you want to be liked I like you & your dissertation linked below

 

Figure 8.6 Sondra Perry, It’s in the Game (2017), screenshot of video demo

 

from Megan Philipa Driscoll’s Art on the Internet and the Digital Public Sphere, 1994 – 2003

© Copyright by
Megan Philipa Driscoll
2018

(shared on Nettime by Cornelia Sollfrank 25.06.2018)

 

abstract

This dissertation narrates the development of internet art, a diverse set of practices united
by their interrogation of the technological, social, and/or political bases of computer networks.
Covering the period from 1994, when “internet art” began to coalesce around the rise of the
World Wide Web, to 2003, when both internet art and internet culture writ large began to
respond to the rise of social media and “web 2.0” technologies, the dissertation homes in on a
select number of net art projects that variously engaged or challenged this period’s most
persistent claim: that the internet is a new, digital public sphere. By studying how these artworks
critiqued this claim, the dissertation uncovers three major models through which net art has
asserted the publicness of computer networks—as an interpersonal network that connects or
unites strangers into groups; as a virtual space akin to physical spaces of public gathering,
discourse, and visibility; and as a unique platform for public speech, a new mass media
potentially accessible to all.

Claims for the public status of computer networks rest on their ability to circulate
information and facilitate discussion and debate. This definition of publicness is rooted in the
concept of the classical public sphere as theorized by Jürgen Habermas. The dissertation will
thus review Habermas’s model of the classical public sphere as well as its most significant
critiques in order to interrogate the terms of a digital public sphere. The dissertation will also
engage Michael Warner’s work on the formation of publics, counterpublics, and the mass-
cultural public sphere; Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge’s analysis of shared experience as the
foundation of the formation of public spheres and the role of mass media in this process; Henri
Lefebvre’s articulation of the social production of space; and Gilles Deleuze and Alexander
Galloway’s respective analyses of the role of network logics in contemporary systems of control.

The dissertation begins with a chapter overview of the emergence of computer
networking during the second half of the twentieth century and the different ways in which
artists experimented with it to explore new modes of communication, collaboration, and
exchange. With the appearance of the web in the mid-1990s, and with growing art institutional
interest in its novelty, these experiments crystallized into what we now know as internet art,
bringing with it challenging questions regarding the viability of the internet as an unprecedented
digital public sphere.

The second chapter turns to this emergent field of net art and how some artists tried to
define the terms of a new public sphere as an interpersonal network that allows people who are
not in physical or temporal proximity with each other to form publics. The chapter explores
Douglas Davis’s The World’s First Collaborative Sentence (1994) and Heath Bunting’s Project
X (1996), two works that use the strategy of accumulation to make visible the collective presence
of internet users, either as a reading public formed through the circulation of discourse or as a
public united by the articulation of its members’ shared experience. The third chapter introduces
practices that challenge the presumed universality of the digital public sphere by foregrounding
gender and race issues, which are often obscured in dominant discourses regarding computer
networks. The chapter focuses on Cornelia Sollfrank’s Female Extension (1997) and Mendi +
Keith Obadike’s Black.Net.Art Actions (2001 – 2003), demonstrating how these works help to
define the counterpublics of the digital public sphere by circulating marginalized discourses on
the web in opposition to the mainstream.

The fourth chapter examines the spatialization of computer networks and how the
internet’s communication platforms have become conceptually analogous to ancient forums or
seventeenth-century coffee shops. Through analyses of Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen’s Listening
Post (2001) and Natalie Bookchin and Jacqueline Stevens’s agoraXchange (2003), the chapter
attends to both utopian and skeptical views regarding the viability of the internet as a (virtual)
space of public gathering and discourse. Chapter five further interrogates the idea that the
internet is a theater of visibility, where actions are public because they cannot be private. The
first artwork in this chapter, RSG’s Carnivore (2001), critically addresses computer networks as
a surveillance technology and part of a system of social control. The second work, Eva and
Franco Mattes’s Life Sharing (2000 – 2003), explores what happens when internet users embrace
this condition of (hyper)visibility, freely sharing not only their personal information but also
their intellectual property, thereby eliding spatial and juridical notions of public domain.

The sixth chapter addresses the notion of computer networks as a new mass medium of
public speech, a platform for publicity that is also a site of struggle to exert influence on the
public sphere. Homing in on the work of net art collective ®TMark, the chapter follows how the
collective uses parody to challenge institutions that seem complicit in the commercialization of
ivthe network and the suppression of individuals’ access to the network’s platforms for public
speech. In the seventh chapter, the dissertation turns to artists’ responses to a legal challenge that
threatened their speech rights on the network, a set of actions known today as Toywar (1999 –
2000). The chapter also contends with how etoy, a collective of artists involved in the litigation,
took up corporate branding as artistic practice to reframe internet communication platforms as
tools of mass publicity in a mass-cultural public sphere.

