Percepticide is a term coined by Diana Taylor to refer to Post Dictatorial denial. Not to be able to see what is front of us. Julian Stallabrass was witness like no one else of the emergence of a type of digital art that fed from activist precedents. In those cases, the artist manipulated the media through flash mobs or publicity stunts and in others hacked. In any case, this blog was concocted when I needed a voice to make my claim heard once my supervisor at the Courtauld spread lies about me that later, I know, was something said with Stallabrass as Head of Graduate Studies. With that, Joanna Woodall wanted to make me fail a year after obtaining the Gold Medal at that institution.
Loveartnotpeople, in English, challenged elites through gossip and top notch insider information. Overnight it was a sensation in the London art scene but the legal dangers were too high for me so I decided to focus on Argentina and it made history. Recently I asked Julian for an interview but he did not answer me. I am used to this kind of treatment at this point, to be honest, but his High Lite book on the Young British Artist suffered in an uncanny similar way to my bestselling Historia a Contrapelo del Arte Argentino. The difference between both books was my public figure status, the stupidity of the state sponsored feminism and resentment of Maricarmen Ramirez who decided to rescind my Peter Marzio without informing me, at least, of what I was being accused of. The result is that, overnight, I became a household name of the decolonial era and some have even suggested my inclusion in the canon of most renowned intellectuals of dissent in the region. This are Julian’s reflections on Digital Art and the divide between art galleries and the internet but how he could not see the aesthetic in Loveartnotpeople speaks of the true credentials of art history to see the political in the aesthetic.
Why Digital Art Is Red by Julian Stallabrass
The divide between the art shown in major museums and art fairs and that is associated with the new media scene has been deep and durable. Many critics have puzzled over it, particularly because there is much that the two realms share, including the desire to put people into unusual social situations. ! Yet some of the reasons for the divide are plain enough, and they are about money, power and social distinction. The economic divide is across competing models of capitalist activity: the exclusive ownership of objects set against the release of reproducible symbols into networks with the ambition that they achieve maximum speed and ubiquity of circulation. The social divide is between a conservative club of super-rich collectors and patrons, and their attendant advisors, who buy their way into what they like to think of as a sophisticated cultural scene (Duchamp Land), against a realm which is closer to the mundane and more evidently compromised world of technological tools (Turing Land). 2 Power relations are where the divide appears starkest: in one world, special individuals known as artists make exceptional objects or events with clear boundaries that distinguish them from run-of-the-mill life; and through elite ownership and expert curation, these works are presented for the enlightenment of the rest of us. In the new media world, some ‘artists’ but also collectives and other shifting and anonymous producers offer up temporary creations onto a scene in which their works are open to copying, alteration and comment, and in which there is little possible control of context, frame or conversation. This description of the divide has been put in extreme terms for the sake of clarity, and there are a few instances of the split appearing to erode.
Yet its persistence remains one of the most striking features of the general fragmentation of the fast-growing and globalising art world. That persistence rests on solid material grounds, laid out by Marx: the clash of economic models is a clear case of the mode and relations of production coming into conflict, and is part of a much wider conflict over the legal, political and social aspects of digital culture, and its synthesis of production and reproduction.
Copyright is one arena where the clash is very clear. Think of the efforts of museums to control the circulation of images and to levy copyright charges, while at the same time surrendering to the camera-phone as they abandon the attempt to forbid photography in their galleries.
So where is Red Art and the left in this scenario?
Amidst the general gloom and lassitude that has beset much of the Left in Europe and the US, the development of the digital realm stands out as an extraordinary gain. It allows for the direct communication, † without the intermediary of newspapers and TV, of masses of people globally – who turn out to be more Egalitarian, more environmentally concerned and more seditious than the elite had bargained for. Alexander Cockburn, with his long career in activism and journalism, remarks:
Thirty years ago, to find out what was happening in Gaza, you would have to have had a decent short-wave radio, a fax machine, or access to those great newsstands in Times Square and North Hollywood that carried the world’s press. Not anymore. We can get a news story from Gaza or Ramallah or Oaxaca or Vidarbha and have it out to a world audience in a matter of hours.
It is hard to ban social media, it has been claimed, because it entwines video fads, kittens and politics (and banning kittens looks bad). So the insight attributed by some to Lenin – that capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them – is still relevant.
In an era in which the political and artistic avant-gardes have faded, the affiliation of the art world that is founded upon the sale and display of rare and unique objects made by a few exceptional individuals in which high prices are driven by monopoly rent effects – tends to be with the conspicuous consumption of the state and the super-rich. ” Here, the slightest taint of the common desktop environment is enough to kill aesthetic feeling. The affiliation of at least some of new media art is rather to the kitsch, the populist, and to the egalitarian circulation of images and words, along with discourse and interaction. New media artists who push those attachments work against some of the deepest seated elements of the art world ethos: individualism, distinction, discreteness and preservation for posterity (and long-term investment.
WRITTEN BY JULIAN STALLABRASS