aGalloway, FlashFormalism and Complexification

Posted by ben syverson | Fri Oct 8th 2004 3:43 a.m.

On Oct 7, 2004, at 9:21 PM, curt cloninger wrote:

> It seems like at this point you're grapsing at things about which to
> be contrary. I think you're best tactic for sparking dialogue is to
> get into the work piece by piece, preferably with as little hyperbole
> as possible.

Thanks for the advice -- I will follow it as best I am able 02.
Although after seven hours straight today of responding to
multiplePeeps, this may be the last word from me on this particular
line of discussion, for fear of repeating myself and going around in
circles forever. But I certainly appreciate the condescending tone;
I'll be sure to lather it on liberally as well.

> The works in ArtBase are easy targets. Not to dis the ArtBase, but
> it seeks to be fairly inclusive, and nobody is really looking to it as
> the be all end all archive of contemporary new media art.

No, although that's essentially how it's framed by its creators -- the
Rhizome.org front page used to read "Rhizome.org -> THE NEW MEDIA ART
RESOURCE."

...

T H E New Media Art Resource. The one, as in [Gnostic/Matrix]
mythology, as in THE one. You think they didn't consider that? That's
calculated. So if they're going to claim definitiveness, I will hold
them to it. Rhizome and the ArtBase are thus representatives of
newMedia as a whole, and should be approached as such.

> You say that the Shape of Song (
> http://www.turbulence.org/Works/song/mono.html ) and textarc (
> http://www.textarc.org/ ) don't utilize visual abstraction, that every
> pixel is procedural and representational. Perhaps from a technical
> coding perspective.

How about from a logical perspective? I define abstract as either
non-representational or so obscurely representational as to be
indistinguishable from non-representational. This is a fairly
controversial distinction, but I believe in it. I think squares moving
around the screen randomly is essentially the same as squares moving in
the same manner but driven by stock prices.

> But data visualization is inherently abstraction.

In that case, a book is abstract art, because language is an
abstraction of thought (which may be an abstraction of chemistry &&
physics?). Where do we stop? We get into stonerDiscussionLand.

> The artist is literally abstracting data (from text to animation in
> the first piece and from sound to shapeForm in the second). The
> artists could have abstracted the data any number of ways, but they
> chose to abstract it in very specific ways, not just to achieve
> accurate representation, but to achieve an abstract, aesthetic effect.

It's an aesthetic effect all right, but it's in no way abstract. Unless
you're going to count sheet music as abstract as well. Of course in one
sense (like language) it is, but as you can see, that's not a very
productive avenue of discussion, is it?

> The pieces work not just because they are useful or accurate (indeed,
> neither are terribly useful), but also because they look interesting.

Now who's using Marxist && scientific terminology? Who gives a fsck if
they're "useful" or "accurate?" That's not at all what makes them
interesting to me. What I find fascinating about them is the way that
they pose questions about navigation and representation, and attempt to
answer those questions. They are indeed interesting-looking -- they're
fascinating shapes when you realize how they describe and navigate
concepts and relationships. If you stripped away the conceptual
element, and I only had the visuals, I would absolutely disagree that
they were interesting-looking.

> Furthermore, the way in which they look interesting is intrinsically
> related to the data they are abstracting, but not merely arbitrarily
> driven by it.

Exactly! As you say, they are interesting in their way exactly because
of the concepts happening. If the MIDI files in Shape of Song merely
determined the amount to offset transparent squares, my interest
wouldn't hold.

> Each coder's "hand/eye/craft/aesthetic intent" is imposed on the way
> the their output looks (in the case of Shape of Song) and moves/reacts
> (in the case of TextArc). This is part of the art.

Sure, no one doubts that nugget. I know you think I'm a negative d00d,
but I'm not attacking individuality...

> Regarding carnivore ( http://www.rhizome.org/carnivore ) the genius of
> the piece is precisely that it farms out the last-mile aesthetics to
> "artisans" (if you must) who enjoy and are skillful at visual
> representation.

You say genius, I say Galloway was making a considered move to maintain
distance from this world of newFormalism while leveraging it to his
advantage. This project allowed him to use the kind of splashy
abstraction that gets people's attention without actually giving up his
Conceptualist membership card.

> Galloway tackled the obligatory political concept and coding. The
> political concept (surveilance) was/is very en vogue and thus a
> shoe-in for gallery-ization, but there's nothing terribly sexy about
> that aspect of it to me.

Nor to me. I find Galloway's work to have a fairly repellent tension
between Hipsterism, Careerism and Hackerism. The thin concepts that do
make their way into his work are, as you describe, unrelated to the
ulterior motives that drive it. But they are indeed an easy sell to
overEager galleries and institutions.

