Thinking of art, transparency and social technology [was : they must not be very bright]

Posted by Liza Sabater | Tue Oct 5th 2004 1:11 a.m.

> so, if you want to use flash, that's cool. but just do it having
> decided to make your work for folks on IE/winXP and not the web in
> general. in fact, i can't think of anything that works well locally
> AND the web. even Java acts more differently on different platforms
> than they admit. But we have always assumed, if we make it for the
> web, it should work everywhere. very little actually does.

Preach on brutha.

Should we consider Bill Gates the Bin Laden of net art?

The problem with Java --at least in some of the Head Potato's work-- is
that because it works at the hardware level, it presents a whole
'nother level of problems. So the clocking will be fine on a Dell but
fucked up on a HP. There will be flicker --and a horrid, ugly
flicker-- one screen, but not the other. And all of this varies from
one version of Windows to another. Of course, some artworks will look
and even work completely different in a Mac.

The Johns (Simon and Klima) have it right when they decided to control
both the hardware and software. The time wasted banging heads on a
keyboard and cursing at Gates could probably be used optimizing or even
building "signature" hardware. I personally believe if you are going to
sell software art at a gallery, that's the way to go. BTW, even JODI
are shlepping their own hardware these days.

But let me bring another issue to the table, one I think other net
creatives have brought to light pretty well. It's the issue of
TRANSPARENCY.

Artists have always kept notes, some way or another, for their ideas
and process. But it is not until they are dead (or made an offer they
cannot refuse) that people can take a peek at them. If ever. But not
just artist as in Art makers. Most people involved in creative work
will keep some kind of record of their discoveries and obstacles. The
problem, again, is that these are mostly kept tucked away in private
libraries or bedroom drawers.

I believe it is time for net artists to stop pretending anybody beyond
their immediate peers understand what they are doing. Seriously. Not
even the people in most arts organizations (I'm thinking granting
institutions and the like) understand the difference between creating
your own metasoftware in Java so you can create software art versus a
person who gets their hands on Flash and makes an animation. To this
day I find myself saying at art openings, "No, that Levin/Simon/Napier
is not an animation. It's software creating the art." To which they
most inevitably get the "deer in the headlights" look on their faces.
Ugh.

MTAA was interviewed for Petit Mort and it's worth the reading (great
pics of the sexy beasts and a fantabulous one of EndNode AKA Printer
Tree). This is the part that mostly caught my attention:

> I've notice that your updating of art is similar to the way
> corporations are updating their services these days; for example banks
> make you transfer funds, make you fill out forms, make you find
> customer service, and sometimes even make you responsible for their
> quality control. Technology now a day has passed on a lot of duties to
> the customer. It has really become a self-service type of system. And
> although this would seem like cost cutting measures on the way they do
> business, we still don't see a decrease in their fees or cost of their
> products or services. It is helping them save money I'm sure, but as
> consumer we are loosing our time in performing their services. Is that
> shift what you had in mind when you started these updates?
> TIM: We never spoke about it, but I definitely considered that being a
> change in the way the people interact online -a lot of the labor has
> been passed back to you.
> MARK: There are different concepts in our work, like when you think of
> the computer tree, which is basically a stage that we built for people
> online to perform on, it's trying to figure out a different audience
> relationship. A lot of what net art is interested in is the
> communication back and forth, the net being the space in-between, so
> the printer tree in some ways is also the space in-between. With this
> tree, it's audience, and some of the other things we've done is tryin=
g
> to separate and move that relation ship between performance and viewer
> just slightly so that the relationship becomes a little fuzzier. I
> don't know if people need to know that when they see the piece to
> understand the relationship.

[ The whole article is at http://www.petitemort.org/issue02/18/ ]

This is an AMAZING insight. For one, I feel that one of the interesting
failures of net art has been its inability to communicate OUTSIDE of
its immediate clique. Not even people in the art world know or have
even heard of net art / software art as we discuss it here in Rhizome.
To most people NA / SA is what happens when you photoshop photography
or make a video and put it on the net.

So without even knowing it, MTAA has hit it over the head. For the one
part, the technology used in net/software art --from the computers to
the software or even the coding language-- passes unto you the onus of
R&D, QA, and usability (we're not even touching cost). The technologies
of canvases, stretchers, brushes, pigments, hammers and nails do not
need any of those added costs to the process of art making. It's
completely the opposite with anything involving digital technology.

This is apparent with computers and software but what about the other
art "corporations"?

Think of the museum, the gallery, the academy, the audience and "the
market" as corporations as well. If you buy into the belief that art
is about the object and not the process, then a lot of the onus of
making an art "object" out of what is basically electricity, falls unto
you as well. So you find yourself in a situation in which you've just
built from the ground up a meta-software that makes more software that
is then what we call "software art", but nobody --not even your peers--
now about it because you've been focused on showing the final object
and not the process. And because you've spent all that time on the art
as object motif, your work --because it moves on a screen-- is still
being seen by the audience immediately outside of the net/software art
clique as animation or video because, you know, it moves. You can't
blame them. If you do not distinguish what you do from the "proven" art
forms, why should people understand what your work is about?

Net Artists have been so caught up in the metaphor of the internet as a
space for communication and social interaction that, ironically, most
have not really used it as so in their own art spaces. Yes, there is
Rhizome and all those artsy lists. But you cannot bring Rhizome Raw
into your site and this is what each and every one of you should be
doing. Let the flaming begin. There, I have said it.

I truly believe that focusing on the conversations your art and art
process can create is the only way to not just push your work forward,
but to bring to light the artform you so lovingly/madly/cluelessly
pursue.

The net is not just a space, and the web is not just a canvas. They are
processes as well. They are because humans use them. Art Websites
should not be just galleries or studios. They need to be salons as
well; places where each artist can reveal their work and play, their
expertise and discoveries, their trials and tribulations.

Yes people, I'm talking about the four letter words.

