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

Paul Brown paul.brown.art.technology at gmail.com
Sun Mar 23 07:50:42 EST 2008

I once gave a talk to the curators of a large state art gallery where  
I compared acquiring contemporary art for the collection to the 19th  
century practice of going out to Africa, seeing a beautiful lion wild  
in the savannah.  Killing it, having it stuffed and then exhibited in  
a diorama as "the real thing".  The talk wasn't very well received!

However it seems to me that contemporary practice doesn't or  
shouldn't last forever - it evolves and changes (another concern is  
the turgidity of the mainstream artworld since the 60's which Hughes  
has referred to as "The New Shock of the New" - but no time for  
that). So two things can happen to it.  It can be institutionalised  
by the mausoleums and thus became a "legitimate" part of the  
historical record.  Or it dies with the artist(s) and is effectively  
lost and forgotten though (like early computer art) may assume some  
"apocryphal" status.

Sean mentioned the recent CACHe project that i was involved in  
(Computer Arts, Contexts, Histories, etc...).  This was a funded  
initiative intended primarily to legitimise an apocryphal period of  
British art history (the early computer period - 1960-1980).  It was  
very successful - the Victoria and Albert Museum (the UK's leading  
mausoleum for the arts and crafts) now have a major collection of  
this work (over 1000 pieces) and have appointed a senior curator of  
computer art - and a number of books are about to appear, etc...  In  
Germany Bremen Museum recently acquired Herbert Franke's collection  
of over 2000 early works of computer art.

This initiative is broader and covers many areas of "forgotten" late  
modernism.  In a recent post I referred to Gustav Metzger who, after  
a lifetime of abject poverty, is now receiving due recognition with  
several recent shows and books.  Someone referred to Fluxus games -  
as a young artist I worked as an assistant for some of these game/ 
performances in the UK.  The following is an initiative that is  
trying to preserve the spirit of Fluxus but in a way that tries to  
prevent the "stuff it and put it in a diorama" approach:

March 22, 2008

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Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus

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Emily Wardill
is the first laureate of the
Follow Fluxus?After Fluxus grant!

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus
ll\ NKV
nassauischer kunstverein wiesbaden
wilhelmstr 15
65185 wiesbaden
info at kunstverein-wiesbaden.de

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The first ever Follow Fluxus ? After Fluxus grant for young  
contemporary art called by the NKV nassauischer kunstverein wiesbaden  
and the State Capital of Wiesbaden and doted with 10.000 Euro goes to  
British video and performance artist Emily Wardill.

Follow Fluxus ? After Fluxus /

Follow Fluxus ? After Fluxus supports young international artists  
whose work suggests ideas inherent to the Fluxus art movement in  
order to keep the art current alive. The establishment of the grant  
was inspired by the ?Fluxus Festival of Very New Music? which took  
place in Wiesbaden in 1962. This Fluxus event provided the first real  
broad impact for the new art movement and started off what is now  
seen as the first international movement operating in a global network.

The endowment of 10,000 Euro is provided annually for a residency in  
Wiesbaden from June through August. Living quarters and studio space  
is provided by NKV during this time. The work stipend concludes with  
an exhibition of the artist?s created work in the following year  
between September and May and includes a publication. The grant  
holder should reside predominantly in Wiesbaden for the duration of  
the grant period.

Emily Wardill /

Emily Wardill's fresh and insistent pictorial language and her  
ambition to tap the full potential of the medium film convinced the  
jury to elect her as the first ever Follow Fluxus ? After Fluxus  
laureate of the NKV and the State Capital of Wiesbaden.

Following sources of philosophy, science and culture, in her films  
Emily Wardill recomposes text and image material from the history of  
ideas ? such as the motives of medieval church windows or theoretical  
treatises from Ruskin to Ranci?re ? and develops a many layered and  
intense meshwork of autonomous statements and concepts. Her work is  
concerned with strategies of communication and the implicit  
connection between the structure of a language and the media  
conversion of the pre-existent text and image material.

Based on one single metaphor, one carefully chosen motif, Wardill  
plays with the sensuous possibilities of filmic narrative. With the  
thus surging social and psychological implications, she pulls the  
spectator into an intense tableau vivant. The expectation of a  
complex overall meaning is fed by hidden leads and encoded clues for  
possible interpretations: The visitor?s perception is wooed along a  
labyrinthine path of intellectual seduction.

This is where the jury sees the point of contact in the further  
development of George Maciunas? ideas. Primal for the jury?s decision  
was not an artist?s self-image as an heir of historical Fluxus but  
rather a body of work which transpires the Fluxus spirit, free of any  
categorical boundaries.

The Jury 2008

/ Prof. Thomas Bayrle, artist and Professor at the Staedelschule  
/ Michael Berger, Collection Berger, Wiesbaden
/ Ren? Block, Curator of the Fluxus Trilogy Wiesbaden 1982 - 1992 - 2002
/ Rita Thies, Head of Cultural Department of the city of Wiesbaden
/ Elke Gruhn, Director and Curator of NKV and Dr. Ursula Schaumburg- 
Terner, Board Member of NKV

Follow Fluxus ? After Fluxus is a cooperation of the ll\ NKV  
nassauischer kunstverein wiesbaden and the State Capital of the City  
of Wiesbaden.

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53 Ludlow street
New York, NY 10002, USA

On 23 Mar 2008, at 03:35, jonCates wrote:

> 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)
> http://tinyurl.com/35jpsv
> 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)
> http://www.fondation-langlois.org/flash/e/index.php?NumPage=571
> at Tesla in Berlin:
> http://tesla-berlin.de
> 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
> http://www.mediaarthistory.org/replace/
> 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_______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Paul Brown - based in OZ Dec 07 - Apr 08
mailto:paul at paul-brown.com == http://www.paul-brown.com
OZ Landline +61 (0)7 5443 3491 == USA fax +1 309 216 9900
OZ Mobile +61 (0)419 72 74 85 == Skype paul-g-brown
Visiting Professor - Sussex University

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