Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

Journalists have a responsibility to report only what is well-researched and fair. Bloggers do not. Having said that, I have no idea if the above linked story has any credibility - and certainly, it has the earmarkings of a story with absolutely none.

But: I like to be scared shitless on Halloween, don't you?

Happy reading.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Attack Of the Clones!

Question: when Bush speaks, are the photoshop clone soldiers in his audience required to sign loyalty oaths too?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

This is probably the best article I've ever read in Salon

It's great. It's about the election (of course) and about Nader and Gore and Kerry and Bush and it's just fantastic.

Just a snippet (but you should really read the whole article:
Greed and lies have disenfranchised almost an entire generation, Nader writes, who have absorbed the lesson that no one can be trusted and everything is for sale. We need to resist the effects of "growing up corporate," so that "we are free to see the present as reality rather than a bundle of myths, deceptions, tinsel temptations, and ideological rigor mortis." This seems to echo Marx's famous "all that is solid melts into air" passage from "The Communist Manifesto." But even Marx, driven by dreams of a distant social transformation that would never come to pass (at least not the way he imagined), was far too hard-headed to seek to undermine a mainstream "bourgeois" reformer in a campaign against a blood-drinking neo-imperialist zealot.

Language is a virus from outer space

Ok, the title of this post comes from one of the crappier things spewed forth from William S. Burroughs (and quickly devoured by Laurie Anderson), but I have a point in dredging up this little quote which accumulated at the bottom of my soul from too many years spent in art school: Every election, there are a few words that seem to pop up out of nowhere that everyone gloms onto.

The one that really took over the election in 2000 was the ill-chosen lockbox, a term so vague yet vaguely sinister that really it didn't matter what the fuck Gore did or said afterwards. The word just sort of hovered out there, unable to be pinned down or explained, except that it was felt nearly universally to be a tad creepy and to confirm everyone's worst suspicions about Gore.

But language is funny that way. If I went into a meeting tomorrow with my boss and a few other people and said, "I think we have to be very careful about how to proceed on this project; I think we have to approach it with upmost nabrent and care," I promise you that every single person in the room would nod their heads solemnly, certain that they understood the word I just made up. They would have gotten it from the context, or maybe there was a shred of a root word they think they understood; nevertheless, they would have all nodded in agreement at a word that doesn't exist. And that's one of the ways in which language is funny - you and I might have very different opinions as to what our worst suspicions about Gore are/were, yet somehow lockbox confirmed and cemented those different and various suspicions in our mind.

And so, I've been wondering about the different words that have been used and abused this time out. Nothing sticks out in my mind quite like lockbox, but I have a few ideas about Honorable Mentions.

First off, there's neo-con. If, like me, you read a lot of foreign newspapers, you'll see this term tossed around quite a bit (like in the article linked above, where it is used but not defined), while it remains almost off-limits here. Ok, in some news magazines you might occasionally come across it, but I haven't heard it mentioned once in the TV news. The foreign press generally uses it to vilify everything that the Bush administration stands for; it is used, by and large, as a slur.

I encountered this interpretation of the term some months ago when I posted a personal ad on the Washington DC craigslist entitled "Hello out there, Neo-Conservatives!" While I certainly meant no disrespect - my reason for placing the ad was to meet people with different opinions on the world than I have, and I personally didn't consider it a slur - I got chewed out by quite a few people who responded (although it bears mentioning that many also happily accepted the term) for trying to solicit them by using a term they consider derogatory.

Regardless, I tend to think it's important to learn what people in other countries think of us and are saying about us. So, for the record - in case you're one of those people who's always nodded and gone along with it, just wondering what on earth that term meant - here is an excellent and even-handed definition.

Which leads me to a personal rant... Possibly the #1 word being tossed around these days is disenfranchised, as in all the voters that, one assumes, will find themselves disenfrancised by this upcoming election. Oh, it could be from any of a number of reasons - maybe their names are going to appear on a list of felons; maybe they'll be told the wrong poll place or the wrong times in which the poll is open. Whatever the reason, something like 48% of people in this country are now worried that their vote won't count or the election will be in some way not quite fair and square.

I'm one of them. I got in the mail today a terse little note from the Hudson County Clerk's Office informing me that my request for an absentee ballot has been turned down (luckily, I'm only going to be busy that day; I think if I had requested it because I was going on vacation, I'd be gone by now). Now, The Man will have you believe that it's because I "forgot" to sign my request - an accusation that has a high probability of being true. Between the utter sleep deprivation that I've been operating on, along with sick amounts of stress I've been experiencing, it's quite possible I flaked and sent the damn thing off without signing it.

