Kenneth Goldsmith’s “Printing Out the Internet” Is Not About Trash →

(Thanks to Matt Underwood for bringing this write-up to my attention. )

When I started to write a reply on the page it became very TLDR, so I am posting the majority of those thoughts here:

Part of what interested me in “Printing out the Internet” is how it will or will not function as a physical metonym for a much larger virtual and physical network. Many physical objects function this way today, even if the objects creators don’t intend that to be the case. You are right to point out that the aspects of the net that will be featured in the exhibition will likely orbit around the transitory tastes of folks that frequent UBU. However my own interest is not just about the tastes of certain groups on the web, or quantities of paper. It is also about how the internet might be instantiated in a physically meaningful form. There seems to be a weird kind of wormhole concerning representation. This wormhole may have been pointed to by not only Walter Benjamin, but also early conceptual and video art. Art today needs an extended notion of not only objects but also the constantly shifting ground upon which they lay…the ground of the network. I am also curious to see documentation of the gallery.

The project is also about the act of choosing and printing and sending a kind of message in a bottle. It’s ludicrous, romantic and performative gesture for any of the participants. Without submitting to the project, on the other hand, I wouldn’t have gotten a message from a friend on Facebook that sent me here. Without that I wouldn’t have joined an online service to leave this comment.Who knows where these networks take us. Maybe the afterlife of that gesture can hopefully continue as a larger conversation that more people than the NSA might get some value from.

My “New Aesthetic Time Capsule” is just one component in a nesting doll series of outside reference that is alluded to above. I believe that Kenneth’s projects, like James Bridle’s “New Aesthetic” , and my own humble experiments conflate curation ( particularly the elements of compiling, framing, and sequencing) with artistic creation. As that compiling and sequencing takes place such projects also function like a kind of hairball. These abject hairballs absorb arguments for and against their critical viability. I wonder if the inclination to get these hairballs going serves some biological function. I wonder this based on my own personal compulsions, and I doubt that I am alone.

  1. notational posted this