On 8-Bit Aesthetics: Hackers or Hacks?

Posted by Sean Capone | Sat Oct 21st 2006 5:54 p.m.

Hello. Without being *too* confrontational, I would like to hear some opinions weighed in about the 'scene' of 8-bit, hack-art & machinima art and why it's worthy of so much attention. Honestly, I've tried to wrap my head around it and I'm just not getting it, especially in response to a) the recent front-page post on Rhizome on Paul Davis and b) Cory Arcangel's recent show at Team Gallery. While I won't say that 'most new media art is crap' like the recent post-discussion, my reaction to these works is dismissive at least, negative at worst. I'll ask the worst question one can ask: "Why is this 'Art'?"
These works seem a bit more of an exploitation of an existing technology platform in order to fetishize a certain in-vogue nostalgia about this time period (the 80s) rather than anything about "computer art which is aesthetically aware of both its own identity and the underlying process which supports it." This seems to have a very limited agency. Why the Nintendo in particular, why not, say, the Amiga, which was a platform more widely embraced at the time by videoartist-programmer-demoscene people during the same time period? The urge to "(release) bits from their imprisonment within the restrictive, limiting boundaries of corporate software applications" is amusing but ultimately not very creative, is it; perhaps even reactionary? While these systems may certainly have potential as A/V devices, they *were* designed as video-game platforms; to invest it with liberatory hacker activism (activision?) is to give it more importance than it perhaps deserves, and serves only as a circular, self-legitmizing exercise.
The gimmick, in other words, seems to come before the concept. I feel compelled to compare the silliness of the wholesale sampling and re-presentation in these works with, say, the Japanese group Delaware's highly entertaining, beautiful and original installations and performances that are inspired by the limitations of low-resolution electronic displays. Or on another level, Paul Chan's engaging, poetic and politically conscious animation video works. The difference being, something new is being created, not as nostalgia, not as a prank, but as a creative praxis.
So basically, what do we take away from this work once the nostalgia factor seems too distant or antiquated, or not really that clever to start with? Davis speaks of the "intentionality of artist(s) who seek to engage the computing process at a fundamental level", you mean, like artists who write their own code to create their own electronic spaces without the safety net of pre-digested consumerist codes and signs, or at least is engaged in some type of dialogue with them on a critical or aesthetic level? Sampling/hacking culture and re-presenting it is not the issue here...or not the only issue anyway.
Thanks for letting me rant--hope for productive discussion.
:s
  • patrick lichty | Sun Oct 22nd 2006 6:32 a.m.
    Patrick Lichty
    - Interactive Arts & Media
    Columbia College, Chicago
    - Editor-In-Chief
    Intelligent Agent Magazine
    http://www.intelligentagent.com
    225 288 5813
    voyd@voyd.com

    "It is better to die on your feet
    than to live on your knees."

    -----Original Message-----
    From: patrick lichty [mailto:voyd@voyd.com]
    Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2006 9:21 PM
    To: 'Sean Capone'; 'list@rhizome.org'
    Subject: RE: RHIZOME_RAW: On 8-Bit Aesthetics: Hackers or Hacks?

    Hi, Sean...

    As someone who's striving to define a broad methodology of "Digital
    Minimalism", in context of my own cultural, critical, and aesthetic
    research, in context with others' work as a set of trends
    (8-bit/neo-retro, Digital NeoPop, DM, and so on,) I'd like to venture a
    few comments.

    Hello. Without being *too* confrontational, I would like to hear some
    opinions weighed in about the 'scene' of 8-bit, hack-art & machinima art
    and why it's worthy of so much attention. Honestly, I've tried to wrap
    my head around it and I'm just not getting it, especially in response to
    a) the recent front-page post on Rhizome on Paul Davis and b) Cory
    Arcangel's recent show at Team Gallery. While I won't say that 'most new
    media art is crap' like the recent post-discussion, my reaction to these
    works is dismissive at least, negative at worst. I'll ask the worst
    question one can ask: "Why is this 'Art'?"

    **************************************************************
    Without sounding flip, I'd say that because a lot of people have said it
    is. And mainly because people like Arcangel have taken a quirky,
    affable demeanor and overlaid it onto a very smart contextual strategy
    that ties in with the emergence of so many aspects of digital culture
    that have become widespread. Also because there are systems in place to
    make media art objects that are instantly recognizeable and can enter
    the gallery system of economic exchange and collections. Also, if you
    believe Yoko Ono (from the same issue of Contemporary that Cory's in)
    that there are finally digital aesthetics that are stable and don't
    change, and can be specialized in for a long time.

    Is it ironic that some of the current digital contemporaries are working
    in systems that don't change? Not on your life.

    I think there's a lot of friction about 'craft', that is, the amount of
    work placed in a work. For example, when Cory and I did respective
    halves of a semester - long residency at the University of Akron last
    year, he had an interesting slogan.

    "Do as little as humanly possible", and I think this had to do with
    recontextualizing a cultural artifact and making it an art object, which
    is exactly what Kac, Debord, and Duchamp did so well. For him, it's a
    frustration with media art, and for me, it's been a break with
    technological determinism in New Media. That is, feeling that one has
    to use the latest and greatest technology because it's also in vogue.

    Slocum is a supreme craftsman. He knows the Atari 2600 kernel as well
    as anyone. Where Arcangel get in with context and personality, Slocum
    does it with virtuosity and referral to the culture of the 2600, retro,
    pop, I'd say perhaps even false nostalgia.

    Both are really good at what they do, they made the contacts, people
    believe in what they're doing, and there you have high art.

    ******************************************
    These works seem a bit more of an exploitation of an existing technology
    platform in order to fetishize a certain in-vogue nostalgia about this
    time period (the 80s) rather than anything about "computer art which is
    aesthetically aware of both its own identity and the underlying process
    which supports it."
    ******************************************

    But the contemporary art world doesn't identify with that. Actually,
    they don't care that much about it except in that it might have a
    somewhat shamanic appeal at times. They want to get something that both
    exploits its media and methods deeply and fits lock-step with the
    progression of the Western art historical tradition.. For example,
    Murakami cites classical Japanese culture, colonized by American pop
    culture. We love the manga eye, and it even got on a Vuitton Bag. But
    he also takes and makes odd garage kits that he insinuates into pop
    culture as well. That's interesting.

    Back to the self-referentiality of the computational process, except for
    bitforms, who cares about that in an art context, and still Steve
    presents very formal pieces from his artists, which gets the collectors.

    But what about Warhol? He sold a nostalgia for American Pop & Mass
    Culture like there was no tomorrow, and we're still recovering.

    But back to your idea here, much of what's on the wall has to do as much
    with the title and the colophon as the process, and that's back to
    context. Forgive me if I'm not making the connection; but I get the
    feeling that you're looking for recognition for works that deeply
    explore the computational process as method, and I honestly think that's
    outside the context of most of the contemporary art world.

    ***********************************************
    This seems to have a very limited agency.
    ***********************************************

    Sure. It limits your discourse. Reassures people where you're going to
    be in ten years, and gives them some reassurance in investing in your
    objects.

    **************************************************
    Why the Nintendo in particular, why not, say, the Amiga, which was a
    platform more widely embraced at the time by
    videoartist-programmer-demoscene people during the same time period?
    **************************************************

    Different sectors of culture. Tetris and Super Mario are the two most
    widely known games of all time, and were both on Nintendo. Nintendo is
    the platform that got the game industry out of the post 2600- crash. It
    has nothing to do with the art community, it has to do with the mass
    community, because that's what more people are going to identify with.

    ***************************************************
    The urge to "(release) bits from their imprisonment within the
    restrictive, limiting boundaries of corporate software applications" is
    amusing but ultimately not very creative, is it; perhaps even
    reactionary?

    ***************************************************
    Actually, it is. Read some of the interviews with Cory. For him, it's
    "Beyond punk"... Part of that is pure rhetoric, too.

    ***************************************************
    While these systems may certainly have potential as A/V devices, they
    *were* designed as video-game platforms; to invest it with liberatory
    hacker activism (activision?) is to give it more importance than it
    perhaps deserves, and serves only as a circular, self-legitmizing
    exercise.
    ***************************************************

    Is the platform that important, as long as it communicates message and
    intent? For Paul, it's usually the Atari that forms a lot of his
    cultural context, and for Cory, it's largely the Nintendo. It's what
    shaped them. But, is repurposing a game platform as an art one like
    calling a urinal a fountain? I think there's a different gesture here,
    but similarities worth watching.
    **************************************************

    The gimmick, in other words, seems to come before the concept. I feel
    compelled to compare the silliness of the wholesale sampling and
    re-presentation in these works with, say, the Japanese group Delaware's
    highly entertaining, beautiful and original installations and
    performances that are inspired by the limitations of low-resolution
    electronic displays. Or on another level, Paul Chan's engaging, poetic
    and politically conscious animation video works. The difference being,
    something new is being created, not as nostalgia, not as a prank, but as
    a creative praxis.

