Immaterial Dispersal: Not So Great

by Paddy Johnson on September 8, 2010 · 78 comments Reviews

For those not following my tweets last night, organizer Nik Pence’s Immaterial Dispersal was not good. Panel participants fell into 2.5 groups, those who wanted to make it hard for internet users to find their work, those who wanted to make it easy and those who wanted to describe either act as about branding their identities. This isn’t necessarily uninteresting, but when poor logic and inarticulate talk dominates the discussion it certainly becomes this way.

Critic Gene McHugh fell in the “I don’t want random people to find my work” category of panelists, authoring Post-Internet, a blog with no outgoing links, no readily available individual post urls, and a url composed only of numbers. “I like that the art world is elitist.” he told the audience before continuing, “I want my blog to be part of the “art world””. Past the problem of coming off as slightly pretentious, the rationalization for many of his decisions is flawed.  First of all, the art world is not unique in its elitism. Virtually every profession has that problem. Second, the purpose and value of being contextualized within the art world is never explained, past the vague assumption that elitism must be well founded. If participation is one of the main requirements for entry into this world, an act McHugh actively limits with his blog. Meanwhile, he maintains the glimmer of hope that his work will be later used by historians. For this to happen he’d have to maintain the hosting fees for the rest of his life for this to happen, and garner the magical ability to do his best thinking in a vacuum. Clearly the latter isn’t happening — his latest post on painting memes introduces two conflicting concepts in the first sentence — but oh well.

I asked the critic yesterday whether feedback was of any interest to him since there was no way to link to particular posts and the comment section wasn’t open. He simply told me he was worried about trolls. “I see Gene’s point” former Art Fag City blogger Karen Archey said from the audience, noting that moderation and participation on comment forms can get in the way of producing work. As Archey points out, this is delicate balance, but she moves away from my original point, which is that there are number of ways to cultivate a knowledge base larger than oneself on the web, none of which are being employed. Growth does not occur by merely typing inside a local coffee shop.

Other panelists either not principally concerned with distribution or seeking to limit it included Lance Wakeling, who sends out a monthly PDF called Private Circulation to his mailing list and The Highlights, an web-based publication specializing in artist essays.  Both are primarily literary projects that only minimally engage the web so I’m not sure why they’ve been asked twice now to discuss internet distribution.

Net artist Kari Altmann made a little more sense in this respect, though she spent a good deal of time talking about “lubricated transmission”, a concept lifted from an out of date article she bookmarked a few days before by Francis Heylighen, “Complexity and Information Overload in Complex Society”. Written in 2002, the paper describes the increased speed of information exchange, as characterized by instability. So far as I could tell though Altmann was mostly using the term “lubrication” to describe the relative ease with which she wanted her work shared. She then showed some pretty compelling blue images she’d found on the web and transfered onto blue styrofoam, though notably, distribution was the least interesting aspect of the piece.

The young radical of the group, Brad Troemel, disagreed with nearly everyone on the panel at some point, including Altmann.  This wasn’t surprising —  he disputed the idea that art has a practical purpose and advocated art that reached as many people as possible — a contentious position for many. Altmann specifically challenged Troemel’s belief that art was not as valuable as water, a discussion that prompted a call from audience member Tom Moody. “You belong on a panel called Dialectical Materialism.” Moody told Troemel, noting his unspoken affinity for Karl Marx. That sounded just about right to me.

  • http://hragv.com Hrag

    IMHO, your write-up is far too generous.

    And in reference to Troemel’s discussion in particular, it was strange and didn’t feel very informed by the current issues of the web — he actually seemed to be discussing the web in 2006 or something, and who wants a web dominated by anonymous creators?. I felt like he was talking about the art market as if it was the only thing in the art world and he ignored whole swathes of the art community that have been functioning outside of the market for years (if not decades) such as street artists. I think Troemel’s own work is more interesting than the ideas he put forth last night.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      Really? I thought they seemed very informed by heavy use of tumblr and knowledge of the internet community. A web dominated by anonymous creators seems like exactly the kind of thinking a young artist would come up with, and I like its extremity. Dump.fm for example is a mine of images manipulated by so many people authorship becomes irrelevant. Troemel takes that site to the next level, and though it’s impractical, I really like the ambition of thought.

      • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

        I can’t remember whether it was Gene or Brad who said the art market had no reflection on value (I think it was Gene). That statement was wildly inaccurate and likely made simply out of inexperience.

        • http://thejogging.tumblr.com Brad Troemel

          This is not what I said. To provide some context for the exchange you describe, I was responding to a comment by an audience member who said that “making qualitative judgments is a method beholden to the conventions of the art market”. I responded by saying that qualitative judgments occur everywhere. Earlier in the panel I mentioned a natural tendency of people to organize and sort out content according to their tastes. After that I stated that the art market is principally indebted to profit-making, not quality distinctions. This is not an inaccurate idea, as continued profit is the foundation of capitalism. Art that is bad but continues to sell will likely continue to be shown. Art that is good and continues to sell will more than likely continue to be shown. Art that is good or bad but does not make money for the gallery will cease to be exhibited eventually. There are many stories of gallery owners with such strong convictions about their artists they continued to exhibit their work with or without collectors’ support. But when this altruistic act goes from being an exception made for one or two artists on the roster to being a general way of operating a business, that gallery will not exist for very long. For businesses, quality is encouraged but profit is absolutely mandatory.

          • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

            I didn’t describe an exchange, but those words were indeed uttered. It sounds like they weren’t made by you.

  • http://hragv.com Hrag

    IMHO, your write-up is far too generous.

    And in reference to Troemel’s discussion in particular, it was strange and didn’t feel very informed by the current issues of the web — he actually seemed to be discussing the web in 2006 or something, and who wants a web dominated by anonymous creators?. I felt like he was talking about the art market as if it was the only thing in the art world and he ignored whole swathes of the art community that have been functioning outside of the market for years (if not decades) such as street artists. I think Troemel’s own work is more interesting than the ideas he put forth last night.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      Really? I thought they seemed very informed by heavy use of tumblr and knowledge of the internet community. A web dominated by anonymous creators seems like exactly the kind of thinking a young artist would come up with, and I like its extremity. Dump.fm for example is a mine of images manipulated by so many people authorship becomes irrelevant. Troemel takes that site to the next level, and though it’s impractical, I really like the ambition of thought.

      • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

        I can’t remember whether it was Gene or Brad who said the art market had no reflection on value (I think it was Gene). That statement was wildly inaccurate and likely made simply out of inexperience.

