New Media Art in a Control Society – a video performance

24 03 2007

Transcript from Performance by Adam Trowbridge
The Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN, USA
March 22, 2007

As noted in the transcript, the majority of the statements read were not original and instead shamelessly stolen (edited and unedited) from various sources: theoretical texts, artists’ statements, manifestos and paranoid rambling.

Transcript: This is…a performance and new media art…or maybe not.

[text below is read]
  • Gilles Deleuze said “Maybe speech and communication have been corrupted. They’re thoroughly permeated by money and not by accident but by their very nature. We’ve got to hijack speech. Creating has always been something different from communicating. The key thing may be to create vacuoles of non-communication, circuit breakers, so we can elude control.” End quote.
  • The phrase “new media art” is pointless.
  • The selection of medium is not the selection of a wardrobe for an idea. We are well past ideas and communication. Medium should be selected like legal and illicit pharmaceuticals: where do you want to go today?
  • What is a digital painting? Idiotic.- Contemporary art is both scattered and networked, always in motion. Medium, if anything, is a measure of speed and distribution. Is the texture of an oil painting that different from that of flypaper? Video is faster and shedding the weight of the poetic yet precious medium of film. Photography is a film still. Internet-based art is faster but still flails, lashed down by too many examples of bad information design masquerading as art.
  • THEY create DELIRIOUS RULES and sell you free access to their BACKSTAGE if you follow these sick rules. YOU KNOW IT.
  • Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome has been falsely represented as a metaphor for a network and for networked art. Deleuze and Guattari did not deal in metaphors.
  • Rhizomatic action is a force relationship in which power is distributed then scattered before it can begin to collect. This is not a metaphorical description but a plan of action.
  • Over 650,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by military intervention in Iraq and we are here to discuss…what?
  • Images can shatter the old order leaving nothing the same as before.
  • All hoarding, speculation on art, must cease and be seen for what it is: usury and exploitation.- In the beginning, you enjoyed it. You were caught in the middle of the WAR between THEM and THE OTHER SIDE, and you were trying to help THEM win the war.
  • All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar’s teeth.- Six billion worldwide population, all living, have a Computer God Containment Policy brain bank brain, a real brain in the brain bank cities on the far side of the moon we never see.
  • Marketing has become the center or the “soul” of the corporation. We are taught that corporations have a soul, which is the most terrifying news in the world.
  • Human beings are not fully conscious of their real life…usually groping in the dark…at every moment groups and individuals find themselves confronted with results they have not wished.
  • Control is short-term and has rapid rates of turnover, but is also continuous and without limit.
  • New media art involves people who make watering plants more complex than it needs to be by using cell phones that call the Internet when the plants need water.
  • If you can talk about it, why paint it?
  • The Dia: Beacon is a tomb for the last gasp of studio art, let it be a monument and move on.
  • Man and machines can make symbiotic art.
  • Psychogeography: The study of the precise effects of geographical setting, consciously managed or not, acting directly on the mood and behavior of the individual.
  • Inevitability of gradualness. Usually, in a few years, you are made string bean thin or grotesquely deformed, crippled and ugly, or even made one foot shorter or one foot taller, as the Computer God sees fit.
  • In the future we will have foreign genetic material in us as today we have mechanical and electronic implants. In other words, we will be transgenic. However, there’s no excuse but marketing for purchasing a glowing rabbit.
  • Users of the world are presented with fresh, owned content every day. We have the technology, the precedents, and the duty to make new art out of this owned content.
  • A lot of people say that new media is revolutionary. They say the net is subversive. But how subversive can you be in an exclusive club where it costs $1,000 for a computer and $50 a month to connect to the Internet.
  • The main function of Art is to distinguish rich people from poorer people.
  • Many young people strangely boast of being “motivated”; we re- request apprenticeships and permanent training. It’s up to us to discover what we’re being made to serve, just as our elders discovered, not without difficulty, the ultimate end of the disciplines.
  • Personal expression and human and artist centrality can be abandoned.- Complex machines are an emergent life form in the masturbatory fantasies of those siding with control. I distrust transhumanists but I want to be friends with a computer.
  • Any moralistic or spiritual pretension or representation purposes for art must be abandoned.
  • Primarily, based on your lifelong Frankenstein Radio Controls, especially your Eyesight TV, sight and sound recorded by your brain, your moon brain of the Computer God activates your Frankenstein threshold brainwash radio lifelong, inculcating conformist propaganda, even frightening you and mixing you up and the usual, “Don’t worry about it.”
  • Professionalism in the arts (and the accompanying stratification of skills) must be abandoned in favor of a progressive (class-less) artistry of both a personal and collective nature.
  • Over the last decades, using positions of power in your STAGE- WORLD reality, THEY introduced their key words and also their sick DREAMWORLD
  • TO-SELL key ideas in every aspect of culture in the STAGE WORLD society where you live : songs, movies, humor, even propaganda.
  • Derive: An experimental mode of behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique for hastily passing through varied environments.
  • The economic and cultural exploitation of the artist has reached appalling proportions. The individual and/or collective artist, whose work is plagiarized as commercial ‘technique’, or exported as cultural commodity, has little control over these conditions.
  • Consciousness is not exclusively restricted to the brain. Human bodies have no boundaries.
  • The artist must be concerned with the moral relationship that his/ her endeavors have to the institutions within which he/she expresses his/her work.
  • The majority of what I’ve read has been shamelessly stolen from various sources: theoretical texts, artists’ statements, manifestos and paranoid rambling. They stand as a collection of connections and disjunctions. I am, we are, a manner of speaking.
  • Art is not knowledge.
  • Art does not communicate.
  • There is nothing here for you.
  • Gilles Deleuze said that new situations could “…at first express new freedom, but they could participate as well in mechanisms of control that are equal to the harshest of confinements. There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons”.


