on bad digital art

Posted by Pall Thayer | Wed Aug 9th 2006 7:15 a.m.

Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out there and see what people think.

I was thinking about why I dislike a lot of digital and net art and came to the conclusion that digital and net art can be separated into two distinct categories. I'm not going to explain them in detail. Make what you want of my descriptions and state what you think. Here are the two categories:

Art that uses the utility of technology as a medium.
Art that uses technology as a medium.

I prefer the latter.

Pall Thayer
  • Jason Van Anden | Wed Aug 9th 2006 8:10 a.m.
    Hi Pall,

    What about art that leverages technology as means of human expression?

    Or is this a way of restating #1?

    ~j

    On 8/9/06, Pall Thayer <p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca> wrote:
    >
    > Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out there and
    > see what people think.
    >
    > I was thinking about why I dislike a lot of digital and net art and came
    > to the conclusion that digital and net art can be separated into two
    > distinct categories. I'm not going to explain them in detail. Make what you
    > want of my descriptions and state what you think. Here are the two
    > categories:
    >
    > Art that uses the utility of technology as a medium.
    > Art that uses technology as a medium.
    >
    > I prefer the latter.
    >
    > Pall Thayer
    > +
    > -> 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
    >

    --
    Jason Van Anden
    http://www.smileproject.com
  • // jonCates | Wed Aug 9th 2006 9:41 a.m.
    On Aug 9, 2006, at 8:15 AM, Pall Thayer wrote:
    > >Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out
    > there and see what people think.

    "There is a common misconception in art and technology crossovers
    that any cultural product can become art if it is robbed of its
    utility, that the product of a scientific or technological process is
    art if it has been done simply because it can be done. This
    misunderstanding replaces "art for art's sake" with "anything for
    it's own sake".

    This is the logic behind the pretty microscope photographs of dyed
    cells that pharmaceutical companies are so fond of hanging in
    galleries, the aesthetically pleasing by-products of their "too-
    complicated to explain to the public" experiments. "Art for public
    relation's sake".

    In the context of tech-art culture this logic has produced an even
    more horrible misunderstanding: "art for technology's sake". The
    reliance on some kind of unconscious, artistic intuition performed in
    front of a computer has resulted in the installation of countless
    adverts for Macromedia, Apple, Sony and other culturpreneurial
    technology companies in high-profile art galleries around the world.

    The problem for artists who do not want to be unpaid advertising
    executives is that without careful and critical attention to the
    processes and imperatives of software, their work can be processed
    into bland "content" and aesthetic pleasantry through an
    unacknowledged collaboration with corporate software."

    data.src:

    title: Useless Utilities
    dvr: Saul Albert
    date: 2001
    uri: http://twenteenthcentury.com/saul/useless.htm

    // jonCates
    # criticalartware - core.developer
    # http://www.criticalartware.net
  • // jonCates | Wed Aug 9th 2006 9:54 a.m.
    On Aug 9, 2006, at 8:15 AM, Pall Thayer wrote:
    > >Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out
    > there and see what people think.

    "Utopian technology is that technology which has fallen from grace.
    It has been stripped of its purity and reendowed with utility. The
    fall is necessitated by a return to contact with humanity. Having
    once left the production table, the technology that lives the godly
    life of state-of- the-art uselessness has no further interaction with
    humans as users or as inventors; rather, humans serve only as a means
    to maintain its uselessness. The location of the most complex pure
    technology is of no mystery. Deep in the core of the war machine is
    the missile system. Ultimately, all research is centered around this
    invisible monument to uselessness. The bigger and more powerful it
    becomes, the greater its value. But should it ever be touched by
    utility - that is should it ever be used - its value becomes naught.
    To be of value, it must be maintained, upgraded, and expanded, but it
    must never actually do anything. This idol of destruction is forever
    hungry, and is willing to eat all resources. In return, however, it
    excretes objects of utility. Consumer communications and
    transportation systems, for example, have dramatically improved due
    to the continuous research aimed at increasing the grandeur of the
    apparatus of uselessness.

    There can be a stopping point to this process - a discovery made by
    the collapsing Soviet Union. For all the `patriots of democracy' who
    gave a collective sigh of relief and boasted that they were at last
    proven right - "communism doesn't work" - there still may be a need
    to worry. The fall of the USSR had little to do with ideology. The US
    and USSR were competitors in producing the best apparatus of
    uselessness in order to prove its own respective Hegelian mastery of
    the globe. Modern autocrats and oligarchs have long known that a
    standing army puts an undue strain on the economy. To be sure,
    standing armies were early monuments to uselessness, but in terms of
    both size and cost, they are dwarfed by the standing missile system
    of the electronic age. As with all things that are useless, there
    will be no return on the investment in it. The useless represents a
    100% loss of capital.

    Although such investment seems to go against the utilitarian grain of
    visible bourgeois culture, whether in socialist or in constitutional
    republics, the compulsive desire for a useless master is much greater
    (Japan is an interesting exception to this rule). Unfortunately for
    the USSR, they were unable to indulge in pure excess expenditure at
    the same rate as the US. The soviet techno-idol was a little more
    constipated, and could not maintain the needed rate of excretion.
    Consequently, once the limits of uselessness were reached, that
    system imploded.

    The US government, on the other hand, has to this day remained
    convinced that further progress can be made. Reagan and his Star Wars
    campaign issued a policy radically expanding the useless. Reagan, of
    course, was the perfect one to make the policy, since he was an idol
    to uselessness himself. He represents one of the few times that
    uselessness has taken an organic form in this century. (This is part
    of the reason he was considered such a bourgeois hero. He was willing
    to personally plunge into uselessness without apology. He did not let
    a thing stand in for him). Playing on yuppie paranoia (the fascists'
    friend), Reagan convinced the public loyal to him that a defensive
    monument (Star Wars) to uselessness was needed, just in case the
    offensive monument (the missile system) was not enough. He was
    successful enough in his plea to guarantee that years of useless
    research will ensue that no one will be able to stop, even if his
    original monumental vision (a net of laser armed satellites) should
    be erased. In this manner, Reagan made sure that the apparatus of
    uselessness would expand even if the cold war ended."

    data.src:

    title: The Technology Of Uselessness
    dvr: Critical Art Ensemble
    date: 1994
    uri: http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?idY

    // jonCates
    # criticalartware - core.developer
    # http://www.criticalartware.net
  • Salvatore Iaconesi | Wed Aug 9th 2006 10:30 a.m.
    >-- Original Message --
    >From: jonCates <joncates@criticalartware.net>
    >Subject: Re: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: on bad digital art
    >Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 10:53:50 -0500
    >To: rhizome <list@rhizome.org>

    >(Japan is an interesting exception to this rule)

    it is not even an exception.. it's just a shift in perspective.... and a
    different enabling "social machine"

    s
  • Pall Thayer | Wed Aug 9th 2006 10:47 a.m.
    I'm not going to address any responses just yet. I'm going to wait a bit and see

    what happens. Part of what I'm interested in is seeing how people interpret my
    original post. However, I just want to clarify one thing so that the discussion

    doesn't veer off into outer space. By "using utility of technology", I'm not
    referring to utility as opposed to non-utility. Rather, I'm referring to the
    public conception of the way any technology was or is meant to be used. "Art
    that uses technology as a medium" can still have utility but that utility
    doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with the technology's intended
    or perceived utility.