> 1. It takes brilliant advantage of the online community. It's true
> net art, not just because it runs on the network (again, an obligatory
> requirement), but because it optimizes the collaborative aspects of
> the networked community in its ongoing production.

I would rephrase your first sentence to read "It takes advantage of his
online community." Because the work was really about drawing attention
to Rhizome.org as "THE new media art resource," and the awesomeness
that is AlexGalloway. The more people who "collaborate" by contributing
clients, the more press and attention he receives. This work engages
the network on only the most superficial and rudimentary level; the net
simply serves as a highFashion publicRelations network to draw people
closer to Him.

> 2. In so clearly bifurcating the concept (backend) and the visual
> aesthetics (front end) it uses its literal, technical form as a
> meta-phor to foreground the split in art criticism between concept and
> visual aesthetics (the same split we've been dancing around for the
> last two days in these posts).

It is indeed a bifurcation, stemming from the realization that he could
capitalize on the screensaverization of newMedia while maintaining his
credibility as a "serious artist." In this way, all Carnivore clients
become part of his work, which happens to be to his advantage, while he
is absolved of the specific responsibility of authorship of those
clients. He reaps the praise as the conceptualistMastermind behind the
project, and artDirectors in magazines everywhere get to print
prettyPictures. And it doesn't stop there....

> The project then goes on to unite these two aspects into a single
> work, thus showing that the two aren't really diametrically opposed,
> but that they drive and complement each other and are "apiece."

Oh, everyone united in The House that Alex Built. It's touching! Truly
touching, and also utter fantasy. In his masterStroke, Galloway gets
credit for uniting conceptualism and aesthetics while actually driving
them further apart. By implicitly encouraging the production of work
that deals in [dataVisualization/dataAbstraction] (ie, Carnivore
clients), Galloway ensures that there will be enough prettyDataPictures
to draw people to Rhizome.org for some time, and leaves him plenty of
time to create more hipsterCareerHacks. The division created is not a
comment on the division, but rather a protraction of the division.

> It's easy to look at Carnivore and get excited about the politcal
> aspects of surveilance. But that's the easy surface read of the
> project. You said earlier that RSG's part in the piece was
> concepetual. A facile critique.

It is conceptual, but it isn't about surveillance; it's about Alex
Galloway. At least Jeff Koons' work is about how ridiculousness and
shameless his carreeristNarcissism is. Galloway's work obfuscates the
fact that it is un-ironically about how cool he is.

> Their genius in the piece was to orchesetrate an outsourcing of the
> generic conceptual to the idiosynchratic abstract. And Alex's
> marketing genius in the whole project was to make it "about
> surveilance," when it's really not about surveilance at all

Exactly. Although one man's "marketing genius" is another's
"doubleSpeak careerBuilding."

> [Incidentally, Galloway also hired Takeshi Hamada (
> http://www.hamada-takeshi.com/ ) to design the carnivore logo. Hamada
> is the same designer who designed the rhizome logo you so flippantly
> dissed.]

You're right -- I didn't spend enough time examining the Rhizome logo.
Let's look at it together! Hmm. I see lines. No, let's dig deeper!
Lines, as in linearity, as in 1-dimensionality, as in locked in a
to-and-fro proto-Flatland hell (AbbottStyle). Deeper still! Okay, I see
a hub and spoke, suggesting centrality, unification, Modernism. Deeper
still! Wait, they seem to be different colors, so there must be
multiple elements coming together in the same place! Like a city, which
grows rapidly before calcifying into stone. Deeper still! What's that?
You say these lines aren't simply random, but based on some... data?
What kind of data? Oh, 11 herbs and spices, eh? Well, a secret's a
secret -- I'll take your word that the lines are based on Something!
What's that? You want a final analysis?

It seems that this "Rhizome" is some sort of unified location for...
Modernist secretDataPictures?

There. I've just given the logo more thought than most Rhizomers
probably [have/would care to]. Is there something deeper I should be
"getting," or am I just not appreciating it enough somehow?

> You say, "whether or not they agree." They categorically disagree,
> and that's my point. You may assimilate them into your current
> historical paradigm to your own intellectual satisfaction, but if they
> were here today, they wouldn't go so quietly.

I hate to say this, but if we start relying on the artists to interpret
their own work, intellectual discourse in the art community will
largely wither and die. Do you believe everything Warhol told you about
his work? Of course not, you look at the work and you draw your own
conclusions. The conclusion I've reached after snoring my way through
five or six years of FlashFormalism is that I'd like to raise a little
hell about why this work continues to be made.

> Brian Eno:
> Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.

Breaking news: subscribing to Rhizome is NOT withdrawal in disgust, but
rather fullOn engagement. If you really want to withdraw from the
artWorld in disgust, unsubscribe and truly disEngage.

