Marchel Duchamp's Fountain, signed R.Mutt

Oh, Fountain. Go to any first-year art history course and Duchamp’s urinal-turned-art-piece will be one of the most debated topics of the term. There are always those students who insist the merit of any work of art is in the skill of the execution, of which Duchamp demonstrates none. But the concept—a critique of the posh High Art world—always prevails and Fountain is hailed as one of the strongest works of the European avant-garde.

Fast-forward to 1992. Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña tour museums in Europe and North America with their performance piece The Couple in the Cage, where they play a primitive couple from the fake island of Guatinau. Supported by the authority of the museums in which they exhibited and even an Encyclopedia Britannica entry with a map showing the supposed site of Guatinau, the artists found that “Despite their intent to create an over-the-top satirical commentary on Western concepts of the exotic, primitive Other, it turned out that a substantial portion of the audience believed in the authenticity of the Guatinauis.” (Ginsberg)

Skip ahead another two decades. With the internet as it is today, “there’s never been a means for so many people to contribute about so much at the same time,” writes Amanda Peters. We are so overwhelmed with information that “finding that truth in amongst all of the information available—in the form of arguments, counterarguments, dissenting voices, and the few indomitable trolls who just want information included in the lexicon that makes no sense and has no relevance to anything—is a nearly impossible task.” (Peters)

Click to the read the rest of Shed Simas’ blog post The Unexplored Potential of the Internet As Art Medium (


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