setting up the punch line

Posted by curt cloninger | Thu Apr 29th 2004 2:02 p.m.

Setting Up the Punch Line:
Some Thoughts on Para-Art Media

I've been thinking a lot lately about media that accompanies an
artwork, and the kind of artwork that relies on such accompanying
media. Accompanying media can include the artist statement, but it
can also include instructions on how to use the work, as well as an
explanation of what the work is actually doing.

Let's deal with each type of accompanying media in turn, citing
specific examples.

1. Artist Statement:

Think of Sherry Levine's "After Walker Evans," where she takes
pictures of Walker Evans' pictures. Without the explanatory artist
statement, we think we're looking at pictures of Alabama
sharecroppers taken by Walker Evans. We wonder what these pictures
from the turn of the century are doing in a contemporary art gallery.
It's only after we read the artist statement that we understand we
are looking at pictures of pictures, and we get it.

I've dissed conceptual work like this before, and it's not my
intention to kick that dead horse again. I just want to point out
that, although the "art" of this piece is in its concept, the punch
line of that concept is revealed in the actual accompanying media of
the artist statement. The artist statement is like the "Da-dum-bum!"
that cues us to the joke. So although Levine's meta-media conceptual
artplay is supposed to be heady and subtle, the gag is actually
revealed with all the subtlety of a vaudeville clown. Understated,
Steven Wright-type humor this ain't. When Steven Wright pauses for a
very long time, then mumbles "I stole all the erasers to all the
miniature golf pencils in the world," the joke is as much in the
subtlety of his delivery as it is in the content of his punch line.
We get no such subtlety from artwork that relies entirely on
accompanying media to convey its concept.

2. Instructions on How To Use the Work:

This is just one example of many, but check "Free Radio Linux":
http://gallery9.walkerart.org/bookmark.html?id672&type=object&bookmark=1

There is an introductory text blurb at the gallery9 site itself.
Then after you link to the URL of the actual piece, there is even
more accompanying media before you get to the piece itself, telling
you how to get to the piece, what software you need for the piece,
etc.

These instructions are necessary for the use of the piece. To his
credit, the artists tries to tie-in the tone of the instructions with
the overall concept of the piece. The piece deals with sourcecode,
and the instructions are written in a "readme" type of voice. Still,
all of these how-to interruptions place barriers between the user and
the piece itself. If this were Amazon and the piece itself was a
book being sold, few people would ever get around to clicking on the
"buy now" button. Which may be just as well in this case, since the
piece is just an audio stream of translated software code with little
aesthetic appeal. The instructions of how to access the piece may be
as interesting as the actual piece itself.

To return to our stand-up comedy analogy, this piece is like a
comedian who spends his entire routine testing the sound system and
the acoustics of the room, and then he tells a fart joke and walks
off stage. My critique is that the accompanying explanatory media
distracts from the impact of the art. It's not setting the user up
in any intentional way to experience the art. It's not leading her
into the art. It doesn't help contextualize the art. If anything,
it decontextualizes the art. Just like labeling every tree in the
wilderness with a placard describing its uses and phylum and genus
detracts from my hiking experience rather than adding to it. (This
critique admittedly presumes that art is meant to have some sort of
overall experience on a person besides just explaining something to
her intellect.)

3. Explanations of What the Work is Actually Doing (when you can already tell):

A lot of times, these explanations of what a piece of work is
actually doing are gratuitous, because it's quite obvious what the
work is doing. Yoshi Sodeoka recently had a piece at Turbulence
where he was asked to come up with some sort of introductory
statement as part of the commission [
http://turbulence.org/Works/sodeoka/ ]. The piece doesn't need an
introductory statement, and Sodeoka solved this problem by giving a
sort of non-introductory statement in the form of a FAQ --
Q: Why do you believe that this will be entertaining?
A: This is a question that you will have to answer for yourself.

Sodeoka's evasiveness was pegged (derided?) by Eduardo Navas as
enforcing a kind of structuralism. And in a sense, he's right.
Sodeoka, as a graphic designer, is used to being able in maintaining
contextual control of the user's experience of his work. His work is
meant to be visceral and somewhat disorienting. So accompanying
textual media that orients his users actually runs counter to the
experience he is trying to create. But I don't think it's any kind
of intentional structuralism as much as it is a desire to sneak up on
the punch line, to keep the audience guessing. It's mostly an issue
of timing.

Back to the stand-up comedy analogy -- Sodeoka is a Gallagher-like
comedian who likes to run out on stage and begin throwing rubber
chickens into the unexpecting audience. In this instance, he's hired
to play a comedy club (Turbulence) where the house rules dictate that
every comedian must have a proper biographical introduction. This
requirement undermines his comedic surprise attack, so as he's being
introduced, Sodeoka sits in the wings and throws rubber chickens at
the MC.

3b. Explanations of What the Work is Actually Doing (when you can't
tell otherwise):

Now here is a problem I'm encountering in my own work. One of the
fun things about the web is that you're not obliged to contextualize
your art as art. You needn't have any accompanying explanatory media
whatsoever, and you can simply throw your user straight into your
piece. You can even create faux accompanying explanatory media that
actually sets-up your user for your punch-line (cf:
http://www.computerfinearts.com/collection/cloninger/rebranding/ ).
Mouchette is the classic example.

But there is a problem with new media that foregoes an accompanying
explanation -- if your technology is not *apparently* doing what it's
*actually* doing, nobody will know what it's doing.

A case in point is this piece:
http://www.computerfinearts.com/collection/cloninger/bubblegum/

There are user instructions, but they are cryptic ("wait for a magic
transformation"). The underlying technology is calling in discrete
images and autogeneratively collaging them according to a semi-random
code. You can watch each card and see sometimes thousands of
different combinations. But you may have to keep watching before you
realize that these collages are being generated in real-time.
Otherwise, you might watch 4 or 5 different collages, and think that
each one is a static, pre-fab single image. In which case, it seems
like you are watching a slide show of a few discrete collages, when
in actuality you are watching a collage-generating machine.

My honest questions are:
1. Would adding an accompanying explanation of the underlying
technology make this piece more enjoyable and meaningful? Would it
increase the value of the user's experience?
2. Would adding such an explanation detract from the whimsical,
disorienting context of the piece in a way that hurts the piece?
3. If a new media piece needs accompanying text to explain how it
works, if its underlying workings are conceptually important but not
experientially apparent, then does that piece fail as an
autogenerative/reactive piece? If I'm looking at one of Lev
Manovich's autogenerative database cinema pieces, and it just looks
like a linear movie to me, then has he achieved his artistic purpose?

+++++++++++++++++

Personally, I suspect that the most successful pieces evince their
underlying workings and concepts without the need for a bunch of
accompanying explanatory text. Without the accompanying text, the
artist is allowed to hijack more of the user's context. This gives
the artist the ability to dialogue with a more holistic/gritty area
of the user's mindspace; it makes the work less antiseptic and
quarantined. Granted, the artist who is comfortable relying on
accompanying explanatory text may object, "But what if the user
doesn't get it?" My knee-jerk response is, "Then it's probably not
that good." But things are probably more complicated than that. I'm
coming to believe that a piece of work may well be enhanced by
accompanying explanatory text, *provided that*:
1. it's absolutely necessary
2. the tenor of its copy is in dialogue with the approach of the piece.
3. it serves to contextualize the piece rather than de-contextualize
it. [cf: http://www.memexengine.com ]
4. it isn't full of a bunch of blah blah Adorno-quoting art school
bullshit [cf: http://www.playdamage.org/market-o-matic ]. Oftentimes
the accompanying explanatory text is used like overabundant A1 sauce
to mask the rank taste of an underlying cut of bad beef. If your
piece sucks, alluding to John Cage isn't going to make it any less
sucky.

_
  • Geert Dekkers | Sat May 1st 2004 4:41 a.m.
    Just a few comments between the lines. Incidentally, why isn't this
    text discussed more? It can't be "Koninginnedag" in NY!

    Cheers
    Geert (http://nznl.com)
    On Apr 29, 2004, at 7:03 PM, Curt Cloninger wrote:

    > Setting Up the Punch Line:
    > Some Thoughts on Para-Art Media
    >
    > I've been thinking a lot lately about media that accompanies an
    > artwork, and the kind of artwork that relies on such accompanying
    > media. Accompanying media can include the artist statement, but it
    > can also include instructions on how to use the work, as well as an
    > explanation of what the work is actually doing.
    >
    > Let's deal with each type of accompanying media in turn, citing
    > specific examples.
    >
    >
    > 1. Artist Statement:
    >
    > Think of Sherry Levine's "After Walker Evans," where she takes
    > pictures of Walker Evans' pictures. Without the explanatory artist
    > statement, we think we're looking at pictures of Alabama sharecroppers
    > taken by Walker Evans. We wonder what these pictures from the turn of
    > the century are doing in a contemporary art gallery. It's only after
    > we read the artist statement that we understand we are looking at
    > pictures of pictures, and we get it.
    >
    > I've dissed conceptual work like this before, and it's not my
    > intention to kick that dead horse again. I just want to point out
    > that, although the "art" of this piece is in its concept, the punch
    > line of that concept is revealed in the actual accompanying media of
    > the artist statement. The artist statement is like the "Da-dum-bum!"
    > that cues us to the joke. So although Levine's meta-media conceptual
    > artplay is supposed to be heady and subtle, the gag is actually
    > revealed with all the subtlety of a vaudeville clown. Understated,
    > Steven Wright-type humor this ain't. When Steven Wright pauses for a
    > very long time, then mumbles "I stole all the erasers to all the
    > miniature golf pencils in the world," the joke is as much in the
    > subtlety of his delivery as it is in the content of his punch line. We
    > get no such subtlety from artwork that relies entirely on accompanying
    > media to convey its concept.
    >
    >
    > 2. Instructions on How To Use the Work:
    >
    > This is just one example of many, but check "Free Radio Linux":
    > http://gallery9.walkerart.org/bookmark.html?
    > id672&type=object&bookmark=1

