what are we calling ourselves?

Posted by Richard Rinehart | Wed Jul 12th 2006 1:38 p.m.

Hello fellow Rhizomers,

I'm sure this topic must have come up in the past here, but I haven't
seen it in a little while, so I'm going to update it. I'm doing some
research into what our field/sub-discipline/genre of
digital/newmedia/media art is being called these days. I've followed
the recent threads on whether to define a separate practice or not,
but I'm trying to find out not in what we might be ideally called in
theory, but what are organizations actually naming their programs and
how do they title their staff when they do distinguish them. I've
compiled an initial list below, and I'm wondering if anyone here
would have anything to add to it - new phrases, new examples of
existing titles, etc. I'll be happy to share the compiled fruits of
my little investigation once I'm done. The list of academic programs
on Rhizome has been helpful as it provides a tally of such phrases.
The following is in addition to that lists, and focusses more on
museums and arts organizations than academia. Anyone care to add to
the list, or comment on what our little world is being called these
days?

=========================================
NON-PROPER NAMES FOR CURATORIAL AND RELATED PROGRAMS

-----------
"Digital Media"
-----------
Curator of Digital Media, UC Riverside California Museum of Photography

Curator of Digital Media and Director of New Media Projects, American
Museum of the Moving Image

assistant curator of digital media, American Museum of the Moving Image

Curator of Digital Media and Director of Information Systems,
International Center of Photography

Digital Media Curator, Lassi Tasajarvi, Independent Curator, Australia

Digital Media Center for the Arts, Yale

Digital Media Center, School of the Arts, Columbia Univ.

----------
"New Media"
-----------
Adjunct curator of new media arts, Whitney Museum

New Media Curator, Walker Art Center

New Media Curator, Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK

New Media curator at the DeCordova Museum

New Media Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London

Curator of New Media & Public Programs at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Center for New Media, UC Berkeley

----------
"Digital Art"
-----------
digital art curator, Centre for Contemporary Photography

Digital Art Museum (online only)

Los Angeles Center For Digital Art

Austin Museum of Digital Art (no building)

SJSU Digital Art Lobby

Digital Arts Program, University of Oregon

UCDARNET, Univ. of CA, Digital Arts Network

----------
"Computer Art"
-----------
Museum of Computer Art

----------
"Virtual Art"
-----------
Virtual Art Curator, Athens Institute of Contemporary Art

-----------
"Art and Technology"
-----------
New Center for Art and Technology, Cleveland

Eyebeam Atelier Museum of Art and Technology, NYC

-----------
"Electronic Art"
-----------
International Festival of Electronic Art

Ars Electronica

International Society of Electronic Artists

=========================================
PROPER NAMES FOR PROGRAMS (but not curators)

Orange Lounge, New Media Website and Online Exhibition Space, Orange
County Museum of Art

ArtPort, Whitney Museum of American Art

Gallery 9, Walker Art Center

Digital Programmes (also Net Art), Tate Modern

Rhizome, Rhizome.org

RGB Gallery, HotWired

--

Richard Rinehart
---------------
Director of Digital Media
Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
bampfa.berkeley.edu
---------------
University of California, Berkeley
---------------
2625 Durant Ave.
Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250
ph.510.642.5240
fx.510.642.5269
  • Joseph Gray | Wed Jul 12th 2006 4:37 p.m.
    The phrases "generative art" and
    "generative design" seem to be
    thrown around quite a bit these days.

    not sure if the *art* term "generative" has been
    used for the title of a position or institution yet though.

    ***

    also the now classic term "electronic music"

