Archiving creative culture

Week 52: Public Collectors & Against Competition

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is the final event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

To wrap up the year, we’ll be talking with Marc Fischer, one of three members of Temporary Services, about his project “Public Collectors” network. In conjunction with this project we will also be discussing Marc’s manifesto entitled “Against Competition” which can be downloaded below.

The Public Collectors project seeks to redress what amounts to a massive and systemic cultural oversight whereby countless cultural artifacts are either deemed unworthy for collection by public libraries, museums and other institutions or the archives currently in existence are not readily accessible to the viewing public.

Therefore, Public Collectors invites individuals who have had the occasion to amass, organize, and inventory various cultural artifacts to help reverse this bias by making their collections public. The purpose of the project is to provide access to worlds of collected materials so that knowledge, ideas and expertise can be freely shared and exchanged.

An initiative of this kind gains its meaning and importance against the backdrop of the culture of artificial scarcity upon which mainstream artworld values are founded. The majority of this artworld is structured in this way, and not surprisingly so, as competition between individuals is at the heart of free market capitalism. Grants are competitive. Students compete for funding. Hundreds compete for a single teaching position. Artists compete with artists – stealing ideas instead of sharing them, or using copyright laws to prohibit thoughtful re-use. Artists typically compete for exhibitions in a limited number of spaces rather than seeking alternative exhibition venues. Artists conceal opportunities from their friends as a way of getting an edge up in this speculative capital-driven frenzy. Gallerists compete with other gallerists and curators compete with curators. Artists who sell their work compete for the attention of a limited number of collectors. Collectors compete with other collectors to acquire the work of artists. Essentially, these are the many reasons that make Plausible Artworlds plausible; that make alternate artworlds, premised on pooling resources and mutualizing incompetence, so important. We felt that it was all too fitting to conclude 2010’s discussions with some words that might help describe art beyond competition.



Week 52: Public Collectors & Against Competition

Mark: Hello.

Scott: Hello.

Mark: Hey.

Scott: Hey can you hear me okay?

Mark: Yeah.

Scott: Sweet. Okay. Give us just a quick sec to make sure the audio all works and everything or not. How about now? Is this better now?

Mark: It sounds good to me.

Scott: All right cool. So Mark welcome, it's great to have you in on this chat. If anybody gets dropped from the call just let us – please flag somebody down in the text chat and we can add you back or if anything else if you need anything just let us know and we'll try to keep the text chat and the audio synced. Just a tiny announcement. Also if anybody doesn't want to be recorded let us know but I guess staying on the call assumes that you do want to be. Yeah it's awesome to have you Mark finally to talk about Public Collectors Project as part of this series.

Mark: Yeah thank you. I'm getting a little echo there is that okay?

Scott: Yeah let's see. Do you have headphones by chance?

Mark: Not on me at the moment.

Scott: Yeah if you turn down your audio just a little bit it might help cut the echo.

Mark: Oh okay. How's this?

Scott: It sounds good for us. And so this week everyone –

Renee: Oh great Adam's here.

Scott: Mark as long as I understood that properly you'd like to have a really informal chat.

Mark: I mean whatever works. I'm trying to figure out how to turn off the chat notifications that are popping up crazily.

Scott: Oh right on Skype. Yeah I think one thing you can do is if anybody actually really cares about this you could go up to your Skype preferences and then there's a flag called Notifications and you can uncheck your little notification boxes…

Mark: Oh okay.

Scott: …and you won't get all those little notices. It might help. Oh yeah there's a couple of new people in the chat we should probably add.

Renee: Hi Mark.

Mark: Hi Renee, how are you doing?

Renee: Good how are you?

Mark: I'm well.

Renee: Good so am I. Very briefly here before I depart tomorrow back to Amsterdam.

Mark: Oh I'm sorry [inaudible 03:27].

Renee: Yeah. Well you know it's the Philadelphia holiday thing.

Mark: Yeah.

Renee: Are you in Chicago?

Mark: Yeah.

Scott: Yeah Mark why aren't you here dude?

Renee: Yeah why aren't here dude?

Mark: I'm sorry [inaudible 03:49].

Scott: Oh really from this side too.

Renee: Yeah it's hard to understand.

Scott: All right hold on a sec let me mute ours and see if it's us.

Renee: Okay.

Mark: Okay that's the headset.

Scott: All right.

Mark: Hello.

Scott: Yeah hey. So is it us that's doing the buzzing?

Renee: There's a phone…

Mark: Yeah it sounds like it.

Renee: Greg has phone use speakers.

Scott: No phone in pocket. Let's move this back a little bit.

Renee: Is this better? Can you hear us better now? Hello.

Mark: It sounds fine to me.

Renee: Does it sound okay?

Greg: Yeah that sounds better on my end.

Renee: Okay is that Greg. Hi, Greg.

Greg: Yeah hi Renee. How are you?

Renee: Good how are you?

Greg: Good.

Renee: We have a little small party here.

Scott: Totally.

Renee: Party of six.

Scott: And for anyone who hasn't been here…

Renee: Seven.

Scott: …before just feel free to chime in any time. If you want to say something you could just come on up and speak in the microphone or just flag us down if you'd rather do something like that or just hang out. But yeah so okay I think we're all good with the peculiarities of Skype and just the general kind of tech check stuff. So Mark what I think would be really awesome, and I guess just in case there's any question about it, what I was hoping we – and I think what several of us are hoping we could talk about today were two things. One your Public Collectors Project the initiative or whatever you want to call it, the network or whatever, and I think it would be great to talk about that as a proposal for a different kind of artworld or even maybe a component of a different kind of artworld.

And whether it's usually referred to that or not that's what we're looking at, and so just really at any step along the way it would be great to talk about the again competition text which we called a manifesto even though you might not call it that.

Mark: I believe its okay.

Scott: Okay. So yeah I mean if you don't mind would you give like a brief description of Public Collectors for people who aren't familiar with it at all…

Mark: Sure.

Scott: …just so there's some context?

Mark: Sure. I mean I can tell you maybe just an easy way to do this would be the sort of short version would be to read the About Text of the Web site. So just a sort of a basic introduction to the project it has worked a bit. Public Collectors consist of incorporated for collectors around the content of their collection to be published and permit those who are curious to directly experience the objects in person. Participants must be willing to type of an inventory of their collection provide any contact and share their collection with the public. Collections can be based on any GAA web page.

Public Collectors is found under the publication under their many types of cultural artifacts. The public libraries and museums other institutions and archives either do not collect or do make real accessible. Public Collectors ask individuals who have the luxury to a mass an organized inventory of these materials to help reverse this [inaudible 07:56] Collections Public. And that's sort of first happened to kind of basic background. The sort of thing that inspired this for the past 12 years I've been part of the group Temporary Services selling from the group also present tonight in the background somewhere.

And you know and we're sort of basically collaborate work is within the main focus of my creative work for about the past 12 years and in terms of institutional collections this kind of work is usually pretty much on the margins. There's not a lot of collectors support for it. And commercial gallery support or interest in this kind of work when you have a bunch of artists working under a group name. Likewise, one of the groups themselves aren't necessarily very interested in the commercial gallery world either. I am certainly am not that hasn't been an inspiring or motivating kind of place to present the work I do either by myself or in groups.

So a lot of what I do a lot of what I'm involved with you can't just sort of go to a museum and see it, you can't go to a commercial gallery and ask the galleries to pull out material from the backroom or anything like that. So this stuff tends to kind of be hiding either in our own homes or people in our networks. So because a lot of groups are not involved with commercial galleries our group makes a lot of publications and I make a lot of publications. They may also just sort of I'm interested in books I'm interested in cat title things like records. I think the original stuff is important and means something that is different from, it's a digital version of that thing, but I think it's important to have primary experiences with be kind of a sumeria that results from different creative practices.

And so as a result of the kind of work I do my apartment is just kind of filled with years and years of publications made by other people, publications I've been involved if I meet someone new that'd be [inaudible 10:30]. And so if you wanted to see – if you were in Chicago and you wanted to see actually the publications made by the finished collaborative duo I see 98. Well I mean nobody really has this stuff. You can't go to the Public Library you can't go to the Art Institute or Columbia College's Library or Northwestern Library. The best collection of that stuff is probably in my apartment because they're friends and we've exchanged so much material.

Then there are other individual practitioners that I've had a long friendship with who have just sent me many, many years of material either as an exchange or as a gift. So for example, my friend Angelo who Temporary Services worked with on a project called Prisoners Inventions for the moment he's still incarcerated in California and I've been holding onto all of his creative output for about the past 20 years. A French artist Brulo Richard is very obscure in the US just through our friendship I probably accumulated like a six foot stack of material of his work in my apartment. That's not really kind of, it's not being activated at all, it's not really being seen by anyone other than myself, and it's kind of not really doing anyone any good just sort of sitting in boxes.

So the idea with Public Collectors was that people all over the country have all kinds of stuff but it's sort of unavailable, it's not accessible unless they make some kind of disclosure about what they have or once they become more generous in offering that up for viewing, for information. Maybe the way it's accessed isn't that someone comes over to your house but they just email because there's one thing they wanted information about. I try to keep my record collection inventoried which is sometimes a very difficult task. But yeah sometimes someone will email from Holland or from Sweden or something and then they don't need to hear the record they just need like a little piece of information. They need to know do you have a copy of the comic book that came with it is there any chance you can scan that and make a PDF of it? So usually I'll accommodate a request like that and I'll scan this thing and put it up on the Web site.

So there're a bunch of resources I've made available myself and then there's other people who've made artist books available some really, really hard to see things. Steven Perkins lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin and has a tremendous collection of artist books in the sumera and he's inventoried everything and made that available. And Green Bay is an area that doesn't have particularly great museums but if you were interested in certain kinds of art practice I mean Steven has a really extraordinary collection and he's willing to share that. And not only do you get to see the actual stuff but you also get to benefit from his expertise. I mean he's surely knowledgeable about this stuff it's what he's most passionate about. So it's a very different experience to encounter something like that in someone's home with collector present able to illuminate the material, create a context for it, than it is to just sort of find it on a Web site.

Can you guys hear me okay?

Scott: Yes we can totally hear you.

Mark: Oh good.

Scott: We just muted temporarily so you didn't hear the Kung Fu over our heads.

Mark: Okay. So okay maybe you should just leave it there because I'm hearing that echo. Cool.

Scott: Yeah I just pasted in a link for one of the images from one of the collection on the Web site everybody, the Public Collector's Web site. There's just tons of examples of the different kinds of not necessarily art that some of the people are collecting. So what I like about this Mark - I mean I don't know can you hear me okay?

Mark: Yeah. I'm getting that crazy chatter.

Scott: Hold on. Is that better?

Mark: I think so.

Scott: Oh man okay. I don't know what that could be but we moved the mic a little bit away and it's better. So I don't know one of the things that really interest me is that like what Public Collectors is, is more than just a bunch of stuff right. I mean it's not exactly an antique road show like in miniature. Although there's not necessarily a huge difference between some of the items in this something like that. I mean it would be fine…

Mark: Yeah just to be clear that my concern with art with all kinds of the [inaudible 15:45] updates. So it includes – it's moved a bit. What are the problems of the projects is that other people offered to [inaudible 15:58] for direct period that kind of project has really not worked very well. Most people I think sort of like towards the internet they are not actively making the effort to go visit these things. I'm not those requests. And I kind of realized that while I think that part of it is important and I do want to continue hosting these inventories and information to people who do have things they want to share.

The site was getting a lot of traffic and it also made sense that maybe there's some claims that since some people are going to persist in dealing with mostly the Web site that there's more I could offer in digital format. So one way of dealing with that is to start just making PDFs of [inaudible 16:53] obscured books. And obviously there are other sources to this kind of material but compared to say like the underground music world does a really amazing job at archiving I think. There are tons of cassettes that were released in an email in like 250 copies or some like obscure [inaudible 17:16] there are only 500 copies of. Even though these things were available in such quantities someone has done that work to digitize a lot of that material. And of course you always come across things you can't find an MP3 of, but the sort of underground music culture world has done a really good job of spreading things around much, much better than people in the arts or sort of other kinds of Sumera documentation.

So making PDFs of obscure publications was the way of providing something I think sort of needs to be amped up a bit. Like for example, Kim Isaac's "Living the Instructors Book" or the book that White Columns published on the "Artist Run Restaurants". That's a book that's been out of print for a long time it's very, very expensive to purchase in the secondary market. And so I basically just decided just too sort of pop up question about licensing. And I basically just define copyright and scan the material and there's nothing adversity just need assist about. But I focus on things that are out of print and some of these things they've been downloaded several thousand times. I think "Dumb Book" has been downloaded 2000 times so far this year. So these are things that are just very, very hard to see. I've also…

Scott: Sorry Mark I just wanted to mention or just ask you or just clarify that this isn't really only about the archiving of the objects whether digital or physical. I mean it's important to you that people get together in person to look at these things and talk about them right. And more than that when someone agrees to be part of this archive in affect what they're agreeing to isn't just to list their stuff online because like I think Christian's comment just kind of another follow-up question that it begs is do the people that are listing the stuff even have a right to distribute in terms of copyright laws. But more than that I think what they're agreeing to is allow to people to come into their homes right.

Mark: Right or to accompany some of the way they meet at some other location if that's preferable for – I mean another potential I saw with this is that perhaps things could be borrowed for exhibits. And so by making something that's available to someone maybe it's available to show but also there might be a situation where you're chairing something and you really need this one poster or this publication to sort of fill out representation of some kind of practice in a media event.

Or for example, one of the things I collect are records, music or standup comedy they were recording inside prisons. So there's these concert albums the most famous ones for example people like Johnny Cash at the [inaudible 20:44] or Tim [inaudible 20:47]. So there may be pure things like [inaudible 20:50] too or this vocal group where a Motown producer came into the prison but what I was interested in this relationship between people on the inside and people on the outside who are the audience for these records and then sort of movement back and forth between people in prison and the public. And even though much of these records for an exhibit I had maybe 45 examples right, but there are certainly other examples of these records they know about that either can't find but I can afford them.

So if the project existed for this kind of material at the time I was organizing this show captive audience at this gallery 400 in Chicago it would have been really great if I could have approached someone who disclosed [inaudible 21:43] and said hey, [inaudible 21:46 muffled audio] exhibit it's just going to go in front of all and is to be played but it'll [inaudible 21:52] if you try. But it's even knowing that someone had this thing and knowing that there was a way to experience it and to ask about it and find something about it that would have been very useful to me.

So they're – yeah I mean if you do participating in making yourself available to visit it’s not really to duplicate the issue. I mean there are people who participate and you could ask what could record this cassette for or something but that's going to be up to their discretion how they want to be helpful. But basically asking people to about other challenged just inventory collection is incredibly time the way they tested the obligation. So a lot of people saw participation as they began doing that work is really – and so I tended to focus a bit more on the digital industry as I'm looking at [inaudible 23:08].

Renee: We have a couple of questions for you.

Scott: Yeah would you mind coming to the mic.

Lee: Hey Mark its Lee.

Mark: Hey Lee.

Lee: How you doing?

Mark: Good.

Lee: Hey I kind of have a question. I'm pretty familiar with Public Collectors and I just got the Public Collectors blog Ezine from you which I loved. And I was interested in what you were talking about in terms of exhibiting it and how it could – and it's something I'm curious about as a curator I often thing about exhibiting things right and there's always this kind of pressure to show what's new. What's interesting about if you want to curate a show that either consisted of archives from Public Collectors or was something like that obviously there's that pressure of what's new and how do you present something that is a collection I guess? Who is the artist?

Who is the – I know I'm throwing a lot of different junk in here – and I'm kind of wondering about that and I'm also thinking about I obviously love the book that you guys have done that Temporary services did on public phenomenon and I'm also thinking of Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane's book on "Folk Archive". If that's just another kind of thing that you're building toward with your Public Collectors project or if there's other venues more social media ways of kind of getting the work out there to different people. Can you answer any of that or none of that?

Mark: What will help you launch exhibition and using this as a way of pulling things into public view that are usually neglected it's definitely something I'm more interested. And the Art Gallery of Knoxville did in 2008 maybe they did a Public Collectors show which mostly focused on local material. So [inaudible 25:16] has a lot of [inaudible 25:18] who collect these basically the Facebook like old school book with drawings by children then they're sort of in the margins or you have these drawings from late 1800s or early 1900s.

There are archives in digital collections and [inaudible 25:43] for anti sources. This should drag out all of these pages like drawings [inaudible 25:55] or like [inaudible 25:56] houses and the type of photo of a mountain in some ancient text book. And this is the kind of work that there the archive is not and probably would not have sought her out for an exhibit.

Renee: Right.

Mark: But because of Public Collectors participation connected to the [inaudible 26:13] that was really to be able to do that. One anecdote to people maybe being a little reluctant to go to some stranger's house and [inaudible 26:24] just sort of dried things out and bring them to some other sites. So there was an event I coordinated at mess hall where I basically brought all of the [inaudible 26:35] Bruno Richard who sent me over the last nine years or so and laid it on the table and we can go through all the envelopes. We had like this thick packages with hundreds of sheets of paper in them. And still different drawings and sort of copies and layout from books and things like that.

And so I think more and more of that would certainly be a way to do this. Right now I just finished teaching a course called Collections and Archives and this creative practice at Columbia College in Chicago and the student from that class were doing this exhibit. And it's really fun because a student gallery it's normally reduced to showing student photographs, paintings and drawings or videos. And the exhibits kind of crazy if on one hand you have like one student has some slide in event in stage with 35 video tapes packed of like all the watching the appearances and her and her mom and her sister recorded in like the late '90s early 2000s. One student like coupled together her grandmother's salt and pepper shaker collection so there's sort of fancy [inaudible 28:00] equality.

And some other people – another student who's father's death and also didn't have the money so he's mostly distributing a visual thing related to Chicago sports which he feels like every opportunity that he can. And she made a video and start talking in sign language with her subtitles describing all the different ways the [inaudible 28:27] collection which involves [inaudible 28:31] in Chicago to cut down Chicago Bears and Cubs better [inaudible 28:37]. So that's also a way of kind of pushing some of the event spaces to include things that normally get left out because there's some other cultural – you might be quite interesting if you get a chance to properly see it. But there is this sort of outside parameters of what you care about.