    In the README (3) I find: "makes audible what is usually silent and
    hidden" - ie giving form to what was formerly unformed, thus hidden (or
    non-existent?) -- this I consider to be an important impentus to art.
    But perhaps just reading the code aloud has just a wee bit too little
    clout. Sitting in a gallery and reading "The Boy Who Fell Over Niagara
    Falls" aloud while sipping a glass of water (Bas Jan Ader, 1972) is to
    me a miraculous and subtle work of art even in it's concept, because
    there's something ridiculously small between the Falls and the glass of
    water that I happen to love intensely.
    >
    > There is an introductory text blurb at the gallery9 site itself. Then
    > after you link to the URL of the actual piece, there is even more
    > accompanying media before you get to the piece itself, telling you how
    > to get to the piece, what software you need for the piece, etc.
    >
    > These instructions are necessary for the use of the piece. To his
    > credit, the artists tries to tie-in the tone of the instructions with
    > the overall concept of the piece. The piece deals with sourcecode,
    > and the instructions are written in a "readme" type of voice. Still,
    > all of these how-to interruptions place barriers between the user and
    > the piece itself. If this were Amazon and the piece itself was a book
    > being sold, few people would ever get around to clicking on the "buy
    > now" button. Which may be just as well in this case, since the piece
    > is just an audio stream of translated software code with little
    > aesthetic appeal. The instructions of how to access the piece may be
    > as interesting as the actual piece itself.
    >
    > To return to our stand-up comedy analogy, this piece is like a
    > comedian who spends his entire routine testing the sound system and
    > the acoustics of the room, and then he tells a fart joke and walks off
    > stage. My critique is that the accompanying explanatory media
    > distracts from the impact of the art. It's not setting the user up in
    > any intentional way to experience the art. It's not leading her into
    > the art. It doesn't help contextualize the art. If anything, it
    > decontextualizes the art. Just like labeling every tree in the
    > wilderness with a placard describing its uses and phylum and genus
    > detracts from my hiking experience rather than adding to it. (This
    > critique admittedly presumes that art is meant to have some sort of
    > overall experience on a person besides just explaining something to
    > her intellect.)
    >
    >
    > 3. Explanations of What the Work is Actually Doing (when you can
    > already tell):
    >
    > A lot of times, these explanations of what a piece of work is actually
    > doing are gratuitous, because it's quite obvious what the work is
    > doing. Yoshi Sodeoka recently had a piece at Turbulence where he was
    > asked to come up with some sort of introductory statement as part of
    > the commission [ http://turbulence.org/Works/sodeoka/ ]. The piece
    > doesn't need an introductory statement, and Sodeoka solved this
    > problem by giving a sort of non-introductory statement in the form of
    > a FAQ --
    > Q: Why do you believe that this will be entertaining?
    > A: This is a question that you will have to answer for yourself.

    see conclusion below....

    >
    > Sodeoka's evasiveness was pegged (derided?) by Eduardo Navas as
    > enforcing a kind of structuralism. And in a sense, he's right.
    > Sodeoka, as a graphic designer, is used to being able in maintaining
    > contextual control of the user's experience of his work. His work is
    > meant to be visceral and somewhat disorienting. So accompanying
    > textual media that orients his users actually runs counter to the
    > experience he is trying to create. But I don't think it's any kind of
    > intentional structuralism as much as it is a desire to sneak up on the
    > punch line, to keep the audience guessing. It's mostly an issue of
    > timing.
    >
    > Back to the stand-up comedy analogy -- Sodeoka is a Gallagher-like
    > comedian who likes to run out on stage and begin throwing rubber
    > chickens into the unexpecting audience. In this instance, he's hired
    > to play a comedy club (Turbulence) where the house rules dictate that
    > every comedian must have a proper biographical introduction. This
    > requirement undermines his comedic surprise attack, so as he's being
    > introduced, Sodeoka sits in the wings and throws rubber chickens at
    > the MC.
    >
    >
    > 3b. Explanations of What the Work is Actually Doing (when you can't
    > tell otherwise):
    >
    > Now here is a problem I'm encountering in my own work. One of the fun
    > things about the web is that you're not obliged to contextualize your
    > art as art. You needn't have any accompanying explanatory media
    > whatsoever, and you can simply throw your user straight into your
    > piece. You can even create faux accompanying explanatory media that
    > actually sets-up your user for your punch-line (cf:
    > http://www.computerfinearts.com/collection/cloninger/rebranding/ ).
    > Mouchette is the classic example.
    >
    > But there is a problem with new media that foregoes an accompanying
    > explanation -- if your technology is not *apparently* doing what it's
    > *actually* doing, nobody will know what it's doing.
    >

    I don't think I really understand your question here -- do you mean
    that it's not overly clear what's happening in the piece. Or perhaps
    you realise that you're testing the viewers' patience -- asking the
    viewer to stay for longer than a few seconds to appreciate the piece.

    In this context, one of the things I hate about net.art (or, for that
    matter, all art that is supposed to compete with mass media -- like
    video works broadcasted on primetime) is the ease with which the
    viewer/user can click away from the work -- considering the trouble it
    takes to go to an art gallery or museum. The very ease of the medium is
    a downfall for (some of) it;'s content.

    > A case in point is this piece:
    > http://www.computerfinearts.com/collection/cloninger/bubblegum/
    >
    > There are user instructions, but they are cryptic ("wait for a magic
    > transformation"). The underlying technology is calling in discrete
    > images and autogeneratively collaging them according to a semi-random
    > code. You can watch each card and see sometimes thousands of
    > different combinations. But you may have to keep watching before you
    > realize that these collages are being generated in real-time.
    > Otherwise, you might watch 4 or 5 different collages, and think that
    > each one is a static, pre-fab single image. In which case, it seems
    > like you are watching a slide show of a few discrete collages, when in
    > actuality you are watching a collage-generating machine.
    >
    > My honest questions are:
    > 1. Would adding an accompanying explanation of the underlying
    > technology make this piece more enjoyable and meaningful? Would it
    > increase the value of the user's experience?
    > 2. Would adding such an explanation detract from the whimsical,
    > disorienting context of the piece in a way that hurts the piece?
    > 3. If a new media piece needs accompanying text to explain how it
    > works, if its underlying workings are conceptually important but not
    > experientially apparent, then does that piece fail as an
    > autogenerative/reactive piece? If I'm looking at one of Lev
    > Manovich's autogenerative database cinema pieces, and it just looks
    > like a linear movie to me, then has he achieved his artistic purpose?
    >
    >
    > +++++++++++++++++
    >
    > Personally, I suspect that the most successful pieces evince their
    > underlying workings and concepts without the need for a bunch of
    > accompanying explanatory text. Without the accompanying text, the
    > artist is allowed to hijack more of the user's context. This gives
    > the artist the ability to dialogue with a more holistic/gritty area of
    > the user's mindspace; it makes the work less antiseptic and
    > quarantined. Granted, the artist who is comfortable relying on
    > accompanying explanatory text may object, "But what if the user
    > doesn't get it?" My knee-jerk response is, "Then it's probably not
    > that good." But things are probably more complicated than that. I'm
    > coming to believe that a piece of work may well be enhanced by
    > accompanying explanatory text, *provided that*:
    > 1. it's absolutely necessary
    > 2. the tenor of its copy is in dialogue with the approach of the piece.
    > 3. it serves to contextualize the piece rather than de-contextualize
    > it. [cf: http://www.memexengine.com ]
    > 4. it isn't full of a bunch of blah blah Adorno-quoting art school
    > bullshit [cf: http://www.playdamage.org/market-o-matic ]. Oftentimes
    > the accompanying explanatory text is used like overabundant A1 sauce
    > to mask the rank taste of an underlying cut of bad beef. If your
    > piece sucks, alluding to John Cage isn't going to make it any less
    > sucky.

    As always, an explanatory text is just one of the many aspects of art
    waiting to be freed from it's functional shackles. (In there with
    resumes, documentation, book-keeping, paying bills, debts, bubble-gum
    stuck to the undersides of the studio tables [seriously!].) Pieces will
    suck less if the artist realises this.

    >
    > _
    > +
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    >
  • Geert Dekkers | Sat May 1st 2004 7:41 a.m.
    Just a few comments between the lines. Incidentally, why isn't this
    text discussed more? It can't be because of "Koninginnedag" in NY!

