[-empyre-] answers and comments

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sat Aug 23 21:32:08 EST 2008

Hi Anna & Gabriel,

I agree, just building a framework to measure up to an idea, is not 
going to go that far. It demands much more than top-down incentives or 
just technical know how to form a successful community. There are those 
out there who expound that they are dedicated to sustaining communities 
through their practice but are not really that interested, and are much 
better at setting up systems or promoting their ideas through these 
frameworks. Which is fine, but because of this things get rather 
confusing for all involved.

I have spent a lot of my life connecting with people, whether it be 
on-line or off-line. One has to be dedicated in a way that allows space 
for human complexity, plus a willingness to engage with others at a 
deeper level. This usually takes time and does not always bring back 
reward or measurable outcomes that literally spell out success to more 
official organisations, who need more instrumentally defined references. 
Some think that a successful community is about numbers, this is not 
true, a successful community can be small or large. The important thing 
is whether that community is being engaged in a way that reflects their 
(shared) interests, and whether this can be factored in somehow without 
loosing too much of one's own intention(s) at the same time.

Our own on-line and off-line communities were built out of necessity. If 
there is a need for something to happen, the general rule is that it is 
easier to get others interested in being part of sharing these ideas and 
interests to co-create an agreed framework to evolve.

 >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,

Of course, many of us on here have lived through the Internet hype and 
dot.com crash to realise that money plays a large part in whether 
communities survive or fall. Yet, from my own position I was happy to 
let others follow the money, and myself continue being part of 
communities whether they be online or offline, because they both offer 
different elements that can create circumstances to change one's own 
life, as well enrich creative endevours. What lies behind all of this is 
not whether it is digital or not, but whether people genuinely wish to 
expand their horizons and connect with others. Once this is considered 
other factors fall into place, the next step is what to do about it.
Dealing with ecological issues and how that influences our use of 
technology and how we can move beyond it, is such an essential question. 
We have been getting involved in various local projects that ask these 
questions. It is not easy, we have scaled down the use of electrical 
energy in our own working environment and are researching different 
sources of ecologically conscious groups who are also engaged in this. 
But if we are to move further, collaboration and breaking through 
hegemonic frameworks is part of the answer. Many artists who were once 
net artists have taken the decision to move away from making work that 
is specifically for the Internet, and have adapted their practice to 
reflect in their work an ecologically conscious remit, as individuals or 

The reason that I say that we need to break through hegemonic based 
frameworks, is because we need to somehow offer alternatives that create 
similar circumstances as what the Internet has offered us all in the 
past, and still does in various cases. If we just slide back into 
letting official versions of art history inform others what is deemed as 
'good' or 'the best' again, then we are in double trouble. The Internet 
has been an amazing tool for breaking down gate-keeping situations. It 
would be a shame to lose the potential of such an agency. Although, I 
can see many possibilities that can arise out of not being reliant on 
digital culture as an exciting avenue for expression, and it would be a 
healthy shift.


 > Gabriel:
 >> 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,
 > cheers
 > Anna
 > Dr.Anna Munster
 > Senior Lecturer
 > School of Art History and Theory
 > College of Fine Arts
 > P.O. Box 259
 > Paddington
 > NSW 2021
 > 612 9385 0741 (tel)
 > 612 9385 0615(fax)
 > a.munster at unsw.edu.au
 > _______________________________________________
 > empyre forum
 > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
 > http://www.subtle.net/empyre

More information about the empyre mailing list