And so I mean part of the opera or Public Collectors and [inaudible 29:10] problem can become kind of addicted to somewhere in this culture of all of these people through sharing things and commenting on each other's things. And it's very gratifying to post something and then see [inaudible 29:27] come up with responses or people [inaudible 29:29] and maybe add like a personal note or something. And that's going to be another way of activating just all the stuff that surrounds me in my home. So it's sort of like a project of every day to kind of find some other formulas they had that looked in a lot of and pull out some kind of material like a lot of [inaudible 29:53] flyers for a rally about lack of support for people in Philadelphia but the flyers from like 1987 there's others [inaudible 30:05]. Twenty to 500 people have died so far and that was really kind of in the early days of that disease being identified.

And yeah it'll be nice to have like a more larger focus for [inaudible 30:20] this kind of stuff but there is just one thing that can be added to that larger turnout [inaudible 30:27].

Renee: It's Renee. That was my question just to go back because I've been to your house, I've seen a lot of the archives, and I know what you've been up to for a few years now. And then I was curious about how culminate everything together and then how does the network work so that it's distributed. I remember getting Temporary Services or your mailing a while back, maybe two or three years ago, asking for your public collection. Are you then the hub of everything that people go through you or is it through this personal network or is it that sometimes things come in out of the blue for example?

Mark: There are people that tend to be off the blue of the things that that they want me to host. I mean I have a question about like how much was really all necessary because obviously there's many, many have represented and they're obviously switched the groups...

Renee: Yeah exactly.

Mark: …which looks really I mean much better than I'm doing. And you sometimes hear people asking those groups. Mostly I don't want to put anything between people who participate in Public Collectors. So if someone asks me something I certainly don't want to feel [inaudible 31:49] that person. They may provide their email contact and someone else gets in touch with. So there're been a number who have I've sort of used this on the Web site to promote what they had but then it's on them for smaller and want to do a story about the collector, they want to borrow image for something.

Scott: Hey Mark.

Mark: Yeah.

Scott: Scott here. Just correct me if I'm wrong about but isn't there a difference in the sense between Public Collectors the kind of title project that has to be that in order to show it and Public Collectors the proposal? What I mean is Public Collectors it's not just a specific item right. It's a proposal for another kind of distributed ownership of cultural, not necessarily artifacts or heritage or whatever, but yeah I guess so cultural heritage or cultural artifacts or the things that like give the creative output that we make but also just creative…

Mark: Hey Parker.

Scott: Sorry. You want to say hi to Mark.

Parker: Hi.

Mark: Hi how are you doing?

Scott: But also it's not just showing the detritus of creativity like the creative culture practitioners that make stuff as designers or artists or whatever but also that you teach there's a kind of "creativity" or whatever you want to call it in collecting itself and you're focusing on that thing but not just with like a specific curated selection right. I mean I guess it's a multi part question but he main question is there a difference? Don't you see – let me just rephrase this slightly. Sorry I'm a little distracted. Don't you see that Public Collectors is as much a proposal for another way of doing things as it is a specific set of curated collections that you think are cool?

Mark: Yeah. I mean certainly like it's an encouragement for a cultural of greater generosity which are things that are kind of holding onto. And I think things like with my students certainly like I want to get them thinking about how do you deal with like representing yourself? How do you deal with like representing your own culture or how do you create context or how do you deal with like the stuff that you're interested in that you're not seeing represented in the kind of museums or libraries you have in your cities.

To sort of get kind of strangers possibly working together and they'd be sort of like feeding into a little bit about – but one of the first places that I started thinking about this idea of Public Collectors true it's not anything in the artworld this underground music discussion which we recently just kind of fell apart somehow. Hello?

Scott: Hey we're just adding someone else to the audio.

Mark: Oh okay. And I felt like this sort of online community that mostly kind of existed to discuss underground metal bands and stuff like that but it was really hyperactive. And people really started doing stuff off of the site. They started these people who were kind of talking about their shared interest really started getting someone with medical [inaudible 35:54] on that. But these people really banded together and started making all kinds of things happen in the railroad group, bands helped tours, people raised money for each other or they need medical help. I can't even imagine the number of grown deals that happened as a result of that site. I know that part didn't really have an interest for me.

There were people that I put up in my house because of that place. I could go through places when I travel with these folks in other cities and it was just very energetic as a both discussion forum but also as a thing that became like these real sort of [inaudible 36:51]. But I saw that as a very promising set of development for shared resource and shared knowledge and just kind of generosity that both – I think I'm curious among those many of the people who are participating in this discussion but then I think it much less the balance in the art [inaudible 37:19].

There are people who you're some cultures around collecting or a hobby like thing that's really kind of put the art world to shame and they're there to work together in their noncompetitive and shared information. My wife participates in this [inaudible 37:50] Ravelry which got like a million members and it's much more multigenerational than the forum I was using for music. But it becomes this very all purpose thing. We go down there you talk about all kinds of political issues and certain members within society. People you could probably for help advice or information about home ownership. And it seems to be really credible and very, very vibrant resource. And so I would like to online Public Collector but it has drawn interest from these other kinds of online communities that were strange resource are asked a lot more.

And [inaudible 38:35] has quite a bit of this also but that wasn't setup very well for discussion it's really more of a kind of display tool. And it's very effective for circulating online. The public place that I do for the Public Collector is this concept [inaudible 38:56] but other people do [inaudible 38:59] hundreds and hundreds at a time. And so the curators are used by people not having whatever they needed. I know l scan like this one from something like a fancy like the picture of the month or something. And some of the site is entirely devoted to muffets. Someone had a question about called Rivalry. I believe it is

Renee: Oh knitting and crocheting.

Mark: Yeah.

Renee: Got it.

Mark: I'm sorry I tried to look at the common – like I stopped noticing the chat talk

Renee: Yeah no it's good it's just that I couldn't understand exactly what it was. Cool.

Mark: Yeah.

Renee: Thanks.

Mark: And Patrick's question about tumbler. I mean people usually give right away about to use this sort of very streamlined blog where you can follow the people tweets and then you search together this kind of continuous feed with it. It interesting for work space and it works better for instance something like Facebook but that's [inaudible 40:47]. Yeah I definitely think it was quite [inaudible 40:52].

Scott: Hey Mark, does this seem like a good time to talk a little bit about the Against Competition text?

Mark: Yeah sure.

Scott: We sort of are already.

Mark: I feel like I've been very unfocused and I hope I'm making sense.

Renee: No you're making sense.

Greg: Scott before we go on I have a question about.

Scott: Oh sure.

Adam: Before we get into a wider topic I just wanted to ask this because I follow the blog, I'm a total fan boy of the Public Collector's blog, and my observation it's really cool and just as Uncle Bob's collection of corporate ceramic statues for Christmas towns is not cool. And sometimes the collections that Mark looks at in Public Collectors or that add Public Collectors we're sympathetic to them because they're endearing and sometimes they're alienated and very weird like the Vanilla Ice thing is just sort of an ironic enjoyment. And I wonder if Mark could talk a little bit about how or if he thinks that the blog and what's on Public Collectors really lives up to the populist imagery or the populist project that's described in the About Section.

Mark: Well the blog is definitely sort of more personal extension of – I mean I only post things that I write that are in my apartment. So something like the person on the Public Collectors Web site who collects makeup packaging. I host that on the site because she contacted me out of nowhere and offered that. And I don't really discriminate if someone has something to offer then I will host that. And it's unusual that people do offer I mean there are not many people who have done that. It's a little easier to find people who have something that can be presented in digital form.

But in terms of the material like on the tumbler thing I mean there's a little note in the sort of introduction to that that explains that it's basically a place for small things or fragments of larger things and really kind of an account of the contents of my apartment. It's a way of me sharing without inviting the world into my home to kind of randomly peruse, which really wouldn't be a very effective way of sharing beyond like one or two people at a time. I can open up a box and put something on the scanner that no one else has scanned and put online before. And instantly 700 or 800 people are looking at it and then those people blog it and then hundreds more people are looking at it.

But it is definitely different in that it's sort of my own – it's really more like a personal territorial thing in a way that I didn't really – I don't think – my sort of ideal for their Public Collectors main site. Does that make sense?

Renee: Yeah.

Scott: So I had a question has anyone contacted. Adam, did you say it was Jessica's uncle? Well anyway whoever you were just talking about has…

Adam: Sorry yes, Jessica's uncle.

Scott: Oh okay. Has anyone contacted her uncle about, hey I want to come to visit this collection of stuff.

Adam: No we'd rather not visit but we were treated to a collective. The thing is it's interesting because this is a discussion that goes beyond the thing and the attitude. When I took Mark's spot for selecting we had a discussion about the corporatized takeover of collectives so that people collect things and take back like the impulse versus people coming up with interesting collections of their own.

Scott: Yeah. And are we really talking about not so much like what stuff is collected exactly. I mean of course the stuff is important to the people that are collecting it, the people that are interested, but not everyone is going to be interested in everything in all of these examples. I mean I think that's part of the point rights they're just such a tiny slice of, I don't know subjective population that's going to be interested in like…

Renee: It's a niche in the long term.

Scott: Yeah it's a super niche. And so I guess isn't it more about on the whole - yeah this is really echoing sorry guys.

Renee: Yeah somebody's got their mic on.

Scott: Yeah hold on it might even be us or whatever. Sorry. My question is isn't this project largely about a different form of ownership, because you were just talking about the corporatization of collections or maybe the sort of ethos even for individual collecting that's sort of internalizing that. I mean when you take what you've been looking whether it's a perverse interest if you want to call it that or just like obsessive compulsive or just like a hobby or a life pursuit or vocation or whatever if you decide, hey I'm not actually – I guess my point is the difference between this anti-growth chart is that people aren't looking to sell these collections they're looking to distribute them in a different sort of way. Do you know what I mean? I mean I feel like the network is really important here in this discussion.

Mark: Yeah. And I mean the other thing maybe one of the things that I'm just sort of working on for this exhibit and my students are putting together, I mean I really don't care and in Temporary Services but it's also something like the public phenomenon [inaudible 47:09]. I mean I don't really care about the distinction between the creativity and then some building a collection of like snow globes and thinking about the aesthetics and how it's organized and sort of creativity that goes into making a book about like some other kind of artistic phenomenon.

I mean collectors are like absolutely concerned with so much of the same stuff that artists are concerned with right. I mean they care about aesthetics, they care about content, and they care about history, about the ideas behind things. And when you see this sort of thoughts fully assembled and organized collection of stuff I mean it's as immersive an experience as any of those collection pageant. And I won't say the answer is pushing for these official spaces and institutional spaces to incorporate this kind of stuff. Because I think it holds on better than people like to think some [inaudible 48:21] activity. I mean [inaudible 48:24] these questions and to show them what my students are working on is that each project of theirs is probably at 15 things but that's 15 things time 15 people. And some of the questions maybe like 80 things in them. So visually from this rich experience of stuff there are all these different approaches to organizes, to categorizes it, some of them maybe [inaudible 48:52] source of chronology. And sometimes people are posing more of the personal narratives on the material and context around [inaudible 49:01] or creating pretty different circles for which you would look at it.

But I think after [inaudible 49:10] they're interesting because of course there's this sort of mobile whatever that is kind of like holding my breath about the [inaudible 49:21]. Yeah both of those discussions really talking about where does this history come from, really which history of objects.

Lee: Mark this is Lee again. I think it's really interesting you're discussing like Antiques Road Show. I always kind of found that show when I was a kid I really enjoyed it a lot and as an adult I can barely watch it, in fact I can't really watch it. The one thing I found really interesting about the internet over the past few years is like the ubiquity of video now. It's like I spend so much time on YouTube – maybe I shouldn't – whatever fine I'm proud of it. So I think a lot of people do like there's so much video on the internet people kind of doing everything. There's people dancing on the internet and sharing their dance, there's people doing all kinds of stuff on there and I'm wondering if there's some kind of life to being able to show your work through some kind of video means like walking through the collection if that kind of adds anything or maybe you think it's not really that valuable, I'm not sure.

Mark: Oh no there are lots of videos on YouTube of people showing their collections and talking about them. And I definitely watch those and some of them are really boring, some of them are sometimes the personality of the person or the [inaudible 50:49] it talks about. Some of the are sort of creepy I mean this guy will show you 80 million batman costumes and you [inaudible 51:00] for. They're sort of challenging it's probably more interesting than any of the objects. And then the guy looks like he's not going to be wearing those batman costumes anytime soon. So a really different type of person which is this sort of ideal thing that he's collecting.

Yeah I mean you can do some with that kind of stuff. And thinker and tumbler also I mean come with these really amazing people doing this incredible job of dealing with like their – they have maybe a south card selection like the stuff is just – I wish  I could with you to the Chicago Museum of some sort and look at that [inaudible 51:55]. And then quicker those kind of things quite well because you sort of [inaudible 52:09] they're all easy to scan. Yeah the actual object but they do hold up quite well. And then the people are trusting really high resolution to this. So there's some pretty good venues for this kind of stuff online.

Female: I was just thinking it would be possible that these people could have these collections could be improving on them using the internet and such like that. They can check and see what they have, what they don't have so that communicating on it, polishing it up. That's certainly.

Mark: Yeah some of them really nicely network with each other but if you look at this other question about fortune I haven't spent very much time with fortune but certainly like fortune wants to get things done. I mean they're just people obviously are I mean they're incredibly effective at pulling resources and energy and doing some really constructive things right. But certainly in the online community and some of them do get together in the world too. I mean there's [inaudible 53:44] in their bedroom or something.

Lee: Someone asked a little while ago like collecting- I'm sorry I think they mentioned that – I can't scroll up because I don't have access to the computer – but it said something like I think there's a Public Collectors look like what the internet use to look like back in I guess the early 90s or mid-90s, and there's actually I don't remember the Web site and I'll have to look for it later maybe post it somewhere maybe I'll send you the link, but there actually is one group online that does collect old geocities pages and archives them and writes about them and has tons and tons of them saved. And they look beautiful. So I just wanted to mention that.

And the second thing was that got me thinking the artist Cory Archangel actually for awhile, I don't remember when this was this might have been like in the mid-2000s or maybe like the early oughts, but was I think specifically trying to create that kind of style. He still sometimes does but he was making Web sites that look like that as far as I can recall he called that Dirt Style. So it was like he was inspired by the look of those things and was using that as like to create an art style Web site or web media.

Mark: Yeah. [Audio is echoed and muffled] that old material right.

Lee: Yeah.

Mark: I mean I think it's kind of a task but I like to – I mean I guess I sort of admire that in an artist they not only [inaudible 55:54] but still it's a matter of [inaudible 55:57]. People who make time for the preservation or promotion of the artwork is not there it gives some energy to write about it to figuring it out how to get through to some things to sort of lately be [inaudible 56:22] there are a allowed to open a bit for something outside of themselves. Or making contact with their predecessors and actually know the [inaudible 56:35] a fan or something.

Lee: Yeah. One thing that people are kind of discussing I'm looking at some of the text now, a lot of those Web sites they're not really – someone said it's not a coherent structure. And I think one of the things that's interested about those Web sites, what makes it difficult too is basically someone post something and then moves onto the next thing right. And so even though there's like an institutional memory to some degree that's not the exact right word. There's an archival memory in that you can go back and look at the past archives. Basically it becomes the past and we move on it's like your email you archive it when you're in your Gmail and you just kind of move onto the next thing and you kind of forget about it.

So there's something about using those Web sites that doesn't really allow for, I don't know I guess reinterpretation or discussion. I'm kind of waiting for Patrick he said "What I meant was", I'm curious to see what he's about to say.

Mark: Yeah I mean most are interested in [inaudible 57:49] of how you archive the stuff that gets generated by the discussion but there's this [inaudible 58:03] these really great threads of [inaudible 58:08] who try to redraw their favorite album cover on [inaudible 58:11] it's really kind of basic graphic programs idea in a couple of minutes or something. And they were noticeable for doing the [inaudible 58:26] and kind of pulling them together so you can fill like an example of the same [inaudible 58:31] of creating other [inaudible 58:36] three minutes.

And you have to go on different Web sites to find that thread and one form completely different [inaudible 58:48] occupation so there's like a lot of stuff on the internet that's being wiped out really quickly as [inaudible 58:58] and go and things like that. And it's the joy just be [inaudible 59:02] in how you want to preserve. I actually think that preserve is something you care about but you do that when you publish [inaudible 59:17] this kind of amazing of collection of some internet creativity.

Scott: I think what I would ask you Mark if you can think about this because you've definitely been a huge advocate of keeping an archive of making friends. And I've heard you actually criticize because we don't do that. But do you think that there is space now for this kind of culture that we're talking about that has no interest whatsoever in ever creating a past that is constantly evolving, that no interest other than to actually like make a joke and then sending action right at the moment to forget about to completely.

Mark: But what was the question part of that?

Scott: The question part is how you feel about this evolving culture because I think that's how I would describe the four hands and the other subcultures. I don't like to say culturally but whatever you want to call them. But these structures, these groups of small evolving communities of anonymous people who just take action and then disappear and they don't really care about archiving. And you're sort of coming from this culture and you're talking about this sub-culture and this unit culture that does archive and does keep a memory history. So where are we going if that is the future and these are the future? Are you the last best of keeping some cultural archive?

Mark: No I mean there are lots of people who like often try to figure out [inaudible 1:01:00] or going back and it's very hard to [inaudible 1:01:08] ago. A lot of people look at the other stuff like it's this discussion that I [inaudible 1:01:18] for a long time it's [inaudible 1:01:23]. I let you know that it's lost because most of them are not [inaudible 1:01:29]. But of some of those discussions I think are quite useful 20 years from now maybe.

[Too muffled to make out context]

Renee: What did he say?

Mark: [Too muffled to make out context]

Renee: I'm sorry what did he say about the…?

Scott: Mark we missed what you just said can you say it one more time.

Renee: Sorry.

Mark: I think one of the [inaudible 1:05:44].

Greg: Just to [inaudible 1:06:06] can you talk about – one of the things I just remember that was really great recently is when you posted the prison catalog images on Public Collectors and it was actually a political response to the strikes in Georgia. Can you talk about your feeling and maybe some of the other people on Public Collectors of people who are collectors like how politics can function and the collection can function politically to bring – like when you brought all these images out of prisons it was disturbing to see all these really disturbing images of restraints of humans that were not old and medal and something in the 18th Century but very contemporary.

