net.art
threads

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997
From: "davidg."

Art on the Net

After a long absensence (since the late eighties) it is once again a normal experience to go into galleries and museums and find works in which exciting artists use video. Significantly what neither the artists, nor the critics have reverted to is the term "video art". Artists such as Georgina Starr or Matthew Barney may be geographically apart but share a certain sensibility, they are also shrewd enough to avoid of the trap of being confined within the metaphor of given medium. Much of this new work is in fact revisiting the strategies of a much earlier generation Aconci, Abromovich/Uly etc, whose approach to video was also quick and dirty. Unlike those who came next there was no mystification of the medium, no "video art" as such. It was a tool, not an ideology. The same is true for the recent generation who grew up with the camcorder as just another household appliance, part of a continuum of media possibilities and almost as easy as picking up a pencil. It feels very natural, and the art is better for it.

This new generation may not have been around, but they are probably prevented from taking the wrong direction by some residual folk memory of the theoretical somersaults and tedious technological formalism that accompanied debates about what might or might not be *real* "video art". Is there a lesson for us to learn from this history? Yes, I believe that those of us who love the net and love art, and want to work in both should learn from the past and avoid the simplistic device of marrying these two terms. The term net-art (as opposed to art that happens to appear on the net) should be quietly ditched.

David Garcia



Date Thu, 13 Mar 1997
From: olialia@cityline.ru

Re: Art on Net

I.
David,
What means word "ditched"? i found several translations in english-russian dictionary, but they all explain nothing to me. i知 not very good in english and since i didnt get all sentences of your statement i知 not ready to answer.

II.
Carye, Alexey I hate it. For how long time we are going to participate in destructive discussions.

III.
David, Alexei
No i dont want to know what "ditched" means. i dont like to argue with all these "should -shouldn稚" directives-forecasts.

IV.
God, Mammy, Michael ( all not nettime subscribers)
I知 a net artists. I知 famous net artists. I知 very good net artist.
i can use the net to express myself, to sell my soul or to save humankind.
my works are net art masterpieces

V.
Does anybody like the level of statement [IV]?
i知 afraid not, but i値l send this message everytime somebody will write about net art, without analyzing works of mine or my friends, existing net artists (not all nettime subscribers).
What for to offer sense and context to people who have already created it or are in the process of creation?
Its obvious, if we want to develop the situation and understand smth the best thing we could do is to turn to personalities and their way of using net.
after these words i feel responsibility to do it myself first, but i still dont know exact meaning of some english words.



Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997
From: easylife@glas.apc.org

Re: Art on Net

> The term net-art (as
> opposed to art that happens
> to appear on the net) should
> be quietly ditched.
no, david, it痴 not time yet.
we have to wait until:
- big international net art stars (whose works and behaviour meet art institutions demands) will emerge;
- living legends of net art will appear (poor, but accepting no compromises);
- some names will be forgotten (to be discovered in the future by net art historians as key figures of the beginning of the movement);
- net art galleries, magazines, associations and museums will be established;
- as well as net art departments at universities;
- few net art histories (contradictory, each describing completely different picture) will be written; (i think everyone can easily continue this list)
only then those few net artists who survive will be able to proudly say: "yes, i am a real artist!", denying their low roots in sake of prosperous present.



Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997
From: rax@pop.thing.at

Re: Art on Net

David Garcia wrote (in respect to artists use of Video):
Much of this new work is in fact revisiting the strategies of a much earlier generation Aconci, Abromovich/Uly etc, whose approach to video was also quick and dirty. Unlike those who came next there was no mystification of the medium, no "video art" as such.

Well that痴 not altogether true ... the earliest work (Acconci, Fox, Campus etc.) was shot using a Portapak with limited (zero) editing capability - which made it, a priori, "quick and dirty". The "q & d" aesthetic was built right into the technology. When better systems came along they scaled their work up accordingly ... or, more often, dropped the video medium altogether.

It should also be remembered that the introduction of video tape coincided with the beginnings of the movement by artists away from object/product-oriented work in the direction of performance, action and installation. Much of the work David is thinking of is actually documentation of performances - as in the case of Marina Abramovic or Gina Pane, although there are some remarkable unedited, "pure" video tapes from the period (providing they have been saved to better tape).(1)

It was only with the introduction of the Umatic system and (relatively) low-priced editing equipment that something called "Video Art" could become possible at least in the institutions and "artist-run centers" that could afford to buy and maintain the gear.

