A relationship between the Internet and the physical for the art

I presented my paper about the Internet Yami-ichi at Dubai, ISEA2014. Although the conference proceeding is editing now, it would not be published before World Wide Internet Yami-ichi week.  So, I publish my paper here. I hope my paper will be a starting‐point for the discussion about the Internet Yami-ichi. Let's join the Internet Yami-ichi and study it! 
--
A relationship between the Internet and the physical for the art
Masanori Mizuno
Konan Women’s University


Abstract
     In 'The Aesthetics of Net.Art,' Julian Stallabrass described, "The ‘objects’ of Internet art are far from being conventional art objects. They are not only reproducible without degradation but are almost free to transmit." This point is concerned with the immateriality of art. The immaterial nature of the Internet throws the art world into confusion. I want to show the confusion of the art form the viewpoint of the relationship between the Internet and the physical. I will examine 3 cases: Send me the JPEG by Winkleman Gallery, DISOWN by DIS, Internet Yami-ichi by IDPW. And I will conclude that: Send me the JPEG by Winkleman Gallery shows the confusion of the dichotomy between the Internet and the physical. DISOWN by DIS overcomes the confusion of the dichotomy between the Internet and the physical and transforms the crossing of the two into the Post Internet value. Internet Yami-ichi by IDPW avoids the confusion of the dichotomy between the Internet and the physical and reframes an outside of the overlap between the two. Consequently, the Internet-ish is downloaded and installed in the real.


Introduction
     In 'The Aesthetics of Net.Art,' Julian Stallabrass described, "the 'objects' of Internet art are far from being conventional art objects. They are not only reproducible without degradation but are almost free to transmit (or rather, once the initial outlay has been made, the marginal cost of each transmission is close to zero). Cheaply reproducible artistic media have long existed, of course, but attempts at their wide dissemination have foundered on the cost of distribution. " [1] This point is concerned with the relationship between the Internet and the physical for the art. The Internet art can show artworks as almost perfect copies anywhere because of its immaterial nature. However, the contemporary art that was based on the physical is getting the immaterial nature and stepping on the Internet now. The immaterial nature of the Internet throws the art world into confusion.


3 case studies
     I want to show this disorder situation of the art from the viewpoint of the relationship between the Internet and the physical. I will examine 3 cases: Send me the JPEG by Winkleman Gallery, DISOWN by DIS, Internet Yami-ichi by IDPW.


Send me the JPEG by Winkleman Gallery
In short, “Send Me the JPEG” seeks to question what is gained and what is lost in this new era of collecting. The increase in accessibility and the flow of information have eliminated the formerly formidable geographic obstacles that made it difficult to disseminate images and ideas. An attendant rise in the amount of capital being devoted to the production and display of contemporary art has made it possible for more artists than ever before to exist. These have to be seen as positive. By the same token, the basic relationship between viewer and object has been fractured. Indeed, in this new order, the way a work looks in a photograph (even if it is itself a photograph) trumps all other concerns, which has affected what is made, as well as how it is contextualized. “Disruptive technology” is well named, and one must adapt. Ultimately, though, we trust that “Send Me the JPEG” is an argument that there still is value in experiencing new work in person. [2]

    Stallabrass' description of the online art was almost ten years ago, nowadays, this Winkleman Gallery's statement implies that not only the online art but also the material art world is getting to harness the immaterial nature. The paintings, sculptures and Installation arts are transformed into the intangible JPEG images in order to be seed all over the world. As a result, many art correctors watch the almost costless JPEG image and buy the actual artwork. Over half of contemporary art collectors purchase an artwork at a glance of its digital image before actually seeing it on the gallery. According to Winkleman Gallery, it is “very excited about the reach that digital opportunities offer to promote our artists outside the gallery space itself, but we’re a bit skeptical that the rise in the number of collectors who have purchased some art from JPEGs indicates any dramatic impact for the future of “the physical experience.””[3] Consequently, Winkleman Gallery held a gallery's artists group show 'Send Me the JPEG' in 2013. "Send Me the JPEG" exhibited not actual works but digital images of works on large flat monitors. Although we go to the real gallery in order to watch the physical artwork, Winkleman Gallery displayed only digital images of the works.
    