24 03 2007

Linda Carroli’s blog artArt covers a range of art events and projects. There is also a wealth of references to current events in the media, particularly creative projects that use divergent forms of media in innovative and challenging ways.

Values Australia web site

14 03 2007

This web site is a parody of the Australian Government Department of Immigration web site. It uses irony and humour to convey ideas related to ‘Australian Identity.” The tag line on the coat of arms is the give away – “Ministry of mateship and fair dinkum values.”

Being John Malkovich

10 03 2007

In Week 4 there will be a screening ‘Being John Malkovich’. This film links in with the lecture, which focues on identity. It also relates to the online lecture for Week 5, which addresses identity in the context of celebrity.

“The film raises questions about the nature of identity, and how some people are only completely free when their real self is hidden behind a mask or beneath a costume.” (Jared Baldwin)

Here is some links to reviews:

CHINA: a performance with image projection

8 03 2007

By William Yang with Nicholas Ng, musician (ANU School of Music),

3pm Thursday 15 March
Finkel Theatre, John Curtin School of Medical Research Building,
Garran Road, ANU

For more information see the event poster (PDF 140KB)
PLEASE NOTE: some seating will be reserved for invited guests for this performance. Other ANU staff and students are welcome to attend this event, however bookings will not be taken and admission will be strictly on a first-come basis. Approximately 250 seats will be available on this basis and we recommend you arrive early to ensure seating.

French philosopher Jean Baudrillard dies

8 03 2007

The Associated Press

March 6, 2007

PARIS: Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and social theorist known for his provocative commentaries on consumerism, excess and what he said was the disappearance of reality, died Tuesday, his publishing house said. He was 77.

Baudrillard died at his home in Paris after a long illness, said Michel Delorme, of the Galilee publishing house.The two men had worked together since 1977, when “Oublier Foucault” (Forget Foucault) was published, one of about 30 books by Baudrillard, Delorme said by telephone.Among his last published books was “Cool Memories V,” in 2005. Baudrillard, a sociologist by training, is perhaps best known for his concepts of “hyperreality” and “simulation.”

Tutorial topics

6 03 2007

The tutorial presentation topics correspond to the weekly lecture subjects.

Students will give a 10-minute presentation and submit a short tutorial paper of 500-1000 words (the week after the presentation).

The presentation format is open to creative interpretation if students wish to create a video, animation, do a performance, create a blog or make a web site, all are ok, just discuss with me beforehand.


1. Cultural Practice
2. Cultural Meanings
3. Identity
4. Celebrity in cyberspace
5. Cultural mythologies
6. Real stories in New Media
7. Fashionable Communication
8. Virtual Reality: Animation
9. Virtual Reality: Gaming
10. Virtual Communities
11. Cyber Worlds

Please decide on a topic and let me know in the Week 4 tutorial.

Jihad Tv cont…

6 03 2007

Douglas Kellner has written extensively on the role of media in the production of spectacle, terror and propaganda and his article September 11, Spectacles of Terror, and Media Manipulation: A Critique of Jihadist and Bush Media Politics explores these themes in the context of media theory.

He comments that:

In a global media world, extravagant terror spectacles have been orchestrated in part to gain worldwide attention, dramatize the issues of the terrorist groups involved, and achieve specific political objectives. Previous al Qaeda strikes against the U.S. hit a range of targets to try to demonstrate that the U.S. was weak and vulnerable to terrorism…Terrorism thus works in part through spectacle, using dramatic images and montage to catch attention, hoping thereby to catalyze unanticipated events that will spread further terror through domestic populations.

Jihad Tv (Cutting Edge) SBS

6 03 2007

From program promo:

“Videos of smiling suicide bombers and insurgent attacks have become as important a weapon as explosives in Al Qaeda’s global jihad against the West. Tonight’s Cutting Edge looks at how the jihadis have seized the power of the internet and their message cannot be silenced. But who actually watches these videos and what effect are they having on young people in the Muslim world? And – for that matter – on their enemies in the West?”
(From the UK, in English and Arabic, English subtitles) M CC WS. Text from SBS (

This program in relation to media cultures studies has many relevant links to notions of idenity, stereotypes and how media used as propaganda. The role of user publishing (produser) or ‘citizen journalism’ (this term is very loosly in this context) is a central theme in the production of this type of video and interent media. There is an online version of Jihad Tv if you are interested in watching the entire documentary.

Mike Parr

5 03 2007

Further to the Week 3 lecture and the discussion about stereotypes and power relations, here is an image of Mike Parr’s 2002 performance ‘Close the camps’ as mentioned.

Adam Geczy’s comments in his review of Parr’s Internet Performance work in Real Time that:
“Performances such as these, which are dramatic in the way they both formalise and ritualise discomfort, as well as frame the scene of deprivation, have a distinctly different effect when they appear at home on the screen. What is most disturbing is the simultaneity of impotent deadness and uncomfortable proximity; the world wide web has on the one hand reduced this insane feat of bodily and psychological distension to the median level of cybernetic sameness, and on the other brings the performance so close to you and your living space that it invades it, infiltrates it.”