Attack of the Clones, Part 4
Steven Read, Please Wait, 2005 (via VVork)
Cory Arcangelís Panasonic TH42PV60EH Plasma Screen Burn, 2007 (also via VVork)
Bonus: Nominee for Worst Theoretical Justification for an Artwork in 2007
Arcangelís "Panasonic TH42PV60EH Plasma Screen Burn" is brash and bold, it says "fuck you, Iím fucking up this expensive piece of equipment. Why? Because Iím motherfucking Cory Arcangel thatís why!" Steven Read's piece is nitpicky and fussy. His piece says ďlook! I wrote a program to destroy an obsolete piece of hardware. Why? Because Iím a geek." Arcangelís piece is about fucking with consumer dreams. Read's piece is aboutÖ time and phosphors?I would personally like to see Arcangel going back to destroying obsolete pieces of hardware instead of acting like a jaded rock star. I know some artists who could do some cool things with that plasma screen. (Also, we're taking it on faith that the screen is actually destroyed--in any case, if the gallery sells it, it's contractually tied up as an expensive name plate, which is practically the same thing.)
Previous clone attacks
smashing guitar 399 hits
Now that's a trope!
I don't think I really got into any theory there...
how much do i have to give someone to smash a guitar through plasma screen burn? (i will supply the guitar!)
Personally, I'm partial to art about time and phosphors.
Dave, that's very generous for a nihilistic gesture!
Who would have guessed that I'm a theorist?
It's an awesome responsibility that anyone beyond the "cool check it out" stage holds.
at the risk of having an honorary doctorate of art history foisted upon me...
not generous. if you heard me play guitar youd realize it was a mercy killing.
The keyword here was not guitar. The keywords were
So, how is Cory acting like a jaded rockstar, exactly ? Sounds like a quite an insult to throw down.
For those just joining us, T.Whid, on his blog, said that Arcangel burned his name into an expensive plasma screen, thus ruining it, and this was a "brash and bold" way of saying "fuck you, Iím fucking up this expensive piece of equipment. Why? Because Iím motherfucking Cory Arcangel thatís why!"
I understand what twhid said on his blog. I would like to know how you came to the conclusion, through this piece, that Cory is acting like a jaded rock star. I might be wrong, but I donít think that is what twhid is implying. I am trying to find a connection. Perhaps you can elaborate ?
I don't understand why this connection is such a mystery. What is the difference between destroying an expensive guitar, and an expensive computer? The value of the two acts is basically equivalent - hence the conclusion.
Stupid low key use of irony to comment on branding, not worth overthinking.
I didn't know something could be "basically equivalent ".
Well, I'll let Tom field the question of "jaded rockstar" - though I didn't read the connection as being anything more complex than a reference to seventies punk.
More interpretation of T.Whid:
"Iím motherfucking Cory Arcangel thatís why!"
it's not rockstar. at least rockstars have some sense of sex, and death to them. these works rehash pop art, without even the politics involved in the original pop art movement. all that remains is an american, privileged, 10 year old boy, mentality towards commodity and comedy.
they do share one other commonality... they will both be something i forget by the time i wake up tomorrow. But, i guess that's art nowadays. I mean really... there wasn't something more interesting that could be done with this idea?
About the Plasma TV being an "expensive piece of equipment": It might be until this year ends, then the new models will be introduced on the next trade fair.
I just meant cooler than burning the artist's name into it as a gallery wall label.
thats a good myth. too bad after all these years of big screen plasma tvs on the market neither myself nor any artist friends i know can afford them. its like competition amongst cable companies forcing the subscription cost down. still waiting...
I think once an artist starts making work about his own place in the commodity chain it's all over.
Agreed. I really don't want to be discussing the connection between Damien Hirst's skull o' diamond's and Cory's work (yes, I know one is about creating the most expensive work of art ever, and the other is about destroying a costly piece of equipment, but they both address the issue Tom raises of making work about their place in the commodity chain.) It's a little depressing.
...and here I was thinking it had something in common with Kundera's Immortality.
I suppose our interpretations relate most to what we expect from an experience of art. We can ask does this work excite the "free play of my imagination?" Do I think it's fucking hilarious? Or (as was suggested above) does it deaden interpretation by relating a cliche? One challenge to artists working right now (that has been well explored on this page) is to take a position to an audience or viewer that assumes an equality between maker and looker. Here is where the work falls short for me and moves into the territory of hypotheticals--booooooooring.
Yes, I'm a geek. But I thought the whole geeks-rockstar thing was settled a long time ago by the movie Revenge of the Nerds? Oh well, I guess the rock stars with the money and power will always win in America. I tend to work with issues of efficiency, and as such enjoy creating efficient processes. Which in a way is like what happens when most people write code. Fewest number of operations to get the job done. I tend to use free or cheap materials in my work. I try to spend as little as money as possible when doing a new piece. The apple hardware in the Screen Burn piece was obtained free from Craigslist. I saved that hardware from going to the dump - some labs at CU in Boulder were going to toss it all out. I saved it. I recycled. I am trying to avoid burdensome, consumerist practices. Not that I'm against projects doing the opposite, I'm just doing what I'm doing.
Thanks for the self-defense and may you have the same success moving decimal points to the right (just please don't make art about it). Many of the issues you discuss are very familiar to readers of this blog, FYI. One thing's for sure, your rationale for the work is not a one liner.
Just an FYI - I know Cory did not see your ( Stevie ) works before he made his. I can say this for sure. It makes it even more bizarre, I know ! But I can say this with complete confidence.
Please Wait is a clever play on a found object. The backstory about seeking persistence in the face of transient technology makes it more interesting.
