[-empyre-] networked self and the netopticon

Heidi May mayh at ecuad.ca
Sat Jan 29 10:56:01 EST 2011

Thanks for this, Simon.
A couple of things came to mind after reading your excerpt below along  
with the full exhibition text description...

The excerpt "interactive installations, mainly, that involve  
spectators in what is active participation with the work, which never  
ceases to be a piece with its own identity" if taken out of the  
context of this particular exhibition could perhaps be extended to ALL  
art? that is, if we expand our understanding of the words  
"interactive" and "active participation". What I mean to say is, if we  
understand "active participation" as viewer/spectator/participant  
engagement on any level, then the identity of an artwork is dependent  
on the viewer/spectator/participant. The identity of the artwork is  
constructed through the active participation or engagement with the  
work and thus evolves from any identity that may have existed before  
the art was viewed or interacted with. The identity of the work  
emerges in-between the artwork and the viewer/participant and will  
change for each viewer/participant as well as each time the work is  
interacted with. I am influenced of course by Benjamin, Barthes, and  
Foucault in questioning the role of the artist (death of the author)  
and an existing original work, however, I am also influenced by the  
notion of hermeneutical aesthetics (Nicholas Davey) which I've been  
reading a lot about for the past year. Davey extends upon Gadamer's  
philosophical hermeneutics when he writes of a "complex dialogical  
achievement," a construction of meaning between the artwork and the  
viewer/participant. This also connects with Bourriaud's relational  
aesthetics in which he writes of a "co-existent criterion" that exists  
between the artwork and the viewer. With these theories that extend  
from hermeneutics, the process of understanding, we can potentially  
disect this interactive and active participation process with artwork.

When I read the full text that the excerpt was taken from, I find it  
interesting how this is followed with "In an era in which the user  
adopts an active role in the diffusion and manipulation of information  
on the global network (known as web 2.0), in art, too, a change in  
roles between spectator and work is taking place, with interactive art  
as the best expression of this new paradigm." For me, this allows me  
to see great potential for the role of the Internet with art,  
particularly with increasing the level of active participation and  
overall engagement. Considering my thoughts above, the idea that the  
meaning of an artwork is actively constructed as opposed to merely  
'there' for us to absorb, then the Internet really just expands this  
experience in allowing more access and options for sharing and  
communicating ideas surrounding the work. I'd like to think that the  
"complex dialogical achievement" that Davey discusses with  
hermeneutical aesthetics (what happens to us when we experience an  
artwork and the process of understanding that experience) could be  
explored with/in the space of the Internet.

Thanks for making me think more about this.
- Heidi

On 27-Jan-11, at 5:00 PM, empyre-request at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au wrote:

> some of you will have possibly received this link
> <http://www.esbaluard.org/en/exposicions/69/extimitat> in the 2.0
> natural course of events. It extends the discussion in at least two of
> its aspects, by making such a statement as  "interactive  
> installations,
> mainly, that involve spectators in what is active participation with  
> the
> work, which never ceases to be a piece with its own identity" and by
> forming a canon, a rollcall of both institutionally bankable worthies
> and those promising emergent artists who would it would be a safe  
> bet to
> extend our portfolios to include (futures), naming (and outing) our
> extimacies.

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