. community —

DATA DIARIES by CORY ARCANGEL on Turbulence

For Immediate Release
February 17, 2003
New Commissioned Work on Turbulence: DATA DIARIES by Cory Arcangel
http://turbulence.org/Works/arcangel/index.html

With an introduction by Alex Galloway
http://turbulence.org/Works/arcangel/alex.php

DATA DIARIES is 11 hours of video footage which was generated by
tricking Quicktime into thinking the RAM of a home computer is video.
This was done once for each day in January 2003. Watch as Cory's emails,
letters, webpages, DSL data, songs, and anything else he worked on that
day float by as a totally-psyched attention deficit disorder 15 frames
per second video experience.

BIOGRAPHY

Cory Arcangel is a computer artist who lives and works in Manhattan. He
is a founding member of BEIGE [aka the Beige programming crew/Beige
Records], a loose knit crew of like-minded computer programmers, and
enthusiasts. Their work has been called "genius" by XLR8R magazine, and
they were recently named in the New York Times noteworthy art moments of
2002 poll. Together they have pioneered the practice of recycling
obsolete 8bit computers and video game systems to make art.

When not dabbling with old computers or doing research projects about
hacker culture, Cory sometimes makes work with his sister Jamie. In
1989, they founded the Buffalo New York based punk group "Insecticide."
Documentation of their first [and last] world tour of Buffalo, New York
was recently screened at Whitechapel Gallery in London, and will have
its New York premiere in February. He also makes work with the Radical
Software Group. Documentation of a Carnivore client made in
collaboration with RSG can be seen as a May Whitney Museum Artport site,
and a recent research project about Commodore 64 video graffiti done
with RSG can be seen at www.rhizome.org/LLAS

Cory has received grants from Turbulence, and Harvestworks.org [a
sponsored project with funds from NYSCA], and has exhibited at
Lothringer 13, Munich [BEIGE solo show]; Deadtech, Chicago [BEIGE solo
show]; Daniel Reich Gallery, New York; The American Museum of the Moving
Image, New York; and Eyebeam Atelier, New York. Interviews, articles,
and reviews have appeared in Art on Paper, Surface, Select, Life Sucks
Die, Wigged.net, and the Chicago Reader.

For more information about Turbulence's commissioning program, please
visit http://turbulence.org/guidelines.html

Comments

Michael Szpakowski 12 years, 12 months agoReply

> DATA DIARIES is 11 hours of video footage which was
> generated by
> tricking Quicktime into thinking the RAM of a home
> computer is video.
> This was done once for each day in January 2003.
> Watch as Cory's emails,
> letters, webpages, DSL data, songs, and anything
> else he worked on that
> day float by >
..but of course that's not what we see at all. There's
no way the viewer can know that what is on the screen
has some connection to Cory's this and that except by
way of the artist statement.
Take the 'concept' away and the poverty of the thing
immediately becomes apparent - if the artist simply
constructed the images we see we might say, OK that's
vaguely interesting and attractive in a kind of
wallpaper way for about 2 seconds but 11 hours
…please!
By far the most interesting thing about the piece is
the neat lo fi handwritten bubbles and the general
presentation of the piece, but then maybe that took a
little bit of craft.
michael


=====
http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/

__________________________________________________
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Marisa Olson 12 years, 12 months agoReply

"data diaries" is one of the most beautiful things i've see on the
net in quite some time and, in all honesty, it's restored some of my
recently lost faith/enchantment with net art.

{of course, one may argue that it is not "net art" because arcangel
is not a "net artist," per se, but it's rendered in a way that bears
site-specificity/-reflexivity, given that it's encoded for a
primarily internet-based video medium/channel and is, afterall,
presented on the internet…}

"poverty"? arte poverte this is not, if only because it clearly has a
very specific content (to bracket medium-specific issues). if
"poverty" refers to a certain aesthetic void, i would strongly
disagree. the work is far from static and is visually stunning–yes,
i said stunning… nonetheless, some of history's greatest painters
gave us work that might also be called "wallpaper" but their blue
boxes, white on white, image loops, pinstripes, and swaths of
camouflage remain rich in both content and poetics.

to me, this trumps the work currently being called "net art" simply
because it exists on the net, without awareness of network conditions
or which simply caters to a darwinian-"evolutionary" lust for higher
technologies, resulting in self-congratulatory didactics.. two main
pitfalls in much contemporary "net art," as i see it. this is another
reason that arcangel's interest in "defunct' media and dirt-style
design are refreshing, if not downright nostalgia-inducing.

marisa

> > DATA DIARIES is <…>
>..but of course that's not what we see at all. There's
>no way the viewer can know that what is on the screen
>has some connection to Cory's this and that except by
>way of the artist statement.
>Take the 'concept' away and the poverty of the thing
>immediately becomes apparent - if the artist simply
>constructed the images we see we might say, OK that's
>vaguely interesting and attractive in a kind of
>wallpaper way for about 2 seconds but 11 hours
>…please!
>By far the most interesting thing about the piece is
>the neat lo fi handwritten bubbles and the general
>presentation of the piece, but then maybe that took a
>little bit of craft.
>michael