    ***************************************************
    Exactly, context and intent go hand in hand and each of the artists has
    them. Cory, Paperrad, Paul, and that clade just clothe their work in a
    poppy irony and slacker package that fits with the current obsession of
    youth and the crossing of nostalgia for the early gen-x'ers youth. It's
    all pretty tight.

    **************************************************

    So basically, what do we take away from this work once the nostalgia
    factor seems too distant or antiquated, or not really that clever to
    start with?

    ***************************************************

    There's a lot that's tying in with history here, and think of it like
    performance and entertainment as well, and less as comp sci. It's fun,
    and there is a real cultural undertone in the gallery at times that is a
    backlash from the uber-dry 80's and 90's. I think that there are people
    who actually want to have fun in the gallery; to be amused and then
    appreciate a sense of formalism, which Cory has in his pixelated stuff.
    It's a pixilated landscape you can put on your wall made by a sl/h/acker
    kid who wants to mess around with the stuff he grew up with while being
    cognizant of contemporary art politics. Whenever I was in New York,
    Cory was always asking me how to get that break, as I'm sure he was
    asking everyone. He was busting tail.

    ***************************************************
    Davis speaks of the "intentionality of artist(s) who seek to engage the
    computing process at a fundamental level", you mean, like artists who
    write their own code to create their own electronic spaces without the
    safety net of pre-digested consumerist codes and signs, or at least is
    engaged in some type of dialogue with them on a critical or aesthetic
    level?
    ***************************************************

    But this isn't what they're doing. They're playing with art history and
    cultural effects/affects and weaving it into a contextual praxis. In
    many ways, it goes back to Duchamp, Nauman and high modernism, which
    secretly, a lot of contemporary at has not let go of, and probably won't
    for a good while, at least until the collectors die...

    In my opinion, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you're looking for
    an art that operates under a different operational framework than what
    you're looking for, and that puzzles you. I think that what you're
    looking for is something that's more likely in an ISEA or SIGGRAPH,
    which are niche cultures.

    In response to Paul Chan, who is also in the current Contemporary, it's
    intent, context, and lineage again, as Obrist asked if he had taken a
    nod from Brackhage (historical grounding - right there.).

    My read is that all of the artists (and I love Delaware, by the way,
    need to remember them in the DM revisions) are operating in their own
    spheres, aligning themselves with certain currents (I seem to have
    fallen in with much of what remains of Fluxus from time to time), and
    doing it pretty well.

    What do you think?

    Patrick Lichty
    - Interactive Arts & Media
    Columbia College, Chicago
    - Editor-In-Chief
    Intelligent Agent Magazine
    http://www.intelligentagent.com
    225 288 5813
    voyd@voyd.com
  • clement Thomas | Sun Oct 22nd 2006 8:24 a.m.
    > "It is better to die on your feet
    > than to live on your knees."

    what do 30% dead on feet novi sad 8-Bit aestetic pixed children think
    ov this gnagna walt disney formula a la con ?

    __
    OG
    hack el son jolies les filles de mon pii ...
    laylaylaylay ...
  • Rob Myers | Sun Oct 22nd 2006 10:27 a.m.
    I'd love to think that 8-bit retro art is the digital equivalent of
    Expressionism's interest in woodcut, or possibly an electronic
    Pre-Raphaelitism.

    But I have the nagging feeling that it's actually Thomas Kinkade for geeks.

    - Rob.
  • patrick lichty | Sun Oct 22nd 2006 11:43 a.m.
    Kinkaide, probably not. Peter Max, maybe.

    Patrick Lichty
    - Interactive Arts & Media
    Columbia College, Chicago
    - Editor-In-Chief
    Intelligent Agent Magazine
    http://www.intelligentagent.com
    225 288 5813
    voyd@voyd.com

    "It is better to die on your feet
    than to live on your knees."

    -----Original Message-----
    From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org] On Behalf
    Of Rob Myers
    Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2006 11:31 AM
    To: list@rhizome.org
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: On 8-Bit Aesthetics: Hackers or Hacks?

    I'd love to think that 8-bit retro art is the digital equivalent of
    Expressionism's interest in woodcut, or possibly an electronic
    Pre-Raphaelitism.

    But I have the nagging feeling that it's actually Thomas Kinkade for
    geeks.

    - Rob.
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  • Jim Andrews | Sun Oct 22nd 2006 2:02 p.m.
    > I think there's a lot of friction about 'craft', that is, the amount of
    > work placed in a work. For example, when Cory and I did respective
    > halves of a semester - long residency at the University of Akron last
    > year, he had an interesting slogan.
    >
    > "Do as little as humanly possible", and I think this had to do with
    > recontextualizing a cultural artifact and making it an art object, which
    > is exactly what Kac, Debord, and Duchamp did so well. For him, it's a
    > frustration with media art, and for me, it's been a break with
    > technological determinism in New Media. That is, feeling that one has
    > to use the latest and greatest technology because it's also in vogue.
    >
    > Slocum is a supreme craftsman. He knows the Atari 2600 kernel as well
    > as anyone. Where Arcangel get in with context and personality, Slocum
    > does it with virtuosity and referral to the culture of the 2600, retro,
    > pop, I'd say perhaps even false nostalgia.
    >
    > Both are really good at what they do, they made the contacts, people
    > believe in what they're doing, and there you have high art.

    Hi Patrick,

    That's a really interesting post. Thanks.

    I'm curious about your def of "technological determinism" as the "feeling
    that one has to use the latest and greatest technology because it's also in
    vogue."

    How does that sort of def relate to the sort of def by daniel chandler we
    see at http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tdet01.html of
    "technological determinism"? i also wrote a little bit about it at
    http://vispo.com/writings/essays/mcluhana.htm .

    ja

    ps: i feel i use the greatest if not the latest web-based technology, ie
    Director, but it is not in vogue. the latest, which is widely assumed to be
    the greatest--Flash--is not the greatest but it seems to be what the market
    will bear, currently.

    by the way, the most recent chapter in the odd history of director--always
    assumed to be the last chapter--has begun recently. adobe has changed the
    director dev team/process rather radically. they are now in bangalore india.
    most of them are from india. looking at the cv's of some of the main people,
    they're awesome. doctorated and edued in usamerica in big computer
    scischools. which is different from it seems what has been working on it
    lately. but whether they'll be in the loop, dunno, guess we'll see. neither
    macromedia nor adobe really has known what to do with director since flash.
    now macrobe farms it out to india. is this sending it out to pasture? that's
    an odd pasture, if so. they're better trained than most of the usamerican
    developers. they might do something interesting with it. director has always
    been more for artist-programmers than for the market. should i move to
    india?

    read a funny article about call centers in bangalore. pparently bangalore is
    a call center center. the people who work in em oft make more dough than
    doctors and lawyers in india. the article says the call centers are becoming
    known as "dens of iniquity" in india. sex in the cubicles. the center of
    westernization in india. parents fear for their children who work there.

    it's a funny world, eh?
  • patrick lichty | Sun Oct 22nd 2006 4:02 p.m.
    How does that sort of def relate to the sort of def by daniel chandler
    we
    see at http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tdet01.html of
    "technological determinism"? i also wrote a little bit about it at
    http://vispo.com/writings/essays/mcluhana.htm .

    Good point - my def isn't exactly 'correct' in that in addition to
    Chandler's more traditional definition, I often mix in a bit of the
    'panic' stance that the perceived relevance of tech art is often defined
    by the currentness of the technology. In many ways, I've heard people
    (almost) sneer at the idea of static or obsolete technology platforms.
    It's basic technofetishism for novel devices, that's all. Consumption,
    fear of obsolescence driven by the tech consumer sector, and desire of
    the new and shiny (why the hell else am I trying to hack one of those
    new Optimus OLED keyboards?).

    If you might have a better term, I'm all ears, no sarcasm intended.

    But I'm tired of it being assumed that I'm supposed to get the new
    machine every 18 months, and get the $1500 (or so) software upgrade so
    that I'm somehow 'current' in terms of techne. That's just one concept,
    but I think that in the long term, it's just unsustainable on so many
    levels. And, there is all this amazing techno-detritus (physical and
    cultural) which we can collage, montage, pastiche, and recontextualize.

    And, when I realized in 2000 or so that it isn't about the latest tech
    UNLESS that's the context you're critiquing, and I understood the
    cultural frame from the onset, I've felt this urge to inform my work
    historically, pare down the systems, look at how media and object can
    converge without sacrificing either.

    So from that, I've really gotten into simpler works with tighter
    contexts and very clear intentions and likewise clear historical
    references (many works; some I'm just going off, but you have to do that
    as a palate cleanser).

    ja

    ps: i feel i use the greatest if not the latest web-based technology, ie
    Director, but it is not in vogue. the latest, which is widely assumed to
    be
    the greatest--Flash--is not the greatest but it seems to be what the
    market
    will bear, currently.

