Thom Yorke / Howard Zinn

Posted by Eryk Salvaggio | Tue Nov 25th 2003 1:19 a.m.

A discussion between Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Howard Zinn:

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID242

So would you say that there's a place for both directly political and
non-political artists? What importance do you think each have?

Zinn: There are all sorts of artists. There are artists who really don't
have a social consciousness, who don't see that there's a connection between
art and life in a way that compels the artist to look around the world and
see what is wrong and try to use his or her art to change that. There are
artists who just entertain. You can look upon entertainment as something
useful, as we don't want to eliminate art which is only entertaining, and
insist that all art must be political, must be revolutionary, must be
transforming.

But there's a place for comedy and music and the circus and things that
don't really have an awful effect on society except to entertain people - to
make people feel good, and to act as a kind of religion. That is what Marx
called the "opium of the people," something that people need. They need
distraction.

So it does serve a purpose, but if that's all that artists do, the
entertainment that you seek will become permanent. The misery that people
live under and the wars that people have to go through, that will become
permanent. There are huge numbers of people in the world whose lives are
bound, limited. Lives of sheer misery, of sickness and violence. In order to
change that you need to have artists who will be conscious of that, who will
use their art in such a way that it helps to transform society. It may not
be a blunt instrument, but it will have a kind of poetic effect.

Yorke: Yeah, I don't think we are political at all, I think I'm hyper aware
of the soapbox thing. It is difficult to make political art work. If all it
does is exist in the realms of political discussion, it's using that
language, and generally, it's an ugly language. It is very dead, definitely
not a thing of beauty. The only reason, I think, that we go anywhere near it
is because, like any reason that we buy music, these things get absorbed.
These are the things surrounding your life. If you sit down and try to do it
purposefully, and try to change this with this, and do this with that, it
never works.
  • curt cloninger | Tue Nov 25th 2003 10:50 a.m.
    My sister-in-law and I were talking last night, and the topic of conceptual art somehow came up. She asked, "what is conceptual art?" I said it was art in which the art object was largely incidental or a prop for the concept, and that the para-texts and the contexts were the main vehicles through which the art spoke. She asked, "but isn't that just like philosophy or psychology? Why call it art?" I answered that you can get away with more stuff socially and politically if you call it art. My brother added, "plus, they probably can't draw."

    The assertion that the circus is marginally useful Marxian opiate entertainment and that overt, socially conscious art is the only way to *really* change the world -- that sounds just like something a political scientist would say. Sadly, many artists on this list would quickly step up and agree. Artists used to know intuitively what Thom Yorke stumblingly describes -- that if art is really plugged into life, it won't have to try to be in intentional moral dialogue with life issues, it just will be (and in a way much more natural/valuable/persuasive/subtle/transformatory/ARTISTIC than something like nikeplatz). These days it takes a pop musician to point this out, and it comes across as some sort of relevatory challenge to "serious" artists.

    Which is why I much prefer reading Lester Bangs to Lev Manovich, and why I prefer writing for Paste magazine to writing for Mute magazine.

    Maybe one day I will drop out of new media altogether and succumb to the lure of pure, unadulterated rock music journalism.

    until then,
    curt

    ---

    > Yorke: Yeah, I don't think we are political at all, I think I'm hyper
    > aware
    > of the soapbox thing. It is difficult to make political art work. If
    > all it
    > does is exist in the realms of political discussion, it's using that
    > language, and generally, it's an ugly language. It is very dead,
    > definitely
    > not a thing of beauty. The only reason, I think, that we go anywhere
    > near it
    > is because, like any reason that we buy music, these things get
    > absorbed.
    > These are the things surrounding your life. If you sit down and try to
    > do it
    > purposefully, and try to change this with this, and do this with that,
    > it
    > never works.
    >
    >
  • Jim Andrews | Tue Nov 25th 2003 11:33 a.m.
    I'll bet you'd like really strong conceptual art, Curt. If you get a chance,
    pick up Joseph Kosuth's book 'Art After Philosophy and After'. It's a pretty
    exciting read. He's a strong writer and thinker about art. Whether you agree
    with him or not is something else. He's sufficiently brainy, passionate,
    knowlegeable and articulate that the writing is exciting.

    Which would seem to be crucial to successful conceptual art. But that's part
    of what is missing from so much of the contemporary type, particularly of
    the digital variety. Too often calling it 'conceptual art' is a way of
    justifying posturing vacuity, pompous moralizing, and technical
    incompetence.

    There's a terrific tradition, though, in your country of 'poetry of ideas',
    say, or 'art of ideas' involving characters like Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman,
    Melville, Wallace Stevens, etc, and I admire it deeply. Conceptual art isn't
    unrelated to that sort of very strong brainy passion, at its best.

    ja
    http://vispo.com
  • joy garnett | Tue Nov 25th 2003 11:39 a.m.
    rock on, curt. I got the same feeling off that exchange (except I doubt I
    will end up ditching painting for pure rock/writing) -- the problem of
    'political art' is so thorny; I happen to be reading a tiny book of essays
    by Howard Zinn at the moment (hot off the press: Artists in Times of War,
    Univ. of Wisconsin Press), who I respect, but who, like a lot of
    folks--artists included--doesn't understand or want to understand the
    first thing about 'art' -- and that there is a problem the minute you
    try to make art with a message...

    moralizing just plain defeats the function of art BECAUSE it attempts to
    steer or limit interpretation. which would be the job of propaganda,
    agitprop, sloganeering, campaigning or whatever counts as political
    speech. the function of art--or one of them--is a more complex one. if
    your content includes or focuses on the political, the social, the Big
    Issues, you end up having to find ways to avoid moralizing--there all
    kinds of ways to do this, but sometimes it isn't so easy. people fall into
    the trap.

    one might say that the language of (any) art is by necessity amorphous,
    open-ended, and in fact, risky. one risks interpretations one didn't
    intend. which is an important factor to consider: you put something out
    in the world that resonates with something larger than yourself, that
    perhaps you fail to comprehend entirely. the thing then has a life of its
    own.

    [Yorke]:
    > These are the things surrounding your life. If you sit down and try to
    > do it purposefully, and try to change this with this, and do this with
    > that, it never works.

    yep.

    best,
    joy

    :::
    http://thebombproject.org
  • ryan griffis | Tue Nov 25th 2003 1 p.m.
    i have to say that for an argument that seems in opposition to the over-simplistic practice of political/conceptual art, it seems a simplistic response itself. it's also strange that "political" and "conceptual" art keep getting collapsed. certianly there are examples of "political art" going back to Goya through the Mexican and California Muralists that i don't think is being criticized here (because it involves manual craft, hence "Art"?).
    It also seems to have something to do with a valuation of ambiguity? Certianly, the roots of much political-conceptual art, dada/surrealism and situationism, embraced and employed ambiguity as a political tactic. the politics included pleasure.
    but much celebrated conceptual art was as apolitical as it gets (in overt terms) On Kawara, LeWit, Bochner, even a lot of Kosuth's work.
    so i guess i'm not sure what's being critized here. is it feeling like one's being "preached" at with no formal outlet to distract from the "sermon?" or is it a desire for manual craft? i don't have problems with these positions, i'm just trying to figure out exactly what the critique is, because i think some art perceived as cut-and-dry or overly "didactic" can be read with much more ambiguity and sensitivity.
    but to say that "it figures that a political scientist would expect this from art" as a dismissive is, well, not very useful. it overlooks other forms of knowledge that might have something useful to add to a critique fo visual culture. i'm not saying that it should be given priority by any means (that might be scary), but it shouldn't be dismissed. unless this is all about taste, in which case, whoever has the most cultural power wins ;)
    it's also strange to insist that artists don't have to try to communicate, they "just do" by being part of the environment. what?
    take care,
    ryan
  • JM Haefner | Tue Nov 25th 2003 1:01 p.m.
    To say it never works is a perhaps a bit extreme. I would agree that it
    is reactionary. Though the artist is recording -in a way- what is
    around him or her, it's a snapshot of sorts, of a political moment.
    Often, the approach is as graphic as the deed that created the
    reaction, but who said art has to be pretty?

    To say that it is dead because it is ugly is like saying Rap is then
    dead, because it can be ugly too.

    I don't think it's about absorbing that type of art but an affirmation
    -that we were thinking that too, but lacked the means to "show" it.

    In certain political climates, it is dangerous or is perceived as such
    -to make art that is negative/political. Art can still be the harbinger
    or the 'pulse of the people," and this type of art often makes our
    thoughts real.

    As far as the risk of interpretation... "pretty" art risks the same.
    Did those O'Keefe flowers have a sexual connotation?

    Moralizing is often a function of art, as is historical and political
    commentary. I for one prefer to take the risk, and like it when someone
    arrives at my intended interpretation. Otherwise I'd be designing
    toilet paper.

    -=j

    > Yorke: Yeah, I don't think we are political at all, I think I'm hyper
    > aware
    > of the soapbox thing. It is difficult to make political art work. If
    > all it
    > does is exist in the realms of political discussion, it's using that
    > language, and generally, it's an ugly language. It is very dead,
    > definitely
    > not a thing of beauty. The only reason, I think, that we go anywhere
    > near it
    > is because, like any reason that we buy music, these things get
    > absorbed.
    > These are the things surrounding your life. If you sit down and try to
    > do it
    > purposefully, and try to change this with this, and do this with that,
    > it
    > never works.
  • Ivan Pope | Tue Nov 25th 2003 1:46 p.m.
    >Moralizing is often a function of art, as is historical and political comm=
    entary. I for one prefer to take the risk, and like it when >someone arrive=
    s at my intended interpretation. Otherwise I'd be designing toilet paper.

    Surely the very point of toilet paper is that people arrive at the intended=
    interpretation. Otherwise they wouldn't get to wipe their arses.
    Surely it is for designers to desire an arrival at the 'intended interpreta=
    tion'.
    Isn't the phrase 'intended interpretation' an oxymoron? If something has an=
    obvious intent, then it is not interpreted.
    Ivan
  • ryan griffis | Tue Nov 25th 2003 2:11 p.m.
    Surely the very point of toilet paper is that people arrive at the intended interpretation."

    damn, that's a great observation... but i think the point was one of meaning as different from function? which is certainly a question that has implications for "politically engaged" art (via McLuhan) or those interested in reappropriating function...
    http://www.interactivetoiletpaper.com/main.html
  • JM Haefner | Tue Nov 25th 2003 2:25 p.m.
    --Apple-Mail-15--860510153
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    Content-Type: text/plain;
    charset=US-ASCII;
    format=flowed

    intended

    1. aimed at or designed for
    2. planned for the future
    3. said or done deliberately

    interpretation

    1. an explanation or establishment of the meaning or significance of
    something
    2. an ascription of a particular meaning or significance to something
    3. the way in which an artistic work, for example, a play or piece of
    music, is performed so as to convey a particular understanding of the
    work
    4. the oral translation of what is said in one language into another,
    so that speakers of different languages can communicate

    I presume you were going for # 4?

    --Apple-Mail-15--860510153
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
    Content-Type: text/enriched;
    charset=US-ASCII

    <bold><fontfamily><param>Times</param>intended</fontfamily></bold><fontfamily><param>Times</param>

    </fontfamily>1. <fontfamily><param>Times</param>aimed at or designed
    for

    </fontfamily>2. <fontfamily><param>Times</param>planned for the future

    </fontfamily>3. <fontfamily><param>Times</param>said or done
    deliberately

    <bold>interpretation</bold>

    </fontfamily>1. <fontfamily><param>Times</param>an explanation or
    establishment of the meaning or significance of something

    </fontfamily>2. <fontfamily><param>Times</param>an ascription of a
    particular meaning or significance to something

    </fontfamily>3. <fontfamily><param>Times</param>the way in which an
    artistic work, for example, a play or piece of music, is performed so
    as to convey a particular understanding of the work

    </fontfamily>4. <fontfamily><param>Times</param>the oral translation
    of what is said in one language into another, so that speakers of
    different languages can communicate

    I presume you were going for # 4?

    </fontfamily>

    --Apple-Mail-15--860510153--
  • ruth catlow | Tue Nov 25th 2003 3:11 p.m.
    If we're talking in the abstract (without specific examples-lots of handy ones provided by ryan) the only problem that I can imagine with conceptual political works is if they are poorly or narrowly informed, inadequately synthesized or badly contextualised- just the same as for any other artwork really. An artwork might then be experienced by viewers as an 'opinion'. This might occur if someone has adopted another's ideas or concerns without
    properly absorbing the significance of these ideas to their own life and circumstances. This then creates an impression of detachment from a subject and opens up the artist to the accusation of making capital from the oppression and misery of others.

    I guess it's also possible that works are perceived as political didactic when the viewer does not appreciate the political standpoint of the artist.

    I've heard Thom Yorke talking on the radio before and my understanding is that he has never felt moved to make 'political' songs. This is fine. One problem is that artists sometimes feel that (for many reasons) they OUGHT to be making political work. One reason might be to be taken seriously- an 'important' subject may lend a piece of artwork a kind of gravity, a raison d'etre.

    Of course taken superficially, if we are talking about doing something objectively useful and important in the world, creating any kind of artwork might come pretty far down the list on a popular survey- as Heath Bunting said 'Most art means nothing to most people'. One of the great things about life is that one can never tell objectively whether what one is involved in is contributing positively to the continuum of life consciousness.

    hmm
    ruth
  • Eduardo Navas | Tue Nov 25th 2003 3:14 p.m.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "curt cloninger" <curt@lab404.com>
    > My sister-in-law and I were talking last night, and the topic of
    conceptual art somehow came up. She asked, "what is conceptual art?" I
    said it was art in which the art object was largely incidental or a prop for
    the concept, and [...]
    <--snip-->
    > The assertion that the circus is marginally useful Marxian opiate
    entertainment and that overt, socially conscious art is the only way to
    *really* change the world -- that sounds just like something a political
    scientist would say.
    <--snip-->

    Hey Curt,

    I know we have had some interesting discussions on Conceptual Art on this
    list, and one thing that has somehow lingered is your last comment. First,
    I think while such influence might be true, it is also important to note
    that there were other factors that played into the development and energy of
    the conceptual movement in the U.S in particular. Adrianne Piper, for
    example, is also considered a performance and installation/video artist and
    her main influence is Kant. She, in fact, is a neo-kantian philospher.
    Also, Coceptual art moved around the globe and was actually already in
    practice by people like Piero Manzoni in Europe under a different context,
    but all the ingridients were there already. And Brazilian artists like
    Lygia Clark created some amazing paintings and performances based on
    conceptual strategies. She is also considered a conceptual artists to some
    degree under a global context. And many artists who came after the
    "hardcore" movement, in the U.S., developed work that was completely
    dependent on the art object. Roni Horn, Janine Antoni among others. I
    honestly do not understand the bashing. Maybe you should be more honest
    because in many ways Conceptual Art cleaned-up the corners that Duchamp had
    left untouched. Now, "truth to form" is usually the left over question of
    disinterestedness that most educators pose in the art classroom when
    scrutinizing the students for their assigments. This is why Greenberg
    called evertything that is taught at universities and art schools "kitsch."

    Conceptual art is now part of history and should be considered a starting
    point, not a bashing scapegoat.

    Best,

    Eduardo Navas
  • curt cloninger | Tue Nov 25th 2003 3:16 p.m.
    Hi Ryan,

    To clarify:

    I mean to disrespect hamfisted didactic art. Not all conceptual art (whatever that means) is hamfisted and didactic. Much lately is. Not all political art (whatever that means) is hamfisted and didactic. Much lately is.

    In the excerpt Eryk shared, we have a political activist dismissing the circus as something incapable of changing the world in any meaningful way. If you believe that, why call yourself an artist? Go hand out pamphlets. Zinn seems to be not merely adding an interesting perspective to the artistic dialogue (as you posit); he's trying to shoehorn art into his non-artistic understanding of llfe and human communication.

    Most experts think that being an expert in their one field makes them an expert in every field. Like a brain surgeoun trying tell his auto mechanic how best to repair his Mercedes. Academia is prejudiced towards methodical, didactic communication. But the best art speaks a wholly different language. I wouldn't call it an ambiguous language. "Ambiguous" is a pejorative term that reveals an underlying preference for the didactic. You want me to put into words the quality of art that I most value? I most value the quality of art that communicates stuff which can't be put into words.

    Radiohead (despite their music's lack of any overt political stance) positively influences contemporary culture to a much greater degree than Howard Zinn, and at a much more primordial, extra-didactic level. Because Radiohead are artists, and that's what artists do. If the creative approach I'm advocating seems uncomfortably intuitive and irreducible, perhaps you would enjoy a career in one of the social sciences?

    the big 3 killed my baby,
    curt

    _

    ryan griffis wrote:

    > i have to say that for an argument that seems in opposition to the
    > over-simplistic practice of political/conceptual art, it seems a
    > simplistic response itself. it's also strange that "political" and
    > "conceptual" art keep getting collapsed. certianly there are examples
    > of "political art" going back to Goya through the Mexican and
    > California Muralists that i don't think is being criticized here
    > (because it involves manual craft, hence "Art"?).
    > It also seems to have something to do with a valuation of ambiguity?
    > Certianly, the roots of much political-conceptual art, dada/surrealism
    > and situationism, embraced and employed ambiguity as a political
    > tactic. the politics included pleasure.
    > but much celebrated conceptual art was as apolitical as it gets (in
    > overt terms) On Kawara, LeWit, Bochner, even a lot of Kosuth's work.
    > so i guess i'm not sure what's being critized here. is it feeling like
    > one's being "preached" at with no formal outlet to distract from the
    > "sermon?" or is it a desire for manual craft? i don't have problems
    > with these positions, i'm just trying to figure out exactly what the
    > critique is, because i think some art perceived as cut-and-dry or
    > overly "didactic" can be read with much more ambiguity and
    > sensitivity.
    > but to say that "it figures that a political scientist would expect
    > this from art" as a dismissive is, well, not very useful. it overlooks
    > other forms of knowledge that might have something useful to add to a
    > critique fo visual culture. i'm not saying that it should be given
    > priority by any means (that might be scary), but it shouldn't be
    > dismissed. unless this is all about taste, in which case, whoever has
    > the most cultural power wins ;)
    > it's also strange to insist that artists don't have to try to
    > communicate, they "just do" by being part of the environment. what?
    > take care,
    > ryan
  • Aparna Bakhle | Tue Nov 25th 2003 3:47 p.m.
    > But the best art speaks a wholly different language. I wouldn't call
    > it an ambiguous language. "Ambiguous" is a pejorative term that
    > reveals an underlying preference for the didactic. You want me to put
    > into words the quality of art that I most value? I most value the
    > quality of art that communicates stuff which can't be put into words.

    > quality of art that communicates stuff which can't be put into words

    > I most value stuff which can't be put into words

    > can't be put into words

    > words

    > words

    wo

    rd

    s...

    Thank you. Aparna

    On Tuesday, November 25, 2003, at 11:16 AM, curt cloninger wrote:

    > Hi Ryan,
    >
    > To clarify:
    >
    > I mean to disrespect hamfisted didactic art. Not all conceptual art
    > (whatever that means) is hamfisted and didactic. Much lately is. Not
    > all political art (whatever that means) is hamfisted and didactic.
    > Much lately is.
    >
    > In the excerpt Eryk shared, we have a political activist dismissing
    > the circus as something incapable of changing the world in any
    > meaningful way. If you believe that, why call yourself an artist? Go
    > hand out pamphlets. Zinn seems to be not merely adding an interesting
    > perspective to the artistic dialogue (as you posit); he's trying to
    > shoehorn art into his non-artistic understanding of llfe and human
    > communication.
    >
    > Most experts think that being an expert in their one field makes them
    > an expert in every field. Like a brain surgeoun trying tell his auto
    > mechanic how best to repair his Mercedes. Academia is prejudiced
    > towards methodical, didactic communication. But the best art speaks a
    > wholly different language. I wouldn't call it an ambiguous language.
    > "Ambiguous" is a pejorative term that reveals an underlying preference
    > for the didactic. You want me to put into words the quality of art
    > that I most value? I most value the quality of art that communicates
    > stuff which can't be put into words.
    >
    > Radiohead (despite their music's lack of any overt political stance)
    > positively influences contemporary culture to a much greater degree
    > than Howard Zinn, and at a much more primordial, extra-didactic level.
    > Because Radiohead are artists, and that's what artists do. If the
    > creative approach I'm advocating seems uncomfortably intuitive and
    > irreducible, perhaps you would enjoy a career in one of the social
    > sciences?
    >
    > the big 3 killed my baby,
    > curt
    >
    > _
    >
    >
    > ryan griffis wrote:
    >
    >> i have to say that for an argument that seems in opposition to the
    >> over-simplistic practice of political/conceptual art, it seems a
    >> simplistic response itself. it's also strange that "political" and
    >> "conceptual" art keep getting collapsed. certianly there are examples
    >> of "political art" going back to Goya through the Mexican and
    >> California Muralists that i don't think is being criticized here
    >> (because it involves manual craft, hence "Art"?).
    >> It also seems to have something to do with a valuation of ambiguity?
    >> Certianly, the roots of much political-conceptual art, dada/surrealism
    >> and situationism, embraced and employed ambiguity as a political
    >> tactic. the politics included pleasure.
    >> but much celebrated conceptual art was as apolitical as it gets (in
    >> overt terms) On Kawara, LeWit, Bochner, even a lot of Kosuth's work.
    >> so i guess i'm not sure what's being critized here. is it feeling like
    >> one's being "preached" at with no formal outlet to distract from the
    >> "sermon?" or is it a desire for manual craft? i don't have problems
    >> with these positions, i'm just trying to figure out exactly what the
    >> critique is, because i think some art perceived as cut-and-dry or
    >> overly "didactic" can be read with much more ambiguity and
    >> sensitivity.
    >> but to say that "it figures that a political scientist would expect
    >> this from art" as a dismissive is, well, not very useful. it overlooks
    >> other forms of knowledge that might have something useful to add to a
    >> critique fo visual culture. i'm not saying that it should be given
    >> priority by any means (that might be scary), but it shouldn't be
    >> dismissed. unless this is all about taste, in which case, whoever has
    >> the most cultural power wins ;)
    >> it's also strange to insist that artists don't have to try to
    >> communicate, they "just do" by being part of the environment. what?
    >> take care,
    >> ryan
    > +
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  • joy garnett | Tue Nov 25th 2003 3:49 p.m.
    YES
    Yes
    yes
    amen!

    On Tue, 25 Nov 2003, curt cloninger wrote:

    > Hi Ryan,
    >
    > To clarify:
    >
    > I mean to disrespect hamfisted didactic art. Not all conceptual art (whatever that means) is hamfisted and didactic. Much lately is. Not all political art (whatever that means) is hamfisted and didactic. Much lately is.
    >
    > In the excerpt Eryk shared, we have a political activist dismissing the circus as something incapable of changing the world in any meaningful way. If you believe that, why call yourself an artist? Go hand out pamphlets. Zinn seems to be not merely adding an interesting perspective to the artistic dialogue (as you posit); he's trying to shoehorn art into his non-artistic understanding of llfe and human communication.
    >
    > Most experts think that being an expert in their one field makes them an expert in every field. Like a brain surgeoun trying tell his auto mechanic how best to repair his Mercedes. Academia is prejudiced towards methodical, didactic communication. But the best art speaks a wholly different language. I wouldn't call it an ambiguous language. "Ambiguous" is a pejorative term that reveals an underlying preference for the didactic. You want me to put into words the quality of art that I most value? I most value the quality of art that communicates stuff which can't be put into words.
    >
    > Radiohead (despite their music's lack of any overt political stance) positively influences contemporary culture to a much greater degree than Howard Zinn, and at a much more primordial, extra-didactic level. Because Radiohead are artists, and that's what artists do. If the creative approach I'm advocating seems uncomfortably intuitive and irreducible, perhaps you would enjoy a career in one of the social sciences?
    >
    > the big 3 killed my baby,
    > curt
    >
    > _
    >
    >
    > ryan griffis wrote:
    >
    > > i have to say that for an argument that seems in opposition to the
    > > over-simplistic practice of political/conceptual art, it seems a
    > > simplistic response itself. it's also strange that "political" and
    > > "conceptual" art keep getting collapsed. certianly there are examples
    > > of "political art" going back to Goya through the Mexican and
    > > California Muralists that i don't think is being criticized here
    > > (because it involves manual craft, hence "Art"?).
    > > It also seems to have something to do with a valuation of ambiguity?
    > > Certianly, the roots of much political-conceptual art, dada/surrealism
    > > and situationism, embraced and employed ambiguity as a political
    > > tactic. the politics included pleasure.
    > > but much celebrated conceptual art was as apolitical as it gets (in
    > > overt terms) On Kawara, LeWit, Bochner, even a lot of Kosuth's work.
    > > so i guess i'm not sure what's being critized here. is it feeling like
    > > one's being "preached" at with no formal outlet to distract from the
    > > "sermon?" or is it a desire for manual craft? i don't have problems
    > > with these positions, i'm just trying to figure out exactly what the
    > > critique is, because i think some art perceived as cut-and-dry or
    > > overly "didactic" can be read with much more ambiguity and
    > > sensitivity.
    > > but to say that "it figures that a political scientist would expect
    > > this from art" as a dismissive is, well, not very useful. it overlooks
    > > other forms of knowledge that might have something useful to add to a
    > > critique fo visual culture. i'm not saying that it should be given
    > > priority by any means (that might be scary), but it shouldn't be
    > > dismissed. unless this is all about taste, in which case, whoever has
    > > the most cultural power wins ;)
    > > it's also strange to insist that artists don't have to try to
    > > communicate, they "just do" by being part of the environment. what?
    > > take care,
    > > ryan
    > +
    > -> 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 | Tue Nov 25th 2003 5:03 p.m.
    Hi Eduardo,

    T. Whid has chided me about this before. In the past, to avoid confusion, I have confined myself to using less historically encrusted terms like "ideaual art" (stupid, but different), "hardocre conceptual art" (hijacked by m. river!), and "object-incidental conceptual art" (accurate, but doesn't exactly roll off the tongue) to describe the dead mule I so sadistically continue to whip. Forgive this momentary semantic relapse. It's just that they were demeaning the circus. The circus! I had to act fast.

    ++++

    Eduardo Navas wrote:

    And many artists who came after the
    > "hardcore" movement, in the U.S., developed work that was completely
    > dependent on the art object. Roni Horn, Janine Antoni among others.
    > I
    > honestly do not understand the bashing. Maybe you should be more
    > honest
    > because in many ways Conceptual Art cleaned-up the corners that
    > Duchamp had
    > left untouched.

    > Conceptual art is now part of history and should be considered a
    > starting
    > point, not a bashing scapegoat.
  • Eduardo Navas | Tue Nov 25th 2003 7:33 p.m.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "curt cloninger" <curt@lab404.com>
    > Hi Eduardo,
    >
    > T. Whid has chided me about this before. In the past, to avoid
    confusion, I have confined myself to using less historically encrusted terms
    like "ideaual art" (stupid, but different), "hardocre conceptual art"
    (hijacked by m. river!), and "object-incidental conceptual art" (accurate,
    but doesn't exactly roll off the tongue) to describe the dead mule I so
    sadistically continue to whip.
    -------------

    Does creating your own terms really place you outside of a historical canon?
    I do not think so. You are still creating labels on a specific set of
    parameters based on well established art historical models. One day you may
    well be cited for being a pseudo-dissenter...

    >Forgive this momentary semantic relapse. It's just that they were
    demeaning the circus. The circus! I had to act fast.
    -------------

    You certainly were quite fast -- a Circus it is.
    Eduardo
    ;)
  • ryan griffis | Tue Nov 25th 2003 7:42 p.m.
    hi everyone,
    (i didn't mean to singal out you out curt, i just thought some more concrete examination could help the discussion)
    anyway, i think we should re-examine Zinn's statements as i think they have been misinterpreted, or maybe not, but it seems that way to me.
    Zinn: "You can look upon entertainment as something useful, as we don't want to eliminate art which is only entertaining, and insist that all art must be political, must be revolutionary, must be transforming.
    ...there's a place for comedy and music and the circus and things that
    don't really have an awful effect on society except to entertain people - to
    make people feel good.
    In order to change that you need to have artists who will be conscious of that, who will
    use their art in such a way that it helps to transform society. It may not
    be a blunt instrument, but it will have a kind of poetic effect."
    that doesn't sound like a programmatic dismissal of the poetic to me.
    (i also wouldn't expect anyone to criticize art or even Radiohead as the "opiate of the masses", maybe all the Fox "reality" shows and internet porn...)
    and what was it marx said... something about composing music at night after working during the day...
    anyway, it seems like we're all in agreement that thoughtful, well-produced, complex work is better than what isn't (and for the record, i would never, never slam the circus - except for the ones that brutalize animals of course), but it doesn't mean one can't talk about the cultural and political meaning and implications of the non-verbal. i mean, what does it mean to say Radiohead has influenced more of the world than Zinn in a more profound way? (they are obviously engaged in different projects first of all) how and who and why? is this measured in records sales vs book sales? what are the different results of their impact? i don't think these are trivial questions. is it really "in" the music itself? am i a better person for listening to Radiohead rather than Matchbox Twenty (can i have fugazi please)? this doesn't mean i'm looking for didactic answers to the meaning of "Art," (please, no). i'd like to say that i enjoy something outside of a social context, but come on, what the hell would that mean? my enjoyment of anything is always grounded in many things - some people subscribe to different dogmatic theories to explain it, but there are ways of dealing with context in more complex and thoughtful ways, it's just not easy. especially when "Art" is given some kind of magic power to shield itself from everything around it.
    to compare someone talking about art as a non specialist to a surgeon or car mechanic is ludicrous though. when's the last time you wanted to hear a surgeon/mechanic tell you that a surgical procedure/car repair was "beyond words" and intuitive? if art wants to have the kind of cultural impact everyone seems to want it to, it should be open to discussion from non-specialists. especially if all us specialists can say is we like something or don't, but can't say why because it's non-verbal.
    well, that's way to much for me to have written without saying all that much.
    (+ eduardo - thanx for bring up Lygia Clark - i hadn't thought about her and Oiticica's work for a while, which i really like)
    take care,
    ryan
  • Regina Pinto | Tue Nov 25th 2003 8:56 p.m.
    Hello Eduardo,

    About Lygia Clark I wrote a thesis ten years ago and she was really amazing
    and her trajectory in art is exceptional: paintings - two dimensions
    objects, three dimensions objects - "Casulos" ("Cocoons"), organic
    sculptures - "Bichos"(Animals) , which were the first interactive work I
    have
    Known. In fact if you study her works since the beginning you will see that
    they are a sequence which has the moviment from inside to outside. After the
    "Bichos" , "Caminhando" (Walking) where she used the moebius ribbon
    structure, where the inside can be outside and vice -versa. She wrote, yes,
    she wrote texts about all her works:

    <"Caminhando" ("Walking") it is the act, it is the potentiality of going
    ahead. The act of doing as the act of being, both integrated in the world,
    the individual in direction to the collective. It is the essence of the
    art.>

    After "Caminhando" lots of works: objects, performances, installations. All
    of them working with inside and outside but not only this their works were
    above all Genre (Man/Woman), Psychology and Anthropology. Some of them
    primitive rites. The most important thing about Lygia Clark is that she was
    completely concious about she was doing, if you read her texts you will
    understand this.Conceptual? Yes, but much more than this... I spent a year
    reading her texts and I think I have much more to study about her..

    She guess our times - the interactivity - and she wrote in a letter to a
    friend
    of her (1964):

    "...but it is the terrible conscience of the uselessness of my expression
    that I believe have arrived to the end. It is not an individual end but of
    time. I see in the future the crowd of the victorious anonyms pass on
    artist's body . This artist's dissolution in life, giving to possibility of
    the anonym create, is our own death and, how many of us will stand that
    dilaceramento, this identity with the collective?

    Sometime after this she give up of Art, said Art is Life and became a kind
    of psychiatrist - xaman.

    It is very difficult for me to explain in English the Art of Lygia Clark
    but I must say that she was really a genius.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    About the discussion I would like to say that Conceptual, Political,
    Baroque, Neo-Baroque, Still Life... it is not important. Art must be...Art
    and artists must be critical of themselves, it is the first step to do GOOD
    ART: Political, Conceptual or what you want.

    PS: As you are talking about the paper which we use in the toilets, I would
    like to say that the restrooms of the Musem of the Essential and That are
    not separated by genre (Man/Woman) but by style of Art, and they were done
    in this way just because of discussions like that ...;-) he he he.
    http://arteonline.arq.br/museu/bathroom

    Last but not least, we already have Conceptual Style Toilets, but
    unfortunatelly we do not have "Political Style toilets", so if one of you
    were interested in this category, send us your collaboration! I think it is
    really a failure.

    "Walking",

    Regina

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: <eduardo@navasse.net>
    To: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 5:14 PM
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Thom Yorke / Howard Zinn

    >
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "curt cloninger" <curt@lab404.com>
    > > My sister-in-law and I were talking last night, and the topic of
    > conceptual art somehow came up. She asked, "what is conceptual art?" I
    > said it was art in which the art object was largely incidental or a prop
    for
    > the concept, and [...]
    > <--snip-->
    > > The assertion that the circus is marginally useful Marxian opiate
    > entertainment and that overt, socially conscious art is the only way to
    > *really* change the world -- that sounds just like something a political
    > scientist would say.
    > <--snip-->
    >
    > Hey Curt,
    >
    > I know we have had some interesting discussions on Conceptual Art on this
    > list, and one thing that has somehow lingered is your last comment.
    First,
    > I think while such influence might be true, it is also important to note
    > that there were other factors that played into the development and energy
    of
    > the conceptual movement in the U.S in particular. Adrianne Piper, for
    > example, is also considered a performance and installation/video artist
    and
    > her main influence is Kant. She, in fact, is a neo-kantian philospher.
    > Also, Coceptual art moved around the globe and was actually already in
    > practice by people like Piero Manzoni in Europe under a different context,
    > but all the ingridients were there already. And Brazilian artists like
    > Lygia Clark created some amazing paintings and performances based on
    > conceptual strategies. She is also considered a conceptual artists to
    some
    > degree under a global context. And many artists who came after the
    > "hardcore" movement, in the U.S., developed work that was completely
    > dependent on the art object. Roni Horn, Janine Antoni among others. I
    > honestly do not understand the bashing. Maybe you should be more honest
    > because in many ways Conceptual Art cleaned-up the corners that Duchamp
    had
    > left untouched. Now, "truth to form" is usually the left over question of
    > disinterestedness that most educators pose in the art classroom when
    > scrutinizing the students for their assigments. This is why Greenberg
    > called evertything that is taught at universities and art schools
    "kitsch."
    >
    > Conceptual art is now part of history and should be considered a starting
    > point, not a bashing scapegoat.
    >
    > Best,
    >
    > Eduardo Navas
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> 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 | Tue Nov 25th 2003 9:11 p.m.
    eduardo:
    > Does creating your own terms really place you outside of a historical
    > canon?
    > I do not think so. You are still creating labels on a specific set of
    > parameters based on well established art historical models.

    curt:
    I'm creating labels based on similarities I observe in various pieces of work I encounter. The labels describe the nature of the work. Am I obliged to filter my responses and critical understandings through a prescribed set of predetermined historical perspectives, or am I allowed a personal critical response based on the pieces themselves?

    eduardo:
    One day
    > you may
    > well be cited for being a pseudo-dissenter...

    ace:
    alrighty then.
  • curt cloninger | Tue Nov 25th 2003 10:12 p.m.
    Hi Ryan,

    Zinn is not dismissing the value of the circus altogether, but he is definitely belittling its value as an agent of social change, and in a sort of condescending, patronizing way. As if there's mere entertainment on the one hand, and then there's powerful, serious art. (The more self-conscious and boring it is, the more important it must be.)

    This discussion list is para-art. All our dialogue here is para-art. Grants and gallery shows and album sales and quantifiable measurements of social change are all para-art. Art is not immune to these social contexts, but neither is it necessarily dependent on them (judging from your response, we probably disagree on this point). There's this assumption that art which intentionally acknowledges these para-art contexts and dialogues with them is somehow more legitimate, and art that ignores these contexts is somehow less legitimate. This assumption, of course, is made by those who place an inordinate amount of value on such para-art contexts (namely writers, curators, educators, critics, historians). But the Howard Finsters and Emily Dickinsons continue to create great art just fine without us, and people continue to enjoy it just fine without us.