Mark: Yeah. I look the version that if you're thinking about this one kind of material that maybe sort of manicurist and then I sort of put something that has a really different feel to it, a really different texture to it. Right now there are probably close to 800 people who follow the tumbler blog and then they follow it for extremely different reasons. So one person may take a whole bunch of stuff that's like typography or some point of medal or like the science fiction and covers or something. And people start following because they're interested in that. But it's fun to sort of switch gears on them and then give them like nine examples of restraints that are in the market.

[Too muffled to make out context]

Scott: So Kristin just had a question. Mark you are not really promoting that everyone should archive everything right. I mean isn't it the case that people are constantly collecting and that aren't you as critical of the kind of violence inherent collecting. And even just some of the problems of collecting. I mean this project isn't really a promotion of collecting like just in general right. Isn't it a promotion of distributing ownership of collections?

Mark: Well I shared enough resources that because they reside with private individuals are just not those. They would be in vast parts of the country where they'd normally be and sort of terrible public libraries but there's all this stuff that people are holding onto which you somehow see what was there these pictures would be filled with riches and with history and which really needs some material that it's just sort of a presence certainly in business.

But Kristin's question about editorial direction or value there's a difference the kind of focus thinking that goes on and it's like the collection I have are the prisons and the albums recorded in prison. The less material I've given an enormous amount of thought to. It's something that has gone on time with but they're also [inaudible 1:11:05] they just sort of [inaudible 1:11:08] maybe interested to share but I'm not ready to make any given about them or write a book about them.

But nevertheless you get someone and give them to me I have a choice to just to sort of disappear into your box or be shared in some way but not with the [inaudible 1:11:30] behind but maybe someone else can do more with it like with those [inaudible 1:11:38] there's one that I took a cover of which is sort of a really strange interpretation from common form of the abuse at Abu Ghraib and the characters and just completely re-imagine of this [inaudible 1:12:09] woman who had [inaudible 1:12:10]. I mean it's really like quite remarkable. And I felt that it was a bit racist but I didn't feel like I felt the desire to share through guest forum but I did put in the cover of it and there was someone who were renewing their PhD research on relationships between foreign and violence and the war in Iraq who was really interesting.

So he contacted me and begged me to write the [inaudible 1:12:52] and we do more research so that was really helpful to him. So I need to be the expert in that comic book but taking the time to do that work for someone else that gives them an extension kind of into their own research. Like I was really happy to enable this guy to work on his PhD project and also that he was kind of do that possibly.

[Too muffled to get context]

Scott: Hey Mark. So remind me when Against Competition was written again.

Mark: In 2006. It was written for this little journal that only did about five or six weeks of BHE and it definitely had a much larger lifeline than.

Male: Have we gone silent?

Mark: Yeah it's a nice comment. It's a nice situation question. I mean there are [too muffled].

Scott: So Mark maybe it would be good to give a brief overview of Against Competition as a – I wouldn’t necessarily say a theoretical stance even though it probably could be described that way, but I have a feeling you probably not want to say it that way, but not necessarily as a positional argument but as a recommendation for artists to consider their position in relation to other artists differently. Would you want to describe that a little bit or do you want me to describe that or are you feeling kind of..?

Mark: Yeah I can say a bit about it I think if people had a chance to read it a little bit I think it's a pretty straightforward, in fact, the examples are pretty clear and diverse. I feel at this point its only administrative work it's really not that much that I want to do entirely by myself. IT's not for me to have companies like yours when someone contacts me and asks me to host something or they have some structure they're trying to figure out a way share. Again like that one-one-one kind of smaller collaboration than a group situation of trying to just sort of endorse what individuals. But I think like the I'm kind of continually impressed by how much people are able to accomplish when they open themselves to making some part of their creative work allowing to get involved, organizing things that include other people, not always selfish like a solo show or a solo participation in a group show.

But really it's basically to make space for other people to realize that there's other people who have formal ideas and it's stupid not to learn from them and compare notes and benefit from most of the people putting their heads together.

[Too muffled for context]

Male: I have a question about it. It's a really broad question but maybe it's something you can respond to. In teaching it for I think a year and a half now like in several classes it's surprising to me how hard it is for, especially like the younger college students, to even grasp what the argument is that they really cannot even imagine the idea of it being the competition and that they be able to work together. And I'm curious whether you in the classroom or working with young people working with artists that talk about these ideas or what your experience has been in that and whether you're surprised that it's so alien still. I mean to me it just seems like a given at the brink really I find that it's engrained in our society in competition and you're essay just scratches the surface of what we really need to delve into to change the outlook.

Mark: Well I guess when I'm teaching I do ask students do you have assignments where you collaborate with other people are you allowed to do that, are you encouraged to do that? And some of them say yes some say no. Some of them have already been given the space to do that in their other courses. So if I'm the only other person teaching the course let them do that there're not that very many people in getting to them collaboratively.

I mean the other thing I always tell now to students is that I mean you're working with other people constantly. Like we came back from Thanksgiving break which was right before around the time they were doing their final project and when you share Thanksgiving with your family you need everyone to work together on this you know. Like someone brought the potato, someone goes out to eat. I mean it's just [inaudible 1:24:04] in every aspect of our lives not only in the art with regard to like a whole other by themselves and to their studies. A lot of the studies are setup so [inaudible 1:24:18] space and it's like usually as private as they can possibly make it. And that kind of separation is really encouraged.

And I remind the students that they're going to get out of art school and like you really need some kind of unity. I mean like you're going to be really soft if you have the greatest ideas and no one to talk to about them, no one to give feedback and let them know that the [inaudible 1:24:54] are maintained something until the school because you have the job market is horrible. And you have to tell them okay one of you will probably get a teaching job before the other does or get a teaching job if that's what you're trying to do. And you'll probably get this shitty budget of like $100 or $200 dollars to bring in a guest speaker. And after you hit up like your friend you went to school with because it enforces them to figure out and talk about what they do in front of a smaller audience or it gives you a break from having to talk it out to the class or they really. And you can take an opportunity to go through for your friends or you organize an exhibit together.

I don't know I think I've never have done that presentation so ideally that somebody else would do everything for you or it's really foreign to me. Like if you're interested in the community you're actually adding to publishing promotion, whatever you consider to bring to this. And you know I think like I mean young people are obviously going to run through [inaudible 1:26:30] themselves and [inaudible 1:26:33]. Again I don't know my industry is like with I think to get things done. Like going to gallery up in smoothing people tend to get opportunity.

[Audio muffled]

Renee: Can I respond to this as well.

Mark: Yeah.

Renee: Yeah just to go back I think Gavin asked about it in regard teaching, let's say art, and my students the class or the project that I teach in The Netherlands is really focused on, it's called Negotiating Equity, but it really was looking at fairness in the collaborative endeavor with self-organization. And I'm doing it now for the third year and my group this year is more into it as in working together and collaborating. But a couple of students in the past they really didn't like it when they were in a way forced, I use the word forced openly, to work with other students and had to really lose their sense of authorship because they go back to in the long run they sign up for their MA in Fine Art. Not that they would come out of it with a teaching job necessarily even though it's a Masters but that they would promote themselves and their career and their network.

And it's a battle to find people or to instill this kind of openness and the discussion at least about it. I mean Brad Blume from Temporary Services came last year and I think his whole presentation really put ideas into people's heads and they saw it from a whole different perspective. But the pressure of coming out there when you finish as a brand yourself is very great still. That was my two cents.

Mark: Yeah. And I had about five students a semester who collaborated with their parents.

Renee: Yeah.

Mark: Which is really the performance where they had to work with a partner and we had two people collaborate with their dad.

Renee: Yeah.

Mark: I just like really didn't expect at all. I mean this one piece like this kid's father gave him a piggyback ride across the field and then they switched to go to [inaudible 1:29:33] 100 times more than what. So I have seen about half way back. And I mean it was really touching [inaudible 29:43]. But also just like this sort of that the father even bothered with the kids art is very education. Yeah it seems kind of like pretty easy to people chose again. And again it was just this sort of suggesting the possibility.

Renee: No it's not a garden secret it's a link I'm going to add it if that's what Adam's asking me.

Male: So this is what I find interesting because you guys are talking about or someone made it sound like handwringing maybe there's students who are more competitive today or can imagine without competition. But I actually see examples through the internet of kind of open source culture but also kind of the maker culture. And we were talking before like kind of the knitting culture and kind of all these examples like hat labs. And granted a lot of that is kind of hands on making like in kinds of instruction. And also you're talking about curriculum sharing but kind of like the MIT open course where online stuff like I use that to like…

Renee: Right.

Male: …take classes or whatever online.

Renee: There are lots of physics.

Male: Yeah. So I don't know I see a lot of examples of that that I think are actually somewhat new at least in terms of how they're operating probably through the internet. But I don't know I don't think it's all bad right now. I'm not sure.

Pete: Well according to MIT who is proven the theories of super symmetry and of course Einstein's old Theory of Relativity ease to MC2 he says upon ever right angle upon every right angle upon another dimension is developed. But see the thing about the Master Degree of the Arts is that Einstein proved that you must see artistically without the terrestrial, the terrestrial, and the celestial mathematics. Most people can see the very same thing which biological creates an egg it's the same thing which creates the sun.

Now unless people realize that sciences do overlap or we don't always have the right mathematic forums to prove that most sciences overlap, chemistry, biology, and so forth you have to understand what each variable or strength means. But since MIT proved that have overlapped most of the major sciences of astronomer or astrophysics, biology, chemistry and dynamics, and of course engineering and energy, we realize that the only person that can see it clearly is the person with an artistic eye. Once he sees that there are distortions that do not relate on a grand omniscience scale he must realize that this is not truly symmetry or it's not truly mathematics. But what happens is if he ponders on that puzzle long enough he may add another variable which we already have 256 dimensions.

So everybody in metaphysics is telling the truth if it overlaps artistically it does create another physics problem and another mathematical formula, which is true. From Newton to Einstein they proved it's true. Did you hear that? In 1919 Einstein wide Strotham Brown he collected all the papers that collectible activity today with the internet and the computers we have successful combinations we could overlap like Japanese artwork all these mathematical formulas and all these architectural engineering industrial shapes. Despite what some people didn't realize that if we use the vibrations or the reverberations of these shapes with our computer chips and our technologies we can realize the basic mapping of how we can develop a new physic formula what is ease of the MC2 or whether it's something from Kent like the three laws of motions which actually is even further that to the sixth dimension which Einstein had theorized which allows science fiction basis theories of them.

And what else testing, testing 1, 2, 3 the University of Pronto which is my source today has a new collection of educational philosophies. My reference of this is slightly in the order of a collective news which is USA status and YBP which us US. The date of this collective knowledge which of course relating to metaphysics in the collective of minding in the liberal arts around which can relate to mathematics is 11/24/2010. And of course the last year reported receiving messages that I have from my colleagues was 10/25/2010. Anyway out of these which they find which are not relatable will eventually break the code of 256 dimensions which of course is a bigger puzzle in quantum mechanics. But if you listeners and readers relate what 256 dimensions mean that means quantum traveling the wormhole dimension power universe and partum space as well as hyperspace.

The space proves that it must be a microscopic universe produces quasars and quantum trails which actually exists the same time this universe. We absolutely do know which quantum mechanics does prove that there is a parallel universe which passes through us at incredible speeds but we are simply unaware unless we look out with our telescopes of what it is every time.

Well anyway my name I Pete Peters that's what they call me most of the time. I need my alias again later. But thanks a lot bye-bye.

Mark: Thank you.

Renee: Did you get all that?

Mark: I got all of the…

Scott: Guys we have six minutes left of this chat and basically last chat in this yearlong series for the year. So did anyone have any other burning questions or things they wanted to add to this discussion? Not that we can't continue I just…

Female: This makes me think of my neighbor. I had a neighbor right he used to have this garage and he had pictures all over the walls of the garage the door was always open and people would just walk by. And his story came to me later after he died and said that's what kept him alive so long he'd just go in there. And I'd go past him and he would just wave at me and I'd wave back. And one day he just showed me that garage.

Renee: Was it a garage sale.

Female: No, no.

Renee: Okay.

Female: That's just where he just showed that up it was in a museum.

Renee: That's what I mean there were stuff in it. That's what you mean it's not an empty space with him in it…

Female: Yeah.

Renee: …it's stuff in it and not just him.

Female: Yeah.

Renee: Pretty cool.

Mark: Yeah I mean that's the environment [audio breakup].

Scott: Is there noise at Basekamp like feedback? Oh okay. How about now is it better?

Renee: A cell phone sound.

Scott: All right let's back up a bit.

Mark: Okay it's gone.

Scott: So Renee wants to explain artificial scarcity in three minutes.

Renee: No I just thought about competition and teaching and sharing and knowledge production and all these things that that's been going on for the last year with Plausible Artworlds that I've been trying to vicariously follow because it's way too late for me in Europe. But this whole sharing of collections I just think it's a good note to end on. I mean I had not read your text Mark until I just saw it today right before. And I tried, like I said, to at least put the demon in my student's heads that there's more to life than their own – they go into these artificial scarcity markets where they're thought to do that and to produce. And I don't know, I don't know how to do anything more than I'm trying to do other than to invite like people like you to discuss stuff with them and things like this.

Mark: Yeah I mean for me like of this is much of the people on the tape are interested in art generally are in the margin and they're not in the dominant culture they get their own sitcom.

Renee: Right.

Mark: We have these sort of pledge forms and sometimes the only way to find out about them is too really to go directly to the author to the artist or the group and be okay, I'd sure like to know more. I'd be interested in your thoughts or I'm traveling. I'm going to be in your city and I'll try to move out. And it's like I can't always satisfy my curiosity by like it requires some work and contact. And interviewing people or having direct contact with people and have the material to look at in order to learn about or care about. That much is sort of necessary for certain kinds of enlightenment that just could not happen by physics.

Renee: Yeah. And also I noticed that there's shift if they feel if it's a kind of sign or something that is not part of their inherent work or working methodology then it's participants let's say in community, or let's just use relational stuff in a large frame for this discussion then it's done because it fulfills this kind of network or this need to work with others in this collaborative way. And I find that this is now kind of also specifically in maybe still state funded institutions from which, I'm talking about Northern Europe at the moment, this is the norm and it's kind of taken over for a lot of the marketing yet their name is still the brand let's say for the production.

And I question it also in my own practice but knowing how this kind of – yeah how do I say that – imposed community practice or collaborative endeavor that doesn't seem to come natural. And of course I'm not talking about everyone. And like you said earlier I have to agree with you even though sometimes collaboration is rough I don't want to do things alone. Is everybody asleep? You got to come over here Pete my microphone's here.

Scott: We at least want to say thanks everybody because even though we actually in the very last section of the year should we still stay on target?

Renee: Does anyone have anything else to say?

Scott: Yeah. Is there anyone who hasn't said anything?

Mark: I feel really dumb for not having checked in on the structure earlier.

Scott: Well Mark ultimately the kinds of questions that like everybody's bringing up and we're talking about hopefully will get fleshed out. It continues to be fleshed out a number of different ways and at least one of those ways – basically expanded upon in a packet of information. I mean we're planning on contributing to it and we really want you to Mark as well. That's going to go out to students ideally every place where people learn about where art is supposed to be. That's this kind of recipe book for ways of alternative world making that we've been talking about all this time. I feel like Public Collectors is definitely an example of how to do something different. I mean what you do is very particular and no one can reproduce exactly what you do. So it's not a model but I think that there are definitely features of what you do and ideas behind what you do that you teach your students. I mean there's a couple of your students in this chat now and also that other people can learn from. People are pouring by the thousands out of these art education factories.

Renee: Factories, did you say factories?

Male: Yeah he did.

Scott: These places where people are learning supposedly about what it means to be creatively involved in the world…

Renee: They're learning about…

Scott: …are not really getting all the options they're getting a very narrow picture of what…

Renee: They're learning precarious labor.

Scott: Yeah. And so anyway if you…

Male: Well just to be fair I would also say they're also being very real to think about what it takes to make a living in the world…

Renee: Yeah exactly.

Male: And I'm not down this like completely trashing that idea because we all do it as well.

Renee: Yeah.

Scott: Sure.

Renee: Point taken.

Scott: And there are other ways to do that besides entering a competitive field where maybe 4% will sort of meet the promise that's given to them.

Male: I haven't had a [inaudible 1:46:59] that doesn't compete with somebody.

Scott: Oh yeah. Again we're not actually – I mean maybe someone in this chat is a bible sort of – a coming manifesto something.

Peter: Actually even in the legendary world…

Scott: But anyway it's definitely worth following up.

Mark: I got to get going.

Scott: Mark thank you very much.

Mark: Thank you again for inviting me and I appreciate all the questions and interest. And sorry if I got a little mixed with trying to follow everything.

Male: Thanks Mark that was great.

Renee: Bye Mark.

Peter: Actually there's a guy in Architectural Magazine he had two good names his name was Gabriel Michaels who created a geo city mansion. He created a geo city mansion out of stone and wood and of course solar cells, ovens, radiators and so forth. He created a place of amnesty. He said the problem with the world, although he did it poetically, is committees he said, is politics, as legislation. If the world ran itself like a geo city mansion like he created there wouldn't be shelters underground and in emergency rooms. There'd be like cubicles and there would be like warehouses where we warehouse the homeless. And this way we can see what state of mind they're in.

Scott: All right cool.

Male: Hey gang can you hear me?


Week 41: KEIN

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Florian Schneider, one of the founders and administrators of KEIN.ORG, a collaborative networking environment that offers a wide range of internet services to activists and artists, groups and individuals from around the globe.

KEIN.ORG started in 1997 at Documenta X with the launch of the “no one is illegal” campaign. The group soon set up its own server and developed its own networking infrastructure. The idea of KEIN.ORG is self-supply in terms of networking techniques, operating on a strictly self-authorized and self-organized basis. KEIN.ORG runs eleven servers situated at various locations in Europe and beyond, hosting more than 500 websites, some 200 content management systems and countless mailing lists and email-accounts. A plausible world of plausible worlds, one might venture to say — except that the people at KEIN.ORG would likely point out that this is “KEIN world” — “kein” being the negative indefinite article in German that negates whatever noun follows it (translating as “no” or “none”): the KEIN.ORG website abounds in straight-faced play on the word that they are, featuring “KEIN manifesto”, “KEIN history”, “KEIN community — KEIN.ORG eluding identity by stating it is not what it is. But the word play makes a serious point, as their manifesto points out. It’s short and very much to the point:

KEIN.ORG implies no organization: No organs, no shared purpose, no common ground, no identity and no feedback.

