[iDC] Introduction: The Internet as Playground and Factory

john smith arttorrents at gmail.com
Tue Jun 9 21:44:03 UTC 2009


I'm a new reader of this list as well and wanted to give a short
introduction to what i work on as well(English is not my first language, i
hope it's readable).

Between December 2006 and September 2008 i ran a blog called Art
which was and still is a synergetic bridge between KaraGarga.net, the
largest torrent based archive, indexing material which could be labeled 'the
negative shape of Hollywood(arthouse, videoart, experimental cinema, etc.)
and then Google. The blog had several functions. One was to invite people to
KaraGarga, who had use of and interest in some of the same material as i
had, being mainly video art from the 60's to now. I have since 2006 received
4000 mails from which i have invited app. 1500 people from all over the
world, students from every field and every place, professors from Asia,
Africa and other non-western locations, with no access to the university
archives in the west, which most of the new material which has come through
me, stems from, artists(some sharing own work) - also from a wide range of
locations, curators, historians, researchers and so forth. One thing was
important while going through the mails: the ones who in some way said they
planned to use the material they found in a social situation, in its widest
sense(i might at some point have invited a lonely Inuit at some point, now
sitting in his igloo watching Godard or something having no one to share it
with), were chosen before the others, as i myself have moved from a somewhat
romantic view of the internet as a place where new experiences can be gained
to a view of the internet/the browser as a tool, to move data from one
computer to another, and then into a social situation, where the material
again is activated, actualized, made important; taken from the highspeed
space being our browser into a more slow social space where our minds can
relax and more often drop below the surface.
In the future, everything which can be digitized will always all ready be
there, which moves the task from creating the archive to the new task, which
of course all ready is actual; making the binary masses important again,
getting it off the internet, into a space, into our dialogue, away from the
browser, from the place our computer is situated - often a desk and a chair,
which literally makes everything flat, the body is put out of control,
deactivated so as to make peace for our eyes, to scan over our computers and
take everything in visually.
Because of the decentralized structure of KaraGarga, the archive is
everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It has no physical appearance, at
least not one anyone except a very small group of people have access to and
therefore it lies somewhere in between the daily lifes of the sites users,
the institutions they attend every day, the cinema they go to at night and
so forth: it is what Stoffel Debuysere <http://www.diagonalthoughts.com/> at
some point on his blog referred to as an informal archive opposed to the
formal ones which we find at fx. Berkeley and places like that - a line
which of course isn't clearly drawn, meaning that KaraGarga, as a surface, a
picture of how history also can be written, of course at some point, if it
isn't taken down, may become an established institution in itself, a formal
Other than that i have since 2007 helped out at UbuWeb <http://ubuweb.com/>,
an archive focusing on poetry/visual poetry, avantgarde, art, etc., run by
Kenneth Goldsmith, a new york based poet.
On a more general level, I am interested in the internet because of it's
similarities with books and publications, as a thing, which is nothing else
than what is asserted in a given context - meaning, at every site, in every
book, every discourse, aesthetic language, can or can not be activated, by
the one engaging with it opposed to the physical institutions which, when
stepping through their doors, accepts certain ways of behaving while
excluding others, the internet can as you can in a book fx., establish a
hybrid institution, drawing on whatever language, visual as linguistic, as
it want's to all the time affirming, that it exists in a place where it can
be activated as well as it maybe wont be.

All the best
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