Charlotte Frost
Since 2002
Works in United States of America


Mute at its Meatiest


In 2009 the editorial team at Mute (in association with Autonomedia) published a collection of past magazine content under the title Proud to be Flesh: A Mute Magazine Anthology of Cultural Politics after the Net. It was an exercise in content curation, but not, as they point out, an attempt to assemble a greatest hits album. Rather, it reorganises a body of Mute’s diverse output around a selection of themes that are perhaps more apparent (up to) fifteen years later.

In many respects - through the early newspapers, magazines, websites and recent print-on-demand journals - Mute has long engaged in providing content navigation systems for internet-inspired knowledge and the darker side thereof. And they have been doing so in an era defined by its obsession with charting and re-charting the information landscape. What Proud to be Flesh does, therefore, is offer up yet another entry portal to Mute’s rich and important net-knowledge while, in its very book-i-ness, commenting on the current upheaval in text interface products.


"Decode" at the V&A: Digital Reflections and Refractions


A large installation in the Grand Entrance of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum clatters away, registering its presence in this historic hallway. Jointly commissioned (by the V & A and SAP), bit.code (2009), by Julius Popp, consists of a large panel of black and white blocks which appear to represent a curious, indecipherable code as they rotate around their frame. Periodically its units align, clearly depicting popular terms streamed live from news site feeds. In this physical form and location, this is real-time made somehow more timely. Looming over visitors, a literal staging of data being decoded, the work asserts itself as an apt entry portal to "Decode", the V & A's inaugural exhibition of contemporary digital and interactive design.



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DISCUSSION

A Review of: New Media Art: Practice and Context in the UK 1994-2004


A Review of:
New Media Art: Practice and Context in the UK 1994-2004, Edited by Lucy
Kimbell,
Arts Council of England and Cornerhouse Press, 2004.

By Charlotte Frost

Having somewhat ripped up the conference circuit this year, I was relieved
to discover a book, in the form of New Media Art: Practice and Context in
the UK 1994-2004, which is rather like attending a conference - but without
the flu (ISEA), travel expenses (ISEA again!) and inevitable weariness (take
your pick!) associated with such events. New Media Art is the Arts Council
of England's round-up of ten years of funding new media projects. Its
opening explains:

"The book is part catalogue and part anthology, providing a gateway to other
references and sources for the reader to explore; it presents a wide range
of voices and approaches to new media practice and illustrates the
extraordinary breadth and diversity of the constituencies and cultures of
the new media arts landscape in the UK." (P.7)

And its exactly 300 pages offer an informal introductory glimpse of a decade
of UK-based new media art creation, curation and context, from the
perspective of regular new media 'knowledgables'.

This book is not a conference substitute, however, in any formal
didacticism, but actually in a more valuable and intimate way. Each concise
essay, case study, or conversation, which constitute its canon, are more
like those invaluable discussions that happen in-between, rather than
actually at the panels and workshops put on at most new media conferences.

Indeed, the fact this book is less 'keynote' than 'coffee-break' makes it no
less informative. Its articles from some of 'those who where there', such as
Armin Medosch, Lisa Haskel, Rachel Baker, Josephine Berry Slater, Sarah
Cook, Charlie Gere, Saul Albert, Pauline Van Mourik Broekman and the book's
editor Lucy Kimbell, mean that if you missed hanging out in backspace you
can certainly capture the camaraderie and creativity. Unlike many new media
books which take emphasis away from networking and package their information
as static art historical-style readers, this book stays true to its roots.
In fact New Media Art might be better than actual networking because even
the savviest socialite couldn't hope to cover such terrain and so many
topics and still have time for tea!

However as long as many conferences remain logistically prohibitive to a
broad section of artist groups (flu, travel expenses and weariness not
withstanding), there will always be important voices we are not hearing
from, and despite the extensive knowledge of the contributors, the missed
opportunity presented by this book was to give a voice to many of the
artists often muted by such occasions.