But rather than a negation KEIN marks the moment of withdrawal, an escape, an indefinite line of flight out of the overcoded structures of networks as formed-matter, of networked economies, of a standardized and controlled production of networked subjectivity.

KEIN is a machine for the production of production. It is asignificant as such: it produces not meaning, but means. But it has itself no means: it is free, free of charges, free of advertisement, free of liability, free of claims, free of complaints, free of duties, free of representation.

KEIN.ORG is about self-authorization, un-organizing and becoming fluid. There is no staff and there are no assets. But there are lots of links, connections, and conjunctions to be made.”


Week 39: Ultra-red

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Janna Graham and Robert Sember of the sound art collective ultra-red.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1994 by two AIDS activists, ultra-red has since expanded across Europe and North America its membership of artists and activists in such social movements as struggles of migration, anti-racism, participatory community development, and the politics of HIV/AIDS. Over the years, ultra-red has developed a kind of ambient sound activism combining situationist radicalism with the sound research techniques of the acoustic ecology movement.

“Exploring acoustic space as enunciative of social relations,” as the group puts it, ultra-red develops uncompromisingly political art projects sometimes in the form of radio broadcasts, performances, installations or recordings — including two albums “Second Nature: An Electroacoustic Pastoral” (1999) and “Structural Adjustments” (2000). They have conducted “militant sound investigations” of the spaces of needle exchange (Soundtrax, 1992 – 1996), public sex (Second Nature, 1995 – 199smiley, public housing (Structural Adjustments, 1997 – 2003), resistance to global capital (Value System, 1998 – 2003), labor (Social Factory, 1997 – 2002), education (School of Echoes, 2001 – Present), anti-racism and migration struggles (Surveying The Future, 2001 – Present), and HIV/AIDS (SILENT|LISTEN, 2005 – Present). Just to round this sonic world off, the group also runs the fair-use online record label, Public Record.

The acoustic dimension is obviously constituent of any plausible, sentient world — as much as, perhaps more than the visual realm, given that we don’t have “earlids” allowing us to naturally filter sonic experience. But it is something that we have yet to really address in Plausible Artworlds. What dynamics are at work — or at play — in the relationship between acoustics and political organizing? Between conceptual art and the sonic realm? What kind of sound-based research will help us map out the acoustic space of contested spaces and favor the emergence of more plausible (art)worlds?



Week 39: Ultra-red

[1st part]

Scott: How's the sound quality for everybody?

Female: Hello?

Scott: Hi there, great.  So welcome you guys, I know we just talked a moment ago, but welcome to another week in this series of talks about plausible art worlds, or what we're calling plausible art worlds.  It's great to have you guys here.

Female: Thanks, it's good to be here.

Scott: So we usually start these chats off, at least when we actually get the audio rolling just with a short description or just ask you guys, if you wouldn't mind, to give us a brief intro to Ultra-red for, I know we posted a link in the chat, that's for everybody who doesn't know to get a little bit of info, so they can follow along with the chat, would you mind giving us a brief; this is how we got started, this is who we are...

Robert: Yep, no problem

Female: Yep, so Ultra-red has been around for 16 years, Robert and I haven't been with the collective for all of those 16 years, but it was started in Los Angeles, and the story goes; it was started by two age activists who were working in the context of a needle exchange in Hollywood, and making  use of sound recordings to engage in political analysis of the struggles around HIV and AIDs in Los Angeles at the time, and in the history of Ultra-red, and that moment there were two members and sort of grew over time and I think collected people as we call them investigations, so people who are involved in analysis around struggle through sound, and the sort of collecting of people, or people meeting each other is really based on a number of shared interests.  The first may be, one of them being an interest in working with sound or increasingly as we say now less sound, and more scenarios and choreographies of listening, but also I think over time, when we met each other or exchanged e-mails we started to realize that all of us have some background or interest in popular education in strategies and structures and processes of organizing.  The members of the group now, there are 9 of us, we're in three countries, and sometimes more, including the US, there's still people active in Los Angeles to some extent, and the people in Los Angeles work primarily around issues of migration and public housing, but also around AIDS and HIV, and we have a group in the UK who are working on investigations also around border regimes and issues around migration and racism and anti-racism, and increasingly here, the intersection between thinking about the border and thinking about sites at the border and issues of immigration, and new immigration policy in the UK, in relation to spaces of education and how privatization of the university and the use of schools and universities in relation to border control is coming collapsed.  Then we also have some projects that have been going on in different parts of Europe, and they've been a bit more mobile projects that are site specific, but tend to circulate around the issues around migration, racism and anti-racism.  So I don't know Robert, do you want to say anything else about what it is we're up to?  I mean I think, so we all share these histories of working within struggle, some of us have more explicit relationships to the art world, like training, or background in the arts, but many members of the group really don't, and come out specifically of struggles and analysis of struggle and also action within particular struggles, so...

Scott: How many members do you have in your group?

Female: Nine

Scott: Ok, and you guys are in London now?

Female: Yeah, we're in London right now; I live here, and Robert is visiting, right now he's living in [inaudible 0:06:24.8] hooking up a project there, but yeah, it's exciting, we don't all spend that much time together, this is kind of like an issue, I mean this kind of Skype call feels a bit [inaudible 0:06:38.0] to some of the ways in which we organize ourselves, but we tend to work in project teams  that are located in a place for a period of time.


Scott: Oops, look like we lost them.

[2nd part]

[male][continued...] so that there was a sense of a need to actually shift [inaudible 0:00:11.5] away from construction of analysis and then circulation of those in a packaged form into a much more process-based collective investigation focused kind of procedure.  And so we often [inaudible 0:00:31.1] as we moved from imposing sounds to organizing [inaudible 0:00:37.2] and this shifts an emphasis from the creation of objects to the constitution of these investigations that had been [inaudible 0:00:53.5] through these processes of collective listening, questioning, discussion, analysis and the formation [inaudible 0:01:03.4] of a kind of contribution to organizing that [inaudible0:01:09.7] arise from the language we would use, the articulations of the ideological [inaudible 0:01:17.5] that sort of group of people who ...

[3rd part]   

[male][continued... inaudible/unclear sound until 0:10:08.9]

Female: Does anyone have any questions?

Scott: Yeah, I'm sure other people do too, just a quick question  is; you're interested in groups, at least one thing of what I remember from what you were saying is that, well I guess what happens when groups really listen, and I was curious about what your criteria are for the groups that you work with?  Do you have criteria?

Female: It's a really good question, we've been trying to grapple with that, I think in the last year or so, because we've had a lot of invitations to go places for shorter periods of time where maybe the earlier work of the collective came out of a very long engagement with the struggle in a particular place, or within a struggle that a longer trajectory this kind of way the art world operates develop invitations for shorter term visits has made us revisit that.  I don't know, in the UK, I think we've found-- because we've done quite a lot of these maybe shorter-term visits to places, but we've found the most important moments that we've had have been where we've been able to have criteria around working with other people who are involved in a struggle that we have direct experiences within, so for example, we're doing a project in Glasgow, but because we've done a couple of years of work, doing anti-racism work with people who have been direct, who have experienced racist violence directly in the South West of England in a rural area, we thought it was would be best and most important for us to work with an organization that's already involved in that struggle, so there's an organization in Glasgow called Unity that works doing direct migrant support, so that would be like one way we would approach who we would want to work with, but having said that in the last year, I think we've also worked with other groups that; or gone into a situation where a gallery has identified groups on our behalf and we've had to negotiate which of those groups would be appropriate to work with, or that we could work with in a way that would...

Scott: Groups of people around the gallery that were requesting?

[female]Yeah, a lot of the time where [inaudible 0:13:11.5] been brought in, especially to galleries, or are invited into galleries to almost as like an outsourced arm of their public engagement; like there's a funding stream and a number of galleries that need to be doing public engagement work; want to maybe do it more radically than the instrumentalized model of arts education in Britain, which is very specific, but really has over the last 25 years involved arts educators and artists in processes in so-called integration, pacification.  So there's also a critical group of curators and educators who are saying "We don't want that, we want to do engagement, but we don't want to do that", and part of that invitation is really to also assist them to work within the culture of their institutions or funding streams to develop a different way of doing that.  Having said that, that can be a bit clumsy it can mean that we enter into a space and there are some groups that have been defined as groups who are local who might have affiliation with the movements that we've been involved with, but sometimes that can be quite a loose affiliation, or a loose reading of those movements, so in those cases, we do these kind of listening exercises where we find I think a lot of the time the most resonance is with organizations that share to some extent either some of our commitments; whether those are commitments within a political struggle, or commitments within popular education, or within particular histories.

Robert: I mean I think there are two actually very useful terms to spend some time thinking about, that Jenna has introduced here; one is the idea of the invitation, and the other is this issue with the public--all the groups, particularly the sort of ubiquitous ever-patient within art spaces of this idea of the public, in face in a conversation earlier today in which this sort of question of "So at what point  is there going to be a public engagement in the project", and this sort of notion that something actually hasn't really happened within the context of an art institution until it's gone public in some way.  So this question of invitation and both the public are basically... the mains in which a lot of our work is being evolved at this point, there are essentially three kinds of invitations that are possible that help to constitute the group.  One is an invitation that actually comes from  an Ultra-red member who is involved in some kind of work or struggle and says "You know, I'm at a phase in this work where I think it would be useful for us to do some of the procedure that Ultra-red has been developing and organizing, and so this is what will occur, and it becomes something that is then nested within the context of a very long relationship.  Then there is the invitation that will come from a constituted group that will say "We're at a phase in our own work, we would be interested in having you come in and work with us in some way", and in that sense there is a kind of coherence, so the group already has a sense of history, their own vocabulary, their ideological commitments, and through the process of working with Ultra-red, sometimes some of those go into crisis, sometimes some of the things that are accepted as established procedures or terms become questioned, and a new set of analyses, or a new set of propositions emerge.  Then the third invitation is the one where we are invited by and art institution to do an event, and the event itself constitutes for the period of the event, a kind of collectivity, but there is no illusion that this collectivity actually proceeds the coming together of the event, or will actually be continued beyond it.  These three kinds of invitations produce three different engagements on our part in some way.  The conditions that they establish make certain things possible and they make other things not possible.  For us to determine what the value is of something and what has been compromised within each of these projects is a long conversation for us; what is the value of us doing this, given that there is this constraint, or something like that.  On the other hand is the question of the public.  I think that this is one of the major struggles, certainly what I'm having in a number of the projects that I'm involved in at this point, where there is, I feel, a deep need to actually have a somewhat closed investigations so that a group can in fact go about its work and develop its analysis, and at a certain point it will be in a position to invite others to come into conversation with it.  In terms of art institutions, part of the negotiation is in a certain sense "can you trust us enough, or will you give us the authority?", "will you give up the authority of being the ones who define the terms of the invitation to the public and the moment at which that invitation is going to be issued?" so that a group is able to constitute itself through this investigation and at a certain point it can determine that it has arrived at a point that it can now have a wider address.  In a certain sense, what happens is the public becomes fragmented into constituencies and then are no longer this generic, by which often in the art world is meant sort of essentially a bourgeois constituency which is the base constituency for most of the art world.  And so when you say the public, what you essential mean, referring to is a very particular audience.  So the question of the constitution of the group; there isn't a single criteria or formula.  A lot of it has to do with where the invitation comes from for us, under what conditions, we will then consider how we will respond to that invitation and how we might be able to make a contribution to the event or the process that we've been asked to contribute to in some way.  On the other end, where is this going?  Who is this for? What is the point of this work? And another series of invitations, it may be for Ultra-red to continue working on it, or it may be for group to expand its own constituencies, its own address in some way.

It's been really interesting to think about how profound, how important the invitation actually is, and the fact that the invitation keeps on being issued, it itself is revised as each phase of the procedure moves forward.  This is what happens when you work with people over time as supposed to say; here is one event, here is one encounter; that you are constantly negotiating the terms of that relationship.  That's part of what you listen to, are the terms of that negotiation for the continuing work.

Scott: Speaking of that being part of what you listen to, I don't know if you noticed just a second ago there was a questions from some of the people at Base Kamp; did someone over there want to ask that question?  Or do you want me to read it?

Yes, Cassie, or someone there, I'm not sure who was saying that they're curious about what role the music, or what role the audio takes within the projects?  Is it just a way to approach these issues; is it more about the audio itself in conjunction with these issues?  And they're curious without having heard any of the audio from these projects.

Robert: This is actually, it would be great to actually hear some of the audio, and my suggestion is if you do follow the link to Public Record, and listen to--when you have a chance, listen to either the entire 60 sounds that make up the project, what is the Sound of the War on the Poor, or just click through a random sampling of them.  And I hope that one of the things that will be immediately striking is how different the audio response is to the same question, and so that will, I think, begin to give some sense of the texture, the variation and texture that sound makes possible.  The actually procedure of working with sounds is deceptively simple; essentially people will make a recording, bring that recording in, and we will sit together around the table and listen to the recording.  More often than not, it's a sight recording, it's not a piece of music, it's not composed, somebody has gone somewhere to a particular place, or sit and has made a recording for a period of time.  After listening to it there is the question; What did you hear?  The inventory of those responses, as they begin to unfold, and it's quite exhaustive; some people will begin by wanting to catalogue the sound; "I have heard the sound of a city" and that is sort of the response to what did you hear , and then that question is asked again, and then you'll hear some people will attempt to then treat the sound as though it were some kind of quiz, I need to sort of guess exactly where this sound is.  So you see a range of responses to the listening, but by doing it collectively, the limitation of each of those responses is almost the way in which each of those responses return you to the sound, and as you're sitting at the table, you being to hear the sound differently; "I wasn't listening to it as a kind of quiz, but if I was to listen to it what would I then be hearing?" and so you start to generate a long list of descriptive.  Some are very simple, very direct, others are more interpretative or poetic, and the vocabulary of the thematic becomes very rich and broad.

Jenna: But I think also what happens is each of those modes of listening, interpretation and cataloguing, or what we mind call conceptual listening which happens quite often where people say that they heard the sound of violence, or a concept actually, maybe more so than a concrete thing in the world.  Each of those modes of listening reveals also a set of investments and desires of those people who are in the room, and that's somehow listening to those desire as well is also quite important in the formulation of some kind of group; whether it's a group who completely disagrees with one another, or a group composed or  on solidarity or something in between, that active projection of the desire is also really important to catalyzing a collective experience.

Scott: And what is your preferred role within this group?  there's you, there's the numbers of Ultra-red who some of you are in proximity, while some of you are not; when you enter into this kind of activity with other people listening, is your role always organized at the events? Do you participates in trying to interpret sounds and let other people know what you were thinking?  I mean obviously you have a special role within the project because you are part of the organizing group, at least assuming from what you guys are saying that all the projects you're talking about are organized by Ultra-red; and I understand that especially when you were talking about earlier Robert about organizations and--not necessarily outsourcing activity, but outsourcing responsibility, usually they invite artist groups or curatorial groups, but specifically people who are involved in organizing to take on that responsibility; and I was just curious about both of you individually and other members of Ultra-red if you can speak on their behalf too-- what your desired position is, or if you feel that you have a responsibility to maintain a certain position within that activity.

Jenna: It's a really good questions because I think we've struggled with it in different projects in different ways, and many of us will probably disagree on what the role would be.

Scott: Maybe I should ask you individually then?

Jenna: Yeah, I mean I can just speak from a very specific project where we did a project in the south-west of England which was the first invitation what Robert talked about; it was another member of Ultra-red who worked for an anti-racism organization and invited Ultra-red--other members of the collective-- to come and work in that context, and the conversations that we were having were about answering the question what is the sound of racism in the south-west, which is a rural community, and the south of England where there's increasingly a lot of right-wing organizing, and also a lot of racist violence happening, and in those contexts we started this process of listening with a kind of facilitation, I was facilitating the sessions and Elliot was at different moments where we would be very much a quiet facilitator, facilitating, asking the question; What did you hear? taking notes when people spoke, but really quite out of the scenario in terms of our own interpretations and felt that that was quite important to leave space for people.  But increasingly in the project that we've been doing, and even in that project, our silence became quite a problem for us because we were-- in particular Elliott as an anti-racism organization--and myself as I became more involved in people's lives and in this moving towards actual political action around the issue, it was impossible to play that role of a facilitator only, so we became much more involved in the interpretations and in the discussions, but as we moved closer towards the constitution of ourselves as a collective and that would be one particular case where we all; Elliott, myself and the people we were working with were involved in collective analysis and eventually some forms of acting together as well.

Scott: Do you mean that in sense that you were actually moving towards other forms of self-organization rather than

Jenna: Yeah exactly, like moving from the question; What is the sound of racism in the south-west to what is the sound of anti-racism in the south-west.  So really, trying to think about how we would constitute a group, or a network of people, how that network could organize itself locally in response to racist violence that was happening in that particular project;  some of those small self-organized groups developed through the project, and yes , and the process went on, and that was over the course of about a year, we were very much a network.  We were part of that network, and the idea that we would be facilitating something that we weren't directly involved in, or that we would be a kind of outside figures within that, didn't seem appropriate or possible; and it was quite early on that that became the case because the more we worked with people in even the recordings of sounds, we had spent quite a lot of time with people discussing the way that they would approach recordings, the sites that they would go to and also formulating analyses with them.  The idea that we would be facilitators only just didn't work.  

Scott: I understand what you're saying is that it's more in the spirit of action research than some kind of a so-objective...

Robert: Action research is certainly one of the movements, one of the paradigms that we have actually have discussed

Scott: And I'm mainly asking about group dynamics, not to sort of try to poke at your group specifically; just out of curiosity, because I think the questions that you're asking are really relevant regardless of who's asking them, or what methods you're using; not to say that I don't think the methods are relevant--they are-- but I think that it's also something that whenever is brought up, I'm really curious about; I guess a slight elaboration on that question could be;  do you also work with other groups who are on an equal playing field with you organizationally-speaking?  

