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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2014

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2014

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Subject:

Re: March Discussion Begins: The Performativity of Code

From:

Jon Ippolito <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jon Ippolito <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 9 Mar 2014 08:14:22 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Good questions, Rachel--

> On Mar 5, 2014, at 12:11 PM, Rachel Beth Egenhoefer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> What is the intention of the artist?  Is the end result the most important?  The act of producing something?  Or is a self reflexive loop?  Maybe a reductive example but is Jackson Pollock's painting the art, or is it his process that is that art?  
There do exist performative works with no score or residue, such as the Navajo (Diné) sandpaintings. Yet I find most works of process art depend very much on their result. Jackson Pollock's dance with dripping paint, Barry Le Va's sawing of wooden dowels, Sol LeWitt's absurd mathematics, and Mark Napier's HTML-bending Perl are mostly interesting because of their results--and conversely the results are interesting because of the process.

A better word than "process" to describe these works might be "behavior," because it suggests an action that can be learned, transformed, and passed on. In our book _Re-collection_, due out later this year, Richard Rinehart and I examine how replicating behaviors, rather than files on a hard drive, may be the best way to preserve many software-based artworks.

Curiously, the perseverance of Native American performances offers one model for how software might be preserved. We software artists fret about delaminating CDs and obsolete browser versions; they had to worry about invasion from a continent armed with muskets and smallpox bent on their extinction. And yet many Native dances, songs, stories, and even object-oriented behaviors like mask carving have survived to this day.

>> I feel like this was much debated in the early 2000's as the difference between software art and code art and electronic art (or maybe that's just when I was in grad school so everything was heavily debated).
Man, I wish I had gone to your grad school.

>> has there ever been a technology introduced that was stopped as a result of public back lash?  Maybe getting way off topic here, but this is interesting to think about - we've become more and more complacent in how we are controlled.  Examples I came up with are the A-Bomb, and in progressive cities like San Francisco (where I'm based) styrofoam. 
Yes, it's off-topic, but what an important question!

I hope we can move toward an Amish approach. Contrary to popular Luddite stereotypes, my understanding is that the Amish examine new technologies one by one to determine the effects they have on daily life rather than blithely assuming every new gizmo is going to be good for a family or village. For example, landlines draw parents away from attention to their family at the dinner table; but gas grills bring neighbors together around a barbecue. As Howard Rheingold puts it,

"What if modern Americans could possibly agree upon criteria for acceptance, as the Amish have? Might we find better ways to wield technological power, other than simply unleashing it and seeing what happens?"

More on the Amish approach:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.01/amish.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/22/nyregion/among-victims-an-amish-farmer-quick-to-adapt.html

Cheers,

jon
________________
Re-collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory
Due from MIT Press this summer
http://re-collection.net/
Follow me on Twitter as @jonippolito

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