        • http://thejogging.tumblr.com Brad Troemel

          This is not what I said. To provide some context for the exchange you describe, I was responding to a comment by an audience member who said that “making qualitative judgments is a method beholden to the conventions of the art market”. I responded by saying that qualitative judgments occur everywhere. Earlier in the panel I mentioned a natural tendency of people to organize and sort out content according to their tastes. After that I stated that the art market is principally indebted to profit-making, not quality distinctions. This is not an inaccurate idea, as continued profit is the foundation of capitalism. Art that is bad but continues to sell will likely continue to be shown. Art that is good and continues to sell will more than likely continue to be shown. Art that is good or bad but does not make money for the gallery will cease to be exhibited eventually. There are many stories of gallery owners with such strong convictions about their artists they continued to exhibit their work with or without collectors’ support. But when this altruistic act goes from being an exception made for one or two artists on the roster to being a general way of operating a business, that gallery will not exist for very long. For businesses, quality is encouraged but profit is absolutely mandatory.

          • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

            I didn’t describe an exchange, but those words were indeed uttered. It sounds like they weren’t made by you.

  • http://themanningcompany.com Michael Manning

    I wish I could have been there, Tom and I had a long discussion (on Dump of all places) about McHugh’s recent post on digital painting as meme, it’s numerous baseless assumptions, and repeating contradictions. I’m not exactly sure I understand why he chooses to write a blog if he is mainly concerned with being obscure and elitist, that just seems counter intuitive.

  • http://themanningcompany.com Michael Manning

    I wish I could have been there, Tom and I had a long discussion (on Dump of all places) about McHugh’s recent post on digital painting as meme, it’s numerous baseless assumptions, and repeating contradictions. I’m not exactly sure I understand why he chooses to write a blog if he is mainly concerned with being obscure and elitist, that just seems counter intuitive.

  • http://thejogging.tumblr.com Brad Troemel

    One last clarification, because I think I did a poor job explaining this idea last night. My assertions were: “Art is not necessary. Water and air are necessary to live. Governance is necessary if we want to leave the state of nature. Art is a fun intellectual exploration we have the luxury of being a part of.” These ideas are very different from saying art has no function or is useless, as reported above. I raise this idea of being biologically unnecessary because I see this realization as a freeing device. If something is necessary we are inherently bound to certain limitations (you MUST find water somehow within 3 days). If something is unnecessary we may make the rules up as we go along, changing it however we see fit. This is the beauty of art. The problem is, we have been attuned to thinking that certain mechanisms about art ARE necessary, so we continue on using outdated, inefficient or elitist models of dispersion when there is nothing but our own free will stopping us from exploring new methods. I see the internet as a place where these new models may be tested out, where alternatives to geographically or economically exclusive modes of presentation may be formed. This is why I used the jokey metaphor about “people using Second Life as an opportunity to repeat all of the problems in their first.” If we can all agree there are problems with the art world’s institutional structure, why repeat those problems identically on the internet? Why not try to create new spaces for artistic reception, validation and production that avoid such shortcomings?

  • http://thejogging.tumblr.com Brad Troemel

    One last clarification, because I think I did a poor job explaining this idea last night. My assertions were: “Art is not necessary. Water and air are necessary to live. Governance is necessary if we want to leave the state of nature. Art is a fun intellectual exploration we have the luxury of being a part of.” These ideas are very different from saying art has no function or is useless, as reported above. I raise this idea of being biologically unnecessary because I see this realization as a freeing device. If something is necessary we are inherently bound to certain limitations (you MUST find water somehow within 3 days). If something is unnecessary we may make the rules up as we go along, changing it however we see fit. This is the beauty of art. The problem is, we have been attuned to thinking that certain mechanisms about art ARE necessary, so we continue on using outdated, inefficient or elitist models of dispersion when there is nothing but our own free will stopping us from exploring new methods. I see the internet as a place where these new models may be tested out, where alternatives to geographically or economically exclusive modes of presentation may be formed. This is why I used the jokey metaphor about “people using Second Life as an opportunity to repeat all of the problems in their first.” If we can all agree there are problems with the art world’s institutional structure, why repeat those problems identically on the internet? Why not try to create new spaces for artistic reception, validation and production that avoid such shortcomings?

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Hey Brad,

    Thanks for commenting. Just to be clear, the summation above does not attribute “art has no purpose” or “art is useless” to your debate last night, but rather that it has no *practical* purpose. I would not ascribe either sentiment to you as it was clear from last night’s discussion that you don’t believe it. Art having no practical purpose does however fall under the rubric of “art is an activity we have the luxury of being a part in.” As for the problems with the art world’s institutional structure, I suppose I don’t think that the problem stems from money itself, but simply that there’s not enough of it, and it’s unevenly distributed. Personally, I like that your stance is a little more radical than mine — I think a lot of change occurs from such stauch beliefs — they just aren’t mine.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Hey Brad,

    Thanks for commenting. Just to be clear, the summation above does not attribute “art has no purpose” or “art is useless” to your debate last night, but rather that it has no *practical* purpose. I would not ascribe either sentiment to you as it was clear from last night’s discussion that you don’t believe it. Art having no practical purpose does however fall under the rubric of “art is an activity we have the luxury of being a part in.” As for the problems with the art world’s institutional structure, I suppose I don’t think that the problem stems from money itself, but simply that there’s not enough of it, and it’s unevenly distributed. Personally, I like that your stance is a little more radical than mine — I think a lot of change occurs from such stauch beliefs — they just aren’t mine.

  • http://karialtmann.com Kari

    I don’t remember Brad specifically disagreeing with statements I made, I think that might be a misunderstanding of the activity of the panel. We did point out contrasting experiences and views on a few occasions, though. I only argued with him on art value when you called out from the crowd and demanded that I “go into it right now.” That discussion wasn’t one I was prepared to have at the time, and it was mostly a reaction to the language and context he used that I found problematic or unclear. It was what he was arguing with that point that seemed worth questioning. It’s always a complex conversation and one I knew wouldn’t be done justice in that moment, which is why I hesitated.

    I also don’t think I did an accute or thorough job of verbally presenting my projects, because of lack of preparation/organization. Perhaps lack of panel direction? I wasn’t sure what to speak toward. I was initially very resistant to the proposal of this talk, only finally agreeing to it in the days ahead of last night because of how I view “immateriality” but maybe I could have contributed more as a member of the audience via questioning. Overall the itinerary was unclear.