_________________
Marisa S. Olson
Associate Director
SF Camerawork
415. 863. 1001

MTAA 12 years, 12 months agoReply

On Monday, February 17, 2003, at 07:42 PM, Michael Szpakowski wrote:

>
>> DATA DIARIES is 11 hours of video footage which was
>> generated by
>> tricking Quicktime into thinking the RAM of a home
>> computer is video.
>> This was done once for each day in January 2003.
>> Watch as Cory's emails,
>> letters, webpages, DSL data, songs, and anything
>> else he worked on that
>> day float by >
> ..but of course that's not what we see at all. There's
> no way the viewer can know that what is on the screen
> has some connection to Cory's this and that except by
> way of the artist statement.
> Take the 'concept' away and the poverty of the thing
> immediately becomes apparent - if the artist simply
> constructed the images we see we might say, OK that's
> vaguely interesting and attractive in a kind of
> wallpaper way for about 2 seconds but 11 hours
> …please!

first that argument never wins. there's nothing wrong with having to
know a few things to appreciate an artwork. you've been trained from
birth to look at media in different ways and there is no reason why you
shouldn't learn something that takes 15 seconds to read to appreciate
another level of this work.

the work itself is very interesting to look at without knowing anything
about it. what's interesting is it's organic yet machine-like
animation. it's full of surprises if you watch it for a little while.

> –
<t.whid>
www.mteww.com
</t.whid>

Michael Szpakowski 12 years, 12 months agoReply

<there's nothing
wrong with having to
know a few things to appreciate an artwork. you've
been trained from
birth to look at media in different ways and there
is no reason why you
shouldn't learn something that takes 15 seconds to
read to appreciate
another level of this work.>
I absolutly agree -if there's any substance there.
Here there is none.
It's about as interesting as the lights on/off piece
which won the Turner prize here last year.
<what's interesting is it's organic yet
machine-like
animation. it's full of surprises if you watch it
for a little while.>
so's the visual that comes with my defrag utility.
michael

=====
http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/

__________________________________________________
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Michael Szpakowski 12 years, 12 months agoReply

What can I say -I'm glad it does it for you.
I found it utterly trite. I'm not interested in
arguing whether it's net art or not ( who cares
whether it's this or that critical category).
I meant poverty in the sense of artistically and
intellectually bankrupt.
michael
— "Marisa S. Olson" <marisa@sfcamerawork.org>
wrote:
> "data diaries" is one of the most beautiful things
> i've see on the
> net in quite some time and, in all honesty, it's
> restored some of my
> recently lost faith/enchantment with net art.
>
> {of course, one may argue that it is not "net art"
> because arcangel
> is not a "net artist," per se, but it's rendered in
> a way that bears
> site-specificity/-reflexivity, given that it's
> encoded for a
> primarily internet-based video medium/channel and
> is, afterall,
> presented on the internet…}
>
> "poverty"? arte poverte this is not, if only because
> it clearly has a
> very specific content (to bracket medium-specific
> issues). if
> "poverty" refers to a certain aesthetic void, i
> would strongly
> disagree. the work is far from static and is
> visually stunning–yes,
> i said stunning… nonetheless, some of history's
> greatest painters
> gave us work that might also be called "wallpaper"
> but their blue
> boxes, white on white, image loops, pinstripes, and
> swaths of
> camouflage remain rich in both content and poetics.
>
> to me, this trumps the work currently being called
> "net art" simply
> because it exists on the net, without awareness of
> network conditions
> or which simply caters to a darwinian-"evolutionary"
> lust for higher
> technologies, resulting in self-congratulatory
> didactics.. two main
> pitfalls in much contemporary "net art," as i see
> it. this is another
> reason that arcangel's interest in "defunct' media
> and dirt-style
> design are refreshing, if not downright
> nostalgia-inducing.
>
> marisa
>
> > > DATA DIARIES is <…>
> >..but of course that's not what we see at all.
> There's
> >no way the viewer can know that what is on the
> screen
> >has some connection to Cory's this and that except
> by
> >way of the artist statement.
> >Take the 'concept' away and the poverty of the
> thing
> >immediately becomes apparent - if the artist simply
> >constructed the images we see we might say, OK
> that's
> >vaguely interesting and attractive in a kind of
> >wallpaper way for about 2 seconds but 11 hours
> >…please!
> >By far the most interesting thing about the piece
> is
> >the neat lo fi handwritten bubbles and the general
> >presentation of the piece, but then maybe that took
> a
> >little bit of craft.
> >michael
>
> _________________
> Marisa S. Olson
> Associate Director
> SF Camerawork
> 415. 863. 1001
> + ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
> -> post: list@rhizome.org
> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
> +
> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
> out in the
> Membership Agreement available online at
http://rhizome.org/info/29.php


=====
http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/

__________________________________________________
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Ivan Pope 12 years, 12 months agoReply

From: Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: DATA DIARIES by CORY ARCANGEL on Turbulence

> — "Marisa S. Olson" <marisa@sfcamerawork.org>
> wrote:
> > "data diaries" is one of the most beautiful things
> > i've see on the
> > net in quite some time and, in all honesty, it's
> > restored some of my
> > recently lost faith/enchantment with net art.

> What can I say -I'm glad it does it for you.
> I found it utterly trite. I'm not interested in
> arguing whether it's net art or not ( who cares
> whether it's this or that critical category).
> I meant poverty in the sense of artistically and
> intellectually bankrupt.

At least we are arguing about art for a change!
I would say one thing that is just not worth claiming is that something is
'artistically and intellectually bankrupt'.
This obviously works for a lot of people and is withing a long and honorable
tradition (as was the lights on/lights off piece for the Turner prize).
It's bankrupt to claim an absolute position in relation to art.
I just love to see this sort of work come into the world. I'm glad there are
people who bother to do this.
More of everything, please.
Cheers,
Ivan

MTAA 12 years, 12 months agoReply

><there's nothing
> wrong with having to
> know a few things to appreciate an artwork. you've
> been trained from
> birth to look at media in different ways and there
> is no reason why you
> shouldn't learn something that takes 15 seconds to
> read to appreciate
> another level of this work.>
>I absolutly agree -if there's any substance there.
>Here there is none.
>It's about as interesting as the lights on/off piece
>which won the Turner prize here last year.
><what's interesting is it's organic yet
> machine-like
> animation. it's full of surprises if you watch it
> for a little while.>
>so's the visual that comes with my defrag utility.
>michael
>


so why haven't you turned your defrag utility into an artwork?

(in my experience defrag images aren't as interesting as cory's work.)

[also, i wouldn't call cory's piece net art, it's simply video
delivered via the web imo]

<twhid>
http://www.mteww.com
</twhid>

Michael Szpakowski 12 years, 12 months agoReply

Hi Ivan et al
<At least we are arguing about art for a change!>
absolutely
< I would say one thing that is just not worth
claiming is that something is
'artistically and intellectually bankrupt'.>
< This obviously works for a lot of people and is
withing a long and honorable
tradition (as was the lights on/lights off piece for
the Turner prize).>
why?- do we just have to be endlessly relativist? -
the longer tradition is one of polemic in art- I'm
glad for them if people like the piece -I can't see it
at all myself.
Duchamp and Cage in their time were quite interesting
sideshows on the fringes of art - to try to quarry the
same terrain today seems to me to be indicative of a
deep poverty of ideas and a deep disconnection from
the world.
Gareth Gates 'works' for a lot of people, Big
Brother 'works' for a lot of people and the Daily
Sport 'works' for a lot of people - but we can go
deeper than that!
Naturally I'm expressing an *opinion* here - I'm not
in a position to *stop* work like this nor of course
would I want to, but I think in terms of an attempt to
foster critical dialogue an appeal simply to let a
hundred flowers bloom doesn't cut it -it seems to me
it is worth arguing about what constitutes "good" in
art and why.
So - one concept,which has to be explained to us in an
intro, some vaguely attractive patterns and perhaps a
feeling that "we're in the loop". Thin fare!
best
michael

> It's bankrupt to claim an absolute position in
> relation to art.
> I just love to see this sort of work come into the
> world. I'm glad there are
> people who bother to do this.
> More of everything, please.
> Cheers,
> Ivan
>
> + ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
> -> post: list@rhizome.org
> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
> http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
> +
> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
> out in the
> Membership Agreement available online at
http://rhizome.org/info/29.php


=====
http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/

__________________________________________________
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Ivan Pope 12 years, 12 months agoReply

—– Original Message —–
From: Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com>

> why?- do we just have to be endlessly relativist? -

Well, I don't want to get too literal about this, but you used the term
'artistically and
> intellectually bankrupt'. To me that implies that the piece had run out of
artistic and intellectual credit, i.e. positioned against those works that
still had artistic and intellectual currency to hand. That's a relative
argument to me.

> -it seems to me
> it is worth arguing about what constitutes "good" in
> art and why.

ok, point taken about polemic. I'd like to see you set out what you consider
'good' (which is of course another relativist concept).
Also, did you consider Cory's piece to be bad art or not art at all. Your
original statement that it is 'artistically bankrupt' implies that it is
art, but art that has gone bust.
Cheers,
Ivan

MTAA 12 years, 12 months agoReply

>Hi Ivan et al
><At least we are arguing about art for a change!>
>absolutely
>< I would say one thing that is just not worth
> claiming is that something is
> 'artistically and intellectually bankrupt'.>
>< This obviously works for a lot of people and is
> withing a long and honorable
> tradition (as was the lights on/lights off piece for
> the Turner prize).>
>why?- do we just have to be endlessly relativist? -
>the longer tradition is one of polemic in art- I'm
>glad for them if people like the piece -I can't see it
>at all myself.
>Duchamp and Cage in their time were quite interesting
>sideshows on the fringes of art - to try to quarry the
>same terrain today seems to me to be indicative of a
>deep poverty of ideas and a deep disconnection from
>the world.


