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Author Topic: artists organizing?
natas
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posted 20 July 2003 05:12 PM      Profile for natas   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
OK, here is a broad, sweeping discussion-starter, and I'm particularly interested in hearing from producing artists (in whatever media) themselves:

What do you consider the priorities for activist organizing among artistic communities? What forms might such organization take?

I'm not just talking about 'solidarity' with more entrenched social movements, but ultimately about planning ways to completely and permanently subvert the capitalist arts apparatus. Which I guess means conceiving alternate institutions. Not overnight. But just to orient our efforts in that direction rather than some niche market or 'underground' loyal opposition.

What's out there already? What obvious needs are not being met? What has been tried before, on what scale, and how well did it work, and how durable, flexible, or relevant were the tactics?

What issues need to be addressed in re the activist versus the artistic outlook - especially re the typical artist's (and audience's!) attraction to relatively open readings, versus activism's necessary accent on concrete, programmatic opposition? Are artists as a group any less prone to organization than any other? Why or why not?

We can talk about approaches to producing the art itself, if anyone has the inclination or patience; but I'm more interested in ways of changing the way artists relate organizationally to their work, their fellow workers, their audiences and themselves - well not to change anything ourselves, but allowing the artist to fulfill their OWN priorities on these fronts...are there lessons here from attempts to organize other communities of interest, or arts projects in the past?

In this I'm also assuming we're talking about artists with a capital A, that is artists who are trying to make a living as artists - or who DON'T make a living because they're too busy arting!

I'm trying to sort all this out myself, so I'm eager to listen if anyone has any thoughts.


From: Vineland Station, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 20 July 2003 06:21 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A complex issue indeed. Remember a group here in Montral, oh about 25 years ago, with David Fennario and various writers, visual artists, etc. Very hard to sustain. Should it be a union, fighting for decent pay and working conditions - you are probably aware of the ongoing struggle by "intermittents" - buskers, theatre festival people and various artists in France who had already won unemployment and other benefits we couldn't dream of here. Or a collective, producing "alternative" stuff, with all the dangers of falling into a niche. Or a theoretical group, working on the complex links between art and class struggle, being "revolutionary" artists while trying to avoid being a simple propaganda mill or toeing a party line? These debates have been going on for decades, if not centuries.

One quibble - a lot of people who attempt to be artists wind up supporting themselves in a related field - commercial graphics, translation/editing in the case of writers, playing at weddings and such in the case of musicians. I'd still see us as artists as long as we make creative work a priority. Essential to pay the rent and art supplies somehow.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 20 July 2003 08:18 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
natas, are you familiar with any artist-run centres? I've belonged to one for a number of years, and we are making ongoing attempts to address some of the things you mention.
From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 21 July 2003 02:12 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Some very big problems in organizing artists (A or a type).
To begin with, they tend to be independent people, not joiners. The work is usually solitary, and so is the temperament. They can't even agree on what is and what is not art. Certainly can't agree on who qualifies as a member. All self-proclaimed artists or only those with formal training or only those with public recognition - and if so, in what form, what duration, what quantity?

Next, there are too many artists. I'm sorry, but it's true. There is more product than market. This means that artists compete - sometimes very fiercely - with one another.

Then, you have the problem of self-employment. It's easier (say, rather, not quite as difficult) to organize employees, because there is a simple, obvious Us and Them relationship. So, performing artists can set a minimum standard for pay and conditions, because they work for somebody. When an artists - say, a sculptor or poet - has no employer, where are the lines? What are the issues? We make our own working conditions and safety standards; we choose our own work-place, set our own hours...

(See, i made a gaffe there. Said 'we', even though i've already quit. Gave myself two months' notice and was not replaced.)

Here is what should happen:
Everyone should be able to choose hir own work, and get paid a basic living wage. Raising children or chickens; making flowerpots or bread; building cranes or cross-cultural bridges; painting landscapes or bathrooms; cultivating beets or critical thought; dressing wounds or drag-queens; tending sheep or terminally ill patients. It shouldn't make any difference: all work needs somebody to do it and all work has value. (Well, maybe not currency speculation...)