    In terms of lubrication, that was an attempt to speak to the assigned topic of the talk. It was one material way of thinking about online “dispersal” which may be why it seemed to catch on with other panelists, according to your tweets. I’m glad you read the .pdf I sent you in response to your first comments, but I wasn’t aiming to specifically reiterate that paper from 2002, only use the models it defined as a starting point with the material ways in which content behaves online and as a segue into the project I wanted to show. That specific project doesn’t deal with my dispersal of ideas online to an audience, but the dispersal of content from the internet to an individual user. I also tried to get across that I’m interested in varying approaches – I don’t go for mass audiences or private circulation only, it varies depending on the project or the current state of the project.

    There are a lot of nomenclature issues in this topic and the surrounding talks. I don’t think we successfully got into them last night, and I admit I am a bit out of practice verbalizing things that tend to wind up as written text (at a much slower pace) more than anything. I realize that is the problem with “panels” that bring artists working primarily online into a real-time public analytical spotlight for the first time, especially with an unclear topic and the expectancy for these artists to be able to sum up things that are currently in development or have prepared rebuttals for each other when they’ve never met and can’t view the other’s works in the same moment. Overall it just comes across as a casual conversation or an advertisement chat room, which is probably not so fruitful for the most savvy members of the audience. (This was supposedly geared toward a “general audience” so I found it funny when the crowd consisted almost primarily of net savvy artists and peers, which I assumed might happen.)

    Also I think Brad and I’s responses to eachother were based more on content v. art and value v. context – but that is the first time Brad and I have ever talked about it, and I don’t know a lot about what he’s up to.

    It might be good to attempt a proper panel about these other topics at some point – with an expert moderator who can help frame our projects more accurately and guide the questioning – plus a lot more preliminary conversations and preparation? Or maybe the format of a panel is not the best way for this to function anymore? It seems like the ultimate final format is this blog post, in a way, which is a format I’m more used to and one that might be more productive anyway?

    But thanks for responding, I agree with you on some points here. I think the things that would have made this better for you as an audience member are the same things that would have made it better as a participant. We did get some positive feedback, though – from more general audience members who were happy to find a way to tap into this realm of concerns, and from people who seemed to already know the work of the people speaking and were able to get some interesting things out of the very informal format things took.

    That being said, of course it can happen in better ways and it should.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      I think you made clear that you had varying approaches to distribution depending on the project. Mostly my complaint is that the idea of lubrication made what are very practical concerns sound more weighty and convoluted than they actually are. You were very clear in the Q&A which was when the panel discussion picked up IMO.

      I think you got into the conversation about art value a little after you’d finished the debate I’d called for, but I apologize for making a scene of it. In my experience panelists often avoid talking about the contentious issues, when those are the very things they should be discussing. I guess both parties have to be willing though, so my interest did not necessarily prompt the best outcome.

      • http://karialtmann.com Kari

        Yeah, when it comes to those situations I usually feel a responsibility to do the larger ongoing dialogue justice, which is primarily what I wasn’t prepared for. To that end all you can ultimately do is speak from your own experience, which may come across as more of a string of anecdotes or may sound less aware than it is. It’s the format of the “panel” that makes that problematic, with its assumption of authority.

        I understand your concern on lubrication, and I think it’s related to the delivery. I do think what I’m getting at with pieces like Hellblau and what she’s talking about in that paper are the concepts behind some very weighty issues. I’d like to spend more time with those ideas and try to find a way to wrap all of this up more concisely through text and speech to get at those deeper things. Ultimately, though, I’m more used to addressing ideas through individual artworks and art shows and will probably head to those methods first.

  • http://karialtmann.com Kari

    I don’t remember Brad specifically disagreeing with statements I made, I think that might be a misunderstanding of the activity of the panel. We did point out contrasting experiences and views on a few occasions, though. I only argued with him on art value when you called out from the crowd and demanded that I “go into it right now.” That discussion wasn’t one I was prepared to have at the time, and it was mostly a reaction to the language and context he used that I found problematic or unclear. It was what he was arguing with that point that seemed worth questioning. It’s always a complex conversation and one I knew wouldn’t be done justice in that moment, which is why I hesitated.

    I also don’t think I did an accute or thorough job of verbally presenting my projects, because of lack of preparation/organization. Perhaps lack of panel direction? I wasn’t sure what to speak toward. I was initially very resistant to the proposal of this talk, only finally agreeing to it in the days ahead of last night because of how I view “immateriality” but maybe I could have contributed more as a member of the audience via questioning. Overall the itinerary was unclear.

    In terms of lubrication, that was an attempt to speak to the assigned topic of the talk. It was one material way of thinking about online “dispersal” which may be why it seemed to catch on with other panelists, according to your tweets. I’m glad you read the .pdf I sent you in response to your first comments, but I wasn’t aiming to specifically reiterate that paper from 2002, only use the models it defined as a starting point with the material ways in which content behaves online and as a segue into the project I wanted to show. That specific project doesn’t deal with my dispersal of ideas online to an audience, but the dispersal of content from the internet to an individual user. I also tried to get across that I’m interested in varying approaches – I don’t go for mass audiences or private circulation only, it varies depending on the project or the current state of the project.

    There are a lot of nomenclature issues in this topic and the surrounding talks. I don’t think we successfully got into them last night, and I admit I am a bit out of practice verbalizing things that tend to wind up as written text (at a much slower pace) more than anything. I realize that is the problem with “panels” that bring artists working primarily online into a real-time public analytical spotlight for the first time, especially with an unclear topic and the expectancy for these artists to be able to sum up things that are currently in development or have prepared rebuttals for each other when they’ve never met and can’t view the other’s works in the same moment. Overall it just comes across as a casual conversation or an advertisement chat room, which is probably not so fruitful for the most savvy members of the audience. (This was supposedly geared toward a “general audience” so I found it funny when the crowd consisted almost primarily of net savvy artists and peers, which I assumed might happen.)

    Also I think Brad and I’s responses to eachother were based more on content v. art and value v. context – but that is the first time Brad and I have ever talked about it, and I don’t know a lot about what he’s up to.

    It might be good to attempt a proper panel about these other topics at some point – with an expert moderator who can help frame our projects more accurately and guide the questioning – plus a lot more preliminary conversations and preparation? Or maybe the format of a panel is not the best way for this to function anymore? It seems like the ultimate final format is this blog post, in a way, which is a format I’m more used to and one that might be more productive anyway?

    But thanks for responding, I agree with you on some points here. I think the things that would have made this better for you as an audience member are the same things that would have made it better as a participant. We did get some positive feedback, though – from more general audience members who were happy to find a way to tap into this realm of concerns, and from people who seemed to already know the work of the people speaking and were able to get some interesting things out of the very informal format things took.