say what?

duchamp and cage on the fringes of art?

what art history are you talking about?

both these artists are huge figures of 20th century art. Duchamp is
the most influential artist of the 20th century. Like it or hate it
his work has shaped the art of the later 20th century more than any
other single artist. 70s Conceptualism and later neo-conceptualism;
Fluxus; Installation Art; Video Art (which in part came out of Fluxus
via nam jun paik, also nauman, acconci etc); performance art; lots of
later day artists who are hard to pigeon-hole including charles ray,
matt barney, tom friedman, lots of ybas; most of the 'relational
aesthetic' stuff of the 90s like Rikrit Tiravanij are just some of
the artists and movements that have been influenced by Duchamp.

All art builds on what has come before, sometimes it leaps forward,
sometimes it steps forward. to deny that is to deny how human
creativity functions.

<twhid>
http://www.mteww.com
</twhid>

Michael Szpakowski 12 years, 12 months agoReply

Hi Ivan
good?- ( including honourable failures) - this last
year on the net- jorn ebners 'lee marvin toolbox',
david crawford's stop motion work, lewis lacook, lot
of Eryk Salvaggio's work, lot of jess loseby's stuff,
lots of other small delights.
Elsewhere: bruce nauman, bartok, shostakovich,brecht,
shakespeare,beethoven ,picasso,hopper.
some of shirin neshat, cornell, joan
brossa,kitaj,harry callahan,william
kentridge,francesca woodman, berio, steve reich, howe
gelb, will oldham,wim vanderkeybus, david foster
wallace, primo levi, w.g sebald, richard ford.
& loads more in both categories ..but with the
reservation that nothing on the net yet matches for me
any of the second category,
which quite possibly could mean that I'm a dinosaur.
What makes all the above notable for me?- engagement
with the human and with the human being in society;
high degree of technical ability ( and a willingness
to undertake drudgery) sometimes bordering on
virtuosity but not to an obsessional extent & rarely
entirely for it's own sake; universality - relatively
independent of context -even though often very much of
it's time nevertheless it resonates for us now..
..and I think I'd want to argue that somewhere in
there lies a framework for what justifies art as a
human activity.
Maybe we have a semantic problem here -what I meant by
relativism is the belief that valuations are and can
only ever be relative - absolutely true in a trivial
sense (in the long run we're all dust) but not in the
historical, hundreds of yearsy medium term scale which
is the only really graspable and meaningful one for us
humans- us and our culturally preserved memories - in
this light Mozart undoubtedly wrote more important (
and better) music than Salieri &c.
Of course it's a complex area and full of
philosophical pitfalls (and I'm certainly don't claim
immunity here) but I think it's terrain worth
contemplating and contesting.
best
michael


— Ivan Pope <ivan@ivanpope.com> wrote:
> —– Original Message —–
> From: Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com>
>
> > why?- do we just have to be endlessly relativist?
> -
>
> Well, I don't want to get too literal about this,
> but you used the term
> 'artistically and
> > intellectually bankrupt'. To me that implies that
> the piece had run out of
> artistic and intellectual credit, i.e. positioned
> against those works that
> still had artistic and intellectual currency to
> hand. That's a relative
> argument to me.
>
> > -it seems to me
> > it is worth arguing about what constitutes "good"
> in
> > art and why.
>
> ok, point taken about polemic. I'd like to see you
> set out what you consider
> 'good' (which is of course another relativist
> concept).
> Also, did you consider Cory's piece to be bad art or
> not art at all. Your
> original statement that it is 'artistically
> bankrupt' implies that it is
> art, but art that has gone bust.
> Cheers,
> Ivan
>


=====
http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/

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curt cloninger 12 years, 12 months agoReply

Michael S. wrote:
good?…
steve reich, howe gelb, will oldham,wim vanderkeybus, david foster wallace, primo levi, w.g sebald, richard ford. & loads more…

What makes all the above notable for me?- engagement with the human and with the human being in society; high degree of technical ability ( and a willingness to undertake drudgery) sometimes bordering on virtuosity but not to an obsessional extent & rarely entirely for it's own sake; universality - relatively
independent of context -even though often very much of
it's time nevertheless it resonates for us now..
..and I think I'd want to argue that somewhere in
there lies a framework for what justifies art as a
human activity.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
curt responds:
Scott McCloud describes the artistic process in 6 stages:
1. idea/purpose
2. form [what might be called "genre"]
3. idiom [what I would call "style"]
4. structure
5. craft
6. surface

He says artists start at #6 and work backwards as they mature. (Sadly, a lot of net artists skip phases 6-3 entirely.) McCloud says the great artists in the end are going to focus on either #2 or #1. Picasso chose #2. Van Gough chose #1. Miles Davis chose #2. John Coltrane chose #1. Those who choose #1 lock onto a form that will carry them where they want to go, and then they start drilling down.

