Re: [-empyre-] escape Artist

> Hugh:

Sorry, I think I just responded to Ryan as if he were you--I was talking
about your analog mapping project and pervasive gaming.  I am pasting some
of my remarks here to clarify that they are addressed to your projects:

Speaking to the "Map Me" project--the spontaneous event of the "urban
shrine" (to which I likened your physical Myspace) which has that sense of
tapping into some deeper well of human creativity and sentiment, is also a
completely Hallmark card response, isn't it? The phrases and flowers are a
kind of recycled greeting card narrative that has become radically public
(talk shows, for example, and also the response of the Queen of England if
the movie "The Queen" was right).  I don't mean to say that people are not
suffering or expressing real grief and sorrow around these events, and I
am very interested in the compiling of the artifacts themselves, the
letters and candles all nestled together in a gigantic heap against the
fence of Buckingham Palace in the case of the Diana response, but I wonder
if the channels for public expression of many things--sorrow, critical
thinking, creativity--haven't been narrowed.

I understand, also, that hyperlinking is an entirely new social format
(improving on, and speeding up, the old idea of "networking") and I am
interested in your use of that idea in a physical, rather than virtual,
space.  I am curious to know if there is any pattern to how friendships
develop out of the real time act of stretching yarn between pictures?

Architecture is limited by its existence in physical space.  It can be
published as an image, disseminated as an image, taught as an image-based
practice even, but its life as a practice and discipline depends on
contending with physicality.  It is a soft-skinned practice in a
hard-skinned space.

Sorry for mixup of addressees, Catherine

I've been a spectator here for awhile and I guess now is as good a
> time as any time to weigh in.
> Although much of my time is spent negotiating the digital spaces, I
> have become a bit of an activist towards real space interaction
> through collaborative performance/ installation.
> Partly as an educator but mostly as an artist, a few years ago I began
> an arts group Analogue Art Map. Analogue Art Map was a response to
> what I saw as 'keywording' within media arts and also what Milli
> accurately describes as arts "hermetic state". By creating user
> friendly social art in public areas Analogue Art Map seeks to use non
> digital media to discuss digital culture and technologies with a
> particular lean towards mapping spaces.
> Map-Me is a work that I have presented several times with Analogue Art
> Map that invites participants to create a physical Myspace or
> Facebook. Participants can create a personal presence by sticking a
> business card, a photo or any bit of pocket debris that they choose to
> represent them to an assigned wall. I provide wool or yarn (depending
> where you come from) for people to hyperlink to friend's presences on
> the wall. The face to face nature of Map Me means that people make new
> friends pretty quickly and the hyperlinks become rampant.
> Ultimately this time based work allows for a socially networked space
> to form that is both physical and metaphorical.
> Those that are familiar with online social networking tools
> immediately understand the metaphor while those few who have no
> experience of the mysfacebook phenomenon begin to recognise the
> attraction. But unlike the digital world, no-ones personal info is
> data mined.
> What is interesting to me about Map Me is the social negotiation and
> creativity that it cultures. I organise the space and materials but
> the installation is user generated and the participants make all the
> creative decisions as the webby architecture forms. It's heart warming
> to see people rationalising their own creativity to allow room for
> future participants to be equally involved.
> As a sculptor and as a physical being, I find that these indescribable
> social sensations and interactions that are experienced in physical
> space very important to me, and while I love the idea of digital
> social spaces such as SL, so far I have found these spaces to lack
> emotional resonance or any significant genus loci.
> Moving on, my own interest in spatial practice has been reinvigorated
> by involvement in pervasive gaming which brings me to my final note, I
> am hearing the term suspension of disbelief a lot here in reference to
> architectural interaction. While it might not be a tight in the
> context of this thread, I have found performance of belief as
> introduced by Jane McGonigal in her discussion of pervasive games to
> be a useful term and concept when applied to architecture interaction.
> Cheers
> Hugh Davies
> Map Me pictures at:
> On 9/13/07, Ryan Griffis <> wrote:
>> On Sep 12, 2007, at 5:58 PM,
>> wrote:
>> > Firstly, given how thoroughly I tend to agree with them usually, I am
>> > a little surprised at Ryan and Kevin's concerns with escaping art as
>> > context in the service of art as process (to be a bit ham-fisted
>> > about the summary, please correct me if I have this wrong), as if
>> > interdisciplinarity and the refusal to locate practice allows flight
>> > from the power relations of assimilating cultural institutions. It
>> > reminds me of a certain repetition of Conceptualism in the new media
>> > arts sector; and also (as Brett perhaps suggests) a new media studies
>> > repetition of "criticality" which seems not-well-enough-connected to
>> > previous debates on the limits and exclusions inherent in the
>> > critical enterprise's attempts to find distance from power.
>> Danny,
>> Firstly, i would challenge your assertion of not saying "anything
>> useful"! The gender critique, especially bringing up WACK is totally
>> useful... while i didn't see the show, i did hear from many about its
>> challenges and pitfalls. And one only has to look at the chosen cover
>> of the exhibition catalog (from Rosler's "Body Beautiful" series) to
>> see how much institutional reframing can really screw with context.
>> But anyway, to get to your question of my (i'll speak for myself, not
>> Kevin) attempt at escaping Art, you may have me on that... but i
>> think i also did a poor job of stating my questions. It's not so much
>> a matter of "escaping" Art, as it is reframing the field that Art is
>> situated within, perhaps. In other words, the "not just Art"
>> signifies that Art operates in a field occupied by more than Art, as
>> much as it does a practice of Art that also wants to "be" something
>> else. Is there anything that is "just Art"?
>> This is why i wanted to point to that article by the RCRC, as i think
>> this is what it is trying to analyze.
>> The question only seems to matter if the field of Art is less fenced
>> in than such critiques suggest. Is Art even an adequate context?
>> WJT Mitchell wrote in his "What do pictures want" : "In short, I
>> think it may be time to rein in our notions of the political stakes
>> in a critique of visual culture and to scale down the rhetoric of the
>> "power of images." Images are certainly not powerless, but they may
>> be a lot weaker than we think."
>> Maybe we could say the same about Art, as it is perceived to be an
>> auto-reproducing entity, with an internal logic and set of concerns.
>> This is what i find interesting and useful about "spatial"
>> practice... the boundaries of space are defined through negotiation
>> and those negotiations require more responsibility than Art (or its
>> critical language) can take on its own.
>> best,
>> ryan
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
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