And here is where the "theoretical/ideological" problems, that David mentions, begin (and also where the problems of so-called "Video Art" touch on the problems of so-called "Net-Art").

The questions of identity and definition - what is "Video Art"? Is it like painting and belongs in a museum ? or like TV and should be broadcast? or like a book and should be viewed privately? all or none or some permuation of these? And then there is the argument about the actual "Thing" video: is it an object ="The Tape"? or the idea ="The Content"? or the image ="The Screen"?

These arguments may sound silly now (except that they are re- surfacing in discussions about "Net-Art" or "Art-in-the-Net" if you prefer) but they were arguments that caused broken marriages and the collapse of artists collectives not so long ago. In the meantime "Video-Art" has virtually vanished, having found no niche in the "Art Market" - and having been overtaken by several waves of newer (digital) technology.

[...]

What makes "Video-Art" so important ("mystification of the medium" or not) is its role in the development of the new art tradition growing out of the recording technologies. For instance, with video tape, anything on a screen can be recorded and recycled (collaged) - copyright on a video tape is as absurd the copyright on a web page. The "video-artists" had to struggle with this fact in the same way that "net-artists" are doing now - and the "net" is actually a just huge dispersed recording machine.

Alexei痴 ironical polemic, in which he appears to accuse "net-artists" of dreaming of becoming (as General Idea put it in File Magazine 20 years ago) "Rich, Famous, Glamourous Artists" on the pattern of the art tradition of industrial (W)Europe and (N)America, has it just about right. If there is going to be something like "Art-In-The-Net" then it should be about connections and communication and not about objects and products - or art museums and galleries (and especially not virtual art museums and galleries).

Why should we, as artists struggling to find ways to survive on the tricky edge of a new digital communications environment, be trying to breath new life into the corpse of the traditional art institutions? For the money, fame and glamour?

[...]



Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997
From: rachel@irational.org
Re: Art on Net

[...]

So imagine the grandmaster Shulgin at a retrospective of his net.artworks after the term has been consigned to history (say two months from now), taking us through his career in an interview reminiscent of the precursor to truly machinic art forms - grandmaster Duchamp. See the how theissues of old modernist grandmasters conflate with the new.

"Regions which are not ruled by time and space...."*



Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997
From: jesis@xs4all.nl (j bosma)

interview with Jodi

[excerpts from Josephine Bosma interview with Dirk Paesmans and Joan Heemskerk-jodi]

Q: You致e tried to auction some webpages at this conference. [secret conf in London March 1997 see also www.backspace.org] How was that, what did you think of the respons from the audience?

D: It was allright. One was sold to Kathy Rae Huffman, who is a net.art promoter from the States who lives in Vienna. She is in this alternativ net.stuff completely. She bought one screen for ten pounds, so, that one will go to the Huffman-collection.

Q: You weren稚 exactly a salesman that gave obvious cues on when something was for sale. It was a bit unclear to people when exactly they could jump onto an offer.

D: It wasn稚 meant to start a large sale there in fact. What is happening now in art and net.art is people talk about what is alternativ and what is normal, mainstream. We see our work in a material way. It could simply be sold. There is a lot of nonsens talk around art. There should be no shame when you make something that is good, be it on a computerscreen, videotape, an etching, whatever, to sell it.

J: There is this discussion in the net.art scene that 訴t could never come into to normal art circuit because it would not be possible to sell it..probably because of the digital and immaterial side of the net.

Q: That is not the only discussion of course, there is also the fact that some do not want to be institutionalised. You are not afraid of that?

J: Depends on the institution.

Q: Do you think you will have a choice? Do you think you can manipulate the outcome in this?

D: In itself it would be good when a gallery picks us up and supports us in the kind of work we do. Ideally it would be fantastic for us. One should not run after them of course. There are all kinds of commercial art venues on the net. One of the central places now is New York, the Adaweb, where more then ten people work. They have Jenny Holzer and Lawrence Weiner as big names in their websites with some small works, but next to this they start this promotion of young web.artists. We too are going to do a project there soon. It is all without obligations and there are no deals, nothing is sold really. That is why it is funny for us now to try to sell something ourselves. The work we put on Adaweb we give them for free. We are not in the position to ask for much at this moment. Except maybe sell a screen for ten pounds.

