napier on Mon, 29 Apr 2002 22:21:02 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> GENERATION FLASH: Lev / Sawad

At 02:46 PM 4/29/2002 -0400, Sawad wrote:
>The history of art provides too many examples where artworks are "used," 
>in one way or another, even perversely, to create other meanings for 
>artworks and/or their larger contexts.

To clarify, I'm not talking about "use" in a metaphorical sense, as in 
using artwork to communicate meaning, or changing the use of an artwork by 
changing the context of the work.  In the broadest sense of the word, you 
could say that art is "used" by the culture to explore and communicate 
ideas, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

When I say "use" I mean a literal manipulation of the medium of the artwork 
itself.  As in adding a blob of paint to a Mondrian.  Or changing the color 
scheme of a Barnett Newman.  There are cases of artists re-using other 
artists work this way, but these are rare compared to the number of 
artworks that are frozen behind velvet ropes.

In software we can interact with an artwork and alter the appearance of the 
work, using the medium of the artwork itself, without destroying it, and 
also without requiring unusual or esoteric manipulations of the 
medium.  The interactive nature is built-in to software.  Not so with 
painting, sculpture, or even video.

>  But the unfinished or "open" aspect of software artworks seems to me 
> needs to be further refined, if it is to be considered a uniqueness that 
> differentiates these works from "previous forms."

Agreed.  We have a catch-all term, "interaction", that covers everything 
from pushing a light switch to exploring a game or an artwork.  I have not 
heard a language that adequately describes the qualities and nuances of 
software interaction.  Meanwhile interaction is a prominent feature of 
online artwork since 1994 and continues to grow both in games and artwork.


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