Geert Lovink on Wed, 9 Oct 96 08:45 MET

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nettime: Affordable Lunacy

>From Sun Oct  6 12:38:50 1996

I.B.W..... What?

I.B.W. pirateradio, I.B.W. consumervideos, I.B.W. performances, their boats,
their site, their Marketing-manager, their Hiroshima Lightshow, their five
And just as you start thinking "what is it all about?" you get to the heart
of the matter, because that's what it's all about.

I.B.W., representing dutch words that stand for Institute of Affordable
Lunacy consistently stretch the marginal surface of media. Not by charging
the sintelligentia with charriots full of monologues nor by surprising Fund
Commissions with wiry, monitory, barcody prototype-like enginery, but merely
with the help of juicy fiction generated by accessible technical features.
Their digital applications are low in "advancity", but effective, unbalanced
and attractive.

At the moment they are prepairing for their three days of Hiroshima
Lightshow, in Rotterdam (Nighttown/Popular 21, 22, 23 october), for their
small musical/performance/radio tour in Germany (Raskolnikof Dresden, 15
November, O2 Berlin, 16 November) and something like a battlefield-tableau
at the Military Academy of Breda, oddly enough, for a final commemoration of
200 years of Brabant Culture.

Only a week ago, they have performed an hour as closing-act at the
DEAF-festival, Rotterdam, with "Killcola Ultralight", an Internet-site
oriented Tableau-Vivant. Explicitly disregarding showbusiness-laws, their
show was strangely verbal and exceptionally slow, tailored especially for
the restless festival-scanning of the hip.

Hereunder you find two texts. First a Cold Amiga text, then a text by Oscar
Nuevo Electrico, their Marketing-manager.

Cold Amiga.

These performances are realised by two women with huge papier-mache heads.
Their dialogue is cut-up in a pleasant sequential rythm (Amiga-computer).

A. I am a firm believer of truth, of stories, of whatever they say, of what
is written in John Livingston Seagull, of lies, of whatever they advertise.
Of Stanley Livingston, I am a firm believer of  truth, of lies, I presume.

B. Of flies ?

A. Of lies...

B. So you believe in King Arthur, in Scientific American, in the secret
teachings of Carlos Delgado, and in the Pravda. So you believe in the
lyrics of the beatles and that Neil Armstrong was the first man on
mars...and that he was, big, human, kind.
Then you must be a firm believer of Killcola Ultralight.

(musical break)

A. But Killcola doesn't help against headache, the clap, Bolimia,=

B, No Hemorroids are what you get when you come to late at work, when your
neighbour loves hard-rock, if you are in love with a teenager, and of
course if you think of Killcola Ultralight.

A. But I read the prescriptions, I saw the show, I was informed by Hillary
Clinton, and still I have

B ...a headache, the clap, hemmrooids and a husband that does not drink
Killcola because he is in love with Tina Turner.

(musical break)

A. How did you know about my man, my teacher, my portable poempiepoempie,
my hero Cassis, my decapitated anarchist turned into artschool teacher.

B. In the days that I had problems with kidneys, problems with my liver,
problems with my pancreas, and with my cave of Ali Baba...I met
your man, your teacher, your portable poempiepoempie, posing for the
national geogaphic, ehh, the national georaphic, ehhh

A. Oh yes, that's right, was it on that article about Bolivia, about
waterskiing in Cuba, about poisonous eggs in Tasmania, about the french in
BienBienFou, or was it in the Great Killcola Barbecue Bible ?

Oscar Nuevoelectrico's:
The ontological status of contemporary art. Not the destination nor the car
is real; only the ride.

For centuries artists has been squeezed between the hand maiden of
metaphysics and theology and free-lancer in the art business.

Ever since classical Greece, we have been imprisoned in the idea that there
is something, that we can learn to know what there is, and that what is, is
beautiful, in the sense that it is worthwhile depicting. Art was given the
role of reflecting what is, and after Kant it became the modality par
excellence in which the Ding an Sich (Object as such), which I cannot reach
with my rational powers, is likely to manifest itself. This essence
thinking reached its peak in the atomic belief and the Newtonian laws of

Cratylos: Don't call things by name, only point at them

               Parmenides --- Pythagoras --- Plato
Greeks: Objects --- relationship between objects -- (mathematical)
Thing/entity ---relation with other entities --mathematical=
Middle Ages:                    ens creatum
Descartes:                              ego cogito
Kant:                                   Ding-an-Sich

1900:           Die Zusammenbruch des (deutsche) Idealismus

If we enmesh reality in immutable laws and nothing is subject to change,
does anything happen then ?
Having arrived at the peak of our knowledge we come up against the paradox
that something [an entity] is something else at the same time. [a=3D-a].=
led after stormy discussions (EPR debate) to the de-mechanization of the
Greek-Christian world view and the decline of the atomistic belief at the
beginning of this century.
1927; "In the search for the smallest atom of immutability the object seems
to disappear before my eyes." Heisenberg.
1927; "The idea of substances arises only when the conditions making
entities possible are forgotten or concealed. 'Dasein' is not an object
with properties but rather the 'happening' of a life course stretched out
between birth and death." Heidegger.
Being already in the world, ahead of our self, we constitute our self by
what we do. Heisenberg formulated his uncertainty principle in a very
succinct way. Heidegger told us the same story in a long-winded way. While
Duchamp simply showed it. The ready-to-hand is more primordial than the
material object, or as Wittgenstein put it: meaning is use.

