[-empyre-] re: Nonsite as information, forward from Johannes Birringer

Brett Stalbaum stalbaum at ucsd.edu
Mon Jan 14 07:44:01 EST 2008

Responding respectfully and in warmest sprit to Johannes, recalling  
that no argument in aesthetics is important enough to forget the good  
intentions of the pursuit of understanding in conversation. But I  
would posit that in fact, surely the digital *does* change the real  
and does effect actual sites. But perhaps to delve into that would  
digress too far from the theme of this month's conversation, which as  
I took it was focused more on site/nonsite qua the social and less  
site/nonsite as a function of the ontological. But for anyone curious  
as to how I might justify my position, you could see my 2001 essay  
"Database Logics(s) and Landscape Art" on the noemalab site. I treat  
beauty and the sublime, Smithson, and information in data in yet  
another essay, the long version (out takes from) of "Paradigmatic  
Performance: Data Flow and Practice in the Wild", (2006). Fwiw.

But I do speculate that it is our confusion over the ontological  
consequences of high speed, mediated data and information and their  
infusion into the day to day inflection of the real that leads to  
many misunderstandings of current aesthetic and conceptual issues in  
the the arts. I also feel certain that the new(ish) ontological  
situation inflects the social, but I'm less clear on what the  
consequences are. That is a scary windmill, and I respect all who  
tilt at it.

Warm regards,

On Jan 13, 2008, at 8:35 AM, Christina McPhee wrote:

> I am not sure that i instinctively understand the comparison  
> between the Kantian notions of beauty/sublime, or the poetic  
> dimensions of, say, 19th century transcendentalist landscape/ 
> painting or Hölderlin's writings, and the functional distinction  
> between data and information, i can;'t quite follow this into the  
> Smithson practice of working on site.  I will need to read more of  
> the previous posts.
>>> His spiral of earth, slowly
> sinking into the Great Salt Lake, could almost parody a Sol LeWitt
> wall drawing. But had he foreseen a digital universe, would he ever
> have entered the gallery?>>
> surely, yes. the digital does not change the real (eixstence of  
> visual arts / galleries / institutions of display).
> the digital also does not affect sites. (nor their mirrors).

Brett Stalbaum, Lecturer lsoe
University of California San Diego
Department of Visual Arts

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