Shawn Maximo, from Neighboring Interests, 2013
Last month, DIS Magazine made The Suzanne Geiss Company, a gallery in downtown New York, an open photo studio. Don’t worry if you missed it. There wasn’t much to see. The first time I went, the main gallery was empty, save for some dark bags on the floor. In the office, a few people chatted and looked at a laptop. “The photographer is on break,” they told me. “Come back in an hour.” I did. It was just as deserted. (Later, I learned that Frank Benson was taking photos in the dark back room, to avoid interference from the main gallery’s skylight.) I returned a few days later, on a Sunday morning when the editors of DIS were there. One of them was polishing a prop fridge. An intern busied herself with a vacuum.
But the substance of the show wasn’t what was happening in the gallery but the result of it: disimages.com, a fully functional online stock-photo database. The project received its initial funding in the 2011 cycle of Rhizome Commissions, and once DIS secured the rest of the necessary capital and set up the site’s framework, they started production at Suzanne Geiss. disimages.com will continue to expand its offerings as the contributing artists finish retouching their work. For now, visitors can peruse Shawn Maximo’s surreal interiors, where domestic spaces are enclosed by planes of sky and beach; Ian Cheng’s 3D renderings of heads with the DIS Images logo mapped over their contours; and Katja Novitskova’s insertions of safari animals and Powerpoint clip art in white-cube galleries.
Katja Novitskova, from Future Growth Approximations, 2013
DIS Images marks a significant shift in the way artists approach stock photography. Onlines image databases proliferated in the ...
It seems like artists who were actively making and showing their work online a few years ago have either started making objects and pursuing the familiar career path of the artist—gallery shows, teaching engagements, studio assistantships, grants, and so on—or they gave up and went into another field, like programming or web design. You haven’t done either of those things. You’re still making internet art. What’s that like?
its really weird brian
like really really weird
lemme give you a few reasons why my life has ended up like this, and also a few reasons why its weird
um i mean to be honest the first reason i dont show really is because being around gallery people for more than 5 or 10 minutes without being absolutely shitfaced is literally (Literally) in my top 3 least favorite things in the entire world.
teaching could be cool? i actually love the idea of molding (moulding?) young minds but how does one start this career path? maybe you can give me some pointers. even in an [ed.] if you'd like. [I think you’d have to get an MFA. But based on your answers I don’t think you’d like being in an MFA program. – BD]
assistantships are the same deal as showing- artists are gross, both mentally and physically (trust me on this, i am one) and i like making actual money
which brings me to why i dont make objects: im poor
so maybe i should apply for grants? is that how artists get money to work? i have no idea im really bad at the art thing, except that my work looks really nice and makes a lot of cute girls super happy.
ok so its weird because when im at an opening or out with new people they always say OH WHAT KIND OF ART DO U MAKE and i always say UHH I TAKE OTHER PEOPLES SHIT OFF THE WEB AND CHANGE IT A LITTLE BIT AND CALL IT ART and its awk my g, so awk.
another reason why its weird is because i get super wasted with a lot of like "cool" and "up and coming" artists on the regs and being the net guy/ coolest person in the room is like, pretty exhausting u know?
i just wanna use this space to say plz dont remove any of the swearing from the interview, ive waited a very very long time for this
also plz dont correct any spelling or punctuation, they arent mistakes (im just that cool)
also please leave the above note in the interview (also this one)
Installation view of pΓσ₠§§℩η⅁ at the Goethe-Institut Library. Photo courtesy of Jenny Jaskey
The mission of the library could be described as calibrating the optimal ratio of signal to noise, by eliminating as much noise as possible. This description would cover both shushing and the extensive cataloguing that eases readers’ paths to the information they want. But what becomes of that mission when so many people carry a gateway to vast expanses of knowledge in their pockets (even if they mainly use that gateway to take selfies and play Angry Birds)? Does the library of bricks, mortar, and bound books effectively bracket the search for information by offering a specific set of physical resources, with a corresponding language of signals? Or is it yet another backdrop for selfies and Angry Birds—the constant noise of everyday life?
This fall the Goethe-Institut Library, an outpost of the German cultural ministry in SoHo, enlisted curator Jenny Jaskey to organize “The End(s) of the Library,” a year-long series of artists projects that rethink the library’s mission. common room redesigned the floor plan to open up space and introduced a modular exhibition apparatus; David Horvitz established an electronic archive of artists’ books—both scanned works on paper and ebooks—to supplement the Goethe-Institut Library’s catalogs both here and in Europe. The latest project is pΓσ₠§§℩η⅁, a collaboration by Juliete Aranda, Fia Backstrom, and R. Lyon that directly tackles questions of signals and noise. They began by processing the library’s raw database through Safari 5.0.5 and printing out the results, in which catalog entries are cluttered and stretched by symbols and glyphs—representations of the metadata that the computer needs to process catalog entries. A reading was held on January 5 where participants vocalized the print-outs, glyph ...
