FW: A Modest Proposal for Josephine Bosma

Posted by Rachel Greene | Sun Aug 25th 2002 1 a.m.

------ Forwarded Message
From: Animas999@aol.com
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 09:41:36 EDT
To: rachel@rhizome.org
Subject: Re: A Modest Proposal for Josephine Bosma

A Modest Proposal for Josephine Bosma (jesis@xs4all.nl) final review
net.art/culture

Net.Art: a laughing matter?

It is as if nature decided to complete the experience that the promoters
of the internet have created for us. Video game parlors, cybercafes,
advertisements for telecommunications and pseudoerotic displays of
youthful flesh dominate the landscape of nearly every city in the
developed world, and the wealthy quarters of most third world urban
centers. Streets are flooded with neon and electronic billboards that
provide much more light than what should be available at night.

One of the world's most hyped art milieu can be described in one word:
depressing. The most positive thing to say about net.culture probably is
its openness to artists who have access to computers, and are largely
white, male and western.

Net.culture is depressing for three reasons (I am not even counting the
curators' general ignorance of current art practices other than net.art,
which constitute the overwhelming majority of art history past and
present). First, the amount of frivolity and fatuous self-promotion and
the absence contemplation of the world's current cultural and political
situation other than generalized paranoia about surveillance and
libertarian rants about wanting freedom from any kind of control,
including rational judgement. The endless celebration of
post-structuralist theories of deterritorialization and fluidity are
truly over the top.

There is an overkill of (somehow disguised) anti-statism and
self-proclaimed avant garde status that makes one either grow irritated
or totally disinterested after a while. Second, this is the art form of
mostly R & D for the software industry and wireless communications, in
which almost everything is meaningless on purpose. That net.cultural
theorists need to preach and teach about what the avant garde supposedly
"is" leads to a third more poignant reason for depression: Net.art is
above all formalist and formally predictable. There is very little
conceptual depth or anything else substantive, intellectually
provocative or profound about it. That is, if one does not count the
rather kitschy dramatic effect of the curatorial lingo hyping most new
media shows that rivals the advertising copy of Silicon Valley.
Individual artists and art works seem to be drowning in it, something
they actually deserve.

Main Impression

Of course it is a relief to see a major art form that reflects the way
the world is closing down. It sounds clichZ
  • Christopher Fahey | Sun Aug 25th 2002 1 a.m.
    > A Modest Proposal for Josephine Bosma (jesis@xs4all.nl) final review
    > net.art/culture

    Aren't "modest proposals" supposed to be satirical? I dunno, this seems
    pretty earnest. My ironometer broke back in 1991 so I am incapable of
    detecting the difference between irony and earnestness.

    -Cf

    [christopher eli fahey]
    art: http://www.graphpaper.com
    sci: http://www.askrom.com
    biz: http://www.behaviordesign.com
  • mez breeze | Sun Aug 25th 2002 1 a.m.
    At 09:59 PM 8/23/2002 -0400, you wrote:

    >A Modest Proposal for Josephine Bosma (jesis@xs4all.nl)
    >final review net.art/culture
    >
    >Net.Art: a laughing matter?
    >
    >
    > It is as if nature decided to complete the experience that the promoters of
    >the internet have created for us. Video game parlors, cybercafes,
    >advertisements for telecommunications and pseudoerotic displays of youthful
    >flesh dominate the landscape of nearly every city in the developed world, and
    >the wealthy quarters of most third world urban centers. Streets are flooded
    >with neon and electronic billboards that provide much more light than what
    >should be available at night.
    >
    >One of the world’s most hyped art milieu can be describe in one word:
    >depressing. The most positive thing to say about net.culture probably is its
    >openness to artists who have access to computers, and are largely white, male
    >and western.

    ....its n.teresting 2 absorb how this tendency 2 polarize marks cocos
    premise....utilizing such div][der][isive reductionism [m.ploying a "most
    positive" benchmark] & weighted concentration [& corresponding
    regurgitation of an overtly patricentric power stratification approach - ie
    her assumed authority thru the negation/displacement of nuanced discourses
    indicates an adherence 2 a hierarchical loading that coco _seems_ 2 b
    actively rallying against] acts 2 diminish the potentialities of x.posure 4
    those works that r surprisingly omitted in this t][ext][ract......wot, in
    cocos opinion, r these non-male, non-western wurks + practitioners who r
    only made more marginal + minimalized by their gaping absence in this
    monologically-oriented text?