    Yeah, Corporate hegemony...
    Director is great, but it seems to have been pigeonholed. Will it
    survive, or is there a large enough multimedia authoring base? And if
    it did go under, I'd then like to see it go open source.

    by the way, the most recent chapter in the odd history of
    director--always
    assumed to be the last chapter--has begun recently. adobe has changed
    the
    director dev team/process rather radically. they are now in bangalore
    india.
    most of them are from india. looking at the cv's of some of the main
    people,
    they're awesome. doctorated and edued in usamerica in big computer
    scischools. which is different from it seems what has been working on it
    lately. but whether they'll be in the loop, dunno, guess we'll see.
    neither
    macromedia nor adobe really has known what to do with director since
    flash.
    now macrobe farms it out to india. is this sending it out to pasture?
    that's
    an odd pasture, if so. they're better trained than most of the
    usamerican
    developers. they might do something interesting with it. director has
    always
    been more for artist-programmers than for the market. should i move to
    india?

    Maybe, but Mangalore rather than Mangalore. Closer to the sea...

    read a funny article about call centers in bangalore. pparently
    bangalore is
    a call center center. the people who work in em oft make more dough than
    doctors and lawyers in india. the article says the call centers are
    becoming
    known as "dens of iniquity" in india. sex in the cubicles. the center of
    westernization in india. parents fear for their children who work there.

    it's a funny world, eh?

    Yeah. Hysterical ;)

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  • Jim Andrews | Sun Oct 22nd 2006 5:06 p.m.
    > How does that sort of def relate to the sort of def by daniel chandler
    > we
    > see at http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tdet01.html of
    > "technological determinism"? i also wrote a little bit about it at
    > http://vispo.com/writings/essays/mcluhana.htm .
    >
    >
    > Good point - my def isn't exactly 'correct' in that in addition to
    > Chandler's more traditional definition, I often mix in a bit of the
    > 'panic' stance that the perceived relevance of tech art is often defined
    > by the currentness of the technology. In many ways, I've heard people
    > (almost) sneer at the idea of static or obsolete technology platforms.
    > It's basic technofetishism for novel devices, that's all. Consumption,
    > fear of obsolescence driven by the tech consumer sector, and desire of
    > the new and shiny (why the hell else am I trying to hack one of those
    > new Optimus OLED keyboards?).
    >
    > If you might have a better term, I'm all ears, no sarcasm intended.

    I think your link between 'technological determinism' and the "feeling that
    one has to use the latest and greatest technology because it's also in
    vogue," is interesting. They are linked, it seems to me, though they are not
    the same thing. Daniel Chandler says "Just like these other deterministic
    theories, technological determinism seeks to explain social and historical
    phenomena in terms of one principal or determining factor. It is a doctrine
    of historical or causal primacy" (
    http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tdet01.html ). As Chandler
    points out or implies, those who have labelled Marshall McLuhan's work, for
    instance, as 'technological determinism' have done so, in part, in a gesture
    of critique: the label tacitly critques the work as disproportionately
    emphasizing the role of technology concerning "historical or causal
    primacy". Was McLuhan a 'technological determinist'? The short answer is
    that McLuhan was concerned with exploring the ways in which culture and
    history are determined by technology, not the ways in which they aren't; he
    may have overstated his case, but has posed interesting questions.

    The term 'technological determinism', like other 'determinisms,' is a term
    fashioned to reject the work so labelled.

    Nonetheless, we do experience pressures to use "the latest and greatest
    technology", whether it's getting a new computer or using recent tech in our
    art or whatever. For instance, commercial multimedia developers find it very
    difficult to pitch Director projects to business clients. The clients want
    Flash, not Director. Because of the market penetration of the Flash plugin
    versus the Shockwave plugin, primarily. Also because of the uncertainty
    concerning the status of Director as a continuing development platform ('is
    it dead yet?'). And so on.

    As a result of the difficulties commercial multimedia developers experience
    pitching Director projects, the pace of development of Director slows, and
    Flash begins to catch up with Director concerning many features. And then
    even in the art world, the credibility of Director versus Flash projects
    comes into question regardless of the quality of the apps.

    Flash reaches more computers than does Director. Because, until relatively
    recently, the Shockwave installation was around 6 or 7 Mb whereas the Flash
    plugin installation required only a, what, 200 to 400 Kb download. The
    Shockwave plugin is now only 2 Mb. But it was 6 or 7 at a crucial time when
    bandwidth issues were decisive. Also, of course, Flash allows developers to
    do more with less programming knowledge. That also has been decisive in
    reaching the multimedia developer audience.

    Flash's strength compared with Director has been its populist approach.
    Populist concerning both the audience and the developer community. Its
    weaknesses, relative to Director, concern its slowness, its less featureful
    state, and its relative lack of granularity.

    Commercial multimedia developers creating web-based content have pretty much
    been forced by economic necessity to use Flash rather than Director. They
    haven't been in an economic position to be able to choose. This is a type of
    'determinism'. The market is determining what tools they have to use to pay
    the bills, not their choice as to which tool they would like to use.

    So already we have something a little bit different from 'technological
    determinism' because we see that the market is very active in determining
    the technology, rather than a situation where the technology enjoys "causal
    primacy".

    There's more to say but this post is already long enough. And, argh, there's
    work to do.

    Just to add that I continue to use Director not out of brand loyalty but
    because there are some projects I'm working on that couldn't be done with
    Flash.

    ja
  • Sean Capone | Tue Oct 24th 2006 12:59 p.m.
    Patrick:
    Thanks for your considered & frank response. This is the type of answer I was hoping for when I capitalized 'Art'; in other words, "why is this work relevant as objects within the system of production of the art world," quite a distinction from 'art' as a personal creative act..

    However I remain unconvinced on several fronts.

    *****************************************************************

    >...he had an interesting slogan: "Do as little as humanly possible"...

    *****************************************************************

    Yeah, it shows.

    The question is, is this in itself an ironic statement against 'operationality'? Or does it demonstrate that the chosen method of production doesn't have that much to offer in the first place? I do believe that to be a self-styled new media artist or critical practioneer relies on a built-in sense of technological determinism to begin with. I mean, it's just naive not to assume some measure of complicity. By this I mean that, technology is a craft, culture and society is heavily invested in it, these objects are a source of fascination and a means of production and to some extent we acknowledge that we all 'understand' technology and that the genie is not going back into the bottle. While the line from Duchamp to Warhol to Arcangel et. al. is somewhat legitimate, it is not smooth or reliable. To put it bluntly, Duchamp and Warhol were actually doing pretty different things at key moments in art & cultural history. You can't merely replicate their 'automatic' processes at this point. And Warhol was many things, but he was certainly not lazy about his craft. He did cast an unfortunate spell across future schools of art practice, however: by appearing to do nothing (by becoming purely automatic), one can become as big a celebrity as the celebrity culture one's images are about.

    **************************************************************

    > Both are really good at what they do, they made the contacts, people
    > believe in what they're doing, and there you have high art.

    **************************************************************

    Yup. Until the collectors realize that they aren't *just* purchasing 'affability' or a personality but objects. This seems a good place to insert a discussion on the ephemerality of New Media Art collecting..

    *****************************************************************

    > They want to get something that both
    > exploits its media and methods deeply and fits lock-step with the
    > progression of the Western art historical tradition.. For example,
    > Murakami cites classical Japanese culture, colonized by American pop
    > culture.

    *****************************************************************

    Yeah, but unless I'm mistaken, Murakami samples it & injects his own exhuberance/cynicism and artistic labor (or that of his 'factory workers')--& does not simply tweak someone else's manga characters? I hate to get into a discussion about Originality vs. Creative Paucity but, well, there it is.

    *******************************************************************

    > Back to the self-referentiality of the computational process, except
    > for bitforms, who cares about that in an art context, and still Steve
    > presents very formal pieces from his artists, which gets the
    > collectors... Forgive me if I'm not making the connection; but I get the
    > feeling that you're looking for recognition for works that deeply
    > explore the computational process as method, and I honestly think
    > that's
    > outside the context of most of the contemporary art world.

    ******************************************************************

    That's actually not what I was suggesting (a la Casey Reas, Bitforms et al). The quote about 'artists involved with computational process' was from the Paul Davis quote on Rhizome's front page. But out of context with the art world? I don't know about that--Arcangel's work is heavily invested in its own process and presence as a (at the time) cutting-edge piece of consumer electronic culture. The art world has accepted this process-oreinted model within Media Arts, I do believe. But the production is a less-than-mordant cut-and-paste approach (slacker postmodernism?)as opposed to the lineage of past practicioneers of hack/electronic/computation art, since the sixties at least: Nam Jun Paik, the Vasulkas, Dan Sandin, etc (or more recent artists & theorists like Alan Rath, George LeGrady, Lynn Hershman & other 'New Image' artists)...this seems like a more relevant pre-to-post digital lineage to me than that of Warhol, Duchamp etc.

