Re: art & technology: an issue of audience?

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by ainatte inbal on April 18, 1997 at 15:28:33:

In Reply to: Re: art & technology: an issue of audience? posted by sawad on April 18, 1997 at 12:28:32:

: both benjamin and geekgirl raise important questions. i respond to benjamin's
: raising of mastery as an important issue to consider in the use of technology.
: i am too young to recall the first uses of video. i experienced them much later.
: however, i can recall my own introduction into video. it seems to me that the
: technology of video was more-or-less a single system built to accomplish only a
: few things (recording and direct output). video systems were designed and marketed
: with this in mind. in contrast, "new media" is experienced as a collection of
: systems developed over time and often independently of each other. new media
: technology, it seems to me, owes its other name ("multimedia") to a desire to unite
: various technologies which were not necessarily designed to interface seamlessly
: together. what two technologies are actually seamless when brought together?
: perhaps none, or they would cease to be known as separate. what seem relevant is
: that the strange history of computational machines, their heritage as reprogrammable
: tools, is experienced now as a multiplicity (not a rich one, but a multiplicity
: nonetheless) of "dialects" about which a participant or user often needs to
: invest a certain amount of time in order to translate among them with some success.
: the question of the amount of time and access individuals have to make such an
: investement does seem to me greatly determined by class.

: i don't think that taking the hands out of the equation of authorship will
: significantly change the issue of mastery. i think this because i see "the
: hands" as bodily references to or incarnations of ideational control. such
: a desire for control belongs to a history of the west which extends further
: than the history withing which the hands have played a prominent role. in
: other words, i don't believe that cutting out/off the hands displaces the
: desire to assign authorial agency to an individual. the inverse of this
: would be thinking that a machine is doing all the work/inventing, which
: doesn't seems to me a very satisfying interpretation either. the problem
: can better be approached, it seems to me, if we question the often assumed
: inside/outside relationship between body and technology.

: ok. would be good to hear what others say.

I want to reinforce the point sawad made, that we should not take the hands out of the equation. I am not sure it is only a matter of the artist-ego, as geekgirl seems to be saying. Rather it is, as sawad puts it, a question of multiplicity. The "multi" dimension of "media" that evolved from disparate trajectories and then comes packaged to us as "new" media, might in the future converge into a "intuitive" fold (or, in other words, we will learn to adjust our "intuitions" to these technologies). For the time being, I enjoy the disparaties between the tools and the ability to use them ("hands-on").

It reminds me of those slight of hand performances, where one person stands behind another and inserts his/her hands in front, fumbling to follow the instructions coming out of the front person's mouth. It amuses the audience when theact isn't coordinated, exactly because it reveals that the contact between the two people is not direct, but requires information from other body parts as well.

From iron cage dystopias about soul-less specialists, to images of kids making things right in "war games", mastery is always regarded as a tool-kit one "possesses". Isn't that a bit limited? What about those contact points, where the frontman and backstage-hands both master the dialect of the other without needing to acquire a double set of limbs?

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