Virtual Democracy or Mystical Anarchism?

March 23, 2010 - 17:00 - 18:30
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Open to the Public

Guest lecturer: Dmitry Golynko
(Russian Institute of Art History, St. Petersburg)

Russian New Media Art of the nineties and the first decade of the new millennium has emerged as both a fascinating cultural innovation and a relevant social phenomenon. During these two decades of the impetuous evolution, it passed through two stages. The first stage, in the nineties, was marked by the inspirational recognition of new technologies a...nd euphoria over Media Art’s unrestrained potentiality. The interest in Internet projects was motivated by the desire for a total disconnect from the classical canon and the tradition of ‘Big Ideas’, whose oppressive legacy still held sway in Russian modernism and postmodernism. In the second stage the innovative potential of new media and new technologies has been subjected to total doubt. Thanks to the popularity of blogs, chats, YouTube, file-sharing servers, Web 2.0 applications, etc, the Internet creativity has become a fashionable form of leisure accessible to any interested user.
The New Media inconspicuously carries out the transformation from a territory of control-free open access into a bureaucratic environment of information upload that serves the interests of ruling administration. This special type of “virtual democracy” established in the Russian Internet is customarily termed an infocracy, because most control levers are in the hands of informational content- and access-providers. In the Internet the factor of anarchy is utterly relevant because the user can select and verify interesting information at will. Besides an anarchic impetus, the Russian Media art retains a curiosity for techno-mysticism and occult explanations of virtual reality.
Russian media art refocuses the conflicts that most disturb the balance of contemporary cultural politics. Russian Media Art now oscillates between two opposite perspectives – to construct virtual democracy on the basis of artistic autonomy, solidarity and resistance, or to plunge in the entertaining atmosphere of game portals and playful mystical hysteria.