Whether it is a wiki or a blog, I am talking about bringing social
technologies into artists sites. And not just the tech but the
practices of communication as well. We need to make your sites as
dynamic as your art process. Why? By not doing it you are missing out
on the opportunity of connecting with peers in other net cultures who,
may not be artists but have the answers to your questions. Or you may
miss the opportunity of having one more piece of information ready and
available for your future audience to read and learn more about you and
your process as an artist. Or who knows what other things are in store.

It's been almost two years now since I wrote an art proposal, and quite
frankly, I don't miss it. Those things are ghastly especially because
software art, being a subset of a subset of art in most foundations,
never fits all the requirements for documentation. So they want a video
or slides of Shredder (I kid you not). In part because they are working
with old paradigms of art, and in part because they most of the time do
not have the "right browser" or the "right OS" or the "right hardware"
to run most net/software art in the first place. So they go with what
they think will be easy for them to use to judge the work
--misunderstandings and hilarity ensues. UGH.

I've blogmothered potatoland.blog. The intention? For the Head Potato
to post some code and start conversations around it. Rant against the
machines. Maybe even get some people to work out a bug or two. That
sort of thing. I'm even fixing to have guest writers write about their
favorite pieces... And in due time to raise resources for new projects.

I'd love to try this experiment with more people. Be part of real-life
conversations started by artworks, but mediated through the blogs. See
what opportunities are opened up with this "new" socialization. Find
out what happens when an artist's site goes from portfolio to notebook
to salon, all in one swoop of technology.

Any takers? This blogmother is ready to reproduce :)

Cheers,
l i z a
  • MTAA | Tue Oct 5th 2004 6:04 a.m.
    MTAA: idiot savants of the net art world ;-)

    On Oct 5, 2004, at 3:11 AM, Liza Sabater wrote:

    > So without even knowing it, MTAA has hit it over the head.
    --
    <t.whid>
    www.mteww.com
    </t.whid>
  • curt cloninger | Tue Oct 5th 2004 1:06 p.m.
    Hi Liza,

    I'm part of a group [ http://www.themap.org ] here in Asheville, NC, trying to promote "media arts awareness," whatever that is. So far our main vehicle of promotion has been monthly screenings of experimental short films. So to broaden the spectrum, I recently gave this presentation on generative art [ http://www.lab404.com/ghost ]. It was initially set to happen at the Fine Arts Theater downtown where they have been showing the short films, but the owner of the theatre refused to host it because, in his own words, "there's no money in interactivity." Which is hilarious now that the gaming industry makes 3 times more money than Hollywood, but anyway. So it finally wound up happening at the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, which was a good fit.

    It was a Bring Your Own Laptop event, so that people could experience the haptic reactivity of the pieces themselves. (We had to "borrow" the wireless network of the neighboring retail shop, but that's another story.) For those who didn't bring their laptops, I explained to them that what they were seeing projected on the wall was NOT the art. They were seeing a once-removed mediated version of the art. They were watching me interact with the art (in the case of the reactive pieces). Or they were watching me manually refresh the generative pieces. There is a world of difference between "jamming on" the "instruments" at http://www.pianographique.com , and watching the projected output of someone else jamming on those instruments.

    In any presentation like this, the "eureka" moments of audience revelation come not with the first run of the generative work, but with the second run. For instance, I showed the postmodernism generator [ http://www.elsewhere.org/cgi-bin/postmodern ] and began to explain about the dada software engine on which it was based and the database of discrete textual elements from which it drew, but when I hit refresh and the second iteration of text appeared on the wall, that's when they experientially "got it." Until some experience reveals the difference between a generative piece and a linear animation piece, the difference is lost. The best way to help users/patrons/co-participants/etc. experience these differences is not always apparent. It won't always happen in an hour-long talk. Which is why I linked the works, passed out the URL, and encouraged people to re-visit the works and explore them after the talk. Sometimes it takes fifteen minutes of personal interaction with one of these pieces, of "pushing at its edges" to appreciate the limitlessness of the generative piece versus the stasis of a mere linear animation. As the Strokes observe, "the end has no end."

    Prior to giving my talk on generative art, I was interviewed about the talk by the technology editor of the local paper. In the process, I showed him one of lia's gorgeous reactive pieces and suggested he might get a better sense of the work if he moved the mouse himself. He nodded, looked at me, and then stared at the mouse as if it was a piece of unknown alien hardware. He never did grab the mouse, but kept writing and asking questions. He had intellectually understood the concept of what was happening, and assumed that was good enough for his purposes. You might say he flipped through the Fluxus Performance Workbook, but never showed up for the Happening.

    I'm critical of heavy reliance on artist statements because they often provide an easy short-cut which excuses the artist from having to properly "embody" her concept into her artwork. Curatorially, I think the best way to get someone to appreciate the difference between generative artwork and mere linear animation is not to explain that generative work is made dynamically in real-time by algorithmic computation blah-blah-blah, but to direct the user to interface with the generative/reactive piece in such a way that she is led to "experience" the difference.

    This commission [ http://artport.whitney.org/commissions/softwarestructures/ ] is successful to me because it uses core code as a "control" to make apparent the "variable" of code-influenced visual aesthetics. It doesn't just explain how different programmer/artists have different coding styles, it "shows" a visceral example of those different styles. (In this respect, it's more interesting to me than CODeDOC [ http://www.whitney.org/artport/commissions/codedoc/ ], which foregrounds the nuances of coding as a problem-solving art in and of itself, and backgrounds the aesthetic nuances of the code-generated work. But then I never thought programming in and of itself was all that sexy.)

    The job of new media apologetics falls to curators like Christiane Paul, but also to artist/educators like Casey Reas, whose processing project with Ben Fry [ http://processing.org ] is a big step in the right direction. Some high-minded artists and critics may be above such entry-level "popularization," but unless somebody is willing to take the time to preach to someone other than the choir, we are left with academic research and a micro-scene mutual admiration society. (Our micro-scene is paradoxically "world wide," but it's no less micro- for all that. Visitor logs don't lie.)

