Intermedia Art

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C0dE 0f practice: Online Panel Discussion 13 June - 18 July, 2005

Replies: 58
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Re: Re: Re: C0de of practice, paths 1, 2 and 3
Posted by Charlie Gere, Jun 21, 2005 7:25 PM in response to Christiane Paul
Reading Patrick and Christiane I had a Borgesian vision of an imaginary artwork that would be a kind of thought experiment to help us engage with all the issues we are discussing. It would be generative and designed to go on changing forever; so that the decision about when to stop, when it would be finished need never, and may be could never be taken. Perhaps it would change over time to such a degree that it would be impossible ever to fully and properly describe it, or assign to a particular genre or form. Eventually, perhaps, like a virus taking over a host, it would take over the art world, which would devote more of its theoretical, art-historical and curatorial resources to coming to terms with and understanding this work (much as in Solaris the whole of humanity has become concerned with the mysterious, eponymous planet). Some with longer memories might recall antecedents, such as Jem Finer's 'Longplayer' or Douglas Davis' 'The World's First Collaborative Sentence', but these were insignificant in comparison with the new work's achievement.
Re: Re: Re: Re: C0de of practice, paths 1, 2 and 3
Posted by Christiane Paul, Jun 22, 2005 2:44 PM in response to Charlie Gere
I think Charlie's imaginary artwork aptly describes what we are facing when it comes to networked cultural production (including art practice and curation, and their dissemination within a cultural system). It also connects to Patrick's comments on 'open', 'closed', and 'porous' or 'fluid' systems. The imaginary artwork may still entail a certain amount of closure established by its code or rules but its evolution within a networked culture is porous and fluid. This scenario pretty much applies to any artwork creating parameters for contribution by the public -- such as many works by Mark Napier at (net.flag, cBots etc.), or Andy Deck at (Open Studio, Icontext etc.)

The work remains unfinished without an end point -- although some of these works effectively end when the audience loses interest in them and doesn't contribute any more. The art world and curation (as a form of cultural filtration) continues to contextualize the work, but context becomes more of a moving target than it usually is. Curators, theorists, and art historians are always re-contextualizing works within different time periods but this process becomes more complicated when the "art object" itself keeps changing over time. Some works conveniently include a "time stamp" for contributions on the front end, so that you can tell what stage the work had reached in 1995 as opposed to 2005, but without documentation models (such as the previously mentioned "The Pool"), a lot of this process will be lost or at least require substantial research to be reconstructed.
Public Forum and Openness
Posted by Christiane Paul, Jun 23, 2005 5:03 PM in response to Christiane Paul
I meanwhile read through the posts in the public forum and just wanted to pick up on some of the interesting comments regarding the notion of openness that have been made there. The forum structure we are using here (public vs. invited contributors) obviously raises questions regarding "open systems" -- there are discussions in 'parallel windows,' which need to be connected.

Regarding openness, William asked the question whether curators accept everyone else as a 'curator' -- which is a notion that the networked environment supports: everyone can be a filter ("I am what I link to," as Anne-Marie Schleiner has put it) and have a "curatorial voice." One certainly needs to make distinctions between these "voices" -- not everyone is an "expert" or claims to be -- but networked public discussions always prove how many people are actively engaging with art and make very valuable contributions to the discourse surrounding it. Art has always been embedded in the notion of elitism -- money, power, expertise -- which undermines its goal to have a direct (rather than implicit) impact on culture and "the people." In order to achieve this goal, one needs to be open to blurring the boundaries between the traditional curatorial voice and reception / commentary by the audience. This is not meant to say that I understand digital, networked environments as the utopian solution for the elitism of art.

Another comment by William that strikes me as important -- and ultimately relates to issues of openness -- concerns the "roots" of the digital in instructions and code: "until you address the people writing codework literature, you can't begin to discuss the art coming out of it..." The understanding of code "as creative writing" (John F. Simon, Jr.) and nurturing of literacy in code and programming has become a huge topic when it comes to expanding the role of new media art (and software) in the broader context of cultural production. There is no digital art that doesn't have a layer of code or algorithms, a procedure of written, formal instructions that accomplish a "result" in a finite number of steps. The crucial dilemma of digital art, and software art in particular, may very well be that the understanding of its "backend" will always remain a fringe culture (closed system) that won't be integrated into the mainstream of (perception-oriented) art criticism. The software art festivals, the runme software art repository (, initiatives such as Ben Fry's and Casey Reas' Processing ( -- which creates an environment for learning the fundamentals of computer programming and is meant as an electronic sketchbook for developing ideas -- as well as numerous educational endeavors to increase code literacy all attempt to support openness in this respect.

