Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.675610
Title: Digital debris of Internet Art : an allegorical and entropic resistance to the epistemology of search
Author: Jean, Nils L. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 5405
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
This Ph.D., by thesis, proposes a speculative lens to read Internet Art via the concept of digital debris. In order to do so, the research explores the idea of digital debris in Internet Art from 1993 to 2011 in a series of nine case studies. Here, digital debris are understood as words typed in search engines and which then disappear; bits of obsolete codes which are lingering on the Internet, abandoned website, broken links or pieces of ephemeral information circulating on the Internet and which are used as a material by practitioners. In this context, the thesis asks what are digital debris? The thesis argues that the digital debris of Internet Art represent an allegorical and entropic resistance to the what Art Historian David Joselit calls the Epistemology of Search. The ambition of the research is to develop a language inRbetween the agency of the artist and the autonomy of the algorithm, as a way of introducing Internet Art to a pluridisciplinary audience, hence the presence of the comparative studies unfolding throughout the thesis, between Internet Art and pionners in the recycling of waste in art, the use of instructions as a medium and the programming of poetry. While many anthropological and ethnographical studies are concerned with the material object of the computer as debris once it becomes obsolete, very few studies have analysed waste as discarded data. The research shifts the focus from an industrial production of digital debris (such as pieces of hardware) to obsolete pieces of information in art practice. The research demonstrates that illustrations of such considerations can be found, for instance, in Cory Arcangel's work Data'Diaries (2001) where QuickTime files are stolen, disassembled, and then reRused in new displays. The thesis also looks at Jodi's approach in Jodi.org (1993) and Asdfg'(1998), where websites and hyperlinks are detourned, deconstructed, and presented in abstract collages that reveals the architecture of the Internet. The research starts in a typological manner and classifies the pieces of Internet Art according to the structure at play in the work. Indeed if some online works dealing with discarded documents offer a selfRcontained and closed system, others nurture the idea of openness and unpredictability. The thesis foregrounds the ideas generated through the artworks and interprets how those latter are visually constructed and displayed. Not only does the research questions the status of digital debris once they are incorporated into art practice but it also examine the method according to which they are retrieved, manipulated and displayed to submit that digital debris of Internet Art are the result of both semantic and automated processes, rendering them both an object of discourse and a technical reality. Finally, in order to frame the serendipity and processRbased nature of the digital debris, the Ph.D. concludes that digital debris are entropic . In other words that they are items of language toRbe, paradoxically locked in a constant state of realisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.675610  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W100 Fine Art
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