    That being said, of course it can happen in better ways and it should.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      I think you made clear that you had varying approaches to distribution depending on the project. Mostly my complaint is that the idea of lubrication made what are very practical concerns sound more weighty and convoluted than they actually are. You were very clear in the Q&A which was when the panel discussion picked up IMO.

      I think you got into the conversation about art value a little after you’d finished the debate I’d called for, but I apologize for making a scene of it. In my experience panelists often avoid talking about the contentious issues, when those are the very things they should be discussing. I guess both parties have to be willing though, so my interest did not necessarily prompt the best outcome.

      • http://karialtmann.com Kari

        Yeah, when it comes to those situations I usually feel a responsibility to do the larger ongoing dialogue justice, which is primarily what I wasn’t prepared for. To that end all you can ultimately do is speak from your own experience, which may come across as more of a string of anecdotes or may sound less aware than it is. It’s the format of the “panel” that makes that problematic, with its assumption of authority.

        I understand your concern on lubrication, and I think it’s related to the delivery. I do think what I’m getting at with pieces like Hellblau and what she’s talking about in that paper are the concepts behind some very weighty issues. I’d like to spend more time with those ideas and try to find a way to wrap all of this up more concisely through text and speech to get at those deeper things. Ultimately, though, I’m more used to addressing ideas through individual artworks and art shows and will probably head to those methods first.

  • Karen Archey

    Hi Paddy.

    A somewhat hurried response–I think a lot of great points were brought up here. Indeed, the panelists did seem unprepared or unmotivated, it repeatedly got painfully awkward, and some panelists struggled deeply with being inarticulate. My impression is that Nik somewhat hastily put the panel together as he was given the opportunity to do so by Guild Gallery,for who he works as an art handler–perhaps he should’ve turned it down until he could properly prepare the program? (Should one only do something until they can do it “right”?) Seems like his intentions were great, though albeit he and many of the other panelists were struggling with their inexperience speaking in public, being on panels, etc. More carefully chosen panelists and a more experienced moderator probably would’ve help things run much more smoothly.

    With that said I think we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture here. While the panel was a bit of a train wreck I think this post is a bit needlessly negative. These are, indeed, all very young artists and writers doing very ambitious things. Will they (we) put their feet in their mouths? Sure, and please call a spade a spade by all means. The most effective form of education is oftentimes via a thorough critique. But failing to see the potential and good intentions of the participants and harping on fleeting poorly stated ideas seems unfair.

    On the subject of Gene–although your quotes are probably correct, they seem a bit out of context. I remember Gene being in dialogue with Brad when he said that he sees his project as being part of art world discourse and, by extension, elitist in nature due to it being rooted in an accrued knowledge base. To be honest, the way it’s presented here makes Gene sound like he’s salivating to be accepted by the art world and phobic of public audiences. From the limited personal conversations I’ve had with Gene, I can assure you this isn’t the case. What’s unique about Gene’s project is that, because of the external funding from Creative Capital he can jam the system in a sense—he doesn’t have to be committed to monetizing the blog through hits/popularity, and he has the time and resources to indulge in research-based writing. (I’d argue that this writing is also a HUGE asset to the community it covers). It seems as if he’s approaching Post Internet as an experiment in blogging/dispersion, though I won’t say whether or not I think those experimentations are necessarily always successful.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      The question put forth by the post was in part whether Gene’s kind of system jamming has any use or effect. Obviously I have a fairly biased position, but in my opinion, his strategies hinder progress more than they help. Running a blog cut off from virtually any kind of feedback system is a little like a musician saying, “I can play drums, guitar, keyboard and sing because I’m more valuable than my collaborators”. Based on some of the work I’ve read, I think that kind of hubris is misguided, even if it is unconscious.

      Now, I can see the point that this post is needlessly negative — and on some level I agree — but if I were to do it again I’d probably write the same thing. Ultimately it’s not such a bad thing to receive a bit of feedback if the end goal is reaching something better. It’s precisely because these panelists are all very talented that they’ve received any feedback at all. I’ve written positive things about all of them prior to this. One negative post about a panel discussion nobody liked doesn’t seem *that* unfair to me.

  • Karen Archey

    Hi Paddy.

    A somewhat hurried response–I think a lot of great points were brought up here. Indeed, the panelists did seem unprepared or unmotivated, it repeatedly got painfully awkward, and some panelists struggled deeply with being inarticulate. My impression is that Nik somewhat hastily put the panel together as he was given the opportunity to do so by Guild Gallery,for who he works as an art handler–perhaps he should’ve turned it down until he could properly prepare the program? (Should one only do something until they can do it “right”?) Seems like his intentions were great, though albeit he and many of the other panelists were struggling with their inexperience speaking in public, being on panels, etc. More carefully chosen panelists and a more experienced moderator probably would’ve help things run much more smoothly.

    With that said I think we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture here. While the panel was a bit of a train wreck I think this post is a bit needlessly negative. These are, indeed, all very young artists and writers doing very ambitious things. Will they (we) put their feet in their mouths? Sure, and please call a spade a spade by all means. The most effective form of education is oftentimes via a thorough critique. But failing to see the potential and good intentions of the participants and harping on fleeting poorly stated ideas seems unfair.

    On the subject of Gene–although your quotes are probably correct, they seem a bit out of context. I remember Gene being in dialogue with Brad when he said that he sees his project as being part of art world discourse and, by extension, elitist in nature due to it being rooted in an accrued knowledge base. To be honest, the way it’s presented here makes Gene sound like he’s salivating to be accepted by the art world and phobic of public audiences. From the limited personal conversations I’ve had with Gene, I can assure you this isn’t the case. What’s unique about Gene’s project is that, because of the external funding from Creative Capital he can jam the system in a sense—he doesn’t have to be committed to monetizing the blog through hits/popularity, and he has the time and resources to indulge in research-based writing. (I’d argue that this writing is also a HUGE asset to the community it covers). It seems as if he’s approaching Post Internet as an experiment in blogging/dispersion, though I won’t say whether or not I think those experimentations are necessarily always successful.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      The question put forth by the post was in part whether Gene’s kind of system jamming has any use or effect. Obviously I have a fairly biased position, but in my opinion, his strategies hinder progress more than they help. Running a blog cut off from virtually any kind of feedback system is a little like a musician saying, “I can play drums, guitar, keyboard and sing because I’m more valuable than my collaborators”. Based on some of the work I’ve read, I think that kind of hubris is misguided, even if it is unconscious.

      Now, I can see the point that this post is needlessly negative — and on some level I agree — but if I were to do it again I’d probably write the same thing. Ultimately it’s not such a bad thing to receive a bit of feedback if the end goal is reaching something better. It’s precisely because these panelists are all very talented that they’ve received any feedback at all. I’ve written positive things about all of them prior to this. One negative post about a panel discussion nobody liked doesn’t seem *that* unfair to me.

