patrick lichty
Since 2010
Works in Oak Park, Wisconsin United States of America

Patrick Lichty (b.1962) is a technologically-based conceptual artist, writer, independent curator, animator for the activist group, The Yes Men, and Executive Editor of Intelligent Agent Magazine. He began showing technological media art in 1989, and deals with works and writing that explore the social relations between us and media. Venues in which Lichty has been involved with solo and collaborative works include the Whitney & Turin Biennials, Maribor Triennial, Performa Performance Biennial, Ars Electronica, and the International Symposium on the Electronic Arts (ISEA).

He also works extensively with virtual worlds, including Second Life, and his work, both solo and with his performance art group, Second Front, has been featured in Flash Art, Eikon Milan, and ArtNews.

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What's Postinternet Got to do with Net Art?

Maybe this takes me back to Adorno and the idea that art should be somehow committed, especially in this age of atrocity. But have we instead climbed into Stimpy's belly button, where "fun awaits us if you climb inside..." Or is this the sort of movement that the culture of the Long Tail creates, 'snack' movements propagated by cliques that create conversation which are eventually discarded for not having enough 'there', ideology, rigor, or elsewhat? Or is this just the shape of 2013 epistemology?

I'm just throwing this out, because I feel like I honestly don't have a clue anymore. I'm not looking for a new Dada Soiree or a Futurist Manifesto, but honestly, I ask WTF? at times... I'd really love to see some people take some risks that aren't aimed at commenting on the art world, art fairs or Marina Abramovic (I'm just as guilty as anyone else here).

The most interesting thing I've seen lately was that idiot who flew their Phantom Quad-drone around Manhattan without being adept enough at flying it not to ram it repeatedly into the side of buildings to the point of destroying it.

Somehow, I just have this gut feeling that in the 'Post New Media' era, we're flailing around, looking for a signpost. The problem is, at the end of the Long Tail, there's pervasive production and plenty of Warhol's 15 minutes/15 fans to go around. All while Marina Abramovic and Jay-Z dance, causing Hyperallergic to say that if you aren't a superstar or making work about cats, you don't really matter (2013 most powerless in the art-world list). And, in my writing this critique I also add myself to that list. ;)

This is submitted as a proposition, and I could be completely off base, but it's just what it looks like. What I'm eating isn't very filling, and does that mean we are in the era of 'post-affect' too?

I don't know.


What's Postinternet Got to do with Net Art?

I'm finding all kinds of interesting tidbits in this thread - like looking at rings in a tree. Michael Connor was talking with me once about participating in an "inter-generational" conversation about these "things we do" (as Sarah Cook and Steve Dietz aptly put us in 'post New Media' times, and the Surfers put us in 'post Web 1.0' times, and now here is 'post-internet' after the New Aesthetic, which Curt Cloninger pretty much eliminated the 'new' from, and James Bridle even confessed that NA 'wasn't about aesthetics'.

Sure, I could be classified at a 90's OG who has reinvented constantly, but I sort of get tired of this. I find it sort of funny that Tom seems to have the appearance of a little intergenerational angst.

I have this as well philosophically with the shift from Poststructuralism to OOO/Speculative Reality and sensate/performance philosophy.

In many ways, I've begun to feel jaded, and it was articulated wonderfully when Ian Bogost wrote about the New Aesthetic, while claiming to be a 'movement' (SxSW), lacked an ideology, like the Futurists, Dadaists, and Situationists, and so on.

And with the recent conversation in which the panelist stated that there wasn't any significant net art before 2006. with the defense being, "Well, that may be true, but there were some good points made...", I'm left dully frustrated.

I mean, before 2000, there were not the number of academically-trained digital media artists or programs there are today. Furthermore, I don't think there was a 'good old days' where, in an Andy Hardy-esque way (hey that reference is even before MY time), where the kids got together and put on a show called New Media. But something was happening, and Lev, Mark, et al created some of the taxonomy. It just helps if you have a name to refer to when you have something that didn't exist before.

But in the last ten years or so, there seem to be this series of art-strategic moves where groups define quanta or 'movements' that seem to be more specific descriptions, local phenomena or epistemological branding for whatever reason, persona, institutional, or otherwise.