Anyway, what we need to organize is everybody. What we need to create is a government that recognizes everybody's contribution and doesn't leave anyone out in the cold.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 21 July 2003 02:32 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
all work needs somebody to do it and all work has value.

But what if we all decide we want to be the ones to paint flowerpots?


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Michelle
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posted 21 July 2003 09:07 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think that would happen. I have no desire to paint flowerpots.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 21 July 2003 10:06 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yay! Michelle has graciously volunteered to grow all the food, make clothing, clean up, and everything else so that we can follow our bliss and paint flowerpots!
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lagatta
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posted 21 July 2003 10:15 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mr Magoo, do you mean painting ON flowerpots or doing still-life paintings OF flowerpots?

That aside, I think you are downplaying the importance of artistic and cultural work in human societies...


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 21 July 2003 10:29 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm just picking up from Nonesuch (but I assumed he meant painting on them).

And no, I'm not downplaying the role of the arts at all, just noting that we can't all just pick some fun job for life, assuming that "someone else" will do the crummy but necessary job, and expect to be guaranteed a living wage. How many painted flowerpots does the world need, anyway?

Besides, if all we had to do was: "choose hir own work, and get paid a basic living wage." wouldn't we all choose to be rock stars?


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natas
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posted 21 July 2003 11:23 AM      Profile for natas   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Should it be a union, fighting for decent pay and working conditions

AND creating exclusionary conditions for artists working outside of the industrial apparatus. I absolutely support unions but on the level that I and my friends operate their methods do more to discourage than support.

ACTRA, for instance, is notorious for this. Their newish low-budget film contract, intended as a conciliatory gesture to frustrated members prohibited from acting on non-union, artist-driven projects, still demands a wage of over $300 a day.

So anyone who wants to respect the union's terms has to make a multi-hundred-thousand dollar production, therefore has to submit to the corporate approval apparatus, therefore makes shite (we ARE talking about the Canadian film industry here) (awaiting conterflame).

In other words, union tactics tend to re-corporatize the arts as they help individual members' lives. So are probably not the 'way forward' I'm driving at.

quote:
Or a theoretical group, working on the complex links between art and class struggle, being "revolutionary" artists while trying to avoid being a simple propaganda mill or toeing a party line?

In my experience the best way to avoid these pitfalls is to ground your research in PRACTICE rather than theory

quote:

One quibble - a lot of people who attempt to be artists wind up supporting themselves in a related field - commercial graphics, translation/editing in the case of writers, playing at weddings and such in the case of musicians. I'd still see us as artists as long as we make creative work a priority. Essential to pay the rent and art supplies somehow.

Sorry Lagatta - I must have spoke poorly, cause that's what I meant. Art work needs to be taken seriously as productive, socially contributing work, and it should be possible for artists to live off their work - WITHOUT kissing corporate ass. Didn't mean to diss the dayjobbers.

quote:
natas, are you familiar with any artist-run centres?

Familiar and somewhat active, more so in the past. In my opinion they often - usually, even - do great work.

This raises the issue of state funding, and how well the 'arms-length' grant jury process protects arts from political pressures and cliquism. And to what extent they reproduce the hierarchies of state/capital organization - a recurrent issue in my experience.

If smashing the state IS part of our agenda, can the current conception of public support for the arts survive as more than a stopgap? What would an alternative look like?

quote:

To begin with, they tend to be independent people, not joiners. The work is usually solitary, and so is the temperament.

I'm trying to extract the truth from this statement while minding the cliche. I find many artists to be totally social-minded people, in the themes they address, in personal temperament, and yes often in the way they organize - although less so once funding sources start imposing hierarchies, see above.

Solitary? Filmmaking, theatre, music are solitary pursuits? I think not. Aside from the need for open and responsive collaboration is the general tendency to want to interact with an audience, though that's a complicated relationship right there.