> cf: http://www.rhizome.org/print.rhiz?7261 (a summary of my position
> regarding contemporary new media criticism).

yesYes, although I do find it rather curious to craft such a critique
of criticism, when the piece is obviously part of that same critical
discussion.

> http://www.complexification.net/gallery/machines/interAggregate/
> index.php
> So it ain't just FlashFormalism, Ben. It's "speaking" about art
> history; about new media's relation to art history; about the nature
> of time-shiftedness and instruction giving; about the balance between
> chaos and control; about the continuum of performance,
> meta-performance (literally "script writing"), and object; about the
> relationship between process and visual aesthetics; about the
> relationship between code, hand, line, and dance; about the ability of
> software-based media to evince an idiosynchratic personal style. Plus
> it looks so danged pretty. And the beauty of it (literally) is, you
> don't have to grok the above insights to get something out of the
> piece.

This piece doesn't interest me, and to be honest, I don't really like
looking at it. But let's skip past that.

To pose a question that "Plasma Studii" raised, how much of your
analysis is the kind of critical rhetoric you so despise, and how much
do you really get out of the work? I'm fairly attuned to all of the
fields of interest that you raise, but when I look at this piece, I can
only get to a few of these concepts, and only when I really push
myself. And afterwards I have the dirty feeling that intellectually, I
just squeezed blood from a stone, and I might as well have been looking
at a Hallmark card or a block of wood. It's like an artSchool exercise:
write the artist's statement for the blackVelvet dolphinPainting. Lest
this get into a personal quibble over what two people get from a single
work, let me ask you this: if, as a hypothetical viewer, I'm not moved
or impressed enough by a piece to give it even a few minutes of
thought, will you really blame me?

Can you really point the finger at me for not "grokking" it, and accuse
me of intellectualSnobbery for asking why I see so many things like it?

> And you're not grocking those things (or you're doing an award-winning
> job at playing devil's advocate) because you've been conditioned to
> look for something heavy, political, important, groundbreaking, and
> immediately dialogue-able.

Oh, I see you *can* point the finger at me. Okay. This must be a
problem on my end. How did cCloninger find out about my artSchool
brainwashing, anyway? That fox is always one step ahead...

> (When intellectual stimulation leads to mental masturbation, call
> us. Our trained professionals are standing by.) If it's pretty and
> subtle and anti-sublime, it must not be saying anything. And if it
> happens to show some superficial resemblance to a screen saver, Egad!
> Out with the bathwater it goes.

Yes, because my critique is superficial and categorical. Oh wait, it's
not. I have no investment in overIntellectualizing anything. I'm simply
making a small point about the overAbundance of FlashFormalism, and
raising the issue of why there isn't more critical thought and
discourse around it. You (and others) seem to agree that more critical
engagement is desirable. So what, in precise terms, are we disagreeing
about?

Besides, you say "masturbation" like its a dirty and shameful word, but
when I think about it, there is no better word to describe art!
* Both are immensely pleasurable (unless you have "issues" as they call
them)
* Both are frowned upon in society (except by the enlightened few) --
even though *everybody* does it
* Both have no "productive" purpose, yet, oddly, seem to stimulate
those in production.
* Both can take place in public, alone, in pairs, in groups, or with
lubrication (see matthewBarney)
* Both can be either invigoratingly expressive and sensual, or
depressingly uninspired.
* Both are necessary and fascinating
* It's always weird when someone tries to teach you how to do either.

All art is masturbation. Although not necessarily vice versa. ;)

> No, but you're implicitly approaching art as material and humans as
> material.

Oh. Really? ...

Nah...

> There's seems to be little room for the spiritual in the assumptions
> of your critical perspective. But then spirit went out with
> Romanticism, so you're off the hook there.

I don't like the word "spirit," just as I don't like the word "soul,"
as I think they're overUsed and at this point, bereft of the power that
their meaning once held. I don't adhere to any specific conventional
spirituality, but I place my own spirituality somewhere between Zen
Buddhism and [Superstring Theory/M-Theory]. Not that it has any
relevance to this discussion; if I am ever spiritually moved by a piece
of Flash art, you will be the very first to know.

Sincerely,

- ben
  • Rob Myers | Fri Oct 8th 2004 4:08 a.m.
    On Friday, October 08, 2004, at 10:50AM, bensyverson <rhizome@bensyverson.com> wrote:

    >It is conceptual, but it isn't about surveillance; it's about Alex
    >Galloway.

    Now we're getting somewhere. :-) Replace "conceptual" with "aesthetic" and "surveillance" with "brown". We'll have to change Alex's name as well I suppose, but you get the idea.

    >At least Jeff Koons' work is about how ridiculousness and
    >shameless his carreeristNarcissism is.