Martin's post in the public forum brings up another framing of openness / closure, "the concrete barriers surrounding and constraining public participation" (Martin refers to locative art in particular). Charlie has already pointed out the inherent limitations (and tautological construction) of the idea of the "open system," which, being a system, always entails rules and constraints that limit the promise of openness. I believe this cannot be stressed enough, and it is important to avoid falling back into the trap of systems utopianism -- the belief that "systems," depending on their degree of openness, can produce better conditions. Perhaps the term "open system" itself needs to be avoided since it inherently promises what it can never deliver. Each and every system and project needs to be investigated in terms of its framework and ask questions about the degree of openness and constraint it is based upon (my previous post on different forms of openness in art projects was an attempt to outline the issue). The term "locative art" itself already points to a state of closure -- locative is location-based and site-specific and thus implies access limitations (there are many other constraints that could come into play here). In a previous post, Sarah asked whether we can judge the success of systems by their degree of openness and closure, and I don't think that is the case. Rules, constraints and limitations also fulfill an important function -- they may either be very appropriate or produce serious flaws, depending on the goal of the respective system.
Re: Public Forum and Openness
Posted by Charlie Gere, Jun 24, 2005 5:01 PM in response to Christiane Paul
There has been some really interesting stuff on both the public and restricted forum. But much of it is from the point of view of independent or quasi-independent curators and involves discussion of innovative and radical curatorial and artistic strategies One of the questions that has not addressed, is how mainstream galleries, such as Tate, might respond to the challenges of new media art. Whether we like it or not such galleries and other events such as biennales still dictate what gets the most exposure as art, what counts as art and, perhaps most importantly of all, what gets historically inscribed and thus is able to be available to and influence future generations. It occurred to me that I had already put forward some thoughts about this topic, which, furthermore, are on the Tate website, as one of the Tate Papers series. Rather cheekily and in order to avoid repeating myself, I would like to offer the URL of the paper in lieu of a new post, and as a way of engendering discussion of this particular set of issues

Re: Re: Public Forum and Openness
Posted by Christiane Paul, Jun 24, 2005 9:53 PM in response to Charlie Gere
I completely agree with Charlie -- the "integration" of new media into the mainstream art world remains a crucial issue and also connects to the concept of open systems. The new media world is still widely considered a ghetto, existing outside of the art world at large. This state or condition is partly due to the nature of the medium itself, which is embedded in multiple contexts -- ranging from networks (accessible outside of the museum and gallery) and the art / science realm (new media is probably exhibited in more science than fine arts museums) to the industrial-entertainment complex. I don't think that our previous discussions centered mostly on innovative or radical curatorial and artistic strategies -- in my opinion, they simply are strategies that the medium itself requires and that often run counter to the museum and gallery system.

The process-oriented nature of the digital medium -- which is inherently interactive, customizable, variable, and participatory -- poses numerous challenges to the traditional art world, ranging from presentation to collection and preservation. The standards for presenting, collecting and preserving art for the longest time were tailored to objects and few of them are applicable to new media works, which constitute a shift from object to process. The fact that new media projects are time-based and require an extended viewing period is not necessarily medium-specific but equally applies to video works or performances. It is noteworthy that the latter have for the longest time been an exception to the mostly object-based art world rather than the rule. While an artwork that needs to be experienced over an extended period of time poses a challenge per se, the non-linear, time-based nature of new media art is far more problematic than that of film or video, which ultimately still present themselves as a linear finished "product." The fact that new media art is potentially interactive and participatory -- allowing forms of navigating, assembling, or contributing to the art work that go beyond the interactive, mental event of experiencing it -- further complicates matters. The basic rule of museums, "Please do not touch the art," suddenly does not apply anymore and large segments of the audience are still hesitant to physically engage with the artwork in a gallery space. The public and audience often turns into a participant in the artwork -- a notion that runs counter to our idea of the museum as a shrine for contemplating sacred objects. Moreover, most of new media art requires a certain familiarity with interfaces and navigation paradigms. Despite the fact that computers seem to have become more or less ubiquitous at this point in time, one can still not presume that every audience member will be an expert in these two areas.

