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DISCUSSION

Required Reading


Hi Guthrie,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your MySpace Intro Playlist; it does seem that the piece has always embodied the conditions/problems of (re)framing, so it stands to reason that presenting it in a gallery-type format would continue to complicate/compound those issues even more. It also seems that net art displayed in a gallery will always require it to be somewhat removed from "its native habitat" (at least for now), because it's almost like trying to share the experience of reading in private at home (or browsing through ones library) in a museum.

The degree that net art should be "theatricized" (and/or "aestheticized") to exist outside of "its native habitat" is up for debate, though how much this (re)framing will supplant and/or obfuscate the primacy of experiencing net art on the net will remain a sticking point. Besides exposure, what's the benefit of showing net art in a gallery/museum, anyway? Just to "be a part of the larger Art discussion?" This is important, but it seems detrimental if people/critics keep viewing (re)framed net art in galleries and go away without understanding that these works are from the net (or ideally experienced on the net) - especially if one of the reasons for exhibiting net art in museums is to educate viewers on the particularities of the form (and save net art from being "ghettoized" and/or misunderstood).

And I agree that just plopping a computer w/mouse & keyboard in a museum would seem "silly" - even if that would be one of the most "authentic" ways to present the piece!

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DISCUSSION

Required Reading


Then there's this - http://bit.ly/bpUGZ3 - which I kinda like (even though it's a thrice-removed, bloodless "reconstitution" rendered à la Longo, but compact and w/grid). Though I'm sure that a lot of people who've seen the drawing don't necessarily know about Trans-fixed. Besides Burden's name acting as the drawing's title (and it being drawn from the widely-used documentation photo of the performance), there's nothing to explicitly inform a viewer of the "original" in "its native habitat" outside of those free-floating referents.

DISCUSSION

Required Reading


Hi Lauren,

I agree "that comprehensive engagement is a critic's job, too," and it seems that such a belief is what prompted other commenters to respond to Davis' article being endorsed - without explanation - as "Required Reading" on Rhizome. That Davis claims MySpace Intro Playlist isn't "social media art" but, instead, "new media art" appears as a glib and misinformed statement that resulted directly from the piece being exhibited as video art at YTJ. Sure, Davis could've done some of his own "comprehensive engagement" of the work and Lonergan (by using the internet!) before he declared the piece as "a perfect example" of what isn't "social media art" - but that would've required him to not rely solely on what was packaged for him as a mere "video-art project" at the museum. I agree that it's interesting for works to have "versions," but in this instance, divorcing MySpace Intro Playlist from "outside its native habitat" actually seemed to have encouraged a denial (at least for Davis) of the very specific experience and format that was the subject, form, and context of the original work.

While I entirely support an artist's decision to (re)present their work as they see fit, I'm not sure that I see the benefit of turning MySpace Intro Playlist into video-art (besides its making for a cleaner, more familiar, non-interactive, museum-friendly format). And Davis' subsequent tunnel-visioned view of the work seems like an unfortunate result of this decision, which was only made more convoluted (and somewhat ironic) by his artnet article being re-posted/endorsed on Rhizome at The New Museum.

Thanks,

Jesse

DISCUSSION

Required Reading


And this exhibit http://bit.ly/cy3nhq looks like a similar project by Lonergan (and Paul Slocum and Max Goldberg) where "social media" becomes "social media art" by being represented/contextualized in a gallery-type exhibition, but with explanatory text (written by Lonergan himself). Again, it appears as a (re)curation of a kind of archive, though Lonergan admits that many of the included "artworks" weren't necessarily made by people who would consider themselves as artists (like with the MySpace authors). Also, it's interesting that this show didn't appear to include a way for viewers to actually navigate the site it's based on, either (it's essentially presented as video art, though computers are used as screens).

DISCUSSION

Required Reading


Also, if Lonergan's list is meant to serve as a kind of archive (I feel that it is), then reducing it to just videos strips it of its essential referential function AS an archive (it's kind of like showing a video of various encyclopedia illustrations, but without saying they're from an encyclopedia). Instead, we're just left with a bunch of very similar video-answering-machine-messages that prompt us with MySpace-specific lingo that we can't access in that format. I'm not saying that it's necessary for any artwork "collection" of like subjects is required to bring us to their source(s) - though in the case of Lonergan's list, it seemed like that was a part of the nature/intent of the work. I dunno...