[-empyre-] Ingrid Bachmann's intro: c

renate ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Wed Nov 28 13:45:13 EST 2007

>Hello Ingrid,
>I find intriguing when you question if Mexico is exempt from this 
>cultural condition
>of the amnesiac quality of the technosphere. I want to thank you for 
>bringing out
>this doubt of yours, because it was a theme of discussion at the 
>symposium of the
>Festival I recently directed ( http://transitiomx.net ), and so, I 
>don´t want to
>miss the opportunity to discuss this with you, to see if I find 
>deeper answers.
>I don´t have a clear answer, but the condition is certainly diferent 
>because of the
>relationship we (Mexicans) have with technology. There are two main reasons:
>1. We´re consumers of technology.
>2. Access.
>Unlike in science, technology, economics and politics, areas in 
>which Mexico has a
>poor projection, Mexican arts and literature are strong and have a 
>powerful, unique
>identity. This is one of the few areas in which we´re not conceived 
>(inwards and
>outwards) as a developing country. This is important because art is 
>perceived as the
>thing that we produce.
>The fact that we don´t produce the technology makes a big difference 
>in comparison
>to countries like Japan, Canada or USA. Our relationship with 
>technology is still
>very flirtatious because its still strange, especially to high end technology.
>Because we are a colonized country, we don´t mind not to produce, we 
>play with its
>seductiveness and are aware of the "dangers" of this seduction. 
>That´s why somehow
>we can make mature pieces of technological art, but their maturity 
>is reflected on
>the discourse more than on the actual technology used.
>In a way we see technology as a consumer´s product and not as the 
>product of our
>effort.This brings benefits and problems. I will start with the benefits:
>Most Mexican new media artists work with technology as a tool. Art 
>is made with
>tools (electronic media and any kind of technology is conceived as 
>one more tool,
>like a brush, or a camera). A common argument is that a photographer 
>doesn´t become
>a better artist if he actually constructs the camera....
>Many others work with technology as a medium. Art can talk about 
>anything, including
>the tool or the actual medium. The possibilities of the technology 
>are directly
>related to the possibilities of production, but not of its 
>perception or message.
>Artists can produce electronic art without electronic technology. 
>The fact that an
>artist has no acces to high end technology doesn´t mean he can´t be 
>profound on the
>creation of discourses on technology.
>The work produced is still related to real life because of 
>restricted access. You´ll
>find the work here tends to be less abstract and less self 
>referential. I consider
>this a benefit because the technology changes in such a vertiginous 
>way that there´s
>very little point on making an effort to look for escential meanings 
>of the medium
>when it´s so ephemeral in nature. In a way it is disposable...
>However, access is still the main problem, not because technology is needed to
>produce art , but because it gives the security of having options. 
>In a certain way,
>artists still work with whatever is at hand, but the feeling of not 
>having choice
>makes them insequre in terms of decissions. But that is changing 
>rapidly. It hasn´t
>been a real problem in terms of production.
>So we probably don´t have that condition yet. There is still a large 
>number of young
>people who are not "native" to technology yet. That doesn´t happen 
>in Canada and the
>US. Although young people have more access that us (I belong to the "migrant"
>generation) the reality is that a big number of them are not natives of the
>When you question: "What does it mean when we delegate the faculty 
>of memory to a
>machine? when our body is outside of the process?"
>Somehow I find it implies that although we´re  producing memory,  we are also
>producing oblivion. My feeling is that we produce both 
>simoultaneously. We indeed
>delegate the faculty of  body and its capability of  memory to the 
>machine.I find
>realy interesting how we both share the preocupation, but present 
>them from diferent
>perspectives. Perhaps is due to the reasons I gave in this very 
>large (sorry I'll
>try to keep them short the following days) mail
>The term used by Tim Prosthetic amnesia in a way depicts and merges, 
>with his usual
>wit, both perspectives of our preocupation about disembodiment.
>I also have some comments on the other themes you brought up, but 
>will send them
>Good night for now
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video
Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
285 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York  14853

office: 607-255-4086
e-mail: tcm1 at cornell.edu

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