    ..this type of naive iteration of overarching dialogic advocacy structures
    is surprising, & i'm n.terested 2 learn how coco cs her concentration on
    the depressive state of so-labelled homogenized end-game net.art as either
    offering to x.pose or hi-lite [or n.deed reconceptualise] those she views
    as x.cluded?

    -][mez][
    [aka app][lick.ation][end.age]

    . . .... .....
    collapsing adj[thr]usting.txt
    .
    .
    app][lick.ation][end.age

    www.cddc.vt.edu/host/netwurker/
    http://www.macros-center.ru/read_me/inexen.htm#re
    .... . .??? .......
  • M. River | Mon Aug 26th 2002 1 a.m.
    From Coco:
    > A Modest Proposal for Josephine Bosma
    >
    > Net.Art: a laughing matter?
    >

    <contextualiser>

    A Modest Proposal For Preventing The Children of Poor
    People in Ireland From Being Aburden to Their Parents
    or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The
    Public" by Jonathan Swift

    In early example of political satire, Swift "solves"
    the problem of the poor and hungry Irish by suggesting
    a system for eating Irish children. By following the
    logic of abandonment to the Nth degree, Swift
    forcefully underscores the struggle of the Irish as
    well as cast a light of accusation to those who can
    not be bothered to care.

    </contextualiser>

    Actually Coco, we do care.