Apart from the challenges posed by the characteristics of the medium, each form of new media art -- installations, net art, virtual reality, software art, mobile and locative media -- comes with its own sets of requirements that aren't easily accommodated within the existing museum system. On the one hand, there are practical challenges, such as the need for continuous maintenance and a flexible and technologically equipped exhibition environment, which museum buildings (traditionally based on the "white cube" model) cannot necessarily provide. (While digital art is commonly considered as inherently immaterial, consisting of software and systems, the materiality of the hardware supporting it proves to be as challenging as the dematerialized nature of the medium.) On the other hand, there are numerous conceptual issues as well as a continuing need to organize of educational programs for the audiences in order to make them more familiar with this still emerging art form. New media art essentially requires the creation of platforms of exchange -- between institutions, curators, artists, art works and audiences. (All of these issues have been widely discussed -- Steve Dietz's paper "Interfacing the Digital" for the Museums and the Web conference outlines some of the issues;

While all of the above seems to amount to enough of a reason for museums to be hesitant when it comes to exhibiting new media art, I believe that the resistance has deeper roots. One of them might be the complicated history of new media art. Any art form and movement is embedded in a larger cultural context but new media could never be understood from a strictly art-historical perspective: the history of technology and media sciences play an equally important role in this art form's formation and reception. New media art requires profound media literacy. Another reason is hinted at in Charlie's Tate essay and previous posts: the 'systems approach' to art in the 1960s and 70s -- evolving around issues of media, computation, social networks, and communication theories (see our discussion in the beginning of this forum) -- ultimately failed and was finally subsumed under the umbrella of conceptual art. Does this lingering legacy still affect the reception of new media art today (within the museum and art-historical discourse)? In a previous post, Sarah raised the question why artworks such as Haacke's 'open systems' were perceived as radical and challenging in the 60s / 70s and are now completely accepted within an exhibition context. I cannot help wondering whether it's just the process of historicization -- new media works, which are closely connected to conceptual art and pick up on its issues, seem to face the same resistance today that their earlier counterparts had to address.
Re: Re: Public Forum and Openness
Posted by Patrick Lichty, Jun 25, 2005 7:11 PM in response to Charlie Gere
Please forgive my wordplay above, but I am enjoying the development of the stream of thought in this forum.

I was going to say that 'in regards to...", but instead, I will simply acknowledge the recent posts by all our colleagues as having referential points for my upcoming discussion.

As part of the discussion of curatorual positions in New Media, I humbly offer up the Curator's statements for my last two projects (re)distributions [a mobile art project], and THrough the Looking GLass [a 2000 survey designed to introduce Ohio to New Media, and to test net.organization of curation.

Being said that both operate in their own contexts I will then welcome further discussion.

In response to myself and Charlie, I am developing a project that will be one model for our model of open curation/creation. I plan for launch between Monday-Wednesday.

And lastly, instead of taking this rather fragmented missive and tying it into the ongoing dialogue, I will let this stand as a form of fragmented annotation and comment mroe in a further note.

Allt he Best,
Re: Re: Re: Public Forum and Openness
Posted by Charlie Gere, Jun 26, 2005 11:51 AM in response to Patrick Lichty
I was trying to think of an appropriate metaphor for the relation the contemporary art gallery has with avant garde art. It seems to be a curious relation that can never either involve complete rejection or incorporation but must rather continuously oscillate between the two.

I found this description of oscillation as a characteristic of dynamic systems in relation to time (, and it seemed to me to serve well as a metaphor for the necessarily delayed and partial incorporation that characterises the gallery's relationship with the avant garde, and which allows the avant garde to remain open and at least partially outside the art system

"System oscillation is the characteristic symptom of negative feedback structures in which the information used to take goal-seeking action is delayed. In such cases, a control action is not based on the current state of a system but on some previous state or value. As you can imagine, using dated information to control the approach to a target is likely to cause the system to miss or overshoot its goal. Specific structural characteristics of a system, such as delay duration and delay order, will determine whether the resulting oscillation will diminish over time, reach some sustained amplitude and frequency, or experience an increasing amplitude."

The point I am trying to make I guess is that the kind of art we are interested in can never either remain fully outside of the "art world" or be fully incorporated within it, but oscillates between the two, and that this is a necessary and integral precondition for its existence. (I hope this makes sense).