The final chapter concludes with a reflection on the changes in the forms of net art and its
place in the field of contemporary art that followed the first phase of net art, the central focus of
the dissertation. While acknowledging the transformation of the online environment brought on
by social media and other “web 2.0” technologies, the chapter argues that the question of
whether computer networks can function as a digital public sphere remains an open and
contested one. The dissertation as a whole thus provides an historical account and critical
analysis of internet art that encompasses not only its technological evolution but also its
confrontation with the claims of publicness upon which our understanding of computer
networks, and the art made on and about them, are founded.

 

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the story of the mirror neurons, pt. 1

Positivity, affirmation: they are related but not the same. To confront one with the other is not to vanquish it; they take different objects and produce different subjects. Positivity and negativity: you can affirm either; you can affirm both. You can affirm in positivity the need for negativity. Positivity is the condition of affirming only one. One side, one polarity, one out of the pair is affirmed and one is left out in affirming positivity; and in affirming negativity, equally, one side, one polarity, one out of the pair is affirmed, one left out. But when you affirm both what happens is still not an inclusion: the affirmation of both positivity and negativity can go to a higher form of positivity; but it cannot go to a higher form of negativity. It cannot go to a higher form of negativity unless you have or invoke a higher power of negation; or unless you have or invoke in negation a higher power. To have there be in negation a higher power, or to have negation be a higher power, is to make of that power your affirmation, to affirm it to be or to affirm in it that power. The condition for negativity to go to a higher form in the affirmation of a power in negation higher than the form of positivity that is unequally reposed in it where you affirm both positivity and negativity is that of its being, being in the world, and in the world acting. The condition of the existence of negativity in its higher power of negation may be called existential. Positivity would annul this existential condition of negativity, this form of being and this power of acting in the world, in its negation: it is not. Affirmation differs from positivity in reposing in negativity an existential condition that is its own and belongs to it; positivity deposes in negativity an existential condition of which it is dispossessed. According to positivity not only should negativity not be, should it not be in the world, and not only should negation not act in the world, and, according to positivity, where its moral injunction takes full effect, not only should negativity not find a higher power in negation, but negativity can not: it cannot be, it cannot be so and cannot be that negation so act. Affirmation differs from positivity neither insofar as it relates positivity exclusively to negativity, nor insofar as it includes equally both negativity and positivity, but insofar as it aligns itself with the existential condition of both and either positivity and negativity. The distinction is not lost; the difference you see and describe that is and acts in the world itself takes the higher power in the relation, the nondialectical relation, of the positive and the negative—a positive, a negative.

Affirmation vanquishes the dialectic in a differential relation of a positive and a negative. But the problem remains that to confront positivity with negativity is not to vanquish it. Negativity inverts positivity; and positivity obverts negativity. It may be the case that the project of positivity parallels the inject of negativity. If this is so, and the difference is upheld, the subject of negation is induced in a movement that is reflexive and intensive; the subject of position is produced in a movement that is object-directed and extensive. This reflexivity that is subjective in negativity, in positivity takes its object to be itself: that is whereas negativity subjects, induces or forms a subject reflexively, positivity objects and the subject is taken up to be the project of a performance. The position of the performing subject, of positivity’s performative project, is facing you, the position of an appeal, from, as it were, a dark and reflexive negativity; it is an appeal against an immutable background darkness that is everywhere around it.

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I think this will be the last one of this series, it is #31

XXXI.

getoveryourself or you should know when to stop are not the same pieces of advice

but you are not listening to me you are looking at the image of an idiot on the screen

an idiot boy Bolaño says—right in my ear—the image of an idiot boy—and i am overcome by a feeling of wonder at how great it would be it is to be a female art

a female artist a woman first, second—they are not the same pieces of advice—you could—one justifies another—produce the most overtly sexual and sexualised imagery

you would not be guilty of sexuality—and I am fore-betrayed by knowledge, memory, belief one does not justify another duplicitous amongst the victims blending in, before a page of prose looking for even yet the flight of a bird & birdsong, time blurred like the wingbeat of a sacred kingfisher [writes Adam Roberts] and

