on bad digital art
Pall Thayer:

Hi, I'm going to see if I can get back into this. The responses have been great and I'm glad it sort of came back a bit after withering away. I'm not exactly sure any more why I posted the original, but I had good reasons at the time. So I'm going to see if I can get back into "the mode". It had something to do with previous discussions about Internet art being dead or old or whatever we're calling it these days. So I began wondering why such a young medium, still in its infancy really, could be dying and came to the conclusion that perhaps it's being misunderstood. Perhaps when people think that Internet art is a "been there, done that" sort of thing, they're talking about something that was at one time perceived to be Internet art but wasn't in the sense that it was somehow related, but the primary medium was actually something entirely different. I used the terms "technology" and "digital" because I'm sure they suffer from the same problems, but I was primarily thinking about Internet art because, hey, that's my thing. I think also, that in the technological, digital and Internet realms of contemporary art, a lot of people are trying to do too much too soon and this is something that is put forth so well in the Sol Lewitt excerpt re-blogged on Rhizome's front page yesterday that it should be repeated over and over again so here it is again:

"New materials are one of the great afflictions of contemporary art. Some artists confuse new materials with new ideas. There is nothing worse than seeing art that wallows in gaudy baubles. By and large most artists who are attracted to these materials are the ones who lack the stringency of mind that would enable them to use the materials well. It takes a good artist to use new materials and make them into a work of art. The danger is, I think, in making the physicality of the materials so important that it becomes the idea of the work (another kind of expressionism). "

It's like he's asking, 'Would you still feel comfortable about calling yourself an artist if you quit prepending it with "New Media", "Digital" or "Internet"?'

In fact, the whole article makes several good points and I suggest everyone read it and then tell everyone else to read it. You can find it at http://www.ic.sunysb.edu/Stu/kswenson/lewitt.htm


-- Pall Thayer p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca http://www.this.is/pallit