The truth in it is that the best art is motivated internally by its makers - if an artist works with imposed themes and forms (if those don't have personal resonance for her) it will show and the art will suffer. This could explain the tedium of the average Alliance-Atlantis feature film - we're so busy responding or refusing to respond to Hollywood that we can't forge any true form of our own (with obvious exceptions - Atanarjuat! Atanarjuat!!!)

quote:
Next, there are too many artists. I'm sorry, but it's true. There is more product than market. This means that artists compete - sometimes very fiercely - with one another.

This assumes the market is the most accurate measure of what is enough. I'm not going to debate the broader point, but it needs examination.

quote:

Then, you have the problem of self-employment. It's easier (say, rather, not quite as difficult) to organize employees, because there is a simple, obvious Us and Them relationship. So, performing artists can set a minimum standard for pay and conditions, because they work for somebody. When an artists - say, a sculptor or poet - has no employer, where are the lines? What are the issues? We make our own working conditions and safety standards; we choose our own work-place, set our own hours...

So maybe we need to move beyond the concept of 'organization' as it is presently constituted? (This obviously has implications well beyond the arts)

quote:

Everyone should be able to choose hir own work, and get paid a basic living wage.

In my opinion the necessities of life should not be held to ransom in exchange for labour! But yes everyone should be able to choose their own work. And in order to regulate the production of decorative flowerpots, we'd need maximum incentives for undesirable work, truly socialized planning, concepts of 'management' turfed, etc. It is indeed a pipe dream to achieve this within the organizational confines of The State. But all this is perhaps beyond the scope of this thread!!!

Oh, how to get down to specifics...does anyone have any inspiring case studies, perhaps???


From: Vineland Station, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 21 July 2003 11:28 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In my opinion the necessities of life should not be held to ransom in exchange for labour!

Hehe. That food's not going to grow itself, eh?


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natas
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posted 21 July 2003 11:36 AM      Profile for natas   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

In my opinion the necessities of life should not be held to ransom in exchange for labour!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hehe. That food's not going to grow itself, eh?


Oh, I don't mean to sound like the bearded guy at the convention. You know what I mean! To each according to need etc.


From: Vineland Station, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 21 July 2003 11:47 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd say a lot of us who have devoted ourself to artistic activities have made a hell of a lot of sacrifices, in terms of income levels and job security. I doubt most people would have been prepared to do that.

My only quibble with Natas long reply is that I think you are underestimating the importance of theory, which must be developed in a dialectic with practice and not in isolation from it. It is a sorry trend in the left in North America and leads to a short-term, over-pragmatic approach that is incapable of imagining and striving for another world.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 21 July 2003 12:07 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am the only reason there is still a publishing industry in Canada.

Well -- ok. Me and several thousand people just like me, editors, designers, craftworkers of many sorts who have spent their entire working lives subsidizing the industry by working for puny wages.

I don't see any very quick solution, though, by aiming just to see the arts state-funded or by arguing for perfect communism.

I do think that a GAI (guaranteed annual income) is imaginable within the next generation. That would leave lots of people with the incentive to earn more by taking paid employment, which is Mr Magoo's worry -- but there are many (and I'm one of them) who would be willing to live sparely in order to have the time that it takes to develop their own work.


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 21 July 2003 12:14 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Where does this GAI come from? I mean the money of course... what generates it? By any chance, will it simply be taken from the kind souls who've chosen paid employment?

quote:
but there are many (and I'm one of them) who would be willing to live sparely

Hehe. I believe you, but I also believe that many would, um, stretch the concept of "sparely" to include things that most of us would agree are luxuries, not necessities. Or would, in fact, take on some of this "employment" under the table so that they could double-dip. GAI for the food and roof, and under-the-table work for travel, entertainment, mood enhancers, etc.

What's "sparely" mean, in concrete terms?


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skdadl
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posted 21 July 2003 12:18 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
We'd have to discuss that.

Mr Magoo, I'm pretty sure that, poor as I am, I pay more in taxes than do many ultra-filthy rich people and corporations. The taxes come from people such as I as well ... And you, of course, I have no doubt.


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 21 July 2003 12:27 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya. If I cut myself shaving I pretty much bleed taxes. So ya, I guess that's part of my concern: if the next generation is offered a choice between paid employment or "discovering their navel" through the GAI plan, I'm not sure my deductions can handle the load. And I don't really want to work a 60 hour week because some "artiste" wants the genuine sable brushes, y'know?

