Re: Ephermal filmworks? History?

From: James Cole (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Mar 04 2009 - 09:51:03 PST

"It is looking more likely that it will be the delivery medium for all
moving images into our homes, if not also cinemas eventually (although in
the case of major studios streaming into cinemas that's hardly likely to be
a publicly accessible network)"

Do you really think so? I don't think it follows that since a) more moving
images are delivered via the net that b)all moving images will be delivered
via the net. Television has existed since the 1930's, and it hasn't
destroyed the cinemas yet. Recorded media has existed for quite some time,
and in the last 10 years we've seen Titanic and Spiderman break all sorts of
box office records. There's been a contingent of overzealous video
proselytizers have been predicting the downfall of celluloid for some time
now, and now they're predicting the death of cable television, as well?

The big problem, though, is this notion that "Web 2.0" is this liberating,
democratizing force; the idea that because anyone can put anything online,
everyone gets a voice. The problem with this idea is that, if everyone gets
to say whatever they want as much as they want, the possibility of any
strong, singular voice coming through becomes less and less likely. For
example, I'm sure some of you saw the footage of the young man being
murdered by transportation police in Oakland which had been uploaded on
several video hosting websites. That video is a powerful, direct video with
important implications. However, after a day or two, it was totally out of
the news. Despite the fact that this video is as shocking and powerful as
the Rodney King video, it is much less a part of the national conscious,
because every day there is a flood of new viral videos to take its place.
The Rodney King footage didn't have hundreds and hundreds of new
user-generated content to compete with every day.

The effect of this "everyone gets a voice" isn't democratization in any
productive way; it's just the muting of strong voices. Take a look at the
"most viewed" page on youtube, or any other video hosting website. There's
not an awful lot of powerful messages there, there are a lot more insipid,
valueless short videos where no foresight went into them, and no value or
message to be taken from them. Common Sense probably wouldn't have worked
as a blog. At least, I've yet to see any blogs with that sort of power to
move people.

I'm amazed at how many artists have accepted this as a valuable subversive
tool. Sure, it will let more people see your work, but it will surround it
with ads and valueless pop-culture sound bites. It will serve to neuter
it. The faster and easier it is to make something, the less time and work
people are going to put into it. Audiences have and will continue to pick
up on the disposable nature of online video, and they will approach work in
this environment with those expectations, and that way of looking at it. It
will be very difficult to subvert this medium, because the medium is set-up
in such a way to absorb strong messages.

Plus there's a lot that can be said about the ease and relative cheapness of
working in the medium leading to a lot of lazy, cheap, and not especially
thoughtful artwork. And the recent popularity of digital art about digital
art that is only about the medium. Michael Snow's films were about human
perception and consciousness. A lot of the shit in museums and galleries is
just about computers.


On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 11:13 AM, Foxhillside <email suppressed>wrote:

> The current direction in media, particularly the way television seems to be
> developing, is to shift more of it onto the net. It is looking more likely
> that it will be the delivery medium for all moving images into our homes, if
> not also cinemas eventually (although in the case of major studios streaming
> into cinemas thats hardly likely to be a publicly accessible network). I
> think what I'm getting is a lot of the distinctions and points being raised,
> in regards to identifing a difference (your what is the 'it') are very
> difficult. Video ? It's digital art really, although as digital moving
> images have grown out of video they share a lot of technical commonality
> with video. Your work can also change considerably moving it around areas of
> the net (encoding requirements of hosting services, bandwidth requirements
> etc). Of course digital art can also encompass interactive works, sound only
> pieces and still images too.
> Mind you, it does raise questions of the politics of media. It is a
> relatively cheap method of distribution with a global reach, this is whats
> liberating and radical about it. Apart from that I'm pretty stumped as to
> why this P2P available work is being called ephemeral other than the rules
> of it's production/consumption contain an unenforceable 'delete it when
> someone else has it' rule. I also think that using torrent swarms would be a
> lot closer to this philosophy. I favour the ephemeral term being used, as
> Tony sort of said in regards to performance based pieces. We used to do a
> show called 'Deconstructed Cinema' which was basically an improvised video
> art show, that too me is ephemeral as it wasn't recorded and was edited
> together in real time. Of course such things could be done online now with
> software like Arkaos.
> What I do find interesting about this method of delivery on the net, by
> that I mean P2P networks, is that its a way that a work can be
> repersonalised in some sense by those that consume it. What I mean is you
> can see what other works, music, and images a person who has a copy also has
> in their P2P library. The work is like a book being restacked in different
> librarys next to other works. This may lead people, by browsing, onto other
> works.
> I also agree, if what you're saying is that fundamentally there is no Point
> A or B that can be easily identifiable. The way the net works encourages an
> odd form of short term memory loss when it comes to anythings provenance. It
> does however offer a way of identifying all the places accessible to you
> where it exists (in some form, it could have been reencoded etc). The virus
> analogy works best, once you put something on the net and people find it its
> pretty much a given it'll end up being somewhere else soon after, even if it
> only ends up in somebody elses cache files. There are always point Bs, it
> becomes a multiplicity. A work has the potential to carry other works along
> with it, simply by a virtual-space association, other items that were found
> in the enviroment it was stacked in where a singular user/browser found it.
> It is infecting other pieces really. To get away from the virus analogy this
> process can also be seen a form of curation carried out by many individuals.
> I think that how these associations develop, and then fracture, within such
> a large scale and flexible distribution method as the net is what will
> become interesting. It'll be nice to get out of categorisations of art
> work-types as such a complex free form association will end up making
> categories meaningless. Like 'Ephemeral'.
> -Stray.
> If Tony's work has raised questions about the significance of frame rate
>> or projection for film, I am asking about the value of the delivery metaphor
>> for net art. Is there a point A or B? Is there a message, does something
>> travel? What are the parameters of the work? What is the "it" of this
>> work, a video? What is its significance? Is it most constructively
>> conceived of in the context of moving images? What makes it interesting?
>> The use of ephemeral suggests material decay, but suppose we use the
>> biological metaphor of a virus. What is the significance of imagery? Is
>> there a location of reception? What significance does the work present for
>> a politics of media? Is it important in understanding social control? Is
>> it liberating, radical . . ?
>> Bernie
>> ________________________________________
>> From: Experimental Film Discussion List [email suppressed] On
>> Behalf Of Jonathan Walley [email suppressed]
>> Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 7:26 PM
>> To: email suppressed
>> Subject: Re: Ephermal filmworks? History?
>> On Mar 3, 2009, at 7:01 PM, Roddy, Bernard P. wrote:
>>> Terranova's book Network Culture undertakes to replace the discourse
>>> of representation with that of information (I approximate), and to
>>> get beyond the terms of cultural criticism (traced from Marx through
>>> the Frankfurt School to British emphasis on identity). Walley's
>>> reliance on the language of distribution ("from point A to point B,"
>>> "institutions through which these things are brought to us") seems
>>> ill-suited for examining the nature of the practice Anders has
>>> going, particularly given that we can constructively examine the
>>> project without seeing the work (right?).
>> But the work still has to travel, and it must do so through some
>> means. A network is precisely such a means, and that's all it is,
>> whether it is an "old-fashioned" distribution network of film/video
>> coop's sending prints through the mail to people who want to screen
>> them or "new-fashioned" electronic networks that allow us to transmit
>> and see works via the internet. It seems to me that Anders's project
>> is, in part, about the nature of this latter "network," about
>> something that makes it distinct from other modes of distribution (and
>> the potential consequences of these). This is all I mean by
>> "distribution."
>> I'm not sure why the language of distribution is less relevant to this
>> project on the grounds that "we can constructively examine the project
>> without seeing the work." Indeed, this seems to make the nature of its
>> distribution all the more relevant. In this case, the nature of the
>> "distribution" format Anders has chosen for his work may NOT bring the
>> work to a viewer - it may FAIL. But this doesn't make it NOT a form of
>> distribution, does it?
>> Again, I suppose it comes down to how one defines "distribution." I'm
>> not sure I'm really relying on a "language of distribution." That
>> sounds pretty systematic. Simply pointing out that works of art, under
>> most circumstances, travel from their maker to a viewer (or group of
>> viewers), often through some more or less formalized system, and that
>> this has consequences for who sees the work (and how, and when, and
>> if) isn't the same as invoking a systematized discourse, which is what
>> I take the first sentence of your post to be suggesting.
>> Jonathan
>> __________________________________________________________________
>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
>> __________________________________________________________________
>> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.