Tuesday, February 9, 2010


In his curatorial essay for New Media Bienalle, Transitio_MX, entitled “The Influence of Non-places in the Concept of Latin America”, Eduardo Navas discusses specific works of Paul Ramírez Jonas, Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre, Sabrina Raaf, Owen Mundy and Joelle Dietrick, and Carlos Rosas. Navas elucidates how the works relate to "the relevance of geopolitical differences that shape the use of appropriation and technology in artistic practices". The Transitio_MX symposium took place in Mexico City October 1-11, 2009.

He begins with the notion of homogeneity in global culture defining it as follows: "a global aesthetic of entertainment has been developed to provide the tourist traveler with a generic and safe experience of a place rather than an immersion in the actual local culture". Supermodernism, and glocality (vs locality) relate loosely to international style in architecture championed by Walter Gropius, among others.

Locally, Gropius' Michael Reese Hospital campus had been proposed to be reused for Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid. That campus now awaits destruction. Relating back to new media for further examples of such an aesthetic, Navas writes,

"The computer, then, becomes the generic vehicle: the global, supermodern device that is able to function according to the minimal, self-encasing aesthetic of supermodernity, which currently informs social media."

He goes on to elaborate that the multiple layers of media and new media serve to reinforce notions of place, and that there is a new kind of place-making being developed. Place-making is a theme I have developed in Stamps for Kids Mobile: a Media Archaeology Intervention.

In this work I create a mobile device which creates place out of any old spaces (typically parks). He goes on to point out the the geopolitical nature of marginality, or non-spaces is endemic in terms such as "Latin America". This also promotes the idea that text is technology.

It is useful to point out that Enrique Dussel and other promote the idea of transmodernism as a term displaces simplistic notion of postmodernism. Quoting Navas from his own blog, remixtheory.net:
"Enrique Dussel, a well respected philosopher who writes on aesthetics and politics in globalization, was the first speaker. He gave a brief, yet in-depth history of modernism and how it should be reconsidered as part of other histories. While this may appear to be a recognizable proposition by post-colonial studies, what is specific to his lecture is that he proposed the term “transmodernism” as a constructive alternative to postmodernism. For Dussel the latter implies a non-western approach to global cultural activity. With transmodernism Dussel proposed that people around the world should take from and work with modernism, but with autonomy; that is by taking from modernism what they decide to work with according to their own histories and cultures, rather than allowing western thought to be imposed."
E. Navas. October 3rd, 2009, http://remixtheory.net/?p=394.

This notion impacts my work in mailart and artistamps. I find the playfulness of mail art and artistamps to be a subversive analog to new media. Wholly interactive, global and hyperlocal as well as hyper-real, artisamps as virtual worlds expose the gap between virtual and material reality vis-a vis global networked culture.

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