[thingist] What about a subjective, evolving, archive?

Caspar Stracke kasbah at thing.net
Mon Jul 19 15:32:33 UTC 2010

Very interesting points, Alan.

Justin I also like your idea, it could be a really effective kick-off 
idea for the archive, setting things in motion and making the process of 
archiving a more collaborative undertaking.
indeed, a historicisation-in-progress. Yes it would be great to have a 
paid full-time person conducting this - but unfortunately we don't have 
this and funding -given the mess, as Arfus calls it- seems very 
difficult at this moment.  Less difficult it seems to distribute a few 
tasks of organizing / coding...

Joseph's AmArtArchive suggestion could be tried out without excluding 
this effort, in fact I am curious to hear what art archivists say about 
an archive-art piece. To my understanding that's how the old bbs is defined.

Nonetheless still believe step one would be to "warp" the old thing into 
some appropriate kind of introduction. Susanne I am all ears :-)
And give some room to grow. Meaning some kind of simple framework that 
encourages people to post some  THING-related material.

*Thing next generation handover?*...not so easy to do....since there 
will be remaining activity, besides the ISP probably the editions that 
Wolfgang continues.
blog or not to blog?* Alan's statement gave some food for thought. 
Although I am still unsure how to cintinue....curious about other 
people's thoughts on this.....


> 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 
> <http://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 <http://www.waymakergallery.com>
> JustinBerryArt at gmail.com <mailto:JustinBerryArt at gmail.com>
> Waymaker at WaymakerGallery.com
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*caspar stracke*


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