JennaThe question we're approaching in the work that we're doing in Scotland in one organization for example that works one issues of anti-gentrification and is maybe in a preliminary moment of organizing, but in terms of what they do and our knowledge of them, that we've know about them for a long time, and know about their analysis and shared some perspectives with them and were invited by them, and maybe this is an example of the second kind of invitation that Robert was talking about, where they invited us to come and attend an anti-gentrification walk that they were doing and make recordings and then work with them as partners in developing a mechanism for listening, for people to listen who had been on the walk a week after, and to use that listening of the sound walk to start formulating shared analysis, and then in that sense I think the organization was quite different than ours but comparable in terms of commitments and histories of working in Scotland and critical vocabulary and all of that kind of thing.  So definitely, that would be more of an example of an organization that invites us to do this kind of work.  I mean, even that was mediated through an art organization, but in general, the group was wanting us to com because we're part of social movements and because they know us, and we know them, so yeah; does that answer the question?

Scott: Yeah definitely, I think my question might not be that, I don't know to what degree it applies to you, or work with you've approached difficulties around the issue you're working with, or around the question of how does intergroup collaboration work when people usually take similar role; I think it's often easier for people who are in groups for those groups to work together when their roles are usually different.  I think it's sort of a larger question for organizing but it's also a question for how collective activity connect especially within the creative cultural realm can really be productive.

Robert: Actually a number of things that I would consider might be helpful, some very pragmatic things, one is something that Jenna was pointing to in the description she gave of the project in the south-west is while there are these sorts of events, and the events have a beginning and an end and they are situated often within an on setting, they're actually preceded and followed by many hours of conversation, of interaction and those are essential.  In a certain sense, the project itself that gets formally framed; so if you go to the Tate, the Tate Britain website, you'll see a project there that we did called "We come from your future", you'll see documentation of an event, there's about three photographs, there's a description, that is such a small moment in what actually is a very long collective process of building trust, and in many ways what I think are [inaudible 0:39:11.7] dynamics, the [inaudible 0:39:14.4] of friendship, of care, and in many instances a kind of love and affection, and so the development of that closeness--and then of course some instances also sometimes conflict, disagreement, animosity-- but those elements that mix together,  these relationships of commitment--those are very much a part of what happens.  As occurs, I think, with any group; over time, as you begin to become familiar with each other so the tone and the nature of the conversation is going to change, so that's one thing: Is that it's really important to not [inaudible 0:40:04.1] the kind of art that sort of gets formally identified, documented and circulated, but to see it as part of a group process, and often the event, as sort of formal as it might be, is basically a consolidating moment for a group, it's something that we're working towards, we're going to do this, it's going to be an opportunity for us to reflect on where we are within our process at this point to be able to hear how others are reacting to what we're doing, so that we can actually figure out where we're going to go next.  So it's not a culminating event, actually, this is a very important thing for us as well, is that the event, which so often within art situations; the event completes a project.  Here, for us in many ways, the event actually begins a projects, there'll be all of this procedure leading up to it, the event happens and then the questions of what can we do now?  That's a very important question, it's not now we have had a public moment, our work is done; but it's actually what have we learned from this moment about ourselves and how to we move forward?

The other thing is something that we've been working with a lot, is protocols, so that it's not as though in the facilitation people will arrive and they will sit there ignorant of what's happening and then just be directed by us through this, there actually is a formal written protocol that people actually have access to and are able to follow.  The protocol, because it is there, in a way, I think removes some of the conventional structure of authority, it doesn't create a kind of--as an equal everybody out, but in a certain sense, it becomes a kind of document to which people can reference.

Scott: Do you mean protocol the fact that you follow protocol?  Or the specific protocol itself?

David: [inaudible answer] and the protocol is repetitive, and so in a certain sense, all of the anxiety about what are we going to do next?  How are we going to move next?   In a certain sense, it becomes quite transparent, and I think that protocol-- you can break protocol, there are many instances where people have said "actually I don't want to do it this way, can we do it another way?", but the fact that there is something to begin with, I think that helps in situations, so one of the thing I'm imagining in your question is; you're working with a group that are actually very used to being the ones who facilitate group processes and suddenly they are being asked to actually be facilitated, does this cause--and especially if they have a different procedure, I mean I'm thinking this event that we did in Glasgow which was rather difficult where we actually had sort of three very strong, very different kind of facilitation styles and strategies present in the room, having the protocol didn't resolve those differences, but it became a way in which we could actually reference those difference.  It just provided a structure and organizing to the process, that made a conversation about process at least at some point in the event.  There's a lot of work that goes into the development of protocols.

Jenna: I was just going to say the protocols that we develop for an event, or listening session often have a great deal to do with what we've learned about the organization and its own capacity to listen.  For example, one project that we worked on, the one we worked on at the Tate, we were working with an organization that had a real habitual kind of practices of speaking, listening, where very particular within the organization do to a large extent to where they were situated in relation to public funding meant that there we spokes people in the organization and other people who were brought in as evidence of situations, in this case of racism, and so they had this dynamic of speaking and listening within the group and we knew that if we were to have a group discussion, or a listening session, we would somehow have to produce a protocol that would somehow equalize and  then draw attention to that habitual way of speaking and listening, so that some people in groups we always have people who feel much more confident and much more comfortable and who have also been authorized by institutional structures to become those who speak and so in many of the protocols that we've developed, it's about trying to rearrange those practices and to see what happens, to bring attention to these micro-politics, or micro-dynamics of speaking and listening that become habitual and unspoken within a group.

Scott: Interesting, yeah, do you ever feel that you guys as a group are intervened upon in a way that surprises you?


Scott: I mean because you project is about listening, I would assume you would discover things you didn't expect, but at the same time, you probably expect that so...

Robert: Well [inaudible 0:46:01.7] we haven't spoken on it and I think we should is this issue of pedagogy and I think this may be a point where, I'm not sure we will know how to deal with this, we deal with it in the same way, but certainly within our own collective, when we spend time together we all have a conversation at certain point will occur what I call these teaching moments.  Where we find ourselves in a moment where somebody in the collective has been reading something or has and experience, or has a history that becomes very meaningful at that moment, and so we find ourselves sitting and listening to what this person has to say.  It can be a particular theoretical analysis, or it can be a particular deep history that we hear about, and these are the most wonderful and surprising moments in the event, this work I'm doing in New York at the moment is with a group of people who are creating an archive, and the moments of arriving at a point where somebody feels compelled, or moved to actually say "it makes me think of this" and suddenly there is now this sort of teaching moment and we--those who are facilitating are in the position of students in that moment as well, and the experience of learning collectively and then working together and sort of saying "now I see how this fits in to what we're doing at this point", and so collaborative pedagogical process is really the strongest element in all of this.  The listening creates this co-learning, and so the issue of who is the facilitator, the issues of authority, the issues of control, these become reorganized into the pedagogical relationships where there is an understanding that at certain points it's very likely, if the procedure, if the protocol makes this possible, that everybody will be able to teach, and that everybody will be able to learn, and the group then builds its knowledge through this process of teaching and learning.  This is the popular education model; the group finds its questions and then it also finds, within its procedures, ways of responding to those questions, and sometimes it's very straight forwards--you go and find the answer--How did this developer obtain this piece of land in order to be able to build this particular building that is now reshaping the neighborhood?  Let's find out; and so you begin to actually build that kind of critical analytical knowledge, but it arises within the context of this collective pedagogy.

Scott: I definitely don't want to take over the Q part of the Q&A discussion, so please anybody just stop me if I just keep throwing things out here, but I'm curious, since I started; a big part of your you've said is about listening, or a lot of what you do, or a lot of what you think is important, and I was curious if we have been over emphasizing the acoustic side of what you do, or if not; if you wouldn't mind--I know you've already elaborated enough--but if you would mind elaborating on this point,  I feel when you're using the term listening, you're really talking about paying attention generally speaking, not necessarily listening with your ears.  At the same time though, you could pay attention by strictly looking and plugging your ears, but you don't do that and I was curious to know; what does, assuming again that there is an emphasis on listening with your ears and on acoustic experience, what do you think that gives you, or what kind of potentials do you think that lends for building different kinds of art worlds, that an over-emphasis on visual culture or looking with your eyes doesn't?

Robert: I'd like to make this even a little bit more specific is recorded sound; so there are these sorts of sound walks that provoke an awareness or an attention to the procedures of listening that very quickly we move into recorded sound, and what does it mean to actually make a recording in one part of the world and then actually listen to that recording in a different part of the world with a group of people, and what are the qualities of sound that, we think, that sort of distinguishes in some way from visual material.  So that this metaphor of listening, as supposed to in a way to paying attention, which has a more visual quality to it, is something that we're very interested in.  There is a number of ways of responding to that question, there's sort of deep theoretical considerations of those kinds of questions.  Just to situate very simply a kind of quality to it, one of the things that's lovely about sound is that it happens over time, and that listening to a recording is sort of listening to a sequence of sounds that over the listening of the couple of minutes, or something like that, also to accumulating; that structures attention in a certain way, it provokes potentially a narrative, it creates space in some way, a sonic environment that's emerging, there's a registering of the resonances of a particular space that begin to develop and a building up through paying attention from the details of that sound a possibility, and it's the sort of unresolved nature of sound, particularly recorded sound, or what was technically referred to as the [inaudible 0:54:20.9] this idea that a sound through recording is removed from its source.  So the moment [inaudible 0:54:30.1] that particular sound, we are separated from it this sort of distancing procedures, the unfolding of a time, that this [inaudible 0:54:46.7] becomes very useful.  But I don't think that what we're doing is only about sound at all, I think this is something that we're certainly I think grappling with, there are [inaudible0:55:04.2] who are very wedded to the qualities of a sound recording, and there are others that are interested much more in what we would call the scenes and procedures of listening in a very rich sense, paying attention as you said.  I think that the emphasis on sound should be... it has a pragmatic quality, it shouldn't be over theorized, I don't think it's a hugely complicated investment on our part.

Jenna: But in relation to the visual, we don't only use sounds when we're doing the recordings, the sounds are field recordings and they are often somehow not immediately recognizable in many cases whether that's in the case of people making statements, to people speaking at the same time, which alters the legibility of the statement, or whether it's someone making a recording that to them is incredibly personal but to other people it is not recognizable at all, something about the--I don't want to call it opacity because it's not opacity-- but something about the invisible visual register I think there's a lot more things that are recognizable and something about may be the fact that the sounds that we tend to work with are not recognizable, allows for a situation where people can begin to hear themselves in those sounds in maybe a different way than the visual register which is much more highly [inaudible0:57:10.2] in some ways.  That might be something.  I think also, I mean it's also what we talked about before, looking at the register, not just of sound, but of sound, but of listening does allow also one's attend to power in a group and in a situation differently--I don't know whether better or worse--but you listen to relations in a different way

Robert: This is a question that I've seen come up which is about the public school in London, I don't know if you want to say anything...

Jenna: What was the question about the public school?

Robert: Just a comment would be [inaudible 0:57:56.6]

Jenna: I haven't been there yet, so I can't really say very much I know about it but

[inaudible 0:58:03.6]

Jenna: I thought there was a London branch of the public school, is there not?

I thought I heard someone talking about this already in London but...

Sorry, could the person who asked the question about the public school in London maybe be a bit more specific, just to understand what the proposition would be because it sounds exciting.

?: I would like to use this as an opportunity to ask you to sort of say a little bit about radical pedagogy, or sort of radical education and the fact that we are very caught up in the sort of [inaudible 0:58:59.5] within education, and these questions around, we can talk about what the institution's about but I think given our very deep investment in popular education and pedagogical practices that no less important than the institutions around  [inaudible 0:59:18.6] and these are things that we are thinking about a great deal in [inaudible 0:59:24.6] in particularly involved in thinking through these kinds of questions...

Jenna: Ok sure, I mean the work that we've been doing in the last and that we will be doing in the next year is really marrying the work that we're doing in struggles with what's happening in education and in particular in the UK right now at the higher-education level, but also it's at high-school level; the new migration policies are really honing in on the university asking professors to report on students who are not from the UK, not coming to class and really extending the border  to the universities so that, putting quotas on the number of faculties that can be working at the university form outside of the UK, and that kind of thing, so, we've been talking about, we starting to think how is it that we intervene into those spaces in particular also in relation so curriculum about migration whereas at university the sense of the border itself at the university in the elementary school and secondary schools, I'm sure it's the same in the UK the kind of curriculum around difference and around racism around what new migration policies are actually producing for students in schools which is a heightened sense of policing and a heightened sense of difficulty in terms of families trying to gain entry to the UK, and also a general discussion of racist practice as it's happening that we've felt it quite important to be working and thinking more about our work in schools and in trying to constitute alternative spaces for investigation that both intervene at the level of curriculum and policy, but also try and build stronger coalitions between movement, struggles, who are struggling for more people to be involved and this crisis that's happening in the universities and schools.  Is that what you're asking about?

?: I mean the other thing I think is also is a place where the influence of anarchism is particularly present as well, where it has been the free-school movement in the UK has been a very strong influence, so creating alternative spaces for learning and alternative procedures for learning and actually doing that.

Jenna: Which is really important to mark as a difference between for example David Cameron has put on the table that he's very excited about free-schools and there's some new policies within the higher education and high-school level where groups of people can autonomously form free-schools and apply to the government for money, but these free-schools are really; there is an understanding that they would be like Steiner schools or class students as  that being held up as the ideal situation and we're trying to reconcile these contradictions around what it actually means to have autonomous education that is radical and that doesn't reproduce these class-divisions and in particular cultural divisions around learning, which are already embedded the schools, so it's a difficult moment right now to think about the intervention to produce; how do we understand autonomy in relation to an autonomy that's a notion of freedom that's being of course in a new context reformulated in reactionary policies.

Robert: And I think the question has come of a October 7th action the national day of action [inaudible 1:03:58.2] that's happening in the United States, I actually teach form time to time in universities, I've taught in the UC system and in very regular contact with students who are organizing in particular at UCLA around the cuts in funding and the shifts in the curriculum, and most recently I was working in the state-education system in Ohio, in the university system there, and they too are experiencing profound cuts, and the way in which these are being used to continue the co-operatizing of higher-education and the dismantling of public-education systems is incredibly troubling.  The helplessness that students are feeling in the face of this crisis is really extraordinary and just at a very basic level being able to create opportunities or procedures for people to speak about what they're experiencing and to being to formulate  on the basis of a recognition across each other of how the crisis is affecting them very directly in their education, and being able to understand a connection between a [inaudible 1:05:31.0] process and the curriculum.  So not seeing the sort of curriculum as a independent but actually as a curriculum it is something that is already in an ideological relationship with the broader context.  It's been astonishing being in the US education system, Columbia University, I taught there for many years, the lack of a vocabulary or procedure to actually undertake an investigation of the conditions [inaudible 1:06:10.1] education has been very troubling and it means that administration are just moving forward with the dismantling of curricula that are focused on education around social critique towards the service model of education.  I think that there is, for me, this questions of pedagogy and the procedures of pedagogy  is one of the most important areas for radical action at this point, and this action--the work that has been happening particularly with the UC campuses the [inaudible1:06:51.2]I think is incredibly important.

Jenna: And we have a series in the UK, in terms of sharing events, there's a series of announcements coming up of recommendation on the cuts that will come to higher-education which is being undertaken by an executive from British petroleum who's also an authoritative to Tate has made a really necessary -not necessary [inaudible 1:07:19.8]as someone involved in other social struggles in London around education that there's a group of people right now who are trying to produce an analysis that looks at the cuts to culture that are proposed and the reformulation of the cultural sector and its relationship to the reformulation to education and how the proposition of this creative economy which the British government has been proclaiming for about ten years and the reconfiguration of education are tied into each other.  So we're looking at a series of actions here in October/November, a whole series of [inaudible 1:08:04.7] and investigation that are going on by different student groups and one thing that I've been looking at quite a lot and I think Ultra-red has been looking at also is this work-experience and the internship and the apprenticeship and how this free-labor that gets really highly model within the cultural sector, but is really spread across all the sectors at this point, is becoming a standard way of bringing people into a situation of [inaudible 1:08:42.0] but also dividing out; for example migrants, students, from affluent British National students in terms of the way the education is being formulated, so we're working in two schools right now and one is 80% asylum seekers and the students are all being streamlined into apprenticeships and free-labor practices around skills and the other school [inaudible 1:09:12.4] the students are of course being streamlined into free-labor in culture and how to we understand those two things together; how do we understand the practices around migration and how they get institutionalized within education but then also this cycle of production related to the culture industries as well.  So there'll be a series of things, so it will be nice to keep the discussion going back and forth.

Robert: I mean if anybody on the call who works in education, it would be really interesting to hear your thoughts on that, I've been thinking a lot particularly about what I see in the US and a kind of [inaudible 1:09:52.7] of teachers, I would always say to rephrase this  [inaudible 1:09:58.8] was the sound of a war on teachers at this point, in the same way the economic crisis, the emphasis on undocumented labor is a distraction from the addressing the real causes of this crisis.  In a sense this shift to this distraction into questions, standardized testing and also the failure of teachers to provide an appropriate education is a distraction from what is really producing the crisis in education and it is a conversation that I wish was more robust or louder in the United States.

Greg: This is Greg, and I have the privilege of teaching at a small art college right outside of Philadelphia and that atmosphere is obviously quite different that large public research universities but before I go into that, I just want to point out that we're about four minutes to eight, and we do try and keep it to eight o'clock so that we don't keep you guys too long, we know you have other things going on as well, so we don't want to keep you up too late.  But I really appreciate the question, and I'm sure Steven has some ideas and I don't know if anybody else on the call is a teacher, a professor or whatever, but it's also the whole Ricardo Domingo situation also calls into questions the role that tenure has played in the past, plays now and will play in the future, or the lack there-of, but what was really established, not to keep old [crummaging? 1:12:04.1] in place for 35 years, but rather to protect interesting and experimental research, that loss I think is more dangerous than people might think, to lament this loss of protection for being fired because you're not doing your job well, I think that's the sort of public face of tenure, but rather I think those of us who are of course seeking it, it's so that we can really start to make, or do the research we've always wanted to do without fear of being silenced.  What's amazing about Ricardo is he was doing that work from the time he set foot on campus, and I think that's an really an amazing and commendable and more tragic that he's in the situation that he's in because they're firing him for the same reason they get granted on tenure so [inaudible 1:13:02.2].

