Dyske Suematsu
Since the beginning
Works in United States of America

I think, theorize, and write about highly irrelevant matters.
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MTAA and Fame - addendum

I should also add that once your name makes it into our vernacular, your
fame takes on a snowballing effect. Even those who wouldn't otherwise care
to know who "MTAA" is, would be forced to learn it. It is like looking up a
word in dictionary. The need for communicating with others effectively takes
precedence over learning about an artist you personally like.



MTAA and Fame

t.whid wrote:

> (let's make a rule that whenever talking about hypothetical
> situations
> that deal with net art we have to use MTAA as the example artists.
> Does
> everyone agree?)

This is a point I originally considered including in my essay on meritocracy: fame as a phenomenon created by a linguistic necessity.

Certain phenomena happen in our society for which we have no words. The more abstract they are, the more inconvenient it is to describe them. For instance 'Generation X


Re: I am a pirate ?!

Hi Joy,

It is an interesting coincidence that this thread was going on at the same
time my thread about meritocracy was going on. The reason why people are
concerned about credit and financial compensation is because they believe in

Here is my analysis of your situation:

If your audience and your buyers are aware of the fact that the images you
used are appropriated, there is no deception in your process. From the
perspective of the market as the standard, as long as there is no deception
involved, the fact that someone wants to buy your work speaks for itself.

Say for instance, I copy one of MTAA's digital artworks from their server
and post it on my site as my work. I put a big disclaimer upfront stating
that the work was copied from MTAA and was re-branded as mine. And I also
explain why I think this is a legitimate artistic gesture. Suppose some
collector actually wants to buy it. Should I then give some money to MTAA?
If this were to actually happen, I would probably offer some money to MTAA
anyway, but theoretically speaking, I shouldn't have to, because the money
was paid for my artistic gesture of copying, not for the actual work.

But this becomes tricky if I provided no disclaimer or explanation. For the
buyer, it would then become similar to buying Enron stocks. As soon as the
secret is revealed, the market will adjust itself. My MTAA copy may then
have no value.

Since you do make it clear that your images are borrowed from news media,
there is no deception here. I happen to think that crediting the original
photographers would make your work even stronger.

But then, I also believe that there is something interesting about the idea
of deceiving the art market. The deception of the market itself could be an
artistic gesture too, but obviously your work is not about that.



Re: The Myth of Meritocracy in Fine Arts - to CK

Hi CK,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

Rather than addressing individual points you raised, I am going to respond =
to your overall sentiment.

If I understand you correctly, your main point is the difference between wh=
at is personally/subjectively good and what the market considers good. You =
argue that they are independent of one another. And, furthermore you feel t=
hat the former is hierarchically superior to the latter. This hierarchy is =
not a modern phenomenon. Not just in art, but virtually in every field, the=
western culture has always believed in this hierarchy of substance over no=
n-substance, like mind over body, reality over words, or achievement over f=
ame. It is this hierarchy that I wanted to deconstruct in my essay.

The view that an artist holds artistic/creative substance independent of hi=
s audience is a common one. The image of 'artist


Re: The Myth of Meritocracy in Fine Arts

Hi Francis,

I understand your sentiment about salesmen, but my point was that it is not salesmanship that is evil. Our prejudiced minds often associate a certain value to a wrong entity. Just because some or the majority of salesmen are evil to you, you associate that evilness to salesmanship, and as soon as you are introduced to a salesman, you treat him as such.

The same happens to landlords. An uncle of my good friend, at one point in his life, invested in a building and decided to become a landlord. Since he has been a renter himself, he tried very hard to be a good landlord. But no matter how hard he tried, no matter how sincerely he cared about his tenants, everyone treated him with a preconception that he is an asshole. After a while of trying, he finally gave up on being a landlord. It is ironic, since the prejudice of his tenants helped to eliminate a decent landlord that we all desperately need, thereby making the world even more prejudiced. In this type of situation, no decent person would want to deal with being a landlord, only malicious opportunists would, and the expectation of the society achieves its self-fulfilling prophecy.

When it comes to well-known forms of prejudice, we are highly sensitive and considerate, but prejudice extends far beyond just racism. We often do not realize how prejudiced we are. And by projecting these prejudices unknowingly to others, we make the problem worse. Since this is rather unconscious on the part of the prejudiced, everyone simply blames everyone else for the problem. Such is the bad rap for salesmanship.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Francis Hwang" <francis@rhizome.org>
To: <list@rhizome.org>
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2004 5:56 PM
Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: The Myth of Meritocracy in Fine Arts

> The art world is a market, of course, in most any way that counts, but
> that's probably not enough, or maybe even besides the point. One of the
> things that I have a problem with in Dyske's formulation is that the
> whole point of doing something so damned difficult is that it's
> supposed to stand outside the usual market dynamics.
> So when Dyske asks "Why does salesmanship get such a bad rap in the
> first place?" my response is this: The world doesn't need any more
> fucking salesmen. I probably see 500 ads from the time I leave the
> office to the time I get home -- on the sides of buildings, over my
> head in the subway, on T-shirts and baseball caps -- and none of them
> make me any happier or fuller as a person. I'm not even saying this as
> some Marxist ascetic -- I have been known to pay way too much money for
> the right pair of shoes, and you'll have to pry my Powerbook out of my
> cold, dead hands -- but let's be honest, buying stuff is the easy part.
> I don't need more stuff to buy. I need chances to commune with myself
> and other people and nature, whether through art or conversation or sex
> or bike rides. No salesman, whether he's Steve Jobs or Matthew Barney,
> can give me that.
> F.
> P.S. The word "meritocracy" is sort of a red herring here, and I
> suspect it's derailing the conversation more than a little. Meritocracy
> has to do with preference based on merit, as opposed to preference
> based on race, religious, or family affiliation. I don't think
> anybody's seriously arguing that the art world would be better with a
> whole lot more nepotism.
> P.P.S. And don't even get me started on the word "synergy".
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