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A few people asked how the Dorkbot talk went on Wednesday. I'd say well. For two hours everyone swallowed their politics (incredibly, since we were all still reeling after Kerry's concession) and had a nice talk about art. My bit ran about 30 minutes, and I enjoyed my first presentation using a laptop, projector and the Internet in lieu of the old slide projector. (Unfrozen Caveman Lecturer.) Seeing my portraits, animation, and abstraction blown up that big was exciting. I wasn't happy with my answers to a couple of questions toward the end, so I'll try again here. 1. Why the molecules? A: They're the most rudimentary, ordinarily seductive kind of thing to draw on the computer. Fill in a rectangle, fill in a circle, shade. Before I was making them on the computer I was painting them in the style of a computer. They are a dumb branded art thing like a Newman stripe or a Poons dot (or a Michael Rodriguez molecule--he also paints them), that, as Johns said about flags and targets, "frees me up to operate on other levels." Maybe it's arbitrary or obvious--I don't care, I like 'em. 2. Where are the grids of found animated gifs you sometimes post? Are they art or curation? A: Boiling my art activity down to a 25-minute speech was hard. The narrative I chose was, "how I make art objects with a crappy old program and how my production eventually began to expand to include animations of the same kind of imagery as I began blogging." I had to leave a lot out, including my burgeoning music career (!), and the weird overlap of blogging, curating, and artmaking that has been a fairly constant theme on this page.
Also of note was the guy who kept asking Claire Corey pointed questions about why she makes digital paintings for gallery consumption. Why abstract expressionism, this art of the 50s? What do you get from printing it out that you don't get onscreen? Are you selling a painting or a file? The latter two questions came after Corey had explained the pains she went to to make a unique, color adjusted print on canvas, stretching it like a conventional painting so that it had scale and sensuousness and optical complexity in real space. I'm guessing the questioner was coming from some sort of conceptualist, information wants to be free frame of reference in that he seemed genuinely startled, perhaps a bit put out, that Claire was showing and selling her work in galleries. From what I've observed over the years, she gets it coming and going: the gallery world wants there to be actual paint somewhere on that canvas to legitimize it. For some reason, a digital painting pushes lots more buttons than a digitally made and printed photo. Very fertile area to be working, IMHO.
Many thanks to Douglas Repetto for inviting us to speak and making things run so smoothly. He's an awesome moderator, and it's great to see the Dorkbot empire gradually spread around the world.
Another map, this one via thickeye:
In the comments, Cinque H continues to call for temperate language towards the Bushvoters. He's living out there among them, so maybe it's like, don't say Big Smelly Cat when you're in a cage full of lions. I understand all that about being noble and not sinking to the level of right wing hate rhetoric, but I disagree with the analogy of the Bushvoters defending themselves being like us having to defend Clinton after Waco (and other bad things that happened from '92-'99). Barbecuing 80 Americans for their religious practices was awful, but Iraq is infinitely worse--it's simply not defensible on any level except "me dumb me see Saddam on teevee he bad man." Assuming the 59 million people aren't out and out mentally handicapped, they are morally culpable for the killing in Bush's vendetta. I'm not interested in winning them over, I'd rather see them disappear through attrition and old age (see previous post re: demographics) and keep working on the ones who didn't vote, making intellectual freedom seem fun and sexy. Also, you can't reason with the wingnuts, we have one that keeps popping up on this site repeating the same tired phrases no matter how sensitive and rational people try to be.
Well, this is encouraging. This is what the electoral map would look like if only young people voted:
As the Daily Kos poster who found this says:
The reality is that Bush won by increasing his support in every age group above 30, adding SEVEN POINTS in the 60+ bracket alone over 2000.
Luckily for America, old people die. If we can maintain our edge with young voters and hold on to those we've got as they get older, the right wing revolution will come to an end four years from now.
The only question is whether or not we can hold the line and keep a country worth fighting for until then.
The Bush 59 Million Need a Name
Cinque H. comments on the previous post's laundry list of things Bush voters are accountable for:
These kinds of shrill blanket recriminations get us nowhere. I appreciate that the bile will be flowing for a while (I have some of my own), but the real work will be in forming alternative visions over the next 4 years, not in sitting back, spitting hate rays at people who disagree with you.If you leave out the curse words in anonymous's list, which express the anger many of us feel towards the very, um, strange 59 million that voted for Bush knowing everything we know about Bush, the list is a pretty reasonable summation of what those folks have done to us.
Alternative visions, absolutely. We do talk on this page about kicking the oil habit and bringing the troops home and taxing & regulating the have-too-muchs to help the have-too-littles. Kerry would have lost by a much wider margin if he'd clearly articulated any of those positions. Excuse some of us while we sit back stunned for a few moments, trying to get our minds around the fact that 59 million people voted proactively for Bush. It's hard to know what to say to these people going forward, in casual conversation. "So, you...like torture photos?" "Into big deficits, are you?" "I could see where you might think Bush did pretty well in the debates." It's hard to even conceive how to reach across the aisle to talk about an alternative vision right now. So let us get our hating done.
