Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Documenta 12 wonders, is modernity our antiquity? Yes, and we have Andy and GoogleNation to thank.

Regular readers will notice several changes in our blog over the past week, with the inclusion in our right-hand column of a live news diary covering breaking events in the art world, and rotating videos relating to both Leipzig and the art scene at large. These are brought to you courtesy of Google and YouTube. The news pre-set is for stories on documenta 12, but you can click on any of the other listed keywords, including biennale, louvre and museumzeitraum to find out what's happening in these worlds.

In the lead-up to Documenta this summer, we've been discussing Roger and Ruth's leitmotifs, is modernity our antiquity?, what is bare life? and was tun?

One of my contentions has been that the breakdown of modernity has come about through the collapse of its power structures, mostly recently and most significantly through the rise of the internet. Constantly evolving technologies such as these services all contribute to an increase in the reach and voice of the individual at the expense the traditional gatekeepers of the canon, creating a certain paradox: in a mass global society, the power and importance of the individual grows, rather than diminishes. For individuals in what were formerly the planets outer reaches, the web has democratised access to the structures and machinations of power to an extent previously unimagined. Little more than 20 years after the art world 'discovered' there was an 'outside' and 'periphery', they've suddenly found it's gone. With the playing field flattened in our postcolonial/internet age, there is only the centre to be fought over and for the artist, the ensuing chaos to decipher. Where once the internet merely informed the political process, it now has the immense capability of wholly transforming it.

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