Art Rant

Geert Lovink wrote:

A gap is now in danger of getting bigger: old school video journalism, done by political activists, versus a thriving technology based network of media artists. Complaints about an 'eighties' style of amateurism of video works are on the rise. On the other hand, a depolitization of electronic arts is apparent as well. Or do we speak here about a mutual non-understanding? A return of the outworn difference between activist and artist? Can the concept of 'tactical media' present itself as a easy synthesis?

What does it mean to talk of tactic media when a global power exists which has the ability to strike at will at any corner of the globe for even the slightest of excuses? All forms of international peace structures are scattered like yesterday's confetti on the launch pad of the cruise missiles.

For those of us in the belly of this beast there are no easy syntheses. I live in a society in which almost two million citizens are incarcerated often for victimless so-called crimes. One of my students was kept in jail for five days for having an open beer can on the beach. Each day he was there the city was able to collect $570 from the state to pay for his time in the expensive quarters of the recently built high tech prison. In the last seven years California built 21 prisons and only one college.

What does it mean to talk of art in a society in which Phillip Morris has a partnership the Whitney Museum, in which Monsanto is sponsoring the rain forest exhibit at the Museum of Natural History? We are all living in a Banana Republic.

One feels used. Identity politics and multicultural art was great for Beneton and the Gap. Clever hypertext architecture and spectacular digital graphics are adorning the new cyber malls. (13 billion dollars in sales this Christmas). Bearing gifts we travel afar.

Is it totally uncool to call a spade a spade, or a rose a rose? This is not a pipe. This is not a bomb.

Kogawa thought the 91 Gulf War was really a power struggle with Japan. Was the recent bombing of Iraq timed more for the launch of the Euro than the impeachment?

Is the concept of solidarity now so old fashioned? Is it uncool to identify with workers, with the oppressed, with the victims of the bombing?

Can we think about structure? Even if we have our own servers, we need the wires, satellites and airwaves to navigate.

Is it true that all those RmassesS want is to be able to afford to go to Disney world? Do they really want to hear all the details of Monica's dress?

Does it make sense to talk of campaign tapes in the art world? Does the art world make sense? Is the Dungeons and Dragons for the art school crowd?

Amateur sounds like a condemnation. Doesn't it mean done with love? Is love too uncool for cyber professionals?

A message from this morning's prisonactivist list serve notes another suicide at Calipatria prison next to the Salton Sea in the California desert. The mother of a fellow prisoner there sends her website address: She writes: We have the beginnings of a webpage (now homepages while in the design stages). This is my first and second webpage ever in my life. Keep that in mind. Any philanthropic designer who wants to rescue me and make these beautiful is certainly encouraged to do so...These are not the final drafts, feel free to say anything you want, add any idea you want...This is hard work when you are a dinosaur in the computer world LOL! A real designer, as I said, would be very welcome right now!

Art? Politics? Amateur? Professional? Tactical?