Michael Connor
Since 2002
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America


Notes on a definition of Net Art based on what I remember from a borrowed copy of Nettitudes


 

WWWWWWWWWW.JODI.ORG (1995)

Lately, I've been feeling a sense of inhibition relating to Josephine Bosma's book Nettitudes, which I've had checked out from the library for the past six months. I started getting emails a few weeks ago that the book had to be returned, each one charting a steadily increasing overdue fine. (Update: the book is now being billed as lost.) The idea of returning the book became a source of anxiety, because even though I could make a copy or buy another one, I've become attached to it. Also, I don't quite remember where I put it.

This is relevant to my job because the Prix Net Art announcement, which went up earlier this week, had to of course include a definition of net art. And as with last year, this definition was something Chronus and TASML curator and Prix instigator and co-organizer Zhang Ga and I discussed intently. As Zhang has argued from the beginning, one signficant motivation for this prize was to publicly discuss and debate the definition of net art.


The One Hour Photo Lab as Exhibition Venue


One summer during college, I worked in a one-hour photo lab in a mall near my hometown. A big part of the job involved squinting at 35mm negatives and assessing the necessary color balance and exposure. I've always been bad at colors, and when a shift got slow I would make lots and lots of reprints and compare the results, trying to hone my eye. "You generate a lot of waste prints," my boss said one day. "Yes," my 19-year old self agreed placidly, without a thought for the store's bottom line, "that's true."

This week, I went to a CVS near my house to pick up an envelope of photo prints. The occasion was David Horvitz's project "An Impossible Distance," a "distributed exhibition" of works by 24 artists. To receive the "exhibition," you simply send an email to the organizers with your name and whereabouts, and they order the prints for you online, for delivery to a local photo Walgreens or CVS. When I went to CVS to collect my prints seven hours after the allotted time, they weren't ready; the cashier rang me up and started printing them. "It'll just be a few minutes," she said, and turned to the next customer, while a robot performed my old job.


Why is Deep Dream turning the world into a doggy monster hellscape?


Raphaël Bastide, Handmade Deep Dream (2015). If this were a real Deep Dream image these would be dogs probably.

Participants in social media will by now be well aware of the artistic renaissance that has been underway since the release of Google's Deep Dream visualization tool last week. Antony Antonellis' A-Ha Deep Dream captures well the experience of encountering these unsettling images on the internet:

Antony Antonellis, A-ha Deep Dream (2015).

By way of recap: Deep Dream uses a machine vision system typically used to classify images that is tweaked so that it over-analyzes images until it sees objects that aren't "really there." The project was developed by researchers at Google who were interested in the question, how do machines see? Thanks to Deep Dream, we now know that machines see things through a kind of fractal prism that puts doggy faces everywhere. 

It seems strange that Google researchers would even need to ask this question, but that's the nature of image classification systems, which generally "learn" through a process of trial and error. As the researchers described it,

we train networks by simply showing them many examples of what we want them to learn, hoping they extract the essence of the matter at hand (e.g., a fork needs a handle and 2-4 tines), and learn to ignore what doesn't matter (a fork can be any shape, size, color or orientation). But how do you check that the network has correctly learned the right features? It can help to visualize the network's representation of a fork.



Caitlyn Jenner and the Facebook Real Name Policy


 

Protesters in Menlo Park yesterday. (Photo by Gareth Gooch).

Yesterday, Caitlyn Jenner introduced herself to an eager public via a magazine cover, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page. The Twitter account gained a million followers faster than the previous record-holder, Barack Obama, and the Facebook page garnered hundreds of thousands of likes in its first day. Coming a week after the news that IMG had signed Hari Nef (onetime host of Ed Fornieles's NY NY HP HP for Rhizome), the news heralded a new level of public visibility and acceptance for transgender people.


The irony of Caitlyn Jenner's Facebook popularity is that the social media site has such an unsupportive official stance toward name changes in general. The policy not only forbids creating profiles under stage names or personas or alter egos, it forbids profiles under any name that can't be backed up by a legal document, such as identification or a piece of mail. (The rules are different for Pages, such as Jenner's). Facebook is like the right-wing uncle who deliberately misgenders you, on principle. 



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DISCUSSION

the original


I've updated its record in our Collective Access system (public launch forthcoming). Date found dead, 11/21/2013.

DISCUSSION

Video of Post Net Aesthetics is Now Online


This era is too much defined by people trying to define this era!"

I like that.

About time to get that intergenerational interview series going... I'll email you!

DISCUSSION

Video of Post Net Aesthetics is Now Online


Point of clarification, she doesn't say it's the first material engagement of this kind for all artists everywhere, she says it's the first material engagement of this kind for many of the specific artists connected with what she describes as "the postinternet movement.

DISCUSSION

Video of Post Net Aesthetics is Now Online


For the most part, I thought Ben made some excellent points, although this was not one of them.

In the video, you can see that he used air quotes when referring to "contemporary art," so it comes across a bit differently than it does in the text. I take contemporary art-in-air quotes to refer to a generally non-tech savvy, moneyed group that self-identify as the mainstream of "contemporary art," as in, for example, Bishop's "Digital Divide," where she defines the mainstream as the larger art fairs and the national Biennale pavilions. So, I would characterize Ben's statement as an exaggeration, not a misrepresentation of the work that has been done on this topic for a long time, mostly outside of this self-identified group.

But to address your larger point, that was definitely not the broader idea behind this panel, nor can Rhizome be expected to stand behind every assertion made by the panelists.

Although, it would be an interesting thought experiment to try to believe in every conflicting assertion made at our events.

DISCUSSION

Video of Post Net Aesthetics is Now Online


The statement is obviously exaggerated, but I would offer a slightly different argument: VVORK was incredibly influential in demonstrating that online viewing of non-born digital artwork could be experientially rich while reaching a wide audience.

To put you back in the headspace, here's a comment by Sally McKay on digitalmediatree from 2007:

"VVork is popular because they show lots and lots of pictures of art from around the world without a bunch of commentary. I love that! It's kind of weird how rare it is."

It was rare, and that was weird. And it ain't rare anymore.

As a side note, check out how few references to the internet are in this Whitechapel book titled "A Manual for the 21st Century Art Institution," published in...2010.

http://www.amazon.com/Manual-21st-Century-Art-Institution/dp/3865606180