an unconventional hailing in this medium,
i'm sure you've received several such replies, but on the off chance that you have not-- despite the provocation (in the best way) of posting as you did to the infinitely involuted and often convoluted alt.postmodern-- i must, to my shame, provide you with the following Artist, trusting she will be in the best company. Which of her is the simulacra? Happily, neither you nor I've-- nor you, Third Reader, any idea:
Meet "Sarah Smiley", a text masquerading as a she through the involuntary and involatile guile of the 'net. "Sarah" is working on a project called "The Virtual Beret: Perceptions of the Artist in the Online World"; as a virtual artist, she is working with a nonexistant as well as virtual budget.
"Sarah"'s art is not her own, or rather, is not her own in the fashion we-- we who exist on the periphery of the commodification of the art world-- have, resignedly, come to accept. What on first glance one might mistake for her "media"-- the sheaves of faxes and handful of floppy disks containing solicited texts-- are nothing so much as red (keith) herrings.
"Sarah" is more moderne than that. A close look at her prospectus makes it perfectly plain that she has not, in the fashion of the cannonical masters, put a single hand to disk or fax. A conceptual artist, perhaps touched at an early age by Kostabi or some Vito A., "Sarah" has as her goal a symmetrical set of responses, and her fascile production of something viewable, manipulable, salable, is just a little jest, just a bit of a wink, for those of us in on the joke.
Let us set the scene with an ephemeral goal and inimitable gall:
A redefinition of the boundary between that most famous of triumverates, the artist, medium, and audience: like all love triangles, this one tingles as we pass through it, and like all workers in romance, "Sarah"'s take on this geometry is nothing if not flattering to all involved.Yes, yes, the Triangle-- in Art 101, was that not rooted at the root of all we should have rooted for, though now we here it is steeped in contreversity and roofed in rot?
Consider those steep if hardly deep sides:
The response and involvement of those solicited to contribute to her work-- asked to provide definitions precisely like this one-- will be curious. On the one hand, "Sarah" redefines the locus of creation as the community rather than individual-- very refreshing compared to, say, Kostabi, or even his grand dame, Warhol. On the other, we cannot help but resent that in seeing this idea through, "Sarah" inevitably recasts herself as a director of resources. Though the Marxist in all of us has receded with the boundaries of the former USSR, and waned in perfect inverse proportion to the excesses of Red China, a replaying of traditional dialectics cannot be overloaded. You and I, Third Reader, are the toiling masses. A sorry lot of labor, we'd make.
On the contrary side of the triangle, "Sarah"'s suggestion that works received (to pun on "work", we might say: once she has amassed her artistic capital) could find an audience in a traditional museum will provoke an pleasureably ambiguous response, though this time for reasons that are beyond "Sarah"'s, the readers, or the author's control. The problem with museums-- in all their wonder-- is that they prevent the unfolding of the thingliness of things, spake Martin H. Any so it is-- even with enforced public access, tastefull curation, and a politics that might even offend a board of directors, the best of sanctioned installations has a predetermined audience-- those who would be recipient to such refinities as await their $6. (Well, there are always those one-upping high school students and bored elementary school children, haystacks forgivable only for their few who are needle sharp...). Why would this work find its way out of its environment, the Internet, to the mundane world, where it can be conveniently categorized beside the "equally textual" if "more provocative and sensual" proverbs of Jenny Holzer? Would it not be better for "Sarah" to open the Internet's first conceptual gallery? pTo run amok, a virtual Situationist in search of some humdrum corner of cyberspace to enliven with her poetic terrorism? There's many a MOO that could use a good milking.
On the other hand, perhaps the novelty of words from the Ur-mind of technophilia humanity will awaken a few sleepy noggins.
And at the apex, up where we can barely see, what is there... a point?
At the apex, wearing her beret, sits "Sarah", always poised, always Sysysysyphian, with the moment before her. Silhouetted against the fading light of neutralization-- of late capital, and all that. One once more can't help but think of Kandinsky's image of the peak always creeping forward, with the misunderstood astride its shoulders, waving cheerfully to those below, who they trust they've bested, tested or in case of last resort, escaped.
And the hat? The prospectus calls for her to be behatted!
If it's hats you're after, read Kundera, Seusse, or V. Sirin. "Sarah" is no one's model.