Why critique?

As a consequence of globalization, the appearance of digital technics, and 1998 in Kassel, the arts officially announced their new object to be “Politics/Poetics.” Once more art is called upon to fulfill a historical function in society, related to the idea not only of technical, but also of general human progress. Between document and social intervention, the dialectic of art links in with an interdisciplinary approach that is new for its nature, with the argument that it presents distinctly more democratic forms of expression in public space. In this context, which had started out as an alternative to existing artistic norms, the contemporary artistic institutions all too quickly found its bearings and adapted, appropriated and “canonized” it, reforming themselves in the process.
Changing its motives, goals, instruments, contemporary art demands of its audience adequate knowledge, competence, readiness to communicate, to be informed, yes even technical skills in order to find the key to the perception and interpretation of the artist’s work. Is it required of the visitors and fans of artistic events to professionalize themselves of sorts under this pressure, if they do not wish to drop out of the process of representation and perception? Is it possible via the new technics to elaborate strategies by which art may avoid falling into the trap of leaving the despised discourse of art for art’s sake just to embrace that of art by experts for experts?
If contemporary media art practices constitute democratic, accessible forms and correspondingly techniques of expression in art (as some experts claim), what are the social implications of the processes in contemporary art, and how can the notion of high-low be interpreted in this context? This discussion takes place on the backdrop of the moral-ethical question about access to technics, as well as the social and geographical contradictions and division of labor relative to their production and use.
The critical reflections on this process dynamically change the terminology of art. It is not only the system of concepts that changes, but the very object of art, pertaining to a decidedly European, humanist tradition in art – life, or nature. With the emergence of digital technics in art, contrary to the initial expectation that virtual cyberworlds would be created, it turned out that the interest was rather directed towards more nature. Towards even more genuineness and authenticity. In the current period, the object of art is defined as “new realism” (Flash Art and other magazines defining the newest tendencies in contemporary art), “aesthetics of collaboration” or outright “New Gravity” (freshly picked from the site of the Moscow Biennale 2005 – coming up). This changes not only the design of the urban space, but fundamentally the concepts related to this notion. The desert becomes more desert, the village more rural, the mountain more mountainous, the wrestlers more wrestly, and the poor become aestheticizedly poor. How does such a context bear on the perception of the global and the local?
And this is where the need for critique arises. We suggest, after the arguments of Kant, and after him Foucault, to use our reason in debating the idea of human progress in contemporary media art:
“Kant in fact describes Enlightenment as the moment when humanity is going to put its own reason to use, without subjecting itself to any authority; now it is precisely at this moment that the critique is necessary, since its role is that of defining the conditions under which the use of reason is legitimate in order to determine what can be known, what must be done, and what may be hoped. Illegitimate uses of reason are what give rise to dogmatism and heteronomy, along with illusion; on the other hand, it is when the legitimate use of reason has been clearly defined in its principles that its autonomy can be assured.” – Michel Foucault, What Is Enlightenment?
We propose to use the term “critique” in the historical sense of the critical method used by Kant in order to establish the principles of metaphysical knowledge of the nature of the human being, in which it is not our knowledge that conforms to the things, but they conform to it.

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Works by Kevin Van Aelst

November 17th, 2009

The Heart, 2009, digital c-print, 40 x 30″

Kevin Van Aelst is a New England artist creating some extraordinary works from very ordinary objects. I have included a few of his works here, but you should visit his website to see more of his work. Read the rest of this entry »

30 Works of Art Painted with iPhone or iPod Touch Apps

November 11th, 2009

A few weeks ago I posted a quick review of Sketchbook Mobile for iphone/ipod. Since then I have found some amazing work that has been completed on these devices. These drawings use various iPod / iPhone apps to arrive at the final product. I can’t even imagine the work that went into each of these. Kudos to these and other iPhone / iPod artists out there that are pushing the boundaries. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Amazing Works of Art from Sculpture by the Sea 2009

November 3rd, 2009

photo link

The world’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibit is up and photos are finding their way to Flickr. If you are in or around Sydney, this looks like it is worth checking out. The show is up until November 15 and features over 100 sculptures that span about 2 km.

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Street Art by Damon Ginandes

October 28th, 2009

Degraw Street Mural, Brooklyn, NY :: Spray Paint & Latex Acrylic 60′ x12′

Damon Ginandes, a Brooklyn based mixed media artist, paints elaborate compositions of portraits intermingling with one another.

Devoid of context and stripped of external identity, they are portraits of souls - ageless, anonymous, and solitary. Their longing stares serve as a mute communication from which a distinct visual and psychological intimacy emerges.

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Works by Motoi Yamamoto

October 20th, 2009


To Remembrance - Detail - salt
Konichi - Soy sauce factory / Ishikawa, Japan
October 2009
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The Invisible Man, Liu Bolin

October 13th, 2009


Born in Shandong province, China and graduate of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Liu Bolin uses paint and camera to create these wonderful camouflage works of art. No trick photography or photoshopping is used to create the illusion of an invisible man. The subject is typically a Chinese citizen covered head to toe in paint to camouflage them in front of the selected scene.

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SketchBook Mobile Put Your Sketchbook in Your Pocket

September 30th, 2009

autodesk's sketchbook mobile for ipod and iphone

This little iPhone/iPod app is a must have for every artist. SketchBook Mobile, by Autodesk, is a drawing application that allows you to draw with your fingers on your iPhone or iPod Touch. The app is full of features and will not disappoint you. The best part is Autodesk has a lite version, SketchBook MobileX, that will let you explore before purchasing the full version.

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Portrait of the Artist, Isea - by Shawn Barber

September 16th, 2009

Oil on canvas 30in x 24in

Shawn Barber is best known for his life-like tattoo portrait paintings. Barber has an extensive collection of work on his site, so make sure you check this guy out.

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5 Creative Band Poster Illustrations That You Probably Have Not Seen

September 9th, 2009

Below are some band posters that I found while browsing for artists on Deviant Art. These examples were both creative in concept and executed very well. I guess the fourth one isn’t technically an illustration, but I felt it was too good to pass up. Enjoy!

by - pineapple-chinchilla

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Silos - by Dani

August 27th, 2009

silos by dani

Nice black and white shot and the artist even includes some useful info on the photo.

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