[-empyre-] Week One on Through the NET: Net Art Then and Now

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Wed Sep 7 23:03:55 AEST 2016

Thanks so much, Craig, for this provocative opening.  Our hope is to jump
on your question, "what are it's moods, textures, poetics,
amateur-hack-artist function, and visceral affects," to explore the
promise of net.art, as imagined over the past twenty years, and to discuss
its morph, migration, and flow into other networked (or not)

One thing that propelled net.art was the conjunction of densely miniature
artistic forms made available by digital technology with the expansive
push out of the web, a medium for localized condensed expression from the
personal desktop for, conversely, globalized outreach and conversation.
Another of net.art's contributions was to capitalize on the accessibility
of newly portable and networked archival databases for condensed artistic
expression that also lent themselves to the formation of pop-up
international artistic and conceptual communities via the emergent
listserves, Rhizome and net time, and the online journal, CTHEORY, which
which I collaborated on the net.art curatorial project, CTHEORY
Multimedia.   Arthur and Marilouise Kroker and I sought out artists and
works that seized on the portability of net.art to fashion concise
conceptual and political statements.  Somewhat in the vein of agit-prop,
we conceived of net.art as a mobile form whose combination of crude
(Quicktime) and delicate poetics would summon the international user into
political and conceptual dialogue.  We hoped that net.art's visceral
affect might effect practical reflection on the discourse of the net
itself, from the digital divide and bio capital to digital terror and its
inscription in ethnic paranoia.

Looking forward to hearing more about Craig's thinking and hopefully our
artistic community will reflect more specifically on their own projects.


Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Taylor Family Director, Society for the Humanities
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
A D White House
Cornell University,
Ithaca, New York 14853

On 9/6/16 10:28 PM, "Craig Saper" <csaper at umbc.edu> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>Tim, Thanks for the introduction — and although we didn’t get to Ithaca
>this summer — fond memories. It seems fitting to have the theme this week
>correspond to the 20th anniversary of Rhizome.org. Congratulations to
>Mark Tribe and the network of folks who transformed a listserv (like
>-empyre -- just sayin') into something else for networked art (putting
>that notion of transformation of a listserv into something else
>("commissions, exhibits, preserves, and creates critical discussion
>around" net-art) as the implicit instruction/open-constraint for our
>discussion) . . . . still having a difficult time defining networks? Ten
>thousand books with “network” in their title, subtitle, or series title
>have appeared since my Networked Art appeared in 2001, and reading just a
>few of these titles begins to sound like a conceptual poem: Networks of
>Outrage and Hope; Network Forensics; Understanding Social Network; How
>Networks are Shaping the Modern Metropolis; Virality: Contagion Theory in
>the Age of Networks; Disrupting Dark Networks; Network Like an Introvert;
>Network Marketing; Network Management; The Network; Actor-Network Theory
>and Tourism; Charles Dickens's Networks; Social Network Analysis; Nomads
>and Networks; Networked: The New Social Operating System; Networks
>Without a Cause ... (with thanks to K.A. Wisniewski for digging up some
>of this list). Network is networked in every conceivable publisher's
>category: Computers & technical manuals. Science. Art. Photography.
>Biographies & Memoirs. Literature, Graphic novels, and literary
>criticism. Education.  History. Politics.  Sociology. Law.  Humor.
>Religion. Philosophy. Self-help. ... Trade publishers. University, or
>Small presses. Self-published. Television or Internet. ... Networks,
>Networking, Networked . . . Nouns. Adjectives.  Verbs.  Or, read as both
>or neither.  Something else? It's a one-word cliché either disliked and
>pernicious or liberating and utopian; it is a network of control in the
>"capitalocene" (the complex networks that have transformed lives for
>everybody on this planet whether they like it or not) or the anarchist
>rhizomatic hacktivists' web. Not in the same ways, but deeply still.
>Instead of it's meaning, what are it's moods, textures, poetics,
>amateur-hack-artist function, and visceral affects? That's what I hope we
>can explore here.
>On Sep 6, 2016, at 10:08 PM, Timothy Conway Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu>
>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------Welcome back
>everyone from summer or winter, depending on your location.
>Renate and I have enjoyed the quiet of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca after
>returning from Shanghai where we opened a new Summer School in Theory
>between Cornell University and East China Normal University.  Our time off
>in August gave us an opportunity to think about anniversary nodes of the
>net and net.art, just as I was being challenged in keeping various pieces
>of 1990s net.art online for my exhibition, Signal to Code: 50 Years of
>Media Art in the Rose Goldsen Archive
>(http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/signaltocode/).  So we thought it might be
>interesting to open September with a discussion of Net Art Then and Now.
>This week, I will look forward to the opportunity to think back on the
>excitement of curatorial projects in net.art when the community imagined
>that the challenging artworks of the net might reach a broader audience
>than now seems to have been the case.  I will be joined by Craig Saper, a
>challenging thinker of the network.  Craig Saper (US) is Professor in
>the Language, Literacy, and Culture Doctoral Program at UMBC in Baltimore,
>Maryland, US. Craig published Networked Art and, as dj Readies, Intimate
>Bureaucracies ‹
>both about net-art then (and now). His work on net-art also appears in the
>Whitechapel Gallery's Networks, in their Documents of Contemporary Art
>series and forthcoming in Beyond Critique: Contemporary Art in Theory,
>Practice and Instruction. Hisrecently published "cross between an
>intellectual biography Š and a picaresque novel,² and "a biography of a
>lost twentieth century," The Amazing Adventures of Bob Brown, tells the
>comic story of a real-life Zelig and the ultimate networker.  He has also
>edited or co-edited scholarly volumes including Electracy: Gregory L.
>Ulmer Textshop Experiments
><http://www.thedaviesgrouppublishers.com/ulmer%20electracy.htm> (2015), a
>special issue of the scholarly journal Hyperrhiz on mapping culture
><http://hyperrhiz.io/hyperrhiz12/> (2015), special issues of Rhizomes on
>Posthumography <http://www.rhizomes.net/issue20/saper/index.html>(2010),
>Imaging Place <http://www.rhizomes.net/issue18/saper/> (2009), and Drifts
><http://www.rhizomes.net/issue13/> (2007), and many other volumes since
>1990. Craig¹s curatorial projects include exhibits on ³Assemblings²
>(1997), ³Noigandres: Concrete Poetry in Brazil² (1988) and ³TypeBound
><http://www.readies.org/typebound/>² (2008), and folkvine.org
><http://folkvine.umbc.edu/> (2003-6). In addition, he has published two
>other artists¹s books On Being Read (1985) and Raw Material (2008).
>Over the weekend, Renate and I enjoyed a lakeside lunch at a casual
>restaurant on Cayuga Lake, and recalled that our last meal there was in
>the pleasant company of Craig Saper.  So, Craig, we are very happy to be
>back in conversation with you here on the network rather than the lake.
>We look forward to receiving your opening post.
>Timothy Murray
>Professor of Comparative Literature and English
>Taylor Family Director, Society for the Humanities
>Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
>A D White House
>Cornell University,
>Ithaca, New York 14853
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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