Of course, this being Hudson County, that's not the end of the story. If you know me, you've heard this story before: In the last election a few months ago, I was forced to vote on a provisional ballot (and we know those things just get tossed in the gutter the second you leave the polling place) and - this is the topper - I had to vote in Spanish. Now, I don't read/speak Spanish, and there were several lengthy initiatives we were voting on in that election, so it was kinda important for me to be able to read the damn thing before I checked the little box "si" or "no." And so, it took several people to pitch in and "help" me vote in order to get the job done... and then I assume the thing went promptly into the trash the second I left. Honestly, in that case it's not the end of the world - the local election I was voting in wound up being won by such a ridiculous majority it didn't really matter.

This time out, things are different. The polls in NJ are nearly tied between Kerry and Bush, and I'll be damned if my little state drifts from blue to red under my watch. I'm hellbent on voting for the Democrat, even if it means waking up at the crack of dawn and taking my life in my hands by wading into one of the worst neighborhoods in Jersey City to do so (instead of just doing it from the comfort of my own home... sigh) only to vote for a man I pretty much hate - which I will, in fact, have to do.

Things being different this time, I will be prepared. I will be bringing with me my cell phone, the number established by Common Cause (1-866-MYVOTE1) to report such "questionable activities," as well as the 911 of voter abuse - 1-866-OUR-VOTE - which has a team of lawyers waiting to take up reports of abuse. The latter may be overkill in my case, given that this is lefty ol' Hudson County, but I'm bringing it anyway. I'm not voting in Spanish or on a paper ballot when I'm all good and on the books and ready to go. Things are different this time, and this time I'm ready for a fight.

Environmentalists Losing the War of Words, Says Berkeley Linguist

In his new book Don't Think of an Elephant, University of California at Berkeley professor George Lakoff shows how people think in terms of frames and metaphors, which guide their thinking on issues.

One example is talking about tax cuts. Conservatives talk about "tax relief" instead of "tax cuts," reinforcing the idea that heroic conservatives are rescuing people from the affliction of taxes.

Another example came in the State of the Union speech last January, when President Bush said, "We do not need a permission slip to defend America." The language suggests an underage America asking permission of an adult teacher to leave the room. Another example: how conservatives shifted the language from "estate taxes" to "death taxes."


[Republican pollster Frank] Luntz urges his readers to use words like "clean," "safe," and "healthy," even when talking about logging forests or polluting the air by burning coal. Luntz's influence can be seen in such Orwellian program names as the administration's "Healthy Forests Initiative" and "Clear Skies Initiative."

A now-infamous Luntz memo obtained by an environmental group serves as a primer for conservatives when talking about the environment. In the memo, Luntz urges conservatives to say "climate change" instead of "global warming," because "while global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge."

The Luntz memo also urges conservatives to call themselves "conservationists" instead of "environmentalists," because "conservationist" conveys a "moderate, reasoned, common sense position between replenishing the earth's natural resources and the human need to make use of those resources."

Sign From God

The Curse is lifted. This means Kerry will win.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Abortion rate goes up during Bush administration

Lord knows the last thing I want to do on this blog is start a debate about abortion - far from it. But something that's been interesting me lately is why people vote the way they do and what their greater issues are.

Now, arguably this would be a great opportunity to discuss Thomas Franks' What's the Matter with Kansas? - a terrific book and a must-read for anyone scratching their heads about this matter. But it's getting late and I don't really feel like taking this whole issue on right now, so I'm going to leave it like this:

Some of the right's strongest support comes from Christians who see it as a moral or religious imperative to follow candidates who talk a good game about wanting a "culture of life." I can respect this - even agree with it - except that my personal vision of what a "culture of life" might be is quite different from theirs. But to vote for a candidate who pledges respect for all living things? Sure, I'm down with that (although again, technically, my vision of what "all living things" is differs from the traditional right/Christian view).

But the problem with one-note voting (voting solely on something like the legality of abortion) is that it ignores the environment that created the issue to begin with. It's become all to common in our culture to recognize a problem and then quickly spit out a solution, when in reality nothing comes that easy. So, you're opposed to abortion? Easy - vote for the candidate that's also opposed; that'll fix it. Right?

But, of course, life is more delicate, more complicated, and more nuanced than that. The above linked article is written by a "pro-life" Christian and a journalist, and they write:

Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, insurance, jobs, child care and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need a president who will do something about jobs, health insurance and support for mothers.

...which is about the best thing I've heard in weeks.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Chasing Utopia

who is paying the most for listing in google adwords for the term "commune"-- these guys.

But seriously:

See Amy's thoughtful post below about living the good life, and how to accomplish this in the world as it is now. I feel many of the same things. I'm very aware all the time that even though i'm barely making it, barely paying my rent, etc. I'm barely making it in the most expensive city in America, doing a job which most of the people i left behind in Topeka would feel lucky to have-- heck most of the people next to me in the laundromat would feel lucky to have my job, if not my student loans (how will i ever pay them?). I want to live well, and i want my living well to not mean that other people are being oppressed. Is that possible?