Q: You are not thinking about more sensitive matters, like for instance what to do when the net.art group is picked up by a gallery and some of the artists are being hyped up to become famous and others disappear into nothingness? These kind of things happen all the time through art history. Do you not have any thoughts about this or do you not care? This is the image you give me a bit now. You said in your presentation that your web pages are no content pages..Are you no content too when it comes to these kind of questions? Are you not at all busy with more political questions maybe?

J: The work we make is not politically oriented, except that it stands in the net like a brick. The relationship with the net and other works on the net is a strong one. It is not 疎bout something political or a story.

D: We use certain elements, like a virus, whether a virus is present, or whether things go wrong with somebody痴 祖ache, somebody痴 personal computer. A lot of these elements are collages of things that are found on the net. The natural environment of us, of Jodi, is the net and you can find a certain condensed form of the net in Jodi. It is comparable to the kind of work I used to make for Zap-tv. This was a very one dimensial way of recycling tv into a new channel. So in this whole rubbish, ZAPP-TV I mean, you could find a condensed form of television. With Jodi it is not that simple. There are also projects in it, that are not so much downloaded from the net as gifs or jpegs, but certain techniques are used that are the order for the day on the net, that are 蘇ot so to say. These are technical matters, like how for instance instead of using words as links, like in hypertext, you can use certain kinds of buttons. We have a big problem with hypertext. To us hypertext is of no use at all. There are hardly any words in our website, except for the hotlist. Its a battle really. As hypertext is useless to us, we have to find other ways to make people navigate, or have the navigation happen as if by itself. Solutions for this can be things that are new in a Netscape version, or buttons that by clicking there you DO make a link. So you don稚 have to invent a letter A, B, C or whatever, but you simply use what痴 in the computer or Netscape or so. This is Joan痴 territory a bit, I must say. Joan does a lot of investigating in how to use Java, new techniques. We have some seperate projects. There is a bit of Zap-tv, a piece of Dirk project in a Beta-lab part of Jodi. In this Beta-lab there are also Joan Heemskerk projects. A series of photographes of pigeons with buttons over it: thats just Joans.

So we don稚 enter into that big battle with the net, eventhough we see it is there, because we get an enormous amount of mail from people that complain, that send us large questionmarks. They say: what is this crap?

Q: Really? Why is this, because there is no text with it?

J: This is because we transverse the way to make webpages. People think: A virus gets into my computer.. or: Whats happening to my screen! This is because it cannot be grasped. You get these short, direct reactions from panicking people.

Q: That is beautiful, a compliment, it means you created something completely new, doesn稚 it?

J: I don稚 know whether it is completely new, because it always contains elements that have been used before. It is collage. It is a new collage naturally.

D: The carrier, the Netscape carrier has of course never been used before. It is starting to be used now. The technique to create confusion and to mix things up has been used often before, but with this specific medium we made an early start. A reason for this is that we left The Netherlands on our own for San Jose, California. Silicon Valley.

We went there to see how all this Apple stuff and all software and applications, Photoshop, Macromind, Netscape 鼠ives there. What kind of people make this. This is very interesting to us. In some way we feel very involved, it is a bit of a personal matter to turn Netscape inside out for instance. I have a picture in my mind of the people that make it. And not just how they make it, but also of how they view it themselves within the States and Canada. How they see their Internet. 禅heir Internet, you can say that for sure.

Q: Your work is very radical, that we can conclude from the reactions you get. You say it has no content. It is only form, when you judge it on appearance only. It passes on this radical feeling though and you just said: We want to see who makes it, it is an american net, we overturn it, we turn Netscape inside out. Aren稚 you making choices to create your own space, to get things in your own hands again? This is quite unusual in the net, isn稚 it. People create something small at home, according to certain rules and it quite resembles each other.

D: One thing we have not done from the beginning is base our work on lay out. The page. We are dealing with screens. What we can learn from of how to organise a screen is tv, computergames and other software. Not from lay out, not from a way of creating an order that puts this fat title and then a chapter, another gif and two gifs next to that, etcetera. A magazine on the net. We can do nothing with this. There are choices imbedded in software, that are thought about on mailinglists of designers in California, like which features should be put in Netscape, how can you make tables. They think it is important to be able to put two columns of text next to eachother and stuff like that. Sometimes things slip in like in Netscape 2.0 (for the specialists). There you could have this background that would change all the time, background 1, 2, 3 etc. You could make great movies with that. You could let it run ten times in a row. They took this out in Netscape 3.0. It was used a lot on the net. The first part of our Binhex was based quite heavily on it, we used it a lot. They thought it was a bug. I can稚 see the bug here, it was just a free animation effect that was in there. It was threatening the stability of a certain type of lay out, it was disturbed too easily. So they took it out. We find other things to play with then. There are some basics of html that will never change, with which you can still avoid this classic approach.

