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

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DISCUSSION

The Commenter: A Lament


Rhizome's reblogging of content from the wider internet, beginning around 2005 or so, using a diverse pool of interested (but unpaid) "site editors," was a smart move. It elevated Rhizome from the cloistered email era into a larger WWW conversation. Then it stopped, sometime around 2007, possibly because the site editor concept wasn't sustainable, or was just too unruly. That's about the same time the gallery art world collectively joined Facebook. The new media community also drifted over there and that's where the conversation's been ever since (and to a lesser extent twitter and tumblr).
If, as Michael Connor suggests, Zachary Kaplan is zealously following and participating in conversations elsewhere, why not enlarge that role and have a mechanism in place to feed those discussions back into Rhizome? A kind of human-edited "track back" function. Take "Facebook content" and reclaim it for a non-profit commons (within the bounds of copyright law, if that's even possible).
It's good to have a diffuse (truly rhizomatic) conversation going on but there's also value to having a "central clearing house" for ideas of common interest. Not a top down affair but a place for weighing and comparison of the relative value of work. As long as commenters are welcomed and responded to, careers don't get launched unless they deserve to.

DISCUSSION

The Commenter: A Lament


^In fact, I'm sure that's what he meant.

DISCUSSION

The Commenter: A Lament


Since Rob Myers didn't actually state a complaint let's not read his mind and invent problems. His posting of the dead horse and Easter Island statues might refer to the moribund ideas of certain "web 1.0" artists who once haunted Rhizome's comments or the current horrorshow of having intellectual discussions on Facebook. In fact, I'm sure that's he meant.

DISCUSSION

The Commenter: A Lament


Michael composed this post "live" on streaming video and put it up minutes before I came on to read comments aloud (into the same camera), so I didn't see what he wrote until a couple of hours later (when I got home). Thanks for the kind words about my unkind words, and for having me on as guest telethon presenter.
I missed out on that "Breaking the Ice" thread but do somewhat miss the days when "people ... comment[ed] on Rhizome.org, a non-profit website that serves as an important cultural archive, rather than on a for-profit site that will sell your data to the highest bidder."
Being a Facebook refusenik isn't shunning all social media, but unfortunately Facebook is where the net art community chose to go after Rhizome, and I'm well out of these Zuckerberg-monitored discussions. (I get it second hand through emails and screenshots.)
The idea that Facebook refusenik-ism is an elitist removal from the affectively laboring masses (good phrase) is as disturbing to me as saying you have to be on Facebook, otherwise employers and law enforcement will think there is something wrong with you. It's just another form of peer pressure, that benefits someone else's bottom line who could give a damn about net art doctrine.
I'm happy to see that Nicholas O'Brien, Geert Lovink and a few others finally said "yuck I'm out of here" to the Facebook Academy. No one really knows where to go next, but I'll continue to say that Rhizome is a good forum. Even if it's just me talking back to Michael Connor.

DISCUSSION

Liquid Crystal Palace: Jeremy Blake and his new peers


The Fahrenheit 451 connection is intriguing -- a '60s vision of abstraction-as-dystopian-mass-entertainment is certainly an interesting jumping-off point for a '90s body of work. As one who watched Jeremy Blake's career from the start I'd say he hit it around '98 with Bungalow 8, depicting transparent walls of a modernist apartment sliding in and out of each other - and then it was all downhill, as his work became "pure" abstraction (such as what appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson's film Punch Drunk Love), and then the later narrative, collage-y stuff, which was the least successful work he did (except in the commercial/exposure sense). Liquid Villa was essentially a repeat of Bungalow 8, with what seemed to be gratuitous Mediterranean stylings.

One quibble with this essay is the use of "prosumer" at the end. One reason Blake was able to distance himself from new media (or what was then still often being called "computer art") was that no one in the art world knew anything about the programs or effects he was using and he didn't talk about it. The "prosumer" dialog that you've identified with artists such as Michael Bell-Smith is all about "look what we did with this or that program that mid-level professionals use." Blake's work would have benefited from that kind of demystification at any stage. Instead it was treated as some kind of mysterious painted video that emerged from the mind of a genius.

Not that anyone asked, but here's what I wrote about Liquid Villa in 2001, discussing a Tim Griffin-curated group show:

"Only two of the artists make direct, hands-on use of the computer. Conjuring post-human exercise videos, Asymptote Architecture's looping, slowly morphing pod-shapes on small display screens combine machine curves, body contours, and textures scanned from athletic apparel. In Jeremy Blake's DVD light-show-in-a-box, pulsating color field patterns alternate with views of a synthetic Mediterranean villa, as if to say that inside the computer, it's all just planes and colors. Both artists favor the sleek airbrushed look typical of commercial digital work and display their pieces on pricy appliances such as wall-mounted plasma screens and Apple G-4 hard-drives; this is fine, but the danger of embracing the dominant economy's techno-fetish is that (as Joseph Kosuth once said of painting) one also embraces 'the tradition that comes with it': consumption, fascination, waste."

http://www.tommoody.us/archives/2009/01/27/from-the-print-archive-compression-exhibit/