Poetry as Practice
March 2 2015
In his 1976 series of Artforum articles, “Inside the White Cube,” Brian O’Doherty made the simple but powerful claim that the art gallery is not a neutral context. Despite its presentation as invisible or natural, the white-painted gallery space asserts a distinct ideological bearing onto the production and exhibition of art. In similar fashion, the computer and the internet shape the production and reception of poetry. Any text document is supported by a complex ensemble of code, hardware, and infrastructure. On the web, as on paper, there is no such thing as a “blank page.”
Whether it’s in the use of vernacular styles (Goring’s selfie collages, Ye’s home movies and postcards, Turgeon’s computer illustrations), rule-based composition (Lin and Broder), or self-erasure (notI), the poets downplayed individual authorship and underscore the influenced of the surrounding conditions that shape their work. However, they refused to be overdetermined by these conditions: the works are often introspective in their approach, systematically yet lyrically evoking particular moods and points of view.
Established in 2012 and co-organized by the New Museum and Rhizome, First Look is a digital art commissioning and exhibition program representing the breadth of art online—from interactive documentary, to custom-built participatory applications, to moving image-based works, and art for mobile VR. Encompassing a substantial array of work that continues to expand, First Look explores the formal, social, and aesthetic possibilities of emerging technologies on the web.1