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

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DISCUSSION

What's Postinternet Got to do with Net Art?


Feeling a bit uncomfortable in the "kids get off my lawn" zone...
We're all struggling with how much autonomy it's possible to achieve from ubiquitous tools we didn't design. And finding a balance between quotation (reference to a common language) and the novel twists of art. Couching this is as intergenerational warfare probably isn't helpful. It's true I complained about recent SAIC graduates reinforcing bad nomenclature but it's the groupthink that's more vexing to me than the biological age of the thinkers.

DISCUSSION

What's Postinternet Got to do with Net Art?


In the present post, Michael Connor makes a distinction between a Web 1.0 artist as modernist, idealistically seeking the innate language of the web, and post-Web 1.0 as post-modernist "interpreters, transcribers, narrators, curators, and architects." And somehow the increasing commercial sophistication of the web factors into this.

I didn't attend the first (2006) Net Aesthetics 2.0 panel but I was a panelist on the second (2008) version, along with Petra Cortright, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Tim Whidden and Damon Zucconi. ( https://vimeo.com/2183669 ) We were talking about surf clubs and at that point "Web 2.0" wasn't synonymous with Facebook but possibly Blogger and Myspace, which hadn't quite become the perfected advertising funnels social media is now.

Artist blogs were still a bit outside the commercial hurly burly. You weren't as indicted and implicated in the system on a Word Press blog then as you are with a Facebook page now. So there was a relative innocence to the discussion. I would say there was an equal mix of interest in making original content on and for the Web with stepping-outside-the-web-and-looking-askance at it.

I showed my "OptiDisc" GIF and using screenshots, demonstrated how it had been hotlinked on scores of other people's pages (Myspace, Livejournal, YouTube, etc), with the linkers not having any idea of its source other than that it was a "cool graphic." A kind of Calvino-esque invisible city of hotlinkers. I also showed a post from the Double Happiness blog of "rival snack squads," consisting of two very similar collections of multi-racial, mixed-gender, all-young-people cartoon characters used to personify Wise potato chips and the AMC movie chain (without actually being aware of each other). So we had 1.0, post 1.0, and commercialism all balled up in the same presentation. It seemed more innocent and hopeful, though in comparison to later essays admonishing artists to find their places in the "like economy."

Yet at the same time, that 2008 panel coincided with "Internet Week" and a commenter accused the older panelists of aiming their pitches at the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the audience. There were a few. One of them, I think, complimented me on "monetizing" the hotlinking of others by making fine art prints of their thefts, thus profiting from the pirates. I was somewhat dumbstruck, having not considered that aspect at all. (I was just thinking, how can I make the best display of this idea, I swear.)

The point of this reminiscence is to blur the lines of 1.0, post-1.0, and the commercial, which I think artists do, stepping all over curators' and historians' fine distinctions. So there.

DISCUSSION

What's Postinternet Got to do with Net Art?


A while back, Rhizome posted Guthrie Lonergan's Hacking vs Defaults chart, which among other things contrasted JODI's blog URL with my blog URL (I was "defaults"). Curiously, the screenshot chopped off the bottom half of the chart, omitting this URL comparison. I griped in the comments and the chart was presented whole.

Something similar happens here and I'd like to note for the record that Olia Lialina's Agatha piece follows a set order of leapfrogging URLs and the exact sequence includes this triad:

http://www.johannes-p-osterhoff.com/agatha/makes_stupid_things.html

http://www.tommoody.us/agatha/already_tired.html

http://www.tema.ru/agatha/has_no_idea.html

Being an easter egg of net art keeps the ego in check, let's say that. As for post-internet, post internet, or postinternet, here's some writing from the invisible blog:

post-panels internet

In the 2008 Net Aesthetics panel at the New Museum no one used the term "post-internet" (with or without hyphen). So it's amusing that in this year's so-called Post Net Aesthetics panel (which, according to Rhizome, "picks up the discussion from [its] Net Aesthetics panels of 2006 and 2008," the subject was whether the term "post-internet" had outlived its usefulness.
With all deference to Gene McHugh, who called his blog "Post Internet," the term was laughable if you ever said it aloud outside a group of seven or so recent graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (one of whom co-organized "Post Net Aesthetics"). Any use of "post-" 100 years after post-impressionism is inherently pompous, and since no "internet artist" was actually leaving the internet, it never made a bit of sense except to this SAIC-based group, who used it repeatedly and reverently (but always with a bit of "yet, is it over?").
Presumably they used "post-" in the art historical sense of "reacting to but incorporating elements of," but since "internet" isn't exactly a narrowly-defined style, it's wildly over-reaching to say you belong to a movement running counter to it. Especially since the only reaction anyone could see was the retro-direction of showing in galleries, or "material engagement" (hideous phrase), while the artist also maintained a net presence.
Thin gruel for a movement, or a panel topic.

DISCUSSION

Internet Real Estate, Art and Power: The cases of Artsy and .art


Also, Michael, am not disagreeing that curation at this point is mere selection. Vidokle said "we won't be curating" instead of "we won't be gatekeeping" because he wanted to deny in advance that he'd be exercising "higher" levels of taste, which, of course, he will be. I objected to him (and Paddy) putting that word in my mouth, but let's cover all eventualities: if e-Flux wins .art they will be gatekeeping, curating, and curating by gatekeeping.
--Tom

DISCUSSION

Internet Real Estate, Art and Power: The cases of Artsy and .art


Hi, Michael,
Thanks for the response. Orit Gat adopts a "on the one hand, on the other hand" style of writing that raises questions but stops short of taking a position on e-Flux's ambitions. It's good to hear from you that Rhizome won't use .art if e-Flux succeeds.
Gat asks a pertinent question: "If a different entity were to win the management of the .art domain (Deviantart is one of the applicants, for example), would the art world be as involved with the fate of the domain? It’s doubtful."
It would be good to see the logic of this explored a bit more. If deviantart or donuts.co won the domain, "art" as the art world knows it would go on pretty much as it has. Nothing on .art would be taken seriously. The furor (if it exists), then, is over the possibility that e-Flux won't be a deserving steward. That should be explicit in Gat's article.
My distinction in that blog post you mention between "web-based art culture" and "gallery-based power structure" wasn't as simplistic or Manichean as those quotes make it sound. Deviantart is closer to an IDEA of web-based democratic culture than e-Flux's fee-based mailing list of "top" museums and galleries, but that doesn't mean we should have a tyranny based on likes or stats. I think the best outcome would be if some art-clueless third party company won the domain. Here's what I said on Paddy's blog:

The beauty of art on the net is it's spread around sites like .fm, .com, even .biz. E-Flux has the potential with this scheme to be a new Facebook of art (in the sense of "you have to be on it to play"). It is already Facebook-like in its maintenance of an exclusive mailing list.
.art under E-Flux also has the worrisome potential to become a place of knee-jerk left orthodoxy: trolls, wingnuts, and future urinal-appropriators need not apply.
What are the alternatives? One of the above-mentioned business entities wins .art, turning it into a tacky, profit-oriented no-go zone for anyone with a creative bone, and art continues to thrive in a decentralized way.

Best, Tom