Monday, November 23, 2009

Late post for last weeks response: New Media and the problem of translation

Jonah Bucker-Cohen's lecture was an interesting perspective of a new media artist/researcher and the complexity of his body of work. This lecture though caused me to revisit some of the personal problems or questions I have regarding new media projects and their potential to open some of the discourses they propose to engage with. One problem I see is the conflicting potentials for collaborative and critical projects that are limited to those with the expendable capital and expertise that allows one to work with such complicated and specific materials. Another is the issue of translating the digital into the physical or social and vice versa.

One of Brucker-Cohen's projects directly tackled this second concern. A sort-of reverse physical computing installation in which a jackhammer would begin to destroy a physical space for every "hit" to a specific website. While the term "hit" embodies some destructive qualities I utterly confused as to how digital visits correlate to a destructive demonstration in physical space. One issue I see with this is a problem in translating the virtual space of a website too the physical space. What is the relationship between the physical space that is destroyed and the website that is visited? Are the websites inherently linked to these physical spaces (f0r example, are the "hits" that cause the jackhammer to embody this data "hits" on the gallery's website?). This project whether intentionally or not seems to connote web activity with destruction of space, yet I do not know this to be true when regarding virtual space.

As I know many of my questions and concerns stem from both a lack of knowledge regarding such an active and productive movement and issues of capital inherently linked to technological projects I look to the upcoming conference for new insights and challenges to my assumptions.

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