    Pall

    Quoting jonCates <joncates@criticalartware.net>:

    > On Aug 9, 2006, at 8:15 AM, Pall Thayer wrote:
    > > >Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out
    > > there and see what people think.
    >
    > "Utopian technology is that technology which has fallen from grace.
    > It has been stripped of its purity and reendowed with utility. The
    > fall is necessitated by a return to contact with humanity. Having
    > once left the production table, the technology that lives the godly
    > life of state-of- the-art uselessness has no further interaction with
    > humans as users or as inventors; rather, humans serve only as a means
    > to maintain its uselessness. The location of the most complex pure
    > technology is of no mystery. Deep in the core of the war machine is
    > the missile system. Ultimately, all research is centered around this
    > invisible monument to uselessness. The bigger and more powerful it
    > becomes, the greater its value. But should it ever be touched by
    > utility - that is should it ever be used - its value becomes naught.
    > To be of value, it must be maintained, upgraded, and expanded, but it
    > must never actually do anything. This idol of destruction is forever
    > hungry, and is willing to eat all resources. In return, however, it
    > excretes objects of utility. Consumer communications and
    > transportation systems, for example, have dramatically improved due
    > to the continuous research aimed at increasing the grandeur of the
    > apparatus of uselessness.
    >
    > There can be a stopping point to this process - a discovery made by
    > the collapsing Soviet Union. For all the `patriots of democracy' who
    > gave a collective sigh of relief and boasted that they were at last
    > proven right - "communism doesn't work" - there still may be a need
    > to worry. The fall of the USSR had little to do with ideology. The US
    > and USSR were competitors in producing the best apparatus of
    > uselessness in order to prove its own respective Hegelian mastery of
    > the globe. Modern autocrats and oligarchs have long known that a
    > standing army puts an undue strain on the economy. To be sure,
    > standing armies were early monuments to uselessness, but in terms of
    > both size and cost, they are dwarfed by the standing missile system
    > of the electronic age. As with all things that are useless, there
    > will be no return on the investment in it. The useless represents a
    > 100% loss of capital.
    >
    > Although such investment seems to go against the utilitarian grain of
    > visible bourgeois culture, whether in socialist or in constitutional
    > republics, the compulsive desire for a useless master is much greater
    > (Japan is an interesting exception to this rule). Unfortunately for
    > the USSR, they were unable to indulge in pure excess expenditure at
    > the same rate as the US. The soviet techno-idol was a little more
    > constipated, and could not maintain the needed rate of excretion.
    > Consequently, once the limits of uselessness were reached, that
    > system imploded.
    >
    > The US government, on the other hand, has to this day remained
    > convinced that further progress can be made. Reagan and his Star Wars
    > campaign issued a policy radically expanding the useless. Reagan, of
    > course, was the perfect one to make the policy, since he was an idol
    > to uselessness himself. He represents one of the few times that
    > uselessness has taken an organic form in this century. (This is part
    > of the reason he was considered such a bourgeois hero. He was willing
    > to personally plunge into uselessness without apology. He did not let
    > a thing stand in for him). Playing on yuppie paranoia (the fascists'
    > friend), Reagan convinced the public loyal to him that a defensive
    > monument (Star Wars) to uselessness was needed, just in case the
    > offensive monument (the missile system) was not enough. He was
    > successful enough in his plea to guarantee that years of useless
    > research will ensue that no one will be able to stop, even if his
    > original monumental vision (a net of laser armed satellites) should
    > be erased. In this manner, Reagan made sure that the apparatus of
    > uselessness would expand even if the cold war ended."
    >
    > data.src:
    >
    > title: The Technology Of Uselessness
    > dvr: Critical Art Ensemble
    > date: 1994
    > uri: http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?idY
    >
    > // jonCates
    > # criticalartware - core.developer
    > # http://www.criticalartware.net
    > +
    > -> 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
    >

    --
  • Marisa Olson | Wed Aug 9th 2006 11:52 a.m.
    Hey, Pall, et al.

    I'm trying to wrap my head around your distinction, here. It's interesting.

    My first response to your initial email was that your two categories
    might leave out a lot of work. What about art in which technology is
    the object (or 'final product'), rather than a tool for the creation
    of some other object? And what about work that engages with technology
    as it's _subject_? Admittedly, the latter can include lots of things
    that are neither digital or electronic, but I still find them
    interesting to consider in this wider context...

    For the sake of vocabulary, would you mind giving a specific example
    regarding the utility of the tech vs the tech, itself? It doesn't have
    to be an Art example, per se, just a practical example--perhaps a
    software one? A railroad one..?

    I ask because I think your distinction raises lots of questions. It
    might imply that technologies may not be defined by their utility
    (separate from Marxist use value, of course), but actually...

    * What's the relation between a thing's definition/being and its
    function (assuming this is the same as utility)?
    * What is the relationship between the constitution of the tech and labor?
    * Btwn the employment of the tech's utility & labor? (ie the game
    coder vs the gamer--this gets at authorship, too)
    * If you change a tech's intended utility, do you change it's
    definition/being/meaning?
    * If you change an object's intended utility, do you change it's
    definition/being/meaning?
    * What's the difference between the last two questions, in your own
    definition of these things?

    These questions (or, rather, their answers) could have many wider
    artistic & political implications. Think, for instance, of
    hacktivism... How do things change? What's the relationship between
    changing a tool or object and social change? Can technological change
    (which is a largely chronological process, whether you approach it
    from a more deterministic or materialist perspective) and/or changing
    of a [thing] (through remixing, viral attack, parody, etc) be a _tool_
    for social change?

    What is the utility of utility, Pall? :)

    Oh, and also... If only on behalf of all the bad artists, I might ask
    that we not use the word 'bad.' (Unless, of course, you use it as
    Michael Jackson did.) Since we're talking about utility, anyway, maybe
    we should simply look at whether it gets the job done. This invokes a
    more functional than emotional aesthetic, and I won't deny the
    thumbs-up/thumbs-down inclination, but if we're charging ourselves
    with some more thoughtful form of criticism, maybe we should just look
    at the means by which the work attempts to do what it does, and how
    successful it is in that regard.

