New Criticals

Vertical Roll, Joan Jonas, Video, 1972

The introduction of the computer was not the first, but has become the most important change to the reality of video since the 1970s. Slavoj Zizek proposes that the computer is a third, new stage in Marx's scheme of development. On one hand he says, it is closer to a tool, in that it does not work automatically, and on the other hand, it is more independently active than a machine, since it works as a partner in a dialogue in which it questions itself. (Zizek, p291) In this scenario we begin to act toward computers, despite our better judgment, as if they are living things. The excitement a person has in creating a desired effect with their computer is similar to a hunter who has conquered a beast. Not surprisingly this perceived complexity has led us to refer to our own minds, nay our whole world, as a network of computers. Artists like Cory Arcangel have even begun releasing artworks along with how-to guides in the spirit of computer programmers open source projects. (