Monday, 22 October 2012

Why Claire Bishop's 'Digital Divide' is a Storm in a Teacup

A response to Claire Bishop's Artforum article, which asks why mainstream contemporary artists have, in general, ignored the impact of the digital in contemporary life.[1]

I also address the annoying habit in journalism of titling an article 'Why...' and then not answering the question anywhere in the article. Here, I'll say nothing at all that's not a direct response to the question in my title, making the bulk of my article a matter of inference:

- Because Bishop never unambiguously states her own position in relation to the proper - or authentic - concerns of art, making it hard to understand her central point;
- Because it's harder for Bishop to say what "the mainstream" is than what "the digital" is;
- and that's weird;
- Because if Bishop's mainstream is the art world legitimised through trade, then it is obvious that it is no more capable of assimilating (capitalising) the digital than are the music, film or publishing industries;
- so there's no mystery;
- Because, if mainstream contemporary artists are those interested in selling objects, then... (see previous two points);
- Because artistic practitioners of many kinds have acknowledged and worked with the digital ever since the emergence of the digital;
- Because the social world has already assimilated the digital in more complex terms than those that would inform any mainstream artist's perspective on it.

[1] Digital Divide: Claire Bishop on contemporary art and new media

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