Tom Moody
Since 2002
Works in New York, New York United States of America

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DISCUSSION

Required Reading


There was a specific example on the table, of how a Guthrie Lonergan piece was transformed by stages from an expression inside social media into standard museum video art fare, and how that misinterpretation caused incorrect theorizing on the part of a "main stream art writer." It's always more reasonable to talk in terms of generalities and comforting timellnes, though.

DISCUSSION

Required Reading


I wasn't trying to prompt a reply to Davis's muddle. I was asking why Rhizome endorsed it, in light of Davis being wrong on specific examples.

DISCUSSION

Required Reading


Jason, glad to hear about your reservations. Davis's self-criticism at the end is just a little cough of modesty after he has laid out his Grand Unified Field Theory, I'd say, rather than a call "for a deeper and broader research of social media artwork."

Even though you, Rhizome, have been doing these blog posts for two years now is never too soon to start explaining why you endorse the recommended material, or to give needed caveats. If I were writing the disclaimer for the Davis piece here's how it would read:

"In coming into the discussion of social media art at the Man-Bartlett-on-twitter point of entry (i.e., this year), and skipping six years of discussion including such Rhizome-sponsored events as "Blogging and the Arts" (2004), and the Net Aesthetics 2.0 panels in '06 and '08, for example (see http://www.artfagcity.com/2008/06/12/net-aesthetics-20-the-long-of-it/), Davis's semiotic shoehorning is next to useless. He masks a neophyte level of understanding with over-complex grad-school sophistry and a smug tone. But please give it a read for a sense of art world attitudes about media art: as you can see, we have our work cut out for us."

DISCUSSION

Required Reading


Davis is one of those art world people who heard about Facebook two years ago. He doesn't use the word "blog" once in his essay--not because he thinks they're old hat but because he doesn't know what they are. He thinks animated GIFs are virtual presents people send each other on holidays.
He has heard of Wikipedia, though, so you can't be too hard on him.
Still waiting for Jason Huff's explanation for why this is "required reading."????

DISCUSSION

Required Reading


Davis writes for a magazine called "Artnet" and that's about his sole connection to the digital world from what I've read of his past articles. Mostly he obsesses about Marxism and class in the gallery world. This isn't a parody--he is trying to write from a regal, top down point of view about subjects he has only skimmed. Phrases like "this faddish obsession," "the chatter," "whatever trendy thing is out there" give away how deeply he's gone into this. But of course Davis is going to set us all straight. I'll take one example, of a piece I know. Davis writes:

>>A perfect example of [new media art incorrectly classified as social media art] is Guthrie Lonergan’s video-art project, shown at the New Museum’s "Younger than Jesus" show, which involved a curated selection of "found" MySpace videos (remember MySpace?), as a reflection of how identity is constructed on the web. The work is "about" social media; it couldn’t exist without MySpace; but it is not itself "social" in the least.

A little checking would have pulled up that Lonergan's project was originally a YouTube playlist, where it worked best--in the element of social media. (This was in fact several years ago, so to heck with Davis and his "remember MySpace?" dig.) Unfortunately Rhizome then linked to the videos directly and it lost some of its "street" connection. Then it was shown at at the New Museum as a two channel video with all the clips running in a set order, on nice screens. That's not even new media, it's traditional video art. As for "how identity is constructed on the web" that's just museum wall label BS and Davis should recognize that. In any case, the NewMu incarnation had nothing to do with the piece's origins and it should have been obvious on its face that it was not a new media work (a series of framed heads talking to the camera? Please). The fact that Davis chose this for the "new media" box for his Hollywood Squares chart shows how little he knows. My guess is if you look at his other examples (Man Bartlett, Nic Rad, etc) you'll find the analysis to be just as superficial.