[-empyre-] house of cards

naxsmash naxsmash at mac.com
Thu Feb 26 05:00:55 EST 2009

Just enjoy the return of skepticism and a healthy turn towards ironic  

How many angels can fit on a pin head, what is the delta of your gamma  
derivative, and how many ways can new media artists MAX/MSP/Jitter  
transpose data from one content frame to another ........
none of this involved 'transformation by the fiction' , or, a turning,  
a 'metanoia.'   or even admitting a fiction at all.   Fiction is more  
than self-perpetuating feedback loops, though George W. 's team  
thought so.

 From James Wagner's blog:


Lisa Kirk's "House of Cards" at Invisible Exports


Lisa Kirk continues her provocative body of work (what she calls her  
"series of social occasions"), more recently investigating capitalism,  
terrorism and political violence, in a dramatic installation, "House  
of Cards", currently installed at the Lower East Side gallery  
Invisible Exports. Although the show opened this past weekend and will  
continue there through most of March, after that it will take on the  
second life for which it was conceived.

This time Kirk has re-conceived the story of our contemporary real  
estate boom and bust in the form of a show model “shanty timeshare”  
whose structure and interior furnishings have been assembled, in  
classic (not "classical") style, from discarded materials found in the  

An experienced sales staff will be present in the rear of the gallery  
throughout the run of "House of Cards", and visitors will have the  
opportunity to buy shares in this "private residence club" featuring  
all the conveniences which inhabit our current nightmares about home.  
Upon the show’s completion, the structure will be rebuilt inside a  
secure, honest-to-goodness gated community located on the edge of one  
of New York's scenic waterways, where we are told "shareholders will  
have the opportunity to experience shanty living. After 52 weeks,  
maison des cartes will be disassembled and distributed to the  
shareholders as 52 separate and unique artworks," thus promising a  
more upscale metamorphosis than that permitted most shanties when they  
are razed.

None of the serious satire (it's not a burlesque) I describe here made  
this show any less frightening when I visited it with Barry during a  
preview last week, although the images I'm including here, of happy  
guests mingling inside these digs, would seem to belie that assertion.

It's pretty scary; and it should be.

The press release announces a second installation, not related to the  
work on the main floor of the gallery:

     Kirk’s shanty will be coupled with an underground installation of  
her updated project, Revolution (06-09). Last exhibited at P.S.1  
Contemporary Art Center, Revolution appeared as a fragrance lab and  
terrorist headquarters suspended upside-down from the museum’s ceiling."

On Feb 25, 2009, at 7:23 AM, John Haber wrote:

> ""In the world of finance, too many quants see only the numbers  
> before them and forget about the concrete reality the figures are  
> supposed to represent. They think they can model just a few years'  
> worth of data and come up with probabilities for things that may  
> happen only once every 10,000 years. Then people invest on the basis  
> of those probabilities, without stopping to wonder whether the  
> numbers make any sense at all."
> I'll admit I've read that several times, but I have a feeling it  
> amounts to the people who made fools of themselves and ripping us  
> off looking for excuses for the inexcusable. Basically, anyone knew  
> that we were going through a housing bubble. Ordinary people saw it.  
> I was joking two years ago that I should sell my apartment and camp  
> out in Central Park for a while until it burst. The sliced and diced  
> instruments were unregulated and not at all sound.
> It was more a matter of ignoring numbers for lots of reasons. You  
> could fool yourself that something "fundamental" had changed, as  
> people did with high tech a few years earlier. You could tell  
> yourself that you had better cash in now, while it's a bubble, and  
> at least you would time it well. You could trust that lying about  
> the terms of finances to ordinary home buyers and stock purchasers  
> would shield you. You could just plain get greedy, since the money  
> looked great, and since capitalism often lets a few people win in  
> the short term while placing the risk on others.
> The need isn't to make excuses for the system on the one hand or to  
> reify its workings as eternal (and corrupt) on the other. It's to  
> call its workings to public account. Perhaps there is a parallel  
> between art and finance, only not the one that seems to keep coming  
> up, since in a way I'm making a similar criticism of Gilligan the  
> other day. You could be a conservative, and say that art holds  
> certain truths that must always be trusted, but those excuses don't  
> look so hot. Or you could argue that it's just a circulation of  
> signs that inherits something from outside and changes nothing.  
> Either is a way of reifying metaphors as facts. The trick is to see  
> what is represented, how it's represented, and what is transformed  
> by the fiction.
> I think I might be my own school of criticism <g>.
> John

naxsmash at mac.com

christina mcphee


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