PLAYING IN SAWDUST I STOP FOR A CHEESEBURGER!!!

WE WERE EVERYWHERE EXCEPT WHERE WE ACTUALLY WERE PHYSICALLY

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WE WERE EVERYWHERE EXCEPT WHERE WE ACTUALLY WERE PHYSICALLY

 

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A LOSS OF ATTENTION

 

THE CREATIVE SERVICES OF HUGO dE VERTEUIL & IAN ROTHWELL

 

In 1964 Frank O’Hara knowingly declared, in relation to the production of new cultural material, that “the slightest loss of attention leads to death.” This stirring, over-powering rule was meant to refer to a need for focus in the production and criticism of art. As in the forever present use of the word ‘cool’ – a canon of vocabulary to which we can now add awesome, hot, sick, sweet, OMG - a blanketing language of acceptability has comfortably enveloped all cultural production. Focused criticism is unnecessary in a world in which the Google search provides the paranoiac user with a flat plane of imagery, rendering any poetics an absurd sales tactic. The power of Lulz - the life-force of the message-board troll - carries as much cultural and political value as traditional legitimating tropes such as market value, craftsmanship and vision.

 

Often it is supposed that this loss of rigour will result in some kind of premature death; the droll end foreseen by O’Hara. Its nascent symptoms are present today: Linda Stone’s recent research has investigated the sort of breath-holding associated with “email apnea” and its debilitating effects:

 

The body becomes acidic, the kidneys begin to re-absorb sodium, and as the oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitric oxide (NO) balance is undermined, our biochemistry is thrown off

 

In response to the physically and intellectually debilitating effects of online network culture Stone has recently referred to attention as our scarcest and most valuable resource. This acute awareness of attention or focus as a difficult, almost unattainable mode of working and being is defining the future direction of 21st century culture. We are living in a world of connectivity: Collective intelligence is valued over individual expression and opinion. The mainstream collective hubs - Youtube, Facebook, Tumblr – where mass numbers gather have become comforting video-game-fantasy spaces where opinion is not criticised and progressed but instead sublimated into pseudo-aggressive sociopathic battles. For example a perverse alternative social reality exists where it is accepted that any member of the social spectrum – president, milkman, plumber, diplomat or king - is likely to be posting sexual profanities on one of Rhianna’s Youtube messageboards or trying to make an evangelical Christian child cry by posting disingenuous homophobic insults on their Facebook profile page.

 

By way of illustration allow us to introduce Lori Drew: Drew’s anonymous emotional manipulation of a friend of her daughter on Myspace led to the girl’s suicide. She established a flirtatious relationship through a false Myspace profile assuming the identity of a 16 year old Josh Evans. Flirtation led to verbal abuse which inspired other online identities to gather and indulge in a sadistic game of brutal cruelty. After a 15 minute barrage of insults the girl committed suicide.

It appears with examples like this that to the mainstream user the internet is another component of the entertainment and leisure industry. The online network provides a smooth space for fantasies to be acted out in a bespoke way. If understood and used in this way the internet becomes a global role-playing game offering the player a nuanced and flexible subjectivity from within a restricted pool of popular yet heavily controlled surveillance theatres. These arenas are full of prime advertisement real-estate; wherein that character is free only able to express itself in a manner that is in accordance with the state of play. All of this is of course administered from a position of personal health and comfort with a Paypal account set up to ensure hassle-free monetary transferences. 

                Invited to participate in an exhibition which took ‘A Loss of Attention’ as its theme, we naturally assumed that the artworks included would address the sorts of crises identified above. We imagined a show in which, firstly, the audience would be presented with the notion of a negative ‘Loss of Attention’ as a very current problem, something peculiar to our early digital period. We imagined that the artworks in the show would observe this loss specifically in relation to internet culture over any other social factor, and would use the imagery of the internet and its various historic and contemporary visual languages to create semiotic gestures to illustrate these observations. We also imagined that the artworks would be exhibited for a limited time and would pass through Memphis College of Art with some interest from students, but to little widespread effect. We infer this through identifying a physical display of individual artworks within ‘A Loss of Attention’ as a severely retarded or retrograde approach to formulating a critique of said internet culture. Within this context - to further reference Linda Stone - the self-expressive pursuit can only lead to ‘narcissism and loneliness.’ If presenting the Internet as a socio-cultural paradigm for critical engagement is the aim then it is surely self-defeating to utilise individually authored autonomous works: The Internet’s existence is based on a collective intelligence and it can’t be understood in any other way. There are no heroes on the Internet and there aren’t any villains. Indeed coherent online expressions are arbitrarily without gender, ethnicity or sexual preference. The language of this culture and its social form is not yet consolidated – and may never be - yet an individual (or narcissist) sovereign voice has no clout in a cultural paradigm constitutive of constantly moving and communicating information.  Self-expressions and individual ego are fast-becoming the life-force of this culture (the human-battery energy feeding the machines in “The Matrix”); alternative critical apparatus need to be considered and ego suppressed in aid of a collectively-minded voice or aesthetic. The “human-microphone” tactic enforced by the Occupy Wallstreet protest is a case in point, here articulated by www.urbandictionary.com:

 

A tactic protesters can use to circumvent police bans on electronic amplification of speech. One person starts to speak to a large crowd. After a short sentence, everyone within hearing distance repeats whatever was said at the top of their lungs, allowing people outside of hearing distance to hear the speech.

