[iDC] interesting article on new media scene in LA

aharon at aharonic.net aharon at aharonic.net
Mon Oct 31 14:43:38 EST 2005

Hi all,

Seems like the discussion is a bit more interesting than the article

Personally, I think the issue of interest is that of financing art and how
such funds affect the content, manner and context of resulting artistic
work. Indeed, is it possible to change, what is often a dictatorial way of

If history is anything to go by, artists by enlarge, have always attempted
treading a tight rope between artistic inspiration - and narcissistic
aspirations held by funds providers.
Indeed, it is not uncommon nowadays to tailor projects for certain fund
application requirements, only to make some necessary amendments during
execution - without fear of having one yourself.. (Well.. In some

I haven't done such hacks and do not intend on doing, for personal
reasons. It's not my place to judge others' take on the manners in which
they finance artistic endeavours. But if the artist is metaphorically the
piano player, I think s/he should be both in the firing line, when there's
shooting about, and be free to play their tune - even if the paymaster
does not happen approve.

However, the fact that art funding providers have a tendency to make
projects fit within whatever happened to be a prevailing dogma at the
time, does not mean things have to remain the same. I hope discussions
such as these could help in opening up new, maybe more democratic ways, of
arts funding. Regardless of regional generalisations..

In the context of this discourse, some of you might find the following
interesting. In http://www.iaspis.com/eng/d_frame/frame.html you could
find "..A Report with Scenarios on the Future of Public Funding for
Contemporary Art in Europe". A paper that discusses instrumentalisation in
art and its funding from, mainly, EU percpective.

I have not seen a reference to this document in the course of emails in
this topic here. Apologies if this is an oversight.

Best of wishes,


> gh comments:
> I think the article in the L.A. Times is quite telling. It talks about
> how the film industry is the main industry in L.A. as Art is in New
> York. One could argue that New York is essentially the cultural center
> of the U.S. with it's fashion, media. theater, art, food etc. but in
> any case. New Media in relationship to Hollywood is an interesting and
> exciting possibility. At the moment Hollywood thinks of new media as
> special effects and surround sound. Maybe it can get beyond that. Car
> culture in L.A. is a factor that can highlight the notion of rhizomatic
> networking and virtual bodies.   I think that the decade of excitement
> about new media has played out. Now the hard work begins and that is to
> assess and incorporate new media into the larger cultural discourse. In
> America that also means creating a market. Right now the market for new
> media artists is in the Universities as teachers. That is a worthy
> vocation but needs to be extended into the world as a whole. The
> problem with new media has always been a focus on what the software
> does rather than what the art work means or what it communicates. The
> main discussion in New Media is whether someone does their own coding.
> That's actually detrimental to the notion of art. It's about the same
> as saying a person isn't a painter if they don't grind and mix their
> own paints.  I always think of California as looking to the East and
> the Orient. I think of the East Coast as looking to Europe. It's a sort
> of where we came from and where are we going dynamic. One of my main
> problems with California is how they always claim to be be inventing
> things, starting trends etc.. That is probably why John Hopkins got a
> little steamed and started talking about all the new media projects in
> Europe. It does become interesting to try and define what the
> difference is between New York New Media, L.A. New Media and E.U. New
> Media. This becomes interesting and exciting. The problems I see are in
> getting bogged down in Hackneyed Marxist discourse or staying
> sequestered in New Media cloisters. One of the more exciting things
> that happened in the 1970's New York punk scene was a rejection of the
> high aesthetics of  Soho and a move to mix it up in the rock clubs.
> There is that potential for new media which Perry Hoberman hinted about
> when he said in the article that people are working in the fringes in
> California. Excuse me as a New Yorker if I mix up L.A. , .S.F. and S.D.
> and lump them all together. I know that not the case but this is a
> short post. Have fun in the sun!
> g. h. hovagimyan
> On Oct 30, 2005, at 3:09 PM, Murphy wrote:
>> A few thoughts on being mean to SoCal:
>> I always thought Barbrook's "California ideology" was unfair to
>> California (and the US in general) but that it was accurate for Wired
>> magazine and those who wrote for it. My response was  "chill, dude"
>> because Americans don't take mass publications as seriously as
>> European Marxists. Having worked in magazine publishing and production
>> I saw Wired as an incredibly produced promotional book that was great
>> fun to look at and attempt to read but wasn't very influential because
>> Americans don't read anymore. If they do they're not getting their
>> information from Wired. Now it's owned by Conde Nast because it was
>> always a Conde Nast sort of publication. It was the nerd Vogue. Great
>> layout and occasionally great writing because text is cheaper than
>> image in a magazine.
>> The University of California system is a marvel of American education
>> that all of us should be proud of. Instead, Reagan tried to destroy it
>> when he was gov. while waving the flag. That's schizophrenic America
>> in a nutshell.
>> There really is no other place in the US where so many industries
>> interested in new media converge (and throw in agribusiness while
>> we're at it). I don't think of them as evil per se. There is a sort of
>> fascist element to it, though with a Disney facade.
>> I was joking when I called the New Yorkers who went to SoCal to teach
>> as "riff-raff" because I'm friends with some of them. OTOH, I've
>> decided Lev Manovich just may be the devil. He is the primary
>> proponent of the non art historical view of new media and I can't
>> excuse him for that.
>> The Thing has operatives at UCSD so we're just as much to blame for
>> what's happening there as anybody else.
>> {smiley face}
>> Robbin Murphy
>> The Thing, Inc.
>> c/o Death Star
>> New York, NY
>> murphy at thing.net
>> http://post.thing.net
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