[-empyre-] Report on Processual Aesthetics â Processual Editing: Net-working - report from Nat Muller

Here are Nat Muller's observations on the Processual Aesthetics panel at Documenta 12:

Report on Processual Aesthetics â Processual Editing: Net-working

documenta 12 magazines workshop weeks , documenta 12 magazines , 20 jul 2007 - empyre, canal contemporaneo, zehar, relation to medium and community

This panel looked at how independent publishers - working online as well as offline â use the possibilities of technological and social networks in order to generate content, disseminate it, and actively take on a role within the artistic and creative communities they operate in. Networking becomes strategical for these publishers, as they function as nodes in a larger mediascape. In this respect offline and online networking can hardly be viewed as separate, and editorial practices â as well as their aesthetics - are processual, in the sense that they recognise the dimensions of netculture.

The panellists, respectively Miren Eraso (artistic director Arteleku, ES), Maider Zilbeti (editor-in-chief Zehar, ES), Christina McPhee (moderator empyre, USA), and Patricia Canetti (founder Canal ContemporÃneo, BR), each introduced their publishing initiatives and unpacked how networking technology, and networking as a collaborative practice, has played a role in their work.

Miren Eraso started by asking how publishers can approach the relationship between paper and pixel, since technological developments affect the mediation between authors and readers: the nature of the creation and distribution of information has changed profoundly. Not only do publishers serve as a bridge between the transfer of content to their readership, but with the diversification of information and its various platforms, publishing has also become contaminated by artistic practice. Miren then moved on to discuss the Open School, project, an online collaborative platform for educational issues. Central to this initiative is the idea that the transmission of knowledge is based on the liaison of artistic practice with education. The project ,answers to a need in a time where education, as well as art, are overtly pliant to the whims of capitalism. The Open School project wants to reinstate the social value of art and education.

Mirenâs colleague Maider then read a paragraph of Goldsmith Professor Irit Rogoffâs, editorial text for the Open School.
The full text of Mirenâs and Maiderâs presentation was posted earlier on this blog under âZehar/documenta magazines 12â.

Christina McPhee gave a short historical and conceptual overview of the empyre network. Conceived in 2002 by Sydney-based artist, curator, and director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology Melinda Rackham, empyre wants to be a space that facilitates critical perspectives on contemporary cross-disciplinary issues, practices and events in networked media by inviting guests -key new media artists, curators, theorists, producers and others to participate in thematic discussions.
On a monthly basis selected participants are invited by the moderator to share their thoughts on a specific topic. Empyre thus balances he characteristics of the literary medium with a discussion list. Contributors end up writing a collaborative text, yet they do so in a space that is different from a traditional print writing environment: the online nature of things allows people to traverse the usual codes of writing behaviour as long as they keep within netiquette. In that sense, empyre is very much media-specific, and the text generated with each topic could be viewed as a self-generative aesthetic object. In addition, online-writing has a specific spontaneity, non-linearity and timely rooting (e.g. response to current events), which cannot always be translated into print.

Patricia Canetti shared with us her difficulty in defining what Canal ContemporÃneo, is, since it is always transforming itself. However, I do believe she captured very eloquently the mutability and adaptability of an online portal, rooted within a specific Brazilian context. Her opening statement has been posted previously under âCanal ContemporÃneo, is it a magazine, a newspaper, a site or what?â
Canal ContemporÃneo basically functions as communication and information channel in a vast country, where the arts communities are dispersed, fragmented, and not necessarily inter-connected. Canal started connecting the dots of the Brazilian arts scene, and has played a pivotal role in offering a critical discourse different then the ones found in the newspapers. According to Patricia art critique in the traditional newspapers is qualitatively poor and misinformed, Canal wanted to counter this by responding to the newspaper editorials. Canal has also been at the forefront of critiquing decision-making bodies and their respective policies and plans, and thus forming an active and critical counterweight.

nat muller


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