Fw: Re: [-empyre-] Forward from Mariam Ghani: translation + minding thegaps

hi all, 
I misspelled Christine's name in the quote below:  It's Christine Wertheim.


-----Forwarded Message-----
From: christina mcphee <christina112@earthlink.net>
Sent: Sep 28, 2005 11:29 AM
To: soft_skinned_space <empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Forward from Mariam Ghani: translation + minding thegaps

A reflective, grateful moment...dropping back into theory, glossing on Mariam's practice note here:  

Mariam writes
 I suppose it's because my particular practice is so focused 
on "mediating spaces for the partly visible and invisible" that I'm 
always looking for the hybrid landscapes that often make the best 
stages for those mediations.

It was Documenta XI in Kassel, curated by Okwui Enwezor, where one felt this sense of staging happening all over the world. 
Learning from Documenta XI changed my own practice intimately, from the inside out, and helped to get to a point where I could help create such stagings, such as, this conversation right now with Ricardo and Mariam.  

Regarding the 'partly visiible and invisible', this liminality, 

I  came across a passage from Christine Wertheimer today:

"If then we still want to call the liminal "Art,", we must admit that what this names is now created elsewhere [she is referring to Enwezor's broad take outside studio and gallery production]. Documenta aimed in this direction by shifting the claim to an 'avant-garde' status from the forms of retinal composition to the modes of subjective agency -- the modes of constructing a rim round a void.  Whether staged inside or out a white cube, by auteurs or unsung collectives, for many, what counts as Art today no longer has to look like anything so long as it counters our fear of conflict by inventing agon-friendly practices that precipitate new forms of agency.  The invention, of new, non-totalizing, inauthentic, complex and paradoxical modes of constructing-seeing-thinking-feeling-struggling-living-becoming-subjects, who acknowledge their own lacks, is what I believe counts as an aesthetic Art today, irrespective of the mediums, places, times or intentions through which these are being realized."  (from Tricky Tactics:  Notes Towards an Understanding of Contemporary Aesthetics." X-Tra 6(3), Spring 2004).


-----Original Message-----
From: Mariam Ghani <mariam@kabul-reconstructions.net>
Sent: Sep 28, 2005 1:53 AM
To: soft_skinned_space <empyre@lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Forward from Mariam Ghani: translation + minding the	gaps

Thanks for such thoughtful and interesting responses.

An interesting news story yesterday re: control and exclusion of 
Internet content in China:
Don't know how that might play into the statistics of controlled vs. 
uncontrolled net traffic quoted by Ian, but it's definitely an 
interesting development.

There's a different but equally powerful deterrent to access which 
happens in Afghanistan, where Internet cafes are frequently targeted by 
bombers.  In my own experience, if you don't have private means to 
avoid public terminals, you often have to forego email altogether 
during the more turbulent periods.  So the people with the means of 
violence may not be official authorities, but they're definitely 
exerting some (somewhat unquantifiable) political control over 
information and connectivity.

Ricardo brought up Unicode, which I think definitely promises to change 
the linguistic skin of the Internet once it becomes more widely 
disseminated -- at the moment there's still the problem of end users on 
older operating systems/browsers who can't display some Unicode symbol 
sets or entire Unicode fonts without installing them expressly.  Or at 
least that seemed to be the problem I ran into when I was making a 
multilingual (Arabic, Dari, Urdu, Spanish, French, Italian) project 
last year -- a steep learning curve for me as a designer, for sure.  As 
I understand it, though, Unicode as it stands now won't change the 
linguistic basis of programming languages, except by allowing 
programmers to type Unicode symbols directly into IDEs when writing 
their print or echo code lines.  Am I wrong about this, or were you 
referring to the probability of an eventual trickle-down effect from 
Unicode-based multilingual surfaces to the development of Unicode-based 
multilingual programming languages, environments and structures?