    Cheers
    Geert (http://nznl.com)
    On Apr 29, 2004, at 7:03 PM, Curt Cloninger wrote:

    > Setting Up the Punch Line:
    > Some Thoughts on Para-Art Media
    >
    > I've been thinking a lot lately about media that accompanies an
    > artwork, and the kind of artwork that relies on such accompanying
    > media. Accompanying media can include the artist statement, but it
    > can also include instructions on how to use the work, as well as an
    > explanation of what the work is actually doing.
    >
    > Let's deal with each type of accompanying media in turn, citing
    > specific examples.
    >
    >
    > 1. Artist Statement:
    >
    > Think of Sherry Levine's "After Walker Evans," where she takes
    > pictures of Walker Evans' pictures. Without the explanatory artist
    > statement, we think we're looking at pictures of Alabama sharecroppers
    > taken by Walker Evans. We wonder what these pictures from the turn of
    > the century are doing in a contemporary art gallery. It's only after
    > we read the artist statement that we understand we are looking at
    > pictures of pictures, and we get it.
    >
    > I've dissed conceptual work like this before, and it's not my
    > intention to kick that dead horse again. I just want to point out
    > that, although the "art" of this piece is in its concept, the punch
    > line of that concept is revealed in the actual accompanying media of
    > the artist statement. The artist statement is like the "Da-dum-bum!"
    > that cues us to the joke. So although Levine's meta-media conceptual
    > artplay is supposed to be heady and subtle, the gag is actually
    > revealed with all the subtlety of a vaudeville clown. Understated,
    > Steven Wright-type humor this ain't. When Steven Wright pauses for a
    > very long time, then mumbles "I stole all the erasers to all the
    > miniature golf pencils in the world," the joke is as much in the
    > subtlety of his delivery as it is in the content of his punch line. We
    > get no such subtlety from artwork that relies entirely on accompanying
    > media to convey its concept.
    >
    >
    > 2. Instructions on How To Use the Work:
    >
    > This is just one example of many, but check "Free Radio Linux":
    > http://gallery9.walkerart.org/bookmark.html?
    > id672&type=object&bookmark=1

    In the README (3) I find: "makes audible what is usually silent and
    hidden" - ie giving form to what was formerly unformed, thus hidden (or
    non-existent?) -- this I consider to be an important impentus to art.
    But perhaps just reading the code aloud has just a wee bit too little
    clout. Sitting in a gallery and reading "The Boy Who Fell Over Niagara
    Falls" aloud while sipping a glass of water (Bas Jan Ader, 1972) is to
    me a miraculous and subtle work of art even in it's concept, because
    there's something ridiculously small between the Falls and the glass of
    water that I happen to love intensely.
    >
    > There is an introductory text blurb at the gallery9 site itself. Then
    > after you link to the URL of the actual piece, there is even more
    > accompanying media before you get to the piece itself, telling you how
    > to get to the piece, what software you need for the piece, etc.
    >
    > These instructions are necessary for the use of the piece. To his
    > credit, the artists tries to tie-in the tone of the instructions with
    > the overall concept of the piece. The piece deals with sourcecode,
    > and the instructions are written in a "readme" type of voice. Still,
    > all of these how-to interruptions place barriers between the user and
    > the piece itself. If this were Amazon and the piece itself was a book
    > being sold, few people would ever get around to clicking on the "buy
    > now" button. Which may be just as well in this case, since the piece
    > is just an audio stream of translated software code with little
    > aesthetic appeal. The instructions of how to access the piece may be
    > as interesting as the actual piece itself.
    >
    > To return to our stand-up comedy analogy, this piece is like a
    > comedian who spends his entire routine testing the sound system and
    > the acoustics of the room, and then he tells a fart joke and walks off
    > stage. My critique is that the accompanying explanatory media
    > distracts from the impact of the art. It's not setting the user up in
    > any intentional way to experience the art. It's not leading her into
    > the art. It doesn't help contextualize the art. If anything, it
    > decontextualizes the art. Just like labeling every tree in the
    > wilderness with a placard describing its uses and phylum and genus
    > detracts from my hiking experience rather than adding to it. (This
    > critique admittedly presumes that art is meant to have some sort of
    > overall experience on a person besides just explaining something to
    > her intellect.)
    >
    >
    > 3. Explanations of What the Work is Actually Doing (when you can
    > already tell):
    >
    > A lot of times, these explanations of what a piece of work is actually
    > doing are gratuitous, because it's quite obvious what the work is
    > doing. Yoshi Sodeoka recently had a piece at Turbulence where he was
    > asked to come up with some sort of introductory statement as part of
    > the commission [ http://turbulence.org/Works/sodeoka/ ]. The piece
    > doesn't need an introductory statement, and Sodeoka solved this
    > problem by giving a sort of non-introductory statement in the form of
    > a FAQ --
    > Q: Why do you believe that this will be entertaining?
    > A: This is a question that you will have to answer for yourself.

    see conclusion below....

    >
    > Sodeoka's evasiveness was pegged (derided?) by Eduardo Navas as
    > enforcing a kind of structuralism. And in a sense, he's right.
    > Sodeoka, as a graphic designer, is used to being able in maintaining
    > contextual control of the user's experience of his work. His work is
    > meant to be visceral and somewhat disorienting. So accompanying
    > textual media that orients his users actually runs counter to the
    > experience he is trying to create. But I don't think it's any kind of
    > intentional structuralism as much as it is a desire to sneak up on the
    > punch line, to keep the audience guessing. It's mostly an issue of
    > timing.
    >
    > Back to the stand-up comedy analogy -- Sodeoka is a Gallagher-like
    > comedian who likes to run out on stage and begin throwing rubber
    > chickens into the unexpecting audience. In this instance, he's hired
    > to play a comedy club (Turbulence) where the house rules dictate that
    > every comedian must have a proper biographical introduction. This
    > requirement undermines his comedic surprise attack, so as he's being
    > introduced, Sodeoka sits in the wings and throws rubber chickens at
    > the MC.
    >
    >
    > 3b. Explanations of What the Work is Actually Doing (when you can't
    > tell otherwise):
    >
    > Now here is a problem I'm encountering in my own work. One of the fun
    > things about the web is that you're not obliged to contextualize your
    > art as art. You needn't have any accompanying explanatory media
    > whatsoever, and you can simply throw your user straight into your
    > piece. You can even create faux accompanying explanatory media that
    > actually sets-up your user for your punch-line (cf:
    > http://www.computerfinearts.com/collection/cloninger/rebranding/ ).
    > Mouchette is the classic example.
    >
    > But there is a problem with new media that foregoes an accompanying
    > explanation -- if your technology is not *apparently* doing what it's
    > *actually* doing, nobody will know what it's doing.
    >

    I don't think I really understand your question here -- do you mean
    that it's not overly clear what's happening in the piece. Or perhaps
    you realise that you're testing the viewers' patience -- asking the
    viewer to stay for longer than a few seconds to appreciate the piece.

    In this context, one of the things I hate about net.art (or, for that
    matter, all art that is supposed to compete with mass media -- like
    video works broadcasted on primetime) is the ease with which the
    viewer/user can click away from the work -- considering the trouble it
    takes to go to an art gallery or museum. The very ease of the medium is
    a downfall for (some of) it;'s content.

    > A case in point is this piece:
    > http://www.computerfinearts.com/collection/cloninger/bubblegum/
    >
    > There are user instructions, but they are cryptic ("wait for a magic
    > transformation"). The underlying technology is calling in discrete
    > images and autogeneratively collaging them according to a semi-random
    > code. You can watch each card and see sometimes thousands of
    > different combinations. But you may have to keep watching before you
    > realize that these collages are being generated in real-time.
    > Otherwise, you might watch 4 or 5 different collages, and think that
    > each one is a static, pre-fab single image. In which case, it seems
    > like you are watching a slide show of a few discrete collages, when in
    > actuality you are watching a collage-generating machine.
    >
    > My honest questions are:
    > 1. Would adding an accompanying explanation of the underlying
    > technology make this piece more enjoyable and meaningful? Would it
    > increase the value of the user's experience?
    > 2. Would adding such an explanation detract from the whimsical,
    > disorienting context of the piece in a way that hurts the piece?
    > 3. If a new media piece needs accompanying text to explain how it
    > works, if its underlying workings are conceptually important but not
    > experientially apparent, then does that piece fail as an
    > autogenerative/reactive piece? If I'm looking at one of Lev
    > Manovich's autogenerative database cinema pieces, and it just looks
    > like a linear movie to me, then has he achieved his artistic purpose?
    >
    >
    > +++++++++++++++++
    >
    > Personally, I suspect that the most successful pieces evince their
    > underlying workings and concepts without the need for a bunch of
    > accompanying explanatory text. Without the accompanying text, the
    > artist is allowed to hijack more of the user's context. This gives
    > the artist the ability to dialogue with a more holistic/gritty area of
    > the user's mindspace; it makes the work less antiseptic and
    > quarantined. Granted, the artist who is comfortable relying on
    > accompanying explanatory text may object, "But what if the user
    > doesn't get it?" My knee-jerk response is, "Then it's probably not
    > that good." But things are probably more complicated than that. I'm
    > coming to believe that a piece of work may well be enhanced by
    > accompanying explanatory text, *provided that*:
    > 1. it's absolutely necessary
    > 2. the tenor of its copy is in dialogue with the approach of the piece.
    > 3. it serves to contextualize the piece rather than de-contextualize
    > it. [cf: http://www.memexengine.com ]
    > 4. it isn't full of a bunch of blah blah Adorno-quoting art school
    > bullshit [cf: http://www.playdamage.org/market-o-matic ]. Oftentimes
    > the accompanying explanatory text is used like overabundant A1 sauce
    > to mask the rank taste of an underlying cut of bad beef. If your
    > piece sucks, alluding to John Cage isn't going to make it any less
    > sucky.

    As always, an explanatory text is just one of the many aspects of art
    waiting to be freed from it's functional shackles. (In there with
    resumes, documentation, book-keeping, paying bills, debts, bubble-gum
    stuck to the undersides of the studio tables [seriously!].) Pieces will
    suck less if the artist realises this.