     Send Me the JPEG asks us what the significance of the physical space is. The Internet shakes the value of the real space for the art world. On the one hand, the Internet is another exhibition space for the gallery beyond the geological gap; therefore, the gallery space is not absolute one. On the other, only the real space can show the physical artworks, however this value in experiencing artwork in person is held in doubt. As a result, the Internet makes the gallery rethink how important or not its own real space is.  Send Me the JPEG seems like throwing out its physical space for the actual artworks; the physical space become like the Internet, but the gallery space still bonds to the geographical condition.
   
     In 1990s-2000s, the real space has overwhelming value against the Internet in the art world. In 2010s, the traditional art has become similar to the net art.  Consequently, the physical place becomes equal to or subordinate to the Internet, and a JPEG image is regarded as the actual artwork. Since the JPEG image as the artwork has distributed on the Internet like the net art, Send me the JPEG tries to show the JPEG image of the artwork as the actual artwork on the physical space. There are appearing twisted and confused conditions among the physical artwork and the JPEG image, the real space and the Internet. Winkleman Gallery's experiment is subversive of the relationship between the actual artwork and the JPEG image. As the same time, Winkleman Gallery says; "this is a fantasy group exhibition. We could never actually present all these works in our space at the same time.”[4] The JPEG image brings its advantage points of limitless Internet space into the physical space and changes the state of it. In short, "Send Me the JPEG" by Winkleman Gallery shows the subversive relationship between the Internet and the physical; now, the physical belongs to the Internet. The art galleries have not addressed this situation negative or positive. 


DISOWN by DIS
“DISOWN – Not For Everyone,” is an art exhibition posing as a retail store. Or maybe it’s the other way around. As Karl Lagerfeld for H&M is a diffusion line for fashion, DISOWN is a diffusion line for art. Set as an examination of taste and consumerism, DISOWN presents a new model for cultural critique. Presenting products from over 30 world-renowned artists including Ryan Trecartin, Jon Rafman, Bjarne Melgaard, Amalia Ulman, Telfar and Hood By Air (HBA), DISOWN will be featured in a retail installation by artist Lizzie Fitch. Art collective DIS and curator Agatha Wara present the month long exhibition, starting March 6th at Red Bull Studio New York. [5]

    A New York-based corrective DIS represents Post Internet value by publishing online platform DIS magazine and a fully functioning stock image library, DIS images. "Post Internet" means there is no difference between the Internet and the physical world; everything is Internet! Although DIS is mainly active on the Internet, this corrective does not matter whether the real and the Internet. For example, DIS held DISOWN at New York’s Red Bull Studio and will curate 2016 Berlin Biennale. In the physical and the Internet, DIS attempts to diffuse the Post Internet value.
   
     DISOWN wants to be a diffusion line of Art from not cheap price but another form of art. DISOWN is a "retail platform and laboratory to test the current status of the art object.”[6]  Gabby Bess, a multi-media artist, says, "The show cleverly illustrates DIS’ ethos of wanting to disrupt existing hierarchies in the art world and to work outside of traditional art economies.” [7] DIS tests Post Internet value in everywhere in order to diffuse it. So, DISOWN opened as an exhibition using the format of a retail shop in the physical space; now, it has become an online store. DISOWN imported the Post Internet into the physical place, and it has gone back to the Internet. The DISOWN online store suggests that DIS is trying to create an oppositional value against the art world on the Internet. This strategy implies that the Internet is not an end but just a mean of the diffusion of the value for DIS. DIS makes full use of the Internet in order to keep on overwriting everywhere into the Post Internet value.