[Quick caveat for me and some others. We're critting jpegs and text--most of us haven't seen these pieces. OK, with that out of the way...]
(from my VVork link above): Steven Read wrote a software program in Apple II Integer Basic that displays an image on the monitorís screen. Then he ran the program continuously for about 6 months. The software image was eventually burned into the screen because the internal phosphor compounds which emit light lost their luminosity and left behind a ghostly trace. The 'please wait' text is actually an image which took over 1000 lines of software code to create. The old Apple II operating systems (DOS 3.x, ProDOS, etc.) did not come with any font facilities, if you wanted a font you had to code it from scratch.So the software artifact being preserved (Apple II fonts) is not actually something anyone used on a regular basis, it had to be custom crafted for this piece. See my earlier post on "reenacting the unenacted."
I'm continuing to be a pill, but I think I have a point here.
and a good one, imo.
re: screen burns, some of my students at goldsmiths were making installations last year using "found screen burns" on old cctv monitors picked up from flea markets...the monitors were for security cameras so obviously only had one image ever displayed or sometimes cut between a few images and over the years even good monitors will succumb to burning. one of them was mentioning another artist,cant remember the name, who was doing screen burns years ago [maybe steve??] altho i got the impression it was in the 80s.
there are these.
Thanks to p.d. and paul for helping to flesh out the "screen burn universe." If enough of them surface it becomes a genre and then some of this authorship anxiety goes out the window. Unless there's a Chris Burden who clearly owns it!
oh yeah, one more thing about the Apple IIe monitor... it has composite input, so you could hook up any source to it, like a DVD that just displays text. You can also plug an Apple IIe directly into that plasma monitor.
Viewers may not know if it's burned or not, but the gallery is posting photo evidence of bona fide screen damage (scroll down).
I remember when I was writing the program to draw the 'please wait' picture, the operating system ran out of memory just after the 'a' in 'wait'. I was like, "oh shit, what now"? If I were a more careful programmer, I guess I would have known that or would have managed my memory better. But then after hacking around, I figured out with a couple tricks that I could write 2 separate programs and display them on the screen both at the same time, so the second program only writes the letters 'it' without overwriting the output of the first program. That's pretty sad.
I suspect that in that gallery image, you aren't actually seeing the burn -- it's just the image retention that will fade after it's off for a couple of days or after playing static on the TV for a bit. Info about Plasma burning here.
all these comments about cory's piece make it a lot more important, the fact that it generates debate makes it better than 99% of the work out there in which there nothing to think about. The beauty of simplicity.
im afraid thats another myth.
Aron, following the logic of your argument, Christo's The Gates is an even more important piece because it generated 105 comments on this thread (read 'em--that thread's a hoot).
I think any plasma screen will permanently have the image burned in after playing it long enough. Any software to combat burn-in assumes normal use -- not intentionally putting an unchanging black and white image for weeks/months. And I've read that Panasonic screens are bad about burn-in.
It's awkward--the gallery is using an image that "gets the idea of burn across" but does not actually evidence permanent burn. That's really nitpicky, though--my main gripe is that "exposing the process and mechanisms behind high-end gallery display" with a "permanent artist's wall label" is just too art world insidery. There has been a subgenre of this ever since Yves Klein's empty gallery and Pierre Manzoni's can of artist's shit, and Cory is taking that discourse into the Plasma screen age. But something like Super Mario Movie--actual new content from a trash game with the source code posted on the gallery wall--is something more important being injected into the art world from outsider culture(s). I believe in the latter and find it hard to get excited about the former. That's why I'm dissenting here.
Myfanwy Ashmore created her first Super Mario work back in 2000.
Same year as the first Beige Atari and Commodore hacks. I'm not saying Cory was the first to "do Mario," just so it's clear. I'm contrasting psychedelified-Mario-with-source-code and "art about the art business."
Point taken, but what clicked for me in your last comment was the word outsider, it's not just a cultural description in the art world, it also does refer to geography.
If Myfanwy's work adds to the "art of screenburning" topic let's hear about it!
Ha, I hadn't seen Bell-Smith's "Video Created to Fix Stuck Pixels in Computer Monitors Recast (with Soundtrack and Sunset) as Video to Fix Your Stuck Mind" before. It's working now, and great.
I was just reading through my posts, and I realized I didn't make it very clear that I really like plasma burn. I like it that viewers don't know if it's burned or not.
"There just had to be something on the screen" isn't a very convincing rationale. PLEASE WAIT is actually a lot funnier, as far as things getting burned into screens go.
"Art" is the ultimate sucker. Too bad, yet there's still hope, or at least some believe so. I have an affection for artists who use computers and a real disdain for computer people who use art. It's not only pitiful, it's boring. As a viewer, if you have half a brain, it's fairly evident, and this is coming from someone with at least 3/8 of a brain.
Not to be obtuse, but what does 60 mean in reference to all this?
thats how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. or it was the # of comments in this thread until you had to go and get all roger maris on it.
haha yeah thats what it was, but i think it meant that 59 totally killed the thread and i still wanted to say something :)
That piece is surprisingly popular. I liked the performance when I saw it in a gallery because it was an obnoxious anti-crowd pleaser but the idea is thin and somewhat overly complicated (a record of glockenspiel parts that weren't on the album meant to be played during the songs that didn't have glockenspiel because we're supposed to imagine a glockenspiel fan that didn't think there was enough glockenspiel on a record that most people don't know even had glockenspiel--this lacks elegance). Also, I can't get past having to listen to Springsteen again.
Sorry, I have to close this thread, at least until it drops off the spammer hot list.
bill added, post thread closing:
this is what that cory arcangel piece reminded me of.