Re: [-empyre-] Moore N = c

gh comments:

I think the question is who defines what art is? And also who defines what an artist is? Antonin Artaud talks about that is his essay, No More Masterpieces from the book Theatre and its' Double. Maybe someone on the list has the exact quote but I'll paraphrase,...."each generation has the right to define in their own terms in their own way what is means to love, hate, feel loss and so on. Let the plays of the past dwell in the past. No more masterpieces." There is another dynamic at work in the topic for the Documenta proposed by Beurgel, that is the learnedness and the weight of history that people in the art world work with.
I went to the DIVA (NYC) this weekend and saw a lot of video art. One piece that struck me was a video of a young Chinese man's face. The video was him doing a series of video-performance works. On piece was of him putting elastic bands all over his head to distort the skin. He then slowly cut them off. The elastic bands left the inevitable crisscross trails on his face. This piece was exactly like the work of a 1970's Austrian artist whose name escapes me. He used to do the same thing and photograph the results. He called them Farce Faces. The work of course come from what children do when they are playing with elastic (rubber) bands and their parents aren't looking. I've encountered this with Mainland Chinese Contemporary Art. They are doing work that is 1970's process/ body/ conceptual art. So my question is, is this a cultural colonialism? Is this the Chinese playing catch-up with Western Modernism? Does Artaud's dictum apply here?
What I suspect is that the art world would rather deal with an art form that is familiar such as video or conceptual art than try to seriously integrate digital art forms into the discourse. Simply put most curators are not trained to deal with computers.
In any case I said in my first post that performance art was perhaps the most promising thread of discourse to come out of modernism. Perhaps that is what is happening with the Chinese. It is interesting to come back around to the initial question "Is Modernity our Antiquity?" and wonder what the "our" means.
My original art algorithm is an art work made specifically for this venue (on line discussion). It has no value in the greater art world. It has no use value. It doesn't exist for any other than the few people that read about it here. It is, however, art.

On Mar 12, 2006, at 9:01 PM, Christiane Robbins @ Jetztzeit wrote:

We may well be dealing here with merely one interpretation of the "institutional
critique" of the late 80's and a rather overarching one at that. Your email
draws your assumption as fact when you state that "we all know the institutions
... loved this critique because it gave all the power to them." I don't know
this to be the case. Point in fact, I doubt that it carried that much weight when
it was first introduced - and that being in the USA. The resistance to this critique
that I witnessed when its tenets were introduced was memorable .... and this email
speaks to its staying power.

On the other hand, if you are implying that the proponents of the institutional
critique have now been incubated and absorbed by "the Borg", and that
we are now witnessing a incestous, mannered, iteration of that critique ( ie. Andrea
Fraser's lastest work ), then you may have a point. Then again, it becomes necessary
to offer an analysis of the cultural machinations of the past 15 - 20 years which
have led us to this point and, again, it is not an a facile summation of modernism
or post-modernism ( please note that this is not at all the same as notions of modernity.)

Of course, my own POV is within the USA, but given the cultural tremors ( especially
in the art world/s) of this centrifugal force, I believe that its influence has
been far reaching and contributed a viable sense of agency to numerous cultural
producers. Larger political, economic and nationalistic forces have been introduced
during the past 15 years which have undermined individual agency and subjectivities
- and this has not at all been limited to visual art practices, not to producers
nor to various cultural institutions. We have not been operating in a vacuum, that
is without question.

Trans-medial and trans-cultural perceptions of artistic practices produce imaginary
patterns which overlap but are not identical to our own individuated, inhabited,
material realities. It is this interaction of the material, the cultural and the
imaginary that offers an infusion of richness to the topos of this conversation
- especially relative to the socio-economic impact of globalism, capitalism, consuming,
notions of modernity and yes, passivity. Passivity is an increasing ( and, yes,
alarming ) mode of being in the world - especially in the USA. This is due to so
to so much more than the hubris implied in thinking that this was due to modernism
and/or post-modernism as it played out in the visual arts.

Marx on Feuerbach - ‘the philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point
is to change it.’ Isn't that one of the trajectories of the institutional critique?

Thanks for the discussion -


-----Original Message-----
From: Saul Ostrow <>
Sent: Mar 12, 2006 3:29 PM
To: "Christiane Robbins @ Jetztzeit" <>, soft_skinned_space
<>, soft_skinned_space <>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Moore N = c

part of the problem is that students are learning ( an therefore artist/ teachers
teaching) the algorithm as written by those who were/ are engaged in institutional
critique -- now, we all know the institutions 9museums, galleries, curators,
theorists, historians) loved this critique because it gave all power to them.
approach whcih places blame and there fore volition with the system actually
those institutions to appropriate and define cultural production - rather than
merely be
a condition of such production - This took the burden off the artist/ audience,
who in
turn were happy to be relieved of all obligations to engage in the construction/
maintance of the cultural subject -- Modernism/ post-Modernism dis- struction
of the
cultural subject emposwered them to be passively and knowingly passive -- as
a probe: it
might now be time to re-read Marx's thesis on Feurbach - and re- contextualism
them in
terms of culture rather than history --

---------- Original Message -----------
From: "Christiane Robbins @ Jetztzeit" <>
To: soft_skinned_space <>
Sent: Sun, 12 Mar 2006 13:49:08 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Moore N = c

Wow .... the narrative for this algorithm is so ... cute ... its almost

However, we are just skimming here and I find when this surface slide remains
unexamined, it becomes somewhat problematic. This penchant for glibness
well be informing the dialectics of this conversation ... and/or it may
be adding to the paradox.

Further thoughts?



JETZTZEIT " ... the space between zero and one ... " Walter Benjamin

Los Angeles _ San Francisco California

empyre forum

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.