Is this an interesting question?

I'm thinking of moving to denmark. Anyone with me?

Seeing is believing

One interesting thing that i've noticed today: On the Daily Kos people have been posting images of Kerry talking to large crowds for each other to SEE, which i have to say made me happy. To indulge in some of my tendencies to be overly biologically determanistic in my thinking, let me suggest that we are visual creatures, men maybe more so than women, but compared to say, most other mamals.... we're very, very visual....

Also-- we're social creatures-- even liberals like me who grew up on the idea of "not following the crowd" -- we can't help but enjoy feeling like we're not alone, its that whole "strength in numbers" thing- which is not something you learn from experience, its something you feel in your guts because its an instinct born of generations of humans who had to depend on each other to survive, mostly, in my opinion in the face of competition against other humans. (this is a whole pet theory i can go into later about how the rest of the natural world quit having a big impact on our development as a species early on, and humankind drove its own evolution for much of our history)---

SO-- we post pictures of crowds that we long to see... we're not alone... we're winning.... etc. happy thoughts....

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Right, so: I made mention in my lengthy post below about wanting to "chase utopia" and I thought I'd spend a few moments on this otherwise sleepy Sunday evening to try and flesh that out.

There are a few trends in my life that have come together and more or less dovetailed to the point where I have to make some real changes, really soon. They are:

*The growing impossibility I feel in the climate that I'm in to live to my ideals. This could easily be dismissed as another "it's damn hard to make a living as an artist" rant, but it's much more than that. One of the examples I often trot out in this regard is my experience grocery shopping. As a Good Little Lefty, I recognize the importance of buying things like cage-free eggs and organic milk; I also empathize with the workers in big block stores like Costco, forced to work in some of the most unhospitable surroundings this side of a slaughterhouse, all while watching the character and individuality of their cities and towns get drained away by their employer as it forces smaller, individually-owned companies out of business. However, as someone who has rejected an awful lot of material things (ie, the call of a "real job" and the ensuing trappings), I am constantly broke. This makes it difficult, if not impossible to turn up the ridiculously low-prices of a place like Costco - a store which actually allows me, a person on a terribly tight budget, a chance to actually do things like stock the refrigerator full of groceries. And then, of course, stocking the fridge leaves me filled with guilt from where I bought the groceries; I want to do the right thing, but it's unbelievably hard to do that in the condition in which I live.

* The constant negativity from the election. I'm getting tired of looking at everyone I know with suspicion - are you voting the right way? - and being constantly prompted by those around me to hate anyone who strays from the Kerry path. I know, I know - this election is important. All elections are. But I'm already feeling weary from pre-Nov. 3rd jitters... and it's still October.
* I'm 31, as I mentioned before, which means it's high time I started trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Not so much what I want to be when I grow up, because I've been working on that for a while, but more what kind of person I want to be.

And so, as a result of all these reasons, here's what I've been thinking: I want to start a collective (or "commune" or "alternative community") and get the hell out of this area. I want to pool resources with a few friends and/or like-mind individuals and start something new. Something that will support us - financially, intellectually, and (yes) spiritually.

This idea has occured to me many times over the last few years. I've tried doing a few smaller scale things in Jersey City - primarily, trying to start a food collective - but it doesn't really work here. There's too much pressure from NYC hanging in the distance; it's just too easy to fall back into old ways of thinking.

Ok, now, here's the deal: I've completely lost grip (well, that much is certain) with who is reading this blog and why... so I no longer have any idea if any of the readership of this thing would be interested in knowing more about this crazy idea of mine or not. I also fear that I'm slowly cracking up... on Jay's blog... while Jay is off doing other projects, unaware of what I'm writing. So let me just quitely slip this posting under your door and see what comes back to me in a few days... and maybe update you some more later.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


"You're just a phone call away from hot one-on-one chat with a few Weapons of Mass... Seduction!"

"These girls pose a grave and gathering threat... to your pants!"

Better in theory than in practice (yes, I called) but still really funny.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Could AP rig the election?

I'm not sure if this is exactly the kind of story I love (because it really tries to get to the heart of the matter, asking some pretty big questions about who controls the reigns of power in this country) or hate (because it may just seed undo panic among the already paranoid and bitter). Either way, it's worth checking out the press release linked above.

If that's not actually fun to do and you happen to be one of the few undecided voters in this country, might I recommend taking the Political Stereotype Test?

I scored:
Anarcho-Syndicalist - You believe that governments and corporations are both equally evil. You think that all people should have maximum personal freedom. You think everyone should have control over their economic production, because the economy should be structured completely in terms of cooperatives and communes. Your historical role model is Noam Chomsky.

Ok, that's not strictly true, but it makes me feel really warm and cozy inside.

