Co4 … so what?

Along with some of the gang from 新樂園藝術空間 SLY Art Studo I spent the afternoon at 大趨勢畫廊 Main Trend Gallery checking out some of the art in 台灣前衛文件展 Co4 Taiwan Avante-Garde Documenta II. Well, yawn…

Besides two works, which were brilliant, the remainder was derivative, uninventive, uninteresting, and everything the curator’s statement – which liberally cited Paul Virillo, Jean Baudrillard and AndréBreton as the guiding philosophies – pretended to be against. Data-mining alone does not make art. And neither does a single idea alone necessarily make art. Speakers wired to play sound when triggered by the static electricity of a body is not art. A Flash front-end to an IP-sniffer is not art, however pretty the dynamic visualisation of nodes, ip addresses and pings may be, and in this case, PrayStation and many others did it more convincingly with carnivore years ago. they also did it outside of a gallery.

Which is one of the big problems for me. Most of the conceptual basis for the works I saw in the gallery have existed as sophisticated internet-based art for a long while. The community of artists addressing the browser window as the gallery site significantly diminishes the role of a physical white box gallery as the exhibition-space for net-art. As with 2004 – Australian Culture Now, there is a laziness permeating new-media art in galleries that confuses common tools of web-design and communication tools with works of art.

Two works though made the trip very worthwhile. The first was 陳界仁 Chen Chieh-jen, a visceral and humiliating plateau of atrocity, and the second right beside, 曾御欽 Tseng Yu-chin, full of dozing children, heads lolling, mouths slack-jawed. See it for those two.