Pleased with yourself, little man?
– Roy Batty to Rick Deckard, Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)
I’m steaming. Due to recent heavy-handed bullyboy tactics, I’ve been back handed a ‘Digital Millennium Copyright Act’ (sounds serious and self-important) takedown notice from A Real Artist™ for remixing nothing-special photos found on Flickr – whose entirely free and public display arrived (imo, mmv) under Fair Use. Some notes arising:
You thought someone’s art was cool enough to work with in the first place; you both display taste – how is that not a (at least vaguely) positive thing?
Officially sanctioned permission to use The Artist’s photography wasn’t asked – but then what is this anyhow – Kafka’s character “K”, trying to reach the fucking Castle – does one first need form 27B/6 or what?
No commercial profit was involved (other than ‘protecting one’s artistic investments’, perhaps) and full credit was given (btw “Credit where credit is due” too often smells like the perfumed Your-Dad’s language of artholes.)
Who really benefits from such takedowns; who is really hurt by such usage – what is this ‘look but don’t touch’ B.S about anyway?
After several years, I still make precisely *sweet F.A.* money from / via art, and in fact run this site at a considerable loss. I plough through this shit because I secretly love art and enjoy playing with ideas. So thanks for the patience, spirit of generosity and understanding, DMCA piss weasels. Talk about a bizarre siege mentality.. of swollen ego privilege expressing an inflated sense of ‘ownership’ over pixels temporarily gathering in a certain formation!
To celebrate, here’s some Example Reference Links combined with an image – an explicit socio-political parody / cultural satire on the whole notion of Copyright And The Arts. Share and enjoy. (And BTW, FTG!)
Ideal / Idealised cost for a Concept such as this: £250K – contact Robert What today for details.
RND/ On the notion that (crowdfunding) “Promotion should be a continuous activity”:
That, like a tap leaking without end there should exist a permanent state of uninterrupted digital draining – a forever dehydrating, micro-transctional Drip feed using the wallets of backers / patients, forever hooked up to some great soulless post industrial art-machine sinkhole.
To consider you ‘didn’t get into this [/greasy /conceptual] business’ – a dubious philosophical gambit, to be sure – to prance about on world stage like a flocking professional corporate shill for your own synthetic image of – whatever B.S Potato Salad  it is you remotely imagine you do, or sell (with a fresh, modern ‘social’ twist, natch.)
The first cut won’t hurt at all
The strictly Capitalist Ideology of Crowdfunding: that somehow ‘choosing’ who to fund means one is not still already a fully / constantly pre-paying member of an inherently unfair system (aren’t they all?) – one is distracted from its inherent daily poverty, ‘sustainable’ precisely / only through macabre endocannibalistic consumption of life force ; thoroughly rotten and ‘dead-boring’ from the baseless ground up.
– Example conceptual image statement by theorist Robert What: a quiet therapeutic room for writers, producers & multimedia editors – unique social spaces to host unemployed fellow philosophers, providing weekly online lecture series on art and culture. To review books, perform plain bad poetry  – to often individual sized yet appreciate audiences (/with insomnia.)
– In which commonplace hypothetical realities seen through windows of open summer  start to look and feel somehow merely painted on or projected onto a surface – as though strictly two dimensional.
RND/ To consider (mostly failed or partial attempts at) artistic collaboration generally; indeed on the Internets it seems everyone knows your a nobody.
Glitched Soldiers (with Ray Ogar)
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‘Big Science’ Researcher Robert What says: in which Ray and I performed this together while back when Ray initially seemed pleased with positive reviews expressed about his excellent Post Cyberpunk writing – but then rapidly seemed to loose interest, as he became positively re engaged with his own current lines of Research & Development – which seems fair enough, it’s just part of me vaguely hoped Ray would become a good buddy – that we would eventually hang out, watch kung fu movies together, shoot cool / loose shit about postmodern literature speculative theory and neat stuff like that.
Sadly none of these dreams fully materialized. Or perhaps they were only ever already fully immaterialized – as private, artistic dreamlike fantasies only.
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Researcher Robert Says: while initially flattered by my positive review based attentions, and his subsequent interest in me – perhaps as potential career stepping stone – rapidly tailed off as it began to dawn on him I was going nowhere fast, culturally speaking; a person who (unlike him) had zero access to true art skills, materials or substantial or practical Cultural Capital.
Now, I don’t think that was just a plain, normalized matter of everyday Capitalist ruthlessness on the part of Max. I mean, sure – limited number of hours exist each day. One simply can’t hang around with random online freelance Theorists who you don’t consider display immediate potential for enhancing one’s own Social Share Price, or improving the stats of one’s aestheticized, Quantified-Self simulation.