Personally, I want to see more artists who choose #1. So much net art is so formalistic. Which is not invalid or wrong or any of those things. But I personally don't want "more of everything." To me, it's not "all good." I'm glad I don't have to choose between Miles and Coltrane, but if I had to choose, I would choose Coltrane from '64-'67 over Miles Davis' entire catalog. And that's really saying something, because I own and love and listen to about 15 Miles CDs, from the the early 50s to the mid-70s.

But there is something at once blindingly elevated and painfully ravaged about those late-era Coltrane recordings that signify them to me as more valuable. It's music yearning like a god in pain. And Davis, smooth and clever and masterful and genius as he was, never achieved that.

Probably he didn't have the chops or the personal depth to achieve it. Probably he wasn't even interested in achieving it. But at least he didn't fail to achieve it for fear of ridicule, or for fear of failure, or for fear of trying.

I think a lot of net art is impersonal and obligatorily formalistic because –
1. artists don't really have anything personal to say (other than making clever general observations about the medium vis society, which doesn't really count as personal)
2. artists were raised in a system where "artist as hero" was the taboo faux pas to avoid at all costs.
3. artists are afraid to be anything other than safely cynical (or politically vocal, as long as it accords with the latest approved cause – anti-corporate, anti-occident, anti-masculine, anti-gallery, etc.)

Something like Mark Napier's internet flag is a pleasant exception. Although not autobiographical by any means, and certainly not unaware of form, the project is still concerned with #1 (idea/purpose) more than #2 (form).

Regarding Cory's work, he's into the retro-tech fetishism, which is necessarily formalistic, but I don't think he's doing it to be chic or because he's afraid of tackling other things. That's just where he is and what he's into.

I'm not trying to mandate anything, but I do have a personal opinion. I would like to see us get over our infantile fascination with the medium in and of itself and begin using the medium to plumb topics deeper and more resonant. Clever ideas are a dime a dozen. I had one on the toilet this morning. Music yearning like a god in pain is something else entirely.

MTAA 12 years, 12 months agoReply

At 9:22 -0500 2/19/03, curt cloninger wrote:
>Michael S. wrote:
>good?…
>steve reich, howe gelb, will oldham,wim vanderkeybus, david foster
>wallace, primo levi, w.g sebald, richard ford. & loads more…
>
>What makes all the above notable for me?- engagement with the human
>and with the human being in society; high degree of technical
>ability ( and a willingness to undertake drudgery) sometimes
>bordering on virtuosity but not to an obsessional extent & rarely
>entirely for it's own sake; universality - relatively
>independent of context -even though often very much of
>it's time nevertheless it resonates for us now..
>..and I think I'd want to argue that somewhere in
>there lies a framework for what justifies art as a
>human activity.
>
>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>curt responds:
>Scott McCloud describes the artistic process in 6 stages:
>1. idea/purpose
>2. form [what might be called "genre"]
>3. idiom [what I would call "style"]
>4. structure
>5. craft
>6. surface
>

hi curt,

you're talking about Scott McCloud the comix guy?

i read his first book 'understanding comix' back in the day (seeing
as i did comix for a while
(http://www.sonic.net/~comix/ptext/94.htm), got very bored of it, all
black ink on bristol board).

he's an idiot. well, let me back up. he's not an idiot, but i
wouldn't take any art lessons from him. in 'understanding comix' he
attempts to make a connection from american underground comix to
egyptian art (they are both sequential static images creating a
narrative is his reasoning) which is totally absurd and irrelevant.

his artistic process above doesn't seem any more incisive. he reminds
me of pop psychology (the dr. phil brand) but he's making poor
arguments in art criticism and art history.

take care,

<twhid>
http://www.mteww.com
</twhid>

curt cloninger 12 years, 12 months agoReply

Hi t.,

We disagree about McCloud. He defines comics (not just american underground comics, but all comics) as sequential art, so how is his discussing sequential pictorial Egyptian narrative totally absurd and irrelevant given his definition? As I continue to explore web art from a narrative angle (as something between film and literature) McCloud's several insights on comics are particularly relevant.

Anyway, to prima facie dismiss an argument as unincisive is not really dialogue. your critique is unincisive.

i remain,
curt

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
t. wrote:

you're talking about Scott McCloud the comix guy?

he's an idiot. well, let me back up. he's not an idiot, but i
wouldn't take any art lessons from him. in 'understanding comix' he attempts to make a connection from american underground comix to egyptian art (they are both sequential static images creating a narrative is his reasoning) which is totally absurd and irrelevant.

his artistic process above doesn't seem any more incisive. he reminds me of pop psychology (the dr. phil brand) but he's making poor arguments in art criticism and art history.

MTAA 12 years, 12 months agoReply

At 11:29 -0500 2/19/03, curt cloninger wrote:
>Hi t.,
>
>We disagree about McCloud. He defines comics (not just american
>underground comics, but all comics) as sequential art, so how is his
>discussing sequential pictorial Egyptian narrative totally absurd
>and irrelevant given his definition? As I continue to explore web
>art from a narrative angle (as something between film and
>literature) McCloud's several insights on comics are particularly
>relevant.

++++
yo curt,

it's irrelevant in that those who pioneered newspaper comics in
america in the early part of the 20th weren't taking any cues from
Egyptian art; they weren't thinking about Egyptian art. they were
being directly influenced by political cartoons from 1800s in both
America and Europe (Nash, Daumier, etc) (btw Marcel Duchamp's bro was
a cartoonist for newspapers, it was considered very uncool so he
changed his name to Jacques Villon ).

to say simply that it's a sequential pictorial narrative therefor
draw some relation is absurd. film (which fits the def as well) is
also directly related to Egyptian art? Early comics creators weren't
directly influenced by any art historical form of sequential art. the
only connection is a general art historical connection but then you
can say everyone from Titian to Matt Barney have connections to
Egyptian art.

it's just a rather obvious play to attempt to give contemporary
comics some sort of art historical or cultural cache that they don't
need. they live and breathe on their own. so perhaps it isn't an
absurd idea, simply an irrelevant observation.


>
>Anyway, to prima facie dismiss an argument as unincisive is not
>really dialogue. your critique is unincisive.
>

+++
that's true, it's not very incisive. people can look at the list and
make their own opinion. perhaps later i'll back up my comment, no
time now.

take care,

>i remain,
>curt
>
>+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>t. wrote:
>
>you're talking about Scott McCloud the comix guy?
>
>he's an idiot. well, let me back up. he's not an idiot, but i
>wouldn't take any art lessons from him. in 'understanding comix' he
>attempts to make a connection from american underground comix to
>egyptian art (they are both sequential static images creating a
>narrative is his reasoning) which is totally absurd and irrelevant.
>
>his artistic process above doesn't seem any more incisive. he
>reminds me of pop psychology (the dr. phil brand) but he's making
>poor arguments in art criticism and art history.
>+ ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
>-> post: list@rhizome.org
>-> questions: info@rhizome.org
>-> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
>-> give: http://rhizome.org/support
>+
>Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
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<twhid>
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</twhid>

Michael Szpakowski 12 years, 12 months agoReply

I wanted to have a think about what you'd written
here, Curt ,before I responded.
I haven't read the McCloud book and I'll try to and
I'm not sure about his schematization but I feel very
close to the territory that you're talking about in
your discussion of #1 and #2, except it seems to me
that every really great work is some combination of
these, which in a way is no more than the truism that
great art is a marriage of form and content; however,
like many truisms its worth revisiting because there
are depths behind it.
The reason that the "cry" at the heart of the late
Coltrane moves us so is because of the formal control
that is evident there, which articulates and presents
to us the heart of the "cry" -to feel deeply is
something that is available to all, to articulate that
feeling in something like "A Love Supreme" is
something that we acknowledge as very special;
likewise I think you're a bit hard on Miles - "ESP" in
it's entirety, for example, breaks my heart every
time! - the structure's there but there is emotional
substance and risk aplenty too.
Picasso also - I don't see him as a formalist.
Anyone who doubts the emotional power of something
like "Guernica" should ask themselves why it was
covered up during Colin Powell's speech to the UN.
Likewise many of the late works address very human
concerns about old age and declining powers ( oh and
so much else -there's a wonderful print in Sheffield
City museum called something like 'A Young Girl with
flowers leads a blind minotaur from a boat'- and it
speaks of so much -youth and age, the beauty of the
world, fear of blindness in general, an artist's fear
of blindness, what sight *means*, plus it's flawlessly
executed but without the glossy touches that a lesser
artist would feel compelled to insert).
But even formalism to some extent is a manifestation
of a very primal human urge both to order, and to
play.
Without going over it too consciously I'd always
thought of the two things ( your #1 and #2) as going
way way back -the "cry" thing as being shamanic -
crying to change things, to bewail or to celebrate
events, facts, birth, death ,love, both the beauty and
hostility of the world that are human universals. This
urge very quickly develops form to go with it -you can
see the process going on both in cave painting and in
popular music ( where individuals who are disconnected
initially from any official artistic tradition forge
new forms for their "cry" - punk being an example,
though I'm not claiming this springs from nothing).
But the other facet for me is the development of this
urge to form ( your#2) and with it the idea of
artistic "tradition", of a cultural memory which is
available to each of us but which goes beyond each of
our lifetimes -and I don't see this as stultifying
tradition but as something nourishing that we each of
us both draw on and reject parts of.
That's an attempt to flesh out some of the assumptions
I'd bring to commenting on a specific work.
Where of course I absolutely agree with you is the
primacy of #1. As Primo Levi put it in the final
sentence of his 'To A Young Reader':
"Oh, I forgot to tell you that in order to write, one
must have something to write."
best
Michael




— curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com> wrote:
> Michael S. wrote:
> good?…
> steve reich, howe gelb, will oldham,wim
> vanderkeybus, david foster wallace, primo levi, w.g
> sebald, richard ford. & loads more…
>
> What makes all the above notable for me?- engagement
> with the human and with the human being in society;
> high degree of technical ability ( and a willingness
> to undertake drudgery) sometimes bordering on
> virtuosity but not to an obsessional extent & rarely
> entirely for it's own sake; universality -
> relatively
> independent of context -even though often very much
> of
> it's time nevertheless it resonates for us now..
> ..and I think I'd want to argue that somewhere in
> there lies a framework for what justifies art as a
> human activity.
>
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> curt responds:
> Scott McCloud describes the artistic process in 6
> stages:
> 1. idea/purpose
> 2. form [what might be called "genre"]
> 3. idiom [what I would call "style"]
> 4. structure
> 5. craft
> 6. surface
>
> He says artists start at #6 and work backwards as
> they mature. (Sadly, a lot of net artists skip
> phases 6-3 entirely.) McCloud says the great
> artists in the end are going to focus on either #2
> or #1. Picasso chose #2. Van Gough chose #1.
> Miles Davis chose #2. John Coltrane chose #1.
> Those who choose #1 lock onto a form that will carry
> them where they want to go, and then they start
> drilling down.
>
> Personally, I want to see more artists who choose
> #1. So much net art is so formalistic. Which is
> not invalid or wrong or any of those things. But I
> personally don't want "more of everything." To me,
> it's not "all good." I'm glad I don't have to
> choose between Miles and Coltrane, but if I had to
> choose, I would choose Coltrane from '64-'67 over
> Miles Davis' entire catalog. And that's really
> saying something, because I own and love and listen
> to about 15 Miles CDs, from the the early 50s to the
> mid-70s.
>
> But there is something at once blindingly elevated
> and painfully ravaged about those late-era Coltrane
> recordings that signify them to me as more valuable.
> It's music yearning like a god in pain. And Davis,
> smooth and clever and masterful and genius as he
> was, never achieved that.
>
> Probably he didn't have the chops or the personal
> depth to achieve it. Probably he wasn't even
> interested in achieving it. But at least he didn't
> fail to achieve it for fear of ridicule, or for fear
> of failure, or for fear of trying.
>
> I think a lot of net art is impersonal and
> obligatorily formalistic because –
> 1. artists don't really have anything personal to
> say (other than making clever general observations
> about the medium vis society, which doesn't really
> count as personal)
> 2. artists were raised in a system where "artist as
> hero" was the taboo faux pas to avoid at all costs.
> 3. artists are afraid to be anything other than
> safely cynical (or politically vocal, as long as it
> accords with the latest approved cause –
> anti-corporate, anti-occident, anti-masculine,
> anti-gallery, etc.)
>
> Something like Mark Napier's internet flag is a
> pleasant exception. Although not autobiographical
> by any means, and certainly not unaware of form, the
> project is still concerned with #1 (idea/purpose)
> more than #2 (form).
>
> Regarding Cory's work, he's into the retro-tech
> fetishism, which is necessarily formalistic, but I
> don't think he's doing it to be chic or because he's
> afraid of tackling other things. That's just where
> he is and what he's into.
>
> I'm not trying to mandate anything, but I do have a
> personal opinion. I would like to see us get over
> our infantile fascination with the medium in and of
> itself and begin using the medium to plumb topics
> deeper and more resonant. Clever ideas are a dime a
> dozen. I had one on the toilet this morning. Music
> yearning like a god in pain is something else
> entirely.
> + ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht ym tup
> -> post: list@rhizome.org
> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
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> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
> +
> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
> out in the
> Membership Agreement available online at
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=====
http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/

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curt cloninger 12 years, 12 months agoReply

Michael,

I agree with everything you say. McCloud also mentions artists that at some point in their carreer were more focussed on #1, and and at other times were more focussed on #2. And it's never and either or. Furthermore, it's not even anything you can split out like – now this artist is 72% focussed on exploring form, and 28% focussed on exploring idea. It's more like incarnational math, where Jesus was 100% divine and 100% human.

My point is that both Picasso and Davis were genre pioneers. They each forged several new genres. They were restless in their exploration of form (of course, all the while expressing their ideas along the way). So that's why they go in the #2 camp. It's not a dis by any means.

And to say Coltrane is into idea, this doesn't mean that he's unaware of form. On the contrary, he probably knows his single flavor of "avante-garde" form more deeply than Miles knew either the cool or electric fusion or hard bop or… But Coltrane in the end pushes his form to the limit, almost in an attempt to minimalize it in order to transcend it. He breaks up the quartet, and in the end it's just him and rasheed ali. He's not genre hopping. He's drilling down.

