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“The problem is not to create a better story, but to make it sufficiently performative to make it build its own reality.” – Wim Nusselder

the title, citing Wim Nusselder, is from comments on the video at Kate Raworth’s website.

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highly unlikely

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Valeria Luiselli writes in La Calle, Alex Webb’s book of photos of Mexico

Walking down the rumbling hot concrete of that fucked-up and noisy and utterly dirty triangular block in Tacubaya, it was sometimes comforting to think that the silent witch doctors’ cave was oblivious to the future respectful whispers inside the seventeenth-century shrine, and that the shrine knew nothing of the intrigues that must have developed behind the doors of that early Porfirian mansion, and that the mansion ignored the cum-cries and sobs of the Cine Hipodromo’s first sound films and the foreign words simultaneously spoken or written down by the residents of the Ermita, who in turn never even suspected my weary, pregnant footsteps trudging along the sidewalk, eager to arrive back home.

— copyright Alex Webb

…I am currently writing about writing–and theatre, always theatre–as belonging to the problematic field of the object, and outside, while theatre belongs to that of of the subject, and inside. The paragraph above appealed to me by being not only a writing on the outside but also one that addresses writing’s exteriority.

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field recordings 2018:02:15 09:59:32 – 2018:06:02 18:59:02 including Julian Rosenfeldt’s brilliant Manifesto & Inti restaurant’s equally brilliant food (Inti, now closed, ought to have been an icon and institution of the temporary city)

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anciency
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now i’m listening to kip hanrahan’s beautiful scars and i realise there is no other music for grownups so full of joy sex & politics 3 of my fav things but art too art music art life art rotting with life decomposing on the street sweating in the room shroom is how i am

thanks gareth

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“I wanted to do something worthy of the place” – theatre of writing

(&&&[Deleuze])=-1...
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how many does it take to turn things around?

a billion people

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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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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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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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