[-empyre-] networked_art

G.H. Hovagimyan ghh at thing.net
Sat Oct 3 21:55:39 EST 2009

The field of new media and networked art is so new that it's still  
developing. There have been several books published that try to  
present the field but invariably wind up being a list of the authors  
friends and acquaintances. New media also has an unfortunate tech  
side that causes many theorists to focus on the tools and minimize  
the content. The larger problem with new media is that it's hard to  
exhibit and hard to make money from. Or at least that's the  
perception in the art world. I recently read that advertising money  
spent on the Internet just surpassed that spent on Television in the  
UK. Obviously a networked media-logos world is here. Networked art  
has a lot of positive aspects.  There is however a question of what  
the word networked means? For example one could say that computers  
connected to the internet is a networked environment. But there's  
also the idea of computers connected to each other in an ethernet  
network. There's also the idea that several pieces of different  
software can communicate with each other and pass information back  
and forth. There's also the notion of a human network, that is,  
people who are brought together, meet and socialize using the  
networks. The latest network is of course the PDA and cellular phone  
networks. And let's not forget all the social networking sites that  
started as simple email lists. Of course you also have the virtual  
worlds and role playing websites that developed out of Muds and  
Moos.  I think the best analysis of the networked world or at least  
the starting point for a discourse on meaning is still Sherry  
Turkle's book, Life on Screen.  All the other books on New Media Art  
are incomplete and/or the authors are two involved with their subject  
to achieve any critical distance.
I am of course a big fan of Jo-Anne Green and Helen Thorington's New  
Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. and Turbulence.org. The name of their  
company, New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. is a sort of cyber steam  
punk clue to its' historical precedents. Is something on the internet  
an extension of Radio? Does networked art constitute a new type if  
performing art? Good places to start a more concise discussion about  
the idea of networked art.

On Oct 2, 2009, at 3:57 PM, Green Jo-Anne wrote:

> The question of who writes the “canon” is a driving force for  
> Networked. Turbulence.org is the oldest, most consistent networked  
> art commissioning program in the world. Though most “histories” of  
> the field acknowledge works we have commissioned, almost all of  
> them refuse to acknowledge our role – Helen’s and mine -- in  
> granting real weight to it through or organization. Surveying many  
> of the existing historical timelines, anyone learning about the  
> field for the first time would not know we exist.

G.H. Hovagimyan

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