Electoral Vote Predictor

Yeah, it was wrong last time. Yeah, it has swayed radically from one candidate to the other depending on the day. But if you go there right now, you'll see that the election is exactly tied in terms of electoral votes. Good lord.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Teresa Heinz Kerry vs. Laura Bush (sort of)

A quick note: My name is Amy, and Jay was nice enough to invite me to post here. I don't know if this is quite what he had in mind, but I'm going for it.

I don't know if it was late last night or early this morning that I found out about the latest "controversy" coming out of comments made by Teresa Heinz Kerry. Just a quick recap, in case you haven't followed the story:

Heinz Kerry stated in an interview with USA Today that:
"Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job -- I mean, since she's been grown up."
This (understandably) stirred things up quite a bit, which lead to this "apology" from Heinz Kerry:
"I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a schoolteacher and librarian, and there couldn't be a more important job than teaching our children. As someone who has been both a full time mom and full time in the workforce, I know we all have valuable experiences that shape who we are. I appreciate and honor Mrs. Bush's service to the country as first lady, and am sincerely sorry I had not remembered her important work in the past."

This, of course, is actually worse than the first comment she made, at least from a strategic point of view. Naturally, the Bush team (in the form of Karen Hughes, who famously left the administration to spend more time with her family - or so the story goes) jumped all over this. They made the case that it would appear that Heinz Kerry doesn't count being a wife and a mother of twins as a job at all. The assumption is that all of us Americans believe through and through that being a mom is actually the toughest job of them all (we hear that over and over), and only some heartless harpy like Heinz Kerry would ever imply otherwise.

Now, as someone who has grown accustomed to cringing whenever Heinz Kerry opens her mouth, I will admit that I physically recoiled upon reading her retraction and that it initially offended me. It seemed, on first read, like a wholly un-feminist remark of the highest divide-and-conquer degree (pitting moms who work outside the home against those who don't) until I thought about it some more.

But after spending much of the day ruminating on this, I've come to the conclusion that Teresa was, in fact, correct - although maybe not in the way she intended. Being a wife and mother isn't a job at all. It isn't even anything close to a job. A job is something like flipping burgers or filing papers or selling real estate. Being a wife and a mother (or a husband, a father, a friend, a lover, a son or daughter, or whatever) is something so much more important, something so unquantifiable, to even equate it to a job is to insult its importance.

Our culture at this point in time seems so invaded by corporate culture and capitalism that we no longer seem to value that which doesn't come with a pricetag. The first question you ask someone when you meet them is invariably, "What do you do?" The implicit questions are "How important are you?" and "How much do you make?" (maybe in that order and maybe reversed).

And while the tangent of capitalism invading all over our lives is out there, we're ignoring another issue: jobs are positively fucking demoralizing. Even well-paid jobs that are reasonably fun and interesting take us away from our families, our friends, and the people we love. (One of my favorite comments that I ever heard about the horror of 9/11 came from a friend of mine who pointed out that the attacks raised the awful spectre of dying at work.) They force us to put a pricetag on our time and our abilities, to sell ourselves to the highest bidder.

Bob Black makes the interesting analogy that seems to explain the situation well. He asks us to consider whatever it is we like doing the most in this world - be it having sex, eating a great meal, anything - and then picture doing that thing eight hours a day, five days a week, for fifty years. Immediately, you see how that really great thing become monotony, and how it quickly loses all fun almost immediately.

But I'm actually not writing this to go off on some No Work Movement rant. I'm actually getting at something a little different - that I had great hopes that we in this country, post-9/11, might take some time to reflect on some of the real issues that effect us as a culture. I am mightily disappointed to see that even in a time when people seem more engaged in the processes that effect us, more plugged into the world around us, that we are still ignoring the much bigger issues out there. I'm disappointed that the idea of Kerry-as-President seems to have overwhelmed many of the minds I respect, taking the place of perhaps a better and more wholistic interpretation of what a better world might be. We're all lining up and taking sides and fighting for our candidates bitterly, but all around us much bigger issues loom.

For me, personally, it stops here - my complicity in this culture, that is. Yes, on November 2nd, I will march to the polls and vote for Kerry, because I feel that that is my duty as a person who loves her country. But after that, I plan on going out and chasing utopia for a while; I don't really know what that means, but I'll keep you posted.

Yeah, so anyway, I'm Amy and I guess this is my introduction.

Insult Comic Dog Hilarity

Must watch. You. Must Watch this. Via this is from Connan-- Triumph the insult comic dog on SPIN ALLEY-- its very very funny.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

wiliam gibson has a blog

From our friend William Gibson (cyberpunk author for those of you in the non-beanie clad community)
How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?

None. There’s nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.

