Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Can Relate (New York Version)

This is the latest in a periodic series of reflections that interface the concept of relational aesthetics with an evolving (nomadic) net artist poetics. For the interdisciplinary net artist who actively postproduces (performs) a series of creative events that manifest themselves as what we still call works of art, practicing relational aesthetics is code for activating oneself in engaged social networking.

The original version in this series, "I Can Relate," is located here. One other version, called "I Can Relate (Miami Version)," is located here. The Miami Version has led to a few longer posts on the idea of postproduction art as part of a larger interdisciplinary practice in contemporary remixology.

New York City. What can I say? If I were to encapsulate my experience in three words it would be .biz .art .net -- but there's more:

I) New York is a gated community that is squeezing out the (upper) middle class who want only the best for their families (and/or themselves).

II) New York is still all about monetization, and it is hitting the art world especially hard these days, particularly the (new, digital) media art scene, which is beginning to experience the early signs of what may very well be a phase of explosive growth in both production and market value. In fact, things are moving so fast in the (new, digital) media art scene that I am now predicting (speculating) that we are on the verge of a mad rush by serious investors in the field of risk management to actively pursue opportunities in what will inevitably be perceived as a giant hole in the (art) market.

The future survival of (new, digital) artists and consequently the (historical) work they (post)produce in a gated community like New York will depend on extreme capitalization in the (new, digital) art market, and Mom and Pop operations will not be able to survive the next phase of this aggressive boom without some (serious hedge) funding (investments that will trigger movements in the value of particular artists, artworks, galleries, and historical trends).

III) If you thought everyone in New York has been obsessed with real estate over the last 15 years, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Real estate is really about the state of reality. Living as an artist in New York City, that is, trying to capitalize on your performance (postproduction art) within an historical context that is fed by the monetization of perceived values, is all about The Deal. It is my sense that The Deal of the near future will primarily be driven by networked speculation. It's networked speculation because the Internet is now what fuels its momentum and will also serve as the delivery vehicle for the artwork being bought by the (growing list of risk management) investors.

Living as an artist in New York, that is, first-person survival of the fittest, is a kind of market-driven speculative fiction cum video game that challenges you to become a big-time playah. This speculative fiction cum video game (i.e. art market being driven by risk management portfolio investors) is highly interactive, contagious media at its core. You have to proactively manipulate it to even begin triggering behaviors and events that you hope to convert into monetized achievements. More and more, these behaviors and events are produced by/with new media technologies within a social networking (relational aesthetic) context and the (hedge) funding (investments) that greases the wheels of (post)productivity are hungry for action right now.

It ends up that the never died. The inefficient, minor league phony baloneys who had no idea how to convert the speculative fiction into The Perfect Deal with an eye toward sustaining an active (new, digital) media practice over time, got slaughtered. It's true that some played it just right and got out before the knives started swinging (but not as many we would like to think). Unfortunately for most of the wannabe players, long-term monetization was not usually part of their overall strategy and the fly-by-night tactics they employed to keep the 90s bubble afloat proved to be ineffective.

Meanwhile, out of the ruins have bloomed new forms of speculation that the real estate market (art market) have taken to yet new heights. The Dow hit multiple record highs this week, high-rises keep skyrocketing all throughout the Big Apple, and artworks that three years ago might have gone for 25k are now listed at 250k. But the NASDAQ is still way below it's apex and many smaller galleries are on the verge of bankruptcy, even though they pretend they are liquid gold. Why do you suppose that is?

Could it all come down to capitalization and buoyant buy-out potential? Yes. And that can only mean one thing: you have to stay in the game. Risk your livelihood if you must, but staying in the game is essential. You got this far. In fact, you're operating at a level you may not have ever dreamed of and to have to start all over again, from scratch, is, well... you know how it is: if you can't visualize yourself as a playah, then you may as well point the first-person shooter at yourself and, before shooting, send your media package to NBC as a way to potentially raise your visibility as part of The Long Goodbye.

IV) If you want to know where to find the hot new media artists (commodities) of tomorrow, at least those who are gaming for historical relevance in the market-driven value system of the Wild Wild West (WWW), then do what Deep Throat suggested all of those years ago: "Follow the money."

Or better yet, if you happen to visualize yourself as a new media artist-playah, have the money follow you (this is an instance where you want to be stalked).

And you can take that to the bank.

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