Jon Ippolito and Joline Blais, “At the Edge of Art”

Posted on Monday, December 17th, 02007 by Stewart Brand
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Jon Ippolito Joline Blais


Art, like the antibodies in our immune system, creates alien forces in service of the whole. It anticipates threats and models them. It is a diversity agent.

Two forms of that process were explained and shown by Ippolito and Blais: perversion, and execution.

One example of the perverse is the software called “Shredder” that takes any Web page and turns it inside out, making obvious what is hidden (the code) and small what is large (the surface images). You can try it here – give it a web page URL…

Read the rest of Stewart Brand’s Summary

  • I felt very uncomfortable with some of their categorizations. They said over and over again that art of the past century was only concerned with talking about itself and ridiculed the “white cube” of the gallery.

    To say that gallery art only talks about itself really hurts the feelings of artists who are making art to communicate every possible feeling/thought. The miraculous thing about art is that it can be about EVERYTHING– every possible topic and form…. by the way, what does the past 40 years of art mean to these speakers? Do they seriously think that identity politics, environmentalism, feminism, etc didn’t make it into the gallery? Barbara Kruger, Mike Kelley, John Kelsey, Maurizio Cattelan, Bernd & Hilla Becher, LTTR, BRIAN ENO, Mark Manders, Claire Pentecost, Rodney Graham, etc etc etc etc etc are making brilliant work about so much more than the white cube!!

    Going to galleries, especially in gallery districts like NYC’s Chelsea, is still the most wonderful free entertainment to a poor artist like myself. Maybe going to gallery doesn’t have art about “what I want to know,” which is what Joline Blais said she wanted from art. Do you know what you want to know? Art inspires because it breaks cliches of every sort, leading us to question what we know/feel. Or is that only just stupid, stupid representation? They seemed to think that internet art is step above gallery art because it executes something, instead of just representing it. Is inspiring a new thought/feeling/understanding in a viewer not an execution? I have to go to bed.

  • Tom

    Great talk, very eye opening. I personally love the opening of art and looking into the deeper side of art. How refreshing to see the long term role of artists as the anti bodies (be they helpful or destructive) of society. My trust in long now foundation for new ideas has been regained.

  • Tony Saunders

    Andrea is right: this talk is a lively presentation of gobbledegook. I enjoyed the stuff about antibodies, and art as agent of cultural change, BUT…without an explicit definition of art, this amounts to a worshipful history of recent culture jamming and not much else. It’s clear they have little use for the world of feeling and craft that many of our best people have spent lifetimes devoted to, inanely dismissing it as sterile propaganda for the powerful. This is the kind of anti-art nonsense that flourishes on campuses today. I love the yes-men also, but an art scene of internet scams and DNA twiddlings only would be a bloody, sterile fucking bore.

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