Some days ago, Slovenian writer Pina Gabrijan sent me a few questions for an article about Aksioma‘s series of conferences and seminars Tactics & Practice, that have been taking place for ten years. It was a good chance to discuss about time and technologies, the recent history of digital culture and media art, automation and hyperemployment, and of course NFTs. The article is now online in Slovenian, and the English Q & A is available below.
(Italian below) I’m happy to announce that my latest book, Surfing con Satoshi. Arte, blockchain e NFT (Postmedia Books, 2021) is now available in Italian on Amazon with a pre-sale discount, and will be soon available in bookstores. Non-Italian readers may have to wait a bit for an English version, but hopefully they may enjoy a few materials I made available on this website: a short English abstract, a translated index of the book, and a complete bibliography with hyperlinks. Now, let’s switch to Italian…
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.
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?
The full version of my long essay (or short book) “Between Hype Cycles and the Present Shock” is now available on NERO, in a beautifully designed webpage. You can read it online or download it as a 40 pages, ready to print pdf. Enjoy!
This text is an attempt to understand if, and how, art can exist in the present time. 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: as if it were the sacred result of moments of deep focus and concentration; as if it could still be experienced without distraction; as if it were the expression of a constant fight against the old, and of an endless rush towards the new; as if it could speak a universal language, and last forever. But it doesn’t.
Rather than providing answers, this text 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?
Although these considerations apply to all contemporary art, I use contemporary media art as the main area of reference, as I think most of the problems I’m outlining are more visible there, and more radically affecting the art that uses the tools and addresses the key issues of the post digital age. The essay addresses sub-topics such as primary and mediated experience, the end of the future, Futurism vs Presentism, art’s relation with art market dynamics and technological hypes, art’s incorporation in the art system and in mainstream culture, obsolescence and media art preservation, the difficult relationship between artistic practices and media hypes (with a focus on Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence).
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?”
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.
Paddy Johnson, “Is New Media Accepted in the Art World? Domenico Quaranta’s Media, New Media, PostMedia”, in Art Fag City, August 30, 2011.
Do institutions and galleries have a growing interest in New Media? Two weeks ago, I identified the art “internet bubble” at The L Magazine, a trend that’s currently giving new media the spot light. Not everyone sees new media the same way though. Domenico Quaranta, an Italian writer and curator previously best known to this blog for “Holy Fire“, a dubiously themed new media exhibition in Brussels that included only “collectible” work, being one such example. Quaranta’s followed up the 2008 exhibition by writing a whole book on the subject of New Media — “Media, New Media, PostMedia” — one core theme being that the field isn’t accepted in the contemporary art world. ”New Media Art is more or less absent in the contemporary art market, as well as in mainstream art magazines,” he writes in his abstract, ”and recent accounts on contemporary art history completely forgot it.” Go on reading…
Régine Debatty, “Book review – Media, New Media, Postmedia“, in We Make Money Not Art, August 27, 2011.
“It’s not every day that i feel like recommending a publication to anyone interested in new media art. No matter the depth of their involvement with new media art, no matter their degree of expertise. Whether you’re a student, an academic and someone who curates or collects contemporary art and is ‘just curious about new media art’, Media, New Media, Postmedia is one book you ought to read. The catch is that, so far, the book is available in italian only. The abstract i butchered above as well as the list of contents are available in english online. It’s not much but it should give you an idea of the breadth and tone of the publication. Media, New Media, Postmedia is a brave book, one that might ruffle a few feathers sometimes (but oh so elegantly!) The publication gives a carefully researched overview of the state of the ‘new media art vs contemporary art world’ debate, navigating deftly between opinions and ideas. As far as i know Media, New Media, Postmedia has no equal in english and i do hope Quaranta looks for and finds a publisher who will be willing to translate it.” Go on reading…
On Wednesday, March 23, at 2.30 PM Domenico Quaranta will present the book Media, New Media, Postmedia at the prestigious ENSAD, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris.
Au cours des dernières décennies, un corpus étendu et complexes de pratiques s’est développé, à la croisée de l’art, la science et les technologies.
Dans les années 1990, avec l’accès grandissante aux technologies et le développement de la culture numérique, cette recherche a explosé et conquis un grand nombre d’artistes: le New Media Art (dit aussi “art numérique”) est né. Pourtant, malgré cette diffusion exponentielle, l’art numérique n’a pas été capable de conquérir le monde de l’art contemporain. Quelles sont les causes de cette exclusion? Un contraste de traditions? Le refus obstiné de la part de la critique officielle à intégrer ces pratiques dans l’histoire de l’art? à l’incompatibilité entre ces formes de création et le marché de l’art?
Le critique et commissaire d’exposition italien Domenico Quaranta accepte le défi et, dans son livre Media, New Media, Postmedia, qui vient de paraitre en Italie, il esquisse une série de réponses à ces interrogations. En critiquant une définition de l’art basée sur la nature technologique des oeuvres, il présente une panoramique international de ce débat actuel et discute les enjeux de l’art à l’âge de l’information.