That said, I'm not at all against art, nor a certain amount of funding of it by the government. But I also think that there needs to be some incentive for artists to actually do something relevant, something that people actually want to experience - and to guarantee them an income "just for being the most special them they can be" doesn't do that. If anything I think it would promote even more of the narcissistic self-indulgence that already permeates the art world.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 21 July 2003 03:22 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, current solutions to your worries involve the peer-review process someone refers to above.

And while, for political reasons, I usually defend that process and the funding bodies that run on it, I hafta admit that it has the unhappy effect of creating coteries among artists, ins and outs, more on political or personal bases than on strictly literary/artistic ones. I'm gonna get roasted for saying that, but I think it's almost unavoidable. Maybe that happens anyway in cities like Toronto. But no granting system is ever going to be awarding mainly the brilliant newcomers. It seems impossible ever to work out general rules for assessment that will not tend to the bureaucratic.


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 21 July 2003 03:39 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm gonna get roasted for saying that, but I think it's almost unavoidable.

Hehe. Not by me. I believe that the "art world" (pronounced "aaaht world") is really quite the scam. We let artists themselves tell us that they're making art, and that it's valuable, and that we need to fund them for this, and then we go ahead and give them money. Y'know.. because they said to.

And when something is totally, absurdly out of touch, completely irrelevant, entirely ridiculous - like "Voice of Fire" - we still let them tell us what we should think. And not surprisingly what we're supposed to think is that only artists "know" and "understand" art. And we'd best not question it or they'll sneer condescendingly at us the next time they line up for the money.

Personally, I'd be happy to see a lottery. You have "x" number of artists, and "y" number of funding dollars. Pull names out of a hat, and that's who gets funded. Whatever they want to do is fine. Of course there'd be much weeping and knashing of teeth, but mostly from artists who realize that they'd never make it in a world where someone might actually have to appreciate your art before you get paid.


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ronb
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posted 21 July 2003 03:39 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But I also think that there needs to be some incentive for artists to actually do something relevant, something that people actually want to experience - and to guarantee them an income "just for being the most special them they can be" doesn't do that.

...and, as we all know, the world would stop turning if all the corporate drones stopped surfing the internet 6.5 hours a day.

Whatever.


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skdadl
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posted 21 July 2003 03:41 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A ronb sighting! A ronb sighting!
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ronb
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posted 21 July 2003 03:44 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Incredibly busy the last little while. Still am, really. I've been lurking, but never long enough to post.
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DrConway
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posted 21 July 2003 09:52 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Where does this GAI come from? I mean the money of course... what generates it? By any chance, will it simply be taken from the kind souls who've chosen paid employment?

Most of the money would come from folding in all the money currently spent on OAS, GIS, EI and welfare. Backing all that into the GAI means the existing tax system would be able to pay for most of it and buggering with the payroll taxes to get the remainder of the money shouldn't be a huge deal.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 21 July 2003 09:55 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
And when something is totally, absurdly out of touch, completely irrelevant, entirely ridiculous - like "Voice of Fire" - we still let them tell us what we should think. And not surprisingly what we're supposed to think is that only artists "know" and "understand" art. And we'd best not question it or they'll sneer condescendingly at us the next time they line up for the money.

Tell me about it.

Everybody gets all shocked and a-lather when I dis the Voice of Fire purchase, or when I criticize "art" that looks like someone did their business on a canvas and then smeared the result around with a broom.

So why am I not allowed to call a spade a spade, as I see it?

quote:
Personally, I'd be happy to see a lottery.

Hey! You stole my idea! I came up with something like that a while ago! Copyright! Copyright! Juuuuuuuust kidding.


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'lance
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posted 21 July 2003 11:56 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
And when something is totally, absurdly out of touch, completely irrelevant, entirely ridiculous - like "Voice of Fire" ...

I dunno, Mr. Magoo, did you ever go see that painting, by chance? I didn't, mind you, but I did read testimonials by people who did -- no art theorists, mind you, just everyday gallery-goers, or even people who don't go to galleries every day, and who went specifically to see it, expecting to hate it and sneer at it.

