[Source: Arc Projects Flickr]
A beautifully crafted set of four tea towels sporting a series of authentic search engine results returned to a user when the criteria, 'Please Help Me', 'Is Anybody there?', 'Please listen to me' and, 'Can you hear me?' were entered into the search field, while using Google in Netscape 4.7 on Mac OS 9.2 or Netscape 6 on Windows 98.
When R&B; singer Ginuwine's jam Pony came out in 1996, it became the classic soundtrack to grinding, and its (admittedly, hilarious) refrain "ride it, my pony" a fixture in American pop culture. More recently, A.Mart from Hamburger Eyes launched "Dancing Alone to Pony" -- a tumblr blog compiling solo videos of people dancing to the track. The site has encapsulated this micro-meme. Here are a few of the highlights, visit Dancing Alone to Pony for more.
Technology is expensive so we try and take care of it; but sometimes things break. Most technology is no longer made to be repaired, as it is cheaper to replace it entirely. This is particularly true of display technology, as once a screen is cracked or broken there is little one can do to fix the damage. Many users desperately seek help online, making videos of their broken television sets or computer monitors in the hopes of a solution. Others give in to the inevitable and take the opportunity to unleash their anger on the broken technology.
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.