[iDC] Net & Network :: Off Topic? Not really...

Heidi May mayh at ecuad.ca
Tue Jan 11 01:32:23 UTC 2011

Hi Sean,

I'm just getting back to being able to review this conversation in- 
depth, now that I'm working on my research proposal again. To be  
honest, I was quite surprised that my question received so many  
responses considered the busy time of year for everyone. I anticipated  
less reaction but was at that point when I really needed to hear/read  
what others thought...

I really appreciate your response....it has given me even more to  
think about... It seems we have very similar interests in the power/ 
control that language can have on our perception of meaning and  
experience. I like your use of the word 'net' and how you are using it  
with students. However, (and mainly to keep this level of critical  
discussion going with language/perception) if the purpose is to  open  
the conversations to relationality than why use 'net' at all, why not  
connect, join, link, etc. Then again, perhaps this is the direction  
where the discussion and/or artwork moves towards within the  
classroom, considering you are approaching this with a pedagogic mind.  
Right now, for my own purposes, I am examining this language in the  
context of scholarly research, however, if I were designing it for a  
student audience, particularly an art student audience in which I  
intended teaching and learning to emerge, than I might take a  
different approach. But now you've got me thinking....

My immediate reaction to your posting was that, in my opinion, 'net'  
has very similar connotations to 'network'....in terms of the  
internet. But maybe that's just me, someone has spent too much time  
thinking about semantics. I've been influenced by the writing of Ted  
Aoki the past year, and I bring his name up since you are in the  
education field so are likely familiar with his work with curriculum  
theory. Aoki wrote that we are habituated to dwell in a noun-oriented  
world and encouraged us to examine the seemingly insignificant words  
(and, with, or, etc.) and the linguistic pauses (.../ ; / , / - )  
between nouns and things, in order to be aware of that which exists  
alongside and in relation to the elements - elements that often  
include ourselves.

I think the bottom line, which was covered by several respondents to  
this thread, is perhaps not to concern ourselves too much with the  
exact word but to provide enough clarification through phrase and  
context in our language. Part of me still worries about this though,  
since language is always reduced. And, I totally agree with you about  
not limiting things to words...

thanks again for the input,

On 31-Dec-10, at 4:00 AM, idc-request at mailman.thing.net wrote:

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>   1. Re: Net & Network :: Off Topic? Not really... (Sean Justice)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2010 15:33:26 -0500
> From: Sean Justice <sean at seanjustice.com>
> Subject: Re: [iDC] Net & Network :: Off Topic? Not really...
> To: <idc at mailman.thing.net>
> Message-ID: <C94256C6.29EC3%sean at seanjustice.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Hi Heidi and all who?ve joined this thread.
> I?m afraid that the year-end insanity kept me away from this  
> conversation
> almost entirely, but I was listening as much as I could. Even though  
> I?m so
> very late, perhaps there?s time for one further thought before the  
> clock
> ticks over and wipes the slate clean.
> The question about network art resonates strongly for me. But from the
> perspective of art education, the issue of definitions and art  
> products can
> sometimes tangent away from the day to day work we do, and the  
> conversations
> we have, with students. In my work with undergraduate and graduate  
> students,
> both in art schools and in education schools, the focus on ?what  
> something
> is? gets in the way (sometimes) of ?why we care? or ?why we think we
> care?....admittedly this is a thin slice on something much larger,  
> and the
> subtleties are going to get lost, so this note is just a brief tweak  
> on the
> already thick exchange of the last few weeks.
> For instance, as an introduction for how we get into the work of  
> connecting
> with our own social (exterior) and individual (interior) processes,  
> I?m
> lately proposing that students position their thinking along several
> interrelated vectors of intentionality ? one of which is ?net?  
> (i.e., not
> ?network?). Yes it appears as a simple semantic shift, but it opens  
> the
> conversation to relationality that the word ?network? might miss  
> (because
> it?s so tightly linked with ?internet?, as has been discussed). So,  
> for
> example, whether or not a mail art project or an internet project  
> (or etc.)
> is the formal outcome, if the artist?s impulse is connection and
> relationships, and if the form of the work evolves through a nodular
> structure of shared experience, then the motivation of the work can be
> positioned as ?net? -- and in class and in the lab we can map our  
> individual
> work into a larger context that can be productive and enlightening.
> Two examples I point to are Hiroshi Sunairi?s Tree Project (
> http://treeproject.blogspot.com/) and Jordan Seiler?s Public Ad  
> Campaign (
> http://www.publicadcampaign.com/index.php). Yes, they both include  
> the web
> in their formal arrangements, but that?s a narrow and potentially  
> misleading
> way to define what these projects are about. That is, to focus on the
> ?network? aspect of the formal structure of either of these projects  
> would
> be to potentially miss the issues of community, history, public  
> space, etc.,
> that the artists are engaging. And to focus on defining ?network  
> art? as a
> category would potentially overlook both of these projects altogether.
> In seminars these days I find that young BFA and older MFA folks  
> respond
> well to the notion that we don?t have to begin our conversation by  
> talking
> about what something ?is? -- and I?m surprised, actually, that this  
> is new
> to them, because ?process? as a way of working is already so firmly
> established in our academies.
> But I guess I?m trying to interweave the ?concept? that informs the  
> output,
> with the ?output? itself, and to bring that relation to the  
> forefront. The
> dynamic starts to become visible (sometimes) when we  position  
> ourselves
> within a relational history of objects, materials, forms, and the new
> arrangements of them that continue to emerge. The conversation works  
> well
> when students can acknowledge that the stuff they?re making might  
> not yet
> have crystallized as a ?thing? in the language we use to describe  
> it. It?s a
> conundrum, for sure. But the conversation about ?net? is way to start.
> (The other vectors on this matrix of intentionality-mapping, by the  
> way, are
> surface, lens, and code....and I wish I had an essay to link on it,  
> but I
> don?t. Rather it?s still an evolving conversation in the seminar and  
> lab,
> etc., though most likely the sources and informants are probably  
> already
> visible to folks on this list... )
> Anyway, speaking as an artist and art educator, the conversation  
> around
> these new forms helps us all (students, instructors, artists,  
> audiences) map
> the boundaries that hold us apart from each other; and, by  
> illuminating
> those boundaries, points us toward new ways to transgress them. That  
> might
> be naively optimistic. But these ideas and expansions help revive me  
> for the
> new term to come.
> Thanks again for all the links and ideas posted on this topic the last
> several weeks; and thanks again to Heidi for opening the thread with  
> the
> question about network art in the first place.
> Happy new year to all~~~
> Sean Justice
> -- 
> -- 
> Sean Justice
> Photographer | Artist | Educator
> Columbia University Teachers College
> Arts & Art Education
> Doctoral Student & Instructor
> New Media Art Education
> NYU Steinhardt
> Arts & Arts Professions
> Studio Art | Photography | Digital
> International Center of Photography
> General Studies, Bard MFA, and Continuing Education
> Parsons The New School for Design
> MFA/BFA Photography & Critical Reading & Writing
> College of Staten Island
> Photography Program

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