Some Lovely Questions, Some Lovely Answers

Social Language, Digital Media

A questionnaire I sent around the class. Thanks very much to those who replied, I am indebted to you.

This questionnaire looks mainly at digital media.

1. Name your favourite website and reasons why it is so.

2. (Without looking it up!) In what year was the first text message sent?

3. Name something you would swap your phone for?

4. If I removed your phone, laptop and tv for 24 hours, what would you do with your technology free day?

5. Why do you own your smartphone?

6. Recount an instance of when your smartphone came in handy.

7. Do you think smartphones are necessary for everyday life?

8. Does it matter either way? (shut up Sally, we like them, we have them, I’m bored of answering questions about smartphones.)

9. Name an important instance of how digital media has effected the subject you study.

10. Explain an instance…

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When Art Met Screens | Rhizome

JUN 29, 2017 –

When Art Met Screens
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NEEN
AND NET ART
BY DOMENICO QUARANTA

This interview accompanies the presentation of Neen as a part of the online exhibition Net Art Anthology.

Neen is not a static thing, we cannot really put it down in words. When we will be able to do so, it will probably become Telic. Like the old miracle of Jesus walking on water: if he came back today and he did it again, it would be a sort of ‘déjà vu,’ ‘Jesus as usual.’ Instead, if he started swimming, most people would refuse to believe that he is actually Jesus.

—Miltos Manetas, 20041

According to Who Is, the web domain jesusswimming.com was registered by Miltos Manetas on August 7, 2001. Visiting that domain, we are faced by a full page Flash animation, jesusswimming.swf, in which an hand drawn, vectorial man looking like Jesus swims in an endless sea, at the slow pace of a midi soundtrack. The drawing looks amateurish and careless, and the dominant aesthetics is flatness. In the html code of the page, the work is tagged as “Contemporary Art Jesus.”

When he made jesusswimming.com, Miltos Manetas was thirty seven years old, older than Jesus. And he was quite a successful artist, with works in good private collections such as the Dakis Joannou Collection, the support of respected curators like Nicolas Bourriaud, and participations in important institutional events. Born in Greece, at the age of twenty he moved to Milan, where he studied painting at Brera Academy. He started working with photography, installation, and performance. In 1994, he bought his first computer, and started making works with or about it. In 1995, he made a few oil paintings featuring fragments of computer interfaces, and in 1996 he was included in Traffic, the survey exhibition curated by Nicolas Bourriaud that helped to launch “Relational Aesthetics.” These works, together with Sad Tree—later turned into a website—marked his return to oil painting, a medium that he used to portray people, machines, and the both of them together: computer hardware, screens, web pages, games, cables, peripherals, people playing computer games. In 1996, he made his first videos modeled after videogames—later recognized as an early form of machinima—followed by his vibracolor prints, inspired by Zelda, Tomb Raider, and Super Mario. In the meantime, Manetas had moved to New York. In 1998 he launched Chelsea, an online art community designed by architect Andreas Angelidakis in Active Worlds, a 3D virtual world active since the mid-nineties.2

Neen announcement at Gagosian Gallery, 2000.

On May 31, 2000, with a press conference organized at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, Manetas announced that he had bought “a new name for the arts” from the California branding company Lexicon. The budget for the acquisition ($100,000) was provided by Yvonne Force from the Art Production Fund. The new label, Neen, was picked by Mai Ueda— at the time Manetas’s girlfriend, and the first self-proclaimed Neenstar, out of a long list of names sent by the branding company. The press conference took place in a room full of Warhols.

At the risk of sounding anecdotal, this long list of events stresses something that should never be forgotten, in order to understand Neen: unlike early net.art, it’s not the output of someone who refuses, contests, or bypasses the art world, but of a perfect insider. Manetas might have had his own, clear idea of what art is and should be—so clear that he bought a new name for it—but the world he is talking to, the language he’s speaking, the ways he behave—including his dialectical relationship with consumer capitalism, and with the worlds of fashion and commodities—are those of contemporary art. Neen mostly produced websites, perceived at the time as immaterial entries in a public domain; but all those single serving websites were placed on dot com domains, an extension then used almost exclusively by commercial ventures. The sites mostly used Macromedia Flash, a proprietary software popular among professional web designers who created fancy online vitrines for commercial companies, and hated by net.artists, who preferred the open code of html and javascript. Colorful, animated, and sometimes interactive, Neen websites are like paintings. They playfully and comfortably place themselves within a commercial realm, and present themselves as commodities (and Manetas was the first to collect them).3

