Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Biennial is Better Than Yours / ONLINE ART / 2009

"Internet is procrastinating and I can be considered as a living proof: I'd rather surf on the net for hours with no particular reason before getting anything done. William Gibson, the author who invented the term "cyberspace" back in 1981 had a flair for that as well: in THE NET IS A WASTE OF TIME(1) published in 1996, he compares the act of surfing online to "staring blankly into space" and he says: "[I] enjoy staring blankly into space (which is also the space where novels come from)". Gibson also mentions a lack of understanding experienced between him and his wife, somehow comparable to free-jazz or noise music. Few people can actually understand these genres, but my experience tells there are a good number of people listening and appreciating this kind of music without understanding, like enjoying the stars on the sky at night. Certainly, Gibson prefers to patiently download recordings from a Japanese Beatles fan's bootlegs catalogue, randomly browse through "small patches of virtual real-estate" in front of a computer screen and truly enjoys this experience, while his wife would rather go out and take care of the flowers in the garden.

Meanwhile, Hal Foster writes THE ARCHIVE WITHOUT MUSEUMS(2) the same year. In this article, Foster defines "archive" according to Michel Foucault(3), i.e. "the system that governs the appearances of statements" and raises a set of questions concerning potential ways of displaying information online: "Is there a new dialectics of seeing allowed by electronic information? If, according to Malraux [in THE MUSEUM WITHOUT WALLS, the first version of THE VOICES OF SILENCE(4)], the museum guarantees the status of art and photographic reproduction permits the affinities of style, what might a digital reordering underwrite? Art as image-text, as info-pixel? An archive without museums? If so, will this database be more than a base of data, a repository of the given?" (continue)