net-art author and reader positions
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Colin Post
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:43 am    Post subject: net-art author and reader positions

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Hello Craig, Murat, et al.,

I just wanted to chime into the discussion by pushing our notions of
what constitutes the author and reader positions in net-art. Craig,
you've articulated one author-position as a kind of
clockmaker/writer-of-the-network into which the reader steps as another
player in the protocols of the network. You've certainly also
problematized and qualified this position—often the artwork will parody
or serve to demonstrate the strictures of the net; the network may also
work against the author's intentions as messages drift or spread,
perhaps a counter-logic of the net that the author had not anticipated
beginning to take over.

However, I also wanted to think of ways that we might qualify or
problematize the position of the reader. What are some works that enable
the reader to claim authority/authorship? Are there works that encourage
the reader to break or work against the intentions of the net (I'm
thinking of much of Heath Bunting's work), even if only in a stance of
parody. Is breaking a net-art work (hacking it, dismantling it, rooting
out holes in the established protocol of the work) a valid means of
engagement? As networks increasingly engage non-human actors, is the
position of a single (human) reader more and more marginalized?

I don't have any ready answers for these questions, but wanted to
stimulate discussion in the direction of thinking about the reader/user
position. There has certainly been a wave in art historical criticism
the last couple decades to think about reader-reception. I think this
critical stance is especially applicable for net-art, but I wonder if we
need to develop a whole new set of critical-analytical categories to
talk about reader/user/viewer experience of net-art.

Thanks for a great start to the discussion.

Best

Colin Post
Doctoral Candidate
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
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Craig Saper
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:35 pm    Post subject: net-art author and reader positions

Hi Colin et. al.,
[trying to assuage the listserv automated routing that this post is not “suspicious” (as it continues to mark all of my responses with that warning) at the same time I am arguing that deciding on “suspicious” materials is part of the reader-function, a kind of OCD-detective trying to know if the net-art is worth it.
Picking-up on your suggestion that we might need to develop "a whole new set of critical-analytical categories to talk about reader/user/viewer experience of net-art” — we might include in that list “electracy” (a puncept that combines electricity, electronics, literacy, illiteracy, and trace) and p-bot (a suggestion of the non-human "person-bot,” and, in contemporary slang, a term for someone who seeks control). Colin mentions Heath Bunting, and his work intervenes in the public systems of control and management — to tell us, for example, on how to escape from Bristol UK in case of a environmental catastrophe (with links to air pollution statistics, for just one example) — Is Bunting the reader (if we argue that Heath is a reader, then it impacts our notion of literacy, reading, and allows for an openness to literacy [my term under erasure might cause the listserv to mark my note as “suspicious” and prevent it from going through — as it has for at least three of my posts — So, it functions as a reader/censor).

Colin, you can see why my preference is to mark the usual performer-author function as a reader to intervene in conceptualizations about literacy. You ask is it is "a valid means of engagement?” And, that could be stated as does it have value, is it “worth” pursuing (or in German/French/Spanish is it rentable). You also wonder that "As networks increasingly engage non-human actors, is the position of a single (human) reader more and more marginalized?” In that scenario, the reader becomes analogous to a translator, musician, and transposer sometimes — although the bot-net-art the bot-as-reader is serving the function of an archivist, curator, transposer. — sort of a Uber-librarian and compiler.

Instruction #6
Net-Worth

In much of the discussion, and especially in Colin’s articulations of the situation in terms of readers, the issue of net-art’s value (Is it profitable or worth the effort to read it — nevermind write it — is it rentable (which is something we might say in German, French, or Spanish, but in English it sounds like we are subletting access to the network): is the network rentable? With readers renters in net-art, net-worth, and access-economies, reantders weigh the net-works’ imagined value: is it worth it? is it rentable or condemned?

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Craig Saper
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:35 pm    Post subject: net-art author and reader positions

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Murat Nemet-Nejat
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:38 pm    Post subject: net-art author and reader positions

Hi Colin,

"As networks increasingly engage non-human actors, is the position of a single (human) reader more and more marginalized?"


A more dystopian, and in my opinion realistic, vision  would be if the "non-human actors" were humanized. In one sense, human means familiar. Therefore, we may feel comfortable speaking to androids, starting to "feel their pain." I think, inhumanity, in the sense of distance, either in the work or the reader, is essential in any "parodic" art. The Spiritual Life of Replicants to some extent explores this issue.


Let me give an current political parallel to make my point. For me, it is almost impossible to imagine a more alien, therefore "inhuman," being than Donald Trump (who in his total narcissism is by definition alien from his surroundings) to be the president. In the last few weeks, we see the population getting gradually accustomed, therefore comfortable, to the idea of his becoming president (even though people see him also as a fascist). That is a precursor to humanity adopting itself to an algorithmic network.


These are just a few thoughts on the spur of the moment.


Ciao,

Murat
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