Intervista con la New Media Art

Texts

Curato da Marco Mancuso ed edito da Mimesis, Intervista con la New Media Art. L’osservatorio Digicult tra arte, design e cultura digitale è uno straordinario strumento di navigazione e di comprensione della pratica artistica contemporanea nel rapporto con la tecnologia e la ricerca scientifica a partire dall’esperienza dell’osservatorio Digicult. 486 pagine, il libro raccoglie testi critici e interviste di una quarantina di autori internazionali, e segue gli sviluppi della media art dal 2005 ad oggi. Ho avuto il piacere di contribuirvi con una vecchia ma ancora fresca intervista a UBERMORGEN (online qui) e l’onore di introdurre la sezione finale del volume, Culture e mercati. Qui di seguito trovate il mio contributo:

Domenico Quaranta, “Capitolo 10: Culture e mercati – Introduzione”, in Marco Mancuso (a cura di), Intervista con la New Media Art. L’osservatorio Digicult tra arte, design e cultura digitale, Mimesis, Milano 2020, ISBN 9788857569444, pp. 413 – 418

In un testo del 20161, il teorico dei media Jeoff Cox e il filosofo Jacob Lund affrontano la caleidoscopica nozione di “contemporaneo” e di “condizione contemporanea” mescolando vari punti di vista e approcci disciplinari. Il contemporaneo, secondo Cox e Lund, non è solo una categoria temporale (il tempo in cui viviamo), ma anche una categoria esperienziale, che identifica la nostra attuale relazione con il tempo, la storia e il futuro. Frutto di una globalizzazione accelerata, della diffusione del neoliberalismo e dell’influenza delle tecnologie dell’informazione, l’attuale versione del contemporaneo si differenzia da quella dei decenni precedenti. Il contemporaneo attuale vede una coesistenza e un intreccio di temporalità distinte, un “presente espanso” caratterizzato dall’estrema compressione spazio-temporale e dal costante senso di dislocazione prodotti da internet, e dall’esperienza del “near real-time” prodotta dall’interferenza tra il nostro modo di percepire il tempo e il modo in cui lo computano le tecnologie informatiche.

Media, New Media, Postmedia disponibile anche come ebook

Book, Texts

A dieci anni esatti dalla sua prima edizione, Media, New Media, Postmedia, la versione italiana di Beyond New Media Art, è ora disponibile anche come ebook alla metà del prezzo della versione cartacea. Il libro italiano, pubblicato nel 2010 da Postmedia Books, è stato oggetto di una riedizione nel 2018. Ora potete leggerlo anche in digitale, in formato Kindle e epub.

“Nel corso degli ultimi decenni, un complesso corpo di lavori è andato sviluppandosi all’intersezione tra arte, scienza e tecnologia. Negli anni Novanta, con la crescente accessibilità delle nuove tecnologie e lo sviluppo della cultura digitale, questa ricerca è esplosa, conquistando una massa critica di artisti e dando vita a festival, centri d’arte specializzati e a un’intensa attività editoriale e pubblicistica. Nasce la New Media Art. Ma nonostante questa espansione, la New Media Art non è stata in grado di conquistare il mondo dell’arte contemporanea. A che cosa si deve tale scollamento di tradizioni? Perché la critica d’arte ufficiale stenta a integrare la New Media Art nella sua lettura del contemporaneo? Perché il mercato dell’arte fatica ad accogliere software, computer e rete come mezzi artistici? Perché molti artisti rifuggono l’etichetta di New Media Art mentre altri vi si rifugiano, esaltando la sua distanza dall’arte contemporanea? Media, New Media, Postmedia è il primo saggio che tenta di dare, a queste domande, una risposta organica: ripercorrendo le ragioni storiche dell’isolamento della New Media Art, e spiegando perché oggi, in un’era ormai pienamente postdigitale e postmediale, questo isolamento non abbia più senso di esistere.”

The Link Art Center Closes Down. Interview with the Founders

Debate, Texts
Collect the WWWorld. The Artist as Archivist in the Internet Age at 319 Scholes, New York 2012. Curated by Domenico Quaranta

What follows is the English translation (courtesy Google Translate, with some editing by yours truly) of an interview originally published in Italian on Artribune, about the end of the Link Art Center (here the official announcement). Together with my long time partners Lucio Chiappa, Matteo Cremonesi, Fabio Paris, I discuss with Valentina Tanni about the increasing awareness of digital cultures in mainstream contemporary art, media art institutions, collaboration, curating, publishing, and working on all this from Italy…

Valentina Tanni, in Artribune, September 19, 2019

After eight years of editorial, curatorial and exhibition activity, the Link Art Center, a cultural association engaged in the dissemination of new media art, announced its closure. We spoke with the founders – Domenico Quaranta, Fabio Paris, Lucio Chiappa and Matteo Cremonesi – to take stock of this important experience.

