■ Mark Amerika's comment
After seeing all of the entries for the Project netarts.org award competition,
one thing is for sure: Internet art practice is alive and well. It is a
pluralized practice, with many genres, including digital narrative,
performance, animation, ambient games, hactivism, data visualization, and the
like. The discussions with the selection committee were noteworthy for their intellectual vibrancy. An online dialogue between selection committee members
John Hopkins and Trace Reddell was especially revelaing.
> I'm suspecting that what we're talking about here ...
> is that what you and I would label "net.art" is in some ways ...
> best exemplified through a kind of daily practice ...
> an ongoing relationship with dataspace in its varieties ...
> dataspaces in their varieties ...
> this is maybe why we both like the kind of blog-like projects as well
<jaceee> I think that about all creative practices!
<jaceee> they must be lived
> and the net.art practice has just been melded into this model of ongoing
<jaceee> the re-presentative spaces of heavily socialized relation tend to
that relation to life...
> what I liked when I first met you and got a sense of what you were up to,
<jaceee> there must be a direct connection!
<jaceee> likewise ;-))
<jaceee> I think that observing the schism of PoMo up close taught me that
> you saw networking as sort of navigating through opportunities for these
intensified moments ...
> situations that were gathering energy into a temporary node of experience
<jaceee> I could see no other role for my particiaption in the 'art world'
> and facilitating a truly multilateral exchange
> this is different from a rhizome, I think
> because a rhizome implies a genetic similarity across the connectivity
> it's all the same lifeforce
<jaceee> I thot rhizome was to grow a cash cow? ;-}
<jaceee> there are some substantial new research in the science of soils
point to an intensive level of dynamic interconnectivity of root and soil
<jaceee> with facilitating agents keeping the flow of life going between
> yes, because a network allows for exchange across systems that are
I was struck by the beauty of the give and take, the harmony of voices, the
polyvocality (real and potential) of the format, and the way it essentially
captured the spirit of a distributed net art practice *taking place* IN
A good deal of our discussion involved the differences between net art work
that exists autonomously on and with the web, and more process-oriented work
that is less about a finished product and more about how the network
infiltrates our daily lives.
Most of the interesting net artists I know of who are producing formally
experimental autonomous work that can be viewed in the collective and
collaborative lab of the WWW are, by the very nature of their commitment to
staying connected to the network environment, very aware of their ongoing
relationship with the various dataspaces they operate in. It's not like they
become zombies in daily practice while seeking completion of a finished object
that can be neatly packaged for a consumer audience. Yes, there are commercial
Flash artists, for example, who do nothing but that. But those are not the kind
of artists we are talking about anyway. There are intermedia net artists who
are able to cover multiple and hybridized practices so that it's not an
either/or situation, rather, it's an and/and situation - or an ether/ore
practice where they mine the mind for generative forms that come out as part of
their ongoing (and yes, daily) jam session with the yberpsychogeographical
border zones of the contemporary culture they activate themselves in.
True, some net artists have more output than others, and may also be more
talented i.e. more capable developing a Life Style Practice via calculated
"aimless drifting" that feeds into their formal experiments and that also, on
occasion, results in what looks like pseudo-autonomous works. But my sense is
that those works are a ruse the same way a static philosophy of rhizomatic flow
and the nomadic Life Style Practice I expound can, at times, come across like a
ruse. And, needless to say, it's not just net artists who are capable of
outputting pseudo-autonomous works. Some very important novelists I have known
over the years have a talent for parceling out large chunks of formally
innovative work from the ever growing sausage-material they are grinding out as
part of their Life Style Practice. They call them novels or collections. They
are often just by-products of an otherwise totally immersive Life Style
Practice. For some reason, they are able to create these pseudo-autonomous
works of art like leaving their footprints in the sand. They are so productive
they just can't help themselves and, yes, they have this urge to aestheticize.
I see two of the finalist projects fitting into the above category quite well.
Constantini's Unosunosyunosceros and Crawford's Stop Motion Studies Series. I
would have been happy to see either of these works win the award. But I was
also impressed with Ping Melody, as were all of the committee members. Ping
Melody attempts to take their musical and network instruments, as well as their
undercurrent ideology, and turn it into an active practice via live
performance. The granular synthesis of data-noise from the net and live
music+voice pings the listener and actuates a net presence as some kind of
performative remix taking place in asynchronous realtime. The work is dependent
on the networked space of flows to conduct its material ambition which becomes
manifest in the sound we hear. Nice idea - bravo!
Overall, the decision was difficult and I am happy with all of the works chosen
for the exhibition and could see any number of them walking away with the
award although Ping Melody is certainly a worthy choice.