  • http://mtaa.net t.whid

    The “art isn’t necessary” thing is always wrong (and so tired). Of course it’s necessary. If it isn’t then why does every human culture ever discovered have art? Humans are social, they need to communicate with each other. Great art is the highest form of communication that humans have invented.

    Anyway, didn’t Tom Moody and I kill the net art panel back in… er, whenever that one panel happened? http://www.newmuseum.org/events/190

    • http://karialtmann.com Kari

      I agree. I didn’t realize the talk would even go there.

      I wasn’t at that 2.0 panel, only in the chatroom with Guthrie and some others, but yeah this “topic” in general, at least the way it was presented, is pretty old…

  • http://mtaa.net t.whid

    The “art isn’t necessary” thing is always wrong (and so tired). Of course it’s necessary. If it isn’t then why does every human culture ever discovered have art? Humans are social, they need to communicate with each other. Great art is the highest form of communication that humans have invented.

    Anyway, didn’t Tom Moody and I kill the net art panel back in… er, whenever that one panel happened? http://www.newmuseum.org/events/190

    • http://karialtmann.com Kari

      I agree. I didn’t realize the talk would even go there.

      I wasn’t at that 2.0 panel, only in the chatroom with Guthrie and some others, but yeah this “topic” in general, at least the way it was presented, is pretty old…

  • Lance W

    Private Circulation has been called many things, but this is the first time to my knowledge that it’s been referred to as a literary project. I must reject the category. It’s flattering, but accepting it would give true literary projects a bad name. On a more serious note, I’m confused when I hear that Private Circulation is “only minimally engaged with the web.” The internet is a bigger place than social networking platforms. My experiment may take a different (and at times oppositional) approach to using the web as a space for art, but it is from the beginning engaged with the web. That said, I think this article poses an interesting question: When is work that is distributed through the web “engaged with the web” and when is it not? Obviously, it’s not as simple as merely using the web as a medium.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      I think it has a literary sensibility, also I vaguely recall a story involving paper stock and PC.

      I can see that “only minimally engaged with the web” may have been an overstatement in your case, since you have a blog, you use email and PDFs. Still, I think the project maintains an old media sensibility. Once you send out the PDF for example there are no more corrections. The PDF is mostly text based. For me being engaged with the web implies impermanence and change.

  • Lance W

    Private Circulation has been called many things, but this is the first time to my knowledge that it’s been referred to as a literary project. I must reject the category. It’s flattering, but accepting it would give true literary projects a bad name. On a more serious note, I’m confused when I hear that Private Circulation is “only minimally engaged with the web.” The internet is a bigger place than social networking platforms. My experiment may take a different (and at times oppositional) approach to using the web as a space for art, but it is from the beginning engaged with the web. That said, I think this article poses an interesting question: When is work that is distributed through the web “engaged with the web” and when is it not? Obviously, it’s not as simple as merely using the web as a medium.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      I think it has a literary sensibility, also I vaguely recall a story involving paper stock and PC.

      I can see that “only minimally engaged with the web” may have been an overstatement in your case, since you have a blog, you use email and PDFs. Still, I think the project maintains an old media sensibility. Once you send out the PDF for example there are no more corrections. The PDF is mostly text based. For me being engaged with the web implies impermanence and change.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    The net art panel T.Whid describes was a mellow affair–the fighting that destroyed everyone’s will to live occurred afterwards, in the Rhizome.org comments. Some topics that weren’t discussed last night (off the top of my head); the differences between so called social media art of the present day and net art of the type collected by museums in the late ’90s; the embrace of Facebook by traditional artists, despite having one of the most restrictive image handling systems of any platform; dump.fm and the ways it has revolutionized the tumblr model; Gene’s post on “digital painting” and whether the paintfx.biz site is actually doing that right or whether the pixel/animated GIF school deserves equal consideration as a form of “painting”; the mediation of the Abramovic show through the spread of internet photography and memes, the effect of net neutrality ending after the Google/Verizon collusion, etc etc.
    As Paddy suggests, there were too many people on the panel who do online magazines modeled on print: none of the above topics would ever come up with this group. Her post is not “needlessly negative”; the panel was needlessly vague and dated.

    • Lance W

      I’m tired of the arguments that pit print and web against each other. They are conversations that have more to do more with economics than with content and ideas. We talk about “revolutionizing” platforms and models, but what are we really talking about? Text and images. The rest is proprietary. Tom is pigeonholing three different projects and concluding that they have nothing to say concerning “immaterial dispersal.” It’s great to suggest these topics after the fact. But where were you when we all needed you, Tom? You could have saved the panel!

    • http://www.karialtmann.com Kari

      I also sent a questioning response to Gene after that painting post that pointed out the “strokes” of web surfing, archive strata, code, etc. and the incorrect distinctions he made. From what I understand he’s planning to revisit the topic. As far as dump.fm goes I don’t know if it neccesarily revolutionizes Tumblr, but it does provide a faster less categorical version of it. Personally it’s not as fruitful for the things I use Tumblr for which rely on categories, slowness, and the filtering of content.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    The net art panel T.Whid describes was a mellow affair–the fighting that destroyed everyone’s will to live occurred afterwards, in the Rhizome.org comments. Some topics that weren’t discussed last night (off the top of my head); the differences between so called social media art of the present day and net art of the type collected by museums in the late ’90s; the embrace of Facebook by traditional artists, despite having one of the most restrictive image handling systems of any platform; dump.fm and the ways it has revolutionized the tumblr model; Gene’s post on “digital painting” and whether the paintfx.biz site is actually doing that right or whether the pixel/animated GIF school deserves equal consideration as a form of “painting”; the mediation of the Abramovic show through the spread of internet photography and memes, the effect of net neutrality ending after the Google/Verizon collusion, etc etc.
    As Paddy suggests, there were too many people on the panel who do online magazines modeled on print: none of the above topics would ever come up with this group. Her post is not “needlessly negative”; the panel was needlessly vague and dated.

    • Lance W

      I’m tired of the arguments that pit print and web against each other. They are conversations that have more to do more with economics than with content and ideas. We talk about “revolutionizing” platforms and models, but what are we really talking about? Text and images. The rest is proprietary. Tom is pigeonholing three different projects and concluding that they have nothing to say concerning “immaterial dispersal.” It’s great to suggest these topics after the fact. But where were you when we all needed you, Tom? You could have saved the panel!

