RE: [-empyre-] Re: Method Manifesto

For if you agree that nobody really knows what art is, then it is also true
that institutional and historical judgements about what art is have no more ontological
authority than your or my feelings and ideas about what art is.

In any case, if no one really knows what art is, then what is taken for art is not a matter of
ontological acuity but of a whole range of other considerations, none of which are necessarily
more valid than your or my feelings and ideas about art.

The word is 'ontological': concerning the reality-status of a) art b) a particular work or job of work

The question concenring what art is  - is art

Art is that practice which meticulously questions its own ontological status. The art 'object' is an object that struggles to exist. That struggle, that puzzle over whether it exists and in what mode (conceptual, phenomenological, virtual . . .) is what constitutes art

at least in the Western tradition

The question as to whether digital and especially network practices are art is a question about the delimitation and boundary of art - ie another variant on the ontological querstion - but in a global network, the contestaion also arises over the aplicability of a western art practice to other creative activitiesto which the word art is perhaps applied in a colonial way

at which point the question 'is this art?' is less a question about 'this' than about 'art', and the this-ness of this particular practicemight be answered in other ontological traditions (this is maya, this is a god)



Sean Cubitt * Screen and Media Studies * University of Waikato * Private Bag 3105 * Hamilton * New Zealand * * T: +64 (0)7 838 4543 * F: +64 (0)7 838 4767

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