Nicholas O'Brien attempted to initiate some discussion of New Inc, the New Museum's incubator cube farm for artistes mentioned earlier. Mostly he got pushback from the "art and technology" sphere, along the lines of "how can you criticize it when it hasn't even started?" and some condescending speculation as to his motives from Sterling Crispin. Crispin unhelpfully reduced the argument to Turing vs Duchamp and opined that New Inc is mostly meant for residents of "Turing Land."
Struggling to get the conversation back on some reasonable track, O'Brien threw out some questions:
[A]gain what is the eventual audience for the products that get made this incubation of innovation? Is that audience the same as the rest of the museum? What will be the hopeful benefit from the cross-pollination between these communities that only a museum can provide? How do the strategies of innovation incubation funding effect the types of cultural production that will occur in this studio? How can artists in this space remain autonomous yet still "gain access"?
So I put in two more cents as O'Brien's sole unequivocal supporter (speaking up from the humanities side of the divide):
Your question "How do the strategies of innovation incubation funding effect the types of cultural production that will occur in this studio?" is the key one for me. I would phrase it: "is artistic innovation the same as invention of a product?" and say, no, it's not. The two can overlap but art is not science, or engineering. Crispin's "Turing vs Duchamp" polarity leaves out so much. The Duchamp rotoreliefs could be perceptual science, but the Large Glass is absurdist poetry - it's not about learning, earning, or making the world a better place. Where do Matta, Eva Hesse, or Oskar Fischinger fit into a Turing vs Duchamp scheme? To answer these questions you'd have to have strong opinions about art and willingness to laugh at the certainties of science. I don't see anyone with that mindset getting past the gatekeepers looking for innovation in the logical positivist sense. You would have to lie on the application form, which is what capitalism-averse artists routinely do to get Creative Capital grants.
In an earlier comment I noted some connections between O'Brien's questions regarding venture capital-funded art and Mark Ames' criticisms-in-advance of Glenn Greenwald's gazillionaire-funded investigative journalism outfit, First Look. Similar issues of intellectual autonomy are raised, and a similar veil of silence descended from "the community."
For me, as an artist trying to figure out something interesting to do with a computer in the mid-to-late-'90s, Jeremy Blake was the competition. (He won.) There wasn't much actual critical dialogue around his work, though. Blake died a few years ago, and now Michael Connor, as curator, is doing some post-mortem chin-scratching in the course of keeping the Blake myth fires burning by grouping Blake with current young Blakes. As a witness to history and the MSPaint road not taken, I hurled this Solo Jazz cup of cold water in response to Connor's Blake essay currently up on Rhizome:
The Fahrenheit 451 connection is intriguing -- a '60s vision of abstraction-as-dystopian-mass-entertainment is certainly an interesting jumping-off point for a '90s body of work. As one who watched Jeremy Blake's career from the start I'd say he hit it around '98 with Bungalow 8, depicting transparent walls of a modernist apartment sliding in and out of each other - and then it was all downhill, as his work became "pure" abstraction (such as what appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson's film Punch Drunk Love), and then the later narrative, collage-y stuff, which was the least successful work he did (except in the commercial/exposure sense). Liquid Villa was essentially a repeat of Bungalow 8, with what seemed to be gratuitous Mediterranean stylings.
One quibble with this essay is the use of "prosumer" at the end. One reason Blake was able to distance himself from new media (or what was then still often being called "computer art") was that no one in the art world knew anything about the programs or effects he was using and he didn't talk about it. The "prosumer" dialog that you've identified with artists such as Michael Bell-Smith is all about "look what we did with this or that program that mid-level professionals use." Blake's work would have benefited from that kind of demystification at any stage. Instead it was treated as some kind of mysterious painted video that emerged from the mind of a genius.
Not that anyone asked, but here's what I wrote about Liquid Villa in 2001, discussing a Tim Griffin-curated group show:
"Only two of the artists make direct, hands-on use of the computer. Conjuring post-human exercise videos, Asymptote Architecture's looping, slowly morphing pod-shapes on small display screens combine machine curves, body contours, and textures scanned from athletic apparel. In Jeremy Blake's DVD light-show-in-a-box, pulsating color field patterns alternate with views of a synthetic Mediterranean villa, as if to say that inside the computer, it's all just planes and colors. Both artists favor the sleek airbrushed look typical of commercial digital work and display their pieces on pricy appliances such as wall-mounted plasma screens and Apple G-4 hard-drives; this is fine, but the danger of embracing the dominant economy's techno-fetish is that (as Joseph Kosuth once said of painting) one also embraces 'the tradition that comes with it': consumption, fascination, waste."
One of the GIFs in this Stage/Agathe André collaboration from the Mutations project made me think of a Monet cathedral. Stage found a Monet and I put it up next to the GIF. Amirite? as they say. Their collaborative GIF had nothing to do with Monet, it's just one of those random intriguing linkages.
