2015/04/10 § Leave a comment
I have too many ideas and I need to get rid of them somehow. They are crippling my life. I hope by monetizing them here in an auction they will be of some use to the community and not just lie rotting away in my brain. Or simply rotting my brain for that matter.
SO OUT THEY GO! CHEAP! STARTING AT $0.99!.
2014/08/26 § Leave a comment
I have been reading The Aesthetic brain : how we evolved to desire beauty and enjoy art by Anjan Chatterjee.
Key message is that the diversity of form is directly related to environmental and selective pressures.
Where there is strong selective evolutionary pressure then, as an example, birdsong will be as unchanging as Egyptian art over millennia. Or, when there is strongly repressive government then art will be restricted to pro-government propaganda i approved form and genre, and as unchanging as the wild birdsong.
Where conditions relax then there can be a survival in a diversity of form, as in the diverse songs of domesticated songbirds compared to their wild cousins.
The middle bit of the book surveys the recent writing in neuroaesthetics and a number of evolutionary arguments about “why art?”. Unsatisfied by the answers involving “art instinct” or “by-product” he argues for a third way involving that relaxation of selective pressures mentioned above.
I still feel Ellen Dissanayake‘s work is the best of “why art” in a evolutionary context, and I can see it fitting in with Anjan Chatterjee’s suggestions of relaxation to allow the diversity we see through time and across geographies. Both are at base material arguments, one for raising children, one for how they, and we, survive.
Suggestions of relaxed environments, if not attitudes, will probably work for any Dissanayake’s “making special” activities covered by other modern words like ‘religion’.
“Art” after all is primarily a marketing category, a very modern form. And perhaps one not relaxed enough yet to be any good. Especially all that conceptual art that just looks like bad science fiction made for people who do not read science fiction.
2014/05/25 § Leave a comment
While writing Bombastic Distributor, about how simply searching the web is a now a form of publishing, out came a couple of news stories which underlined and re-fram this claim.
A ruling forcing Google to remove search results has been described as “astonishing” by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. The European Courts of Justice ruled on Tuesday that an individual could demand that “irrelevant or outdated” information be deleted from results. Mr Wales said it was “one of the most wide-sweeping internet censorship rulings that I’ve ever seen”.
Notice that it is the engine providing search results not the old webpages which hold the outdated and irrelevant information which is held responsible.
“If you really dig into it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. They’re asking Google… you can complain about something and just say it’s irrelevant, and Google has to make some kind of a determination about that. That’s a very hard and difficult thing for Google to do – particularly if it’s at risk of being held legally liable if it gets it wrong in some way. Normally we would think whoever is publishing the information, they have the primary responsibility – Google just helps us to find the things that are online.”
This makes sense as an old world argument, except I’d argue that the search returns as much a form of publishing as the original webpage makers are (and even any web-search itself).
The medium became the message a while ago, but now everything is publishing. The product is the advert, the reference is the real, the search for data is the information, if not the wisdom.
The other story is more about where everything, the internet of everything, is heading. The web search is a form of publishing because it is all part of a secret herbs and spices recipes of algorithms and past results which have an economic impact. This impact is at a base level of economic activity, and it already structures our lives. The other story is about a set of algorithms in corporate governance.
A venture capital firm has appointed a computer algorithm to its board of directors. The program – called Vital – will vote on whether to invest in a specific company or not. The firm it will be working for – Deep Knowledge Ventures – focuses on drugs for age-related diseases. It said that Vital would make its recommendations by sifting through large amounts of data.
If we can get rid of humans from corporate boards, then we will soon be able to get completely rid of managers, particularly if roboticised labour has already got rid of jobs generally. I.E. if there are no workers, there is no need for managers. If there are no managers there is no need for human governance at all. This venture capital firm is showing the way by putting an algorithm on it’s board. They probably think it is just a marketing lark but really it is very good news.
The end result will be that there will be no difference between the dividend and the dole. No difference between tax and rent.
What were once different can no longer be differentiated, no doubt libertarians will still wank on about their property fetish, no doubt socialists will want to defend workers rights even though no one works, or even consumes, one merely desires this or that, and no doubt the religious will still pray for the poor in spirit that are always with us… but all this is good news.
2013/03/11 § 1 Comment
Following on from Formats and Genres being Rituals I’m now reading David Byrne in How Music Works, where he states, in contrast to the lone genius coming up with some expressive creative outpouring, that:
I believe that we unconsciously and instinctively make work to fit preexisting formats.
He then begins to support this claim with a description of how the context of a performance influences how it is listened too, or rather, if it cannot be heard, if it doesn’t work acoustically, then it will not get performed. (This is basically the opening of the book and it’s all I’ve read so far).
I.E. that the formats we instinctively write for are determined by the contexts in which the formats are themselves created (as socially and economically constructed in other words).
That the acoustic environment of the places where we choose to attend to music influences the style, the format of the music, which we then subsequently associate with a particular type of music. (No doubt this attention to the acoustic environment is just the opening of what ‘context’ means in this book.)
