on Wed, 22 Mar 2000 17:43:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> crush/crash v.2

> Museums have supported this type of work, from even before the invention of
> the browser or the web. Perhaps you are not up on your history of
> telematic, network and/or net art (whatever you like to call it).
We are certainly aware of the fact that network art has it's own rich
history ... and have great respect for Roy Ascott's work.  You also have
made plain exactly the type of work that we most support when it is done
well.  We would even go back to some early radio work as having
strong enough resonances with net art to possibly qualify.  Our fear,
however,(and perhaps this stems from our proximity to Silicon Valley) is
that this type of work is being superseded by a fascination with graphic
design aesthetics and commercial striving. 

> If anything I imagine that those museum curators who have a knowledge of
> the history of these media (yes, there are a few) are feeling despondent
> about the success of the web/browser paradigm, which has managed to
> homogenise so much work. But this is part of the maturation of any medium.
> The interface that allows access to the work, and thus the nature of the
> work itself, must standardise if it is to aquire an audience. This is bad
> news for radical work.
> Reality is the radical work on the net was done at least 10 years ago. What
> we are seeing now is the emergence of a formulaic or mannerist period.

We couldn't agree with you more with regard to the bad news for radical
work.But as far as standardization of interface, we don't see where that
will stabalize any time soon. 
We worry that as long as the technology continues to evolve on the
"planned obsolescence" model, network art will remain stuck in this
formulaic/mannerist period.  The fact that there seems to be a bit of a
push on the part of the museums (and we will admit to a certain localized
concern) toward work with a stronger commercial appeal concerns us. To use
a baseball metaphor as spring approaches in California:  Will art turn
into a farm system for the major league teams of commercial
design...graphic and otherwise? We wait to see what happens with the
Webby award from SFMOMA.

I guess our larger concern is that this formalist period is fostering the
development of a generation of students who's only concept of art is
derived from the consumption of logos and advertisements.  Even if there
is good work being created with commercial design aesthetics, it seems
important for there to exist some alternative.

Returning to the subject of our original review ... support for this
alternative was not apparent (if anything there seemed to be a low level
hostility toward alternatives) in the Berkeley symposium. While there
surely are (as you state) "a few" curators who are bothered by the
web/browser paradigm.. all we saw at the crash symposium were curators and
professors struggling with the simple task of figuring out how to praise
work on the internet without much understanding of any possibilities or
history outside of that paradigm.  Given the location and the parties
involved...we expected more.


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