[NetBehaviour] Distant, a new Net Art work by Marc Garrett.

rich white rich at counterwork.co.uk
Fri Feb 22 14:13:27 CET 2008

hey marc

you raise some good questions.
you may or may not have noticed that i've made a bit of a move away from 
net art in  the last couple of years - but it doesn't mean that i 
haven't been thinking about net art. i think i've been asking myself the 
same questions, and i've been a bit blind-sided by the whole 'net art is 
dead' thing. it seems unfair to declare something dead when it clearly 
has scope for development, growth and further exploration. net art 
relies on technology (hardware, software, networks, screens, projectors, 
gadgets, satellites, bits of wire, etc... etc...) in order to exist. net 
art relies on technology to deliver it to the audience. technology - 
"the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area" 
- is a developing field - computers get faster and smaller. access to 
the internet becomes more widespread and mobile. new software is being 
developed all the time - both by major companies and individuals.
what i'm trying to say is - there's a lot of scope for development; for 
new, more interesting, engaging works, as long as at the core of the 
work there is still (as you write with a capital 'A') Art.
i started to drift away from net art because i felt that it seemed to be 
getting gradually more concerned with the technological side - few works 
actually engaged me above the level of 'oh, that's clever' and i also 
witnessed a lot of technology snobbery; people snubbing other's work 
because they didn't use the 'right' software etc...
what matters is the Art. i don't care if a piece of work uses the latest 
'thing', only that it's the right 'thing' for the purpose.
i like your idea of starting afresh - re-evaluating what you do and why 
you do it. i've been thinking a lot about making more net works but feel 
i don't want to do it just for the sake of it. i'm a big believer in the 
work dictating what media to use, rather than deciding that i'm going to 
be a net artist and trying to force ideas that might be best expressed 
as photographs or installation into a net-shaped hole.
i have taken a lot from my net/digital practice into my recent 
installation works though: i use autoCAD and 3d rendering to draw models 
and experiment with spaces, and use my website to show ideas and 
experiments in progress and get feedback. the installation works 
themselves are in some sense open source. the materials i use to build 
with are reclaimed, found and/or left over from previous exhibitions by 
other artists (a process i often used in net artworks - using bits of 
code etc... found online). afterwards the materials are returned to 
where they were found or recycled - to be used again either by other 
artists or by industry.
the net.weight project (which is slowly growing) is my attempt to 
reconcile the net and installation strands of my practice - to find 
crossovers of thinking between the two.

looking forward to seeing what you and ruth get up to in banff




marc garrett wrote:
> Distant, a new Net Art work by Marc Garrett.
> Distant:
> http://www.furtherfield.org/mgarrett/distant/
> Statement about why I am Making Net Art Once More:
> I have been going through some changes regarding what type of personal, 
> individual artwork that I wish to explore these days. Even though I am 
> involved in various high-tech projects which are mainly collaborations, 
> that are related to larger projects. I wish to return to making Net Art, 
> reconnect to what has always been my favourite form of creativity and 
> expression.
> The reasons that I have decided to do this is, because I feel that it is 
> time for me to re-explore what Net Art can really be now, as part of my 
> varied practice. Times have changed, Net Art is dead as far as many 
> others have been concerned, who originally made useful careers in 
> writing about it and becoming 'heroic' artists from it. I intend to 
> rebuild my own practice on an Art that was killed by its own culture. 
> Those who loved it also decided to kill it even though other Net Artists 
> around at that time were still making it, less considered in regard to 
> the repercussions of what it meant to them and culture as a whole. For 
> me, history is really not enough to define a creative culture as 
> magnificent and dynamic as Net Art. It may be fine for those who were 
> represented at that time, but surely there are even moments of doubt, a 
> lingering spectre that says that it all went wrong. I feel that those 
> few who were selected to be part of the (ironic) 'Heroic Period', have 
> limited their own expansion. I know that many who have made Net Art in 
> the past do not wish to be left behind, lost in the history books, as 
> ghosts and may find this interesting themselves, as well as a budding 
> contemporary generation of new Net Artists.
> Rather than be part of a past mythology, I wish to be part of current 
> reality. I am of course very aware of the contemporary technologies that 
> control the Internet via corporate means, and how the rabid thirst of 
> those who wish to be technologically determined, by this mannerist 
> behaviour, are more interested in being led by others who are not 
> interested in Art, and rather are more interested in being in positions 
> of power over Media Art culture, via creative industry imposed 
> protocols. To me, on the whole it says more about spectacle and how 
> money is dictating people's intentions and causing diversions from 
> seeing what is of value culturally. As far as I am concerned, it is more 
> important to make Art.
> Perhaps Net Art was destined to die, may be it had to die so that others 
> could explore their own perceptions, reasons and creative voices without 
> the pressure of having to conform to dictates that proposed ideas which 
> in reality meant nothing to many Net Artists out there, other than to 
> those who instigated such power-related gestures in the first place.
> So, even though I am not expecting any great come back of a new Net Art 
> consciousness from my own future ventures in reclaiming a practice that 
> I believe was killed before its time, mistakenly. I am asking those who 
> had decided to moved away from making Net Art (some of course moved on 
> naturally) to respect my decision in embarking in something that was and 
> is still an expression that I feel offers the world, contemporary 
> experiences and ideas, that are still unique which can be given a second 
> chance by actively and consciously engaging in the now.  
> For me, because there is no longer the hype about a new Internet and 
> because it is a time of trouble in respect of economy depressions around 
> the world, as well as many people only exploring technology for the sake 
> of it, and because we need to be more ecological in our practices. We 
> also need to come to terms in re-evaluating why we are doing what we do 
> now, and how can we reclaim our creative histories and voices in a way 
> that has more meaning, rather than through processes of mechanistic and 
> personality driven motives alone. I want to build something that does 
> not just reflect me being a slave to technology, corporate control and 
> traditional Art world agendas. The Art will have its own voice on its 
> own terms
> The latest work 'Distant' is not trying to be clever via the technology, 
> it is Art. An object, a contemporary piece that is well aware that it is 
> no longer in fashion. Therefore, it is authentic.
> marc garrett
> Other Related News:
> On the 29th of this month, Ruth Catlow and myself are going on an 
> artists residency at Banff, Canada. Through the whole of the month 
> during March, we will both be collaborating to make new Net Art 
> together. It will include open source and it will involve much coding. 
> As we explore the possibilities of using contemporary resources that can 
> be used for our Net Art practice, we will set up a portal or blog that 
> displays our research as it happens. As well as the Art that we both 
> create.
> We are, of course interested to hear from those who are also re-engaging 
> in the making of Net Art, using free software, free media, open source 
> materials as well as their own ideas about it. It is an exciting time 
> for us, what is there to lose but gaining the pleasure of doing what we 
> really want to do:-)
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