Curated by Mez
At Incubation 2000, Mark Amerika curated the Ink.Ubation Salon, a gallery of work from a wide variety of new media writers experimenting with the Internet. This year the gallery is curated by Mez, whose pioneering net.language ‘mezangelle’ has intrigued readers online since the early 90s. In her introduction to this selection of works chosen specifically for the web, Mez explains why codework can only be fully experienced in a non-physical space…
There have been extensive [and exhaustive] efforts made by the technologically-inclined to use the Internet as a vehicle for the gestation and manifestation of art-oriented practices. However, in a disappointing truncated space and time, many of the artistic potentialities of this [reticulation] technology have crystallized around conventional lines, with practitioners progressing along allegedly “fresh” artistic trajectories which, in actuality, are still dependent on derivative templates. These templates have been predicated on the linear, on traditional unitary publishing models and the structural/physical nature of the plastic arts.
Thankfully, not all creators engulfed in net dynamics are determined to expressively seep back into the quagmire of historically [and academically] ratified/reiterative formats and stylistics. Some still perceive [and participate in] the network via a tapestry of deformation/communication potentials. These entities [as they cannot always be adequately defined in a geophysical, visceral sense] shift & pulse data via infinite network variations. These “artists” [or net/code.workers] revel in the fabric of connection modes and core elements that represent the actualities of the net in all its functional glory. The code/net.workers selected for inclusion here engage in production of [artistic] output that employs and mirrors the very blueprinted mechanisms of the net itself.
Net.workers such as solipsis, gashgirl/doll yoko, a u t u m n – f r e q u e n c y, alan sondheim, + lo”y + and indecoress are represented here by works that evoke/employ the net[work] for its structural/data packaging and dispersal possibilities. These works have been electronically hunted-&-gathered from email lists, [we]blogs and MOOs. They primarily reside in unconventional display states that are sheared from regular representation models; they are mostly accessible via search-engines, in mailing list archives, in blogs, or on hard-drives. In short, these works fundamentally exist in echos and [band]widths of a projected space. They are not designed to concretely reflect economic, narrative, linear, or even [traditional] artistic value. Their creators are more reflective in relation to the nodes/strands inherent in network dissemination, and incorporate net conventions and multivalencies in order to fabricate works that conflate informational/contextual manipulation [eg via infofictionalised texts/personas via various email lists].
The selected code.worker projects are also concerned with the warping of computer language/systems into referential, aesthetic or conceptual compositions that are replicated/sequenced in burgeoning incremental waves, resulting in the weave & flow of accented and disruptive code-emulations. Some are web-based, some are post-game [mangled] patches, and some are caught in net-based circulation and avatar adoption[s]. JODI, joe keenan, Integer/Netochka Nezvanova, ted warnell, and brian lennon rewrite the underlying notion[s] of code as functional/accessible via blatant infrastructural rewiring that encourages the redirection of an absorbers [ie interactors] typical meaning gaze/gauge.
Of course, the separation of the exhibited works into the aforementioned categories [code.work + net.work] is a highly artificial [curatorially-induced] act. There are considerable semantic slidings/interchanges involved here, shifting signifiers and false dichotomies resulting from the notion that conferences [such as Incubation 2] may be devoted to the display/analysis of “all things net”, but have as their manifest presentation-interface a dependency on physical platforms that acts to negate the contextual nuances of the network. This reliance on channeling the discussion of works [that are indigenous to the network] through physical, realtime, flesh” presenters acts to trap the information into culturally-negotiable/manageable assimilation packets. The dataflow is rigid here, compartmentalized and frozen. The emphasis on this physical steerage of data revokes the pliability of these projects, and leaves the code/net.work[ers] floating in a correspondingly amputated reality/limboesque strata-zone. For this I must apologize, and suggest – as a workable antidote – a thorough search-immersion of all things net/code.work oriented.