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Telematic Embrace:
Visionary Theories of Art, Technology and Consciousness
Roy Ascott, Edward A. Shanken (Editor)
University of California Press, 2003
464 pages
ISBN: 0520218035

Edward Shanken begins with an excellent, clear and concise introduction (until p.95).

Messy notes as follows (from introduction):
p. 82 "Youngblood reiterates the ethical responsibility of artists to utilize telecommunications in a socially constructive manner, but is sceptical of how early telematic artworks merely repeated what had become common commercial practices "A communications revolution is not about technology; it's about possible relations among people." he observes, arguing that this revolution has the potential to invert extant social relations, transforming the centralised, hierarchical structure of geographically discrete nations into one of decentralised, but politically significant communities, defined by "consciousness, ideology and desire." However, Youngblood warns: "The pretension has been that something done every day in business and industry and by subscribers to computer networks, or employed every evening by network newscasters, becomes special because artists are doing it. In fact nothing is revealed that is not already given, obvious, routine - indeed, already politicised by commercial contexts." (Youngblood 1986, 9).
According to this line of reasoning, the artistic use of telecommunications is "special" (i.e., art as opposed to nonart) only if the media are employed in a way this is not "done every day in business and industry," and therefore "given, obvious, routine, ...[and] politicised." One could argue, however, that in its nascent stage, even the most mundane use of telecommunications in an art context could have altered the codes of significant meaning. By shifting the context from commerce to art, telematic artists have altered the codes of signification that apply to the dialectic example of this artistic strategy."

p.83"Robert Adrian has also addressed the important process of decentralised exchange, expressing scepticism about the ability of artists to alter the form of telematics, while asserting confidence in their capacity to impart significant content to computer networking. "It is in the ephemeral immediacy of the exchange that the meaning of the work exists," Adrian writes, noting, however, that "the network implicit in the use of such systems ought not to be seen as originating with the technology but rather as the refinement of an existing network" of decentralised artists (Adrian 1979). In other words, the structure of computer networking remediates extant relationships between artists."

last update: 4/20/02010 15:48

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