A link to the following essay was sent to us in response to The Letter to Goldsmiths that I posted last week. I have only included the very beginnings of the post, but you can carry on reading the rest if you follow the link at the end, (before the end notes).
All of human culture competes for our limited attention and resources, evolving and mutating over time. Everyone plays a role in shaping this behavior, although its clear some key players have more control. Each observation and action is an opportunity to contribute to the reproduction or demise of a thing or idea. The observer changes what it observes, and moreso when content producer and consumer are one in the same.
The Internet has accelerated the pace of feedback between creation and response, and one of the results has been a continued embrace of novelty and irony. Capital, currency and power are running rampant without checks and balances from truth, knowledge and beauty. Its time to more fully embrace directness, earnestness and sincerity. This applies to not only what we make and do, but what we support indirectly through our actions.
The following essay is a deconstruction of, and argument against, the post-internet condition. Specifically, I want to address the over use of irony, novelty, attention as currency, persona as product and the embrace of the spectacle of society.
The first four sections are meant as an introduction to the core argument, and offer a broader context which is often overlooked in such discussions of the post-internet condition. Supplemental notes and sources have been included which provide clarification, tangental ideas and some quotes where appropriate.
///Deconstructing the Image-Object ///Wading in the Wake of Symbolization
It’s clear that our time and attention is limited, and there’s too much going on in the world to pay attention to it all, especially now. Countless people are fighting for our attention and trying to convert this energy into political, social and economic power. Even inanimate things themselves can be thought of as competing for our attention (1)(2). This competition for attention has been turned into a highly skilled craft by plants, animals (1.5)and culture at large, which is especially evident in the battlefield of consumer products and advertisements.
This competition can be understood in terms of Attention Economics (A) which describes the finite nature of human attention in contrast to the vast and exponentially growing access to information. However, it may be more accurate to describe this situation as an attention based ecology rather than an economy. This ecology is an evolutionary system of richly complex interactions between limited resources (human attention), competing agents (corporations, other people, algorithms, ideas, aesthetic styles, cultures, objects themselves) and countless internal and external forces. The time between publishing information and audience response has nearly collapsed since the dawn of the Internet, further exacerbating this situation. The rapid feedback loop between production and consumption, when considered as a whole, can be thought of as vast synthetic brain evolving its ability to engage with humans and understand how we think (3). (read more)
(1) This can be seen in the material-semiotics of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s (B) concept of the rhizome, the world as a horizontal networked structure of relations that seeks equilibrium and is constantly shifting. Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway and much of traditional ‘eastern’ philosophy also speak on this subject. The fields of cybernetics and chaos theory are scientific approaches to this subject, and I’ll address them later on. (1.5) I’d also recommend Michael Pollans “Botany of Desire” regarding the coevolution of humans and plants.
(2)Also in Bruno Latour’s Anthropological Matrix(C) which describes the world existing as a web of hybrid things that are both subject and object, between nature and culture, between agency and raw material. In the Anthropological Matrix all things are both real and imagined, both nature and culture. Latour has also extensively written about Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) (D) which describes existence as a network of ‘actors’ (human or nonhuman, essentially everything) engaged in a series of relationships. ANT disrupts the concept of differentiated individuals acting in the world and states that these things are really the sum of many other actors which reinforce each other.
(3) See Kevin Kelly’s inspired book “What Technology Wants”, and authors like Oliver Reiser, Buckminster Fuller, Dane Rudhayar, Sri aurobindo, N.A. Kozyrev, Teilhard de Chardin, Jose Arguelles, et al.
Claudine Isé will be giving a talk this Saturday at the Humboldt Park library as part of Philip von Zweck’s Much Much More lecture series. I’ve been to one of these thus far and loved it — something about going to a library on a Saturday afternoon to hear an artist/writer talk about his or her work outside the context of an exhibition, or even an art institution. Isé has contributed to Bad at Sports extensively in the past, often behind the scenes. Like many, I have benefitted tremendously from her insight about this blog in the past, and continue to admire her critical writing. To that end, I’m especially looking forward to hearing her present her own work, off the page and in person. This event was also included on Bassett’s What’s the T this week.
@ Humboldt Park branch, Chicago Public Library
1605 N. Troy Street
August 3, from 3PM – 4PM
Check out this week’s most awesome podcast interview with Amanda Ross-Ho!
Amanda Ross-Ho’s work is inspired by detritus: the clutter and remnants of daily existence, and the ‘negative space’ of things over looked. Ranging from sculpture, installation, painting, and photography, her work seeks to uncover the subtle beauty of coincidence and anomaly.
