[-empyre-] New subthread
As promised, I have a new subthread, as the general PDA discussion is
getting pretty far afield. However, instead of giving you one topic, in my
usual style, I'll give you all a choice. Conference organizers hate me for
this, as I always send at least 6 choices.
That being said:
I refer you to my lates video/print series entiotled "8 Bits or Less" and to
the installation at (re)distributions entitled "Verbotenbilden".
In 8BoL, the gaze of the artist has been mediated by the wristcam. And,
according to film theory, the lens has signified the objectifying male gaze.
However, scholars such as Yvonne Spielmann have posited that the gaze in the
digital is far more discontinuous than the singular hegemonic gaze in its
fragmentation, recombinatory nature, and multiple levels of 'flickering
I feel that the mediation of perception and the methodology of
representation embodied by wearable technologies has an interesting
localized discursive structure. It exhibits the shifts in perspective in
the location on the body, its intimacy, the crude method of representation
(analogous to pinhole photography and Muybridge's experiments in motion
studies when this is applied to video), and the remediation of multiple
layers of processing. I could go on longer using Manovich's five principles
of new media, but that would be stressing the scope of the discussion.
Secondly, in the case of verbotenbilden, all of the sites recorded are, at
least in the US, 'verboten' (forbidden). This is ether by law, by
corporate policy, by intellectual property rights, museum conservation
issues, personal privacy rights, or other taboos. The increased level of
control legislation is brought into question by wearable recording
technology that runs 'stealth' within stores, security checkpoints, and so
on. In addition, the current resolution of such devices is insufficient to
reveal any real information about the site, but creates an invasive and
Some questions that come to mind are whether this series of images
represents a violation of human rights, or possibly the exercise of media
democracy through the cooptation of surveillance techniques for personal use
so that individuals can punch through the unilateral surveillance culture to
lay bare the issues of control that such spaces engender. In addition, as
these devices are getting much, much cheaper ($50 on ebay), could they be
used as a form of activist tool?
In addition, what is the role of perception, the need for extreme attention
to form and composition due to the lack of resolution? Is this getting back
to a form of 'minimalist' digital art, 'antideterminist' gestures, and does
limitation truly breed innovation? Does much of the most interesting art
come from the least funded? What is the possibility of retrotech for
creative exploration, and do devices like the wristcam and the PDA resemble
the days of the Atari 800 and Commodore 64 (the Timex Sinclair for my
Lastly, I urge you to read a recent Atlantic article:
Although it's by a traditionalist, he brings up many interesting ideas.
That in the age of digital print, where gallery owners wish for 200-year
stability in digital print, one has to understand that Van Goh's Sunflowers
have faded immensely since their creation, due to the instability of the
chrome yellow he used. It's interesting that he says that digital art just
hasn't made it yet (and I'd say that his opinion is thatt located in
mainstream traditionalist art historical practice).
So, that being said, what are the issues that are being imposed on digital
art by the extant art world? Is it merely the same sort of polemic created
by the creation of photography, video, etc? Or, have the consumer culture
and Benjamin scholars created a tremendous bias against digital art,
creating expectations that are far beyond those that were expected of teh
fin de siecle masters when they were creating their work? Also, since Ball
has set up the case for ephemerality of nearly any artform, are the issues
of archival related at all to historical archival, or merely the pervue of
materialist practices of fetishization and desire, such as commodification
and collection? If we as artists are to believe the gallery owners in
equating the worth of a work with its collectability, linked to its
logevity, why collect art at all, and why do net and PDA art at all? My
view toward the digital arts is much similar to that of the Fluxus and
Performance Art movements, but I leave this up for discussion.
I hope that this will serve as a little more grain for the grist.
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