choice of collectives and artists came from inviting people I knew were
working in the field and a general call for submissions that went out
onto Rhizome and
other venues. I wanted to assemble a small focused group that was representative
of current concerns regarding Globalization and used the web as a vehicle.
I was less interested in delivery techniques or the way the material originated
than in the actual engagement that the work represented in relationship
to online activism.
The topic of globalization has been of interest for me for a number of
years and I was acutely aware that there were great divisions in regard
to this topic--from the utopian vision of Nestor Garcia Canclini to the
tactical emphasis on local resistance, as articulated by Leslie Sklair
onto the inevitable global stage of contestation proposed by Hardt and
Negri. There are few, however, that would argue that resistance is primarily
contingent and tactical; there are no overarching paradigms that will
apply in every occasion.
Generally, I am skeptical of unexamined forms of “humanism,”
much in the way that Hardt and Negri are skeptical of any notion of the
nation’s state as a valid form of political organization. However,
it is very difficult to establish a general rule. In a certain way, all
these producers signify exceptions. CAE(Critical
Art Ensemble) is a collective with a substantial trajectory; their
performances and books have had a great degree of influence over a wide
range of topics, from a critique of electronic
media to their present concerns with transgenics and the biotech horizon,
in general. Similarly, SubRosa
is also a collective working through performances and publications with
global issues, but she particularizes them into specific domains such
as the International Market of Flesh or the MatriXial Technologies project.
these collectives identify a global situation and then enact appropriate
local “theaters” where a tactical intervention can be deployed.
Drastically different is the collective Over
My Dead Body, since this group relies on an empathic mode that calls
for resistant global solidarity through denunciation. Agricola de Cologne’s
Online Festival also operates within this mode of information dispersion
through testimonials and representative fictions; a large number of contributors
from all over the planet address different manifestations of violence
through the tributaries of Violence Media Incorporated.
Crawford (Stop Motion Studies) because his portfolio of animated photographs
was so immensely indicative of the non-places that capitalism creates
globally; the images are mostly of alienation, separateness but not devoid
of humor, and occasional moments of disruption. There are a lot of contradictions
and generalizations in these projects, and they are more general in scope
than the more specialized practices of CAE or SubRosa, but they represent
easily accessible sensibilities that translate into fragile, momentary,
effective forms of solidarity amongst extremely diverse groups.
represent two types of web specific projects. Denniscucumber uses complex
juxtapositions of imagery that flow from the corners of the web in a bewildering
cacophony of subjects and images. I was interested in this artist’s
desire to force visual and textual language conventions into extremes,
potentially disrupting the code with which globalization forces rule over
desire. This is, of course, a tactic with deep roots in Dadaism, Surrealism,
Fluxus, etc. but relatively fresh in the form of the web remix. RTMark
is a very funny and effective collective site producing projects driven
and dedicated to media criticism and ideological sabotage. I was interested
in RTMark’s commitment to the critique of the corporation as a devourer
of human labor: difference and creativity.
In summary, the exhibit intended to present a diverse group of individuals
and cultural collectives working toward a larger set of possibilities
regarding our contemporary moment. The most terrifying aspect of Globalization
is the fact that it is being deployed at such a vertiginous speed. Cultural
producers interrogating the strategies and motivations of these forces
need to be supported and encouraged to promote and disseminate their contestations,
which signify the residues of autonomy left for us at this late stage
of the game. The Globalization project is a modest effort toward this
curatorial comments at Wigged.net