Literacy and Engagement (was Public Forum and Openness)
Posted by Patrick Lichty, Jun 26, 2005 6:38 PM in response to Patrick Lichty
The idea of code as a form of literacy (textual, visual, cultural) has been of interest for years, as it is my belief that in much of New Media art that the text/code is the root of the work.

However, there are a couple points that concern me as we go in this direction. Literacy and access come to mind; i.e. in that while code may constitute a group of literacies, what then is the context of those literacies? One of the criticisms of New Media are is its cultural specificity in regards to addressing a very (trans)local niche that is acessibile by those with access, education, and resources.

While sometimes not of paramount interest to the artist, the curator (in my opinion) must act as mediator in presentign the work to a larger public in a context which is clear and concise.

Of course, that brings us to the pedagogical function of the institutional curator, which is something that I don't believe that many of the current body of net.curators are addressing. This is not to say that the educational social fuction of curation is being disregarded by the new online curator; it's more that the contextualizing and creative informatic functions of curation as such are more foregrounded with these individuals.

For example, consoder July et al's "Learning to Love You More", although some would call it a social sculpture, I would term it a curatorial project as well. My take on it is that instead of contextualizing and (re)presenting the contect to a broader public, "Learning" is more about the creation of an interaction, context for same, and using the gallery to present the product of the instructions presented by the artist/curators.

Now, in context with the traditional educational mission of the curator, as well as the shaping of literacies through the presentation of curated exhibitions that operate using different cultural functions than traditional curatorial models, I wonder what the local cultural purpose of each of the exhibitions serves, and how it contrasts with more traditional forms.
Re: Literacy and Engagement (was Public Forum and Openness)
Posted by Christiane Paul, Jun 28, 2005 2:01 AM in response to Patrick Lichty
The educational function of curation is indeed an important issue and directly relates to our discussion of "open systems": if new media and online artwork (particularly in its roots in code, which requires a certain level of literacy) is mainly received within a (trans)local niche populated by those with media and code literacy, does it constitute a closed system? Is new media art curation creating a ghetto for itself by neglecting "outreach" and a pedagogical function?

As Patrick, I don't believe that curators working online ignore the educational aspects of their role; however, they often seem to curate for an "informed audience." Curators frame online / net art exhibitions on the basis of their context, be it an institutional or non-institutional one. A curator will probably place more emphasis on educational resources if a net art exhibition is shown within a major museum or on the museum's website since it will be accessible to a broad and not necessarily media-literate audience. Meaning, the same exhibition might be framed differently if it were shown online at or presented as a exhibition within The New Museum of Contemporary Art. The institutional or non-institutional context might even influence the choice of works: it would be easy to put together a show of very good works of net art that would effectively alienate the average museum audience; if a net art exhibition is presented within a traditional museum, the curator might want to include works that are accessible to and draw in a broader audience. (Both approaches are obviously problematic).

What we have to deal with at this point in time is a considerable gap between the level of reception within the online art communities vs. the traditional art world. I'm not saying that this situation is fundamentally different from the one that photography or experimental film / video had to face at the time when they began to register on the radar of the art world. But the potentially more open system of digital artworks currently has to face a relatively closed system of reception.

This also connects to Charlie's last post on "system oscillation" and his point that online art / digital art as open systems can never be either fully outside or inside of the "art world" and their oscillation between inside / outside is an integral precondition for their existence. This oscillation is partly due to the nature of the medium itself -- which has natural habitats beyond the museum walls -- and a consequence of the state of new media education and literacy across different audiences. To me, the problems of reception surrounding networked digital art (as open system) seem to be slightly different from the ones that the works exhibited within the Tate's "Open Systems" show had to overcome. In the latter case, it was not primarily a lack of literacy that created obstacles but the endeavor of art to create a larger context for itself -- to transcend the limits of the traditional object and art world and gain larger social relevance. Networked digital art has to struggle on both ends.
Linked References
Posted by Kelli Dipple, Jun 28, 2005 7:17 PM in response to Christiane Paul
You will find a list, with direct links for all references sited in the discussion, by following the Forum Resources link above - go to Linked Resources. These will be updated after the end of each week.
Re: Linked References
Posted by Charlie Gere, Jun 30, 2005 9:27 AM in response to Kelli Dipple
I am always slightly embarrassed when participating in these kinds of fora, in that I am always made aware that I have little or no practical experience of curating new media art or dealing with it in a practical sense, and that my responses are always very theoretical. So I must apologise for posting another theoretical response to the other far more pragmatic posts (this is not to say, of course, that the other posts are untheoretical; just that they are more grounded in the actual practicalities of institutions and situations).