    • http://www.karialtmann.com Kari

      I also sent a questioning response to Gene after that painting post that pointed out the “strokes” of web surfing, archive strata, code, etc. and the incorrect distinctions he made. From what I understand he’s planning to revisit the topic. As far as dump.fm goes I don’t know if it neccesarily revolutionizes Tumblr, but it does provide a faster less categorical version of it. Personally it’s not as fruitful for the things I use Tumblr for which rely on categories, slowness, and the filtering of content.

  • gene

    Meanwhile, he maintains the glimmer of hope that his work will be later used by historians. For this to happen he’d have to maintain the hosting fees for the rest of his life for this to happen, and garner the magical ability to do his best thinking in a vacuum. Clearly the latter isn’t happening — his latest post on painting memes introduces two conflicting concepts in the first sentence — but oh well.

    haha good point!

  • gene

    Meanwhile, he maintains the glimmer of hope that his work will be later used by historians. For this to happen he’d have to maintain the hosting fees for the rest of his life for this to happen, and garner the magical ability to do his best thinking in a vacuum. Clearly the latter isn’t happening — his latest post on painting memes introduces two conflicting concepts in the first sentence — but oh well.

    haha good point!

  • Karen Archey

    Tom, we can agree to disagree that the post was needlessly negative (though Paddy seems to agree with me…), and agree that the panel was vague/undercooked. But for some reason you didn’t weigh in on Paddy’s criticism of Post Internet’s comments-off policy when you too have a blog that no one can comment on. Curious to hear your thoughts on that.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      Only to a point Karen. I also said I would have done it again, meaning I still see the value in sparking a discussion here.

      It seems to me, the more valuable questions have to do with the ones Tom’s tabled, not whether his blog has comments. It’s not like in closing his comments he decided that he would also refrain from commenting anywhere else.

      • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

        Again, the question I have been asking is not whether comments are good or bad, but what is gained by creating what amounts to a gated community (this includes the virtually unindexable url and nearly unlinkable posts). My sense was that Gene was trying to create a blog in which only the people who really cared about the medium would visit it. I have a great deal of respect for Gene’s writing, but in the case of his blog, I wonder whether all these barriers result in a product that’s as solid as it could be. Two posts should follow this one: 1. A repost of Tom’s questions. 2. A critical response to Gene’s latest post.

        • Karen Archey

          Sure, Tom’s questions are great, and they should be digested, but they don’t negate the questions/concerns of others raised here. His isn’t the only brain in the room… After all, “the Internet is a big place”!

          Also my noting that Tom turned comments off on his blog wasn’t to say that he should post anywhere else–certainly he should post wherever he pleases! Rather my point was that he would be an ideal candidate to shed light onto the reasoning why one may have a comments-off policy due to trolls or what have you since you took issue with Gene’s no-comments policy in your post.

          • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

            I think its unfair to say that the concerns of others have been negated here when I’ve responded to almost everyone individually. Certainly it aims to deflect the issue at hand, which as I have stated several times now only nominally has to do with comment policy. If you want to make an argument of authority through a false equivalency between a blog that maintains a no comment policy, no searchable url and no post linking ability to one that simply has its comments turned off, be my guest, but you won’t be talking to me any longer. The original question remains clearly stated: What gains does Gene make with the walls he’s set up?

  • Karen Archey

    Tom, we can agree to disagree that the post was needlessly negative (though Paddy seems to agree with me…), and agree that the panel was vague/undercooked. But for some reason you didn’t weigh in on Paddy’s criticism of Post Internet’s comments-off policy when you too have a blog that no one can comment on. Curious to hear your thoughts on that.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      Only to a point Karen. I also said I would have done it again, meaning I still see the value in sparking a discussion here.

      It seems to me, the more valuable questions have to do with the ones Tom’s tabled, not whether his blog has comments. It’s not like in closing his comments he decided that he would also refrain from commenting anywhere else.

      • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

        Again, the question I have been asking is not whether comments are good or bad, but what is gained by creating what amounts to a gated community (this includes the virtually unindexable url and nearly unlinkable posts). My sense was that Gene was trying to create a blog in which only the people who really cared about the medium would visit it. I have a great deal of respect for Gene’s writing, but in the case of his blog, I wonder whether all these barriers result in a product that’s as solid as it could be. Two posts should follow this one: 1. A repost of Tom’s questions. 2. A critical response to Gene’s latest post.

        • Karen Archey

          Sure, Tom’s questions are great, and they should be digested, but they don’t negate the questions/concerns of others raised here. His isn’t the only brain in the room… After all, “the Internet is a big place”!

          Also my noting that Tom turned comments off on his blog wasn’t to say that he should post anywhere else–certainly he should post wherever he pleases! Rather my point was that he would be an ideal candidate to shed light onto the reasoning why one may have a comments-off policy due to trolls or what have you since you took issue with Gene’s no-comments policy in your post.

          • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

            I think its unfair to say that the concerns of others have been negated here when I’ve responded to almost everyone individually. Certainly it aims to deflect the issue at hand, which as I have stated several times now only nominally has to do with comment policy. If you want to make an argument of authority through a false equivalency between a blog that maintains a no comment policy, no searchable url and no post linking ability to one that simply has its comments turned off, be my guest, but you won’t be talking to me any longer. The original question remains clearly stated: What gains does Gene make with the walls he’s set up?

  • Erik D-H

    Is there really an issue with people randomly finding artist’s websites? Have any artist’s websites ever been trolled by someone other than another artist? Does it even count as trolling if the other person’s an artist too?

    Honestly, there are so few people who actually care enough about contemporary art to read and debate about it online that this whole issue seems pretty silly.

    I guess hiding your home page is a good way to avoid people with only a peripheral interest in contemporary art, but those people are still few in numbers, and only comment on things about Work Of Art anyway.

    • http://www.karialtmann.com Kari Altmann

      I can only answer this with – yes, sites get trolled by people who are not artists. Also I’m not sure if or how this panel really became about “hiding” v. “not hiding,” I think that was mostly the Q&A response to Gene and Lance’s projects?

  • http://erikdavisheim@blogspot.com Erik D-H

    Is there really an issue with people randomly finding artist’s websites? Have any artist’s websites ever been trolled by someone other than another artist? Does it even count as trolling if the other person’s an artist too?

    Honestly, there are so few people who actually care enough about contemporary art to read and debate about it online that this whole issue seems pretty silly.

    I guess hiding your home page is a good way to avoid people with only a peripheral interest in contemporary art, but those people are still few in numbers, and only comment on things about Work Of Art anyway.

    • http://www.karialtmann.com Kari Altmann

      I can only answer this with – yes, sites get trolled by people who are not artists. Also I’m not sure if or how this panel really became about “hiding” v. “not hiding,” I think that was mostly the Q&A response to Gene and Lance’s projects?