    > Hello fellow Rhizomers,
    >
    > I'm sure this topic must have come up in the past here, but I haven't
    > seen it in a little while, so I'm going to update it. I'm doing some
    > research into what our field/sub-discipline/genre of
    > digital/newmedia/media art is being called these days. I've followed
    > the recent threads on whether to define a separate practice or not,
    > but I'm trying to find out not in what we might be ideally called in
    > theory, but what are organizations actually naming their programs and
    > how do they title their staff when they do distinguish them. I've
    > compiled an initial list below, and I'm wondering if anyone here
    > would have anything to add to it - new phrases, new examples of
    > existing titles, etc. I'll be happy to share the compiled fruits of
    > my little investigation once I'm done. The list of academic programs
    > on Rhizome has been helpful as it provides a tally of such phrases.
    > The following is in addition to that lists, and focusses more on
    > museums and arts organizations than academia. Anyone care to add to
    > the list, or comment on what our little world is being called these
    > days?
    >
    > =========================================
    > NON-PROPER NAMES FOR CURATORIAL AND RELATED PROGRAMS
    >
    > -----------
    > "Digital Media"
    > -----------
    > Curator of Digital Media, UC Riverside California Museum of Photography
    >
    > Curator of Digital Media and Director of New Media Projects, American
    > Museum of the Moving Image
    >
    > assistant curator of digital media, American Museum of the Moving Image
    >
    > Curator of Digital Media and Director of Information Systems,
    > International Center of Photography
    >
    > Digital Media Curator, Lassi Tasajarvi, Independent Curator, Australia
    >
    > Digital Media Center for the Arts, Yale
    >
    > Digital Media Center, School of the Arts, Columbia Univ.
    >
    > ----------
    > "New Media"
    > -----------
    > Adjunct curator of new media arts, Whitney Museum
    >
    > New Media Curator, Walker Art Center
    >
    > New Media Curator, Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK
    >
    > New Media curator at the DeCordova Museum
    >
    > New Media Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London
    >
    > Curator of New Media & Public Programs at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
    >
    > Center for New Media, UC Berkeley
    >
    > ----------
    > "Digital Art"
    > -----------
    > digital art curator, Centre for Contemporary Photography
    >
    > Digital Art Museum (online only)
    >
    > Los Angeles Center For Digital Art
    >
    > Austin Museum of Digital Art (no building)
    >
    > SJSU Digital Art Lobby
    >
    > Digital Arts Program, University of Oregon
    >
    > UCDARNET, Univ. of CA, Digital Arts Network
    >
    > ----------
    > "Computer Art"
    > -----------
    > Museum of Computer Art
    >
    > ----------
    > "Virtual Art"
    > -----------
    > Virtual Art Curator, Athens Institute of Contemporary Art
    >
    > -----------
    > "Art and Technology"
    > -----------
    > New Center for Art and Technology, Cleveland
    >
    > Eyebeam Atelier Museum of Art and Technology, NYC
    >
    > -----------
    > "Electronic Art"
    > -----------
    > International Festival of Electronic Art
    >
    > Ars Electronica
    >
    > International Society of Electronic Artists
    >
    >
    > =========================================
    > PROPER NAMES FOR PROGRAMS (but not curators)
    >
    > Orange Lounge, New Media Website and Online Exhibition Space, Orange
    > County Museum of Art
    >
    > ArtPort, Whitney Museum of American Art
    >
    > Gallery 9, Walker Art Center
    >
    > Digital Programmes (also Net Art), Tate Modern
    >
    > Rhizome, Rhizome.org
    >
    > RGB Gallery, HotWired
    >
    >
    > --
    >
    >
    > Richard Rinehart
    > ---------------
    > Director of Digital Media
    > Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
    > bampfa.berkeley.edu
    > ---------------
    > University of California, Berkeley
    > ---------------
    > 2625 Durant Ave.
    > Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250
    > ph.510.642.5240
    > fx.510.642.5269
    > +
    > -> 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
    >
  • Eric Dymond | Sat Jul 15th 2006 9:41 p.m.
    > Hello fellow Rhizomers,
    >
    > I'm sure this topic must have come up in the past here, but I
    > haven't
    > seen it in a little while, so I'm going to update it. I'm doing some
    > > research into what our field/sub-discipline/genre of
    > > digital/newmedia/media art is being called these days. I've followed
    > > the recent threads on whether to define a separate practice or not,
    > > but I'm trying to find out not in what we might be ideally called in
    > > theory, but what are organizations actually naming their programs
    > and
    > > how do they title their staff when they do distinguish them. I've
    > > compiled an initial list below, and I'm wondering if anyone here
    > > would have anything to add to it - new phrases, new examples of
    > > existing titles, etc. I'll be happy to share the compiled fruits of
    > > my little investigation once I'm done. The list of academic programs
    > > on Rhizome has been helpful as it provides a tally of such phrases.
    > > The following is in addition to that lists, and focusses more on
    > > museums and arts organizations than academia. Anyone care to add to
    > > the list, or comment on what our little world is being called these
    > > days?
    I like "not wet/dry"!
    Of course, many on the list will respond to the concept that this is just art, made with new tools, but in essence, it's still the same old art we made in grade school, high school, grad school and the wild wild world. So just call it art and get over the fact that it was made with new tools. But that doesn't help with the taxonomy you're trying to get at. The group I am working with has come up with the name " Rich Media".
    Tom Greene, author of many books on Flash is a colleague/friend and he's comfortable with that name. I'm not, but I doubt that it will make a large difference in the overall scheme of things (my complaint is with the use of the word *rich*, it sounds very exclusive).
    But the taxonomy always comes back to haunt us (*The New York School of Poets* is a great example). As hard as we try to evade classification, the greater world bites back with a vengeance.
    I am in favour of a very, very general naming device, something like "new tools art", or "devices that my father didn't use art".
    How about "not wet/dry art"?
    Well, good luck with your quest, none of us have figured it out, and "New Media" and "digital art" sound like an Al Gore invention. It's too much a part of the 90's ethos.
    best
    Eric
  • Steve OR Steven Read | Mon Jul 17th 2006 10:50 a.m.
    These are all dangerous terms. I think its safer if we forgo language altogether and just chirp, grunt, and moan when we think of art.
  • Rhizomer | Mon Jul 17th 2006 12:56 p.m.
    Am 17.07.2006 um 18:50 schrieb Steve OR Steven Read:

    These are all dangerous terms. I think its safer if we forgo language
    altogether and just chirp, grunt, and moan when we think of art.

    MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH

    -->
    frankfurter forum fur elektronische und neue musik
    http://experimentalelektronik.de
    <--
  • marc garrett | Mon Jul 17th 2006 1:30 p.m.
    I proclaim that we should claim the words Nibble & Nibblers...

    'Nibblers' of the void unite!

    Dammit - it'll probably be claimed back and placed it in the history
    books, as 'Nibble-ism', then we'll have to nibble on the aeshtetics of
    nibble-ist theory, then post-nibble-ism, yikes - and then we are in
    trouble - crumbs ;-)

    marc

    >
    > Am 17.07.2006 um 18:50 schrieb Steve OR Steven Read:
    >
    > These are all dangerous terms. I think its safer if we forgo language
    > altogether and just chirp, grunt, and moan when we think of art.
    >
    >
    >
    > MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH
    >
    >
    >
    > -->
    > frankfurter forum fur elektronische und neue musik
    > http://experimentalelektronik.de
    > <--
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> 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
    >
    >

    --
    Furtherfield - http://www.furtherfield.org
    HTTP - http://www.http.uk.net
    Node.London - http://www.nodel.org
  • Eric Dymond | Tue Jul 18th 2006 9:12 a.m.
    >what are we calling ourselves?

    Well I have been calling myself all day, and I still get a busy signal.
    So I called a few friends, and they weren't any help. Their first response was "who's this?", and of course..., I don't know, thats why I called them, you can see my dilemna.
    I may never know.
    Eric
  • curt cloninger | Wed Jul 19th 2006 9:08 p.m.
    i am the world's forgotten boy
    the one who searches and destroys

    Richard Rinehart wrote:

    I'm doing some
    > research into what our field/sub-discipline/genre of
    > digital/newmedia/media art is being called these days.
  • Jerry King Musser | Sat Jul 22nd 2006 7:07 a.m.
    I've been hearing 'integrated media' lately.

    But, a word about the responses of some others...

    I think the gentleman was asking a serious question and I believe we should show enough respect for his intention by simply answering honestly or not at all.
  • Alexis Turner | Sat Jul 22nd 2006 7:54 p.m.
    I think that it's rather a
    fruitless attempt, outside of solving pragmatic matters like making it less of
    a train wreck for people doing searches for information on the subject. Lemme
    tell ya, it's hell trying to just find a damn program to apply to if everyone
    of them calls themselves something different. That said, it turns out that they
    all take an -extremely- different approach, so shunting them all off in a corner
    together doesn't end up being nearly as useful as it might appear at first
    glance.

    Pragmatism aside, I think trying to pin down the topic rather misses its point.
    The general idea is to use something which is electrically powered and create
    something (and even then, that's not -always- true...take bio-art). That's
    pretty frigging broad. You wouldn't call all things done using wood
    "cabinetry," or even "woodworking." You can do a million things with wood,
    including shipbuilding and house building, neither of which remotely qualifies
    under the seemingly encompassing "woodworking." So why do we continue to
    presume we should, or even can, devise a single name for something that isn't
    even as limiting as using 1 medium (wood)? Seems rather like trying to
    collect the ocean in a bucket. Just as easy. Just as useful.

