[-empyre-] Why US DAT is Virtual

The notion of whether or not art should or can affect real change in the world has been a motivating idea behind the US DAT project. I believe that artists can bring about change but it may not necessarily be through direct action. I believe that artists can mediate change, be a medium for change, by introducing new models, new ways of seeing the world. The artist awakens us to new possibilities, proposes new ideas, turns us around to what "could be," rather than simply "what is." This change may not be immediate, but it might permeate our collective consciousness and gradually emerge as a transformative force over time. That is what art can do, that is what makes art unique. If US DAT were to be a real entity, an object or a thing or a place, it would cease to be an artwork and it would immediately lose its effectiveness, in my opinion. US DAT is virtual and must remain that way. The definition of virtual according to the media theorist Pierre Lévy, is that which has the potential of coming into being. The potentiality of an idea is, for me, more powerful than an action that causes an immediate result. An idea can percolate over time, it can gain momentum and depth and perhaps eventually really change the way we view the world, perhaps even end wars. As Williams Burroughs said, "Weapons that change consciousness can call the war game in question."

Beyond  the traditional interventionist strategy of EPDC -- what is its
politics -- does it seek to empower its audience or does it merely
inform -- does it organize or merely leave people as they were before
having been informed

As you might suspect from these questions my  I view  politics as
constituting the performative rather than the informational  -- Its all
fine and well to believe one is engaged -- yet that engagement must
extend beyond the relative freedom of the cultural sphere

 > I wish you could have seen our recent installation, the Experimental
 > Party DisInformation Center, installed at LUXE gallery right in the
 > heart of the 57th St. gallery district in NYC during the Republican
 > Convention. Also the heart of the NYC Gucci neighborhood. Not a
 > typical place for political art.
 > In any case, we had everyone from students to activists to red meat
 > Republicans, etc. going through the gallery. Around 5,000 people in
 > two weeks. There was one group of students from a New School
 > sociology class that had been given the assignment to view the show
 > and interview me. The Professor said the show had "opened the eyes"
 > of her students to the current political climate and the use of
 > propaganda by the Republicans. These were kids not at all experienced
 > with contemporary new media art, so this struck me as particularly
 > compelling.
 > To get to the point, US DAT is a form of "performance art" that
 > dissolves the border between the virtual and physical realms of
 > galleries, Web sites, press releases, live performance, etc. It is
 > intended to reach people viscerally in its use of fantasy and satire,
 > which I believe, has been effective in drawing a large audience into
 > thinking about complex issues that might otherwise be inaccessible.
 > I believe that if art has a political message, it needs to touch
 > people, it needs to connect with people and the world they live in.
 > Otherwise, you are right, it comes off being not only humorless, but
 > colorless and ineffectual.
 > Randall

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