Aesthetic Growth: Becoming a Human, a Thing or a Piece of Code
Respondent: Finn Brunton
How do we engage with the world, as it turns computational? Are we talking about users, prosumers, producers, co-developers or something different altogether when seeking to understand the ways in which people, objects, movements and networks themselves become or individuate in conjunction with networked media technologies? This talk will build on work initiated by Olga Goriunova in her recently published book Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet. The book is a critical analysis of the processes that produce digital culture and proposes the concept of Art Platforms as “a specific configuration of creative passions, codes, events, individuals and works that are propelled by cultural currents and maintained through digitally native means.” In the book, Goriunova takes a look at the recent history and modalities in which these art platforms evolved, arguing that software art, digital forms of literature, 8-bit music, 3D-art forms, pro-surfers, and networks of geeks are test beds for an enquiry into what brings and holds art platforms together. In her lecture for the User thread of the festival, Goriunova takes inspiration from Art Platforms, but at the same time, asks how this notion is being reformed in our contemporary user culture. How culture, people and knowledge are made now occurs in radically novel ways; and here, dynamically unfolding human-technical architecture plays a central role. In a way, the history of net art and its fascination with archives and online museums, mailing lists from the 1990s, participatory platforms, and now social networking sites, all try to respond to the same request: engaging the technical condition of becoming.