Let’s start with the inevitable question: why do you stop? Why now?

Domenico Quaranta: The Link Art Center was founded as a cultural association in 2011, with the mission to foster, at national and international level, a greater diffusion and awareness of the “arts of the information age”. At the time we perceived this mission as a burning necessity. We were spectators of a dynamism of the artists that did not find an adequate response in the institutions, in the magazines, in the market. We had to do something, and we did it. But on this front, from 2011 to 2019, there have been enormous changes, both at the artistic level and at a more general level of society, in Italy and in the rest of the world. Just visit a mainstream contemporary art event such as this year’s Venice Biennale to perceive the scale of this change. Themes that once would have been defined as “digital culture”, such as artificial intelligence, are now on the agenda, and not just in a discursive niche; languages ​​that once would have been defined as “new media”, such as virtual reality, are placed in the hands of contemporary art veterans such as Marina Abramovič or Anish Kapoor.

Exhibition Strategies For Digital Art: Examples And Considerations

Texts
Written in Stone. A net.art archaeology as partially re-enacted for net.art Painters and Poets, Mestna galerija Ljubljana 2014 (curated by Vuk Ćosić & Alenka Gregorič)

Published in: Lorenzo Giusti, Nicola Ricciardi (Eds.), Museums At The Post-Digital Turn, Amaci — OGR — Mousse Publishing, Milan 2019, pp. 177–198. Buy the book here

The aim of this contribution is to contest itself — or, rather, its title. It is to demonstrate that, at the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, we have reached an evolutionary phase in the so-called digital arts in which there is no longer any point hypothesizing about whether it is necessary to develop specific exhibition strategies that may facilitate public presentation in the display spaces of contemporary art of works that make use of digital media in their production or distribution, and/or make reference to the themes, aesthetics, and procedures that have emerged alongside digital media. [1] Further radicalizing the matter, this text sets out to show that today, the “problem” with digital art lies in the very use of this term, and in the artificial logics of merging (of works and artists that have little or nothing in common) and of segregation (from the rest of contemporary art) that its use reflects, and at the same time contributes to maintaining and consolidating. [2]

Art numerique: un art contemporain

Texts
Exhibition View, Hito Steyerl, Hell Yeah We Fuck Die at Kunstmuseum Basel Gegenwart 2018 / Photo: Marc Asekhame / Courtesy: Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

Written for and published in: Documents — Collecting digital art — Volume 2–2007–2018, Les presses du réel, Dijion, November 2018. Preface by Florian Bouquet and Marie-Claude Chitry-Clerc. Foreword by Valérie Perrin. Texts by Cécile Dazord and Domenico Quaranta. Co-published with the Espace multimédia Gantner. English — French, ISBN: 978–2–37896–019–3.

“Today, one must struggle, not — as Greenberg did — for the preservation of an avant-garde that is self sufficient and focused on the specificities of its means, but rather for the indeterminacy of art’s source code, its dispersion and dissemination, so that it remains impossible to pin down — in opposition to the hyperformatting that, paradoxically, distinguishes kitsch.” i

Digital art (at the time, mostly identified as Computer Art) came about in the early Sixties as an artistic response to the emergence of the computer and digital media, and as an articulation of one of the most interesting moments in the history of contemporary art — the one that, as it is widely recognized, shaped the contemporary art world and the very notion of contemporary art as we know it. In the effort to go beyond the Art Informel / Abstract Expressionist esperanto, that dominated the previous decade, artists started to look back at the Avantgardes, and to build upon that part of their legacy that was left discarded by the artistic movements active between the two World Wars: their attempt to merge art and life, to bring art everywhere and to make it with all the available means, thus rejecting the traditional media of modern art and experimenting with all available media, either borrowing them from other artistic fields (such as theatre) or from the world of industrial production, mass communication or technological innovation.

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.

