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archives begin in 1996


Video is Dead, Long Live Video!

story © Michael Betancourt | published September 28, 1999 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Let's begin with a statement so absurd, so against the grain of common knowledge that it will require some discussion to explain what is meant by it: "Video is a dead medium." Ridiculous. Impossible! Video is everywhere.... The technology we call video has been replaced by a newer technology with a higher degree of control over the image, a slightly different characteristic curve, and sharper images. Incidentally -- and not accidentally -- we call this new technology "video." There is a high degree of overlap between the two.

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n-dimensional objects

story © Michael Betancourt | published September 24, 1998 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Memory, most fickle of dimensions, is key to our experience of encountering these diminutive objects. The act of looking is as much a matter of our remembering what we saw a moment ago as it is a biological tapestry of rods and cones, neurons and synapses firing in a specific pattern. What we think we see is not always what is actually present before us. Desires and emotions color our experiences even as they cloud our recollections after the fact. For all of us, any movement through space entails a certain degree of movement through our memories of that space and our beliefs about what we will see next. We live in a network of overlapping spheres of memory and anticipation, the unseen dimensions of our worlds.

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Realism in Photography

story © Michael Betancourt | published August 22, 1998 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The most self-evident element of photography is also is its most commonly unconsidered: realism. It is that we find this to be a self-evident quality that leaves us with the feeling that of course photography is realist in depiction. Thats what photographs are. We think of photo-ids, the photo-finish, and the photographic memory. All present us with an essential tie to reality through their depiction. This is why we say of a photograph that it is what it shows. We dont really mean that a photograph of a dog really is that dog, but that it shows us how that dog really looks. The idea is that in some base (mechanical) fashion the photograph has captured the dog; the dog has been shot, the photograph is the trophy.

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survey answers

story © Michael Betancourt | published April 30, 1998 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


No idea what this was used for.

> For an essay I would like to do a survey, would people like to answer these > questions and email the responces?

What is this survey going to be used for in this essay? A content analysis for marketing purposes or what??


1. What do you think computer/ digital art is?


[It's also important to recognize that "computer art" historically encompases different things than "digital art" historically does, and conflating these two terms is both innacurate and misleading.]

2. Do you think computer/digital art is a valid form of art like painting and drawing etc?

What is an invalid form of art?

(Isn't this like asking "when is a dog not a dog?") I don't understand this question at all.

Do you mean "valid medium"? In which case I would like to know how you're defining "art"; such a question about appropriate and inappropriate media relates to notions of medium-based purity. (These notions were never historically valid, a point clearly side stepped by Greenberg and his followers if you are familiar with their criticism. Also, such definitions are currently very much doubted epistemically.)

3. What place do you think art has on the internet?

The internet could be a useful way for artists to present their work to an audience; it could also become an "open" museum accessible and accepting anyone's work. However, for it to do either of these it would need to be part of a culture that values art as something other than a commodity or a status-object that could be owned by an individual because there is only limited ability to own works presented on the internet, and it is impossible to understand the works presented through it except in terms of open series of multiples, much as with television. This is built into the technology (is the technology), rather than being a side effect of it, as with traditional printed matter.

The non-physical nature of materials presented on the internet (binary code) means that they are at once easily distributed, copied and owned by anyone who wishes to make a copy of the work in question. This defeats the conception of ownership in the sense of a unique object. If I have a file and I want to give it to a friend I simply make a copy and then there are 2 essentially identical files. Further, I can delete one of them and it makes no difference which because of their identical nature.

At the same time digital works can only be viewed through technology, that is, they require technology to remain digital works. Prints are not digital works; they are prints made from digital files, which is to say that they are essentially different.

4. Would you use computer/digital art?

Use it for what? Does art need to have a use? If that is the case, then you're disagreeing with Kant, and I would like to know what you base this disagreement upon.

[Do you mean "make" this work? If that is the question, then the answer is yes.]


story © Michael Betancourt | published May 26, 1997 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Realism is something distinct from narrative, from the way the film events develop, but at the same time it is a mode by which they are revealed -- thus, even for films which are not-realist, they will still find themselves following the same hieratical structure of photography/editing/development (action) that realism follows.

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