There’s a feature article on Rhizome this week that does a great job of extending ideas I wrote about in 2001 to contemporary artists working in response to current internet/network culture. Ten years ago I was making and exploring art video that challenged our relationships to television and media culture, particularly the impact of televisual experiences on our psychological being. The article “Life Feed: Webcams, Art, and People” by Brian Droitcour provides an interesting overview of current artworks that explore psychological aspects of our personal relationships with the world wide web. The author acknowledges the history of video art — Vito Acconci’s Centers (1971); Richard Serra’s Boomerang (1974) — and Rosalind Krauss’s writing on the “aesthetics of narcissism” in relation to current work by Marisa Olson, Ryder Ripps, Guthrie Lonergan, and Petra Cortright in advance of a current exhibition by Jeremy Bailey and Antoine Catala.
Tag Archives: internet
Contesting the Netopticon
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
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
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.
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…
Lately this blog serves as a place for me to start some sort of articulation of ideas about art/ media projects…specifically ones that connect to larger themes I am exploring about digital art practices and pedagogy. I’m interested in how people are using technology, how they are producing things that say something about our relationships with technology. I am of the mind that we can learn from artists….that artists can reveal things that others can not see or perhaps do not realize in the same way. Within my own work I am critical of technology, yet I intentionally use the technology…hopefully addressing tensions that exist…a desire to be both with and without it and our inevitable dependency on “it”…the struggle for a harmonious relationship with “it”. I think we have to be careful of “it”…we need to be in charge of our own filters. As McLuhan stated in 1969, we need to recognize that technology is in fact an extension of the human body, an extension of ourselves. We need to see ourselves in the technology….but I’d rather we be in charge of how we go about seeing our reflection, rather than “it” being the one in charge.
I saw We Live in Public a couple of weeks ago and although I immediately knew it was a film relevant to my conceptual meanderings on this blog, I chose to let it stew in my brain for awhile before commenting. I’m still unsure what to think….so I guess I’ll just use this post to think out loud/ in public about some things…. Continue reading
Perhaps by applying user terminology to our experiences with the internet we are setting ourselves up to be ‘used”? Does it also place more emphasis on physical vs. psychological acts of being? When we hear the word ‘use’ do we first think of the physical, concrete world over an imagined reality? Language can hold us back from meaningful understanding, thus meaningful creative responses to those understandings…How might our understanding of these experiences and ourselves change if we were to call ourselves ‘participants’ and ‘players’ acting on or within rather than ‘users’ or ‘subjects’ of the digital world…
Questions are more interesting than answers. I think this is the case for all artists who incorporate any kind of conceptual pursuit into their work. In a similar line of thought, the dialogue that emerges following a critique is often more interesting, and definitely more in-depth and revealing, than the critique itself.
Yesterday I skimmed over a book review on Rhizome for Digital Folklore Reader, a new book edited by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied. The authors seem to explore ideas I am considering within my own work, however, I can’t decide whether to fork over the money to have it shipped to me from the UK. I went back to the review today and saw that a new comment was posted by a fellow reader. The comment inspired me to actually read the full review. Through the questions posed by this commentator, I became much more engaged with the review itself because I was encouraged to develop my own thoughts about the content of this book. Read the book review and my commentary here >