officegallery on 3 Nov 2000 18:35:09 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Artists and Industry, Unite!

--- First, from Artists and Industry announcement:
"We did a lot of focus groups to see what the needs of
artists working with new technology are," said Elise
Bernhardt, executive director of the New York art
space The Kitchen, which is sponsoring the event.
"Everyone said, 'What we want is more access to the
equipment, more access to engineers, and more

--- then responded:
Why must artists continually whine about access to
equipment at the same time they are complaining about
a need for access to engineers?

If your going to work with technology why not get
under the hood yourself and make it work?  Why on
earth would you want access to the newest technology
if you need an engineer to help you with the old

Sounds to us like the only reason some (and we do
emphasize the word some)artists are looking for
collaboration is so they don't have to get their
hands dirty.  It is those very artists who seem to be
offering their "arse-ends to commerce".

--- to which I say:
I sympathize with your attitude toward the "newest
technology" and the staggering demand seen for this
technology by so-called alternative culture, i.e. the
ART(s).  A different kind of thinking doesn't seem to
entail a different kind of assessment of what causes
the big wheel of (ahem) "progress" to keep on turning.
 Instead we shrug our shoulders and give-in to the
notion that we must "need" the newest technology to
make work that attracts attention...  and I would like
to add that I am even more disturbed by the notion
that *attracting attention* increasingly becomes the
catalyst for making art.  I'm also impressed that a
"focus group" was somehow necessary to reveal this
information in the first place.

That said, I completely disagree with your suggestion
that an artist's desire to work with new technology
should require any amount of expertise, or interest in
how that technology works.  It sounds somewhat
anti-conceptual art.  I doubt many conceptual artists
are very heavily involved in what makes neurons fire
in the brain from a biological standpoint, either...
but it is definitely part of the tinkering that goes
on "under the hood" of a conceptual artwork.

The IDEA is paramount, and the
construction/presentation is formulary, and that is
how it should be.  If the construction/presentation of
the work requires (and I mean requires, not because
this is the impetus for conceiving the work, but
because it is necessary to convey the idea) the newest
technology and an engineer to assemble it, then by any
means "on earth" or somewhere else get an engineer and
the newest technology.  

I naively believe that this was your point: "Know
*why* it requires the newest technology and an
engineer before complaining that there aren't enough
of them around."  Its a point you can make until
you're blue and you'll still find a cattle drove of
artists trying to get their hands on the newest
version of Flash... 

Personally, I'm much more concerned with how the
"unity" of art and Industry always does so many
positive things for Industry but never a great deal of
anything for artists.

I hope the conference goes well.

'Nuff said!

Sean Fletcher, resident of the office/gallery
check out our website at:
fax/vmail:  (801) 218-1913     direct:  (415) 733-6574
The office/gallery is a by appointment only location for work by contemporary artists operated covertly in the San Francisco offices of a National Insurance and Securities firm.

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