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

Morehshin Allahyari morehshin at gmail.com
Fri May 1 04:59:00 AEST 2015

Soraya, to answer you questions and also to continue some of Claudia’s

For the last 5 years, I’ve been primarily working with 3D animation
software like Maya and also I am currently an artist in residence at Pier 9
program at Autodesk in San Francisco working with 3D printing technology.
>From the very beginning of working with these software and digital tools, I
have only been interested in learning and understanding how to use
different functions and tools in 3D animation software and 3D printing
technology to create aesthetic that is unique to my practice and is
different than the “3D corporate/Pixar aesthetic"; how to break things; how
to also use these software to address and dive into serious and important
issues. The classes I had taken as a grad student and later taught as a
faculty in Art and Technology departments, used wordings like “*Experimental
*3D Animation”, “*Experimental* Moving Image”, etc to put more emphasis on
the content and conceptual aspect of these practices while also looking for
ways to create new understanding and aesthetic possibilities of these
software. I think movements/concepts like Netart, Glitch Art, New
Aesthetic, Post-Internert Art, etc. have also played an important role in
directing and influencing these aesthetics and practices.

In addition, I find it super interesting and refreshing that a lot of new
media artists have chosen to push these possibilities by being inspired by
“corporate aesthetic”. So then if you look at the work of many of
experimental 3D animation artists, you see that they -for example- use HD,
super shiny, and perfect looking aesthetic of cooperation in their work but
decontextualize and re-appropriate it to create new meanings and visual

Last year, there was a project done on FB by two new media artists in which
they created multiple groups inspired by different (strange but amazing)
corporate aesthetics. I probably won’t be able to do a fair job explaining
these but I found myself spending hours on them and being inspired by these
images and visuals. Also, had a lot of conversations about these pages with
other new media artists, colleagues and my students.

Some of my favorite pages are “HOMECARE AESTHETICS: Environment and Object
<https://www.facebook.com/groups/790658317611432/?ref=browser>”, “ARCTIC
AESTHETICS: Environment and Object”
<https://www.facebook.com/groups/307857592708149/?ref=browser>, “TECH
AESTHETICS: Environment and Object
<https://www.facebook.com/groups/1455520774703930/?ref=browser>”, “LABORATORY
AESTHETICS: Environment and Object
<https://www.facebook.com/groups/542487042544825/?ref=browser>”, and “Medical
Fashion Quarterly
<https://www.facebook.com/groups/556998741065967/?ref=browser>”. In the
description for these pages they say: “During the span of a year, each
month a facebook group is created revolving around a different topic, mass
of ideas. It's main goal is to involve others into the process of exploring
and discovering visually extremely pleasing content at places -outside the
fields of art - where it was not intended to be in the first place, relying
heavily on the image search function of search engines. To develop very
specific visual cultures while appreciating the objects and environments
created for non-aesthetic purposes, where function were the primary
criterion. Artistless creation by sharing the previously unappreciated.”

On Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 10:35 AM, Soraya Murray <semurray at ucsc.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> 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,
> Soraya
> >
> > 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.
> >
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu


Morehshin Allahyari
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