    Koons' work is the most socially literate American art I've seen since I don't know when. The guy Gets It, can Explain It, and has done so through and in his work. Popples, the basketballs, the balloon dog, the pr0n, all are conceptually steeped aesthetic nightmares to beat class culture over the head with. All of which goes through and with the fact that he's a shameless careerist.

    >Do you believe everything Warhol told you about
    >his work?

    Yes. Particlarly the bit about other people making most of it. ;-)

    >> Brian Eno:
    >> Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
    >
    >Breaking news: subscribing to Rhizome is NOT withdrawal in disgust,

    Is FF?

    >yesYes, although I do find it rather curious to craft such a critique
    >of criticism, when the piece is obviously part of that same critical
    >discussion.

    If criticism is beyond criticism then it is surely worthless: for criticism the mark of value is being an object of criticism.

    >> And you're not grocking those things (or you're doing an award-winning
    >> job at playing devil's advocate) because you've been conditioned to
    >> look for something heavy, political, important, groundbreaking, and
    >> immediately dialogue-able.
    >
    >Oh, I see you *can* point the finger at me. Okay. This must be a
    >problem on my end. How did cCloninger find out about my artSchool
    >brainwashing, anyway? That fox is always one step ahead...

    I'm afraid this has been part of my argument as well. The virtue you seek does not have the virtue you seek. That is, an art that is obviously critical of something else that we can all agree with the criticism of and feel the virtue of criticising without ourselves being touched by that criticism is not particularly critical. It is an aesthetic of criticism rather than an ethic of criticism.

    >All art is masturbation. Although not necessarily vice versa. ;)

    If this list had a .sig that'd get my vote for it. :-)

    - Rob.
  • curt cloninger | Fri Oct 8th 2004 7:57 a.m.
    Goooood Morning Ben! Shall we?...

    Ben:
    T H E New Media Art Resource. The one, as in [Gnostic/Matrix]
    mythology, as in THE one. You think they didn't consider that? That's
    calculated. So if they're going to claim definitiveness, I will hold
    them to it. Rhizome and the ArtBase are thus representatives of
    newMedia as a whole, and should be approached as such.

    curt:
    excellent! Also, I don't know whether I mentioned this yet, but I'm the man.

    Ben:
    How about from a logical perspective? I define abstract as either
    non-representational or so obscurely representational as to be
    indistinguishable from non-representational. This is a fairly
    controversial distinction, but I believe in it. I think squares moving
    around the screen randomly is essentially the same as squares moving in
    the same manner but driven by stock prices.

    curt:
    excellent! I define breathing as doubled over wheezing and so extremely out of breath as to not be able to speak. This is a fairly controversisal distinction, but I believe in it. Also, I define that I am the man. That's THE man.

    curt:
    > But data visualization is inherently abstraction.

    ben:
    In that case, a book is abstract art, because language is an
    abstraction of thought (which may be an abstraction of chemistry &&
    physics?). Where do we stop? We get into stonerDiscussionLand.

    curt:
    Dooood, we've been in stonerDiscussionLand for the last three daze. [cf: http://www.larrycarlson.com for the accompanying screensaver ]

    curt:
    > The artist is literally abstracting data (from text to animation in
    > the first piece and from sound to shapeForm in the second). The
    > artists could have abstracted the data any number of ways, but they
    > chose to abstract it in very specific ways, not just to achieve
    > accurate representation, but to achieve an abstract, aesthetic effect.

    ben:
    It's an aesthetic effect all right, but it's in no way abstract. Unless
    you're going to count sheet music as abstract as well. Of course in one
    sense (like language) it is, but as you can see, that's not a very
    productive avenue of discussion, is it?

    curt:
    this piece is abstract and pretty in and of itself [ http://www.bitforms.com/images_ex/watt_napier5.jpg ]. if you disasgree then we disagree.

    curt:
    > The pieces work not just because they are useful or accurate (indeed,
    > neither are terribly useful), but also because they look interesting.

    ben:
    Now who's using Marxist && scientific terminology? Who gives a fsck if
    they're "useful" or "accurate?" That's not at all what makes them
    interesting to me.

    curt:
    yech. me either. we agree.

    ben:
    What I find fascinating about them is the way that
    they pose questions about navigation and representation, and attempt to
    answer those questions. They are indeed interesting-looking -- they're
    fascinating shapes when you realize how they describe and navigate
    concepts and relationships.

    curt:
    me too! we agree.

    ben:
    If you stripped away the conceptual
    element, and I only had the visuals, I would absolutely disagree that
    they were interesting-looking.

    curt:
    not me! we disagree.

    curt:
    > Furthermore, the way in which they look interesting is intrinsically
    > related to the data they are abstracting, but not merely arbitrarily
    > driven by it.

