[-empyre-] is: institutionalization was: art games pre computers

jonCates joncates at criticalartware.net
Sun Mar 23 04:35:19 EST 2008

i wanted to bring this backup in relation to the issues of  
institutionalization + archiving efforts:

On Mar 18, 2008, at 12:07 PM, Julian Oliver wrote:
> of note is an interesting irony pointed out by Celia Pearce, a  
> (video)game
> theorist at Georgia Tech:
> There is deep and tragic irony in going to an exhibition of Fluxus
> artifacts#. Objects whose entire purpose was to elicit play exist now
> only as the corpses of their former selves, trapped in a "Mausoleum"

the ability of artworlds to absorb institutional critique,  
colonialize outsider arts or incorporate anti-art movements is an  
important point to keep in view but i would say its not so much  
ironic as it is expressive of the ability of capital to move/flow +  
encompass oppositional strategies.

so, this move/flow is the quicksand that can entrap + freeze  
movement, capturing corpses to be presented in "Mausoleum" shows or  
the kind of slow death that i think/feel Christian, you were  
referring to when you wrote:

On Mar 21, 2008, at 10:13 AM, Christian McCrea wrote:
> Daphne, I think you're quite right in that a pure
> archive just adds another coat of white paint to the walls. Video work
> of lets say, Brody Condon's Lawful Evil of 2007
> (http://www.tmpspace.com/lawfulevil.html).. instantaneousness is great
> for some projects, and being able to reproduce that moment is better -
> but specifically some game-based art, and specifically in an archive -
> you are freezing the d20 in time

+ yet the d20 has to stop rolling in order to allow for gameplay as  
well as for an attempt @ documentation, let alone archiving +  
preservation. an N-Dimensional die infinite rolling towards greater +  
greater degrees of infinity while calculating aleph sets is a  
wonderful entity/process to imagine (+ in fact was often  
conversationally invoked among the core.developers of  
criticalartware, of which i am 01, back in the days when we were  
guests on empyre) but it never stops to display a result, a number,  
to work from or respond to in your D&D campaign. so freezing the die,  
@ least momentarily, is a necessary moment in order to play the game.  
+ rolling the die again is also important. as Julian reminds us, we  
also roll + reroll our taxonomies when he wrote:

On Mar 18, 2008, at 4:00 AM, Julian Oliver wrote:
> taxonomies can be considered an ecology of vectors, vectors that are
> tested and expended in the distribution and production of culture.  
> they
> are used in the conception and process of making work itself: even if
> taxonomies exist to be argued, rejected, to be battled against, then
> that is a valid rationale to create them (apologies to Voltaire).

i want to comment that there are other options + approaches taken by  
+ in: institutions, organizations, museums + mausoleums, white cubes  
+ black boxes, etc...

for instance,

@ the ZKM Exhibition:

"Algorithmic Revolution. On the History of Interactive Art" - Peter  
Weibel and Dominika Szope, Katrin Kaschadt, Margit Rosen, Sabine  
Himmelsbach (2004.10.21 - 2008.01.06)

Digital and New Media Art, Artware + Fluxus work was all included in  
a consideration of instruction sets or code-based art practices + as  
parts of an (institutional) account of the "History of Interactive  
Art". while this major exhibition, by a major institution, included  
Fluxus work, when i saw the exhibition i personally thought/felt that  
it was an inclusion that did not deaden the Fluxus work but rather  
activated it in a way that included/engaged it in New Media Art  
Histories in ways that helps reconnect the work to (what we in the  
criticalartware project) refer to as 'rightful unruley pasts'.

the Algorithmic Revolution also reconnected the History of  
Interactive Art to games via the section "World of Games : reloaded".  
about this section, they wrote:

"Interactivity is best illustrated by video and computer games..."

"World of Games : reloaded is an extension of the previous  
presentation of video and computer game ‘classics’ of recent years,  
which from now on is to be updated at regular intervals..."


"The history of these games is illustrated in an 'ancestral portrait  
gallery'. Artistic installations document the wide area of  
applications for game technology, while a selection of the latest  
games illustrates the state of the art."

these quotes point towards the difficulties + challenges of  
exhibiting, documenting, archiving, preserving, researching +  
including these kinds of works in historical accounts but include  
also important insights into how to achieve these efforts through  
considerations of interactivity, play, extension + a framing/ 
enframing of commercial corporate/military/academic/entertainment  
technologies in the ancestral portrait gallery'.

by contrast, i recently saw:

9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre, and Engineering, 1966 -  
Clarisse Bardiot (2007.11.10 - 2007.12.08)

at Tesla in Berlin:


9 Evenings Reconsidered was an exhibition/event which was connected to:

re:place 2007: The Second International Conference on the Histories  
of Media, Art, Science and Technology

which, btw, included:

Open Score - Robert Rauschenberg (1966)

a performance/interactive/happening project that based on/ 
appropriated parts of the game of tennis.

Open Score + the other works in 9 Evenings Reconsidered were in my  
experience presented much more as historical/anthropological  
artifacts under glass in display cases more removed from their  
original states as playful interactive forms than the FLUXUS work in  
the Algorithmic Revolution show even though (@ least for me) Tesla  
has the feeling of being much more of an alternative cultural space  
as compared to the ZKM as institutional museum space

...which is a long way of saying that these issues are complex + that  
inclusion of projects such as these, Art Games or any other  
interactive or playful forms, in archives or exhibitions/events  
entails a complex set of considerations but can + should be  
constructed + navigated in ways that maintain, sustain or even  
reactivate the actual + potential energies of the work

// jonCates
# Assistant Professor - Film, Video & New Media
# The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
# http://saic.edu/~jcates
# Game As Art, Art as Game
# http://artgames.ning.com

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