Author: Gerard Hovagimyan --- Date: 12/22/95 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

The Critical Art Ensemble

While testing out one of the myriad new search engines on the web, I came across a site put up by the CRITICAL ART ENSEMBLE. I was immediately intrigued by the spare layout and cryptic titling for the link-outs. There are two book icons, ELECTRONIC DISTURBANCE and ELECTRONIC CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. Electronic Disturbance is an interesting if weighty tome of the Neo-Marxist ilk. It lays out a logico-historical thread to help make some sense of our switched-on disjunctive techno world. Electronic Civil Disobedience is promised for the Winter of 1995. I'm assuming this means any day now.

The Projects sections is fairly lively with such titles as ADDICTIONMANIA, USELESS TECHNOLOGY, and CULTRONIX. Useless Technology is a hoot. It contrasts pseudo ads for hi-tech weaponry with pseudo catalogue listings for hi-tech kitchen appliances. ADI Space Based Laser next to a Farberware Electric Peeler next to the Pershing 2 Guided Missile System next to an Intercom Door Chime next to a Hospitech Magnetic Resonance Imaging Device next to the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer next to a Thermonuclear Warhead Etc.. The message hits home without beating you over the head.

Under the Lectures/Panels header is an ADDRESS TO INTERFACE 3. I don't really know who or what this is but the text is interesting in a preachy sort of Neo-Ludditte way. I never would have encountered this work in the real world but due to the marvels of modern technology it's being delivered to my computer screen through a random search. On a certain level the content of this page wants to be very elitist, pandering to the worst fears of an already depressed, technophobic art world facing its own obsolence. The contradiction is in the fact of its electronic delivery to my doorstep. This reminds one of the famous slapping sequence in Roman Polanski's Chinatown, you know, "my mother, my sister, my mother, my sister, my mother, my sister, my mother, my sister......." OK! both, it's both! We're for technology but we're against technology but we're for the art world but we're against the art world but we're the most elite anti-elitists and we're anti-object commodity makers who'll critique your mass media by purchasing air time to get our name talked around. My mother, my sister, my mother, my sister, my mother, my sister.....