Between Hype Cycles and the Present Shock

Texts

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as part of the Macro Asilo Diario series, Between Hype Cycles and the Present Shock is an excerpt from a longer, unpublished essay born out of a conference I had in Rome in March 2019, wondering if, and how, art can exist in the present time.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?”

Sortir du désenchantement du numérique

Exhibitions

Curated by Raffael Dörig, Domenico Quaranta and Fabio Paris
From 13 October 2018 to 19 January 2019

More infoExhibition booklet (French)

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.

#noborders

Reading Group

“Rather than being a structured world with borders, for art the net is a border territory. It does not have confines, but rather represents a threshold: a point of encounter and exchange for different situations and cultures. Yet even the net has gradually developed its own filters and points of access, with a series of journals, portals and collections that lend authority to a work or an artist due to the simple fact of having produced it, linked to it or talked about it. […] Yet on the net, unlike in the two highly institutionalized worlds described previously, this credibility is a fragile thing, and there is always the opportunity of commanding the same level of attention as these sites offer (or more), but without going through them. The current dynamics of the Web 2.0, in particular, enable new players to enter rapidly into competition with more established situations. […] One reason for this is that the net lacks various “sanctioning” mechanisms that continue to play an important role in the so-called real world […] surfing the net is basically a private experience, and the socializing it offers is organized in a different way to real life. Reputations are never a given, but constantly have to be earned.”

 

#net.art

Reading Group

“[the internet] elicited growing interest among artists who did not belong to the New Media Art world, and had no connection to its history. Secondly, new generations of artists came onto the scene, artists who would see such a distinction between worlds as pointless, obscure and obsolete. Lastly the internet – not as a medium but as a social setting and public arena – offered itself up as the “art world” for a new “native” artistic practice that is produced, distributed and discussed there: Net Art. Despite its ups and downs, Net Art still represents the main challenge thrown down to the art market on one hand and to New Media Art on the other.”

“right from the very start Net Art stood proudly apart from the two worlds described above, despite having things in common with both. It established itself as a sort of caustic, irreverent end-of-millennium avant-garde, the “novelty” of which lay not in its use of a new medium, but in taking the implicit potential of the information era to extremes, like the avant-garde movements of the Twentieth century did with industrial capitalism. This period did not last long, but Net Art had significant consequences on the artistic use of digital media from then on. It should therefore come as no surprise that Net Art was the first “media art” to arouse the interest of the art world, after the institutionalisation of video and a 40 year long rejection of the “art and new technologies” paradigm.”

Beyond New Media Art

Book

Link Editions is proud to announce the release of “Beyond New Media Art”, by Domenico Quaranta.“Beyond New Media Art” is the revised, updated version of a book first published in Italian with the title “Media, New Media, Postmedia” (Postmedia Books, Milan 2010). Through the circulation of excerpts, reviews and interviews, the book produced some debate outside of Italy, which persuaded the author to release, three years later, this English translation.

“Beyond New Media Art” is an attempt to analyze the current positioning of so-called New Media Art in the wider field of contemporary arts, and to explore the historical, sociological and conceptual reasons for its marginal position and under-recognition in recent art history. On the other hand, this book is also an attempt to suggest new critical and curatorial strategies to turn this marginalization into a thing of the past, and to stress the topicality of art addressing the media and the issues of the information age.

From the book’s preface: “So what is New Media Art? What does this term really describe? And what has occasioned the schism between this term and the art scene it is supposed to describe? And lastly, what accounts for the limited presence in critical debate of an artistic practice that appears to have all the credentials for representing an era in which digital media are powerfully reshaping the political, economic, social and cultural organization of the world we live in?”

Link Editions is a publishing initiative of the Link Center for the Arts of the Information Age. Link Editions uses print on demand and digital formats to create an accessible, dynamic series of essays and pamphlets, but also artist books, catalogues and conference proceedings. A keen advocate of the idea that information wants to be free, Link Editions releases its contents free of charge in .pdf format, and on paper at a price accessible to all. Link Editions is a not-for-profit initiative and all its contents are circulated under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license.