    Marisa

    On 8/9/06, p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca <p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca> wrote:
    > I'm not going to address any responses just yet. I'm going to wait a bit and see
    >
    > what happens. Part of what I'm interested in is seeing how people interpret my
    > original post. However, I just want to clarify one thing so that the discussion
    >
    > doesn't veer off into outer space. By "using utility of technology", I'm not
    > referring to utility as opposed to non-utility. Rather, I'm referring to the
    > public conception of the way any technology was or is meant to be used. "Art
    > that uses technology as a medium" can still have utility but that utility
    > doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with the technology's intended
    > or perceived utility.
    >
    > Pall
    >
    > Quoting jonCates <joncates@criticalartware.net>:
    >
    > > On Aug 9, 2006, at 8:15 AM, Pall Thayer wrote:
    > > > >Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out
    > > > there and see what people think.
    > >
    > > "Utopian technology is that technology which has fallen from grace.
    > > It has been stripped of its purity and reendowed with utility. The
    > > fall is necessitated by a return to contact with humanity. Having
    > > once left the production table, the technology that lives the godly
    > > life of state-of- the-art uselessness has no further interaction with
    > > humans as users or as inventors; rather, humans serve only as a means
    > > to maintain its uselessness. The location of the most complex pure
    > > technology is of no mystery. Deep in the core of the war machine is
    > > the missile system. Ultimately, all research is centered around this
    > > invisible monument to uselessness. The bigger and more powerful it
    > > becomes, the greater its value. But should it ever be touched by
    > > utility - that is should it ever be used - its value becomes naught.
    > > To be of value, it must be maintained, upgraded, and expanded, but it
    > > must never actually do anything. This idol of destruction is forever
    > > hungry, and is willing to eat all resources. In return, however, it
    > > excretes objects of utility. Consumer communications and
    > > transportation systems, for example, have dramatically improved due
    > > to the continuous research aimed at increasing the grandeur of the
    > > apparatus of uselessness.
    > >
    > > There can be a stopping point to this process - a discovery made by
    > > the collapsing Soviet Union. For all the `patriots of democracy' who
    > > gave a collective sigh of relief and boasted that they were at last
    > > proven right - "communism doesn't work" - there still may be a need
    > > to worry. The fall of the USSR had little to do with ideology. The US
    > > and USSR were competitors in producing the best apparatus of
    > > uselessness in order to prove its own respective Hegelian mastery of
    > > the globe. Modern autocrats and oligarchs have long known that a
    > > standing army puts an undue strain on the economy. To be sure,
    > > standing armies were early monuments to uselessness, but in terms of
    > > both size and cost, they are dwarfed by the standing missile system
    > > of the electronic age. As with all things that are useless, there
    > > will be no return on the investment in it. The useless represents a
    > > 100% loss of capital.
    > >
    > > Although such investment seems to go against the utilitarian grain of
    > > visible bourgeois culture, whether in socialist or in constitutional
    > > republics, the compulsive desire for a useless master is much greater
    > > (Japan is an interesting exception to this rule). Unfortunately for
    > > the USSR, they were unable to indulge in pure excess expenditure at
    > > the same rate as the US. The soviet techno-idol was a little more
    > > constipated, and could not maintain the needed rate of excretion.
    > > Consequently, once the limits of uselessness were reached, that
    > > system imploded.
    > >
    > > The US government, on the other hand, has to this day remained
    > > convinced that further progress can be made. Reagan and his Star Wars
    > > campaign issued a policy radically expanding the useless. Reagan, of
    > > course, was the perfect one to make the policy, since he was an idol
    > > to uselessness himself. He represents one of the few times that
    > > uselessness has taken an organic form in this century. (This is part
    > > of the reason he was considered such a bourgeois hero. He was willing
    > > to personally plunge into uselessness without apology. He did not let
    > > a thing stand in for him). Playing on yuppie paranoia (the fascists'
    > > friend), Reagan convinced the public loyal to him that a defensive
    > > monument (Star Wars) to uselessness was needed, just in case the
    > > offensive monument (the missile system) was not enough. He was
    > > successful enough in his plea to guarantee that years of useless
    > > research will ensue that no one will be able to stop, even if his
    > > original monumental vision (a net of laser armed satellites) should
    > > be erased. In this manner, Reagan made sure that the apparatus of
    > > uselessness would expand even if the cold war ended."
    > >
    > > data.src:
    > >
    > > title: The Technology Of Uselessness
    > > dvr: Critical Art Ensemble
    > > date: 1994
    > > uri: http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?idY
    > >
    > > // jonCates
    > > # criticalartware - core.developer
    > > # http://www.criticalartware.net
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    >
    >
    > --
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Pall Thayer | Wed Aug 9th 2006 12:14 p.m.
    I don't have time to respond to everything righ now, but would like to admit that the subject of the post, which may seem offensive to some, was created with impact in mind. You never know how Raw is going to be and things can get lost in a sea of exhibition/competition/postion announcements. "on bad digital art" does not mean that the digital art which doesn't fall under my preference is bad art, but it's questionable as "digital" art. The fact that digital technology was used somewhere in the production process doesn't, in my book, make it digital art. I'm sure, for instance, that paint producers use computers somewhere in the manufacturing process, but that doesn't mean that every painting produced with their paint is "digital" art. So please don't interpret "bad digital art" as "bad art". Art can be bad digital art but still be good art.

    And one good example of work that uses technology as a medium as opposed to using the utility of technology as a medium would be Carnivore. An example of work that uses the utility of technology as medium would be http://www.rent-a-negro.com/

    Pall

    Marisa Olson wrote:

    > Hey, Pall, et al.
    >
    > I'm trying to wrap my head around your distinction, here. It's
    > interesting.
    >
    > My first response to your initial email was that your two categories
    > might leave out a lot of work. What about art in which technology is
    > the object (or 'final product'), rather than a tool for the creation
    > of some other object? And what about work that engages with technology
    > as it's _subject_? Admittedly, the latter can include lots of things
    > that are neither digital or electronic, but I still find them
    > interesting to consider in this wider context...
    >
    > For the sake of vocabulary, would you mind giving a specific example
    > regarding the utility of the tech vs the tech, itself? It doesn't have
    > to be an Art example, per se, just a practical example--perhaps a
    > software one? A railroad one..?
    >
    > I ask because I think your distinction raises lots of questions. It
    > might imply that technologies may not be defined by their utility
    > (separate from Marxist use value, of course), but actually...
    >
    > * What's the relation between a thing's definition/being and its
    > function (assuming this is the same as utility)?
    > * What is the relationship between the constitution of the tech and
    > labor?
    > * Btwn the employment of the tech's utility & labor? (ie the game
    > coder vs the gamer--this gets at authorship, too)
    > * If you change a tech's intended utility, do you change it's
    > definition/being/meaning?
    > * If you change an object's intended utility, do you change it's
    > definition/being/meaning?
    > * What's the difference between the last two questions, in your own
    > definition of these things?
    >
    > These questions (or, rather, their answers) could have many wider
    > artistic & political implications. Think, for instance, of
    > hacktivism... How do things change? What's the relationship between
    > changing a tool or object and social change? Can technological change
    > (which is a largely chronological process, whether you approach it
    > from a more deterministic or materialist perspective) and/or changing
    > of a [thing] (through remixing, viral attack, parody, etc) be a _tool_
    > for social change?
    >
    > What is the utility of utility, Pall? :)
    >
    > Oh, and also... If only on behalf of all the bad artists, I might ask
    > that we not use the word 'bad.' (Unless, of course, you use it as
    > Michael Jackson did.) Since we're talking about utility, anyway, maybe
    > we should simply look at whether it gets the job done. This invokes a
    > more functional than emotional aesthetic, and I won't deny the
    > thumbs-up/thumbs-down inclination, but if we're charging ourselves
    > with some more thoughtful form of criticism, maybe we should just look
    > at the means by which the work attempts to do what it does, and how
    > successful it is in that regard.
    >
    > Marisa
    >
    >
    >
    > On 8/9/06, p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca <p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca>
    > wrote:
    > > I'm not going to address any responses just yet. I'm going to wait a
    > bit and see
    > >
    > > what happens. Part of what I'm interested in is seeing how people
    > interpret my
    > > original post. However, I just want to clarify one thing so that the
    > discussion
    > >
    > > doesn't veer off into outer space. By "using utility of technology",
    > I'm not
    > > referring to utility as opposed to non-utility. Rather, I'm
    > referring to the
    > > public conception of the way any technology was or is meant to be
    > used. "Art
    > > that uses technology as a medium" can still have utility but that
    > utility
    > > doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with the
    > technology's intended
    > > or perceived utility.
    > >
    > > Pall
    > >
    > > Quoting jonCates <joncates@criticalartware.net>:
    > >
    > > > On Aug 9, 2006, at 8:15 AM, Pall Thayer wrote:
    > > > > >Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out
    > > > > there and see what people think.
    > > >
    > > > "Utopian technology is that technology which has fallen from
    > grace.
    > > > It has been stripped of its purity and reendowed with utility. The
    > > > fall is necessitated by a return to contact with humanity. Having
    > > > once left the production table, the technology that lives the
    > godly
    > > > life of state-of- the-art uselessness has no further interaction
    > with
    > > > humans as users or as inventors; rather, humans serve only as a
    > means
    > > > to maintain its uselessness. The location of the most complex pure
    > > > technology is of no mystery. Deep in the core of the war machine
    > is
    > > > the missile system. Ultimately, all research is centered around
    > this
    > > > invisible monument to uselessness. The bigger and more powerful it
    > > > becomes, the greater its value. But should it ever be touched by
    > > > utility - that is should it ever be used - its value becomes
    > naught.
    > > > To be of value, it must be maintained, upgraded, and expanded, but
    > it
    > > > must never actually do anything. This idol of destruction is
    > forever
    > > > hungry, and is willing to eat all resources. In return, however,
    > it
    > > > excretes objects of utility. Consumer communications and
    > > > transportation systems, for example, have dramatically improved
    > due
    > > > to the continuous research aimed at increasing the grandeur of the
    > > > apparatus of uselessness.
    > > >
    > > > There can be a stopping point to this process - a discovery made
    > by
    > > > the collapsing Soviet Union. For all the `patriots of democracy'
    > who
    > > > gave a collective sigh of relief and boasted that they were at
    > last
    > > > proven right - "communism doesn't work" - there still may be a
    > need
    > > > to worry. The fall of the USSR had little to do with ideology. The
    > US
    > > > and USSR were competitors in producing the best apparatus of
    > > > uselessness in order to prove its own respective Hegelian mastery
    > of
    > > > the globe. Modern autocrats and oligarchs have long known that a
    > > > standing army puts an undue strain on the economy. To be sure,
    > > > standing armies were early monuments to uselessness, but in terms
    > of
    > > > both size and cost, they are dwarfed by the standing missile
    > system
    > > > of the electronic age. As with all things that are useless, there
    > > > will be no return on the investment in it. The useless represents
    > a
    > > > 100% loss of capital.
    > > >
    > > > Although such investment seems to go against the utilitarian grain
    > of
    > > > visible bourgeois culture, whether in socialist or in
    > constitutional
    > > > republics, the compulsive desire for a useless master is much
    > greater
    > > > (Japan is an interesting exception to this rule). Unfortunately
    > for
    > > > the USSR, they were unable to indulge in pure excess expenditure
    > at
    > > > the same rate as the US. The soviet techno-idol was a little more
    > > > constipated, and could not maintain the needed rate of excretion.
    > > > Consequently, once the limits of uselessness were reached, that
    > > > system imploded.
    > > >
    > > > The US government, on the other hand, has to this day remained
    > > > convinced that further progress can be made. Reagan and his Star
    > Wars
    > > > campaign issued a policy radically expanding the useless. Reagan,
    > of
    > > > course, was the perfect one to make the policy, since he was an
    > idol
    > > > to uselessness himself. He represents one of the few times that
    > > > uselessness has taken an organic form in this century. (This is
    > part
    > > > of the reason he was considered such a bourgeois hero. He was
    > willing
    > > > to personally plunge into uselessness without apology. He did not
    > let
    > > > a thing stand in for him). Playing on yuppie paranoia (the
    > fascists'
    > > > friend), Reagan convinced the public loyal to him that a defensive
    > > > monument (Star Wars) to uselessness was needed, just in case the
    > > > offensive monument (the missile system) was not enough. He was
    > > > successful enough in his plea to guarantee that years of useless
    > > > research will ensue that no one will be able to stop, even if his
    > > > original monumental vision (a net of laser armed satellites)
    > should
    > > > be erased. In this manner, Reagan made sure that the apparatus of
    > > > uselessness would expand even if the cold war ended."
    > > >
    > > > data.src:
    > > >
    > > > title: The Technology Of Uselessness
    > > > dvr: Critical Art Ensemble
    > > > date: 1994
    > > > uri: http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?idY
    > > >
    > > > // jonCates
    > > > # criticalartware - core.developer
    > > > # http://www.criticalartware.net
    > > > +
    > > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > > +
    > > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > > >
    > >
    > >
    > > --
    > >
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
  • Jim Andrews | Wed Aug 9th 2006 12:36 p.m.
    > I'm not going to address any responses just yet. I'm going to
    > wait a bit and see
    >
    > what happens. Part of what I'm interested in is seeing how people
    > interpret my
    > original post. However, I just want to clarify one thing so that
    > the discussion
    >
    > doesn't veer off into outer space. By "using utility of
    > technology", I'm not
    > referring to utility as opposed to non-utility. Rather, I'm
    > referring to the
    > public conception of the way any technology was or is meant to be
    > used. "Art
    > that uses technology as a medium" can still have utility but that utility
    > doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with the
    > technology's intended
    > or perceived utility.