    To date, the rather generic term "new media" is probably the best(?) attempt
    so far, in that it makes no assumption about the media other than that it isn't
    traditional and relies (somehow) on modern technological innovation, nor does it
    make an assumption about the point, message, medium, or technique, as does much
    of the other nomenclature. To me, "new media" encompasses more specific
    flavors like "digital art," "bio art," "net.art," "hacktivism," "generative
    art," etc. We keep getting confused because we continue, sloppily, thinking
    about and using them interchangeably, and we get our panties in a wad every
    time someone comes along with a new one that we haven't thought of yet, as
    though they're being bad or something by not just lumping it in to an existing,
    if inappropriate, genre. They are not interchangeable, technology has
    not stopped progressing, and people have not stopped devising new things to do
    with existing tools.
    -Alexis

    On Sat, 22 Jul 2006, Jerry King Musser wrote:

    ::Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 06:07:26 -0700
    ::From: Jerry King Musser <musser@musser.cc>
    ::To: list@rhizome.org
    ::Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: what are we calling ourselves?
    ::
    ::I've been hearing 'integrated media' lately.
    ::
    ::But, a word about the responses of some others...
    ::
    ::I think the gentleman was asking a serious question and I believe we should show enough respect for his intention by simply answering honestly or not at all.
    ::+
    ::-> 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
    ::
  • Eric Dymond | Sat Jul 22nd 2006 8:32 p.m.
    Alexis Turner wrote:

    > I think that it's rather a
    > fruitless attempt, outside of solving pragmatic matters like making it
    > less of
    > a train wreck for people doing searches for information on the
    > subject. Lemme
    > tell ya, it's hell trying to just find a damn program to apply to if
    > everyone
    > of them calls themselves something different. That said, it turns out
    > that they
    > all take an -extremely- different approach, so shunting them all off
    > in a corner
    > together doesn't end up being nearly as useful as it might appear at
    > first
    > glance.
    >
    > Pragmatism aside, I think trying to pin down the topic rather misses
    > its point.
    > The general idea is to use something which is electrically powered and
    > create
    > something (and even then, that's not -always- true...take bio-art).
    > That's
    > pretty frigging broad. You wouldn't call all things done using wood
    > "cabinetry," or even "woodworking." You can do a million things with
    > wood,
    > including shipbuilding and house building, neither of which remotely
    > qualifies
    > under the seemingly encompassing "woodworking." So why do we continue
    > to
    > presume we should, or even can, devise a single name for something
    > that isn't
    > even as limiting as using 1 medium (wood)? Seems rather like trying
    > to
    > collect the ocean in a bucket. Just as easy. Just as useful.
    >
    > To date, the rather generic term "new media" is probably the best(?)
    > attempt
    > so far, in that it makes no assumption about the media other than that
    > it isn't
    > traditional and relies (somehow) on modern technological innovation,
    > nor does it
    > make an assumption about the point, message, medium, or technique, as
    > does much
    > of the other nomenclature. To me, "new media" encompasses more
    > specific
    > flavors like "digital art," "bio art," "net.art," "hacktivism,"
    > "generative
    > art," etc. We keep getting confused because we continue, sloppily,
    > thinking
    > about and using them interchangeably, and we get our panties in a wad
    > every
    > time someone comes along with a new one that we haven't thought of
    > yet, as
    > though they're being bad or something by not just lumping it in to an
    > existing,
    > if inappropriate, genre. They are not interchangeable, technology
    > has
    > not stopped progressing, and people have not stopped devising new
    > things to do
    > with existing tools.
    > -Alexis
    >
    >
    > On Sat, 22 Jul 2006, Jerry King Musser wrote:
    >
    > ::Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 06:07:26 -0700
    > ::From: Jerry King Musser <musser@musser.cc>
    > ::To: list@rhizome.org
    > ::Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: what are we calling ourselves?
    > ::
    > ::I've been hearing 'integrated media' lately.
    > ::
    > ::But, a word about the responses of some others...
    > ::
    > ::I think the gentleman was asking a serious question and I believe we
    > should show enough respect for his intention by simply answering
    > honestly or not at all.
    > ::+
    > ::-> 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
    > ::