Robert: I agree and I think that this is a case that should be constantly reiterated and repeated what this case is about because the closeting of dissent is terrifying, it's very disturbing and particularly within the [inaudible 1:13:30.0] in the high-school level, even the silencing [inaudible1:13:35.7] it's just really profound.

Greg: Yes, I agree.  Obviously we don't want to turn this into an entirely separate conversation but also we're here at either o'clock and we just really want to thank you for sharing a lot of various angles on the work that you're doing, it's just tremendously exciting, inspiring...[inaudible 1:14:05.4]... please keep us posted, although we won't be there physically, we always like to keep in touch and hear about what's going on.

Jenna: Great, we'll add you to the list.

Robert: Enjoy the rest of your evenings

Greg: Yes, you as well and thanks everybody for coming, and thanks again you guys this was truly interesting, and we look forward to continuing our communications with you all.

Jenna: Thanks for inviting us, have a nice dinner!

Greg: Thanks, goodbye everybody.

Week 38: Groundswell Collective

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with James David Morgan from Groundswell Collective.

Since 2006, the Groundswell Collective has been producing work that fashions and furthers alternative modes of social organization in both visual art and folklore — thereby implicitly acknowledging that there is no one artworld but rather a multiplicity of them. As they put it, their interest is in “how art relates to social movements, especially in its capacity to compose new social relationships. Art as an insular phenomenon (if it ever really was that), where its main focus was itself, is no longer; what it concerns now is its relationship to society, how it is composed and how it affects.”

The very fact that many people continue to speak of an artworld, singular (however implausible), is revealing of the extent to which cultural production has been integrated, almost seamlessly and ever increasingly, into capitalist logic over the last half century. And it is this logic that the Groundswell Collective sets out to reverse:
“the once avant-garde aspirations of making art an everyday practice have been realized, and the terrain on which power is built and contested has a decidedly cultural composition – producing politics is a cultural endeavor, and vice versa. Taking this second claim first, we recognize that the knowledge economy, or cognitive capital, is a salient force against which the left has yet to develop an effective strategy. Activist art offers extradisciplinary critique, and a theoretical model for this task, for the necessary engagement of power on the terrain which it now inhabits.”

Bringing together artists and activists, the group draws self-consciously on the long history of imagination, desire, and creativity on the radical left — which they refer to under the umbrella concept of “affective composition” — to alter, disrupt, channel, or otherwise impact hegemonic, one-world discourse, through a mutual aid online store and barter network.



Week 38: Groundswell Collective

Dave: Hello

Scott: Hi guys, Hi Cassie and Base Kamp, Hi David, Matthew, Greg

It looks like we have an intimate enough group, at least via Skype, to do some quick intros, which is kind of fun, I think that would be a nice way of just checking in an saying hi.  Cassie, you guys want to start at Base Kamp?

Oh, she's going to type it.  Ok, that's good too.  

Cassie: Can you hear my correctly?

Others: Yes, I can, yes

Cassie: Ok, Hi everyone, we're here at Base Kamp just hanging out eating some banana chips, and sweet potato dip.  We're excited to talk tonight, we've got a couple of people here, Michael just walked in a few minutes ago, he's getting some stuff ready.

Other: Hi Michael.  Ok, we'll move on, who is this guys Scott Rigby?

Scott: Yes, here, present, I'm probably may need to mute my mic off and on just to keep that down, but David, it's great to have you, I've really been wanting to talk about, or to hear about Groundswell Collective.  [inaudible 0:02:12.8] stuff might come up a number of times, but we haven't already had much time to talk yet.

David: Matthew, how are you, and what are you doing, and what can we expect from you in the years 2010 and 2011?

Matthew: I'm doing too much is what I'm doing.  I'm based in [inaudible 0:02:40.2], we doing community organizing with some [inaudible 0:02:49.4] efforts, but the activism side of tonight's talk should be really great because a lot of what I'm trying to do is to try to interact with different kinds of cultural groups in the city, to kind of engage them in creating ways that they can voice who they are.  And then I'm also starting up a festival of some sort in the next year or two, that will support artist students in more practices so that's what I'm up to right now.

David: Awesome, thank you.  And you're going to be showing, or doing a workshop at Conflux with the project that you're working on Freespace right?

Matthew: Yeah, Freespace is like a collection, well, I'm asking people to provide images and some information about spaces that they [inaudible 0:03:47.8] connections with.  And then create an archive with those, and then eventually starting to program them, so we're still collecting them right now, I'm hoping in the next few months to start creating some tours or some kind of thematic ways of allowing people to interact with those spaces.

David: Awesome, that sounds great, I'm just adding Adam here to our conference call, so give me a second to do that.  Steven's with, us I'm going to add Steven.  Hi Adam.

Adam: Hello, how're you doing?

David: We're doing great, we're mixing it up today, we're actually doing introductions, do you want to tell us who you are and why you're here?

Greg: David, do you want to tell us a little about where you're calling us from, or where we're speaking to you from, and then maybe we'll get started.

David: Yes, sure, I just moved up to Toronto, been here for maybe three weeks, and before that I was living in Boston, calling from home at this hour the busy street outside people like to honk their horns quite a bit so I apologize if there's some kind of background noise in advance.  You're not allowed to turn left onto the intersection and people still like to, so they like to honk their horns at one another.

Greg: Not a problem, we contend with kung-fu upstairs at the Base Kamp space, so oftentimes you hear tumbling and rumbling from the Base Kamp space, so not a problem at all.  Well, welcome everybody, thanks for coming out tonight, we're really excited to have David, and to hear more about the Groundswell Collective.  Before we get started maybe I'll just copy and paste this link to your blog.  There we go.  And then, as I said before David, you can utilize the text however you want, or not at all, it's completely up to you.  But what I'll do is I'll sort of give a quick read of what we wrote about you, or what Steven wrote about you, and then you can fill in the gaps and sort of further elucidate some of the projects that we might be mentioning here.  

So and please correct this if any of this is incorrect, but I'm sure it's spot on since Steven wrote it.  Since 2006 the Groundswell Collective has been producing work that fashions and furthers alternative models of social organization in both visual art and folklore; thereby implicitly acknowledging that that's no one art world but rather a multiplicity of them  As they put it, their interest is in "how art relates to social movements, especially in its capacity to compose new social relationships.  Art as an insular phenomenon, if it even really was that, where its main focus was itself is no longer.  What it concerns now is its relationship to society, how it is composed, and how it affects. "  So I won't read all of it, but I think that is a good primer to some of the things you'll talk about, so please feel free to pause and ask us questions, or ask us to participate, or obviously just talk as long as you'd like.  The floor is yours.

David: Cool thanks, well, hi everybody, again, for the sake of introduction, David Morgan.  I'm one of the co-founding members of Groundswell, and Ryan [surname 0:07:53.3] is the other founding member.  We started in 2006 I believe, we were living in western [place 0:08:03.5] at the time, and sort of studying how art and politics intersect and thinking about cultural production as a port of activity etc, and just came together around a bunch of conversation that we were having.  So, in the five or seven years that have transpired it's been a really interesting path that we've been on , it's been primarily way-finding and I'll send around a link to an article that I wrote recently for [inaudible 0:08:42.4] an online magazine, and I started it off with saying what is it that Groundswell does, that was the point of the article, and our gathering here today and my answer was that we don't know, and that we're happy that we don't know.  Also I remember guys just had a conversation with a think-tank that has yet to be named, and they have their directives yet and whatnot; I was on an excursion with them once upon a time and I was the director of not yet knowing, and I think the title is still pretty apt.  We are constantly becoming something other than we were and shifting, not just in form, or philosophy, but in space.  I mean obviously I just moved here, from a place that I had been set up for a number of years, Ryan moved from Newfoundland where he was to Portland Oregon, which was a move back home, and we had a guy we had been working with who was moving to Peru to work on the [inaudible 0:10:00.7] per child projects, it was his transition out of the States, and simultaneously mine that precipitated a whole bunch of changes and I guess I can talk about that later on.  So, with that, fluidity, with that kind of geographical separation and what not; I mean to be honest it's been really difficult, Ryan and I have lived in different places for almost the full five years that we've been working together, and it's been...

David: I guess we are primarily based in Boston since Ryan was more removed, I mean he was working with local theatre groups, he was doing work with a local radio station, and also some work with a local fishing community, and that kind of gave us the framework for the journal that we produce, and I'll talk about that more later too.  But it's weird, you know it's definitely done primarily over the internet and we star, our communication is, so... who's coming on? [phone ringing]

Female: Hello

David: Hi, I'm David

Greg: Dave, we'll be adding people throughout as they join us, so just continue at your normal pace, we'll manage that in a bit, and welcome to all of our callers, to all of our participants.

David: So, we gathered this past summer, and the one before that to try and hammer out some more details about what we're doing, you know, we gathered in person, is what I mean to say.  So, that's where we came up with the idea that it is directly the relationship to social movements that we're interested in, and how that can comprise new social relationships and reiterate what our mission statement is but that doesn't really elucidate much, so what does that look like?  I guess some examples from the work that we've done and that we think is particularly interesting, or successful, or just stuff that we choose to concern ourselves with anyway, I've been organizing the [inaudible 0:13:01.5] festival that I mentioned earlier in our chat.  The festival of radical marching bands that happens once a year in Boston, and for anybody who's interesting, it's upcoming it's [called Mystic Weekend 0:13:15.4].  There is a sort of genealogy that you can [inaudible 0:13:26.6] in that phenomenon, and for what it's worth, it came from earliest Dada, surrealism, definitely this situationist kind of thinking, and that got filtered through punk, and it got filtered through other sort of underground sub cultural sorts of phenomenon and in the 90s, I might contend that that's sort of train of thought or radical imagination, or however you want to refer to it, found it's fruition in [inaudible 0:14:11.5], anti-globalization and those gatherings that happen reclaim the streets being one that frequently gets pointed to and honk bands were a part of that.  So, that kind of basis in social movements, you know being the anti-globalization movements specifically is a very good example of what we're talking about.  Other folks within the Honk community would point to a different kind of genealogy and that's totally fine and fair and valid, and I also agree with it; the [inaudible 0:15:01.0] of these sort of folks were a huge inspiration for Honk bands as well, so it pulls from a lot of places, a lot of sources.  Again, that's a project that I've been personally involved with, and sort of tangentially Groundswell itself has lent a hand too.  One that we're more involved with is a group called Sprout, and they're sited in [inaudible 0:15:43.1] article.  They've been using the models, it's somewhat like Base Kamp's chats to gather folks and, I mean they eat spaghetti together, they have this sort of critical conviviality that happens, and it's a great, lovely little catch phrase that some folks have used to describe that kind of phenomenon of gathering, and with Sprout we put together a couple of events.  The way that happens is they get together and they eat spaghetti once a months, and they have a performance and a lecture series that's ongoing, [inaudible 0:16:32.8]spaghetti and we have presenters and the likes come and talk while we eat, and it's a wonderful little environment.  So the stuff that Groundswell helps put on was, or rent public space, particularly around transportation, public performance, and sort of linking up those local threads that we were touching upon in those presentations and performances, sort of combining for the evening I guess, just the... I've lost my train of thought.

Anyway, Sprout, it's a wonderful organization, you should check it out.  

Scott: Oh, yeah, I'm looking at it right now.

David: Cool, I'll mention a third, the design studio for social intervention, I think you guys at least tried to connect with, I don't know if they came off, but they have been focusing on using design thinking as a category for revitalizing the non-profit sector in the United States, and that's their overarching mission.  So, to take and use the existing infrastructure, the existing networks, and to sort of infused that with some new thinking about the social relationship that we can compose by using this same old stuff, I mean it's not dissimilar to the dismantling the master's house with the master's tools kind of argument, but I mean, they draw from so many different sources that that's not really a fair characterization, it's something that they've been working on for decades prior to their coming together in the past year, so to do that kind of works specifically.  In their case, it's using the social movement infrastructure that we've seen rise in the past 50 years, and on questioning we're going into that infrastructure with a new plan; linking social movements, new social relationships, and this aesthetic-affective thinking.

Groundswell, in that sort of milieu has been working in between, primarily we've been working with and for those guys, like I said, organizing those events at Sprout. [inaudible 0:19:51.1] we're kind of a cousin of the design studio and they're all quite good friends of ours and we focused all this effort around Boston, all three of the organizations that were mentioned are head quartered there, and so we were supporting their particular art words.  We recognized at the outset that there are various art worlds, and that each of these organizations, including our own,  comprises of public, and that that's a very important facet of doing this kind of work, the networking that could happen between those sites and organizations where we can help develop one another's power for lack of a better word, and how to be together in such a way that we're effective and... it's a primary task for us.

Greg: Dave, not to interrupt, but I was intrigued as you started to talk about, your transition from Boston to Toronto, and I wonder if you could talk about aspects in which you see the work changing based on your new location, or also currents that will continue regardless of geography, you talked a little bit about the local art community that exists in Boston, and I know that's going to be vastly different than that of which is happening in Toronto.  Maybe you don't really know about what the specifics are in Toronto, seeing as you've only been there three weeks, but maybe you can talk about things that you foresee changing or developing in a different way, but also threads that will continue.  

David: Yes, absolutely.  One of the things that I wanted to do is to spread out the geography a bit, we've been working in such a way that we're in distinct locations, and this is an opportunity where we're both relocated and have this blank slate to... it's true that I don't yet know what Toronto's lay of the land is, but treating it in the same way, certainly going to lend Groundswell as a support organization while we figure out what is possible here.  Already we've met with Toronto free-gallery, which is a social-justice concerned gallery, and we might do some programming there, and there's a couple of other folks, Toronto's School for Creativity who are also doing much more of a [inaudible 0:23:12.8] series kind of track, and so the lending a hand is certainly a primary consideration of our, and is one that we will pick up in our new locations.  It's also a question of whether we'll continue to work together in the same way; obviously I mentioned earlier, we put together this journal that was based on Ryan's experiences in Newfoundland.  To say a little more about that, he was working in a fishing community there, and was basically doing folklore anthropological kind of work, and noticed the community was facing the Canadian government closing down the town in which they lived, it was an argument that they couldn't the infrastructure any longer, and so this meant a dislocation for all of that community.  It's part of the reason that Ryan had to relocate.  His being so very embedded there means something has changed drastically in the way that we have been thinking for the past year, the journal was a process that took at least a year to pull off, we're onto new lines of lead I guess, with our new locations as well.

To mention another one of the projects that we've set up; we have an online store, and we've set it up in a mutual way of fashion that we could syndicate the work of other artist activists, and give a location for resources that we found interesting, or good, or what have you.  So now we'll be developing relationships with different groups around that particular site, we've worked out a partnerships with Half Letter Press to syndicate some of their stuff, and we may find the same is true with Toronto's School of Creativity.  I guess I'll go back to the journal in a second because that's a good example of working in those in between spaces and finding connections and being able to give voice to the kinds of work that we're focusing on.  We had, as I said the work Ryan was doing was around folklore, and he was gathering stories of the folks that were being displaced, so we recognized that similar displacements were happening on different scales and in different ways in different places.  To describe some of the similarities and differences, we wanted to dig into this same kind of story telling from those other locations.  The title was "Crisis [Folklore? 0:27:16.9] and we solicited both real and imagined stories, folklores to describe that phenomenon; that dislocation.   We pulled from a climate change intervention in the U.K, the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination wrote a piece about the bike-lock which was their intervention there, Team Colors did a piece somewhat differently about the non-profit industrial complex, and a friend of mine, John [surname 0:28:07.8] was working on anti-eviction blockades of [inaudible 0:28:16.6] houses, and he's developed a  piece telling a story about those particular sites through shadow projections on actual house that's been foreclosed and where the eviction is actually happening, so they'll set up and do its presentation, this intervention while the family is being evicted, and before and after, to tell the stories of what went on in that house, both personal stories, and the ones related to the financial crisis that they found themselves in.  there are some other imaginings about what to do with empty property, there's what to do with this sort of network in which we find ourselves, as activists, public practice, bulletin.  So, a couple of examples of making those linkages a little more clear, and giving space to the folks  that are out there in the world doing them.

Greg: I'm really interested in the crises who are narratives, are these accessible somewhere other than ordering the booklets?  I mean, we should do that anyway, but I'm just curious

David: There's a PDF that you can get from our store, but we should at this point probably just free that up for everybody and post it on [inaudible 0:30:05.7] or something so that it's out there in the world.

Greg: I guess you could still tell people who want to buy it and make it available on [inaudible  0:30:17.7.  As a way of supporting, and I am really interested in the [inaudible 0:30:32.0].  I was curious about part of the way you describe the Groundswell [inaudible 0:30:44.1].  

When you catalogue this other work, that's how I came to know about you guys was [inaudible 0:31:18.7] before that.  [inaudible 0:31:20.6]

[Other talking]

Maybe to tag a little bit on to that question is [inaudible 0:31:50.4]

[Other talking]

David:  It's been referred to as unregulated discourse, and I just put that little saying on our website the other day that that kind of cataloguing is a way of doing... I guess referred to also as extra-disciplinary critique, this act of creating work, and I see it in a parallel way that the cataloguing the coming together, understand, criticize, re-work, have conversation about, performs the same function.  The extra-disciplinary critique thing is sort of a political philosophy also about creative capitalism about [inaudible 0:33:36.3] economy and what not, and how one can go about addressing those circumstances.  How to play with the levers of capitalism and I see that those two things share some common ground and to the act of cataloguing, I think is--on a good day I'd say it's close to an artwork in and of itself, but it's not creating in a similar way; it is art work, like it's labor that involved affecting aesthetics etc, but I don't know whether we can consider it a practice and I went back and forth on it.  I'm open to hearing other people's opinions about this because to me it just seems like a curatorial role, and that is art labor.  Does anybody have opinions about that?

Greg: I think we all should, it's whether or not we can formulate them in a cohesive manner, but do people have strong feelings about that? I mean I don't know if Stevens--not to put him on the spot-- if he's in a place that he can talk I imagine you have a fair amount to say about the process.  I think that's what we're kind of teasing out in terms of what makes up or what concepts [inaudible 0:35:22.7] art world.  I think these are definitely questions that we may not have immediate answers to, but rather that we're looking to tease out further and investigate and flesh out and try to understand better.  But if anybody else who has ideas and wants to join...