    ben:
    Exactly! As you say, they are interesting in their way exactly because
    of the concepts happening. If the MIDI files in Shape of Song merely
    determined the amount to offset transparent squares, my interest
    wouldn't hold.

    curt:
    nor mine! we agree.

    curt:
    > Regarding carnivore ( http://www.rhizome.org/carnivore ) the genius of
    > the piece is precisely that it farms out the last-mile aesthetics to
    > "artisans" (if you must) who enjoy and are skillful at visual
    > representation.

    ben:
    You say genius, I say Galloway was making a considered move to maintain
    distance from this world of newFormalism while leveraging it to his
    advantage. This project allowed him to use the kind of splashy
    abstraction that gets people's attention without actually giving up his
    Conceptualist membership card.

    curt:
    Actually, alex is a fan of the sensual. cf: http://www.afsnitp.dk/onoff/Projects/samyninterview.html

    curt:
    > Galloway tackled the obligatory political concept and coding. The
    > political concept (surveilance) was/is very en vogue and thus a
    > shoe-in for gallery-ization, but there's nothing terribly sexy about
    > that aspect of it to me.

    ben:
    Nor to me. I find Galloway's work to have a fairly repellent tension
    between Hipsterism, Careerism and Hackerism. The thin concepts that do
    make their way into his work are, as you describe, unrelated to the
    ulterior motives that drive it. But they are indeed an easy sell to
    overEager galleries and institutions.

    curt:
    but I'm not dissing Alex, nor would I define him as a careerrist. RSG is a collective, and they are the ones credited with the work. Furthermore, Alex is sharing Carnivore's gallery/festival recognition with all the people who wrote the modules. Carnivore is more like R&D than a gambit for net.art fame (an amusing notion in and of itself). If anything, alex will be remembered first and foremost as a new media theorist and educator. Alex, would you consider yourself a careerrist net.artist?

    curt:
    > [Incidentally, Galloway also hired Takeshi Hamada (
    > http://www.hamada-takeshi.com/ ) to design the carnivore logo. Hamada
    > is the same designer who designed the rhizome logo you so flippantly
    > dissed.]

    ben:
    You're right -- I didn't spend enough time examining the Rhizome logo.
    Let's look at it together! Hmm. I see lines. No, let's dig deeper!
    Lines, as in linearity, as in 1-dimensionality, as in locked in a
    to-and-fro proto-Flatland hell (AbbottStyle). Deeper still! Okay, I see
    a hub and spoke, suggesting centrality, unification, Modernism. Deeper
    still! Wait, they seem to be different colors, so there must be
    multiple elements coming together in the same place! Like a city, which
    grows rapidly before calcifying into stone. Deeper still! What's that?
    You say these lines aren't simply random, but based on some... data?
    What kind of data? Oh, 11 herbs and spices, eh? Well, a secret's a
    secret -- I'll take your word that the lines are based on Something!
    What's that? You want a final analysis?

    It seems that this "Rhizome" is some sort of unified location for...
    Modernist secretDataPictures?

    There. I've just given the logo more thought than most Rhizomers
    probably [have/would care to]. Is there something deeper I should be
    "getting," or am I just not appreciating it enough somehow?

    curt:
    You're evaluating it by the wrong criteria. It's a logo, which is a graphic design element used for branding a corporation. In corporate america, you're logo can't change every time you use it or you've defeated your own purpose (although now you've got animated avatars like the Xingular logo that do change a bit, but that's off topic). So Rhizome's logo is intentionally anti-logo. What we are supposed to remember about it is that it's not the same, which is a cool way to [de/anti/un]-brand a net art resource called rhizome. So as generative art, it's not much, but as a logo, it's right clever.

    <dead horse>

    curt:
    > You say, "whether or not they agree." They categorically disagree,
    > and that's my point. You may assimilate them into your current
    > historical paradigm to your own intellectual satisfaction, but if they
    > were here today, they wouldn't go so quietly.

    ben:
    I hate to say this, but if we start relying on the artists to interpret
    their own work, intellectual discourse in the art community will
    largely wither and die. Do you believe everything Warhol told you about
    his work? Of course not, you look at the work and you draw your own
    conclusions.

    curt:
    they are not interpreting their own work. It has nothing to do with their work. They are admirable human beings convincingly exerting their personal opinions about art and life, and their opinions disagree with your opinions.