    HOWEVER back to the discussion, as far as their currency as 'Art' within the system of objects within the art world, these aesthetic experiments seem wholly relevant to the degree that much Art operates with fairly open ends anyway. Installation, conceptualism, Media Art left the question of 'Art' hanging open, dangling, questions asked but unanswered, art as process, flow, social experiment, event...art that moves beyond representation, in other words, into the experiential.

    > ***********************************************************

    > It limits your discourse. Reassures people where you're going
    > to
    > be in ten years, and gives them some reassurance in investing in your
    > objects.

    ************************************************************
    Would seem to be the opposite to me--a limited discourse seems less reassuring lest it reveal itself as a micro-trend. Ehh, I'll take your word for it.

    *****************************************

    > It
    > has nothing to do with the art community, it has to do with the mass
    > community, because that's what more people are going to identify with.

    ******************************************
    Sure. Curators & gallery owners fill their shows with the mass community, but that's not their target audience, is it? It has everything to do with the art community. The art community (purchasers, collectors) seem to rely on that sense of youthful zeitgeist, as distanced from it as they actually are, because that's the narrative of the art world since the 80's (at least definitively).

    ********************************************************

    But, is repurposing a game platform as an art one like
    > calling a urinal a fountain? I think there's a different gesture
    > here,
    > but similarities worth watching.

    > **************************************************

    Yes, with apprehension.

    > ***************************************************

    > Exactly, context and intent go hand in hand and each of the artists
    > has
    > them. Cory, Paperrad, Paul, and that clade just clothe their work in
    > a
    > poppy irony and slacker package that fits with the current obsession
    > of
    > youth and the crossing of nostalgia for the early gen-x'ers youth.
    > It's
    > all pretty tight.
    > It's a pixilated landscape you can put on your wall made by a
    > sl/h/acker
    > kid who wants to mess around with the stuff he grew up with while
    > being
    > cognizant of contemporary art politics.

    > ***************************************************

    Yup, it's that great "I can do that too" feeling that engenders a cuddly feeling of tribal belonging...but without actually doing it, or doing it poorly, because the "youth-obsessed" codes are easily recognized and recapitulated without inquiry. (Now I feel like a bit of a reactionary, like one of those critics who didn't get Action Painting or whatever). It's all pretty tight, indeed...to the point where it almost reads as a contrived authenticity, and already seems a bit dusty...or maybe I just wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. There goes *my* art career...

    **************************************************************

    > But this isn't what they're doing. They're playing with art history
    > and
    > cultural effects/affects and weaving it into a contextual praxis. In
    > many ways, it goes back to Duchamp, Nauman and high modernism,

    **************************************************************
    Yah, although I think the lineage starts a bit later, (see above) or at least the line isn't so smooth from Duchamp's act, taking place during manifesto-oriented High Art Culture (Dada, Surrealism etc) during the swing of Modernism from Europe to the States, to those taking place in contemporary culture, adrift on an ocean of techno-consumer waste instead of historical European tradition...
    Bla bla bla. In the visual arts, "static art objects are a historical given...Does [interactive art] even have a place within the art world? The grand historical narratives have come to an end, now, 'to be a member of the art world is to have learned what it means to participate in the discourse of reasons of one's culture."--Regina Cornwell.

    ***************************************************************

    > In my opinion, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you're looking for
    > an art that operates under a different operational framework than what
    > you're looking for, and that puzzles you. I think that what you're
    > looking for is something that's more likely in an ISEA or SIGGRAPH,
    > which are niche cultures.

    ***************************************************************
    While I *do* work regularly in the field of 'high-tech' graphics, I am less invested in this world than you might think. I haven't attended Siggraph in almost ten years. I *am* looking for an electronic art that, quite the opposite to your suggestion, does not exist solely to pose statements or congratulate itself about its own techn(o)ntology. (How's that for a great artword?). To this degree, making a piece of self-conscious, visibly low-tech Nintendo art has a closer resemblance to a glamorous HDRI rendered Pixar creation than might appear: both are hopelessly enamored with its own reflection, and exist as little more than surface affectation.
    I *will* cite one of Cory's pieces that I adore: his Quicktime visualization of the contents of his hard-drive as multi-scalar pattern noise--that piece definitely got to me as a piece which was...well, an Object, conscious of but transcendant of it own Objecthood--you know what I mean?

    *******************************

    > What do you think?

    *******************************
    I think you are on the effin' money but could try to place this genre more within a critical context of digital, video & moving image arts, especially within post-80s New Media discourse...it's time to let Warhol & Duchamp off the hook as justifications for torpor and naked theft, or as Dan Clowes satirized it, the old 'tampon-in-a-teacup' trick. Why shouldn't artists have to work?

    :sean capone
  • Jim Andrews | Tue Oct 24th 2006 11:05 p.m.
    > >...he had an interesting slogan: "Do as little as humanly possible"...
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    > Yeah, it shows.
    >
    > The question is, is this in itself an ironic statement against
    > 'operationality'? Or does it demonstrate that the chosen method
    > of production doesn't have that much to offer in the first place?
    > I do believe that to be a self-styled new media artist or
    > critical practioneer relies on a built-in sense of technological
    > determinism to begin with. I mean, it's just naive not to assume
    > some measure of complicity. By this I mean that, technology is a
    > craft, culture and society is heavily invested in it, these
    > objects are a source of fascination and a means of production and
    > to some extent we acknowledge that we all 'understand' technology
    > and that the genie is not going back into the bottle. While the
    > line from Duchamp to Warhol to Arcangel et. al. is somewhat
    > legitimate, it is not smooth or reliable. To put it bluntly,
    > Duchamp and Warhol were actually doing pretty different things at
    > key moments in art & cultural history. You can't merely replicate
    > their 'automatic' processes at thi!
    > s point. And Warhol was many things, but he was certainly not
    > lazy about his craft. He did cast an unfortunate spell across
    > future schools of art practice, however: by appearing to do
    > nothing (by becoming purely automatic), one can become as big a
    > celebrity as the celebrity culture one's images are about.

    What do you mean by "technological determinism"? And also what do you mean by "a built-in sense of technological determinism"? Otherwise, your post is very clear and interesting.

    ja
    http://vispo.com
  • Geert Dekkers | Wed Oct 25th 2006 2:26 a.m.
    Just a quick note -- and just on the first two sections underneath.

    Personally, when considering Cory Archangel, I can only recall two
    or three objects I really like, and think are quite important. The
    quicktime work "data diaries" is indeed one of them, "Super Mario
    Clouds" is another. The link is clear -- from 60s/70s minimalism and
    straight on from there. The works are produced in context with art
    objects already circulating within the art community, as part of an
    ongoing dialogue. The examples I mentioned are not only bringing 60s/
    70s minimalism aesthetic up to date, but also letting us (well, me
    at least) see the 60s/70s minimalism in a new light.

    Apart from that, the artist Cory Archangel is important because he
    engages in the art community. This is his goal:
    > 'My goal was to be considered an artist, not a computer artist, to =

    > have the computer considered in a gallery context,
  • MTAA | Wed Oct 25th 2006 7:59 a.m.
    It should also be pointed out that Cory's current show at Team doesn't
    have anything to do with 8-bit.

    See for yourself here:
    <http://www.teamgal.com/arcangel/06show/index.html>

    Cory was the poster boy for 8-bit in the art world, but, like any
    other decent artist (especially young artist), he's exploring new
    ideas.

