Contesting the Nepticon – description

January on empyre soft-skinned space (you can join the list-serv discussion at http://www.subtle.net/empyre
* view archived discussion from January

Contesting the Netopticon
http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Moderated by Simon Biggs (UK/Australia) with invited discussants Joseph Delappe, Marc Garrett, Davin Heckman, Patrick Lichty, Heidi May, Christina Spiesel and Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead.

Dear empyre subscribers,

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) described an apparatus he termed the Panopticon, intended to condition the behaviour of subjects by disallowing them knowledge of whether they were being observed or not, causing them to fear they were. The space Bentham sought to control was the prison, seeking to replace capital punishment with a penal system focused on rehabilitation. Janet Semple’s study (Semple) evidences Bentham’s correspondence, suggesting an intent to establish for-profit penal institutions based on his Panoptic model.

George Orwell, in his novel 1984 (1949), evoked a state of perpetual government surveillance designed to crush deviation from mandated behaviour, seeking to implant the self-governing mechanism within the psyche of the
individual.

Michel Foucault employed Bentham’s conceptual framework as a motif for social order in an interpretation that has become an intellectual touchstone. In Foucault’s vision, mapped out in his seminal 1975 text “Discipline and Punish” (Foucault), the Panopticon extends far beyond the prison and manifests as a pervasive property of social space and relations, the dark matter of power relations. Continue reading

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Contesting the Netopticon

I’ve been invited to facilitate discussion on a forum this month in relation to the theme “Contesting the Netopticon” – the internet and the metaphor of panopticon. If you can think of any resources in relation to this topic, please let me know below. I am still considering the ideas I will pose for discussion (they will indeed relate to networked identity in some way, similar to ideas explored with/in Postself, but perhaps leaning more towards questions of control in relation to communication and exploration) so your contributions will be very much appreciated.

I will update you on the details once they are confirmed – it will take place between Jan 10-31 on empyre. Click here for the wikipedia description of empyre. 

Basically, it is hosted by Cornell University and each month the list focuses on a distinct theme with a small number of invited respondents posting their thoughts to encourage and facilitate debate. This month’s theme will be moderated by Simon Biggs (UK/Australia) with invited discussants Alison Craighead & Jon Thompson (UK), Davin Heckman (USA), Patrick Lichty (USA), Heidi May (me!) (Can) and Christina Spiesel (USA). I am extremely honoured (and a bit nervous) to be situated amongst such highly respected individuals.

So….
What is important to you when it comes to the internet, personal identity, surveillance, and control? What does Postself made us think about in terms of networked identity? How often do you feel watched when social networking, from someone besides the individual you are networking with? Or, has this sense of surveillance become invisible? At what moments do you think about it? At what moments do you tend to forget about it?

Please share…all ideas are welcome…I do not care about the language you use to express your thoughts…anything goes when brainstorming…

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New Year, New Research Questions

Let’s hope these ones stick…

How can post-secondary art education better reflect and respond to living with/in a network culture?

What are some of the ways that multidisciplinary and networked artists make art and approach pedagogy, and what challenges does this pose for the artists and the education system in which they teach?

How can the teaching and learning of art embrace digital and networked practices while also avoiding technological determinism? And in doing so how might theories of being, which propose the notion of a network as that which enables and exposes social relations, inform an understanding of contemporary art pedagogy?

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What is network(ed) art?

So…the writing and research process continues on…

I have not had the amount of time I would like to focus on this. I have been teaching 2.5 courses this term, all with new content. However, I did present at the International Digital Media Art Association conference in early November and exhibited artwork there as well. I was also informed that my SSHRC proposal made it out of the department for review, so that’s good news. Then there was the writing of 2 papers for presentations I will be doing at CAA in February.

Back to the PhD….
I still have to revise one of my comprehensive exam papers as well as continue to draft my dissertation research proposal. I have a meeting set up in January with my committee and I’m not sure how it’s all going to get done by then.

I have been mulling over the input I received at my last committee meeting in October and am now shifting my research focus (my main questions and approach) back to where it was in the summer, yet still informed by all of the ideas I have done since then. I think I was under some false impressions from my first committee meeting in the Spring when it seemed that I could basically make this all about art, as opposed to education….but now I’ve been reminded that this is an education degree, working from within the social sciences. Thus, I can’t just focus on art and then merely point towards implications for education….so I’m shifting back again in order to refine my methodology more.

I really need a pep talk at this point…and several pats on the back 🙂

Now, this is where you come in — well, anyone who might be reading this who has an interest in networks and art — or, if not, then this will basically exist as a digital archive of my mental brainstorming process…

WHAT IS NETWORK AND OR NETWORK/ED ART?
I have been delving into philosophy and art history to get to a better understanding of the meaning of “network” in art. Now, here’s the longer version of the question:

For the past several months I have been thinking deeply about this. I spent the summer working on comprehensive exam papers for my current PhD program, in which I defined for myself a definition of networked art that I felt was perhaps a challenge to the mainstream notion of “network”. Without getting too much into the literature I based this on (ie. Jean-Luc Nancy), I argued that by using the word network, the Internet itself is predominant over any other associations we might have (see Sack, 2007 on “network aesthetics”) and that if artist educators focus more on what emerges within the relations and processes of a network, such as with Internet art, then we can perhaps gain new understandings of network culture that reflect more the sociocultural aspects as opposed to just the technological aspects. I refer to Fluxus practices, most specifically mail art, and the ideas explored by George Maciunas and Robert Filliou, connecting this to later relational art and participatory art practices. My interests pertain to aspects of what I am calling “relational learning,” thus I see these networked forms of art to be significant…yet not just in terms of individuals collaborating, but most importantly on the emergent knowledge that occurs in these processes. Continue reading

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defining my research > take 2

Processes, Relations, and Situations: Expanding Understandings of Networked Art

My research examines notions of network and learning in the production, dissemination, and reception of contemporary art. The relational aspects of a network are often overlooked in a society that has become dependent upon the electronic information systems of the Internet – the network of all networks. I propose an understanding of “networked art” that is not based on art objects, nor digital instruments, but on the relationships and processes that occur between individuals (Bazzichelli, 2008; Kimbell, 2006; Saper, 2001). Through qualitative research that employs hermeneutic methods of aesthetic analysis, I explore how networked art might make available new understandings of network culture, and what networked art can contribute to ideas of teaching and learning.

Theoretical Framework and Context
Understanding art today requires a conceptual shift away from the aura of the art object, to the encounter with the artwork and an acknowledgement of the social relations produced from this experience (Bishop, 2004, 2006; Bourriaud, 1998/2002). Networked art, sometimes described as participation art (Frieling, Pellico, & Zimbardo, 2008), consists of multiple connections made through generative processes, often, but not always, incorporating digital technology. In many cases, the production and dissemination processes become the artwork itself. Contemporary art practices like networked art share conceptual overlaps with current Continue reading

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poking fun at my predicament

How to Survive your PhD > http://www.theory.org.uk/david/phdtips.htm

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in-between (new video work)

in-between (2010) is a reflection of the visually intimate, yet complex abstract experience we have with the media we encounter and interact with. It is an experimental video that merges still and moving images using a variety of techniques, from painted textures and 8mm film to slide projections and website screenshots. The layered results could be described as a painterly reenactment of how we perceive and participate with media today, the temporal moments of this process, full of remixed glances and repetitive movements. The essence of time is questioned, not only in terms of combining old and new media but in terms of our attention span. The viewer is expected to question the nature of the media forms in front of them, a hybrid of technologies from the past and present.

“Video poets (or as we know them, video remixers) find quality in selecting from pre-existing material, much like poets borrow from their respective literary traditions.” [source]

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defining my research > Networked Art / Networked Pedagogy

Most of my online mullings these days are located over on Postself and FB, but I like using this space for documenting ideas relating to my “research” at large…

I am in the midst of defining a new direction for my dissertation focus, which I intend to be working on towards the end of this year into next year. My expected graduation date is 2012…

I’ve had to narrow things down and really think about what I want to be working on for the next couple of years. Below is a proposal that I’m sure will evolve and change. At this point, I am really open to feedback and comments from anyone who might be reading this…

—–

ped·a·go·gy \ Pronunciation: \ˈpe-də-ˌgō-jē also -ˌgä-, especially British -ˌgä-gē\ Date: circa 1623
:
the art, science, or profession of teaching; especially

net·work \ Pronunciation: \ˈnet-ˌwərk\ Date: 1535
1
: a fabric or structure of cords or wires that cross at regular intervals and are knotted or secured at the crossings
2
: a system of lines or channels resembling a network
3 a
: an interconnected or interrelated chain, group, or system <a network of hotels> b : a system of computers, peripherals, terminals, and databases connected by communications lines
4 a
: a group of radio or television stations linked by wire or radio relay b : a radio or television company that produces programs for broadcast over such a network
5
: a usually informally interconnected group or association of persons (as friends or professional colleagues)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

…..

Networked Art/Networked Pedagogy:
Examining the converging practices of the contemporary art professor

Contemporary art practices share conceptual overlaps with current discussions about pedagogy, particularly those that encourage interactive and collaborative methods of meaning-making. For example, networked art (sometimes labeled as participatory art) consists of connections made through participatory and generative processes, often, but not always, incorporating digital technology. One particular kind of networked art is work made to exist on the Internet. Since its beginnings, the Internet has served as a space for artists to create and disseminate work. The Internet continues to be used by artists critically engaged with new media and social practices. The genre of work produced by these artists is not always specific to a particular medium and the artists’ networked practices are often interdisciplinary.

My research study will investigate how networked art practices affect post-secondary art pedagogy and how pedagogy affects the practices of those who make networked art. Throughout my research I will consider these questions: What happens when an artist who Continue reading

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