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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  September 2012

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING September 2012

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Subject:

Re: Antw: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] Claire's Bishop's digital divide piece in Art Forum

From:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 2 Sep 2012 18:58:52 +0100

Content-Type:

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Hi Oliver

I agree with all that you say. But the issues you are addressing are in addition to the quite modest and simple claim I was seeking to make about media art - that regardless of the media used, old or new, the media artist has a reflexive concern with the media in their practice that conventional artists do not. This is not an issue of quality, just an observation of difference - a difference that has waxed and waned and currently appears unbridgeable.

Best

Simon


Sent from a mobile device, thus the brevity.

Simon Biggs
[log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]
http://www.littlepig.org.uk

On 2 Sep 2012, at 17:38, Oliver Grau <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear Simon,

I couldn't agree more on most of what you wrote. But isn't there also
another categoraial difference, between the electronic arts of the last
decades and that what still is domionating the art market, the galeries
and most museums, which became a significant part of the art market
(oposit to their original public duties..)

Isn't is so that as we know, compared to traditional art forms -
painting or sculpture - Media Art, has a multifarious potential of
expression and visualization; and therefore, although underrepresented
at the art market, which follows other interests, it became, we might
say, “the art of our time”; thematizing complex challenges for our
life and societies, like genetic engineering and the rise of post human
bodies, like ecological crises, like the image and media revolution and
with it the explosion of human knowledge, the rapid growing mega cities,
the change towards virtual financial economies & the processes of
globalization, just to name a few.. Visually powerful, interactive Media
Art, perhaps supported by databases or attached to the www, is offering
more and more degrees of freedom and evidently is much better equipped
to deal with the challenges of our complex time than traditional art
media can...

Media art can deal with questions and challenges of our time in a way
traditional art media simply can’t do. In the best humanistic
traditions digital media art takes on the big contemporary questions,
dangers and proposed transformations but is not adequately collected,
documented and preserved by our public museums. And a techno-cultural
Society that does not understand its challenges, which is not equally
open for art of it’s time, is in trouble.

best,
Oliver



>>> Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]> 9/2/2012 5:20  >>>
More of the same really. She points out that in the domain of media art
these issues are explicitly addressed whilst in the mainstream art world
they generally are not.

Why is this surprising? It isn't. The primary characteristic of the
media artist is that they foreground the mediality of what they do -
whether that involves new media or old. It's not the media they use that
is necessarily significant but how they consider it reflexively in their
practice. The same applies to how such work is theorised and
historicised. Media art is media art because the media is a major
consideration in its ontology.

The main stream art world operates on a different paradigm, where media
are so well established that they become more or less invisible (eg:
painting, sculpture, print, etc). Even some recently (but now less than)
new media have taken on this mantle of invisibility (eg: video,
photography, etc). Sometimes mainstream and media art cross-over and,
for a couple of decades, that crossing-over was almost default, at least
at the cutting edge of contemporary art (here I'm thinking of the 60's,
70's and, to a lesser degree, the 80's) when mediality was a pervasive
issue in the arts (this was arguably driven by socio-political
concerns). That was a time when artists were rethinking the fundamentals
of what they were doing (and how) and this meant many of them were media
artists (even if they didn't consider themselves to be). However, over
the last 20 years or so issues of mediality have faded for mainstream
artists, just as concerns about art's ontology have faded from view.
Contemporary art is no longer reflexive. This has happened at the same
time as the process of digital convergence has accelerated and, more or
less, completed.

This last point, about how media becomes unimportant as it matures,
might appear to be surprising. But perhaps it isn't, as such media
become instrumental to the most banal aspects of life. Perhaps the
question therefore is, what is the digital equivalent of "merda
d'artista"?

best

Simon


On 2 Sep 2012, at 12:49, Honor Harger wrote:

> Hi all,
> 
> I am guessing you've all probably read Claire Bishop's fascinating 
> essay in Art Forum, the "Digital Divide"?
> http://artforum.com/inprint/issue=201207&id=31944 
> 
> "So why do I have a sense that the appearance and content of 
> contemporary art have been curiously unresponsive to the total 
> upheaval in our labor and leisure inaugurated by the digital 
> revolution? While many artists use digital technology, how many 
> really confront the question of what it means to think, see, and 
> filter affect through the digital? How many thematize this, or 
> reflect deeply on how we experience, and are altered by, the 
> digitization of our existence? I find it strange that I can count on

> one hand the works of art that do seem to undertake this task
> [....]
> There is, of course, an entire sphere of "new media" art, but this is

> a specialized field of its own: It rarely overlaps with the 
> mainstream art world (commercial galleries, the Turner Prize, 
> national pavilions at Venice). While this split is itself undoubtedly

> symptomatic, the mainstream art world and its response to the digital

> are the focus of this essay."
> 
> I'd be interested in your eruditions on this.
> 
> best,
> 
> Honor
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> 
> Honor Harger
> Director, Lighthouse
> Brighton, UK
> http://www.lighthouse.org.uk 
> 
> Biography
> http://about.me/honor 
> 


Simon Biggs
[log in to unmask] http://www.littlepig.org.uk/ @SimonBiggsUK
skype: simonbiggsuk

[log in to unmask] Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/  http://www.elmcip.net/ 
http://www.movingtargets.co.uk/ 
MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices
http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees?id=656&cw_xml=details.php

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