[iDC] Art

Robert Praxmarer cubic at servus.at
Fri Dec 9 16:54:06 EST 2005

I followed the thread started by Trebor in the beginning and then lost 
track somehow, tried to read through this mess of references, and got dizzy.
Quite the same feeling which creeps up my back when I walk now through a 
shopping street with all it's zombies. Don't understand me wrong it's 
interesting to theoretically talk about things: "Frankfurt school", 
Benjamin, Debord and all the others. Most of them are dead but they left 
something behind which is seen as our cultural heritage. Most of the 
times though I try not to confront myself with stuff like that, because 
I like to develop my own ideas and strategies. Nevertheless it's the 
same outcome (and most often has been there before, is not unique, is a 
weak version of ...), but I feel more independant, feel more of myself.
In our world and time we all live in a "Skinner Box" we are conditioned 
and programmed by others. Starting with our parents and teachers in 
school, continued by mass media (computer games, tv, net, ...) and by 
our social network (friends and acquaintances).
We are conditioned to accomplish the task of surviving, competing with 
others, earning money and spending it to products we don't need so other 
producers can survive. We are the bio mass.
Artists as I understand that term are parts of the society who have a 
mental disorder which is not too crucial to seperate them from the 
others. They are if you want so mutants, and their thoughts or ideas and 
their art is a mutator for the stable living biomass as well. An artist 
in my definition is a being who even if he knows he hurts himself or 
decreases his career chances just does it, out of a moment of total 
enthusiam, belief or depression, somehow a fundamentalist moment which 
is not rational and therefore can't be found in the patterns of the 
mass. Dostojewski's character "The Idiot" is an example of my prototype 
of an artist, he beliefs in the good of the people and he knows they 
could trick him nevertheless always trusts them and with this attitude 
he creates a socio-political-psychological mess and drama which just can 
be seen as an artwork and as our all tragedy.
Depression is probably the drive of a lot of artists and activists but 
Pfizer and Novartis will help us soon with better versions of Prozac, 
and other psychopharmaca what then ...
A revolution always started with a sort of virus (a song, a manifest) 
and now I only can imagine that this world would change when some not 
deadly gamma rays which just erase our brains and all of our 
electronically stored information would be emmited from a nearby dying 
star. And the system reboots and hopefully develops in an other direction.
Well I can't wait for that so I am working on my version of snowcrash. 
Audio Visual Entrainment technologies for suggestive manipulation in 
computer games for conditioning a new generation.
I started this as fun but the mails I got from people thinking this is a 
real product and could be good for their kids and asking for cheaper 
prices made me cry. Maybe I continue the work on that and try to find 
the audio visual key to our mind. Maybe I should research on that as I 
am a good coder, you never know maybe there is a erase sequence in the 
brain which just has to be stimulated right, Tessler searched for the 
possibility of transfering power via air, Cantor's dust flashed him like 
angle dust and Goedel is said to try to proof the existance of angels in 
his end, so that's for me art to risk everything for an idea and live in 
paradox worlds which can lead to schizophrenia and dead, not to talk to 
old ladies and gentlemen in galleries.
Not sure if that helps your discussion, not every mutation is fruitful ;-)
and remeber sweet dreams control the future.
Robert Praxmarer

Trebor Scholz wrote:

>Ok, let's talk Art. The everyday bread and butter of artists is to produce
>culture.  It's personal. All the immediacy and politics that we discussed
>before does not get lost when talking about Art.
>Something is happening. For one there is a shift of the artist to something
>that I call a cultural context provider. Two things. Many many media artists
>function in strange ways. In fact, their job description has yet to be
>written. They are artists. They are activists. They write.  They may even be
>theorists. Many of them curate or have an event-based cultural practice. And
>all of these "occupations" are united in that one person. Ok. Ok. I know--
>that's nothing new. That has been witnessed long before the resurfacing of
>the notion of the cultural producer in the 90s. No need to name names
>(Duchamp, Beuys, ...). But there is more than several occupations under one
>hat. I'm talking about a phenomenon that renders the cultural context
>provider as the person who orchestrates a context without delivering the
>input. "Les Immateriaux" in 1985 could be cited. Here, Lyotard set up a
>situation in which people respond to a task and to each other and the
>resulting thing is his artwork (with content provision entirely by others).
>Trace that through the 90s service art to today's participatory design
>projects like "Learning to Love You More." I find that my students have
>decreasingly, and in many ways refreshingly, little interest to become art
>stars. They want an audience. They want a platform. They are ambitious with
>their cultural practice. But they realize that they can have dialogues
>without the ghettoized artworld. Or if not outside then somehow tangentially
>glued on to one of its wings. Extreme sharing networks empower them.
>So, secondly: art activism. Media activism. It's as schizophrenic as
>capitalism itself. What about all this online art, media activism and
>creativity that has political intent? Is it art (uh...)? There is this Steve
>Wright guy who is gripping. He wrote a flavorful essay titled "The Future of
>the Reciprocal Readymade: An Essay on Use-Value and Art-Related Practice."
>[1] There he says: "What they do is not art, yet without art it would not be
>possible to do it." Once or twice in the past I dared to question the
>efficacy of tactical media with the result of vehement attacks. There was a
>moment when tactical media suddenly became so fashionable that you have
>university courses about it. If we look at how-many-years of tactical
>media... how much has it achieved? Before you start throwing rocks at me-
>hear me out. I'm not taking away from TM. But don't we need to revisit even
>super-popular notions like tactical media for their ability to affect? Also,
>the argument Wright makes is interesting. He asks if all this cool Rtmark
>and Bureau d'Etudes work is not merely art-related instead of being art. Ok,
>I always wonder why people would ask the art question to start off with.
>Usually those posing tghe question are curators who look for definitions to
>more smoothly define an institutional inside and outside. But here is a
>taster from Wright's essay:
>"In a late text, Marcel Duchamp set out to distinguish several different
>types of readymades. Of particular interest here is the genre, which he
>punningly described as ³reciprocal readymades.² Anxious, he claimed, ³to
>emphasize the fundamental antinomy between art and the readymade,² Duchamp
>defined this radically new, yet subsequently neglected genre through an
>example: ³Use a Rembrandt as an ironing-board.²1 More than a mere quip to be
>taken at face value, or a facetious mockery of use-value, Duchamp¹s example
>points to the symbolic potential of recycling art ­ and more broadly,
>artistic tools and competence ­ into the general symbolic economy of
>everyday life. For in that respect, the reciprocal readymade is the obverse
>of the standard readymade, which recycles the real ­ in the form of
>manufactured objects ­ into the symbolic economy of art. Historically
>speaking, the readymade is inseparably bound up with objecthood: it refers
>to a readymade, manufactured object Yet, it would be reductive to confine
>the readymade to its objective dimension alone, if only because it provides
>such a strong general image of the reciprocal logic between art and the
>In the same way that framing an object in an art context neutralizes it as
>an object (distinguishing it, as it were, from the mere real thing), can the
>de-framing of an artwork neutralize it, in reciprocal fashion, as art? This
>is an important question, and one to which Duchamp was expressly alluding,
>because it would enable art to produce a use-value. Since Immanuel Kant¹s
>influential championing of ³purposeless purpose² and ³disinterested
>satisfaction² as defining features of our engagement with art, it has been
>broadly held that art cannot produce use-values. Kant argued in effect that
>art, unlike design, could not be evaluated and appreciated on the basis of
>its objective purpose ­ be it external, regarding the utility of the object,
>or internal, regarding the perfection of the object. In so doing, Kant
>sought to preserve art from the realm of the ³merely useful²; and in the
>contemporary world where utilitarian rationality and the sort of
>cost-benefit analysis to which it leads reign supreme, where art is
>regularly co-opted by such profit-driven, subjectivity-production industries
>as advertising, to even mention use-value tends to smack of the philistine.
>Of course one might say that in such a context there is something circular
>about defending art on the basis of its uselessness alone (or even its
>³radical uselessness,² as Adorno put it), for it would seem to suggest there
>is something worthwhile and thus useful about something ostensibly lacking
>Maybe that can be material for a continued exchange.
>[1] <http://www.16beavergroup.org/events/archives/001481print.html>
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