Alan Sondheim on Sun, 20 Nov 2005 02:23:15 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Ticky tacky

On Mon, 14 Nov 2005, amanniste wrote:

> Ticky Tacky
> I am seeing a lot of digital video on the net. I really have nothing
> against video, and according to Moore's law it might be the ultimate
> direction for net-art. At the present, however, it kind of annoys me.
Already a note of discord is raised; forget the content, whatever that 
might be - it's the medium per se that's annoying. Maybe like jazz. Or 
maybe video is bandwidth's big brother, fitting in nowhere, even if 
screaming? "Kind of" annoys? Can't even be just an "annoys"? So trivial?

> From my understanding, the video interface is quite different from the
> GUI of the computer display. For one thing, the information on a video
> is broadcast either through radio waves or from media that don't require
> Internet bandwidth. Video is seen in galleries with the presence of the
> "appareil" (technical equipment). The television monitor carries an
> exact duplicate of the recording studio (or the camera) into the viewing
> space. The broadcast is the content of the art (Couchot, 1998). The 20th
> century "trained" me to see movies and video in the model that was
> presented to me. Of course, my initial expectation was that the Internet
> followed the models to which I had grown accustomed.

If Couchot said that, Couchot is stupid. Tired of McLuhanism gone amuck. I 
wasn't trained by the 20th century; I trained it. The tv monitor for that 
matter doesn't carry an exact duplicate of anything into the viewing space 
- the first thing you learn behind the camera. Not to mention efx and all 
that manipulation which might render the studio either unnecessary or 

And for that matter again there is no "video interface" just another tired 
language game.

> In any technology, there is also the aspect of "fun". It's fun in a
> world of movies and television to sit at your computer and play with the
> actual tools of movie making. With endless amounts of storage space, ram
> and lots of time, anyone can be a director. The very nature of the
> Internet allows you to post and wait for an audience.
It's fun to play at Godard fun to play at just about anything. Anyone can 
be a writer without even RAM! Not much RAM! What you object to is in fact 
the advantage of the Net; I can look at video without critical verbiage 
telling me what's wrong with the medium, what to watch, what not to watch. 
I'd think it's a question as usual with quality, what one's interested in, 
etc. - apparently not.

> This is why I expected to see videos on web sites. Convergence seemed to
> be always just one new processor away from profit. The nature of the
> Internet however is different from broadcasting and the medium
> inevitably changes the nature of the message. For one thing, the GUI is
> not a metaphor for a piece of paper nor a television screen. On the net,
> dimensions are abstractions determined by a program and may approach the
> limits of whatever the architecture of the processor and the network can
> provide. I think that better web-art takes advantage of this fact.

Profit? What we're doing? Give me the money and I'll listen to you. The 
GUI isn't a metaphor for anything. Dimensions are determined by lots of 
things btw including monitor settings. And what "the network can provide" 
is usually bandwidth dependent; how "better web-art" takes advantage of 
this I have no idea. Some of the best video I've seen is around 12k of 
java, whatever.

> I admit that part of the fun of working in techno-art are the toys that
> money can buy. The prevalence of video on the Internet assumes a
> universal access to the most sophisticated equipment available. The
> viewer should be capable of endless cycles of upgrades, have lots of
> storage space and possess endless amounts of time to sit and wait for
> things to download (doesn't everyone have a Xeon processor and broad
> band internet?).

Nonsense. The prevalence of video doesn't assume this at all. It's always 
a dialog among productions, bandwidth audience. For that matter they're 
not "toys" but tools, at least for some of us, i.e. non-toy tools. Endless 
amounts of time for download? Most larger stuff takes maybe 3-4 minutes 
with DSL which is now at least as cheap as dialup in some places. See, you 
don't get it; it's like a museum. It costs money, subway token etc., to 
get there. You might not want to go. You might think the museum should 
come to you. Perhaps it should. Perhaps it has.
> These images that move a bit like TV have a mesmerising effect that is
> difficult to ignore. My students are forever downloading Flash culture
> by the young Adolphe William Bougereaux of the net. Commercial software
> with pre-determined parameters allow for homogeneous products in
> exquisite taste. The "bells-and whistles" approach certainly works well
> to attract individuals to the economy of consumption.
"a bit like TV"? In fact you can have higher framerates if you want. 
"mesmerizing effect"? I've seen enough narrative etc. that warrants 
considerable critical attention. "Homogeneous products"? If your students 
are doing that, look towards your teaching; my students never did that. 
"Bells-and-whistles"? Some of the best work is just straight out of the 
camera or webcam.

> I am perhaps nostalgic for an earlier aesthetic on the net, where
> artists generally worked outside of the cycle of corporate sponsorship,
> organised curatorial bureaucracies and the bias of profit. On the net,
> at least there seemed to be, the beginnings of a break up of
> hierarchies. Artists broke through national barriers and independently
> challenged the way that we see.

Pardon me for saying this, but fuck the earlier net. It's gone. What's 
happening now is incredible; people can actually work with image/sound in 
somewhat sophisticated ways where the tech no longer gets in front of 
them. As far as challenging, maybe jodi or or whatever is now a 
frozen moment (for some), but there is a hell of a lot that's just as 
challenging out there. I'm not trying to be difficult, but you've got to 
separate nostalgia from critique. Why not go back to 68 if one's down that 
track? Or 1842?
> So now, I look at my display and I'm a bit tired of the "loading" band.
> Good net art, I think, expresses the interactivity and flux of the net.
> Bit by bit (no pun intended) bandwith and our attention is being
> swallowed up by toys, and to paraphrase Phil Ochs, they're all made out
> of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same.
Didn't Ochs kill himself? If they all look the same it's because jazz all 
looks the same; i.e. you're not _looking._

Apologies, but this just got to me -


> Andres Manniste

( URLs/DVDs/CDroms/books/etc. see -
revised 7/05 )

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