    On 10/25/06, Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:
    > Just a quick note -- and just on the first two sections underneath.
    >
    > Personally, when considering Cory Archangel, I can only recall two or three
    > objects I really like, and think are quite important. The quicktime work
    > "data diaries" is indeed one of them, "Super Mario Clouds" is another. The
    > link is clear -- from 60s/70s minimalism and straight on from there. The
    > works are produced in context with art objects already circulating within
    > the art community, as part of an ongoing dialogue. The examples I mentioned
    > are not only bringing 60s/70s minimalism aesthetic up to date, but also
    > letting us (well, me at least) see the 60s/70s minimalism in a new light.
    >
    > Apart from that, the artist Cory Archangel is important because he engages
    > in the art community. This is his goal:
    >
    >
    > "My goal was to be considered an artist, not a computer artist, to have the
    > computer considered in a gallery context," Arcangel says. "Strip away the
    > video game part, strip away the hacking, and essentially what I'm doing is
    > minimalist video art."
    > http://www.oberlin.edu/alummag/winter2004/feat_newmedia.html
    >
    > Of course all this doesn't mean I'm "right". In other words, doesn't mean
    > that the art community or the society as a whole will share my opinion in
    > the long run. We'll just have to wait and see.
    >
    > And as for the stress on "craft" - there are a great number of art objects
    > produced and immersed into the art community (and I dont think that either
    > Duchamp or Warhol are good examples) that are low tech and/or require very
    > little effort to produce. Its obvious that this is not a criterium for their
    > importance. So why should you ever considering entering this into the
    > discussion?
    >
    >
    >
    > Geert Dekkers
    > http://nznl.com
    > http://nznl.net
    > http://nznl.org
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > On 24/10/2006, at 8:59 PM, Sean Capone wrote:
    >
    > Patrick:
    > Thanks for your considered & frank response. This is the type of answer I
    > was hoping for when I capitalized 'Art'; in other words, "why is this work
    > relevant as objects within the system of production of the art world," quite
    > a distinction from 'art' as a personal creative act..
    >
    > However I remain unconvinced on several fronts.
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    >
    > ...he had an interesting slogan: "Do as little as humanly possible"...
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    > Yeah, it shows.
    >
    > The question is, is this in itself an ironic statement against
    > 'operationality'? Or does it demonstrate that the chosen method of
    > production doesn't have that much to offer in the first place? I do believe
    > that to be a self-styled new media artist or critical practioneer relies on
    > a built-in sense of technological determinism to begin with. I mean, it's
    > just naive not to assume some measure of complicity. By this I mean that,
    > technology is a craft, culture and society is heavily invested in it, these
    > objects are a source of fascination and a means of production and to some
    > extent we acknowledge that we all 'understand' technology and that the genie
    > is not going back into the bottle. While the line from Duchamp to Warhol to
    > Arcangel et. al. is somewhat legitimate, it is not smooth or reliable. To
    > put it bluntly, Duchamp and Warhol were actually doing pretty different
    > things at key moments in art & cultural history. You can't merely replicate
    > their 'automatic' processes at thi!
    > s point. And Warhol was many things, but he was certainly not lazy about
    > his craft. He did cast an unfortunate spell across future schools of art
    > practice, however: by appearing to do nothing (by becoming purely
    > automatic), one can become as big a celebrity as the celebrity culture one's
    > images are about.
    >
    > **************************************************************
    >
    >
    > Both are really good at what they do, they made the contacts, people
    > believe in what they're doing, and there you have high art.
    >
    > **************************************************************
    >
    > Yup. Until the collectors realize that they aren't *just* purchasing
    > 'affability' or a personality but objects. This seems a good place to insert
    > a discussion on the ephemerality of New Media Art collecting..
    >
    >
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    >
    > They want to get something that both
    > exploits its media and methods deeply and fits lock-step with the
    > progression of the Western art historical tradition.. For example,
    > Murakami cites classical Japanese culture, colonized by American pop
    > culture.
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    > Yeah, but unless I'm mistaken, Murakami samples it & injects his own
    > exhuberance/cynicism and artistic labor (or that of his 'factory
    > workers')--& does not simply tweak someone else's manga characters? I hate
    > to get into a discussion about Originality vs. Creative Paucity but, well,
    > there it is.
    >
    >
    >
    > *******************************************************************
    >
    >
    > Back to the self-referentiality of the computational process, except
    > for bitforms, who cares about that in an art context, and still Steve
    > presents very formal pieces from his artists, which gets the
    > collectors... Forgive me if I'm not making the connection; but I get the
    > feeling that you're looking for recognition for works that deeply
    > explore the computational process as method, and I honestly think
    > that's
    > outside the context of most of the contemporary art world.
    >
    > ******************************************************************
    >
    > That's actually not what I was suggesting (a la Casey Reas, Bitforms et al).
    > The quote about 'artists involved with computational process' was from the
    > Paul Davis quote on Rhizome's front page. But out of context with the art
    > world? I don't know about that--Arcangel's work is heavily invested in its
    > own process and presence as a (at the time) cutting-edge piece of consumer
    > electronic culture. The art world has accepted this process-oreinted model
    > within Media Arts, I do believe. But the production is a less-than-mordant
    > cut-and-paste approach (slacker postmodernism?)as opposed to the lineage of
    > past practicioneers of hack/electronic/computation art, since the sixties at
    > least: Nam Jun Paik, the Vasulkas, Dan Sandin, etc (or more recent artists &
    > theorists like Alan Rath, George LeGrady, Lynn Hershman & other 'New Image'
    > artists)...this seems like a more relevant pre-to-post digital lineage to me
    > than that of Warhol, Duchamp etc.
    >
    > HOWEVER back to the discussion, as far as their currency as 'Art' within the
    > system of objects within the art world, these aesthetic experiments seem
    > wholly relevant to the degree that much Art operates with fairly open ends
    > anyway. Installation, conceptualism, Media Art left the question of 'Art'
    > hanging open, dangling, questions asked but unanswered, art as process,
    > flow, social experiment, event...art that moves beyond representation, in
    > other words, into the experiential.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > ***********************************************************
    >
    >
    > It limits your discourse. Reassures people where you're going
    > to
    > be in ten years, and gives them some reassurance in investing in your
    > objects.
    >
    > ************************************************************
    > Would seem to be the opposite to me--a limited discourse seems less
    > reassuring lest it reveal itself as a micro-trend. Ehh, I'll take your word
    > for it.
    >
    >
    >
    > *****************************************
    >
    >
    > It
    > has nothing to do with the art community, it has to do with the mass
    > community, because that's what more people are going to identify with.
    >
    > ******************************************
    > Sure. Curators & gallery owners fill their shows with the mass community,
    > but that's not their target audience, is it? It has everything to do with
    > the art community. The art community (purchasers, collectors) seem to rely
    > on that sense of youthful zeitgeist, as distanced from it as they actually
    > are, because that's the narrative of the art world since the 80's (at least
    > definitively).
    >
    >
    > ********************************************************
    >
    > But, is repurposing a game platform as an art one like
    > calling a urinal a fountain? I think there's a different gesture
    > here,
    > but similarities worth watching.
    >
    >
    > **************************************************
    >
    > Yes, with apprehension.
    >
    >
    >
    > ***************************************************
    >
    >
    > Exactly, context and intent go hand in hand and each of the artists
    > has
    > them. Cory, Paperrad, Paul, and that clade just clothe their work in
    > a
    > poppy irony and slacker package that fits with the current obsession
    > of
    > youth and the crossing of nostalgia for the early gen-x'ers youth.
    > It's
    > all pretty tight.
    > It's a pixilated landscape you can put on your wall made by a
    > sl/h/acker
    > kid who wants to mess around with the stuff he grew up with while
    > being
    > cognizant of contemporary art politics.
    >
    >
    > ***************************************************
    >
    > Yup, it's that great "I can do that too" feeling that engenders a cuddly
    > feeling of tribal belonging...but without actually doing it, or doing it
    > poorly, because the "youth-obsessed" codes are easily recognized and
    > recapitulated without inquiry. (Now I feel like a bit of a reactionary, like
    > one of those critics who didn't get Action Painting or whatever). It's all
    > pretty tight, indeed...to the point where it almost reads as a contrived
    > authenticity, and already seems a bit dusty...or maybe I just wouldn't want
    > to belong to any club that would have me as a member. There goes *my* art
    > career...
    >
    >
    >
    > **************************************************************
    >
    >
    > But this isn't what they're doing. They're playing with art history
    > and
    > cultural effects/affects and weaving it into a contextual praxis. In
    > many ways, it goes back to Duchamp, Nauman and high modernism,
    >
    > **************************************************************
    > Yah, although I think the lineage starts a bit later, (see above) or at
    > least the line isn't so smooth from Duchamp's act, taking place during
    > manifesto-oriented High Art Culture (Dada, Surrealism etc) during the swing
    > of Modernism from Europe to the States, to those taking place in
    > contemporary culture, adrift on an ocean of techno-consumer waste instead of
    > historical European tradition...
    > Bla bla bla. In the visual arts, "static art objects are a historical
    > given...Does [interactive art] even have a place within the art world? The
    > grand historical narratives have come to an end, now, 'to be a member of the
    > art world is to have learned what it means to participate in the discourse
    > of reasons of one's culture."--Regina Cornwell.
    >
    >
    > ***************************************************************
    >
    >
    > In my opinion, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you're looking for
    > an art that operates under a different operational framework than what
    > you're looking for, and that puzzles you. I think that what you're
    > looking for is something that's more likely in an ISEA or SIGGRAPH,
    > which are niche cultures.
    >
    > ***************************************************************
    > While I *do* work regularly in the field of 'high-tech' graphics, I am less
    > invested in this world than you might think. I haven't attended Siggraph in
    > almost ten years. I *am* looking for an electronic art that, quite the
    > opposite to your suggestion, does not exist solely to pose statements or
    > congratulate itself about its own techn(o)ntology. (How's that for a great
    > artword?). To this degree, making a piece of self-conscious, visibly
    > low-tech Nintendo art has a closer resemblance to a glamorous HDRI rendered
    > Pixar creation than might appear: both are hopelessly enamored with its own
    > reflection, and exist as little more than surface affectation.
    > I *will* cite one of Cory's pieces that I adore: his Quicktime visualization
    > of the contents of his hard-drive as multi-scalar pattern noise--that piece
    > definitely got to me as a piece which was...well, an Object, conscious of
    > but transcendant of it own Objecthood--you know what I mean?
    >
    > *******************************
    >
    >
    > What do you think?
    >
    > *******************************
    > I think you are on the effin' money but could try to place this genre more
    > within a critical context of digital, video & moving image arts, especially
    > within post-80s New Media discourse...it's time to let Warhol & Duchamp off
    > the hook as justifications for torpor and naked theft, or as Dan Clowes
    > satirized it, the old 'tampon-in-a-teacup' trick. Why shouldn't artists have
    > to work?
    >
    > :sean capone
    > +
    > -> 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
    >

    --
    <twhid>www.mteww.com</twhid>
  • patrick lichty | Wed Oct 25th 2006 9:34 a.m.
    Yup yup yup.
    As it should be.