Media, New Media, Postmedia. Introduzione alla seconda edizione

Book, Texts
Cover image: Jon Rafman, Tokyo Red Eye (massage chair), 2015. Photo: Thierry Bal. Image courtesy of the artist

Media, New Media, Postmedia è stato scritto tra il 2008 e il 2010, per aiutare prima di tutto me stesso, l’autore, a venire a capo di quello strano conflitto tra mondi dell’arte di cui facevo, e faccio tutt’oggi esperienza quotidianamente, nel mio lavoro di docente, critico e curatore; per metterne a fuoco e spiegarne le dinamiche e le motivazioni profonde, per studiarne e illustrarne gli sviluppi storici, e per indicare una via d’uscita possibile. I mondi dell’arte a cui faccio riferimento sono il mondo dell’arte contemporanea “mainstream”, con la sua popolazione di artisti e professionisti e il suo paesaggio di musei, gallerie, biennali, premi, fiere, riviste; e il mondo della cosiddetta New Media Art, messo a punto tra gli anni Sessanta e gli anni Novanta del Novecento per ospitare, sostenere, nutrire, discutere, valorizzare e conservare la sperimentazione artistica con le nuove tecnologie in una fase storica in cui queste ricerche erano, con poche eccezioni, ignorate dal mondo dell’arte. Il conflitto è, ovviamente, quello relativo al posizionamento di queste pratiche artistiche, in un momento — la svolta di Millennio — in cui, complice l’esplosione della rivoluzione digitale, il mondo dell’arte ha cominciato finalmente a riconoscerne la rilevanza e l’urgenza culturale.

New Media Art vs Mainstream

Debate, Quote

For those who want to see the war of worlds in the making, an interesting debate is taking place this month on the CRUMB mailing list. The discussion responds to a recent review of the book Art And the Internet (Blackdog Publishing, 2014), written by Pac Pobric and published on the Basel edition of The Art Newspaper. Pobric blames internet art for “provincialism”, and writes:

“Artists have been making work on the internet for more than 20 years, but it is scarcely seen outside of small circles. It is virtually nonexistent in galleries and museums, and is seldom for sale at auction. Because the work operates at the margins of the art world, it lies in the suburbs of cultural conversation. Few artists break into the mainstream, and those who do rarely take the internet as their primary interest—Seth Price is a good example.”

If you don’t subscribe to the list (which is recommended), it’s pretty hard to lurk in, so I add here a direct link to the online archive for June 2014.

Below a couple of catchy quotes:

“The ongoing mainstreaming of new media art has many benefits, not least of which is to engage a new generation of artists and curators with the intellectual toolkit of art historical methodologies (and vice versa.) But something is being lost when new media art is denied existence as a legitimate or discrete subject; when it is assimilated into the art world only one-by-one as “contemporary” artworks and not studied as the collective tangled mix of media/artworks/technology/theory/industry/practice/community that it is.” Richard Rinehart

“We should not be frustrated by ignorant articles of people writing for the Art Market, which has other interests. Over the last fifty years, media art has evolved into a vivid cultural expression. […] We therefore should not stop communicate, that digital art is able to deal with the big issues of our time, all thematized on festivals and meanwhile 200 biennials all over the world. We should not count on the art market, but we should remind our tax financed museum system (in Europe) that it is their job, by law, to document, collect and preserve the relevant art of the time.” Oliver Grau

#afterart

Reading Group

“if recognizing that we are living in a postmedia era is just a starting point, the integration of the art formerly known as New Media Art into the contemporary art world is, again, only the preliminary phase of a broader reconfiguration of art worlds. The continental drift has begun. When it will be over, we will be probably able to understand what the word “art” will mean in the new millennium.”

#future

Reading Group

“Historically the New Media Art world filled the gaps between one creative arena and another, between arts and science, arts and technology. This was its mission, its destiny. Reducing it – or as is often the case seeing it reduce itself – to a niche in the contemporary art world, is not only unjust but also historically unfounded, and the same goes for considering it – or seeing it consider itself – an incubator for industrial research. Yet the conceptual model introduced by the term “incubator” is an apt one: like a business incubator, the New Media Art world has to act as an incubator for the other, more solid art worlds, creating the ideal situation for the development of advanced, risky, financially unsustainable or aesthetically challenging work, and subsequently enriching those arenas that, not out of conservatism but due to their very characteristics, would have nipped it in the bud. The New Media Art world can potentially generate the energy that powers the other art worlds, giving their respective “ideas of art” a radical evolution. While for Shigeko Kubota video was a holiday for art, New Media Art can be the childhood of art, or its spring.”