to do with materiality, ie. is it paper
or electronic... Now, how does this resemble (or not) feudalism?
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