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<eyebeam><blast> monumentality

Hello Simon,

>More likely, media art is a bit trendy and people want to be on the
>band wagon. That means the wagon has to make money. Bigger projects 
>make money.

Or they can lead to making more money. Many of the big projects I have
seen are massive product demonstrations. The cost of sponsorship is
recuperated immediately in advertising to a _specific_ set of captive

>Artists are allowed to be ambitious in their ideas. That does not imply
>scale, but it does imply work and labour and skill. These things cost
>money...even more than the physical scale (who will pay for you to be
>buried for a year in some arcane coding problem?). 

Thank you for making this point clear. By monumentalism I didn't just
mean the scale of the product, but the entire production process and the
resources used in the process.

>Nevertheless, the private gallery route offers overall
>lower turnover and thus perhaps (and I stress perhaps) more artistic
>freedom (isn't that very ironic).

I agree, it's still not really accpetable.

>So, where is the solution? I would really like to know, if anyone on
>this list has any working model (aside from dropping out or radical 
>down sizing, which are not attractive). 

I like the radical downsizing idea. Hopefully, some artists can do both.
That is, investigate long-term large-sale projects as a specialist, but
also pursue the refinement of models of communication and production
that are valuable and available to a common user. Critical Art Ensemble
has never gone the route of monumentality. As producers of art work,
whether working in performance, on computers, or with video, we have
always tried to create models that anyone could do as long as they had
the desire, and were willing to make a minimal investment of time and
money. CAE manages to carry out this mission well enough that our
practice pays for itself (the art practice is also supplemented by our
theory practice -- so royalties/fees/etc for books, articles,lectures,
etc go into the treasury), we have a distributed public voice, and we
have control of our work. At the same time, we cannot be
professionals--we all have to work straight jobs to pay the rent (I
assume this what you mean by "not attractive"), and certainly we will
not be viewed as the visionaries of cyberland -- although we are happy
as its janitors doing the mop-up jobs (another "not attractive?) in
electronic visual and poitical literacy. For CAE it's not until a
technology (or image for that matter) gets into mundane everyday life
that it becomes layered enough with meaning to be interesting enough to
work with. Clearly this is a by-product of our prejudice for
content-driven work.

The choices you mapped out, and this one the only ones I know of. Simon,
I am hoping, like you, that a fellow eyebeamer will suggest another way.

Steve Kurtz

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