from a b-grade (indy?) net artist

Posted by Jason Nelson | Fri Aug 11th 2006 7:56 a.m.

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...

Jason Nelson

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  • ryan griffis | Fri Aug 11th 2006 12:48 p.m.
    On Aug 11, 2006, at 8:56 AM, Jason Nelson wrote:
    >
    > 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.

    Somewhat agree Jason... but i think the point Rob makes (quite well,
    IMHO) in relation to this is that we should consider every instance
    of reproduction of that hierarchy. A book does represent certain
    choices that are polemic in their positioning of ideas and histories.
    Sure, those choices may make sense within the larger political
    economy in which they function, but they are choices that could be
    different, nonetheless.
    That's why any of this stuff has what meaning it does. The exclusions/
    inclusions place the info into a narrative. And the meanings/
    implications of that narrative are something to contest.
    best,
    ryan
  • Eryk Salvaggio | Mon Aug 28th 2006 11:56 a.m.
    I haven't read Mark's book. I am sure my name is not in it. I'm not worried. His name isn't in mine.

    -er.
  • marc garrett | Mon Aug 28th 2006 3:12 p.m.
    Hi Eryk,

    I cannot believe that someone as intuitive as yourself just ain't
    getting the issues around this, it's much more than that - but I'm sick
    of explaining - hence getting on with doing stuff, which is of course a
    positive action...

    marc

    >I haven't read Mark's book. I am sure my name is not in it. I'm not worried. His name isn't in mine.
    >
    >-er.
    >
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  • Eryk Salvaggio | Tue Aug 29th 2006 12:15 a.m.
    I think there are a lot of very complicated issues which are all pretty irrelevant to making work and getting it "shown". Talking heads in net.art- especially in book form- is interesting, can be fun to read and read about, but in terms of pinning
    down any kind of history, it's laughable, and I sincerely doubt it's even intended. Any importance to this critical historical thread only exists because the people "left out" are convinced that being left out means something- I really doubt the
    people writing these books care, at all, about anything besides illustrating their own points and themes...

    I dunno, I know this is backwards, but I think of books as blogs with a bigger budget. Some are fun to read, some aren't, some say something interesting, some don't. Sometimes you get linked. Usually you don't.

    But the discourse takes place on one track, and the art takes place on another. It's nice when they are both aware of each other, but operate with their own agency. Maybe that's too simple, but it works for me.

    -er.

    marc <marc.garrett@furtherfield.org> on Monday, August 28, 2006 at 5:18 PM -0500 wrote:
    >Hi Eryk,
    >
    >I cannot believe that someone as intuitive as yourself just ain't
    >getting the issues around this, it's much more than that - but I'm sick
    >of explaining - hence getting on with doing stuff, which is of course a
    >positive action...
    >
    >marc
    >
    >>I haven't read Mark's book. I am sure my name is not in it. I'm not worried. His name isn't in mine.
    >>
    >>-er.
    >>
    >>+
    >>-> 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
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >
    >
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    >Furtherfield - http://www.furtherfield.org
    >HTTP - http://www.http.uk.net
    >Node.London - http://www.nodel.org
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    >+
    >-> post: list@rhizome.org
    >-> questions: info@rhizome.org
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