[-empyre-] networked self and the netopticon

Simon Biggs s.biggs at eca.ac.uk
Sun Jan 30 23:44:02 EST 2011

On 29/01/2011 22:09, "simon" <swht at clear.net.nz> wrote:

> I don't know if this is a deliberate stammer but if "we the reader"
> reads what "we" have already interpreted, where is the room for
> experimentation? Has the aesthetic experience collapsed onto the plane
> of a "writing" or worse an "interpretation" of a writing that "Latour
> covers pretty well"? A "re-shaping" sounds like poor compensation, even
> as "we" ourselves "are shaped by the work," since that work still rests
> on the interpretation determining the shape to which "we" are turned, as
> the meaning is produced from the interpretation that determines it, a
> process of signification, and as such, within the confines of
> representation. Meanwhile, art, as I indicated has escaped.
Within the context I am describing art can be considered as an instance of
social praxis. There is nothing essential about it. It is something that has
been done by people within certain cultures for some hundreds of years. An
industry has grown up around it and its tropes and methods have been
normalised. However, creativity (which may or may not be artistic in intent)
does seem to be something else.

>> However, once this is accepted our concern can shift a little from a focus
>> on art work, author and/or reader to the relations between them, the
>> networks of agency.
> The question is, ought they to?
Why not? Isn't everything up for question? If we are to question what art is
for, where it's value lies, why it might or might not be important, then we
would seem to have to ask these kinds of questions.

> The fluidification or deliquescence or rendering down of elements
> previously fixed into a state of flux may be considered an admirable
> project. It may also be considered the precursor of a tapping and
> plumbing project to add what is now fluid to the flows of capital.
I'd argue the opposite. Art is very much at the heart of the capitalist
machine. The art world is structured as an idealised form of laissez faire
capitalism. Banking or the oil industry would love to function in the
un-constrained space the art world exists in. They'd make a lot more money
and have fewer concerns about collateral damage!

If we are to appropriate art to what it could (in my opinion) be about -
creative activity that facilitates people, whether self-identified as
artists or not, to create themselves and their relations with others - then
we need to distance it from the certainties the art world depends upon. The
central certainty the art world requires is the concept of individual
genius, of creativity as a product of individual action. If we consider
creativity to be found in and a product of the relations between people, as
a default state of those relations, then we can move away from this idea of
individual genius embodied in an artefact that alone somehow contains the
precious creativity (which, of course, can be bought and sold - like all
precious commodities). There are (a few isolated) cultures where creativity
does have this role and exchange is less about profit and more concerned
with mutual survival and becoming.

>> An interactive work of art (that is more than just physically responsive to
>> external sources of agency) is one that has been produced primarily as a
>> means to reveal and reflect upon these processes of flux, the manner in how
>> all the participants in a situation are dynamically being formed, re-formed
>> and de-formed as relations shift. The interactive art work seeks to contain
>> the totality of that, even though materially it might be quite constrained
>> in its existence.
> I'm not quite sure I understand this tension between flux and
> containment, a totality that is sought and a materiality that constrains
> it "in its existence." It seems to me like a rhetorical tension.
I agree, it is a tension - not always an easy one to reconcile. Some artists
are more idealistic than others and seek to work without constraint. But I
wonder if that is possible or desirable. It is when faced with constraints,
with problems, that solutions seem to appear. It becomes a question of

> My interest lies in the non-relation of what Patrick Lichty refers to as
> UbiSurv and the plane of immanent vision or global visibility as it is
> invested by capital and re-shaped by the master signifier and brought
> into dynamic relationality according to the dictatorship of
> representation. At least, I suspect my interest of lying.
Is that what Pat meant?



Simon Biggs
simon at littlepig.org.uk

s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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