    Wow, thanks Alexis.
    I'm still getting a busy signal, and everyone I call says "who's this?"
    and I still don't know.
    Eric
  • Eric Dymond | Sat Jul 22nd 2006 9:34 p.m.
    The crux of the question sits in an unanswerable space.
    Do I wake up in the morning and say "Hey I'm a new media artist with things to do, web sites to make, vids to vblog", or do I more realistically say things like, " My foots asleep","I'm so hungry", " I'm stll alive to see another morning".
    The question Richard asks is self referential, and even on the best of days, I don't think of my place in the taxonomy of the art world.
    I am usually just happy to see that my feet are where they're supposed to be.
    When I finally sit down to make art, I make it with the tools that are available. These days, the tools are mostly driven by electronics/technology as Alexis pointed out. At no time in my daily wanderings do I tell myself "now this is a new media work!", or do I say "this is an old media work". I just am.
    Wallace Stevens once said that only bad artists can spend their time describing their art. Maybe he was right, maybe not. But I am sure that most artists working today spend their time on meaning, not the media.
    Imagine Ozu making Early Spring. As Jim Jaramusch pointed out in his essay on Ozu in Art Forum (2003), Ozu's films are an attempt to understand the post war Japanese family. Did he wake up thinking " I'm a film maker?".May, but he probably woke up in a fog trying to come to terms with the changes in the society he lived in, where he was a concerned constituent, and how could he create.
    So a simple call by Richard becomes an important pointer to self reference.
    So biting back is OK, esp. if they reveal something unsaid.
    Eric
  • Eric Dymond | Sat Jul 22nd 2006 9:45 p.m.
    The crux of the question sits in an unanswerable space.
    Do I wake up in the morning and say "Hey I'm a new media artist with things to do, web sites to make, vids to vblog", or do I more realistically say things like, " My foots asleep","I'm so hungry", " I'm stll alive to see another morning".
    The question Richard asks is self referential, and even on the best of days, I don't think of my place in the taxonomy of the art world.
    I am usually just happy to see that my feet are where they're supposed to be.
    When I finally sit down to make art, I make it with the tools that are available. These days, the tools are mostly driven by electronics/technology as Alexis pointed out. At no time in my daily wanderings do I tell myself "now this is a new media work!", or do I say "this is an old media work". I just am.
    Wallace Stevens once said that only bad artists can spend their time describing their art. Maybe he was right, maybe not. But I am sure that most artists working today spend their time on meaning, not the media.
    Imagine Ozu making Early Summer. As Jim Jaramusch pointed out in his essay on Ozu in Art Forum (2003), Ozu's films are an attempt to understand the post war Japanese family. Did he wake up thinking " I'm a film maker?".May, but he probably woke up in a fog trying to come to terms with the changes in the society he lived in, where he was a concerned constituent, and how could he create.
    So a simple call by Richard becomes an important pointer to self reference.
    So biting back is OK, esp. if they reveal something unsaid.
    Eric
  • Richard Rinehart | Wed Jul 26th 2006 3:10 p.m.
    hi again,

    I do enjoy the back and forth on this (why else join this list in the
    RAW?). Of course I also buy the arguments that there are dangers in
    classifying a practice like art or even life, and especially in over-
    or unnecessarily classifying; that's a given. But if you take that
    argument to its logical end, it yields few practical results. For
    instance, I don't wake up in the morning thinking I'm a "new media
    artist"; it's true - I just am. But then again, I also don't wake up
    thinking I'm an artist. Why classify that realm of human activity
    apart from others? I don't wake up thinking I'm human or even me most
    days, so why classify my species or personal identity apart from all
    life? I just am. It's so true on a deeply philosophical level (grunt,
    groan, sigh, chirp), but then again, there are so many necessary
    reasons for classifying. It's all about finding the right levels to
    classify and then the right parameters with which to classify (many
    purely practical, thus my focus on what real-world organizations are
    indeed calling themselves or their programs).

    So, after finishing my research, I found that "new media" "digital
    media" and "digital art" were the three most used terms. I agree
    again with the dangers of over-reifying an artistic practice in terms
    of a medium (or media), but within a realm of practice it may make
    sense. For instance, it's true you would not call boat-building or
    construction "woodworking", but it is common practice within those
    fields to define the "wood" tradition (see the magazine "wooden
    boats" or the term "wood frame construction"). So the medium is a
    useful qualifier to the larger area of practice that is boat-building
    or house-building. Similarly, I think video art or digital art simply
    uses a medium to clarify and specify an area of artistic practice. Of
    course it should not be presumed that any given artist who works in
    digital media works exclusively in those media. It's all about
    context; when applying to certain grant agencies it makes sense to
    declare one's self a "digital artist", but in another context perhaps
    one is just an "artist" or a citizen or person.

    I think it's important to be able to clarify that because, for
    instance, when we describe what was happening in the late 20th
    century with art, there was something a little new and different
    going on - what was it? I think there's a there there. It's also
    useful because these terms loosely describe communities as much as
    simply media. For instance, "new media" artists are often those who
    post on Rhizome and nettime, publish in Leonardo or Intelligent
    Agent, and attend the Refresh conference or Ars Electronica. Now
    those artists may also overlap with those in the larger art world who
    publish in ArtNews and attend the Biennial and Biennale, but despite
    the fact that all communities overlap, it is possible to say that
    there's an identity there - however loose. Not a pure, static, or
    ontological identity, but an perceptable one.