 

my stomach drops

into shallow pans

tripe-white

of my open hands (even yet Fergus Barrowman, replied, some of the lines are simply bad)

facing a page of prose: sometimes life is shit: one justifies another and I accuse the extinguished theatre I mean professor removed from positon by concerted and personal vendetta—what one feels now the other will. INTIMIDATION seemed right closest to our theme but you should know when to stop

the recoil is lost it is political and so it is born: and once it was a child and knew getoveryourself for not having to be a female artist, of a woman first second—at the same—the integrity of the personal gesture of sexuality now the integrity of the gesture was lost

it would not be reproduced, it would not pay to reproduce and once it was a child, and at the same time it is the memory of things, not as they were, thought to be heading in a certain direction, ends unknown, all of a sudden going in a wholly unexpected direction the integrity of the gesture was lost, and the reduction to ends and desires the image of that idiot boy on a screen I see my memory at two removes extinguished theatre I mean professor and yours but you are not looking

and in no wise would it be true to say these two manners of appearing followed one upon the other but that in somewise I know not were they concurrent also Adam in The Thing Itself the thing itself might as well figure thought in the image of the hypocrite not the idiot

we are so many people in the manner of a lost world given the word or gesture of the appearance of victims and I amongst gathered together who don’t who can’t and who cannot recognise a crime who gather together in their want and in their lack of recognition and who do not ask who answers for it, for once it was a child and knew, but that in the want and lack of their recognition its answer goes unquestioned its question goes unasked

which is their question and i amongst and it is like the memory of smoke in a dream that on waking is the image of a face in sand that on looking you look does not ask anymore

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XXX

XXX.

Do not speak this blessing

itwillenslaveyou

we did not know he penetrated her apart from her expression

blank possibly drugged mystical

and should peace peace is a sheet

a cool white sheet a clean and ironed one

expressionless

soothing easy eyes

good tears dripping in excess is it from their folds

secreting oracles

 

a dribble is a gathering together of images in a droplet

it strings secreting strings threads pearls in its secretion

as involuntary as a symptom

notatallunwilling

the will which hidden will seep out

in the night

in the night emissions

of satellites

 

and should peace peace be upon them

which is a sheet and flicks at their genitals

with the folded rectitude of paper

wet from the pen dripping ink

and albumen every edge it over

tang of egg or orange is it

inkwet in the sicklehairs

 

say it with sex say say it with art of lying

forgive the intrusion the cage was empty

and in my hand a group of opioids

a birdwing flaps drug it and in my hand

on my hand featherlight another

heart beat another open void

it overflows and in my prescription

does it in my script these lines

 

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nearly 30 and over half a year later now #29

XXIX.

bloodspots on the strawberry hem

laughter in the trees

like with like again

I am surrounded in my disbelief

 

by wonderful and inexplicable reasons

a needle is suspended in the air

threads the sky its origins

the fictions of a scientific feeling

 

other than that

the world parts its lips

through the water

trail your fingertips

 

David the sky today

deep azure

and I can find only

my own

original mind

 

Leonora Fini’s voyageurs one sitting one lying in rest leg bent en repos I misread as voyeurs resting or put to rest the painter covers their eyes with a folded cloth they are expressionless androgynous are they at least one is not entitled to say but that the cloths over each are their eyes shut one is not entitled to say lave the brows of each rest

you have earned it voyeurs because you have not come far you have in fact not come from any origin except a certain style, a certain foldedness—as much as the folds bear a kind of sightless witness to in the cloths covering the brow of each voyageur

traveller

blindfolded to vision because not sleeping either sleepless and not entitled to dream what work they have then done the seated one behind the one lying one leg bent behind the other and what might possibly arouse them from well-earned repose to return to it to the fabrication the fictitious fabric sussurating gown of a mistress or a master did I mention their youth medieval or preraphaelite attire at whose behest they what laboured voyaged viewed or gazed on who leaves them who replaces her gown and he his robe, whispering softly through barely parted lips it sweeps the floor behind, in the hallways, in the archways, aisle and cloister, leaving them sanctified by what they have seen, what work it was

now rest

to look what is inexplicable and wonderful to have traversed all feeling, to have found there all good reason and to have there been granted your repose …

 

by what right

state the question

tonight alas the tongue of truth alights upon no tooth”

to have it extracted by a screwdriver

blood spotting the mask and lips

 

by what right spit it out

the paper besmirched and soiled

the bill

 

by what right to say

or cross it out

 

by what in this climate

in this socio-economic says Bolaño

better to live

undercover

poet

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A passage from Secret Passages in a Hillside Town by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen introducing some of the key concepts of the cinematic life

“A person’s life doesn’t consist of just one story but of many, some of them consecutive and others overlapping. While one story is a comedy, another may be a melodrama, or a thriller. It’s important to recognize every incipient story’s genre and let the deep cinematic life develop the right state of mind to supersede the slow continuum.

