Art has always been the most creative tool of narration for History throughout all period of our human civilization. It has always given the audience and the artist, a playground of ideas in order to tell the stories of that particular time. An unifying theme has always naturally emerged from the similar aesthetics during each technological and cultural advancements of our species allowing an identifiable artistic genre of such period using the process of classification.
Unfortunately we have arrived at an era where it is getting harder to just define the current state of our time in a coherent narrative. We have arrived at the Age of Atemporality.
“Some would say that we are in a post-historical age, that our current period is one of atemporality. Artists are no longer on a forward trajectory. There is no real solid ground moving forward because there is no longer a singular narrative that drives western art history. The internet has created global access to any number of divergent narratives.” – The Logic of Atemporality
by Carlos Rosales-Silva
Art in the Age of The Internet.
Many would like to say that Art in the age of the Internet is basically the New Media Arts, a genre where its main focus is interacting with the audiences and resulting in social experiences rather than a material outcome. Nevertheless, New Media Arts is just another creative medium and even though it influences the current artistic landscape – where it is no longer driven by a set of linear narratives but opened to multiple sets of contradicting perspectives – but it is not the major creative ideology.
We are living in an era where we intentionally author our daily experiences. Listening to the right tunes as we take the train to work, reading the mandatory daily articles on a topic of interest while waiting for your stop and watching the right stress-relief videos of furry little kittens during lunch breaks. The virtual ritual of updating “cool” posts on our Facebook profiles in order to record and create a narrative of your life’s digital representation has become a necessity to the majority.
“Today, we don’t just consume online content, we interact with it — scrolling through pages of images and text, positioning separate windows next to or on top of each other on our screens, and clicking through each as we please. In that process of personal configuration, we often contextualize content in a way that the author could never have anticipated.” – Art In The Age of the Internet By Sarah Burke
The fact is that any online activity you’re participating (right now) on your browser can be described as ‘digital curating‘ according to Brad Troemel, the New York-based artist/curator/renowned Tumblr blogger. ‘It is a relatively meaningless term’, Troemel jested in an interview with The Guardian.
Meaningless for the fact that Digital Curating is an act that is done with or without the participant awareness or interest in the narrative/artistic values of such actions he/she has indulged in. Given the leniency of such term, many individuals can consider themselves as an artist and it would be very difficult to argue otherwise. With more and more narratives flowing in and out of the cyberspace, it is getting more complex to have a standardize narrative or a major ideology of art in this age.
“I think no one knows what art is anymore. It’s a completely different landscape.” – Tyler Cowen, when asked the question of how Internet affects the definition of art by Yale Insights
Re-defining the Major Narrative of Art in the Age of Atemporality.
The Age of Atemporality is mere a transitional stage of our human epoch. It is the final step of our journey towards the technological Singularity. We are at the time of cultural convergences in the network era. Beyond the event horizon, nothing is certain.
The traditional methods of archiving history is no longer valid in atemporal time since the act of recording events is now taken upon the millions of individuals that voluntarily update their social platforms. This is the problem with Atemporality; finding a clear narrative from this messy contributions. I may not have any suggestions for the historians in charge of collecting the data for future history books but I believe that Art is the only way to find some sort of narrative towards this predicament.
“The lack of a proper name for the decade is no mere product of a linguistic difficulty or a confusion between century, millennium, and decade. Rather it suggests that we no longer seem capable of framing our time.” – Kazys Varnelis: Time. History Under Atemporality.
The very definition of atemporality is timelessness. The problem with finding coherent narratives is that the very definition of it is contradictory since time is needed for any progression of a story. The only logical conclusion is to find a multi-temporal narrative and it is not as difficult as it sound given the fact that we are already constantly living in two temporal narratives at any given moment.
When everyone is an artist and historian, the very notion of such positions is obsolete but that doesn’t have to be the case. Those who are artist by trade have to evolve in order to keep up with the changes of time especially since creativity is no longer sacred to the human species (though it may take a while for the A.I).
And the only way to tell the countless narratives/artworks pouring through the networks is to take a step back from all of these and observe the culture of atemporality/network/internet from an outside perspective.
META-ART as The Major Narrative?
In my personal point of view, the only logical progression of creating a major narrative for the Art in the Age of Atemporality is using the ideology of Meta. Meta-Art is an artwork depicting the relationship of the subject (the Art) and the experience of the viewer towards the subject (this reflection can be infinite).
“The meta-artwork is a class of possibilities rather than an individual thing. It may take the form of an underspecified score (“open form”), a collection of building blocks (interactivity), a physical process (process art), a computer program (algorithmic art), or a mere idea (concept art). – [Cf. Hultén 1975, pp. 7-8.]
The idea of Meta-Art is not a new concept. An artwork that depicts a meta-subject (i.e: daily virtual ritual) has a greater resonance than the traditional’s singular subject. Many artist has already implement this self-reflection methods in many different philosophy of arts i.e meta-modernism. A true Meta-Artwork is perhaps difficult to conceive but using the methods of New Media Arts it is not as difficult as one imagine.
“Meta- does not refer to one particular system of thought or specific structure of feeling. It infers a plurality of them, and repositions itself with and between them. It is many, but also one. Encompassing, yet fragmented. Now, yet then. Here, but also there.” – What meta means and does not mean
At Minut Init, we are proud to say that we’ve always tried to push the boundaries of artistic expression and I believe our latest upcoming art exhibition, Circle Jerks, will be the first of many attempts at trying to create a major narrative of the artistic landscape in the age of atemporality.
Circle Jerks is a reflective exercise of the internet culture and it’s relationship with the artists. The art exhibition will be showcasing an omnibus of fragmentary cyberspace data inputs of the 14 participating artists in the medium of new media arts that in itself is a commentary of such connections. In addition to this layer of Meta-ness in the selection of the Art, the aesthetic filtering of the set up plus the interactions with the visitors will also add a whole new perspective towards the already self-reflective exhibition. This on-going changes in the narratives of the works with its many different layer of evaluations only amplifies or highlights the true nature of atemporality. This could be the new major narrative of this age and hopefully it will kick-start a new artistic movement.