I would like to recommend Spencer's article on taxonomies and
definitions. It explains with clarity and in greater detail the bases for
his post. What appeals to me is his recognition of the importance of
contexts--that is, that definitions occur in social and cultural contexts
and so amount to "readings" rather than definitives. It's a kind of
taxonomic relativism in which categories,while necessary to our
understanding of digital art, have no final boundaries. And it's an
approach which I think most of us can live with, though as I've said in
earlier posts, my own predisposition lies with approaches which emphasize
context rather than taxonomy.
His sense of the relative comes out in two points which I've always found
intriguing about computer-based art.
1. the "plasticity of computers", e.g. the "commonality between any two
work may be in no way obvious given the diversity and flexibility of output"
2. this kind of abridgment of boundaries is also a function of the
networking, e.g. networks are "antagonistic to the atomistic 'white cube'
mode of exhibition. . . . if a piece of work is networked. . .there is an
important sense in which the architecture of the space changes. With a
network we take a step towards collapsing a space."
As to point 1: computers as machines are based on fixed logical structures,
but their possibilities, even when fed with the same data, are untold,
because these fixed structures are embedded in processors, which yield
processing, and process.
As to point 2: it's interesting to ask what is the nature of this collapsed
space; my view is that it goes inward, it becomes subjective space. This
is clearly different from the kind of subjectivity of unity involved in
standing before a painting, which is a kind of passive state, a being taken
over. But the collapsed space of the network is active and interactive, in
part a function of what is on the network, external to us, and in part a
function of what we ourselves make of it--it is in part a creature of the
At 07:56 AM 30/09/2004, Spencer Roberts wrote:
> If you are interested in reading more about Wittgenstinean strategies in
> relation to digital media,
> or some of the relationships between Turing, Duchamp, surface and
> process or just a take on
> taxonomy as a form of reading then please feel free to read the essay
> that I have been working
> 'Would Duchamp Desire a Turing Machine?'