[NetBehaviour] [spectre] post-doc grant programme (blocked postings)

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Sat Sep 6 22:00:40 CEST 2014

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On 04/09/14 06:24 PM, Joel Weishaus wrote:
> Interesting that we're reading this differently.
> My take: I read her last paragraph as meaning: Before the kind of
> art history that's now practiced in universities, only white men
> were canonized. Now art history is being re-written to include
> woman, African-Americans, and non-Europeans.

Yes this is the positive self-image of Pollocks' political programme.
And of the art-history I was taught two decades ago in a provincial
English art school.

Part of what I am doing here is examining the ways in which its
effects contradict its stated intentions.

> Here's an earlier paragraph:
> "The real problem is that even in the game of source hunting and 
> influence tracing, ideology is already at work. Influence, linking 
> artists and artworks in a one-way direction, such as family
> descent, is a dressed-up way of protecting the canon (and the art
> market), and this machine-aided form of looking for similarity
> would only reinforce it."

Pollock is arguing that the software doesn't look for influences
outside "the canon". This Manichaeanly reinforces "the canon", and the
art market. Protecting "the canon" and the art market are presumably
bad things to do.

But Pollock is involved in the same work, only with inkier fingers.
Increasing the reach of "the canon" hardly decreases the importance of
nodal works within it, and those works newly added or related to "the
canon" will see their value within the art market increased or in some
cases newly created.

This is why I argue that switching to Moretti-style study of
populations of works can be of use to soi-disant progressive art
history. It can move beyond merely laundering regional canons and
adding a few works to the market to turning the entirety of art
production and reception into objects of critical study.

> The Digital Humanities also has a similar program for literary
> history, which is just as superficial, if not silly. When scholars
> become programmers, the soul of scholarship is lost.

I enjoy writing greatly but society no longer needs the pen-wielding
colonial administrators that academia trains. For scholarly regard to
be something other than historical re-enactment, it must engage
critically with and *through* digital methods.

> It makes me think of art critic Jed Perl who asks the question of 
> critics looking at a piece of art, "What do you/feel/."

We can check that with consumer EEG headsets now. ;-)

> Okay, so I'm heading into territory where coders will come after me
> with pitchforks. Of course, virtual ones.

- ----∈ ψ Ψ ;-)
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