[-empyre-] Wired Ruins: Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia

Craig Saper csaper at umbc.edu
Tue Sep 13 08:35:42 AEST 2016

Thanks, Tim and Renate, for continuing to host the fragile -empyre- and, Tim and the Krokers for the 9/11 issue of CTHEORY. 

Although it is always challenging to keep up with a network that keeps holds my posts as “suspicious” or apt, I’m happy that the Wired Ruins issue could highlight work of so many important net-works all over the world — and, of course, one could “read” — or as an analogy to reading in the networked world — the way reading 100 years ago changed with film and micro-film so that it might keep up with movies — it should have been called readies — and now _____ — one could readies the issue as a set of instructions … 

2001 is a very long time ago — long enough ago — that a style (invisible at the time) appears in the net art and objects. So, the artists are still active, these works seem low-tech (Flash based)  … and yet charming because of it. But also these works seem contemporary. And, that is the instruction that we will conclude with — having to do with anomalies, anachronism in the net-work.

Instruction #7


Rhizomatic-Time (we began our brief time together by celebrating the 20th anniversary of Rhizomes) a net-function (the negative term, click-bait), but this CTHEORY issue (when was it published now or then?) … is perhaps the reason that our hosts have chosen the specific phrase “then and now” — not to indicate a historical continuity of precursors, early net-art, and contemporary works, but to hint at this instruction/function of net-art. Time is no longer Vico-circular (there is no endless return), nor Techno-Triumphalist (the net-art today not better than the net-art then), but Rhiz-n-sTime since the net- has a sense of time foreign to both Capitalismic work-a-day and Art’s outside-of-time in a phenomenological encounter — nope. And, to return to the issues raised by the “readers” of these instructions, many will read these out of order (or two identical), digested, never (much later), from second-hand … or through a click to “old” news.

Net-art takes advantage of this time (mes chance) in time travel that has no future or past, nor now as separate from then. All at once. Beyond the geographic. 

Looking forward to Anna — “next week” — which already began then.

Thanks again, everybody (whenever you happen upon this blast from the past)! Its been a pleasure. And, now back to preparing for the third week of my course on what Greg Ulmer calls “electracy” — when we’ll read about dj Herc and “The Object of Post-Criticism” — 

On Sep 12, 2016, at 4:40 PM, Timothy Conway Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu> wrote:

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
Thanks, Craig, for sharing your insightful and provocative instructions
with us this week.  Yesterday, on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, I found
myself wondering about the relation of net.art and 'address' in terms of
the net.art project that I staged with Arthur and Marilouise Kroker in the
wake of 9/11 for the issue of CTHEORY Multimedia on the topic: Wired
Ruins: Digital Terror and Ethnic Paranoia:

Instead of giving into the stultifying pathos of trauma and angst floating
in the air, we invited net artists to claw back the discourse of the
network by addressing the critical paradigms sustaining our notion of
"Wired Ruins."  To do so, we sought out work that situated the
surveillance of 'digital terror' in relation to the paradoxes of global
"ethnic paranoia."  I still feel critically provoked and challenged by
these works as I look at them now by: Lewis LaCook, Davin Heckman, Dror
Eyal & Stacy Hardy, David Golumbia, Robert Hunter & Guillermo Aritza,
Horit Herman-Peled, Tracey Benson, Isabelle Sigal & Jay Murphy, Young-Hae
Chang Heavy Industries, Jason Nelson, Dirk J. Platzek & Han Gene Paik,
saibot & ssiess, Christina McPhee, Andrew Hieronymi & Tirdad Zolghadr.

It's still striking to me how many of these artists created in
collaboration, and in doing so, many were working across international
zones and datelines that challenged the veracity of digital terror and
ethnic paranoia: Lebanan & Switzerland, Korea and US, etc.

Before moving on tomorrow with this week's thread, led by Anna Munster,
perhaps it would be interesting if we were to hear from any of these
artists who are on the list, or from Craig regarding his thoughts about
his instructions retroactive relation to Wired Ruins.

Before closing, perhaps I can copy part of our curatorial statement for
this issue:

"Wired Ruins" reflects on the digital and viral networks of ethnic
identities that now so urgently emit faint signals for recognition among
the overlapping diffisions of cultural angst and digital terror.  A
vibrantly pulsating network resisting the repression of the new
censorship, "Wired Ruins" is a simulacrum of cross-cultural infection and
cross-border fluidity.  Reacting to the complex horrors of terrorism while
resisting the surveillance regimes of the disciplinary state, its
practictioners work passionately to reposition the power of the code in
counter-response to the aggressive parasites of religious fanaticism and
ethnic paranoia.  "Wired Ruins" will haunt the future [we hoped, and
perhaps, still hope] as the skeletal archive of the many unrecorded
artistic responses to digital terror and ethnic paranoia.

All my best,


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 9/8/16 8:57 PM, "Craig Saper" <csaper at umbc.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------

empyre forum
empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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