    =====
    http://mteww.com
    http://tinjail.com

    __________________________________________________
    Do You Yahoo!?
    Yahoo! Finance - Get real-time stock quotes
    http://finance.yahoo.com
  • mez breeze | Tue Aug 27th 2002 1 a.m.
    >X-Authentication-Warning: bbs.thing.net: majordomo set sender to
    >nettime-l-request@bbs.thing.net using -f
    >Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 16:21:10 +0200
    >From: Florian Cramer <cantsin@zedat.fu-berlin.de>
    >To: Nettime <nettime-l@bbs.thing.net>
    >Subject: Re: <nettime> a modest proposal for josephine bosma
    >Sender: nettime-l-request@bbs.thing.net
    >Reply-To: Florian Cramer <cantsin@zedat.fu-berlin.de>
    >
    >Coco:
    >
    > > Net.culture is depressing for three reasons (I am not even counting
    > > the curators’ general ignorance of current art practices other
    > > than net.art, which constitute the overwhelming majority of art
    > > history past and present). First, the amount of frivolity
    >
    > What makes you so uptight that you deplore "frivolity" in art (and
    > elsewhere)? - Or is your statement a parody to prove Josephine's
    > diagnosis of puritanism?
    >
    > > other than generalized paranoia about surveillance and libertarian
    > > rants about wanting freedom
    >
    >Who's a libertarian? Quotes, names please!
    >
    > > rational judgement. The endless celebration of post-structuralist
    > > theories of deterritorialization and fluidity are truly over the top.
    >
    >What are you referring to? Examples, please!
    >
    > > uninterested after a while. Second, this is the art form of mostly R &
    > > D for the software industry and wireless communications,
    >
    >I am still waiting for any software company or free developer group to
    >release the jodi, I/O/D or Netochka Nezvanova desktop user interface!
    >(Seriously.)
    >
    > > Net.art is above all formalist and formally predictable. There is very
    > > little conceptual depth or anything else substantive, intellectually
    > > provocative or profound about it.
    >
    >This is somewhat cheap talk as long as you don't name any work or artists.
    >Of course, there exists enough second-rate/epigonal net.art to ground your
    >critique, but I would be interested if you would, for example, also
    >sustain it against projects like mongrel, RTMark, jodi, to name only a
    >few. Then we would have a real statement, and wouldn't speak about
    >phantoms.
    >
    > > Cultures that were colonized politically by Europe from the 15th to
    > > the 20th century have slowly started to undergo new forms of
    > > colonization called neoliberalism.
    >
    >Your notion of "Europe" is no more differentiated than any broad
    >stereotypical claim about "Africa", "America" and "Asia"; and I think
    >Documenta XI fails exactly where it disdifferentiates and globalizes
    >non-Western cultures.
    >
    >A perhaps academic sidenote: What makes me personally sceptical about the
    >use of "post-colonialism" as a broad term is that it is slightly
    >colonialist in itself. The term has, to my knowledge, been coined chiefly
    >in a post-Marxist British academia to describe "hybrid" cultures (Homi
    >Bhabha) created either by migrants from formerly colonized countries in
    >Western countries or by locals in formerly colonized countries as a
    >hybridization of traditional and imported/forced-upon Western cultures.
    >While these descriptions seem accurate, they are unnecessarily restrained
    >by the (probably Anglo-British) perspective on colonialism.
    >
    >The city where I live, Berlin, is rich with Turkish-origin immigrant
    >cultures bearing all the "hybrid" attributes of postcolonialism (Turkish
    >rap, Turkish tranvestites etc.), but: Turkey has never been colonized by
    >the West. In general, immigrants in Germany and many other European
    >countries to the largest part do not come from formerly colonized
    >countries, or could only defined as postcolonials if you really stretch
    >the term. On the other, I could - as a native German Berliner born in the
    >Western part of the city - rightfully claim to be a postcolonial subject,
    >because West-Berliners had neither West nor East German citizenship (and
    >thus neither passports, nor the right to vote for national elections)
    >before 1990 and lived (formally) under French, British and US-American
    >military occupation rule. - Of course it would be BS to call former
    >West-Berliners postcolonial subjects.
    >
    >So I find "postcolonialism" a somewhat limited term, coined by people who
    >apparently couldn't even imagine that there is any other form of migration
    >and cultural hybridity than as an after-effect of (chiefly) British
    >colonialism. (And why does their "postcolonialism" fit factually
    >non-colonial Turkish migrant cultures, but not, for example, factually
    >postcolonial cultures in Eastern Europe or ex-Soviet republics?)
    >
    > > As a result, older forms of hybridization are being supplanted by the
    > > McDonalidization of most urban cultures and bad taste is now defined
    > > by American companies, but is bombarded into other countries via
    > > massive p ropaganda campaigns that make lousy food, technologically
    > > mediated interaction, and obsessive consumerism seem desirable.
    > > Multinationals and most governments do everything possible to censor
    > > information about their faults.
    >
    >I think backing your statements with some more arguments and facts here
    >would be good, because otherwise they come dangerously close to paranoid
    >right-wing rambling! Replace "American" and "McDonalds" with "jews", and
    >you've exactly rehashed the political rhetoric of the right in the 1930s.
    >(But this is a trap many people fall into, especially in the
    >"anti-globalization" movement. I tend to find this movement scary because
    >of that.)
    >
    > > One of the things that net.culture seems to want to be is what its
    > > name implies: to be THE culture of the moment - that represents
    > > the radical transformation of the world by digital technology, or a
    > > confirmation even maybe.
    >
    >I find it wrong to speak of "net.culture" in singular - and that was my
    >biggest problem with Nettime in its early years. So when Nettimers
    >actually identified themselves as "the" net.culture, to whatever extent
    >critical and in opposition to corporate visions of the net, this
    >implication indeed seemed to lurk behind the term.
    >
    >But it seems to me that Nettimers have lost their view of one
    >"net.culture" since long. There is not one, but many net cultures, and
