Originally appeared in Proceedings of Computers in Art and Design Education Conference, University of Teesside, UK, 1999, n.p.n. (ISBN 0-907550-66-5). Republished in : Bostad, Finn and Craig Brandist, Lars Evensen Sigfred, Hege Charlotte Faber (Editors). Bakhtinian Perspectives on Language and Culture; Meaning in Language, Art and New Media (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), pp. 199-216. Republished in Portuguese in: Concinnitas, n. 7, ano 5, Dez 2005, Rio de janeiro.



NEGOTIATING MEANING: THE DIALOGIC IMAGINATION IN ELECTRONIC ART

Eduardo Kac

The words "dialogical" or "dialogism" appear often in literary criticism and philosophy, but very little has been said about the meaning of these terms in the visual arts. When applied to visual arts, these terms usually become tropes similar to their counterparts in literary theory, that is, metaphors to support the analysis of cultural products that are materially self-contained (e.g., books, paintings) and therefore incapable of creating the living experience of dialogues. I propose that new insights can be gained by examining art works that are themselves real dialogues, i.e., active forms of communication between two living entities. These works can often be found among artists that pursue the aesthetics of telecommunications media. To name these works, I propose a literal use of the term "dialogism". I will present four main ideas. First, it is important to identify and articulate the significance of the field of practice which I refer to as "dialogical art". Secondly, there is a clear difference between dialogical art and interactive art (all dialogical works are interactive, not all "interactive" works are dialogical). Thirdly, dialogical aesthetics is intersubjective and stands in stark contrast with monological art, which is largely based on the concept of individual expression (e.g., painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking). Lastly, because it employs media that enable real dialogues, electronic art is uniquely suited to explore and develop a dialogical aesthetics. Seen collectively, these notions will inform the identification and study of what can properly called "dialogical electronic art".

1- INTRODUCTION

One of the most important contributions of electronic art in the second half of the twentieth century is the introduction of what I call the dialogic principle in the visual arts. This means that dialogic electronic art undermines emphasis on visuality to give precedence instead to interrelationship and connectivity. These two terms are not metaphors. Interrelationship and connectivity refer to real processes that enable the emergence of dialogic artworks. Naturally, dialogic electronic art is interactive, but dialogism in electronic art must not be confused with interactivity. Many interactive electronic artworks are monologic, for example, a CD-ROM or a Web site that presents the viewer with finite, fixed pre-recorded choices. While dialogism in art is not exclusive to media-based propositions, as Lygia Clark's relational works [1] and some of Suzanne Lacy's social projects [2] so clearly demonstrate, the creation of media-based dialogic art is particularly important. Positioning itself against monologic ideologies that structure the mediascape, as exemplified by one-way television broadcasting, dialogic electronic art remains open to differentiated levels of contingency and indeterminacy. Media-based dialogic artworks are important not only because they enable new kinds of dialogues to emerge, but also because they remind us that it is possible (and desirable) to stimulate dialogue. Works that make open and emancipative use of telecommunications media, in association with the Internet or not, are representative of the dialogic venture in electronic art. Also significant are works that do not exist as independent entities and in a direct way depend on what interactants bring to the experience. My intention here is to propose a literal (i.e., not metaphorical) interpretation of dialogicality in art. I wish to assert the importance of art works in which actual dialogical experiences (i.e., dialogues of various kinds) take place. I hope that, by acknowledging the differences between monologic and dialogic modalities of art, we can recognize the unique contribution of the latter as a promoter of new aesthetic values such as real-time remote interaction, intersubjectivity, and negotiation of meaning. To that end, I will discuss some key concepts of dialogism and provide examples that illustrate the emergence of dialogical electronic art since the 1960s.