Neen squatted domains, but it did it as part of a domain name flânerie that brought them to purchase domains such as whywasshesad.com, dontcallmeelephant.com or elasticenthusiastic.com, not as part of a strategy of identity appropriation or as a consequence of a political agenda. Sometimes, the pure pleasure of adding a .com after a poetic sentence or a name, and owning it, was enough—look, guydebord.com is still available! Let’s register it! Some others, the owner or somebody else, could find the right content for the domain: so, francescobonami.com may deliver art theory, whitneybiennial.com4 may host an exhibition, and jacksonpollock.com may become an interactive generator of infinite dripping paintings.

Miltos Manetas, whitneybiennial.com, 2002. Screenshot created in Oldweb.today using Firefox 49 for Linux.

Another, important things we should know about Neen is that it isn’t a new name for net.art, or, even worst, for a subgenre of net art. Neen was commissioned and chosen as “a new name for the arts.” To Lexicon, Manetas and Force showed “a work by Gino De Dominicis, the Alessandro Dell’Acqua Men’s Collection 2000, two paintings by Anselm Kiefer […] sodaconstructor […] and above all works by Lucio Fontana.”5 This selection alone shows that Neen sits between contemporary art, fashion, and software. After presenting Neen in New York, Manetas moved to Los Angeles, where he started hanging out with the cyber elite and where he founded, in 2001, the Electronic Orphanage (E.O), a space in Chinatown that served as a working and meeting point for Neenstars and as an exhibition space for their works. There, Neen became an art movement, whose features are pretty easy to detect: single serving websites, playful animations, the ability to flirt with the art and the fashion system, etc. But Neen was born, and now exists, as a new name for the arts, chosen to describe what happens to art when it meets screens and enters the information age. As such, it may or may not have a life beyond Manetas and the Neen movement. Or, to paraphrase Manetas himself: if Surrealism without Breton became a trend and Communism without Lenin became a dictatorship, it will be curious to see where Neen will end up without Manetas.6

Even if Neen shouldn’t be understood as a subgenre of net art, it had a tremendous impact on the developments of net art itself. Manetas’s seamless postmedia approach, his way of going from paintings to websites, from screen capture videos to installations and performances, as well as his ability to speak the language of the internet without necessarily doing net-based work, was extremely influential for the younger generation that grew up in surf clubs starting in the early 2000s. Additionally, while early net art, though critical about both worlds, was still floating between contemporary art and media art, their separate traditions and their different ideas of art, net-related practices after Neen decisively embraced values, forms, and traditions from contemporary art. Finally, postinternet practices have inherited Neen’s realistic approach to the inescapable commodification of the internet, starting from the neutral usage of the .com domain.

Header image: Miltos Manetas, jesusswimming.com, 2001. Screenshot created in Oldweb.today using Firefox 49 for Linux.

Notes:

1. Quoted in Miltos Manetas (Ed.), Neen, Charta, Milan 2006.

2. Most of these informations are taken from http://timeline.manetas.com/.

3. Cf. Manetas Collection, online at http://manetas.com/manetascollection/.

4. About whitneybiennial.com, cf. Lucas Pinheiro, “The Flash Artists who Cybersquatted the Whitney Biennial”, in Rhizome, August 14, 2015. Online at http://rhizome.org/editorial/2015/aug/14/flash-artists-cybersquatted-whitney-biennial/. Although I agree with most of the in-depth analysis provided therein, I think Pinheiro’s interpretation of this project is partially invalidated by his attempt to situate it in a “net art only” tradition. Manetas is here playing with a system he belongs to, not hacking a system he doesn’t want to have anything to do with; whitneybiennial.com has, to some respects, more to do with Cattelan’s Oblomov Foundation than with RTMark.

5. In Miltos Manetas (Ed.), Neen, Charta, Milan 2006.

6. Cf. Miltos Manetas, “Neen Manifesto,” 2000. In Miltos Manetas, In My Computer, Link Editions 2011, p. 21.

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Transpositions: Artistic Data Exploration


Transpositions: From science to art (and back)

Gehard Eckel

The final research event of Transpositions: Artistic Data Exploration, a research project by Gerhard Eckel, Michael Schwab and David Pirrò

Stockholm, October 4 to 6, 2017

In cooperation with the Royal College of Music, the Royal Institute of Art, the Royal Institute of Technology, Färgfabriken, Audiorama, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and University of Applied Arts Vienna.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN. Register at http://bit.ly/tp-register before September 1, 2017.

Science and art are usually held distinct due to the different kinds of processes that they employ as well as the character of the conclusions that they draw. However, what if artists where to extend scientific methodologies while radicalising their stance in post-conceptual art under the heading of ‘artistic research’? How can scientific data be pushed to the limits of representation?

We think that science and art will still follow their own respective trajectories, yet they will start to ‘talk’ to each other in unexpected ways once their practices are enmeshed. After working with scientists and their data from fields as separate as computational neuroscience, particle physics, cosmology, and molecular biology, and after preparing our artistic responses, we want to find out the character of our scientific-artistic conversations and how we can push the work even further.

Transpositions are artistic forms created from scientific data that respect the epistemic potential of their material under aesthetic conditions. Extending representational registers, such transpositions propose a new aesthetic-epistemic logic of material difference rather than formal identity. Placing the focus on transpositional operators – their inner workings and as strict logic – suggests inconsistencies are not detrimental to knowledge but are necessary stages in a game of heightened complexity.

Keynote lecture by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger.

With contributions by: Magnus Bunnskog, Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback, Leif Dahlberg, Luc Derycke, Agostino Di Scipio, Gerhard Eckel, Örjan Ekeberg, Sabine Höhler, Victor Jaschke, Ioana Jucan, Anders Lansner, Tina O’Connell, Daniel Peltz, David Pirrò, Hanns Holger Rutz, Martin Sahlén, Pelin Sahlén, Michael Schwab, Karolina Sobecka, Phoebe Stubbs, Nina Stuhldreher, Neal White, Marcus Wrangö and many more.

Wednesday Oct 4

14:00-16:00 (KMH)

Presenting Transpositions, TP project team, Introduction

16:30-17:30 (KMH)

Transpositions: From Traces to Data to Facts through Preparations, Models, and Simulations, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Keynote lecture

20:00-21:00 (Färgfabriken)

Objects of Uncertain Origin, Daniel Peltz and Ioana Jucan, Opening performance

 Thursday Oct 5

10:00-12:00 (KKH)

Engaging Transpositions: Science and Art, part I, TP project team, scientists and guests. Moderated by Phoebe Stubbs, Panel discussion transposed onto the stage of artistic research

12:00-14:00 (Audiorama)

The Illusion of Simultaneity, TP project team, Audio-visual installation

12:00-14:00 (Audiorama)

503 cluster waves, Marcus Wrangö, Audio-visual installation

12:00-14:00 (Audiorama)

Friedman balancing a pencil on its point, Magnus Bunnskog, Audio installation

14:00-16:00 (KKH)

Engaging Transpositions: Science and Art, part II, TP project team, scientists and guests. Moderated by Phoebe Stubbs, Panel discussion transposed onto the stage of artistic research

16:30-18:00 (KKH)

‘Experiment on a bird in the air pump’, Karolina Sobecka, Performance and discussion

20:00-21:00 (KMH)

Complexity and Complication, TP project team, Concert installation 

Friday Oct 6

10:00-11:30 (Färgfabriken)

Objects of Uncertain Origin, Daniel Peltz and Tina O’Connell / Neal White, Discussion

13:00-14:00 (Dome of Visions)

The Rattler, TP project team and David Granström, Performance installation

14:30-15:30 (KTH)

Deep Architectures of Enquiry, Tina O’Connell / Neal White, Excursion / incursion

16:30-18:30 (KMH)

From Data to Process: Algorithms that Matter, Hanns Holger Rutz and David Pirrò, Project launch with guests

19:00-21:00 (KMH)

Dinner (with special ticket)

 

Online registration is open now.

 

Attendance is possible at two rates:

 

SEK 200 – without dinner

SEK 400 – including a dinner buffet on October 6 at 19:00.

 

Book your ticket at http://bit.ly/tp-register

Booking closes September 1, 2017

 

Transpositions: Artistic Data Exploration is funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (PEEK, AR 257)

Contact: gerhard.eckel@kug.ac.at

Grenfell Tower Appeal

Selsdon Primary School and Nursery

On Monday 19th June 2017 we are holding a mufti-day to raise money for the residents of Grenfell Tower. We are asking children to come to school in their own clothes in return for donation towards the Grenfell Tower appeal.

We will donate all money raised to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/familiesofgrenfelltower

Our thoughts are with everyone affected.

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