    DIS examines the Post Internet on the Internet or the real space and uses the Internet to revolt against art. The dichotomy between the physical space and the Internet is shifting to another dichotomy between the traditional and material art world and the Post Internet value that represents immaterial culture. DIS does not care whether their exhibition is held in the physical space or the Internet because they only hope to spread the Post Internet value. Therefore, they choose efficient ways for it. DIS attempts to popularize the Post Internet value as the diffusion line of art as much as they can. As result, the diffusion line will get more crucial presence than the correction line; the traditional art. DIS will make a new order of the art world via the Post Internet value that comes from the Internet.
    
    Although Send me the JPEG by Winkleman Gallery shows an ambivalent feeling for the immateriality of the Internet, DIS straightly represents and uses it for the Post Internet value based on the immaterial nature. DIS not only overcomes the confusion of the art world based on the ambiguous intangible nature of the Internet but also use its nature in order to diffuse the new order based the Post Internet value; DISOWN online store and DIS images. DIS shows the entirely new value beyond the dichotomy between the physical space and the Internet and asks us whether you can keep up with us; Therefore, DISOWN is under the slogan of “Not For Everyone.”


Internet Yami-ichi by IDPW
S*%t happens. Didn't used to. Like when some small off-handed private comment turns into an SNS flame war. Or worrying about not getting enough “Likes”. The Youtube videos you can't watch anymore because somebody complained. Or the apps you can't play because they were rejected by Apple. Once upon a time, the Internet was supposed to be a place for "liberty". Nowadays it's so uptight. 
So let's turn off, log-out, and drop in, on the real world. The Internet Yami-Ichi is a flea market for “browsing” face-to-face. The Berlin gathering will be the first ever outside of Japan.
Take your own Internet liberties here, with us. [8]

The Internet Yami-Ichi* (Internet Black Market) is a flea market which deals "Internet-ish" things, face-to-face, in actual space. Both flea markets and the Internet are fanatical and chaotic mixes of the amazing and useless. [9]

    IDPW, a secret society on the internet that goes back more than 100 years and the organizer of the Internet Yami-ichi, evaluates the value of the real place via the Internet and makes use of it as a landing place for the "Internet-ish." Therefore, the relationship between the Internet and the physical space is twisted on the Internet Yami-ichi. There is no big art market and art world in Japan like there is in America and the EU; IDPW does not need to dis the art world as DIS does. Consequently, IDPW can focus on examining the relationship between the Internet and the physical space and hacking both the Internet and the physical space.

     The Internet in Japan for the art has no dichotomy in order to turn over each other. There is only blank and marginal space for waiting for someone to overwrite its status. IDPW transforms a blank space into a place where the spirit of the Internet is summoned. Members of IDPW and participants of the Internet Yami-ichi senses that there is the Internet even if they log off from it. Tomoya Watanabe, a member of IDPW, tells that;

If the Internet is shut down I'm OK. I have the Internet on my body. The Internet is everywhere if you have an internet-ish sense. I think a handshake is an internet-ish sense, and signal fire is like Poke. If you have the internet-ish sense, everything becomes the Internet. [10]

     Watanabe is sure that we have the internet-ish sense on our body even though we log off from the Internet. The internet-ish sense represents not the current upright Internet but the early web. iMal, a host of the Internet Yami-ichi 5 Brussels, describes, "The Japanese collective IDPW.org invites us to perpetuate "in real life" the freedom and joyful anarchy of the early web.”[11] IDPW trust in not the Internet but the internet-ish sense that represents 'the freedom and joyful anarchy of the early web'.
   
