A Few Things I Know about Neen
Neen stands for Neenstars: a still-undefined generation of visual artists. Some of them belong to the contemporary art world; others are software creators, web designers, and video game directors or animators.
Our ofﬁcial theories about reality—quantum physics, etc.—proved that the flavor of our life is the taste of a simulation. Machines help us feel comfortable with this condition: they simulate the simulation we call Nature. Opening the door of your room or clicking on a folder on your computer’s desktop will send you to similar destinations—two versions of reality that are seemingly perfect and dense, but they will start dissolving after you analyze them.
Computing is to Neen as what fantasy was to Surrealism and freedom to Communism. It creates its context, but it can also be postponed. Neenstars buy the newest products and they study how to create momentum. They glorify machines, but they get easily bored with them. Sometimes they prefer just watching others operating them.
Neenstars ﬁnd their pleasure in the in-between actions.
Neen is about losing time on different operating systems.
Neenstars love copying in the same way that the city of Hong Kong multiplies its most successful buildings. The same, but a little different: Names, Clothes, Style, Art, and Architecture are important for Neenstars. So they create all that from scratch, as if what has been done before them is not so important.
Neen is very sentimental, but it is not about identity, although Neenstars occasionally use their identities as passwords in order to obtain certain privileges. Because the identity of a Neenstar is his state of mind, he is free to use the identity of another Neenstar if he needs to do so. But this works also on reverse: a Neenstar can create artwork for another Neenstar and that is the major difference between Neen and contemporary art.
While in contemporary art you need to be yourself all the time, a certain type of “hero” who is polishing always his image until he becomes a mirror of his lifetime, in Neen, you are a kind of “screen.” A Neenstar projects a temporary self that stays always under construction and moves from the present to past and future without limitations. And because a Neenstar will publish everything on the web, his state of mind reﬂects the public taste. Neenstars are public personas.
If fantasy brought Surrealists to the ridiculous and revolution drove Communists to failure, it will be curious to observe where computing will bring Neen.
Miltos Manetas, 2000–2006