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    My going commentless after six years of having them, and whether it has diminished my Net “interactivity” is a very fascinating topic, one that could be the subject of an entire panel! Short of that, please see http://www.tommoody.us/archives/2008/08/28/more-on-harold-rosenberg/ for more exciting stuff about this.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    My going commentless after six years of having them, and whether it has diminished my Net “interactivity” is a very fascinating topic, one that could be the subject of an entire panel! Short of that, please see http://www.tommoody.us/archives/2008/08/28/more-on-harold-rosenberg/ for more exciting stuff about this.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Reply to Lance Wakeling’s question above. I appreciate that you think I could have saved the panel if I had participated more. I did ask several questions. If I thought “print vs web” were a good topic I would have explored it. For example, I usually print out pdfs–I hate reading them on the computer, they are slow and hard to navigate. I hate Adobe, who makes pdfs. But I find that boring and I think others do too. So I asked Brad at length about his blog projects using tumblr. That’s a site many artists I know have been involved with for a couple of years now. I’m interested in how art emerges out of that dynamic sharing process. Remixology, etc–it’s not just “text and pictures”–there’s hardly any text. On dump.fm you can watch how pictures are changed on the fly by artists. Or change the flow yourself in real time. And read the accompanying interlineated chat, which multi-tasks several topics simultaneously. It’s nothing like a magazine!

    • Lance W

      Maybe I wasn’t clear, or you didn’t read my comment; no one is proposing that we talk about print versus web. It’s a tired argument, and I surely wouldn’t say that dump/tumblr/other-nebulous-examples are anything like magazines. You seem to be projecting a set of viewpoints onto other people, which in fact originate with yourself.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Reply to Lance Wakeling’s question above. I appreciate that you think I could have saved the panel if I had participated more. I did ask several questions. If I thought “print vs web” were a good topic I would have explored it. For example, I usually print out pdfs–I hate reading them on the computer, they are slow and hard to navigate. I hate Adobe, who makes pdfs. But I find that boring and I think others do too. So I asked Brad at length about his blog projects using tumblr. That’s a site many artists I know have been involved with for a couple of years now. I’m interested in how art emerges out of that dynamic sharing process. Remixology, etc–it’s not just “text and pictures”–there’s hardly any text. On dump.fm you can watch how pictures are changed on the fly by artists. Or change the flow yourself in real time. And read the accompanying interlineated chat, which multi-tasks several topics simultaneously. It’s nothing like a magazine!

    • Lance W

      Maybe I wasn’t clear, or you didn’t read my comment; no one is proposing that we talk about print versus web. It’s a tired argument, and I surely wouldn’t say that dump/tumblr/other-nebulous-examples are anything like magazines. You seem to be projecting a set of viewpoints onto other people, which in fact originate with yourself.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Lance, tumblr may indeed be nebulous to you, perhaps you should have quizzed Brad about how it works and whether it’s just another version of emailing pdfs. He might have said it isn’t. I admit to injecting my own viewpoints into this vacuum. It’s not projection, though, because it was done consciously.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      I think we’re getting away from the topic here. Everyone agrees the panel wasn’t good. Lance deserves some credit — he was one of the more articulate people on the panel, and delivered the take home thought IMO, which was that print made language physical, and the internet, in its non-physicality, is therefor a closer representation to speech.

      There were too many people on the panel that ended up taking either the “I’ll limit my distribution” or “I want my distribution to reach everyone” but that’s not his fault. Had Lance been asked any of the questions you propose, he would have done a good job.

      The issue is not just that he wasn’t asked, but also, that most of the panelists weren’t very engaged by the topic and this contributed to the problems. The same issue was had on the IRL panel, though thankfully, there was more seating for this event than there was at Capricious.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Lance, tumblr may indeed be nebulous to you, perhaps you should have quizzed Brad about how it works and whether it’s just another version of emailing pdfs. He might have said it isn’t. I admit to injecting my own viewpoints into this vacuum. It’s not projection, though, because it was done consciously.

    • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

      I think we’re getting away from the topic here. Everyone agrees the panel wasn’t good. Lance deserves some credit — he was one of the more articulate people on the panel, and delivered the take home thought IMO, which was that print made language physical, and the internet, in its non-physicality, is therefor a closer representation to speech.

      There were too many people on the panel that ended up taking either the “I’ll limit my distribution” or “I want my distribution to reach everyone” but that’s not his fault. Had Lance been asked any of the questions you propose, he would have done a good job.

      The issue is not just that he wasn’t asked, but also, that most of the panelists weren’t very engaged by the topic and this contributed to the problems. The same issue was had on the IRL panel, though thankfully, there was more seating for this event than there was at Capricious.

  • Maria Pascualy

    Thanks for the recap. I’m on the other coast and this retelling plus the footnotes by the various panelists/commenters was great. A lot of thoughtful people seem to have been
    on the panel. Look forward to more.

  • Maria Pascualy

    Thanks for the recap. I’m on the other coast and this retelling plus the footnotes by the various panelists/commenters was great. A lot of thoughtful people seem to have been
    on the panel. Look forward to more.

  • Ry David Bradley

    I agree with Karen that Gene’s attempt to chronicle something not being adequately or effectively chronicled is all things aside, an immensely valuable context to it’s community and by turns current art production at large. Gaps aside (there are always gaps in writing, that’s what editors are for!!) – it’s lack of gossip and persnickety details is a breath of fresh air in the blog format. I find it to be some of the most effective writing around at the moment. Feedback, if that’s what web based publishing is predicated upon, can and does happen more frequently beyond the site content, as a trickling down the chain. For instance the feedback or reference system for Post Internet may occur here and elsewhere, rather than the limited view that it must occur within it’s own domain. I don’t think Gene will have to pay to have the site continually hosted every year in order for it to remain as a historic record, it should be carried by a larger archival repository, something I’d urge Gene to investigate. Or as Tom suggests, print it for yourself.

    Platitudes aside, it would be great to clarify how best our history be written. I’m not sure if Immaterial Dispersal is a model for any archival, or educative imperative. I guess this is mostly due to my disbelief in the idea of ‘immateriality’ in the first place. It’s a nice idea but it glosses over far too many of the underlying industrial structures that allow this ‘immateriality’ to come into being. Brad’s work is regardless mostly vital to the gallery/internet incongruity. Dispersal is another thing of course, strong enough in Price’s summary on it’s own. It’s important that we document what goes on, perhaps less consciously, but in a manner that can be sufficiently recalled outside of institutions in any case. Failures aside, credit where it’s due. Between them, thes are young people attempting in the face of all detraction to make some real headway.

