Rob Myers
Since 2003
Works in United States of America

Rob Myers is an artist and hacker based in the UK.

I have been creating images of the contemporary social and cultural environment through programming, design software and visual remixing since the early 1990s. My work is influenced by popular culture and high art in equal measures. My interest in remixing and sampling has led to my involvement in the Free Culture movement. I have been involved in the public consultation regarding the Creative Commons 2.0 and CC-UK licenses. All my visual art is available under a Creative Commons license.

My interest in programming has led to my involvement with the Free Software movement. I developed the Macintosh version of the Gwydion Dylan programming language compiler. All my software is available under the GNU GPL.
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Video of Futures of the Internet Panel

Good post. No comments allowed though, so...

I moved off Mac a while ago and now use Ubuntu GNU/Linux. The software is more than good enough to do what I want to. People can install it on their Macs if they want, I was using an old iBook originally. Using Free Software is a very easy way of being progressive.

Sharky's comment about economics is the usual marketarian dogma, it's just useful idiocy for corporatism. His comment that there's no community around OLPC is also true for Windows software in third world schools. And quite how Windows will generate or leverage more social capital than OLPC I don't know, it's a bizarre claim to level against OLPC.

I'm finally reading Liu's "Laws of Cool", its thesis seems relevant to this.


Video of Futures of the Internet Panel

This web interface is killing the conversation for starters. It's soooo much effort to log in just to respond to an email.


Copyright, Artists and Continentalism

I don't think it's a US/EU split. Wikipedia, Linux, The Open Clip Art Library and other non-art projects are supported both in the US and the EU as part of very different economies.

In my experience artists just don't support copyleft. I've no idea why not. I would honestly be interested to hear from artists why they don't.

I once spoke to an artist who almost got funding for a show pulled because of rights issues with some found video material she was using. I suggested they copyleft their own video work to prevent anyone else suffering the same problem. They just couldn't understand the comparison.

Even when artists do try copyleft they usually break it by adding the NonCommercial restriction to Creative Commons's ShareAlike licence. (See Negativland for why NC is bad:



I am not "nit picking".

The scale is unimportant. Pop blows things up, that was 1/3 of Warhol's toolbox. Nesbitt's imagery and apparent technique were my point of reference, not the scale of his work. Nesbitt's moonshot paintings are more relevant to Proops's work because they deal with the image-making potential of technology and how that relates to society.

If "computer envy" is the only link between Proops and Nesbitt's work it is a very, very weak concept. I am not trying to misdescribe it as digital imagery; I wrote that Nesbitt does not paint digital imagery (...where Proops does) in order to point out the problem with the concept of "computer envy" for describing anything useful that links the work.

Painting provides a different point of reference when considering digital imagery (or if, we must get confused, the hardware and software and associated cultural imagery of computing machinery) pace Relational Aesthetics (the book) or Art & Language (post-1980) or Joy Garnett or... I'm sure there are painters who are unreflectively trying to produce what will sell to our new media overlords, and in contrast I know there is good reflexive computer art, but there's also a tradition of critical distance in art and art criticism that doesn't confuse technics with subject matter.



Relational Aesthetics" argues that the techniques of traditional media are required to give critical distance when depicting digital content. Julian Opie's "Imagine..." series achieved this in the early 1990s. It's certainly not the only possible critical position. But to describe this as "computer envy" is like describing critics as jealous failed artists. It gives a certain frisson but doesn't generate very much heat, never mind light.

Nesbitt's picture doesn't look photorealistic, it looks like the illustrations in children's books explaining IT of the time. It fits into the what was by then the established Pop strategy of depicting the physical and media products of capital as if they were high genre subjects (see Hamilton's "Hommage a Chrysler Corp"). I like Nesbitt's picture but it does not depict digital imagery, it depicts an expensive and new piece of computing machinery as seen in print media. So this is not an image that has any historical bearing on Proops's work, it is not an example of that genre, and it did not start that genre.

Ken Knowlton pixellated naughty photos in the 60s using the computing technology of the time. I have forgotten more artists who paint over bits of pictures than I can remember. The history of the play of revealing and obscuring images in art is a rich one. The history of detourning and ironising high art and low media images is a long one. There is more informative art history for Proops's work to fail against the background of than Nesbitt. Apart from anything else, putting Proops's work against that background gives him something to do, he clearly knows his art history.

I may try to get to the show to see if there's any wow. Paddy is absolutely right about the yBA hangover and the apparent visual paucity of the work. I agree with MTAA about the obviousness of Proops's current work. I have censored abstracts in old sketchbooks and I have seen painted dialogs many times before. But everyone has to start somewhere. Proops's work has got a sort of Glenn Brown/Banksy ethic that could go somewhere if he pushes it. Concentrating on the digital reference points misses that.