4(excerpts) The site under discussion, äda 'web, has a history and its historical interpretation. The artist here can act as historian, or lightening fast contemporian.
Does embedding a piece - or any art work - on the web make its idea permanently part of cyberspace? Does subversion take on a new look? How can you create an identity for a site, and how is this formed? What are the social issues around new kinds of socialization - controlling issues? Multimedia? Multi-institutional, multi-governmental? Multi-cultural, multi-generational? Multi-spiritual and multi-environmental?
Those are some of the questions I've been asking myself and I will get into this discussion with Benjamin a little bit later.
I'll briefly comment on the screen which I started writing about in 1992. I think it's important to be released from our unexamined relationship with the flat screen. I used to talk about the screen as the site of control, and I won't go into that right now, but I want to talk about the active scene of scxreens seen through the computer.
It is not just a production of excrement.
That is, when you do a process, or punch with your little mouse on the computer, seeing this cut-away-stage even if you're blind, seeing in some way is very essential. It is not optional. The computer is a membrane through which seeing is practiced. New types of seen are being developed, defined, experimented, refined and packaged. But danger. How do you keep the machine from directing the content? I hope we'll talk a little bit later about design. Does your design help elucidate your content?
I got here through the landscape of surveillance where screens were the site of control, and in the landscape of surveillance screens are no longer framed. They are now an imminent structure. People are screened for jobs or credit using increasingly finer nets. Screens are no longer circumscribed sites of innate projection, but are now a defining structure of lived experience. I screen, you screen, we all screen for ice screen!
Screens are part of what we depend on for discovery, observation, a place to look for subject matter, and in the net, for example, for an artist, can an idea, can a project survive bad graphics?
Securityland, which you saw a little bit here, is a structure for an idea rather than a finished piece. But Securityland is modeled on -- do you all know Nicholas Negroponte's Being Digital?? all right. Yes, it's copied out of dataland. Right. I'm living in Boston now. And Disneyland! I'm sorry, I didn't have a slide of Disneyland to show you. So that was the main hubris of the idea to show a land totally surveilled which you could enter in on the web. That was the main idea.
But it's very complicated. I'm building, I'm trying to build a vessel over the phone lines with these guys, and it redefines the way I work.
So, how do we create different environments? How could you create a different environment in the electronic web which is saturated with certain kinds of philosops would seem unbending at the moment.
I say: bend the package.
Other people up in Boston say throw out the shrink wrap package, let artists work on their own Java-- have team efforts and symposium and get together so that we can brainstorm ideas and look at the people who are technically oriented to try and figure out new ways of working.
In coming out of surveillance, narrative has come more and more to suggest its opposite, and I don't just mean subjectivity. So like you see people trapped in surveillance monitors in the past. Now you're trapped at your monitor with your soggy caffeine drink and maybe you're sitting in your underwear, juicing up over the "Hairy Man" site which we couldn't get up today. I'm really sorry: it's one of my favorite sites!
The technologies and sensibilities of the suggest that every series of images story "can be frozen."
Irreversible events are no longer the premise.
Even as MTV inspired cross and jump cutting - web candy, image feasts, or live feeder audio rampage - drop-in sites push the pace of the image, so also does it accustom us to its implied opposite - absolute stasis, a held image, a freeze frame. The pictures I showed you are grabs from the web, they're frozen blobs. We didn't see running live action. Of course, I await the moment where this shifts into another dimension, and I'm sure that will come.
How do we get inside there? Infiltration is performance, and I hope some of you out there are doing this already. Looking at your kinds of desire, the kinds of things you want to disrupt. Does everybody know about the Nation of Islam home page being hacked and the White House home page being hacked? So instead of glorifying Islam, it has become a very anti-Islamic thing. What does that mean to hack and cyberrape and all this kind of thing? Is that performance?
Someone, over at Harvard, is infiltrating right-wing groups. At the same time, he's hacking in, working in through right-wing religious and milicia groups as performance.
What kind of desire does it take to do that and how do we digest these acts as they occur, as they come up, as people do them?