    If generative art is difficult to understand as a medium, add network or installation aspects into the mix, and it gets even more challenging to teach, let alone sell. (My students and I visited http://www.bitforms.com in class yesterday, and they immediately noticed that Mark's first three pieces [ http://www.bitforms.com/artist_napier.html ] didn't have a "purchase" button.)

    Is transparent/opensource artist blogging the answer? It depends on how well one writes and thinks (and on how many people read your blog). Josh Davis used to give away his .fla files at http://praystation.com (and won the prix ars award for giving them away more than for the actual files themselves). Jared Tarbell continues the "opensource" .fla tradition at http://www.levitated.net/daily/ Heck, just viewsource at any dhtml-based net.art site, and there you are.

    To play devil's advocate, do we need to solve the problem of "net.art ghettoization?" What if net art is inherently ephemeral and outside of the white box and takes a fair amount of one-on-one 'puter time commitment to appreciate and will only be a footnote in the art history books? net.art started in a spirit of anarchic, outsider fun. Might we best be proceeding in a spirit of anarchic, outsider fun? I merely pose the question.

    peace,
    curt

    ---

    Liza Sabater wrote:

    Think of the museum, the gallery, the academy, the audience and "the
    market" as corporations as well. If you buy into the belief that art
    is about the object and not the process, then a lot of the onus of
    making an art "object" out of what is basically electricity, falls unto
    you as well. So you find yourself in a situation in which you've just
    built from the ground up a meta-software that makes more software that
    is then what we call "software art", but nobody --not even your peers--
    now about it because you've been focused on showing the final object
    and not the process. And because you've spent all that time on the art
    as object motif, your work --because it moves on a screen-- is still
    being seen by the audience immediately outside of the net/software art
    clique as animation or video because, you know, it moves. You can't
    blame them. If you do not distinguish what you do from the "proven" art
    forms, why should people understand what your work is about?

    I truly believe that focusing on the conversations your art and art
    process can create is the only way to not just push your work forward,
    but to bring to light the artform you so lovingly/madly/cluelessly
    pursue.
  • ben syverson | Tue Oct 5th 2004 2:11 p.m.
    On Oct 5, 2004, at 2:06 PM, curt cloninger wrote:

    > To play devil's advocate, do we need to solve the problem of "net.art
    > ghettoization?"

    This was the question Lev Manovich raised two years ago in "New Media
    from Borges to HTML" (
    http://www.nothing.org/netart_101/readings/manovich.htm ) when he said
    "new media field is facing a danger of becoming a ghetto whose
    participants would be united by their fetishism of latest computer
    technology, rather than by any deeper conceptual, ideological or
    aesthetic issues... I personally do think that the existence of a
    separate new media field now and in the future makes very good sense,
    but it does require a justification."

    (As a side note, this comment became the inspiration for the creation
    of http://www.newmediaghetto.org )

    Personally, I find the danger palpable. Looking through the ArtBase,
    you can see the unbounded techNewPositivism -- implicit and overt --
    expressed in much of the work. I call it FlashFormalism, although it's
    not limited to a particular authoring package; it's an attitude present
    in any work which is more concerned with "interactivity" (I prefer the
    term "cybernetics"), meaningless data wrangling, or pure formalism than
    contributing to the larger discussion. Sometimes these works take
    information as input to generate essentially abstract visual or
    auditory patterns, pretending that using a news headline feed instead
    of a random number generator makes the work more interesting. In fact,
    one such work is displayed like a badge on the lapel of Rhizome.org --
    the spiky logo which allegedly changes based on some hidden (and
    probably more meaningful) data. The fact is that the logo is purely
    formal, and the underlying data is totally irrelevant to the real goal
    of the piece: pretty changing colors.

    The term "generative art" has gained currency lately as a way of
    legitimizing these activities, but the output created by so much of
    this "generative art" is inscrutably abstract. Unfortunately,
    abstraction no longer has the powerful political and conceptual weight
    it had at the end of the 19th century, so we are left with pretty
    sounds and pictures that are entirely impotent. In today's political
    climate, I find that particularly unforgivable.

    If the newmedia community as a whole doesn't move faster towards
    criticality, discourse and evolution, it risks the same fate
    psychedelia suffered by standing still and going from a powerful
    political medium in the 60s to an exhausted juvenile cliche in the 70s.

    - ben
  • curt cloninger | Tue Oct 5th 2004 3:48 p.m.
    Hi Ben,

    I think we're talking about several different things.

    A. Giving up on trying to fit net art into high gallery art strictures does not inherently imply:
    1. techno fetishization
    2. a-politicalization
    3. abandonment to pure abstraction

    B. Abstract art does not inherently imply:
    1. Psychedelia
    2. Impotence

    For example, Paul Klee's work is neither psychedelic nor impotent and, although no longer contemporary or en vogue, was and is potent and relevant. I'd include Stan Brakhage in that category as well.

    C. Overtly political art does not inherently imply:
    1. potency
    2. maturity
    3. proper moral use of art

    D. Generative techiniques in artwork do not inherently imply:
    1. visual abstraction
    2. a-conceptualization

    I guess when I say "ghetoization," I'm not attaching the "techno-masturbatory/self-reflexive" implications that Manovich does in his chapter. I hope to avoid those extremes as well. Ironically, by trying to "make a place" for net.art in the contemporary art world canon, critics and theorists are forced place inordinate emphasis on what net.art "uniquely is and is not" in relation to old media. Consequently, gallery showings of net.art can tend to over-emphasize technological/formal distinctions of the work while under-emphasizing its aesthetic or conceptual merits. "Classic, clear-cut examples" of net-specific art may make for dramatic object lessons, but they don't always make for interesting art.

    I mean "ghetoization" to imply, "net art outside the gallery structure, not making a whole lot of cash, not too concernet with making a place for itself, having fun." Outsider net.art may still be as political or conceptual as you like. It may even be highly popular. It's just more in dialogue with the audience of the network itself and less overtly in dialogue with the audience of the gallery. It's not trying to solve the curatorial challenges of its own historical dissemenation.

    peace,
    curt

    _
    _

    curt cloninger wrote:

    > To play devil's advocate, do we need to solve the problem of "net.art
    > ghettoization?"

    ben syverson wrote:

    This was the question Lev Manovich raised two years ago in "New Media
    from Borges to HTML" (
    http://www.nothing.org/netart_101/readings/manovich.htm ) when he said
    "new media field is facing a danger of becoming a ghetto whose
    participants would be united by their fetishism of latest computer
    technology, rather than by any deeper conceptual, ideological or
    aesthetic issues... I personally do think that the existence of a
    separate new media field now and in the future makes very good sense,
    but it does require a justification."

    (As a side note, this comment became the inspiration for the creation
    of http://www.newmediaghetto.org )

    Personally, I find the danger palpable. Looking through the ArtBase,
    you can see the unbounded techNewPositivism -- implicit and overt --
    expressed in much of the work. I call it FlashFormalism, although it's
    not limited to a particular authoring package; it's an attitude present
    in any work which is more concerned with "interactivity" (I prefer the
    term "cybernetics"), meaningless data wrangling, or pure formalism than
    contributing to the larger discussion. Sometimes these works take
    information as input to generate essentially abstract visual or
    auditory patterns, pretending that using a news headline feed instead
    of a random number generator makes the work more interesting. In fact,
    one such work is displayed like a badge on the lapel of Rhizome.org --
    the spiky logo which allegedly changes based on some hidden (and
    probably more meaningful) data. The fact is that the logo is purely
    formal, and the underlying data is totally irrelevant to the real goal
    of the piece: pretty changing colors.

    The term "generative art" has gained currency lately as a way of
    legitimizing these activities, but the output created by so much of
    this "generative art" is inscrutably abstract. Unfortunately,
    abstraction no longer has the powerful political and conceptual weight
    it had at the end of the 19th century, so we are left with pretty
    sounds and pictures that are entirely impotent. In today's political
    climate, I find that particularly unforgivable.

    If the newmedia community as a whole doesn't move faster towards
    criticality, discourse and evolution, it risks the same fate
    psychedelia suffered by standing still and going from a powerful
    political medium in the 60s to an exhausted juvenile cliche in the 70s.

    - ben
  • Plasma Studii | Tue Oct 5th 2004 5:53 p.m.
    >But let me bring another issue to the table, one I think other net
    >creatives have brought to light pretty well. It's the issue of
    >TRANSPARENCY.

    did you mean something like ... not "ignorance" per se. kinda like
    when people say "i'm not a math person" and then if anything even
    resembles math to them, they actually (literally, it's neurological)
    shut off part of their brain. it's protection, a habit learned from
    some previous trauma, but it's the same part of the brain that could
    possibly understand. it's similar to a unconsciously self-afflicted
    stroke.

    artists (particularly computer artists but it is true for the whole
    biz) are militantly out of touch with folks outside their prescribed
    medium. it's absurd. the civilians just aren't fascinated
    automatically by the word "art". from their perspective, they see
    nothing there to comprehend, that is worth comprehension. and that
    makes the artist scoff more and determined to make their work even
    cleverer. the civilians get no reason to be interested, and artist
    act like it's some intrinsic truth to love.

    >To this day I find myself saying at art openings, "No, that
    >Levin/Simon/Napier is not an animation. It's software creating the
    >art." To which they most inevitably get the "deer in the
    >headlights" look on their faces. Ugh.

    So true! And so frustrating! what we don't understand just doesn't
    register as existing, so while we are wasting our breath, explaining
    the difference between software and animation, they hear nothing.
    while we get excited over a new work, they see a bunch of freaks
    jumping up and down hooting for no apparent reason. the art is
    incomprehensible and thus invisible.

    >I believe it is time for net artists to stop pretending anybody
    >beyond their immediate peers understand what they are doing.
    >Seriously. Not even the people in most arts organizations (I'm
    >thinking granting institutions and the like)

    most of the art word just seems anti-computer. it's a big logical
    jump to understand what is different about a program deciding how
    much to move a dot, and a cell animation of that dot moving. no one
    is going to watch it for days at a time, and notice it never
    repeats. they don't see the decisions from a CPU as a performance,
    they see the dot as the object. interactivity is an even bigger
    leap, not exactly how the dot moves, but how it reacts to something
    live. the way it looks is just a vehicle for us to visualize the
    communication. but they are looking harder and harder at that still
    slide of a flat solid green dot and not seeing anything interesting.

    but the art world seems anti art. at least anti-art-as-object, as
    opposed to art-as-idea. they just like arguing themselves in a
    tighter and tighter circle. "the art isn't art it's the concept of
    the art! no, it's the concept of the concept!"
    post-post-post-post-post... modernism. gets silly. but for folks
    who like conceptualizing and theorizing, there's a club you can join
    (after some hazing and ritual) called "contemporary art". the rules
    of the club are to keep non-members (those uninterested masses of
    non-artists) out at all costs. but they haven't even noticed there's
    anything to get in.
  • Kate Southworth | Wed Oct 6th 2004 8:24 a.m.
    Dear Liza and Rhizomers
    At the beginning of August, 'fuorange', one of the outputs from a collaborative project by Christina McPhee, Patrick Simons and myself in which we explored ideas of pre-natal space of encounters, was accepted into the Rhizome artbase (http://rhizome.org/object.rhiz?27525).

    I have just finished writing the first draft of a paper on this part of our collaboration, which I will be delivering at a conference on Sensuous Knowledge in Norway in a few weeks time. Because the work is process, dialogue and the articulation of intimate shared spaces, I thought it might be appropriate to post the URL of the paper as part of this debate (http://www.netart.tv/fuo_process.htm). We will be uploading more elements from the project as they are ready.

