Week 4: Joel Arellano

Tilman Hornig, Content is King!

Gere writes that John Cage’s 4’ 33″ “is perhaps the perfect model for modern electronic media,” because in it, anything and everything can happen (115). He also observes that the nature of the Web as a medium makes it easier to run through different possibilities, offering what is likely the greatest understatement you’ll read this week. Both comments reflect a McLuhanesque naïveté regarding the effect computers will have on our world (and on art in particular), much in contrast to the trepidation Gere expressed in previous chapters. The simplicity and optimism with which he describes how computers expedite artistic production hide several consequences of making art quick and easy.

“A new species of hyperproductive artist flooding the Internet with content invites audiences to complete their work by loving their brand, making the artists themselves the masterpiece.”

Brad Troemel

When anything and everything can happen, we get noise. If everything is possible then nothing is sacred, and the ease with which we ‘run through the possibilities of art’ catalyzes the production of profane material (SFW). This sounds ominous, but as Gere points out by reference to neo-liberal economics and cybernetic self-regulation, unrestricted digital culture balances its accounts automatically (144, 153). I believe the introduction of computers has created an appreciable new aesthetic of excess, and so we may yet end up deriving meaning from the profusion of ‘cheap’ art.

I plan to study this process in my midterm essay.

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