Bruce Sterling recently suggested that it no longer makes sense to talk about “the internet” as a whole. Instead, we ought to refer to the distinct corporate structures that define the topography of experience online: Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. These companies provide users with similar services and, increasingly, they organize them in self-sufficient “silos” to encumber disloyal users with incompatibility issues. Sterling’s claim that there’s no more internet sounds premature and calculated to provoke buzz (cf. Wired’s September 2010 cover story, “The Web Is Dead”), but it’s useful nevertheless as a reminder of the limits on the user’s agency as these companies attempt to consolidate their control over information and bind the net to their devices.
With that in mind, Michael Manning’s Microsoft Store Paintings might be seen as a proposition about what happens to internet art when doesn’t make sense to talk about the internet. The digital abstractions are painted at locations of the retail chain named in the series’ title, sometimes at the first-ever Microsoft store in Mission Viejo, CA, which opened in 2009. Microsoft’s retail outlets are, of course, a riposte to the success of Apple’s stores, launched after two decades when the software giant happily dispersed its products through Best Buy and CompUSA. They herald the non-internet seen by Sterling.
An image of a Microsoft Store from Michael Manning's Instagram
Bradley Benedetti, Demiurge in the Cupboard, Circusology of Native Leadership Piece 1, 2012
Orca Tears Turquoise( Wish'd We'd Ha'd)
"How can I retry when I was a watermarked birth? I was a global write, universally speaking. My only choice is to image search. rch, sea. Can you smell the past? It is yours. Commercial help gonna fix this Etc.?"
“Nostalgic For captivity…Scent of an orca's tears. Anti-virus wishing wells
If you haven't had your first familiar encounter
please refer to the catalog.
now that I’ve slowed down your 3 dimensional momentarium
I can let you in on something.”
sea u kiosk museum efficiency baby
if you take your TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME . I’ll wait for
breeze and ufo- take your time
we were supposed to grow old together"
Libra von Katzengiest
“I just, I just, I just toed this rope, you know , I just tied this
rope three times, well 6 really because I said it and then did it, but I
mean I tied it while saying it, well hahah you know what I mean,
anyway, the point is it WORKED
This dimension is feeling stuffy
I’m tired of living moment to moment, GET ME OUT OF HERE
I feel really 3 dimensional, I’m looking for something more, I felt
nervous not knowing what came next
In the 4th dimension I get to see it all, people from the past, the
future, really its the continuous present ever flowing around me and
you into one big ball of energy.
5th dimensional living felt too complex, the text was fifth dimensional
5 feels really dark velvety, red, very red ...
I suggest that Paul Slocum et al. spell out their definitions of art and its involvement with social media in an open letter to Ben Davis, published as a post on Rhizome. Precedent indicates Davis will take the time to respond. (http://www.tommoody.us/archives/2010/06/16/two-classy-guys/)
Ceci mentioned Continual Partial Awareness after she read my draft, so I've been thinking about it a bit over the past two days. For one thing, Continual Partial Awareness (as I saw it performed) was a Powerpoint presentation of fifty unrealized ideas. "Serial Chillers" is like what would happen if you took those ideas and made a web page/netart project about each one and released them every other week for a couple of years. Cory Arcangel's performance was an attempt to replicate and mimic the online experience of time, whereas "Serial Chillers" is a slower and more aloof consideration of it. In that respect, the difference between the two is like the distinction between form and subject I introduced in the last two sentences of the essay.
Even if that was the only difference, I'm not sure citing Cory Arcangel would be necessary -- after all, he's not the first person to point out that computers let you do several things at once (I mean, he could have titled his piece "Multitasking!") or that doing so makes you feel kind of distracted and stretched thin. But there are more bigger differences, too. Among other things, "Serial Chillers in Paradise" is an extended survey of the internet's possibilities as a time-based medium. What sets it apart from video or performance isn't just the availability of menus and loops (database vs. narrative, as Lev Manovich put it). It's also what happens when Guthrie Lonergan tries to make a durable document by probing ephemeral messages, or when Martin Kohout takes the amorphous YouTube surf sesh and divides it up into discrete units recorded over the course of several months. The context built by Jstchillin brings this to the foreground, through the lens of chillin. Continual Partial Awareness doesn't have anything to do with that.
I would also like to say that I have absolutely no desire for "chill time" to become a Term. I needed some short-hand to refer back to the condition described in the first paragraph, something brief and not-too-pretentious that communicated a sense of solidarity with the artists. Chill time fit the bill at the time, and now it's disposable.
Here are some thoughts related to this post. I couldn't manage to string them into one coherent statement, so, numbered paragraphs instead.
Are the art world's power structures the most -- only -- important thing about art? Media fascination with the expense of fine art ("art journalism") and the ready dismissal of commercial art ("art criticism") have made it almost impossible to avoid. Which is too bad, because it's far from the most interesting thing about art.
Jogging's insistence on "immateriality" makes it seem like the artists' primary concern is rebuking the market. That impression is affirmed in Jacob's exposition here, and confirmed beyond any doubt in Free Art, the manifesto that Jogging posted last week.
