Liza Sabater
Since the beginning
Works in New York, Nebraska United States of America

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Re: Thinking of art, transparency and social technology [was : they must not be very bright]

On Wednesday, Oct 6, 2004, at 10:25 America/New_York, Southworth, Kate
> Liza, this is exactly the sort of space we are exploring in our work,
> although possibly from a slightly different perspective, so if you
> find anything that interests you in fuorange and the accompanying
> paper we would really love to work with you on it.

Hey Kate,

Long time no read! I've been following the thread but am in the middle
of putting together some punditry about the debates and dealing with
some work. I'll respond fully soon.

FYI, I am really serious about setting up people with blogs. I'll have
more to follow soon.

l i z a


Re: Thinking of art, transparency and social technology [was : they must not be very bright]

On Wednesday, Oct 6, 2004, at 19:25 America/New_York, Jess Loseby wrote:

> I wondered if there are any other parallels with the art.objects
> outside of net.object where this is apparent.

The short answer: Yes.

Where: Education. Parenting. Business. Journalism. Health. Software
development --just to name a few.

More soon.
/ l i z a


Thinking of art, transparency and social technology [was : they must not be very bright]

> so, if you want to use flash, that's cool. but just do it having
> decided to make your work for folks on IE/winXP and not the web in
> general. in fact, i can't think of anything that works well locally
> AND the web. even Java acts more differently on different platforms
> than they admit. But we have always assumed, if we make it for the
> web, it should work everywhere. very little actually does.

Preach on brutha.

Should we consider Bill Gates the Bin Laden of net art?

The problem with Java --at least in some of the Head Potato's work-- is
that because it works at the hardware level, it presents a whole
'nother level of problems. So the clocking will be fine on a Dell but
fucked up on a HP. There will be flicker --and a horrid, ugly
flicker-- one screen, but not the other. And all of this varies from
one version of Windows to another. Of course, some artworks will look
and even work completely different in a Mac.

The Johns (Simon and Klima) have it right when they decided to control
both the hardware and software. The time wasted banging heads on a
keyboard and cursing at Gates could probably be used optimizing or even
building "signature" hardware. I personally believe if you are going to
sell software art at a gallery, that's the way to go. BTW, even JODI
are shlepping their own hardware these days.

But let me bring another issue to the table, one I think other net
creatives have brought to light pretty well. It's the issue of

Artists have always kept notes, some way or another, for their ideas
and process. But it is not until they are dead (or made an offer they
cannot refuse) that people can take a peek at them. If ever. But not
just artist as in Art makers. Most people involved in creative work
will keep some kind of record of their discoveries and obstacles. The
problem, again, is that these are mostly kept tucked away in private
libraries or bedroom drawers.

I believe it is time for net artists to stop pretending anybody beyond
their immediate peers understand what they are doing. Seriously. Not
even the people in most arts organizations (I'm thinking granting
institutions and the like) understand the difference between creating
your own metasoftware in Java so you can create software art versus a
person who gets their hands on Flash and makes an animation. To this
day I find myself saying at art openings, "No, that Levin/Simon/Napier
is not an animation. It's software creating the art." To which they
most inevitably get the "deer in the headlights" look on their faces.

MTAA was interviewed for Petit Mort and it's worth the reading (great
pics of the sexy beasts and a fantabulous one of EndNode AKA Printer
Tree). This is the part that mostly caught my attention:

> I've notice that your updating of art is similar to the way
> corporations are updating their services these days; for example banks
> make you transfer funds, make you fill out forms, make you find
> customer service, and sometimes even make you responsible for their
> quality control. Technology now a day has passed on a lot of duties to
> the customer. It has really become a self-service type of system. And
> although this would seem like cost cutting measures on the way they do
> business, we still don't see a decrease in their fees or cost of their
> products or services. It is helping them save money I'm sure, but as
> consumer we are loosing our time in performing their services. Is that
> shift what you had in mind when you started these updates?
> TIM: We never spoke about it, but I definitely considered that being a
> change in the way the people interact online -a lot of the labor has
> been passed back to you.
> MARK: There are different concepts in our work, like when you think of
> the computer tree, which is basically a stage that we built for people
> online to perform on, it's trying to figure out a different audience
> relationship. A lot of what net art is interested in is the
> communication back and forth, the net being the space in-between, so
> the printer tree in some ways is also the space in-between. With this
> tree, it's audience, and some of the other things we've done is tryin=
> to separate and move that relation ship between performance and viewer
> just slightly so that the relationship becomes a little fuzzier. I
> don't know if people need to know that when they see the piece to
> understand the relationship.

[ The whole article is at ]

This is an AMAZING insight. For one, I feel that one of the interesting
failures of net art has been its inability to communicate OUTSIDE of
its immediate clique. Not even people in the art world know or have
even heard of net art / software art as we discuss it here in Rhizome.
To most people NA / SA is what happens when you photoshop photography
or make a video and put it on the net.

So without even knowing it, MTAA has hit it over the head. For the one
part, the technology used in net/software art --from the computers to
the software or even the coding language-- passes unto you the onus of
R&D, QA, and usability (we're not even touching cost). The technologies
of canvases, stretchers, brushes, pigments, hammers and nails do not
need any of those added costs to the process of art making. It's
completely the opposite with anything involving digital technology.

This is apparent with computers and software but what about the other
art "corporations"?

