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<nettime> INC Longform by Robin Lynch ++ The Art of Flex: Network Lesson
Geert Lovink on Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:29:08 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> INC Longform by Robin Lynch ++ The Art of Flex: Network Lessons from Post Internet Art ++


In the game of online visibility; cuddly animals, selfies, houseplants, bro-culture, health mantras, and Fiji water bottles are now strangely powerful tools. It is no coincidence that these images and sub-cultures are also commonly utilized in the rapidly growing category called ‘post-internet art’. There is a definite link between the kinds of images and meme strategies used in many post-internet practices, and the swift proliferation of post-internet art into the gallery and collecting scene.

Whitechapel curator and artist James Bridle stated: ‘the gallery is now part of the internet, not the other way round’, which is a crucial step towards recognizing the web 2.0 infrastructure that has now become a vital part of the art world. However, despite the many exhibitions focussing on post-internet practices and their interrogation of technology and internet spaces, very little inquiry has been done on the effects of the architecture of communications technology on representation and networks in art – how it is taken advantage of, and what biases are enforced towards visibility and content. For example, the Whitechapel’s recent major retrospective Electronic Superhighway tries to bring an art historical backing to an often only contemporary investigation of electronic and digital art. Though the historical research certainly aids in canonizing a medium which has for a long time been the unwanted child of the art world, the construction of web 2.0 and the mentalities it engenders remain an elephant in the gallery. As a result large questions such as the relation between Katja Novitskova’s cutesy mammal cut-outs and the rapid rise in post-internet art exhibitions are not put to the fore. One may also think of the curious parallel between the Canadian cellular company Telus’ marketing strategy of featuring baby animals in all of its ads, and Novitskova’s own usage of a similar aesthetic.


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