2 - DIALOGIC PHILOSOPHY AND COLLABORATIVE ART

It is clear that digital technology is the language of our time, but in art it has been largely employed in unidirectional ways, in consonance with traditional convictions about sacrosanct modes of production, display, and reception. A major manifestation of the digital revolution is the Web, the most popular of Internet protocols. However, in spite of its phenomenal liberating potential, most of what we see on the Web under the rubric of art is as monological as painting or television. While the Internet is made up of several different protocols, many of which enable interaction in multifarious ways, the Web itself is not conducive to synchronous two-way social interaction. One only needs to look at ongoing attempts to tax and regulate the Net according to local laws, as well as the attempts by major corporations to impose traditional broadcast models, to see that hegemonic monologic structures lie on the horizon, only awaiting large-scale bandwidth upgrade. In any case, it is still significant that the initial impulse behind the most accessible Internet protocol (the Web) was to produce a publishing instrument, not a dialogic medium. The prevailing monological models show, I believe, that electronic art has more to learn from Martin Buber's philosophy and interactional sociolinguistics than from computer science.

Dialogic philosophy was elaborated by Buber [3] and developed by Mikhail Bakhtin within the more strict limits of the genre of the novel. Bakhtin clearly understood the dynamic and intersubjective nature of language beyond the rigid Saussurian model. For Bakhtin, human consciousness is the semiotic intercourse of one subject with another, i.e., consciousness is at once inside and outside the subject. The novel, by its very nature as print, freezes speech rather than promotes its flow. The novel preserves imagined interactions on paper; it does not enable, nor could it, the truly dialogic and unpredictable nature of language as experienced in verbal interlocution. This can only be accomplished via face-to-face interactions or with two-way media works. Acknowledging the conceptual gap between the novel (print) and other genres (media), Bakhtin wrote: "It seems to us that one could speak directly of a special polyphonic artistic thinking extending beyond the bounds of the novel as a genre. This mode of thinking makes available those sides of a human being, and above all the thinking human consciousness and the dialogical sphere of its existence, which are not subject to artistic assimilation from monologic positions." [4]

For Bakhtin, language is not an abstract system, but a material means of production. In a very concrete way the body of the sign is negotiated, altered, and exchanged via a process of contention and dialogue. Meaning arises along the way. Bakhtin is very clear: "the thinking human consciousness and the dialogic sphere in which this consciousness exists, in all its depth and specificity, cannot be reached through a monologic artistic approach." [5] If taken literally, as I believe it should be, Bakhtin's approach reveals the possibility of articulating artworks that give no prerogative to visuality and that reinstate the dialogic in the aesthetic experience. In this scenario, images (and objects) become one among many elements in the elaboration of dialogic situations. Visual dialogues, for example, imply the exchange and manipulation of images in real time. In this case, we no longer speak of space as form, but instead concentrate on the time of formation and transformation of the image--as in speech. This, of course, demands a revision of the most entrenched convictions of what art is, from its material base and predominant ocularcentrism to its unilateral reception, semiological negotiation, distribution logic, and social meaning.

When applying Bakhtin's ideas to the visual arts, commentators, despite their enthusiasm for his work have been unable to show that dialogism always had the potential to be more than a literary trope. [6] Because the dialogic principle is deeply rooted in the social reality of consciousness, thought, and communication, it is precisely there that it ought to be explored aesthetically. Allusions to dialogism in reference to wall hangings and other objects miss the opportunity to contribute a theoretical viewpoint to the first actual embodiment of dialogical principles in art. The dialogic principle changes our conception of art; it offers a new way of thinking that requires the use of bidirectional or multidirectioinal media and the creation of situations that can actually promote intersubjective experiences that engage two or more individuals in real dialogic exchanges. Through creative network topologies, artists can enable the realization of experiences that I call "multilogic interactions" to take place. Multilogic interactions are complex real-time contexts in which the process of dialogue is extended to three or more persons in an ongoing open exchange. What one says or does directly affects and is affected by what the others say or do. [7]

The dialogic imagination has the potential to push art even beyond advanced notions of collaboration and participation. In the modern perception of the term, collaboration in the visual arts has been with us since the beginning of the century. The playfulness of strategies such as the exquisite corpse enraptured the likes of Tristan Tzara, André Breton, Yves Tanguy, and Man Ray. Breton wrote that the collective production of a sentence or drawing "bore the mark of something that could not be created by one brain alone" and that it "provoked a vigorous play of often extreme discordances, but also supported the idea of communication between the participants." [8] There are significant parallels between the shared authorship of the exquisite corpse and collaborative procedures typical of telecommunications art. However, the exquisite corpse results in a final product perceived and presented as such. This final product clearly reveals where the work of one author ends and the next begins. The product is a fixed image that can reflect the impromptu quality of the process only up to a point.

