[-empyre-] vigilar y castigar

Jon Thomson j.thomson at ucl.ac.uk
Tue Jan 18 06:10:53 EST 2011

Thanks Davin for your initial post and thank you Johannes for your comments.  It's interesting to read ten years hence about 9/11 as being such a political touchstone, when in the UK just now (and NorthAtlantic economies more generally) so much radical reformation and reduction of public services, higher education and so on, is being made in the name of another touchstone; our fiscal deficit.

A couple of quick comments on Johannes post:

> I live in a world where dance is still dance and performed by dancers on stages, and live music is performed by live musicians, and installations are constructed in places (venues) that show installations and have room for them, I think there is no such thing as a "post-medium condition" even if it is a seductive theory.  Most museums ( and most academies and art schools) tend to know what they are showing/teaching

I've just arrived home from the art school I teach in (The Slade School of Fine Art in London), where we have Painting, Sculpture and Fine Art Media areas clearly defined, very much /not/ post-medium conditions it would seem, where each area meets weekly to have a seminar for students to share and discuss their work under the umbrella of the named area. Yet only this morning I spoke with a painting student who'd just completed a multi-screen video installation, and a tutee in the Sculpture area who makes drawings primarily and a fine art media student who paints and casts concrete.  Such contradiction and ease on my students' part to lend their agency to such a broad range of techniques and media despite their first point of identification (as a painter, sculptor, film maker etc.) is perhaps a perfect example of a post-media condition 'sans-web'?

In any case this kind of contradiction is something that is perhaps in and of itself a form of noise or 'resistance' in a world increasingly infected by the tag-cloud mentality, where categorisation is itself a primary form of navigation as well as organisation?

> for example the "London Wall" or the "Warfilm":  if one were to assume that Jon and Alison work with "ready-mades" -- is such media art a re-posting of the media "determining social space"?   is the work's focus on the "conceptual and social territories that determine how media exist as social spaces" and if so, then what do we learn from the art or how do we experience it as anything other than the same (in other words, is such art an expression of Davin's suicidal faux-resistance? or is it inconsequential, simply youtubed and dissolved in the ocean?  are there any consequences to youtubing?)   

I would tentatively suggest that both works are neither of those things.  We're not trying to determine social space.  Sometimes we try to engender moments of unfamiliarity that might briefly wake us up from habitual viewpoints -perhaps in a similar way that learning to draw can offer different ways of seeing?

I don't think we make ready-mades, but you are absolutely correct that we often re-configure existing information in our work.

Anyway, I'm aware that I am posting alone here (sans alison) so I'll stop and we'll both try and pick up on some of the threads Christina passed to us and more of what Davin has said later on.



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