Stephen Kovats on Sat, 4 Nov 2006 19:02:59 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> waves as the material and medium of media art

(a bit of a belated response to Armin's mail from a while ago)

Dear Armin and Rob,

OK ... so you guys have drawn your line(s) in the sand ...

I think both positions are clear and have validity in their respective
contexts .. both of which exist within the haze of the world which
we refer to as 'new media'. But I would like to reinforce Armin's
point here that the goal of WAVES was not to fall into a creative
industries 'wireless' tech trap, but to investigate (snagging his
qualifiers) the nature, definition and essence of, I would say,
the basic electro(magnetic) materiality of the 'wave' - and not to
define media art in itself as may be implied in Armin's rebuttal to
Rob's critique. A lot of the work we do within the realm of 'new'
media sidesteps the inherent question(s) of the physical materiality
which forms the core, the basic raison d'etre of the art form in
question. I would argue that perhaps the subtitle of the exhibition
is not quite semiotically clear in that the 'wave' is certainly not
a material (although there exist arguments against this also!) but
simply the formal descriptive of the carrier, in the same sense that
colour itself is not material, but paint is (which of course is an
irritation in German where 'Farb/e' is both.) If we were to look at
the essence of the exhibition (yes, in its eidos connotation) then it
lay very clearly in its exploration of the very physical materiality
of electromagnetism, in the charged ion ... in its structure, its
continual state of movement/flux, its effect on unveiling other forms
of physical, yet hard to grasp, phenomenon. It is about these little
bits of charge that surround us and enable 'us' to function, and the
ways in which artists capture, channel and expose this stuff as a
genuine malleable substance, both as material and medium.

As such, the exhibition was a welcome break, perhaps a temporal
veering back into the realm of an exploratory art practice which
examined perception and electromagnetic experimentation as its core.
This doesn't preclude the important and inherent political elements of
how the spectra are used, but the exhibition very eloquently included
these aspects of 'wave' work as part of the many artistic derives
within electromagnetism's global charge.

Cheers, and congrats also to rixc for an excellent event coming on  
the heels of 10 years of brilliant exploration,


On 25.10.2006, at 23:38, Armin Medosch wrote:

> dear nettimers
> i do something unusual here. I post an article which has been
> published on the Metamute website, and a response to it which I


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