Scott: The kind of art worlds that people are setting up usually have something to do with the infrastructures that comprise those usually have some role with rethinking relationships that help to make those up.  How people conceive the role, other roles that are [inaudible 0:36:11.7] I think the role of the most common notions of curatorial world aren't very stable either, they've been shifting too, and it really wasn't that long ago, if you think about it where [inaudible 0:36:30.0] almost like how [inaudible 0:36:40.9] describes the director in relationship to the actor [inaudible 0:36:47.4].  Describes how actors at a certain point [inaudible 0:36:54.2] but also because of the film industry lose a relationship with the audience that they once had, and also understanding of their own place within whatever narrative they're helping to build [inaudible 0:37:09.9] they're co-construction, they become more [inaudible 0:37:15.0] because they're unaware of whole set-up, so really the director of that also the editor has more say than the actors do.

Greg: Scott, I find that a really interesting comment because it's also very much about when he talks about the difference between the painter and the cameraman, and the magician, and he sort of compares the painter to the magician; you go away and you come back with this great work, but there's no real understanding of how it came to be, whereas the camera man is integrating himself into daily life and penetrating reality with the camera and such, but beyond [name? 0:38:10.6] I think what's interesting is how the creative practice is shifting to one which includes is what Matthew Slats talked about when we were doing intros which was community building, community activism and I think obviously Dave is working with aspects of that as well, and so the creative practice is redefined or broadened if you will.  I think that's an interesting comment, I don't know if David has thoughts about that?

David: I do, it's hard to tell because usually when people ask me if I practice I say no, I don't really, even with this critique that we bring to art and to philosophy and what not, it's difficult to describe one's personal practice and I can point to a couple of collaborations that we've done in print that are visual art, poster art kind f things as a practice, but I do have difficulty even with this critique talking about this curatorial role as practice.  I don't know if I can elaborate on that, but it's an ongoing question I guess.

Scott: I think the reason that I mentioned this critique of the director and relationship to the actor in the same breath as the curator and the artist as role anyway; I was just thinking it wasn't that long ago where curators and contemporary artists have had assumed this position where they become authors, or at least that's how they are often perceived, and I think to be fair, that's really the way a lot of curatorial practices are shaped, or at least it has the effect.   But I think more and more artists have been talking through strategies in their work, for quite a while now, partly as a way of reclaiming that loss of agency in their cultural role, but also there's some kind of upstaging going on and stereotypically artist [inaudible 0:41:14.8] can't stand that.  In a way there's something else I think about certain kinds of curatorial strategies that I don't really see necessarily to try and [inaudible 0:41:40.8], in a way it kind of lends us more towards a shared, or distributed attention [inaudible 0:41:51.1] if you wanted to describe it that way, being aware when you're referring to the work of their peers often it's not so much that you're actually trying to throw your authorial [inaudible 0:42:02.7] around them, but depending on how it's approached, more that you're attempting to somehow put yourself and other people in context  and just acknowledge that you're working within a share of social field, not necessarily a social network in the sense of social network of [inaudible 0:42:22.8] but in some kind of a world where alienation isn't one of the goals where you're not really trying to [inaudible 0:42:38.0].  I get the sense that the way you guys approach it it's more like that than it is that you're trying to adopt a strictly territorial role.

David: Yes, that's a good description and the unregulated discourse, if you put the emphasis on unregulated thereby mean at least less mediated than the alternative I think that lends itself to the same thing that you just described, so yes.

Greg: Actually I'd like to follow up on that, it's a basic question, but  I feel like to some extent I-- not that I knew who you were Dave-- but I felt  like following your timeline via twitter, or reading your blog; there's a certain level of connection that one can make through social media, but it can also be that cool detachment of knowing but not being active and I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit more about the role that social media plays for Groundswells, obviously you utilize it, but to what extent? and do you see if any, a transformative power, or any potential power in social media?  Obviously the days of using text messages to avoid police in terms of rioting, how do you see social media, to what extent do you invest in it as a tool for getting out information?

David:  Obviously we use it quite a bit given that we're in different places, and that we're comprising an audience online by keeping this catalogue, choosing to keep this catalogue in that kind of virtual space.  I don't really know if it was a conscious decision, it wasn't the democracy of the social web that lured us in, it was just finding ourselves in that environment, it was a convenient tool more than it was something that we considered at length and decided to use after much deliberation.   I think if anything we'd be more prone to say that there are a number of... it's hard to say it has had a democratizing role in my opinion, and I think that Ryan would agree, I don't know if we're using strategically to achieve that kind of an end to have an audience, or community or that have reached a center of resources that functions; I can't say that it was conscious and to be perfectly frank, the reason that I do use twitter so frequently is that I have a desk job, and that seems to be the tool that's literally right in front of me, so it's somewhat circumstantial I guess.

Scott: David, earlier you were talking about doing programming where you are, did you mean event programming?  or did you mean code programming?  

David: I meant event programming.  But actually, I guess I wouldn't be telling the whole truth without saying that when we were first considering what shape Groundswell should take, was tending towards a more traditional design studio format,  and some of the work we did early on was for movement organizations that needed these tools put together; ways to communicate via the internet, and so we did do quite a bit of work early on with that explicit focus.  

Scott: Got ya, that's interesting, there does seem to be an entrepreneurial [inaudible 0:48:14.4] even though I feel like it's almost always somehow [inaudible 0:48:20.0]because it's encapsulated in [inaudible0:48:23.9].

David: One of the things that we did was to recognize that we had that going on, that we had this energy, and that we wanted to move in that direction, and we didn't have the same critique that we do now.  We were totally... sorry I'm looking at the text...

Scott: What do you think actually instigated that; what you're describing almost sounds like the process is becoming radicalized, would you describe it that way?  Has your involvement with looking into the work of other people had an impact on what you guys do and how you approach what you do?

David: Yes, I think it's taken quite a number of years to develop a particular [inaudible 0:49:28.3] it's through the work that we've found most appealing, and through this process of cataloguing it that we've been able to arrive at this stand point I guess you could call it.  I don't think that calling it becoming radicalized it too far off the mark, I mean that's pretty spot on actually.

Greg: Dave, is there a difference between cataloguing and archiving to you?  And it's not a loaded question, I'm just curious in terms of; I think we've had a fair number of discussion about the archive, and its potential usefulness and its potential dangers if you will; but I'm just curious when you say cataloguing, should I be thinking along the same lines as archiving or creating an archive?

David: It feels like that, but with more breadth to is, and more of a living phenomenon as in what we're comprising becomes something more than itself; like you can talk about constituent power, congealing energies towards an end, or many ends; that feels more like a  better comparison for cataloguing I guess than the archive, the archive just feels older I suppose, not like something that one frequently updates.  That's an [inaudible 0:51:44.1] response, it's not one that we've considered, it's more in this effort of sharing that we chose to use a blogging software and that by default becomes a catalogue, an archive, whichever word you choose to refer to it, it has the effect of indexing.  

Scott: It's definitely an interesting issue for us because  some level, if I'm talking about revising or mixing different traditional roles within art worlds, archiving is really similar to the act of collecting, at least some times it is, and I feel like oftentimes there's a danger there because in collecting there's a kind of violence, there's different approaches, but often there's an accumulation to that, there are different benefits that we all get from archiving and having this kind of internal ownership.  On the other hand archiving is really crucial for the kinds of things that interests us, or at least that are the central focus of this particular series of [inaudible 0:53:34.0] we're engaged with right now.  One of the main kinds of art worlds that we want to look at was people that are engaged heavily in archiving collective practice in particular because it hasn't really until recently been something that's had much attraction, although there's been a lot of activity, and so I wonder why that is, or at least that's something we continue to ask, why is that?  Is it sort of a mean, are there other effects of this?  We kind of assume that because something's happening a lot that there's a specific reason for that, sometimes it's just because things snowball or become a fad, or whatever-- I think in the case of archiving where practice is that there are some things that are going on, and I'm curious as to what different people think about that, because I have my thoughts about it, that I don't want to endlessly hypothesize you know?  Or somehow imagine what I feel is important is somehow important for everyone else so that's the reason that they do it.

David: Maybe the one direction that we've gone in lately is thinking about the idea of care, and in fact off the record it's likely to be the next issue that comes out of the journal, and I think that it's an interesting question, the archive question is an interesting one to raise in the context of care; the way that we get at the idea of care is that there are these sort of art worlds, there are these connections between them, they overlap,  bump up against one another, repel etc, they have relationships, and how do we lend a hand to that, the longevity of that relationship?  How can we build infrastructures that support that network that doesn't capture them, but permits them to function further, and  thinking about the archive there, is an interesting one.  I think we could talk about it in terms of infrastructure at that point, building a common pot to draw from, having...

Scott: Yes, let's definitely talk about that, I mean let's keep talking about that.

Greg: Now, let's talk about it now.

It's encouraging though I think Scott, and everybody would agree, that this is something that we somehow continually come back to,  I think  it's a really intriguing aspect that we don't prompt necessarily in what we  would say is plausible art world, or even the categories that we defined, although I guess we do archive creative culture right... actually I'm lying, so never mind, I'll shut up.

Scott: No, for sure, you're right, and I think David, what you're saying about focusing on care is... I mean it's pretty important often in critical conferences, some of them will bring up the etymology of the word curate and that's derived at some point from Latin, specifically what [inaudible 0:57:57.1] to care for, or to take care of them or whatever and if you think about how at least in colloquial definitions of, or ideas of what curators are, often people aren't thinking about art per se, they think about a library curator, because that's what it is often used as, [inaudible 0:58:22.5] than it was some sort of grand architect of ideas; and I think a number of people are attempting to reclaim that because they find some value in caretaking, not necessarily purely in a curatorial role, but more like active care like you were describing.  And I think it's really appropriate not just because of some academic connection, but I think it seems to be an apt word, or an apt term to keep using, and practically speaking for art and certainly the people I'm working with, I think it makes a lot of sense to reclaim because it's a really confusing role.  It's also confusing in what your relationship with the [inaudible 0:59:18.6], whether you study curation, or got into it in practice, or that's your day job, or whatever, if you're super involved in [inaudible 0:59:34.8] it's like it really effects the creative practice of that art world how people see your role as a curatorial practice within it.  I think that these ad-hoc curatorial teams, or people who at least adopt curatorial strategies to attempting to redefine it through different types of activity, not necessarily definitions in terms of dictionary definitions, but just like when people do something different that you start talking about it in a different way, thinking about it's almost like another tool in your box to use, or something else, if you know what I mean, so I guess I would definitely would like to keep hearing ideas about how that kind of activity can be useful.

Greg: Yep, I kind of have a follow-up to that Scott, if you don't mind, just in terms of David; and this is a loaded question; what is the end goal?  What is the end goal?  What do you want to see achieved through Groundswell Collective?  Are there actual changes, are there actually actual things that ideally, in a perfect world, you would see as being the instigator of the initiator of the glue that brings together a variety of artists, activists, different disciplines, are there aspects to the works that is very tangible?

David: In terms of an end goal, I would say probably not, it's difficult to have result come from all of this, but then again that begs the question of efficacy, is this even worthwhile to do.  That's one that's been circulated in the activist circles for, as long as I've been paying attention anyway, I mean, does the work that we're doing just preach to the choir, and is that choir one that's already assembled, or does it need to be assembled?  Those are even heretical questions sometimes for somebody like me, but they're the ones that are most important.  In terms of attaching Groundswell's name to something, we certainly don't have that kind of drive, I think that we in the much much longer term see the role that we're playing is one of-- as I said before-- pulling the levers on  a much larger systems and seeing what the result is; what kinds of social relationships we can put together, cobble up from this kind of work, what that change is about, our lives and about the social movements that we've found ourselves involved with; it's a much much larger answer and result I suppose.

Greg: Definitely, I mean, like I said, it's a pretty loaded question to begin with, but sometimes that can result into some interesting insights into what you see as role that Groundswell is playing, and it doesn't have to be in one particular arena, and as we know it's not, but here are things that obviously sustain our creativity, our interest, motivations, and it's just curious to hear sometimes, what constitutes a success for Groundswell, is it simply existing in this economy, society, whatever, or is it more than that?

Scott: Isn't part of what Groundswell hopes to do... when you describe what Groundswell ultimately as some kind of mass of people doing something, and so I mean kind of like we're doing with the plausible art worlds initiative, it seems to me that especially because what a lot of what you do is trying to find people doing a certain kind of things [inaudible 1:04:37.9]it's almost like proof.  that not only [inaudible 1:04:44.2] for however long, but it's also showing a literal Groundswell activity and I guess I'm just curious, similar as Gregg was asking, how much proof, well, I don't know what kind question to actually ask about this; but I was curious about how you felt about that, that on some level what you're doing, not just representing yourself, but in some way trying to plug into the larger [inaudible 1:05:21.0] a part of that, and specifically the part that says "Hey, there's a lot of this going on".

David: Yes, one of the things that I've been thinking about recently, and that I just saw come up in the text there is the idea of comprising in public.  I've come back to this a couple of times now in this conversation, but whether one can create work of this kind that does presuppose the audience is already put together, and what it means to function in a way that does cobble those things together in the doing of the work, and I suppose that's how I see Groundswell's roles.  I mean we say participating in and commenting on, providing a narrative about, and participating in activist efforts, social struggle etc, so I guess that we do suppose that does; we assume that there is a public and we point to it.  But the ones that we point to are ones that are comprising a different set of things, and that's done in relationship to social movements kind of [inaudible 1:07:14.2] whereas we're just at this nether-level commenting on the things that are doing that.  Does that answer your question?

Scott: Sure, totally.

Greg: Is it now a good time to see where we're at, chime in, see how Base Kamp's doing there, the space that is, are there any questions that people are kicking around, sometimes as you talk Dave, we are often times are talking behind the scenes with our muted microphones, but now maybe is a good time if anybody wants to pose those via audio or text, whichever.

Dave, we usually record these, is that ok?

David: Yes

Scott: One reason why  I asked was how much proof you needed, is just because one of the things we were trying to determine in setting up this particular series of chats was like well why should be even bother doing was the more informal, non-directed, series of talk, already got enough, do we really need to focus on plausible art worlds per se.  We decided yeah, we do, just because there is a certain range of something that we wanted to see more examples of because we think there's [inaudible 1:09:34.8] and I just want to see them somewhere.  We were also thinking each of these examples is a kind of proof we were describing them even as exhibits in the sense of exhibits in the courtroom; Exhibit A, Exhibit B etc.  They help to prove that something's happening we decided just for fun: why don't we give a whole year so that's going to be 52 of them, and I'm just curious; I mean to us we were already thinking about how much is enough, how much is too much, maybe a [inaudible 1:10:25.8] format would have been even better because then there would be no limit, we wouldn't even have limits of [inaudible 1:10:29.8].  So I'm just curious about how you felt about that; as an ongoing research tool for you guys in shaping your own perspective, is this something you think you would probably continue on with, are you interesting in getting others to help, and if so, I guess in either way whether you want to continue it yourself, or with others, I was wondering if you had shaped any set criteria; I'll stop my question there, but it's like a two-part question.  One is, do you have a sense of how much compiling will actually be helpful for what you want, and also if that's the case, and you want others to help, what should they be looking for?

David: Yes, we do plan to continue, we are always interested in hearing from other folks, we've had a number of guest bloggers who have posted about efforts that they're involved with, efforts that they see happening, and it's always just good to connect with... I mean there's two of us, and for the most part, I've been doing a lot of the organizing, being in [inaudible 1:12:02.6] centre and all that, so it's great to have relationships with other folks outside of the collective.  As for the criteria as to what would get  indexed or archived, or catalogued, I always used to refer to is as that's definitely a nebulous things, I mean we haven't codified any sort of things like that, we have our personal ideas about what might work and what might not, recognize that how the contextual, I suppose and can be problematic because it's sort of a; they're frequently time-based, temporal in the sense that they expire rather quickly, that's like, it makes it difficult to characterize the thing that just kinds of pops out seemingly spontaneously, works in some cases, doesn't work in others.  but at the same time, there is a sort of... it's almost a theory, it's so hard to condemn what would be an activist artwork, or meet that definition.

Scott: Yeah, for sure, I think that's pretty good; sometimes you can only really give an attempt your, I guess what instigated it, wanting to do this in the first place, your motivations and just the process of who helps to shape that I think that's enough.

Greg: I was just going to say, were you going to go to the text Scott?

Scott: Yes.  Cassie was just asking, you were saying that the microphone isn't the best do you want me to just read that out Cassie?

She was just saying do you contact the people or groups in advance when you posts on the websites, Mallory was just wondering that as Base Kamp and there's another question after that; what's the purpose of [inaudible 1:14:58.7] a catalogue, what's your focal outcome?

David: We do have an exchange pretty frequently with the [inaudible 1:15:10.1] we network with or involve ourselves with, comment on, etc.  It's not done [inaudible 1:15:19.9] usually it's kind of our understanding of what went on from the documentation and in a lot of ways that's a lot of second hand forest that we turn to, I wish that we could be there an involved with all of the stuff that we're dealing with, but it's not possible.  So we don't do it any less frequently than folks will see that we have written something and it will carry and exchange from there.  Cassie's question about the purpose; I'll admit that I began writing stuff like that, somewhat selfishly to gain a better understanding of what we were talking about, and like I said, it gave us a sense of direction to see everybody else's sense of direction and what we like, what we didn't like, what we saw that worked and so on.  In that way it was, it sort of outstripped our capacity to digest everything in a  meaningful way, so I suppose that it mutated and as it took on its own energy, had a different purpose, which was the archiving function which was  providing the forum for visibility and conversation around this subject, if I could put it somewhat succinctly, I would say that is the purpose.  Cassie asked did it begin with one purpose and change; yes, absolutely, the blog format is a somewhat public one, by nature, I suppose it was available for the same kind of [inaudible 1:18:36.0] to be the same kind of resource it is now but at the outset it was more of a chronicling of who our friends might be, for lack of a better way of saying it.

Scott: Yeah, maybe the people who you met and like to get involved with; I don't feel the sense that it's a closed clique of friends.

David: It's led some very good friends, and good collaborations and what not.