    </dead horse>

    > Brian Eno:
    > Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.

    ben:
    Breaking news: subscribing to Rhizome is NOT withdrawal in disgust, but
    rather fullOn engagement. If you really want to withdraw from the
    artWorld in disgust, unsubscribe and truly disEngage.

    curt:
    must I unsubscribe? say it ain't so! Can't I just lurk, occasionally dropping the cryptic science and every now and then getting into the odd three day "dialogue" with my home slice BEN SYVERSON? I'd like to think so!

    curt:
    > cf: http://www.rhizome.org/print.rhiz?7261 (a summary of my position
    > regarding contemporary new media criticism).

    ben:
    yesYes, although I do find it rather curious to craft such a critique
    of criticism, when the piece is obviously part of that same critical
    discussion.

    curt:
    what's even more curious is that I wrote that piece over two years ago on THIS VERY LIST! Hmmmmmmm.

    ben:
    > http://www.complexification.net/gallery/machines/interAggregate/
    > index.php

    This piece doesn't interest me, and to be honest, I don't really like
    looking at it. But let's skip past that.

    curt:
    twist my arm.

    ben:
    To pose a question that "Plasma Studii" raised, how much of your
    analysis is the kind of critical rhetoric you so despise, and how much
    do you really get out of the work?

    curt:
    I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. It's not my favorite job, but somebody's got to do it because the trees can't speak for themselves. In my most forthcoming confessional tone, I hostly derived those insights from the piece itself. With other peices of lesser aesthetic merit, I may have had to conjure up something to impose on them (which would have been fair game according to some but critically disingenuous to me). But not with this piece.

    ben:
    I'm fairly attuned to all of the
    fields of interest that you raise, but when I look at this piece, I can
    only get to a few of these concepts, and only when I really push
    myself. And afterwards I have the dirty feeling that intellectually, I
    just squeezed blood from a stone, and I might as well have been looking
    at a Hallmark card or a block of wood. It's like an artSchool exercise:
    write the artist's statement for the blackVelvet dolphinPainting. Lest
    this get into a personal quibble over what two people get from a single
    work, let me ask you this: if, as a hypothetical viewer, I'm not moved
    or impressed enough by a piece to give it even a few minutes of
    thought, will you really blame me?

    curt:
    sure I'll blame you. "Shame on you, Mr. President!" Laurie Anderson talks about giving memorized concerts in French and then going out on the streets of Paris with great confidence as a bi-linguist only to realize that she doesn't speak a word of French. I've always liked that story. Anyay, where were we?

    Ben:
    Can you really point the finger at me for not "grokking" it, and accuse
    me of intellectualSnobbery for asking why I see so many things like it?

    curt:
    You're seeing things that are superficially like it and lumping them all together.

    ben:
    How did cCloninger find out about my artSchool
    brainwashing, anyway? That fox is always one step ahead...

    curt:
    http://playdamage.org/58.html

    ben:
    I'm simply
    making a small point about the overAbundance of FlashFormalism, and
    raising the issue of why there isn't more critical thought and
    discourse around it. You (and others) seem to agree that more critical
    engagement is desirable. So what, in precise terms, are we disagreeing
    about?

    curt:
    If this is your small point, I can't wait to see your large point.

    ben:
    Besides, you say "masturbation" like its a dirty and shameful word, but
    when I think about it, there is no better word to describe art!
    * Both are immensely pleasurable (unless you have "issues" as they call
    them)
    * Both are frowned upon in society (except by the enlightened few) --
    even though *everybody* does it
    * Both have no "productive" purpose, yet, oddly, seem to stimulate
    those in production.
    * Both can take place in public, alone, in pairs, in groups, or with
    lubrication (see matthewBarney)
    * Both can be either invigoratingly expressive and sensual, or
    depressingly uninspired.
    * Both are necessary and fascinating
    * It's always weird when someone tries to teach you how to do either.

    All art is masturbation. Although not necessarily vice versa. ;)

    woody allen:
    Don't knock masturbation; it's sex with someone I love.

    hip hop don't stop,
    the artist formerly known as el hombre
  • alex galloway | Fri Oct 8th 2004 8:55 a.m.
    > Alex, would you consider yourself a careerrist net.artist?

    i'm definitely a careerist.. but definitely not an artist. ;)

    > curt:
    >> [Incidentally, Galloway also hired Takeshi Hamada (
    >> http://www.hamada-takeshi.com/ ) to design the carnivore logo.

    the carni logo was designed by Ryan McGinness.

    >> Hamada
    >> is the same designer who designed the rhizome logo you so flippantly
    >> dissed.]

    the rhizome logo was designed by Markus Weisbeck and Frank Hausschild
    of surface.de.
  • curt cloninger | Fri Oct 8th 2004 9:26 a.m.
    > curt:
    >> [Incidentally, Galloway also hired Takeshi Hamada (
    >> http://www.hamada-takeshi.com/ ) to design the carnivore logo.

    alex:
    the carni logo was designed by Ryan McGinness.

    curt:
    Danged. I knew that. But it still proves my point that ds9rz r kewl.

    curt:
    >> Hamada
    >> is the same designer who designed the rhizome logo you so flippantly
    >> dissed.]

    alex:
    the rhizome logo was designed by Markus Weisbeck and Frank Hausschild
    of surface.de.

    curt:
    then what of this?:
    http://www.hamada-takeshi.com/portfolio/work/screenother/rhizome.html
  • joy garnett | Fri Oct 8th 2004 9:40 a.m.
    >> Alex, would you consider yourself a careerrist net.artist?

