[-empyre-] scalability and 'knowledge production'

Christina McPhee christina at christinamcphee.net
Wed Feb 11 16:39:00 EST 2009

To Christiane and the artists of the exhibition, I wonder if  any of  
you might  wish to comment on any relationship (or none) between this  
pervasive scalability in the projects at the U. C. venues and a notion  
of art as research within a university context-- or, to put it in the  
popular phrase of our day, 'knowledge production."

Christiane notes that 'data is always embodied and has a very real  
effect on our lives (along the lines of Foucault's bio politics)" (see  
full quote below).

Tom Holert has written recently,  " A point of tension that can become  
productive here is the traditional claim that artists almost  
constitutively work on the hind side of rationalist, explicated  
knowledge—in the realms of non-knowledge (or emergent knowledge). As a  
response to the prohibition and marginalization of certain other  
knowledges by the powers that be, the apparent incompatibility of non- 
knowledge with values and maxims of knowledge-based economies  
(efficiency, innovation, and transferability) may provide strategies  
for escaping such dominant regimes."



Christiane wrote:

I think this is an important observation -- the "loss" of, or at least  
"disconnect" from, singular experiences and events is what many people  
struggle with in new media. I don't want to generalize and claim that  
this is an inherent characteristic of new media art. Sharon Daniel's  
projects in the exhibition -- despite the fact that they deal with  
relations between a large body of data -- are highly personal,  
situated and political. Neither is this loss or disconnect a general  
perception -- there are also many people for whom large bodies of data  
have the richness of a singular experience. However, algorithmic  
processing of large, scalable data bodies -- no matter how  
aesthetically appealing -- generally tends to be perceived as  
abstract, and I often sense a longing for embodiment in audiences'  
reactions to this processing. I would argue that data is always  
embodied and has a very real effect on our lives (along the lines of  
Foucault's bio politics). I think new media art has addressed or  
struggled with this tension between the virtual, connected, collective  
and the embodied, singular, personal for quite some time. I don't  
think there is a simple formula for creating art that resolves this  
tension, I see it more as an important phenomenon that needs to be  
explored on the level f the artwork and the audience.
Christina McPhee

DANM Digital Arts and New Media
Porter Faculty Services
University of California at Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

001 805 878 0301
skype:  naxsmash

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