Re: [-empyre-] meta view / vitalism vs culture

Sorry, I'm lagging...

On 17/11/2004, at 9:22 AM, daniel mafe wrote:

In your book, Mitchell you give an interesting historical account of a-life's vitalist "origins". This is a problem for its mainstream acceptance now as the dominant paradigm for art now is as a purely cultural and even linguistic construct or by-product (or maybe symptom!). How does a-life fit in or become visible within that kind of frame? I am sure it can after all how separate is science from the language it uses to describe things and the culture within which it is embedded.

This is a good point and it's certainly a tension that persists within a-life art. Ken Rinaldo, who will be joining us soon, would have an interesting view on this. There is a range of perspectives within the field. Artists such as Natalie Jeremijenko deploy a-life reflexively, and with a very clear cultural grounding; others such as Sommerer and Mignonneau, align with Roy Ascott in proposing a-life as a paradigm for post-postmodern art and science - a methodology which re-synthesises the fragmented relativism of the pomo subject. There's an element of radical constructivism here... breed your own reality, in a way. Still others are closer to Klee and Malevich, with an organicist / vitalist impulse... just wanting to make something that manifests that spark of emergence. In general I think there is a blending of impulses and discourses... and artists are good of course at generating discourses which work for them in various ways (so are theorists!). Jon McCormack is another example of someone with a very strong engagement with the techniques, and an interest in their generative potential, who simultaneously has a very reflective and philosophical perspective on a-life and its relation to contemporary culture. (Jon are you out there?)

Ultimately I don't think a-life art needs or wants "mainstream" art-world acceptance... that world is a game unto itself.


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