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Anthro-Socio (Nauman, Bruce), 1992

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perhaps no one has noticed this–which would again shed light on how and with what quality of attention we look at the constantly changing electronic image.

Today Microsoft dominates the discussion of the ‹net community› in particular as a diametrically opposed view, in a comprehensive sense of the connection of hardware and software, but it was Sony that dominated the early days of media art technologically.[41] This monopoly situation became increasingly evident in the 1980s. As the years passed, the increasing museumization of media art attracted more vociferous criticism: «Museumization–which some might point to as the best hope of video at present for it to retain its relative autonomy from the marketplace–contains and minimizes the social negativity that was the matrix for the early uses of video.»[42] What Martha Rosler was claiming with a certain degree of bitterness as early as 1986 can probably not be established ahistorically as inherent in the medium. Bruce Nauman's «Anthro/Socio» at documenta 9 in 1992 can be interpreted as an example of museum quality and of ‹social negativity›. Jan Hoet


even placed it as an entrance portal for the whole exhibition. This artistic statement on behalf of modular work with monitor and projector and the unpretentious integration of technology into installation architecture along with the packaging material stands in stark contrast with the seductive power of pictorial spaces. Paradoxically, precisely this work–along with many other Bruce Nauman installations before and since–is one of the most successful in recent art history, commercially as well. «Anthro/Socio,» with its penetrating sound, would hardly fit into a home environment–this installation was always intended for the public space of a museum. As a rule, media installations work as a link between a (media) view of the public sphere and a subjective view of the world. But both the utopian designs of early media artists like Nam June Paik or Stan VanDerBeek, and also ‹tactical media› activists who have said goodbye to the ‹open artwork› in order to activate an open ‹platform› are evidence of the extent to which this subjectivity can still be embodied only in and through media.

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