Otherwise the week began with a re-post. I found an essay written by Prolapsarian on the internet that seemed interesting. (Maybe especially because I am so often duped by works/albums/movies that try to affect a negative critique of capitalism while in fact propagating similarly dubious hierarchies). It begins as a letter to Goldsmith Students about their MFA show:
I want to write to you about a single gesture that was performed by a great majority of the artworks in the show (although there were some important exceptions). It is a gesture that claims to determine a relation between artworks and “capitalism”. It is of no surprise that under the contemporary situation of global capital, undergoing its most profound crisis in eighty years – creating conditions not only of mass destitution but also of mass resistance and protest – that the relation between art and capital would present itself more explicitly in the new works of art than has been the case in the last decades. But the expression of this relation of art and capital in the work displayed at your show was not only predictable, but questionable on both political and aesthetic grounds. The gesture that I refer to is that of artworks that attempt to parody capitalism, and in this parody hope to effect a critical irony through the apparent distance between the artwork (and its social situation) and the forms of commodity or capital that it parodies. In this gesture the artwork proclaims a radicalism, a dissatisfaction with the actually existing. It proclaims that the object of this dissatisfaction is “capitalism”.
Atlanta Resident, Meredith Kooi, wrote about Chicago this month, covering a recent performance and installation at Tri-Triangle:
Anna Friz and Coppice performed in their audio installation at Tritriangle on 5/25/2013 in Chicago, IL. The two installations and two live performances occupied the gallery as co-existing organisms.  Each stemming from Friz’s and Coppice’s own larger overarching projects, Friz’s Nocturne and Coppice’s A Vinculum Variation are iterations, though it becomes clear that these iterations are not repetitions, but manifestations of differences in space, time, and materiality. The artists filled the spaces above my head and below/around my feet with sounds produced by other bodies: people, instruments, apparatuses, and radios. The two installations created the terrain in which the live performances inhabited. The earthy landscape, coupled with a cloud of respiration, constituted a world of transmission that enabled relationships to form in and between bodies.
Mairead Case is currently embedded in Naropa, where she wrote her latest edition of MAINTENANCE, discussing such works as + Heavenly Breakfast: an Essay on the Winter of Love by Samuel R. Delany (Bantam, 1979), Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices by Dylan Thomas (New Directions, 1954), Civil Disobediences, edited by Lisa Birman and Anne Waldman (Coffee House Press, 2004), “A poem for record players” by John Wieners (1958) and more:
I’m still in Boulder. I decided to write you from here, even though I need to turn in my portfolio soon eek, because I like the idea of book-review-as-postcard. I am writing you now, before I get back and set this experience against Chicago’s meat and concrete and home. I didn’t want to write starry-eyed, and I didn’t want to write retrospectively. I just want to show you some books I read while I was here, because I found them, living in a city where the sky—not the neighborhood—is what centers.
I posted Saturday’s column “Endless Opportunities” that highlighted (among other things) some publication options in honor of the Printers Ball.
DineLA is happening now, and Adrienne Harris gives a report of her own experience at the Lexington Social Club:
Even though I am very involved in the restaurant world (I work part time in a fancy steak house and I love eating out) somehow DineLA always sneaks up on me. Like the Holiday Season or my birthday, DineLA is always suddenly upon me and I have done nothing to prepare. DineLA is like Brigadoon to me. I…We chose a hip Hollywood venue called The Lexington Social House which turns into a night club after 10:00 pm but serves delicious chilled english pea soup with crab and bacon and bone marrow encrusted filet mignon before the dancing begins.
1. Artist Residency Program is open for applications at the Experimental Sound Studio:
ESS is extremely pleased to announce the next installment of the Artist Residency Program, thanks once again to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. We will offer four 40-hour residencies through the 2013-14 Artists Residency Program (ARP). Candidates must be US residents; at least three of the residencies are for Chicago area artists, and one residency will be open to a non-Chicago US artist. Each residency includes access to the ESS recording facilities with engineering assistance. http://www.
experimentalsoundstudio.org/ pages/artist_residency_ program/24.php
2. Apply to the Propeller Fund! Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago and threewalls announce a call for applications to the Propeller Fund, entering its fourth year as a granting opportunity for independent visual artists, curators, and visual arts groups in Cook County, IL. Applications are due August 1, 2013, with 15 grantees announced in October 2013. A total $50,000 will be disbursed in 2013. More about that on their website here.
3. And this from Edra Soto on facebook: OPEN CALL – WIND CHIME
As part of the events taking place during the Chicago Artists Month, Garfield Park Conservatory will be hosting the exhibition WIND CHIME. Garfield Park Conservatory has made available 30 trees to display wind chimes for this exhibition. THE PURPOSE OF THIS CALL IS TO:• Complement the art & music programs taking place during the Chicago Artists Month at Garfield Park Conservatory.• An opportunity to promote your organization events during the East Garfield Park weekend of art sponsored by Chicago Artists Month and New City.• Strengthen the relationship of the East Garfield Park arts communities.ELIGIBILITY:This call is open to artists with residence in East Garfield Park and artists affiliated to the following neighborhood organizations: Switching Stations, Albany Carroll Studios, West Carroll Avenue Studios, West Side Cultural Arts Council, The Golden Dome, Adds Donnas, Devening Projects, The Hills Esthetic Center, The Franklin, Julius Caesar, Peregrine Program, East Garfield Park GUILDHOW TO APPLY:• Submit a comprehensive sketch on jpg format no bigger than 1240 x 1240 dpi that illustrates your idea accompanied by a word document with that includes: your name, phone number and email; a brief description of the concept and materials you will be using to create your project; your affiliation to East Garfield Park community.• Send applications to email@example.com• Open call starts Wednesday, July 17, 2013 and ends Saturday, August 23, 2013 CRITERIA:• Original, artistic quality. • Safe materials.• Strength of build sculpture /weather resistance. Your work will be exposed to unpredictable types of weather. GPC is not responsible for damaged work.• Works needs to be delivered ready to install. • All sculptures will be displayed suspended high off the ground.
