[-empyre-] Last Questions / Wrapping up Accumulations

Daniel Lichtman danielp73 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 22 06:18:00 AEDT 2020

Hi Elia, as well as Angeliki, Cristina, Oscar, Simon, Matt, Sophia,
Benjamin, Rowan, Sameen, Philip, Lee, Char, Maximillian, Sophie and Sasha,

As a way of beginning to wrap up this month’s program, here is a question
to Elia, and all of the other artists who participated in Accumulations (
http://accumulations.online/exhibition.html). I think everyone on the
empyre list is well aware of the myriad catastrophes—pandemic, assault on
democracy, environmental crisis, racial injustice, to name a few—that we
face today.

The pandemic has obviously generated a lot interest in networked structures
for collaboration and community building. Accumulations has presented a
number of projects that take digital interfaces, networking protocols and
systems for organizing information as a starting point for reimagining what
it means to commune, socialize and make art together today. All of these
projects locate their new visions for creative community in the
decentralized  operation of producing, collecting and arranging fragments
of audio-visual-textual material. I am drawn to the new visual, literary
and auditory forms that they produce.

One broad topic that I am interested in, but conflicted about, and perhaps
useful to end up on this month: do these projects propose a Utopian vision
for the future of networked community and collaboration? Especially as
contestations to capitalist forms of social organization and big-tech
surveillance and profiteering. The hopeful way that these projects make
innovative formal use of digital tools reminds me of the Utopian impulses
that I see in avant-grades of the past—for example in the creation of
Modern, individual painterly style in European abstract painting of the
early 20th century, in contestation of art historical convention. Or in the
formal experimentation with video technology in video art of the 70s and
80s, contesting the hegemony of mass media production. Or net.art of the
90s that remixed the possibilities of hypertext, HTML and early CSS. In
each of these art historical moments, artists responded to historical and
political imperatives by developing whole new modes and techniques of

Where or how do the projects presented this month point us in the way of
the future of community and collaboration? When/if the pandemic subsides,
will the new, networked forms of working and being together brought to the
fore by social isolation challenge the status quo of how artists live, work
and socialize together? What does this mean for wider populations of people
and communities who are not directly involved in the arts?

These are broad questions. To all the artists, I invite you to respond to
any aspects that seem to resonate with you or your project. Or if you
disagree with any of my characterizations, please share that with us too!
Feel free to respond briefly and/or informally.

I also invite anyone from the Empyre list to chime-in here, in response to
the presented projects, these questions, or anything else that is of
concern to you in relation to this month’s topic.

Looking forward!

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