Re: RHIZOME_RARE: RHIZOME RAW: "We are all ready for a change". Interview with Steven Sacks

Posted by Domenico Quaranta | Fri Jun 29th 2007 8:22 p.m.

Dear Salvatore,

I don't try to persuade you that such artists as Casey Reas, Lia & Golan
Levin are great artists: many people in this list can do it better than
me. I just make you notice that when you say that kids can do a better
job you remind me my mum when, in front of a Pollock, she says that
everybody can do it better. That's quite strange said by you, an artists
who is working with generative codes and software automata
(http://www.artisopensource.net/home.html)

You can call art whatever you want - even kids' and fools' stuff, as
Dubuffet did. But you always need a group of people who share the same
vision, and who believe that this specific artifact has an aesthetic,
spiritual and even economic value.

I believe that people such as Steven Sacks are building up this kind of
contest. Or, better, they are trying to persuade the contemporary art
world that what a lot of people in the new media art world think about
Casey Reas, Golan Levin or 01.org is right. And it's quite a difficult
task, believe me!

I don't discuss here if this is the right thing to do. New media art is
a confortable niche. It lived for years without looking for the respect
of the contemporary art world. But if you choose to follow this path,
you have to take into account the codes, rules and languages of that
world - maybe in order to break them from the inside in another moment. The limited edition (of software, of videos, of prints) is one of this
codes. Maybe not the right one for new media art: this is a good point
of discussion...

> by the way: isn't the "limited edition" of the software products a mind masturbation? a middle-aged mind masturbation

The art market is a middle-aged world, built up - from Duchamp onward -
on alchemical rules. A good seller can turn everything into gold. The
problem is: are you discussing the art market or the way some people are
trying to break into it?

I know that softwareARTspace is not so breaking news (it dates back to
2005, I think). Maybe it is not such a big success, indeed. But I find
it an interesting experiment. Is it the right way to bring software art
to the contemporary art world? Maybe yes, maybe not. But it is
something. 01.org's Portraits are something. Cory Arcangel's cartridges
are something. Lozano-Hemmer at the Venice Biennale is something.
Wolfgang Staehle at the Metropolitan is something. Something happening
outside another "conceptual jail", the one that confines new media art
in such contexts as Ars Electronica, Transmediale and so on.

I like when something happens.

My bests,
domenico

--

Domenico Quaranta

mob. +39 340 2392478
email. qrndnc@yahoo.it
home. vicolo San Giorgio 18 - 25122 brescia (BS)
web. http://www.domenicoquaranta.net/
  • Salvatore Iaconesi | Sat Jun 30th 2007 5:55 a.m.
    here i am!

    >I don't try to persuade you that such artists as Casey Reas, Lia & Golan
    >Levin are great artists: many people in this list can do it better than
    >me. I just make you notice that when you say that kids can do a better
    >job you remind me my mum when, in front of a Pollock, she says that
    >everybody can do it better. That's quite strange said by you, an artists
    >who is working with generative codes and software automata
    >(http://www.artisopensource.net/home.html)

    That's exactly the point.
    I do the same stuff. And that's the reason why i know that if you sell art
    like that you might as well sell the kiddes' stuff, or commercial
    screensavers,
    because it wouldn't change a bit.
    We're in a time in which there's a lot of people leveraging on other people's
    ignorance on new media and on technology (not only in art). I don't know how
    right/wrong this is. What I know is that i would love people having a choice.
    If media-powerful (or, simply, institutional or institutional-like) voices
    declare "X is art!".. well someone might believe that it's true without even a
    doubt.

    And, btw, i deal with software automas in the same way that a painter deals
    with pigments and brushes: they're instrumental to expression, but they're not
    the center. I wouldn't like what i produce to be distributed as at software
    art
    space, because i don't think that it dignifies artworks, as it turns them to
    screensavers.

    >You can call art whatever you want - even kids' and fools' stuff, as
    >Dubuffet did. But you always need a group of people who share the same
    >vision, and who believe that this specific artifact has an aesthetic,
    >spiritual and even economic value.

    There are at least two ways of dealing with art.

    Production and commerce.

    Art history is about production. Magazine covers are about commerce.

    Both are important. But one of them is clearly more significant and
    fundamental.

    Strangely, the other one rules the way people perceive reality in a more
    powerful way.

    >I don't discuss here if this is the right thing to do. New media art is
    >a confortable niche. It lived for years without looking for the respect
    >of the contemporary art world. But if you choose to follow this path,
    >you have to take into account the codes, rules and languages of that
    >world - maybe in order to break them from the inside in another moment.
    >The limited edition (of software, of videos, of prints) is one of this
    >codes. Maybe not the right one for new media art: this is a good point
    >of discussion...

    The whole deal is about people being afraid of loosing power, on one side,
    and, on the other side, about people aiming at objectives that are just so out
    of our time, significant no more. These two, combined, allow for the latter
    ones to become tools for the former ones.

    >The art market is a middle-aged world, built up - from Duchamp onward -
    >on alchemical rules. A good seller can turn everything into gold. The
    >problem is: are you discussing the art market or the way some people are
    >trying to break into it?

    This is not about people trying to break in the art market. It's about making
    significant actions, and it's about telling stuff the way it is. Wired
    magazine
    is a conservative techno-yuppie magazine. They use language to reach media
    targets, they're a superficial, conservative evolution of Mondo2000 and the
    like. I'm not surprised about their consideration on steven sack's initiative.
    Do you really think that his "software art space" is for artists? It's just
    trying to sell something people don't understand in a way through which they
    can think that it's something else.

    It takes me hours every time i setup an installation or a performance.
    Lighting conditions, sound environment, user interaction and perspectives,
    tuning, adjusting... we all know it: it's not bout the software! The product
    is
    not there, but in a vision/theory, on one side, and on a sensorial experience,
    on the other side, and on the emotional relationship that it creates.

    What is left of all this when a user grabs a CD and sticks it in a PC attached
    to his plasma sceen in the living room?
    everything happening in unspecified environemntal conditions?
    without creating the correct level of attention?
    without explaining what is going on?
    without giving any dignity to the work of art?
    Is there something more than what he could download for free from runme.org
    with a better description, with comments, with the possibility to study the
    source, to download another one or to freely search for related information or
    for other stuff from the same artist?

    Why is the guy asking money? :)

    >>But I find it an interesting experiment.

    That's the point, too: it's not an experiment

    >Something happening
    >outside another "conceptual jail", the one that confines new media art
    >in such contexts as Ars Electronica, Transmediale and so on.

    I actually think that those festivals are useful if you *really* have
    something to say. If you don't.. well, you just go there, bring your stuff
    and
    cross your fingers hoping that someone notices you for some reason, so that
    you
    get the attention.

    >I like when something happens.

    i like it whan something nice happens.

    my bests to you too!
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