[thingist] a matter of time

arfus greenwood arfus at thing.net
Thu Apr 23 23:55:14 UTC 2009

wolf (et al),

(and remember, i am the asshole that seems to send longwinded emails, 
because i am not a twitter, facebook instant guy...perferring rather to size 
up the dialogue and then respond every one or two weeks...anyway...but 
listen...chatter aside one can also move to the text at the end for the meat 
of it...however...)

however, with voice (mladen dolar-esque voice)...

wolf...i loved your opening... (jan gerber was brilliant as an enhancement 
toward several new translations of the material and j. ayerza was so lovely 
with the sneakers [quite/quite] and although ge at thing.net appropriately 
identified me as a robber-baron [kisses to her...because if only]... and 
various other subtext which is after all the essence of the text itself [the 
ferris wheels of fascism juxtaposed to the bucolic aftermath of capitalism, 
in context to the holy roman empire {opposing walls touristic and pastural} 
eventuates in form--JOY and CONCEPT for a strangely naturalistic 
techonologic philosophic gesture reflecting upon itself.)

oops... my private thoughts.

still (and still) i wanted the voice and environment of the veritable 
primordial to surround the space. it was suggested thru the backroom...and 
yet your balls were not on. (not grabbing your balls like micheal jackson 
but going full force like a matador (tight pants with an endevour to bloody 
the bull!) however an opening is an opening and later on i saw that you 
turned the sound up from the backroom in order to encompass (albeit a 
philosophically careful selection of the banal "real-time") ALL--the 
obscurant and yet naturalistic sounds underpinning the history or moreover 
your (perhaps our) assumptions of "civiliazation" were the true force of it.


anyway, sorry that is not why i am here. i am responding to the matter of 
time that is the thing space...

wolf and i (and brilliant associates like caspar and cory and  menick and 
shamin and gordon, etc. and so many of you) began to develop a language of 
the space in order to fund-raise while the space itself does not yet exist. 
and funding in america during this hyper-depression (hysterical and yet oh 
so necessary depression...because after it is an intellectual depression 
that needs to happen so that the globe can be refashion to address my 
desires) ...the funding is tight, fearful and strict. and so we all thought 
to become mixed-use (become naively young again) and go balls out.

i will stop there.

take a look at the core info for our initial grants that define and at the 
same time create a structure for multi-interlocution...

ultimately the endeavour is that within today's economic enivronment how 
does one secure support for projects that refuse as a necessity to deliver 
the result prior to their activation (to the action.)

and this is our attempt...(see below)!

please, please... everyone jump in here to advise...we are in a situation of 
newness (no wpa will save us.)

cheers, arfus


Project Description Background

Since 1991, THE THING has been committed to the development of new media 
culture, fine arts and social activism. With the previous support of notable 
organizations like Rockefeller Foundation, THE THING has become widely 
recognized as one of the founding and leading online centres for new media 
culture, hosting ground-breaking artists' projects in its multimedia lab, 
diverse discussion forums and events, as well as publishing 
cross-pollinating cultural criticism.

Anticipating significant changes in the online environment, THE THING has 
been undergoing a radical transformation which will culminate in its 2009-10 
programs. Recent Think Tanks with notable New York and International 
artists, curators, and writers have foreseen that by following the 
historical patterns of any new form, it is vital that THE THING now pull 
from the innovations of new media and re-apply these to established art 
practices. By now cultivating works that specifically engage the new 
paradigms of digital aesthetics, distribution and interactivity, THE THING 
will lead the arena as an innovative exhibiting stage.

Under a new Board of Directors, currently securing our new Lower Manhattan 
exhibition space, the 2009-10 programs will expand its mission towards the 
production and presentation of new work in a real physical environment, 
redefining the relationship of new media culture, fine arts and social 
activism, and testing new curatorial methods of presentation including 
actions and initiatives.

Project Description

Today, we come to the (Foundation) for specific support of our core project. 
ProtoProject is a comprehensive program, comprised of three interconnected 
units. First, a new model of the discussion series will tackle the three 
most prescient themes of art and media today. These discussions will then 
provide the seed content for a series of brut exhibitions and actions. 
Throughout this process, a series of publications of both documented and 
commissioned materials will be distributed in bold new ways. Again, by 
applying models like streaming media, ListServ and pier to pier networks to 
the process of a material exhibition, ProtoProject will activate the 
potential of both forms.

Project as Process

Like Proto-Language, the prefix "proto" implies a concept that is the common 
ancestor of a set of related concepts. Taking what our Think Tanks have 
determined to be the prescient topics in art today, we have divided the 
ProtoProject into three interconnected interests, ProtoMedia, ProtoScene and 
ProtoAction. As a non-institutional, cultural venue THE THING sees its role 
as one that can ask questions without knowing the answer in advance. Therein 
the true test of its project goals lies in the quality of the questions 
created from relevant subjects, provoking thought, invention and exchange.