I'm interested in how visual art has become more like poetry or music in the way it's circulated and appreciated. I'm interested in art that belongs to this process. But I'm not fond of art that makes this process its subject. More often that not, artists who obsessively make work about art's institutions and systems are obsessed with their own positions in them, which means their work is self-concerned, narcissistic.
On his Post Internet blog, Gene McHugh responded to the Free Art manifesto by challenging the validity of the political and philosophical positions that Jogging set forth therein. His first argument was that the power relationships responsible for the availability of Tumblr and Facebook -- and by extension, responsible for Jogging's activity -- are just as besmirched by capitalism as the art world, and therefore Jogging can't claim to occupy a space that is more "pure" than the art world. I'm not going to refute that, but I think his second argument -- that Jogging's description of their work as "immaterial" is unjustified -- is less persuasive. Gene wrote:
2. Second of all, Jogging’s insistence on the so-called immaterial or de-materialized quality of the work is also rehearsing an old fallacy (one which, it should be noted, Jogging themselves acknowledge and grapple with in their text).
For the sake of argument (and it is debatable), let’s say that—yes—a virtual .jpeg of a sculpture is immaterial—free of the problems of aura and material commodification which the sculpture depicted in the .jpeg itself affords.
But, what about the hardware displaying this content?
The notion that the Web has accomplished some sort of Hegelian transcendence is precisely what, say, Steve Jobs wants consumers to believe:
Go on, keep chatting with your friends, watching videos, listening to music—it’s all fluid and immaterial now and that’s great—just so long as you do so through the iPad.
These devices which display the work which Jogging thinks of as lacking aura, are, in fact, highly susceptible to aura or, from a slightly different angle, fetishism.
While I'm skeptical about the value of immateriality as a subject of artwork for the reasons stated above, I'm not convinced by Gene's critique of immateriality as an aspect of Jogging. If you're talking about computer-made artwork being displayed in a gallery on a computer, then talk of fetishism might be relevant. But it's remote from the way I view Jogging on my dusty laptop.
Jogging can't be equated with Steve Jobs -- I am sure the artists don't care about the makes and models of our viewing devices. The equivalence Gene draws between Jogging and the hardware environment for viewing Jogging is also dubious. The array of possible visual and physical surroundings for looking at Jogging -- from the choice to access it through the Tumblr dashboard vs. an RSS feed aggregator to the type of device -- excludes object fetishism as a relevant topic in discussions of Jogging.
(Can you reconcile Dziga Vertov's excitement about the mobility and speed of the movie camera with the static act of sitting in a dark room and watching his films? Does it matter?)
Gene tacitly acknowledged the problems of immateriality by choosing to make Post Internet text only. He uses the medium that can most easily be transferred from one vehicle to another, eschewing moving and still images (which browsers can be picky about displaying) as well as links, which can die.
Can I just say I don't like the idea of the material/immaterial binary but I'm just trying to stay within the terms of the discussion as they currently stand, because I'm not presently prepared to offer a better alternative. Thanks.
With Jogging, hardware doesn't matter, but software does. Susan Sontag: "Photographs may be more memorable than moving images, because they are a neat slice of time, not a flow . Television is a stream of underselected images, each of which cancels its predecessor. Each still photograph is a privileged moment, turned into a slim object that one can keep and look at again." Tumblr is between the two -- a flow of discrete images. So is Google Image Search, and so is YouTube, which files moving images as discrete entities. I'd even say that the internet as a whole occupies the space between Sontag's poles of photography and television, but Tumblr is the most concentrated distillation of that quality*: the ongoing selection of memorable images that keep canceling each other out.
(*or maybe dump.fm is now, whatever.)
I think the value of Jogging is that its mixture of new and old, homemade and found images -- and the semi-serious insistence on each image's importance (the "privileged moment" of it, to use Sontag's words) via museum labels like "Sculpture," "Installation," etc. -- is a more pointed expression of Tumblr's essential features as a software service (as described in the preceding paragraph) than the run-of-the-mill Tumblr.
Jacob's post gives a good account of how Jogging operated in the framework of Facebook's software so I won't go through that again.
Institutional critique and art jokes are useful for artists as ways of formulating their attitudes toward the art system and understanding their position in it, but I'm skeptical about their value beyond that -- even though there's a rapidly growing sympathetic audience for them (in the Free Art manifesto, Jogging cites a statistic that art schools in the U.S. produce 90,000 graduates annually). To rephrase what I've already said, I'm less interested in artists who make work about "immateriality" as a problem of making/displaying art than I am in artists who have accepted it as a part of both art and life and moved on. Shana Moulton, for instance, takes the subjective equivalence of images, things, and thoughts as a given of contemporary life and dramatizes its consequences. I just picked Shana because I posted about her here a month ago but there are many other artists with a similar outlook. Jogging is still hung up on the immateriality of the internet and its consequence for their careers, though their exploration of it seems sophisticated enough that it has the potential to eventually yield something more substantial. Pun intended, lol.