I'm not really sure what the border zones of the net are yet ... or how 
exactly to engage them as sites of artistic practice ... that's why I 
was interested in participating in this discussion.  One direction that 
seems promising to me is the deliberate ambiguity of Alex Rivera's work 
-- as seen in the Cybraceros project and the collaboration with Angel 
on LowDrone -- because it seems to operate effectively on the margin 
between reality and absurdity, between corporate culture and community 
enclave, and between artwork and network.

I'm with Ian in thinking that the politics of inclusion are viable on 
the web.  I suppose it's because my particular practice is so focused 
on "mediating spaces for the partly visible and invisible" that I'm 
always looking for the hybrid landscapes that often make the best 
stages for those mediations.

On Sep 25, 2005, at 7:45 AM, ian clothier wrote:

> I was wondering if Danny was going to reply but so far
> not yet, and I observe that we should not be
> bracketed, but was thinking there was quite a lot to
> agree with in what Miriam Ghani had to say.
> Email everywhere really should start with the words
> 'this message was written on a device composed of
> processed plastic, diverse materials and electricity,
> created by the military-industrial complex in the
> second half of the 20th century, planet earth, solar
> system, space.' These are the assumptions made just by
> participating. The net is an assumption based space,
> and probably these same words should be in the footer
> of all web pages.
> That brings the question to language, and although it
> is true that one language is dominating in some
> places, at the same time all languages are in flux.
> The description of the centricity of English at the
> expense of other languages is one picture, and another
> picture is that of the additions and alterations to
> English as a result.  I?m thinking here of the
> Malay-English word ?airflown? as an example. Where did
> ?dis? come from and what sort of English is txt?
> Her next point concerns the politics of exclusion and
> here I feel there is a twist in the tale. The politics
> of exclusion are based on control and hierarchical
> authority. However the internet is predominantly
> uncontrolled in so far it is beyond the control of
> governing local authorities. What I mean by this is
> that most of the traffic on the internet is out of
> control of officials. It has been estimated that porn
> (the uncontrolled portion) is 65% of internet traffic,
> followed by commercial sites (21%), then business to
> business (includes government sites) at 12% and the
> others at 2%. I suppose the arts are others here. The
> internet is both controlled and uncontrolled ? it can
> be used to counter authoritarian stances. As a way
> around the issue of control, the politics of inclusion
> are viable on the web.
> The third point she raises is cash. Cash does
> discriminate but at the same time websites are
> probably more accessible than many art forms. The web
> appears to be partly flat in so far as the internet
> address of a government and 'Tattoo, my pet dragon'
> differs by only a few characters. But the issue of
> cash as she writes, is more about the invisibility of
> certain parts of the populace.
> There are cultural hybrids found in liminal,
> borderland, boundary and in between places. These
> hybrid cultural identities sometimes come without the
> usual badges of reference. This runs a range of
> identification strategies from absence of national
> dance in a nation, to non-patch hybrid gangs where
> sneakers might be the basis for defining association.
> Mediating spaces for the partly visible and invisible
> necessitates alternate strategies to the more standard
> approaches to cultural output.
> So I would support the notion that the 'idea of
> site-specific or community-based practice online is to
> engage with the places, communities and histories of
> the net itself - or to make a deliberate effort to
> discover the gaps in the network - the sites of
> absence, where voices are missing or elided, or the
> online border zones, places of transition, translation
> and in-between, parallel to sites like San
> Diego/Tijuana - and use those spaces to launch
> mediations between on and offline practice.'
> Hybridity is antagonistic to singularity and more in
> tune with multiplicity and diversity. Borders are
> crossed, transfigured and transformed ? constructing
> an argument for similar occurring in the creative
> practice of those recognising the hybrid landscape.
> Ian
> --- ricardo miranda zuniga <ricardo@ambriente.com>
> wrote:
>> Hello Everyone,
>> I'd like to make a delayed response to Mariam's
>> question.
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