RE: [-empyre-] Size matters?


Hmmmmmmmmmmmm let me see....I will try and be clearer...

What I mean is that despite the fact lists are often very concerned with
archiving, and despite the fact a great deal of their archiving is quite
secure as far as the onslaught of technological advancement is concerned,
this type of archive, and this type of information doesn't entirely fit the
required remit of the discipline of the History of art. 

(before you ask if it should fit, please read on... :-)

Net art does not meet the core requirements for the archiving and eulogising
of artworks established by the discipline of the history of art. As a
result, although a great deal of net art practice goes on, it does so
without the support of the history of art, and therefore resides outside of
institutions, critical frameworks and away from the gaze of the masses. Art
history isn't able to deal with net art because it doesn't fit any of the
criteria it uses to define and deify art. Net art, although very varied and
difficult to concretely define, tends to be ephemeral, existing purely
online, and fragile, lasting for relatively short periods before being
superseded by new ideas or new technology. To an art history which is
designed to predominantly deal with objects, and objects which display a
propensity for longevity, net art remains not only elusive but at almost
direct odds with the history of art. However this difficult relationship is
only just beginning, because in its rejection of the criteria set out for
art by the history of art, net art in turn rejects the history of art and
actively seeks new, more inclusive criteria by which art might be valued.
Likewise in its rejection of the history of art, it makes very clear an
awareness of it, rendering the two forms of praxis opposed, but inseparable.

Despite the acceptance of lets say conceptual artworks in the history of
art, net art presents a particular conundrum, and this is what I am trying
to get to...

I am not saying that net art needs the history of art, or needs validation,
but what I am asking is how net art can negotiate both these art world

I am asking this firstly because I wonder if net art's apparent rejection of
more traditional systems forces it to build its own secondly does net art
force existing systems to adapt to its new offerings and thirdly whether
this causes both sides to inevitably acknowledge each other. I see the
history of art in so much net art output, even if as a rejection of it,
which makes me see the two as a syzygy, they oppose each other, but are
allied because of this opposition. 

Also, as there is a lot from offline that is reflected online, in an albeit
technological translation I wonder whether/what elements of the online art
world are building structures reminiscent but not wholly reflective of those
offline. And if this is the case, despite the fact net art often bills
itself as anti-establishment, might it be rather more reliant on conversions
and extensions of existing models than we realise, after all, net art isn't
all new and a computer is just another prosthesis...Therefore I am wondering
what reflections the list has off line, other than real conversations or
letter writing, because I think the list offers something else, perhaps more
aligned, perhaps not, with offline art world systems...

I think it is undoubtedly the case that the main source of validation for
net art is the text, whether it should be or not, whether it needs it or
not, which is of course less anti-establishment or 'new' than one might have
thought. In fact, text is everywhere for net art, as critique and direct
marketing, it facilitates curation by explaining the conceptual links
between works, in an absence of physical proximity, and in the form of code,
text creates the works themselves! However placing such disproportionate
emphasis on text, over the gallery or institution, still constitutes a shift
and might require additional adaptations more aligned to this textual
allegiance. So what is this textual architecture?

>From this, still keeping my art historian outfit on (actually I don't think
I have one;-), I end up asking if the list is an art historical archive of
net art, and if so, should we be looking to stabilise and historicise the
archive of the list as much as groups are already looking at preserving the
art? List archives are not easy to search, and compared to books they are
difficult to work from so what role does the list play in the safeguarding
and historicising of works for the future, if any?

When I see a list posting covered in text with lots of links, because of the
format/protocol of lists, it reminds me of the gallery in reverse. Instead
of big pictures on the wall with little texts next to them, we hang the text
big and put lots of little links to the art...Eventually the list could
provide the equivalent  structure to the art gallery, for work that cannot
be physically housed, providing its context, publicity and validation (if so
required), so is the list the preservation of net art that some have been
looking for all along. I dunno?!
Of course as is the case with the speed of construction in the e-age, we
must inevitably look beyond the structures we are currently creating, and it
seems fair to say that it wont be long before the relatively low-tech list
is adapted or superseded to better house the debates it has helped grow and
nurture, but it is important to understand its foundations and potential
before we build on its hopefully solid ground, lest list subsidence hamper
our plans...

As Jim rightly notes, language isn't necessarily the written word, but I
feel that the written word just seems incredibly important to net art. And I
wonder, although these thoughts are not fully formed, if we are not just
discussing the language of new media, but creating it???

Anyway Alan, I am aware of some of the projects out there, but when I began
this research, I struggled to find more information and nobody on lists
wanted to help me :-( so I had to begin with the information I had. I
appreciate that in light of what you are saying, I may need to adjust my
ideas, but you might see how I formed some of them and am grateful for your
info...I couldn't find your Being Online book anywhere so I have yet to read

I hope that is clearer, although I know its is very disjointed and if I was
having this conversation in person there would be a LOT of frantic hand

Anyway I want as many arguments as possible, so that I can clarify my ideas
both for myself and for the panel at all have till Thursday night
(UK time) to catch me! :-)


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