Shock of the View
Monday, October 6, 1998

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Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 13:01:19 -0400 (EDT)
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From: murph the surf 
Subject: [shock] Inside/Outside

Getting back to the "object":

"There exist both verbal artifacts (e.g., the scriptures) and material artifacts (e.g., altar) that objectify the act of believing, imagining, or creating as a sometimes graphically represented turning of the body inside-out. But what is expressed in terms of body part is, as those cited contexts themselves make clear, more accurately formulated in the endowing of interior sensory events with a metaphysical referent. The interchange of inside and outside surfaces requires _not_ the literal reversal of bodily linings but the making of what is originally interior and private into something exterior and sharable, and conversely, the reabsorption of what is now exterior and sharable into the intimate recesses of individual consciousness."

Elaine Scarry, "The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World"

Friedrich Kittler points out that Information Systems were concerned primarily with storage (inside) and transmission (outside) until computers added a third element: computation (mediation). Whereas diciplines like art history, science and phychoanalysis separate storage from transmission in order to study them as distinct objects what we in the west think of as art may have always been a kind of computation -- creating an endless looping of inside and outside.

Perhaps when we talk about the "object" what we really mean is the "artifact" and that can be virtual (verbal) or atomic (material) and is a result of the objectifying process that computers have changed dramatically.

Lots of New Media Art never depended upon computers but do so more and more because artists instinctively sense this art/computation link is material to work with. That's where "" may come in, not as a medium but as an awareness of this computation. isn't a category of artifact but a kind of objectifying process and an easy way to begin working.

OK, now I've got myself all confused again. Tangled web and all that. But like I've always said, science creates solutions while art creates problems and that's why they need each other, for the dynamics.

Dept. of Art and Art Professions
School of Education, New York University

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