In their recent posts Christiane and Patrick have both been concerned with questions of pedagogy and curatorial responsibility. But prior to any recuperation by educational and curatorial systems, a work of art should be something that exceeds the systematic, the already-known, or what Derrida calls the undecidable and the monstrous (see my post of June 15), what Lyotard calls the is it happening? (see his essays on Barnett Newman and the Sublime in The Inhuman), or Alain Badiou describes as the event which is part of the truth process (Badious work, which is still comparatively little known in the Anglophone world, is quite extraordinary. For an introduction to his idea of the truth process go to

One of the major problems for new media art (if such a thing can be said to exist), is how a practice that involves the use of calculative technology such as computers can be open to that which exceeds the systematic and thus to the new. In his 1985 essay Something like: Communication without Communication Lyotard asks

How can there be aesthetic feeling issuing from calculated re-presentation alone? How could the traces of the conceptual determination of the forms proposed by the new techne leave the free play of reflexive judgment which constitutes aesthetic pleasure? How could the communicability constitutive of this pleasure, which remains potential, promised and not affected, not be excluded by the conceptual determination of what is communicated in the product of these new technologies?

In an interview with Richard Beardsworth Lyotard admitted that there are works of art that pass through informational multimedia and circulate in virtual memory. But, he suggested, they are culture not art, because they operate according to different temporalities, with art not entering the circuit for fifty years or more. He did however say that there is no reason why it is not possible to create works of art with the new informational, digital machines, given that artists have always used every possible kind of support, every possible kind of material, every possible kind of tool.

For Lyotard the issue here is not a question of tools but of the sexual impetus that drives creativity. This means that artists are going to complicate the bit of information, the digital. This is already happening, as you know. The electronicvideo, television, film, the digitalis not negligible in itself. Here is a support that allows for the most astonishing, strange, unexpected operations. But, Lyotard continued

I would always want to insist on is the fact that a work is enigmatic. A work is absolutely there where one finds remainder. There is silence, a remainder, even in a book (perhaps more in a book than elsewhere, although it uses language). It is not true that a reading can exhaust the force of a work, that it can precisely draw it out in informational terms. This is because it partakes of a secret. The affective force of a work consists precisely in the fact that it will never be exhausted (in informational terms, for example). One may try to measure a work, in terms of its success, for example: this is culture. The power (puissance) of a work consists in this work reserving this silence of the sexual which drove it to being produced in the first place.

Perhaps the problem is not that new media art resists recuperation into the curatorial and pedagogical systems, but, perverse as it might seem, the opposite. Such work often lacks the capacity to exceed such systems in terms of the undecidable, the monstrous, the event, the enigmatic reminder etc
Re: Re: Linked References
Posted by Charlie Gere, Jun 30, 2005 9:33 AM in response to Charlie Gere
"It is better to do nothing than to contribute to the invention of formal ways of rendering visible that which Empire already recognises as existent."

Alain Badiou
Open Systems
Posted by Beryl Graham, Jul 1, 2005 4:50 PM in response to Christiane Paul
Taking on the role of moderator from July 1.
Open Systems, and introducing Trebor Scholz
Posted by Beryl Graham, Jul 1, 2005 6:42 PM in response to Charlie Gere
Open Systems, and introducing Trebor Scholz

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the other moderator of this panel - I'll be moderating for the next week or so. This is also a good opportunity to 'introduce you' to a member of the panel who has been out of email contact so far: Trebor Scholz - who is based in New York, and has a particular interest in participatory artworks.

I've been finding the discussion so far very interesting, particularly the offering of 'models' or precedents from history. With this in mind, perhaps we could examine 'open systems' in relation to social and political models, and actual participation. Perhaps Trebor and others could offer some new models from direct experience?
Re: Linked References and Open Systems
Posted by Christiane Paul, Jul 1, 2005 8:52 PM in response to Beryl Graham
I would like to go back to Charlie's last post and the very interesting questions it posed before moving on to Beryl's proposition of examining 'open systems' in relation to social and political models.

