Subservice Strategies in the Media Arts

A Quote from this web page:

"The term subversion began to appear in art with greater frequency in the 1980s, particularly in reference to the practices of artistic "appropriation" associated with the strategies of critical art. The word has a dual meaning, and both senses of it are fundamentally critical. The etymology of the word (from the Latin sub "from below" + vertere "to turn") suggests that criticism can be a physical act: overturning an object, transforming it – even destroying it – in the process of appropriation. Subversion in this sense can be understood as a method or technique for creating a work of art through the decontextualization and recontextualization of existing images from art or from the broader visual culture. At the same time, the more commonly-understood sense of the word posits a critical stance, usually toward the dominant culture. But it suggests a protest from a position deep within the reality being criticized, not from the outside. As Grzegorz Dziamski put it, "Subversion entails imitating the object of criticism, or even identifying with it, but with a subtle shift in meaning. The moment when the meanings shift is not always evident to the viewer. It isn't direct criticism; it is criticism full of ambiguity."[1] The term subversive is especially appealing to me in that first meaning – the sense of physical manipulation of materials. That meaning is very helpful when attempting to classify, define and analyze subversive media techniques, in that it enables us to discern a group of techniques that use similar principles for creating a work of art – the principles of decontextualizing and recontextualizing existing media material appropriated for artistic practices. I call techniques that have these characteristics "subversive".[2] And the word strategy, as used in my title, enables us to link the two levels of meaning of the word subversive. A strategy combines both the theoretical aspect of artistic activity – the artistic agenda or concept – and the practical one (the methods and techniques for carrying out the agenda or concept). In the broadest terms, a strategy is the combination of standpoint and technique, as postulated by Benjamin; thus, following this same line of thought, I regard subversive strategies in the field of media arts as the combination of certain subversive techniques (for example found footage, video scratch and software art) with specific artistic positions and concepts (such as critical or analytical art). "
This particular webpage is focusing on Found footage in a video application. However, one cannot ignore the similarities to collage regarding subversion.


howboy said...

The link to the original web location of this quote is broken. Is it possible for you provide title, author, publication, date?

Thanks. Love your blog.

julie said...


I just re-found this link for you.


If this doesn't work, I searched for Grzegorz Dziamski in google and the page came up in the search.


___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.