ProtoMedia will consider how technological progress-from the Printing Press 
to the BitTorrent protocol-is what essentially drives cultural development 
and social change, but will revisit the prophetic concerns of Walter 
Benjamin regarding modern representation: how to reaffirm the positive 
potential and promise that lies in today's means of reproduction, how to 
refuse the artificial scarcity that is being created as an attempt to 
contain the uncontrolled circulation of cultural commodities, how to resist 
the rhetoric of warfare that only articulates the discrepancy between the 
wealth of technical possibilities and the poverty of their use, and how to 
renew the people's legitimate claim to copy, to be copied, and to change 
property relations.

ProtoScene hopes to suggest a focus upon the mise-en-scène in ProtoCinema 
work (a Post Cinema departure.) These works expressly use a filmic language 
but do not strive to create the traditional or linear narrative; rather 
using it's semiotic (iconic and symbolic) relations as a tool to convey the 
essence of a set of possible narratives or a singular paradox. Often these 
result in multimedia installations, the residue of filming or the physical 
suggestion of a filmic narrative. In other instances, the viewer may be 
engaged to edit the content through use of multiple channel projections and 
interactive systems.

ProtoAction seeks to expand the underlying message of consumer created 
content to not "trust authority" but "explore authority." In new media, 
authorized information is never beyond discussion; information is authorized 
through discussion, and this discussion is available for the world to see 
and participate in. Today, politically conscious artists are on the 
forefront of provoking discussion to support social, economic and 
environmental justice campaigns, developing winning strategies that are 
creative, nonviolent, and take their lead from impacted the communities.

Project as Discourse

Three discussion events will be hosted for each of the three sub-topics. 
With the host, and developed from our working list, a group of experts will 
comprise the participants. But because new media replaces the "one-to-many" 
model of traditional group communication with the possibility of a 
"many-to-many" web of communication, we will shape the discussions upon the 
outmoded methods of casual gatherings, dinner discussions and random 
pass-bys-initiating the possibility of unmediated interactivity, 
simultaneity, browse-ability and user created content. While mirroring a new 
media mode, these relatively unstructured discussions will also help to 
stimulate the distribution component of the project.

Each artist/host will determine the particular form of their discourse, some 
of which including an artist presentation. Each discussion event will be 
documented via digital audio, video and digital stills. Transcripts of the 
discourse will be made available to the artist/host for use in their 
subsequent publication.

Project as Distribution

The publication model attempts to subvert the traditional mode of production 
and distribution. Whereas, it is widely recognised that we are all 
journalists now, and anyone can be a publisher, it is less publicised that, 
at the same time, and for the same reasons, everyone is a paperboy. Using 
new media modes of distribution, like viral, linkable, embeddable and social 
networking, etc., each artist/host will be asked to reshape core materials 
from the discussions (video documentation and transcriptions, together with 
their commissioned essay) between the points of creation and the points of 
consumption-from static to streaming, from content distribution to 
distributed caching, from real-time to time-shifted information. For 
instance, due to search engine and social network linking, it is no longer 
your website that you are distributing, it is each individual page. Every 
internal link is a piece of distribution. But aren't there other antiquated 
models to consider and reapply: a smoke signal, a Morse code, a message in a 

Whatever the shape of each of the three publications for each of the three 
topics, summaries and results on findings of these will be collected for the 
final booklet publication at the end of the project series.

Project as Exhibition

An important lesson of new media is that as organizational presenters we are 
no longer delivering subjects but subjectivities: ways of approaching, 
understanding and interacting. In this way, the primary curatorial force 
will be comprised of the discourse participants themselves. From both the 
discussions and the publications, new artists' projects will be culled and 
developed for presentation. Throughout the 2009-10 program, at least three 
group exhibitions will be mounted as a result, including an average of seven 
artists. In this, a continued interactive approach will be cultivated-a 
veritable network exhibition process-that maintain the integrity of our 
initiative while posing questions of which now we can only imagine.

Project Proposal Summary

These three interrelated topics of ProtoProject are on the forefront of 
discussion today. Although the structure may seem non-traditional, it is 
essential to THE THING that in a post Postmodern environment we create 
programs where the form and the content are operating in congruence. The 
exhaustive work of our Think Tanks, over the past year, have created this 
and other forms in which we might burgeon new and exciting art and art 

We are proud to bring this exciting new project to (Foundation) and look 
forward to the possibility of realizing it with your support.

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