    >
    > _
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is open to non-members
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • curt cloninger | Sat May 1st 2004 1:51 p.m.
    c:
    > > But there is a problem with new media that foregoes an accompanying
    > > explanation -- if your technology is not *apparently* doing what
    > it's *actually* doing, nobody will know what it's doing.

    g:
    > I don't think I really understand your question here -- do you mean
    > that it's not overly clear what's happening in the piece. Or perhaps
    > you realise that you're testing the viewers' patience -- asking the
    > viewer to stay for longer than a few seconds to appreciate the piece.

    c:
    maybe that piece [ http://www.computerfinearts.com/collection/cloninger/bubblegum/ ] is not the best example of what I'm talking about. Its autogenerative nature is *eventually* apparant in time. A better example might be a student piece I recently saw here in Asheville. I guess it was using max/jitter or something, but there was a percussionist playing electronic drums off to the side of a screen, and it was explained to us prior to the performance that the audio input from the drums was tweaking the video on the screen. But once the performance started, the video looked like plain old linear video (albeit a bit abstract). Had the introductory explanation not been given, and were the percussionist not visible, there would have been nothing *apparently* real-time/reactive about the piece. So if a piece must rely on such accompanying explanatory texts to make known its underlying experimental technology, how successful is such a piece as experimental technology?

    g:
    > As always, an explanatory text is just one of the many aspects of art
    > waiting to be freed from it's functional shackles. (In there with
    > resumes, documentation, book-keeping, paying bills, debts, bubble-gum
    > stuck to the undersides of the studio tables [seriously!].) Pieces
    > will suck less if the artist realises this.

    c:
    Amen. There is an entire scene of graphic designers who make toys. The toys are usually very cool and quirky and meticulously crafted, and the packaging of such toys is almost as much a part of the experience as the toys themselves. Graphic designers are fetishistic about controlling the entire context of a user experience (down to designing shelving within the retail stores that is in dialogue with the objects for sale on the shelves.) This awareness and detail over all aspects of the user's experience is one of the things that legitimizes graphic designers as craftsmen to me.

    There is a famous story about Frank Lloyd Wright choosing even the silverware for the residential homes he designed. He would re-visit these homes after they had been lived in for about a year, and if the furniture had been removed from its original locations, he would re-arrange the furniture and put it back, often to the bewilderment of the homeowners.

    Such attention to contextual detail I would expect to find in contemporary art (particularly in contemporary conceptual art interested in questioning context and playing with viewer expectation), and yet there is an almost tacky sloppiness about the way many contemporary artists allow galleries (online and off) to present their para-art information and to contextualize their pieces. It's as if the artist assumes "the art starts here," and then whatever happens outside of that "art" area is subject to the (often aesthetically boring) rules of the academy and gallery culture.
  • Geert Dekkers | Sat May 1st 2004 8:02 p.m.
    Folks,

    Bits & pieces between the lines....

    Cheers

    Geert
    http://nznl.com

    On May 1, 2004, at 6:51 PM, curt cloninger wrote:

    > c:
    >>> But there is a problem with new media that foregoes an accompanying
    >>> explanation -- if your technology is not *apparently* doing what
    >> it's *actually* doing, nobody will know what it's doing.
    >
    > g:
    >> I don't think I really understand your question here -- do you mean
    >> that it's not overly clear what's happening in the piece. Or perhaps
    >> you realise that you're testing the viewers' patience -- asking the
    >> viewer to stay for longer than a few seconds to appreciate the piece.
    >
    > c:
    > maybe that piece [
    > http://www.computerfinearts.com/collection/cloninger/bubblegum/ ] is
    > not the best example of what I'm talking about. Its autogenerative
    > nature is *eventually* apparant in time. A better example might be a
    > student piece I recently saw here in Asheville. I guess it was using
    > max/jitter or something, but there was a percussionist playing
    > electronic drums off to the side of a screen, and it was explained to
    > us prior to the performance that the audio input from the drums was
    > tweaking the video on the screen. But once the performance started,
    > the video looked like plain old linear video (albeit a bit abstract).
    > Had the introductory explanation not been given, and were the
    > percussionist not visible, there would have been nothing *apparently*
    > real-time/reactive about the piece. So if a piece must rely on such
    > accompanying explanatory texts to make known its underlying
    > experimental technology, how successful is such a piece as
    > experimental technology?

    Right. But sometimes there is more to a piece than can be taken in on
    face value. The process can be equally important (of course you know
    I'm not speaking specifically of the piece you mentioned above, which I
    have not experienced personally) and sometimes more so. Interactivity
    in a piece implies in principal a radical depart from the traditional
    relationship between de artist, the work and the audience -- of course
    this implication must be made explicit for the piece to work. All
    depends on the way in which the artist/initiator crafts the
    interactivity. Which just goes to show that -- what? That bad art
    sucks?

    Back to your initial question here: what if the technology isn't
    "apparently" doing what it is "actually" doing -- what does that mean,
    actually? In your piece, the randomness subtly changes what could be
    thought of as a series of static images. So that we don't and can't
    figure out when the series loops, because it doesn't. Imagine a piece
    where the viewer/user is confronted with a piece that does loop, but
    loops for one session only. So that only in communicating with other
    viewers/users could ever be deduced that the piece is in fact not a
    series of static images but is in reality randomised. Would this be a
    good example of a piece that is "apparently" doing something else than
    it is "actually" doing? And now -- why does this matter? Isn't it true
    that the code itself presents and represents the true colours of the
    piece? That the fact that we humans are experiencing the current
    instance of the presentation of the code as a series of static images
    is irrelevant for the importance of the piece?

    There's an anology with written music that might be interesting -- in
    Bach, we see musical notation that literally depicts the two beautiful
    brown eyes of some lady -- but of course, the viewer/user/consumer of
    that music experiences nothing of the sort. Just two G's. Or are they
    no more than that, just two G's?

    > g:
    >> As always, an explanatory text is just one of the many aspects of art
    >> waiting to be freed from it's functional shackles. (In there with
    >> resumes, documentation, book-keeping, paying bills, debts, bubble-gum
    >> stuck to the undersides of the studio tables [seriously!].) Pieces
    >> will suck less if the artist realises this.
    >
    > c:
    > Amen. There is an entire scene of graphic designers who make toys.
    > The toys are usually very cool and quirky and meticulously crafted,
    > and the packaging of such toys is almost as much a part of the
    > experience as the toys themselves. Graphic designers are fetishistic
    > about controlling the entire context of a user experience (down to
    > designing shelving within the retail stores that is in dialogue with
    > the objects for sale on the shelves.) This awareness and detail over
    > all aspects of the user's experience is one of the things that
    > legitimizes graphic designers as craftsmen to me.
    >
    > There is a famous story about Frank Lloyd Wright choosing even the
    > silverware for the residential homes he designed. He would re-visit
    > these homes after they had been lived in for about a year, and if the
    > furniture had been removed from its original locations, he would
    > re-arrange the furniture and put it back, often to the bewilderment of
    > the homeowners.

    It's often so that the difference between great art and mediocre art is
    in the finishing and polishing. This is -- to be obvious -- meant to be
    taken both literally and metaphorically.

    >
    > Such attention to contextual detail I would expect to find in
    > contemporary art (particularly in contemporary conceptual art
    > interested in questioning context and playing with viewer
    > expectation), and yet there is an almost tacky sloppiness about the
    > way many contemporary artists allow galleries (online and off) to
    > present their para-art information and to contextualize their pieces.
    > It's as if the artist assumes "the art starts here," and then whatever
    > happens outside of that "art" area is subject to the (often
    > aesthetically boring) rules of the academy and gallery culture.

    Again, great art (am I getting tedious already?) gets time, energy and
    money put into contextual detail. Otherwise, the story just wouldn't
    ring true.
  • curt cloninger | Sat May 1st 2004 11:42 p.m.
    g:
    > Back to your initial question here: what if the technology isn't
    > "apparently" doing what it is "actually" doing -- what does that
    > mean,
    > actually? In your piece, the randomness subtly changes what could be
    > thought of as a series of static images. So that we don't and can't
    > figure out when the series loops, because it doesn't. Imagine a piece
    > where the viewer/user is confronted with a piece that does loop, but
    > loops for one session only. So that only in communicating with other
    > viewers/users could ever be deduced that the piece is in fact not a
    > series of static images but is in reality randomised. Would this be a
    > good example of a piece that is "apparently" doing something else
    > than
    > it is "actually" doing?

    c:
    yes. crankbunny.com had a piece like that where it was a flash animation that played out differently depending on how/when you visited the site (kind of like the rhizome logo). You only realize that it's not linear upon your second visit (or upon reading the accompanying explanatory text).

    g:
    >And now -- why does this matter? Isn't it
    > true
    > that the code itself presents and represents the true colours of the
    > piece? That the fact that we humans are experiencing the current
    > instance of the presentation of the code as a series of static images
    > is irrelevant for the importance of the piece?

    c:
    I guess it depends on what the piece is about. My synesthetic bubble gum cards use code, but they aren't really about the code itself. They are about the subjective experience that the user has with the visceral media, and part of the visceral media is controlled by the code. For example, the "place" pack of cards are trying to represent the memory of a place more accurately than just a static series of snapshots or a segment of linear video. But if the user thinks they are watching a linear series of prefab photo collages, then part of the intended effect is lost. So is it cheating to say, "hey, here's what you're really looking at." Does coming out of character to give that didactic bit of para-art instruction do more harm than good to the piece? This is what I'm honestly wondering.

    http://www.mjt.org are the "stay in character on camera and off" superstars. Like if Matthew Barney had dressed as the Laughton Candidate at the Cremaster Guggenheim opening reception.
  • Geert Dekkers | Sun May 2nd 2004 5:36 a.m.
    Scroll ye down....
    Cheers
    Geert
    (http://nznl.com)

    On May 2, 2004, at 4:42 AM, curt cloninger wrote:

    > g:
    >> Back to your initial question here: what if the technology isn't
    >> "apparently" doing what it is "actually" doing -- what does that
    >> mean,
    >> actually? In your piece, the randomness subtly changes what could be
    >> thought of as a series of static images. So that we don't and can't
    >> figure out when the series loops, because it doesn't. Imagine a piece
    >> where the viewer/user is confronted with a piece that does loop, but
    >> loops for one session only. So that only in communicating with other
    >> viewers/users could ever be deduced that the piece is in fact not a
    >> series of static images but is in reality randomised. Would this be a
    >> good example of a piece that is "apparently" doing something else
    >> than
    >> it is "actually" doing?
    >
    > c:
    > yes. crankbunny.com had a piece like that where it was a flash
    > animation that played out differently depending on how/when you
    > visited the site (kind of like the rhizome logo). You only realize
    > that it's not linear upon your second visit (or upon reading the
    > accompanying explanatory text).
    >
    > g:
    >> And now -- why does this matter? Isn't it
    >> true
    >> that the code itself presents and represents the true colours of the
    >> piece? That the fact that we humans are experiencing the current
    >> instance of the presentation of the code as a series of static images
    >> is irrelevant for the importance of the piece?
    >
    > c:
    > I guess it depends on what the piece is about. My synesthetic bubble
    > gum cards use code, but they aren't really about the code itself.
    > They are about the subjective experience that the user has with the
    > visceral media, and part of the visceral media is controlled by the
    > code. For example, the "place" pack of cards are trying to represent
    > the memory of a place more accurately than just a static series of
    > snapshots or a segment of linear video. But if the user thinks they
    > are watching a linear series of prefab photo collages, then part of
    > the intended effect is lost. So is it cheating to say, "hey, here's
    > what you're really looking at." Does coming out of character to give
    > that didactic bit of para-art instruction do more harm than good to
    > the piece? This is what I'm honestly wondering.

    Again. you could turn this around if you like. In the work of Joseph
    Beuys, his text, the flow of his language (because he was first and
    foremost a teacher), was his life's work, and the pieces he made in the
    process could be called "examples". But not only that. Beuys would
    have never been such a well-known artist had he stayed silent and just
    produced pieces. (Of course not! we all realise) And, in effect, his
    art would never have been as GOOD as it is (or "is considered", take
    your pick) had he stayed silent.

    It all depends on what kind of artist you're trying te be. If you make
    (good) pieces and then go around saying: "Duh, it just came to me" you
    become an "expressive beast" artist, relying and depending entirely
    upon your more linguistically affluent bretheren (users/viewers,
    critics) to put the pieces together. This is one end of the spectrum.
    On the other side, there would be an artist unfathomably more hermetic
    than Beuys, succeeding in piecing together his works on his very own.
    (No-one would be allowed to breathe a word about his work other than
    he.) Of course, in the everyday practise of things we oscillate between
    the two. And let the two influence each other. (Work on pieces, talk
    about them, show them, talk about them more, work on more pieces.)

    So -- is it cheating to give that didactic bit of para-art instruction?
    I'd say that silence is a sentence too.
  • Michael Szpakowski | Sun May 2nd 2004 8:31 a.m.
    I hadn't intended to contribute to tis discussion ,
    partly because, as so often with Curt's pieces, I had
    the strange sensation of half formed words being taken
    right out of my mouth and then articulated better than
    I could hope to, but something slightly tangential
    intrigued me, which bears on the arts/crafts question:
    <It's often so that the difference between great art
    and mediocre art is
    in the finishing and polishing.>
    Now is this true ?.. I accept the qualifier "often so"
    but what interests me is how quite often figures in
    the fine arts tradition are relatively *uninterested*
    in finish, in polish ..and I'm thinking specifically
    here of a great Degas piece in the National Gallery
    London swathes of which are manifestly unfinished.
    ( and this is by no means a unique example)
    Now of course the commodification of such pieces means
    that work that was not finished ( and not felt to be
    finished by the artist) can now find itself displayed
    but it seems to me part of the practice of many
    interesting artists (especially but not exclusively in
    drawing) to focus on something beyond surface finish.
    There's also many centuries of tradition in Japan of
    an aesthetic that actually prioritizes sketchiness,
    impermanence, lack of finish.
    I entirely accept Curt's contention that we can and
    should learn from the craftsperson -I've been involved
    in making a number very short films recently and have
    been keeping more than one eye open for techniques in
    TV advertisments, which in many ( but profoundly
    limited) ways offer a master class in the genre, but I
    do feel that to some extent the art/craft divided is
    typified by the fact that the fine artist sometimes
    looks beyond finish not only without detriment but to
    the positive benefit of what they produce.
    To speculate as to why -the craftsperson is always
    embedded in some sort of economic relationship
    -producing for the market , or the feudal lord, or the
    church or whatever.
    The artist (although her products, once made, move
    into the world of commerce) not primarliy so.
    Milton wrote "Paradise Lost", said Marx, not for money
    but because it was *in his nature*. I think here we
    see the shamanistic roots of art very clearly - the
    fact that the finest work arises out of some very deep
    need in the depths of the human psyche.
    best
    michael

    =====
    *** You are asked for a jusqu'a car-portrait 'imagining ourselves' contribution.
    http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/self_portraits/contribute.html
    It black and an empty image must be qu'avec null, he n'est become the methods and material digitali/fotografici, (acceptable = ink, matita, coal, varnish; acceptable not = computer the photography &c)
    http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/self_portraits/index.html ***

    __________________________________
    Do you Yahoo!?
    Win a $20,000 Career Makeover at Yahoo! HotJobs
    http://hotjobs.sweepstakes.yahoo.com/careermakeover
  • Rob Myers | Sun May 2nd 2004 8:34 a.m.
    On 2 May 2004, at 09:11, Geert Dekkers wrote:

    > So -- is it cheating to give that didactic bit of para-art
    > instruction? I'd say that silence is a sentence too.

    Absolutely. Titling a work "Untitled" speaks volumes. And if anybody
    can point out an artwork that functions without context, explanation or
    external reference I'd be very interested to see it. Assuming anybody
    could. :-)

    - Rob.
  • Rob Myers | Sun May 2nd 2004 8:43 a.m.
    On 2 May 2004, at 12:30, Michael Szpakowski wrote:

    > To speculate as to why -the craftsperson is always
    > embedded in some sort of economic relationship
    > -producing for the market , or the feudal lord, or the
    > church or whatever.

    >cough< Saatchi >cough<

    > The artist (although her products, once made, move
    > into the world of commerce) not primarliy so.
    > Milton wrote "Paradise Lost", said Marx, not for money
    > but because it was *in his nature*. I think here we
    > see the shamanistic roots of art very clearly - the
    > fact that the finest work arises out of some very deep
    > need in the depths of the human psyche.

    "Art, for Jackson Pollock,
    Was inner neccessity
    But it was surplus value
    Got his place in history."

    - The Red Crayola with Art & Language (Kangaroo?)
    A Portrait of V. I. Lenin in the Style of Jackson Pollock (Part I)

    Also see "re:evolution", Terence McKenna, The Shamen (Boss Drum) :

    http://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?
    su5610e4914136c23af8a126e45e7d40&p4053&postcount=1

    - Rob.
  • curt cloninger | Sun May 2nd 2004 10:25 a.m.
    Hi Michael,

    I think the difference is between lack of intention and lack of polish. John Coltrane's sax tone from 65-67 was beyond unpolished to downright raw. But it was intentional, and it added to the wildness and fancy of his melodic explorations. Punk was a raw reaction to the sheen of disco, but it was intentionally raw for a purpose. So I see a difference with choosing to leave a piece a bit rough around the edges (although I still don't think this de-facto equals "more artistic") and leaving something rough around the edges because the artist is too half-assed to think it through.

    I hope that makes sense.

    peace,
    curt

    Michael Szpakowski wrote:

    > I hadn't intended to contribute to tis discussion ,
    > partly because, as so often with Curt's pieces, I had
    > the strange sensation of half formed words being taken
    > right out of my mouth and then articulated better than
    > I could hope to, but something slightly tangential
    > intrigued me, which bears on the arts/crafts question:
    > <It's often so that the difference between great art
    > and mediocre art is
    > in the finishing and polishing.>
    > Now is this true ?.. I accept the qualifier "often so"
    > but what interests me is how quite often figures in
    > the fine arts tradition are relatively *uninterested*
    > in finish, in polish ..and I'm thinking specifically
    > here of a great Degas piece in the National Gallery
    > London swathes of which are manifestly unfinished.
    > ( and this is by no means a unique example)
    > Now of course the commodification of such pieces means
    > that work that was not finished ( and not felt to be
    > finished by the artist) can now find itself displayed
    > but it seems to me part of the practice of many
    > interesting artists (especially but not exclusively in
    > drawing) to focus on something beyond surface finish.
    > There's also many centuries of tradition in Japan of
    > an aesthetic that actually prioritizes sketchiness,
    > impermanence, lack of finish.
    > I entirely accept Curt's contention that we can and
    > should learn from the craftsperson -I've been involved
    > in making a number very short films recently and have
    > been keeping more than one eye open for techniques in
    > TV advertisments, which in many ( but profoundly
    > limited) ways offer a master class in the genre, but I
    > do feel that to some extent the art/craft divided is
    > typified by the fact that the fine artist sometimes
    > looks beyond finish not only without detriment but to
    > the positive benefit of what they produce.
    > To speculate as to why -the craftsperson is always
    > embedded in some sort of economic relationship
    > -producing for the market , or the feudal lord, or the
    > church or whatever.
    > The artist (although her products, once made, move
    > into the world of commerce) not primarliy so.
    > Milton wrote "Paradise Lost", said Marx, not for money
    > but because it was *in his nature*. I think here we
    > see the shamanistic roots of art very clearly - the
    > fact that the finest work arises out of some very deep
    > need in the depths of the human psyche.
    > best
    > michael
    >
    >
    > =====
    > *** You are asked for a jusqu'a car-portrait 'imagining ourselves'
    > contribution.
    > http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/self_portraits/contribute.html
    > It black and an empty image must be qu'avec null, he n'est
    > become the methods and material digitali/fotografici, (acceptable =
    > ink, matita, coal, varnish; acceptable not = computer the photography
    > &c)
    > http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/self_portraits/index.html ***
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > __________________________________
    > Do you Yahoo!?
    > Win a $20,000 Career Makeover at Yahoo! HotJobs
    > http://hotjobs.sweepstakes.yahoo.com/careermakeover
  • curt cloninger | Sun May 2nd 2004 3:32 p.m.
    g:
    > Again. you could turn this around if you like. In the work of Joseph
    > Beuys, his text, the flow of his language (because he was first and
    > foremost a teacher), was his life's work, and the pieces he made in
    > the process could be called "examples". But not only that. Beuys would
    > have never been such a well-known artist had he stayed silent and
    > just produced pieces. (Of course not! we all realise) And, in effect, his
    > art would never have been as GOOD as it is (or "is considered", take
    > your pick) had he stayed silent.
    >
    > It all depends on what kind of artist you're trying te be. If you
    > make (good) pieces and then go around saying: "Duh, it just came to me"
    > you become an "expressive beast" artist, relying and depending entirely
    > upon your more linguistically affluent bretheren (users/viewers,
    > critics) to put the pieces together. This is one end of the spectrum.
    > On the other side, there would be an artist unfathomably more
    > hermetic than Beuys, succeeding in piecing together his works on his very own.
    > (No-one would be allowed to breathe a word about his work other than
    > he.) Of course, in the everyday practise of things we oscillate
    > between the two. And let the two influence each other. (Work on pieces, talk
    > about them, show them, talk about them more, work on more pieces.)
    >
    > So -- is it cheating to give that didactic bit of para-art
    > instruction? I'd say that silence is a sentence too.

    c:
    Thanks. That feedback helps.

    On a confessional note, I've always thought of myself as wearing two hats -- artist and critic. If I'm a convincing critic, then it seems unfair to even talk about my own artwork, because it's like a conflict of interest. I don't want people to like my art because I'm a good writer. If they like it at all, I want them to like it in and of itself. So that's part of my hesitation to use a bunch of elaborate para-art documents. But your point is well taken -- there's no way to avoid the conundrum; a cryptic or non-existent para-art document still "says" something.

    In Annie Hall, Woody Allen tells Diane Keaton that he doesn't want her to smoke pot before they have sex, because if she enjoys it, he'll feel like it was the pot and not him. He compares it to being a stand-up comedian (our recurring analogy) -- "If I get a laugh from a person who's high, it doesn't count, because they're always laughing." That describes the hang-up I have using para-art text to get people to like/understand my art. It also explains why I disrespect artists like Damien Hirst, who seems like he's all pot and no punch line. [But then if you're a relativist (or a capitalist), I guess it doesn't really matter how much you have to pimp/spin the system, as long as you're making the $. Dyske even argued that pimping oneself within the system is a type of art. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Whore.]
  • Geert Dekkers | Sun May 2nd 2004 4:50 p.m.
    On May 2, 2004, at 1:30 PM, Michael Szpakowski wrote:

    > I hadn't intended to contribute to tis discussion ,
    > partly because, as so often with Curt's pieces, I had
    > the strange sensation of half formed words being taken
    > right out of my mouth and then articulated better than
    > I could hope to, but something slightly tangential
    > intrigued me, which bears on the arts/crafts question:
    > <It's often so that the difference between great art
    > and mediocre art is
    > in the finishing and polishing.>
    > Now is this true ?.. I accept the qualifier "often so"
    > but what interests me is how quite often figures in
    > the fine arts tradition are relatively *uninterested*
    > in finish, in polish ..and I'm thinking specifically
    > here of a great Degas piece in the National Gallery
    > London swathes of which are manifestly unfinished.
    > ( and this is by no means a unique example)

    Actually, I think this is a difficult one, because Degas worked before
    the advent of modern art. Incidentally I know of murals by Degas that
    do have an intentional "unfinished" quality. But in the Baroque, a
    great number of artists used a loose brushstroke technique (because of
    the increased need for speed?) , which was, one way or the other,
    certainly intentional.
    >

    > Now of course the commodification of such pieces means
    > that work that was not finished ( and not felt to be
    > finished by the artist) can now find itself displayed
    > but it seems to me part of the practice of many
    > interesting artists (especially but not exclusively in
    > drawing) to focus on something beyond surface finish.
    > There's also many centuries of tradition in Japan of
    > an aesthetic that actually prioritizes sketchiness,
    > impermanence, lack of finish.

    This is true. Sort of. But I'd rephrase this. First of all -- I never
    meant to say that "polish and finish" was ever exclusively about a
    literal surface. It could just as much be about a conceptual surface.
    In the case of Japanese line-drawings, there is this saga that I
    suppose everyone knows: -- a draughtsman was commissioned to do
    drawings of a bird -- he went off for months on end, came back at the
    designed time but without drawings. The drawings he made on the spot,
    in a matter of seconds. When questioned, he told the commissioner that
    he had spent the time away comtemplating the subject so that he may
    capture its essence in a single line. So I wouldn't say "sketchiness",
    "impermanence", "lack of finish" because they are negative
    qualifications. There is no "lack" -- the way the subject is rendered
    is the best way possible given the intentions of the artist.

    Cheers

    Geert
    http://nznl.com
  • Rob Myers | Sun May 2nd 2004 6:35 p.m.
    On Sunday, May 02, 2004, at 08:50PM, Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:

    >Actually, I think this is a difficult one, because Degas worked before
    >the advent of modern art.

    There's also Michaelangelo, who was into unfinished works. This was possibly a good way of alluding to physical & divine beauty.

    >When questioned, he told the commissioner that
    >he had spent the time away comtemplating the subject so that he may
    >capture its essence in a single line. So I wouldn't say "sketchiness",
    >"impermanence", "lack of finish" because they are negative
    >qualifications. There is no "lack" -- the way the subject is rendered
    >is the best way possible given the intentions of the artist.

    The Whistler/Ruskin trial of 1878 was a good example of this:

    http://www.loyno.edu/~history/journal/Landry.htm

    '''the defense asked if two days of work was worth the 200-guinea price of the piece. Whistler replied, 'No. I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.
  • Rob Myers | Sun May 2nd 2004 6:35 p.m.
    On Sunday, May 02, 2004, at 08:50PM, Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:

    >Actually, I think this is a difficult one, because Degas worked before
    >the advent of modern art.

    There's also Michaelangelo, who was into unfinished works. This was possibly a good way of alluding to physical & divine beauty.

    >When questioned, he told the commissioner that
    >he had spent the time away comtemplating the subject so that he may
    >capture its essence in a single line. So I wouldn't say "sketchiness",
    >"impermanence", "lack of finish" because they are negative
    >qualifications. There is no "lack" -- the way the subject is rendered
    >is the best way possible given the intentions of the artist.

    The Whistler/Ruskin trial of 1878 was a good example of this:

    http://www.loyno.edu/~history/journal/Landry.htm

    '''the defense asked if two days of work was worth the 200-guinea price of the piece. Whistler replied, 'No. I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.
  • Michael Szpakowski | Sun May 2nd 2004 6:38 p.m.
    < if anybody
    can point out an artwork that functions without
    context, explanation or
    external reference>
    Three different things!

    (1)Context isn't decided or given by anyone -context
    exists -historical, political, social, psychological,
    artistic. Of course emphases may differ radically in
    the explication or interpretation of context.

    (2)External reference - OK many artworks clearly have
    external reference -how it operates for a particular
    artwok is a much more complex question. Even for
    artworks that have no obvious external reference it is
    often readable, surmisable by an appeal to the context
    discussed above -an example would be the work of the
    abstract expressionists.

    (3)Explanation -now this is something else again and
    we can divide it into two kinds -explanation by the
    artist and explanation by others: critics, casual
    viewers, journalists, sociologists of art, whatever.
    Here explanation by the artist is at issue.
    Technical explanations I personally have no problem
    with -its a practical matter -sometimes you maybe need
    to give people a clue, especially in interactive work
    ( but with generative type stuff personally I've
    gritted my teeth and thought 'well if they want to
    find it they will') but I guess if you do it you would
    want to try and do it elegantly and in an integrated
    way.
    My big bugbear is the artist statement, the artist's
    explanation of what their piece is about. I've never
    read one that I've found anything but massively
    irritating - I think that artists are usually the last
    people who should explicate their work, unless it is
    so dully one dimensional and tedious ( and God knows
    there's enough of that about) that it is susceptible
    to a linear straightforward and unambiguous statement
    of its meaning and intentions.
    michael

    =====
    *** You are asked for a jusqu'a car-portrait 'imagining ourselves' contribution.
    http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/self_portraits/contribute.html
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  • Rob Myers | Sun May 2nd 2004 6:51 p.m.
    On Sunday, May 02, 2004, at 10:38PM, Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com> wrote:

    >< if anybody
    > can point out an artwork that functions without
    > context, explanation or
    > external reference>
    >Three different things!

    But IMHO related inasmuchas they are external factors in the reception/evalutation of a virgin artwork that *do* affect its reception/evaluation.

    >(1)Context isn't decided or given by anyone -context
    >exists -historical, political, social, psychological,
    >artistic.

    Yes, but it is very important in evaluating an artwork.

    >Of course emphases may differ radically in
    >the explication or interpretation of context.

    This is true, but interpretations do tent to act on something to interpret if they are competent.

    >(2)External reference - OK many artworks clearly have
    >external reference -how it operates for a particular
    >artwok is a much more complex question.

