[-empyre-] FWD ffom valerie ; cyber time and space possiblities

Hello All:

>From Valerie LeBlanc after re-reviewing the entries of the past days:

I am well used to communicating through e-mail on a daily basis and one of
the most noticeable characteristics of the digest seems to be the
non-instant quality.  Sending commentaries based upon what has passed
through, and the response time of having those comments bounce back, while
others send comments based upon what has passed prior adds a new perspective
for me.

Rather than trying to retrieve the current thread, I would like to break in
by saying something about the Atlantic Cultural Space Conference.  Because
my previous send responded to Gair (the MOD invasion), Mark's (Relational
Aesthetics - what I might loosely interpret as clarification on the ethics
of curating and the necessity of flux - please correct me if I am way off
the thread here Mark), and Lea's introductory references to Bourriaud et
all, and Christine's internet usage percentages, and the curating question
as a whole, I would now like to interject some comments about the Moncton

When Lea first contacted us (Daniel Dugas and myself), I asked a lot of
questions to feel out her points of view and her intentions.  She offered a
lot of space in terms of interpretation of presentation.  I found her
methods open to contemporary flux and felt a freedom to propose the wireless
webcam voyage.  As interdisciplinary artists, Daniel and I work in a variety
of media.  Generally, we start with the idea and then decide upon the method
of presentation.  As luck would have it, the techniques required often vary
and usually require a lot of research and development into new areas.  The
suitcase gets bigger as it goes, and we usually have the necessary tools of
investigation but are often forced by desire to sift through new technology
to carry the ideas through.

The projects that we take on in the realm of the out of doors (and often far
from the gallery setting - except for some printed sponsorship material
serving as reference point) start with the tension of all of the
pre-planning, and proceed into the fun of (mildly) disrupting pedestrian
traffic.  Something that we enjoy by inviting the public to interact in
projects, is the gift of giving people a chance to enter into conversations
that would not arrive in the 'normal' everyday environment.  Whenever we
stand out there with high-end equipment, sometimes with the trunk of the car
open, we are conscious of our own  vulnerability, and of the trust required
of the public to share in the interaction.

All of that aside, the rewards of interaction are very satisfying.  We are
willing to take the risks, but feeling support of the Curator gives a
context, almost a legitimacy to the exercise.  We always felt that Lea's
support was there, and were encouraged in the process of testing the
willingness of the public to participate in going online, and giving
permission to archive their comments on the website.

In the creation of artworks, the time varies greatly.  Sometimes labouring
long hours over work is required, and sometimes (it seems more rarely), it
is possible to present a simple but good idea very quickly.   It does appear
that the cyber time and space are currently open to us, and that the costs
of presenting remain affordable.   It seems to be a time for some projects
that rely less on the construct of marketing philosophy, and more on the
strength of experiment.  And yet, the promotional machine maintains a fixed
focus on brand names.

By diversion from what I call 'the aesthetics of oppression'*, I am happy to
have been introduced to the Clemente Padin sites.  I do not speak Spanish
and lose the intonation of the word poetry but gain a lot from the visual
presentations.  The music site give me a feel for countries that I know only
from the media of my environment; television, movies, newspaper headlines,
and - from meeting political and economic refugees to this cold land,
Canada, and to the U.S. since the early seventies.

In particular, the music reminds me of Christmas night in 1995 when Daniel
and I were invited to look after a house that had a 100+ channel satellite
dish.  Often owning a tv but no cable service, we were used to the usual 2
or 3 channels and appalled at the prospect of all of those additional
channels.  We soon discovered the limited fare presented there.  The
majority of stations were playing re-run Hollywood Christmas movies.  In
scanning through it all, we found 2 very inclusive broadcasts.

One was from a small community in the Canadian Arctic.  There were about one
hundred people: men, women and children assembled in a Quonset hut community
centre for the evening.  A band was entertaining, people were being invited
to take part on the small stage if they wished.  One older man appeared
wearing sunglasses and a wig by way of assuming artistic licence.  He was
very nervous to begin and his delivery was rough.  As he gained confidence
and got used to being 'the front man', he relaxed and sang his stories well.
No one was very dressed up, many were wearing jackets with hoods to keep
warm, but all seemed to be enjoying to participate in the show and the
party.  It was mediated and awkward, but more importantly, it was live,
Real, and warming.