  • Ry David Bradley

    I agree with Karen that Gene’s attempt to chronicle something not being adequately or effectively chronicled is all things aside, an immensely valuable context to it’s community and by turns current art production at large. Gaps aside (there are always gaps in writing, that’s what editors are for!!) – it’s lack of gossip and persnickety details is a breath of fresh air in the blog format. I find it to be some of the most effective writing around at the moment. Feedback, if that’s what web based publishing is predicated upon, can and does happen more frequently beyond the site content, as a trickling down the chain. For instance the feedback or reference system for Post Internet may occur here and elsewhere, rather than the limited view that it must occur within it’s own domain. I don’t think Gene will have to pay to have the site continually hosted every year in order for it to remain as a historic record, it should be carried by a larger archival repository, something I’d urge Gene to investigate. Or as Tom suggests, print it for yourself.

    Platitudes aside, it would be great to clarify how best our history be written. I’m not sure if Immaterial Dispersal is a model for any archival, or educative imperative. I guess this is mostly due to my disbelief in the idea of ‘immateriality’ in the first place. It’s a nice idea but it glosses over far too many of the underlying industrial structures that allow this ‘immateriality’ to come into being. Brad’s work is regardless mostly vital to the gallery/internet incongruity. Dispersal is another thing of course, strong enough in Price’s summary on it’s own. It’s important that we document what goes on, perhaps less consciously, but in a manner that can be sufficiently recalled outside of institutions in any case. Failures aside, credit where it’s due. Between them, thes are young people attempting in the face of all detraction to make some real headway.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Paddy, regarding Lance’s idea that “print made language physical, and the internet, in its non-physicality, is therefor a closer representation to speech,” a couple of things. That’s the print vs web argument he says we aren’t supposed care about. Agree that a shift back to “oral culture” is interesting in spite of that but this wasn’t a panel about literature. Are images being passed back and forth now somehow “oral”? If they are, then knowing about how dump and tumblr work are relevant, since they are main current vehicles for this kind of rapid exchange (as opposed to treating them as “nebulous examples”).

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Paddy, regarding Lance’s idea that “print made language physical, and the internet, in its non-physicality, is therefor a closer representation to speech,” a couple of things. That’s the print vs web argument he says we aren’t supposed care about. Agree that a shift back to “oral culture” is interesting in spite of that but this wasn’t a panel about literature. Are images being passed back and forth now somehow “oral”? If they are, then knowing about how dump and tumblr work are relevant, since they are main current vehicles for this kind of rapid exchange (as opposed to treating them as “nebulous examples”).

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @Tom – Touche — it is a print argument. Immaterial Dispersal never promised to address images exclusively, though I think that in and of itself would have made a far more interesting panel. Does finding, sharing and manipulating images effect the way we think about them? When does attribution matter? When do online artistic communities benefit without it? Do we care about the long term sustainability of these communities? I would have liked to have seen these questions answered in more practical ways.

    Also, mildly related but, another quote from Johns, “I don’t think you can talk about art and get anywhere. You can only look at it”.

    Johns wasn’t interested in attributing too much deeper meaning to his paintings, so he would say that, but I bring it up because tumblr isn’t really set up for conversation, so maybe those sentiments might have more relevance again.

    This aside, if the internet changes the way artists work with images — and I think it does — I suspect it also changes how we all think about them. That’s a little more meaty topic than how and why they end up in our inbox, feedreader, or facebook.

    • http://karialtmann.com Kari

      These questions would have been very fruitful! They come up in my own conversations all the time so they are definitely things that get talked about in private. I’m sure all the panelists would have had poignant responses to issues like this. I didn’t even bring up archive, brand, or network-oriented projects (like r-u-ins.org) because I didn’t think they were directly related to the proposed topic? I really thought we were supposed to focus on materiality.

      Again I think some stronger moderation and say, a set of specific questions like this beforehand could have resulted in more substance and less nebulous response.

      From what I understand the moderator was acting as more of a facilitator, aiming to provide a space for verbal dialogue among online entities he saw a connection between. In that regard I think there is a positive gesture here – many of us don’t have offline spaces to interact or discuss our experiences outside of social contexts which often don’t wind up in critique. Perhaps it just shouldn’t have been marketed as a panel.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @Tom – Touche — it is a print argument. Immaterial Dispersal never promised to address images exclusively, though I think that in and of itself would have made a far more interesting panel. Does finding, sharing and manipulating images effect the way we think about them? When does attribution matter? When do online artistic communities benefit without it? Do we care about the long term sustainability of these communities? I would have liked to have seen these questions answered in more practical ways.

    Also, mildly related but, another quote from Johns, “I don’t think you can talk about art and get anywhere. You can only look at it”.

    Johns wasn’t interested in attributing too much deeper meaning to his paintings, so he would say that, but I bring it up because tumblr isn’t really set up for conversation, so maybe those sentiments might have more relevance again.

    This aside, if the internet changes the way artists work with images — and I think it does — I suspect it also changes how we all think about them. That’s a little more meaty topic than how and why they end up in our inbox, feedreader, or facebook.

    • http://karialtmann.com Kari

      These questions would have been very fruitful! They come up in my own conversations all the time so they are definitely things that get talked about in private. I’m sure all the panelists would have had poignant responses to issues like this. I didn’t even bring up archive, brand, or network-oriented projects (like r-u-ins.org) because I didn’t think they were directly related to the proposed topic? I really thought we were supposed to focus on materiality.

      Again I think some stronger moderation and say, a set of specific questions like this beforehand could have resulted in more substance and less nebulous response.

      From what I understand the moderator was acting as more of a facilitator, aiming to provide a space for verbal dialogue among online entities he saw a connection between. In that regard I think there is a positive gesture here – many of us don’t have offline spaces to interact or discuss our experiences outside of social contexts which often don’t wind up in critique. Perhaps it just shouldn’t have been marketed as a panel.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    I mentioned “remixology” above, referring to the DJ world and the question of when a mix becomes a “primary” work. I think musicians have been ahead of the curve on these kinds of attribution and sharing issues. Artists have had a harder time relinquishing solo authorship to something iconic, though you’d think after the mustache on the Mona Lisa everyone would be more open to this.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    I mentioned “remixology” above, referring to the DJ world and the question of when a mix becomes a “primary” work. I think musicians have been ahead of the curve on these kinds of attribution and sharing issues. Artists have had a harder time relinquishing solo authorship to something iconic, though you’d think after the mustache on the Mona Lisa everyone would be more open to this.

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