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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  October 2013

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING October 2013

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Subject:

Re: Net.art.history?

From:

Nicholas O'Brien <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Nicholas O'Brien <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 3 Oct 2013 22:54:40 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines)

I can't exactly say anything specifically about the labeling of net.art -
whether it was a joke, a tongue-in-cheek gesture/label or not - but I do
feel like the "art historical bait" that was suggested is very relevant to
contemporary so-called netart discussions/curation/classifications. Perhaps
this is due in part by the continued problematics that net.art as a
classification poses to historians that makes me feel a sense of warm
affinity when thinking about contemporary netart definitions  Although the
term was certainly more closely tied to the technical execution of a work
then any current netart definite, I think the ambiguity and the playfulness
of such a term still resonates with myself - a self-identified contemporary
netart academic/maker.

The difficulty of this classification is that it is unclear if the identity
of this art has to do with material or culture. For instance, Painting is a
classification of medium, whereas AbEx is a classification of culture. The
one is based on material plasticity, the other is based on contextual
analysis. However, with net.art, historians can approach this work through
both methodological avenues. This is even more so with more recent netart -
particularly as a newer generation becomes less concerned with technical
execution and more preoccupied with social distribution.

So the ruse seems healthy afoot! Or so I'd argue. The ease of this
misinterpretation is perhaps a strength of the medium. I think in being
able to be fluid and hard to define creates an intrigue both from a
material and cultural perspective that other mediums rarely approach (or
only approach through gimmicky redefinition: "Painting as memorial,
photography as documentary, etc.")

In some ways the aftermath of net.art is more interesting to me as a
micro-art history then it's own moment. Afterwards artists themselves
struggled/strived for new terms and new definitions to distinguish their
work as unique or separate from something that might've been considered a
jibe. Terms like "New Media" "Digital Art" "Transmedia" "post-internet"
"net-based" "interactive design" starting cropping up all over the place -
almost as if these classification were apologetically compensating for the
ambiguity and openness of net.art. These efforts could be seen as measure
taken by artists to be more easily identifiable within a contemporary
canon, but also could be seen as efforts to carve out space/distance from a
previous generation/moment.

I want to say more, I guess, but maybe I'll wait for other topics this
month,
Looking fwd + very best


On Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 3:01 AM, Charlotte Frost <[log in to unmask]
> wrote:

> Is this post one of the most iconic pieces of net art history?
> http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9703/msg00094.html
>
> Certainly Rhizome's Rachel Greene believed the story and made it 'art
> history' in an article written for Artforum in 2000 she put: 'The term
> Œnet.art¹ is less a coinage than an accident, the result of a software
> glitch that occurred in December 1995, when Slovenian artist Vuk Cosic
> opened an anonymous e-mail only to find it had been mangled in
> transmission.
> Amid a morass of alphanumeric gibberish, Cosic could make out just one
> legible term ­ Œnet.art¹ ­ which he began using to talk about online art
> and
> communications'. Greene, R. (2000) ŒWeb Work: a history of internet art¹,
> Artforum, v.38 (no.9): 162
>
> But as other writers like Josephine Bosma have argued, the term 'net.art'
> wasn't born this way at allŠ see her book Nettitudes:
>
> http://www.amazon.com/Nettitudes-Lets-Studies-Network-Cultures/dp/9056628003
>
> So was it a stunt? A work of net.art itself? And if it is a fusion of
> artwork and a tongue-in-cheek jibe at the discipline of art history
> (creating a kind of 'ism' to bait the art historians) what do we describe
> it
> as? A kind of new media new art history?  Perhaps Rachel Greene didn't
> believe the story, but was also invested in crafting this red herring of a
> narrative? And whatever it was, how do we work with a post like this when
> studying the history of Internet art forms? How easy is it to misinterpret
> an list-based archive (or any social media-based archive)? To what extent
> do
> we have the license to interpret a list post or should we hunt down it's
> author and verify we've understood?
>



-- 
Nicholas O'Brien

Visiting Faculty | Gallery Director
Department of Digital Art, Pratt Institute
doubleunderscore.net

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