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Self-Reflexivity in the age of Virtuality


Thinking about this page thinking about Self-Reflexivity

This page is devoted to information about self-reflexivity. Other the coming months, links to other sites will be added and the information contained within this archive will grow. One warning: this site is preliminary at this point. The list of works and the initial statement are still in development. Any feedback would be helpful.

Self Reflexivity is a topic at the core of much of the work on this site. And it is at the core of much of what is happerning on the "cutting edge" of society. We listen to commentatores describe our reactions to what we see in the footage shown on the news of commentators discussing the footage they have seen on CNN/ABC/the Court Channel of district attornies and defense lawyers making pronouncements and asking questions based on what they have read in documents and been told by experts and detectives about what those detectives and experts surmized from evidence left at the scene of what they term a „crime,¾„evidence¾left behind by individuals who may or may not have committed acts at that location. Say that three times fast and then think about what has just been said. Nothing, right?

What Then?

We are left with opinions of images of opinions of images of opinions of images stretching off into the mirror. And it is a mirror very much of our choosing, a defeated, worn Citizen Kane perhaps, or if its your persuasion, a young women, almost a girl, admiring how she looks in a fur. In either case we look back to images of others looking back and wonder where it all started. We are left with just our thoughts and emotions. And those thoughts and emotions are omething, we¼ve been taught to reduce to nothing with whatever the currently fashionable glare is: rationality, deconstruction, whatever is next?

But, there is something more left. That is, the images feeding and developing. No simple deconstruction or Newtonian Euclidian approach explains or explains away more than the frame of the matter: the angle light reflects at, the positioning of the elements. Then we can agree on what we already know: the frame was designed so and in that frame a certain scene was set. But, that is only the frame. Inside that frame the pot boils and the images evolve and feed upon each other and the participants guided by a simbiosis between the artist and the participants, evolving. And much like evolution itself, we can describe the current state of affairs and guess where it is going and where it has been. But we are limited in what we can know. Much like Orson Wells, when he was making Citizen Kane, could only have guessed the evolving virtuality we call video, the internet, computers and the Communications Decency Act.

And Where From Here

What we are left with is (as discussed above) the viewer, every viewer and the question of frames. Mediums, such as the internet, video and cable/television seem to be the realm of anarchy. But so has nature and the battle for evolution appeared to many observers. The new evolving image and word networks are very young. None of these existed before the second world war and it is only in the last few years that they have exploded, and begun to impact society in a way that could be termed significant. Because of this they are still evolving rapidly. The World Wide Web is still growing 100% every two months. In some ways this is more like the big bang, but, with primitive biological systems evolving simultaneously. It is very much as if DNA was being evolved in the billion degree heat of the first seconds and years of the universe. And this would seem very much like anarchy.

At the same time, niches are beginning to evolve. The frameworks provided by these new networks are guiding the growth and being stretched by that growth and development. As they complexify and develop addition niches and survival strategies, the question we have to ask are questions of the frame. What is the aesthetic of these new mediums? More simple, what is the nature of these new creatures: what is the grain of the wood, the tools that will shape it and what lives within the wood. Much like japanese sculptors, we have to search for the spirit within the particular piece of wood or virtuality we are trying to carve; or more correctly what is the shape we are trying to free? The medium becomes the critical area of exploration. And, as artists are beginning to discover in these new media, art in virtuality is an exercise in the aesthetics of frames. The media are so diverse and powerful that it is the limitation that become critical. What limits are we to push and which will we respect. The old cliche is that form follows function. In victuality we discover a frame has to be sought that will fulfil the function we intend. Alternatively, a function, an expression has to be found that will work within the frame.




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