[...]

D: I think it is good we are not in an art.net context. We are not the kind of people that adjust. We don稚 want to be in a new corner. You wil not find this in our site either. I will not say it is art. That is not what matters.

When we started it was of no use to drag those kind of things with us. That is what we did NOT want. Of course a certain form of knowledge and we are occupied with we put forward through Netscape, but we do not want to repeat what we know too well. Its nice to do.



Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997
From: jesis@xs4all.nl

net.art and art on the net

This is a piece of writing that gives you my personal reflections on net.art. You could very well have different ideas about it, and I try by writing this here right now to avoid the thought in your head that I claim to be an expert on the subject. What I like so much about art and new media and net.art is the fact that it is not defined yet. I have been a bit annoyed therefore by some writings recently on Nettime. I will try to let my definitions be as open as possible, but in my opinion, more touching as to what the term net.art does to me then that academic lingo, that by no means has the ability to cover the subject, simply because of the slippery nature of net.art.

Where to start when talking about net.art or art on the net or whatever it is these people make on the net? I will just try to write some thoughts down I had the last couple of days, and who knows it might become a coherent piece. Hard though, with this subject. Undesirable maybe even.

I read a statement in the newspaper the other day, that was part of an article about Wim T. Schippers, Hollands most famous Fluxus artist. It said that a good art work is prepared like murder: one has to be very precise and perfectionist and work in utter secrecy. This reminded me of net.art very much. It is almost betrayal to write about some aspects of it, because it is probably at this moment one of the few art forms that still have a potential of subverting and surprising in the way art has been seen to do in the past.

The first thing that came to my mind after reading both Davids and Carey痴 mails was: What are they talking about? Which art on the net? What net-art? As most of the Nettimers might know there seems to be this group called net.art that operates and organises around the Nettime perifery a lot. I have tried to find proof of this group claiming the name net.art this morning, but didn稚 find any. Maybe tiredness of surfing, I don稚 know. I thought it would be easy, but forget it. Somehow the term net.art is connected to this group however and it is confusing, especially in discussions like the one on Nettime recently about art and the Internet.

The reaction of Olia Lialina for instance to this discussion is a very personal one. She is one of the people of this net.art group. She does not understand a discussion about net.art when this discussion leaves her friends out completely. I have the same feeling, for several reasons. The net.art group has been very active and has produced many works that I cannot place in the discriptions given by both David and Carey about types

and possibilities of net.art. Not really anyway. Carey痴 discriptions get a bit close, but are too academic and in this way they look too much from a perspective of the old art, that was never comfortable with things like performance art or mail art, and has developed a manner of discourse about these that is choking and unsuitable mostly.

The connection with video art, well, I don稚 really care.

Video has never had the potential the net has. It had the illusion of that, and still has. With the coming of the camcorder it looked to some people as if the world of big media, of tv, could be invaded just like that. This turned out to be a Fata Morgana. The kind of technology required to transmit video in any way has always been and will stay for a while, even with the coming of RealVideo, a matter of big money, big machines and bureaucracy because of this. RealVideo might finally put an end to this in the future, but we don稚 know how the Internet will develop from the top down (restructuring I refer to). Video however has never had a real chance to become a medium like the net.

It would be much wiser to compare the development of the net to the early days of radio, which is done by some people outside(?) this list, Siegfried Zielinski for instance.



Date: Sun, 16 Mar 1997
From: lenny@Desk.nl

Net Art, Schmet art

Whatever you call it, it tends to be useful to create 祖onstuencies for emerging arts. It happens in any medium, and it is only a matter of time before 粗xciting artists are crystallized into recognizable form. 膳ideo Art as a circuit onto itself may be fairly discredited by now, but it has served as a breeding ground for some of the most credited artists of our time; in the 1992 Documenta (right in the middle of video痴 alleged 疎bsence form the artscene) the works by Bill Viola and Gary Hill were among the most-talked-about, and both artists emerged from the now marginalised 素estival circuit. Surely a large percentage of works in the video festivals seem hardly worth a look, but the same can be said of the majority of more object-based 壮pecial interest group shows scattered over the 疎lternative spaces of the western world (for example, there has been a re-emergence of 叢ainting-only or 層orks-on-paper theme shows).

