Florian Cramer on Fri, 29 Nov 2002 21:00:09 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> On the state of net art

[...] This is a major element of all networking projects: because the
people who contribute material are uninterested in, or insensitive to the
theme (or, in more important cases, the reason) of the project, and
because the editors for whatever reasons would rather produce something
than nothing, most collective projects are largely inferior to similar
works undertaken by other (usually non-networking) individuals. I'm not
just making a gross value judgment here, but I m also referring to the
fetishism of communication in which networkers delude themselves into
thinking that by going through the motions of interaction, they are
collaborating or doing anything at all. The truth is, most Networkers I've
encountered [...] are uninterested in the discipline or standards needed
to be anything other than producers of redundant & technically inferior
ęsthetic crumbs. Though theirs is not a mental-set I want to suppress, I
also don't want to support it. I'm amazed that people will just produce
culture without any interest in experimentation, clarity or content. [...]

& Best wishes, John (Kennedy) Berndt

As a matter of fact, I am in complete agreement with you on this one: I
think many (if not most) networkers do have a communication fetish . It is
simply a matter of valuing the interaction over the content of the
interaction. It's my belief you shouldn't do this, although it is a place
to begin.

This is the reason why this editorial project is giving up the idea of
themes there is too little commitment shown to them for them to be
meaningful. [...] Contributors: this is your warning: from now on I will
not respect the independence of your works of art . [...] I will not
hesitate to crop away extraneous bits. I will not hesitate to strengthen
your content by butting it up with another work and having them work
together. [...]

The network is a valuable place for trying out ideas in an unfettered way.
It provides an uncritical space, if you will, where ęsthetes can go and
rid themselves of preconceptions and constraints of form and content. But
I would maintain that it needs to be much more if it is to survive much
longer; its redundancy and its poverty of meaningful work is at this point
painfully noticeable. In my opinion a three year Art Strike [...] isn't
the bad idea it claims to be. It may afford us a much needed opportunity
to regroup and rethink our commitment to this form.

Sorry about being so bitchy about this, but Berndt's letter brought into
sharp relief things I have been thinking about for over a year now.

Ll. Dunn

From: PhotoStatic no. 37/Retrofuturism no. 10, August 1989
[PDF reprint available from

GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3200C7BA, finger cantsin@mail.zedat.fu-berlin.de

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