Think of the museum, the gallery, the academy, the audience and "the
market" as corporations as well. If you buy into the belief that art
is about the object and not the process, then a lot of the onus of
making an art "object" out of what is basically electricity, falls unto
you as well. So you find yourself in a situation in which you've just
built from the ground up a meta-software that makes more software that
is then what we call "software art", but nobody --not even your peers--
now about it because you've been focused on showing the final object
and not the process. And because you've spent all that time on the art
as object motif, your work --because it moves on a screen-- is still
being seen by the audience immediately outside of the net/software art
clique as animation or video because, you know, it moves. You can't
blame them. If you do not distinguish what you do from the "proven" art
forms, why should people understand what your work is about?

Net Artists have been so caught up in the metaphor of the internet as a
space for communication and social interaction that, ironically, most
have not really used it as so in their own art spaces. Yes, there is
Rhizome and all those artsy lists. But you cannot bring Rhizome Raw
into your site and this is what each and every one of you should be
doing. Let the flaming begin. There, I have said it.

I truly believe that focusing on the conversations your art and art
process can create is the only way to not just push your work forward,
but to bring to light the artform you so lovingly/madly/cluelessly

The net is not just a space, and the web is not just a canvas. They are
processes as well. They are because humans use them. Art Websites
should not be just galleries or studios. They need to be salons as
well; places where each artist can reveal their work and play, their
expertise and discoveries, their trials and tribulations.

Yes people, I'm talking about the four letter words.

Whether it is a wiki or a blog, I am talking about bringing social
technologies into artists sites. And not just the tech but the
practices of communication as well. We need to make your sites as
dynamic as your art process. Why? By not doing it you are missing out
on the opportunity of connecting with peers in other net cultures who,
may not be artists but have the answers to your questions. Or you may
miss the opportunity of having one more piece of information ready and
available for your future audience to read and learn more about you and
your process as an artist. Or who knows what other things are in store.

It's been almost two years now since I wrote an art proposal, and quite
frankly, I don't miss it. Those things are ghastly especially because
software art, being a subset of a subset of art in most foundations,
never fits all the requirements for documentation. So they want a video
or slides of Shredder (I kid you not). In part because they are working
with old paradigms of art, and in part because they most of the time do
not have the "right browser" or the "right OS" or the "right hardware"
to run most net/software art in the first place. So they go with what
they think will be easy for them to use to judge the work
--misunderstandings and hilarity ensues. UGH.

I've blogmothered The intention? For the Head Potato
to post some code and start conversations around it. Rant against the
machines. Maybe even get some people to work out a bug or two. That
sort of thing. I'm even fixing to have guest writers write about their
favorite pieces... And in due time to raise resources for new projects.

I'd love to try this experiment with more people. Be part of real-life
conversations started by artworks, but mediated through the blogs. See
what opportunities are opened up with this "new" socialization. Find
out what happens when an artist's site goes from portfolio to notebook
to salon, all in one swoop of technology.

Any takers? This blogmother is ready to reproduce :)

l i z a


Re: Re[2]: RHIZOME_RAW: NET ART NEWS: all rhizomers in one

Did anybody else get a virus from Rhizome? They come back with massive
amounts of data in the headers. I cannot delete any of the emails
coming from Rhizome either.


Time to roll up your sleeves ...

there are exactly 30 days left between now and the elections.
Contribute, volunteer, register to vote.

How to Buy Spin
by Tom Schaller
Sat Oct 2nd, 2004 at 20:40:28 GMT

If it were possible, would you spend a little money to "buy" a
favorable piece of political spin? Damn right you would. Well, here's
how you can do that, right now, this weekend.

I just got a memo from the DNC with details of how Kerry's performance
translated into tangible assets for the campaign, both in dollars and
volunteer labor. Here are the stats:

1. Following the debate, the DNC's website experienced a 20-fold
increase in traffic, and total traffic was three times what it was
following Kerry's Boston acceptance speech in July.

2. In terms of dollars, by 11:30 EST on Thursday night, two out of
every seven people on the DNC site contributed money. A total of 50,000
people contributed and -- get this -- more than half were first-time
contributors. (Eat that, Ed Gillespie.)

3. By end of the day Friday, more than 20,000 new volunteers signed
up on the DNC website to help the campaign.

But you know what? That's simply not good enough. We are down to the
final month. Many of you have already given, of course. That's awesome.
If you can give more, great.

Still, surely there is somebody you know - a friend, a cousin, a former
co-worker, somebody -- who wants Kerry in, Bush out, and is complaining
a lot...but not doing a damn thing about it, right? You'd be surprised
how powerful a personal request from somebody they know (you!) will
motivate people who otherwise might not get involved or write a check.

So think hard, find that person, and ask them to go to the DKos
contributors link for the DNC and contribute something, anything. Ask
them to also visit the DNC's website so they to add their name to the
volunteer list.

By doing so, the amazing results above will only get better, and those
stats will inevitably work their way into mainstream news reports about
the impact of Kerry's smashing win in the first debate. Not only can
you alter the spin, but the party will be able to mobilize your
complainin' cousins and couch potato co-workers to help between now and
election day.

I reached out to a former colleague who is a public university
professor with two kids under four and new home. If she can find time
and a little cash, surely somebody you know can, too. Kossacks have
invested a lot thus far this cycle. But there is a wider community of
people who aren't the type to visit the site, but who have money and
time that's just as valuable.

So reach out and tap someone -- just one person you think will give
time or money. Or two or three, if you can think of them.

Because you know what? I'm on the Bush campaign's email list, and they
are making these exact same appeals to their supporters every day.