[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 124, Issue 25

Margaret Rhee emjrhee at gmail.com
Fri May 1 19:18:08 AEST 2015

Hello All,

Many thanks again to Sonarya, Dorothy, Morehshin, and Claudia for your
compelling and provocative questions and sharing of your amazing work!! I
really hope we can also meet IRL to continue this discussion and this
working through.

My apologies again for the delay on my response post, I receive the daily
digest and I still don't know how to change this, and now that we've come
close to the end of the series, I realize it may be best to stay with the
daily format. But it reminds me of temporality, and how I receive all the
posts at the end of the day, of each day, which made it challenging to
respond immediately to the individual emails, but the daily digest also
offers a different kind of temporal engagement with these feminist
questions, especially around the medium and form of the email.

Three years ago, I participated in my first empyre discussion in a queer
new media art forum led by zach blas and micha cardenas, and at the time I
was in Seoul traveling, and I remember having a different time relationship
with the temporal relationship with the messages, and email exchanges,
which has been productive for me to feel that I can slow down with the
daily digest and think through time.

I had a really interesting discussion today with another feminist poet
about the possibilities of internet culture, especially around publishing
work on poetics and identity that resists the speed and reductionism of
the comment sections of an op-ed, for example. How can we utilize the space
and form of the internet and problemtize? One way may be as empyre does,
utilizing the email as a form to build discussion and community around new
media art and other topics vital to work through. Most of the empyre
messages are not only one line responses (although this is not to say
minimalistic is not thoughtful) but the longer messages themselves, run
quite contrary to what digital culture often espouses in terms of speed
and efficiency. I really appreciate this space, and wish we had more time.

Did anyone else love reading I Am Very Into You, a series of emails between
Kathy Acker and Mckenzie Wark recently published by Semiotext(e)? I loved
reading the book this year. I found their email exchanges to be so
incredibly intimate, moving, and feminist. The messages were quite long,
thoughtful, funny, provocative, yes, with the intent to woo and seduce, but
also to push forward ideas around gender, feminism, sex, sexuality, and
love. I highly recommend this book if you haven't read yet:


I'm digressing a bit from the conversation questions, but I do think
thinking through time, feminism, and the email as form relates to the
questions Claudia, Dorothy, and Soraya raised about new media and the
problematics of new media art as oppressive, ie military corporate etc,
and relations with women, queers, people of color representation. I believe
this relationship and history, of technology design often created by and
for oppressive & violent structures and the seduction or laziness of new
media aesthetics succumbing to reiterating those oppressive structures, is
very important to grapple with, and we should always remain reflexive when
we are working with technology.

But as a feminist engaged with new media art, I also believe technology is
malleable and if we understand techne as a tool, we, as in feminists, can
and must utilize our tools for projects of resistance.

a question or two from the feminist possible:

- how is email a productive feminist tool for dialogue and change?

- can we understand technology as living and growing, transforming as it
changes from one pair of hands to another?

I want to raise that it feels important to consider how technology is not
static, but much like race, gender, sexuality, a formation is always
undergoing processes of shape shifting.

Unfortunately, oftentimes technology, and more specifically new media art,
may emerge into work that reifies a corporate/military esthetic, but I
think it's important to identity that when technology is a formation
process, there is space to intervene.

It is 2: 17 am in Los Angeles.

I am thinking about televisions, wires, and circuits, and how all of these
technological things change depending on how and who solders, and how and
if we connect

On Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 7:00 PM, <empyre-request at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> wrote:

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> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
> than "Re: Contents of empyre digest..."
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Today's Topics:
>    1. Re: Welcome to Week 4 on -empyre-: New Media / Art /
>       Representation (Soraya Murray)
>    2. a brief interuption: May topic open call (Renate Terese Ferro)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:35:52 -0700
> From: Soraya Murray <semurray at ucsc.edu>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Welcome to Week 4 on -empyre-: New Media / Art
>         /       Representation
> Message-ID: <B0CD9BBD-560A-4A17-A9B5-BEC013F6AADC at ucsc.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
> 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.
> >
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2015 00:08:28 +0000
> From: Renate Terese Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: [-empyre-] a brief interuption: May topic open call
> Message-ID: <D16447BB.1E72D%rtf9 at cornell.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> Sorry Soraya for the interruption but I wanted to invite any of our
> subscribers to think about joining our open call for May.  Brief info is
> below.  Email me asap if you want to participate.
> Renate
> May on -empyre:  Boredom:  Labor, use, time
> An open call to cross-disciplinary writers, artists, technologists and
> others who want to join our May topic on the concept of boredom. Boredom
> as a conceptual/theoretical motif.  Boredom as
> a lack but also the excessive immersion of something that leads to a null
> or void. Boredom, neither positive or negative, but a potential that opens
> up critical consideration about the use of technology, labor, duration,
> use, time, and tempo.  Boredom not boring.
> Contact:  rferro at cornell.edu
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Assistant Professor of Art,Cornell University
> Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office:  306
> Ithaca, NY  14853
> Email:   <rferro at cornell.edu <mailto:rtf9 at cornell.edu>>
> URL:  http://www.renateferro.net <http://www.renateferro.net/>
>       http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net
> <http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net/>
> Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net <http://www.tinkerfactory.net/>
> Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu/
> ------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> empyre mailing list
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
> End of empyre Digest, Vol 124, Issue 25
> ***************************************

Margaret Rhee, Ph.D.

Institute of American Cultures Visiting Researcher
Asian American Studies Center
University of California, Los Angeles.
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