     IDPW adopts the flea market for describing its feature of the Internet Yami-ichi. IDPW explains " Both flea market and the Internet are fanatical and chaotic mixes of the amazing and useless." And iMal says, "the Internet Yami-Ichi draws its inspiration from flea markets, these chaotic assemblages that combine hidden gems, unlikely objects, collectibles and useless trash.”[12] The phrase, 'these chaotic assemblages', is an accurate description of the Internet Yami-ichi. The format of flea markets unexpectedly let the Internet Yami-ichi link with the art world because Nicolas Bourriaud considers that 'The flea market' is a representative format of the dominant art for the nineties;
  
Why has the market become the omnipresent referent for contemporary artistic practices? First, it represents a collective form, a disordered, proliferating and endlessly renewed conglomeration that does no depend on the command of a single author: a market is not designed, it is a unitary structure composed of multiple individual signs. Secondly, this form (in the case of the flea market) is the locus of a reorganisation of past production. Finally, it embodies and makes material the flows and relationship that have tended toward disembodiment with the appearance of online shopping. [13]

     The Internet Yami-ichi is the locus of a reorganisation of the early web spirits and makes new meaning of the Internet. IDPW does not think that the real is better than the upright current Internet, but the real is more similar to the early web than the current Internet. Therefore, they combine the real to the early web minds in order to hacking both the Internet and the physical space. Shunya Hagiwara, a member of IDPW, says; "The Internet Yami-ichi recognize the Internet as a character. It is like making a derivative work of the Internet.”[14] The Internet Yami-ichi can concentrate on the blank between the Internet and the physical space and hack and overwrite the blank in order to make another story and senses of the Internet. Then, a sense of Internet-ish is summoned to the blank real/Internet space; the Internet Yami-ichi. It means that IDPW embodies a positive face of 'disembodiment with the appearance of online shopping' on the physical space, unlike Bourriaud considers that its disembodiment one is negative for the real space.  
   
     IDPW downloads the free Internet spirits; Internet-ish into the physical space. The Internet Yami-ichi seems like just nostalgia for the early Internet; however, it is not so easy thing. IDPW neither installs Internet-ish into the current Internet nor remakes the early web on the Internet, instead downloads into the real place. This procedure cleverly avoids not only going to the nostalgia of the Internet but also dissing the uptight situation of current web. As a result, although this downloading of the Internet into the real makes a disappointed physical space like "Send me the JPEG", the Internet Yami-ichi becomes the event that enjoys this regretful situation. The Internet Yami-ichi shows the unique twisted connection between the Internet and the physical space. It becomes the location for bringing out many people from the Internet and linking them positively in the physical world.
   
     Despite the fact that the Internet Yami-ichi uses the word "Internet," it opens in the physical space and becomes "'regretful' electronic commerce; it means that you have to go the physical spot in order to buy something even though it is the electronic commerce. The word 'regretful' implies not negative but positive meaning because IDPW and participants enjoy bothering going to the real space. In short, IDPW uses the word 'regretful' in order to show a twisted value between the real and the Internet. This twisted value is similar to a feeling of 'regretful' which SAYAWAKA, a writer of the Japanese subculture, tries to describe a Japanese youth culture of 2010s.

     SAYAWAKA considers that the word 'regretful' is appearing with positive meaning on the Internet in Japan during 2006-2009 along parallel to prosper childish subculture like Niconico. Furthermore, this Japanese Internet situation indicates that the young people who the older people regard as regretfulness tends to enjoy their 'regretfulness'. The young Japanese on the Internet does not turn against the older people but reframes the meaning of regretfulness from negative to positive. [15] The Internet Yami-ichi syncs the feeling of enjoying the regretful situation by the young Japanese on the Internet.
   
     IDPW says, "Turn off, log-out, and drop in on the real world for a change" and downloads and installs Internet-ish into the real place. Kensuke Sembo and Yae Akaimwa, members of IDPW and a media art corrective exonemo, tells that we rediscover a function of the real place via the Internet.

Akaiwa - The real place gathers many people's attentions and make connections.
Sembo - There is unique collective awareness.
Akaiwa - Although the past Internet has places like BBSs in order to get together, it is difficult to feel that there are such places due to Timelines of Twitter or Facebook. So, the real place has a function that many people physically get together. The Internet Yami-ichi makes full use of this physical place function. [16]

     IDPW attempts to make the place on the Internet like BBS on the real. At first, BBS imported the real place function and many people went there and made unique corrective awareness on the Internet. However, the place on the Internet is disappearing on WEB2.0. Therefore, IDPW makes the physical place for gathering the Internet people in order to rebirth the unique corrective awareness on the Internet. The physical place is hacked and reframed by the Internet-ish. This twisted procedure produces the original feels of the Internet Yami-ichi. IDPW implements new 'Face to Face' and "Hand to Hand" via the Internet into the physical place and shows the function of the real place after the Internet. This procedure is not subversive between the real and the Internet like net art and art market in the English‐speaking worlds.


