{ brad brace } on 25 Feb 2001 18:48:49 -0000

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<nettime> Questions for "15 Minutes" (fwd) Sep 1999

On 26 Sep 1999, ARTspeak & WAA wrote:

> Dear Brad - Please answer the following questions for the 15 Minute interview
> for October - 
> 1. Tell us about your first exposure to the internet?  

Many people can claim earlier dates than me; not sure it matters-much; it
merely depended where you happened to be living and which technological
resources you happened to have access-to. So, I guess it was mid-80's
text-based mailing-lists, although I was/still-am very interested in BBS
and FidoNet earlier/still -- and Ham-Radio and Fax-lists and Phone-Art and
Pirate-Radio and Artists' Publications/Multiples and Community-TV and
Streaming-Media... any kind of independent delivery system. More is very
often accomplished with less. 

> 2. What changes have you witnessed since first using the internet, and what
> does the future hold for art and technology?

Aspects of net-technology fall-in-and-out of fashion. I still think Usenet
is an ideal system for exchanging imagery; I'm a little mystified why more
creative projects don't make use of it. Many people have stumbled-onto my
12hr-project through the <alt.binaries.pictures.12hr> newsgroup (and
others). I suppose there was a greater sense of camaraderie when the net
was unix/text-based and everyone collectively struggled with the same
problems toward a similarly-common acceptance. Now, even HTML-laced
gibberish on mailing-lists seems maddening ;-)

Very few people saw what the Net would become; few paid it any heed, with
the very pleasant result of unrestricted (for the most part), unimpeded
development. I still remember 'communications-professionals' earnestly
insisting that the Net was merely a short-lived fad like CB-radio.
Thankfully, the 'experts' didn't see it coming... the Net is major Media
without overbearing Network-Monopolists. The internet provides an audience
for creative pursuits that would be rigorously denied by centrist art
institutions. If you're the slightest bit 'uncooperative' with artworld
powers you'll never be granted any (meagre) 'rewards;' the only reason
artist-victims are drawn into this skewed scheme, is that the artworld
acolytes have for so long denied other 'invalid' options. It's really just
a big pyramid scheme with no substantive prize anyway... the only people
who benefit are those swallowed-up by the Institutional Beast: the
artworld-acolytes, the curators, the administrators, the gallerists, the
incestuous art-'academics,' the arrogant, bitter,
wannabe-artists-turned-critics...  perpetual artworld-lapdogs all. 
(Institutions may have their place, but Not in art-- of all places.) When
"new technology" comes-by they inevitably clamber all over themselves in a
rush to be the first to package this 'newness' for the Beast -- bring on
the petty collegial rewards, and suck-up every drop and hope of vision and
poetry.... by merely showcasing the latest technological products and
fashionably validated 'critical theory.' Art is All that Cannot be

> 3. Do you consider the internet an art medium?  Why?

I think the internet, despite all the new buzzwords: 'net-art,' new-media
art,' 'web-art,' 'electronic-art...' has further reduced the claims of
big-A-art classifications. The last thing true creatives want to produce
these days is something that might be instantly designated as Art. There
is no link that could move from the visible to the statement, or from the
statement to the visible. But there is a continual relinking which takes
place over the irrational break or crack. The Net is primarily a

> 4. Share some of the positive and negative aspects of using technology in
> artistic expression.

'Pixel-stirring' is often a welcome counterpoint to usual physical-media
concerns -- and, in most cases, the gallery/museum is effectively
little-more than a photo-studio for the work's subsequent dissemination
anyway. Reproduction technology is part-and-parcel... 

VRML still seems an especially hard-nut with its integral connection with
military applications and vacuous architectural pre-determination; the
medical aspects seem promising... And there's some potential lurking in
those 360-degree panoramas with 'hot-spots/links' into other views... (I
know there's fancier-shit.)

> 5. Why do you feel the internet is a good forum for displaying work like your
> conceptual photography? 

It's durn-near perfect! Can you imagine an art-gallery staying-open 24
hours a day for worldwide visitors and changing the displayed photo every
12 hours? I think my imagery is more poetic than conceptual. 

> 6. Your site's minimalist approach to web design is refreshing and attractive.
>  What are your feelings about "heavy" web media like shockwave, java,
> JavaScript, etc?

Accessibility is key -- bandwidth is still a big issue in most of the
world; my site began as an FTP-site. It's still Lynx-friendly. Like many
early homepages, mine still begins with a picture of me, standing-on my
front-porch... how radical! ;-) The initial intent of independent media
are embodied in the concept of the homepage -- they're worth recalling. 
Some portions of the Net are striving to provide a TV-like experience.
Plug-ins can be disruptively exasperating. I think about using
Flash/Director/Java... but I haven't been able to work-up much enthusiasm
for having things fly around the screen... something will occur to me
eventually I suppose. I _am interested in 'particle art:' basically the
algorithms used in digital-film-effects to describe organic conditions
like fog, smoke, fire, water, etc. That kind of inherent randomness
_within a simulation is intriguing somehow... 

> 7. As the end of the 20th century approaches how do you see artists
> contributing to society?  What should artists be doing now?  

Art's not important -- it really isn't... and that's paradoxically why it
_can be... unleashed, it can silently (st)reach around the globe and
infiltrate histories.  What might matter is the way in which it can gain
brief and corollary significance... unfortunately art-institutions know
this all too well and position themselves accordingly.  Fifteen minutes
for you and everything else for the entrenched expert-hierarchy. The Net
continues to illustrate just how antiquated that privileged notion is... I
think the 'profession' of Artist... well, it's already something of a
misnomer... will all but disappear. (How many art-professors can make a
living doing what they presumably teach? How many hundred-thousands of
basically-worthless MFAs are sold to upper-middle-class artist-victims?
Why does art-academia cling to inadequate, outgrown curriculum?) Later-on
we'll still be interested in artworks but morely likely because we want to
know more about and perhaps live-with a physical trace from someone we
respect in the world...  someone with whom we have some connection. 

The 12hr-ISBN-JPEG Project                >>>> since 1994 <<<<

+ + +         serial           ftp://ftp.eskimo.com/u/b/bbrace
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+ + +     continuous       ftp://ftp.teleport.com/users/bbrace
+ + +    hypermodern      ftp://ftp.rdrop.com/pub/users/bbrace
+ + +        imagery   ftp://ftp.pacifier.com/pub/users/bbrace

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