-- John Cleese

Interesting thoughts on Stewart on Crossfire

Link above is a link to the most interesting thoughts on this i've seen so far

John Stewart of the Daily Show on Comedy Central went on CNN's crossfire and told them (while still being pretty funny, i thought) that they were "partisan hacks" who were "part of the strategy" of the major parties and that doing so when they could be putting on real debate was "hurting america". I didn't see it live but thanks to the internet I was able to see it later, turns out i was not alone.

Just as an obscure L.A. Cable access show can have its 15 min. in the national spotlight, anything that is on TV can be given new life on the internet. People can follow whatever is of interest to them from one media to another and (potentially) back again, and money and therefore the spotlight will follow the eyeballs. I wouldn't be surprised if this story got picked up on some other shows-- watch for stewart to be invited on other programs, and other networks to start mentioning this once they see how many people are interested.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Contact from the Dungeon Master

One of us wrote to the DM and, and the DM speaks back:
......having beaten and survived the sunless citadel and the forge of fury modules. and are currently playing out the marco volo trilogy
And yes, i do understand what he said. AND YES, i know how big of a dork that makes me... I love this guy- if you haven't already checked out the dungeon majesty site, you really must, and enjoy the pics section, where you will see Mr. DM and co.

Dungeon Majesty

what can you do with a green-screen and your own cable access show? This is featured on BoinBoing which means that it will now be seen by thousands and thousands of people. What could you do with the same technology and that kind of attention?

Monday, October 18, 2004

The making of the terror myth

Artist Amy wilson shares the above article:
...this has some information in it about the existance or non-existance of Al Qaeda along with some of the philosophies of the far right, which is interesting
As for an Owelian, never-ending-war against an enemy you can never quite define much less kill, Al Qaeda is about as good as you can get, isn't it?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

navigate gotham without being seen

a project to map security cameras in NYC so you can avoid them

Discussion on Rhizome about net art, software, updates and responsibility

elsewhere in the discussion they bring up the question of artists who's work is a computer program, selling the computer it was made to run on along with the software in the gallery as part of the work, but i found this bit more interesting about what artist owe to other artists and then there's a discussion of artist's who's work is software, who then send thier collectors 'updates':
But let me bring another issue to the table, one I think other net creatives have brought to light pretty well. It's the issue of TRANSPARENCY.

Artists have always kept notes, some way or another, for their ideas and process. But it is not until they are dead (or made an offer they cannot refuse) that people can take a peek at them. If ever. But not just artist as in Art makers. Most people involved in creative work will keep some kind of record of their discoveries and obstacles. The problem, again, is that these are mostly kept tucked away in private libraries or bedroom drawers.

I believe it is time for net artists to stop pretending anybody beyond their immediate peers understand what they are doing. Seriously. Not even the people in most arts organizations (I'm thinking granting institutions and the like) understand the difference between creating your own metasoftware in Java so you can create software art versus a person who gets their hands on Flash and makes an animation. To this day I find myself saying at art openings, "No, that Levin/Simon/Napier is not an animation. It's software creating the art." To which they most inevitably get the "deer in the headlights" look on their faces. Ugh.

MTAA was interviewed for Petit Mort and it's worth the reading (great pics of the sexy beasts and a fantabulous one of EndNode AKA Printer Tree). This is the part that mostly caught my attention:

Ive notice that your updating of art is similar to the way corporations are updating their services these days; for example banks make you transfer funds, make you fill out forms, make you find customer service, and sometimes even make you responsible for their quality control. Technology now a day has passed on a lot of duties to the customer. It has really become a self-service type of system. And although this would seem like cost cutting measures on the way they do business, we still don't see a decrease in their fees or cost of their products or services. It is helping them save money Im sure, but as consumer we are loosing our time in performing their services. Is that shift what you had in mind when you started these updates?

Bin Laden dead?

This is interesting. We've all heard the theory that Bin Laden has been captured already and is waiting to be trotted out for a perp. walk on November 1st by the bushies, but here is counter-delusion from the right>> Bin Laden is already dead and Bush is keeping quiet for noble reasons...

Is Carl Rove a genius on par with Marcel Duchamp? PART I

I've broken this up in into 2 parts , this part is about the situation we find ourselves in today, in which, in my mind the question in the title could be interesting, part 2 will get into that question itself, so forgive me for the tease. HERE IS PART 2

The following is an excerpt from The Education of the Un-Artist, Part I, written by Alan Kaprow in 1971:

The term “intermedia” implies fluidity and simultaneity of roles. When art is only one of several possible functions a situation may have, it loses its privileged status and becomes, so to speak, a lowercase attribute. The intermedial response can be applied to anything—say an old glass. The glass can serve the geometerist to explain ellipses; for the historian it can be an index of the technology of a past age; for the painter it can become part of a still life, and the gourmet can use it to drink his Chateau Latour 1953. We are not used to thinking like this, all at once or non-hierarchically, but the intermedialist does it naturally. Context rather than category. Flow rather than work of art.

