23 March 2009

"There is green light and red light. Then there is black light, which is mostly danger."

With only a scant amount of daylight penetrating the tent, the works had developed an ethereal glow.

"Once I apply the violet pigments with a brush, the surface will become gold," he said, gazing intently at the 3- by-5-meter, or 10-by-16-foot, paintings resting on wooden sawhorses. "As the light reflects it, it will change color."

His dealer Gordon VeneKlasen, who represents him with Michael Werner, interjected, "Violet has had mystical properties since the Renaissance, which has always fascinated Sigmar."

Sigmar Polke: Inscrutable master of the unexpected, Carol Vogel - The New York Times, 27 May 2007.

22 March 2009

Horn of Plenty

Photo by: Pam Kaminski

"What does disco do? It programs a random-access search for “origins” and incites in the reader a search for sources, which turn out to be hallucinations or echoes of sources. Such a programming language was once called literature (we have chosen to call it art history), though disco, of course, is not a literature at all; it merely simulates the effects of literature (as empty brand) with the uncanny precision of our era’s version of a lullaby: the remix. Disco is a programming language. It simulates the desire to remember when human remembering has become, from a technological standpoint, unnecessary or impossible. Disco thus proposes a solution to the vast volumes of distributed media (now databased on the Internet) that began in the nineteenth century and have snowballed of late—in the form of photographs, tape recordings, films, records, CDs, and hard drives. How in this morass of information, most of it noncontinuous (i.e., digitized and subject to random access memory) can anything be located? Disco proposes a radical minimalization in the accessing of voices, regarded as discrete and modular data.
For as we have seen, disco involved the systematic subtraction of extraneous information “tracks” and elevation of a percussion track into a remix having minimal harmonic or melodic progression, and grounded in repetition. This subtraction would be exploited in the late seventies and early eighties with Eurodisco, Italodisco, minimal ambient house musics; contemporary artist writing/distribution projects; and a host of disco-oriented stylistics and sampling/appropriation-based poetries.
Unlike the other arts that were bracketed by arts of long-term memory (ars longa, vita brevis), disco was keyed not to memory but to what human memory became with the advent of computerized data storage and accessing: a mood, understood as the by-product of an obsolescent human memory system. For this reason it is customary to say that one can “have” a memory but not a mood; it is more accurate to say that a mood overtakes one. Moods, which are not inherently subjective and do not differ significantly from person to person, are a waste product antithetical to precomputer memory and thus nostalgia. So moods are rightly understood as a mode of accessing data inaccessible to human memory. Before the DJ, moods were harder to come by, let alone produce systematically. This was mainly because moods were amorphous and believed to be subject to a certain “distillation.” But with the advent of large-scale computing, things began to change. The verb “to access” was coined in 1962 with respect to “large-capacity memory,” which was viewed as a kind of “happening.” It took less than seven years for a soft synaesthesia of music, lights, dance, and performance to congeal into a cultural format that reflected systemic changes in how collective memory gets processed. As Ebbinghaus says, “How does the disappearance of the ability to reproduce, forgetfulness, depend upon the length of time during which no repetitions have taken place?” (Kittler 1990, 207). Disco solved a crisis in the same way that the core memory inventor An Wang did, whose work in the early fifties on the write-after-read cycle paved the way for developments in magnetic core memory. Wang’s invention “solved the puzzle of how to use a storage medium in which the act of reading was also an act of erasure.” Disco functions as magnetic core memory does, where every act of reading or accessing material destroys the original source (i.e., clears the address to zero), which necessitates the continual repetition or rewriting (the write-after-read cycle) of data."

Tan Lin Disco As Operating System

This conceptual art piece has been patented but not yet produced

20 March 2009

The authors of this Weblog would like to emphasise that they neither endorse nor condone the following remarks


Con artists are widespread in China. Ostensibly friendly types invite you for tea, then order food and say they have no money, leaving you to foot the bill, while practising their English on you.

Don’t leave any of your belongings with someone you do not know well. The opening economy in China has also spawned a plague of dishonest businesses and enterprises. The travel agent you phoned may just operate from a cigarette-smoke-filled hotel room.

Extracted from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/china/practical-information/health

18 March 2009

Mimesis and Alterity

"The white man who made the pencil also made the eraser."
– Yoruba proverb

16 March 2009

I saw Mike Kelley at LACMA looking at Martin Kippenbergers.

"Company; at table or table d'hôte.... Spinach is served. Mrs. E.L., sitting next to me, gives me her undivided attention, and places her hand familiarly upon my knee. In defence I remove her hand. Then she says: 'But you have always had such beautiful eyes.' ... I then distinctly see something like two eyes as a sketch or as the contour of a spectacle lens...."
This is the whole dream, or, at all events, all that I can remember. (...)
– Sigmund Freud On Dreams

14 March 2009

"To be very, very, very rough: first of all the model of this friendship is a friendship between two young men, mortals, who have a contract according to which one will survive the other, one will be the heir of the other, and they will agree politically - I give a number of examples of this. Which excludes first of all friendship between a man and a woman, or between women, so women are totally excluded from this model of friendship: woman as the friend of a man or women as friends between themselves. Then the figure of the brother, of fraternity, is also at the centre of this canonical model. I show this of course through a number of texts and examples. Brotherhood, fraternity, is the figure of this canonical friendship. Of course this concept of brotherhood has a number of cultural and historical premises. It comes from Greece, but it also comes from the Christian model in which brotherhood or fraternity is essential. Men are all brothers because they are sons of God, and you can find the ethics of this concept in even an apparently secular concept of friendship and politics. In the French Revolution this is the foundation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Fraternity was the object of a terrible debate in France at the time, and fraternity appears, between equality and liberty, as one of the foundations of the republic. So, you have to deal here with what I would call a phallocentric or phallogocentric concept of friendship. Which doesn't of course mean to me that the hegemony of this concept was so powerful that what it excluded was effectively totally excluded. It doesn't mean that a woman couldn't have the experience of friendship with a man or with another woman. It means simply that within this culture, this society, by which this prevalent canon was considered legitimate, accredited, then there was no voice, no discourse, no possibility of acknowledging these excluded possibilities."
- Jacques Derrida Politics and Friendship: A Discussion with Jacques Derrida

Forced to Surf (at Gunpoint)

13 March 2009

5 March 2009

Hotel Aktion

"For consider this man's [Jimmy Swaggart's] television performance before his fall. Striding back and forth and back and forth across his stage, he was like an animal in heat. Strutting and shouting, he appeared in cheap-looking suits that weren't necessarily cheap (this man had money but he had to appeal to his mainly lower-middle-class constituents), with their fabric often drawn taut across his thighs and his crotch. A pimp for Jesus. A cock of the walk. A cock that walks and throbs and thrusts itself, again and again, across the stage. It shouts and moans and yells its incantations of sin and lust and god and hell, its moving, brutal mouth pulled wide open and snapping shut, again and again. But words are secondary here. What mesmerizes and what really counts is this motion, this ramming plunging power. More than the logic of the words, this motion is convincing – so powerful, so demanding, so essential."
– Carol Squiers At Their Mercy: A Reading of Pictures From 1988