Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Task 2 Context of Practice Part 1

Based on in-class readings and discussion, write a minimum 500 word precis of the text (Text Reading: Blais, J. and Ippolito, J. (2006) At the Edge of Art, London, Thames and Hudson, Introduction, pages 7 - 13.) summarising the main points, and using short quotations from the text as evidence for points made. 

Different forms of life are now being referenced to as 'Art', but these people are refusing to be classified in this way, 'Though they may call themselves scientists, activists, or entrepreneurs rather than poets or artists, many of these visionaries are playing the roles of Dante or da Vinci.' This is reflected further by the terminology they use throughout this essay to describe themselves, ‘research affiliate’, ‘scientist’, ‘hacker’, ‘activists’, ‘entrepreneurs’ or more specifically a ‘utopian entrepreneur’, ‘visionaries’, ‘culture worker’ or an ‘artworld outsider’. The closest they get to describing themselves as artists, is when it is more of a seriously taken art form or name such as ‘artist-engineers’, ‘creator’ or a ‘designer’.' Some now are choosing to 'appropriate' the term artist, such as Joe Davis, as it is easier to get funding for projects involving new technologies if described as a science rather than an art. 

Many of their practices could be described as conceptual pieces of fine art, such as how bacteria such as E.coli reacts and even dances to jazz music, breeding ecosystems of computer viruses, where 'in an age when technology seems increasingly to have a mind of his own, art offers an important check on technology's relentless proliferation.'

In their essay they stated that 'Art may be temporarily out of place, but society needs to make a place for it. Because society needs are to survive.' Which is true, as the text leads on to describe new events being set up in art gallery style places, but by removing the term 'art' it attracts a different sort of audience whom may never have appreciated their work before. 'Though they may call themselves scientists, activists, or entrepreneurs rather than poets or artists, many of these visionaries are playing the roles of Dante or da Vinci,' who made significant advances in how we understand the human body scientifically but transferred those skills artistically.

Which then leads to their comparison between art and a virus, conceptually quite different things, but in this context they do hold many similarities, such as ‘discern remarkable parallels to the actions of antibodies. Like antibodies, digital art often perverts codes, arrests normal operations, reveals latent information or meaning, executes instructions, triggers mechanisms to recognize it activity, and perseveres in memory.' The main difference between the two however, which they have discussed before hand, is the nature in which society and people engage with it. 'Yet it may seem outlandish to suggest that art of the Internet age is as important to the social body as antibodies are to a biological one,' there are many similarities metaphorically which prove that this may be the case, whichever term you wish to class art under.

'If we look at how digital art function in our society, we can 'I act as a virus against the commercial world. Art is a virus... Others resist me, I don't resist them. A virus doesn't have to defend itself, art doesn't have to defend itself - it attacks, and if necessary it also kills...'

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