The second show was from Puerto Rico.  It looked like the whole town was
gathered in the central square to celebrate the nativity. The competition
for control of the microphone was more tight than in the north.  The stage
was full, the standing audience was singing along, and dancing, and everyone
was smiling.  After a few minutes, the attention of the camera focused in on
one middle aged woman.  She was noticeably much smaller than those
surrounding her.  By western tv standards, she would never have been given a
major role.  The woman, standing among her friends and neighbours, had a
strong and sweet voice that exuded joy, she had the voice of an angel and
everyone appreciated that she was sharing it.

Both tv shows remain in my mind for being more than the top entertainment of
Christmas night, both made me feel a rare happiness; to be in the position
of receiver.  As a creator by vocation, enjoying to be in the position of
receiving through television media is rare; twice in one evening was

Aside from opening up a well of anecdotes, Clemente Padin's site entry: the
Process/Poem: Mathematical Language
(http://www.concentric.net/~Lndb/padin/lcppro.htm), seems to offer alternate
wording to my own take on creation.  I look forward to further exploring the
works cited by Lea.

- Valerie LeBlanc

P.S. I am not able to download the DAT format spam files form Mr. Padin.

* Following is a brief essay (without footnotes) on recent encounters with
big artists who shall remain nameless for the moment. (optional reading)

I have, in a relatively short period of time - a little over a year, had the
opportunity of attending presentations of 2  'WORLD CLASS ARTISTS.'  These
have both been artists whose exhibitions embody large scale, pared down
ideas (the synthesis of volumes of thought reduced to phrases or slogans
through modern technological aesthetics), indeed - skimmed down versions of
what many artists and thinkers would like to rise to say more clearly, and
yet, in both cases, these ones held high above our heads (I almost wrote
herds in typographical error), show a distinct lack of wanting to engage in
a 'give and take' with the communities inviting them.  I have experienced a
lack of what we might call "the will to not be intervened upon" extended to
the point of not permitting the 'on-site audience' gathered to be presented
with documentation of the works, the chance to 'enter into the conversation.

In both cases, there has been a distinct line drawn: " I am the one giving."
(of my genius) - You must take it without compromise, without smearing the
aesthetic with demonstration of your acceptance (of my didacticism) - I am
uncompromising, inflexible, and untouchable.  And I ask myself (and my
Students) - Do you want to be at the top of your field, or would you like to
live among others.  - and count yourself as human.

At various points in life, each person, artist or of other occupation is
faced with forks in the road.   And so, as artists, do we set ourselves
apart from the world, to be acknowledged, or do we sit among the peers of
our time to throw our work out, and to accept the level to which it is

In a sense the conceptual / minimalist artwork engaged during the 1970's is
the parent of today's art world, as is all that has led us here from the
political, social, economic, technology, and its combined histories world.
The rise of ART in the seventies ran parallel, and as result of the equal
rise of advertising and media tools.  Aided through public exposure to mass
media audiences, cultural boundaries opened and disappeared.  The rise of
the pop star spilled over to the artwork, creating personalities not bound
to live within previously prescribed social norms.  Class systems became
somewhat compromised through publicity.  A kind of chance opportunity opened
up the odds of the fame lottery.  In a sense, ART STARS became 'demi-gods'
and ruled the scene.   Around the same time, persons not interested in
buying into the new system dropped out and retreated to the soul nourishment
of a 'back to the land mentality'.  That is to say, as the bigger systems
transformed themselves into a tighter, more oppressive model, a segment of
the population who saw the future already written on the wall, dropped out
to re-build.

At the same time, a new higherarchy began to develop.  Today as networking
gets more close-knit, we see a new a class system in the art world.  The
holders of the knowledge, enlightenment, and culture show us how to think
and how to feel.
Suddenly we are thrown back into that same old perpetuation of class system
under the guise of cultural enlightenment.   A few witnesses have been
installed, they are the spokes persons of enlightenment, they are the big
artists, and they are the big box store brands with the indisputable
pedigrees penned by Curators.

They are a bigger part of the problem, 'the aesthetics of oppression' hired
to show us the way.  And if catharsis is served up by the 'paying community;
' the corporate world of big institutions, it is as if those in power have
'done their share' toward charitable donations for the year.  By paying for
the entertainment, the quota has been met.  And when the newspaper coverage
is thrown out, conditions continue, as before, but maybe it is worse because
everyone is convinced that they took part in acknowledging inequalities.

What else can we do?  What about giving the oppressed a voice and some power
in the management.   What about just giving a forum along the way?
And yes, in spite of the low wage scale of Artists on the whole, what about
putting a small percentage of the money directly into the problem?   And if
none of these questions can be addressed, would it be better if the BIG
ARTISTS stay home to create?

- end of

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