Transfiguration of the Avant-garde: the Negative Dialectics of the Net, Eric Kluitenberg


Eric Kluitenberg is a theorist, writer, and organizer on culture and technology. He is currently based at "De Balie" - Centre for culture and politics in Amsterdam, and teaches a course on "Culture and new media" at the University of Amsterdam. He taught media theory for the post-graduate education programs in Art & Design and new media at media-gn and Academy Minerva in Groningen, the Netherlands, and worked on the scientific staff of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. He has lectured and published extensively on culture, new media, and cultural politics throughout Europe. Since 1988, he has been involved as an organizer in important media culture events such as the second international symposium on electronic art (SISEA), interstanding i, ii, & iii (Tallinn, Estonia), the p2p - new media culture in Europe conference (Amsterdam / Rotterdam), The Third Next 5 minutes conference on tactical media, and recently "Tulipomania dotcom - a critique of the new economy", and "net.congestion - international festival of streaming media".

Eric Kluitenberg, Amsterdam

Erik Kluitenberg made chronological insight of 'history of nature of art', since 19th century till present time. With apperance of photography in 19th century, nature of art has also changed; art is becoming more analitical, deconstructive; it become negative principal of our surrounding (Malevich's black square). In network society of today, this dialectic embodies itself through different subversions in interspace which fulfils virtual and, so called, real world. As the exmples of this kind of actions Kluitenberg is mentioning projects of alternative browsers, such as "Web stalker" (IOD), "Wrong Browser" (jodi) or project "" of RTmark.

The tradition of the avant-garde, now deemed dead and dormant, remains available as a repository of ideas and strategies that can be applied in a radically transformed cultural context. For the avant-garde "art" has lost its interest as an object of dedication. Art is deconstructed and transformed beyond definition. Art today is beyond canon and medium: the avant-garde has completed its task. But within the context of a networked media culture, the strategies of the avant-garde become highly productive. They establish what might be called a "negative dialectics of the net". The new context in which these strategies are played out is no longer art itself, but a new cultural environment that manuell castells has described as "the culture of real virtuality".

The strategies, the conceptual tools, the tactics of intervention in the new digital hypersphere are highly familiar. They draw on the legacy and experience of the avant-garde movements. Indeed many of the interventions that have been most successful in engaging the new conditions of digital mediation have been artistic interventions. But something has dramatically changed; the object these interventions engage is no longer the aesthetic framework of contemporary art, not the holy concept of the author, nor the artist genius, or the canonized conventions of artistic creation. What is challenged is the seamless surface of the networked media spectacle itself, and its illusion of stability. The negative dialectics of the digital avant-garde no longer challenge the notions of art, but those of the by nature symbolical digital realm it operates in, and its inherent instability.

Read more:
Eric Kluitenberg - Transfiguration of the avant-garde, the negative dialectics of the net - original text:

Kristian Lukić about lecture of Eric Kluitenberg in