Re: Ephermal filmworks? History?

From: James Cole (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Mar 04 2009 - 11:33:23 PST

In your arguments defense, I believe that digital projection theaters often
do get the file, or information or whatever right through digital networks.
That said, this format hasn't been very successful, as of yet.

I certainly didn't mean to suggest that nothing good could come from digital
art, or online videos, or blogs, or anything, just that it's a medium that
seems set up in a way to neutralize anything powerful or personal because of
the overwhelming amount of noise, and the way people have to adapt to look
at/think about this noise. Blogs and online videos can move people, but I
suspect that the same words in a blog format would have a harder time moving
people than if they were in a book format, because of the way people
approach digital media. More importantly, people expect brevity online, and
if people are expected to converse in soundbites, people who don't have a
lot of trouble. It's the same reason that very smart, lucid people get torn
to bits on radio talk shows or the Bill O'Reilly show or whatever. Even if
you make better, more logical points, the medium stacks the deck against

Furthermore, the mainstream media seems to have done a better job adapting
to this medium as any subversive artists or radicals or whatever. "Viral
advertisement campaigns" have worked awfully well. For every flashmob
against Scientology, there's a million cryptic websites telling you to tune
into Lost, or buy Sprite, or go see Cloverfield.

I'm not saying there can't be any value, I'm just wary of a lot of people's
rush to accept it as a tool to give everyone a voice. To extend the
metaphor, if everyone talks at the same time, no one can hear anything. I
suspect that, when all is said and done, it's going to be a much better tool
for the mainstream than for the radicals and artists and whoever else. It
seems like a more effective tool for segmentation and homogenization than
for democracy and artistic expression; a big sloppy network for people to
get lost staring at their navels and for powerful messages to get drowned
out in the cacophony.

I hope I'm wrong.


On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 1:51 PM, email suppressed <
email suppressed> wrote:

> Well I wasn't predicting the end of either TV or cinema, I'm just saying
> that it will be delivered via networks purely as digital media. Nothing
> changes though I agree, just the delivery method to TV and Cinema will
> change is all that I'm saying. Please don't confuse me with those foam at
> the mouth idiotic utopian futurists ;)
> I also like you don't believe for one second its a powerful subversive
> medium. Yes, the signal to noise ratio is completely in favour of noise,
> which does prove at least that it's democratic. However, you can still find
> the signal, you could even still find the Rodney King video you're talking
> about somewhere on the net I'm sure. IIRC you can even stream films from
> Netflix through the net via your Xbox or whatever. We are moving towards a
> situation where we are not only on exactly the same platform as the
> mainstream media, but that we can alsoadd content to the platform as easily
> as the mainstream can (if not more easily tbh). This doesn't mean that we
> can subvert the mainstream, it just means that getting from the mainstream
> to alternative voices is just a click away. So is the noise though, granted.
> As for digital art about digital art, yep it's mostly awful, and futlie.
> I've seen a few that offer no insights additional to what experimental film
> makers have already made (in terms of the moving image). Still, every medium
> goes through that, and relatively speaking digital art is still very young.
> I'm a digital artist, and to me the medium itself has never been the message
> of a work. There is nothing wrong with experimental work that tests the
> medium however, that can too often be interpreted as digital art about
> digital art when it should be more correctly seen as experimental practice
> that could lead onto something else. Personally, I keep my experiments in
> that regard to myself though, to me they aren't works in their own right.
> Anyway, all the crap is an acceptable cost in my opinion when it's compared
> to the benefits of the medium. A lot of it is the result of what happens
> when people with no history of cinematic art, experimental film or video
> make work, you're going to get a lot of wheel reinvention. Its pointless to
> rail against it all though really.
> No blogs can move people ? Well no, however the associations people form
> with sites, and the content on sites is very unpredictable. So, who can say,
> flash mobs to anonymous attacking scientology, things do happen
> occasionally, minor as they are. There will be groups of people coming
> together, creating, departing, recombining etc. No overall difference
> made,some difference made. *shrug* No great media liberation, maybe, but a
> lot more people can express themselves, a lot more people have an artistic
> voice. Even if it mostly produces noise it's still a positive thing.
> -Stray.
> ----Original Message----
> From: email suppressed
> Date: 04/03/2009 17:51
> To: <email suppressed>
> Subj: Re: Ephermal filmworks? History?
> "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.
> -James
> 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>.
> *Get up to 50% off Norton Security 2009 only from Tiscali -
> *
> __________________________________________
> __________________________________________________________________ For info
> on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

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