    I met a famous avant garde poet and we talked a little about technology and
    art. If I understood him correctly, his feeling was that he was really only
    interested in technology in art when the artist did things with the
    technology that it was never intended to do. The idea being resistance and
    subversion as well as expansion of the possibilities, I presume.

    I'm not sure how well he grasped programmability. I mean, in a sense, you
    can write programs to do things that the software was never intended to do
    without hacking at all. DHTML, having been initially a Microsoft initiative,
    was almost certainly not intended for digital poetry, for instance. But very
    little DHTML digital poetry does things that are not 'supported' by DHTML.
    And even when it does, in itself, I don't see much to recommend it as art.
    Because it's a technical consideration, primarily. We don't really care
    whether it was intended or not. We care more about whether what it does is
    interesting. We don't care whether the behavior is supported or not. We care
    about whether the behavior is interesting, insightful, perspicuous,
    entertaining, enlightening, etc, rather than whether it is supported.

    ja
    http://vispo.com
  • Alexis Turner | Thu Aug 10th 2006 11:25 a.m.
    Based on the examples you gave, and your definition of bad, it seems that, In
    other words, your question is really, "what counts as digital art?" It seems
    that you are taking those that fall into the first category (utilityof tech) as
    art, but nt digital art, per se.

    I think you could create several dichotomies of the two types f X, depending on
    the point you want to make. I don't necessarily think that they take all into
    account (much like saying there are two types f people in the world - the good
    and the evil...hardly does justice to the reality, does it?)

    With digital art, for instance, you could say that the two types are:
    those that use technology as their subject
    those that use technology as their medium

    I prefer the latter, in spite of the fact that the possibilities of both are
    quite endless.
    -Alexis

    On Wed, 9 Aug 2006, Pall Thayer wrote:

    ::Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out there and see what people think.
    ::
    ::I was thinking about why I dislike a lot of digital and net art and came to the conclusion that digital and net art can be separated into two distinct categories. I'm not going to explain them in detail. Make what you want of my descriptions and state what you think. Here are the two categories:
    ::
    ::Art that uses the utility of technology as a medium.
    ::Art that uses technology as a medium.
    ::
    ::I prefer the latter.
    ::
    ::Pall Thayer
    ::+
  • Maschine Hospital | Tue Aug 22nd 2006 11:39 p.m.
    We are all bad digital art. Terrible.

    On Thu, 10 Aug 2006, Alexis Turner wrote:

    > Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 17:25:13 +0000 (UTC)
    > From: Alexis Turner <subbies@redheadedstepchild.org>
    > To: Pall Thayer <p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca>
    > Cc: list@rhizome.org
    > Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: on bad digital art
    >
    > Based on the examples you gave, and your definition of bad, it seems that, In
    > other words, your question is really, "what counts as digital art?" It seems
    > that you are taking those that fall into the first category (utilityof tech) as
    > art, but nt digital art, per se.
    >
    > I think you could create several dichotomies of the two types f X, depending on
    > the point you want to make. I don't necessarily think that they take all into
    > account (much like saying there are two types f people in the world - the good
    > and the evil...hardly does justice to the reality, does it?)
    >
    > With digital art, for instance, you could say that the two types are:
    > those that use technology as their subject
    > those that use technology as their medium
    >
    > I prefer the latter, in spite of the fact that the possibilities of both are
    > quite endless.
    > -Alexis
    >
    > On Wed, 9 Aug 2006, Pall Thayer wrote:
    >
    > ::Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out there and see what people think.
    > ::
    > ::I was thinking about why I dislike a lot of digital and net art and came to the conclusion that digital and net art can be separated into two distinct categories. I'm not going to explain them in detail. Make what you want of my descriptions and state what you think. Here are the two categories:
    > ::
    > ::Art that uses the utility of technology as a medium.
    > ::Art that uses technology as a medium.
    > ::
    > ::I prefer the latter.
    > ::
    > ::Pall Thayer
    > ::+
    > +
    > -> 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
    >

    o
    [ + ]

    + + +

    | '|' |
    _________________________________________
    `, . ` `k a r e i' ? ' D42
  • Max Herman | Wed Aug 23rd 2006 9:18 a.m.
    There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.
  • mark cooley | Thu Aug 24th 2006 9:01 a.m.
    > those that use technology as their subject
    > those that use technology as their medium

    digital art - i'd like to throw in another definition as well - "art that is found significant in the context of digital culture." by digital culture i do not necessarily mean to point to the machines that do its work. if we examine digital culture next to its predecessor - analog culture - then we can see some clear changes in the way that humans (within such cultures) see the world differently and of course construct the world differently through the technologies built to represent these cultures. myself, i think emphasis should be taken off technology and focused on the culture that finds such tools valuable. and besides technology does not necessarily have anything to do with digital. the word technology can not stand in for digital.

    Maschine Hospital wrote:

    > We are all bad digital art. Terrible.
    >
    > On Thu, 10 Aug 2006, Alexis Turner wrote:
    >
    > > Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 17:25:13 +0000 (UTC)
    > > From: Alexis Turner <subbies@redheadedstepchild.org>
    > > To: Pall Thayer <p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca>
    > > Cc: list@rhizome.org
    > > Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: on bad digital art
    > >
    > > Based on the examples you gave, and your definition of bad, it seems
    > that, In
    > > other words, your question is really, "what counts as digital art?"
    > It seems
    > > that you are taking those that fall into the first category
    > (utilityof tech) as
    > > art, but nt digital art, per se.
    > >
    > > I think you could create several dichotomies of the two types f X,
    > depending on
    > > the point you want to make. I don't necessarily think that they
    > take all into
    > > account (much like saying there are two types f people in the world
    > - the good
    > > and the evil...hardly does justice to the reality, does it?)
    > >
    > > With digital art, for instance, you could say that the two types
    > are:
    > > those that use technology as their subject
    > > those that use technology as their medium
    > >
    > > I prefer the latter, in spite of the fact that the possibilities of
    > both are
    > > quite endless.
    > > -Alexis
    > >
    > > On Wed, 9 Aug 2006, Pall Thayer wrote:
    > >
    > > ::Something occured to me last night and I'm going to toss it out
    > there and see what people think.
    > > ::
    > > ::I was thinking about why I dislike a lot of digital and net art
    > and came to the conclusion that digital and net art can be separated
    > into two distinct categories. I'm not going to explain them in detail.
    > Make what you want of my descriptions and state what you think. Here
    > are the two categories:
    > > ::
    > > ::Art that uses the utility of technology as a medium.
    > > ::Art that uses technology as a medium.
    > > ::
    > > ::I prefer the latter.
    > > ::
    > > ::Pall Thayer
    > > ::+
    > > +
    > > -> 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
    > >
    >
    > o
    > [ + ]
    >
    > + + +
    >
    >
    > | '|' |
    > _________________________________________
    > `, . ` `k a r e i' ? ' D42
  • Eric Dymond | Thu Aug 24th 2006 8:18 p.m.
    mark cooley wrote:

    > > those that use technology as their subject
    > > those that use technology as their medium
    >
    > digital art - i'd like to throw in another definition as well - "art
    > that is found significant in the context of digital culture." by
    > digital culture i do not necessarily mean to point to the machines
    > that do its work. if we examine digital culture next to its
    > predecessor - analog culture - then we can see some clear changes in
    > the way that humans (within such cultures) see the world differently
    > and of course construct the world differently through the technologies
    > built to represent these cultures. myself, i think emphasis should be
    > taken off technology and focused on the culture that finds such tools
    > valuable. and besides technology does not necessarily have anything
    > to do with digital. the word technology can not stand in for digital.

    The only problem with that is defining what it is that digital culture accepts as historically significant. What if we think that The Jazz Singer was significant.Although the movie that ruined cinema to many at the time by introducing sound (although analog) , was considered significant because it broke the silence that was filled by the viewers personality, is it really a significant milestone in the evolution of digital work? There's no end to significant cultural shifts in the evolution of images ( from BC to post 911) and presentive works.
    We're still lacking a concrete reference for defining digital culture.
    Maybe we should stop focusing on purism.
    I think you are getting closer to a working definition by looking at the concept rather than the tool.
    Eric
  • Vijay Pattisapu | Fri Aug 25th 2006 8:14 a.m.
    > The only problem with that is defining what it is that digital
    > culture accepts as historically significant.

    But whatever any culture synchronically considers "historically significant"
    is rather meaningless. "Historical significance" is a hindsight thing.

    That history can have "significant" events is subjective, possibly even a
    historiographical fallacy...?

    Vijay

    On 25/08/06, Eric Dymond <dymond@idirect.ca> wrote:
    >
    > mark cooley wrote:
    >
    > > > those that use technology as their subject
    > > > those that use technology as their medium
    > >
    > > digital art - i'd like to throw in another definition as well - "art
    > > that is found significant in the context of digital culture." by
    > > digital culture i do not necessarily mean to point to the machines
    > > that do its work. if we examine digital culture next to its
    > > predecessor - analog culture - then we can see some clear changes in
    > > the way that humans (within such cultures) see the world differently
    > > and of course construct the world differently through the technologies
    > > built to represent these cultures. myself, i think emphasis should be
    > > taken off technology and focused on the culture that finds such tools
    > > valuable. and besides technology does not necessarily have anything
    > > to do with digital. the word technology can not stand in for digital.
    >
    > The only problem with that is defining what it is that digital culture
    > accepts as historically significant. What if we think that The Jazz Singer
    > was significant.Although the movie that ruined cinema to many at the time
    > by introducing sound (although analog) , was considered significant because
    > it broke the silence that was filled by the viewers personality, is it
    > really a significant milestone in the evolution of digital work? There's no
    > end to significant cultural shifts in the evolution of images ( from BC to
    > post 911) and presentive works.
    > We're still lacking a concrete reference for defining digital culture.
    > Maybe we should stop focusing on purism.
    > I think you are getting closer to a working definition by looking at the
    > concept rather than the tool.
    > Eric
    >
    > +
    > -> 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
    >
  • mark cooley | Fri Aug 25th 2006 9 a.m.
    I understand what you are saying, but I wasn't speaking of historic significance. I'm more interested in how digital can be explored as cultural rather than solely technological. here's a good paragraph from an interview that ryan griffis did with critical art ensemble a few years back
    CAE: "...Recent developments in
    information and communication technologies (ICT) and in biotechnology are
    on a parallel course. Contemporary ICT is slightly ahead of biotech, but
    they are both products of the digital era. When speaking of the "digital,"
    CAE means this in a grander sense than just as a category of technology.
    We are speaking of a worldview, of a new cosmology. When we use the term
    "digital," we are referring to the idea of replication. Western cosmology
    has traditionally been analogic. That is, a process moves from chaos to
    order and back to chaos, and products exist in a binary pattern--the
    original and the counterfeit. For centuries the principle that order came
    from chaos and chaos from order was unchallenged. This situation really
    started to change in the early 20th century with Fordist
    mass-manufacturing. Ford intuitively understood the digital in terms of
    manufacture, in that he knew the distinction between the original and the
    counterfeit was actually an impediment to profit, and that profitability
    was increased by employing principles of replication and equivalence. This
    new model was directly understood and addressed in the development of
    digital technology--the technology of replication and equivalence. The
    model is based on the principle that order comes from order. Such an idea
    had tremendous impact on biology, because without it, the reproductive
    process could not be understood, because biological reproductive process
    is about replication. Once this idea was accepted, it was possible to
    understand DNA in a whole new way. Manufacturing, ICT, and biotechnology
    (the primary markers of the 20th century) are linked in that they share
    this new principle of order from order."

    Also, Lev Manovich in his book Principles of New Media breaks the so-called digital age down into several principles that set it apart from analog culture, but he is very careful not to keep his definitions solely in the realm of technology. These are cultural shifts that get built into technology. so in this sense digital art is not defined by the technology that is used in its production, but rather the cultural context of its production. In this sense, art that explores biotechnology, for instance, may not always be created with digital tools, but rather the assumptions it is based on - that the body (and the world for that matter) is made up of code (digital culture) rather than a series of machine parts (analog culture) - is what determines it to be digital art.

    Eric Dymond wrote:

    > mark cooley wrote:
    >
    > > > those that use technology as their subject
    > > > those that use technology as their medium
    > >
    > > digital art - i'd like to throw in another definition as well - "art
    > > that is found significant in the context of digital culture." by
    > > digital culture i do not necessarily mean to point to the machines
    > > that do its work. if we examine digital culture next to its
    > > predecessor - analog culture - then we can see some clear changes in
    > > the way that humans (within such cultures) see the world differently
    > > and of course construct the world differently through the
    > technologies
    > > built to represent these cultures. myself, i think emphasis should
    > be
    > > taken off technology and focused on the culture that finds such
    > tools
    > > valuable. and besides technology does not necessarily have anything
    > > to do with digital. the word technology can not stand in for
    > digital.
    >
    > The only problem with that is defining what it is that digital culture
    > accepts as historically significant. What if we think that The Jazz
    > Singer was significant.Although the movie that ruined cinema to many
    > at the time by introducing sound (although analog) , was considered
    > significant because it broke the silence that was filled by the
    > viewers personality, is it really a significant milestone in the
    > evolution of digital work? There's no end to significant cultural
    > shifts in the evolution of images ( from BC to post 911) and
    > presentive works.
    > We're still lacking a concrete reference for defining digital culture.
    > Maybe we should stop focusing on purism.
    > I think you are getting closer to a working definition by looking at
    > the concept rather than the tool.
    > Eric
    >
  • Maschine Hospital | Sat Sep 2nd 2006 3:35 p.m.
    One hand washes the other, and both of them wash the face,
    ov thee father.