    IMVVHO not really. I allege that *all* artworks have external reference and that this can be treated as resonance in every case.

    >Even for
    >artworks that have no obvious external reference it is
    >often readable, surmisable by an appeal to the context
    >discussed above -an example would be the work of the
    >abstract expressionists.

    Pollock's work is loveley for its encoding of its own creation into its physical and imagistic structure.

    >(3)Explanation -now this is something else again and
    >we can divide it into two kinds -explanation by the
    >artist and explanation by others: critics, casual
    >viewers, journalists, sociologists of art, whatever.

    These explanations have many characters, as you show. I meant "iconographic analysis".

    >Here explanation by the artist is at issue.
    >Technical explanations I personally have no problem
    >with -its a practical matter -sometimes you maybe need
    >to give people a clue, especially in interactive work
    >( but with generative type stuff personally I've
    >gritted my teeth and thought 'well if they want to
    >find it they will') but I guess if you do it you would
    >want to try and do it elegantly and in an integrated
    >way.

    With avant-garde work, the culture does not teach viewers the iconography and technique from kindergarten, so it may need explaining. It takes an incredible amount of knowledge to "see" a post-renaissance oil painting, but people have been taught it before they come to one.

    >My big bugbear is the artist statement, the artist's
    >explanation of what their piece is about.

    Ohhhh yes. :-)

    >I've never
    >read one that I've found anything but massively
    >irritating

    Conceptual artists tend to be better at this, try A&L...

    > I think that artists are usually the last
    >people who should explicate their work, unless it is
    >so dully one dimensional and tedious ( and God knows
    >there's enough of that about) that it is susceptible
    >to a linear straightforward and unambiguous statement
    >of its meaning and intentions.
    >michael

    I actually unsubscribed from Rhizome originally after being told off for criticising an artists statement with knowledge rather than simply accepting its horrifically underthought poetics.

    - Rob.
  • Michael Szpakowski | Sun May 2nd 2004 6:54 p.m.
    >cough< Saatchi >cough<
    I rest my case - most of the Saatchi stable show
    neither significant craft skills nor any discernible
    artistic merit (with the signal exception of the
    marvellous Grayson Perry who has both - only his stuff
    , the two Peter Doigs and the Bratbys held near
    suicidal depression at bay for me during a visit to
    the awful South Bank Saatchi gallery last Summer.

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  • Michael Szpakowski | Sun May 2nd 2004 7 p.m.
    < Actually, I think this is a difficult one, because
    Degas worked before
    the advent of modern art.>
    Did he? Do you think he thought that? Where is the
    magic line?
    How is it relevant? What difference does it make?

    <I never
    meant to say that "polish and finish" was ever
    exclusively about a
    literal surface. >

    OK -fair enough - I *was* addressing simply the
    question of literal finish -I do think Curt's original
    point vis a vis craftspeople and artists has force in
    this entirely literal sense.
    I often feel that commercial graphic design, films &c
    are in some sense denser , more finished , more
    carefully constructed than many artworks appear to be.
    Does this make them "better" -well I think not.
    Can we learn from them -absolutely.
    Is there a difference between lack of surface finish
    where the value of the artwork is undamaged and indeed
    enhanced by the artist's focus on particular details
    at the expense of others, and sloppiness/laziness/
    contempt for the audience - of course.
    Both exist and we have to argue about which is which!
    best
    michael

    =====
    *** You are asked for a jusqu'a car-portrait 'imagining ourselves' contribution.
    http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/self_portraits/contribute.html
    It black and an empty image must be qu'avec null, he n'est become the methods and material digitali/fotografici, (acceptable = ink, matita, coal, varnish; acceptable not = computer the photography &c)
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  • Michael Mahan | Sun May 2nd 2004 8:31 p.m.
    Actually, I think this is a difficult one, because Degas worked
    before the advent of modern art."

    To say that Degas worked before the advent of modern art is really pushing the point. I don't know many art historians that would not consider the impressionists modern.

    "Incidentally I know of murals by Degas that
    do have an intentional "unfinished" quality.""

    I know of no murals by Degas at all.

    "But in the Baroque, a
    great number of artists used a loose brushstroke technique (because of
    the increased need for speed?) , which was, one way or the other,
    certainly intentional."

    I hope you don't mean to imply that Degas was Baroque, because that's what you seem to be doing.
  • Geert Dekkers | Mon May 3rd 2004 6:49 a.m.
    Actually I was thinking of Goya when Degas was mentioned -- so I wasn't
    thinking at all ......

    On May 3, 2004, at 1:31 AM, Michael Mahan wrote:

    >
    >
    > "Actually, I think this is a difficult one, because Degas worked
    > before the advent of modern art."
    >
    > To say that Degas worked before the advent of modern art is really
    > pushing the point. I don't know many art historians that would not
    > consider the impressionists modern.
    >
    > "Incidentally I know of murals by Degas that
    > do have an intentional "unfinished" quality.""
    >
    > I know of no murals by Degas at all.
    >
    > "But in the Baroque, a
    > great number of artists used a loose brushstroke technique (because of
    > the increased need for speed?) , which was, one way or the other,
    > certainly intentional."
    >
    > I hope you don't mean to imply that Degas was Baroque, because that's
    > what you seem to be doing.
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
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  • Michael Szpakowski | Mon May 3rd 2004 9:18 a.m.
    *..and another thing..*
    one of the things it seems to me at least, that is a
    necessary condition for great art is a , for want of a
    better word, a *richness* -a depth to the piece which
    means that it repays multiple viewings, readings,
    hearings, visits with new insights.
    Paradoxically its the very perfection of the surface
    finish, the dotting of the Is and crossing of the Ts
    in much commercial work that somehow closes a piece
    off and precludes this quality.
    (and why is it essential that it be so closed off
    ?-because if you're paying top dollar for a invitation
    to folk to spend their hard earned cash on your
    product, however hip the artist you hire, however
    apparently open the surface of the ad or whatever she
    crafts for you, finally, finally you're paying money
    for a *lack of ambiguity* -"buy my product" .And if
    its say, a game, however subtle it is ultimately it
    must be *encompassable*, *soluble* by any of your
    target market, for you to make money -the twists and
    turns, the resonances, must be finite)
    I speculate that a certain lack of surface finish or
    at least an unconcern or deprioritizing of it could
    be related to what leaves a work more in dialogue with
    the specatator, listener, whatever and with its
    context, that creates this richness, this resonance.
    michael

    --- Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    > < Actually, I think this is a difficult one, because
    > Degas worked before
    > the advent of modern art.>
    > Did he? Do you think he thought that? Where is the
    > magic line?
    > How is it relevant? What difference does it make?
    >
    > <I never
    > meant to say that "polish and finish" was ever
    > exclusively about a
    > literal surface. >
    >
    > OK -fair enough - I *was* addressing simply the
    > question of literal finish -I do think Curt's
    > original
    > point vis a vis craftspeople and artists has force
    > in
    > this entirely literal sense.
    > I often feel that commercial graphic design, films
    > &c
    > are in some sense denser , more finished , more
    > carefully constructed than many artworks appear to
    > be.
    > Does this make them "better" -well I think not.
    > Can we learn from them -absolutely.
    > Is there a difference between lack of surface finish
    > where the value of the artwork is undamaged and
    > indeed
    > enhanced by the artist's focus on particular details
    > at the expense of others, and sloppiness/laziness/
    > contempt for the audience - of course.
    > Both exist and we have to argue about which is
    > which!
    > best
    > michael
    >
    >
    > =====
    > *** You are asked for a jusqu'a car-portrait
    > 'imagining ourselves' contribution.
    >
    http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/self_portraits/contribute.html
    > It black and an empty image must be
    > qu'avec null, he n'est become the methods and
    > material digitali/fotografici, (acceptable = ink,
    > matita, coal, varnish; acceptable not = computer the
    > photography &c)
    >
    http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/self_portraits/index.html
    > ***
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > __________________________________
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  • curt cloninger | Mon May 3rd 2004 12:51 p.m.
    I still think surface polish is just one aspect of rigor/thoroughness/purposefulness -- the most initially obvious aspect but not necessarily the most important. Think of Matthew Barney's films. They are very polished visually in terms of a high-budget production sheen, and he's taken some crap from the art world for that. But his narrative is far from closed. I think it can fairly be argued that the films reward multiple viewings.

    It's like comparing the White Stripes to Stereolab. The former is one-off and raw-edged; the latter is intricate, layered, thoroughly arranged, with an ultra-glossy lounge production sheen. But both reward repeat listenings (and stereolab even moreso).

    There is a contemporary cliche that says gorgeous production value = commerce = not art, while low-budget technical shoddiness = legitimacy = art. I don't think it divides so neatly along those lines.

    But then I think "Summer Breeze" by Seals & Crofts is a work of sublime genius, so there you are.