“The holy cinematic trinity is beauty, hope and pain. A beautiful story has a beautiful beginning and a beautiful ending. The illusion of happiness makes the beginning beautiful, but the ending draws its beauty from pain.

“In order to live with cinematic depth, you must surrender completely to the story that has become true at a given moment, even if it demands morally dubious behaviour or, as some would call it, sinfulness. Morality is one of the lower orders of aesthetics, and is ultimately subordinate to beauty. Morality changes–today’s sin is tomorrow’s beautiful dream–but the aesthetic is eternal. Even cruelty, betrayal and ruthlessness can, in some situations, be aesthetically justified and even unavoidable choices, and categorically avoiding them can lead to slow continuum attachment and the death of life feeling.”

Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen’s Secret Passages in a Hillside Town, a book unlike any I have read, including even Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen’s The Rabbit Back Literature Society (the former translated by Lola Rogers, and the passage cited from p. 211 (Pushkin Press: 2017)

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contd. (you can always catch up by going to a kind of record at the top of the lefthand margin) number twenty-eight of the series

XVIII.

it is ultimately sensuous

your scarf

my beard

pornography

 

to be human

faces the challenge

of

my poetry

 

and what it means

your laughter is

I behind I

deeply

 

is how you mean

how you mean

to proceed

originally

 

weave the future

and a future in recoil

a kind of record

of sexuality

 

from here the

horizon begins the

looping of a spine

kind of human calligraphy

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another of a kind follows

XXVII.

is it hope brings you here today to my office to my study to my surgery to my room

i can feel you pressing your breast on the curtain your breath your blood on the curtain

who is your people is your apology for what are they what is it I’m sorry I’m so sorry what for

first they first first they searched the body you left second they turned the studio upside down

like a vase the flowers were dust they inspected the dust on their fingertips third they moved through the rooms

systematically unearthing what hope for them new notes in named envelopes a vial of morphine like old days

a glass of teeth a drawer of repeat prescriptions and boxes and boxes of drugs what have i left out

what left you you who like Bolaño cough when i cup your balls people you loved

let them go

cough the sisters you had the brothers and the missing twins like a movie the old man takes off

his underwear hanging on to a leather strap that dangles like the old man from the ceiling of the bus

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watch a kind of record every week by clicking on this name in lefthand margin or watch this week’s episode No. 26 below continuing

XVI.

Two of these things I cannot live without

live without anticipation

live without the expected or the unexpected

live without a long time left

live without love

live without my heart is broken

live without my home

live without lost time

live without the wit of the old queers

live without wine or Russian vodka

live without affordable tobacco

live without health

live without answer

and without echo

 

I left the streets I walked in the light of emotional lamplight I burrowed into the city it was Christchurch built on alluvial planes riddled with aquifers one day to erupt hiccup flat by bodies in a terrible clarity long coats all the contours pushed into a tiny spectrum corners in the smallest circuit so you turn how can you not know where you are by the river by the square by the curve of air by the mist and smoke in your mouth by the hunger and the thirst

 

I don’t know your name

are you next

can you live without your

insides

 

her red hair freckles long black coat pockets safety-pinned a fingerless glove she reached me out of her heart a long splinter of glass ice her lucid eyes handed me it saying you’ll be wanting this this bottle of gin you are a miracle

 

are you living here now

Sydney is it

every one with a view

of the ocean

 

speaking from notes

without saying a word

are you next reader

without

 

knowing how she could know all dimensions anticipations collapsed hiccup flat a door miracle flung open ahead it was Sydney and the dress rehearsal had gone long into the night I carried my daughter trains buses stopped for the night hills of the city curved in the fired air she slept home a far line distant in the hills along the curved night in the fired air a white door I didn’t know it was a taxi until her I poked my head in in my arms and he said where have you been

 

I’ve been waiting for you

live without reason

in your finitude

you’re here now

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analysis of the neoliberal subject under corpocracy & fine writing, J. D. Daniels: a writer’s role is “to escape and tell the tale.”

“Okay, now I angry dog. Where a snake looks? Look my eyes. His will in him eyes. Okay, I punch your face. Punching your face! No, no, okay, better, good. Vai! Loose hip. Don’t previewing, take what he offering you. Okay. Slip and turn, hooks in. Espalha frango, break him down. Surf. How you don’t surf?”