I’m admittedly inspired by today’s Printers Ball (hence the poster above), and as a result the following calls are a bit unusual for a visual art blog. However, I think the following publications could offer interesting avenues for the publication and dissemination of your visual work/research practices/writing. I’m always interested in finding bridges between disciplines. So with that disclaimer in mind:
4. Journal of Artistic Research:
We invite submissions to JAR from all fields and disciplines in which artistic research may be relevant, including areas that may not usually be conceived of as ‘artistic’. Although the journal has emerged as a result of demand in the academic field, JAR welcomes submissions from practitioners with or without academic affiliations.
The key problem for many involved in artistic research is ‘writing’ and its authority. In response to this, JAR introduces a new format for publishing artistic research, the ‘exposition’, a multi-media document that can combine and interlink text, image, film and audio material on one or more scrollable pages. Go here to read more about their submission process and see examples of the work they have published in the past.
5. Cabinet Magazine: Deadlines for forthcoming issues for which we are accepting submissions:
Issue 52 (Winter 2013–2014, with a themed section on “Celebration”): 15 September 2013
Issue 53 (Spring 2014, with a themed section on “Stones”): 15 November 2013
Issue 54 (Summer 2014, with a themed section on “The Accident”): 15 February 2014
Issue 55 (Fall 2014, with a themed section on “Love”): 15 May 2014
Issue 56 (Winter 2014–2015, with a themed section on “Sports”): 15 August 2014
Issue 57 (Spring 2015, with a themed section on “Catastrophe”): 15 November 2014
Details on their guidelines and submission process here.
6. Hobart 15 (a print anthology) — HOTEL CULTURE
We’re reopen for print! And… you know the deal. We rock a theme issue every other issue, which means we’re due for a theme. Our theme: HOTEL CULTURE.
What that means: open to your interpretation.
Reminder: we love both fiction and nonfiction. Oh! Also: art.
Finally: we’re reading everything blind. Don’t put your name on your submission. If your name’s anywhere on the doc, it (and you) will be disqualified. (I guess, also, no need to be clever or impressive in your bio, as we won’t be able to see them anyway.) More info here.
The following article has been circulating around the art-internet of late and I thought I’d repost it here for your consideration.
A Letter to Goldsmiths art students on capitalism, art and pseudo-critique
written by Prolapsarian
Dear Goldsmiths Art Students, I attended your MFA show two nights ago. I apologise to an extent: with so many artworks on display it was difficult to digest any of them. That situation was exacerbated by the fact that so few of the works seemed to have it in them to behave destructively towards the others. Maybe this is where I can begin: that the type of co-operation between artworks, their intellectual co-ordination, is something I find troubling. It didn’t seem to me to be the co-operation of a school thinking together, but instead the co-ordination of the school uniform, of a discipline that had been so fully internalised that all of the artworks, under its authority, might comfortably coalesce. That made those artworks difficult to be with. I want to write to you about a single gesture that was performed by a great majority of the artworks in the show (although there were some important exceptions). It is a gesture that claims to determine a relation between artworks and “capitalism”. It is of no surprise that under the contemporary situation of global capital, undergoing its most profound crisis in eighty years – creating conditions not only of mass destitution but also of mass resistance and protest – that the relation between art and capital would present itself more explicitly in the new works of art than has been the case in the last decades. But the expression of this relation of art and capital in the work displayed at your show was not only predictable, but questionable on both political and aesthetic grounds. The gesture that I refer to is that of artworks that attempt to parody capitalism, and in this parody hope to effect a critical irony through the apparent distance between the artwork (and its social situation) and the forms of commodity or capital that it parodies. In this gesture the artwork proclaims a radicalism, a dissatisfaction with the actually existing. It proclaims that the object of this dissatisfaction is “capitalism”. The modes of making explicit the structure of parody are plural: some take up the bathetic disjunction through a fully instrumental comparison with some hazy far-away classicism or humanism; others exaggerate the shoddiness of capital’s products; others rely on a revelatory mode whereby it is claimed something of capital’s seamy underbelly is exposed; while others are just bits of fixed capital – most often employing the high technologies of marketing – transposed into the gallery-space. But the gesture of this parody common to all of them will, I imagine, be familiar to you. read more