From Lit­eral to Metaphor­i­cal Utopia: Space and Time in the White Cube

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • From New Media to Old Utopias: ‘Red’ Art in Late Capitalism?

Presentation Title:

  • From Lit­eral to Metaphor­i­cal Utopia: Space and Time in the White Cube

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Panel: From New Media to Old Utopias: ‘Red’ Art in Late Capitalism?

    In its orig­i­nal mean­ing u-topia means the lack of topos. This con­di­tion is in­her­ent in the new media art­work. Due to its im­ma­te­r­ial qual­ity and non-ob­ject sta­tus, the new media art is not phys­i­cally tied to a spe­cific space un­less dis­played. Thus the white cube, turned black for the oc­ca­sion, hosts its vir­tual and ephemeral image, or, in other words, it be­comes the topos of its phys­i­cal re­al­iza­tion.  Whereas the non ob­ject-based art is a pre­dom­i­nant ten­dency span­ning through the 20th cen­tury, the time-based media in­tro­duce a new multi-layer spa­tio-tem­po­ral con­di­tion within the work. The mov­ing image, de­rived from the cin­e­mato­graphic par­a­digm, has by de­f­i­n­i­tion its own vir­tual spa­tio-tem­po­ral­ity which un­folds dur­ing its pro­jec­tion.

    As far as the soft­ware and net-based cre­ations are con­cerned, sup­ple­men­tary lay­ers are au­to­mat­i­cally added. When the art­work is in­stalled in a phys­i­cal space, a new di­men­sion ap­pears: the real in­stal­la­tion space and time as ex­pe­ri­enced by the spec­ta­tor. Since both vir­tual and real spa­tio-tem­po­ral lay­ers co­ex­ist si­mul­ta­ne­ously, the work evolves within this di­alec­ti­cal pat­tern.  This lit­er­ally “u-top­ian” con­di­tion re­sults from the utopian (in the sense of rev­o­lu­tion­ary) na­ture of the new media art that rises above ques­tions of unique pro­to­type, con­trolled re­pro­ducibil­ity and ob­ject own­er­ship; hence, a new gen­uinely utopian artis­tic con­di­tion emerges. To speak in Marx­ist terms, it is the a pri­ori nega­tion of the com­mod­ity fetishism that im­poses the lit­eral, as well as the metaphor­i­cal, utopia. Thus, new media, the pil­lar of the late cap­i­tal­ism pub­lic sphere, be­comes the new field of rev­o­lu­tion­ary cul­tural prac­tices. I will fur­ther analyse this para­dox­i­cal -or rather co­her­ent, ac­cord­ing to Fred­eric Jame­son- con­di­tion where the Marx­ist logic is fully im­ple­mented in the most em­blem­atic form of the post-mod­ern art: the new media.

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