trip dixon on 16 Feb 2001 15:39:00 -0000

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<nettime> UserViewer object/artist?? and the user-viewer:

>>just in consideration of what Josephine Berry and Josephine Bosma have 
>>been commenting around the constructions/ definitions/ histories of 
>>, I couldn't help but put finger to keyboard... 


Somewhere between the expansion of early 20th Century film, television in 
the 1950's and the use of video in the 1960's, artwork that was created for 
viewing on the TV screen, or similar projection became comprehensible as 
film or video art. This artwork did not require any technological 
understanding of the medium itself to view it, nor an knowledge of the 
devices to view it.  The act of viewing could simply the theatre-style eyes 
forward in anticipation of what is occurring in front of them.  This 
image-information feeding process was very much an extension of the physical 
viewing body of painting, reading, or music listening. The increased popular 
understanding of installation work and performance in the 1960's and 70's 
helped the theatre-style viewer to become more of a participant, a part of 
the work in execution. But in the 1990's a new method of artistic creation 
lead to the development of a whole new viewer.  A more technologically savvy 
viewer was required to learn the processes of a machine and its system of 
operation before viewing the next art: the This viewer is the 
user-viewer: an individual that is required to use a system of hardware and 
software in order to view the artwork presented in front of him or her.

A user is a sender-receiver of information between him/herself and the 
machine with which s/he is communicating.  The viewer is still the 
information receiver of images and still the participant in the work, but 
s/he need not be educated in the method of receiving information. The 
user-viewer is one who critically observes and participates within an 
artwork that requires both technological user interactivity, and viewer 
interpretation.  The user-viewer is the critical, observational, 
sender-receiver of artwork that has been called

There has been no other time where the viewer of art has been required to 
have access to, and know the basic methods of using mechanical-electrical 
equipment in order to view an artwork such as  It is not the simple 
process of plugging in and turning on of a device, such as a television, in 
order to access the work.  Equipment must be on, the mechanical devices of 
the mouse and keyboard must be present and functional.  The user must know 
that one must speak and listen to the electronic device of the computer 
through the combination of keyboard, mouse, screen and speakers.  The 
computer is a whole new piece of personal communication skin and appendages. 
  The computer is the extension of a physical and cerebral method of 
communication that allows us to interpret information by video-mechanical 
selection.  We have the capabilities of interaction, and feedback, which 
lets us choose a route of possibilities that will affect the experience of 
viewing artwork.

So what? So we've created an art that is technologically dependent and 
accessible only by those fortunate to find and learn how to use the tools 
that are necessary to view the artwork.  This can be considered as a 
method of continuous self-referencing, through its obvious limitations of 
image-illusion-physicality rendering. Net-art does not exist without the 
user-viewer, although the user-viewer does exist without The 
user-viewer must be conscious of his/her own machine.  S/he must be made 
more aware of the structures, limitations and possibilities that lie within 
the machine and its software, and this can be done through, 
interface art, hacker art, or CD-Rom art. We are friends with our machines 
and good friends get to know each other, to sit with patience and say, "I 
love my computer."  Or, as in the case of all those including jodi, "we love 
your computerů"

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