    Patrick Lichty
    - Interactive Arts & Media
    Columbia College, Chicago
    - Editor-In-Chief
    Intelligent Agent Magazine
    http://www.intelligentagent.com
    225 288 5813
    voyd@voyd.com

    "It is better to die on your feet
    than to live on your knees."

    -----Original Message-----
    From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org] On Behalf
    Of T.Whid
    Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 9:00 AM
    To: Rhizome
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: On 8-Bit Aesthetics: Hackers or Hacks?

    It should also be pointed out that Cory's current show at Team doesn't
    have anything to do with 8-bit.

    See for yourself here:
    <http://www.teamgal.com/arcangel/06show/index.html>

    Cory was the poster boy for 8-bit in the art world, but, like any
    other decent artist (especially young artist), he's exploring new
    ideas.

    On 10/25/06, Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:
    > Just a quick note -- and just on the first two sections underneath.
    >
    > Personally, when considering Cory Archangel, I can only recall two or
    three
    > objects I really like, and think are quite important. The quicktime
    work
    > "data diaries" is indeed one of them, "Super Mario Clouds" is another.
    The
    > link is clear -- from 60s/70s minimalism and straight on from there.
    The
    > works are produced in context with art objects already circulating
    within
    > the art community, as part of an ongoing dialogue. The examples I
    mentioned
    > are not only bringing 60s/70s minimalism aesthetic up to date, but
    also
    > letting us (well, me at least) see the 60s/70s minimalism in a new
    light.
    >
    > Apart from that, the artist Cory Archangel is important because he
    engages
    > in the art community. This is his goal:
    >
    >
    > "My goal was to be considered an artist, not a computer artist, to
    have the
    > computer considered in a gallery context," Arcangel says. "Strip away
    the
    > video game part, strip away the hacking, and essentially what I'm
    doing is
    > minimalist video art."
    > http://www.oberlin.edu/alummag/winter2004/feat_newmedia.html
    >
    > Of course all this doesn't mean I'm "right". In other words, doesn't
    mean
    > that the art community or the society as a whole will share my opinion
    in
    > the long run. We'll just have to wait and see.
    >
    > And as for the stress on "craft" - there are a great number of art
    objects
    > produced and immersed into the art community (and I dont think that
    either
    > Duchamp or Warhol are good examples) that are low tech and/or require
    very
    > little effort to produce. Its obvious that this is not a criterium for
    their
    > importance. So why should you ever considering entering this into the
    > discussion?
    >
    >
    >
    > Geert Dekkers
    > http://nznl.com
    > http://nznl.net
    > http://nznl.org
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > On 24/10/2006, at 8:59 PM, Sean Capone wrote:
    >
    > Patrick:
    > Thanks for your considered & frank response. This is the type of
    answer I
    > was hoping for when I capitalized 'Art'; in other words, "why is this
    work
    > relevant as objects within the system of production of the art world,"
    quite
    > a distinction from 'art' as a personal creative act..
    >
    > However I remain unconvinced on several fronts.
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    >
    > ...he had an interesting slogan: "Do as little as humanly possible"...
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    > Yeah, it shows.
    >
    > The question is, is this in itself an ironic statement against
    > 'operationality'? Or does it demonstrate that the chosen method of
    > production doesn't have that much to offer in the first place? I do
    believe
    > that to be a self-styled new media artist or critical practioneer
    relies on
    > a built-in sense of technological determinism to begin with. I mean,
    it's
    > just naive not to assume some measure of complicity. By this I mean
    that,
    > technology is a craft, culture and society is heavily invested in it,
    these
    > objects are a source of fascination and a means of production and to
    some
    > extent we acknowledge that we all 'understand' technology and that the
    genie
    > is not going back into the bottle. While the line from Duchamp to
    Warhol to
    > Arcangel et. al. is somewhat legitimate, it is not smooth or reliable.
    To
    > put it bluntly, Duchamp and Warhol were actually doing pretty
    different
    > things at key moments in art & cultural history. You can't merely
    replicate
    > their 'automatic' processes at thi!
    > s point. And Warhol was many things, but he was certainly not lazy
    about
    > his craft. He did cast an unfortunate spell across future schools of
    art
    > practice, however: by appearing to do nothing (by becoming purely
    > automatic), one can become as big a celebrity as the celebrity culture
    one's
    > images are about.
    >
    > **************************************************************
    >
    >
    > Both are really good at what they do, they made the contacts, people
    > believe in what they're doing, and there you have high art.
    >
    > **************************************************************
    >
    > Yup. Until the collectors realize that they aren't *just* purchasing
    > 'affability' or a personality but objects. This seems a good place to
    insert
    > a discussion on the ephemerality of New Media Art collecting..
    >
    >
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    >
    > They want to get something that both
    > exploits its media and methods deeply and fits lock-step with the
    > progression of the Western art historical tradition.. For example,
    > Murakami cites classical Japanese culture, colonized by American pop
    > culture.
    >
    > *****************************************************************
    >
    > Yeah, but unless I'm mistaken, Murakami samples it & injects his own
    > exhuberance/cynicism and artistic labor (or that of his 'factory
    > workers')--& does not simply tweak someone else's manga characters? I
    hate
    > to get into a discussion about Originality vs. Creative Paucity but,
    well,
    > there it is.
    >
    >
    >
    > *******************************************************************
    >
    >
    > Back to the self-referentiality of the computational process, except
    > for bitforms, who cares about that in an art context, and still Steve
    > presents very formal pieces from his artists, which gets the
    > collectors... Forgive me if I'm not making the connection; but I get
    the
    > feeling that you're looking for recognition for works that deeply
    > explore the computational process as method, and I honestly think
    > that's
    > outside the context of most of the contemporary art world.
    >
    > ******************************************************************
    >
    > That's actually not what I was suggesting (a la Casey Reas, Bitforms
    et al).
    > The quote about 'artists involved with computational process' was from
    the
    > Paul Davis quote on Rhizome's front page. But out of context with the
    art
    > world? I don't know about that--Arcangel's work is heavily invested in
    its
    > own process and presence as a (at the time) cutting-edge piece of
    consumer
    > electronic culture. The art world has accepted this process-oreinted
    model
    > within Media Arts, I do believe. But the production is a
    less-than-mordant
    > cut-and-paste approach (slacker postmodernism?)as opposed to the
    lineage of
    > past practicioneers of hack/electronic/computation art, since the
    sixties at
    > least: Nam Jun Paik, the Vasulkas, Dan Sandin, etc (or more recent
    artists &
    > theorists like Alan Rath, George LeGrady, Lynn Hershman & other 'New
    Image'
    > artists)...this seems like a more relevant pre-to-post digital lineage
    to me
    > than that of Warhol, Duchamp etc.
    >
    > HOWEVER back to the discussion, as far as their currency as 'Art'
    within the
    > system of objects within the art world, these aesthetic experiments
    seem
    > wholly relevant to the degree that much Art operates with fairly open
    ends
    > anyway. Installation, conceptualism, Media Art left the question of
    'Art'
    > hanging open, dangling, questions asked but unanswered, art as
    process,
    > flow, social experiment, event...art that moves beyond representation,
    in
    > other words, into the experiential.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > ***********************************************************
    >
    >
    > It limits your discourse. Reassures people where you're going
    > to
    > be in ten years, and gives them some reassurance in investing in your
    > objects.
    >
    > ************************************************************
    > Would seem to be the opposite to me--a limited discourse seems less
    > reassuring lest it reveal itself as a micro-trend. Ehh, I'll take your
    word
    > for it.
    >
    >
    >
    > *****************************************
    >
    >
    > It
    > has nothing to do with the art community, it has to do with the mass
    > community, because that's what more people are going to identify with.
    >
    > ******************************************
    > Sure. Curators & gallery owners fill their shows with the mass
    community,
    > but that's not their target audience, is it? It has everything to do
    with
    > the art community. The art community (purchasers, collectors) seem to
    rely
    > on that sense of youthful zeitgeist, as distanced from it as they
    actually
    > are, because that's the narrative of the art world since the 80's (at
    least
    > definitively).
    >
    >
    > ********************************************************
    >
    > But, is repurposing a game platform as an art one like
    > calling a urinal a fountain? I think there's a different gesture
    > here,
    > but similarities worth watching.
    >
    >
    > **************************************************
    >
    > Yes, with apprehension.
    >
    >
    >
    > ***************************************************
    >
    >
    > Exactly, context and intent go hand in hand and each of the artists
    > has
    > them. Cory, Paperrad, Paul, and that clade just clothe their work in
    > a
    > poppy irony and slacker package that fits with the current obsession
    > of
    > youth and the crossing of nostalgia for the early gen-x'ers youth.
    > It's
    > all pretty tight.
    > It's a pixilated landscape you can put on your wall made by a
    > sl/h/acker
    > kid who wants to mess around with the stuff he grew up with while
    > being
    > cognizant of contemporary art politics.
    >
    >
    > ***************************************************
    >
    > Yup, it's that great "I can do that too" feeling that engenders a
    cuddly
    > feeling of tribal belonging...but without actually doing it, or doing
    it
    > poorly, because the "youth-obsessed" codes are easily recognized and
    > recapitulated without inquiry. (Now I feel like a bit of a
    reactionary, like
    > one of those critics who didn't get Action Painting or whatever). It's
    all
    > pretty tight, indeed...to the point where it almost reads as a
    contrived
    > authenticity, and already seems a bit dusty...or maybe I just wouldn't
    want
    > to belong to any club that would have me as a member. There goes *my*
    art
    > career...
    >
    >
    >
    > **************************************************************
    >
    >
    > But this isn't what they're doing. They're playing with art history
    > and
    > cultural effects/affects and weaving it into a contextual praxis. In
    > many ways, it goes back to Duchamp, Nauman and high modernism,
    >
    > **************************************************************
    > Yah, although I think the lineage starts a bit later, (see above) or
    at
    > least the line isn't so smooth from Duchamp's act, taking place during
    > manifesto-oriented High Art Culture (Dada, Surrealism etc) during the
    swing
    > of Modernism from Europe to the States, to those taking place in
    > contemporary culture, adrift on an ocean of techno-consumer waste
    instead of
    > historical European tradition...
    > Bla bla bla. In the visual arts, "static art objects are a historical
    > given...Does [interactive art] even have a place within the art world?
    The
    > grand historical narratives have come to an end, now, 'to be a member
    of the
    > art world is to have learned what it means to participate in the
    discourse
    > of reasons of one's culture."--Regina Cornwell.
    >
    >
    > ***************************************************************
    >
    >
    > In my opinion, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you're looking for
    > an art that operates under a different operational framework than what
    > you're looking for, and that puzzles you. I think that what you're
    > looking for is something that's more likely in an ISEA or SIGGRAPH,
    > which are niche cultures.
    >
    > ***************************************************************
    > While I *do* work regularly in the field of 'high-tech' graphics, I am
    less
    > invested in this world than you might think. I haven't attended
    Siggraph in
    > almost ten years. I *am* looking for an electronic art that, quite the
    > opposite to your suggestion, does not exist solely to pose statements
    or
    > congratulate itself about its own techn(o)ntology. (How's that for a
    great
    > artword?). To this degree, making a piece of self-conscious, visibly
    > low-tech Nintendo art has a closer resemblance to a glamorous HDRI
    rendered
    > Pixar creation than might appear: both are hopelessly enamored with
    its own
    > reflection, and exist as little more than surface affectation.
    > I *will* cite one of Cory's pieces that I adore: his Quicktime
    visualization
    > of the contents of his hard-drive as multi-scalar pattern noise--that
    piece
    > definitely got to me as a piece which was...well, an Object, conscious
    of
    > but transcendant of it own Objecthood--you know what I mean?
    >
    > *******************************
    >
    >
    > What do you think?
    >
    > *******************************
    > I think you are on the effin' money but could try to place this genre
    more
    > within a critical context of digital, video & moving image arts,
    especially
    > within post-80s New Media discourse...it's time to let Warhol &
    Duchamp off
    > the hook as justifications for torpor and naked theft, or as Dan
    Clowes
    > satirized it, the old 'tampon-in-a-teacup' trick. Why shouldn't
    artists have
    > to work?
    >
    > :sean capone
    > +
    > -> 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
    >

    --
    <twhid>www.mteww.com</twhid>
    +
    -> 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
  • Geert Dekkers | Wed Oct 25th 2006 11:41 a.m.
    I see I misspelt Corys surname. Probably not the first time someone
    did that! Sorry.

    Geert

    On 25/10/2006, at 3:59 PM, T.Whid wrote:

    > It should also be pointed out that Cory's current show at Team doesn't
    > have anything to do with 8-bit.
    >
    > See for yourself here:
    > <http://www.teamgal.com/arcangel/06show/index.html>
    >
    > Cory was the poster boy for 8-bit in the art world, but, like any
    > other decent artist (especially young artist), he's exploring new
    > ideas.
    >
    > On 10/25/06, Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:
    >> Just a quick note -- and just on the first two sections underneath.
    >>
    >> Personally, when considering Cory Archangel, I can only recall
    >> two or three
    >> objects I really like, and think are quite important. The
    >> quicktime work
    >> "data diaries" is indeed one of them, "Super Mario Clouds" is
    >> another. The
    >> link is clear -- from 60s/70s minimalism and straight on from
    >> there. The
    >> works are produced in context with art objects already circulating
    >> within
    >> the art community, as part of an ongoing dialogue. The examples I
    >> mentioned
    >> are not only bringing 60s/70s minimalism aesthetic up to date, but
    >> also
    >> letting us (well, me at least) see the 60s/70s minimalism in a new
    >> light.
    >>
    >> Apart from that, the artist Cory Archangel is important because he
    >> engages
    >> in the art community. This is his goal:
    >>
    >>
    >> "My goal was to be considered an artist, not a computer artist, to
    >> have the
    >> computer considered in a gallery context," Arcangel says. "Strip
    >> away the
    >> video game part, strip away the hacking, and essentially what I'm
    >> doing is
    >> minimalist video art."
    >> http://www.oberlin.edu/alummag/winter2004/feat_newmedia.html
    >>
    >> Of course all this doesn't mean I'm "right". In other words,
    >> doesn't mean
    >> that the art community or the society as a whole will share my
    >> opinion in
    >> the long run. We'll just have to wait and see.
    >>
    >> And as for the stress on "craft" - there are a great number of art
    >> objects
    >> produced and immersed into the art community (and I dont think
    >> that either
    >> Duchamp or Warhol are good examples) that are low tech and/or
    >> require very
    >> little effort to produce. Its obvious that this is not a criterium
    >> for their
    >> importance. So why should you ever considering entering this into the
    >> discussion?
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> Geert Dekkers
    >> http://nznl.com
    >> http://nznl.net
    >> http://nznl.org
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> On 24/10/2006, at 8:59 PM, Sean Capone wrote:
    >>
    >> Patrick:
    >> Thanks for your considered & frank response. This is the type of
    >> answer I
    >> was hoping for when I capitalized 'Art'; in other words, "why is
    >> this work
    >> relevant as objects within the system of production of the art
    >> world," quite
    >> a distinction from 'art' as a personal creative act..
    >>
    >> However I remain unconvinced on several fronts.
    >>
    >> *****************************************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> ...he had an interesting slogan: "Do as little as humanly
    >> possible"...
    >>
    >> *****************************************************************
    >>
    >> Yeah, it shows.
    >>
    >> The question is, is this in itself an ironic statement against
    >> 'operationality'? Or does it demonstrate that the chosen method of
    >> production doesn't have that much to offer in the first place? I
    >> do believe
    >> that to be a self-styled new media artist or critical practioneer
    >> relies on
    >> a built-in sense of technological determinism to begin with. I
    >> mean, it's
    >> just naive not to assume some measure of complicity. By this I
    >> mean that,
    >> technology is a craft, culture and society is heavily invested in
    >> it, these
    >> objects are a source of fascination and a means of production and
    >> to some
    >> extent we acknowledge that we all 'understand' technology and that
    >> the genie
    >> is not going back into the bottle. While the line from Duchamp to
    >> Warhol to
    >> Arcangel et. al. is somewhat legitimate, it is not smooth or
    >> reliable. To
    >> put it bluntly, Duchamp and Warhol were actually doing pretty
    >> different
    >> things at key moments in art & cultural history. You can't merely
    >> replicate
    >> their 'automatic' processes at thi!
    >> s point. And Warhol was many things, but he was certainly not
    >> lazy about
    >> his craft. He did cast an unfortunate spell across future schools
    >> of art
    >> practice, however: by appearing to do nothing (by becoming purely
    >> automatic), one can become as big a celebrity as the celebrity
    >> culture one's
    >> images are about.
    >>
    >> **************************************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> Both are really good at what they do, they made the contacts, people
    >> believe in what they're doing, and there you have high art.
    >>
    >> **************************************************************
    >>
    >> Yup. Until the collectors realize that they aren't *just* purchasing
    >> 'affability' or a personality but objects. This seems a good place
    >> to insert
    >> a discussion on the ephemerality of New Media Art collecting..
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> *****************************************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> They want to get something that both
    >> exploits its media and methods deeply and fits lock-step with the
    >> progression of the Western art historical tradition.. For example,
    >> Murakami cites classical Japanese culture, colonized by American pop
    >> culture.
    >>
    >> *****************************************************************
    >>
    >> Yeah, but unless I'm mistaken, Murakami samples it & injects his own
    >> exhuberance/cynicism and artistic labor (or that of his 'factory
    >> workers')--& does not simply tweak someone else's manga
    >> characters? I hate
    >> to get into a discussion about Originality vs. Creative Paucity
    >> but, well,
    >> there it is.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> *******************************************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> Back to the self-referentiality of the computational process, except
    >> for bitforms, who cares about that in an art context, and still Steve
    >> presents very formal pieces from his artists, which gets the
    >> collectors... Forgive me if I'm not making the connection; but I
    >> get the
    >> feeling that you're looking for recognition for works that deeply
    >> explore the computational process as method, and I honestly think
    >> that's
    >> outside the context of most of the contemporary art world.
    >>
    >> ******************************************************************
    >>
    >> That's actually not what I was suggesting (a la Casey Reas,
    >> Bitforms et al).
    >> The quote about 'artists involved with computational process' was
    >> from the
    >> Paul Davis quote on Rhizome's front page. But out of context with
    >> the art
    >> world? I don't know about that--Arcangel's work is heavily
    >> invested in its
    >> own process and presence as a (at the time) cutting-edge piece of
    >> consumer
    >> electronic culture. The art world has accepted this process-
    >> oreinted model
    >> within Media Arts, I do believe. But the production is a less-than-
    >> mordant
    >> cut-and-paste approach (slacker postmodernism?)as opposed to the
