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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  September 2012

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING September 2012

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Subject:

Re: Claire's Bishop's digital divide piece in Art Forum

From:

Curt Cloninger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 5 Sep 2012 00:30:21 -0400

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Hi Julia,

What you quote is still problematic to me.

1.
The un-rigorous interchangability between "digital," "technological," "new media," and "information society" is a kind of shibboleth revealing a lack of deeper critical engagement with the concepts and histories that lie behind each of these terms.

2.
It's kind of like when electronic percussion first began surfacing in popular music. Some pop music journalist might write: "We know Radiohead is not one of those 'techno bands,' but now that Radiohead is using 'digital' percussion, there may be something to these electronic instruments. Obviously those techno bands are way too into their electronic music microscene to be relevant to the insights I'm laying down, but we might really be able to learn something about the relationship between music and electronics from a legitimate band like Radiohead. Maybe this digital stuff has been at the heart of contemporary music all along." Meanwhile, Aphex Twin is either pulling his hair out or yawning.

3.
an even more exaggerated analogy (for fun):
http://youtu.be/pamHRy81phw

best,
Curt



On Sep 4, 2012, at 11:39 PM, Julia Kaganskiy wrote:

> Hi all,
> 
> I've been a silent observer on this list for a while and have really
> appreciated and enjoyed all your comments on Claire's article. I'm really
> loving the discussion and want to also thank Honor for starting and for
> drawing my attention to it.
> 
> I'm trying to find the time to write a proper article in response for The
> Creators Project, but in the meantime, I wanted to throw a few thoughts out
> there on this email list while the topic is still fresh.
> 
> What's interesting to me is that I almost feel like I read a different
> article than a lot of people. Sure, Claire makes some inflammatory and
> dismissive, maybe even misinformed comments in there, but in general, her
> tone is very tempered overall (maybe I felt this because I read Honor's
> article and a few other reactions to her piece before I read the actual
> piece, so I was expecting the worst when I came to it).
> 
> In any case, what I took away from it was that a lot of her critics seem to
> be missing the point when they hone in on the fact that Claire is
> dismissing an entire community of media artists while at the same time
> lamenting their disenfranchisement from the art world and the art world's
> lack of engagement with the pressing issues of this technological moment.
> To me, what her article actually seemed to be about is how, despite the
> contemporary art world's apparent dissavowal of technology, it is still
> producing work that is informed by technology in spite of itself. The
> current trends in performance art, sculpture, video, etc. are informed by
> the logic, systems, social interactions, etc. of our present day culture,
> which is so infused with the technological that it's completely
> unavoidable.
> 
> The article seemed to be trying to hold a mirror to the art world and
> saying, "You think you're above this? You're deluding yourself." And she
> did this not by talking about the artists that they'd be quick to dismiss
> as "the others" as those part of that "specialized field" that isn't part
> of their domain, but by drawing examples from among their own, so as to
> make the message more powerful and poignant.
> 
> I know we've all got our feathers brustled about the repeated poor choice
> of language used by Claire, some brilliant examples of which have been
> quoted heavily throughout on this thread, but this paragraph is the one
> that seemed to be the point she was driving at, and one that I'd argue is
> quite a valid one.
> 
> *In fact, the most prevalent trends in contemporary art since the ’90s seem
> united in their apparent eschewal of the digital and the virtual.
> Performance art, social practice, assemblage-based sculpture, painting on
> canvas, the “archival impulse,” analog film, and the fascination with
> modernist design and architecture: At first glance, none of these formats
> appear to have anything to do with digital media, and when they are
> discussed, it is typically in relation to previous artistic practices
> across the twentieth century.² But when we examine these dominant forms of
> contemporary art more closely, their operational logic and systems of
> spectatorship prove intimately connected to the technological revolution we
> are undergoing. I am not claiming that these artistic strategies are
> conscious reactions to (or implicit denunciations of) an information
> society; rather, I am suggesting that the digital is, on a deep level, the
> shaping condition—even the structuring paradox—that determines artistic
> decisions to work with certain formats and media. Its subterranean presence
> is comparable to the rise of television as the backdrop to art of the
> 1960s. One word that might be used to describe this dynamic—a preoccupation
> that is present but denied, perpetually active but apparently buried—is
> disavowal: I know, but all the same . . .*
> *
> *
> *
> *
> 
> *Julia Kaganskiy*
> 
> Global Editor
> 
> The Creators Project
> 
> VICE // Intel
> 
> www.thecreatorsproject.com
> 
> @creatorsproject <http://www.twitter.com/creatorsproject>
> 

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