[...]

Another way the Y.B.A. has broken some ice for video is that it is now becoming acceptable to charge large sums of money for 鼠imited edition video works by hot artists, a concept that somehow never took off before... See, the Artworld still ticks on the sale of precious objects, and preciousness in this case (well, in almost any case) hinges on exclusivity.

[...]

With the knowledge of the net still relatively rarefied, the gulf of misunderstanding between 奏echie net-artists and 奏raditional art institutions is bound to persist for some time. In the mean time I wouldn稚 mind some self-proclaimed net-artists developing some standards and driving some of the low-res online art-cataloguing (which 99 percent of 疎rt on the net seems to amount to - including, I confess, my long-ago-aborted attempt on desk.nl) off the web.



Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997
From: olialia@cityline.ru

RE: net.art and art on the net

[...]

This is enough about the 創ormal artworld and net.art I think.
Leaves me with a question towards the net.art group that has been
bothering me for a while. How can you call your group by this name?
but, its a mistake. where is no such a huge group looking for name and group identification.
where are people who work together as well as separately. its more like community (i know several ones) of artists who support each other or simply communicate.
i know very well one sad example of misunderstanding. it happened in the end of 80s when russian experimental film community (around ten artists from Moscow and Leningrad) was taken by society (by critics, theoreticians) as an art group. They worked in different aesthetics, they appeal to different traditions but it was more easy and actual (peak of perestroika) to search them as a group of new artists, who all work apart from state, all shoot on 16mm (not 35), all have no cinematography education and publish one zine CINE FANTOM and so on... As the result, all they got was a lot of researches of word CINE FANTOM and long articles about the idea of notion "russian exp. film". they became victims of social interest to a group.
i mean,
1. if you have nothing to manifest together on aesthetic level there is no sense and even dangerous to appear as a group.
2. great number of definitions to net art reminds me all these unsuccessful attempts to identify a table instead of people speaking around it.
[...]


Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997
From: easylife@hawk.glas.apc.org

Net.Art - the origin

I feel it痴 time now to give a light on the origin of the term -"net.art".
Actually, it痴 a readymade.

In December 1995 Vuk Cosic got a message, sent via anonymous mailer. Because of incompatibility of software, the opened text appeared to be practically unreadable ascii abracadabra. The only fragment of it that made any sense looked something like:

[...] J8~g#|\;Net. Art{-^s1 [...]

Vuk was very much amased and exited: the net itself gave him a name for activity he was involved in! He immediately started to use this term. After few months he forwarded the mysterious message to Igor Markovic, who managed to correctly decode it. The text appeared to be pretty controversal and vague manifesto in which it痴 author blamed traditional art institutions in all possible sins and declared freedom of self-expression and independence for an artist on the Internet. The part of the text with above mentioned fragment so strangely converted by Vuk痴 software was (quotation by memory): "All this becomes possible only with emergence of the Net. Art as a notion becomes obsolete...", etc.

So, the text was not so much interesting. But the term it undirectly brought to life was already in use by that time . Sorry about future net.art historians - we don稚 have the manifesto any more. It was lost with other precious data after tragic crash of Igor痴 hard disk last summer.

I like this weird story very much, because it痴 a perfect illustration to the fact that the world we live in is much richer than all our ideas about it.



Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997
From: hopkins@usa.net

Net.art things?

Historians retrospecting on the foggy lines of History are always so tempted to label things as Movements and Periods and such. I find this rather ridiculous. Consider asking someone who is 40 years old how they felt about a situation that happened to then 25 years previous, what impressions, their emotional and intellectual state at the time and a detailed description of the material event, what REALLY happened... Now, aside from a handful of "life-changing" events that normally occur to people over time, they would have a VERY hard time reconstructing anything near the reality of their own past...