    Now as to the term, I think that Computational Media Art would be the
    most precise. Computation defines what is new about this technology
    in question in distinction to other preceding technologies (including
    video, etc). But Computation is not used that much in this sense;
    it's too arcane. "New media" seems so loose as to lose all definitive
    power altogether. After all, isn't polymer acrylic painting a new
    medium? I would offer that the more used "Digital Media Art" is a
    useful term - it lies between computation and new, and means the most
    precise thing to the most people. It's not useful to always call
    digital art "digital", but it's also not fair to dismiss the media as
    entirely incidental (the way the mainstream marketers of Brokeback
    mountain claimed it was "just a love story between two people")
    because the media allow the artists to go in directions that they
    simply could not with other media. If art is an interplay of artist
    with medium, then the medium helps define the artwork in a way that
    does not commit the "intentional fallacy" of defining it entirely in
    terms of artist intent or concept.

    Well, that's already more words from me than post people are likely
    to read, but I'm glad for the chance to discuss with you all. Thanks,

    Richard Rinehart
    ---------------
    Director of Digital Media
    Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
    bampfa.berkeley.edu
    ---------------
    University of California, Berkeley
    ---------------
    2625 Durant Ave.
    Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250
    ph.510.642.5240
    fx.510.642.5269

    >I think that it's rather a
    >fruitless attempt, outside of solving pragmatic matters like making it less of
    >a train wreck for people doing searches for information on the subject. Lemme
    >tell ya, it's hell trying to just find a damn program to apply to if everyone
    >of them calls themselves something different. That said, it turns
    >out that they
    >all take an -extremely- different approach, so shunting them all off
    >in a corner
    >together doesn't end up being nearly as useful as it might appear at first
    >glance.
    >
    >Pragmatism aside, I think trying to pin down the topic rather misses
    >its point.
    >The general idea is to use something which is electrically powered and create
    >something (and even then, that's not -always- true...take bio-art). That's
    >pretty frigging broad. You wouldn't call all things done using wood
    >"cabinetry," or even "woodworking." You can do a million things with wood,
    >including shipbuilding and house building, neither of which remotely qualifies
    >under the seemingly encompassing "woodworking." So why do we continue to
    >presume we should, or even can, devise a single name for something that isn't
    >even as limiting as using 1 medium (wood)? Seems rather like trying to
    >collect the ocean in a bucket. Just as easy. Just as useful.
    >
    >To date, the rather generic term "new media" is probably the best(?) attempt
    >so far, in that it makes no assumption about the media other than
    >that it isn't
    >traditional and relies (somehow) on modern technological innovation,
    >nor does it
    >make an assumption about the point, message, medium, or technique,
    >as does much
    >of the other nomenclature. To me, "new media" encompasses more specific
    >flavors like "digital art," "bio art," "net.art," "hacktivism," "generative
    >art," etc. We keep getting confused because we continue, sloppily, thinking
    >about and using them interchangeably, and we get our panties in a wad every
    >time someone comes along with a new one that we haven't thought of yet, as
    >though they're being bad or something by not just lumping it in to
    >an existing,
    >if inappropriate, genre. They are not interchangeable, technology has
    >not stopped progressing, and people have not stopped devising new things to do
    >with existing tools.
    >-Alexis
    >
    >
    >On Sat, 22 Jul 2006, Jerry King Musser wrote:
    >
    >::Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 06:07:26 -0700
    >::From: Jerry King Musser <musser@musser.cc>
    >::To: list@rhizome.org
    >::Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: what are we calling ourselves?
    >::
    >::I've been hearing 'integrated media' lately.
    >::
    >::But, a word about the responses of some others...
    >::
    >::I think the gentleman was asking a serious question and I believe
    >we should show enough respect for his intention by simply answering
    >honestly or not at all.
    >::+
    >::-> 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
    >::
    >+
    >-> post: list@rhizome.org
    >-> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >-> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >-> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >+
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    >Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php

    --
  • Eric Dymond | Wed Jul 26th 2006 10:33 p.m.
    Richard Rinehart wrote:

    Well Richard, at least you had some fun.
    The name used to describe a an art practice is always misleading.
    Rauschenberg could be called a collage artist (and he was) , it's a popular signifier.
    But I have a feeling he might object. If we look at his works from a historic view however we can say they fall into the realm of painting, which once again, I'm sure he would say was incorrect, or at least insufficient. He called them combines.
    When we look at his body of work, in relation to the social patterns and aesthetic developments that were evolving at the time we call his work POP art.
    So we have at least three perspectives that can all be used to corral his work and place it in a category.
    The biggest problem we have here, is that during the evolution of the work Rhizome members make, the collective identifier was never nailed down.
    Glad it's your problem and not mine ;-)
    Eric
  • Andre SC | Wed Jul 26th 2006 10:42 p.m.
    I like 'computational' very much, sure some would argue that 'generative'
    is more appropriate but there is a difference. Perhaps one could argue that
    computational has a stronger association with the vectors of developing
    artificial and augmented intelligence via programming, as opposed to
    'generative's closely related but different focus on the processing and
    automation capabilities of digital technology?