One of the consequences of today’s "Post-Media" condition is that we are forever (potentially) speaking to all audiences, all the time. With the advent of the Internet, gone are the days when one could express something within a specific context and feel certain that only its intended audience would ever gain access. Graduate students deconstruct "high," "middle," and "low-brow” culture with equal intellectual vigor, and artists now feel comfortable using pop culture as a medium creating art that can only be understood by those able to see it as such, not unlike a private joke. One can imagine the various reactions by each of the groups mentioned by Kaprow above would have to a single news item about his glass. Today each of them would perhaps have their own blog, and thus, instant access to each other’s reactions. One can imagine the historians having a good laugh at the way the gourmets missed the point. Reactions and dialogues are now almost instantly available for critique, re- contextualization and deconstruction both by and for a mass audience. The web by its very nature encourages quick re-contextualization. A typical blog entry consist of a few pithy comments and a link an earlier source of information. The comments can and often do set up a new frame of reference in the mind of the reader that they take with them when they click the link. For each posting, essay, or artwork that comes into the world one can imagine the variety of reactions that people at various distances from its original audience might have to it.

One of my favorite examples of the way a single artwork could have multiple and potentially contradictory meanings is a conundrum involving the executive dining room at the Chase Bank headquarters in Manhattan, which contains a site-specific work by French conceptual artist Daniel Buren.

The work consists of a series of Buren's trademark stripes, in effect creating some very expensive wallpaper. Very few eat or have any other reason to enter this elite setting, with the exception of some of the top executives in one of the richest banks in the world.

Those unfamiliar with conceptual art (99% of the population) might interpret this as a situation in which a clever Frenchman hoodwinked rich, ignorant bankers into purchasing outrageously priced wallpaper.

Although, I’ve never seen this particular work, I know from reading about Buren’s other work that it is usually concerned with making visible the invisible structures of control inherent in the architecture of our environments (yes, really). A common assumption, (among artists less now than thirty years ago) is that the powers that be in our society are able to stay in power partially because they are able to naturalize, neutralize and essentially “hide in plain sight” the structures of their power. Given that, then making people aware of these structures of control is the first step toward fostering awareness, and encouraging change in society to make it more equitable and more just. Assuming Buren’ dinning room has some point to make in this direction, an interesting narrative shapes up for this work. In this narrative, Buren heroically uses global capital's insatiable desire for conspicuous consumption as a vehicle for the radical critique of both that desire, and the system that gave rise to it.

Seen from a different context, the bankers have last laugh. Because this is a private dining room, any value, discernible only to those equipped to discover it, which the artist intended the work to have, is presumably lost on the bankers. The bankers may congratulate themselves on both how well-versed they are in French conceptual art, how rich they are to afford it in so exclusive a setting, and how impotent any art is to change public opinion in any way that could ever threaten the status quo. From this point of view they've made Daniel into their interior decorator and you could ask was he, or any of us 'artists', ever more than that in the grand scheme of things?

Each of these three meanings could exist simultaneously. Which meaning you choose to pay attention to could depend on who you are and on which set of priorities you might have at the time. Artists are increasingly concerning themselves not just with the meaning of their work to other artists, and to critics and collectors but also with the meaning that work takes on within the context of the general public. In the arena of the general public, artists, commentators, marketers and political operatives confront the same problems, find the same opportunities and may make use of the same tactics to say different things to different audiences simultaneously.

Coming soon in PART II: 9-11, the 2nd Gulf war, Marcel Duchamp and Karl Rove, artist(?).

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Great Humor from The Onion

thanks to for finding this gem.

New Early-Adopter site

Also, the first part of the essay will be posted tomorrow (friday) its a little delayed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Baltimore in the house?

You may have heard about Sinclair broadcasting groups plans to broadcast an anti-Kerry smear movie on all thier stations. The link above (the title of this entry 'baltimore in the house' ) is a call to people in balitmore to help out in an interesting way check it out.

Monday, October 11, 2004


This bothers me a little more than i'd like it to. I have to remind myself they're just fake people more forcefully than i should. you?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

so funny

If you watched the debate friday night, read this running commentary from wonkette, its hilarious. some highlights:
9:03 Kerry pats Bush on the back! Checking for that wire. . .
9:14 Global test! Global test! Global test! Bush is so psyched. He's going to start jumping up and down and clapping his hands if someone asks about "frivolous lawsuits."
9:39 The voice in his ear just told him to speak more quietly.
9:40 BREAKING: Canadians want to kill you with their pretend drugs.
9:47 Again with the OB-GYNS. Let them practice their love, already. Also: Kerry is the first presidential candidate in history to go out of his way to remind people he's a lawyer.
9:55 Mr. Kerry: Please do not look straight the camera again. You frighten me. (Not as much as BUSH'S SCREAMING, though.)
10:10 Did the President of the United States really just ask Charlie Gibson if he "needed wood"? Where's Bob Dole when you really need him. . .
10:28 Q: Name three times you've made a mistake. A: I WAS RIGHT TO GO TO WAR. AND THAT'S A TRICK QUESTION. FUCK YOU.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Owens check this out (other people too)

french people flying. Not sure how they did it. found via News of the Dead

rave on brother Lessig

Lawrence Lessig's talk in MP3 form is kinda long, and you miss not having the visuals that obviously went with it, but its very good. He speaks about the importance of copy-right and people's right to take cultural material and alter it to make new material. The battles in the art-world over "appropriation" are long over but these things are far from settled in the political and legal worlds.