3 - DIALOGIC IMAGINATION

Another important early sign of reaction against monologic ideologies in art is Brecht's call in 1926 for radio to cease being unidirectional and to enable dialogue and response. Brecht stated that radio should be bidirectional and that it should stop forming passive consumers and allow them to become producers. In other words, he proposed to change radio from a distribution medium to a communication medium. Brecht argued that radio should know "how to receive as well as to transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear, how to bring him into a relationship instead of isolating him." [9] Brecht was perhaps the first artist to understand the importance of undoing the monologism of media and to propose dialogic alternatives to them. His 1929 radio work "Lindbergh's Flight," still available in an original recording from 1930, [10] was revolutionary in its time. One of the first interactive artworks, it made provisions for a radio broadcast to be complemented with readings by members of the local audience.

Out of these modernist experiments, new concerns for dialogicality slowly emerged. In the forties, while early kinetic art had already moved sculpture beyond fixed form, the few kinetic artworks produced then still required a contemplative viewer. The Buenos Aires-based Madi movement produced works in the forties and fifties with indeterminate mobile structures that were meant to be manipulated by the viewer and which, therefore, had no finite form. These works reflected formal concerns, but they opened up new and unexpected interactive possibilities. In these works, the unpredictable quality of the creative act was, at least partially, embedded in the material configuration of a given piece, ultimately leaving the experience open-ended. Outstanding examples of these early forms of interactive art are the articulated wooden sculptures created by Gyula Kosice since 1944, [11] and the articulated wall paintings by Diyi Laañ, [12] Arden Quin, [13] and Sandú Darié. [14] These artists proposed that art should reach beyond fixed form to engage the viewer in a process of active participation and transformation.

I find striking conceptual connections between the ideas embedded in these pioneering works and much of the participatory art of the sixties, when the ornamental qualities of the discrete objet d'art gave way to propositions that privileged challenging concepts and culturally meaningful ideas. This often meant that actions were more important than products, technological media more appropriate to the Zeitgeist than precious materials, and that lived experiences were more significant than contemplation of pictorial form. This radical change also implied the direct involvement of those subjects theretofore constructed as observers, echoing Bakhtinian concepts such as outsideness, answerability, and unfinalizability. I suggest that the roots of contemporary dialogical art experiences can be traced back to this arc of experimentation briefly summarized here—from modern avant-garde collaborations, to innovative post-war interactive propositions, to the dematerialized and participatory events of the sixties and seventies. This makes evident, I believe, that dialogism is a natural, progressive development of twentieth-century art, which results from the increased dissatisfaction with concepts of art centered on the individual and on romantic heroic myths, as elaborated by Clement Greenberg and others. [15]

Crucial in the context of dialogic experimentation in the arts is the understanding that radical works of art cannot be limited by visuality; instead they are lived experiences based on contextual reciprocity (the context of the experience is reciprocal, i.e., it enables one to take the initiative to interfere and alter the experience). The outdated rubric of "visual arts" is unable to express the gamut and complexity of the experiences developed within a truly dialogic framework. We are no longer contemplating the notion of the artist as the individual who works in isolation and who provides us, the audience, with a personal vision of an idea or emotion as embodied in a rigid material composition in a system of time deferral. This model, which affirms the primacy of individuality, simply does not have the power to suggest alternatives to unidirectional and conventional modes of thinking and perception. It is too far removed from the reality of a networked world in a global economy. A corollary is the notion of "expression" in art, another outmoded and anachronistic concept. It is based on the belief that a self-centered individual has the need (and particular skills) to externalize emotions and inner visions. This assumes that the "individual" is a discrete psychological entity and not a dialogical subject in perpetual negotiation with others. Everyone has emotional and cognitive needs, but it is gravely fallacious to assume that these needs and the commercial objects that result from their "expression" are the only mode of artistic thinking deserving of consideration. Or, as Suzi Gablik so poignantly put it: "Modernist aesthetics, concerned with itself as the chief source of value, did not inspire creative participation; rather, it encouraged distancing and depreciation of the Other. Its nonrelational, noninteractive, nonparticipatory orientation did not easily accommodate the more feminine values of care and compassion, of seeing and responding to need. The notion of power that is implied by asserting one's individuality and having one's way through being invulnerable leads, finally, to a deadening of empathy." [16]