    >> lineage of
    >> past practicioneers of hack/electronic/computation art, since the
    >> sixties at
    >> least: Nam Jun Paik, the Vasulkas, Dan Sandin, etc (or more recent
    >> artists &
    >> theorists like Alan Rath, George LeGrady, Lynn Hershman & other
    >> 'New Image'
    >> artists)...this seems like a more relevant pre-to-post digital
    >> lineage to me
    >> than that of Warhol, Duchamp etc.
    >>
    >> HOWEVER back to the discussion, as far as their currency as 'Art'
    >> within the
    >> system of objects within the art world, these aesthetic
    >> experiments seem
    >> wholly relevant to the degree that much Art operates with fairly
    >> open ends
    >> anyway. Installation, conceptualism, Media Art left the question
    >> of 'Art'
    >> hanging open, dangling, questions asked but unanswered, art as
    >> process,
    >> flow, social experiment, event...art that moves beyond
    >> representation, in
    >> other words, into the experiential.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> ***********************************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> It limits your discourse. Reassures people where you're going
    >> to
    >> be in ten years, and gives them some reassurance in investing in your
    >> objects.
    >>
    >> ************************************************************
    >> Would seem to be the opposite to me--a limited discourse seems less
    >> reassuring lest it reveal itself as a micro-trend. Ehh, I'll take
    >> your word
    >> for it.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> *****************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> It
    >> has nothing to do with the art community, it has to do with the mass
    >> community, because that's what more people are going to identify
    >> with.
    >>
    >> ******************************************
    >> Sure. Curators & gallery owners fill their shows with the mass
    >> community,
    >> but that's not their target audience, is it? It has everything to
    >> do with
    >> the art community. The art community (purchasers, collectors) seem
    >> to rely
    >> on that sense of youthful zeitgeist, as distanced from it as they
    >> actually
    >> are, because that's the narrative of the art world since the 80's
    >> (at least
    >> definitively).
    >>
    >>
    >> ********************************************************
    >>
    >> But, is repurposing a game platform as an art one like
    >> calling a urinal a fountain? I think there's a different gesture
    >> here,
    >> but similarities worth watching.
    >>
    >>
    >> **************************************************
    >>
    >> Yes, with apprehension.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> ***************************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> Exactly, context and intent go hand in hand and each of the artists
    >> has
    >> them. Cory, Paperrad, Paul, and that clade just clothe their work in
    >> a
    >> poppy irony and slacker package that fits with the current obsession
    >> of
    >> youth and the crossing of nostalgia for the early gen-x'ers youth.
    >> It's
    >> all pretty tight.
    >> It's a pixilated landscape you can put on your wall made by a
    >> sl/h/acker
    >> kid who wants to mess around with the stuff he grew up with while
    >> being
    >> cognizant of contemporary art politics.
    >>
    >>
    >> ***************************************************
    >>
    >> Yup, it's that great "I can do that too" feeling that engenders a
    >> cuddly
    >> feeling of tribal belonging...but without actually doing it, or
    >> doing it
    >> poorly, because the "youth-obsessed" codes are easily recognized and
    >> recapitulated without inquiry. (Now I feel like a bit of a
    >> reactionary, like
    >> one of those critics who didn't get Action Painting or whatever).
    >> It's all
    >> pretty tight, indeed...to the point where it almost reads as a
    >> contrived
    >> authenticity, and already seems a bit dusty...or maybe I just
    >> wouldn't want
    >> to belong to any club that would have me as a member. There goes
    >> *my* art
    >> career...
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> **************************************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> But this isn't what they're doing. They're playing with art history
    >> and
    >> cultural effects/affects and weaving it into a contextual praxis. In
    >> many ways, it goes back to Duchamp, Nauman and high modernism,
    >>
    >> **************************************************************
    >> Yah, although I think the lineage starts a bit later, (see above)
    >> or at
    >> least the line isn't so smooth from Duchamp's act, taking place
    >> during
    >> manifesto-oriented High Art Culture (Dada, Surrealism etc) during
    >> the swing
    >> of Modernism from Europe to the States, to those taking place in
    >> contemporary culture, adrift on an ocean of techno-consumer waste
    >> instead of
    >> historical European tradition...
    >> Bla bla bla. In the visual arts, "static art objects are a historical
    >> given...Does [interactive art] even have a place within the art
    >> world? The
    >> grand historical narratives have come to an end, now, 'to be a
    >> member of the
    >> art world is to have learned what it means to participate in the
    >> discourse
    >> of reasons of one's culture."--Regina Cornwell.
    >>
    >>
    >> ***************************************************************
    >>
    >>
    >> In my opinion, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you're looking
    >> for
    >> an art that operates under a different operational framework than
    >> what
    >> you're looking for, and that puzzles you. I think that what you're
    >> looking for is something that's more likely in an ISEA or SIGGRAPH,
    >> which are niche cultures.
    >>
    >> ***************************************************************
    >> While I *do* work regularly in the field of 'high-tech' graphics,
    >> I am less
    >> invested in this world than you might think. I haven't attended
    >> Siggraph in
    >> almost ten years. I *am* looking for an electronic art that, quite
    >> the
    >> opposite to your suggestion, does not exist solely to pose
    >> statements or
    >> congratulate itself about its own techn(o)ntology. (How's that for
    >> a great
    >> artword?). To this degree, making a piece of self-conscious, visibly
    >> low-tech Nintendo art has a closer resemblance to a glamorous HDRI
    >> rendered
    >> Pixar creation than might appear: both are hopelessly enamored
    >> with its own
    >> reflection, and exist as little more than surface affectation.
    >> I *will* cite one of Cory's pieces that I adore: his Quicktime
    >> visualization
    >> of the contents of his hard-drive as multi-scalar pattern noise--
    >> that piece
    >> definitely got to me as a piece which was...well, an Object,
    >> conscious of
    >> but transcendant of it own Objecthood--you know what I mean?
    >>
    >> *******************************
    >>
    >>
    >> What do you think?
    >>
    >> *******************************
    >> I think you are on the effin' money but could try to place this
    >> genre more
    >> within a critical context of digital, video & moving image arts,
    >> especially
    >> within post-80s New Media discourse...it's time to let Warhol &
    >> Duchamp off
    >> the hook as justifications for torpor and naked theft, or as Dan
    >> Clowes
    >> satirized it, the old 'tampon-in-a-teacup' trick. Why shouldn't
    >> artists have
    >> to work?
    >>
    >> :sean capone
    >> +
    >> -> 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
    >>
    >
    >
    > --
    > <twhid>www.mteww.com</twhid>
    > +
    > -> 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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