Now, when I see a term like Surrealism and Surrealists, I really have to Laugh at the way Art Historians and unfortunately artists too get caught into believeing that this is the way things happened at all! I mean, look, are there, out there, to your knowledge, groups of people making Movements now? I would propose that it is not movements but simply the existence of dialogues of greater or lesser potency running between individuals who, depending on how much personal risk they are able to take, influence the lives of each other directly through this dialogue... (Take Nettime for example the perfect example of not a movement, but the accumulation of the various voices who are more or less talking to each other, nothing more nothing less. Ask yourself how much Nettime CHANGES your life, and that is a measure of the dialogue...

I find the discussion about Net.Art to be rather pointless unless one is in the process of copyright protection or the rigor-mortis institutionalization of a history that is not even history. What about the International Netowrking Congress of mail-artists; I have been part of an organic network and using that word for a long time, yet I don稚 feel the need to claim a word to

1) describe the whole of being which generates the material and actual manifestations of my "life work" nor

2) posits some historical claim of legitimacy to what I am doing or how I am being...

I am sorry, but it seems a joke! And I just don稚 see the point in dividing things up, what art FORMS are ascendent over another... I believe we all, in every formal sense, face a "hands-on" material world with one foot in the spiritual. Anything that we seek to DO faces the brutal challenge of either forcing material things into new configurations or of speaking/paying attention to another human in the hopes of inspiring them or being inspired... The material struggle that I think people are speaking of here (in terms of video art, net art, painting and so on) are all rather (or totally) similar aspects of that challenge of material transformation... Now, I know the immediate response to this from some is "well, net art isn稚 material..." or some such argument, but that is simply not so. Is a computer material, is RAM material, are fiber optics material, copper wires, generators, monitors? I mean, fundamentally, almost all of what we call TECHNOLOGICAL media are material transformations relying solely on the two most abundant materials in the earth痴 crust silicon and oxygen SiO2 amorphous silica glass which covers photography (camera-based media), all digital media (chips are made primarily of amorphous silica). Differences in all the manifestations are illusory and a result of the endless hair-splitting of the reductive system of Western science which has lead us only to finer questions of what we either never need to KNOW or what is so essential that we can稚 KNOW it anyway... I think questions of quality rather quantity are more important to consider here. (parallel to ideas like a consideration of human obligations vs human rights) Another words for example, discussions of not whether Paul Garrin痴 efforts with setting up Autono.net will work or not but whether he is having a genuine influence on other people痴 lives and whether that effect is positive or negative... Of course, that may seem a question to answer historically, but hey, I can answer it based on some near meetings with him, seeing his words, seeing his trail (etched in silicon) and so on... for myself, and express that personal understanding to someone else who would care to listen and share their impressions...

Sometimes I feel acutely the distance we have from each other in the veils of words that swirl around us, that we cloak ourselves in, and I am gratified to have spent some concentrated moments with some of you out there, from time-to-time, and place-to-place, physically unmediated, looking into your eyes, and speaking as direct as possible, or, better yet, silently sharing existence in this material incarnation...

I seize whatever physical means I can, based upon the moment, to express my desires, my life-energies, what difference does it make?

I would quote and amplify from my own take Bob Adrian痴 remark "Why should we, as artists struggling to find ways to survive on the tricky edge of a new digital communications environment, be trying to breath new life into the corpse of the traditional art institutions? For the money, fame and glamour?" Giving lip-service to any forms of institutional cultural organization is to give it credit, form, substance, and most dangerously, POWER. NAMING a thing is to call it into existence and invoking it repeatedly will pump it up... Although I would not criticize the actions of those people who seek to understand the workings of cultural/social situations, I think that understanding needs to be weighed whether the knowledge is needed even after all, every thing that can be known, do we need to know it, or should we know it? Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge or Good and Evil got us here possibly, mired in a material world that is possibly only a furnace to test our spirits for other things or simply a place to act out our lives here and now... Fame? (I suggest spinning the John Lennon tune so artfully interpreted by John and David (Bowie) by the same name...) What痴 a name? What痴 a name? What痴 a name...

[...]



Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997
From: Jeremy.Welsh@trdkunst.no

Net art vs. video art ?

I致e been reading the posts about net art and the earlier model of video art the last few days and I find the dicussion perplexing, often misinformed, prejudicial and lacking depth or historical accuracy. Must take issue with John Hopkins, when you propose to trash the entire edifice of Art History, John ! Historians can and do get it wrong, same as artists do, but that痴 no reason to write off a vast body of knowledge.

[...]