The dialogic imagination in electronic art enables us to think about notions of alterity in a larger sense, beyond the specific situated conditions of given groups and representation politics. Needless to say, the struggle for acceptance and recognition of outnumbered groups within a given social system is more than a necessity; it is often a matter of physical, intellectual, and emotional survival. However, instead of constituting specific groups as Other, peripheral to a given dominant group, Buber's philosophy of dialogue foregrounds the simple and radical notion that I and Thou relate as subjects through reciprocity and mutuality. Likewise, Bakhtin's dialogic literary theory articulates the idea that meaning only emerges in dialogic relations with the other. Despite the original contexts and impetuses that prompted Buber and Bakhtin to develop their work, that is, Buber's manifest theology and Bakhtin's literary emphasis despite his strong religiosity (developed under a totalitarian regime that suppressed religion), we must not lose sight of the political statements they make. Buber makes it clear that I-It connections objectify subjects in disproportionate relationships that involve control of passive objects. For Bakhtin, monologic discourse is that which tries to negate the dialogic nature of our very existence — always the case of political discourse. For both men these ideas were not just theoretical exercises. The rise of Nazism forced Buber to leave Germany in 1933. One year later, Martin Heidegger answered a phone call from the Nazis and accepted their order to eliminate Jewish faculty and curricula from his university. Bakhtin was arrested in Stalin's Soviet Union in 1929 (for expressing his spiritual connection with the Orthodox church) and exiled because of poor health. This most likely saved him from the fate that befell his colleague Pavel Nikolaevich Medvedev (arrested and shot in 1938 in one of Stalin's purges).

The political dimension of dialogism is intrinsically connected to its aesthetic potential. Buber states that the spirit is not in individuals but between them. For Bakhtin the aesthetic event implies the dialogic interaction of two distinct consciousnesses. Taken literally, as I wish to do here, once the premise of a dialogical aesthetics is uttered, it becomes clear that traditional visual arts are monologic, for they offer finite forms in unidirectional systems of meaning. One is often left to marvel at the individual artist's idea, skill, or craft, rather than find himself or herself in a situation in which his or her own active cognitive, perceptual, and motor engagement ignites the discovery of one's creative potential and other relational processes.[17] Vilèm Flusser, who like Buber left Europe fleeing the Nazis, clearly understood the relevance of dialogics not only as aesthetic parameter but social and ethical philosophy. He stated that "what we call 'I' is a knot of relations" [18], and in a brilliant summary he gave the following examples to support his position:

analytic psychology is able to show that what we call an individual psyche is nothing but the tip of an iceberg of what might be called a collective psyche. Ecological studies are able to show that individual organisms must be understood to be functions of a relational context best called an ecosystem. Politological studies can show that "individual man" and "society" are abstract terms (there is no man outside society, and no society without men), and that the concrete fact is intersubjective relations. This relational (topological) vision of our position coincides with the relational vision the physical and biological sciences propose to us with regard to the physical world. The physical objects are now seen to be knots within relational fields, and the living organisms are now seen to be provisional protuberances out from the flow of genetic information. Husserl's phenomenology is possibly the most adequate articulation of this relational vision, and it is becoming ever more adequate as our knowledge advances. It states (to put it in a nutshell) that what is concrete in the world we live in, are relations, and that what we call "subjects" and "objects", are abstract extrapolations from these concrete relations. [19]