    I'd love to try this experiment with more people. Be part of real-life conversations started by artworks, but mediated through the blogs. See what opportunities are opened up with this "new" socialization. Find out what happens when an artist's site goes from portfolio to notebook to salon, all in one swoop of technology.

    > Any takers? This blogmother is ready to reproduce :)
    >
    Liza, this is exactly the sort of space we are exploring in our work, although possibly from a slightly different perspective, so if you find anything that interests you in fuorange and the accompanying paper we would really love to work with you on it.

    Kate

    Kate Southworth

    Interactive Art & Design Research Cluster
    Falmouth College of Arts
    Falmouth
    Cornwall, TR11 4RH
    UK

    T. 44 (0)1326 370733
    e. kate.southworth@falmouth.ac.uk
    http://www.falmouth.ac.uk/interactive
    http://www.gloriousninth.com

    > ----------
    > From: owner-list@rhizome.org on behalf of Liza Sabater
    > Reply To: Liza Sabater
    > Sent: Tuesday, October 5, 2004 8:11 AM
    > To: Plasma Studii - uospn
  • Liza Sabater | Thu Oct 7th 2004 1:39 p.m.
    On Wednesday, Oct 6, 2004, at 19:25 America/New_York, Jess Loseby wrote:

    > I wondered if there are any other parallels with the art.objects
    > outside of net.object where this is apparent.

    The short answer: Yes.

    Where: Education. Parenting. Business. Journalism. Health. Software
    development --just to name a few.

    More soon.
    / l i z a
  • Jess Loseby | Thu Oct 7th 2004 2:15 p.m.
    hi again,
    understanding comes before engagement in parenting..??!
    (knee-jerk reaction:)
    Please explain when you write back - I can understand why these could be classified as
    process-led but not how understanding comes before engagement in your examples.
    cheers,
    jess.

    > > I wondered if there are any other parallels with the art.objects
    > > outside of net.object where this is apparent.
    >
    > The short answer: Yes.
    >
    > Where: Education. Parenting. Business. Journalism. Health. Software
    > development --just to name a few.
    >
    > More soon.
    > / l i z a
    >