Charlie speculated whether one of new media art's might be that it lacks the capacity to exceed curatorial / pedagogical systems -- in terms of the undecidable, the monstrous, the event, the enigmatic reminder -- and asked how practice that involves the use of calculative technology such as computers can be open to that which exceeds the systematic. I would argue that new media art might even be more "undecidable" or enigmatic than other art objects (paintings, sculptures), or at least as enigmatic as the latter are, only in a different way. I agree with Lyotard that the affective force of a work consists precisely in the fact that it will never be exhausted (in informational terms) but when he pondered whether aesthetic feeling can arise from calculated re-presentation alone and how the traces of conceptual determination of the forms proposed by the new techne could leave enough room for a free play of reflexive judgment, he wasn't talking about digital technologies as we know them today.

Similar concerns were raised by Jean Baudrillard in his essay "Requiem for the Media" (1972) where he claimed that the mass media are anti-mediatory and intransitive since they are bound to a transmission-reception process, which -- in his opinion -- does not allow for response or an exchange of speech. The problem according to Baudrillard lies in the ideological matrix embraced by communication theory (and formalized most notably by Roman Jacobson), which is based on the following sequence TRANSMITTER - MESSAGE - RECEIVER (ENCODER - MESSAGE - DECODER). Baudrillard called the above "matrix" a simulation model of communication since it supposedly excludes reciprocity of interlocutors and makes a message impossible since it would only exist within the categories of "emitted" and "received." "Terrorism of the code" is how Baudrillard describes this condition since the code -- in his model -- becomes the only agency that speaks.

But both Baudrillard and Lyotard did not talk about the specifics of digital technologies -- the extreme modularity and variability of the digital medium, which constitutes a broad and more scattered landscape of production and distribution. Not only is there a plethora of technologies and softwares, each responsible for different tasks (such as image manipulation, 3D modeling, Web browsing etc.) but, due to the modularity of the medium, these softwares (and the modules out of which they have been constructed) can also potentially be manipulated or expanded. As a result, there are numerous potential points of intervention for artistic practice. For every digital artwork, one needs to ask: what is actually calculated and 'represented' by the computer and which parameters are set by the artist or modified and expanded by the audience? In each new media art work, this plays out in a very different way. The role that calculation and randomness play in new media art and software projects is often overrated and misrepresented. It is important to note that (as Adrian Ward puts it) "a computer can only move data about. It cannot -- under any circumstances -- generate a truly random number by itself." ("How I Drew One of my Pictures" in Auto-Illustrator Users Guide, Signwave: London, UK, 2002, p.73). For Ward, a system's ability to feed data back into itself -- thereby becoming chaotic, complex, and dynamical -- is comparable to the unpredictability of creativeness itself. I would tend to agree. Even though a computer may calculate according to rules and instructions given and set by an artist, there still are wide open spaces for enigma, free and open play, as well as undecidability. This becomes particularly obvious in generative projects where artists create natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is then set into motion with *some* degree of autonomy (see my previous post on various degrees of openness in artworks) or in works that involve any form of artificial intelligence. These works rely on a complex interplay of author / software / machine / user and are by no means shaped by calculative technology alone. I would argue that the enigmatic and unpredictable are an essential part of these works. Artists have also explicitly engaged with the calculative determinism of computers and software -- e.g. in numerous works that engage with the pre-configured configuration and representational "agenda" of off-the-shelf software.

Which brings me to Beryl's question regarding social and political models. There is an intrinsically social aspect to any new media art project that relies on networked exchange and this has become a broad field of artistic experimentation. A multitude of new media art works is conceptually shaped by the contributions of participants and these projects' most interesting aspect might be the social behaviors within the system. As I pointed out before, these types of works are far more open, unpredictable, and sometimes enigmatic on the level of experience and perception than technologically. Not surprisingly, there has been aconsiderable amount of artworks that examine the social aspects of networked exchanges on mailing lists etc. I mentioned Warren Sack's "Agonistics" in a previous post -- his "Conversation Map" or Judith Donath's "Chat Circles" would be further examples. Jonah Brucker-Cohen ( has devoted many of his works to "deconstructing networks," for example by changing the access rules of mailing lists in his project "Bumplist."

I think social models can ultimately never be separated from political ones since every social network and model raises questions of governance, which tends to manifest itself in very different ways in art projects vs. massive multi-player online games vs. 3D worlds ("Second Life" etc.)