wow is this beautiful (video)

Very beautifully done, and yes, its political (another one). I wonder what right-wing americans would think of this.

What to do with the old wall mart when the new wall mart opens up

dig this-- a project to collect information about how people are re-using the "big box" stores after they get replaced by bigger big boxes. In the town i come from the old K-mart became the biggest line-dancing joint you ever saw after K-mart built a newer bigger K-mart 3 blocks away.

Code: call for submissionsto exhibit of net-based code-art

Also from Rhizome, application deadline: jan. 1/05 -- Hey MICA folks, someone should partner with someone from a computer science program see also this one--those are just the first two i saw....i'm sure there are many more.

This is the link, click this.

I like this, it panders to my political views and its very well done- dig the rythm and the repetative clawing gestures on Rudy's part....
Oh, its from Rhizome, btw.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Distributed Research Project

Anyone feel like helping me track down an online copy of Alan Kaprow's "education of the un-artist"?

condensed list

ALL RIGHT-- my plan now is to break up that talk into several articles. In the meantime here is a list of links for you.

Personal Story Links:
Ad Reinhardt
Bellwether Bellwether used to look like this: archive
Bailey Gallery
On The Media
Sockit Projects
Twyla Tharp
Ej Associates

"fine art" in digital media or on the web:

Mario Bro's Clouds only
Trebor Scholz artist appearing at-
Spectropolis event in New York
a is for apple
like something else
L. Anderson's Here
Jannet Cardiff's Black Pool
eyes of laura
the other eyes of laura
Really cool artist works with computer vs. real space Craig Kalpakjian
the wifi interactive thing
MultiMedia Narrative through fictional world /
24 dollar island
mary flanigan educator programmer art as education

Indicies of Web based art and ART-BLOGS
another index of web based art
For way more go to Museum of the moving images digital art project
Whitney's digital art site--
single cell
Julian Bleeker

Theory and Citicism on Web and "new media"
Lev ManovichWeb Art Therorist
Great Book on this topic highly recommended, very dense, and only of interests to freaks who love to think about this stuff like me.
Rosalind Krauss coins term "the post-medium condition"
only page in google containing the phrase "post-medium condition" but its a good one.
scholarly article on social network theory and blogging )-
on searching and cyborglogging successful community:
a good history of weblogs
Ofilli's Elephant-dung paintings in Brooklyn show controversy

NON-ART (OR are they?) things that i talked about:

NY-times electoral college predictor
Map of the Markets
place matters
Some very dumb people (and some smart people) discussing 9-11 as art
murmur-- like yellow arrow
urban tapestries
mr. Beller's neighborhood
annotate space
Story CorPs- this is SUper-cool IMHO-- check it out! art community
switch collaborative curating
Institute for distributed creativity

art blog called coin-op

blog of MTAA

we make money not art
institute for multi-media literacy
art and science collaborating

Flash Mob pinkslip protest video pink slip photos
hacktivists: if you don't know about this you should. (...errr, i mean, i think its really interesting)
all your base:
Mahir Cagri
Mahir the celebrity
Salon article on Mahir
online memorials random victim of 9/11
monkey protocol suite
Does anyone else think this is funny or am i just the biggest dork in the world?
this guy is the same age as me Teaches Blogs

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Reading From Alan Kaprow's 1971 The Education of the Un-Artist part 1 #1
Also in 1971:


Ad Reinhardt


What to do with a medium after it is obsolete?

Mario Bro's Clouds only

#2 and #3 from Kaprow

After Grad School.....

Bellwether archive
Bailey Gallery
On The Media
Sockit Projects
Twyla Tharp
Ej Associates

Who could afford to pay me enough to do the job as well as i could? What would be involved in that?
1) better clothes 2)Tersiary Brand Identity
note-the other multex
More people-artitst, curators, collectoros, saw bellwether have seen my paintings. More people generally have seen my Botox ad than will ever see my paintings even if i'm very successful.
Everything you do or don't do has political consequences
Trebor Scholz appearing at-
"most art work is reactionary because it is built on the system as-is and the system as-is corupt, oppressive, etc."
Thank you Trebor, and you pay for your projects how, exactly? And those grants come from where? And you need that money more than who?
It's not even that its all relative- of course it is, but who should cast the first stone? I'm not about to. That's why this talk is so firmly based in the personal- its up to each person to decide what they can live with. I used to think that art was this great and Nobel thing, but now i just think its what i happen to be a freak for.
Anytime someone is being as fully and completely alive as they can be, it sings, it calls out to others-- could be true for a plumber, i would guess....
My Caravaggio Justification
What is the artworld but just one more little comunity of wierdos who care passionately about an aspect of the world that everyone else finds mildly interesting at best and couldn't care less about at worst?