— J.D. Daniels in The Correspondences, Jonathan Cape, London, 2017, p. 14

I was busy throwing a flat-blade screwdriver at the wall to see how many times its sharp end would stick, keeping score in two columns on a yellow legal pad, when Edgar walked past and saw me in the window and stepped in, dragging a small white dog on a leash.

“You can’t bring that animal in here. It smells like a skunk shitting bleach.”

A siren whined down the street. Edgar’s forlorn little dog began to grunt and snuffle. It was trying to howl, but you can’t eat scraps under the table for seven years, or forty-nine dog years, and then one day up and decide to let out a howl. All it could manage was a kind of chewy sneeze.

I’d been expecting Edgar: he had e-mailed me a poem he’d written, all eight-six pages of it. No matter what lazy fun you might be having on a Saturday night–maybe you are performing your assigned exercises, muttering, “I accept myself, I accept myself,” gritting your teeth until you worry they will crack; or maybe you are watching a television show in which a researcher injects himself with gonadotropic hormones, followed by an interview with a med-school dropout who claims to have transplanted a monkey’s head onto another monkey’s body–while you fritter away your precious life in trifles, you can rest easy, knowing that Edgar manfully craps out sodden lumps of poetry, shaking his bathroom with the thunder of his spirit.

— Ibid., pp. 86-87

“The Group Relations Conference,” says the Web site of the A. K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, “is an intensive participatory process that provides participants the opportunity to study their own behavior as it happens in real time without the distractions of everyday social niceties and workplace pressures and protocols.”

And they have to say something corporate-klutzy-jargony like that, don’t they, because if they were to come right out and say, “You are cordially invited to have your individual ego reduced to molten slag in the hell-furnace of our collective unconscious,” no one would sign up.

What does such a conference reveal, if not the something else that is not the people at the meeting: the something that is not “me,” but conspires to act through “me,” then disowns me and claims, in a bizarre act of half-justice, that I am to be held responsible for both its actions and my own own.

–The good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do.

–Really? Whose unconscious is it, anyway?

–Maybe the answer to that question is more complex than it appears.

Thirty-six psychiatrists, chaplains, social workers, counselors, nurses, and others in the caring professions had been sent by their respective employers to investigate authority and institutional life by improvising an institution and analyzing it, if they could–or, as things turned out, by failing to improvise such an institution, and by failing to analyze that failure.

Thirty-six white-collar professionals, and one writer, devoted to following his frequent errors wherever they might lead him.

Many people hate writers. As the judge snarled at Brodsky, “Who has recognized you as a poet? Who has enrolled you in the ranks of poets?” It’s true that something has gone wrong in a family or a group that gives birth to a writer, a person whose role is to escape and tell the tale. But the hatred at the conference had a particular flavor.

Our regression was swift. It is incorrect to use the word “I” when describing mass-hysterical events. My feelings were not special or unique. They were not even mine.

“I don’t have an image for this conference,” Tommy said.

“What does that mean?” said Vicki.

“I don’t know your names. Tell me your names,” said Tommy.

“I know your name,” said Eric. “I know everyone’s name.”

“We told each other our names yesterday,” Vicki said.

“Maybe the name is not the name,” said our consultant.

We went around the small group and said our names again. Tommy, Samantha, Vicki, Jennifer, Martin, Eric, Renata, Frederico, and Tina.

“My name is Ronald,” I said.

“Hello, Ronald,” said Tommy. “I am Tommy. Pleased to meet you.”

“His name is not Ronald,” Vicki said.

“That’s enough about the names for now,” I said. “Five minutes before this meeting, I threw up my breakfast into the sink in my room. Isn’t anyone else here as nervous as I am?”

“Why did you choose to throw up alone in your room?” said our consultant. “Don’t you feel you can throw up here in our group?”

“I threw up scrambled eggs and two cups of coffee mixed with the juices of my stomach. Not metaphorical undigested emotions. Yellow-and-brown vomit.”

“Thanks for the image,” said Vicki.

“I know I talk a lot,” said Tommy. “I take up too much space in our small group. I wish someone would tell me to shut up.”

“Okay. Shut up,” said Samantha.

“Shut up,” said Tina.

“Shut up, Tommy,” said Eric.

“Please shut up,” said Vicki.

“How can you speak to me like this?” Tommy said.

Back to the large group.

“The group appears to be attempting to ignore and deny its aggression,” said the conference director.

“I’m aware of the group’s aggressive feelings,” I said. “For example, I would like to kill you.”

— Ibid., pp. 110-117

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