The work of art in the age of digital recombination
By analyzing the way the computer interface constitutes and structures aesthetic experience, Jos de Mul aims to contribute to the reflection that artistic media are interface that not only structure the imagination of the artist, but the work of art and the aesthetic reception as well.
In the age of digital recombination, the database constitutes the ontological model of the work of art. After the replacement of cult value by exhibition value, manipulation value is replacing exhibition value.
Benjamin applies the concept of aura to cult images as well as natural objects. A major quality of the cult image is its unapproachability. We might say that the auratic work of art acts as an interface between the sensible and the supersensible and the material signifier and the spiritual meaning are inseparably linked with on another. In the media of mechanical reproduction the whole distinction between original and copy loses its meaning. The value in photography and film, contradictory to cult works, is precisely situated in the endless reproduction of the copies
'Mechanical media' posses a fundamental democratic and even revolutionary potential. Not only do they enable the progressive artist to 'politicise the arts' and mobilise the masses against the fascist 'aesthetization of politics'.
All media art works share some basic characteristics, four basic operations of persistent storage. It consists of the operations Add, Browse, Change, and Destroy, which correspond to the structured query language(SQL) commands Insert, Select, Update, and Delete - constitute the dynamic elements of what we might call a database ontology.
Database ontology is dynamic, because the data elements can be constantly combined, decombined, and recombined. In the age of digital databases, everything - nature and culture alike - becomes an object for recombination and manipulation.
As the number of recombination of a database is almost infinite, the work of art in the age of digital recombination brings about a return of the aura. Especially in those cases where the user is enabled to change the contents of the database and insert new elements in the database, each query becomes a unique recombination. the aura located no longer in the history of the work, but in its virtuality.
The Work of Culture in the Age of Cybernetic Systems
Benjamin’s text published in 1936, when film was still young; while Nichols’s was published in 1988, when video games and other simulation media were young. Within this text, Nichols will discuss this shift from fetishisation of the object to fetishisation of the process of interaction, of simulation. With some examples of simulation to video games and genetic engineering, it reveals ideology becomes more clearly a subject.
Cybernetic systems include an entire array of machines and apparatuses that exhibit computational power., which all exhibit a capacity to process information and execute actions. The computer is an icon and a metaphor symbolising the entire spectrum of networks, systems and devices. With in the article Nichols contrast characteristics of cybernetic systems with those of mechanical reproduction and establish a central metaphor to help to understand these cybernetic systems, and prompt the question that how this metaphor acquires the force of the real. The work of culture will be discussed in focus
What at the heart of the change in mechanical reproduction that effects the work of art is the impossibility of reproducing its authenticity. However, it emancipates art from its parasitical dependence on ritual, and turn to a new basis in politics, which are held in check by the economic system surrounding the means of mechanical reproduction.
A radical change in the nature of art implies that our very ways of seeing the world have also changed. Through montage film achieves the changes of place and focus which periodically assail the spectator, which strongly testifies to this new form of machine-age-perception.
What potential can be located in the computer and its cybernetic systems, similar with the situation of cinema, must be defused and contained by the industries of information. The process of adopting new ways of seeing that consequently propose new forms of social organisation, which becomes a paradoxical, or dialectical process but goes forward all the same.
Nichols puts forward the question is our "sense of reality" being adjusted by new means of electronic computation and digital communication? Then he lists the power, products and human sense in the age of industrial capitalism.
Cybernetic Systems and Electronic Culture
Simulacra introduce the key question of how the control of information moves towards control of sensory experience, interpretation, intelligence, and knowledge. The power of the simulation moves to the heart of the cybernetic matter.
Human identity subject to change vulnerable to challenge and modification as the very metaphors prompted by the imaginary Others that give it form themselves change. The concept of text in electronic communication and in cybernetic system.
Unlike in the mechanical reproduction, we encounter simulacra that represent a new form of social practice in their own right and represent nothing in cybernetic systems. What's more, "I" and "you" are strictly relational propositions attached to no substantive body, no living individuality. In place of human intersubjectivity, a systems interface is discovered.
Like for example in ELIZA, cybernetic interaction achieves with an intelligent apparatus the simulation of social process itself. Cybernetic dialogue offers the illusion of control, but a predominantly masculine fascination with the control of simulated interactions replaces a (predominantly masculine) fascination with the to-be-looked-at-ness of a projected image. Engagement with the process of computational system becomes the object of fetishization.
Within in cybernetic systems, individuals 'choices' are always the permutations and combinations of a predefined set. What's more, the other scene from which complex rule-governed universes actually get produced recedes further from sight. The governing procedures no longer address us in order to elicit a suspension of belief; they address the cybernetic system, the microprocessor of the computer, in order to absorb us into their operation.
Chip replaces the copy. It reveals the power of postindustrial capitalism to simulate and replace the world around us. The copy reproduces the world, the chip simulates it. Cybernetic simulations offer the possibility of completely replacing any direct connection with the experiential realm beyond their bounds.
The central metaphors of the cybernetic imagination is that not only the human as an automated but intelligent system, but also automated, intelligent systems as human, not only the simulation of reality but the reality of the simulation.
Our cognitive apparatus treats the real as though it consisted of those properties exhibited by simulacra. The real becomes simulation. Simulacra, in turn, serve as the mythopoeic impetus for that sense of the real we posit beyond the simulation.
We are living not only in the society of the spectacle but also in the society of the simulacrum involves the preservation/simulation of life via artificiallife-support system. In the example of surrogacy, juridical-political is a central area of conflict and one in which some of the basic changes in our conception of the human/computer, reality/simulation metaphors get fought out.
How "intelligent systems" deal with patent, copyright and the demands of adjusting the law.
Copyright had the purpose of providing economic incentive to bring new ideas to the marketplace. Copyright does not protect ideas, processes. procedures. systems or methods, only a specific embodiment of such things.
The authorship issue of video games and their copyrights.
The courts have dearly recognized the need to guarantee the exclusive rights of authors and inventors (and of the corporations that employ them) to the fruits of their discoveries.
The "engineered fetuses" and babies become the perfect cyborg that the human as cyborg, the cyborg as human, which indicates again the simulation of reality and the reality of the simulation.
Our consciousness of something indicates the presence of a problem in need of solution, and cybernetic systems theory has mainly solved the problem of capitalist systems that exploit and deplete their human and natural environment, rather than conserving both themselves and their environment.