But I agree with Bogost in that there seems to be something missing. Not in the 'kids off my lawn' sort of way, but in the way where I feel like the stakes are too small to get that excited about. When they removed Clergyman and the Seashell from the Surrealist film program, Artaud came in with some friends and started busting heads.


CFP/CFW: Selfies and the New Photography

Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:35

Selfies and the New Photography
50 Artists/50 Selfies
Curated by Patrick Lichty

Call for Photos/Essays
Whether it is for an avatar for Facebook, self-portraits for online dating, or endless personal self-documentation for social media, the selfie (cell phone photo shot either through the back camera or via a mirror) is the emblematic form of photography in online culture. Due to its ubiquity in media culture, one asks what its social function resides and how that shapes the representation of the “public face” as media stream. Invited artists include Vagner Whitehead, Joe DeLappe, and Bibbe Hansen.

Selfies and the New Photography will consist of 50 artists from around the world along with an interpretation of their selfie.

Selfies and the New Photography will consist of an online site and on-demand full-color catalogue, where proceeds will be given to the Autism Society.

Please submit a best possible resolution image of your selfie, plus a 100-word description of your selfie or how you feel the selfie represents society or how we view ourselves.

Artists will be offered an at-cost access to the POD site for the catalogue.

January 15, 2014, firm.

Selfies and the New Photography invites scholars in Photography and New Media to inquire about inclusion in the catalogue. Essays should be 1250-4000+ words in length, and images are invited.

Intellectual Property Disclaimer:
By entering this exhibition, the artists and scholars accept to give reproduction rights as necessary for the production and promotion of the exhibition. A majority of the proceeds will be given to the charity listed.

Selfies and the New Photography is made possible by Intelligent Agent, a New Media service organization based in New York City.

Please submit all work and queries to


Video of Post Net Aesthetics is Now Online

With deference to Michael and Caitlin,
What I see here as the issue that I am hashing out is what I call (satirically) a move into a "post-discursive" or "Post-Scholastic" period. When The New Aesthetic got taken to task for being "new" and in furtherfield this week James Bridle just admitted that "It wasn't about aesthetics", and I hear the tacitly wrong assertion that there wasn't any contemporary art online before 2006 (even it exaggerated), I'm left very frustrated. When we have good writers like Charlotte Frost and Marisa Olson delving into the deserving 90's, we also have a lot of 'striped' discussion going on where we could say, "Well, we know _that's_ not correct, but there are some good points here..." I find that frustrating, too.

We're in an era that's a little too propositional about things like movements and historiography. Yes, good things are being said, but I think a little more care needs to be taken to the acuteness of the statement being made and accountability for sketchy polemic. The problem is that some of these spurious assertions becomes canon, then it's virtually undoable.

This is not so much an indictment of the above, but of a general lack of discursive mindfulness in contemporary culture. Michael makes a good point - some good things ARE being said, and Caitlin's right, too - the 2006 comment needs to be held accountable.

Culture is too important to be fast and loose with the facts, or worse yet, to possibly be innocent of them.


Embodying computation and Borging the Interface

Also from
Perhaps my title is a little hyperbolic, but there seem to be significant developments in regards to Human Computer Interaction happening. I see this all over Kickstarter, but after going to SxSW, this became evident. It seems that gestural, embodied, and ‘borged’ computing all seem to be emerging in force in the next couple years. This makes perfect sense to me, as I remember going to the Standford University archives on the history of computation, and reading Douglas Engelbart’s archives (remember, he did the mouse and the ‘Mother of all Demos’?). In his notes, he chronicled going to IBM’s R&D labs where, in 1958, the mainframe division was trying to avoid the keyboard/display paradigm – remember, Engelbart would invent the mouse four years later, so no K”M”D. They wanted to, using mainframes using 32 K of RAM use speech recognition and synthesis to communicate with the computer.

The future of embodied computation?

45 years later, we’re just starting to crack that nut.

