Fashioning a virtual Artist?

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by G.H. Hovagimyan on April 28, 1997 at 14:53:20:

> Barbara London wrote:
> " A virtual artist? What would an artist be like in virtual reality? For
> an artist, the creation of a virtual artist is a contemporary form of
> self-portraiture. The artist who gazes into a mirror and puts paint on
> canvas aims to capture much more than a self-likeness. Similarly, an
> artist working in virtual reality both discovers and creates the links
> between subject and image. In fashioning a virtual artist, the artist
> presents an exploration of his or her artistic self, a process akin to
> making a series of self-portraits in the studio, posing with palette and
> brush.

GH Replies:
Unfortunately this seemingly innocuous statement reveals just how
off-base people can be in their opinions. However since Barbara has the
tough job of explaining video and digital art to a mostly conservative
of collectors (oops I meant directors) and an indifferent public who
still are barely interested in "Modern Art" one can't really fault the

Trying to equate what artists have done in the past i.e.
self-portrait-studio-reflexivity was the current conceptual trend of
the 1970's art world. Vito Acconci's several video-performances come to
mind. It really has no relevance to what's happening in the 1990's.

Of more important consequence is the establishment by Regis Debray in
France of a new field of study called Mediology. This presents the ideas
of mass media information global circuits.It's what I've termed as a
global media mythos in "Terrorist Advertising"

Barbara London writes:
> Virtual reality and other computer-based technologies are flooding the
> art world. Ideas that a few years ago could only be mere speculations
> are now integrated into art and popular culture. When Jeffrey Shaw
> patched together "Legible City". in 1988, the virtual buildings the
> viewer bicycled past appeared only as text on the projection screens.
> Today, artists at Carnegie Mellon have created a meticulously realistic
> bicycle ride, which kids will use to learn bicycle safety rules. The
> degree of sophistication in the technology is not a measure of artistic
> inventiveness; nontheless, the exponential improvements in computer
> technology are transforming the art world. People love their computers,
> and young artists, especially those still in school, are impassioned
> about computer-based art.

GH replies/ comments/ muses

The more advanced "young artists" are not doing what London thinks they
are doing; for instance creating single author virtual objects that can
be displayed, collected bought & sold.
They are doing things such as building multi-user gaming environments
that take two or more people to activate. The content of the work occurs
in the cognitive shifts, learning and communication between the users.
Notice I said "users" not viewers.

The Rennaisance ideal of the individual artists vision has been played
out. So has Modernism's supposed march towards Utopia. A medialogos
global society is in process of being formed. Art issues from a society.
It's meaning has relevance to the society. For digital society there is
a different discourse, series of signs and
modes of presentation in art than has existed previously. It is in my
opinion a mistake to apply previous modes of critical explanations to
the digital society.

I should like to congratulate MoMA and Barbara London on taking the
plunge into this new discourse. It shows great courage. ;-)

Sources/citations/ references-->

Media Manifestos: On the technological Transmission of Cultural Forms
by Regis Debray, Eric Rauth (translator) 1996, Verso Books

by G.H. Hovagimyan
Notes On Immersion
No Wave Cinema
Port-MIT roundtable

T.A.Z. the Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic
by Hakim Bey Autonomedia publications, 1984.

Real Audio interview with Bey

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