[iDC] fidelity [shelf life]

Annette Weintraub annette at annetteweintraub.com
Wed Nov 28 01:30:10 UTC 2007

Coming back to the thread after the long weekend, I'd like to take up 
Tim's comments on fidelity and emulation.

I'm inclined to believe that fidelity is incompatible with the 
fluidity of emulation as it applies to new media art. 'Emulation' 
implies a process that imitates or recreates a thing, and the term 
suggests incorporation of imperfections or differences or at the very 
least a generational remove. Emulation inevitably incorporates 
translation, mutation and alteration, perhaps in ways that shifts 
intent and interpretation. It also defines itself against the 
'original' thing.

A Sol Lewitt drawing, if carried out as per instructions, might 
contain subtle shifts and variations in different reconstructions 
based on different wall surfaces or the precison of its 
artist-executors. But those shifts and imperfections would remain 
within the conceptual boundaries of the process and have 'fidelity' 
and integrity. If however, the only pencils available to 'perform' 
the wall drawing were impossibly perfect drawing tools and created a 
cold mechanical line rather than a warm drawn one, a quite different 
impression would ensue. It's funny to think about how hard it can be 
to emulate a more simple state. But the difference in tools is 

You can containerize many aspects of a work-narrative content, visual 
appearance, sound, text-and then repackage it, either by emulating 
the original environment or porting it to a new one. This process can 
open the work up, add layers of history and new context and create a 
descendent work. This may be a small infidelity, but possibly a 
necessary one.

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