Some more oppositional writing in response to a Rhizome.org post, in this case Ceci Moss' Expanded Internet Art and the Informational Milieu. Hers is yet another screed attempting to nail down a recuperative art of connection, which she calls "expanded" (a la Rosalind Krauss' "Sculpture in the Expanded Field," although Krauss isn't mentioned) after offering a laundry list of the damned of similar terms: Post internet, post media, post media aesthetics, radicant art [no, really], dispersion, formatting, meme art, and circulationism. Am not sure if I believe in hermeticism or if it's just agitprop in my role as Rhizome's resident angry comment dude. The contours of hermeticism are defined mainly by disgust with the top-down editorial conceit of circulation qua circulation as a desirable or necessary condition of the present moment. The van den Dorpel and Murphy examples are taken from Moss' essay and re-spun.
In view of the plethora of terms all saying the same obvious thing (not all internet art takes place on the net) let's propose a new term suggested by Ceci Moss' essay: hermeticism. The hermeticist artist keeps to herself in spite of the widespread and much-flacked availability of online connections in the social media era. While not shunning collaboration or eclecticism, the hermeticist artist believes "the buck stops here" with regard to artistic expression, "here" being the artist's own judgment and decision-making process. The hermeticist artist still has a studio, even if it is located in a single device. The hermeticist pursues shamanic and occult practices in the face of consensus art-making. Many hermeticist artists operate as artistic outsiders, a considerable achievement in an era of maximum surveillance and self-surveillance (i.e., commodified confession), but not all hermeticists are paranoid loners. Harm van den Dorpel's Assemblages is a classic hermeticist work, where noise from the digital economy is obsessively collected, mixed with the artist's own gestures, and fused into a primary structure resembling an atomic sphere. Van den Dorpel's private studio activity de-recuperates a wealth of data that has meaning in other contexts, creating an autobiographical talisman others find pleasurable to view. Similarly, Brenna Murphy produces discrete objects in the form of floor patterns that are individually photographed and operate according to their own perverse internal logic. These will be mistaken after the fact as metaphors for communitarian circulation when they are in fact monuments to a kind of sublime self-awareness. The hermeticist artist is not concerned on any level [with] whether art "pushes us forward" but instead moves inward at tangential angles to the dominant networked culture. [To be continued]