Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Reader Response: “Distracted Reception,” Peter Osborne; "Artifacts" by Daniel Rourke

This reading focused upon the perceived connection between distraction, and the perceptions of contemporary art within our technology-driven world by Peter Osborne.  Osborne argues that distraction, although usually viewed in a negative light, is actually crucial to the perception and creation of art as a differentiation from everyday life.  However, this assertion is inherently dependent upon the assumption of the exact definition of the word “distraction” and I often found myself unsure in which context Osborne meant to apply the word.  The OED defines distraction as a forcible “splitting” of attention, which is often perceived or received in a negative manner, where Osborne seems to portray it as a selective and deliberate shift in attention.  This is a much more positive portrayal of distraction and its often unproductive function (or lack thereof) in our daily lives.  The fact that in this article he seems to be arguing that it functions within art as not only a positive force, but a crucial one, was surprising to say the least.     

In the article “Artifacts,” much of the phenomena Rourke describes are the technical processes of the gradual loss of data—the inevitable decay of digital files throughout travel, reproduction, or changes in format.  He argues that this is prevalent in most forms of communication, and in all forms of digital production, as files of any sort will be “forced to change and reformat within different states of matter.”  However, although this is an interesting point, I fail to see how uses of non-digital mediums, such as analog film, are “ludicrous” and based upon “nostalgia.”  These mediums may be used to portray differing ideas or perspectives that a digital format may not be able to accomplish with a same effect—perhaps an artist desires their work to remain in its original form, without the warping or gradual degradation over time.  It may be argued that works will change over time inevitably, no matter their medium, but this effect is undoubtedly sped up and amplified by publishing in a digital form. 

The link for the online article "Artifacts" can be found here  

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