Re: [-empyre-] experience Vs commerce

Patrick Lichty wrote:

> The novelty will wear off.

that's the thing patrick, it ain't a novelty, it is the essence of the
medium. what will wear off is the novelty of artists using computers (it
already has), and the novelty of artists using the web (any day now).
and what will be left? the actual "objects" the artists produced, and
these will be evaluated in terms of both concept and delivery. nice
idea, sloppy execution will in time be seen as just that, as there will
be a steady growth of "sunday net artists" who can "paint" as well as
the "masters."
> > nam june paik, though not an electrical engineer, knew a
> > little about how a TV worked (mostly through trial and error, the
> > standard artist's practice).  he knew if he clipped this resistor it
> > would produce that result, if he put a magnet over here, the TV image
> > would distort around its field.  his tech knowledge had everything to do
> > with the concept/theory as well as the final execution of the work.
> However, the point is that although the two are not separate, as you may
> misunderstand me on this issue, there are some technical virtuosos who have
> little concept.  Paik has concept.  You have concept. Where I think you read
> me wrong is that I propose that technical virtuosity necessarily overshadows
> concept when it enters, when I believe that when paired with a cogent idea,
> it is truly a synergistic force.  glasbead is one of my favorite works.
> It's elegant, intuitive, and communicates a very clear experience, as well
> as being technically astute.

thanks re glasbead, pack yer meds, come to new york and see EARTH (its
what i did with the glasbead rotational codebase :). and yes we are
basically on the same page here, the only contention being that you
suggest "code for code's sake" is a novelty and that i suggest "concept
for concept's sake" is also a novelty. we both agree that "synergy is
the thing." if the perfect cocktail is one part code and one part
concept, you get more for your money if the glass is big. and then
there's the bartender's buyback (do you have that in Louisiana?) not to
mention happy hour.

> However, I argue that there is a body of work out there now (I'm blanking on
> examples, long weekend) that is much more about the code than the concept.
> This work is lifeless.  I'd almost posit that SodaPlay,. although fun and
> very well done, is a pretty bland piece of work.

very much agree (and i can site examples but wont). i think the problem
you are alluding to here is the situation where a programmer decides
she/he can make art, the result usually being some nice dancing pixel
algorithms. thats not to say that it doesnt always work, i like to point
to this site: as a prime example of code
as good art, and they didn't even realize it. so what if the folks who
have good ideas but limited tech were encouraged to aquire the tech
skills. then you have the two-part synergistic brain bender. plus the
good ideas are enhanced by the deeper understanding of the medium.
although it may seem easiest for the artist to either hire a coder or
purchase the best tools (funding for which is another problem) i do
believe its better for the artist to DIY. i would never have conceived
of glasbead if it were not for my ability to program it.  and i'll point
out once more, that i'm entirely self taught as a programmer.

> What I argue is that there is a dominant meme going on now
> about coding which sometimes mitigates the inclusion of some pretty marginal
> work.

again i agree, but i dislike this notion being used to discourage the
artist from exploring/exploiting the lower level tech. what you say is
not only that "its okay not to understand the tech" but that "artists
probably shouldn't." thats the realm of the geek and we don't need to
know that. i think we do. 
> However, I don't think that 'the medium is the m(e/a)ssage', but it can be.
> You can ride it, or it can wind up riding you.

even though i may be interpreted in the mccluhan sense, i too don't
think the medium is the message. the medium is the messenger, and don't
blame him.

> Or, there are times in which
> the choice of medium is relatively arbitrary, and one is as good as another,
> and is a matter of choice.  This is a very broad topic here.  Definitely a
> wide array of variables to deal with.

indeed some other time perhaps.
> if the
> > germination for the concept comes from the medium itself, then you know
> > its the right medium to employ to execute the concept. again, it doesn't
> > matter at what level, the point being to start somewhere and probe.
> > simple curiosity should logically lead someone of artistic temperment to
> > probe deeper.  the deeper you go, the freer you are.
> Some would argue that one also becomes more invested in a given
> technique/medium, and then becomes more constrained by the agendas that it
> represents.  The more collouqial term is to 'not see the forest for the
> trees'.  I personally believe that this is largely ideology left to one's
> own initiative.  To each their own, and all are valid.  If this is the way
> you work, then that's marvelous, but it isn't the only way that one can
> engage with the subject in a complex and cogent way.

i know what you mean. to heap all the possibilities of the computer into
a single pile and label it "the medium" is ludicrous. there are so many
media contained within the one machine. each has to be addressed
singularly. but to me, the only way to make the sub-media of 3d really
sing, is to get down to the code level. correct that, to me the natural
artistic progression of the sub-media of 3d is to get down to the code
level.  as a flipant couterpoint, photoshop has no user/code level so
there is no point in getting down to it at that level. but perhaps
photoshop is not a medium at all, its a tool, the medium there being
photography. so in other words, where is the medium? the artist's job is
to fucking find it! i havn't yet felt the constraints you mention
because i have yet to really find the medium.
> > so do i in theory, as long as you are only trying to deliver a simple
> > message. i think it completely impossible to deliver a complex message
> > via ascii art. to deliver a complex message, you need a complex
> > mechanism. what is a complex mechanism? something made from *numerous*
> > simpler things.
> Can a complex mechanism be made only from one mode of parts?  Could a
> complex mechanism be comprised of elements that play on technique, culture,
> social narrative, site specificity.  I think what is stated there is rather
> deterministic, and I would say that some of the most complex thought I know
> is contained within Zen koans of only 3-4 lines in length. Is a Kelly or
> Stella work simplistic in nature? Hardly.

well, thats a PhD disertation in and of itself, but i will risk it and
say, yes, kelly and stella and zen koans are simple, period. the complex
thought arises from the comparison of the simple unit to each
individual's very complex worldview. without the pre-existence of the
complex worldview, the koan and the kelly and the stella would have no
effect. and it can be argued that the k+k+s become less and less
effective the more they are percieved and added into the worldview.  the
complex thing here is the worldview, not any one part.

> My big goal here is to say that often a complex mechanism _can_ talk about a
> complex idea, but to say that this is necessary is questionable, as there
> are always exceptions.  Hell, Cage and Glass did some highly complex
> conceptual work with the minimum of moves.  This is not to say that the
> social structures they hooked into/commented upon were not highly complex.

exactly, its the hook. but not being a scholar of it, i can't really say
just how complex cage actually are, and lets not forget every
artist carries at least one pound of bullshit.

> Why does Duchamp's urinal still remain so powerful?  A simple act to a
> complex problem.  Drive the wedge at exactly the right spot, and you can
> crack an entire iceberg. This is the continuum of elegance and brute force.

nice analogy. but to me, i just like the urinal, and the art joke is the
> Almost like saying that in order to win a game of chess, you just add more
> queens on your side, or to express a more complex thesis, you merely add
> chapters to the book.  The problem is that in life the board, the pieces and
> the allowable moves is a little different wherever you engage, so one way or
> another is a little less usable than a range of configurations/ways of
> representation.

good point, although an art career perhaps is a game, art itself isn't,
and if two opponents have equal skill level, the one with more queens
*will* win the game.
> Sometimes, the most complex thing is to express a thought with brevity, wit,
> and clarity.

yeah, and explosions are good too.
> This is something that I often fail miserably at.

dont try so hard.

as always, best,


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