Cultural Studies 3 Lecture 7 Internet Art

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Published on November 19, 2008

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Cultural Studies 3:  Cultural Studies 3 Digital culture and life in the 21st Century Lecture 7 Art, Culture & Digital Technologies 2: Internet Art Liam Greenslade http://ncad.culturalstudies.googlepages.com http://ncadculturalstudies3.blogspot.com 76% Complete Dan Proops 2005 The ‘problem’ of internet art:  The ‘problem’ of internet art [W]e in the West, should not expect culturally-specific Internet art, should not wait for Internet dialects, for some national school of Net art. This simply would be a contradiction in terms…So-called Net art projects are simply manifestations of social, linguistic, and psychological networks being created or at least made visible by these very projects, of people entering the space of modernity Manovich 1998 net.art:  net.art net.art is a self-defining term created by a malfunctioning piece of software, originally used to describe an art and communications activity on the internet. net.artists sought to break down autonomous disciplines and outmoded classifications imposed upon various activists practices. Bookchin & Shulgin 1999 Realization over Theorization:  Realization over Theorization The utopian aim of closing the ever widening gap between art and everyday life has been achieved through digital technology It has become a real, everyday practice for many people. An artist/individual can be placed on an equal footing as any institution or corporation. Collaboration and ‘modding’ can produce the practical, rather than the merely theoretical death of the author Specific features of net.art:  Specific features of net.art Formation of communities of artists across nations and disciplines Investment without material interest Collaboration without consideration of appropriation of ideas Privileging communication over representation Parasitism as Strategy Internet as a medium for production, publication, distribution, promotion, dialogue, consumption and critique Disintegration and mutation of artist, curator, pen-pal, audience, gallery, theorist, art collector, and museum Early net.art:  Early net.art Internet art was initially less concerned with the visual/aesthetic dimensions than the characteristics of the internet itself Much early work concerned itself with the subversion of conventional art practice and with revealing the underlying nature of the net itself The Web Stalker I/O/D 1997:  The Web Stalker I/O/D 1997 The Web Stalker makes visible the underlying structure of the web by generating navigable diagrams of the links making up a page It maps the links between sites and pages to permit a usable understanding of the deeper structure of the web itself It undermines the standardised view of Web content replacing it with a map/pattern of structure and process Alexei Shulgin Form Art 1997:  Alexei Shulgin Form Art 1997 Form Art is Shulgin’s attempt to critique the poverty of interactivity in internet art Organised as a competition users click on blank boxes and links, which lead the viewer through countless pages of “form art” animations made up of Shulgin’s boxes. The sites include a “Gomputer Game”, which allows the viewer to make arbitrary decisions upon which link to click- sometimes leading to the next round, other times often merely ending up at the “you lose” page. Alexei Shulgin 386DX The 1st Cyberpunk Band (1998-):  Alexei Shulgin 386DX The 1st Cyberpunk Band (1998-) Heath Bunting – Skint 1996:  Heath Bunting – Skint 1996 In this work Bunting addresses a core problem of net art – work that is hard to buy or own He solicited credit card donations on-line He actually received some payments including a number from stolen credit cards Heath Bunting: Readme.html (1998):  Heath Bunting: Readme.html (1998) Heath Bunting is on a mission. But don't asking him to define what it is. His CV (bored teen and home computer hacker in 80s Stevenage, flyposter, graffiti artist and art radio pirate in Bristol, bulletin board organiser and digital culture activist (or, his phrase, artivist) in London (is replete with the necessary qualifications for a 90s sub-culture citizen but what s interesting about Heath is that if you want to describe to someone what he actually does there s simply no handy category that you can slot him into. If you had to classify him, you could do worse than call him an organiser of art events. Some of these take place online, some of them in RL, most of them have something to do with technology, though not all. One early event that hit the headlines was his 1994 Kings Cross phone-in, when Heath distributed the numbers of the telephone kiosks around Kings Cross station using the Internet and asked whoever found them to choose one, call it at a specific time and chat with whoever picked up the phone. Available at http://www.irational.org/heath/_readme.html Each word in the piece (except the most factual/interesting ones) is a link to another site. ‘he’ links to Hurricane Electric Internet Service ‘there’ to There.com’ and so on Net art and the art institutions:  Net art and the art institutions Internet art tends not to produce big works for exhibition and purchase It does not produce ‘stars’ It challenges the conventions of art-making and the role of the artist It opposes conventional established hierarchies and is generally more politicised A clash of cultures:  A clash of cultures The incorporation or co-opting of net.art by galleries and curators brings unwanted transformations to the work itself The branding of the work as ‘art per se’ The separation of the work from its environment The linking of the work with corporate sponsorship Its ‘materialisation’ into saleable, hoardable objects Art on-line: The curator’s dilemma:  