Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hand Hub

6x6x6". Plaster, paint, and USB hub.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The social media cycle

 Click for full. This is a follow up to the online gallery discussion, among others.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Are online galleries just fancy tumblr communities?

I know this totally looks like I'm ripping off Tom's post from a few minutes ago on the same subject, but I swear this has been on my to-dos for today since last night. I'm on a small mailing list of net art aficionados (...................yeah, it is what it is), and recently we were discussing Nicholas O'Brien's latest article, "Observations on the Proliferation of Online Galleries." One of the more interesting points made (that for some reason didn't show up in the thread?) is the similarity between how O'Brien discusses these online galleries and his analysis of  R. Gerald Nelson's (tumblr and 4chan have killed the image <_<) Image Aggregators (IAs) in an older article. O'Brien is in on the list, so I responded to him with a few questions, hoping others would chime in as well. No one has responded yet - I'm pretty sure I'm a thread killer by nature :( - but I thought that it might be a good thing to blog about to open up the discussion a little more, just in case. The points below are slightly reworked versions of my original questions.

O'Brien speaks initially about an overlap of artists between online galleries. I wonder if it's a question of who is seeking "real" institutional representation that determines this crowd. This kind of goes against what he says later about the "willingness [of galleries] to support the programming and curation of an underrepresented scene."

O'Brien also mentions that these artists are engaged in "long-term processes... exploring their craft and culture," and that the online galleries' programming fosters this by encouraging the creative process over a period of time. This creates a certain closeness between artists and gallery, resulting in a tightly knit audience. This seems circular to me - I'm reminded immediately of tumblr communities with endless reblogging/permutations of posts - Image Aggregator feedback loops. I wonder if that is what we're seeing here, albeit in a more delayed (temporally), professional-looking skin.

If this is the case, the online gallery then could be considered to function more as an IA with a greater degree of transparency in intent than a brick-and-mortar gallery, but a greater degree of restraint as well in content than your average IA might provide. This answers the "framing" question (Why put net art on a webpage other than its own?) - the work of one artist in the loop of the gallery requires a peer context. This also seems to suggest the (general) failure of the standalone webpage. [I've been thinking this over and I now disagree, what we see is that these select artists prefer the context an online gallery provides.] Net artists trade autonomy of intent to be part of a collective aesthetic - a network, rather than addressing the totality of the web directly. The online gallery, then, breeds less spontaneity, a clearer message, and a limited audience focused on a specific aesthetic-based form of discourse.

Extra credit: Where does Tight Artists fit in?


I am very excited to release a new interactive website called DUMP HAX! For those of you who are not very familiar with, the chatroom's moderators have the unique ability to use HTML and JavaScript in their posts. When I became a mod in late 2010, I began collecting popular HTML hacks (hax) in a text document, then a Google Docs file. Later on, I opened up the document to other mods, so we could rewrite each other's code and share ideas.

Though I no longer frequent dump, the mods continue to use and add to this document today - kudos to them for their work and expertise. I announced my plans in November to turn the hax file into a website that allows for working with the code in realtime, and as of this morning I figured out a way to do so. Yes, it's a bit of a hack in some ways, like the current iframe setup, but I think it's better to share than not, and isn't that the point anyway?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Loose ends

One of my contributions to the SOLO JAZZ CUP madness sweeping the Internet

Following up my recent post on Jennifer Chan's essay, Tom Moody and I hashed out some potential issues with the group ("net artists") identified in the paper, as well as shared our opinions on how to discuss commodifying and therefore money in an art context. I'm still working out my feelings on the matter. I think that any conversion of a digital object into a physical one is going to bring up the issue of money, and as a young artist who works an unrelated day job it's not hard to feel the pull of "commodifying at any cost." Historically, artists besmirched by institutions would host their own exhibitions in alternative spaces (like today's BYOBs), but now I'm wondering if giving a net art object physical form is caving to societal pressure in the first place. Hmm. See Hennesy Youngman for more on institutional critique.

Create your own art movement - drumroll - was a flop! View the delightful 3 responses here. Kudos to the contributors for their bravery. I might work something up for the hell of it.

To end on a lighter note, I ordered myself a custom mug a few weeks ago after getting fed up with my current work mug. This video is for art historians and 20th century mug slogan aficionados; everyone else should just roll their eyes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Image File

5x7", vector image and sticker paper on metal.

Recommended Reading

I'm reading and re-reading Jennifer Chan's recent essay "The Commodification of Net Art" (PDF download) right now, and I'd love to discuss it with anyone interested. Chan makes some incredibly lucid points about what happens to net art when "commodified," i.e. turned into a physical object. So far, the two main insights I've taken away from the article are:
  • Web-based artwork has a "digital aura," a quality which informs the viewer of its origin. This aura is easily lost outside of the context of the browser because display methods (such as a screen or a sheet of paper) ultimately complicate the reading of the work in a designated physical space.
  • "Non-discursive" art blogs encourage insular image critique, marginalizing the artwork as "hipster capital." Chan gives the example of Sterling Crispin's Greek New Media Shit tumblr as a site which demonstrates how in-jokes can reduce actual critique to shorthand aesthetic conventions. Hipster capital in this case refers to the trading of images and references within a scene, only comprehensible by those in the know.
Initial thoughts on these points so far: I still think it's fascinating to see the attempts people make to commodify net art. Maybe it's because I enjoy accumulating hipster capital. I would love to see an exhibition predicated on the "fruitlessness" of the commodification process.

Chan's insight on in-scene feedback loops is probably the most astonishing part of the article in my opinion; online aesthetic shorthand, " Internet memes," are often discussed as inevitably ballooning in popularity like a fad. However - and I know this sounds dubious - from personal experience, for every LOLcat that makes it big there are 100 images that are just as [useful/shareable/funny] that remain in-scene as modes of "discourse." Of course, as Chan points out, is a readymade meme a useful form of discourse after all, or does it actually restrict your audience, not to mention your thoughts?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Still life with Mtn Dew

Highlighter on notepad, 4x6"

Also another highlighter drawing based on a terrible Yahoo "News" headline I saw today. Still practicing likenesses.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Create your own art movement!

I've made a website where you can directly contribute to the next big art movement! Click here to add your input. We'll regroup in a week or two to discuss the results!