One formal talk which does resonate is Steve Dietz's 'Why Have There Been No
Great Net Artists?', which was originally a presentation at CADRE in 1999,
and serves to remind us that sometimes it is these very problems within new
media which best characterise its creation and context. In this famous
article, as most will no doubt be aware, Steve Dietz outlines some of the
paradoxes in net art:

"The problem with net art is that it is so opaque. The problem with net art
is that it is so obvious. The problem with net art is that not everyone can
see it. The problem with net art is that it takes too long. The problem with
net art is that it's ephemeral. The problem with net art is that it's too
expensive. The problem with net art is that anyone can make it. The problem
with net art is no one supports it. The problem with net art is that it is
being usurped. The problem with net art is that it's boring. The problem
with net art is that it's too challenging. The problem with net art is all
those plug-ins. The problem with net art is that it is so reliant on
industry standards. The problem with net art is that it's old hat. The
problem with net art is that it's too new. The problem is that there is no
great net art." (p.78)

And this book is certainly not exempt from such pandemonium, having caused
fervour on the lists prior to publication, being criticised for the projects
it ignored and the notion that New Media could be geographically located or
fenced by any time-frame. However, New Media Art's most notable problems are
also those of all new media.

The problem with New Media Art: Practice and Context in the UK 1994-2004 is
its title. The problem with New Media Art is that it is a book. The problem
with New Media Art is that it is so controversial. The problem with New
Media Art is that it isn't controversial enough. The problem with New Media
Art is its glaring omissions. The problem with New Media Art is all the
people it has included. The problem with New Media Art is it is global. The
problem with New Media Art is its UK-centric.

Thus whether one believes this book describes such issues or suffers because
of them, the fact it encounters them makes it a truer reflection of the
scene.

Therefore, my only real problem with New Media Art: Practice and Context in
the UK 1994-2004 - seeing as I rather like networking and never did make it
to backspace - is the amount of wasted paper. It isn't that the paper the
essays are printed on is wasted, but the unusually excessive use of paper
seems like a retort to the paperless online world, and this makes it hard to
accept any missing content or the lack of an attempt to tackle the
'problems' head-on. Where Rachel Greene and Christiane Paul might be
forgiven for missing out some of the key figures in net/digital arts because
of the constraints of Thames and Hudson World of Art books, it is hard to
accept that the Arts Council couldn't have fitted more into their book.

If you can't afford the conference network financially, physically,
logistically, or politically, this book is a pretty close substitute; if you
do attend, however, take it with you and fill in some of the blank spaces
with some of your own conversations, and maybe put a couple of tea cup rings
on it (not least to disrupt the ordered pixels that cover its many pages)
and soon, it might fully resemble a context for new media art production in
the UK.

Charlotte Frost
http://www.furthertxt.org
http://www.furtherfield.org

DISCUSSION

St-YOU-dent your Furthertxt needs YOU!


>>>Due to tech probs, please email submissions to
charlotte@digitalcritic.org

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++ St-YOU-dent your Furthertxt needs YOU! +++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.furthertxt.org is looking to compile a holiday edition focusing
on STUDENTS and NEW VOICES in the net art and new media critical community.
Please send text-based critiques and contextualisations of net culture/art
practice to Charlotte Frost by the end of November for a bumper Furthertxt
edition which will have an extended run in order to fully showcase the works
selected!

There is no editorial remit or theme, but as many of us here at Furtherfield
and Furthertxt are students ourselves, we would like to know what you are
thinking about too!

Looking forward to hearing from YOU!

Charlotte

charlotte@digitalcritic.org

DISCUSSION

St-YOU-dent your Furthertxt needs YOU!


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++ St-YOU-dent your Furthertxt needs YOU! +++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.furthertxt.org is looking to compile a holiday edition focusing
on STUDENTS and NEW VOICES in the net art and new media critical community.
Please send text-based critiques and contextualisations of net culture/art
practice to Charlotte Frost by the end of November for a bumper Furthertxt
edition which will have an extended run in order to fully showcase the works
selected!

There is no editorial remit or theme, but as many of us here at Furtherfield
and Furthertxt are students ourselves, we would like to know what you are
thinking about too!

Looking forward to hearing from YOU!

Charlotte

Charlotte.frost@furtherfield.org

DISCUSSION

Furthertxt special feature - Dyske Suematsu reviews Galloway's Protocol -


!!!Furthertxt Special Feature!!!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++ ++
++ Dyske Suematsu ++
++ Reviews ++
++ Alex Galloway's++
++ ++
++ + PROTOCOL + ++
++ ++
++ ++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.furthertxt.org