[-empyre-] ambiguous artistic strategies & critical engineering

Gabriel Menotti gabriel.menotti at gmail.com
Fri Feb 10 19:52:19 EST 2012

> Much contemporary computer based art work has a
> cargo-cult like quality due to such illiteracy. This can be interesting but
> usually in spite of itself. [Simon Biggs]

I normally tend to appreciate the poetics of cargo-cult (or the work
of script kids), but I feel that Simon’s remark is extremely pertinent
considering the rigour expected from scientific production.

Maybe this would be the place to draw a line in terms of how artistic
practice should be employed within (humanities/ social sciences?)
academic research?

At the same time, a degree of radical invention (semiotic or
otherwise) seems to be always expected from art (even more than from
engineering). Considering this, how to assess for literacy when
speaking in a language that doesn’t yet exist?

Or to put it in another way: isn’t one always fully literate in the
languages that one makes up?


To bring the problem back into PhD research: could this be solved by
the means of translation or framing – of drawing from the appropriate
references in a strategic literature review?

Alternatively, (how) could art (or “arts”, or crafts) be excused as a method?

For instance, I wonder how César managed to include his insights about
video and digital technologies into his thesis. Have you actively
deployed your argument in contrast to Manovich’s? In order to do so,
did you need to look for further references besides your own personal
understanding of the technology? How much of your background had to be
made explicit in the text?


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