In his introduction to Radical Thoughts in Italy, Michael Hardt wrote, ‘capital is undergoing the postmodernization of production’ (1996: 4). In lieu of the Fordist focus on the mass production of consumer goods, capital is generated through the production and collection of information via a networked, technological system. The change Hardt alludes to, though immediately relative to economic systems, echo through the cultural landscape affecting art and social practices. In Chat Rooms, Hal Foster’s book review of Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics, Foster wrote, ‘In a world of shareware, information can appear as the ultimate readymade, as data to be reprocessed and sent on.’ (2004: 191). Foster’s ‘world of shareware’ is a way of rewriting what Bourriaud terms the era of ‘postproduction’ where an artist’s work emulates postproduction techniques common to the contemporary networked consumer society. By way of quoting and remixing Hardt, Foster, and Bourriaud, I posit that as information has become the focus of production in a networked society, it is the new media artists’ material for appropriation, collection, and redistribution. The information is transformed through the artists’ interface or platform as a readymade manifestation where socially adept participants have access to adding, modifying, and acting upon it. It is through this lens that I will be presenting two works of art, both inhabiting the Internet as a vehicle of distribution and a virtual commons,
where the agenda of consumer culture is reverse-engineered.
- xtine burrough California State University, Fullerton, USA
Full text (PDF) p. 328-335