Some did, of course. Some will always see and experience what they expect to. But some saw it differently in person, so to speak. I mean it is eighteen feet high, and eight wide. You can't convey the effect of something like that in newspaper prose, or in a reproduction. One fellow -- originally a skeptic -- said it had "space, depth, and proportion."

So it's just a big red band flanked by two thinner blue ones. So it's so simple, anyone should be able to do it. But so what? They said the same about the Beatles, in the early days, or the Stones, or the Sex Pistols, or.... The fact is, only a very few people can think of something like that, and even fewer carry it off in a way that impresses people who experience it in an unmediated way.

And even granting (which I don't, both because I didn't see the painting and because I know little, really, of art history or art criticism) that the painting is "totally, absurdly out of touch," etc. & so forth -- so what? Galleries -- in my view -- don't exist merely to collect and exhibit what someone, or some group thinks is relevant, beautiful, or whatever. (If you can come closer to defining relevance than millennia of thinkers have to defining beauty, I'll take my hat off to you).

At least, that's not necessarily their primary function. They exist to collect and exhibit what's going on, or what has gone on at this or that period in art history. Barnett Newman and others like him were part of what was going on at a particular period. They influenced some, were dismissed (and continue to be dismissed) by others, but still: they strove to find a new way of painting, and a new way of seeing. We can argue all night about whether they succeeded. But that's a good part of the point -- isn't it?

[ 22 July 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pathe Eton Hogg
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posted 22 July 2003 12:24 AM      Profile for Pathe Eton Hogg     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You could withdraw all funding for anything even remotely art oriented and outlaw art all together and still there would be all kinds of art. It comes from inside people not from taxes.
From: Iraqistan suburbs | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 22 July 2003 02:09 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think my next self-appointed profession will be Hehe-eraser. Gawd, that's annoying!
Still, Mr. Magoo isn't the only person on the planet with no imagination. Everybody godda be a wage-slave or we all gonna starve to death. This idea is based on the assumption that if i don't like a chore, somebody else has to be forced to do it.
bollocks
It doesn't pay to be a small farmer; people do it because they have a passion.
Everybody doesn't want to make interesting, beautiful flowerpots - that just happens to be one of the things i did for a while. Some people really want to take care of imperfect children, and are very good at it. Some people enjoy digging ditches - especially if they get to drive a backhoe, which is about the coolest machine ever built. Some people actually like sticking price labels on cans and choo-chooing a long row of shopping-carts throught the parking lot.
And almost nobody does, or wants to do, just one single task; most of us do several things, either concurrently os sequentially.

For every kind of work that needs to be done, there are people with the talent and desire to do it. The kinds of work that don't need to be done (manufacturing poison gas, brokering stocks, making up ridiculous ads, building barracks for armies of occupation) attract people who are only doing it for money.
Divorce work from profit, and everything that needs to be done will be done - by someone who loves it and does it well, instead of someone who hates it and does it barely adequately.

[ 22 July 2003: Message edited by: nonesuch ]


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 22 July 2003 10:41 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The kinds of work that don't need to be done (manufacturing poison gas, brokering stocks, making up ridiculous ads, building barracks for armies of occupation) attract people who are only doing it for money.

Divorce work from profit, and everything that needs to be done will be done - by someone who loves it and does it well, instead of someone who hates it and does it barely adequately.


I believe exactly this too.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 22 July 2003 10:49 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If this were, in fact, true, then why did Toronto have a garbage strike last summer? Surely there were some people who just love to throw garbage into the back of a truck on a hot summer's day, no? Why did we fork over money to a bunch of profit-motivated malingerers instead of just offering the job to those who would love it?

Perhaps we should offer up all the jobs like with a big job fair. Then you could look at the lines in front of the "Cleaning Staff" table, or the "Casual Labourer" table, and compare them to the "Rock Star" booth, or the "Do whatever you think is art and get paid for it" kiosk. Which do you think will have the longer lines??


