FRIEZE 01 SEP 2011
Down the Line
BY LAUREN CORNELL
In the Nostalgia District
왜 web art 가 mainstream art world에서 배척되어 왔는지 원인을 3가지 든다 .
웹아트에 대한 글이지만 applicable to my research as well.
First, medium-specificity is out of style and the word ‘Internet’ suggests a medium – something separate, something cyber – even though the term can really be used now to describe the experiences that come with an expanded culture and communications system, not just its underlying network protocols. However, this perception of the Internet as a separate artistic territory persists, with its roots planted firmly in the 1990s. In step with Clinton-era rhetoric around globalization, and excitement for new information technologies, the first Internet bubble swelled in the ’90s and burst in the early 2000s, as did patience with ambitious but under-resourced ‘net art’ exhibitions (read: faulty browsers and error signs). Quickly, it was all but abandoned by the art world save for a few ambitious museum media lounges. It’s important to note that much of this ’90s-era ‘net art’ was preoccupied with the technology itself, not with celebrating it, but considering and subverting it. This focus made it somewhat impenetrable for the non-technologically inclined and challenging to exhibit off-line. In the last few years, however, the field of art engaged with the Internet has expanded to being both about new tools and simply how we live our lives – the humanity on top, so to speak.
A second reason for the slow response is that, unlike other industries, such as music and publishing, the art world wasn’t forced to react to cultural shifts wrought by the Internet because its economic model wasn’t devastated by them. The quality of Christian Marclay’sThe Clock (2010), for instance, isn’t dependent on YouTube votes or the extent to which it circulates virally, and nor can one download and install a BitTorrent of a Rachel Harrison sculpture. The principles that keep the visual arts economy running – scarcity, objecthood and value conferred by authority figures such as curators and critics – make it less vulnerable to piracy and democratized media.
The difference between these models belies a more fundamental opposition in values that might give us a third and final reason why the art district and the Internet are polarized: broadly speaking, the art world is vertical (escalating levels of privilege and exclusivity) whereas the web is horizontal (based on free access, open sharing, unchecked distribution, an economy of attention). Furthermore, technology is bound to what we could call a Modernist narrative of cultural progress, innovation and mastery, whereas art is no longer tied to this model. As the artist Michael Bell-Smith put it: ‘Technology is about fixing problems, art is about creating them.’1
And yet, the structural model of the art world remains relatively unchanged. In the art district, we still commute to museums and international biennials, pay for admission and revolve around large-scale, in-person events. These are the art world’s prescribed behaviours, and the problem is that they are insular. Although performance and moving image have made major inroads into exhibition programmes, institutions have traditionally been less supportive of works that don’t take the form of objects, and they take little advantage of the publishing potential of the Internet.
One reason why it hasn’t begun sooner is that institutional resources are traditionally so tied to exhibitions.… because physical exhibitions still remain the dominant way that art is named, seen, reviewed and converted into saleable asset. …
This problem is all the more reason for institutions to make a better and more widely available case for the art itself and the experience of the museum, and also better balance exhibitions with other initiatives that usually hang on the periphery of institutional art programmes, like theatre, online curated projects or festivals. Institutions need to figure out how to reconsider their models and coordinate the values of the art district with an expanded public sphere, rather than the values of the nostalgia district.
Art has, of course, always been informed by technology, but under network culture technology has permeated art practices in new ways.
But if technology offered new possibilities, new-media artists were wise to how its merciless rate of change dated even the most cutting-edge work within months of its production.
To be sure, new media today remains a community of sorts, but art itself has been permeated by technology. Quite obviously, the more technological of the arts – photography and video – have largely moved to digital means of production.
Today, with the Internet and software making appropriation laughably easy, an entire generation has grown up obtaining their media through piracy and thinks nothing of slapping together an amusing mash-up music video or biting political remix.
Far from traditional notions of new media, the work of both Delsaux and Budington reflects how we have naturalized technology in our lives during the last 20 years. 이게 main argument. 즉, 지난 20여 년간 우리가 아주 new media에 익숙해졌기 때문에, 이제는 traditional notion of new media는 유효하지 않다 .
But technology is ultimately only a set of tools, a concretization of our desires and needs.