[thingist] Fw: Re: What about a subjective, evolving, archive?

Alan Moore awm13579 at gmail.com
Sun Jul 18 10:06:04 UTC 2010

hi Folks,
moved to make some comment - although i lost my notes --

maybe i am not on the right list here? dunno... -- we'll see -- i get this
at yahoo and at gmail -- symptomatic, actually, of the depth of engagements
at work, since Yahoo is my email for old lists, etc....

i read W's letter, and found it somehow sad... agree with some of the
critiques by people i've never met -- now i am in Hamburg for some days, so
it looks like i may meet at least one of the "secessionist" thing-ers...

in terms of life -- i agree with Joseph -- let the younger ones make the
determinations how to use thing
Joseph was my compatriot, as was Wolfgang, in important self-organized
artist action in the 1970s and '80s -- ABC No Rio, artists' cable TV -- this
work also by the way remains largely unhistoricized... ABC only because Marc
Miller and i made the book --
much of this book is now online at 98bowery.com -- very good, but coming off
an actual physical book, so the differences are significant...

for me the Thing has been first a mystery, and then a sporadic engagement --
unlike James Allan, i never "hung up my six guns and moved to town" -- i am
still out there somehow, and masterless...
but the difference between me and you is that i did not discover the uses of
the internet until very very late -- still i can't do much on it, and what i
have learned was at my occasional university jobs when i had support -- but
actually i do a lot of online work on my project now, which is research on
EU occupied social centers

and that too is really unknown, or, rather historicized from particular
angles, and without any comprehensive reflection...

i like the idea of Justin Berry -- it is a way to begin the process of
historicization, and that is very important, to begin... you can begin
openly, or -- really if you have a lot of money and staff, or a person(s)
who dedicate themself to it -- you can wait until it's all together to make
it public

i also think it is good to let Steven Kaplan and "James Kalm" continue --
they do what they do, and it is not nothing -- there is also Douglas Kelley,
who is part of what goes on at thing.post.net, and has been for a long
while... i used Kalm's work in my attempts to understand the Brooklyn
self-organized scene in the '90s and '00s -- again, the world of markets and
institutions does not care about this, so nothing is done except by artists
in the way of organized remembrance and passing on of these experiences --

and that is what it is about, is passing it on -- well, i am sermonizing...
but in Hamburg i am beginning to see that people are and have been making
art about making space, and that is a central drama of our times, since as
it opens virtually it is closed down and reclaimed actually -- and the
enclosure extends of course to the virtual, as Rhizome is institutional, and
Hamburg Thing is archived -- not, as i have heard as a matter of choice, but
because they lost their funding because they were too political... and the
politics is cultural politics, the work to preserve space and money for
open, horizontal, democratic culture, not only the "winners" in the market
and institution games

this was Toywar too -- the contest for virtual space, a successful campaign
without which Yes Men would not have been, or it would not have occurred to
them to do that --

oh well, just to say, what was the thing is a very interesting question -
and it becomes only more interesting as time goes by... what is the thing is
a sort of mercurial fluid position at a moment when things have hardened up
all around us - and that, believe it or not, is extraordinarily valuable --
eine offentliche Raum that people pay attention to -- or not

conclude? i think most constructive *re. the blog* is do nothing, and also
don't boycott -- put in some posts, maybe determine a collective tack or
theme... John Menick had and collected many ideas for how to evolve it,
prepared for grants -- if development gets active, they can be revisited
i have my private opinions, but i also post to thing.net and really it is an
important position for me -- where else should i go? i am socially lazy, and
don't go to the right parties now to meet the new people

about the *thing past*, go with the "subjective" cloud thing, and see how
that moves forward -- also it is important to make connection with people
who do this history for a living, and get them interested in the thing as a
project -- you know who they are, not me, altho i can find out, and would
help on this when the ball is rolling... the very indefinition of the thing
is what is so very interesting about it.... a private public utility...

i look forward to the screenings as a chance to meet and chat with people i
will surely like to know

all the best,

p.s. re Archives of American Art -- just dumping doesn't usually work -- you
need earlier preparation of materials... also maybe not the right place, or,
rather, not the only place -- needs a consultation and investigation on this

On Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 11:27 AM, Alan Moore <awm13579 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Alan W. Moore
> 123 Scribner Ave SI NY 10301
> cel : 917 574 8392
> working this project: http://occuprop.blogspot.com
> MWF video archive: http://www.brickhaus.com/amoore
> --- On *Sat, 7/17/10, Joseph Nechvatal <joseph_nechvatal at hotmail.com>*wrote:
> From: Joseph Nechvatal <joseph_nechvatal at hotmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [thingist] What about a subjective, evolving, archive?
> To: thingist at mailman.thing.net
> Date: Saturday, July 17, 2010, 4:05 PM
> Justin,
> When I met you at White Slab, your creative energy, enthusiasm and
> competence became quickly evident to me. Your idea below shows the same
> level of talented verve, but I very much doubt that it will manifest. Based
> on the first round of letters - and obvious divergent positions held - my
> impression is that The Thing's early members have run out of energy and
> would not rise to the occasion of retelling the past. Nice as an idea it may
> be. The proposed abandonment of the TT blog seems to indicate this to me,
> for example.
> I see two possible strategies left at the moment:
> 1) Pass The Thing on to a younger generation - as we did with ABC No Rio -
> no matter how different the activities may be from the founders original
> ideals and practices.
> 2) Fold the tent and give all materials to The Archives of American Art (
> see: http://www.aaa.si.edu/about/donating_papers.cfm ). This allows
> professional archivists to preserve and communicate TT's legacy - if it has
> one.
> I for one would like to see TT continue and improve, but I have become too
> much the realist to expect it.
> Would like to hear other voices on these perceived two options, of course.
> cheers
> Joseph Nechvatal
> ------------------------------
> Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2010 12:10:36 -0400
> From: justinberryart at gmail.com
> To: thingist at mailman.thing.net
> Subject: [thingist] What about a subjective, evolving, archive?
> I am new to THE THING, having only become involved in the last year or so,
> working with W and Christoph on The.Thing.Net and the White Slab
> screenings.   I became involved almost by accident--I was recently out of
> graduate school and making non-salable and non-exhibitable work, mostly web
> stuff, and feeling a bit chagrined about the art world and its various camps
> of ideology.  I was randomly surfing the web and sending out feeler emails
> to every organization I could find that was involved in New Media.   Wolfgang
> was the one who answered back.  I had no idea what THE THING actually was.
> I went to look it up online and struggled to find information, only coming
> up with numerous references to someTHING but never an actual history or a
> literal description.  The most glaring example of THE THING online was the
> Post, and I think enough has been said about that.  It took a long time of
> being involved, listening in conversation, and attending talks by Wolfgang,
> etc. in order to really arrive at a sense of what THE THING was and what it
> represented.   If it were not so tragic it would be humorously ironic that
> an organization that did so much to galvanize thinking about the internet as
> an artistic and political medium has no functioning legacy online.  I
> think that a proper and academic archive could potentially happen, but it
> will take a long time and a great deal of work.  The nature of academia is
> to quest after a kind of perfection, to create a source of objective
> authority.  Great!  That would be awesome.  In a few years it will be
> something we can all be proud of.  I think something different needs to be
> planned in the interim.
> What about creating a subjective archive?  What about creating a nexus for
> the stories and narratives of THE THING.  It could be a relatively simple
> interface, something like a data or tag cloud full of links to various
> stories, where the only hierarchy might be determined by font size.  People
> with a story to tell or an event to document could create their own HTML
> page, with the only standard requirement being a ‘back to home’ button of
> some kind.  The advantage is that this would allow each person’s ‘history’
> to be acknowledged without necessarily privileging one or the other.  One
> link might be called ‘eToy war’ and could be an account of those events
> while another might be called ‘Justin Berry’ and include simply my own
> experiences.  These pages don’t even have to share styling, though we
> could certainly provide a CSS sheet for people to use if they chose.  One
> person’s page might be a video, while another person could choose to simply
> write an essay; an event might be documented with only a series of
> contextless pictures.  Something like this embraces the history of THE
> THING as a forum and a platform.  This does not have to exist in
> opposition to a formal archive; it can be an accompaniment to that project.
> It also requires less energy to happen.  Once a stable and functioning
> interface is set up it can be left to individuals to create pages as they
> wish.  Each contribution can be considered on its own terms.  It does not
> have to be ‘finished’, it can be an ever evolving project as new pages are
> added.
> Perhaps this is only a selfish wish.  I would like to hear the stories and
> see the history and I would like to have that kind of experience sooner than
> later.  There should be an online presence of THE THING’s legacy.  In my
> experience every time people attempt to create an authoritative history of
> something there are a whole lot of histories on the table and it takes a
> long time to negotiate which ones stick around.
> Justin Berry
> --
> Justin Berry
> (713) 302 9599
> www.waymakergallery.com
> JustinBerryArt at gmail.com <http://mc/compose?to=JustinBerryArt@gmail.com>
> Waymaker at WaymakerGallery.com
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Alan W. Moore
cel: 917 574 8392

123 Scribner Ave SI NY 10301

Summer of '10 in  Madrid, Hamburg, Berlin & etc. doing "House Magic: Bureau
of Foreign Correspondence" blogging at http://occuprop.blogspot.com
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