The Anti-Frame of “Neutrality”

November 12, 2014

blogginlägg 4

As opposed to a site, that could be figured as a kind of static condition or a set scenario, I picture  a network requiring a set of multiple forces, consisting of several agencies or reciprocal relations. I’m going to continue using the frame as an allegory for the mechanisms surrounding the artwork, and hopefully it will prove to be a useful tool in investigating a sort of internet based network for visual culture. As I have mentioned previously, there are strong institutional and social frameworks that constitutes some of the most obvious of the various structures involved in the elaborate processes enabling the creation of the art object.

Judy Wajcman talks about cyberfeminism and the hopes of a feminist revolution, enabled by internets promise of liberation from gender and material restrictions and conventions ( “TechnoCapitalism Meets TechnoFeminism: Women and Technology in a Wireless World”, 2006). This is set against the still prevailing inequalities of a male dominated IT and engineer profession and the survival of a belief in an inherently male quality of the technological field.

The visual culture of the internet is in many ways profoundly different from that of the material world, and obeys other structural law constellations. This different structuring of the visual information as well as the large and easy distribution and spreading of pictures is off course something that will have an effect on the way we perceive visual information and pictures.

Internet sites such as FFFFOUND! and Pinterest, where the users repost artworks and pictures they found elsewhere, enables a new way of acquiring an aesthetic experience, hard to imagine in a traditional or institutionalized context. This is referred to as “appropriated art”, in which the FFFFOUND!-user becomes some kind of quotational artist. Central themes in this context are accessibility and aesthetic appeal, rendering the pictures origin and status as art or not art quite beside the point. This also creates several layers of agencies, in which users are artists, appropriative artists, visitors and observers, and sometimes (most times) all of them at once.

To invent a framework or context in which contextuality is (at least ideologically and visually) disregarded is an ordinary irony of internet aesthetics. Other examples may include the visual profile of Google, succeeding in the art of visualizing (and being perceived as) the “un-designed” and “un-mediated” – perhaps even a claim to objectivity.

In this instance, I would say there are several framework levels at work. The internet itself can be seen as the most basic framework for this “de-framing” context. The anti-aesthetic of neutralizing, de-contextualizing sites is both a visual frame as well as a perceptive framework of understanding the constitutive rules of the “appropriated art” scene.

These sites are opportunities to act without regard to, or without the expectations of, gender issues. On the other hand, these “free” media tends to enforce hegemonic structures, where It’s for example always easier to find the most ordinary, most sought for information, and always very hard to find valid information on more specific obscure subjects. That is, of course, the whole point since it enables most people to find answers to most of their questions. I wouldn’t however say that it’s an inclusive or liberating technology, but for those who are already the most included.

One thing that becomes clear after reading Wajcman is the fact that every liberating technology is also created in an oppressive structure, and should therefore always be an object of interpretations and reinterpretation, something to be debated and reevaluated.



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