"The Wrong - New Digital Art Biennale" has already vanished into the aether with this page promising "we'll be back in two years."
But, but, we thought the Internet was forever.
Fortunately Joel Cook made this clear and comprehensible user interface for the various pavilions, for those of us who had planned to spend two years perusing all the art data in that bursting-at-the-seams event. (Up to now I'd barely covered my own pavilion-mates).
In 2015, The Wrong should hire Cook to make their front page -- the one they had was kind of a mess.
In fact, many of the pavilions could have shed their high concept landing pages, which recalled the Flash intros of the early 2000s, and not in a good way.
In art as in life, people just want to get where they're going, not to be entertained en-route.
Simon Baker, aka Stage, put up a series of GIF collaborations he did with various people via back-and-forth email exchanges. Participants in the Mutations project are listed below.
Our collaboration started with this GIF of Stage's:
And nine emails later ended with this GIF of "mine":
The word "mine" is in quotes because by the final step we had both added ideas, edited, cropped, enlarged, etc, so that it's properly "ours," even though I had the final cut.
From my email to Stage, after he had everything up (and note the use of the "gallery" top level domain -- what, no "art"?)
The [website] design is intuitive and simple, even though the work is cumulatively neo-baroque psychedelic.
I like the banners compressing all the collaboration steps into a single strip.
Will be curious to see the reactions. There are interesting facets to the "politics of collaboration" and many single images that stand out from the flow.
Will be posting some of the other collaboration GIFs from the project soon.
Max Roach, "Garvey's Ghost" YouTube I have this on a vinyl compilation, Impulse Energy Essentials
Automatic Man, "My Pearl" YouTube. If Hendrix had lived he'd likely have done a mix of prog and funk that sounded like this.
MX-80 Sound, "Crushed Ice" YouTube. From Hard Attack, a better album than the later pair on Ralph, only available as an import at the time of release.
MX-80 Sound, "Tidal Wave" YouTube. "There's nothing left but kids in vans, without pants, and they're eating pork."
Orchestra Luna, "Were You Dancin' On Paper" YouTube. Quirky Boston ensemble combining prog and showtunes.
Orchestra Luna, "Little Sam" YouTube
The Bizarros, "Artie J" MySpace. Akron!
Bonus: Network Awesome has a great collection of Can YouTubes. For those who followed the band only from vinyl across the Atlantic back in the day, it's fascinating to watch their evolution from hippie collective to the "art disco" period. Another revelation was Irmin Schmidt stepping up as stage showoff after Damo Suzuki left. Somehow I imagined him looking ponderous behind his keyboards but he's out there mingling Sun Ra theatrics with lively dance steps.
Debussy, "Sonata for Violin and Piano," David Oistrakh (violin), Frida Bauer (piano), live recording, 1972 YouTube My favorite Debussy piece, confidently executed.
Soul Odyssey, "Rapture" YouTube - Progressive house tune produced in Dallas TX (1993), when I was living there and taping Jeff K's KDGE show. Discovered by Sasha and became a global club hit.
Central Fire, "Shout Going Out" YouTube
Wading into the shallows of media coverage of a recent Shia LaBeouf performance art piece, Kenneth Goldsmith makes a clever pastiche of the cliched writing in an authorless, Kathy Acker-style mock-review for Rhizome.org, with links back to the original sentences Goldsmith cobbled together. Can airheaded writing about airheaded work be redeemed as "surf art"? Probably not. Will this earnest reply to "Kenneth" refocus our values? Probably not:
Your report gives few details about this performance so I had to resort to USA Today:
The exhibit is a collaborative project between LaBeouf, Finnish performance artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö and British artist Luke Turner, according to a press release sent to Time.
It took place at The Cohen Gallery, which USA informs us is "is across the street from BuzzFeed's L.A. offices," adding parenthetically, "Probably just a coincidence, right?"
Like you, the Daily Beast's Andrew Romano was oddly moved by the whole spectacle. "I actually felt something real. Something strange and complex. Something like sympathy. ..."
This is probably more of a USA Today-type story, and USA Today-type performance art, but it's always interesting to see what you're interested in.
Personally I'd like more sociology on how porous the gallery world and the film biz are in LA. I got messages yesterday that Parker Ito had sold a painting at auction for $93,000 USD, which is pretty good for a n00b, and one of the reasons for the high price tag is that film director Harmony Korine is a collector of his art. Maybe as a cross-NY-LA correspondent and assiduous documenter of the avant garde through ubuweb, WFMU, etc, you can help us understand the interrelationship of art and pure promo hype in the tinseltown art scene.
I confess when I wrote the above I just skimmed the Goldsmith and thought, instead of "this isn't worth your time," that he had simply lost his mind. This will teach me not to skim and troll (or at least, mouse-over), but would still like to see the convo diverted to more new-media-relevant topics, such as the role of LA collectors in market-making for YIBA (or YIBI) art.
two FAUXreal-posted GIFs overlayed