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worker_drone
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posted 22 July 2003 11:49 AM      Profile for worker_drone        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Some people enjoy digging ditches - especially if they get to drive a backhoe, which is about the coolest machine ever built.

Well, this is true. But not everybody on the ditch digging crew gets to drive the backhoe. And what about the gas required to run it? Pulled out of the ground by a roughneck with a passion for dangerous, dirty, exhausting oil field work?

And when the backhoe breaks down, be prepared to wait a long time to have it fixed, because the supply of people with a passion for maintaining and fixing backhoes is bound to be a lot smaller than the demand for people with that passion.

It takes a lot of people doing a lot of different jobs to keep things running. It would be nice if everybody loved what they did 24/7, but that's not what life is all about.


From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Pathe Eton Hogg
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posted 22 July 2003 12:47 PM      Profile for Pathe Eton Hogg     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Every one of your systems is a utopian system. Democracy would be heaven--if people would just be better than people have ever been. Of course, Soviet Communism was supposed to have been heaven too--if people had just been better than people have ever been. Your justice system would work perfectly if people would just be better than people have ever been. And of course your schools would work perfectly under the same conditions."

My Ishmael

Perhaps of interest


From: Iraqistan suburbs | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 22 July 2003 01:23 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If this were, in fact, true, then why did Toronto have a garbage strike last summer?

Because it's a money-based relationship!
In fact, most people do want to have a clean and tidy environment to live in, and woudn't object to doing their share. It's precisely because we have artificially classified work as desirable and undesirable and forced the undesirable ones on some people, who don't get to do anything else. Solution: put twice as many people on the job for half the time, so they can make art the rest of the time. Oh, a produce a lot less garbage.
By the way, there is no such job as Rock Star. People who do useful work during part of the day can sing their hearts out in the evening, for the same basic pay. No megabucks, no competition.

So, why can't the road crew take turns driving the backhoe? And i personally know three people who totally love building and fixing machines. Given the chance, they would be happy to work on alternative energy sources, too.

There is no absolute, unchangeable law that things have be done in the way they are done now. The way things are done now doesn't satisfy the majority and isn't the most efficient. If it's possible to imagine a different system, it's possible to create one. Co-operation works better than force. The trouble is, there is no profit in co-operation.
People don't need to be better than they are; they need the opportunity to be as good as they are.

[ 22 July 2003: Message edited by: nonesuch ]


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
natas
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posted 22 July 2003 01:48 PM      Profile for natas   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hope folks start talking about art again sometime! Where's my case studies?

Here's one: my main experience with the lottery method has been the LIFT Salon des Refusees, of films rejected from the TIFF. Chosen by lottery. In my experience, 3/4 godawful - a ratio few curated festivals ever achieve. There's gotta be another way.

Of course, there's also Fringe, but the key there seems to be volume - lots of plays means more winners.

And may I say that - obscurantism and elitism forcefully put aside - you guys needs to develop some tolerance for failed experiments (and abstract stuff you don't understand/like) if you want to conceive a sustainable and diverse climate for artists!!! And there are LOTS of reasons why those experiments deserve our support. Nobody's first movie is a masterpiece.

Remember there IS at least one artist in the house so let's not talk shit like the baby's been put to bed


From: Vineland Station, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 22 July 2003 02:11 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Did somebody promise you a case study?

I do know of an artists' co-operative in BC, but not in any detail. My friend there is in the process of moving, so i can't even ask her right now. In our town, there is an artist's co-op that seems fairly successful. Thirty-odd crafters, sculptors and painters rent retail space and take turns working half days in the store; they have a rotating committee to decide who gets in.
I have no idea how you would go about organizing a composer or poet.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 22 July 2003 02:29 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
you guys needs to develop some tolerance for failed experiments (and abstract stuff you don't understand/like) if you want to conceive a sustainable and diverse climate for artists!!!

One shouldn't have to work to understand art any more than one should have to "decrypt" a novel written entirely in secret code. Unfortunately, it seems as if many artists of the modern era derive great joy from being as encrypted and mysterious as possible. In fact I'd go so far as to say that some would be positively crestfallen if their work ever gained popular approval. And god forbid that some no-nothing plebian ever hang a piece over top of a sofa!

