‘Meaning is unbounded, and since art is an intentional act, present in all art.’
An excerpt from an article published by rchoetzlein.com which, summarises and compares New Media Art in the form of technique and concept through execution and the diference between technique and meaning.
Julie Mehretu, Defractions, 2005
Speaking of Jorinde Voight…. I wrote about a show she, Marius Watz, Casey Reas, Julie Mehretu, Emma McNally, Julius Von Bismarck, etc etc etc were in at Gund Gallery called Seeing/Knowing. It ended at the beginning of March, but you can still see all the work @ the Gund Gallery Website
Here is the text:
Increasingly, we are becoming more aware of an interconnectedness across our society that informs all things. We no longer take objects or ideas at face value but instead consider their distributed origins and combinatorial histories. We are more aware of complex networks of shared information and how those networks inform the synthesis of art, culture, history and even ideas. Society itself is a massive decentralized network where streams of data are processed into information and transformed into knowledge.
In the show Seeing/Knowing curator Natalie Marsh explores how this sudden awareness of networks and information affects how we experience thought or knowledge. What does it mean to ‘see’ knowledge? We experience ‘information’ as a thing that we distribute, collect and consume and as such it has indirectly given ‘knowledge’ a material, and thus visual, existence. Thought or knowledge, however, is not just some thing, but a distribution of variously sized or shaped objects across a variety of networks, systems, maps or grids.
Works such as the carnivalesque sculptures of Nathalie Meibach appropriate weather data which the artist translates into information in the form of musical notation. It is then amassed into a complex of weaved reeds and brightly colored beads and wires. Mark Lombardi’s graphite on paper scrawls plot out the connections between financial networks in primitive looking yet still complex data visualizations. Data is processed to be represented as pockets of information that culminate into an expression of knowledge.
In contrast, Jorinde Voight’s symphonies are divested of representation and are formally expressive in and of themselves. They communicate their musicality in their haywire, yet fluidly complex appearance. Similarly, the maps of Emma McNally contain galaxies of clustered dots culminating into dissipated images that contain no definitive point of referral. Systems of points congregate into higher order constellations that vibrate between impending dissolution and creation. In much the same way, the abstract images of Julie Mehretu are visual contingencies, imminent displays of disparate elements that culminate in panoptic metroplexes.
These artists do not visualize any evident data sets but rather actively manifest the movement and distribution of information. It is genotypic thought on the cusp of generation.
In a statement quoted on the Gund Gallery site artist Matthew Richie speaks to the ‘indissoluble’ link between information (content) and form. As abstract or strictly formal as these works may be we see knowledge deconstructed and spread out across a network. It is art work that is conscious of its own efforts to construct knowledge out of constituent blocks of information. Building blocks that are not simply containers but aggregations of data inseparable from how they are represented. They suggest the potential and propagation of thought as the elements on the canvas cohere.
This unrealized yet strongly implied sense of movement especially appears in the generative work Grid Distortion by Marius Watz. The aberrations in this case visualize the emergence of new objects arising from a fixed grid. The parametric limits of the grid itself evolve along with its disruptions as if to represent ‘something from nothing’. form is represented as a substance for possibility. Thought as the distortion and evolution of inorganic material into a living thing.
Process 18 by Casey Reas animates the movement that is implied in many of the aforementioned works. Here, there is the random, yet intended, painterly canvas of a generated work governed by an underlying coded structure. As rule-based as these realizations are they remain surprising and unpredictable. And as in the distortions of Watz’ laser cut plywood that fixed system does not suppress meaning or possibility but rather enlivens each in its morphogenesis.
As spread across a network we see information in the constant in-between-state of dissolution and resolve. This is not to suggest either a destruction or teleological embodiment of thought but on the contrary thought or knowledge as only existing in an indeterminate complex of ever-moving information. The randomness inherent in this tangled interconnectedness is a supplement to human intention that results in possibility. We see knowledge or thought as it occurs rather than the results of that that knowledge or thought. It is knowledge and thought in perpetuity. Julius Von Bismarck’s and Benjamin Maus’ Perpetual Storytelling Machine explore this in a more physical manner by creating an endless illustrated narrative constructed entirely out of patent drawings.
Through vast networks and arrays of information, knowledge and thought manifest themselves as higher order representations of distributed data constructs. These representations appear due to the complexity that occurs from the massive confluence of disparate, various building blocks of material. They harmonize, perhaps in a way that appears random but regardless results in something meaningful. Thought, however, has always been the meaningful processing of data into knowledge. We have simply become hyper-aware of that construction and it has augmented how we experience and understand art, culture, history and ideas themselves.
As the title of the show suggests, in this exhibit we are seeing knowing. We are in the constant act of seeing knowledge or thought taking shape or formalizing. In some cases these works capture that act of formalization while in others there is the simulation or realization of that process. Which is exactly what knowledge and thought are: indivisible divisibilities forever in the process of taking shape.
Oh look! Another self-submitted page to stumbleupon! of “art” relying on blatant willful ignorance of “science” and “technical” terminology for it’s legitimacy.
Have you considered welding? I think we’d all benefit from your cataracts.” —
This is my favorite comment on a blog post, ever. From this article:Breaking The Fifth Wall: A Visual Essay On Human Perception—In GIF Form
Freud is out, Facebook et al. is in. For example, we try things that seem self-expressive using media that can give us quantified feedback, and only when the results come back do we decide whether what was expressed was “true”.
This article is smart. I think we are, truly moving more and more towards a society that identities the self via collections of data (even usurping photographs as something unreliable), however –
It’s important to see this as a potential red herring in the same way French literary theory (aka pseudo-philosophy) is. We can’t assume that “data” as theory is all encompassing and that it can completely encapsulate some hitherto unrealized higher truth about the self. Our new age of “data” has the danger of pseudo-philosophizing math, science, numbers, etc.
We have to be careful not to lose the human element when it comes to data collection, data visualization, etc. We have to be careful not to let things like Facebook’s Timeline simplify us by giving it too much credit.
You can’t capture the elusive human element via its deconstruction into discrete packages of data from an identity that emerges from a complex of human experience after it has already been organized into a single entity.
I’m not talking about some silly “spiritual” element, but something that is just too complex to parse.
Data collection and visualization can serve an important function and express a lot about a person and who they are. But we have to remember that it is not the entire picture. I guess, the same way a photograph once was able to/is still able to.
The assumption is that by letting Facebook capture and process everything, a more reliable version of the self than our own memory can give us will be produced. As the post’s title suggests, the UI has “soul”; you do not. Or, as a subheading in the piece claims, life should be seen as having a UI. There is no direct experience of life; it’s entirely a data network that we need mediated for us. In one of the more disturbing hubristic-techie quotes I’ve read in a while, one of the designers tells us what Facebook Timeline lets us do: “You gently consume time.” Rage, rage against the dying of the light, etc.
Battle Royale with cheese
What is wrong with you people? You’re all so cynical. You don’t smile, you smirk.
- Megan, Mad Men Season 5 premiere” —Probably one of the best, and most important, lines from this entire god damn show. Extremely applicable today. Although it foreshadows a hopeful shift away from the ubiquitous cynicism that has completely destroyed our culture.