Conclusion
     'Send me the JPEG' and 'DISOWN' bring the 'Internet' into the physical place; the art world. Especially, DIS makes the diffusion line of art in order to inject the Post Internet value into the real art world. But, the real and the physical have an overwhelming power to the Internet in the art world, therefore; the art world considers the place and the artwork imbued with the Internet to be inferior in quality. In short, the traditional art world has not adequately treated the Internet yet. However, DIS does not care about the traditional art world because they want make the very new art value of Post Internet, that is not for everyone.
   
     Unlike DIS and Winkleman Gallery, IDPW attempts not to subversive of the art world but "to let some fresh air into the world of the Internet--which starting to feel a bit uptight--by downloading our Internet activities to exchange in the actual world, as a flea market." They harnesses the format of flea market as the locus of a reorganization of Internet and tries to download and install "Internet-ish" into the physical place; the Internet Yami-ichi. "Internet-ish" does not belong to the dichotomy between the Internet and the physical. "Internet-ish" is a texture of marginal, which is an outside of the overlap between the Internet and the physical.

Send me the JPEG by Winkleman Gallery shows the confusion of the dichotomy between the Internet and the physical.
DISOWN by DIS overcomes the confusion of the dichotomy between the Internet and the physical and transforms the crossing of the two into the Post Internet value.
Internet Yami-ichi by IDPW avoids the confusion of the dichotomy between the Internet and the physical and reframe an outside of the overlap between the two. Consequently, the Internet-ish is downloaded and installed in the real.

     The Internet Yami-ichi focuses on only the Internet in order to let "Internet-ish" to be landing on the physical place. This landing place can twist a relationship of the Internet and the physical into a new phase; not the place of the Internet or the physical, but the place of marginal world.


References
1. Julian Stallabrass, The Aesthetics of Net.Art, http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/people/stallabrass_julian/essays/aesthetics_net_art-print.pdf [Accessed 2nd, August 2015].
2. Winkleman Gallery, Send Me the JPEG, http://www.winkleman.com/exhibitions/796/images/34990 [Accessed 2nd, August 2015].
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. DIS, DISOWN at Red Bull Studios, http://www.redbullstudios.com/newyork/events/disown [Accessed 2nd, August 2015].
6. About DIS, http://dismagazine.com/about/ [Accessed 2nd, August 2015].
7. Gabby Bess, DISOWN Blows Away The Boundaries Between Art And Commerce, http://www.papermag.com/2014/03/disown_art_show.php [Accessed 2nd, August 2015].
8. IDPW, The Internet Yami-ichi, http://yami-ichi.biz  [Accessed 2nd, August 2015].
9. Internet Yami-ichi (Internet Black Market), http://www.transmediale.de/content/internet-yami-ichi-internet-black-market  [Accessed 2nd, August 2015].
10. Tomoya Watanabe. Interviewed by Masanori Mizuno. 5th July 2014.
11. iMAL, Internet Yami-Ichi 5 in Brussels, http://www.imal.org/en/page/internet-yami-ichi-brussels [Accessed 2nd, August 2015].
12. Ibid.
13. Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction, trans. Jeanine Herman (New York: Lukas & Sternberg), 28-29.
14. Shunya Hagiwara, Interviewed by Masanori Mizuno. 4th July 2014.
15. Sayawaka, Jyunenn-dai Bunka-ron [An Essay of Japanese Youth Culture in 2010s] (Tokyo: Seikai-sha), 54.
16. Exonemo. Interviewed by Masanori Mizuno. 4th July 2014.

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