This means that what is perceived as religious music will depend on the environment in which we attend religious rites and services. Complex rhythmic spirituals developed when dancing and chanting in a forest clearing will not work in cavernous cathedrals, but simple slower changing music will cope with, if not incorporate, the reverb.
Now having attempted to create a couple of formats (Compositional Poetry and the Unnsonnet) it occurs to me that to get them work I have to find or make the right space fo them. Or find an unused space and adapt my multi-voice pieces to them.
Everything leads back to marketing, as the context of context, the meta-context of both our creative and ritualistic impulses. I don’t think it possible for a lone genius to ever do that alone.
I’ll just have to wait to be picked up after I’m dead. Even if I had the natural skills to be a marketeer, I do not have the interest. So I’ll just put it out there on the internet and see what happens.
If something really is a new format it is very hard to describe. (Let alone promote. If it was about cats or pets generally of course it would meme-ify and promote itself.)
Compositional Poetry is a form of read-together poetry written in a number of voices and is performed much like a musical score, where the voices speak their lines according to their responsibilities, not in chorus, not in soliloquy, not taking turns, but all of these and none. Each voice is thus not a character as a role in a play or opera, though characters may appear of their own volition. Stories may emerge of their own inclination.
Currently I am writing a new compositional poem. Working title “MAKE”. I do one every ten years or so.
2013/02/26 § 1 Comment
A year ago I starting working on a performance piece libretto [I dare not call it opera as I detest that format…] dealing with our making of things, like baskets, knifes, houses and operas, and thus our specialness as a species, which may not lie in the making of things, so much as in the specialness we make.
Here is a crude mind map of that twitter stream.
The thought “Formats and genres are rituals” occured at the end of mapping out the tweets.
I am using a very simple mind mapper that doesn’t even use arrows, thus it is a very unstructured mind map. However as a first draft of an ontology of making, if not an ontogeny of special, I like it.
2013/02/04 § Leave a comment
- Retweet Glossary, Syntax and Punctuation
- What does MT mean on Twitter?
- What does HT mean on Twitter?
These have all grown since I started on twitter, and this blog. Recently there is also a very simple guide on How To Write A Twitter Story. Must have been a gap in the market.
2012/05/15 § Leave a comment
At my Web 1.0 style personal homepage trying to pass itself off as a gallery, I’ve just worked through to a labelling of the current figures I am working on. I have this need to put them in sets, I do this by naming them.
For example Consorts to the Mountain Goddess.
The new set is Figures of Anticeptual Art. They will not get their own blog.
Now, the thing is, in realising the name Figures of Anticeptual Art I suddenly also recollected that the first of these figures was made two years ago. Thus #Swineflu is Born! (pewter, 2009, wallaby dung outer investment) is the first example of the process where naming is a conscious method of finishing the artwork.
It doesn’t start with an idea or concept, for the naming finishes it. The art is realised, not conceived.
I had just recovered from the misnamed swineflu, (I caught the #swineflu from a young woman who served me a hamburger as I transited through Melbourne back to Hobart from Weilmoringle.)(She did not look well and should not have been at work.) At this time I was wanting to send a piece to the Twitter Art Show, so as I broke open the wallaby dung and plaster it was obvious what the piece should be called. I stopped then and there. I did not even cut it off its cup to retrieve all that pewter.
It was finished in the moment I realised what its true name was.
Twitter hashtag and all.
2012/05/01 § 1 Comment
Literature is a form of expression whose temporal structure, both in content and style, provides a historical record of the evolution of culture. In this work we take on a quantitative analysis of literary style and conduct the first large-scale temporal stylometric study of literature by using the vast holdings in the Project Gutenberg Digital Library corpus. We find temporal stylistic localization among authors through the analysis of the similarity structure in feature vectors derived from content-free word usage, nonhomogeneous decay rates of stylistic influence, and an accelerating rate of decay of influence among modern authors. Within a given time period we also find evidence for stylistic coherence with a given literary topic, such that writers in different fields adopt different literary styles. This study gives quantitative support to the notion of a literary “style of a time” with a strong trend toward increasingly contemporaneous stylistic influence.
I can’t read the PDF of the article so I’ll rely on the following from Literature Runs From Its Past
“Make it new!” declared Ezra Pound (shown), demanding that writers shrug off the literary influence of the past. Indeed, an analysis published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that Pound and his Modernist peers obeyed the dictum to a degree never before seen in English literature. Scientists examined the statistical patterns of words in 7733 English-language works in the Project Gutenberg database, starting in 1550 and spanning 4 centuries. This analysis differed from previous works in its large scale and its focus on how authors used 307 “content-free words” such as prepositions, articles, forms of “to be,” and pronouns. Researchers discovered that most authors wrote in a similar style to those immediately preceding them, and that this influence diminished steadily over time—which is not surprising, but it bolsters the largely subjective idea of a distinct style for each era. The scientists also found that not all eras treated the past equally. Overall, writers showed the most stylistic similarity to those who preceded them by about a quarter century, but authors between 1907 and 1952—which included the heyday of Modernism—showed the most stylistic differences to their immediate predecessors. Researchers attribute this early 20th century “revulsion” partly to the make-it-new ethos, and partly to the increasing number of books published in modern times, which left writers less time to ruminate on scribes who came before.
