Soon I’ll be vomiting up a torrent of stuff from my recent trip to Venice Biennale, but the following drivel came to my attention via Rhizome’s RSS feed. The aforementioned feed is usually awash with barely comprehensible bot-generated spam and very little actual content, but I’m going to assume a real person was behind this project despite the fact that some of the spam made more sense than the mailout.
You may wonder why I continue subscribing to it: the answer is that the spam is truly magnificent sometimes. The actual art work and human texts can generously be described as unfortunate and unnecessary, for the most part. Look upon the text of Katerina Karoussos, ye writers, and despair:
“NOETIC GRACE – FROM IMAGE TO IMAGO regards the process of ‘virtual vision’ such as St. John of Damascus yielded, back in the 7th century. It refers to a course of action that disregards the conventional way of viewing as it entertains the idea of intellectual vision which is beyond any sensory origin. The intellectual eye gazes without any supporting images to the image itself as an endoscopic procedure. In this context the noetic awareness faces all of what can be seen and unseen as epiphanies.” (Katerina Karoussos)
Katerina Karoussos’ exploration into our noetic awareness in the virtual as our Yoshikaze artist between 20 May and 5 August this year has led her to step-by-step inquiries into “imago” of the virtual. Her residency has been a unique journey, for which her objective from the start was rather to conduct an in-depth examination of virtual vision than to produce work of art. With the concept of image as an apparition of our mind, her voyage consisted of a series of experimentations to better apprehend our new state, each unfolding a subtle rupture of our auto-responses from the reminiscent unconsciously employed…”
[PROMOTIONAL GUBBINS OMITTED, BUT THE SENTENCE REALLY DID END WITH THAT STRING OF DANGLING, UNRELATED WORDS.]
“Between 5-9 September Yoshikaze will proudly present a new video by Katerina Karoussos at HUMlab, Umeå University, Sweden. This video puts together her observations in Second Life during her Yoshikaze residency as a singular work of art, and exposes the dimension of her philosophical concern by revealing her course of contemplation over our noesis on time, space, physical entities, natural phenomena, and body.”
I’m having a “subtle rupture”. First of all, HOLY SHIT DO PEOPLE STILL USE SECOND LIFE OR THINK IT’S AT ALL INTERESTING, OR A NEW FRONTIER FOR ART AND ARTISTS? Is Second Life even a thing that anybody does nowadays? I mean anyone who isn’t a sad, nostalgic shut-in with adolescent body issues, or a disgusting letch looking to have a quick one off the wrist while having awkward live chat with low-poly, badly animated sex dolls.
Let’s be clear: this woman is a PhD candidate, and she’s basing her whole artistic practice and research methodology on dicking around in Second Life. I like playing video games, but I don’t think I should be awarded a PhD because of it, even though I’m really good at them. Playing Grand Theft Auto or kicking some obnoxious American kid’s arse in the online multiplayer of Call of Duty are not art works. The artist Joseph Delappe (among others) actually does carry out interesting, thoughtful and provocative interventions in these kinds of game spaces, so it’s definitely possible. Other artists (and many enthusiasts who don’t presume to call themselves artists) have done intellectually rigorous mods, appropriations, adaptations or subversions of video games and multi-user online spaces. But as for this one, if she’s dedicated her life to being an idler and not actually doing any proper work then good on her because she’s hit the jackpot. If not, she needs to get a First Life because her work and her rhetoric are weak.
Perhaps I should “disregard the conventional way of viewing”? How does one do that? Is it like in ‘Beetlejuice’ when Geena Davis pops her eyes out of their sockets and wears them on the ends of her fingers? Because that would be cool. How does one “face all of what can be seen and unseen”? Surely one would need an infinite number of sensory organs to do such a thing, not to mention the development of sensory and cognitive apparatus hitherto unknown to humans? How does one face “what can be unseen”? If I thought this was some kind of provocation to syllogistic reasoning, like a Zen koan or something, then I might give her some slack. Unfortunately no, sorry, this is just somebody talking absolute bollocks in an environment where she apparently never gets called out and criticised for it. Go to Umeå University in Sweden, everybody, if you want an easy PhD for what is dismissed as “wasting time online when you should be working” everywhere else.
After checking out her blog, at least it appears that her aim to not “produce work of art” has entirely succeeded so I suppose we should congratulate her on that. Or perhaps she’d prefer to meet up with us all in Second Life and engage in a perfunctory sex animation cycle with our bright blue, mega-breasted and jerky elf avatars like it’s 1999 or something.