    o
    /^ rssgallery.com
    ][
  • Jess Loseby | Thu Oct 7th 2004 2:15 p.m.
    <?xml version="1.0" ?><html>
    <head>
    <title></title>
    </head>
    <body>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt"> Hi Liza,</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; I believe it is time for net artists to stop pretending anybody beyond </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; their immediate peers understand what they are doing. Seriously. Not </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; even the people in most arts organizations (I'm thinking granting </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; institutions and the like) understand the difference between creating </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; your own metasoftware in Java so you can create software art versus a </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; person who gets their hands on Flash and makes an animation. To this </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; day I find myself saying at art openings, &quot;No, that Levin/Simon/Napier </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; is not an animation. It's software creating the art.&quot;&#160; To which they </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; most inevitably get the &quot;deer in the headlights&quot; look on their faces.&#160; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; Ugh.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">I'm very intrested in what you say here and I hoping to raise an issue that has bothered
    me for a while. I suspect your immediate reaction will be to disagree because I am going
    to talk about the art object but bear with me..:)</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">My&#160; observation is that it seems to me that artists, particularly those form whose work is
    engaged is in the technology/process as art have an enormous desire for
    *understanding* by the viewer (be the gallery curator or joe bloggs).&#160; Not enjoyment,
    engagement, interest, curiosity, admiration (although liked) but understanding.&#160; Non-
    process led artists seem less concerened about this - possibly because they don't
    understand it all themselves:) </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">What confuses me is,&#160; process-led artists are often pioneers, and may have taken years
    to get to the stage when they can *do-what-they-do* but that they feel frustrated and
    disappointed when others don't 'get it'; Feel slandered when their innovative processes
    are mistaken for *lessor* ones - although their process may often be entirely new,
    radical and/or complex.&#160; My dilemma seems to be that alongside this frustration, the
    case seems to be being made that without&#160; understanding there can be no longevity for
    net.art - or at least process led net.art. </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">I wondered if there are any other parallels with the art.objects outside of net.object
    where this is apparent. Obviously there are&#160; examples of process-led genres within art
    but I've been asking myself wether these works/artists that achieved longevity did so
    because of an understanding of the process or the accessibility. By accessibility, I mean
    could the viewer engage with either of the process or the resulting art.object: be that
    aesthetically, theoretically or conceptually etc (even without understanding).&#160; Of course,
    technology has always had the *advantage* of the *wow factor* which can
    circumnavigate the understanding or&#160; engagement of&#160; the art object but *wow* is by its
    very natural temporary. I simply cannot think of an example of an art *ism* or
    *movement* that was received with understanding at this stage in its development but
    the reason it became a *movement* or *ism* does seem to be an engagement. However,
    only digital works seem to be *relying* on understanding for longevity and support and
    to be honest, seems to see engagement as secondary.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">I suppose the root of my being uncomfortable with your email is this: Why is it a problem
    that people think that Levin/Simon/Napier is animation - they might think that tempera is
    a town in sussex and bronze casting is something you when you fish - is that stopping
    them accessing, appreciating and enjoying the artwork on a level? What is most
    worthwhile for the artist understanding or engagement? What will lead to longevity and
    support - understanding or engagement?</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">What I think I am trying to say in my normal stream of colloquial verbal diarrhea is: did
    they like it? If they did, do they </span></font><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt"><i>really</i> need to understand it?</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">In relation to this, this is the part that mostly caught my attention...</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; Think of the museum, the gallery, the academy, the audience and &quot;the </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; market&quot; as&#160; corporations as well. If you buy into the belief that art </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; is about the object and not the process, then a lot of the onus of </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; making an art &quot;object&quot; out of what is basically electricity, falls unto </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; you as well. </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">So you find yourself in a situation in which you've just </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; built from the ground up a meta-software that makes more software that </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; is then what we call &quot;software art&quot;, but nobody --not even your peers-- </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; now about it because you've been focused on showing the final object </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; and not the process. And because you've spent all that time on the art </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; as object motif, your work --because it moves on a screen-- is still </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; being seen by the audience immediately outside of the net/software art </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; clique as animation or video because, you know, it moves. </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">But engagement (ie they 'liked it') naturally comes before understanding unless you are
    a part of the creation of the 'ism' or 'movement itself. Why should net.art be different in
    the way than any other art form even though the art may be more diverse and our
    locations global?</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">You can't </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; blame them. If you do not distinguish what you do from the &quot;proven&quot; art </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; forms, why should people understand what your work is about?</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">But even if you were working in a complex new way in a *proven* form, would you
    expect understanding anyway? Wouldn't you expect to have to (for a long time anyway)
    repeat and explain until more people were able to take on the explanations...?</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt"> The speed of change,development and diversity in net.art reflects our technology and
    our time, but the people [viewers] are the same as they ever were, at best - mildly
    interested and mildly excited until the work permeates the culture on a historical and
    sociological level. There simply hasn't been the time for this to happen yet surely? The
    process may be new, the artform may be new but its interesting that you used the word
    'proven'. Surely, the only thing that 'proves' an artform is longevity and its simply too
    early to have achieved that yet.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; Net Artists have been so caught up in the metaphor of the internet as a </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; space for communication and social interaction that, ironically, most </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; have not really used it as so in their own art spaces. Yes, there is </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; Rhizome and all those artsy lists. But you cannot bring Rhizome Raw </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; into your site and this is what each and every one of you should be </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; doing.&#160; Let the flaming begin. There, I have said it.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; I truly believe that focusing on the conversations your art and art </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; process can create is the only way to not just push your work forward, </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; but to bring to light the artform you so lovingly/madly/cluelessly </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; pursue.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; The net is not just a space, and the web is not just a canvas. They are </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; processes as well. They are because humans use them. Art Websites </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; should not be just galleries or studios. They need to be salons as </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; well; places where each artist can reveal their work and play, their </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; expertise and discoveries, their trials and tribulations.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">Totally agree with all of this but I would beg that it is remembered that the viewers&#160; in
    these human process need more than explanation and a revelation - they need access:
    to the works, to the diversity, to the net itself. This requires platforms which require
    artists collaborating and building them, not just in university conferences, gallery talks
    where the same handful of speakers are shared globally but public spaces. I guess I'm
    talking about accessible public portals as well as personal ones. On a non sequitur
    that's why I still think rhizome membership fees are such a bad idea</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; Yes people, I'm talking about the four letter words.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; Whether it is a wiki or a blog, I am talking about bringing social </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; technologies into artists sites. &gt; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">absolutely agree.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; It's been almost two years now since I wrote an art proposal, and quite </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; frankly, I don't miss it. Those things are ghastly especially because </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; software art, being a subset of a subset of art in most foundations, </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; never fits all the requirements for documentation. So they want a video </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; or slides of Shredder (I kid you not). In part because they are working </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; with old paradigms of art, and in part because they most of the time do </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; not have the &quot;right browser&quot; or the &quot;right OS&quot; or the &quot;right
    hardware&quot; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; to run most net/software art in the first place. So they go with what </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; they think will be easy for them to use to judge the work </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; --misunderstandings and hilarity ensues. UGH.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">You see -&#160; this frightens the life out of me: that you haven't written an art proposal in two years - </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">because this is a vital way you will reach the understanding that *you* are looking for: by
    getting the work seen as much a humanly possible.&#160; Who cares that *they* don't
    understand the process if they hand over the grant/exhibition space - you can give talks,
    papers, interviews when you've got the money to the make the work,&#160; it's in their space
    and people are viewing it.&#160; Who cares if they ask for slides if it means you will get them
    in a room to listen to your ideas? Of course its part of the ridiculous antiquated gallery
    system and there is no way they can get any real impression of the work&#160; but&#160; it is the
    lousy inheritance of the fine art world. One day they may enter the 21st century (even if
    they entered the 20th it would be nice) but that's the system we're shackled with. Do you
    really think that will be able to access the language of a blog or wiki if they can't access
    the internet itself? If they can't handle a screenshot how are they going to handle the
    screen unless you show them...?</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">This is what brings me down to earth: in 2004 in the digital age I have just inducted a
    group of 1year art/media/performance students. Do you know what I had to do for the
    first session...teach them how to set up an email account and show them what a forum
    was and how to sign in! These are educated, 18-25 year olds,&#160; in an affluent area of the
    south of england. If they have hardly got their foot on the digital ladder how are the
    upper-middle aged, technophobic, cosseted curatorial army that's out there going to
    access net.art unless we lead them physically by the hand. I know there are exceptions
    to this, I know many children are digital savvy at seven and a rising number global
    curators who are devouring work and&#160; lists with excitement but I still hold that they are
    the still the exception.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; I've blogmothered potatoland.blog. The intention? For the Head Potato </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; to post some code and start conversations around it. Rant against the </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; machines. Maybe even get some people to work out a bug or two. That </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; sort of thing. I'm even fixing to have guest writers write about their </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; favourite pieces... And in due time to raise resources for new projects.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; I'd love to try this experiment with more people. Be part of real-life </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; conversations started by artworks, but mediated through the blogs. See </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; what opportunities are opened up with this &quot;new&quot; socialization. Find </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; out what happens when an artist's site goes from portfolio to notebook </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; to salon, all in one swoop of technology.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial" color="#7f0000"><span style="font-size:10pt">&gt; </span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">I think this is fantastic, can only be a good thing and one vital part of what is needed -
    but please, please start writing proposals again as well.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt"> Its not enough to have innovative, beautiful work if the people whose understanding
    and appreciation *you* crave cannot access it. It is the irony of the accessible net that it
    has become so inaccessible. I truly believe that critical to the longevity of net art is not
    understanding but platforms, doorways, spaces and people physically handing out
    invites. I know alongside the potential, the technology, the multi user and the global
    possibilities - accessibility to the work was [is] one of the primary dynamics of being a
    net.artist. But with the proliferation of e-z-search and adware we are getting harder and
    harder to find. I know your visitor numbers would make mine look like a bus queue, but
    the slowness of the trickle-down affect to 'understanding' makes it a priority to all net
    artists to spend time gaining opportunities to show beyond the net -&#160; to lead people back
    to it.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">Added to this technology is expensive, we all need grants and opportunities and (please
    god!) time to do what we want to do. The more net.artists prioritise getting their own
    opportunities the more will be created. The more oppertunities, the more chances for
    the works to engage and understanding to come. Its frustrating, time consuming and the
    majority of the time boring as hell - but without signposts and explanation to allow them
    to engage,&#160; I simply think we are asking to much of people to understand and support
    what they simply don't know how to access and longevity will not be obtainable.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">best as ever, and waiting for the flames:)</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">jess.</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><br/>
    </div>
    <div align="left"><br/></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt"> o</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt">/^ rssgallery.com</span></font></div>
    <div align="left"><font face="Arial"><span style="font-size:10pt"> ][</span></font></div>
    </body>
    </html>
  • Jess Loseby | Thu Oct 7th 2004 2:15 p.m.
    Hi Liza,

