[-empyre-] glitch device/divide

Paul Hertz ignotus at gmail.com
Wed Dec 21 02:17:58 EST 2011

Fleeting observations, re: materiality and Modernist continuities in New

Can we assign New Media a particular stance vis-a-vis physicality? It seems
to me that along with constant diffusion and elision of definitions, where
we're always adding something as "also NM" or skipping over something as
"not yet NM," we have a constant tension between technotopian /
essentialist positions and materialist / embodied positions. Cyberpunk
offers something of both, DIY material with imagery of "wetware," as though
mind were reducible to computation, and even transportable to other media
as information. I may fall on the material / embodied side by preference,
but this mushroom has two sides, as Alice discovered.

The Modernist project, not just in Greenbergian essentialism (just one
formulation of the avant-garde, after all) continued in NM at least in part
because certain sectors were "protected" from postmodernists critiques, off
in technolandia, where experimentation with tech was identified with
avant-garde action (think of the history of SIGGRAPH, for example, and
other events outside the art world mainstream). In that sense,
postmodernist critique of NM is overdue. OTOH, NM did discover great
sheaves of formal invention that computation made possible, from chaos
theory to a new semantics based in code/algorithms. You may disagree (the
art world certainly never saw computation as inventing new forms), but I
would say that these new formalisms are still entering the lexicon, both as
visual culture and as symbolic entities.

That latter practice, the symbolic use of form, also squares with
Modernism. But then, to say "post-modernist" is in a sense to admit that
Modernist practices are so ingrained that we may not even be aware of using

fleeting, becoz I must catch a bus to the countryside of Toledo, Spain.


-- Paul

On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 11:38 PM, jonCates <joncates at gmail.com> wrote:

> im now in the 1rst day of my guest micro.blog'n for Mark Amerika's
> remixthebook project (0) && about a week away from the date that Patrick
> suggested that i should start to make a few specific contributions to this
> discussion. as a result i am continuing to think/feel thru the biomechanics
> && biomechanicalRythmns of these discourses
> the semester has just concluded @ The School warez i teach the topics
> we're discuss'n. times like these open up sum space for academics like me
> && mayhaps also for others on this list. mayhaps this will present sum
> opportunities to return to certain aspects of the discussion +/or continue
> the convo in new waze...
> 01 such topic i wanna continue/return to is a position described by Rosa
> when she wrote, in her recent post on Glitch Art as a genre, the following:
> "This reflexive approach to materiality in glitch tends to, as Katherine
> Hayles would assert, re-conceptualize materiality itself as ‘the interplay
> between a text’s physical characteristics and its signifying strategies’."
> (1)
> Rosa, this is great! thnx for bringing these points into the duscussion,
> offerining these defns/positions && for applying N. Katherine Hayles this
> waze. if we follow these defns/positions then could we then set out a
> conceptual framework/ scaffolding which would incl:
> if New Media Art is non-medium-specific (but rather constructed
> technosocially as consisting of pluralities, i.e. 'media') && Glitch Art
> (as a genre) self-reflexively addresses materialities as dynamic + not
> 'nonphysical' but rather not-only-physical aspects of various media
> then could we ask questions about Modernist (or even 'super' or
> 'hyper'-Modernist) formalisms in New Media Art && in Glitch Art? so could
> we bring these questions to those Glitch Art projects which foreground
> pattern-making +/or places primary emphasis on (domesticated[?]) glitch
> aesthetics +/or are composed of technologically-determined/essentialized
> approaches to systems, etc... (&& also, is this mayhaps @least part of what
> you meant Julian [or mayhaps Rosa in response to Julian] about 'gl1tch'?)
> but also, would a problem arise in this continuum of glitch/Glitch Art/art
> moment[um]s that in using this defn/position we would risk running a
> convient escape from those self-same problems of formalisms that trouble
> the genre/histories? +/or is this an inclusive continuum of moment[um]s
> that allows for flows thru these various forms of of
> formalisms/materialities to complicate them self-reflexively (as you
> suggest Rosa) + insinuate them in technosocial contexts as (a) part of
> (their) materialities before/as/after they break on (our) shores?
> which brings me to this about the formalisms + rltns to other materialist
> impulses: Nick Briz, Evan Meaney + others incl'n myself sumtimes
> contextualize Glitch Art (in gen) + their own Media Art Histories &
> Genealogies (in specific) in rltn to sum previous moment[um]s such as
> Structuralist Film, Nam June Paik's projects (i.e. Magnet TV) + (the often
> invoked/ever inspirational) JODI, to name just a few. these examples are
> all variously considered materialist/or even formalist @ times by various
> Media Art Histories scholars + Media Art critics. as Briz goes on to say
> about these genealogies: "Just like Brakhage painting colors on clear
> celluloid, a hacker punching 1's and 0's into a file to invoke broken
> shards of colorful pixels exposes the digital medium for what it is. In
> this way glitch art is like experimental film." (2)
> so then, a question to all yawl invoked above, are these impulses in
> Glitch Art expressions of essentialist beliefs about/desires for materials,
> medium-specificity + meaning? +/or do these approaches confront Modernist
> essentialism by de-materializing 'materiality' within a technosocial
> context?
> "or another way of approaching these questions, discourses + hystories +
> Paik in particular comes to us transmitted across spacetime as txt from
> Martha Rosler:
> "Many of these early users saw themselves as carrying out an act of
> supreme social criticism, criticism specifically directed at the domination
> of groups and individualized epitomized by broadcast television and perhaps
> all of Western industrial and technological
> culture... Not only a systemic but also a utopian critique was implicit in
> video's early use, for the effort was not to enter the system but to
> transform every aspect of it and - legacy of the revolutionary avant-garde
> project - to redifine the system out of existence by merging art with
> social life and making audience and producer interchangeable." (3)
> later Rosler begins the section titled Part III: Myth w/the following
> line: "At the head of virtually every video history is the name Nam June
> Paik." (4) she continues discussing Paik positioning him in terms of the
> creation of his [patriarchy-reaffirming/hystoricized/technosocially
> constructed + elevated] mythic status as father of Video Art. this is a
> deeply intertwingled section + should be read in the context of the entire
> essay rather than excerpted via the cut-n-paste operations i could perform
> here. in her closing section, the Conclusion, Rosler brings her previously
> developed hyperthreads into a tighter + tighter weave @ one point writing:
> "To recapitulate, these histories seem to rely on encompassable (psuedo-)
> transgressions of the institutions of both television and the museum,
> formalist rearrangements of what are uncritically called the "capabilities"
> of the medium, as though these were God-given, a technocratic scientism
> that replaces considerations of human use and social reception with highly
> abstracted discussions of time space, cybernetic circuitry, and physiology;
> that is, a vocabulary straight out of old-fashioned discredited formalist
> modernism" (5)
> ...i am a deeply interested in  + excited by various new media myths +
> technosocial fantasies while attempting to apply self-reflexive forms of
> critique + analysis to these discourses)... i could go on... but instead i
> will end + press send while remembering recursive digital ghosts haunt new
> + old media moments alike..." (6)
> // jonCates
> 0. https://twitter.com/#!/remixthebook
> 1. [-empyre-] glitch device/divide - Rosa Menkman (2011)
> http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/2011-December/004619.html
> 2. Wikipedia as quoted by Briz in his:
> Glitch Art Historie[s] (contextualizing glitch art) - Nick Briz (2010)
> http://www.nickbriz.com/glitchresearch/Glitch_Art_Historie_s_.pdf
> + then re:versioned/updated in:
> Glitch Art Historie[s]: contextualizing glitch art -- a perpetual beta -
> Nick Briz (2011)
> in the GLI.TC/H READER[ROR] 20111
> http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9054646/GLI.TC%3AH%2020111%20READER%5BROR%5D.pdf
> 3. Video: Shedding the Utopian Moment - Martha Rosler (1985/1986)
> 4. ibid
> 5. ibid
> 6. Re: [-empyre-] archiving - jonCates (2005)
> http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/2005-February/msg00087.html
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

-----   |(*,+,#,=)(#,=,*,+)(=,#,+,*)(+,*,=,#)|   ---
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20111220/4322f79b/attachment.htm>

More information about the empyre mailing list