Monday, July 12, 2010

Violence and Anarchy in the WWW

It's no accident, I'm sure, that the initials of "wild, wild, west" are "www."

As I've hinted at before, I'm beginning to strongly believe that the Internet is the repository and/or physical expression of the collective consciousness of humanity. As such, it would undoubtedly reveal our collective human personality which, if history is any indication (and what else would be?), has long been defined mostly by our penchant as a species for violence and anarchy.

After some consideration of this subject, I am pretty sure this penchant is driven by covetousness. We want what they have. Even if what we have is sufficient for our needs, very human urges drive us to want that over there as well.

Show us something unclaimed as of yet, and we'll risk life and limb to rush in to plant our flag, piss all over it, and declare it part of our domain. Of course, some of us are braver than others in that department. Early adopters, early explorers, early invaders blaze the trails that others will pompously stroll through later, plotting and surveying as if imposing control on it were part of their birthright...but it's those early days of violence and anarchy that concern me most immediately. Again and again, this cycle of exploration, creation, destruction, re-creation (you know, it's like art-making) pushes history forward. Just as soon as one part of the universe is conquered, we'll discover another big wide open frontier, teeming with danger and beauty and riches beyond the imagination.

Of course, a certain, bold brand of adventurer will find this new potential irresistible and set off, caution to the wind, to find what's out there. Whereas others will sit back and fret, wringing their hands over the uncertainty of it all. Both are human, but they are not the same.

These frontiers, these wild places, in my opinion...they represent the edge where
humanity truly progresses...where our best and worst combine, where thinking advances in conjunction with destruction, where the new vital metaphors are forged, where what we must look like from afar and what we have the potential to become swirl together in that vortex in which we truly thrive.

This frontier-seeking tendency is preferable to our control-seeking fallacy, in my opinion. It's messy and violent, I know, but it's so grand in its ambition, so horrific in its voracity, and, by all evidence, perhaps even genetic in its inevitability--it makes me both mortified and immensely proud to be human.

Oh, and there's this too.

Labels: art viewing


Anonymous Gam said...

in biology it is on the boundaries of biospheres that the most rapid inter breeding occurs. The frontiers of flux where the boundaries coexist and intermingle. Evolution takes tentative steps here, the paradigm shifts happen dramatically when the biospheres encounter drastic change in their support structures.

As mentioned in the vid, without a center, can there be a periphery? The two are mutually beneficial, mainstream and the edge.

What worries me with the current fascination with "participatory" art , - interactive art, is that there is a tendency towards creating tools, or the conditions for making art, instead of creating actual art. People may feel they are being creative, where as creativity is the deliberate accidental usage of the tools. The co-mingling of the frontiers where intent and discovery coexist, informing each other. Our current participatory art tends towards using the tools to predetermined (random?) ends. Don't get me wrong, I love the works of London Design Studio Random International, but they too seem to tend towards tool design in my opinion.

Art seems to have always been about the threshold between the conscious and the unconscious. The interaction being there, in the give and take of those realms.

Maybe the frontier is just a moebius strip that we haven't perceived yet.

7/12/2010 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Stephen Truax said...

The final link in this post seems to contextualize "Violence and Anarchy in the WWW" in terms of the MOMA, at least tangentially, and I would like to respond as such:

MOMA as an institution is to be commended for its adaptability and nimbleness in the acquisition and exhibition of works outside the traditional cannon, what @Gam refers to as "actual art."

MOMA's Marina Abromovic exhibition, their acquisition of the @ symbol, and their work in social media -- not just on Facebook, but consider the LIVE feed coverage of the Abromovic exhibition, and the social media explosion that it caused on closing day -- is exactly what the premier US-based modern/contemporary art institution should be doing.

I see the new interest in participatory art and the world wide web, or "the wild wild west," not as a imperious colonization of the contemporary art world, and certainly not a "control-seeking fallacy." It is a commendable attempt to be at the forefront of contemporary art and an art-historically-sensitive response, as a major institution, to how art HAS changed in the last 40 years. Glen Lowry seems to be precisely the pioneer Winkleman is asking for, the "bold brand of adventurer" he, as Director, should be.

7/12/2010 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

If you heard the Ann Temkin talk at Harvard almost two months ago, you'd have a better understanding of Lowry's talk. The MoMA is undergoing a shift from canonical, era based presentation to something more, well, modern.

They are fighting against this:
You can be a museum or you can be modern, but you can't be both- G. Stein.

7/12/2010 06:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

This text rings true (and a little depressing) but part of me overwhelmingly wishes that there is an "out there", a something, a God, a reasoning, that can come up sometimes against it and say "You've got it all wrong!!"

Why aren't we able to love each other equally? Why must there always be a poster boy (or poster girl)?

Cedric C

7/13/2010 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This version of creativity sounds a lot like colonialism.

7/14/2010 12:05:00 AM  

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