Florian Cramer on Wed, 15 May 2013 20:34:37 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> What if a work of net.art sold for $34 million?

On Tue, May 14, 2013 at 8:24 AM, Edward Shanken <rotorelief@gmail.com>wrote:

> What would the world be like if Roy Ascott's "La Plissure du Texte" (1983)
> sold at auction for $34.2 million instead of Gerhard RIchter's ?Abstraktes
> Bild?? In what sort of world (and artworld) would that be possible?

This question is above all an economic one, as your wording implies. The
answer must therefore be economic as well: Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes
Bild is (a) an object that can be conveniently traded as a commodity and
(b), on top of that, a unique object and an autograph. Since Roy Ascott's
work is neither of them really, it does not have the same collector's value
- aside from issues of art historical canonization.

But to spin this question further: Roy Ascott's work may still have a
decent art market value compared to other, earlier artistic collaborative
writing projects that didn't qualify as media art but were more ephemera:
for example, the letters of Ray Johnson's New York Correspondance [sic]
School of the 1960s/1970s. You still find Johnson's 1965 artist book "The
Paper Snake" for $100-$120 on abebooks. Or the "Anecdoted Topography of
Chance" by Daniel Spoerri, Emmett Williams, Dieter Rot, Robert Filliou and
Roland Topor, collaboratively written between 1962 and 1968 and, in my
humble opinion, more interesting than "Plissure du Texte", but neither with
any significant art market value, nor to be found in any history of media
art - because it just didn't involve electronics?!

And ultimately, one may ask oneself why other networked experimental
writing projects - for example those conducted by the Oulipo in the 1960s
and 1970s - don't have any art market value at all, simply because they
fall into the category of "literature" and not "contemporary art".

Conversely, one could call Lawrence Weiner a mediocre concrete poet who was
clever enough to market his work as conceptual art instead of concrete
poetry - so that his serigraphs sell for $700 and his autographs for up to



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