I also find it worrying that anybody at this moment in history shoul pusue the relatively useless task of erecting a new formalism based upon something so ethereal as a "net art". It is not a medium, it has no form, it is a carrier of forms and of information and an enabler of communication and it may also be some kind of a space. But a medium it is definitively not. And I dare say that, despie the video art banner which has now passed into history, video was never a medium either. The important thing with both video and the things that are manifested on the net are that they represent a further dissolution of the kinds of formalistic boundaries that used to determine what art could or could not be. Many of the correspondents whose thoughts I have read refer constantly to their work as a form of collage. The kinds of things that are being done with resampled/recombined data on the web are only a further extension of a process that begins (provisionally) with the cubists and gets to be the dominant aesthetic as a result of Scratch Video ( an undergournd movement for about five monutes) and its subsequent incorporation in MTV, advertising and mainstream cinema. Now that everything we look at is more or less collage it would be ludicrous to contend that collage is in or of itself a radical strategy.

It痴 a tool that anyone can use, and precisely this ubiquity makes it viable and interesting. Finally, I壇 like to say that I enjoy the discussions that are going on. The fact that there is a discussion is the most important aspect. New strategies will be developed, (his) stories and (her) stories will get written and in the future somebody will emerge or get created who can fulfill the need that chroniclers (not serious histroians) have for catalogues of those who have invented new forms or movements. Remeber all the anecdotes about Nam June Paik and be vareful when using hearsay as the basis for decsribing the orihin of a movement (sic)



Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997
From: xaf@interport.net

net.art

Net.art is interesting if you regard its basis in networking, but not necessarily the Internet. Because you can then look at the symbiosis between networking technologies, artistic practices, and accompanying discourses, where a particular sense of embeddedness, connectivity, flow, discourse form, etc., is present, and signify that as 創et. It痴 important to look at the Internet as embedded in a net: its offline elements uphold and fuel its forms, even as those forms rebound back to affect its 双utside. (As if we could still make those distinctions.) There is nothing wrong in looking at the formal aspects of this, if you look at the practices and forces embedded in them, and you don稚 look at those in terms of a forced interior (that is, a cyberspace vacuum). Formalisms can be very valuable, as dense 叢ackets which, when unpacked, reveal a whole of society, a world of practices and knowledge formations. The form may only be a residue, a screen burn, perhaps lodged temporarily in the mind. Packet-switching already has a formal structure, which can sweep past the surface leaving a trace. So a formal discourse might engage this switching, its traces, its surfaces, its temporalities, and reversing the vector of projection, show at the optical and embodied forms required to register it, etc.

The work that exists on the web, as part of this 創et. requires a double 喪eveal codes strategy of analysis, including the ways that, as Andreas Broeckman says, it is dependent upon "the process initiated by and within the complex machine of people, the network infrastructure, desires, technical hardware, design tools, interfaces, behaviors."



Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997
From: hopkins@usa.net

Re: Net art vs. video art ?

Again, speaking on this thread of histories of this technological field of work that many of us are in and responding to Jeremy痴 comments...

[...]

If you wanted to strip the existing contemporary history of art down to consist of monographs, exhibition catalogs of major museums, critical writings in major Art publications, you still wouldn稚 get anything remotely coherent about the workings of technology-based arts... to speak of misinformation and prejudice is simply not applicable to a body of experience that is primarily personal and not yet even remotely collective... Nettime is (or should be) a prime example not of collective histories happening in the moment, but of the development of dynamic dialogic personal histories that are happening now, while we are alive and kicking.

[...]

I guess where ever I see wrestling with these collective histories who did what first, who named this or that, I am immediately struck by the futility of the efforts I suppose perhaps that positions are being taken that confuse personal and collective histories... You could say that personal histories can be known by the individual, but collective histories cannot be known in any definitive way until time has distilled (killed?) the many voices, and even then, the relationship of the collective history to 層hat really happened may not be "accurate"...

History is a well, it is full of lessons and the truism "you don稚 know where you池e going unless you know where you池e from" holds some power. But notice that it speaks of the individual rather than the mass; it speaks of individual understanding of personal histories...

I need only read Tacitus "The Annals of Imperial Rome" rather than The New York Times to know not only the principles but the substances of the corruption in the US government in Washington! No doubt. When historical distillations reflect principled understanding, that is when they are of the greatest value.

History is written ex post mortem.