Re: [-empyre-] speaking to the converted

> It's unnecessary to convert the converted. If the issue is getting our
> looked at by as many people as possible, then we have to speak to the
> unconverted. Making work for those who are already more inclined to pay
> attention is like selling sin to the devil.
> My concern has never been to make anything that thrills my peers but to
> speak to people who may not actually have thought of listening before.
> That's the challenge.

This is a big conundrum for me, as something that I feel that is very
important is engagement with the audience - making that connection.
However, I question this idea of targeting those 'outside the art world' as
somehow 'unconverted'.  There are projects I'm involved with that speak to a
very broad audience, but those are very large, collaborative endeavors.

In talking to Zheng Ga at Parsons, the idea of engagement came up, and then
I heard him question the idea of being pedantic so that we 'can speak to the
audience', and that artists should express what they want to express on
their terms.

Another ideological flag I tend to wave a little is that of technological
anti-determinism.  One of my favorite anecdotes is having seen Jeff Shaw's
$250,000 motion platform at ZKM used for the purpose of transmitting a
telepresent toy train ride in 3D.  To this end, I went home and rigged up a
head mounted display to a high speed radio-control car-mounted television
transmitter for maybe $300.  And I'll tell you, that installation is a hell
of a lot more exciting, visceral, and doesn't require the the 6 Octanes.

Is PDA art a form of technological determinism?  Probably, but the use of
such devices within certain communities is becoming widespread enough that
they are part of the cultural landscape.  Secondly, although they are not
'cheap', they are certainly less expensive than a personal computer.
However, to develop software for them, you need one of those.

All of this isn't a black-or-white proposition, as one might like you to
believe.  When looking at the politics of engagement, crucial to the
argument are the parameters of cultural discourse and the mode of
communication that the artist is involving themselves in.  Does a PDA have
the same range of options that a piece of paper has?  No. Do they speak to
the same demographics? Not necessarily, but they can.  In addition, I've
seen as much poor work on paper as on PDA.

So if more abstracted forms of art are not 'engaged' per se )a mode of
communication I personally like, but I play Devil's Advocate here) why use
PDA's or cell phones at all as creative devices?  Although these devices
serve a 'choir' per se, the act of creation on one of these devices is not
merely for the reification of the politics of those demographics, while quit
ethe converse can happen.

Again, why use PDA's when it is a 'medium' that does not cater to the widest
possible audience?  To ignore a creative avenue of personal interest merely
because it has certain issues is very problematic, and in fact, those issues
could be the very conceptual fodder for the work.  SHould VR artists get out
of their CAVEs because they are not populist spaces?  Hardly.  Although I
might not agree with some of the agendas put forth by the existence of
certain technoloigcal art forms, their interest to some is perfectly valid
(except when it includes quater of a million-dollar motion platforms :) ).

In short, those who wish to work with less accessible technological forms
are no less valid than the populists.  Agreement is one thing, validity is
another.  If you think paper will fulfill your desires, use paper!  If a PDA
will, use that. I see little dichotomy in this.

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