    Da + da.

    Two types of vaters:

    one on the floor,
    and one in the sky

    marie + st.johnny le baptiste

    ballerina + horsey,

    harp + violin

    on a bike,
    in China

    On Wed, 23 Aug 2006, Max Herman wrote:

    > Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2006 10:18:47 -0500
    > From: Max Herman <maxnmherman@hotmail.com>
    > To: death@punkassbitch.org, subbies@redheadedstepchild.org
    > Cc: p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca, list@rhizome.org
    > Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: on bad digital art
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> 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
    >

    o
    [ + ]

    + + +

    | '|' |
    _________________________________________
    `, . ` `k a r e i' ? ' D42
  • Pall Thayer | Sun Sep 3rd 2006 8:22 p.m.
    Hi, I'm going to see if I can get back into this. The responses have
    been great and I'm glad it sort of came back a bit after withering
    away. I'm not exactly sure any more why I posted the original, but I
    had good reasons at the time. So I'm going to see if I can get back
    into "the mode". It had something to do with previous discussions
    about Internet art being dead or old or whatever we're calling it
    these days. So I began wondering why such a young medium, still in
    its infancy really, could be dying and came to the conclusion that
    perhaps it's being misunderstood. Perhaps when people think that
    Internet art is a "been there, done that" sort of thing, they're
    talking about something that was at one time perceived to be Internet
    art but wasn't in the sense that it was somehow related, but the
    primary medium was actually something entirely different. I used the
    terms "technology" and "digital" because I'm sure they suffer from
    the same problems, but I was primarily thinking about Internet art
    because, hey, that's my thing. I think also, that in the
    technological, digital and Internet realms of contemporary art, a lot
    of people are trying to do too much too soon and this is something
    that is put forth so well in the Sol Lewitt excerpt re-blogged on
    Rhizome's front page yesterday that it should be repeated over and
    over again so here it is again:

    "New materials are one of the great afflictions of contemporary art.
    Some artists confuse new materials with new ideas. There is nothing
    worse than seeing art that wallows in gaudy baubles. By and large
    most artists who are attracted to these materials are the ones who
    lack the stringency of mind that would enable them to use the
    materials well. It takes a good artist to use new materials and make
    them into a work of art. The danger is, I think, in making the
    physicality of the materials so important that it becomes the idea of
    the work (another kind of expressionism). "

    It's like he's asking, 'Would you still feel comfortable about
    calling yourself an artist if you quit prepending it with "New
    Media", "Digital" or "Internet"?'

    In fact, the whole article makes several good points and I suggest
    everyone read it and then tell everyone else to read it. You can find
    it at http://www.ic.sunysb.edu/Stu/kswenson/lewitt.htm

    Pall

    --
    Pall Thayer
    p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca
    http://www.this.is/pallit
  • Robbin Murphy | Mon Sep 4th 2006 2:04 p.m.
    Pall Thayer wrote:

    > It's like he's asking, 'Would you still feel comfortable about
    > calling yourself an artist if you quit prepending it with "New
    > Media", "Digital" or "Internet"?'

    LeWitt wrote his "Paragraphs" in 1967 for Artforum. By 1969 he'd pared down his ideas into 35 Sentences on Conceptual Art:
    http://www.altx.com/vizarts/conceptual.html

    Ironically, that URL goes to Mark Amerika's site.

    I'm wondering now what it was LeWitt considered "new materials" in 1967: video? velcro? acrylic paint? He's done a lot of work since using little more than pencils and watered-down paint (and a crew of hundreds to do the work). In his old age he seems to have become enamored with CAD software from the looks of his most recent pieces and I can't say he's taken his own advice with them. Well, age does have some benefits.

    Browsing the latest issue of Frieze online I found this on the influence of Conceptual Art on contemporary painting:

    "The kind of art school training pioneered by Conceptual artists rests on a number of important assumptions: every work of art has a certain responsibility to the interpretations that it generates; it should have layers of meaning, of which appearance is only one; it should be able to generate a sustained discussion; and it should do at least some of what its maker intended it to do. These values have firmly established themselves at the core of ambitious contemporary art. Although contemporary painting is characterized by its painterly pleasure and rich formal references, much of the best work rests on a foundation that was established by cool, pared-down 60s' Conceptual art and the artists who produced it."

    http://www.frieze.com/feature\_single.asp?f91

    John Baldessari has made the point that conceptual art found a home in the university because it followed the same rules as other academic disciplines: it favors lectures and text rather than the studio model of yore. As that generation dies off (not quite yet, Kosuth is in his early sixties) their students find other paths.

    rm
  • Eryk Salvaggio | Mon Sep 4th 2006 3:51 p.m.
    The whole argument that net.art's ideas were concerned with the world wide web and the impact of the technology is no longer (if ever) interesting; the artists who could transcend the "net" are the most succesful, in strictly subjective terms of
    what most matters to my own brain's engagement. JODI stands for many kinds of breakdown where tech becomes a metaphor for everything else, rather than staying strictly in the realm of tech- projects/artists who could not pull this off haven't done
    so well. Net.art is not an art form, it's a medium, and there is some kind of difference between the two.

    People might start to let go of net.art as a form or movement and engage it strictly as a medium for a wide variety of ideas. For some reason, a lot of what works in contemporary art circles doesn't seem to work in net.art circles; it's like we're
    convinced that the web has to be used to talk about the web, which was kind of fun when the web was kind of fun. The web isn't fun anymore, and while there are certainly web-based and net-based spaces that can open up and be engaged by net-based
    work, there's no reason to limit it to that, either.

    That said, I can't help but notice that web-based literature and poetry is finding the same problems paper-based lit and poetry are facing; web-based visual art is finding the same problems paper-based visual art is facing, etc... So maybe, after 10
    years of net.art, interactivity is no longer enough to make a work interesting or engaging. That's probably for the best, it means we're evolving, and the "lull" people are talking about is just a settling down of the once-constant pace of
    innovation and work on the web.

    Perhaps we could see the net as an evolution in the respective mediums; rather than a medium in and of itself. Net-Based Art is just contemporary art that uses the web as a conduit for delivery and interaction. Maybe literature that uses the web is
    literature, not net.art; maybe web-based animation is animation, not web art...

    I'm not entirely convinced this is true- it could mean that there never was such a thing as net.art, or that net.art has become so ingrained that it is now indistinguishable from any other kind of contemporary art- but I'm close to convincing myself.

    -er.

    Pall Thayer <p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca> on Sunday, September 03, 2006 at 10:22 PM -0500 wrote:
    >Hi, I'm going to see if I can get back into this. The responses have
    >been great and I'm glad it sort of came back a bit after withering
    >away. I'm not exactly sure any more why I posted the original, but I
    >had good reasons at the time. So I'm going to see if I can get back
    >into "the mode". It had something to do with previous discussions
    >about Internet art being dead or old or whatever we're calling it
    >these days. So I began wondering why such a young medium, still in
    >its infancy really, could be dying and came to the conclusion that
    >perhaps it's being misunderstood. Perhaps when people think that
    >Internet art is a "been there, done that" sort of thing, they're
    >talking about something that was at one time perceived to be Internet
    >art but wasn't in the sense that it was somehow related, but the
    >primary medium was actually something entirely different. I used the
    >terms "technology" and "digital" because I'm sure they suffer from
    >the same problems, but I was primarily thinking about Internet art
    >because, hey, that's my thing. I think also, that in the
    >technological, digital and Internet realms of contemporary art, a lot
    >of people are trying to do too much too soon and this is something
    >that is put forth so well in the Sol Lewitt excerpt re-blogged on
    >Rhizome's front page yesterday that it should be repeated over and
    >over again so here it is again:
    >
    >"New materials are one of the great afflictions of contemporary art.
    >Some artists confuse new materials with new ideas. There is nothing
    >worse than seeing art that wallows in gaudy baubles. By and large
    >most artists who are attracted to these materials are the ones who
    >lack the stringency of mind that would enable them to use the
    >materials well. It takes a good artist to use new materials and make
    >them into a work of art. The danger is, I think, in making the
    >physicality of the materials so important that it becomes the idea of
    >the work (another kind of expressionism). "
    >
    >It's like he's asking, 'Would you still feel comfortable about
    >calling yourself an artist if you quit prepending it with "New
    >Media", "Digital" or "Internet"?'
    >
    >In fact, the whole article makes several good points and I suggest
    >everyone read it and then tell everyone else to read it. You can find
    >it at http://www.ic.sunysb.edu/Stu/kswenson/lewitt.htm
    >
    >Pall
    >
    >--
    >Pall Thayer
    >p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca
    >http://www.this.is/pallit
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >+
    >-> 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
  • Antoine Schmitt | Tue Sep 5th 2006 11:24 a.m.
    <!doctype html public "-//W3C//DTD W3 HTML//EN">
    <html><head><style type="text/css"><!--
    blockquote, dl, ul, ol, li { padding-top: 0 ; padding-bottom: 0 }
    --></style><title>Re: RHIZOME_RARE: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: on bad
    digital art</title></head><body>
    <div>:::::::::5/09/06::::6:31 -0700::::Pall Thayer:::::::::</div>
    <blockquote type="cite" cite>Some artists confuse new materials with
    new ideas</blockquote>
    <div><br></div>
    <div>Hi Pall,</div>
    <div>well said !</div>
    <div>Better expressed, but in essence quite similar to point 2) of my
    vademecum of digital art..</div>
    <div><br></div>
    <div>http://www.gratin.org/vademecum_en.html</div>
    <div><br></div>
    <div>Vademecum of digital art<br>
    for the use of curators, juries, commissioners, collectors,
    critics,<br>
    of digital art, of art on computers, of new technology art, of net
    art.<br>
    <i>gratin.org - Summer 2003</i><br>
    &nbsp;<br>
    &quot;Digital&quot; art is still struggling to get into Contemporary
    Art, that is in Art History. Why is it so difficult? Because the worse
    stands alongside the best indistinctively. By cause or consequence,
    critique is scarce. Confronted with this void, the task of curators,
    juries, commissioners is difficult, though crucial.<br>
    This vademecum gathers some precepts to keep in mind in order to avoid
    the worst in terms of &quot;digital&quot; artwork or a &quot;digital&quot;
    art project description.<br>
    &nbsp;<br>
    &nbsp;<br>
    --- Vademecum of digital art ---<br>
    1) Notice that 'digital' does not mean much anymore when everything is
    digital, from the telephone to the camera, from the videocamera to the
    audio CD, from the car to the DVD. Forget the 'digital' word when
    looking at, listening to or experimenting with &quot;digital&quot;
    artwork.<br>
    2) If you don't understand any of the technical terms used in the
    description of the artwork or the project, wonder if the artist
    understands more, and if most of his or her energy did not go into the
    comprehension of the technologies used, and that his work does not
    deal mainly with this learning, which has the interest that it
    has.<br>
    3) If an artist claims to deal with the dangers or the benefit of
    technology, put this work in relationship with the XXth century Art
    History (Constructivism, Futurism, Modernism, etc...) and wonder what
    he or she brings that is new or personal.<br>
    4) In the case of a conceptual project, consisting mainly in its
    description on paper, check that, as it is often the case, a similar
    project has not been realized already in Art History (digital or not),
    and if yes, wonder what the new project brings that is new or
    personal.<br>
    5) If a project consists in a mere mapping, that is if it can be
    described by &quot;this is transformed into that&quot;, where this and
    that are : an audio shape (voice, music, etc...), a visual shape
    (image, video flux, performer image, drawing in the sand, etc...), an
    internet-based traffic pattern (emails, search engine requests, low
    level traffic, etc...), sensors (cerebral wave, temperature, stock
    quote, movement of a dancer, etc...) or anything that is digitizable
    (what is not ?), don't forget that every digital coding is arbitrary
    because it is determined by technical constraints preexisting to the
    artwork. Mapping is thus mere &quot;found object&quot;. Wonder if the
    artist brings a shape, a meaning, a style or an approach to this
    arbitrary mapping, and which.<br>
    6) If in front of an artwork you wonder &quot;But how did she do it?&quot;
    or &quot;How does it work?" wonder if there is more to the work than
    technical virtuosity or ingeniousness.<br>
    7) If you find an artwork nice, cute, fun or amusing, wonder if it is
    anything more than decorative or entertaining. (This is true for any
    artwork but it seems there are much more in the world of
    &quot;digital&quot; art).<br>
    8) If the description of an artwork looks like the catalog of a
    computer reseller, check if the artwork contains more than mere
    fascination for technology.<br>
    9) If the description of a project centers around a particular
    technology, especially if it is recent, trendy or commercial, whether
    to use it or to revisit it, wonder if the project is not about
    prolonging more or less consciously the ambient commercial
    proselytism. Don't forget that most technologies have nothing
    revolutionary, especially for the artistic world.<br>
    10) If an artwork consists mainly in its description on paper, wonder
    if it is really necessary to produce at high cost its real size
    version.<br>
    11) If you like a project description check out the previous
    realizations of the artist to see whether he or she is not a better
    writer than an artist.</div>
    <div>12) Don't forget that the most important is to look, listen and
    experiment the work. And if you like it, risk it. There is an Art
    History to build.<br>
    <i>----- gratin.org - Summer 2003</i></div>
    <div><i>With the help of Gabriel Sim-Laramee for the
    translation</i></div>
    <x-sigsep><pre>--
    </pre></x-sigsep>
    <div><font color="#000000"><br></font></div>
    <div><font color="#000000">++ as</font></div>
    <div><font color="#000000"><br></font></div>
    </body>
    </html>
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