Pit Schultz on Fri, 21 Jun 2002 07:24:15 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> How We Made Our Own "Carnivore" [6x]

* costs of success *

certainly this hacker tool is well crafted in many ways (2), reading about
it i first thought 'build for success', but does it's success make it a
'good' art work, a work one might talk about in a few years in a
respectful way? Surely it is symptomatic, but is carnivocre a work of art
which started an own genre, which made oneself look at the possiblities of
making art in a new way, a work of art which made it impossible to
continue to produce an accepted form of art in the old way? i don't say
that successful art (or software) is to be dismissed because of it's
success, but because what it might sacrificed to become successful (3),
beeing secondary consumers in the food chains.

* conceptual confusion *

i think carnivocre is as rationally planned as it is conceptually
confused. it doesn't provide a proper idea about the art context in its
relation to software. it provides an interface service. it hardly carries
an own concept of itself beeing software, nor beeing a piece of art. it is
neither social, nor critical but includes the discoursive gestures of
those features. especially if the techniques you mention are all
implemented properly, it is exactly this ambitious featuritis on all
levels which make the piece questionable as a piece of art, yes a filter,
but art? if it is not conceptual than why does it need such a long
description, if it is conceptual than why does it need to prove to perform
so well practically? if it is context sensitive then, isn't it first and
for all the context of the media art discourse it is produced for
providing a romantic version of the strange and beautiful digital
landscape of the united states? why then all the reference to be
functional outside of it? and if it will become a wildly used sniffing
tool, what is it that makes it different from other sniffing tools other
then aesthetification of the politics of packet sniffing?

* dog shows *

by beeing conformative to all sides and on all levels, carnivocre achieves
seemingly a high degree of customization. affirmative and critical, open
source and mysterious, practical and aesthetical, software and art, it
generates a heterogenous homogenity which has something for everyone but
says nothing in general. it doesn't make clear cuts but it boroughs from
all contexts one might think of as relevant for the targeted market. as
such it is designed like a new car model, a hyperopportunistic piece of
project management and it clearly reports more about the culture from
which it derives than about all the sources it tries to nourish itself
from. there is only one slight possibilty, that in another dimension by
showing all this, the work tries to overcome itself and all the meaning it
carries, beeing a parody of a pastiche (1), sending the observer in a loop
of salon data art for the purpose of salon data art, to produce a
beautifully crafted confused inertia.

1)  pastiche, A work of art using a borrowed style and usually made up of
borrowed elements, but not necessarily a direct copy. A pastiche often
verges on conscious or unconscious caricature through its exaggeration of
what seems most typical in the original model. (Thames & Hudson)

2) my critique on the softwareculture list, from 30Apr02

 >>take the case of "carnivocre". it seems to include technological
criticism, but it is also working on the marketplace of forms, including
various 'styles' from ascii, to distributed networks, global maps,
surveillance, programming, p2p, and the beauty of code on the ground level
of tcp/ip. but finally it is showing the highest perfection on the level
of project management. the critique is symbolic, as there is no real
effect outside the art context. the technique is without relevance as
noone outside the art context is using it. but to the art system it looks
like it comes from the "other side", it interfaces it, makes it
'understandable' and fulfills the need for a criticism which doesn't

3) see the discoursive meltdown arround Martin Walser's new (e)book in
germany. also on textz.com

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