Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Monday, July 26, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Assorted Tasty Content

I'm busy for the next couple of days, so here's something for interested parties to chew on this week: SOUND COLLAGES. I released some of these back in January; Hypothete's Greatest Hits has 15 tracks and is about 25 minutes long. I don't have much experience with sound, but this was a lot of fun.

Another item of note: apparently the invisible images work now? Regardless, I've purchased hosting and now have a website proper developing at hypothete.com. There's some new content over there, so if you're here already it's worth a look. Notepad is the best html editor.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I've been informed by several site visitors that many images aren't showing up on the blog. For this and several other reasons, I'm planning to move all of the images over to new hosting. Keep an eye on this space.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Broad Generalizations about Net Artists

There are two schools of thought operating in the net art scene right now. These groups have been distinct to me for maybe the past six months, but sometimes it's better to sit on an idea and let the internet blindly charge by, so that you can follow their tracks later. The way I've been conceptualizing this distinction has been by drawing a comparison to the East and West Coast Hippie subcultures from the 1960s. (Go ahead, roll your eyes. That's just me.)

Camp one: This is the "Timothy Leary" camp. These artists are very art historical, and emulate other media (sculpture, painting.) Lots of symbols, design heavy, texture heavy. There's a Utopian aspect as well - many of these artists look for old ideas about purity and the spiritual that have fallen through the cracks of time. They like text-to-speech and Second Life. "Art that looks like art." Illusionism. Atmosphere. The computer, and the GUI are formal inspiration sources; "scrollbar art," also big messy glitchy webpages. The net is their vehicle for dissemination, and they stand out from the online flow. Rarely do these works link outside of themselves; if hypertext is involved, it is internal to the site.

Aids-3D, ohmygod (2008?)

Camp two: If camp one is Tim Leary, camp two is Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.* These artists are net historical. They embrace gifs, visible pixels and file corruption. They are not afraid to draw from the internet's vast repositories of memes, pop culture, or shock images. Often, camp two's art reveals the medium through intentional (and not theatrical) glitching, built-in software effects, or ironically shoddy craftsmanship. Lots of this work is about juxtaposition and communication. Internet forums, obscure websites, Tumblr and Google Image Search are the sources of most of camp two's material and inspiration, regardless of legality. This camp makes art for the net on the net, and blends in to the net-social fabric.

User arielrebel, dump.fm

What matters in camp two's work - or what is emphasized by the artists - is not so much the individual artwork as the artist's oeuvre and net presence. This is one reason why these artists don't receive as much coverage - you can't pin a work down as easily. Where most camp one works are one-way in terms of links (and this appears to be a strategic move), camp two relishes hypertext and cross-platform performance. Their work spills across the social networks that the artists inhabit.

Another difficulty for curating this type of work is accreditation - as images make the rounds online, they often lose their titles and indicators of authorship. This follows the structure of the internet - the democratic recycling and distribution of information - but it defeats the typical artist->portfolio relationship that art fans/critics expect.

Closing thoughts: There are artists (among those linked) that do operate in both modes, but I think that it's clear in their work that the distinction still exists. The net art community is still learning how to discuss camp two, and I think the next few months are going to bring some very interesting work from this camp, as well as some fiery discussion in both.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Notes on The Weak Universalism / Atemporality for the Creative Artist

Here are my notes on an essay I read recently by art theorist Boris Groys entitled 'The Weak Universalism.' I'd love to get some discussion going about this essay and/or the Bruce Sterling essay I link to further down.

Groys: Artists are messengers of atemporality: alert temporal culture of approaching atemporality
usually harnessed modern technology (technology compresses time) & exaggerate to illustrate, democratic methods

two kinds of images: Strong and Weak

Strong: Contemporary. Visceral. Appealing. Historical. Culturally Relevant.

Weak: second meaning, subtle, driven by technology, unfamiliar. Weak images function regardless of temporality.

weak images turn strong over time if popular; otherwise both types fade and die. Consider Fountain (sigh)

Early A-G artists sought to locate weak signs and incorporate them into images to make atemporal images. 'signs of the times.'

Different groups did this in different ways: Kandinsky etc. w/ abstraction, Dadaists w/ collage, Constructivists w/ photography, Modernists with Jungian soul-searching, Postmodernists w/ appropriation and conceptualization

as time has gone by (acc. to Groys) temporality has become more compressed. I would argue that this compression is due not simply to technology, but specifically to our ability to record and share information.

Groys: this affects how we produce art and objects - less fads, more skepticism, turnover. We approach what he calls 'atemporality.'

Bruce Sterling says we have reached 'early atemporality.' two cultural modes operating - 'gothic high tech' castle of existing physical structure and 'favela chic,' bazaar of avant garde (internet). We know we are here, but we don't know what the rules are, much less how to challenge them. I say then that the A-G is spread thin and is hard to spot.

Atemporality and culture fragmentation are due to recording technology & widespread communication networks. fragmentation means that it is harder than ever for the A-G to (a) be cohesive and (b) communicate with cultures about atemporality. Weak and strong signs differ per culture.

Atemporality and fan cultures mean that we have more strong images than ever - everything is strong in some context. Fan culture amplifies itself as it becomes more distinct from other fan cultures. So it doesn't make sense for art market to follow A-G working on what weak signs remain - strong images sell, have always sold. Weak gestures are hidden within the strong. Now that everything approaches becoming strong, no reason for market to exhaustively look for talent.

Artists have turned toward another use of art now that the internet allows images to become strong and ubiquitous quickly - a tool for communication. this use of art focuses on the creation and manipulation of the absence and presence of strong images in order to convey attitudes and concepts (weak signs existing in juxtaposition/recontextualization). often used in conjunction with text, image macros, memes and illuminated text sets mood in conversations.