2.     =20
If nothing happens then there is nothing.

In this de-mechanistic world,without things and causal effects, less is
more and even Tinguely's machines are no longer beyond our comprehension.
That is why they do not fascinate us any longer, unless we are part of them
travelling at very high speeds. At Disneyland we undergo Dionysian dizzying
which rules out the need for other kinds of euphoria.
Reality is, in the first place, a question of happenings, and happiness is
a warm gun.

The fascination for the happening in modern art.

Reflection of nothing yields nothing; which is why art after Duchamp is
purely happening or event. And since there is no outside any more, all art
is now always a 'Gesamtkunstwerk'. But the art business even knew how to
aestheticize the gestures of Duchamp, and Malewitzsch' 'gegenstandlosen
welt'. Both were not radical enough. Their deeds were still too object
like. Their attempts were still too dependent on the object likeness in
which they expressed their stories. As were their followers, who only used
their bodies or their voices; the remains of those happenings were
exhibited in museums because people still believed in representational art
in mimesis.

This thinking is still controversial. The art business in particular is
still obsessed by the object, and objectizes the happening in an attempt to
be a locus veritatis [true location].  This disastrous museumification of
the 'artistic' happening is a last attempt at idealisation and at nailing
down the ideal thing. The enthusiasm with which this takes place is
assuming the form of a mannerism. Since the object has disappeared , the
enthusiasm is directed at the mannerism used to represent ideas.
(Modus aestheticus)

4.     =20
But the only locus veritatis [true location] is there where the action is.

Aesthetics has grasped its chance now that the ideas have disappeared.
Profiling itself as Culture. In this way, the museum creates the erroneous
impression that it is a locus veritatis. It achieves this by the astounding
and sacred method of presentation. However, the museum is full of deceptive
images about which phantom subjects converse. The real world, in which the
real events take place, is on the streets and in the shop-window displays
of shopping malls and showrooms. We receive representations of this via the
letter box and via television. This is where we see the new belief and the
legitimacy of our civilization. The advertising mail shot does not allow
itself to be objectized. It functions as an event in a continually
recycling flow.
There is evidence that artists too, under the pressure of the art business
and philosophers without imagination, have been contaminated by the poison
of aesthetics. They too are increasingly 'kaltgestelt' [put out in the
cold] and drown in the soup of aesthetification.
For the living artist, the museum is a prison, for the dead a mausoleum.
For the artist who allows him/herself to be pushed into this mummifying
role, there is nothing left for it but to behave as a capillary tube in
front of romantic art lovers.

5.     =20
Accidents without ens.

Today's artist rebels against this simplifying confusion of
aesthetification. Her art is for a new audience. An audience with no
knowledge of the dead taste of the institutes and above all, no knowledge
of the cannons which would 'normalise' or 'standardise' their taste. The
artists lets in the happening, the beautiful sink down into the night of
intuition in which all judgements are equally valid and all cats are black
(even Schr=F6dinger's.) The new artist takes offence at the rigidity of the
sense of aesthetics which clings obstinately to the illusion. Fortunately,
the aesthetic also contains the anaesthesia, and this is overwhelmingly the
line of approach of contemporary art. The artistic deed always evokes
nostalgia, but also leads to amnesia. In this way, contemporary art
protects us from an excess of truth.

The philosophical obsession of reasoning, as we still saw with Heidegger is
processed and cured under the influence of Strawson and Davidson. Not by
reasoning or even by its opposite. Truthful wares are to be found in
warehouses and on the shelves of supermarkets. It is there and in the media
that truth happens.

The ontological status of contemporary art.

Modern media are not susceptible to objectizing [turning into an object].
Electronic art f.i. cannot be hung on the wall, not even on a flat screen.
The image changes constantly and is gone when you switch off the power.
That's why electronic art is a happening. An accidents without ens. Dasein
ohne sein, just do it, enjoy the real Coke, Sein ist Zeit. "Reality is only
temporary, a process imitating things that went before, without a
satisfying answer anymore" . {USA}

Paper Dutch Electronic Art Festival, Rotterdam, 22nd September 1996.
Wim Langenhoff/Oscar Nuevo Electrico/IBW Eindhoven

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