by Louis-José LESTOCART
Beginning years 80, Gary Hill, artist video, starts its
research on the language. In particular on the idea of
a physicality of the language. Soon, thanks to the process
of a machine named Rutt/Etra (scan electronic processor
finalized in the beginning of the years 70) that permits
him to explore the physical nature and the immediatity
of the medium, he inaugurates a work on the real time,
intrinsic to the video, where he discerns a movement close
to the one of the thought. Such a flux, a
topology of the time restored made sensitive by the medium.
Then he creates, the notion of metalogue (according to
Gregory Bateson, biologist and epistemologist who wrote
Mind and Nature : A Necessary Unit, 1979),
combining the multiple narration, that build effects of
arborescences from only one whole of pictures founding
a very physical world between reflection and fiction.
Since the beginning of the years 90 is born the net.art
that associates equally pictures, associations of words,
of thoughts, physicality of the language, real time, reflection
and fiction,. So is created a new artistic reality having
sometimes resort to pointed mathematical and physical
notions that modelize to the best, creative and intellectual
thought, conscience and representation, standing in the
totality of perception of the economic field and world
works of the net.art becoming the metaphors, in the sense
where Thomas Kuhn, historian of the sciences, speaks of
metaphor of thought: at a time thought and "model" of
the thought. These works are especially sites-avatars
of real people (artists or group of artists) putting and/or
treating of the questions carrying on the identity, the
memory, the feeling, the history of the art, the history
of the world or personal, the
intimate, the derision, the existence: "common dividers"
of all human being.
Work on the identity therefore, but as idea of a presence/absence.
Because who is there? No one, in fact. From where this
idea of avatar, manner convenient of to ask (himself)
some questions. The net.art includes several criteria
that we don't treat all here. On several sites, these
themes of the identity and the presence are symbolized
by a indefinable me, a me-avatar (name of the artist or
name of the site) that proves to be often more and more
complex and unsteady.
The picture becomes there sometimes logo (speech/language)
incarnated and contains a multilevel sense. Often what
appears with this avatar, it is not a person of flesh
and blood, but the medium itself (screen and numeric picture).
There it ends up having a secret in this "incarnation".
However this presence/mystery is not also there an avatar,
ideator nevertheless of the proposed situation (definite
by the program and the invitations on which one must click)
that becomes similar to the verbal representations: descriptive,
evolutionary, unforeseeable. The common feature between
these artists is that the alliance picture, sound, text,
"verbalize" the look, hurl down in strata of various speech
correspondent all initially to a promise. The click or
no on the invitations of the artist achieving or no the
promise. To the departure, we are in presence of "language
acts" (speech acts) according to John Austin and John
Searle, analytic philosophers of the language, fathers
of the performative
linguistic: "When to say it's to make" or, with a bit
sense of humour, " How to do Things with Words ".
Linguistics that succeeds few or many to a new theory
of the representation whose shapes constantly diverge
following the display tools used.
The formal particularity of these "promises" or stated,
is that they lead to a "specific act". Or rather all enunciation
is an act, nearly generating guilt, and that finishes,
on its turn, by having sense on the journey of all answers
that it can receive (by the of the mails of the internauts
or the choices that they operate in the program). So create
themselves after the "potential literature" of the Oulipo,
a "potential writing", an imagery and a sense just as
"potential". Did the art become a species transferring?
The net by the fluxes, the rhizomatic modes that sharpens
it, the radical mutation of a creation based on real links
with the internaut, cause a complete renewal of the analysis
Because well often the observers took in a Weltanschauung
(representation of the world) by a lot of sides deciduous,
persist in common analyses facing what is a true "anomaly"
in a triumphant paradigm. One can understand "anomaly"
in the sense where Kuhn uses it in the scientific revolution
Structure; that means the existence of lucks or probabilities
emerging suddenly of a share of beliefs supposed true
that established a
paradigm until there (as is a certain artistic rhetoric
all whole based on the resistance and the frustration
of some observers) to which each sacrificed and that,
of that fact, is completely put in question.
All artists presented here don't belong to the same genealogy
although their productions of the language, the intellectualization,
the autobiographic fragments and the texts more or less
literary or theoretical return unavoidable closeness between
all those that initiate of the language games abstracting
the notion of work and organizing the space
around the work in sequential structures, taking into
account the questions of diffusion and the new spatial-temporal
and social deals own to the medium. Moreover, in this
optics the idea of only language is absurd without the
idea of a non language, without the introduction of a
non linguistics objection way permitting implicitly other
senses and other
What remains it is the enrollment of such an art in what
Mark Amerika, famous artist of the net, names the public
narrative environment. Notion to which one could add the
one of the public non-narrative environment.
Because there, where one supposes an intention to give
sense, thus to make the art, it is also necessary to augur
or to take in account the exact contrary. Again the idea
of the metalogue dear to Hill. According to the theory
of the significance of Jacob von Uexküll, the objects
do some connotations for the watching subjects (théorie
des milieux) while building illusory paradigms.
Connotations that are always imposed according to a type
of conditioning like Pavlov conditioning where the art
is not only a given sign but something that would necessarily
Is the art therefore well a species transferring? The
net stays a
fully-fledged medium to the basis - it is nearly a truism
- of a new phenomenology of the perception. If it remains
an fundamental element of cohesion, of mediation, of integration
- immense database on successions of instants of a lived
History in real time through the intermediary of our brain
- it is also an organ clearly linguistic that doesn't
address to anyone in fact - because once again who speaks
or who writes? - if it is
not to the language itself, to the linguistic fact and
to its evolution.
Yet constantly is put back in the net, the idea to delimit
the world t in
the language and the to put it in evidence.
Besides, operation already stake in place in the XVIIe
century by the Logic (Arnaud and Nicole) and the Grammar
of Port-Royal (Lancelot and Arnauld) having for function
"to imitate" the thought, to offer a representation of
it and beyond a representation of the world. With all
notions of description, cartography, historiography and
analysis that connect to it.
However this world, the one of the net, is as unsteady
and changing as the quantum world and that the Zone of
Stalker de Tarkovski.
From then the net, offering a new field for the epistemology,
appears being not anymore than a transparent and adequate
vehicle for a questioning of the subjectivity.