[Here are some old notes I had made last year prior to going to a “thinktank” on electronic writing at the University of Iowa.]

1. Criticism seems never to deal with affective issues of the art — when a piece strikes you as unusually compact, sharply ironic, aggressive (can new media art be truly aggressive in the way limited analog video tapes can be?) the text is not anaylized beyond whether it is more or less suitable for the piece.  New media art is usually positioned as explaining an abstract principle related to other facets of new media rather than experienced. Art is given the task of illustrating a critic’s ideas, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for the artist to create new ideas.  Too much concentration on large works with pretensions of dealing with some large linguistic issue, for example.

2. I don’t care about the relationship of the human to the machine as a theme for work.  Perhaps the romantic approach to art, “subjectivity” that matters rather than the abstract idea of “subjectivity,” is truly gone, but that leaves a whole lot of people who don’t have computers out of the equation.

3. Has the myth of new media adequately adopted the mantle of Surrealism, Existentialism, and homegrown, but hardly philosophical, products like Abstract Expressionism and the Beats?  Or more importantly, Situationism and/or Marxism?  Rather than being a continuous self-critique — new media art being dystopic in the face of proposed utopic program — is new media prepared to be a life philosophy in the way previous paradigms of art tried to be?

4. New media artists should not give powerpoint presentations about their art.  It stands between the artist and the audience, when in fact the goal appears to have been that the audience gets a crack at the artist in his/her presence.  Also, it destroys the enigma.  I think occasionally that the enigma is corrupted by too much explanation, but digital art is often poised as an explanatory process.