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

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When you go surfclubbin', don't forget your hat.

correction: last sentence, para 4: "nice to look at" not "nice to look


When you go surfclubbin', don't forget your hat.

Let's use an example. They've been in short supply around here.

This post by Javier Morales on Nasty Nets:

Petra had this onscreen for a while during the panel, during the part T.Whid called "boring."

I think it's brilliant. Using very simple means (screenshots and some html scrolling) it works in sexual content, in a very distanced, fetishistic way--just the words penis and vagina in a configuration that is both a mirror and a conflict. It is a snapshot of current culture--some earnest websites such as, cybersleuths, and cvcorner come up only because they use the word penis or vagina and google finds them. There are accompanying images that seem to have no connection to the words underneath them--did google do this or the artist? Plus there are snippets of text, moving just slowly enough to be read: "or is the penis a very large clit?" "the craze for designer vaginas" that somehow have to be accounted for in the overall clash of contexts. Plus it is nice to look, with its suprematist squares collapsing into each other.

Now, this was not submitted to Rhizome for institutional sanction as far as I know. It existed "out there" with 4Chan and all the other mashup sites. It's true that Rhizome sanctioned Nasty Nets but there is no link on NN to Rhizome or any other signifier that it exists in an approved stream of processing "art" content.

Perhaps you hate this piece but I don't think you can reduce it to "ironically posting links to existing media with your friends on a group blog." Perhaps you like it but I don't think you can claim it is what Net Artists have always done if you think it is "ironically posting links to existing media with your friends on a group blog."

I personally believe this is a new taxonomic class to be evaluated. The fact of it being on a blog, a blog that blends into the Internet "street," existing "outside" the world of grants for technological innovation, where the surrounding posts may very well be found material (but you have to figure it out), the fact of it using Google to generate a snapshot of the present moment, which did not exist in 1999 (yet still has old school simplicity), means it is different, and I think better. More complicated, more real than XYZ tech art where algorithm Y converts raw material X into social solution Z. Javier can't be blamed if some Rhizome staffers think what he is doing is important enough to rate a new version.

But regardless of whether I'm right about it being different, you can't both claim it and repudiate it.


When you go surfclubbin', don't forget your hat.

Here's what I see as the central problem of this discussion (that is, the people bashing current work):

If you have to ask what is different about the current work or what the 2.0 signifies then you can't at the same time say that "there's nothing new here" or that this is just an extension of what already exists.

You just can't.

There have been attempts by the antagonistic group to define the current work, but sorry, "ironically posting links to existing media with your friends on a group blog" doesn't cut it.

Several times I have suggested reading the Lialina and Ramocki essays but it is obvious from the above quote (from the thread here: that too much reading causes eyestrain.


When you go surfclubbin', don't forget your hat.

Re: video replacing film.
Movie houses are renting themselves out now for sports and opera simulcasts to stay afloat and all that distributed "man on the street" media predicted in the 70s is coming to pass with the social media sites.
Movies have morphed into "thrill rides" because that's what it takes to get people out of their houses and shelling out 12 dollars. Film is a dinosaur but if you want to compare Net Art 1.0 (or what I'm calling "pre-Net Art") to that, fine.


Net Art Versioning

The technological base of (the content of) the network determines the cultural superstructure of (the content of) net art."

Roughly translated: "We did the best we could with our primitive web and are staying there."