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Announcing: Net Aesthetics 2.0 Panel MP3

By Rhizome

For those who were unable to attend the Net Aesthetics 2.0 panel at the New Museum on June 6th (or watch the webcast), we now have an MP3 of the talk available online. Over the past month, the panel has generated active (and heated) discussion on Rhizome's boards, on topics such as net art versioning, the "epic" in net art, surf blogs, and the definition of net art.

Big thanks to Billy Rennekamp for his help with the recording

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curt cloninger July 2 2008 17:36Reply

Thank y'all for posting. I just finished listening.

Some thoughts:

"What we became interested in is not so much the discusion about tools, but about why those tools were created and what kind of thinking and logic structures are happening in the world that you would then get the things that you're seeing on line. And so in that interrogation you can see these structures in different ways in different projects."
- Jennifer McCoy

This is the heaviest thing that was said during the entire panel, and it was said in less than 20 seconds and never referred to again. It is an artist statement that is neither art school v[a/o]gueness, nor ill-considered outsider art banality. It is a statement by artists meta-critically exploring a medium. To get played by a medium is the role of a consumer. To play a medium is the gift of an artist.

To say one's art is about animated gifs and default templates is like saying one's art is about acrylic paint and pre-stretched canvases.

It's not a challenge, nor does it necessarily matter or mean anything, to spread a meme on the internet. It would be a challenge to keep a meme from spreading on the internet.

It's not a challenge, nor does it necessarily matter or mean anything, to put art online that is confusing to people surfing the commercial web. It would be a challenge to put art online that wasn't confusing to people surfing the commercial web (unless you consider your text-based blog to be art).

To figure out a way to make net art that works in a gallery is not at all equivalent to figuring out a way to use the internet to make art that matters. In some instances, it may even be an indication that one has failed to use the internet to make art that matters. Indeed, the commercial web and the commercial gallery seem like a happy match. (Where is Warhol when we need him?)

To simply modulate something from studio to network to gallery does not necessarily matter or mean anything to either networked culture or contemporary culture at large. It may have some parochial meaning to microcosmic gallery culture.

To simply recontextualize online outsider media as "art" via institutional framing (either in a brick and mortar space or an online space) is not exerting much relevant agency. It is a move only a curator could get excited about, because the curator finally gets to make something (even if that "something" is merely a simple binary flip between "not art" and "art"). If all that is "made" is simply "art," this move is redundant. Duchamp already made this move with the urinal (1917); Warhol further complicated it with the brillo boxes (1964). To make it again with an animated gif in 2008 doesn't seem all that important. However, were one to (de/re)contextualize outsider media into some particular, non-generic force/flavor of "art;" or better yet, to contextualize it into something else entirely (like a museum of jurassic technology or a Joseph-Cornellian micro-world), that may begin to matter (to someone other than a gallerist). No, simply exploring the generic slippage between "art" and "not art" doesn't matter all that much post-fluxus.

At the 2008 Whitney Biennial, the 2002 Biennial catalog was on sale for $10. I finally bought my copy. It reads like a "where are they now" archive of "new media artists." This is not simply due to their hard-drives freezing up in the show. Beware hitching your wagon to a modicum of Manhattan Museum hype before your practice has developed its own robust legs.

I like what Damon offers about the living archive. Not simply the one-off found object, or even the slightly manipulated and re-titled found object, but the intuitively constructed, idiosyncratic archive – billowing with implicit, unenunciated connections.

I would also further encourage not simply the kooky "use of," but the critical dismantling and reconstruction of. Not simply getting in a show, but mindfucking half of Beijing and all of central Wyoming. Not simply spreading a meme, but embedding a self-destructing psychic virus in a meme and sabotaging the whole system from the inside out. You can have epic goals without making epic work.

Or whatever.

shine on you crazy diamondz,