    > I believe it is time for net artists to stop pretending anybody beyond
    > their immediate peers understand what they are doing. Seriously. Not
    > even the people in most arts organizations (I'm thinking granting
    > institutions and the like) understand the difference between creating
    > your own metasoftware in Java so you can create software art versus a
    > person who gets their hands on Flash and makes an animation. To this
    > day I find myself saying at art openings, "No, that Levin/Simon/Napier
    > is not an animation. It's software creating the art." To which they
    > most inevitably get the "deer in the headlights" look on their faces.
    > Ugh.

    I'm very intrested in what you say here and I hoping to raise an issue that has bothered
    me for a while. I suspect your immediate reaction will be to disagree because I am going
    to talk about the art object but bear with me..:)

    My observation is that it seems to me that artists, particularly those form whose work is
    engaged is in the technology/process as art have an enormous desire for
    *understanding* by the viewer (be the gallery curator or joe bloggs). Not enjoyment,
    engagement, interest, curiosity, admiration (although liked) but understanding. Non-
    process led artists seem less concerened about this - possibly because they don't
    understand it all themselves:)
    What confuses me is, process-led artists are often pioneers, and may have taken years
    to get to the stage when they can *do-what-they-do* but that they feel frustrated and
    disappointed when others don't 'get it'; Feel slandered when their innovative processes
    are mistaken for *lessor* ones - although their process may often be entirely new,
    radical and/or complex. My dilemma seems to be that alongside this frustration, the
    case seems to be being made that without understanding there can be no longevity for
    net.art - or at least process led net.art.

    I wondered if there are any other parallels with the art.objects outside of net.object
    where this is apparent. Obviously there are examples of process-led genres within art
    but I've been asking myself wether these works/artists that achieved longevity did so
    because of an understanding of the process or the accessibility. By accessibility, I mean
    could the viewer engage with either of the process or the resulting art.object: be that
    aesthetically, theoretically or conceptually etc (even without understanding). Of course,
    technology has always had the *advantage* of the *wow factor* which can
    circumnavigate the understanding or engagement of the art object but *wow* is by its
    very natural temporary. I simply cannot think of an example of an art *ism* or
    *movement* that was received with understanding at this stage in its development but
    the reason it became a *movement* or *ism* does seem to be an engagement. However,
    only digital works seem to be *relying* on understanding for longevity and support and
    to be honest, seems to see engagement as secondary.

    I suppose the root of my being uncomfortable with your email is this: Why is it a problem
    that people think that Levin/Simon/Napier is animation - they might think that tempera is
    a town in sussex and bronze casting is something you when you fish - is that stopping
    them accessing, appreciating and enjoying the artwork on a level? What is most
    worthwhile for the artist understanding or engagement? What will lead to longevity and
    support - understanding or engagement?

    What I think I am trying to say in my normal stream of colloquial verbal diarrhea is: did
    they like it? If they did, do they really need to understand it?

    In relation to this, this is the part that mostly caught my attention...

    > Think of the museum, the gallery, the academy, the audience and "the
    > market" as corporations as well. If you buy into the belief that art
    > is about the object and not the process, then a lot of the onus of
    > making an art "object" out of what is basically electricity, falls unto
    > you as well.
    So you find yourself in a situation in which you've just
    > built from the ground up a meta-software that makes more software that
    > is then what we call "software art", but nobody --not even your peers--
    > now about it because you've been focused on showing the final object
    > and not the process. And because you've spent all that time on the art
    > as object motif, your work --because it moves on a screen-- is still
    > being seen by the audience immediately outside of the net/software art
    > clique as animation or video because, you know, it moves.

    But engagement (ie they 'liked it') naturally comes before understanding unless you are
    a part of the creation of the 'ism' or 'movement itself. Why should net.art be different in
    the way than any other art form even though the art may be more diverse and our
    locations global?

    You can't
    > blame them. If you do not distinguish what you do from the "proven" art
    > forms, why should people understand what your work is about?

    But even if you were working in a complex new way in a *proven* form, would you
    expect understanding anyway? Wouldn't you expect to have to (for a long time anyway)
    repeat and explain until more people were able to take on the explanations...?
    The speed of change,development and diversity in net.art reflects our technology and
    our time, but the people [viewers] are the same as they ever were, at best - mildly
    interested and mildly excited until the work permeates the culture on a historical and
    sociological level. There simply hasn't been the time for this to happen yet surely? The
    process may be new, the artform may be new but its interesting that you used the word
    'proven'. Surely, the only thing that 'proves' an artform is longevity and its simply too
    early to have achieved that yet.

    >
    > Net Artists have been so caught up in the metaphor of the internet as a
    > space for communication and social interaction that, ironically, most
    > have not really used it as so in their own art spaces. Yes, there is
    > Rhizome and all those artsy lists. But you cannot bring Rhizome Raw
    > into your site and this is what each and every one of you should be
    > doing. Let the flaming begin. There, I have said it.

