Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Discussion



The discussion event on Friday 27 July was a great success and well attended despite clashing with the Olympics ceremony. The sun shone and tea and beer was served alongside Alice Eikelpoth’s delicious carrot cake and biscuits iced with the words ‘WHAT DOES YOUR SCREEN SMELL LIKE? Thank-you Alice!

Philip Elbourne took charge of the proceedings and an intense debate ensued; at which point a fearless large black rat popped its head out of the drain right in the centre of us all and lightened the mood.


Artie Vierkant’s The Image Object Post-internet

Louis Doulas’ Within Post-Internet, Part One

Gene McHugh’s Post-internet blog

Mark Hutchinson’s Painting in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Phil’s Questions/discussion points:

In contrast to mechanical reproduction, painting produces unique objects, marked by the labour of the artist. In contrast to digital reproduction, it produces a substantial, material surface. Paint has unique qualities…

The bias towards the surface of the screen, nudges artists towards exploring different types of bodily shock effects.  The relationship of the body to the computer screen after all is different than that of the body to the physical painting in space

These cybernetic relationships create a desire for clicking, scrolling, and following—dynamic motion premised on sifting through an accumulation of data rather than gazing for very long at a single pattern of light

Artists after the Internet take on a role more closely aligned to that of the interpreter, transcriber, narrator, curator, architect.

Some of the subjects that came up for discussion were:

Phil Elbourne’s solo show on Ruben’s phone.

Nothing is in a fixed state: i.e. everything is anything else. Does ‘immaterialised’ necessarily mean ‘equalised’?

Attention as currency: has it always been, how do we deal with this? Is power held by those who present things as worthy of attention?

The internet is more ‘real’

A performative viewing process?

‘Hanging out’

Artist defined by the choices they make – i.e. indistinguishable from consumer.

Noise: the white cube versus the blank page.
Specific questions:

Jeff: Someone recently said of your paintings that ‘One of the reasons your paintings appear to keep updating themselves is that in the face of our increasingly ‘virtual’ world of the digital, your very real and tangible painted surfaces of bubbles (read pixels), pipes (read optical fibre cables) and montage scenes (read computer windows opened together on a single screen) are keeping Painting ahead of the game.’ Are these elements of your paintings conscious mimicries of digital phenomena, and if so how do you tackle the ‘perversity’ of depicting the immaterial in a very material way?

Anna: Your work examines the notion of the party. ‘Amassing energy, collecting, grouping in order to improve, impress, alter, intimidate or overwhelm. Events devised by, with and for groups of people deal with the invitation as concept. The following rhetorical formula is tied up in the work: to achieve a celebration - to celebrate an achievement.’ Is it fair to say that both your medium and your subject matter are people? So how does your work interact with the internet, a medium that fosters isolation?

Tom: Coming from a gallery point-of-view, have the ideas of ‘ubiquitous authorship’ and ‘ubiquitous ownership’ affected the way galleries operate? Traditionally, a curator or gallerist, as a single voice, in their choice of what to show, defines what’s ‘good’, which is usually a cultural object clearly authored by an individual or small group. Now, images and ideas cannot be ‘owned’ exclusively.

Thank-you to everyone who came and joined in the debate. There were no solid conclusions made by the end of the discussion. The group all seemed to believe there was some role to be played by the internet in viewing art. Some people thought it was a better place to view it, being able to get even 'closer' than you ever would in 'reality', while others said they would not want to exchange the experience of seeing, feeling, hearing and smelling art in the flesh for the pixelated representation on the screen.

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