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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  September 2009

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING September 2009

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Subject:

Re: Recap: September 2009: "Real-Time: Showing Art in the Age of New Media"

From:

Curt Cloninger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Curt Cloninger <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 7 Sep 2009 17:14:41 -0400

Content-Type:

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Hi Sarah (and all),

One thing that stands out to me  after having read this recap of the 
conversation is this idea of multiple speeds and slownesses happening 
simultaneously at multiple levels. This is a very Deleuzean 
observation that planes of meanng are not just a matter of molar 
objects and subjects in spatial and power relations to each other. 
Rather, meaning and ways of being are more a matter of speeds of 
movement, attrition, attention, permeation, deterritorialization, etc.

+++++++++++++++++

Some scales of speed simultaneously at play in The Art Formerly Known 
as Time-Based:

1. The time it takes the actual media art object to play out (as Jon 
Thompson noted -- a decaying sculpture, a perpetually updated data 
cloud). Smithson's work really problematizes this kind of time.  The 
art collective Spurse has been exploring "deep time/rapid time," 
considering geological formations over time. Also categorically 
problematic is aleatoric software (like Brian Eno's "77 Million 
Paintings") which perpetually runs with enough generative variability 
to keep from ever "looking" like the same thing twice (although 
arguably it is performing the same perpetual function at an 
algorithmic level).

2. The Cartesian clock time that the discrete viewer/user actually 
spends viewing/interacting with the work in the space (three seconds, 
30 minutes, or whatever).

3. The more subjective Bergsonian time (analog, non-digital, 
qualitative not quantitative) that the discrete viewer spends 
affectively experiencing the work (could involve personal prior 
memories, could involve the work coming to mind later after leaving 
the space). This is related to the Cartesian clock time, but by no 
means solely determined by it.

4. The time that the entire show or project runs.

5. Archival time -- how the work is archived, collected, subsequently 
displayed, gradually folded into an art historical canon.

6. The evolutionary time of art criticism and art historical 
scholarship (and its overlap with philosophy, science, culture 
theory, etc.)

7. The evolutionary time of an art practice throughout an artist's life.

8. Curatorial research time.

9. Institutional evolutionary time -- the time it takes art 
institutions to come to terms with and incorporate new media forms 
(or new conceptual approaches to old media forms).

+++++++++++++++++

And of course, historical and political rates of speed contextually 
permeate and inflect all of the above rates of speed. And of course 
all of the above rates of speed perpetually permeate and inflect each 
other. These permeations and inflections are "always already" 
happening (to greater or lesser degrees). The artist and curator can 
(and should) attempt to more purposefully orchestrate these temporal 
permeations. But they are happening already (however haphazardly, 
slip-shoddily, accidentally, ironically), regardless of the artist or 
curator's awarenesses or stated intentions.

I propose that truly ingenious "event-based" work (in whatever media) 
is work that invites all of these scales of speed into the work 
itself, so that the work proves self-aware of its own context -- not 
hermetically sealed from these other speeds and slownesses, these 
other rates of advance and attrition. Such ingenious work is not 
merely multi-media, or even multi-scalar (in a spatial sense) -- it 
is multi-dromological (to invoke Virillio). It is work that works 
across multiple scales of speed. It is not merely reducible to a form 
of "institutional critique" or a form of "activist art." It 
transverses institutional and political power relations, but it also 
functions phenomenologically and affectively as an art work in the 
space itself. Smithson's "Partially Buried Woodshed," Matta-Clark's 
house cuttings, Duchamp's long-term work on the Green Box, even Bill 
Viola's slow motion Tristan Project -- all succeed at working across 
and purposefully invoking multiple scales of time. And none are 
technically "new media." Some of John Cage's compositions are 
especially ingenious in this regard. "Water Walk" still invites in 
the sounds of "real-time, contemporary" radio. Cell phone ring tones 
can now be heard during 4'33''.

Best,
Curt




At 6:50 PM +0100 9/7/09, Sarah Cook wrote:
>Hi CRUMB list readers
>
>It's Monday (and Labour Day in North America, so a holiday but the 
>official marking of the back-to-school season), and for the purposes 
>of those just joining up to this discussion, here is my rough and 
>ready re-cap of some of the points so far...

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