I admire artists like Keith Haring. Art for everyone, no pretentious airs, no deeply hidden Foucaultian references, no need to have attended the Sorbonne to understand it. No need for a fancy gallery, no need for an artist's statement. Let's compare that with "Meat Dress".


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
natas
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posted 22 July 2003 09:11 PM      Profile for natas   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So you like cranial massages. I like games.
From: Vineland Station, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 22 July 2003 09:12 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't have a problem with art i don't understand. After all, every piece doesn't have to communicate with every viewer: maybe a picture i hate is deeply moving to someone else. But i do get annoyed when artists don't make an effort. A broken log just isn't art - especially if you didn't even break it yourself! And i get really pissed off when other people insist on sharing their taste in music with an unconsenting neighbourhood.
From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
natas
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posted 22 July 2003 09:14 PM      Profile for natas   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not that your point isn't exceedingly well taken, of course. Wank is bad - but there's sometimes a fine line between brilliant and stupid. Did I get that right?

Clever and stupid. The line was: clever and stupid. Name that reference. I'm reduced to this.

[ 22 July 2003: Message edited by: natas ]


From: Vineland Station, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Performance Anxiety
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posted 22 July 2003 09:50 PM      Profile for Performance Anxiety        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Oh, how to get down to specifics...does anyone have any inspiring case studies, perhaps???

I found this one inspiring:

Reclaim the Fringe!

What better way to blend arts & activism?


From: Outside of the box | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 23 July 2003 10:36 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for droppin' in, PA. I was just trying to make the point that sometimes what passes itself off as art is in fact just a self-referential "artiste" circle-jerk...
From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 23 July 2003 11:08 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why "artiste" in French and references to the Sorbonne - or to Foucault, in general a very clear writer? Subtle francophobia?

Having translated business and government documents as well as texts from the arts, and interpreted at some of those dreadful business "bonding" sessions, I can assure anyone that artists have no corner on self-referential obfuscation or meaningless pronouncements.

Nor do they have any corner on seeking out subsidies and grants for dubious projects.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 23 July 2003 11:56 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Insofar as France has always had a bit of a lock on culture and art, at least in the minds of North Americans, it seems reasonable that an artist with delusions of grandeur would see him/herself as an "artiste". Either that or it's a stereotype perpetuated by dozens of Saturday morning cartoons in which the "artiste" is wearing a smock, a beret, and speaks with a french accent.
From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Performance Anxiety
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posted 23 July 2003 03:44 PM      Profile for Performance Anxiety        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Art is nor a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."

Bertolt Brecht


From: Outside of the box | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 23 July 2003 05:42 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Which is probably why his plays come across as so pompously earnest and tediously didactic to me...
Or is it "pompously didactic and tediously earnest?"

[ 23 July 2003: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Performance Anxiety
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posted 24 July 2003 12:08 AM      Profile for Performance Anxiety        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What do you consider the priorities for activist organizing among artistic communities? What forms might such organization take?

Have a look at THE LYSISTRATA PROJECT to see how artists can organise on a global level. Artists need to link globally and act locally, sometimes in conjunction with others. Manifestos must be issued, and the institutions that dragoon the arts must be challenged and either reformed or overthrown.


From: Outside of the box | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 24 July 2003 08:47 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Put that way, i have to agree. Some organized projects - international and local - are wonderful. But only if they're accessible.
I wouldn't like to see yet another clique getting a stranglehold on art. On the whole, i would rather anarchize than organize.

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
5strings
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posted 03 August 2003 01:26 AM      Profile for 5strings     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Getting back to your question

quote:
Hope folks start talking about art again sometime! Where's my case studies?

Here's one: my main experience with the lottery method has been the LIFT Salon des Refusees, of films rejected from the TIFF. Chosen by lottery. In my experience, 3/4 godawful - a ratio few curated festivals ever achieve. There's gotta be another way.


To be brief, I found this anarchic link sometime ago and enjoy the mischief they wreak on corporations, etc. and gain wide popular support at the same time:

Culture Jamming 101


From: Totoland | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged

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