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Paula Scher's "Diagram of a Blog" that appeared as a New York Times editorial cartoon is old-media humor at its unfunniest. It reminded me of a cartoon that ran in the 1910s in response to the first Armory Show. Captioned "The Original Cubist" it depicted an elderly woman sewing a large patchwork quilt. A pundit of the day noted in response to the drawing that "you can't spoof what you don't understand."* At the risk of being more boring explaining what Scher doesn't understand, does she mean "comments to a blog"? They don't go like that if someone makes a half assed effort to moderate. Does she mean the "blogosphere"? The idea that everyone agrees to disagree eventually and nothing gets accomplished in the blog world (as opposed to the newspaper "letter to the editor world") is just so much Cubism. Ask, for example, Senator Jim Webb.
*Per Calvin Tomkins, The World of Marcel Duchamp, 1966.
Getty Images. At the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Jerome Basquiat (nephew of the '80s painter) explains his work, a grid of solarized lily pads referencing Claude Monet, to a collector, foreground, while the artist's dealer looks on. Behind them, another work depicts raindrops hitting the surface of a pond. (photo via Nasty Nets)
"Helipad" [mp3 removed]
Loud, fast rudimentary techno stomper.
I had a hard time titling this. Originally I wanted to call it "Planck Worm," because I'm re-reading Greg Egan's book Schild's Ladder and liked the name of the weapon designed to cripple the planet-swallowing "novo-vacuum." (I'm making the book sound more space opera than it is.) But it's Egan's juice and I didn't feel like appropriating it. Then I looked up pad in the urban dictionary because I was thinking of some version of "crash pad vs launch pad" and discovered that helicopter pad had a sexual connotation. That cinched it.
top image: Richard Woods, 1998; bottom two images: Kelley Walker, 2006 and 2004.
From the Artforum Diary:
On Thursday evening, artists Seth Price and Kelley Walker presented their first-ever collaboration, a performance titled Freelance Stenographer, to a capacity crowd at The Kitchen. Receiving special permission from director Debra Singer to "not share very much about the work in advance," many audience members wondered—perhaps nervously—whether their participation might be required. [subject/verb meltdown] The performance, an exercise in instant archiving and accelerated obsolescence, paired a video with an unassuming stenographer who quietly recorded the evening’s dialogue (on-screen and off-) on a machine, which transmitted the results to a nearby laptop. Cutting between band-practice footage of artist friends Emily Sundblad (of Reena Spaulings), Cory Arcangel, and Stefan Tcherepnin captured in a Manhattan recording studio, found clips of the Manhattan skyline, and documentation of an Oskar Schlemmer performance restaged by Debra McCall at The Kitchen in 1981, the artists interspersed readymade aftereffects redolent of their signature work as individuals (Price: picture-in-picture, lens flares; Walker: a decidedly Aquafresh-hued fog). Their manipulations "might look hip or hot today," as Walker told me afterward, "but won’t look so good in ten years." ["we're not bad, we're just hastening our irrelevance"]*accents over "e"s in demode and mode not recognized by RSS so deleted
The video evidences the artists' Benjaminian infatuation with the recently outmoded, at one point incorporating an entire music video for a demode Alice Deejay dance anthem that Arcangel finds on YouTube [was Alice Deejay ever mode, precisely?].* "I've watched this like six hundred times," he marvels. At another point, Sonic Youth's "Teenage Riot" serves as the sound track to the salvaged Schlemmer performance (Gen-X audience members involuntarily mouthed the lyrics). "'Teenage Riot' is particular to a moment that we have moved on from," Walker explained. ["sorry, Gen-Xers who thought we liked it"] "And it sounds good when you keep recording it from lower and lower sources," added Price. Singer suggested that, perhaps unbeknownst to the artists, Sonic Youth’s Kitchen performances probably overlapped with the Schlemmer restaging. [these kids--so ahistorical.]
After screening a few outtakes (featuring the bandmates singing and beating tambourines while drinking beer and Perrier) [emphasis supplied], the artists previewed a work in progress by filmmaker (and friend) Jason Spingarn-Koff that documents the virtual-reality community Second Life, [Oh, no, not Second Life] typically used by homebound gamers to create alternate personas in a fantasy world of computer-generated beach bums and clubbers. Cyber-babe Tee-Dye, Spingarn-Koff’s ethnographic subject, is narrated by her single-mother real-world counterpart and navigates Second Life’s virtual galaxy on a trip down memory lane. Directing her avatar to a pulsing dance floor and arming her with nunchakulike glow sticks, the unseen gamer indulges in the same nano-nostalgia as the earlier video’s stars when she muses, "We used to rave up here, back in the day . . ." (Indeed, Arcangel appears—as himself—in both works.) [huh?]
When the lights came on, the performance, in a sense, really began. ("The Q and A was the performance," Singer assured me later—a concept clearly lost on those audience members who made for the door while the credits rolled.) First question: "Why did you pick this title?" Second [and final?] question: "Is that a stenographer over there?" With her presence formally acknowledged, Price admitted to "feeling uncomfortable" and offered the stenographer’s name (Casey Klavi) while she continued to type, smiling wanly. The stenographer served to "demystify" (as Walker put it) the art world's dual modes of hype and criticism by publicly recording a process (the Q and A) and producing the transcript as an artwork. During the ensuing reception, while the artists and the on-screen protagonists Arcangel and Tcherepnin mingled with the audience, copies of the transcript were run off on The Kitchen’s own Xerox machine and distributed. "There were two actors," Singer explained, "the stenographer and the copy machine. But no one asked about the copy machine."
—Michael Wang ["I thought it was stupid but they made me cover it"]
GIFs by eyekhan
Correction to an earlier post, which read:
Should galleries not post documentation so people will get off their lazy butts and come to see actual work? Cory Arcangel also addresses this matter in a transcription of a recent talk he gave, but from the reverse vantage point--he describes work he's seen on the Internet to people sitting in "real space" without a computer as an audiovisual aid.A friend noted that I am *completely* wrong about this--Arcangel's text reads like a transcription but is actually anecdotal, semi-stream of consciousness writing about the internet, to be read on the internet, but where links are perversely not used. My friend found this annoyingly unhelpful but I defended it, as someone who has spent six years worrying about whether hyperlinks were broken and/or up to date--after a while you just want to say, "ah--google it yourself." It's possible I may still not be getting this text so any theories are welcome.
Update: I closed this thread but reopened it for some additional commentary that came via email.
Update 2: And then closed it again due to spam.
Paddy Johnson on new media commercial spaces in New York. This is the only interesting topic in the art world right now, since computers rule our world and non-new media art has devolved to the point where a player must be (a) gorgeous, (b) from Columbia University, and (c) painting large but tepid imitations of Umberto Boccioni. Johnson's list of galleries that matter (with intermittent zingers): Foxy Production, artMovingProjects, vertexList, Bryce Wolkowitz ("blinky light art"), bitforms ("shows a lot of crap"), Postmasters, Deitch Projects [(a) (b) and (c) above subsidize Paper Rad/Arcangel? my query, not Johnson's], Team ("founder...has a PhD in film studies"--not a zinger per se), LMAK Projects, and PaceWildenstein ("just kidding").
Related: bitforms vs vertexList clip and save comparison chart.