It’s just that I was immensely envious of the ease and professional slickness with which Max seemed able to quietly unceremoniously drop me from his Social-Artistic radar, the second there was the realization that arbitrary, hardcore Freelance Amateur Postmodern Internet Theorist “Robert What” was generally non-conductive to fulfilling the expanding private ideological ideals Max seemed to have – of himself (as culturally sanctioned producer of Art in the modern speculative Art / Rat Industry Matrix.) This, despite the obvious social conscience and intelligent critique on display in his own work.
Sure, I’d love to work with Max again ‘for real’ – if I ever get my own grasping hands on any cold, hard virtual cash so that other Researchers immediately take me seriously (I love the ideology of that.. of being forced to find everything funny – except when it comes to money.)
When psychologists examine the lives of most creative people they almost always find individuals who like to go off by themselves – who can tolerate the solitude that creativity requires.
They feel extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas but introverted enough to gestate such ideas on their own.
Novelists painters and hit men from Bavaria disguised as cake decorators are all largely solo operators.
When it seems Art or self expression or ideas needs developing, solitude serves best – indeed, does artistic collaboration ever work?
Nonlinear series of exploratory wanderings and unexpected false starts among modern ruins of the science fiction mytho-landscape, where corporate fragments and concrete ideology mis-form urban architecture of monumental symbolism combining towering ghosts of time; stark imaginary dreamscapes of long calcified spatial alienation – silent testaments to shared international hyperrealites of critical design.
Calculated snapshots of unemotional implications on the displaced mega highways of tomorrow
> Dot dot if ey was engaging in process of iterative play making would ir be consultant/ critic of process of making research space would x be way of ensuring that there were ‘abstract encounters’ within final thing?
> Best wishes
> Max Colson
> // Associate lecturer at central saint martins ma communication design
> // Freelance photographer http://www.maxcolsoncommercial.com
> // Artist http://www.maxcolson.com
> maxdfcolson at gmail.com
> Hi again! to respond to ir last email – some loose notes toward shared //possibly lost document of online artistic collaboration; to answer ir question: to avoid delegating work schedules andor critical evaluation consider we’re somehow *already* involved in, a simple (/narrative) process of iterative play design needs ‘make’ nothing else:
Robert What says: Max, I feel (/your) initial intense purple blue flame of collaborative intent has already waned. It’s as what I correctly suspected you yourself suspect – that I’ve no clear goals – am not operating from or out of clear creative guidelines or auspices of some famous / interesting Art Manifesto; that my time is short and my coding skills limited – the quote ‘big payoff’ (creative or otherwise) you seek seems largely non existent.
To this one might reply OK: in fact only the process I can possibly collaborate on is the increasingly clear perception that this whole Virtual Bus Game project feels entirely empty – it’s the precisely the sense of digital emptiness I can focus upon – indeed have little choice about.
Perhaps your virtual bus project was always merely just a convenient McGuffin, andor overstrained conceptual metaphor for the electronic void which lies on /as the hyperreal surface of this project.
With that in open minds, let’s allow the bus go on existing in it’s flux state of quote not existing – like the proverbial undead zombie which continues to move and exist – let us continue to conjure an ‘exquisite corpse’ from our ideas and communication – a playful spirit of online (/meta) surrealism.
In other words, uncertainty is the nonlinear order of the day: hop on board the quantum bus to foamville – please keep your hands inside the poly dimensional simulation at all times!
Please Note: consider Robert What, not as Artist but far more simply some mere hot Freelance Amateur Postmodern Internet Theorist / Alt-Research Play Space developer – acting as though unsubtle, poorly formulated substitution, not merely a sad attempt to swap out one set of problems / unwanted career opportunities for others.
As though making up one’s own job description gets one off the hook of having to conform to descriptions and ‘readings’ of fellow artists – whoever they might seem.
My recently discovered and excellent Art / Practice of Max Colson occured one night while in the icy usual grip of terminal boredom and insomnia.
Perhaps at the time I’d been searching for something along the ‘Googevil’ research and development lines of “J.G Ballard” plus “Games.”
Then, suddenly along a thin neon string of endless hyperlinks pops Max and his cool site.
I however find it hard to write – not because I’ve not just got only a little to say about Art, life or existence but because the freezing, damp rented flat shoebox I [still! 2020] live in rapidly turns my mid morning hands to blocks of stone – perhaps covered in the kind of old rough moss seen in semi futuristic movies about Kafkaesque bureaucracy in near future digital dystopian states called Teh Liquid Internets. (Thin writer’s gloves for unpaid homeworkers should exist!)
Over the last decades the term Simulation has changed its meaning both culturally and semantically.
