[-empyre-] Response to Anna: Nick Knouf, MAICgregator

Anna Munster a.munster at unsw.edu.au
Sat Sep 17 08:17:13 AEST 2016

Yes I agree Christiane, it does depend on how you define ‘finance’…and this is perhaps the interesting thing and one reason I thought it would be a great place to begin a discussion on ‘now’ and ‘then’ in net.art….
I’m referring more to the idea of ‘financialisation’ as descriptive of contemporary capitalism. This goes further than the idea that it is the finance sector that both creates both capital (wealth) and crisis in contemporary capitalism - this is pretty much standard economic theory. Rather I am thinking off the back of theorists such as Christian Marazzi who tie financialisation directly to new ‘models’ of production and consumption or ‘the Google Model’. To quote Marazzi: 'The creation of networks, or, as they are called in the internet world, communities of consumers, who coproduce innovation, diversification, and identification with the brand, on the basis of open source’ (from the Violence of Financial Capitalism, p. 56).

Marazzi takes this further to suggest that it is  ‘living-labour’ (by which he means work covering all forms of life including working as and in leisure, sleep time, life administration etc AND all the services required to keep this living labour alive such as the health and education industries) that sustains the ‘innovation’ necessary for financial capital to deliver value for its shareholders. (this is a very reduced version of a complex argument!). Financialisation creates value (since it has no other mode of productivity) by parasitising on the creativity of living labour (which it also co-produces)

This then places ‘net. art’ in a very precarious and paradoxical position. Many of the early ‘nettime’ discussions from around 1997 were about the ways in which ‘net.art’ superseded and subverted an art market or ‘art on the net’ (the use of the web to promote art by the GLAM sector). Net art cut out middle people, bypassed curators, blurred the distinction between artist and audience/participant/artwork etc. BUT this is exactly the same mode of production Marazzi is talking about as ‘the Google model’….to what extent, then, is net art not simply an extension of financialisation (and of course at the other end, Nick’s post precisely shows the extent to which living labour is required to maintain net art).

So, then, yes… I think eToy is a really interesting example because it  has since 1994 pushed this relation of the network to living labour to an extreme by, as they say, ‘twisting values’….a very clever ‘corporate’ logo!



Anna Munster
Associate Professor,
Faculty of Art and Design
P.O Box 259
NSW 2021
a.munster at unsw.edu.au

> On 17 Sep 2016, at 3:13 AM, Christiane Paul, Curatorial <Christiane_Paul at whitney.org> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> It depends on how you want to define and delineate network and finance --  the ToyWar ultimately was a project very related to finance / the stock market, and eToy of course early on used a revenue model based on shares. 
> GWEI (https://www.paolocirio.net/work/gwei/) and Paolo Cirio's Loophole for all (https://paolocirio.net/work/loophole-for-all/) also are networked finance projects....
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Stephanie Rothenberg [rothenberg.stephanie at gmail.com]
> Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 11:34 AM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Response to Anna: Nick Knouf, MAICgregator
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> _______________________________________________
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