Drawing from the collective insights of Buber and Bakhtin, Gablik and Flusser, and many other authors, [20] a rough sketch of a dialogical aesthetics emerges, one that is concerned not with sensory cognition or beauty, but with intersubjectivity. A truly dialogic art evolves its own parameters. Just as in the system of broadcast television, in which it is technically irrelevant if a given spectator is actually watching a program, in the monologic system of art it is irrelevant to an object if anyone is before it. The actual presence of individuals in space and time, remotely or not, is, of course, of great relevance in life, and so it is in dialogic art. In a dialogic context the presence of an individual has a bearing on what kinds of experiences might unfold. Many works that try to break away from the monologic model find in the promise of computer-based interactivity a latent liberating horizon. However, electronic interaction has the danger of promoting instead interpassive experiences that catalogue all possibilities within a pre-established and restrictive system of choices. In this case, the interactant has to choose one option after another, being ultimately guided down a multioptional monologic path. No doubt capable of creating works of distinct cultural relevance in the above-mentioned scenario, interactive art will only fulfill its greater potential, I believe, when it absorbs the dialogic stimulus provided by the actual engagement of two or more individuals in direct dialogic situations, or in multilogic interactions.

4 - DIALOGIC ELECTRONIC ART

The dialogic model in electronic art will not be expressed via arrangements that priviledge teleological human-computer interfaces (unless, perhaps, if we consider "machine consciousnesss"). The a priori determination of the behavior of the computer or the device prevents true responsiveness, surprise, and synergetic interaction. We have a lot to learn from a preverbal child who grabs a book with the left hand, looks at you, and with the right hand stretches your fingers, only to gently place the book against your palm in anticipation that you will read it for her. We can expand our awareness of the untapped possibilities of electronic art by observing the signals given by a plant to a pollinating bee, and by this bee to the other bees through its accelerated wing beat. The lifelong interaction between a human and her dog is also a precious education for anyone who cares to notice its beauty, complexity, emotional charge, unpredictability, and rich behavioral nuances beyond verbal languages. Rather than reiterating what we already know about point, line, and plane, electronic art can be an art of promoting contact between apparently disparate elements, expanding our awareness by revealing that what may seem distant in fact plays a direct role in our local experience. Nam June Paik once pointed out Jules Henri Poincaré's insight that in his time we were witnessing, not new things, but new relationships between what was already there. [21] It is important for art to foster the cognizance that it ought to bring in dialogic contact entities that may not seem connected. Electronic art ought to become less "clean" and enable the coming together of antithetical ideas, public and private places, artificial and natural forces, organic and inorganic matter, intellect and emotion. This might imply that electronic art cannot be exclusively digital. Technology does not exist in a vacuum, and the world, with its smooth and rough surfaces, is analogue. The postbiological metaphor, for example, reflects a mixture of organic analogue tissue and inorganic digital components and techniques, perhaps to the point of erasure of distinctions. It is exactly as a negotiating agent between the two, in the interface between analogue and digital, that the new electronic art is emerging.

Electronic art is particularly well suited to bring about this change (i.e., dialogic awareness) because of the very communicative potentiality of electronic media, digital and analogue. Important albeit sporadic experiences in the late sixties created the precedent. It was in the seventies, however, that the dialogic principle started to be addressed more directly and systematically. Robert Whitman's "Children and Communication," for example, was realized in 1971 in the context of Billy Kluver's and Robert Rauschenberg's E.A.T.'s "Projects outside Art," a series designed to show how E.A.T. could contribute to areas of society beyond the fine arts. "Children and Communication" linked children in two primary schools in New York via telephone, fax, telex, and other devices. [22] Douglas Davis, a New York-based artist, working with live broadcast and cable television created works such as his 3 1/2-hour-long "Talk-Out!" from 1972. This was a live bidirectional telecast in which callers had a conversation with Davis over the phone and on the air about what they were watching. [23] The French artist Fred Forest's contribution to the XII São Paulo Bienal, in 1973, at the height of the repressive military regime's dictatorship, was a bank of telephones connected to an amplifier that enabled citizens to call in and "speak freely" and be heard, at a time when public space and freedom of speech had been obliterated in the country. [24] After a demonstration with blank posters on the street, another of Forest's "actions" (as "happenings" were known in France), the artist was arrested and interrogated by the political police (DOPS). He was set free after the French embassy and the organizers of the Bienal intervened. Liza Bear worked with Willoughby Sharp, Keith Sonnier, and others in 1977 to create the first live bidirectional satellite artwork, "Two-Way Demo," between New York and San Francisco (simulcasted via cable in both cities). [25] Absolutely new dialogic possibilities were first explored in this piece, such as the idea of the image as a meeting place in which, for example, two dancers could interact and affect one another remotely. In 1978 Bear started to work with slow-scan television (SSTV), a device to send and receive video stills over the phone. This made communications projects more practical than with expensive live satellite, and in the following year she realized the first SSTV project in Europe, between Milan, Arnhem, and Amsterdam. Works like these brought Brecht's utterances of a half-century ago closer to our ears and elicited response. Responsibility implies both the aesthetic bidirectionality of the art experience as well as the ethical awareness of the social implications of the work. The eighties saw the emergence of a truly international telecommunications art movement, with artists worldwide experimenting with two-way systems and network topologies often based on accessible media such as SSTV, telephones, fax, and ham radio. As a result, not only countless dialogic propositions were carried out, [26] but also the conception of network topologies was elevated to a legitimate area of artistic experimentation. This legacy finds its natural expansion today on the Internet, with its listservs, MOOs and MUDs, videoconferences, and telepresence (i.e., telerobotic) experiences.

