About 2


Post Internet (122909a.com) is a blog I wrote between December 2009 and September 2010. It was a Project of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program.

I’d like to thank the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program, Domenico Quaranta, and LINK Editions.

I’d also like to thank Elan Bogarin, Ann Hirsch, my family, and all of the artists.

Editor’s Note: Criticism as Performance

One blog post is merely a version on a theme developed in an ongoing performance inhabiting “the several months and years.”

– Gene McHugh

I’m really proud to introduce, here, what I consider one of the most relevant critical efforts of the last years. Post Internet is a blog developed between December 2009 and September 2010 by the New York based art critic Gene McHugh, thanks to a grant of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. I discovered it quite late in 2010, and immediately I subscribed to its RSS feed, using it as a reference point for some artists and artworks I was interested in. So, I was bitterly disappointed when, on September 10, 2010, I got a note in my RSS feed program basically saying that, since the grant’s money were drying up, the blog wouldn’t be updated anymore. I thought, com’on, you don’t need money to make a blog! Blogging is something you do because you enjoy it, usually in your spare time, between one paid job and the other. Only a spoiled yankee (sorry, Gene) can stop blogging when the money run out.

Of course, this wasn’t the point at all. I realized it a few days later, visiting the site and paying attention to its peculiar structure, and not just to some spare contents. Post Internet is a Wordpress blog located at the address 122909a.com. I spent some time thinking about this domain name before realizing what looks obvious now: December 29, 2009 is the date of Gene’s first post. The final “a” still looks mysterious to me, but I’m fine with it, and I’ll never ask Gene what it stands for. The interface looks pretty simple, also because Gene willingly kept using the “Kubrick” theme, “the WordPress default theme emeritus”. Except for the last ones, most of the posts don’t have any title, the post date being the only separator between the posts themselves. The layout of each post is also kept as minimal as possible: no images, no links, little or no formatting. The posts can be navigated by “Archives” (arranged by months), by “Categories” (arranged by artist names), by tags or browsed with an embedded search engine.

For almost a year, Gene McHugh kept filling this folder with his personal notes. Writing and posting became a daily, regular activity, that sometimes produced many posts a day, sometimes long (or very long) texts posted at a slower pace.

However, Post Internet is not just a piece of beautiful criticism, as reading this book proves. It’s also, in itself, a piece of Post Internet art in the shape of an art criticism blog. The central theme that Gene works through during the blog is the performativity of Internet Art. In an ocean of media, he claims, Internet artists and their audiences are responding not to individual works, but to a “net presence.” He writes, “the artist’s work is viewed as one on-going performance; the audience follows the artist as he or she performs the act of creating individual works. This performance is where audiences are nudged to qualitatively sort out and find meaning in artistic experience on the Internet.” Only this framing allows us to understand the layout of the blog, the style of writing, and the endurance element implicit in the whole process. Only this framing allows us to understand the unexpected end of the writing process, which doesn’t depend on the usual reasons why one stops writing about something (because he came to the end of his argument, because he is no more interested in the subject, or because the subject isn’t interesting anymore), but was determined in advance. Only when viewed as a book, can we see McHugh’s own impressive performance.

However, turning all this into a book is not an easy task, and I’m grateful to Gene for pointing out the things that should be kept and the things that could be left behind in this process of translation. But, still, it’s a translation, that I hope will bring McHugh’s experiment in performative writing to a new, if not broader, audience.

Domenico Quaranta, Brescia, August 25, 2011

Restoration Notes

The original Wordpress site remained online until 2013. This site has been reconstructed from materials available at archive.org and the book version published by Link Editions. The original blog posts were replaced with edited versions from the book. Where possible, original tags and categories have been applied. Publishing dates for each posts are correct on the level of day order of publication, the exact time of day couldn’t be reconstructed. URLs are not identical to the original site, and instead of reflecting the order the posts had been written, now reflect the order of their restoration.

Dragan Espenschied, Stuttgart, April 26, 2019

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