[-empyre-] networked_art

Helen Thorington newradio at turbulence.org
Fri Oct 2 01:56:19 EST 2009

Hello all and thanks Anna for your introduction:

Jo is teaching this morning and Eduardo Navas is in Mexico at the  
opening of an exhibition he helped curate (Transistio_MX). Both will  
be with us soon. In the meantime I thought I’d start with a few words  
about my interest in  networked a (networked_book) about (networked  

What may be too obvious for words is how important it has been to my  
13 years of producing Turbulence.org to understand how the Internet’s  
maturation and transformation has been intertwined with the  
transformation of creative practice.

For me the idea of developing and publishing an online, trans- 
disciplinary book that would address recent artistic developments came  
at an appropriate time. Web 2.0, and the proliferation of sites such  
as MySpace, Flickr and You Tube, where users can generate content  
which can be shared by others, had been with us for some time;  
something new was happening. This feeling was for me like the empyre  
lurker I have often been, there but mute.

But while I was not able to put my finger on what it was, Anna Munster  
did, with her observation in the chapter Data Undermining that the  
aesthetics of digital networks have shifted in accordance with the  
increasing invisibility of the 'structures' of code, online protocols,  
etc., and by citing artists who “make visible the real technical and  
social relations that comprise the production of data in networked  
culture.”  I don’t want to discuss Anna’s work here; discussion will  
take place with the authors as the month goes on. I simply want to  
mention something that was important to me about the networked book:  
that I learn from these writers and through them come to have at least  
one finger solidly on the pulse of aesthetic interests on the Internet  

But, as Mizuko Ito says in her excellent introduction to “Networked  
Publics”, the problem, for those of us struggling to understand the  
transformations taking place, is that they -- the transformations --  
are impossible to understand at the time they take place.

Which brings me to a second and less personal interest in helping  
initiate networked: the need for “other” histories. The ones familiar  
to us were written yesterday; they are few, and the points of view  
expressed in them and the “artists” included by their writers, are  
limited and informed by their own special interests, as any one  
person’s perspective always is. Today there are more media theorists;  
they understand more; we need their perspectives; we need new  
histories, multiple interpretations. And we need them – not a year  
from now when today’s views might appear in hard cover already well  
worn, but online, where every interested person can see and respond to  
them today. Networked fills some part of this need.

My final comment is about things that have not happened yet. Here I am  
indebted to Bob Stein and thefutureofthebook.org   See:
  ; and

When the act of reading moves from the printed page to an online space  
designed for social interaction – as networked is -- content gets  
redefined to include the comments and conversation the text engenders.

This means: 1) that the writer commits herself to engage not just with  
her subject matter or with her professional colleagues as she has done  
in the past, but with her readers. She must know who they are and she  
must help facilitate a meaningful conversation.

Or, in Stein’s words, the author is “a leader of a group effort,  
similar in many respects to the role of a professor in a seminar. The  
professor has presumably set the topic and likely knows more about it  
than the other participants, but her role is to lead the group in a  
combined effort to synthesize and extend knowledge.”

2) that successful publishers instead of focusing on the book as  
object –   as was noted in the New York Times this morning, the book  
has been a “coherent string of connected words, printed on paper and  
bound between covers” for over 500 years now – must try to build a  
community of interest online, often “with authors at the center, but  
not necessarily always”

Networked is open for development in both areas.

Two new chapters have just been added to the original five. Varnelis’  
“The Immediated Now” is in the process of being translated into  
Chinese. If you haven’t visited the site, please do, and let us know  
what you think, either there or here.

On Oct 1, 2009, at 4:55 AM, Anna Munster wrote:

> Hi to all and thanks Renate,
> The last month is a hard act to follow! I haven't been involved  
> because I've been busy reading/writing the *book* that is the  
> launching point for this month's discussion 'Networked_a [networked]  
> book about [networked]art' found at: http://networkedbook.org/.
> I'd like to being by asking people to go and have a quick look at  
> the site, sign up if you want to write and contribute to the project  
> but generally have a look around.
> Across this month the people behind the project –  Jo Ann Green and  
> Helen Thorington (who run Turbulence.org) along with Eduardo Navas,  
> an artist and writer in and on networks – will discuss the project  
> set up, why they initiated it and how this project contributes to  
> promoting or changing the relationship beten participatory online  
> text and participatory online art. As the month goes on, all the  
> authors – Anne Helmond, Jason Freeman, Patrick Lichty, Kazys  
> Varnelis, Patrick Lichty, Anna Munster, Marco Deseriis and Gregory  
> Ulmer as well as invited theorists of new media art and literature –  
> will be introduced and take up different aspcts of this discussion  
> as well as talk about their critical contributions to the project.
> I'll start the discussion off with the following quote which heads  
> up the website to the project but acttually comes from another great  
> networked writing project:
> *A networked book is an open book designed to be written, edited and  
> read in a networked environment.* Institute for the Future of the Book
> I'd like to begin by asking Jo-Anne Green and Helen Thorington to  
> respond to that quote. And to probe a little further by asking: what  
> made you decide to initiate the project? What is important about an  
> open book or open writing? Is this a call for a kind of open source  
> literature or theory in the vein of open source code or is this  
> something different?
> I'll briefly introduce Jo and Helen here and then ask them to come  
> online to respond
> Jo-Anne Green is Co-Director of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.  
> (NRPA)
> and its world-renowned web site Turbulence.org. She founded "Upgrade!
> Boston" in 2005, the 4th node in Upgrade! International, now a  
> network of 32
> nodes distributed world-wide. She co-founded and maintains
> "Networked_Performance"; curated "Mixed Realities"; and initiated
> "Networked: a (networked_book) about (networked_art)". Born in  
> Johannesburg,
> South Africa, Green graduated from the University of the  
> Witwatersrand in
> 1981 with a BFA Honours in Printmaking and a major in Art History.   
> Green
> is currently an Adjunct Professor at Emerson College. She has  
> exhibited her paintings, one-of-a-kind
> artist's books, and installations in South Africa, Boston, and New  
> York.
> http://new-radio.org/jo
> Helen Thorington is the Co-Director of New Radio and Performing  
> Arts, Inc. (aka Ether-Ore), the founder and producer of the national  
> weekly radio series, New American Radio (1987-1998), and the founder  
> and producer of the Turbulence and Somewhere websites. She is a  
> writer, sound composer, and radio producer, whose radio documentary,  
> dramatic work, and sound/music compositions have been aired  
> nationally and internationally for the past twenty-five years.  
> Thorington has created compositions for film and installation that  
> have been premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, the Whitney  
> Biennial, and in the Whitney Museum’s annual Performance series. She  
> has produced three narrative works for the web including Solitaire,  
> which combines game and storytelling; and she played a principal  
> artistic role in the cutting-edge performance work, Adrift,  
> presented as a performance and installation at the New Museum in New  
> York City, October 19-December 21, 2001.
> A/Prof. Anna Munster
> Director of Postgraduate Research (Acting)
> Deputy Director Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics
> School of Art History and Art Education
> 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
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au 
> ] On Behalf Of Renate Ferro [rtf9 at cornell.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, 1 October 2009 4:04 AM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: [-empyre-] Thanks to Menotti/Welcoming Anna Munster on  
> _empyre
> Dear _empyre subscribers,
> We join in thanking Gabriel Menotti for guest moderating this past  
> month's
> discussion of "Denied Distances." We appreciate his generous offer to
> moderate this past month's discussion and enjoyed the varied posts  
> that
> related.
> We will be turning  the month October over to Anna Munster who will be
> moderating a conversation, "Networked_Art." Based on a collaborative
> Turbulence project, Anna will be
> introducing her roster of guests who will join our over 1250  
> subscribers to
> discuss the convergence between networked aesthetics and texts.   
> While Anna
> will be introducing the guests for the month and posting the first
> discussion post, I will take this opportunity to introduce Anna's  
> biography.
> We thank her for taking over from Gabriel. Anna is from Australia  
> where it
> is already October 1st so we will say good=bye to Gabriel for now and
> welcome Anna to _empyre soft-skinned space.
> Biography
> Anna Munster is a writer, artist and educator in the area of new media
> arts and theory. In 2006 she published the book Materializing New  
> Media:
> Embodiment in Information Aesthetics (Dartmouth College Press) and  
> writes
> for the journals CTheory, Fibreculture, Culture Machine among others  
> on
> networked culture and art, biomedia and bioart and contemporary art  
> and
> politics. She helped to found the journal Fibreculture and is actively
> involved in online list cultures and their on and offline projects and
> events. She works collaboratively with Michele Barker in the area of
> immersive and multi-channel audio-visual installation, exploring the
> relations between visuality, perception and neuroscience. Munster  
> works as
> an associate professor at the College of Fine Arts, University of  
> New South
> Wales, Sydney Australia. Her current research investigates dynamic  
> media,
> particularly the relations between the technical aspects of networks  
> and
> network visualisations on the one hand, and emergent forms of  
> cultural and
> aesthetic experience on the other.
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Assistant Professor
> Department of Art
> Cornell University, Tjaden Hall
> Ithaca, NY  14853
> Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
> Website:  http://www.renateferro.net
> Co-moderator of _empyre soft skinned space
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empyre
> Art Editor, diacritics
> http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/dia/
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> _______________________________________________
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> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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