Ben Fido-Radin is a rad dude. He’s curating a show on May 23rd, 2018 titled, Permanence at their SoHo space. The introduction, written by Fido-Radin:
Throughout centuries, artists have engaged with the impulse to memorialize, to be remembered, and the impulse to collect, archive, and preserve. If one looks closely enough, one sees however that permanence is really just change in slow motion. Nothing is permanent. Nothing lasts forever.
What may art teach us about long term thinking, and the seemingly futile pursuit of permanence? Is the immaterial — that which is transmitted through time by means of tradition and collective intellectual stewardship — more enduring than the physical artifact?
Thrilling stuff! Shigeko Kubota, Morehshin Allahyari, Jodi, Rafäel Rozendaal and Olia Lialina will be showcasing new work (among other artists). In 2012, Lialina wrote an absolutely moving essay titled Turing Complete User, that shook me to my core:
In general the WWW, outside of Facebook, is an environment open for interpretation.
She goes on, giving life to the essay from which it bears its name:
There is nothing one user can do, that another can’t given enough time and respect. Computer Users are Turing Complete.
And finally, she ends on dissecting a metaphor that evolved into something else altogether:
An effort must be made to educate the users about themselves. There should be understanding of what it means to be a user of an “all purpose automatic digital computing system”.
General Purpose Users are not a historic accident or a temporary anomaly. We are the product of the “worse is better” philosophy of UNIX, the end-to end principle of the internet, the “under construction” and later “beta” spirit of the web. All these designs that demand attention, and ask for forgiveness and engagement formed us as users, and we are always adjusting, improvising and at the same time taking control. We are the children of the misleading and clumsy Desktop Metaphor, we know how to open doors without knobs.28
Needless to say, I’m really excited about this show. Hope to see you there!
Further Reading from Ben’s website:
- Interview with Christopher Schreck for Periscope
- NYT: “When Artworks Crash: Restorers Face Digital Test”
- New York Times: “Preserving That Great Performance”
- Art F City interview
- Library of Congress interview
- Hyperallergic: “Conserving the Digital”
- Boston Globe: “How digital art decays—and how to save it”
- The Verge: “Archivists revive the bulletin board that rallied NYC’s art scene in the 1990s”