[spectre] Re: the media art center of 21C

John Hopkins hopkins at isnm.de
Sat Sep 10 22:01:51 CEST 2005

many interesting threads!

some musings...

>>Actually, I am not against big institutions. If you want to have a "collection" and do >>"serious" work, then I guess you do need a big institution. Also, in some directions of >>"media lab" without a stable, big institution, it is often hard to do "real" work.

but how is it that 'seriousness', 'real' creative possibility, teaching (about technology), and passing on knowledge are somehow correlated with the (power)scale of social institution that we are in relation to?

social institutions are a fact that each individual has to choose how to be in relation with.  impossible to escape completely, but not 100% necessary for creative possibility

of course, if success is measured by the size of the social reward that one gets from institutions, organizations, or the society at large, then it is given that one has to come into 'productive' engagement with that social system.   one extreme of this relationship -- that of anti-engagement or simply anti -- is a strategy that some consciously take on in an attempt to create an illusion of riding the avant garde.  this is bound to be co-opted by that social system that one is in opposition with -- simply because the primary structure of opposition is formed by the social system one is opposing.  (this could be termed reactionary creativity).  the other extreme is to subjugate ones internal creative needs completely to that social system, making its goals to be ones personal goals.  not sure this is a nice alternative.  and in between these dialectic extremes, there is the social reality. 

I think creative action is rooted in making choices that often are not closely linked to those traditional (external) measures of social reward. 

The dogged linkage between the material parameters of creative production is something that seems to inherently be embedded in a birth-death life cycle -- institutions and empires come and go.  The linkage seems to be only artifically paired with creativity.  Most creative people I have run across understand that the mediating technology is an element of the praxis, but does not lead the creative impulse. (i.e., under the umbrella of 'media art' seems to have something to do with digital devices -- when the digital device has been superseded by the next hip device deployed by corporate whim).  I do know some people who follow this process with a 'creative' praxis that reaps huge social rewards!

as someone who has circulated extensively on the fringe (and in the middle) of several social systems, participating in the social fruits of many of the said media centers,  I definitely don't measure my own output in relation to those structures, but rather measure the 'seriousness' of my 'work'/play in its direct effect on my immediate relations with other individuals.

threads in the discussion seem also to be related to the dominant-but-very-questionable paradigm that the success of a creative venture is measured by number of bodies that it is exposed to...  Can anyone explain why the quantity of consumers is so critical to 'success'?

Cheers John

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