    >Nettime tries to get some of them (artists, net political activists, art
    >critics, free software activists, privacy activists, you...) in touch with
    >each other. It seems to me that the common denominator is not to be "THE
    >culture of the moment", but - quite in contrary to what you perceive - to
    >offer good old-fashioned critical reflections and alternatives to hypes.
    >
    >But I agree that such a critical agenda is constantly in danger to be just
    >a reverse mirror image of what it supposed to be criticized.
    >
    >About Net art you write:
    >
    > > as "that awfully ugly stuff that never downloads anyway"). A barrage
    > > of spam from a self-centered semi delusional artiste, found footage
    > > with images of home made porn re-edited, a documentary about avatars ,
    > > so called 'new forms of cinema' showing the situation
    > > anti-globalization protests in Europe and North America, numerous
    > > websites announcing non-existent governments and countries and
    > > corporations for no apparent reason, endless webcam diaries about
    > > white suburban people who think their lives are interesting, and a
    > > number of works in which artists contemplate on their invented selves
    > > are mixed with grim looking pieces about biotechnology and designer
    > > babies, numerous "artful" porn sites with obscenities in various
    > > languages, pages covered with code and unreadable text, lousy
    > > computer animation, black and white streaming videos of empty or
    > > gloomy spaces and labyrinthine MUDS and MOOS with 12 signs of
    > > depression.
    >
    >Again, it is easy to polemicize like that if you don't name whom and what
    >you mean. If you talk about a "barrage of spam from a self-centered semi
    >delusional artiste" and mean jodi or mez or maybe NN, you would make a
    >bold statement that could be meaningfully discussed, but being vague like
    >you are, you could, if pressed harder, always retreat to being nice and
    >saying something appeasing like that you didn't refer to jodi, mez or NN,
    >but just to the many NN-ripoffs out there.
    >
    >
    > > One wanders from site to site filled with what I described above and
    > > then suddenly, slightly lost, there is a space filled with works that
    > > look strangely like repeats of structuralist film, 70s femininst
    > > autobiographical video, or neo-geo painting (even worse the seconc
    > > time around). Even if these genres have yielded very interesting
    > > seeing them here made one wonder why specifically people argue that
    > > net.art represents a total rupture with the past .
    >
    >Who does claim this? I yet have to come across the unfiltered
    >high-modernism you describe in Net.art. To date, I would identify such
    >naive techno avant-garde rhetoric rather with hightech institutionalized
    >3D interactive installation art like Jeffrey Shaw at ZKM (the ZKM was
    >actually founded with the intention to create a "second Bauhaus" of the
    >digital art) and, to some extent, with ars electronica, but not with the
    >lowtech self-made approach of the Net art we are discussing here.
    >
    >I think Net.art rather presents (or at least has presented for some years)
    >a rupture with this institutionalized hightech art. Within the history of
    >digital and generative art, it also seems the first which used its
    >material/code ironically, as collage instead of clean-room constructivist
    >laboratory constructs. And I still keep being baffled by the
    >non-recognition Net.art receives in the mainstream art world simply
    >because it doesn't provide material objects that can be easily
    >commoditized, exhibited and sold. As such, it hasn't stopped challenging
    >the art world on its material grounds like no other art before. (Even
    >so-called conceptual art more or less boiled down to material
    >commodifiable objects.)
    >
    > > Also interesting works by 'newer' artists or artist groups
    > > that have nothing to do with nettime/Next Five Minutes/Ars/ Transmediale
    > > circuit are rarely noticed by the players of the "scene".
    >
    >My personal impression is the opposite: that these circuits are starving
    >for young people to be put into circulation.
    >
    > > The political brainwash of the majority of the field is so strong that
    > > it overpowers all works and leaves one with very little room for serious
    > > ideological and political interpretation. The question then haunts you:
    > what
    > > makes the work of few serious artists in net.culture ignored by most
    > > nettimers?
    >
    >Again: whom do you mean?
    >
    > > everyone?" "Wouldn’t it help to deflate the pretense of all those who
    > claim
    > > to have reinvented art practice if net.cultur-ites actually engaged in
    > > discussion with art historians and practiioners who have expertise in
    > > previous waves of new media?" "Wouldn't some politicized artists of color
    >
    >I think the situation is by far not as bad and net.art critics are not
    >as art historically ignorant as you write.
    >
    > > the 90s was more trend then strategy. The art market simply needs new
    > trends
    > > to survive and net.art was one of them.
    >
    >Hardly so.
    >
    > > are reinforced." Looking at it from that perspective net.art just might
    > have
    > > succeeded in pushing a few new artists to the foreground.
    >
    >Once again, we can't discuss your point if you don't tell us whom you
    >have in mind.
    >
    >Florian
    >
    >--
    >http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~cantsin/homepage/
    >http://www.complit.fu-berlin.de/institut/lehrpersonal/cramer.html
    >GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3200C7BA, finger cantsin@mail.zedat.fu-berlin.de
    >
    >

    . . .... .....
    collapsing adj[thr]usting.txt
    .
    .
    app][lick.ation][end.age

    www.cddc.vt.edu/host/netwurker/
    http://www.hotkey.net.au/~netwurker/display.myopia.swf
    .... . .??? .......
  • Max Herman | Wed Aug 28th 2002 1 a.m.
    >From: "app][lick.ation][end.age" <netwurker@hotkey.net.au>

    >>About Net art you write:
    >>
    >> > as "that awfully ugly stuff that never downloads anyway"). A barrage
    >> > of spam from a self-centered semi delusional artiste,

    Yeah man count me in on the semi part.

    Super sweet,

    Max Herman

    >+ I love this thread's tuna! Leslie Nielsen
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  • Rainer Warrol | Mon Sep 2nd 2002 1 a.m.
    > Coco is right on the spot in everything she says
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