It derives from the Latin words Similis – similar, simulacrum; image, copy, illusion, imitation, simulation – hypocrisy, camouflage, feint / simulare – to display, to disguise to imitate to mimic.
All these terms have negative connotation; however in the context of contemporary science and media, simulation has been used in a completely different manner.
It indicates a process of projecting past and present into the future on the basis of data by means of designing virtual visual worlds – like for example in computer research, in flight simulators or weather forecasts.
Thus we might ask whether simulation is a creative process at all, since it is based on computer generated algorithms (this question has much in common with the question whether mathematics is a creative field, which many mathematicians have good grounds to claim.)
We should further ask whether we can speak of the creative act when simulation is produced by rather large groups of persons who might not even know each other, like scientists, designer, programmers, engineers, etc.
Finally we might raise the question of whether simulation is merely a side product of modern digital engineering that contributes to postmodern universal alienation as some postmodern philosophers have claimed, or if it is the key medium of the twenty first century both in the scientific creative contexts
– (Paraphrasing) Collective Creativity: Collaborative Work In Sciences, Literature and Arts (ed. by Gerhard Fisher / Florian Vassen)
Had a really good vegetable pie for lunch – home made – looking out the window, gliding seagulls overhead reminded me of faded summer hope still far off.
Today in most science, technology, engineering and mathematics – hereafter STEM fields – more than 90% of research studies and publications are collaborative (Bozeman / Corley, 2004 leading to the collaboration imperative)
Not only does team based collaborative research more often lead to high impact research and to commercial uses of research, as reflected in patents (Wuchty, et al)
2007: in many fields it is not possible to thrive as a single investigator.
If one’s work depends on access to samples or specimens or to extremely expensive shared equipment then collaboration / research are essentially one in the same – thus the ‘collaboration imperative’.
Thus, despite significant variations by field discipline and geography (De Stefano et al, 2013) contemporary STEM research is dominated by collaboration teams networks and co-authorship.
Beyond simply setting the context for our analysis we are not particularly concerned with either the amount of research collaboration or even broad institutional factors conducing collaboration.
An increase in team projects, at individual level and institutional level research collaboration is well documented (for overview see Bozeman, et al 2013) thus we take the proliferation of collaboration as a given, focusing instead on processes and mechanics of collaboration as well as determinants of collaboration effectiveness.
– (Paraphrasing) Barry Bozeman / Craig Boardman, Research Collaboration and Team Science: State Of The Art Review and Agenda
That link I sent to that Killscreen article about my CS:GO Noclip exhibition was worth about three years of hard work on an anonymous site and its meagre discontents.
Admittedly I was one who sent in the Killscreen link in the vain hope of getting some eyeballs focused in my vague direction – they did not quote discover my inherently great / interesting Art.
No talent scouts, famous art patrons or rich benefactors will ever read this / answer the call of my holy, angsty artistic plight.
Upon merely mentioning the small fact of emailing Killscreen to my (now ex) friend last night, I got such a strong, sideways look of gee, isn’t that kind of selling out?
I remained uselessly angry and embarrassed for the rest of evening – at least till I continued watching old re runs of Magnum and pretended not to care.
In the journey between modernity and post modernity the art museum became an increasingly problematic site for artists, many of whom began looking for alternative non museum sites for ir work
Richard Long’s fleeting non object based interventions in sites and landscapes are perhaps the seminal example of the discursive shift that may have played a significant role in revealing heritage site as potential ground for alternative arts practice (Roelstraete, 2010 p3.)
In his landmark essay Inside White Cube: Ideology Of Gallery Space (1999) Brian O’doherty attacked the a-historical, self referential nature of modernist gallery space where white walls remain quote untouched by time and its vicissitudes (1999 p16.)
In reaction to the gallery’s disembodied visuality and eye, many artists were impelled out into the ‘impure world’ where ‘indeterminate nontheatrical spaces’ – warehouses, deserted factories and old stores could provide more authentic contexts for making of Art (O’Doherty, 1999 p47.)
The context now becomes part of art’s content and the artistic cultural itinerant their work without ‘fixed abode’ – empirical, always testing experience conscious of self and history, ambiguous about both (O’Doherty 1999 p81_)
Echoing Baudrillard (1998 O’Doherty / 1999) confirms the art museum as a bank certifying the value of Art.
The fugitive artist flees the gallery in fear of being co opted by its consumerist economy, taking to temporary interventions with site specific work in unlikely locations (O’Doherty 1999, p113.)
One of the significant forms of resistance adopted by artists was to incorporate the idiom of art museum space reflexively within the process of art production.