    > i'm definitely a careerist.. but definitely not an artist. ;)

    so I guess though careerism is certainly an art not *every* careerist is
    an artist.

    ;-)
  • ben syverson | Fri Oct 8th 2004 1:04 p.m.
    On Oct 8, 2004, at 8:57 AM, curt cloninger wrote:

    > excellent! Also, I don't know whether I mentioned this yet, but I'm
    > the man.

    Sounds good to me, but now you have the burden of claiming to be The
    Man. In other words, now I'll look at you and get uncomfortable about
    your self-aggrandizement, unsure whether I should just move on whilst
    rolling my eyes, or if I should ask those around me whether they think
    you are, in fact, The Man. And now you can see my relationship to
    Rhizome.org.

    > excellent! I define breathing as doubled over wheezing and so
    > extremely out of breath as to not be able to speak. This is a fairly
    > controversisal distinction, but I believe in it. Also, I define that
    > I am the man. That's THE man.

    Okay, looks like this is my last round on the discoursePhunCarousel...

    > Dooood, we've been in stonerDiscussionLand for the last three daze.
    > [cf: http://www.larrycarlson.com for the accompanying screensaver ]

    Man, I didn't realize... See, I thought I was raising some fairly
    direct and realWorld questions about the quality of discourse on RAW
    revolving around formalism. I didn't realize this discussion was that
    deep...

    > this piece is abstract and pretty in and of itself [
    > http://www.bitforms.com/images_ex/watt_napier5.jpg ]. if you
    > disasgree then we disagree.

    It's really funny -- knowing what it represents, it's pretty to me.
    However, if I hadn't ever seen Shape of Song, I wouldn't like that
    image -- it would just seem kind of 70s newModernism to me, definitely
    not the kind of aesthetics I naturally go for.

    > but I'm not dissing Alex

    I want to make clear that although I have some long-standing issues
    with aGalloway's work, I am not trying to "diss" him personally. I'm
    sure he's a rad d00d; I was just sketching a picture of why his work
    leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    > RSG is a collective, and they are the ones credited with the work.

    Although in your discussion of Carnivore, it's interesting that
    aGalloway's name is the one that you bring up. I wonder why that is...
    Huh, and it seems like at all these galleries and festivals, aGalloway
    always seems to be there representin'. And it's a funny coincidence
    that in a recent article, The New York Times accidentally called
    Carnivore "his [Galloway's] Internet-based artwork." I can find
    articles counting aGalloway as the founding member of RSG, but it's
    funny how you never hear about the other members -- it's just
    described as a "loose group" of artists.

    The reality is that aGalloway is the beneficiary of all of the press,
    praise and cultural capital generated by RSG projects.

    > Furthermore, Alex is sharing Carnivore's gallery/festival
    > recognition with all the people who wrote the modules.

    Yes, in the role of facilitator, spokesMan and masterMind. He shares
    the recognition knowing full well (as a media savvy guy) that he will
    get the much more meaningful recognition as the grandArchitect.

    > Carnivore is more like R&D than a gambit for net.art fame (an
    > amusing notion in and of itself).

    Oh really? How many net.art projects do you know of that have an
    exhibition schedule, press history, press release style summary, and a
    link to a high resolution image gallery for the press complete with a
    boilerplate PR-style bio (
    http://rhizome.org/carnivore/press_images.html ), all on the MAIN page
    of the project?

    You think this project is designed to engage you, the artist? No, it's
    specifically and painstakingly geared towards the press, from the very
    first words on the page, which after "Carnivore," are a quote from
    Artforum. That serves as your introduction to Carnivore.

    > So Rhizome's logo is intentionally anti-logo. What we are supposed to
    > remember about it is that it's not the same, which is a cool way to
    > [de/anti/un]-brand a net art resource called rhizome.

    You have GOT to be kidding me. Rhizome's logo may very slightly change,
    but it always looks the same. Sure, the spokes are different colors,
    and in different directions, but it's instantly recognizable, and you
    wouldn't need the "rhizome.org" text (which is, after all, static) to
    know where it came from. That's the definition of a good, old fashioned
    corporate logo. It would be like the Nike logo being slightly longer or
    shorter every time you saw it -- you would still instantly make the
    connection.

    > they are not interpreting their own work. It has nothing to do with
    > their work. They are admirable human beings convincingly exerting
    > their personal opinions about art and life, and their opinions
    > disagree with your opinions.

