As a point of note,
At Susan Ryan's College Art Association panel on the future of
technological art in 2002(I think 2002, might have been 2001) during the
Q&A session, I boldly announced (in a bit of a illicit haze) that the
day after the WB2000, that Net Art was:
"...dead as your poor old Great Aunt Edna, as it has been recognized and
canonized by the Institution. So as with Expressionism, Neo-Dada, and
all the other movements that continue to live on as shambling corpses,
so will Net Art. So say your eulogies and write your histories, and
respectfully lay the body to rest. I, for one, am not centering my work
around Net Art any longer for this reason."
Now, this is not to say that net art is 'dead' per se, but at least in
institutional discourse it has been chiseled into art history and so has
been drained of its dynamism. To put it another way, in its recognition
on major biennials as a genre, it has been labeled with certain
Formalist criteria (not they are germane to the real genre at all), and
thus codified to the curatorial profession as such.
With mainstream recognition, Net Art also becomes one of the 'Sally
Struthers' categories of fine art that "Is in high demand, and makes
great money". And we have seen the young artists flock to the genre for
hopes of recognition and fame, like so many moths to the bug zapper.
Problem is, Cory Arcangel's work is dead now. Sure, it'll now be a hit
in the galleries and Art News, etc., but with any major point of
recognition, the 'real' progression of work is placed under the keepsake
dome and frozen. It has been placed under the glass with the pin stuck
through its thorax. With major credits like the WB, the discussion
ceases to be about the work.
This may seem like I'm saying that mainstream success is death, and to
an extent, I think that this is correct. Artists what wish to continue
to grow beyond that stultifying categorization of Biennial, or
Documenta, or whatever, exhibition, have to take that body of work and
burn it. Now. Or at least make significant progressions in it. The
groups that I have participated with in the WB seem to be doing just
that; they continue on, but in a zombie state for the legions of the art
world to seance with. The growth comes in those same groups having shed
their Biennial 'skins' and reinvented themselves in the form of other
projects, having more or less resemblance to their original frames.
Now, on the other hand, if Net Art decides to not give a damn about its
ambitions and to morph into hybrid forms, or even to rebel against
curatorial formalism in regards to their expectations of net art, maybe
there's some hope. We'll continue on outside the expectations of 'using
intrinsic structures of the Net as part of our work', or 'exhibiting
sufficient technological virtuosity through code', as these are
contextual limitations specified by technical concerns, and not by our
methods of expression. I, for one will not let some curator (of which I
am also one) dictate the format and structure of my work.
Sure, the genre will be considered 'dead' by the intelligentsia, but
we'll know better. And the neophytes, sycophants, and aspirants will
continue right on going on the hamster wheel chasing the withered
carrot. We'll laugh ourselves silly; because we've been there, before
the carrot was shriveled, and tasting the carrot realized it wasn't that
The difference is that in so doing, we've taken the red pill, ladies and
gentlemen. As Neo and Morpheus had compassion for the human batteries of
The Matrix, so will we. Not that we're gods, superhuman, or better than
anyone else. Far from it. We've just gotten a little more experience,
and from this have a broader perspective. That's all.
And so I ask the question: The end has come.
Intelligent Agent Magazinehttp://www.intelligentagent.com
355 Seyburn Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
"It is better to die on your feet
than to live on your knees."
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf
Of Mark River
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 7:36 AM
Subject: RHIZOME\_RAW: Internet Art Survives, But the Boom Is Over -NY
In a small article in the New York Times this morning
(sorry, it does not seem to be online) entitled
'Internet Art Survives, But the Boom Is Over