[-empyre-] answers and comments

Anna Munster A.Munster at unsw.edu.au
Fri Aug 8 07:55:06 EST 2008

> Well, that's one situation in which digital communication networks can
> allow us to work differently, and go beyond of (the bigger)
> institutions. To see other people's work (be it pictures of it or the
> works/ processes themselves, provided that they are networked), I only
> have to connect. The amount of resources needed to connect is much
> fewer than the ones needed to travel abroad, for example.

I agree with you in some respects, in others I don't. From my long  
term involvement with networks, they never sustain themselves through  
a digital mode alone.
Unless people meet f2f in some kind of ongoing way alongside the  
online network, things just do not work. The best networks use mixes  
of communication forms - online/offline - one is not a substitute for  
the other, Rather, this involves a kind of ongoing thinking about  
augmentation in all its many forms.

Additionally, while I am all for the distribution of as much stuff  
through wired and wireless networks as possible, you cannot bit  
torrent an installation or a sensor driven performance that is  
physically site-specific. Sure, I can look at a documentation of that  
but it's not the work. I have to go see the work itself if I want to  
understand it. Similarly, I have great email, skype whatever  
conversations but meeting up with people is different.

I also believe this may have to do with local issues...if you live in  
Australia, you have to travel - no questions about it. We just don't  
get the kind of works and festivals etc that go on in Latin America  
and/or Europe. We also have very expensive broadband. Having said  
that, travel is probably about to become impossible on a regular basis  
due to oil prices. On the other hand, it takes a lot of oil to sustain  
computing... I wouldn't be surprised if we all became a lot less  
globalised in years to come due to resource and energy issues. I don't  
think the 'digital network' is the answer to all this - it's actually  
part of the problem,


Dr.Anna Munster
Senior Lecturer
School of Art History and Theory
College of Fine Arts
P.O. Box 259
NSW 2021
612 9385 0741 (tel)
612 9385 0615(fax)
a.munster at unsw.edu.au

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