Some Brief Notes on: How Post-Internet got lost.

Oct 21st, 2013
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  1. [these are my notes from the panel i contributed to at the #ICAdebate 'Post-Net Aesthetics' on the 17th of October 2013. w/ Harm van den Dorpel, Rozsa Farkas, Josephine Berry Slater, moderated by Karen Archey - also:]
  3. Some Brief Notes on: How Post-Internet got lost.
  5. I’m not an artist but if I were, this would be the work.
  7. Firstly, as has become a commonplace caveat for me when discussing anything relating to post-internet, I'd like to state this is a singular perspective, subjective, told by me based on participation,
  9. there are many other ways this can be spoken about and probably will be today.
  11. Since I only have five minutes or so, I’m going to cram as much content into what I say as possible, which might be annoying and slightly disruptive, but I think it might be useful for carving some parameters or points of contention.
  13. Crucial thing to consider, in order to understand the evolution and early stages of the subject at hand, post-internet, you have to focus on and imagine a different internet, one totally unlike the one we know today. You also have to imagine that there are many internets but that only one has come to dominate today in the present context.
  15. In order to imagine that, know, that before the creation of vvork in 2006 there wasn’t really any contemporary art on the internet.
  17. So...
  19. At it’s inception the post internet condition carried a number of characteristics that we can now posthumously refer back to
  21. //The display of work that doesn’t consider the gallery to be an inside space - but rather a single node in a network of possible spaces or modes of display.
  23. //The use of self branding as a tool for fluid production, that assumes all output - be it through social networks or a public space as a component of the work.
  25. //The ability to decontextualise the work of others (art or non-art) by consuming it into ones own practice, or world.
  27. //Production of work is usually contingent on situation and context, not style or content, message or School.
  29. //As a whole, it recognised the banality of the internet in our everyday lives;
  30. But strategically used the emperors new clothes obsession with ‘digital’ as a force multiplier for its own accumulation of cultural capital and spread.
  33. How were the foundations of post-internet built:
  34. //The early stages of those that gave rise to the term were constituted by a small globally networked community.
  36. //This community was connected through things like; email lists, delicious bookmarking, flickr, surf clubs and later tumblr.
  38. //It built it's own discourse outside of an authoritorial or institutional space and unexpectedly distributed it to a Mainstream audience.
  40. //There was a strong sense of community, that created a degree of personal isolation for the places individuals found themselves in the AFK lives - as a result people started travelling to meet others they were working together with online.
  42. //Most of early post-internet stuff was produced online.
  45. What were post-internet’s blind spots:
  46. //A misunderstanding that implied horizontalism in new communication technologies =/= a complete shift in power relations.
  48. //It tried to reinvent the wheel because it lacked the tacit knowledge of previous generations who had shared similar concerns and worked through many of the pitfalls.
  50. //It created a silo for itself by predicating too much of its discourse on a sociality restricted to the filter bubble of post art school privilege.
  52. //It rejected the maker movement and sincerity of evolving forms of exchange seen in the sharing economy or open source movement to it’s own detriment.
  54. //It mistakenly thought weak ties were more effective than strong ties in building meaning.
  56. Where post-internet got lost:
  57. //The centralisation of the discourse around a specific term.
  59. //It got drunk on followers and likes.
  61. //The material reality of having to feed oneself led to its key proponents taking positions in existing institutions instead of building their own.
  63. //Many artists have chosen to be represented by commercial galleries - and as a result the gallery space has been re-prioritised.
  65. //When every art student on the planet started replicating the aesthetics mistakenly tied to the term post-internet, the golden tickets ran out and it was doomed to premature canonisation.
  67. What post-internet could of meant:
  68. //It could have stayed true to its roots and built on the idea that the network, constituted by human beings and physical places, was more important than the objects derived from it.
  70. //Thus acting to feed the value created by individuals back into that network.
  72. //It could have begun to build a formal understanding of what the aesthetic of a network, with no one single perspective might actually mean.
  74. //It could have bored down into it’s mild concerns with the bias of protocols and the total lack of neutrality in technology.
  76. //It could have continued with conviction the idea of an art with no spectators in a way that was generous and inclusive.
  78. Some of these provocations for a different post-internet to the one that we currently have, might imply that I think art should have a purpose or specific use value - I don’t - but I do think art has options, unlike many other professions.
  80. Now that post-internet is dead, where do we go?
  82. The #NewAesthetic
  84. I like the New Aesthetic, it’s an ugly term no one really wants to be directly associated with and anything that the art world rejects initially on impulse has to be more interesting in this moment than the things it laps up, especially when its able to garner such a large audience elsewhere.
  86. I think James Bridle in this moment acts as an interesting and powerful axis between the art world proper and the other world of makers and hackers; with an intense and sincere concern for the implication of new technologies on our everyday lives.
  88. Digital Dualism
  90. A term coined by Nathan Jurgenson.
  92. "Digital dualism is the belief that the on and offline are largely separate and distinct realities. Digital dualists view digital content as part of a "virtual" world separate from a "real" world found in physical space."
  94. #Stacktivism
  96. A term coined by Jay Springett
  98. Which posits that “we cannot have a conversation about something whilst it remains unseen” derived from Benjamin Bratton’s work on ‘The Stack’
  100. #stacktivism is a term that attempts to give form to a critical conversation & line of enquiry around infrastructure & the relationship we have to it, whilst asking the question “who controls the means of not dying?”
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