    Okay, let's listen to this artist.

    On Oct 8, 2004, at 9:55 AM, Alexander Galloway wrote:
    > i'm definitely a careerist.. but definitely not an artist. ;)

    If you believe that he is not an artist, then your argument stands. If
    you disagree with him, then your argument fails. Sure, he was being
    facetious, but how do you know other artists weren't as well? Where you
    there? How do you go about determining intentionality? It's all
    guesswork, so I go based on what I get out of the work. Your Modernist
    ideas about believing the "truth" of the artists words is
    head-scratchingly weird.

    > must I unsubscribe? say it ain't so! Can't I just lurk,
    > occasionally dropping the cryptic science and every now and then
    > getting into the odd three day "dialogue" with my home slice BEN
    > SYVERSON? I'd like to think so!

    Home slice! :) Sure, homeSkillet, just don't pretend to be on da
    outside, when you KNOW yo in here w/ me.

    - ben
  • Lewis LaCook | Fri Oct 8th 2004 9:31 p.m.
    ben:
    If you stripped away the conceptual
    element, and I only had the visuals, I would
    absolutely disagree that
    they were interesting-looking.

    curt:
    not me! we disagree.

    lewis:
    could you ever get to the pure visuals? could you ever
    experience the visuals without SOME patina of
    conceptualization? isn't that how the human race is
    doomed?

    =====

    ***************************************************************************

    Lewis LaCook -->http://www.lewislacook.com/

    XanaxPop:Mobile Poem Blog-> http://www.lewislacook.com/xanaxpop/

    Collective Writing Projects--> The Wiki--> http://www.lewislacook.com/wiki/ Appendix M ->http://www.lewislacook.com/AppendixM/

    _______________________________
    Do you Yahoo!?
    Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!
    http://vote.yahoo.com
  • Lewis LaCook | Fri Oct 8th 2004 9:32 p.m.
    careerism:
    oh shit, they're giving me money....oh no!!!!

    --- Joy Garnett <joyeria@walrus.com> wrote:

    > >> Alex, would you consider yourself a careerrist
    > net.artist?
    >
    > > i'm definitely a careerist.. but definitely not an
    > artist. ;)
    >
    >
    >
    > so I guess though careerism is certainly an art not
    > *every* careerist is
    > an artist.
    >
    > ;-)
    > +
    > -> 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
    >

    =====

    ***************************************************************************

    Lewis LaCook -->http://www.lewislacook.com/

    XanaxPop:Mobile Poem Blog-> http://www.lewislacook.com/xanaxpop/

    Collective Writing Projects--> The Wiki--> http://www.lewislacook.com/wiki/ Appendix M ->http://www.lewislacook.com/AppendixM/

    _______________________________
    Do you Yahoo!?
    Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!
    http://vote.yahoo.com
  • Lewis LaCook | Fri Oct 8th 2004 9:37 p.m.
    if only abe linkoln were my boo

    bliss
    l

    --- Alexander Galloway <galloway@nyu.edu> wrote:

    > > Alex, would you consider yourself a careerrist
    > net.artist?
    >
    > i'm definitely a careerist.. but definitely not an
    > artist. ;)
    >
    > > curt:
    > >> [Incidentally, Galloway also hired Takeshi Hamada
    > (
    > >> http://www.hamada-takeshi.com/ ) to design the
    > carnivore logo.
    >
    > the carni logo was designed by Ryan McGinness.
    >
    > >> Hamada
    > >> is the same designer who designed the rhizome
    > logo you so flippantly
    > >> dissed.]
    >
    > the rhizome logo was designed by Markus Weisbeck and
    > Frank Hausschild
    > of surface.de.
    >
    > +
    > -> 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
    >

    =====

    ***************************************************************************

    Lewis LaCook -->http://www.lewislacook.com/

    XanaxPop:Mobile Poem Blog-> http://www.lewislacook.com/xanaxpop/

    Collective Writing Projects--> The Wiki--> http://www.lewislacook.com/wiki/ Appendix M ->http://www.lewislacook.com/AppendixM/

    _______________________________
    Do you Yahoo!?
    Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!
    http://vote.yahoo.com
  • curt cloninger | Fri Oct 8th 2004 9:59 p.m.
    i'll see your patina and raise you a palimpsest and three tabula rasas!

    just back from a day out with my two eldest kids skipping rocks
    across the oconaluftee river in cherokee, north carolina.

    http://www.brucecockburn.com/lyrics/rr_dragons_jaws/hills.html ,
    curt

    _

    >lewis:
    >could you ever get to the pure visuals? could you ever
    >experience the visuals without SOME patina of
    >conceptualization? isn't that how the human race is
    >doomed?
Your Reply