Re: [-empyre-] Re: commodification [Whispering in the Dark]

Kenneth wrote:

Could you clarify your ideas on the "commodifation of discourse"? I'm unclear as to how and where this is occurring.

in relation to new media - I am talking about discourse that occurs along the line of recent technological invention, the hype around artwork that uses latest technology; gaming, wi-fi, mobility, blogs, bio-technology - you name it. Commodified, because the discourse revolves around a technological product and normalizes it's ideology and presence and at the same time hides its economic reality.

As an example ISEA's recent call for the Interactive City for the conference in San Jose in 2006:

"The Interactive City seeks urban-scale projects for which the city is not merely a palimpsest of our desires but an active participant in their formation. From dynamic architectural skins to composite sky portraits to walking in someone else's shoes to geocaches of urban lore to hybrid games with a global audience, projects for the Interactive City should transform the "new" technologies of mobile and pervasive computing, ubiquitous networks, and locative media into experiences that matter. "

The call idealizes notions of mobility, interaction and ubiquity. I have to ask "whose mobility"? The mobility of a growing homeless class in downtown San Jose (often caused by companies' 'mobile' global outsourcing strategies ? Or the mobility of a working class that is non-unionized and on flex-time schedules? Whose ubiquity? The ubiquity of the surveillance and control of the corporate state? Whose interaction? The interaction of a consumer in an online store?

commodified discourse - discourse that normalizes myths propagated by informational and 'free' market economies (ultimatly to sell a product) as "our new paradigm".

as marc was saying:
It is prevalent in art discourse when the economic structures that either support or spotlight work remain ignored and as such fail to fully describe the work.


interactive exploration of the myths of unbounded progress and inexhaustible possibility promised by new technology and free market economics.

I wonder also if there's a critique per se here of the notion of interactivity itself? It seems to have been effectively appropriated by the world of management science and is couched more in terms of control, efficiency and ease-of-use for the "user". Artists are not users, but rather makers.... what is the nature of the things made? Use-value?... or something else?


On 3-Nov-05, at 10:17 AM, christina ulke wrote:

thanks Christina for welcoming us to -empyre-.

I guess we don't really see ourselves as a "new media" publication though with our initial statement we wanted to connect to some of "new media"s inherent issues. One issue being something that has been on our mind as well - the commodifation of discourse. As a project that rode alongside the globalization movement whose waves have been slowing down we find ourselves needing to fill the vacuum with new possibilities to build a radical cultural movement. Recently we have been invited by major art institutions to present our work - one question that comes to mind is can there be a positive side to commodifying discursive work? How do we maintain meaningful discourse while operating in a vacuum? To quote Brian Holmes from his interview in our most recent issue, "I think that intellectual critique has to be embodied. Which doesn't mean there isn't a tremendous need for a better analysis of the way society is changing! Or for a better philosophy of how to reorient life on this earth. You just always have to find a way to make the ideas tangible, and effective." - Christina
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