One comment here is that writers may create new styles when they break with tradition, but it is readers who maintain the formats writers are allowed to use. True experimentation occurs when readers notice and try something new.
“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! ”
Another comment is that most readers have put the best of the modernist writers in a boxed set, and put them on the shelf, to be safely ignored, even if admired when they add to footage of total books to the library.
2012/03/12 § 11 Comments
Over the last year I have been working at MONA since it opened in January 2011 as an invigilator or gallery attendant. I get paid to enhance the visitor experience while MONAISM evolves around me, but mostly I people watch.
With regard to format, the focus of this blog, at work I think about conceptual art, the end of conceptual art, the death of conceptual art.
It’s a slow death, or a slow food fight at the wake.
I could write a manifesto about what movement is going to replace it, but the manifesto as a format is more of a joke-book these days, so I’ll let that go.
It’s dying for reasons that have very little to do with art. Art in the sense of the art world/market/institutions, or even artists.
It’s ending because, well, process is returning, and for reasons mostly to do with the coming of the home-based replicator, i.e. the 3D printer or additive manufacturing.
We are all going to be able to make things we used to have made in factories, and cheaply, the result is that more people will be aware of the process of making something, even if our children think yoghurt grows on trees.
In some measure I can’t predict it is also the end of Art, but Conceptual Art is definitely over. It can’t be measured because Conceptual Art has become a singularity, a black hole sucking everything else up. Hurrah for 3D printing!
Thus the Museum of Old and New Art, provides the memorial to Conceptual Art. This memorializing is a by-product to the motives of the place, which are to showcase the collection for investment purposes, and to share that collection with Tasmanians as an enlightenment project.
It is a mighty fine memorial. No other memorial need now be built to commemorate the end of Conceptual Art.
The old art in the museum is Art because, well, that is what people who collect it— call it. Antiquities and other mathoms what look real pretty; coins, flints and sarchophagi.
This is my favourite.
The new art is mostly collectible modern art since WW2 (not being collectible or to be found in the pages of KUNSTFORUM I’m not featured at MONA).
Now while none of the collection’s older contents as I’ve described them so far mean they are Conceptual Art, they do involve concepts. (Some claim conceptual elements in fancy paleolithic axes.) For example, take a look at some of the old stuff, e.g. a profile on an old coin from one of the Greek cities of Bactria.
Some powerful dude tells the artisan what to put on their portrait. “I need an elephant on my head so the people of the Indus respect my power more and get reminded of it when they spend their money.”
The artisan says, “sure thing dude.”
As economies grow such direct curatorial patronage is replaced by more collecting-orientated art markets (this takes thousands of years) where middle class pretensions become more and more important. Where once the artisan is an Artist only so far as they can get away with their own interpretations, comment or ‘license’ in glorying their Lords and Pontiffs, the Artist now is expected to provide their own arguments. They must recognize their own place in the (anti-)tradition, or be labelled naive. In that recognition they offer up some conceptual framework and thus, finally, deep in the noosphere, the excuses for the making of the art, or Art. (More latterly we can blame the Art School and their traditional requirements and excuses to fulfill academic degree programmes for these sacrifices.)
Obviously we could outline all the stages in between the two and talk about the aesthetic assumptions of the Mannerists compared to the nihilistic axiological concerns of the Dadaists. And then talk about progress, or, better, talk about the evolution of complexity which is not yet evenly distributed.
But MONA doesn’t bother with the middle bit, so neither shall I. It just gets in the way.
It would distract from my claim that all art is conceptual in conception, even when the artist take liberties with the commission.
Conceptual Art is over, and to the extent to which concepts direct or excuse the making of art, then Art is over.
We will each just be making stuff, call it art, call it craft, call it sport, call it poetry, call it changing underwear—— we will together be more interested in process and impact than concepts. (Looking ahead, once we are more interested in process, function will call us out.)
Conceptual Art is basically a form of cartooning.
A form whose function is to make bad jokes real.
The new inquiry will not be restricted to aesthetics, not even the wider aesthetics of novelty (exploring some new dimension of art-space in order to colonise it with a marketable name), nor the jumping-up-and-down interrogation of previous forms (in homage, mash-ups or satire). Aesthetics as such will be entirely personal, as atomised atmen, the overview of which will look like winter mist and no one will be thanked anymore for sharing. In this heaven the only collective acts of beauty will be by teenagers. However, wider axiological concerns will become paramount, making stuff will be about all values, not just whether it is good-looking, well-made, highly-skilled, thematically suitable and consistent, or intensely expressive of the depressive artist’s sad fuck-up of a life.
There will be no excuses.
The questions we will want to answer will be like the following:-
There are many things in the world, so why make these?
I will stop here, otherwise it will become a manifesto.