5 - CONCLUSION

Telecommunications based on the exchange of audiovisual information offers the reassurance of the remote presence of the other (via voice, video, white board, and chat). Telepresence, as it merges telecommunications media with telerobotics and remote hardware control, allows one to have a sense of one's own presence in a remote space. These two aesthetic principles are complementary. Dialogical telepresence events combine self and other in an ongoing interchange, dissolving the rigidity of these positions as projected remote subjects. Telepresence art has the potential to conciliate the metaphysical propensity of cyberspace with the phenomenological condition of physical environments.

Art both shares concerns with other disciplines and offers us cognitive models with which to reflect on social, political, emotional, and philosophical aspects of life. The more electronic art learns from the fascinating and unpredictable qualities of conversational interaction--with its reciprocal rhythms, body language, speech patterns, eye contact, touch, hesitations, sudden interruptions, changes of course, and continuing flow--the closer it will get to engaging us in a process of negotiation of meaning. This is the true dialogic calling of art.

NOTES

1- For a comprehensive survey of Clark's work, see Lygia Clark, catalogue of the homonymous exhibition organized by the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, 1997. For an account of the significance of Clark's dialogism for electronic art, see: Osthoff, Simone. "Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica: A Legacy of Interactivity and Participation for a Telematic Future", Leonardo, Vol. 30, N. 4, 1997, pp. 279-289.

2 - A good example is her "The Crystal Quilt" (1987), in which 430 older women sat down in groups of four to discuss aspects of their personal lives. See: Lacy, Suzanne (ed.). Mapping the Terrain : New Genre Public Art (Seattle, WA: Bay Pr, 1995).

3 - Buber, Martin. I and Thou (New York: MacMillan, 1987). First published in German in 1923 and in English in 1937. In his excellent article on Buber's dialogical philosophy, John Stewart clarifies ambiguous aspects of Buber's work and offers an overview of Buber's main concerns. See: Stewart, John. "Martin Buber's Central Insight: Implications For His Philosophy of Dialogue," in Dascal, Marcelo and Cuyckens, Hubert (eds.), Dialogue: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1985), pp. 321-335. See also: Wood, Robert E. Martin Buber's Ontology; An Analysis of I and Thou (Evanston: Northwestern Univ Pr, 1969); Arnett, Ronald C. Communication and Community: Implications of Martin Buber's Dialogue (Southern Illinois Univ Pr, 1986).; Bergman, Samuel Hugo. Dialogical Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Buber (New York: State Univ of New York Pr, 1991); Perlina, Nina. "Bakhtin and Buber: Problems of Dialogic Imagination." Studies in Twentieth Century Literature 9 (Fall 1984): 13-28.

4 - Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1984), p. 270.

5 - Ibid. p. 271.