    I still call myself a virtual artist when it matters (but that has more to
    do with accomplishment than media) :-)

    Indeed these are great threads to keep an eye on, Thank you guys!

    Andre SC
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Richard Rinehart" <rinehart@berkeley.edu>
    To: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 11:07 PM
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: what are we calling ourselves?

    > hi again,
    >
    > I do enjoy the back and forth on this (why else join this list in the
    > RAW?). Of course I also buy the arguments that there are dangers in
    > classifying a practice like art or even life, and especially in over- or
    > unnecessarily classifying; that's a given. But if you take that argument
    > to its logical end, it yields few practical results. For instance, I don't
    > wake up in the morning thinking I'm a "new media artist"; it's true - I
    > just am. But then again, I also don't wake up thinking I'm an artist. Why
    > classify that realm of human activity apart from others? I don't wake up
    > thinking I'm human or even me most days, so why classify my species or
    > personal identity apart from all life? I just am. It's so true on a deeply
    > philosophical level (grunt, groan, sigh, chirp), but then again, there are
    > so many necessary reasons for classifying. It's all about finding the
    > right levels to classify and then the right parameters with which to
    > classify (many purely practical, thus my focus on what real-world
    > organizations are indeed calling themselves or their programs).
    >
    > So, after finishing my research, I found that "new media" "digital media"
    > and "digital art" were the three most used terms. I agree again with the
    > dangers of over-reifying an artistic practice in terms of a medium (or
    > media), but within a realm of practice it may make sense. For instance,
    > it's true you would not call boat-building or construction "woodworking",
    > but it is common practice within those fields to define the "wood"
    > tradition (see the magazine "wooden boats" or the term "wood frame
    > construction"). So the medium is a useful qualifier to the larger area of
    > practice that is boat-building or house-building. Similarly, I think video
    > art or digital art simply uses a medium to clarify and specify an area of
    > artistic practice. Of course it should not be presumed that any given
    > artist who works in digital media works exclusively in those media. It's
    > all about context; when applying to certain grant agencies it makes sense
    > to declare one's self a "digital artist", but in another context perhaps
    > one is just an "artist" or a citizen or person.
    >
    > I think it's important to be able to clarify that because, for instance,
    > when we describe what was happening in the late 20th century with art,
    > there was something a little new and different going on - what was it? I
    > think there's a there there. It's also useful because these terms loosely
    > describe communities as much as simply media. For instance, "new media"
    > artists are often those who post on Rhizome and nettime, publish in
    > Leonardo or Intelligent Agent, and attend the Refresh conference or Ars
    > Electronica. Now those artists may also overlap with those in the larger
    > art world who publish in ArtNews and attend the Biennial and Biennale, but
    > despite the fact that all communities overlap, it is possible to say that
    > there's an identity there - however loose. Not a pure, static, or
    > ontological identity, but an perceptable one.
    >
    > Now as to the term, I think that Computational Media Art would be the most
    > precise. Computation defines what is new about this technology in question
    > in distinction to other preceding technologies (including video, etc). But
    > Computation is not used that much in this sense; it's too arcane. "New
    > media" seems so loose as to lose all definitive power altogether. After
    > all, isn't polymer acrylic painting a new medium? I would offer that the
    > more used "Digital Media Art" is a useful term - it lies between
    > computation and new, and means the most precise thing to the most people.
    > It's not useful to always call digital art "digital", but it's also not
    > fair to dismiss the media as entirely incidental (the way the mainstream
    > marketers of Brokeback mountain claimed it was "just a love story between
    > two people") because the media allow the artists to go in directions that
    > they simply could not with other media. If art is an interplay of artist
    > with medium, then the medium helps define the artwork in a way that does
    > not commit the "intentional fallacy" of defining it entirely in terms of
    > artist intent or concept.
    >
    > Well, that's already more words from me than post people are likely to
    > read, but I'm glad for the chance to discuss with you all. Thanks,
    >
    >
    >
    > Richard Rinehart
    > ---------------
    > Director of Digital Media
    > Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
    > bampfa.berkeley.edu
    > ---------------
    > University of California, Berkeley
    > ---------------
    > 2625 Durant Ave.
    > Berkeley, CA, 94720-2250
    > ph.510.642.5240
    > fx.510.642.5269
    >
    >
    >
    >>I think that it's rather a
    >>fruitless attempt, outside of solving pragmatic matters like making it
    >>less of
    >>a train wreck for people doing searches for information on the subject.
    >>Lemme
    >>tell ya, it's hell trying to just find a damn program to apply to if
    >>everyone
    >>of them calls themselves something different. That said, it turns out
    >>that they
    >>all take an -extremely- different approach, so shunting them all off in a
    >>corner
    >>together doesn't end up being nearly as useful as it might appear at first
    >>glance.
    >>
    >>Pragmatism aside, I think trying to pin down the topic rather misses its
    >>point. The general idea is to use something which is electrically powered
    >>and create
    >>something (and even then, that's not -always- true...take bio-art).
    >>That's
    >>pretty frigging broad. You wouldn't call all things done using wood
    >>"cabinetry," or even "woodworking." You can do a million things with
    >>wood,
    >>including shipbuilding and house building, neither of which remotely
    >>qualifies
    >>under the seemingly encompassing "woodworking." So why do we continue to
    >>presume we should, or even can, devise a single name for something that
    >>isn't
    >>even as limiting as using 1 medium (wood)? Seems rather like trying to
    >>collect the ocean in a bucket. Just as easy. Just as useful.
    >>
    >>To date, the rather generic term "new media" is probably the best(?)
    >>attempt
    >>so far, in that it makes no assumption about the media other than that it
    >>isn't
    >>traditional and relies (somehow) on modern technological innovation, nor
    >>does it
    >>make an assumption about the point, message, medium, or technique, as does
    >>much
    >>of the other nomenclature. To me, "new media" encompasses more specific
    >>flavors like "digital art," "bio art," "net.art," "hacktivism,"
    >>"generative
    >>art," etc. We keep getting confused because we continue, sloppily,
    >>thinking
    >>about and using them interchangeably, and we get our panties in a wad
    >>every
    >>time someone comes along with a new one that we haven't thought of yet, as
    >>though they're being bad or something by not just lumping it in to an
    >>existing,
    >>if inappropriate, genre. They are not interchangeable, technology has
    >>not stopped progressing, and people have not stopped devising new things
    >>to do
    >>with existing tools.
    >>-Alexis
    >>
    >>
    >>On Sat, 22 Jul 2006, Jerry King Musser wrote:
    >>
    >>::Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 06:07:26 -0700
    >>::From: Jerry King Musser <musser@musser.cc>
    >>::To: list@rhizome.org
    >>::Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: what are we calling ourselves?
    >>::
    >>::I've been hearing 'integrated media' lately.
    >>::
    >>::But, a word about the responses of some others...
    >>::
    >>::I think the gentleman was asking a serious question and I believe we
    >>should show enough respect for his intention by simply answering honestly
    >>or not at all.
    >>::+
    >>::-> 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
    >>::
    >>+
    >>-> 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
    >
    >
    > --
    > +
    > -> 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
    >
    >
  • Rob Myers | Thu Jul 27th 2006 2:41 a.m.
    Quoting Andre SC <andre@pixelplexus.co.za>:

    > I like 'computational' very much, sure some would argue that
    > 'generative' is more appropriate but there is a difference. Perhaps
    > one could argue that computational has a stronger association with
    > the vectors of developing artificial and augmented intelligence via
    > programming, as opposed to 'generative's closely related but
    > different focus on the processing and automation capabilities of
    > digital technology?

    AI can be used generatively though. AARON uses an expert system and a
    production
    system, both of which are AI staples.

    There are those who argue at length that "Generative" art predates
    computers and
    includes the usual suspects and their dice. I've some sympathy for this
    view but
    I think that current usage doesn't really keep this broader historical
    meaning.

    http://www.vagueterrain.net/content/archives/journal03/galanter01.html
    http://www.vagueterrain.net/content/archives/journal03/myers01.html

    "Art Computing" is my favourite term, it's more like "painting" or
    "sculpting".
    But streaming video and other net.art activities that are media based rather
    than code based stretch that description, it's more a successor to
    "algorithmic
    art".

    We spend a lot of time on eu-gene discussing what the heck generative art is,
    and why the idea upsets Chinese Room apologists so much. I hope RHIZOME_RAW
    doesn't get hung up on taxonomy. ;-)

    On Rhizome there are painters, performers, video artists, hackers, roboteers,
    academics, administrators, skript kiddies and more. All are Rhizomers. It's a
    very special mix, its pluralism is its strength.

    "Ich bin ein Rhizomer!"

    - Rob.
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