Saturday, December 12, 2009

Duly Noted: Young Art Folks say "Frak the Internet"

I'm a bit of an oldster in tech terms--turning 35 next month and still (!) use a hotmail account on occasion--so it's been interesting for me to see some younger early-20s artists and curators start to make work that is critical of the interwebs with which the have been suckled.

A recent example of this was "On You On Me" at the new artist-run/living-room space Butcher Gallery. Curated by young artist Kaitlin Till-Landry, the show was intended to deal with "themes inspired by the Internet’s influences on identity, narcissism and voyeurism." (In the interest of full disclosure, I met Till-Landry a couple of years ago when I was hired to curate a show of student work for the U of T vis arts department.)

For one "On You On Me" performance, Till-Landry took a knife to a webcam-streaming digital LCD screen, and seemed to find it harder to destroy than initially thought. Video of the performance is below:

Performance at Butcher Gallery from Kaitlin Till-Landry on Vimeo.

The work didn't end up functioning as intended during my visit, but the overall premise--including the handwritten, nondigital curatorial statement--was interesting. Most of the rest of the work in the show was analog. (I think the show has now closed, but a word to the wise if you're planning on visiting the gallery--because it's over a butcher shop, it does smell a lot like fairly odorous cheese and meat in there--er, unless that was some extra-analog piece that I somehow didn't identify.)

It's also worth noting that earlier this year, another young curator, Jennifer Chan, made related critiques of the web in her essay for a show at Interaccess. (As an aside, it looks like after many months of staffing-and-financial chaos, Interaccess is finally showing art again this month. Here's hoping they pull through.)

Finally, there's one more example I've come across of this internet-critical sentiment, albeit in the clubbing realm: Tony Cushman's regular FUCKtheINTERNET dance party. Says Cushman in an interview with BlogTO:

The crowd that we are attracting - artsy types in their 20s - are part of the last generation that can still remember a time before the Internet. The tracks [that we play] - New Wave, Old School Hip-Hop, 90s Dance - are a celebration of the pre-internet era, but the name also speaks to the ambivalent relationship we each have with the Internet.

I don't think any of this means Google will have to batten down the hatches for mutiny anytime soon; far from it. All these kids use the internet a lot--but it's interesting to me how some of them are also more critical about it than I would have expected.

Image from Hacking for Christ


Anonymous said...

This whole post would be way better if you ran it through a Photoshop filter.

Lorna said...

That was me, fuck I hate this blogger software.

Leah Sandals said...

Hey Lorna,
Thanks for putting up with the ravages of blogger to make yer point!

Some Blingee would have helped too, eh?

Lorna said...

See what I did in those comments? Ambiguity, my friend, ambiguity.

Lorna said...

Blingees make everything better. Can a million 13 year old figure skating fans be wrong.