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<nettime> crish/crash/crush digest
nettime's_mandibular_function on Thu, 23 Mar 2000 00:42:42 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> crish/crash/crush digest


Re: <nettime> crush/crash v.2
     "conceptualart.org" <curator {AT} conceptualart.org>
          robert adrian <rax {AT} thing.at>

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Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 08:42:14 -0800 (PST)
From: "conceptualart.org" <curator {AT} conceptualart.org>
Subject: Re: <nettime> crush/crash v.2


> Museums have supported this type of work, from even before the invention of
> the browser or the web. Perhaps you are not up on your history of
> telematic, network and/or net art (whatever you like to call it).
> 
We are certainly aware of the fact that network art has it's own rich
history ... and have great respect for Roy Ascott's work.  You also have
made plain exactly the type of work that we most support when it is done
well.  We would even go back to some early radio work as having
strong enough resonances with net art to possibly qualify.  Our fear,
however,(and perhaps this stems from our proximity to Silicon Valley) is
that this type of work is being superseded by a fascination with graphic
design aesthetics and commercial striving. 


> If anything I imagine that those museum curators who have a knowledge of
> the history of these media (yes, there are a few) are feeling despondent
> about the success of the web/browser paradigm, which has managed to
> homogenise so much work. But this is part of the maturation of any medium.
> The interface that allows access to the work, and thus the nature of the
> work itself, must standardise if it is to aquire an audience. This is bad
> news for radical work.
> 
> Reality is the radical work on the net was done at least 10 years ago. What
> we are seeing now is the emergence of a formulaic or mannerist period.

We couldn't agree with you more with regard to the bad news for radical
work.But as far as standardization of interface, we don't see where that
will stabalize any time soon. 
 
We worry that as long as the technology continues to evolve on the
"planned obsolescence" model, network art will remain stuck in this
formulaic/mannerist period.  The fact that there seems to be a bit of a
push on the part of the museums (and we will admit to a certain localized
concern) toward work with a stronger commercial appeal concerns us. To use
a baseball metaphor as spring approaches in California:  Will art turn
into a farm system for the major league teams of commercial
design...graphic and otherwise? We wait to see what happens with the
Webby award from SFMOMA.

I guess our larger concern is that this formalist period is fostering the
development of a generation of students who's only concept of art is
derived from the consumption of logos and advertisements.  Even if there
is good work being created with commercial design aesthetics, it seems
important for there to exist some alternative.

Returning to the subject of our original review ... support for this
alternative was not apparent (if anything there seemed to be a low level
hostility toward alternatives) in the Berkeley symposium. While there
surely are (as you state) "a few" curators who are bothered by the
web/browser paradigm.. all we saw at the crash symposium were curators and
professors struggling with the simple task of figuring out how to praise
work on the internet without much understanding of any possibilities or
history outside of that paradigm.  Given the location and the parties
involved...we expected more.

curator, conceptualart.org
  

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Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 19:18:09 +0100
From: robert adrian <rax {AT} thing.at>
Subject: Re: <nettime> crush/crash


Simon Biggs wrote:

>Museums have supported this type of work, from even before the invention of
>the browser or the web. Perhaps you are not up on your history of
>telematic, network and/or net art (whatever you like to call it).

Its pretty hard to locate any serious support by museums for early
low-tech (phone-based) art/telecomm projects. Only 2 major museum-
initiated events come to mind:
1. "Pacific Rim Slowscan", a project by the Vancouver Art Gallery
    (1978).
2. "Artists Use of Telecommunications Conference" by the San
    Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1980).
The Musee d'Art Moderne in Paris supported Ascott's "La Plissure du
Texte" project in the context of an exhibition: "Electra'83" - and there
was, of course, Lyotard's huge "Les Immateriaux" exhibition at the
Pompidou in '85 that included distributed-authorship projects using
Minitel. There may be some others but the point is that there was no
follow-up or continuation of support by any museum.

>The Venice Biennale (the museum of museums, even whilst it is only
>temporary) in 1986 hosted a number of such projects, [ ... ]
>[ ... ] Documenta IX and X both hosted similar work. Even back in
>1987 Documenta was hosting Ponton with their proto net art.

Ars Electronica ought to be added to this list since it has supported
communications projects, off and on, since 1982 ... including Ponton's
prototype (in 1990) for the "Piazza Virtuale" at Documenta IX (1992
not '87 - unless there was something at D-VIII I've forgotten).

But these are festivals/events not museums (the Biennale as "the
museum of museums" is a clever formulation but off the mark). The
presence of telematic work in these blockbuster shows indicates
that some curators were aware of the way the wind was blowing but
their institutions ploughed on afterwards as though nothing had
happened. There is a lot of history to artists' work with telecomm
but you won't find it in the art museum archives.

>If anything I imagine that those museum curators who have a knowledge of
>the history of these media (yes, there are a few) are feeling despondent
>about the success of the web/browser paradigm, which has managed to
>homogenise so much work.

In spite of neo-liberal hype to the contrary, history hasn't ended. In
fact the history of computer-based communication is just beginning.
The experiments with the telephone, radio, tv etc. started about 30
years ago. Work by artists/hackers with networked computers began
maybe 15 years ago. With the internet its just 5 years. There is a
feeling in the community that - judging by the way the WWW is
shaping up - artists may have to reinvent the BBS network to operate
in e-space 5 years from now (5 years is eternity in this game).

>The interface that allows access to the work, and thus the nature of the
>work itself, must standardise if it is to aquire an audience. This is bad
>news for radical work.

Talking about standards and audiences in this context doesn't seem
to make any sense when the nature of the medium is participatory
and the technology is still in its infancy - and radical work will
continue to be work that resists appropriation by the art-industry
or commerce.


______________robert adrian_____________

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