Art on-line: The curator’s dilemma On-line curation ceases to involve the movement or commissioning of rare objects into a fixed space It links or transmits identical copies that co-exist in many spaces Because it is data it can be readily copied or cloned It thus raises serious questions of authorship and ownership The Internet after net.art :  The Internet after net.art A mall, a porn shop and a museum A useful resource, tool, site and gathering point for an artisan Who mutates and transforms as quickly and cleverly as that which seeks to consume her Who does not fear or accept labeling or unlabeling Who works freely in completely new forms together with older more traditional forms Who understands the continued urgency of free two-way and many-to-many communication over representation   Natalie Bookchin, Alexei Shulgin 1999 0100101110101101.org:  0100101110101101.org 0100101110101101.org or Eva and Franco Mattes (also pseudonyms) describe themselves as ‘restless European con-artists’ Since the late 1990s they have continued to make highly interesting and effective use of the internet and digital technology to interrogate the inter-relationships between art, commerce, digital culture and everyday life Advocating the use of open source software and GNU licences, they seek the extension of the open source model to all intellectual property Their work forms a bridge between the earlier forms of net.art and the preoccupations of contemporary ‘culture jammers’ Vaticano.org: The First Internet Spoof (1998-9):  Vaticano.org: The First Internet Spoof (1998-9) A digital copy of the Vatican website was hosted on a Canadian server but with ‘retouched’ comments and insertions (http://0100101110101101.org/home/vaticano.org/spoof/index.html) The altered texts included "heretic" proclamations, invented words, unpardonable errors, songs by teeny-bopper-bands and declarations in favour of abortion, free sex and drug legalization, all added between the lines of papal encyclicals. It was also possible to address letters to all the members of the ecclesiastic system, Pope included. The site, claimed to be the first internet spoof site receives over 4 million hits in its first year Life Sharing 2001 :  Life Sharing 2001 Life Sharing, an anagram of "file sharing", was a real time sharing system based on Linux The 0100101110101101.ORG's main computer shared its hard-disk with the whole world via the Internet: Every Internet user had free 24-7 access They could read texts, see images, download software, check 01's private mail, or just explore the ‘data maze’. Privacy is stupid:  Privacy is stupid We want to be Web Stars and then take advantage of our high profile position to make our ideas public. Applying a terrorist strategy to the arts system, we aim to raid the coffers of culture to finance our activities: infiltrate, inculcate doubt, instill panic. Art is a tool, a weapon with which political beliefs can be promoted in the guise of entertainment. We are currently engaged in a battle against copyright and privacy rules, which we intend to continue. What we produce is really "abstract pornography" and the public seems to like it. They spend hours accessing our computer, rummaging among the folders, copying texts and images, downloading software, and reading our mail; Life Sharing has struck a chord with public voyeurism. Our aim is to be one with the computer, to enter the machine, to be dispersed throughout the Web. http://0100101110101101.org/home/life_sharing/interview.html Virus as art (2001):  Virus as art (2001) At the 49th International Art Biennale of Venice in 2001, a computer virus was exhibited in the Pavilion of the Republic of Slovenia. The virus biennale.py was the product of the collaboration of two entities, 0100101110101101.ORG and epidemiC. It was spread not only through machines but also through men and women. It was for sale to curators and collectors on CD-Rom and the source code was printed on T-shirts Biennale.py is still considered a "wild" virus, copies of it are still alive and running through the digital highways. http://www.0100101110101101.org/home/biennale_py/index.html Slide21:  More recently the group have turned to the virtual world of Second Life to produce portraits of avatars and to re-enact famous pieces of performance art including Gilbert & George’s ‘Singing Statues’. People within Second Life are generally enthusiastic, while most people in Real Life is pissed off. They see our reenactments as a joke on performance art, which they seem to regard as something almost "sacred". We get lot of emails like this one: «There is no fucking use in being somebody else in digital. BE IT FOR REAL!» http://0100101110101101.org/home/performances/interview.html Culture jamming: The future of net.art:  Culture jamming: The future of net.art "Culture Jamming" sticks where rational discourse slides off. It is, simply, the viral introduction of radical ideas. It is viral in that it uses the enemy's own resources to replicate itself -- corporate logos, marketing psychology, clean typography, "adspeak". It is radical because--ideally--the message, once deciphered, causes damage to blind belief. Fake ads, fake newspaper articles, parodies, pastiche. The best CJ is totally unexpected, surprising, shocking in its implications http://www.abrupt.org/CJ/ Further reading:  Further reading Bookchin, N Shulgin A Introduction to net.art (1994-1999) http://easylife.org/netart/ Bunting N (ongoing) Irational Curriculum Vitae http://irational.org/cgi-bin/cv2/temp.pl Kingdom of Piracy (2003) http://kop.fact.co.uk/DIVE/cd/dive/index.html Mattes E Mattes F (2008) http://0100101110101101.org/ Stallabrass J (2001) Internet Art: The online clash of culture and commerce. London: Tate Shulgin A (2005) http://www.easylife.org/

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