high-definition digital video; 1 minute 41 seconds; ed. of 3 + AP; courtesy the artist
Brooding, solitary and usually male, the trope of “the artist in the studio” has existed in multiple iterations throughout the history of art. From Rembrandt’s workshop to the twentieth-century Parisian studios of Picasso, Braque and others, to Warhol’s Factory, the studio contains within it an evolving narrative, albeit one that remains focused on a specific physical site of artistic production. In a particularly damning critique of this romantic construct, Daniel Buren posited in a 1971 essay, “The Function of the Studio,” that the studio has a “simultaneously idealizing and ossifying function,”1 a state of “purgatory” that grants artists limited agency in the production and dissemination of their own work and culture at large. Buren’s essay is a concise example of the postmodern conception of “post-studio” practice—a practice cultivated by the likes of Robert Smithson, who came to reject the confines of the physical studio as a site of production in favor of the unconfined natural landscape, or by John Baldessari’s infamous “Post-Studio Art” class at CalArts, in which students were encouraged to “stop daubing away at canvases or chipping away at stone”2 and embrace a wider framework for art production. The influence of these artists is clearly evident in a range of contemporary artistic practices that continue to question traditional modes of production and dissemination.
The legacy of “post-studio” art is amplified for artists working with digital forms and online environments. Generally these types of practices are less an overt negation of the “ossifying” element of the studio and more a reflection of how the digital has changed cultural production at large. What happens when the studio in question is simply a laptop in ...
Somewhere between a home-video mixtape and a postmodern travelogue, "oops"—a ten-minute art video composed entirely of appropriated YouTube videos, seamlessly stitched together via a motif of camera drops—serves both as transportative adventure and metaphorical elucidation of YouTube itself (i.e. endless related videos), exemplifying the Internet's infinite repository of "throwaway" social documentation. From suburbia to subterranea, the radically shuffling environs induce a vertiginous yet aesthetically contextual thread—a transcendent, reincarnating POV; our omnipresent Camera—by which, the nature of the ultra-verité videos, eschewing any filmic grounding, plunges the viewer into a relationship of fleeting immediacy w/ its many videographers: a self-portrait at arms length, the digital blur of an obscuring thumb, a disembodied narrating voice.
Last spring, Natacha Stolz, a performance artist and a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, performed a piece called Interior Semiotics at an apartment gallery in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. Stolz had the piece videotaped, and soon after the performance it went up on YouTube, where it remained unnoticed for upwards of four months. On August 5th, someone posted the video to 4chan, and it started to spread.
Evelien Lohbeck’s multimedia artwork noteboek (2008), has been selected as a Top Video in the Biennial of Creative Video, the showcase organized by the Guggenheim Museum and YouTube. 1 Noteboek exemplifies what I call ‘reversed remediation’. 2 This aesthetic strategy subverts Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin’s notion of ‘remediation,’ which serves a historical desire for immediacy.3 Countering Marshall McLuhan’s fear of the narcotic state that the user of a medium can enter when becoming a closed system with the medium; reversed remediation offers a chance to wake up the viewer. 4 It creates a state of critical awareness about how media shape one’s perception of the world. (Art)works that employ reversed remediation destabilize remediation mechanisms, by making media visible instead of transparent. It makes critical awareness possible because it lays bare the workings of media instead of obfuscating them. The following discussion distinguishes between the theories of remediation and reversed remediation and applies this theoretical foundation to Lohbeck’s noteboek.