But other interface paradigms have been tried, with more or less success. These range from Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad lightpen, Lanier’s goggles and glove VR interface (can we say that the goggles are reemerging with the oddly anachronistic Oculus Rift mask?) But as Terrence McKenna said in the radio program Virtual Paradise in the early 90’s, we need ways in which we can communicate via computers as the objective manipulators we are rather than keyboard cowboys. The “VR Fantasy”, as he put it would be to step into a space where we could communicate directly through symbolic exchange in virtual space, which reminds me of Lanier’s fascination with South Pacific cuttlefish who communicate through manipulating their pigmentation.

Is the key Haptics and Gesture?
There are three technologies, while possessing very different methodologies for their operation that point towards the necessity for the use of gesture in computation. Of course, the first is the Kinect, which, once hacked, has been one of the most revolutionary technologies for DIY 3D scanning, motion capture, and gestural computing. Before, programming environments like MAX/MSP and Isadora dealt with camera blob tracking and so on. Now, we have these self-contained devices that offload tracking computation and give a turnkey paradigm for gesture tracking.

Its little sibling, the Leap Motion, which seems a lot like a small dongle with IR emitters in it tracks fingertip and finger orientation with greater accuracy than the Kinect. What intrigues me about the leap is that as opposed to the large gestures that technologies like the Wii or the Kinect demand, we are presented with commands that could be as subtle as a flutter of the fingers above the keyboard, a fist, or a flip of the hand. Intuitive, gestural computing finally makes sense here. I like what I’ve been doing with my developers’ kit a lot.

The Mother of all Demos for Haptics/Embodied Computing?
But, what seems to be McKenna’s “VR Fantasy” for gestural/haptic computing is the work being done at the MIT Tangible Media Lab and how that technology found its way into the movie, Minority Report. In his 2009 TED talk, John Underkoffer talks about how they translated the work at the lab to the screen through the use of the Tamper system, which consists of motion-capture cameras tracking markered gloves to control multi-station, sensate media across any number of surfaces using a true 3D interface infospace, not just a recreation of a room (a la Second Life). Using mere gestures of the glove, Underkoffer is able to alter search criteria, selectively edit media, and navigate 3D interfaces similar to those in the movie.

Is it any wonder that new laptops are beginning to be shipped with multitouch screens? Could we project that Leaps could take over for the trackpad? Most definitely. In my media theory classes, I state flatly that the reason we use language is directly related to the fact that we are gesturing object manipulators with opposable thumbs, and to me, it seems un-shocking that computational culture has reached this point this late is because – 1: we tend to let go of familiar interfaces slowly, and 2: Moore’s Law hadn’t shrunk the necessary technology sufficiently to not have the boxes be the size of a refrigerator (and the price of an old Silicon Graphics computer). We are animals who build objectively, even in terms of language, and eventually it makes sense that our information devices reflect our cognitive ergonomics of objective construction and gesture. I love the idea of a computer reading body gesture.

“Borged” interfacing – the question of Glass-like infodevices.
In the beginning of this text, I mentioned Doug Engelbart going to IBM R&D in 1958 to talk to them about bypassing the keyboard and screen in lieu of natural, transparent computation. Vuzix, Google and a host of other manufacturers are hustling to get a transparent, augmented headset solution out as soon as possible. Steve Mann pioneered the genre long ago, and was even attacked in France in 2012 due to his appearance with his devices. In some ways, I feel like the ‘borg-glass’ interface might be the solution to IBM’s conundrum, but unless I see some sort of sensor on the body, I find devices like Glass still too far down the ‘brain in a vat’ road, but they do make us mobile, which is intriguing. I’d like to hear more of Amber Case’s ideas on the appropriateness to use of these devices.

So, since I visited Sundance New Horizons in 2009 and played with the Tamper system, I felt that a sea change was coming that finally recognized the body, listened to it, or even sought to merge with it. Kinects, Leaps, Tamper, Glass – these are all the move of computation from the desktop to the body that I wrote about in 1999 (Towards a Culture of Ubiquity) before our entire environments become responsive. But where we are with haptic interfaces represents the coming of a fundamental shift where computers are starting to become more like us, or maybe our interfaces will allow us to be more like computers.