Survey: Jeremy Hight

Jeremy Hight

artist biography

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Interview: 10 answers

1.
Question

Since a reasonable time, digital media entered the
field of art and extended the traditional definition
of art through some new , but very essential
components.
Do you think it is like that and if yes, tell me more
about these components and how they changed the
perception of art?
Answer
Art became something that could have much greater
reach into variation,fluctuation, a cohesive work
with intentional impermanence, flux as design and form
and a tighter connection between science, art and
technology.

2.
Question

A relevant section of digital art represents Internet
based art. The Internet was hardly existing, but
artists conquered already this new field for their
artistic activities.
Can the work of these early artists be compared with
those who work with advanced technologies nowadays?
What changed until these days ? What might be the
perspectives for future developments?
Answer
It is not fair to compare in a sense as the
tools,functionality, memory,graphics, hypertext
functions, available juice in terms of speed, memory,
teleconnections etc.. are so different over time.

It would only be fair to view in the context of
continuim or considering the different tools in each
time. The semiotic bias of the new is unfortunately
especially pervasive in viewing technology and works
formed with technology. Amazing works in the 70’s and
80’s should not be seen in bells and whistles context
against the weaker yet more graphic heavy and/or
speedier works of today.

Future developments is a question of tools, play,
greater range of exploration as made possible by
technological advancements etc…

it is foolish to focus on nanotechnology, near future
tools etc……as this is not the big picture and it
will only become clear in time…

3.
Question

The education in the field of New Media art, including
Internet based art, started late compared with the
general speed of technological development and
acceptance.
So, generations of artists who used the Internet as
their artistic working field were not educated in this
new discipline(s) and technologies, but had rather an
interdisciplinary approach.
What Do you think, would be the best way to teach
young people how to deal with the Internet as an
environment of art?
Answer
Hard to answer as besides being a new media and
locative media artist and writer, I am a professor of
multimedia. Have been for 6 years.

I teach theory and concepts primarily, but also some
tools. The best way is to show precedents, context,
progression and then current work and how to make it.
The future fetish of technology is such that it is a
common young artist/student’s error to try to nail a
neo sci-fi design aeasthetic of what hot and current
or more commonly just sleek, cold and
futuristic…….this is folly is concepts like
“future” “now” “new” and even contemporary are on
sliding time continuim……

the mullet was just a haircut in the 80’s ……

4.
Question

What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the
Internet to you in concern of art, are they just tools
for expressing artistic intentions, or have they
rather an ideological character, as it can be found
with many “netartists”, or what else do they mean to
you?
Many “Internet based artists” work on “engaged” themes
and subjects, for instance, in social, political,
cultural etc concern.
Which contents are you particularly interested in,
personally and from an artcritical point of view.
Answer
I come from an early math and science background
through creative writing into art and now all of the
above. Net art for me and others I know has allowed
our varied skill sets to create a layered base for
work. I developed and wrote what is generally known
as the first spatial narrative in the project “34
north 118 west”, developed a live weather data driven
narrative and formed the intital concept and
collaborated on the earthquake data driven text and
image piece “carrizo parkfield diaries” (in the
whitney artport). I have several projects developing
right now. I recently wrote an essay on locative
media and political dissent, but in general don’t work
with politics directly as it isn’t what drives me as
an artist. The tools of net art have allowed a great
hybridity in background to actually be extremely
beneficial and more common than one would think. This
is exciting as it allows greater range of work in
science and art and new forms of examination.

I am interested in how art and science are similar,
new narrative forms,
pushing locative media into new possibilities,
exploring data and variablity not as generative or
randomizing but as alive and forming multiple coherent
variations of a work as an examintion of shifts in
text, image, semiotics and commentary as set to
similar shifts in data patterns, natural data and
mathematics. Also simply looking for new things.

5.
Question

The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted
on the net, there are dozens of definitions which
mostly are even contradictory.
How do you define “netart” or if you like the
description “Internet based art” better?
Do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are
the criteria?
Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based
artwork?
Answer
wow. the golden question and the nearly impossible
question. There is , quite simply, a lot of bad net
art. There is what i like to call the “gizmo” or whiz
bang kapow factor” that allows a good number of
curators to go for work that is not doing much,
overhypes itself as more than what it is and is simply
running basic experiments in a program or programs, is
a simply gimmick in dressy visual clothing, etc…
The criteria to me is simply “internet art” but
even that is semantically and semiotically quite
messy. If a video or digi cam photo series is online
is it then net art? Or is it work that runs on web
pages? or is it codework and work that is
incorporating interactivity, coding and concept in
some way?

6.
Question

“Art on the net” has the advantage and the
disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in
Internet which defines also its right to exist.
Do you think, that “art based on the Internet”, can be
called still like that, even if it is just used
offline?
Answer
No. Not at all. If it is in other forms then that
is just a gimmick aping the cool of the net even as it
no longer a baby, but still has that obvious and
generic techno cache.

The big question in new media is the opposite: how can
you present net based work in traditional gallery
setting and to some how can you sell it? A moving
painting as it runs on a flat screen wall mounted? Do
you sell the code like an original in a series of
prints?

7.
Question

Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art
demands an active viewer or user, and needs the
audience much more and in different ways than any
other art discipline before. How do you think would be
good ways to stimulate the user to dive into this new
world of art?
What do you think represents an appropriate
environment to present net based art to an audience,
is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in
front of his personal computer, is it any public
context, or is it rather the context of art in general
or media art in particular, or anything else.?
If you would be in the position to create an
environment for presenting this type of art in
physical space, how would you do it?
Answer
I will be lecturing on a panel at the international
conference of cultural utilization of space in may in
l.a on just this. It can be in the museum and
gallery as long as aware of their socio-cultural
semiotics, it can be on the lone compute screen , and
it can be triggered (with gps) and interacted with in
low orbit on the space station, a shuttle or on
planes. This is scientific and technological fact and
will greatly expand the possibilites of perspective
and viewing and spatial interaction.

8.
Question

As Internet based art, as well as other art forms
using new technologies are (globally seen) still not
widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do
you think could be an appropriate solution to change
this situation?
Answer
See answer to 7. It is argued by many curators to
be “dead” yet is still marginalized, quite an irony.

9.
Question

The Internet is sometimes called a kind of
“democratic” environment,
The conventional art practice is anything else than
that, but selective by using filters of different
kind.
The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind
on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be
different. Do you think the current practice of
dealing with Internet based art is such different or
rather the described conventional way through (also
curatorial) filtering?
Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph
Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would
be also an artist?
Answer
Yes and no. You can subvert the gallery/museum
system altogether online. My friend and I built an
online exhibition space and collected work from
amazing artists from around the world by only posting
on new media art message boards. We built the space
as a new media exhibition space and used new media
email message boards and nothing else and we had tens
of thousands of hits, got good international press,
and best of all got one of our artists noticed by the
organizers of a conference he presented in. The
danger though is the whole tree house insularity
paradigm….Does new media potentialy form a list of
different sub-readings of its designed aesthetics and
thus simply on a certain level created its own
pixelated little galaxy of galleries and curatorial
practices similar to the age old models?

10.
Question

Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art
should have any technological knowledge in order to
understand such an art work from its roots? And what
about the users of Internet based art?
Answer
Not as an absolute as that would be pie in the sky,
but it sure would be nice. The gimmick factor is quite
pervasive and annoying in new media. The curator that
has a blinking 12 on their vcr will be awed by a flash
animation of a cat coughing up a hairball.