When trying to explain why “the convergence between art world and computer art world (…) will never happen” Lev Manovich opposed ‘Duchamp-land’ and ‘Turing-land’, stating that both are doomed to irreducible oppositions:
• content vs the new
• complicated vs simple
• ironic vs serious
Do such divisions reflect the reality of apparently antagonist fields? Are Murakami’s and Koon’s works so much about ‘content’? Is there a lack of ‘irony’ and ‘complexity’ in most of the Ars Electronica awards?
The opposition between the two artistic attitudes might be relevant throughout the history of art, and not only between two moments of this history. The fracture delineates a stronger frontier across the ‘lands’ separating invisible transfrontier communities of artists; and across the time, art became a permanent fight between:
• depth and surface effects,
• cosa mentale and eye candy,
• critical and cosmetic practices,
• and later, between social awareness and techno entertainment.
‘New’ media extended the artist’s impact to all parcels of the visible and sensible space, and the artist’s responsibility took on the scale of his/her impact.
Let’s explore deeper Duchamp’s heritage … The Duchamp brothers’ heritage! The Duchamp Bros. formulated diverging directions for art which still coexist in the media art field, with artists:
• using technologies to create pleasant effects (Jacques Villon’s heritage);
• referring to technologies creating artefacts inspired by the Zeitgeist (Raymond Duchamp-Villon’s heritage);
• shaking the field up by taking a critical approach to art, introducing (inside or outside the frame) the questions: “What?” “What for?” and “What if?” (Marcel Duchamp’s heritage)
Beside these producing highly sophisticated life sweeteners, consolidating the Society of the Spectacle, some investigate the open world of new medias to practice the critical fusion of fiction and reality, forcing the last to become more visible and understandable than ever.
- Maurice Benayoun (France), School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong