Brian Droitcour
Since 2008
Works in BROOKLYN, New York United States of America

Rhizome curatorial fellow September 2008 - April 2009, staff writer April 2009 - December 2011, poetry editor January 2012 - 20??


The Urgency, the new DVD release from Extreme Animals (Jacob Ciocci and David Wightman), is a "visual album," like Beyoncé by Beyoncé, but any similarity to Beyoncé begins and ends with format. Beyoncé is too serious, too straight—the wrong kind of urgency. Her hooks have never found their way into the pop-punk power ballads of Extreme Animals, which mix club disco, heavy metal, and chiptunes with maximalist, strobing montage. 

If there's a diva who is muse to the duo, it's the fickle Katy Perry, whose songs are sampled on two of The Urgency's eight tracks. Inspirational Katy Perry, who dedicates a rousing anthem to everyone who has ever felt like a plastic bag. Party girl Katy Perry, who gets wasted every Friday night. Bisexual Katy Perry who kissed a girl and liked it and wants to see your peacock-cock-cock. Dom/sub Katy Perry who yearns to be poisoned by aliens and is also the tiger who you will hear roar.  

The Unfinished Business of a Yugoslav Internet

Aleksandra Domanović, From yu to me (2014). Commissioned by Rhizome, Abandon Normal Devices, and Fridericianum.

Aleksandra Domanović used to own an international sampler of domain names:,,, It's usually enough for an artist or other public figure to claim their name on .com, and Domanović did, but by staking out real estate in the top-level domains governed by Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia, and the European Union she reminded herself, and anyone else paying attention, about the friction of states and networks, names, and domains. Domanović was born in Yugoslavia, and when it was gone her citizenship drifted. If for some of its users the World Wide Web appears boundlessly ephemeral in comparison to the permanence of statehood, in Domanović's experience of recent history, states and domains alike are tools of control that can be surprisingly fragile and flexible.

Businesslike: DIS Magazine's Stock Database

Shawn Maximo, from Neighboring Interests, 2013

Last month, DIS Magazine made The Suzanne Geiss Company, a gallery in downtown New York, an open photo studio. Don’t worry if you missed it. There wasn’t much to see. The first time I went, the main gallery was empty, save for some dark bags on the floor. In the office, a few people chatted and looked at a laptop. “The photographer is on break,” they told me. “Come back in an hour.” I did. It was just as deserted. (Later, I learned that Frank Benson was taking photos in the dark back room, to avoid interference from the main gallery’s skylight.) I returned a few days later, on a Sunday morning when the editors of DIS were there. One of them was polishing a prop fridge. An intern busied herself with a vacuum.

But the substance of the show wasn’t what was happening in the gallery but the result of it:, a fully functional online stock-photo database. The project received its initial funding in the 2011 cycle of Rhizome Commissions, and once DIS secured the rest of the necessary capital and set up the site’s framework, they started production at Suzanne Geiss. will continue to expand its offerings as the contributing artists finish retouching their work. For now, visitors can peruse Shawn Maximo’s surreal interiors, where domestic spaces are enclosed by planes of sky and beach; Ian Cheng’s 3D renderings of heads with the DIS Images logo mapped over their contours; and Katja Novitskova’s insertions of safari animals and Powerpoint clip art in white-cube galleries.

Katja Novitskova, from Future Growth Approximations, 2013

DIS Images marks a significant shift in the way artists approach stock photography. Onlines image databases proliferated in the ...


Artist Profile: Jeff Baij

It seems like artists who were actively making and showing their work online a few years ago have either started making objects and pursuing the familiar career path of the artist—gallery shows, teaching engagements, studio assistantships, grants, and so on—or they gave up and went into another field, like programming or web design. You haven’t done either of those things. You’re still making internet art. What’s that like?

its really weird brian

like really really weird

lemme give you a few reasons why my life has ended up like this, and also a few reasons why its weird

um i mean to be honest the first reason i dont show really is because being around gallery people for more than 5 or 10 minutes without being absolutely shitfaced is literally (Literally) in my top 3 least favorite things in the entire world.

teaching could be cool? i actually love the idea of molding (moulding?) young minds but how does one start this career path? maybe you can give me some pointers. even in an [ed.] if you'd like. [I think you’d have to get an MFA. But based on your answers I don’t think you’d like being in an MFA program. – BD]

assistantships are the same deal as showing- artists are gross, both mentally and physically (trust me on this, i am one) and i like making actual money

which brings me to why i dont make objects: im poor

so maybe i should apply for grants? is that how artists get money to work? i have no idea im really bad at the art thing, except that my work looks really nice and makes a lot of cute girls super happy.

ok so its weird because when im at an opening or out with new people they always say OH WHAT KIND OF ART DO U MAKE and i always say UHH I TAKE OTHER PEOPLES SHIT OFF THE WEB AND CHANGE IT A LITTLE BIT AND CALL IT ART and its awk my g, so awk.

another reason why its weird is because i get super wasted with a lot of like "cool" and "up and coming" artists on the regs and being the net guy/ coolest person in the room is like, pretty exhausting u know?

i just wanna use this space to say plz dont remove any of the swearing from the interview, ive waited a very very long time for this

also plz dont correct any spelling or punctuation, they arent mistakes (im just that cool)

also please leave the above note in the interview (also this one)


The People Code

Installation view of pΓσ₠§§℩η⅁ at the Goethe-Institut Library. Photo courtesy of Jenny Jaskey

The mission of the library could be described as calibrating the optimal ratio of signal to noise, by eliminating as much noise as possible. This description would cover both shushing and the extensive cataloguing that eases readers’ paths to the information they want. But what becomes of that mission when so many people carry a gateway to vast expanses of knowledge in their pockets (even if they mainly use that gateway to take selfies and play Angry Birds)? Does the library of bricks, mortar, and bound books effectively bracket the search for information by offering a specific set of physical resources, with a corresponding language of signals? Or is it yet another backdrop for selfies and Angry Birds—the constant noise of everyday life?

This fall the Goethe-Institut Library, an outpost of the German cultural ministry in SoHo, enlisted curator Jenny Jaskey to organize “The End(s) of the Library,” a year-long series of artists projects that rethink the library’s mission. common room redesigned the floor plan to open up space and introduced a modular exhibition apparatus; David Horvitz established an electronic archive of artists’ books—both scanned works on paper and ebooks—to supplement the Goethe-Institut Library’s catalogs both here and in Europe. The latest project is pΓσ₠§§℩η⅁, a collaboration by Juliete Aranda, Fia Backstrom, and R. Lyon that directly tackles questions of signals and noise. They began by processing the library’s raw database through Safari 5.0.5 and printing out the results, in which catalog entries are cluttered and stretched by symbols and glyphs—representations of the metadata that the computer needs to process catalog entries. A reading was held on January 5 where participants vocalized the print-outs, glyph ...


Discussions (62) Opportunities (0) Events (1) Jobs (0)

Immaterial Incoherence

Here are some thoughts related to this post. I couldn't manage to string them into one coherent statement, so, numbered paragraphs instead.


Are the art world's power structures the most -- only -- important thing about art? Media fascination with the expense of fine art ("art journalism") and the ready dismissal of commercial art ("art criticism") have made it almost impossible to avoid. Which is too bad, because it's far from the most interesting thing about art.

Jogging's insistence on "immateriality" makes it seem like the artists' primary concern is rebuking the market. That impression is affirmed in Jacob's exposition here, and confirmed beyond any doubt in Free Art, the manifesto that Jogging posted last week.

I'm interested in how visual art has become more like poetry or music in the way it's circulated and appreciated. I'm interested in art that belongs to this process. But I'm not fond of art that makes this process its subject. More often that not, artists who obsessively make work about art's institutions and systems are obsessed with their own positions in them, which means their work is self-concerned, narcissistic.

On his Post Internet blog, Gene McHugh responded to the Free Art manifesto by challenging the validity of the political and philosophical positions that Jogging set forth therein. His first argument was that the power relationships responsible for the availability of Tumblr and Facebook -- and by extension, responsible for Jogging's activity -- are just as besmirched by capitalism as the art world, and therefore Jogging can't claim to occupy a space that is more "pure" than the art world. I'm not going to refute that, but I think his second argument -- that Jogging's description of their work as "immaterial" is unjustified -- is less persuasive. Gene wrote:

2. Second of all, Jogging’s insistence on the so-called immaterial or de-materialized quality of the work is also rehearsing an old fallacy (one which, it should be noted, Jogging themselves acknowledge and grapple with in their text).
For the sake of argument (and it is debatable), let’s say that—yes—a virtual .jpeg of a sculpture is immaterial—free of the problems of aura and material commodification which the sculpture depicted in the .jpeg itself affords.
But, what about the hardware displaying this content?
The notion that the Web has accomplished some sort of Hegelian transcendence is precisely what, say, Steve Jobs wants consumers to believe:
Go on, keep chatting with your friends, watching videos, listening to music—it’s all fluid and immaterial now and that’s great—just so long as you do so through the iPad.
These devices which display the work which Jogging thinks of as lacking aura, are, in fact, highly susceptible to aura or, from a slightly different angle, fetishism.

[end quote]

While I'm skeptical about the value of immateriality as a subject of artwork for the reasons stated above, I'm not convinced by Gene's critique of immateriality as an aspect of Jogging. If you're talking about computer-made artwork being displayed in a gallery on a computer, then talk of fetishism might be relevant. But it's remote from the way I view Jogging on my dusty laptop.

Jogging can't be equated with Steve Jobs -- I am sure the artists don't care about the makes and models of our viewing devices. The equivalence Gene draws between Jogging and the hardware environment for viewing Jogging is also dubious. The array of possible visual and physical surroundings for looking at Jogging -- from the choice to access it through the Tumblr dashboard vs. an RSS feed aggregator to the type of device -- excludes object fetishism as a relevant topic in discussions of Jogging.

(Can you reconcile Dziga Vertov's excitement about the mobility and speed of the movie camera with the static act of sitting in a dark room and watching his films? Does it matter?)

Gene tacitly acknowledged the problems of immateriality by choosing to make Post Internet text only. He uses the medium that can most easily be transferred from one vehicle to another, eschewing moving and still images (which browsers can be picky about displaying) as well as links, which can die.

Can I just say I don't like the idea of the material/immaterial binary but I'm just trying to stay within the terms of the discussion as they currently stand, because I'm not presently prepared to offer a better alternative. Thanks.

With Jogging, hardware doesn't matter, but software does. Susan Sontag: "Photographs may be more memorable than moving images, because they are a neat slice of time, not a flow . Television is a stream of underselected images, each of which cancels its predecessor. Each still photograph is a privileged moment, turned into a slim object that one can keep and look at again." Tumblr is between the two -- a flow of discrete images. So is Google Image Search, and so is YouTube, which files moving images as discrete entities. I'd even say that the internet as a whole occupies the space between Sontag's poles of photography and television, but Tumblr is the most concentrated distillation of that quality*: the ongoing selection of memorable images that keep canceling each other out.

(*or maybe is now, whatever.)

I think the value of Jogging is that its mixture of new and old, homemade and found images -- and the semi-serious insistence on each image's importance (the "privileged moment" of it, to use Sontag's words) via museum labels like "Sculpture," "Installation," etc. -- is a more pointed expression of Tumblr's essential features as a software service (as described in the preceding paragraph) than the run-of-the-mill Tumblr.

Jacob's post gives a good account of how Jogging operated in the framework of Facebook's software so I won't go through that again.

Institutional critique and art jokes are useful for artists as ways of formulating their attitudes toward the art system and understanding their position in it, but I'm skeptical about their value beyond that -- even though there's a rapidly growing sympathetic audience for them (in the Free Art manifesto, Jogging cites a statistic that art schools in the U.S. produce 90,000 graduates annually). To rephrase what I've already said, I'm less interested in artists who make work about "immateriality" as a problem of making/displaying art than I am in artists who have accepted it as a part of both art and life and moved on. Shana Moulton, for instance, takes the subjective equivalence of images, things, and thoughts as a given of contemporary life and dramatizes its consequences. I just picked Shana because I posted about her here a month ago but there are many other artists with a similar outlook. Jogging is still hung up on the immateriality of the internet and its consequence for their careers, though their exploration of it seems sophisticated enough that it has the potential to eventually yield something more substantial. Pun intended, lol.


A Conversation with Jon Rafman

This is great, thanks for sharing!


Mail Nothing to the Tate Modern

Why do you think engagement with an artist's project has to be rewarded with an easily quantified benefit?


What am I doing wrong

These are OK, but it's no Cory Arcangel.


Soviet Animation in the 1980's

These are great!

This is a favorite of mine, for the combo of Byzantine figures and Soviet grays:
It's based on the work of Soviet writers. It says contact with aliens will come Sept 2, 2011, so mark your calendars.

Then there's Secret of the Third Planet (1981), also based on Soviet sci-fi, less artsy and more popular than these other ones:
(This version has higher quality but no subtitles:

With these early precedents I don't think it makes much sense to link the above cartoons to the collapse of the USSR in 1991.