This recent chatter (borrowing the term from our home imprisonment agency) about
Mr. Tribe's glossy book or the future and past of net art brought about a realization.
Net Art has/is/will travel the same icy path as nearly all other forms of media. What was once a more or less free for all, a do what you want, how you want, a wonderful and dare I say cowboy/girlesque world of wranglers and such, has become institutionalized.
We are now academics, curators, grant givers and getters, publishers and book makers and on. And while I am terribly happy for the job and always love seeing new, curious work supported with bright buildings and fancy parties, there is one major drawback to all this institutionalization:
That drawback is the creation of hierarchy, building levels of influence. Of course, as with all other media forms, these levels, this hierarchy is largely built on seemingly arbitrary and unfair notions. Personal taste of those in power, friends, location, language, style, politics and the most powerful: random choice and perception. I say random, because when writing a book or article or making choices for funding there is a certain level of randomness...choosing from a field of tall blue poppies....
So when all this talk about books and such come around. And we read these books and dont see our names, or other's names in them, we cringe.....and complain.....
BUT....that is the trick isnt it. We arent complaining about Mark's choices, we are complaining about the hierarchy, the ordering of things, the choice of which works are deserving and which arent. And we complain because of why most of us started in this net/new media art world in the first place. We hated the ordering, every webpage was as close as the next, and we felt free to create however and whatever the hell we wanted. Sadly.....unless one divorces themselves
from the arena, the process, the institution of new media art, that ordering, that hierarchy, that power structure will continue.
SO.....my realization......after all this...I realized that in the hierarchy of things I am either a b grade artist or one of those awkward looking and quirky indy movie characters........and I suppose I dont care much, although given the chance to have
a few sentences and a bit of color space within the walls of borders, I would gladly get a nose job and tone my abs to industry standards...
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