Friday, December 13, 2013

02 Blogging as a Postmodern Artist Tool

A Blog as an Artist’s Workspace
Blogging as a Postmodern Artist Tool

The blog is a digital electronic tool.  Electronic tools are based on programmed instructions, which automatically store, collect, transmit, and multiply visual and digital information.[1] Margot Lovejoy argues that tool types influence the artist’s production and context to the artwork. The tool and the time period’s technology conditions inform the production of art.[2] I use a pre-designed blog template to layout, transmit, and store my content. The blog is employed as an Internet source to present my experiences with methods and research for public access.
            The act of blogging engages in a broad range of media and narratives that form a post-modern identity.[3]  Gill Kirkup’s small-scale study of the role of blogging with academics, such as scholars, researchers, and teachers, argues blogging offers a new genre to develop the academic identity.[4]  The blog format offers a presentation of the narrative of the self, but it provides a medium with various media’s to develop a postmodern identity that forms my collecting process.[5]
             An example of a related research blog post is of my local newspaper’s cut backs in print editions to understand the longevity of the collecting process involved in the Coupon Collection. The concept for the Coupon Collection is about the transition of the visual representation of the print media coupon form to a digital QR Code. Referring back to Kirkup’s concept of blogs forming a postmodern identity, the act of blogging allows me to describe my experiences in working with multiple narratives associated with the social research and the collaborations for the project.  
            Margot Lovejoy acknowledges in the first edition of her book, Postmodern Currents, the affect upon artist and their artwork with the use of technological tools is just beginning to be analyzed. She does argue with her analysis that it is important to consider aesthetic traditions and their role in technology use today.[6] Lovejoy’s argument is still suggested over twenty years later with the present evolving digital media. Rather than focusing on the art history canon of conceptualism and basing the theory that my blog is not valuing the Modernism ideals of an art object[7], I will examine a specific art historical collaboration between artists and engineers.
            In the mid-1960’s a new organization called “Experiments in Art and Technology” or E.A.T. was formed on a collaboration idea between artist and engineers. Artist, Robert Rauschenberg and scientist, Billy Kluver began E.A.T. on the concept of creating innovated work using technologies from that time frame.[8]  A large-scale project titled Nine Evenings: Theater and Engineering was established from the collaboration of thirty Bell Laboratory engineers, visual artists, dancers, and musicians. The 1966 project demonstrated artists and engineers could collaborate.[9]
            Margot Lovejoy indicates the collaboration had difficulties with each of the working styles of the artists and engineers toward the Nine Evenings performances. An example is coordinating engineers to finish technical support with theater deadlines in order for the artists to have ample time to rehearse. Lovejoy looks to specifics of the experiences from the project instead of resolving the problems. Two examples of her specifics where a longer amount of time to work on the project and the effort in which it is needed to contribute to the planning and scheduling of this style of performance. Lovejoy states, “Both artists and engineers had to learn new ways of thinking in which the practical and the creative could interact.”[10]
         My experience with developing the structure of my blog evolved over a multiyear time frame. In this time period, I made a choice to change my ideas on writing a blog concerning my art practice and the use of interdisciplinary methods. A blog is a 21st Century form of technology and is on a smaller scale than the Nine Evenings performances. I have had to learn new ways of thinking to present text and other media regarding the process of my art practice. Kirkup refers to blogging as a scholarly product of ‘performative writing.’ This reference implies the postmodern identity has a variety of narratives as well as showing a variety of roles in performance and presentation with a range of media.[11]
 Kirkup’s essay argues the academic professional’s engagement with blogging creates a new role for the academic identity.[12] In addition, the theory can be identified with an artist’s role in art-based research. Blogging offers public access to the varied processes before an “art” concept is finalized. Graeme Sullivan implies that art practice has changed from the perception of an authoritative voice, such as that of aestheticians or historians, recognizing styles of art practice within art canons. Instead Sullivan argues the responsibilities are placed on the artist to be the cultural theorist and the practitioner. Construction of a theory of production is Grete Refsum’s premise of how to establish a theoretical framework in the visual arts that Sullivan refers to. A theory of production is concerned with the happenings or processes before art is produce leading up to a finished project or an art object.[13]
Refsum’s and Sullivan’s argument toward art practice implies a postmodern role for the artist, rather than a Modern concept of an artist in need of an outside authority source to distinguish the artist’s process as well as the finished “art” object. As an artist and scholar, blogging with the content of art-based research performs the postmodern role of establishing Kirkup’s theory of a new genre for the academic identity along with the development of Refsum’s concept of a theory of art production.

[1] Ibid, 34
[2] Margot Lovejoy, Postmodern Currents Art and Artists in the Age of Electronic Media (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, 1992), 31
[3] Gill Kirkup, ‘Academic Blogging, Academic Practice, and Academic Identity ‘, London Review of Education, Volume 8, No. 1 (2010): 4
[4] Gill Kirkup, ‘Academic Blogging, Academic Practice, and Academic Identity ‘, abstract in London Review of Education, Volume 8, No. 1 (2010)
[5] Ibid, 4
[6] Margot Lovejoy, Postmodern Currents Art and Artists in the Age of Electronic Media (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, 1992), 26
[7] Ibid, 63
[8] Ibid, 73
[9] Margot Lovejoy, Postmodern Currents Art and Artists in the Age of Electronic Media (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, 1992), 74
[10] Ibid, 74
[11] Gill Kirkup, ‘Academic Blogging, Academic Practice, and Academic Identity ‘, London Review of Education, Volume 8, No. 1 (2010): 4
[12] Ibid, 4
[13] Graeme Sullivan, Art Practice as Research Inquiry in the Visual Arts (Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, 2005) 87

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