This is a sample topic post for the week of March 29-30, when we will visit the Bowdoin Museum of Art to meet with visiting artist Luke DuBois (his work is available online at: http://lukedubois.com). The post demonstrates the elements that I am looking for: engaged reading with the text, clear reference points (i.e., citations of specific elements to discuss), and a point of view that connects the different ideas at play. That said, I do not expect that your post will use similar language or style. I am most interested in what you have to say about the readings and ideas. Remember that you are writing for an audience. Although blog posts do not assume the same level of investment as other writing, your post should be clear, focused, and proofread.
Date: March 29-30
Topic: Art, Performance, and Digital Technologies
In chapter 11 of his Revolutions in Communication, Bill Kovarik cites a Whole Earth Catalog review from 1984 in which Art Kleiner writes, “Someday everybody will communicate by computer.” (Kovarik, loc. 8192, p. #). In outlining the developments of the internet protocols and the world wide web, Kovarik traces the ways that the emerging technology of computer networks shaped society and changing legal structures, corporate power, and creating what Howard Rheingold optimistically called “the virtual community.” Rheingold’s description uses the language of performance to explain the experience of the online community: “I soon discovered that I was audience, performer, and scriptwriter, along with my companions, in an ongoing improvisation” (qtd. Kovarik, loc. 8196, p. #). Overall, Kovarik describes computer networks optimistically as potentially revolutionary sites for community and potential political action (cf. Richard Hill, loc. 8560, p. #).
Luke DuBois’ digital artwork challenges some of this optimism but like Kovarik, he draws attention to the performativity of online networks. His “Self-portrait, 1993-2014” (2014) presents his data like a performance and he frequently collaborates with other artists and performers, such as the musicians in several works or the project “LOSTWAX: Blinking” (2013).
Looking at the sample projects online, makes me wonder: Are all digital artworks performative? How is the presentation of the self (quantified self, selfies, etc.) like a theatrical performance (such as Rheingold described it)? Is it really all so positive as Kovarik describes it? Or, are there more negative dimensions to these performances?