Or not. First, what are we going to call the 59 million? One of their number who I personally know said, before the election, "This is the most divided the country has been since the Civil War" before proceeding to heap insults on critics of Bush. Well, in the Civil War you had Yanks and Rebs. I never particularly liked "red states" and "blue states." The 59 million need a name. The God Squad? Bushvoters? And speaking of hating, be sure to check out Abraham Kalashnikov's fine rant, also in the comments to the previous post. I'd post it here, but I do have family members who are Christians who I love and have broken bread with even though we vehemently disagree on many issues. Don't know if they voted for Bush--they think he's a Rockefeller liberal. In deference to them I'm going to struggle (not always succeed) to keep a moderate tone on the page.
UPDATE: Good "big picture" post from Steve Gilliard frames the issue as: Bushvoters' lives are wrecked by the economy, working 50 hour weeks, etc, and were suckered into blaming their misfortunes on gay marriage. How do we make them see what their real problems are?
The following statement by anonymous sums up my feelings pretty well:
An open message to those who re-elected Bush:
You are accountable for each flag draped coffin returning home from Iraq and explaining "Why?"
You are accountable for aiding the ambition and incentive of those newly drawn to the ideology and practice of terrorism.
You are accountable for alienating our friends and allies abroad and for fostering the recent, prevalent, and probably lasting image of America as an arrogant, petulant, trigger happy nation that is the leading global arms supplier and overextended global cop with a pathetic commander in chief and a hollow culture.
You are accountable for explaining to those abroad the reasons for America's contravention and disregard for international law, rules of diplomacy, and utter hypocrisy in how it chooses to demonstrate its "commitment" to democracy abroad, moral leadership, and leadership by example.
You are accountable for many of the dollars added to our national debt.
You are accountable for what will become a Supreme Court similar to the one that brought us "separate but equal."
You are accountable for the historic disproportion and concentration in wealth and poverty.
You are accountable for a new standard in "anything goes in order to win" electoral tactics, and the unprecedented fusion of political calculus into domestic and international policy.
You are accountable for abetting state sponsored religion and eroding the founding principle of separation of church and state.
You are accountable for unfettered corporate and commercial encroachment into the civic sphere and for failure to curb corporate misbehavior and corporate goals that privatize benefits but socialize costs.
You are accountable for not better preparing the massive generation of future retirees less equipped to fend for themselves.
You are accountable for the increasing millions without healthcare.
You are accountable for the results of an unfunded mandate to "leave no child behind" and a public education system that will continue to deteriorate and produce millions more of poorly educated, disaffected, cynical youth.
You are accountable for the erosion of things that used to be considered "public goods," the use granted privilege by the state and its citizens to operate as such (public goods other than national security, of course).
You are accountable for unparalled social divisiveness insofar as much of it results from the above.
You are accountable for just being plain fucking stupid, lazy, bound to dogma, crass, and/or unable to reason beyond fears, prejudice, and susceptibility to social pressures and patent manipulation.
Obviously we are all accountable. There is an added burden on those supporting the last four years and the four years hence.
God help us all - but especially those on the islands within the island that this country wants to pretend to be.
Looks like I was right to be freaking in my previous post. I'm reading that the networks are calling this for Bush (can't stand to watch'em). The only explanations I can fathom are: The Christ-squad came out in force to defend their False Jesus;
Juan Cole has a recap on where the race actually stands as of the wee hours Wednesday morning. If offers some hope but not much.
UPDATE, Wednesday: So, I see Kerry has conceded. Ouch.
UPDATE 2: I had an epithet directed at young voters that has been deleted. According to Joshua Marshall, "Young voters showed up at a far higher level than they did four years ago. But everyone else did too. And so the proportion of the electorate made up by the youth vote did not increase. At least not dramatically..." I've heard one reason for the Bush victory was people don't want to change leaders mid-War. To some extent this is an indictment of Kerry's failure to offer an alternative. But we know he would have lost on a peace initiative. I think what it comes down to is the majority of Americans are racist and aren't offended by the idea of genocidal war.
UPDATE 3: This 1972 Hunter Thompson quote from Billmon says it better:
This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
Steve Gilliard tells us not to sweat the election because the turnout is high, but I can't help it. Those red state numbers just turn my stomach. I'm sad to say that people I know and love support the radical right-winger over the moderate conservative. Amazing that anyone could look at those Abu Ghraib photos and say, "Yep, that's my guy!" Amazing that anyone could watch the three debates and say "Well, I think the President comported himself well, don't you?" The man was flying off the handle, drooling, smiling weirdly...is that what they want in leader? Scary times. Sorry, I'm freaking out tonight.
If you're in New York City, I hope you can come out tomorrow night, Wednesday, Nov. 3, for my talk at Dorkbot-NYC. Dorkbot is an informal monthly gathering devoted to theme of "people doing strange things with electricity." This month's is being held at Location One, 26 Greene Street in Soho (between Canal and Grand) from 7 to 9 pm. I've given my presentation the dramatic title "The Future of the Autonomous Art Object in a Wired World, or, How Blogging Changed My Art Life," but I'll mostly just be spieling about my artwork, while projecting some images and animated GIFs. The "virtual slides" I'll be using are posted here, minus all the illuminating chitchat. Also on the program will be Claire Corey, a digital painter I mentioned a few posts back, and Matt Hall & John Watkinson, who will be discussing their Cell Phone Drum Machine. See you there!