Monday, October 08, 2007

Birth of Net Art

This is about to go live in Paris and other regions:

The Birth of Net Art
Video, 2 minutes

From the catalogue:
Today we live in a new world: a universe of technical images. These images are easily accessible to the techno-masses who are now giving birth to the practice and ideology of remixology. Remixology is the science of pure play where the "remixers" tell their own stories and build their own mythologies out of the glut of source material available through the networks.

One of the results of this rapidly growing shift toward remixology is that history, as we know it, has been left behind. In place of history, what now emerges is a nascent form of life that is part human and part machine. Together, the human and the machine, envision a world that has never existed before.

This world of remixology is giving birth to endless versions of reality. In this case, we see the dissolution of difference between what is true and what is false. Images are not matter. They are all that matters.

In this new work of digital art, the American artist Mark Amerika teams up with the French net artist Florent di Bartolo and creates a precise formula for the emerging practice of remixology. Like mathematical formulas that seek out truth in numbers, here the artists create their own truth by building a short narrative that explains the current cultural situation in less than two minutes.

But this work, whose duration is so short, can itself give birth to endless remixes and mash-ups and this is why the universe of technical images will never die.
(Props to Vilem Flusser who is generously remixed above.)

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Predictable and Preppy

A former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review whose tweedy shtick focuses on "strategy, innovation, and technology" doesn't like my name.

He should know better, especially since he is proud to self-promo the fact that "eWeek named him one of the 100 most influential people in IT."

(That's OK, but does it trump TIME 100?)

His takeaway from the R U Sirius column "Is the net good for writing?" is a bit clueless, which is surprising since he is proud to have been "a former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review" (did I already mention that?). He suggests that if you see writing "as a utilitarian information-delivery vehicle, then the net's boffo. If you see it as a craft that's as much an end as a means, then the net's a curse."

You see, it's all black and white. Good versus evil. You're either with us or against us. And with a name like Amerika, how could you be with us?

But the question remains: Is the net good for writing?

Writing is an art form that is expanding its reach into the Internet environment like never before. The new conditions require the writer to develop multiple literacy skills and in so doing create emerging remixological styles (what the suits still like to call "craft") that innovate heretofore unseen modes of postproduction art.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Zen Again

Just as I am finishing up the "paper" for my "Artist, Medium, Instrument" presentation in Seoul later this month as part of the "Conference on Buddhism and New Media," I get an email from R U Sirius informing me that 10 Zen Monkeys has just published "Is The Net Good For Writers?"

From the intro:
Novelist William Burroughs met playwright Samuel Beckett, and after some small talk, Beckett looked directly at Burroughs and said, propitiously, "You're a writer." Burroughs instantly understood that Beckett was welcoming him into a very tiny and exclusive club — that there are only a few writers alive at any one time in human history. Beckett was saying that Burroughs was one of them. Everybody writes. Not everybody is a writer. Or at least, that's what some of us think...


I've asked ten professional writers [...] to assess the net's impact on writers. Here are their answers to the question...
The ten responses come from Erik Davis, Mark Dery, Jay Kinney, Paul Krassner, Adam Parfrey, Douglas Rushkoff, John Shirley, Clay Shirkey, Michael Simmons and myself.

Some choice quotes:
"Used to be I sat at an alphabet keyboard (called typewriters in my day) when I had an assignment or inspiration. Now it's all I do. Go to a library? Why? You can get what you need on the internet. Which means I've been suffering from Acute Cabin Fever since 1999 (when I tragically signed up for internet access). Sure, I could get off my ass and go to a library, but the internet is like heroin. Why take a walk in the park when you can boot up and find beauty behind your eyelids or truth from the MacBook? (Interesting that the term 'boot-up' is junkie-speak.)" (Michael Simmons)

"It's a no-brainer that writing is a communicative act, and always has been. And I'll eagerly grant the point that composing in a dialogic medium like the net is like typing onstage, in Madison Square Garden, with Metallica laying down a speed metal beat behind you. You're writing on the fly, which is halfway between prose and speech." (Mark Dery)

"The early to mid-1990s was a very special time in American culture, a strange and giddy Renaissance where esoteric topics freely mixed and matched in a highly sampledelic culture." (Erik Davis)

"There is one thing the printing press does not change, of course, which is the scarcity of publishing. Taking a fantastical turn, one could imagine a world in which everyone had not only the ability to read and write but to publish as well. In such a world, of course, we would see the same sort of transformation we are seeing now with the printing press, which is to say an explosion in novel forms of writing." (Clay Shirkey)
The Zen Monkeys have also just published a piece by Susie Bright entitled "Beyond the ‘Zipless Fuck’ With Erica Jong"...
SB: You make it sound like men are the only ones who are having a small health setback. What about the women?

EJ: The women, for the most part, seem healthier than the men. At least anecdotally...

There are lots of ways out of this. Yes, you can find younger people. Yes, you can find — you know, your 30-year-old male lover with a constant erection. Apart from the fact that mostly they don't want women who are 60. (Laughs) Some do. You know. For whatever Oedipal reasons...

But one is too wise, by then, to think of it as anything but a zipless fuck. Or a zipless fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck — and done, because you don't want to be their nurse, and you don't want to be their purse. I did that when I was in my 40s. And you don't want to blurb their book — their bad book.

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