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Networked Art

Craig J. Saper
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Networked Art
    Book Description:

    The experimental art and poetry of the last half of the twentieth century offers a glimpse of the emerging networked culture that electronic devices will make omnipresent. Craig J. Saper demarcates this new genre of networked art, which uses the trappings of bureaucratic systems—money, logos, corporate names, stamps—to create intimate situations among the participants. Saper explains how this genre developed from post-World War II conceptual art, including periodicals as artworks in themselves; lettrist, concrete, and process poetry; Bauhaus versus COBRA; Fluxus publications, kits, and machines; mail art and on-sendings. The encyclopedic scope of the book includes discussions of artists from J. Beuys to J. S. G. Boggs, and Bauhaus’s Max Bill to Anna Freud Banana.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9230-9
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. Part I. Intimate Bureaucracies

    • 1. Receivable Art and Poetry
      (pp. 3-28)

      The texts examined in this book fit into the category that Roland Barthes calls “receivable”(RB118). He distinguishes the receivable from both the readerly texts of narrative realism and the modernist writerly texts that depend on a reader’s responding as if he or she were writing the text(S/Z3).¹ Literary critics and theorists have written extensively on these two other terms, and Barthes himself mentions the third category only in passing (and only once late in his career). He names the works sent to him by his friends or acquaintancesreceivablebecause he does not know quite what...

    • 2. A Fan’s Paranoid Logic
      (pp. 29-48)

      The fanzine began as a marketing ploy of the Hollywood studios in the 1920s, serving as part of their publicity machines. In the 1930s, fans began to produce their own fanzines.¹ By the 1940s a new twist to these magazines appeared. The amateur press associations produced collections of works by fans that had an enormous impact on conceptual art, especially since the 1950s. An amateur press association, usually referred to as an “apa,” consisted of “a group of people who published fanzines and sent them to an official editor who mailed a copy of each to each member in a...

    • 3. Strikes, Surveillance, and Dirty Tricks
      (pp. 49-68)

      Art strikes offer an example of the social emphasis of artists’ networks. In 1974, Gustav Metzger, who had previously worked with Fluxus, called for an art strike from 1977 through 1980, during which time artists would refrain from making art. Although that strike had limited impact, Polish artists had staged a successful strike in 1981 during the Solidarity movement, and in 1985 Stewart Home of the neoist formation (i.e., the mailart movement set against the individual identity of an artist) called for a strike to last from 1990 through 1993, which he predicted would fail (Home 4; see also Phillpot).¹...

  6. Part II. From Visual Poetry to Networked Art

    • 4. Processed Bureaucratic Poetry
      (pp. 71-90)

      Intimate bureaucracies grew from efforts to expand the terrain of visual poetry and typographic experimentation. Visual poems offered alternatives to horizontal lines of poetry and even alternatives to the use of words. These steps by concrete and lettrist poets, respectively, ultimately, led to the making of poetry off the page.¹ The publications discussed in this book were not merely filled with these types of poems. More important, the publications, and their corresponding intimate bureaucracies, depended on these poets’ efforts to find new poetic terrains, including collective compilations and interactive situation-dependent works.

      The process and concrete poets’ interest in distilling poetry...

    • 5. Intimate Poetry
      (pp. 91-112)

      In the early 1950s, a disagreement between two artists, best known for their sculptures and paintings, about the goals and strategies of concrete art epitomized the differences between the two major tendencies of visual poetry (concrete semiotic poetry and often parodic lettrist calligraphic poetry). The development of these two tendencies grew literally from Asger Jorn’s and Max Bill’s influence on their collaborators and followers. The split between Jorn, who was among the founders of COBRA, and Bill, who theorized “konkretionen” or concrete art, marked the divergence of the international concrete poetry movement from the lettrists’ montage and free calligraphic poetry....

    • 6. Fluxus: Instructions for an Intimate Bureaucracy
      (pp. 113-128)

      During the early 1960s, the artists’ networks and publications of multimedia texts expanded as artists, filmmakers, and writers joined together in groups first simply to promote their work outside the entrenched gallery system and later to experiment with collective and performative art, media, and poetry. Improvisation, spontaneity, and the immediate presence of participants played important roles in this work. But participation also occurred via mailings and through subscription to assemblings. The counterculture of Fluxus events, Allan Kaprow’s Happenings, dances by Yvonne Rainier and Simone Forti, Andy Warhol’s Factory, and screenings by Jonas Mekas still have an aura of immediacy so...

    • 7. Assemblings as Intimate Bureaucracies
      (pp. 129-148)

      At least since the 1950s, some artists and poets have sought innovative ways to reach their audiences and collaborators. These artists have sought to circumvent the gallery system by means of direct mailings and alternative distribution networks. During the 1950s, such networks became the driving force of a new art world scene that encouraged the production of works difficult to classify or hang on a wall. By the late 1960s, one of the most important features of the new distribution network was the periodic mailing of very small editions (fifty to five hundred) containing prints and poems, pamphlets, and small...

    • Conclusion: Networked Futures
      (pp. 149-154)

      Intimate bureaucracies have an important place in the future of artistic experimentation and the extension of the concept of art to include social sculpture. These works do not comment merely on the production of art, but on the production of specific types of social networks. As a forum in which this extension can take place, the sociopoetic works examined in this book offer a transition into, and kitlike instructions for, the quintessential art and literature of the twenty-first century: networked art. The transition to understanding artworks in terms of sociopoetics requires that previous impasses now become opportunities for interpretation.


  7. Notes
    (pp. 155-166)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 167-184)
  9. Index
    (pp. 185-198)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 199-199)