The Human Microphone on Wall Street announced this speech:

 

"Mic Check."

 

"MIC CHECK!!"

 

"The human microphone is slow and cumbersome"

 

"THE HUMAN MICROPHONE IS SLOW AND CUMBERSOME!!"

 

"but it really makes you think through"

 

"BUT IT REALLY MAKES YOU THINK THROUGH"

 

"what it is you want"

 

"WHAT IT IS YOU WANT!!"

 

"to say."

 

"TO SAY!!"

 

If our quite belligerent assumptions are correct then it makes sense to ask the question as to why, in an exhibition that is concerned with the future direction of artistic practice in a digital context, an aesthetics of anonymous networked collectivity is not being assumed more whole heartedly. Does this misunderstanding not represent the greatest Loss of Attention? One can easily locate this scenario within the idea, also popular with those at Occupy Wall Street, that we have lost our ability to imagine alternatives to the status quo. However we are proud to have been able to participate in this exhibition. We feel that our work for the show has provided a link between the solid-state artworks which are viewed in this context as belonging to the world of media fantasy, (narcissistic creations which propagate a sense of mass media as only existing within the world, when in fact it has come to comprise the world) and the potential for artists to begin designing a new collective poetics – as in the physical realisation of virally distributed information represented by the human microphone.  If we accept that ideas can only be rationalised through contextualization within an antagonistic mass forum then we can happily enter into a productive dialogue with culture, regardless of how brutally homogenous it has become.

 

It is a cruel assumption on our behalf to glean a cynical standpoint in relationship to a simple phrase; a loss of attention.           In retrospect it now seems - after having written this exegesis over a relatively long period of time, with various miscellaneous delays – misguided to come to a clichéd cynical Marxist hopelessness. Instead we would now like to position “A loss of Attention” and what it can potentially represent, more as a form of productive anxiety over a socio-cultural phenomenon as opposed to a postmodernist submissive passivity towards market-led monoculture.

 

‘(* 

 

The Creative Services of Hugo de Verteuil & Ian Rothwell

 

You’re very welcome

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SEE SIDEBAR: LOGIN AND ADDD TO THE TUMBLR!!!

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EMAIL: creativeservicesisthebomb@gmail.com

PASSWORD: cheezburger?

URL: alossofattention.tumblr.com

ITS NOT THE MATRIX ITS AN EMAIL

you fucking child

asshole

cunt

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Peoples_Microphone_Occupy_Wall_Street_2011_Shankbone.ogv

WE WERE EVERYWHERE EXCEPT WHERE WE ACTUALLY WERE PHYSICALLY

 

**********************

 

A LOSS OF ATTENTION

 

THE CREATIVE SERVICES OF HUGO dE VERTEUIL & IAN ROTHWELL

 

In 1964 Frank O’Hara knowingly declared, in relation to the production of new cultural material, that “the slightest loss of attention leads to death.” This stirring, over-powering rule was meant to refer to a need for focus in the production and criticism of art. As in the forever present use of the word ‘cool’ – a canon of vocabulary to which we can now add awesome, hot, sick, sweet, OMG - a blanketing language of acceptability has comfortably enveloped all cultural production. Focused criticism is unnecessary in a world in which the Google search provides the paranoiac user with a flat plane of imagery, rendering any poetics an absurd sales tactic. The power of Lulz - the life-force of the message-board troll - carries as much cultural and political value as traditional legitimating tropes such as market value, craftsmanship and vision.

 

Often it is supposed that this loss of rigour will result in some kind of premature death; the droll end foreseen by O’Hara. Its nascent symptoms are present today: Linda Stone’s recent research has investigated the sort of breath-holding associated with “email apnea” and its debilitating effects:

 

The body becomes acidic, the kidneys begin to re-absorb sodium, and as the oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitric oxide (NO) balance is undermined, our biochemistry is thrown off

 

In response to the physically and intellectually debilitating effects of online network culture Stone has recently referred to attention as our scarcest and most valuable resource. This acute awareness of attention or focus as a difficult, almost unattainable mode of working and being is defining the future direction of 21st century culture. We are living in a world of connectivity: Collective intelligence is valued over individual expression and opinion. The mainstream collective hubs - Youtube, Facebook, Tumblr – where mass numbers gather have become comforting video-game-fantasy spaces where opinion is not criticised and progressed but instead sublimated into pseudo-aggressive sociopathic battles. For example a perverse alternative social reality exists where it is accepted that any member of the social spectrum – president, milkman, plumber, diplomat or king - is likely to be posting sexual profanities on one of Rhianna’s Youtube messageboards or trying to make an evangelical Christian child cry by posting disingenuous homophobic insults on their Facebook profile page.

 

By way of illustration allow us to introduce Lori Drew: Drew’s anonymous emotional manipulation of a friend of her daughter on Myspace led to the girl’s suicide. She established a flirtatious relationship through a false Myspace profile assuming the identity of a 16 year old Josh Evans. Flirtation led to verbal abuse which inspired other online identities to gather and indulge in a sadistic game of brutal cruelty. After a 15 minute barrage of insults the girl committed suicide.

It appears with examples like this that to the mainstream user the internet is another component of the entertainment and leisure industry. The online network provides a smooth space for fantasies to be acted out in a bespoke way. If understood and used in this way the internet becomes a global role-playing game offering the player a nuanced and flexible subjectivity from within a restricted pool of popular yet heavily controlled surveillance theatres. These arenas are full of prime advertisement real-estate; wherein that character is free only able to express itself in a manner that is in accordance with the state of play. All of this is of course administered from a position of personal health and comfort with a Paypal account set up to ensure hassle-free monetary transferences. 

                Invited to participate in an exhibition which took ‘A Loss of Attention’ as its theme, we naturally assumed that the artworks included would address the sorts of crises identified above. We imagined a show in which, firstly, the audience would be presented with the notion of a negative ‘Loss of Attention’ as a very current problem, something peculiar to our early digital period. We imagined that the artworks in the show would observe this loss specifically in relation to internet culture over any other social factor, and would use the imagery of the internet and its various historic and contemporary visual languages to create semiotic gestures to illustrate these observations. We also imagined that the artworks would be exhibited for a limited time and would pass through Memphis College of Art with some interest from students, but to little widespread effect. We infer this through identifying a physical display of individual artworks within ‘A Loss of Attention’ as a severely retarded or retrograde approach to formulating a critique of said internet culture.  Within this context - to further reference Linda Stone - the self-expressive pursuit can only lead to ‘narcissism and loneliness.’ If presenting the Internet as a socio-cultural paradigm for critical engagement is the aim then it is surely self-defeating to utilise individually authored autonomous works: The Internet’s existence is based on a collective intelligence and it can’t be understood in any other way. There are no heroes on the Internet and there aren’t any villains. Indeed coherent online expressions are arbitrarily without gender, ethnicity or sexual preference. The language of this culture and its social form is not yet consolidated – and may never be - yet an individual (or narcissist) sovereign voice has no clout in a cultural paradigm constitutive of constantly moving and communicating information.  Self-expressions and individual ego are fast-becoming the life-force of this culture (the human-battery energy feeding the machines in “The Matrix”); alternative critical apparatus need to be considered and ego suppressed in aid of a collectively-minded voice or aesthetic. The “human-microphone” tactic enforced by the Occupy Wallstreet protest is a case in point, here articulated by www.urbandictionary.com:

 

A tactic protesters can use to circumvent police bans on electronic amplification of speech. One person starts to speak to a large crowd. After a short sentence, everyone within hearing distance repeats whatever was said at the top of their lungs, allowing people outside of hearing distance to hear the speech.

The Human Microphone on Wall Street announced this speech:

 

"Mic Check."

 

"MIC CHECK!!"

 

"The human microphone is slow and cumbersome"

 

"THE HUMAN MICROPHONE IS SLOW AND CUMBERSOME!!"

 

"but it really makes you think through"

 

"BUT IT REALLY MAKES YOU THINK THROUGH"

 

"what it is you want"

 

"WHAT IT IS YOU WANT!!"

 

"to say."

 

"TO SAY!!"

 

 

to be continued….

 

mi so in erectio perennis quando so a venessia

venice_798571c.jpg

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STARKNESS AND HORROR

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Even with the beatings and gassings, the jolt of explosives, even in the assault on the investment bank, he thought there was something theatrical about the protest…The protest was a form of systemic hygiene, purging and lubricating. It attested again, for the ten thousandth time, to the market culture’s innovative brilliance, its ability to shape itself to its own flexible ends, absorbing everything around it…Now look. A man in flames…What did this change? Everything he thought…the market was not total. It could not claim this man or assimilate his act… “It’s not original”, she said finally. “Hey. What’s original? He did it, didn’t he?” “It’s an appropriation.”

ONLY ORANGE JUICE

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Charlie wanted to pitch the minute maid account. He thought about orange juice all the time. He looked at it, drank it, had fantasies about it. He knew how to advertise orange juice. Forget Florida. Forget the piddling vitamins. You have to go for appetite appeal, for the visual hit, because this is a beautiful and enticing beverage and women’s eyeballs reach high levels of excitation when they see bright orange cans in the freezer, gleaming with rime ice. You have to show the pulp. You show the juice splashing in the glass. You show the froth on a perky housewife’s upper lip, like the hint of a blowjob before breakfast. Of course there is no pulp in concentrate. And there is ony a microtrace of pulp in container juice. But you can suggest, you can make inferences, you can promise the consumer the experience of citrusy bits of real pulp - a glass of juice , a goblet brimming with particulate matter, like wonderous orange smog. You show it, You photograph it lovingly and microscopically. If the can or package can be orgasmically visual, so can the product inside. There was nothing Charlie liked better than a glass of orange juice on a lazy sunday morning in the country, nicely spiked with vodka.