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Re: <nettime> On the state of net art
Florian Cramer on Wed, 4 Dec 2002 20:11:50 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> On the state of net art


Since many people responded to me off-list, I should write a postscript
to my posting.  Everyone seems to have overlooked that the
correspondence between John Berndt (a Neoist and experimental musician
from Baltimore) and LLoyd Dunn (editor of the Mail Art/anticopyright
zine PhotoStatic/Retrofuturism and member of the Plunderphonics
collective Tape-beatles) was taken, to quote myself...

> From: PhotoStatic no. 37/Retrofuturism no. 10, August 1989
                                                        xxxx

There's of course no point in denying my prankish intentions. Still, I
didn't alter the wording of the original correspondence, but only
bracketted out parts which referred to non-digital media (such as audio
tapes and print magazines). 

By the late 1980s, the term "Network" (via Robert Filliou's coinage of
"The Eternal Network") had largely overcome the older label "Mail Art",
thus embracing all kinds of fringe activities and (to use a term by Inke
Arns and Andreas Broeckmann) "small media" which mainly circulated via
personal snail mail.

Practical proofs are book titles like "The Magazine Network" by Géza
Perneczky [1991] or "Networking Currents" [1986] and "Eternal Network"
[1995] by Chuck Welch. The whole range of pre-Internet network culture
comes better across, though, in Ivan Stang's book "Heigh Weirdness by
Mail" [Simon & Schuster, 1988] and in back-issues of the review zine
Factsheet Five, or, respectively, the book "The World of Zines" compiled
by Factsheet Five editors Mike Gunderloy and Cari Goldberg Janice
[Penguin, 1992].

So it's perhaps not too accidental that internal debates on "network
culture" and "network art" from 1989 could be easily recycled into
contempary net culture/net art discourse.

-F


Another postscript concerns McKenzie Wark's Nettime review of the Ray
Johnson exhibition and his mention of the COPY LEFT | COPY RIGHT in
particular. In my private archive, I found a 10-volume Mail Art edition
published in Zurich in 1985 under the title "copy-left, work in progress,
pornographic - erotic - body art". The cover emblem is a 
copyright sign flipped horizontally:

                  -,xxxxx
              .xaWQM9HWH9Q###Q&x_
           .d###?^ .xxxxxx_  "9Q#Nx
          dQ# {AT} " d###QQQWMWQ#b_  '9WQ&,
         xQ#?` }## {AT} ^      '##A,   ?Q#b
        W#Q~   '?Y         <####   `Q#$
       j##b                aQ###    ###
       ]##P                ]Q###,   ###r
       W##[               }D####^  ]W##~
        M##,  4#Qa,       ]O###"   .#P~
         9Q#h, Y#QQbxxxxa8QQP"    Q##^
          "9##Ax-'???"??"??"   ,d##P
            'Y#Q###bxxxxxxxxxaQ##Y`
               `""?Y#QQQQQQQY??^


[Enlarged detail, converted into ASCII Art; I put the original scan
online under
<http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~cantsin/copyleft-mail_art.jpg>.]

-- 
http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~cantsin/homepage/
http://www.complit.fu-berlin.de/institut/lehrpersonal/cramer.html
GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3200C7BA, finger cantsin {AT} mail.zedat.fu-berlin.de

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