I agree that the genius of Davis and Picasso both is that they were able to express their ideas so well within each genre they established. But what can I say – to me none of thier technical mastery quite matches the intensity of either Van Gough or Coltrane. I love ESP too, but it's not Meditations.

This is why the first wave of punk rockers eschewed guitar solos. They didn't want to have to mess with any of that. They wanted to drill down and concentrate on the angst. Still, when Husker Du came along and they did use guitar solos, it was angsty and then some.

I see in net art a precedent for constantly pushing the medium/genre, either both conceptually or technichally. In many ways,the person who chooses a form and sticks with it is often overlooked. For example, Margaret Penney at Dream7.com is still drilling down into the territory she's mapped out. She's added some technical skills and some collaborators to her arsenal, but she's still exploring the same topics. Her explorations, although they occur within a genre, are topically driven.

peace,
curt

Christopher Fahey 12 years, 11 months agoReply

> > Take the 'concept' away and the poverty of the thing
> > immediately becomes apparent - if the artist simply
> > constructed the images we see we might say, OK that's
> > vaguely interesting and attractive in a kind of
> > wallpaper way for about 2 seconds but 11 hours
> > …please!
>
> first that argument never wins. there's nothing wrong with having to
> know a few things to appreciate an artwork. you've been trained from
> birth to look at media in different ways and there is no reason why
you
> shouldn't learn something that takes 15 seconds to read to appreciate
> another level of this work.

I'm coming into this one late, but…

I take a middle ground on this one. I agree with twhid that
seeking/having a little background knowledge is a perfectly normal part
of seeing and digging an artwork. Also, I think that the artwork is the
*site* as a whole: the text, the backgrounds, the hand-drawn balloons
(which I love too!), the videos, etc. It's not like the "artist's
statement" was published elsewhere or not at all, and it's not like you
need one of curt's decoder rings for this one. In many ways it's a
document of a performance (thus the term "diaries", although to me the
diary is of his creation of the site and the videos).

And I love cory's overall asthetic. And the honesty of the work. I loved
watching the data diaries videos. I watched it for many many minutes,
which is a lot longer than I last with a lot of more intellectually and
conceptually rich artwork.

But.. as someone who has mucked around with a hex editor and who has
seen a lot of work where the bytes of one file format (text, sound,
images, binary executables) are converted to another to produce weird
and sometimes interesting results, there is an element of "seen this
before" in the experience.

Furthermore, as a data-presentation and information design junkie, I
find it a wee bit disappointing that the beautiful patterns produced by
the conversion don't provide a whole lot of extra insight into the
source material. I have a problem with a lot of data-visualization
artwork where the result doesn't really provide any insight into the
data. As Michael points out, the data is meaningless to the viewer.
There is no way of telling if these are nice emails or mean emails, if
the images are maps, naked people, corporate logos, or flowcharts. There
is no insight because there is no legible 'content'.

I sort of expect that when data is taken from it's original format and
converted to a new format that the result provides some new insight into
the data, in much the same way that in painting
appropriated/recontextualized imagery should provide new insight into
the source material. My problem with data-visualization artwork is that
conversions of digitally-encoded data usually results in one thing:
gibberish. I'll backtrack a little bit here to say that as a digital
data junkie, I actually *can* tell a *little* bit about the data from
the seemingly random noise going by, but not much (this might be an
image, this might be sound, this might be text, etc).

In Cory's case, I think he is less concerned with the nature or content
of the source material itself than he is with the phenomenon of how
digital data is so *different* from human-readable data. And, like I
said, he's a bit of a performer in his honest presentation of the work
as autobiographical, chronicling his own journey into data junkiehood.

Anyone other data junkies notice that the quicktime movie downloads
superfast because it is simple, easily-compressed data?

-Cf

[christopher eli fahey]
art: http://www.graphpaper.com
sci: http://www.askrom.com
biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com

curt cloninger 12 years, 11 months agoReply

chris asks:
>Anyone other data junkies notice that the quicktime >movie downloads
> superfast because it is simple, easily-compressed
> data?

yep. this screenshot:
http://www.deepyoung.org/current/hardwired/cory.gif
is 2k and a 15 color gif (it's not been reduced by me in any way). viva-la-non-anti-aliasing.

Pall Thayer 12 years, 11 months agoReply

Wow, this work blows me away. I agree with a post I saw a few days ago that this of course is not netart but it is wonderful, beautiful computer art and truly definitive if you ask me. The wonderful thing about data art is not that the outcome is gibberish but abstraction of a sort that the artworld has never seen in any other medium. An abstract, visual representation of something that's extremely abstract to begin with. The first thing that came to my mind was, "It would be really cool if his computer were freely accessible on the net (via VNC for instance) and streaming this stuff at the same time." Give the user a chance to play around with visuals just by fiddling around with Cory's wordprocessor or something. As some may have noticed from other posts of mine, I think Carnivore is one of the biggest steps that have been taken in netart. This does the same for the computer itself. I wonder if Cory would be willing to reveal his process.