[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 4 on -empyre-: New Media / Art / Representation

Soraya Murray semurray at ucsc.edu
Tue Apr 28 03:35:52 AEST 2015

Dear All,

Thank you all for this wonderful discussion! I'm sure there are lots of lurkers, and I hope you'll all join in, given this special opportunity to have an audience with this unique group of artists. 

I am responding to Claudia's post, who is in turn responding to Dorothy Santos... the former's intriguing point (below) that really blurs the line between form and content for new media in a way that I think is productive. 

From all of your very different kinds of work, I can see that all of it is in tension, or in some way grappling with, the formal tendency of new media toward the "corporate aesthetic", ordered , and bureaucratic. The struggle with form/universalism as a kind of identity politics (as opposed to standing outside of identity) is something that I've written about before (see my co-authored "Uneasy Bedfellows" essay at:  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00043249.2006.10791193#) and I won't rehearse the argument here. But as artists choosing tools associated with the industrial, the corporatized, the relentlessly organized, the mass media, the military simulation, I ask this:
How would you describe the site at which you break this connection? Where and how do you determine the site of your own intervention, given that it's likely your audiences/participants already experience these technologies in their lives, but in a  very different mode?

Many thanks,

> Citing Claudia Hart from a previous post: 
> I actually very much do believe that esthetics and formal languages are radically significant and important to study.  The formal language embraced by new media art and high tech is generally corporatist and bureaucratic.  It emerges from the International Style that was embraced by corporate industrial design, architecture and for the most part, Greenberg-ian formalist abstraction and American Minimalist art. Nineties identity art was created in rebellion against these dominant languages which had become a kind of hegemony. 
> [...]
> The problem for me with almost all of new media art is that it embraces and is a manifestation of this kind corporate esthetic.   It embraces that esthetic, and therefore the same corporatist machine values:  the assembly line, economic efficiency over the humanitarian – time equals money, etc., etc.  Call me an old hippy; I guess it’s true.  

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