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[Nettime-bold] Let's Get It On: This is the Story of the Hurricane
Nmherman on Sat, 12 Jan 2002 09:16:02 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Let's Get It On: This is the Story of the Hurricane

Subj: Re: (Fwd) Re: RHIZOME_RAW: art is dead 
Date: 1/11/2002 2:50:54 PM Central Standard Time
From: Nmherman {AT} AOL.COM
To: porculus {AT} WANADOO.FR, list {AT} rhizome.org
Sent from the Internet (Details)

In a message dated 1/11/2002 5:50:10 AM Central Standard Time, porculus {AT} WANADOO.FR writes:

> Please don't grammer/spell check me
> tonight, I'm wayyyyyy too tired.

er your grammar zuking too honez?

Don't listen to Proculus, sick, he's like a mad jester who throws poop at the king.
He's like a French Hell's Angel sans barba.

Anyway, back to the topic.  I won't copy and respond line my line, that's how brains and threads get bloated.  We musn't bewilder the jury or they'll declare a mistrial and the class will grow up not liking the topic.

Didn't know that refute meant that Jess.  In American "refute" means "to disprove a statement or person," and in chess it means to prove that a given line of play is losing.  So I hopped the gun, water under the bridge.  My bad.

Also, I should clarify, I think that medical theory is excellent and germaine.  I mentioned foucault because I think he helped give medical theory a bad name.  But I myself greatly support medical theory, particularly when applied to biological systems ( not necessarily individual organisms only).

I do think Pomo says Art is always already fragmented and disunited, i.e. not a coherent organism, by which I suggest that Pomo begs the question of Art being dead--they seem to assume it cannot be.

I probably shouldn't have started quoting people and history, that always fucks one up. 

I guess I have to throw myself, ultimately, on the mercy of the court.  I will close by reitierating that I think Art is dead.  Empty wind I know, and I know I will probably lose the case.  But if we compare Art to the ancient Egyptian religion of pharoahs and gods, I think it's true that Art is more machine than human, more a system of money and rules than of human expression, and is therefore dead.  Humanity is drowning, and Art is like a life preserver with no true buoyancy despited what the label says. 

The problem I guess is that I'm begging the question that Art can ever be alive. 

For an anecdote, I have spraypainted "Genius 2000" on my car here in Minneapolis.  I get a fair number of looks and comments.  Yesterday a woman in a van was waving a large handful of fanned US currency at me, during a whole red light, say 30 seconds.  I like to think that when people see my car, they know or suspect that something is not dead, but it's not exactly Art they think might be alive.

So basically I have nothing more to say except that I might not know what I'm talking about.

I don't think expression or genius are dead, just dormant or suppressed like a wolf's phenotype is dead in a zoo.  I think Art at best is always only a finger pointing us in the direction of that which is alive, i.e. the Tao, or G2K, or say love.  But it is an important admonishment of Zen never to attribute life to the koan itself, or the image itself.  (Again, I am begging the question by suggesting that image-systems are always by definition dead.) 

I'm just apprehensive of the golem, that which appears alive but is not.  I take Art as a Western idea that might be just another golem which needs to have the magic word put in its mouth.  I also think that the institutions are not outside Art, but have gotten into it like a cancer and the condition is terminal.  That's what Norbert Wiener said, the machines have taken over and we humans are gone from the picture. 

Is it possible for expression (a decent word for Art) to be dead?  I believe yes.  Can it always come back to life at the drop of a hat?  That's debatable.  Jesus said, "he who finds his life shall lose it, and he who loses his life shall find it."  So it's a paradox.  The pharisees were artists and the early church was a museum/library institution.  Jesus essentially said "all your expressions are dead." 

Overall I think western Art or Art of the last 2000 years always was a machine, always dead.  Humans haven't really ever gotten out of the zoo.  When we do, thanks to G2K-type ideas, what we do with our expression won't be reasonably described as Art. 

Another suggestion:  democracy is dead too.  Many people say democracy can never die, it's always just either dormant or active.  I think Noam Chomsky would argue that what we think of as living democracy is actually just a fabrication, a golem, and we believe something dead to be alive.  My parents are fine people, and they don't think democracy is dead.  I'm worried that it is.  If human expression ever really lives to its fullest, develops and matures to its fulfillment, we'll realize that democracy is dead.  What we replace it with might be alive, but it won't be what we now call democracy, this new living thing or ecosystem or organism.

This is all my weak and sloppy attempt to argue that humanity is dead and I am the messiah; Art will pass into dust and G2K will animate all the planet.  All the sparks we've seen, what we call the life of Art, in my cockeyed view, are just early glimpses of G2K that have yet to mix together and take humanity into life.  Picasso, Pollock, Da vinci, Cervantes, all of them are just early versions or snapshots of Genius 2000. 

I once got a book for Christmas, "The Story of Art," by mainstream englishman E.H. Gombrich.  His first sentence is, "there is not such thing as Art; there are only artists."  So the problem is not so easy, even for traditionalists.

What happens when everyone is an artist and everything is Art?  Then we have G2K and neither artists nor Art.  Art is not alive, but we are trapped in it, as since humans have potential for life, lieb/love/body, once we escape the trap we will have proven that Art is dead and always was.  When Genius 2000 lives and walks, Art will perforce be dead. 

Blah blah blah, huh?  It's unbelievable, plus I have errands to run and friends to entertain at 3.  Not to mention a chess match at 6. 

I will end my lecturing by saying that Wrigley's Doublemint gum seems alive, but really it's dead.  Life is more than just reproduction and materiality.  It's a neurobiological thing, a bigger standard for life than just walking and breathing.  Art has very little if anything to do with life.  All the famous artists know this or should know, but they are trained never to reveal the paucity of their value.

Don't make Art, make Genius 2000!

Max Herman
Incubating the Human Preemie