Appel à communication : « Networked Images. Artistic Practices Before and After the Internet  » (Bâle, 14-15 octobre 2016)

oeuvre-art-internetCall for Papers Networked Images. Artistic Practices Before and After the Internet Workshop In their anthology « Mass Effect. Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century » (2015) the editors Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter describe the internet as a « true mass medium » which has fundamentally changed every form of cultural activity. Art is no exception; its conception, production and distribution are seen as determined by the new digital technology. Much current debate revolves around whether artistic practices involving the internet allow for a critical perspective on this inevitable immanence. David Joselit maintains that contemporary positions that are in digital conjunction with the material they use are completely integrated into the networks of today’s communications cycles (2012). Accordingly, Steven Shapiro talks about an accelerationist aesthetic, which positively copies economic strategies of accumulation (2013). Kerstin Stakemeier accuses the so-called Post-Internet-Art of an urge to become indistinguishable, which may be recognized in its « mimicry » of digital capitalism (2015). The fundamental problem seems to be that artistic data production is integrated in the online and market circulation of contemporary culture without leaving any trace. According to the authors art loses its critical potential by adopting the binary codes of digital culture. The artistic subject becomes questionable as its autonomous capacity is lost within the digital networks. At the same time the growing anxiety toward the political and economic monitoring mechanisms and monopolies of the internet have motivated artists to implement their digitally conceived projects offline. The network structure of the internet has become, it seems, the basis of any social « environment » (Steyerl 2015). In this workshop we want to discuss how artists make use of and reflect the digital codes in their practices. It appears helpful to consider a longer period of activity and to refer to established terminologies in art history. Already during the 1920s and again in the 1960s and 1970s artists have explicitly interacted with the mass media of their times, with the declared aim to assure their social relevance without merging completely with the social and cultural structures. Their practices, which can also be understood as theoretical statements regarding contemporary media consumption, may help to define the specifics of our digital situation. Possible questions include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Can those techniques used and visualized in hybrid contemporary artworks (to surf, scroll, click, search, arrange, link, accumulate, layer, crop; to edit images, films, text and sound with the help of digital technology) be described more precisely in a comparative analysis of established processes such as collage, montage, assemblage, print-making, etc.?

– Is the critical confrontation with art historical topics and terms productive? For example:

Touchpad: tactile perception User generated content: interaction Digital space: site-specificity Surface: all-over Download: materialization Post-Production: process Soundtrack: multisensory environment

Artistic practices before and after the internet share the challenge to connect to the general culture. They are confronted with the ideal to be integrated in the contemporary media context while at the same time remaining visible and relevant as art. In a comparative analysis of artworks, processes and techniques the artistic reflexion of media history may be carved out, as well as the artist’s position within this history. The decision in favour of the digital medium needs to be related to a history of critical artistic engagement with the respective, historically specific « new media ». The concepts of authorship and subjectivity are of particular importance. They are the litmus test for the discussion as to whether the idea of art can be redefined under the auspices of digital technology.

Please submit your title and abstract (approx. 400 words) for a 30-minute talk to The proposal should include your affiliation, a brief biography and contact details. The deadline is March 11, 2016, contributors will be notified by March 25, 2016. Organization: Eva Ehninger, Universität Basel/ Antje Krause-Wahl, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt/Main


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