All the projects I will discuss in this presentation happened in networked environments, dealing with collective forms of appropriation of the advertisement system as public space. They allow us to think about aesthetics of transmission and to discuss public art in a nomadic context where the interface becomes the message.
Today, images are measured by their weight, and they are given to vision by informational maps. Their volume doesn’t relate to dimensionality, but to the amount of bytes they conform. Any excess may cause an inviability of reception when one is on line.
It is time to give in to, and to think of, an aesthetics of transmission, facing the emergence of an interactor capable of coordinating multiple and simultaneous readings of contents mediated by countless uncontrolled variables.
Projects conceived for on-line environments configure a type of creation that deals with different kinds of connections, browsers, traffic speed, monitor quality, screen resolution, and so many other instances that modify the forms of reception.
What one sees is the result of countless possibilities of combination among different programs, operating systems, access providers, phone operators, hardware makers, and all their inestimable forms of customization.
To create within and for those conditions is, thus, not only to think an aesthetics of transmission, but also to play with an articulation of the imponderable and the unexpected that, in its turn, impose a reflection on programming and publication strategies that make the work readable, decodable, sensible.
That occurs because the network culture’s action space is an informational space, mediated by communication networks which have systematically imploded not only the notions of distance and locality (Castells, 2001), but also the limits between the places of art, advertising and information, on one hand, and, on the other, the relationships between place and non-place.
It is true that some of those transformations go back to almost half a century, and they are not tributary of the everyday’s digitalization. The land art of the 60’s, and particularly Robert Smithson’s gigantic earthworks, for example, have reconfigured public art, because they broke the prevailing relationships between works and places of memory, introducing the concept and the practice of tensioning between site and non-site, or place and non-place. (Brissac, 2002)
Thus, the meaning of a monument as an agent of the past in the present is emptied, starting from a fraying of the Newtonian tradition in which time is defined in relation to space.
Conceived as works with dimensions often incompatible with the human scale, dealing with perishable materials and diagrammatic forms, they configured a new architecture, without qualitative value. (Smithson, 1966)
An architecture which can only be read momentarily and contextually, as the contemporary urban landscapes and their series of slums and skyscrapers, bridges and dejections, or supermarkets and gadget stores, with their infinite shelves of everything and a little more. (Ibidem)
Ethereal, amorphous and de-objectified, that kind of work dealt with entropic situations in which it seemed impossible to ask: From which period is that?, making one to interrogate where was that time? (Ibidem)
However, if it’s true that some subjects related to the break of paradigms that we live today, in the scope of the networked culture, were somehow prefigured in other contexts, one cannot ignore that the cyberspace’s ubiquity has maximized those tensions, forcing us now to re-elaborate space in the ambit of referential non-tridimensionality and beyond geographic circuits, in malleable territories which articulate themselves in the punctual cartography of global cities, from and among the networks dynamics. (Castells, 2001 and Sassen, 1991)
It is what we call “cybrid” configurations (Beiguelman, forthcoming 2006), situations resulting from the on- and off-line networks interconnection experience, that occur in the traffic and in traffic, mediated by traffic control systems, electronic panels, cell phones, PDA’s and intelligent agents, such as those which dealt with some projects I have accomplished since 2001, as Wop Art Leste o Leste? [Did You Read the East?] egoscopio [egoscope] and Poetrica [Poetrica], (all at desvirtual.com).
In spite of their differences, all these projects are related to reading and creation contexts marked by nomadism and by shared strategies of appropriation of advertising devices. They deal with situations in which inscriptions volatilize, interfaces multiply and fragmentize the reception in electronic surfaces connected to telecommunication networks. (Beiguelman, 2004)
They investigate the possibilities of a hybrid culture, crossed by printed and digital, phonetic and non-phonetic substrata, in which informative, programming and aesthetic codes are entangled, producing a new semantics of organization of signs and significance procedures, within which the relationships among words and symbols are re-articulated, and the limits of language, communication and art are redefined.
- N. Brissac, 2002. Art/City – Urban Interventions [Arte/Cidade – Intervencoes Urbanas] bilingueal edition, Sao Paulo: Senac.
- M. Castells, 2001. La Galaxia Internet (Reflexiones sobre Internet, empresa y sociedad). Barcelona: Debolsillo, pp.179-216 and 265-310.
- S. Sassen, 1991. Global City. New Jersey: Princeton University Press R. Smitshon, 1966.
- “Entropy And The New Monuments, at robertsmithson.com/essays/entropy_and.htm, accessed 12 January 2006
- Giselle Beiguelman investigates the aesthetics of memory and develops projects of artistic interventions in the public space and with digital media. She is Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture History and Aesthetics of the Project at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism – University of São Paulo (FAUUSP), Brazil. desvirtual.com/bio