An Immaterial Survey of Our Peers is a group show currently on display at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Curated by Web collective JOGGING, the exhibit brings together the work of a group of artists whose art is primarily displayed and distributed via the Web. Given the immaterial quality of much of the work, the show does not physically take place within the gallery space itself. Instead, the artwork has been collected and arranged over photos of the empty gallery space using digital compositing techniques. These photos are then displayed as documentation of the exhibit on the show website, and projected onto the walls of the gallery space for the show's duration. Artists on display include AIDS-3D, Kari Altmann, Jon Rafman, Travess Smalley, Ben Schumacher, and Hermonie Only, among many others. The show is currently on display both online and at the Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Our sister institution, The New Museum, is hosting a talk by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales next week, on Thursday, April 8th at 6:30pm. This is an opportunity to hear Wales speak about the history of the site, its impact, and his ideas for the future of technology and culture.
The talk takes place as part of the Stuart Regan Visionaries Series, in which the New Museum honors individuals who have made important contributions to art and culture, and are actively imagining a better future. Information and tickets can be found at the New Museum.
The art and design behind DIS Magazine is unlike any other fashion publication to date. Its contributors eschew the standard conventions of print publication to create an ever evolving series of related threads, organized around categories such as distaste, dystopia, discover, and dysmorphia. DIS is a collaborative project amongst artists, designers, stylists, writers and friends. They are Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, S. Adrian Massey III, Marco Roso, Patrik Sandberg, Nicholas Scholl, and David Toro, along with guest contributors that include artists such as Ryan Trecartin, Anna Lundh and Scott Hug. I recently conducted this Q&A via email with the members of DIS, in which they discuss the magazine's goals, its unique use of digital media technologies and the Web, and the future of the publication.
On gaming, gear, and tech sites across the net one can find threads asking users for ratings and approval on their equipment. A simple search for "rate my rig", "rate my setup", "rate my collection", "rate my gear" will return hundreds of these images and videos. From snapshots of elaborate home entertainment centers to short videos displaying one's own modded gear, a sense of pride and showmanship pervades throughout. The threads and video clips speak to the social and performative nature of collection, as well as a competitive consumerist drive, and offer a glimpse into the lives, homes, and obsessions of geeks of all kinds.
I am very concerned with problematizing the class and gender dynamics of this history in particular, especially since I am using the term "queer" here in a slippery way, applying it to a group of men who may better fit its historically pejorative definition more than its contemporary transgressive one. I'd love to chat more online and in person. I'll contact you through twitter and perhaps we can get a coffee.
Honestly I just found it more interesting to talk about what the show might mean instead of whether or not it was good. People are going to see the show regardless, and I'd rather they read a piece that puts the show in a context they hadn't thought of then go in with the idea that the show is good or bad because they read it on a website. Is it the responsibility of a site like Rhizome to publish reviews that take a clear stance on the quality or validity of shows such as this? Maybe. But honestly I find that kind of work dull, particularly when it devolves into snark and shade that does more to boost the ego of the reviewer than it does to inform its readers. In fact I would argue that it is precisely those kinds of reviews that are uncritical, or at least, critically shallow.
Part of the reason I reviewed the show as I did is that I was not particularly interested in the pieces as artworks - and how they might fit into a longer art historical tradition - but more what they might be saying about art, technology, and culture. Whether or not the pieces are good is entirely beside the point for me. And, not to contradict Brian, but what the artist's intentions were when creating that piece, or whether or not he did it for the reasons I gave in my review, is also not personally of interest. And while I said in the first paragraph of my review that even though the show was "about" failure the show itself was not a failure, that does not mean that many of the pieces were not critical or intellectual failures, particularly in their failure to provoke any consideration from the viewer beyond "I see what you did there."
But when I went to the show having to actually consider the pieces beyond their immediate punchline and forced myself away from the kind of knee-jerk eat-our-own criticism that is so easy with so much of this kind of work - and so prevalent in this community - I found something that I thought was worth writing about, and that (hopefully) wasn't the same kind of critique that everyone has given Cory for years. For me the review wasn't about if the show was good or bad, it was about what it meant both for the new media art community and within the broader context of art, technology, and culture.
So while this may be a question of defaults it doesn't seem to be reflecting on technologically specific defaults, just culturally specific defaults and readily available forms.