Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Expanding the Concept of Writing (Again)

Over the last year, I have been exhibiting unique blog works as art. At the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, it was the newly commissioned 24 Hour Count multi-media blog-band session with the DJRABBI crew spread out across Boulder, Scottsdale, and Sydney (which is where I was located at the time). This distributed 24 hour jam session meant pulling an all-nighter, although whose night was when and whose day was what, altered the level of engagement between the three performers. Jet-lag consciousness, as I call it, where one is operating in asynchronous realtime and feels like they are drifting both here and there (nowhere and everywhere) at the same time, begins to have its effect. The work turns woozy. The sounds get delirious. The loops get, well, loopy.

Lost in antipodal nowness with the sleep deprivation kicking in while playing lead "mobile phone" in the 24 Hour Count blog-band jam, I was cruising through Bondi Beach during the height of racial tension. The beach was being patrolled by the police with their billy clubs ready for action. Emails from friends all over the world who knew I was living on the beach (it was a big international story at the time) asked if I was okay, which I was. In fact, I was filming it (loose term), capturing the lossy version of events with my first-generation video-phone gadget, the old Nokia 6620. This same capturing device (I've never made a phone call on it) will serve as my principal "first camera" for a new movie I am making in Cornwall this summer as part of my artist residency at the University College Falmouth. This residency will take place in iRES and interface with the international entities known as Glorious Ninth and VJ Theory. Sounds like fun, yes?

But back to blog art exhibitions. From June 16 through August 27, 2006, I created a Passagen-Work, as part of the "Decades of Influence" show in Denver. The work investigated daily blog performance as a proactive writerly practice where my mission, should I choose to accept it, was to apply a literary methodology to net art composition. I called this kind of "art-making" wild blogstyle and used Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project as a tutor-text. Here is what Benjmain wrote in one of his Arcades Project files on methodology:
Method of this project: literary montage. I needn’t say anything. Merely show. I shall purloin no valuables, appropriate no ingenious formulations. But the rags, the refuse - these I will not inventory but allow, in the only way possible, to come into their own: by making use of them.

When I introduced my own Passagen-Work remix, I said:
Of course, he [Benjamin] contradicted himself in the best of possible ways and actually said a lot - and so one can imagine that I will attempt to do this too, whether I want to or not. Another difference between Benjamin's approach and mine is that "the rags, the refuse" that I want to make use of are easily sampled from the vast library of information waiting to be aestheticized (performed with, manipulated) on the Internet - and I also have a lot of material I myself have contributed to the electrosphere, material I intend on recontextualizing for this 10 week performance.
Now that I write this entry, I can see how these performance-oriented, even time-based writing projects, mashing up images and text while porting them through customized artist-apparatus filters I am always tweaking, are somehow yet further expansions on my Expanded Concept of Writing.

This Expanded Concept of Writing continues with a new work that I'll be premiering tomorrow at the CU Museum. MANP is another net art work that is not quite blog, but also not quite "traditional" net art either. The exhibition will feature a local, stand-alone version of the site that differs from the online version, where "We Take Pictures, So You Don't Have To."

Metadata: , ,