    Assume some portion of great art (let's say 25%) is objectively quantifiable and the rest (75%) is objectively unquantifiable. Contemporary critics get all weirded out talking about that unquantifiable 75%, because they're not allowed to have a subjective aesthetic response to anything anymore, and they've lost the skill of writing in a critically poetic/emotional/personal/responsive way. It's all footnotes and historical allusions and "did the artist achieve what he said he was trying to achieve in his artist statement" and "how does this relate to this or that preceding movement." In other words, most contemporary critics are only comfortable talking about the quantifiable 25%.

    So aspiring artists check out the critical scene, pick up on the 25% that's valued, and they learn to make art that's 100% quantifiable. The critics are happy, because now they don't have to deal with that sticky unquantifiable 75%. But art that's 100% quantifiable sucks. It's using a paintbrush as an oven mitt. Every other discipline seeks to be 100% quantifiable, and now we want our art to be that way too? Corrosive folly.

    I am the Lorax; I speak for the trees.

    --

    ryan griffis wrote:

    > hi everyone,
    > (i didn't mean to singal out you out curt, i just thought some more
    > concrete examination could help the discussion)
    > anyway, i think we should re-examine Zinn's statements as i think they
    > have been misinterpreted, or maybe not, but it seems that way to me.
    > Zinn: "You can look upon entertainment as something useful, as we
    > don't want to eliminate art which is only entertaining, and insist
    > that all art must be political, must be revolutionary, must be
    > transforming.
    > ...there's a place for comedy and music and the circus and things
    > that
    > don't really have an awful effect on society except to entertain
    > people - to
    > make people feel good.
    > In order to change that you need to have artists who will be conscious
    > of that, who will
    > use their art in such a way that it helps to transform society. It may
    > not
    > be a blunt instrument, but it will have a kind of poetic effect."
    > that doesn't sound like a programmatic dismissal of the poetic to me.
    > (i also wouldn't expect anyone to criticize art or even Radiohead as
    > the "opiate of the masses", maybe all the Fox "reality" shows and
    > internet porn...)
    > and what was it marx said... something about composing music at night
    > after working during the day...
    > anyway, it seems like we're all in agreement that thoughtful,
    > well-produced, complex work is better than what isn't (and for the
    > record, i would never, never slam the circus - except for the ones
    > that brutalize animals of course), but it doesn't mean one can't talk
    > about the cultural and political meaning and implications of the
    > non-verbal. i mean, what does it mean to say Radiohead has influenced
    > more of the world than Zinn in a more profound way? (they are
    > obviously engaged in different projects first of all) how and who and
    > why? is this measured in records sales vs book sales? what are the
    > different results of their impact? i don't think these are trivial
    > questions. is it really "in" the music itself? am i a better person
    > for listening to Radiohead rather than Matchbox Twenty (can i have
    > fugazi please)? this doesn't mean i'm looking for didactic answers to
    > the meaning of "Art," (please, no). i'd like to say that i enjoy
    > something outside of a social context, but come on, what the hell
    > would that mean? my enjoyment of anything is always grounded in many
    > things - some people subscribe to different dogmatic theories to
    > explain it, but there are ways of dealing with context in more complex
    > and thoughtful ways, it's just not easy. especially when "Art" is
    > given some kind of magic power to shield itself from everything around
    > it.
    > to compare someone talking about art as a non specialist to a surgeon
    > or car mechanic is ludicrous though. when's the last time you wanted
    > to hear a surgeon/mechanic tell you that a surgical procedure/car
    > repair was "beyond words" and intuitive? if art wants to have the kind
    > of cultural impact everyone seems to want it to, it should be open to
    > discussion from non-specialists. especially if all us specialists can
    > say is we like something or don't, but can't say why because it's
    > non-verbal.
    > well, that's way to much for me to have written without saying all
    > that much.
    > (+ eduardo - thanx for bring up Lygia Clark - i hadn't thought about
    > her and Oiticica's work for a while, which i really like)
    > take care,
    > ryan
    >
  • Eduardo Navas | Tue Nov 25th 2003 10:46 p.m.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Regina Celia Pinto" <reginapinto@arteonline.arq.br>
    > Hello Eduardo,
    >
    > About Lygia Clark I wrote a thesis ten years ago and she was really
    amazing
    > and her trajectory in art is exceptional: paintings - two dimensions
    > objects, three dimensions objects - "Casulos" ("Cocoons"), organic
    > sculptures - "Bichos"(Animals) , which were the first interactive work I
    > have
    > Known. In fact if you study her works since the beginning you will see
    that
    > they are a sequence which has the moviment from inside to outside. After
    the
    > "Bichos" , "Caminhando" (Walking) where she used the moebius ribbon
    > structure, where the inside can be outside and vice -versa. She wrote,
    yes,
    > she wrote texts about all her works:
    <--snip-->

    Hello Regina,

    I agree with you about Lygia. She is an important artist. I personally
    think much of the writing and opining in this thread and on Rhizome for that
    matter is quite U.S. centric, and that often other important histories in
    art are blatantly ommited.

    Also, I do agree with you and Ryan about Art consisting of many things; in
    the end, it is not good to essentialize based on labels, especially those
    strategically created thinking one can somehow be outside a hierarchical
    powerstructure, when clearly such structure feeds the person by enabling the
    individual to either teach, make, or/and write about art. If we make art
    and become aware of a particular thread of thought and events, we are bound
    to contribute material in various levels. This is how histories come about.
    Creating new labels and pushing one's opinion revitalizes the vocabulary of
    the discourse. This is exactly why we write on this thread; hence our
    creative nature. And by creating new labels one can also displace power by
    shifting its attention to particular narratives, but this is all being done
    within a particular discourse, which we can call "Rhizome-Raw" that is
    really an extension of the greater art discourse. We are not doing this is
    Mars, and we have serious investment in art making, so why fool ourselves
    claiming that we can dismiss hierarchies based on personal labels?

    I do not really understand why there is a constant need by certain critics
    to openly bash on a specific historical branch of art practice. Much of the
    work we all do today borrows from previous strategies of conceptualism,
    Minimalism, Arte Povera, Canibalism, etc. And it is most important to note
    that such "movements" are quite slippery themselves, crossing over each
    other and other aspects of the everyday, such as performance, activism,
    public art, etc. Art History's richness, if you ask me, is the fact that it
    needs and must be reevaluated because of multiple roles in art practice.
    Also, with much respect to everyone, I do think this debate is somewhat
    riding on generalities. I am glad you, Regina, sent more specific
    information on Lygia Clark.

    Best,

    Eduardo
    :)
  • Eryk Salvaggio | Wed Nov 26th 2003 12:11 a.m.
    What's wrong with reality shows, exactly?

    -e.
  • curt cloninger | Wed Nov 26th 2003 1:12 a.m.
    Eduardo:
    > Also, I do agree with you and Ryan about Art consisting of many
    > things; in
    > the end, it is not good to essentialize based on labels, especially
    > those
    > strategically created thinking one can somehow be outside a
    > hierarchical
    > powerstructure, when clearly such structure feeds the person by
    > enabling the
    > individual to either teach, make, or/and write about art. If we make
    > art
    > and become aware of a particular thread of thought and events, we are
    > bound
    > to contribute material in various levels. This is how histories come
    > about.
    > Creating new labels and pushing one's opinion revitalizes the
    > vocabulary of
    > the discourse. This is exactly why we write on this thread; hence our
    > creative nature. And by creating new labels one can also displace
    > power by
    > shifting its attention to particular narratives, but this is all being
    > done
    > within a particular discourse, which we can call "Rhizome-Raw" that is
    > really an extension of the greater art discourse. We are not doing
    > this is
    > Mars, and we have serious investment in art making, so why fool
    > ourselves
    > claiming that we can dismiss hierarchies based on personal labels?

    curt:
    Thanks for the primer. I could have sworn these were my personal opinions and pet whims, but now I see that I'm simply operating in response to greater social power structures. This very argument itself is surely a gambit to shift the balance of RAW list power (sounds like a wrestling team), and not a gut reaction to the disturbing tidiness of your adopted system, as I had originally thought. I'm glad to know how I fit into your world view. I'll spare you the details of how such convenient reductionism fits into mine.

    What if I'm just writing all this stuff for the sheer joy of self-expression, dialectic exploration, and personal procrastination? What if my livelihood has little to do with rhizome raw or my standing theron? What if I could not care less about altering the paradigmatic narratives of art history; I simply want to see more interesting art work produced for the sake of my own personal enjoyment? What if my geographical influences are more peculiarly southern than anything that could properly be called U.S? What if it's not all good in the hood?

    eduardo:
    > I do not really understand why there is a constant need by certain
    > critics
    > to openly bash on a specific historical branch of art practice.

    curt:
    caring is sharing.
  • Eduardo Navas | Wed Nov 26th 2003 3:36 a.m.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "curt cloninger" <curt@lab404.com>
    > curt:
    > Thanks for the primer. I could have sworn these were my personal opinions
    and pet whims, but now I see that I'm simply operating in response to
    greater social power structures.
    --------

    Hello Curt,

    In the last Whitney Thread you wrote:
    -----------------
    I freely admit the existence and influence of hierarchical structures, and
    the importance of accurately understanding their dynamics. My problem is
    taking love and intimacy and thanksgiving and creativity and celebration and
    barbaric yawpin' and reducing them to sociological-driven responses to these
    power structures.
    sometimes the dolphins just frolic and the lambs just leap.
    http://lab404.com/misc/echoed.gif
    http://designforfreedom.com/substitud/Movies/typevsm_small.html

    peace,
    curt
    -------------------

    I am not sure why you take such a personal position now. Indirectly, I was
    asking for a more direct reason why you bash so consistently on Conceptual
    Art, that is all. I understand your problem with structures, but as you
    admit there is a necessity for understanding the dynamics or as you say
    "hierarchical structures." I took a very basic position of analysis not
    particularly married to a specific school of thought, except the humanities
    in a general way of understanding an individual's position in a bigger
    picture, especially in historical terms. This is a basic necessity, given
    that we live in a world were we negotiate through political gestures. I
    thought we agreed on this necessity in the past, I hope so.

    Do not take it so personal, because I do enjoy the rhetoric.

    siUSoon.

    Eduardo N.
  • curt cloninger | Wed Nov 26th 2003 7:35 a.m.
    Hi Eduardo,

    We all live in society, but that doesn't mean we all share the same humanistic understanding of social interaction and power. That would be like saying we all drive a car, so we all drive a 1985 Crown Victoria. You take for granted some things that I don't. No surprise there.

    Having said that, it's exhausting to have to return to your academic square one every time, particularly since I don't necessarily subscribe to it. This is public listserv dialogue, not a doctoral thesis. I've explained my position on hardcore conceptual art ad nauseum in previous threads. This thread seemed to be more about the pros and cons of didactic artmaking.

    Hence my peevishness. But I still love you and all creatures great and small. Yea and verily, my heart overflows with love.

    love,
    curt

    --

    Eduardo Navas wrote:

    >
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "curt cloninger" <curt@lab404.com>
    > > curt:
    > > Thanks for the primer. I could have sworn these were my personal
    > opinions
    > and pet whims, but now I see that I'm simply operating in response to
    > greater social power structures.
    > --------
    >
    >
    > Hello Curt,
    >
    > In the last Whitney Thread you wrote:
    > -----------------
    > I freely admit the existence and influence of hierarchical structures,
    > and
    > the importance of accurately understanding their dynamics. My problem
    > is
    > taking love and intimacy and thanksgiving and creativity and
    > celebration and
    > barbaric yawpin' and reducing them to sociological-driven responses to
    > these
    > power structures.
    > sometimes the dolphins just frolic and the lambs just leap.
    > http://lab404.com/misc/echoed.gif
    > http://designforfreedom.com/substitud/Movies/typevsm_small.html
    >
    > peace,
    > curt
    > -------------------
    >
    > I am not sure why you take such a personal position now. Indirectly,
    > I was
    > asking for a more direct reason why you bash so consistently on
    > Conceptual
    > Art, that is all. I understand your problem with structures, but as
    > you
    > admit there is a necessity for understanding the dynamics or as you
    > say
    > "hierarchical structures." I took a very basic position of analysis
    > not
    > particularly married to a specific school of thought, except the
    > humanities
    > in a general way of understanding an individual's position in a bigger
    > picture, especially in historical terms. This is a basic necessity,
    > given
    > that we live in a world were we negotiate through political gestures.
    > I
    > thought we agreed on this necessity in the past, I hope so.
    >
    > Do not take it so personal, because I do enjoy the rhetoric.
    >
    > siUSoon.
    >
    > Eduardo N.
    >
    >
    >
  • M. River | Wed Nov 26th 2003 11:03 a.m.
    Eryk Salvaggio wrote:

    >
    > What's wrong with reality shows, exactly?
    >
    > -e.
    >

    Hello Eryk,. Thanks for the post. Here are some random thoughts
  • joseph mcelroy | Wed Nov 26th 2003 12:30 p.m.
    In email, announce need for printed page,
    On web page,
    create table with borders on and
    two columns of 5 squares each, with borders of gray
    left column contains background colored black squares,
    right column contains background colored gray squares,
    left column contains series of pictures - cube cage by lewitt, neon
    "significato" by kosuth, film grain "WITH A WARM EMBRACE COME (WHAT MAY)" by
    wiener, neon "signficato" by lewitt, cube cage by wiener
    right column contains parts of a sentence in white text - "I have asked",
    "hardcore conceptual art", "to be my bride", "and hardcore conceptual art",
    "has agreed."

    Ask people for advice ASAP.

    Reponses
    I think you should reverse the columns, just because.
    I think it should be pink
    I think the sentence should be ""The most lucky thing that happened to me
    was running into Sal LeWitt in 1975"

    joseph

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "M. River" <mriver102@yahoo.com>
    To: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 10:03 AM
    Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: Re: Thom Yorke / Howard Zinn

    > Eryk Salvaggio wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > What's wrong with reality shows, exactly?
    > >
    > > -e.
    > >
    >
    > Hello Eryk,. Thanks for the post. Here are some random thoughts.
    >
    > 1. Please compare and contrast Felix Gonzales Torres (1957-1996) work made
    as an individual artist to the work made with the collective Group Material.
    >
    > 2. I am guessing your reality show question is in contrast to the idea of
    art as a circus or spectacle. I would like to point out that reality shows
    are scripted and edited and one should be careful about thinking of them as
    "real" or "truth'. On the other hand - the circus or opera, although staged
    and artificial in nature, sometimes brings out empathy that might be held
    back by subtler meatheads.
    >
    > Okay, I am good at stating the obvious so far.
    >
    > I am also guessing that your question may be more of about methods of
    narrative in political art. Is the theater of art blocking our ability to
    find meaning or truth? Is minimal or conceptual strategies more direct than
    work of adornment. I'm not sure. Then again, I'm not even sure what this
    thread is about.
    >
    > 3. What's your plan for Thanksgiving? (non-us contextual note:
    thanksgiving is an American holiday that, in general, revolves around being
    thankful for the harvest, family and for some strange reason, football). No
    Tofurky (tofu turkey) for me this year. My vegetarian friends are out of
    town.
    >
    > 4. and speaking of giving thanks to our family and also HCA (Hardcore
    Conceptual Art), here is a rough layout I made last night for a work to be
    shown in a print magazine this winter. Hope you enjoy it. Any comments would
    help. I need to get it done ASAP.
    >
    > http://tinjail.com/ca
    >
    > Well that's it for me.
    > +
    > -> 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
    >
  • Eduardo Navas | Thu Nov 27th 2003 7:34 p.m.
    Hello Curt and All Rhizomers.

    I would like to note, for technical sake, that I did not receive this message as part of the thread in my e-mailbox. I only found out about it after browsing through the rhizome website; hence my late reply to Curt.

    This glitch actually happened before, when Francis had replied to me and I thought he never did until I checked the site. This glitch of not always getting thread messages in our e-mail boxes should be looked into. In any case, My response to Curt is below:

    curt cloninger wrote:

    > Hi Eduardo,
    >
    > We all live in society, but that doesn't mean we all share the same
    > humanistic understanding of social interaction and power. That would
    > be like saying we all drive a car, so we all drive a 1985 Crown
    > Victoria. You take for granted some things that I don't. No surprise
    > there.

    The main thing is to understand that we drive a car. What one drives is not the same as how one drives or how one thinks of driving. The style of the car is not important, because the function of the car is what really matters. I think what you are getting at is that you rely on a particular way of looking at power structures that is not materialist. We already discussed this, in the end you have "faith," and that is that. I am not saying that I do or do not, that is a private matter, but what I would like to make clear is that one should be able to use different methods of thinking to better understand society.

    I do not take anything for granted. But you do by stating that I do and not explaining why you think I do. It is always easier to tell someone that she/he essentialises or generalizes without explaining the reasons behind such criticism. This is because the criticism in the end is on false ground. This is exactly why I prefer to be specific about anything that I discusss, and at least give names and particular methods of thinking to look through things.

    >
    > Having said that, it's exhausting to have to return to your academic
    > square one every time, particularly since I don't necessarily
    > subscribe to it. This is public listserv dialogue, not a doctoral
    > thesis. I've explained my position on hardcore conceptual art ad
    > nauseum in previous threads. This thread seemed to be more about the
    > pros and cons of didactic artmaking.
    >

    Fair enough. However, bringing up "academia" is irrelevant here. If I keep asking you about your position on Conceptual art it is because in the past you never really explain it, but rather otherized it based on labels that were created by yourself in order to try to escape art history. And I already explained that creating different labels does not change much. In the end we are still driving cars, some go faster than others, some are Porsches, some are Buicks; eventually, they all get on the highway and need to deal with each other by crashing or respecting the rules of the road. (the cars here would be labels; you are still using labels based on a priori of art practice.) Using a different term does not change much -- you still need to drive on the road. So forget academia. Just drive the car, and always be clear about where you are going. Giving general directions will only get people lost.

    siUSoon,

    Eduardo Navas
  • curt cloninger | Thu Nov 27th 2003 10:19 p.m.
    Hi Eduardo,

    You really took the Crown Victoria analogy and ran with it. Earlier, Ryan took the surgeon/mechanic analogy and ran with it. All analogies fall apart upon close inspection. They are meant to illustrate their initially stated points of similitude, no more.

    I've been "vague" about my opinion of conceptual art on this particular thread because it's tangential to the topic of the thread. I mentioned it only in passing. I've been more specific about it in the past. cf:
    http://www.spark-online.com/issue24/cloninger.html
    http://rhizome.org/query.rhiz?words=conceptual+cloninger

    I would be curious to have Ryan pick up the thread here:
    http://rhizome.org/thread.rhiz?thread256&text!640#21655

    I would be curious to hear what Eryk had in mind by starting the thread (although I have a guess).

    peace,
    curt

    --

    Eduardo Navas wrote:

    > Hello Curt and All Rhizomers.
    >
    > I would like to note, for technical sake, that I did not receive this
    > message as part of the thread in my e-mailbox. I only found out about
    > it after browsing through the rhizome website; hence my late reply to
    > Curt.
    >
    > This glitch actually happened before, when Francis had replied to me
    > and I thought he never did until I checked the site. This glitch of
    > not always getting thread messages in our e-mail boxes should be
    > looked into. In any case, My response to Curt is below:
    >
    > curt cloninger wrote:
    >
    > > Hi Eduardo,
    > >
    > > We all live in society, but that doesn't mean we all share the same
    > > humanistic understanding of social interaction and power. That
    > would
    > > be like saying we all drive a car, so we all drive a 1985 Crown
    > > Victoria. You take for granted some things that I don't. No
    > surprise
    > > there.
    >
    > The main thing is to understand that we drive a car. What one drives
    > is not the same as how one drives or how one thinks of driving. The
    > style of the car is not important, because the function of the car is
    > what really matters. I think what you are getting at is that you rely
    > on a particular way of looking at power structures that is not
    > materialist. We already discussed this, in the end you have "faith,"
    > and that is that. I am not saying that I do or do not, that is a
    > private matter, but what I would like to make clear is that one should
    > be able to use different methods of thinking to better understand
    > society.
    >
    > I do not take anything for granted. But you do by stating that I do
    > and not explaining why you think I do. It is always easier to tell
    > someone that she/he essentialises or generalizes without explaining
    > the reasons behind such criticism. This is because the criticism in
    > the end is on false ground. This is exactly why I prefer to be
    > specific about anything that I discusss, and at least give names and
    > particular methods of thinking to look through things.
    >
    > >
    > > Having said that, it's exhausting to have to return to your academic
    > > square one every time, particularly since I don't necessarily
    > > subscribe to it. This is public listserv dialogue, not a doctoral
    > > thesis. I've explained my position on hardcore conceptual art ad
    > > nauseum in previous threads. This thread seemed to be more about
    > the
    > > pros and cons of didactic artmaking.
    > >
    >
    > Fair enough. However, bringing up "academia" is irrelevant here. If
    > I keep asking you about your position on Conceptual art it is because
    > in the past you never really explain it, but rather otherized it based
    > on labels that were created by yourself in order to try to escape art
    > history. And I already explained that creating different labels does
    > not change much. In the end we are still driving cars, some go faster
    > than others, some are Porsches, some are Buicks; eventually, they all
    > get on the highway and need to deal with each other by crashing or
    > respecting the rules of the road. (the cars here would be labels; you
    > are still using labels based on a priori of art practice.) Using a
    > different term does not change much -- you still need to drive on the
    > road. So forget academia. Just drive the car, and always be clear
    > about where you are going. Giving general directions will only get
    > people lost.
    >
    > siUSoon,
    >
    > Eduardo Navas
  • Eduardo Navas | Fri Nov 28th 2003 6:10 p.m.
    Got the links. Read them.

    Now I know your position.

    Thanks,

    Eduardo
    :)
  • Eryk Salvaggio | Sat Nov 29th 2003 3:17 a.m.
    Curt;

    I blog now, (http://www.one38.org) and this was an interesting article I
    came across during my research period a few days ago. (A note on blogging:
    it's good food for thought, especially because following my "gut" in
    politics changes when I see it in print. I realized, politically speaking,
    there's a ton of stuff I have to learn in order to crack into full fledged
    "observer" status, more or less right now I'm a liberal propagandist and I'm
    working on that.)

    But anyway. You said you were curious as to why I posted it here. It's
    mostly because Zinn articulates one end of my art-making spectrum when he
    says, "There are artists who really don't
    have a social consciousness, who don't see that there's a connection between
    art and life in a way that compels the artist to look around the world and
    see what is wrong and try to use his or her art to change that."

    Then Yorke articulates the other end: "It is difficult to make political art
    work. If all it does is exist in the realms of political discussion, it's
    using that language, and generally, it's an ugly language. It is very dead,
    definitely not a thing of beauty."

    I feel like I agree with both of them. My own art has taken a sidestep for
    politics, and I wonder about beautiful political art. I think there is some-
    Godspeed You Black Emperor is beautiful political music (but probably
    because it has no words), or Stereolab... But I can't think of many
    beautiful political artists- most political artists are agitpropagandists.
    I'd like to see beautiful art made about stuff like rational idealism,
    measured hope, strategic optimism, aggressive truth, that sort of thing,
    those sort of concepts, and see it in a way that was beautiful and not
    cliche or boring and actually held some power. I probably do see it, I just
    don't see it often and I can't articulate it.

    I find I distrust entertainment. I feel like if something is going to make
    me think I can trust it and evaluate it, if something is trying to make me
    laugh or feel something then it's tricking me. I realized this most acutely
    after seeing "Dancer In The Dark," which, at the end of it, I felt
    manipulated and tricked, because the movie made me feel like I was looking
    at "the harsh real world" when the real world is nothing like it.

    I also feel like a lot of artists are soulless by intent. I think we need
    one.

    So, I had no agenda in generating the discussion, except to see what people
    had to say. I still have no idea what people have to say about it, though.

    -e.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "curt cloninger" <curt@lab404.com>
    To: <list@rhizome.org>
    Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2003 9:19 PM
    Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thom Yorke / Howard Zinn

    > Hi Eduardo,
    >
    > You really took the Crown Victoria analogy and ran with it. Earlier, Ryan
    took the surgeon/mechanic analogy and ran with it. All analogies fall apart
    upon close inspection. They are meant to illustrate their initially stated
    points of similitude, no more.
    >
    > I've been "vague" about my opinion of conceptual art on this particular
    thread because it's tangential to the topic of the thread. I mentioned it
    only in passing. I've been more specific about it in the past. cf:
    > http://www.spark-online.com/issue24/cloninger.html
    > http://rhizome.org/query.rhiz?words=conceptual+cloninger
    >
    > I would be curious to have Ryan pick up the thread here:
    > http://rhizome.org/thread.rhiz?thread256&text!640#21655
    >
    > I would be curious to hear what Eryk had in mind by starting the thread
    (although I have a guess).
    >
    > peace,
    > curt
    >
    > --
    >
    >
    >
    > Eduardo Navas wrote:
    >
    > > Hello Curt and All Rhizomers.
    > >
    > > I would like to note, for technical sake, that I did not receive this
    > > message as part of the thread in my e-mailbox. I only found out about
    > > it after browsing through the rhizome website; hence my late reply to
    > > Curt.
    > >
    > > This glitch actually happened before, when Francis had replied to me
    > > and I thought he never did until I checked the site. This glitch of
    > > not always getting thread messages in our e-mail boxes should be
    > > looked into. In any case, My response to Curt is below:
    > >
    > > curt cloninger wrote:
    > >
    > > > Hi Eduardo,
    > > >
    > > > We all live in society, but that doesn't mean we all share the same
    > > > humanistic understanding of social interaction and power. That
    > > would
    > > > be like saying we all drive a car, so we all drive a 1985 Crown
    > > > Victoria. You take for granted some things that I don't. No
    > > surprise
    > > > there.
    > >
    > > The main thing is to understand that we drive a car. What one drives
    > > is not the same as how one drives or how one thinks of driving. The
    > > style of the car is not important, because the function of the car is
    > > what really matters. I think what you are getting at is that you rely
    > > on a particular way of looking at power structures that is not
    > > materialist. We already discussed this, in the end you have "faith,"
    > > and that is that. I am not saying that I do or do not, that is a
    > > private matter, but what I would like to make clear is that one should
    > > be able to use different methods of thinking to better understand
    > > society.
    > >
    > > I do not take anything for granted. But you do by stating that I do
    > > and not explaining why you think I do. It is always easier to tell
    > > someone that she/he essentialises or generalizes without explaining
    > > the reasons behind such criticism. This is because the criticism in
    > > the end is on false ground. This is exactly why I prefer to be
    > > specific about anything that I discusss, and at least give names and
    > > particular methods of thinking to look through things.
    > >
    > > >
    > > > Having said that, it's exhausting to have to return to your academic
    > > > square one every time, particularly since I don't necessarily
    > > > subscribe to it. This is public listserv dialogue, not a doctoral
    > > > thesis. I've explained my position on hardcore conceptual art ad
    > > > nauseum in previous threads. This thread seemed to be more about
    > > the
    > > > pros and cons of didactic artmaking.
    > > >
    > >
    > > Fair enough. However, bringing up "academia" is irrelevant here. If
    > > I keep asking you about your position on Conceptual art it is because
    > > in the past you never really explain it, but rather otherized it based
    > > on labels that were created by yourself in order to try to escape art
    > > history. And I already explained that creating different labels does
    > > not change much. In the end we are still driving cars, some go faster
    > > than others, some are Porsches, some are Buicks; eventually, they all
    > > get on the highway and need to deal with each other by crashing or
    > > respecting the rules of the road. (the cars here would be labels; you
    > > are still using labels based on a priori of art practice.) Using a
    > > different term does not change much -- you still need to drive on the
    > > road. So forget academia. Just drive the car, and always be clear
    > > about where you are going. Giving general directions will only get
    > > people lost.
    > >
    > > siUSoon,
    > >
    > > Eduardo Navas
    > +
    > -> 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 Nov 29th 2003 2:48 p.m.
    Thanks Eryk,

    Fugazi might be considered good political art, and even Mogwai (if
    you like Godspeed). I think the Young Ones is good political art,
    but then I was raised punk and am fairly apolitical.

    I think the reason effective political art is harder to recognize is
    that it doesn't spell itself out. Politics are always polemic, but
    art is not an argument. Or at least the art I respect and enjoy is
    not an argument.

    Mark Napier's net.flag ( http://netflag.guggenheim.org/netflag/ ) to
    me is effective and interesting political net art. Because he
    doesn't just come out and say, "hey, isn't nationalism kind of stupid
    on the world wide web anyway? shouldn't we research and respect each
    other's cultural symbols, but then move beyond that and make
    something less partisan?"

    He uses actual "art" (not a text essay masquerading as art) to
    encourage and exemplify such opinions and suggestions. Flags are
    distilled, dense symbols of nationalism. Flags also speak in a
    visual and symbolic language. Napier is a visual artist capable of
    remixing such a visual language via Java. So his piece works
    visually and aesthetically and interacatively and artistically in and
    of itself within the medium, and because it does, we are then able to
    extrapolate what is experientially "proven true" in the medium, and
    track it back (without having to jump through too many semiotic
    hoops) to the realm of political thought. To me the net.flag
    succeeds in a way that a mere hacktivist prank like
    http://www.vote-auction.net never can. It's not that vote-auction is
    an invalid form of human discourse. It's actually pretty clever and
    raises interesting political points. But it's more didactic and less
    holistic. It's speaking at an intellectual level, not a
    soulish/aesthetic level.

    Here is the value of "entertainment" (to use a worst case, derisive
    term). I may not be able to convince you of my agenda, but if my art
    can put you in the emotional position of someone or something with
    which I wish you to have empathy, then that becomes a much more
    successful "argument" than my mere aristotelian/didactic approach.
    Granted, if I use cheap shock tactics to manipulate you, it's
    propaganda. But if I defer to you and respect you and let you make
    up your own mind about it, it's not.

    Now, if you believe there is no such thing as deference and respect
    and love and beauty, and that everything is simply a positional power
    gambit, then said cynical outlook will poison your ability to make
    aesthetically effective art, political or otherwise. The same is
    true if you don't believe in a soulish/spiritual realm beyond mere
    intellectual discourse. But just because there is cheap mindless
    entertainment and dangerous manipulative propaganda doesn't mean that
    emotional art is evil or unethical. It just means care need be
    taken. (as an aside, i think much of piotr szyhalski work
    de-propogandizing propoganda is brilliant. cf:
    http://ftp.mcad.edu/piotr2/folkways/start.html and
    http://www.mcad.edu/home/faculty/szyhalski/spl/post/post.html )

    I think your WTC ASCII piece succeeds as effective aesthetic/political art:
    http://www.anatomyofhope.net/wtc/2
    Your creative/purposeful use of the medium iteslf adds fresh
    emotional insight to the event that no piece of protest network
    hacktivism or straightforward documentary film footage or 50 page
    prose editorial (or even your own artist statement for the piece)
    ever could.

    peace,
    curt

    At 2:17 AM -0500 11/29/03, Eryk Salvaggio wrote:
    >Curt;
    >
    >I blog now, (http://www.one38.org) and this was an interesting article I
    >came across during my research period a few days ago. (A note on blogging:
    >it's good food for thought, especially because following my "gut" in
    >politics changes when I see it in print. I realized, politically speaking,
    >there's a ton of stuff I have to learn in order to crack into full fledged
    >"observer" status, more or less right now I'm a liberal propagandist and I'm
    >working on that.)
    >
    >But anyway. You said you were curious as to why I posted it here. It's
    >mostly because Zinn articulates one end of my art-making spectrum when he
    >says, "There are artists who really don't
    >have a social consciousness, who don't see that there's a connection between
    >art and life in a way that compels the artist to look around the world and
    >see what is wrong and try to use his or her art to change that."
    >
    >Then Yorke articulates the other end: "It is difficult to make political art
    >work. If all it does is exist in the realms of political discussion, it's
    >using that language, and generally, it's an ugly language. It is very dead,
    >definitely not a thing of beauty."
    >
    >I feel like I agree with both of them. My own art has taken a sidestep for
    >politics, and I wonder about beautiful political art. I think there is some-
    >Godspeed You Black Emperor is beautiful political music (but probably
    >because it has no words), or Stereolab... But I can't think of many
    >beautiful political artists- most political artists are agitpropagandists.
    >I'd like to see beautiful art made about stuff like rational idealism,
    >measured hope, strategic optimism, aggressive truth, that sort of thing,
    >those sort of concepts, and see it in a way that was beautiful and not
    >cliche or boring and actually held some power. I probably do see it, I just
    >don't see it often and I can't articulate it.
    >
    >I find I distrust entertainment. I feel like if something is going to make
    >me think I can trust it and evaluate it, if something is trying to make me
    >laugh or feel something then it's tricking me. I realized this most acutely
    >after seeing "Dancer In The Dark," which, at the end of it, I felt
    >manipulated and tricked, because the movie made me feel like I was looking
    >at "the harsh real world" when the real world is nothing like it.
    >
    >I also feel like a lot of artists are soulless by intent. I think we need
    >one.
    >
    >So, I had no agenda in generating the discussion, except to see what people
    >had to say. I still have no idea what people have to say about it, though.
    >
    >-e.
  • ryan griffis | Mon Dec 1st 2003 1 p.m.
    curt cloninger wrote:

    > I would be curious to have Ryan pick up the thread here:
    > http://rhizome.org/thread.rhiz?thread256&text!640#21655

    hi curt,
    just got busy and away from the tether for a few days... hope everyone that does the thanksgiving thing had a good one, and those that don't had a good weekend.
    anyway, i don't really have much of a response...

    curt: "Zinn is not dismissing the value of the circus altogether, but he is definitely belittling its value as an agent of social change, and in a sort of condescending, patronizing way. As if there's mere entertainment on the one hand, and then there's powerful, serious art. (The more self-conscious and boring it is, the more important it must be.)"

    maybe... but i actually came across the zinn/yorke discussion in print a couple of days ago and read through it more carefully, and i would disagree with your conclusion. it seemed to me that there was a high value placed on the poetic and pleasurable, and further i'm not sure that "socially conscious" art necessarily was argued to equal "serious" or didactic art. he never actually talked about specific art as being "good" or not, so it's still kind of vague and based on the loose premise of their discussion - "politics and art." could have been more interesting if they were to talk about specific examples maybe?

    curt:"So aspiring artists check out the critical scene, pick up on the 25% that's valued, and they learn to make art that's 100% quantifiable. The critics are happy, because now they don't have to deal with that sticky unquantifiable 75%. But art that's 100% quantifiable sucks. It's using a paintbrush as an oven mitt. Every other discipline seeks to be 100% quantifiable, and now we want our art to be that way too? Corrosive folly."

    i don't disagree with the criticism of prescriptive theory/work... but i don't know that any art (or anything for that matter) is 100% quantifiable. lots of work can be read "against the grain" so to speak. that doesn't mean that some work won't be boring, but lots of "intuitive" work can be just as boring. certainly, i desire something different from "art" than "theory," but "good" examples of both will create tension and previously unconsidered relationships for me. in a sense, they are just different ways of practicing life to me, defined by the context/syntax available (i guess we do disagree there).
    best,
    ryan
  • ryan griffis | Mon Dec 1st 2003 1:33 p.m.
    Eryk Salvaggio wrote:

    > I feel like I agree with both of them. My own art has taken a sidestep
    > for
    > politics, and I wonder about beautiful political art. I think there is
    > some-
    > Godspeed You Black Emperor is beautiful political music (but probably
    > because it has no words), or Stereolab... But I can't think of many
    > beautiful political artists- most political artists are
    > agitpropagandists.

    hi eryk,
    i think i can relate to your thoughts... and i would think many artists interested in social consciousness would be. i'm slightly less interested in the philosophical, but here are some of my thoughts, for whatever they're worth.
    looking for "beauty" in visual art has become based on tension and previously unconsidered relationships for me(as i mentioned in the earlier response to curt), but that's pretty broad. i immediately think of Todd Solandz's films as something doing this (for an entertainment/film example), and also the video/installation work of Stan Douglas. I think that even the most interesting tactical media projects do this (CAE's "cult of the new eve" for example). i think there is a lot to learn from "feminist" artists and others working from positions where the line between subjectivity and socio-political realities is difficult. i know that for myself, working as an artist that is part of the historically dominant group, it's easy to project the political as something exterior and not deal with my own subjectivity. that's one reason why i think pleasure is something political to explore - it happens in the subjective, with all the problems that come along with that, yet manifests in socially prescribed and highly visible ways.
    take care,
    ryan
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