6 - In her book Bakhtin and the Visual Arts, Deborah Haynes provides a clear and important discussion of Bakhtin's aesthetics, represented by concepts such as outsideness, answerability, and unfinalizability. Haynes applies these concepts to the works of such artists as Carl Andre and Sherrie Levine. The point I wish to make is that, while Bakhtin's ideas can be employed as metaphors in multiple contexts, they are uniquely suited in the analysis of works that actually embody these concepts in material form. My contention is that such works are to be found, not in the genres of painting and sculpture, which are irreversibly monologic, but in the field of electronic art, particularly in interactive telecommunications works. As Haynes notes, Bakhtin does not focus on the aesthetic object or on the problem of beauty, but on "the phenomenology of self-other relations, relations that are embodied—in actual bodies—in space and time." Reading Bakhtin in the context of the digital culture, one can see that dialogical aesthetics is literally manifested in interactive telecommunications works that explore the phenomenology of self-other relations in dispersed remote spaces and real time. See: Haynes, Deborah J. , Bakhtin and the Visual Arts (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge Univ Pr, 1995), p. 5.

7 - Ordinary examples of such interactions in cyberspace are MOOs, MUDs, chat rooms, and avatar-based virtual communities.

8 - Breton, André. "The Exquisite Corpse", Surrealism, Patrick Waldberg, editor (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966), p. 95. Originally published in 1948.

9 - Brecht, Bertold. "The radio as an apparatus of communication", in Video Culture; A Critical Investigation, John G. Hanhardt, ed., Peregrine Smith Books, Salt Lake City, 1986, pp. 53-55;

10 - Brecht, Bertold and Weill, Kurt. Der Lindberghflug: First Digital Recording and Historical Recording of 1930, CD, (Königsdorf, Germany: Capriccio, 1990).

11 - Kosice, Gyula. Arte Madi (Buenos Aires, Ediciones de Arte Gaglianone, 1982), pp. 26-27.

12 - Ades, Dawn. Art in Latin America (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 246.

13 - Ades, Dawn. Art in Latin America (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 248.

14 - Borràs, Maria Lluïsa (ed.). Arte Madi (Madrid: Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia, 1997), pp. 88-89.

15 - Suzi Gablik offers a sharp critique of individualism, heroism, and market-driven art and embraces a dialogical aesthetics that privileges relatedness and interactivity. See: Gablik, Suzi. "Connective Aesthetics: Art After Individualism", in Lacy, Suzanne (ed.). Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art (Seattle, WA: Bay Pr, 1995), pp. 74-87; "The Dialogic Perspective: Dismantling Cartesianism", in Gablik, Suzi. The Reenchantment of Art (London; New York: Thames and Hudson, 1991), pp. 146-166.

16 - Gablik, "Connective Aesthetics," p. 80.

17 - The point is that, in a world dominated by monological propositions, dialogical artworks are often perceived as non-art and, as a result, not relevant. Of course, I do not believe that there is any problem with monological art forms. The problem lies in underestimating the significance of dialogical propositions.

18 - Flusser, Vilèm. "On memory (electronic or otherwise)", in Partouche, Marc (ed.). Art Cognition - Pratiques Artistiques et Sciences Cognitives (Aix-en-Provence: Cypres/Ecole D'Art, 1994), p. 32.

19 - Ibid., p. 33.

20 - Tannen, Deborah. Talking Voices: Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse -- Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics 6 (Cambridge Univ Pr, 1990); Bauer, Dale M. and McKinstry, Susan Jaret (Editors), Feminism, Bakhtin, and the Dialogic (New York: State Univ of New York Pr, 1991); Eisenstadt, S.N. (ed.).On Intersubjectivity and Cultural Creativity (University of Chicago Press, 1992); Ascott, Roy. Is There Love in the Telematic Embrace? -- Collected writings edited by Eddie Shanken (Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming).

21 - Paik, Nam June. "Satellite Art", in The Luminous Image, D. Mignot, ed., Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1984, p. 67.

22 - Private email.

23 - Davis, Douglas . Art and The Future (New York: Praeger, 1975), p. 91.

24 - Forest, Fred. 100 Actions (Nice: Z'Editions, 1995), pp. 94-95.

25 - Sharp, Willoughby. "The Artists TV Network", Video 80, Vol. 1, N. 1, (18-19): 1980.

26 - Many of these propositions are well documented in Gidney, Eric., Artists' use of interactive telephone-based communication systems from 1977-1984 , Master of Arts thesis, City Art Institute, Sidney, Australia, 1986.


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