Michael Szpakowski
Since the beginning
Works in Harlow United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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DISCUSSION

Breaking the Ice


I'm intrigued by this response after having given it a good deal of thought. Do you think that your role, Michael, is to "foster a tone" ?
Rob Myers is a fluffy bunny who wouldn't hurt a fly but he also has very highly developed bullshit detection installed. His reply (which appropriates lines from "Alien") was extremely rude but funny and to the point. If people write drivel they must expect to be called on it.
It also seems from their reply that the victim of Rob's ire is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
I don't want to pull too much of an "in the old days" but, quite honestly, those of us who remember the bracingly toxic environment the RAW could at times be (Kandinsky/Death anyone?) really would not even be moved to raise half a lazy eyebrow at this.
Discussion is not a mutual appreciation society -it is a struggle for understanding and for meaning and against obfuscation and the kind of dumbing down that comes with money, ambition and the kind of neo-liberalised art market we have today. Ideas things *matter*, they have *consequences* so people get passionate and sometimes even reply sharply. Good thing, not bad thing.
In a kind of circle with my first post on this I want to repeat: the whole point about RAW, about unmoderated e mail lists is that they are democratic in an as yet unparalleled way. No one individual"fosters a tone" on them and a good thing too.
cheers
michael

DISCUSSION

Breaking the Ice


Dyske
In a huge break with our history and with precedent I have to say I agree with almost all of what you write here. The last two paras, in particular, are glorious and could serve as a kind of keynote for any process of reviving involvement in Rhizome whilst maintaining its other virtues.
warmest wishes
michael

DISCUSSION

Breaking the Ice


HI Michael
& welcome. I've been around Rhizome for a long time, since 2000 or so. It's been hugely important to me in all sorts of ways and even though I have a number of issues with the direction it has taken of late I still feel hugely loyal to it. In my view the one thing you could do to engender a sense of community, without sacrificing for a moment any of the other innovations from over the years, is to restore the mailing list and consolidate Discuss and Announce there.
If you want an example of why and how this is possible check out Furtherfield's Netbehaviour list

http://www.furtherfield.org/netbehaviour

(and, this, note, functioning both as mailing list and posts to the site, so no technical issues there)
- still thriving, still full of insight & quirk even after everyone involved has been told a million times that mailing lists are passé.
Whether mailing lists are fashionable or not they are uniquely levelling in terms of a discussion poised between real time and old fashioned letter, they are uniquely democratic in that ownership of an unmoderated list signifies only an *enabling* role for the owner and where the field -the collective space where it all plays out is uniquely flat and neutral, unlike Twitter or the corporate tangle that is ( the horrible, horrible, horrible in my view) Facebook. Most important is the ease of discussion. Read it, write your reply, send.
The sense that I have had over the last five years or so, maybe more, is that Rhizome members, their opinions and peculiarities and even their work became an embarassment to the leadership that was intent, with the New Museum link up &c. in situating Rhizome firmly within the conventional artworld. Personally I'm not actually against that - there was much of the cult about "netart", much of the desire to stay a medium sized fish in a small and safe pond and, personally, my interests are in an artworld expanded by the digital and the network, and a network which is not afraid to swim in the deep, dangerous and polluted waters of the artworld, that artworld which stinks of commerce, stupidity and self-aggrandisement so much of the time but which also gives rise to huge, rich, complex and beautiful ..er...*things* ( which *things* are part of what makes us truly human, which reinforce that humanity, which are worth fighting to preserve ). Rhizome has been *awfully* top down for a very long time. Recently it has felt *only* top down. Some of that topdownness has manifested in beautiful, interesting and useful commissioned writing. None of that would be compromised by re-opening the kind of discussion which made Rhizome so enticing and indispensable before, and by creating passageways between the commissioned writing and the - for want of a better word - "community".
That's my three-penn'orth. Whether it has any effect or not I'm sure I will continue to visit the site, enjoy following links,recommend the site to my students &c. What I'd like, though, is to feel once again that I'm part of something.
best wishes
michael

PS This is distant, but not unconnected. It feels cynical and wrong that "Announce" posts that are clearly put there by borderline crooks after the money of the enthusiastic and unwary ( and often young and impoverished) should be able to be set as "no-reply". I assume this is because such posts generate income for Rhizome. If we were able to torch these people in open discussion I for one would think about raising the amount I donate each year.


DISCUSSION

gangnam stills


image
looking for the moon in the wrong place (guardian 'weekend' remix)

ink, copy paper, newsprint, japanese paints, soft pastel, oil pastel, rose leaves, sugar, honey and encaustic on board

DISCUSSION

gangnam stills


image
after johns

ink, soft pastel and PVA glue on found card and found wrapping paper plus wax pastel, argentium wire, sea salt, glitter, charcoal and encaustic all on found abandoned canvas /// final state of the preceding piece