Josephine Bosma on Tue, 26 Oct 1999 00:03:39 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> How to experience

This is a rewrite and loose translation of a text by the Dutch writer
Gerrit Komrij on 'How to read poetry'. 

No matter in which way we approach, the world of the
'watcher' or audience is full of traps. A few examples:  Never ask a
net.artist what he means by a certain work. That is as stupid as wondering
when seeing a painting 'what it is supposed to represent'. If the
net.artwork would mean something else then what it shows, it would be
another net.artwork. In addition to this a net.artwork can have different
meanings and connotations to various viewers. Also a net.artwork can mean
-this- now, but it can mean -that- after five years. One can never
definetely 'grasp' a net.artwork.  A net.artwork has a dynamic content. 
Never admire a net.artwork because the net seems so well played. Or the
visuals are so good. Keep remarks like these for a violin or a landscape. 
Also never say a net.artwork moves you aesthetically. That kind of
language you should save for a visit to the hairdresser or manicure. 
Never try to draw wise lessons from a net.artwork. Schoolmasters do not
agree with, eventhough some schoolmasters have been net.artists by
mistake. Net.artists often do not understand the world at all. They can be
as stupid as their audience.  Net.artworks understand everything.  Never
think that a net.artwork, like a net.artist, lies shamelessly.  There are
no lies in cyberspace. The world can be square in a net.artwork,
mediatheory can be an orange and grass can be blue.  Never be fooled when
you read the words 'me' or 'I' in a net.artwork.  The maker of a good
net.artwork always means someone else by them, even when talking about him
or herself.  Never pressume a net.artwork is clear and understandable. It
would be better to have another look at it in that case. When a
net.artwork seems perfectly simple and cristalclear, even then it remains
incomprehensible how the net.artist got it this simple and cristalclear.
That is: if it is a good net.artwork.  Never assume a net.artwork is dark
and incomprehensible. Even when you do not understand a byte from it, even
if it is as obscure as the night in terms of its segments, there is always
a level at which you understand it. That you understand it is a
net.artwork for instance. That is: if it is a good net.artwork.  Do not
wonder if a decentralised net.artwork uses its network well, as you should
never ask yourself of a non decentralised net.artwork why it is not
networked. That is totally futile matter. Every net.artwork is full of the
network. Associations, alliances, codes, thefts, breaks, even the stand
alones, it is all networking in disguise. Think with all figure of code,
every note and technical trick: it is not just the scenery of the
net.artwork, it is the net.artwork.  Start seriously doubting your right
to live if you never spontaneously burst out crying after witnessing a
net.artwork. But let it be existential crying, straight from the midrif. 
Do not think you have seen enough net.artworks. At any given time or at
any given moment a net.artwork can pop up that unsettles everything you
have witnessed before.  So far for some hints to have a better daily
association with  By sniffing and jumping at from all
sides en not limit yourself in your taste or preferences - the house of has many chambers - you in the end get used to the idea you will
never entirely get used to is not your friend, is
the mean watchdog in the garden.  There is something in, like in
music and poetry, that can not be put into words, and as is
something made out of data this seems very alienating at first, which
seems like we do not want to accept it. Like it is not giving us something
it 'could' give to us.  Until we discover that its secret reserves are its
power.  In the previous I have solely spoken about in flat words.
I have departed from what I see as the ideal approach: taking an actual
net.artwork as an example or rather as a point of departure. Only through
a net.artwork one can say something about a net.artwork, and then even
only about -that particular- net.artwork. One makes a serious mistake by
attacking a net.artwork with conclusions drawn from another net.artwork.
Generalizations are the mortal enemy of Only by putting as many
net.artworks together or viewing them next to eachother something clear
might come out eventually about I realise it is cold comfort. 


#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: