Chiara is writing a thesis about net.art and is asking a question about previous avant-guard movements. Here are my first thoughts.
Scarcity ⇒ Discovery
When avant-guard was shown/taught to me at schools it was always diluted — cleansed of disruptive charge and presented as aesthetics. I was lucky to be aware of the difference and one of my main pleasures was devouring any source I could find. In pre-digital times this type of hunger was even tougher than today and that made the discoveries that more meaningful. Nevertheless even if today it is real easy to visit Ubuweb or Monoskop collections it is still a marginalised minority preoccupation and the joy of discovery remains.
Choose your virus
The avant-guard virus comes in three types: some artists discover the aesthetics (least important), others explore the scarcity itself (somewhat smarter) and some the disruption (only relevant). Since I don’t have a large enough data set to claim objectivity I can only say that it seems to me that you contract different types of viruses depending on exposure to different types of education. Best viruses are those you discover yourself just like the surrealists chose (and created) Lautréamont.
Sharing is caring
Once you are infected with the real thing you discover something important: you can sense the anxiety and the passion of others that carried the virus before you. It is a very warm intimate thing that is the closest you can get to the time-machine.
Non-conformism makes it time-based
Art is supposed to be about creating meaning and spaces of freedom. Once you believe this it is hard to also sincerely believe in things like careers and such. We all know of the pain of playing the songs from your first album. It happens to all artists at some point, but some call it work, or cost of doing business. In reality it is the attitude you have with your own conformism.
What do you mean border?
The story goes like this: one of the borders that stays interesting after centuries of art history is between your artistic practice that is supposed to exist in some cocoon and life that is supposed to happen in true reality. I guess that the point is in refusing to accept that this border exists.
In the Janša movie clip repository I saw this video by Catherine Soussloff explaining how pseudonyms create a legal problem. It’s about that border: