Yesterday, on the third installment of Networked Conversations with performance artist Annie Abrahams, it became clearer than ever that Internet artistic research is a necessary mechanism for understanding the convolutions of our networked behaviors. It begs the question, why is this work so neglected? Not just that of Annie’s, but why the entire “genre” of net art and performance is so utterly marginalized from the mainstream artistic discourse. It makes no sense at all: we live in a Webcam-mediated global culture, our social relations are increasingly virtualized, the emerging digital natives are not even aware of a world without ubiquitous third space transactions, and yet, those artists on the front lines of dissecting the characteristics and social dynamics of the Net operate in an insular world almost entirely of their own making.
Under the hot, bright lights of the tv cameras, in the swirling course of unfolding events: “You’re Fired,” loud and clear, a declaration echoing from yet, another, unscripted SHOW of a post real presidency. Casting his spell through the lens of the camera, TRUMP is a true performer, laser focused on absolutely nothing but the ratings. That is all: nothing more, nothing less. He cares not a whit about his staff, his agencies, his administration, the people, the world. No, it is all about the ratings and his grip on the locus of the 24/7 intoxication of the media spectacle. Always on. Without a pause.
“To be a subject, according to Merleau-Ponty, one must necessarily be part of the world one looks at and touches, therefore one must also be an object of that world.” – Kris Paulsen, Here/There: Telepresence, Touch, and Art at the Interface
The “SHOW” has no beginning, middle nor end… it exists in Internet TIME: continuous and “omnitemporal.” It is a PLACE (of some kind) to enter into, and be, a SPACE for interaction that is no different from our everyday online interactions across the chattering broadcast space of social media.
I was a grad student at CalArts when Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz staged their masterwork Hole-in-Space at Century City in LA, simultaneously connecting Lincoln Center in New York. As I was explaining to Kit while preparing for his upcoming interview on the next installment of Networked Conversations, if only I had known this historic event was happening just a few miles away. His response was that no one knew, no one expected it, it was never announced. One of the earliest (if not the first) satellite art installations, Hole-in-Space, just spontaneously appeared out of nowhere.
“The program concept was to link up the world, to demonstrate that we are all part of “our world”… the ground rules for the show included everything had to be live, and that no politicians or heads of state must be seen.” – Our World, 1967
Since the first satellites were launched into space in the 1950s, interconnecting the globe and establishing the planetary locational grid that is GPS, systems of human communications, interactions, enterprise, entertainment, commerce, warfare, and terrorism, have all become increasingly decentralized and distributed.