This issue of Art Lies catches our journal in an exciting moment of expansion between the printed publication you are holding and its potential virtual, digital, Web, Net, online, screen-based or social media complement. Enamored by the engagement of both pulp and pixels, Art Lies is refreshing itself as a more dynamic online and print periodical.
Starting with this issue, dubbed “The New Flesh,” you’ll find original online features posted regularly at Artlies.org. Commissioned in concert with the printed publication, these articles, as well as curatorial and artist projects, extend Issue No. 67’s “conversation” materially and temporally, across media platforms and over a multi-month timeline. Appropriately, we’ve turned this issue’s print (and Web) pages to this very topic: How are artists, curators, dealers and writers navigating the divide between virtual and traditional media?
The Web undeniably invites new forms of artistic production, display and criticism, but as the Internet grows increasingly mainstream, how is this promise being met? Fresh digital spaces should lead to opportunities for more and new voices, as well as inventive and unorthodox structures, logics, systems and experiences. Yet, in practice—as every museum, gallery, and artist (of any generation) generates a website and Facebook presence—do they? Does the Web transcend daily experience and escape the trappings of “meatspace,” or do online media merely offer new flesh for old concerns? The Amazon Kindle and other e-readers that digitally approximate the printed page would suggest that as much as we adapt to technological invention, we also adapt and retrofit innovation to our traditions, habits and locales. Progress, more often than not, must double back in order to advance.
Addressing such concerns in Issue No. 67, Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook propose critical acceptance for new media work by defining it in terms of analog experience and art historical precedent. A survey of arts writers Paddy Johnson, Kelly Klaasmeyer, Tom Moody and Lauren O’Neill-Butler indicates that writing on the Web may have already achieved a status quo on par with its predecessors. Considering the new online publication East of Borneo, Andrew Berardini describes its promise in relation to a singular geographic and cultural place, Los Angeles. For artists, the Web increasingly offers not a virtual unknown or ideal but, rather, a compromise between the familiar and unfamiliar, a hybrid space increasingly more normal than new.
Tobias Leingruber explains the Web’s potential through real-world spatial metaphors, while Kristin Lucas inverts this mirror, understanding her self through technology’s logics. Kari Altmann digitally excavates the deteriorating landscape of contemporary tech, while a discussion between Cliff Evans and Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung reanimates the original act of media appropriation—photomontage. It should be of little surprise, then, that Joel Holmberg and Guthrie Lonergan’s mythologizing tale of the Internet artist ends in a return to the printed page.
Simon Grennan and Christopher Sperandio revisit the hidden, interactive messaging of a Mad magazine fold-in. A special insert by Susan Silton also enhances the issue with a postcard project addressing (public) persuasion and perception. Finally, in the reviews section you’ll notice two new headers. Taking our criticism pages beyond exhibition reviews to individual practices and art objects, Art Lies now features “Subject Matter,” an essay on a single artist, and “Object Lesson,” an essay on a single work of art. As the artists and writers contributing to Issue No. 67 bridge Internet and offline zones, Art Lies also begins to venture across media, approaching these platforms
not as surfaces but as connective tissues and substantive spaces for critical thought and action.
— Kurt Mueller, Interim Editor