I have no special attachment to Derrida, no attachment at all, but an
exciting idea is an exciting idea.
What concerns me is what I feel is the somewhat skewed direction the
discussion takes when people attempt to define new media solely in terms of
its devices. Obviously, technology has always had a motive force in
driving art, and so color field painting was driven by water based media,
but water based media don't define the art.
But I agree with both writers on the unfortunate influence of funding on
the discussion of new media.
Pope's remarks get to the underlying issue, I think, in all of this
emphasis on definition by device, the stuff that goes into the making of
careers. Exciting technological categories are effective in funding
efforts. But when you've learned to deconstruct power, there's a kind of
"categorical" anxiety, twinge of guilt, when you use
taxonomies. Obviously, it's possible to argue that hierarchical thinking
is authoritarian. But one of the ideals of 17th century English thought
was freedom within discipline (Milton, "Aereopagitica"). There's nothing
wrong with taxonomical approaches in themselves, and I really don't believe
they have anything to do with power when used as analytical tools; they
just don't tell us enough. Perhaps one of the problems is the use of
the word taxonomy. It implies hierarchical structures; when if fact to
state that a work is "interactive", "cinematic", etc is merely to stipulate
categories that one on an equal level with one another.
Lars Gustav Midboe:
> When people are starting to talk about Derrida
>and others it seems like a desperate attempt to "hook up" with the
>things that are already accepted. If you follow this process you will
>end up in a dusty and boring place. Please dare to have your own
>thoughts and opinions.
>And a comment to the problematic relation between definitions and
>funding. Unfortunately it seems to be a trend to try to chase the
>latest hippest thing in art to try to please the people with money.
>. . . So a major reason
>for the confusion in terms and definitions also has to do with the
>problems of funding. People using trendy terms on projects just to
>get the money are doing it wrong. In the end it all boils down to a
>three letter word that don't spell money - ART.
From Ivan Pope:
> However, I believe more than this there was a complicitness between
>artists and funders/curators etc to invent and promote this strand. All my
>experience would show that it indeed became easier to gain funding for
>projects that had a sense of newness and adventure about them, and a lot of
>work came to be pitched in this way.
>I have spent years insisting that this area must be more about art than
>about technology, and naming something for its technology (and isn't 'new
>media' just a euphemism for 'touched by computers and stuff') has got to be
>a bad move, though it's a start.
--land safely in cyberspace--