tom moody

New Media, Reified and Not

Following up on an earlier post on recent shows by Wade Guyton and Thomas Ruff and their relationship to new media (computer- and Netcentric) art: the artists aren't doing anything that radically different from, say, Karl Klomp (imperfect scans and printing) or Fake Is The New Real (inadvertently abstract jpegs). The former deal more with scale, and parsing the dynamics of a room, and are advantaged by having bushels of cash at their disposal to make a show of sumptuous objects.

Physical craft and spatial investigation aren't the sine qua non of art; some kind of meaningful content comparisons need to be made between two different spheres--digital and electronic arts, which has its own culture and (mostly uncritical) critical apparatus and the gallery/museum world. It would be good for curators from various disciplines to be talking, to agree on common points of value. No one will prompt this conversation, though, the way the Romans did, for example, with the Nicene Creed (forcing clerics from various rival Christian camps to nail down a charter, with chariots circling the building), until the cyber camp has a significant economic constituency, which may be never.

Aron Namenwirth posted some of Ruff's images, including some of the porny ones, which seem really obvious to me. I prefer the Fake is the New Real images linked to above, which have a more accidental, "oversaved JPEG" aesthetic as opposed to Ruff's photographer-who-just-discovered-Photoshop look. I don't recall whether FITNR made or found his jpegs, which ups their cred even more.

Namenwirth himself has been working with jpeg imagery, in the form of meticulously-executed acrylic on canvas paintings. These take the simple transformation of analog imagery to pixels in a slightly different direction: Paddy Johnson made a good point that "in some sense, he literalizes what might be an imagined physical relationship between the user and a jpg," which I interpret to mean, makes the image a large, tactile presence on the same approximate scale as its original human subject, rather than a small and discardable thing. More tactile than Ruff's work, certainly.

- tom moody

January 10th, 2008 at 11:14 am

Posted in general