Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Questions

Some general questions that are popping up in the midst of mid-summer heat and creative energy expenditure here in the always sunny Pacific Northwest, none of them weather-related:
  • What kinds of new art forms can be invented using mobile phones or Flips or miniaturized multi-media computers (as Nokia calls them) and what role should the Internet play in their distribution potential?

  • Will these new art forms and distribution networks in any way interface with what we still think of when referring to "the art world" / "the publishing world"?

  • What kind of theoretical framework can be developed to situate not only this kind of D-I-Y visual art / literature / film / video / new media production but also other emerging forms of interdisciplinary media art that utilize these nomadic techno-devices in conjunction with Internet-related developments associated with the coming of Web 3.0?

  • How long before it becomes common practice for artists [both (expert) professional and (expert) amateur as well as everything in between] to create hybridized forms of visual art, cinema, digital video, live performance, philosophy, theory, and electronic literature using these popular [consumer / media] devices as their primary data capturing instrument as well as distribute/exhibit/publish them via these same nomadic ["to-go"] devices?

  • How much remediation is going on as we creatively play with these user-friendly techno-gadgets and while we are playing/experimenting, what can we learn/borrow from the mediums that came before the Internet? For example, how would the creative methods of John Cage / Merce Cunningham exploring the potential of indeterminacy influence the making of a mobile phone video art performance that operates as a kind of structured improvisation form/content feedback loop? Or, how can an artwork like Carolee Schneeman's Meat Joy inform a new wave of YouTube distributed painterly performance conducted around a theme of feminine writing and the choragraphic body?

  • What is the value of this kind of research for the emerging fields of inquiry now being dubbed the Digital Humanities and what can be done in a higher arts and humanities educational context to create what Alvin Lui in The Laws of Cool calls a culture of "cool" around the historical archive of works previously relegated to literature and art history courses? This is something that has been of great interest to me since the early days of the Internet when I was first beginning to understand how the emerging network culture would require us to transform what we think of as fictional narrative and poetry and visual art and distributed performance into a kind of hybrid art that turns to remixology as the core principle of creativity

  • How will the creation of new narrative forms made on nomadic media devices for network distribution affect the way one perceives their identity (online and in real life, assuming there is a difference anymore) especially within the context of ongoing social relationships and professional networking?

  • Instead of turning to software and programming as the go-to subjects for study in the digital arts and humanities and, in a not so secret way, do what is most obvious as a power play to mimic the science-funding model so that a techno-art program can attempt to reinvent the MIT Media Lab or expand on its model for ivory tower academic purposes, why not instead turn to Black Mountain and the Media Studies program at SUNY-Buffalo and even the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa in Boulder as better art-research models steeped in the history and practice of avant-garde invention and use that history -- that archive of work -- to develop a technologically savvy interdisciplinary media arts scene that focuses on formally experimental art-making and writing that enables those who are participating in / conducting the research to locate methods of (post)production that come naturally to them as they break out of the mold of "artist-author-genius" while finding themselves attracted to the rising call of digital socialism as a form of creativity, collaboration, and renewed prosperity (heavily loaded terms, all, although they do not probably mean what you think they do, but now is not the time to elaborate) ...

Metadata: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This day in history ...

As Fred Kaplan writes in the Times:
TODAY is the 50th anniversary of the court ruling that overturned America’s obscenity laws, setting off an explosion of free speech [...] The historic case began on May 15, 1959, when Barney Rosset, the publisher of Grove Press, sued the Post Office for confiscating copies of the uncensored version of D. H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel "Lady Chatterley’s Lover," which had long been banned for its graphic sex scenes.
In an earlier case that tried to set the standard for obscenity in a more "hung-up" society, The Supremes opined that "implicit in the history of the First Amendment is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social importance." Yes, OK, some of us may take issue with that, but let's move on. The new question that Rosset and his lawyer would ask is: What about literary art works that may have what some would call obscenity in them but that also included literary content that was infused with easy to prove socially redeeming value?

There was a loophole in the logic and the law was changed. Now we can go to the bookstore and buy or have some strange person on eBay mail us a copy of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer that begins:
I am living at the Villa Borghese. There is not a crumb of dirt anywhere, nor a chair misplaced. We are all alone here and we are dead.
This already feels like a dirty book, yes?

I think I'll celebrate by walking to the best bookstore in the world and buying a particularly dirty book, albeit one with socially redeeming value.

(Maybe an Acker title, but also Miller or Sukenick or Delany.)

To be followed by marking up more revisions for my next novel, itself a bit loose and freestyle in the way it mashes-up sexuality, art and labor ...

Metadata: , , , , ,