”(…) Indeed, the internet has transformed the museum in the same way that photography and cinema transformed painting and sculpture. Photography made the mimetic function of the traditional arts obsolete, and thus pushed these arts in a different—actually opposite—direction. Instead of reproducing and representing images of nature, art came to dissolve, deconstruct, and transform these images. The attention thus shifted from the image itself to the analysis of image production and presentation. Similarly, the internet made the museum’s function of representing art history obsolete. Of course, in the case of the internet, spectators lose direct access to the original artworks—and thus the aura of authenticity gets lost. And so museum visitors are invited to undertake a pilgrimage to art museums in search of the Holy Grail of originality and authenticity.
At this point, however, one has to be reminded that according to Walter Benjamin, who originally introduced the notion of aura, artworks lost their aura precisely through their museumification. The museum already removes art objects from their original sites of inscription in the historical here and now. Thus for Benjamin, artworks that are exhibited in museums are already copies of themselves—devoid of their original aura of authenticity. In this sense, the internet, and its art-specialized websites, merely continue the process of the de-auratization of art that was started by art museums. Many cultural critics have therefore expected—and still expect—that public art museums will ultimately disappear, unable to compete economically with private collectors operating on the increasingly expensive art market, and be replaced by much cheaper, more accessible virtual, digitized archives.
However, the relationship between internet and museum radically changes if we begin to understand the museum not as a storage place for artworks, but rather as a stage for the flow of art events. Indeed, today the museum has ceased to be a space for contemplating non-moving things. Instead, the museum has become a place where things happen. Events staged by museums today include not only curatorial projects, but also lectures, conferences, readings, screenings, concerts, guided tours, and so forth. The flow of events inside the museum is today often faster than outside its walls. Meanwhile, we have grown accustomed to asking ourselves, what is going on in this or that museum? And to find the relevant information, we search for it on the websites of the museums, but also on blogs, social media pages, Twitter, and so forth. We visit museums far less of often than we visit their websites and follow their activities across the internet. And on the internet, the museum functions as a blog. So the contemporary museum presents not universal art history, but rather its own history—as a chain of events staged by the museum itself. But most importantly: the internet relates to the museum in the mode of documentation, not in the mode of reproduction. Of course, the permanent collections of museums can be reproduced on the internet, but the museum’s activities can only be recorded. (…)”
- Boris Groys, Entering the Flow: Museum between Archive and Gesamtkunstwerk, e-flux Journal, no. 50, 12/2013
"One of the oddest chapters in the annals of the Cold War was its proxy war by magazine, and the oddest Cold War magazine was undoubtedly Tricontinental. Based in Havana and art-directed by legendary poster designer Alfredo Rostgaard, Tricontinental was the official publication of OSPAAAL, one of the many revolutionary acronyms liberated by Fidel’s triumph in 1959. (…)
The magazine did its share of party-line thumping: inspiring tales of 100 percent literacy rates and vaulting social and technological progress, with occasional missives from communist luminaries like North Korea’s Kim Il-sung. But the bulk of Tricontinental’s editorial content was aimed at Third World militants, practicing or potential, for whom it served as bulletin board, guidebook, and lifestyle magazine. (…)
What made all of this truly strange, however, was Tricontinental’s design. Compared to dismally drab Soviet attempts at cultural propaganda — or the comically guileless efforts of the Chinese — the Cubans had something uncontrivable going for them: it looked like they were having fun. Tricontinental resembled an underground zine from San Francisco more than an information vehicle for Third World liberation, and that juxtaposition had an effect comparable to that moment in Godard’s Sympathy for the Devil when a gang of black nationalists in a municipal junkyard read from a stilted manifesto while necking with white women in abandoned cars. Tricontinental’s covers were deliriously poppy, with bright, eyecatching graphics, making it just the sort of thing Marighella’s urban guerrillas should never be seen carrying in public.” - Babak Radboy, Revolution by Design, Bidoun.
"This publication is an autonomous compilation of projects that question book display and exhibition as well as interviews and texts around the notion of perpetual ‘mise en abyme’ in books about books." - OpenBooks (Volumes), Hato Press, 2011.
“If the tone of magazines has gotten more gossipy, direct, and conversational, the post-2.0 web has been characterized by a general sense of passivity and indirection in the way people themselves write and interact online: we don’t talk to one another anymore so much as talk at or around one another through an endless series of taps and swipes. Some of my dearest friends and colleagues are people I first encountered online. Where we once held heated written exchanges in streams of comments whose audience I could count on both hands, now we “endorse” one another’s professional skills, tweet, retweet, “like,” and “favorite.” We lurk now more than we ever did, watching vigilantly but failing to say much more than 140 characters will allow.”
— Beyond the Scene and Herd Effect is a piece on the social web’s impact on art magazines that I wrote for the December 2013 issue of Artpapers. Guest edited by Paper Monument editor Dushko Petrovich, the issue is dedicated to artists’ magazines, writ large. (via forwardretreat)
"Parallelograms is an online artist project exploring the relationship between images and interpretation. Invited artists are given a set of images taken from deliberate web searches and asked to create a web-specific piece in response to one of them."