[-empyre-] networked art & the Netopticon

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Jan 20 21:45:54 EST 2011

Hi Jon, Alison & all.

Will get back to you both, with answers for your last post later...

Apologies for creating yet another thread. I just wanted to try and 
focus some ideas around networked art & the Netopticon, with the view 
that the various other parts of the (excellent) discussion threads can 
continue with their own routes and expansive possibilities also...

I think what's interesting in respect of your own work, is that it has 
been around as long as the growth of what we have noted (here) as the 
Netopticon. And artists working on networks have a particular connection 
with the technology and how in its distributive nature, possesses a 
difference than 'singular' object-hood. Many have discussed that copys 
or reproduction of images, sound, videos etc... on the Internet, 
challeneges the concept of what has been perceived as 'original'. Yet, I 
am not sure if this is completely true. Because, out of each creative 
action occurs a new context and meaning, which comes from the decisions 
and concepts explored behind an artwork itself. Changing the context of 
anything gives new light upon any subject, medium or concept.

In the publication on Autonomedia 'Creating Insecurity: Art and Culture 
in the Age of Security'. Daniela Ingruber writes "The only reply to 
today's security mania is the artificial - art. The obsession can be 
escaped by dismissing the real. Art irritates. Art consists of 
irregularities. Nothing is so far from security as art; and of all types 
of the artificial, film is the most peculiar when it comes to security 
issues: the same technology can be used for both: security and film..." 
Security Mania: Flim as a tool of healing. Escaping or fighting 
insecurity. http://www.autonomedia.org/node/101

So, this leads me to your one of your artworks 'A Short Film About War' 
http://www.thomson-craighead.net/docs/warfilm.html - from a series of 
what you call 'desktop documentaries'.

Mark Cooley wrote what I thought was an insightful article about this 
work, saying "...given that the user/subject is provided with an 
impressive enough spectacle to call his or her own. Who is freer (in 
individualist terms) than one who can virtually see / possess 
everything? I am a god in front of my screen, but one who's both 
omnipotent and impotent. With a click I become master of my destiny, but 
my destiny is not my own."

Keeping this theme of the netopicon in place; I would be interested to 
know what you both think regarding the circumstance of  making your art 
with similar tools as corporations and surveillance groups do, 
especially in the context of film or video and use of networks?

Wishing you well.


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