Kaprow #4
Inter-medial or Post Medial -- Multi-Contextural-
"The Image"-- Manovich Points out is disolved- into a stream-- just like it is inside our brains, actually--

Web Art Therorist Lev Manovich

the web makes context super-fluid-
Rossalind Krauss "the post-medium condition"

Sept.11th--and the 2nd Gulf war--
many, many contexts-- many results-- all of them bad -- overwhelming impact was bad because of the context of 250 million americans vs. 8 million NYers vs. 6 billion non americans -- same for gulf war--for -- Contrast with the Ofilli's Elephant-dung paintings in Brooklyn show contraversy

Some very dumb people (and some smart people) discussing 9-11 as art

Post-Medium Post-Context Condition means you're allways speaking to everyone (or might be) and the body is increasingly forgrounded

Examples of some things i find interesting:

Flash intimate narrative
a is for apple
like something else

I have yet to find a web-project that is an engaging as the most engaging non-art things on the web....

Fine artists on the web
L. Anderson's Here
Jannet Cardiff's Black Pool
eyes of laura
the other eyes of laura

Really cool artist works with computer vs. real space Craig Kalpakjian another index of web based art

Artist's using the web or using digital media

For way more go to Museum of the moving images digital art project

Whitney's digital art site--

single cell

the wifi interactive thing

MultiMedia Narrative through fictional world /

System - Information - Organization

but really i spent more time on friendster when it first came out, or on
NY-times electoral college predictor
or on Map of the Markets

Video Games as art-- the possibilities are limmitless-- Entertainment seeks to give people what they can't get from real life-
danger- lack of consequences - etc.

Fine-Art / real World - Web Interaction

24 dollar island
place matters
murmur-- like yellow arrow
urban tapestries

urban text
memory maps
mr. Beller's neighborhood
annotate space
Story CorPs

Julian Bleeker
30 available-- preciousness--to chalenge infinite reproduceablity
wi-fi bedouin
sit in a wi-fi he hot spot and not let people connect to internet
all these things are weirdly limited to make sure they're art.

One way out: artist as educator:
mary flanigan educator programmer art as education

If you want to get lots and lots of people involved with whatever you're doing-- you start facing the same problems that marketers face-- start-up costs, marketing costs, and the solutions start to all be the same for either commerce, politics or art- guerrilla marketing is the same as conceptual art, maybe? Could be-- what is different ? The ends?

Real-world- web interactions of a Political, Commercial, Psuedo-Comercial or Faux-Commercial Nature

cigarette parade>>happenings >> Flash Mob>> developing a techinque

what can we use it for?
pinkslip protest video pink slip photos

at&t's friend locator
loveGety- meet compatible people

Dean's Democracy Project

What is a Hoax? An In-Joke-- something that some people Know to be false that someone else thinks is true- few Vs. Many Bonzi Kittens

Fine Art Web-Real world interaction

Wouldn't Google's headquaters display be even better?

side note: Data Table sorted a particular way and then Litterally Etched in Stone
Maya Lin's Vietnam war memorial--Best public art in the 20th century IMHO

Web Fads
all your base:
Mahir Cagri

Mahir the celebrity
Salon article on Mahir

Kaprow #5

online memorials random victim of 9/11
monkey protocol suite

this guy is the same age as me Teaches Blogs
a little too random, right? I cease to be of interest to you, you're gone.

Art Blogs and Art Comunities
It turns out that online art comunities have all the same problems of every other kind of online comunity and they succeed or fail because of the same reasons, pretty much... most of them fail. Success= effective filtering>> social theory cybernetics are interesting and can give us vocabulary to discuss these things in great detail meanwhile (schollarly article on social network theory and blogging )-- Amazon, eBay and Blogs have figured it out and are busy making millions and/ or changing the behavior of millions of people.
on searching and cyborglogging sucessful comunity:

a good history of weblogs atrios dailykos
switch colaborative curating
Institute for distributed creativity

art blog called coin-op

blog of MTAA

we make money not art
institute for multi-media litteracy
art and science collaborating

The 'rathergate' killian memos and the impact of the blogs uppon the way the world saw this.
Is Carl Rove the most ingenious man since Marcel Duchamp? If so where can we get one of those?