    > I truly believe that focusing on the conversations your art and art
    > process can create is the only way to not just push your work forward,
    > but to bring to light the artform you so lovingly/madly/cluelessly
    > pursue.
    >
    > The net is not just a space, and the web is not just a canvas. They are
    > processes as well. They are because humans use them. Art Websites
    > should not be just galleries or studios. They need to be salons as
    > well; places where each artist can reveal their work and play, their
    > expertise and discoveries, their trials and tribulations.
    >
    Totally agree with all of this but I would beg that it is remembered that the viewers in
    these human process need more than explanation and a revelation - they need access:
    to the works, to the diversity, to the net itself. This requires platforms which require
    artists collaborating and building them, not just in university conferences, gallery talks
    where the same handful of speakers are shared globally but public spaces. I guess I'm
    talking about accessible public portals as well as personal ones. On a non sequitur
    that's why I still think rhizome membership fees are such a bad idea

    > Yes people, I'm talking about the four letter words.
    >
    > Whether it is a wiki or a blog, I am talking about bringing social
    > technologies into artists sites. >

    absolutely agree.

    > It's been almost two years now since I wrote an art proposal, and quite
    > frankly, I don't miss it. Those things are ghastly especially because
    > software art, being a subset of a subset of art in most foundations,
    > never fits all the requirements for documentation. So they want a video
    > or slides of Shredder (I kid you not). In part because they are working
    > with old paradigms of art, and in part because they most of the time do
    > not have the "right browser" or the "right OS" or the "right hardware"
    > to run most net/software art in the first place. So they go with what
    > they think will be easy for them to use to judge the work
    > --misunderstandings and hilarity ensues. UGH.

    You see - this frightens the life out of me: that you haven't written an art proposal in two
    years -
    because this is a vital way you will reach the understanding that *you* are looking for: by
    getting the work seen as much a humanly possible. Who cares that *they* don't
    understand the process if they hand over the grant/exhibition space - you can give talks,
    papers, interviews when you've got the money to the make the work, it's in their space
    and people are viewing it. Who cares if they ask for slides if it means you will get them
    in a room to listen to your ideas? Of course its part of the ridiculous antiquated gallery
    system and there is no way they can get any real impression of the work but it is the
    lousy inheritance of the fine art world. One day they may enter the 21st century (even if
    they entered the 20th it would be nice) but that's the system we're shackled with. Do you
    really think that will be able to access the language of a blog or wiki if they can't access
    the internet itself? If they can't handle a screenshot how are they going to handle the
    screen unless you show them...?

    This is what brings me down to earth: in 2004 in the digital age I have just inducted a
    group of 1year art/media/performance students. Do you know what I had to do for the
    first session...teach them how to set up an email account and show them what a forum
    was and how to sign in! These are educated, 18-25 year olds, in an affluent area of the
    south of england. If they have hardly got their foot on the digital ladder how are the
    upper-middle aged, technophobic, cosseted curatorial army that's out there going to
    access net.art unless we lead them physically by the hand. I know there are exceptions
    to this, I know many children are digital savvy at seven and a rising number global
    curators who are devouring work and lists with excitement but I still hold that they are
    the still the exception.

    > I've blogmothered potatoland.blog. The intention? For the Head Potato
    > to post some code and start conversations around it. Rant against the
    > machines. Maybe even get some people to work out a bug or two. That
    > sort of thing. I'm even fixing to have guest writers write about their
    > favourite pieces... And in due time to raise resources for new projects.
    >
    > I'd love to try this experiment with more people. Be part of real-life
    > conversations started by artworks, but mediated through the blogs. See
    > what opportunities are opened up with this "new" socialization. Find
    > out what happens when an artist's site goes from portfolio to notebook
    > to salon, all in one swoop of technology.
    >
    I think this is fantastic, can only be a good thing and one vital part of what is needed -
    but please, please start writing proposals again as well.

    Its not enough to have innovative, beautiful work if the people whose understanding
    and appreciation *you* crave cannot access it. It is the irony of the accessible net that it
    has become so inaccessible. I truly believe that critical to the longevity of net art is not
    understanding but platforms, doorways, spaces and people physically handing out
    invites. I know alongside the potential, the technology, the multi user and the global
    possibilities - accessibility to the work was [is] one of the primary dynamics of being a
    net.artist. But with the proliferation of e-z-search and adware we are getting harder and
    harder to find. I know your visitor numbers would make mine look like a bus queue, but
    the slowness of the trickle-down affect to 'understanding' makes it a priority to all net
    artists to spend time gaining opportunities to show beyond the net - to lead people back
    to it.
    Added to this technology is expensive, we all need grants and opportunities and (please
    god!) time to do what we want to do. The more net.artists prioritise getting their own
    opportunities the more will be created. The more oppertunities, the more chances for
    the works to engage and understanding to come. Its frustrating, time consuming and the
    majority of the time boring as hell - but without signposts and explanation to allow them
    to engage, I simply think we are asking to much of people to understand and support
    what they simply don't know how to access and longevity will not be obtainable.

    best as ever, and waiting for the flames:)

    jess.

    o
    /^ rssgallery.com
    ][
  • Liza Sabater | Thu Oct 7th 2004 2:33 p.m.
    On Wednesday, Oct 6, 2004, at 10:25 America/New_York, Southworth, Kate
    wrote:
    > Liza, this is exactly the sort of space we are exploring in our work,
    > although possibly from a slightly different perspective, so if you
    > find anything that interests you in fuorange and the accompanying
    > paper we would really love to work with you on it.

    Hey Kate,

    Long time no read! I've been following the thread but am in the middle
    of putting together some punditry about the debates and dealing with
    some work. I'll respond fully soon.

    FYI, I am really serious about setting up people with blogs. I'll have
    more to follow soon.

    Best,
    l i z a
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