    Michael Szpakowski wrote:

    > *..and another thing..*
    > one of the things it seems to me at least, that is a
    > necessary condition for great art is a , for want of a
    > better word, a *richness* -a depth to the piece which
    > means that it repays multiple viewings, readings,
    > hearings, visits with new insights.
    > Paradoxically its the very perfection of the surface
    > finish, the dotting of the Is and crossing of the Ts
    > in much commercial work that somehow closes a piece
    > off and precludes this quality.
    > (and why is it essential that it be so closed off
    > ?-because if you're paying top dollar for a invitation
    > to folk to spend their hard earned cash on your
    > product, however hip the artist you hire, however
    > apparently open the surface of the ad or whatever she
    > crafts for you, finally, finally you're paying money
    > for a *lack of ambiguity* -"buy my product" .And if
    > its say, a game, however subtle it is ultimately it
    > must be *encompassable*, *soluble* by any of your
    > target market, for you to make money -the twists and
    > turns, the resonances, must be finite)
    > I speculate that a certain lack of surface finish or
    > at least an unconcern or deprioritizing of it could
    > be related to what leaves a work more in dialogue with
    > the specatator, listener, whatever and with its
    > context, that creates this richness, this resonance.
    > michael
  • Michael Szpakowski | Mon May 3rd 2004 3:02 p.m.
    Hi Curt
    I claim it as no more than a tendency or perhaps
    better, one possibility amongst others... but I do
    think its there and there are material reasons for it.
    By the way, in my opinion you're entirely right to
    seperate the critical and artistic spheres in the way
    that you do.
    From the artist's point of view rather than reams of
    explanation I wonder if there isn't some milage to be
    had from the idea that we make stuff not for an ideal
    viewer but for a "competent" one.
    So in the case of generative stuff they would perhaps
    have experienced similar work enough to know what to
    look for.
    When I watch something like Tarkovsky's "Mirror" in
    the cinema -I can enjoy it initially in a purely
    visceral, affective way -its a beautiful and
    hearbreaking film. But if I do a little work- say on
    Russian history and come back to it a second or third
    time my enjoyment and what I get from the piece is
    much enhanced thereby.
    ( of course the fact that I watch it with subtitles is
    I suppose a kind of 'explanation' -although even here
    my extremely poor Russian occasionally allows me to
    get closer to the heart of a scene -if I acutually did
    some serious work on it I'm sure it would be work
    repayed)
    Despite the fact that I grew up with and continue to
    love pop culture with a fair bit of passion I do think
    one of the negative outcomes of its hegemony has been
    the idea that cultural experience should be available
    immediately , without effort on the part of the
    viewer. ( and this is not an argument for elitism but
    for more opportunity for more people to learn about
    and participate in artistic activity).
    An interesting discussion!
    best
    michael
    --- curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com> wrote:
    > I still think surface polish is just one aspect of
    > rigor/thoroughness/purposefulness -- the most
    > initially obvious aspect but not necessarily the
    > most important. Think of Matthew Barney's films.
    > They are very polished visually in terms of a
    > high-budget production sheen, and he's taken some
    > crap from the art world for that. But his narrative
    > is far from closed. I think it can fairly be argued
    > that the films reward multiple viewings.
    >
    > It's like comparing the White Stripes to Stereolab.
    > The former is one-off and raw-edged; the latter is
    > intricate, layered, thoroughly arranged, with an
    > ultra-glossy lounge production sheen. But both
    > reward repeat listenings (and stereolab even
    > moreso).
    >
    > There is a contemporary cliche that says gorgeous
    > production value = commerce = not art, while
    > low-budget technical shoddiness = legitimacy = art.
    > I don't think it divides so neatly along those
    > lines.
    >
    > But then I think "Summer Breeze" by Seals & Crofts
    > is a work of sublime genius, so there you are.
    >
    >
    >
    > Michael Szpakowski wrote:
    >
    > > *..and another thing..*
    > > one of the things it seems to me at least, that is
    > a
    > > necessary condition for great art is a , for want
    > of a
    > > better word, a *richness* -a depth to the piece
    > which
    > > means that it repays multiple viewings, readings,
    > > hearings, visits with new insights.
    > > Paradoxically its the very perfection of the
    > surface
    > > finish, the dotting of the Is and crossing of the
    > Ts
    > > in much commercial work that somehow closes a
    > piece
    > > off and precludes this quality.
    > > (and why is it essential that it be so closed off
    > > ?-because if you're paying top dollar for a
    > invitation
    > > to folk to spend their hard earned cash on your
    > > product, however hip the artist you hire, however
    > > apparently open the surface of the ad or whatever
    > she
    > > crafts for you, finally, finally you're paying
    > money
    > > for a *lack of ambiguity* -"buy my product" .And
    > if
    > > its say, a game, however subtle it is ultimately
    > it
    > > must be *encompassable*, *soluble* by any of your
    > > target market, for you to make money -the twists
    > and
    > > turns, the resonances, must be finite)
    > > I speculate that a certain lack of surface finish
    > or
    > > at least an unconcern or deprioritizing of it
    > could
    > > be related to what leaves a work more in dialogue
    > with
    > > the specatator, listener, whatever and with its
    > > context, that creates this richness, this
    > resonance.
    > > michael
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > -> visit: on Fridays the Rhizome.org web site is
    > open to non-members
    > +
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  • Rob Myers | Mon May 3rd 2004 7:01 p.m.
    On 3 May 2004, at 14:51, Matthew Mascotte wrote:

    > Bill Viola shows his work without title cards or
    > curatorial statements so that you come into his work
    > and make sense of it on your own...the only guiding hand
    > can be had after in the museum book store.
    >
    > Is that a good example of what you're talking about?

    Viola's work requires a gallery context (I wouldn't let my kids play
    with it, and you couldn't put it in an office).

    It also requires an extraordinary acceptance of video as art, relative
    to current high and low cultural norms. An idiot I knew in the early
    1990s complained that Viola's work wasn't really video because it
    didn't have "binary" or other film/video compositional devices...
    Someone who's idea of video is that DVD is clearer would need education
    to see a Viola work. And someone used to oil painting would turn their
    nose up at blurry video.

    - Rob.
  • void void | Mon May 3rd 2004 7:47 p.m.
    ha, ha ha!
    Wow how meta.. a long boring text, about how... explaining art... is not art!

    ( I can almost hear the Steven Wright monotone drone on and on... )

    reminds me of the morph quote:

    "writing about art is like dancing about architecture"

    dance the night away, kids!

    AE04.
    atomicelroy.com

    I'll be here all week!
    tip your waitress... and drive safely!
  • curt cloninger | Mon May 3rd 2004 9:33 p.m.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20021112214711/http://www.altsense.net/library/factual/i_have_a_life.html

    atomic elroy wrote:

    > ha, ha ha!
    > Wow how meta.. a long boring text, about how... explaining art... is
    > not art!
    >
    > ( I can almost hear the Steven Wright monotone drone on and on... )
    >
    > reminds me of the morph quote:
    >
    > "writing about art is like dancing about architecture"
    >
    > dance the night away, kids!
  • Rob Myers | Tue May 4th 2004 6:28 a.m.
    So writing about writing about writing about art to criticise this is like dancing about dancing about dancing about architecture to build it.

    Homer Simpson would have something to say on the matter.

    What would be wrong with dancing about architecture anyway? You can't dance through it... :-) It would take a fairly major lack of imagination to think that dancing about *anything* could be of itself uninteresting, or uninformative regarding the dance's subject.

    - Rob.

    On Tuesday, May 04, 2004, at 01:33AM, curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com> wrote:

    >http://web.archive.org/web/20021112214711/http://www.altsense.net/library/factual/i_have_a_life.html
    >
    >atomic elroy wrote:
    >
    >> ha, ha ha!
    >> Wow how meta.. a long boring text, about how... explaining art... is
    >> not art!
    >>
    >> ( I can almost hear the Steven Wright monotone drone on and on... )
    >>
    >> reminds me of the morph quote:
    >>
    >> "writing about art is like dancing about architecture
  • Michael Szpakowski | Tue May 4th 2004 4:10 p.m.
    Breaking my own rules not to mix criticism and posting
    work and overcoming my aversion to artist statements,
    since the idea for this struck me whilst participating
    in this thread.
    The artist statement forms the audio part of the work
    -its not an original idea of course -Alvin Lucier did
    as much years ago in his wonderful "I am sitting in a
    room", which in turn gets name checked here -how meta
    is that?

    http://www.somedancersandmusicians.com/phase_patterns/index.html

    and I don't claim this as art - more a little study
    best
    michael

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  • void void | Tue May 4th 2004 7:53 p.m.
    DOH!
    Please don't misunderstand... I detest the dreaded "artist statement" also.
    just found it ironic in a non-post modern kinda way!
    ah remember old fashion irony!

    maybe I should promote my self as an art humorist. ( it would help if the shit was funny, huh!)

    IMHO...
    art work can have a title, a frame, and context!
    leave the subterfuge to curator and critics!

    thank you and good night,
    remember... wednesday is improv night!
  • void void | Tue May 4th 2004 11:10 p.m.
    P.S. don't even think of turning off your computer!
  • Pall Thayer | Wed May 5th 2004 8:23 a.m.
    I personally prefer a subtle, yet simple Vulcan mind-meld over the written
    'artists statement'. Adds more depth.

    If anyone is having problems picking up my vibes, please refer to the manual.

    On Tuesday 04 May 2004 22:53, atomic elroy wrote:
    > DOH!
    > Please don't misunderstand... I detest the dreaded "artist statement" also.
    > just found it ironic in a non-post modern kinda way!

    --
    Pall Thayer
    artist/teacher
    http://www.this.is/pallit
    http://www.this.is/isjs
    http://www.this.is/harmony
    http://130.208.220.190/panse
  • void void | Wed May 5th 2004 3:42 p.m.
    Now we're getting some place!

    How about a more proven approach, like forcing the viewer to submit to Electro Shock Therapy,
    there by forcing the correct synapse to close to make sure they are interpreting the work in the manner the artist intended! ;-)

    "Medication... all patients to the Day Room for medication..."

    Pall Thayer wrote:

    > I personally prefer a subtle, yet simple Vulcan mind-meld over the
    > written
    > 'artists statement'. Adds more depth.
    >
    > If anyone is having problems picking up my vibes, please refer to the
    > manual.
    ]
    > Pall Thayer
    > artist/teacher
    > http://www.this.is/pallit
    > http://www.this.is/isjs
    > http://www.this.is/harmony
    > http://130.208.220.190/panse
    >
    >
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