Bronac's observation/comment, quoted in the header, was funny wouldn't you agree?
and yet after some pondering, I would say this month has been a
riveting affair, if one observed the outpourings, and much much more than a Grateful Dead reunion tour.
even though there was that, too.
I appreciated learning much, also noting the care with which list members
tried to remember and fill gaps or point to others, the was a real collective spirit amongst the showing of the personal collections.
Then there were some reflective postings that I found tremendously thoughtful, for example Johannes Goebel's "what's art history got to do with it?"
on October 10; and Tom Sherman's "Way Back in 1995!" on October 20; but also the critical feedback regarding differences between
art critics, historians and theorists was very helpful - and here someone [Simon Biggs I think] evoked the problematic idea that new media artists/digital artist best write their [own] histories
themselves or have in effect done so, well, in extension, also curated themselves - and then written/indexed their exhibition histories ......? –
and undoubtedly there is or has to be a link to the academy, then, and to places where we teach or get invited to show our work, or where requests may come from
regarding our work that someone is studying as if we were already gratefully dead etc , and then Simon Biggs added some provocative comments on the conservativism of university
art schools or art history departments or organizations (the CAA was mentioned a few times).
Trying to look back at the "crowd-sourcing" idea behind Charlotte's "call for papers" this month, there are still some open questions to me (about Charlotte's TWO books/Arts Future Book project, which, as I had asked her, seemed already written-to-be-published after peer review to be accompanied by a second book to be peer reviewed? and so the Crumb discussion this month, how does it effectively become the second "book", while the very notion of book is questioned here directly using a list for research/writing.... , and what are these here collection-energies now manifesting, at this point? Charlotte also mentions a list archivisation project as a third meta thing! [a propos, a mentioning of Jon Ippolito and "Unreliable Archivist project" - i think most archives are unreliable, and I love the scene in "Rollerball" where John Gielgud as keeper of the world's centralised computer memory bank in Switzerland has to confess that a slight mistake had happened and the 13th century got deleted).
también I observed the net that was thrown by Charlotte was getting wider and wider and maybe
this widening of practices, on and off line, and 'histories' (language stubbornly remainng english, strangely, and perimeter was USA-Europe largely, I saw no posting from colleagues in Japan and S Korea for example, surprisingly, also very few or no reference to new media art history and online action in Brazil and Latin America) , is most likely uncontainable and unwritable.
I propose this proposition (this month) cannot go anywhere except into countless fragmenting alleys and stories, re/collections and myths, incomplete just as other older "art history" ever was [whose art history? whose "repressed exhibition histories," to cite Beryl's comment of Oct. 16], western, european? published in whose service? Thanks to Sally Jane for mentioning some others, like the "non-cultural" world..]
At one point Honor Harger says that a list (Syndicate) changed her life, which is an astonishing comment (and one that I could never make); after noting that people have migrated to other lists or social media, Honor bemoans the
discursive quality that's missing ("I think that's probably as much down to the way that people's behaviour on mailing lists have changed, in the wake of social media" - interesting, can you please say more about that? my behavior hasn't changed at all, I hope)
Charlotte brings Renee McGarry's letter forward, and Renee bluntly says: "When I think about digital art history I'm left with a lot more questions than answers....".
Yes, that is also the case for me.
When Charlotte added questions ("what's art history got to do with it?") and then half way through the month again, more questions ("Half-time discussion refresher"), I did think they were often of course to the point and well asked, such as the point about who is writing art criticism today (and where)["Anyone can take on the role of the critic in our digital age, with online art journals, blogs and other sites," Lori Waxman thinks) or who are the historians/forensicfactfinders (and, thanks Rob, why not more wheel sharers?).... but ultimately now I felt the month was overwhelmingly dislocating, we were turned to very many directions, and the debate about critics/bloggers not able to be critical of work created in their community is disheartening. Charlotte, had we seen your book we could have been more critical here.
I also sensed a tremendous sense of melancholia.
How do others feel about it?
What could be a positive consequence for us little people (the ones
without power to port what we discovered) out of this? Liberation from
creating our own monuments and making and living time-based arts which are
only good for the moment when they are happening. (So now we are thinking
performing email lists!)