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Re: <nettime> (x)art
Dan Wang on Tue, 21 Dec 1999 14:21:32 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> (x)art

> Technology is the commodification of nature.

Technology *tends* toward the commodification of nature. It seems that the
interesting and unexpected happens when artists explore those cracks and
crevices overlooked by technology in the service of capital. That's when we
get glimmers of what technology that does not commodify nature might be
like, might do. Those cracks and crevices are usually identifiable only
after the application of the technology has been completely
conventionalized, i.e. years after the first appearance of any given

> There is no going back and of course there is the persistent myth of moving
> forward.  For years I considered my life something of a romantic construct
> which I could easily and readily transgress at any junction.  I was wrong.
> People don't flower under the paradigms administered via technology.  The
> heart is not so malleable.  Sometimes people break apart and a new updated
> version is never again realized.  The future appears nothing like the
> promise* of that future, if it even appears at all.
> ------------------------
> ----cut ---in point
> ------------------------
> Early spring of 1990, I awake in a hotel room in New Orleans, Louisiana next
> to a woman named Susan whom I have known for only 6-12 hours.  We don't have
> a shared history to re-collect so we just roll around in bed all day
> watching t.v. in our underwear.  Susan has all the t.v. commercials
> memorized.  She lip synchs in a whisper to each and every one.  She is an
> impressive performance.  She begins to speak in the tongue of advertising
> while looking into my eyes like a lover.  I begin to think she is a
> manifestation of a world given over to commerce and exchange.  She is a
> medium, a vessel for a world that will never hold us, never nurture us, lest
> we "desire" no more.  For hours this seduction continues.  I begin to
> realize I will never see her again.  I begin to fall in love.  Susan is
> forecasting the future and I believe every word.
> ------------------------
> ----cut ---out point
> ------------------------
> The opportunities for the everyday exposure of art are becoming less and
> less frequent .  Art has increasing difficulty surfacing in even
> intermittent bursts into "pop" culture.  It is becoming more and more
> difficult to discover anything outside the hegemony of capital and exchange;
> this "spectacle" has a mind of its own now.  We are lost, regulated at best
> to sort of hit and run ventures.  As artists we can hope to conjure only
> moments of brilliance, briefly exposed and then buried again in the
> perpetual real-time light of commerce and thus desert of over-exposure.

I generally evaluate conditions as pessimistically as the next nettimer but
cannot agree with or abide by such statements like those in the above
paragraph. There isn't much analysis offered here. Instead, we're presented
with bland platitudes that simplify what is a global condition of not only
dire consequences but even more so of increasing complexity. I get your
point of the closing of non-capital driven windows, but very little of the
complexity therein. The days and nights in Seattle showed us that there is
quite a bit of skepticism and even what would have to be called genuine
opposition to the hegemony of capital, except that it was equally apparent
that there are many points of disagreement and sometimes conflict even and
especially among those opposing and criticizing the WTO. What do such
overlapping and yet conflicted constituencies say about the hegemony of
capital and exchange? Does it not suggest to artists that there exist points
of real opposition in the worlds of economics and labor, and that there
probably are parallel spaces of opposition, perhaps existing or perhaps
waiting to be pioneered, in the world of art? The space may indeed be
temporary and maybe slightly duller than that to which you aspire, but it
will be longer and more meaningful than a mere "moment of brilliance."

Dan W.  

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