The Non-Standard Head is a curatorial project for A Slice of the Pie, a work by artists Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg open to remote collaboration. Conceived by Domenico Quaranta in collaboration with the Net Art class at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, Milan, The Non-Standard Head sees participants working collaboratively and performatively to design a non-binary, multi-gender, multi-racial, multi-species, post-human, post-anthropocentric human subject. The action will unfold over the course of the day on Dec. 22, 2022 (2-7 p.m.), and can be followed online at a-slice-of-the-pie.live.
More info after the break. Italiano giù giù (°Д°) ლ(° ◡ુ° )ლ︵‿
On October 22, 2022 I took part in a round table hosted by the Uzbekistan National Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, organized and moderated by Silvia Dal Dosso and Giacomo Scandolara, with Andrea Baronchelli, María Paula Fernández and Ryder Ripps. The complete recording is available online, kindly provided by the Art and Culture Development Foundation under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Giga Design Studio. Additionally, an edited transcript of the conversation has been recently made available by Silvia Dal Dosso on Nero Magazine. Check it out!
“Quaranta’s account, which addresses the rise of NFTs and the connections between artists’ recent use of blockchains and historical interventions into art markets, sets a high bar for others that will follow.
So far Surfing with Satoshi is the only book of its kind: an attempt by a single author to weave a motley array of histories—of art movements, markets, technologies, and critiques—into a coherent narrative.”
“His book’s greatest strength is the persuasiveness of his links between blockchain-based art and twentieth-century conceptualism. The historical orientation of Surfing with Satoshi is what makes it durable, despite being written in response to—and during—a specific moment.”
Of course, I publicly apologize with artist and theorist Rhea Myers if I inadvertedly misgendered her. Her work, ethos and life embody so much of what this book is taking stance for. A new run of print will come out soon, and these and other mistakes that readers helped me to detect will be amended.
Elena Giulia Rossi asked me a few questions about the topics of my book Surfing with Satoshi, one year after the first Italian edition, and in the days when cryptocurrencies are falling free and the new English edition of the book is coming out. The interview is now available on Arshake, in Italian and English (translated by the magazine). We discuss about the countercultural aspects of net-based art, the new challenges to the preservation of digital media, the blockchains environmental impact, speculative bubbles and utopian promises. Check it out!
“From Context to Content: On the Preservation of Net-based Art” is a text commissioned for and published in Science and Art: The Contemporary Painted Surface, edited by Antonio Sgamellotti, Brunetto Giovanni Brunetti, Costanza Miliani and published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2020. Science and Art: The Contemporary Painted Surface consists of a series of chapters written together by scientists, art historians, conservators, curators and artists dedicated to conservation, execution techniques, languages and conceptual topics. The book largely covers execution techniques, material’s conservation and languages of artists, representative of twelve different countries, all protagonists of the development of innovative significant techniques and methodologies.
In this recent interview I had for the online magazine Generazione Critica I discuss about the internet as a space of freedom vs confinement, net based galleries and shows, the success and failures of net based art. Available both in English and Italian.
“Like many other realities, in this time of lock-in and fear of human contact, the world of art has been forced to migrate online. Some have been content with putting things on their social media or live streaming on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube, or to further utilise their mailing list as a communication tool; the more adventurous organized online exhibitions, fairs and virtual viewing rooms. All of a sudden, the network has changed, from a place of communication and support to physical space, to the only possible space for the manifestation of art. Given the current circumstances, it was predictable that the artistic practices that had long ago chosen the network as their primary space of existence would find renewed interest. There is nothing wrong with that, a reinterpretation of the net art tradition might prove to be one of the positive aspects of this unfortunate period, and teach to the “non-native” arts something about this space. But describing net art as perfect for this moment of forced imprisonment on the screen and on the net is very dangerous, because it risks falsifying completely its nature and jeopardizing its understanding. For net art, being on the web has always been the consequence of a choice of freedom, not an imposed condition. We choose to make art on the net to explore new conditions, to be part of a community, to establish a direct dialogue with the spectator and with the public space of which we are part. That’s how it was in the Nineties, and continues to be today, but with differences. Think about Land art: it was, and in some ways still is, a refusal of the white cube and its implications, the search for huge spaces, the desire to leave a formal mark on the natural world and to create new spaces for relationships. But if, due to some cataclysm, the whole world of art was forced to leave the museums and galleries, and retreat to the Nevada desert, would they continue in the same way? Would we all become Land artists?”
SOPRAVVIVENZA PROGRAMMATA. Etiche e pratiche di conservazione, dall’arte cinetica alla Net Art è un volume che ho curato con Valentino Catricalà, raccogliendo contributi di Laura Barreca, Laura Calvi, Valentino Catricalà, Alice Devecchi, Roberto Dipasquale, Ben Fino-Radin, Marialaura Ghidini, Oliver Grau, Jon Ippolito, Laura Leuzzi, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Alessandro Ludovico, Dorcas Müller, Stephen Partridge, Domenico Quaranta, Iolanda Ratti, Cosetta G. Saba, Domenico Scudero, Azalea Seratoni, Elaine Shemilt, Gaby Wijers. Già disponibile sul sito dell’editore, lo potrete trovare presto nelle migliori e peggiori librerie.
Sopravvivenza programmata è il tentativo, unico nella sua completezza nell’editoria italiana, di affrontare il nodo cruciale del rapporto “arte e tecnologia” dal punto di vista della conservazione, nella complessità delle sue articolazioni e nel suo sviluppo diacronico. Attraverso contributi ormai classici o redatti per l’occasione, il volume articola le teorie, le etiche e le pratiche della conservazione delle opere d’arte quando applicata a media effimeri, time-based, vincolati a tecnologie soggette a obsolescenza programmata e a infrastrutture dal ritmo evolutivo incessante.
Dall’arte cinetica al video, dall’installazione interattiva alla Net Art, dalle collezioni agli archivi, si sollevano quesiti quali: cosa significa conservare? Chi ne è responsabile? Quali sfide devono affrontare i musei di arte contemporanea? Come si può programmare la durata?
Soon available as part of the Macro Asilo Diario series, Between Hype Cycles and the Present Shock is an excerpt from a longer, unpublished essay born out of a conference I had in Rome in March 2019, wondering if, and how, art can exist in the present time. The longer version includes chapters about net.art’s futurism, post internet’s presentism, precorporation, media obsolescence, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. If you want to read the draft or suggest a publisher, please drop me a line. This shorter version suffers a bit in the last part, but it features one of my favorite chapters, about the end of the future. Hoping it could be a good companion in these days of anxiety and loneliness, I shared it on Academia. Enjoy!
“We know we are living an age that is profoundly different from that in which contemporary art was born: an age of acceleration, present shock, distracted gaze and end of the future. And yet, when it comes to art, we still confront it as if nothing had actually changed. Rather than providing answers, this essay raises questions such as: is it still possible to make art under these conditions, and to experience art as it should? What’s the price we have to pay for engaging today’s media and the crucial issues of our time, in terms of duration and long term appreciation?”
After 25 years of the World Wide Web it has become commonplace that our life also happens in digital communication spaces.
But unease spreads in this digital life. While we’re using products by Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and find them useful and indispensable, we’ve become aware of the dominance of such big players. Their services form our thoughts and commodify the ideas of frienship and exchange. We do not surf the wild web anymore, but are fed with feeds, receiving more and more of the same, based on algorithmic extrapolations of our preferences. With the social media account we rent services, which we pay with our data and attention. With Edward Snowden’s disclosures awareness on the excessive government-surveillence and their link to private actors has also reached a broader public.