From the 1950s, artists such as Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and Daniel Spoerri either created their own museums or took control of the space in which their work was exhibited (Martin 1995 pp55-68.)
Artists were becoming increasingly engrossed with deconstructive strategies aimed at ‘taxonomies’ and history of the museum itself (Serota, 2000 p38.)
– (Paraphasing) Ian Alden Russell and Andrew Cochrane (Editors – Art and Archaeology: Collaborations, Conversations and Criticisms)
That is to say, if I didn’t inject uncertain large measured doses of furniture chewing melodrama (ala Alan Rickman in Diehard) and ridiculously cheesy Alt.Sci-Fi into whatever the heck I’m doing, it seems I couldn’t even get up in the morning – not that I even really manage to now.
Like many other ‘Resarcs’ I keep odd hours and have barely registered the simple glory of the sun (Sol 3) before lunchtime for several long months.
My brave, dim face: the pale blue ceramic titanium face of vague artistic affectation with nothing underneath.
Like some pseudo antonymous droid operating out in bland biomagnetic data field with an obsolete OS.
Because part of me sure hopes so, at least I could write some semi impassioned deadpan screed about it on my lousy, anonymous internet backwater blog – sorry, Official Professional artistic site.
Yet here I am now, with you, experiencing this – and I’m (somehow) happy and sincerely grateful ir turned up for a while.
Jennifer Roche: Your article simply put seems to be call to examine (or re examine) principles under which we evaluate socially engaged Art.
You say that most socially engaged art has been evaluated from ethical viewpoint (good vs bad models of collaboration.)
Why do you think the discourse surrounding socially engaged Art has lapsed in the critical examination of the field as you’ve described?
Claire Bishop: there are several reasons for this and range from the pragmatic to the ideological.
On one hand in Europe at least, the influence of the art critic began to diminish in the early 1990s and was replaced by curator as figure who makes or breaks the artist’s career.
As you know, curatorial writing is on the whole affirmative and rarely expresses reservations about the given artist.
When I embarked upon my research I was struck by the fact that most of the project documentation written by curators.
To an extent this appears logistical: socially engaged and participatory rat projects are so complex sprawling and context based that the only person with a handle on the overall project is invariably the curator.
But because curatorial work is so often concerned with fair mediation (between artists, audiences and institutions) is is perhaps unsurprising that curatorial writing is oriented toward ethical questions.
– Artistic Bedfellows: Histories, Theories and Conversations in Collaborative Art Practices (edited by Holly Crawford)
To thus consider artists as not special under Capitalism but merely assigned to just another convenient niche like public telephone sanitizer or Kung-Fu-For-Christ style priest.
Many people (especially in modern Endland) need to be artistic however, just to cope with the soul crushing mundaneness of their existence as a component in this system of Global Finance.
One can easily imagine some suit saying: plug in another temporary Artist module, we need to shift these generic units of material consumption.
Oh / please make that icon cornflower blue please.
For every undervalued videogame coder that writes an elegant line andor leaves their signature among the dense unexplored / unappreciated forest of deep programming, the artist appears – even for an instant – but then so what.
– So, rather than ask where do we go from here, let’s imagine we’ve already arrived on your virtual quantum bus, ie. ‘in which what we have so far is what we only ever hold like shifting palm sand’: distributed data – emails, ideas, the spirit of artistic collaboration and it’s own unspoken / unstated ideologies, gaps, distortions (and perhaps inherent conceptual inconsistencies regarding Art / Life / Existence / short existential bus trips to andor from urban digital nowhere special.)
Something concrete to work on in the meantime: Max, perhaps I could interview your – ask questions about the artistic process, about travel (virtual or otherwise, Art under Capitalism, etc?)
Feel free to write and answer your own uncommon questions and approaches you feel nobody else is currently asking.
Wives And Concubines
Any fiscal capital gained from this Art to be shared with Asian writers for forging of stronger cultural links.
Example Resarch Statement via Freelance Postmodern Internet Theorist Robert What: Ideas for this experimental art / performance RND emerged from watching film raise Red Lantern – 1991 directed by Zhang Yimou from novel Qiqie Cheng Qun by Su Tong.
How this novel is no longer currently in print nor widely available seems baffling.
To consider how changing names from the novel’s original title of “Wives and Concubines In Droves” to the more vague and ‘exotic’ (Raise The Red Lantern) changes Western perceptions of the work – its core meanings – one is reminded of the classic series of crime novels “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson, whose original title in Swedish – Man Som Hatar Kvinno – translates into English as “Men Who Hate Women” – far more precisely what the novels are actually about.
The two ghostly characters seen in the background of each image are Ni Nu – Chinese characters signifying official historical cultural policy.
The whole novel reduced here to few a random pages.