Greg: Dave, I'm curious, we often talk about how plausible art worlds is not just anything that's not the art world; oftentimes we talk about having  a foot in the art world and a foot outside the art world, whatever that might mean, but you get a sense of some of the things that we're addressing in terms of the [inaudible 1:19:46.9] art world.  Are there activities that Groundswell's involved with in term of more traditional art practices that is in exhibition, or things that are housed within white walls and roof, ways that you're involved, other than the sort of more grassroots activist end of the creative practice?  

David: To date, not very much, the first thing that I did that was in a more traditional territorial role if we can call it that; we did a show for [name add art? 1:20:28.6] the [ibeam? 1:20:30.9] add replacement plug in, I'm sure many of you are familiar with, that we focused on the subject of care, and that was considered more traditional curatorial role, but in a totally not-white walled, non-gallery kind of setting.  So that being the first [inaudible 1:21:00.9] into the... something we can point to as an exhibition, that evinces how removed we are from the four-wall kind of gallery...

Greg: That's great; many of the people that we've spoken with do work outside, but often times there is some overlap with the more traditional practices that involve gallery or museum spaces.

David: I mean, we do overlap in a lot of places, we comment on it quite a bit, we have friends that exhibit there, and we exhibit outside of it, we do work in a similar way.  I guess it's a direction that we are familiar with and that we might head with in my move to Toronto here, doing programming for a gallery in Toronto would be an activity that I could take on now, have an opportunity to do and I suppose it's a more traditional role one that has specifically the social justice focus.

Greg: That's great, thank you.

David: I'll give an example of one of the projects we did recently, the People's [inaudible 1:22:56.9] of Greater Boston, that probably most of you are familiar with the Experimental Geography Exhibit that was curated by Thompson and Independent Curators International, people's outlet was a project begun in Chicago that toured as part of that exhibit.  It was done in Chicago to start, and that is what [inaudible 1:23:42.7] in the Experimental Geography Exhibit.  So the one that we did in Boston was rather recently, it was kind of piggy-backing off of that, that successful Art world circulating show, and a little bit more of a description I can just send to the text here.  I believe that's the right link.

So that's ours of Greater Boston and essentially we circulate a blank map of the political boundary of the Greater Boston area and ask the individuals fill it in with their version of the city, whatever that means, it could be their favorite ice-cream shop, it could be relationships of power within the city, where people go of a certain type of class or something of the sort, so there's a lot of room to play with this in a very explicitly; also just allowing of amateur photographers to sort of define the city vis-à-vis this map is another inherently political activity.

Greg: Although, if I'm looking at the right map, it's shall we say open, or vague?

David: Right, it's totally not labeled.  Boston's kind of a confusing city though, so the slashed side of it with diagonal lines on the right-hand side is the ocean, and dead centre is downtown Boston and we've left the north, west and south rather open because of the nature of Boston, I mean people commute in from the suburbs quite a bit, it's a rather sprawling kind of area, so we wanted to permit a lot of variance in that, that actually was a successful choice, that was a, this guy David, I can't remember his last name; he was the designer for this map, and we had an event at the design studio for social intervention that was Daniel Tucker presenting on this specific thing that he and [name 1:27:02.7] had started and we got together and assembled these maps.  The coolest p[art of the night for me was that there were three different generations of this one family who came together, a grandmother, a mother and a son; and the son was from the suburbs.   He's a teacher who wanted to take these blank maps and have the kids in the suburbs have their conception of Boston, and it's very cool to hear from the Grandmother how racism has changed over the course of her life, she did a map etc,

Greg: Yeah, as I posted in the text, I think the fact it doesn't venture into the hyper real that a Google map does in terms of specific location and three dimensional architecture, which in and of itself is really interesting and compelling in a weird way, but this is really subtle and poetic and open and I think allows for a greater degree of interpretation and how one approaches this; not to mention it's beautiful like the outlines are really beautiful, they're also very geometric which I find pretty interesting too in the sense that certainly the coastline in of Massachusetts, or in this case Boston and Boston harbor and that area certainly I don't think has those right angles but at the same time it really is compelling and you don't even really sp[end too much time there beyond wanting to know your relationship in that space.  I don't know w, it's really interesting, I think it's; I would have liked to have been  a participant.  I also see that [name 1:29:16.8] project launches in Boston, it makes me think about that in terms of dealing with school children, or lending a voice to people that wouldn't otherwise necessarily have it, specifically obviously in his case of children not being able to vote.  But here, like you said, engaging the image or cartographer, or the nonexistent cartographer I think it's great.

David: Yes, I mention that in relation to the questions about the Art world and where we touch on it and we don't.  I remember reading once upon a time the-- I can't remember the name of the exhibition-- but Martha Rosler had, it's democracy I think-- does anyone else know what I'm talking about?  like 1980s housing rights, New York exhibit... anyway, Martha Rosler had commented on this exhibit and had said something about opening up Art world and the function of all of these exhibits that they had curated would be to do precisely that and -- I don't' think that's it, I actually have the book, somewhere...

Greg: Yeah, I'm at a loss as well, that's the only one that came to mind.

David: But anyway, we kind of started-- yeah that's it, I'm pretty sure that's it.  Since we weren't working with the Art world, neither Ryan nor I have in our background even, I mean we came at this from our interest in politics, in our interest for social change we're infusing this with our interest in art, but one that we weren't like necessarily trained in, or really had that kind of official background, so we'd assumed that we weren't going to be part of  the Art world to begin with, and so in creating these--to use the Base Kamp word: Plausible Art Worlds-- Martha Rosler talks about it in a sort of post-modern opening up of big art.  I see that as... it works, it describes to some extent our approach, and I think that we had assumed it at the outset.  

Greg: Just keeping an eye on the time, if there's anything that people want to ask, or have been thinking about and have been chomping at the bit to ask Dave, or if inversely, this is also the time when I ask the question of What's next for Groundswell?   What's in the works?  I know you certainly have a new location so is it just digesting what Toronto has to offer?  Of what's next?

David: Like I mentioned, the care things is on our mind, and working out this way of talking about it in terms of affect and trying to put together a good enough synopsis of those varied thoughts that we could put out in the world and maybe call some responses to, like a call for papers basically for the next version of the journal.  It's usually a several-month endeavor at least...

Greg: Has that call gone out?

David: No, it hasn't yet, I'm still thinking about it.

Greg: Feel free to keep us informed too, either by e-mail, twitter, whatever, just so that we can; we like to also keep tabs on all the people we talk to obviously.

David: Absolutely yeah.

It seems like that's an inappropriate subject, it seems like it's taking hold the subject of care is taking hold in a number of activist circles and also I've seen it recently in a good deal of work recently, this success of a Domestic Workers Union in New York was one that catapulted that into the public eye to the font of newspapers and what not, and sort of riding on that wave that's appropriate to be thinking about...

Greg: I think there's also a sort of poetic in just the work, just as your map was; gave us a loose definition of a coastline, the word care can be interpreted in such a vast variety of ways and I think the potential response to that could be really, I'm sure intriguing, in terms of the differences but also the overlap.

David: Absolutely, and I mean, we are working up this caliber, it's one that will still be a survey-approach and I agree it is a very nebulous term, it's four letters-- how much can you really insinuate with that?

Greg: Well, four-lettered words though, you know...


David: Sure, I mean like the Team Colors folks we've been in communication with them about this subject and others and they have a particular definition that I'm particularly fond of, but probably won't be limited to that in the call.  So in a more background--in my undergrad I went to Hampshire College and I studied Disability Activism and so this idea of care has pressed me in that way too, I've been thinking about physical illness, about networks of caretakers, relationship between taking care and giving care, and so on for quite some time, so just to underscore how varied the concepts can be, it's like those that I just mentioned, plus unpaid work, the care that we take in curating, we've talked about that...

Greg: Yeah I mean, or even just thinking about healthcare, just generally, where we're talking about the threat of socialized medicine and then of course now you move to Canada, I mean, even just being in a new location where you are guaranteed healthcare, or I imagine you are right?

David: I'm not because I'm just on a temporary residence

Greg: Something tells me that they wouldn't turn you away though.

David: True.  So yes, I mean, if anyone has ideas about people who are working in these kind of area-fields, send them my way.  I'd be very interested to talk with them, and perhaps they would be looking for a platform to put some ideas out into the world.

Scott: Yes, for sure, let's continue to share info...

Greg: I don't know that we have time, but I'm also really curious about when you put these calls out, and I think you talked a little bit about this already; but how do you decide what not to include?  Because that's the down and dirty process that you have to deal with right?

David: It's true, fortunately it's been somewhat self-selecting in the last process; we were limited to a number of pages and happened to make do with the final copies of what actually came in, I mean we had slated for more and some of those didn't get delivered, so we wound up just being able to fit it what did come in; so kind of de-facto way of curating I suppose, but I guess one of the things that we emphasize is putting it out to a variety of audiences, and specially with this care subject, we really wanted to hit up the folks that are front-line, I mean like ranking-file activist individuals, organizers that are thinking about this work in their context, whatever it might be.  So there is like an audience selection process that happens, in terms of actually putting the thing together it's been much easier.

Greg: That sounds great.  Well listen, are there any other final comments or questions that have been floating around out there?  Either at the Base Kamp space, Scott, Steven, Adam?

Scott: It's been really great having you here and talking about Groundswell, I think there's definitively a gazillion overlaps between our work and interests and yours, and we may as well... our mutual goals are to coordinate with people who have overlaps and to try to amplify each other's practices in some levels, we've got to think of a slightly more focus, or direct way of doing that, you know?

David: Yeah, absolutely.  I see in the text a couple of ideas about folks for the care subject, which is great, just drop a line...

Scott: Awesome, so when are you putting out the call for entries, or whatever it is that you want everybody to distribute widely?

David: By the end of October, I should hope, because that should have given me a couple of weeks to, I mean after the Honk festival to recoup and...

Greg: Well, beep beep!

Scott: Absolutely, have a great night everybody, sorry am I cutting out too short?

Greg: Not at all I think we've reached a natural end to things.  Dave, it's been great, and really fun and illuminating and has certainly made us think about a lot of the questions that we think about a lot anyways, but in a new light, so that's exciting, and thank you for sharing that with us.

David: Likewise, I appreciate it.

Greg: And again just to echo what Scott generally says which is certainly stay in touch with us and we'll certainly help to promote the call for entries for the care subject matter, that sounds really interesting as well.

David: Awesome, thank you.

Greg: Alright everybody, thanks a lot for coming, good night Base Kamp, good night everybody, see you next Tuesday.

Week 25: Dark Matter Archives & Imaginary Archive

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with artist and writer Gregory Sholette about his ongoing “Dark Matter Archives” project. As Sholette will be joining us from Wellington, New Zealand, where he is currently organizing his “Wellington Collaboratorium”, the conversation will also focus on the related “Imaginary Archive.”

Performative archiving is obviously a key component of many plausible artworlds but it has remained largely implicit in our weekly discussions until now. Though we have focused on practices with deliberately impaired coefficients of artistic visibility, this week we hope to explicitly tease out some of the paradoxes around the politics of that (in)visibility. The wonderfully and elusively titled “Dark Matter Archives” is dedicated precisely to those who resist visibility, as well as to those who are refused visibility by mainstream culture. In doing so, the Archives seek to provide knowledge, documents, and tools about the history and current practices of culture’s “missing mass.” Their goal is to reinforce whatever degree of autonomy marginalized artists, informal artists, and art collectives have wrested from the mainstream institutions of culture.

The “Wellington Collaboratorium” issues forth from the ambitious project, taking the notion of collaboration as a living, working material to be uncovered, explored, and put into motion. One of the collaboratorium’s outcomes is the Imaginary Archive, comprised of novels, brochures, catalogues, pamphlets, newsletters, and other material inserted into second-hand bookstores and other public places, seeking to present an alternative vision of the realities our society plausibly might inhabit, had the world been shaped differently. And perhaps more plausibly.



Week 25: Dark Matter Archives & Imaginary Archive

(Group greetings and background chatter)

[Scott]: How is everybody doing?

[Steven]: Okay here in Paris.

[Scott]: So, we've been chatting here on text for a loud.  Welcome everybody.  There's a little bit of an ambient noise, but I think that just might be the lobby where you are right Greg?

(Loud background noise)

[Greg]: Perhaps.

[Scott]: Also, is Olga there?  If so, I think her audio...

[Olga]: Um, yeah.

[Scott]: Are you guys there together?  

[Olga]: Yes.

[Scott]: Maybe I should drop you from the audio reader so that you were not revering off of one another.  You can still be in the text chat, but I can take your audio you're out.  What do you think?

[Olga]: Uh, yeah (inaudible 0:01:00.7).

[Greg]: It is better just a mute it.  

[Scott]: So otherwise, I think what it will echo like crazy.  Okay.  

[Olga]: Otherwise I will just (inaudible 0:01:08.4).  You know I never know which button to press.

[Scott]: Okay, we'll let me know if this doesn't work for you.  I will go ahead and drop you so you can share with Greg's audio.  

(Loud background noise)

Alright, that seemed to be good.

(Loud background noise)

[Greg]: Okay.

[Scott]: Whoa.  Crazy.  So welcome Greg it's good to have you I know that you talked a little bit in the text chat about the New Zealand project.  But, um, a bunch of people who are here know about the Dark Matter Archives and maybe even about the Imaginary Archives.  But some of us don't, and I bet people that will be listening in later won't too so it will be nice to maybe described them both a little bit.

(Horn honks)

[Greg]: okay so you are breaking up quite a bit but I think you ask me to describe both of the archives that we're talking about.  The first one, Dark Matter Archives, Scott has played a crucial role in organizing it and developing it online.  Basically the idea for the project is to continuously upload documents that have to do with mostly unknown histories of collectives, the kind of work that I have been doing research on for the past 10 years or so.  The new book that I have coming out in a few months with Pluto Press is essentially based on this kind of research and materials.  So the archive project here is kind of an extension of this but it is extending into maybe the realm of, you might say, of fiction as much as it is a kind of actual intent to documenting real unknown histories.  Projects here consist of materials, some of which are publications and documents of groups and collectives and events of projects that people know very little about.  In other words, a kind of dark matter.  

(Loud background noise and inaudible chatter)

Okay, so this is not working.

[Scott]: Greg, we hear you really well by the way.

(Typing and loud background noise)

[Greg]: So, I'm going to just continue about the (inaudible 0:04:58.7) projects.  The project here consists of kind of a wooden structure that you will see in the images.  And the material inside of it's consists of archival documents, projects, booklets that I have brought with me.  Material from contemporary services for example, material from political art documentation distribution in the 1980s that I was part of as well as repo history.  And a whole slew of things, some of them fairly obscure.  And these are clipped in sort of eccentric ways inside this wooden structure.

[Olga]: (Inaudible 0:06:03.7).  I did that.  I did already.

[Greg]: I don't think it's (inaudible 0:06:18.3).

[Scott]: I'm actually wrong.  It is not the pause button.  It looks like a little microphone symbol with a line through it.

[Greg]: I'm turning this down (inaudible 0:06:28.2).

[Scott]: Great.  Either way it would work, as long as you don't have two sources.  That's much better.  

[Greg]: You can hear me pretty well?  

[Scott]: Yeah, that's much better.  As long as you feel that you can hear yourself not revering back you'll feel much, much, much.  Like it's much better to talk.  Great

[Greg]: Anyway, so the archives is the kind of (inaudible 0:07:00.1) as I have been calling it because it's kind of a wooden structure.  It extends a set of stairs that go outside of the gallery seemingly to nowhere besides the window.  One of the pictures I sent shows this mysterious stairs that I discovered when I arrived here.  So we continue the stairs inside the gallery.  Kind of a little (inaudible 0:07:25.8).  Anyway, inside this wooden structure there are publications and as I said that, I mentioned that I brought those here, are some of them were created for the project by people here in New Zealand, people in New York.  Each one is from (inaudible 0:07:47.6), which is actually brilliant.  So there are a number of things going inside the space.  So forget the images, you can take a look at some of that.  

One of the publications for example is by (inaudible 0:08:02.4) in New York, a Russian artist who lives in New York.  He essentially created a (inaudible 0:08:10.6) looks like it came from the Museum of Modern Art, but in fact is highlights from the collection of of communists artists.  So it has Picasso, of course, (inaudible 0:08:21.5) and a whole slew of artists all done and away that looks precisely like the museum itself, this document.  He also created another fake document that looks real authentic which talks about Stalin embracing the (inaudible 0:08:41.3) as opposed to depress it.  And so it is very sort of funny, but also conscious of engaging twists on what history might have been if the circumstances have played and themselves out differently.  So I think about this part of the project and an archive of (inaudible 0:09:02.7).  And I'm hoping that in this band of that aspect of it, you know maybe the creating of the project again somewhere in the United States so we could add more material to it.  

[Scott]: Uh, yeah, Greg, I'm really interested not by the way.  

[Greg]: Well it certainly connects to the plausible Artworlds (inaudible 0:09:37.2) maybe more through history them through alternative contemporary (inaudible 0:09:44.7).

[Scott]: Yeah.

(Loud background noise & foreign language speech)

[Greg]: Okay, I hear you now talk because you're going through.

[Scott]: (Laughing).  Yeah just to let you guys know Greg, both you and Olga have your audio on at the same time still.  I definitely don't want to be labor that because it's still working but it would be a lot easier for you probably.  

[Greg]: For some reason we can't seem to turn her, we got her mute on.

[Scott]: Yeah.

[Scott]: Okay, can we just do a second of tech support?  Um, basically there's a little window that pops up that says "conference call".  Once you are, really once you are in Skype at all there is a little window that pops up that says "conference call" and you can see the other people inside the call.  Somewhere in there.

[Greg]: Yeah, I don't see that.

[Scott]: Hmm.

[Greg]: But I can see that you can hear me through her computer even know the mute is on.  Let me try system preferences.  

[Scott]: Well does it say it "call on mute"?  What you can do is, there should be a callat the top of your screen and you should be able to see "mute".

[Greg]:   Okay, I solved it a different way.

[Scott]: Okay.

[Greg]: I just went into the system preferences and turned her volume down for some reason, even though what was on mute, it was still working.  

[Scott]: Okay, gotcha.  Technical.  Okay great (laughing) back to content.  Thanks. Yeah, perfect.  So yeah, Steven suggested that maybe the BaseKamp space could be an interesting place to, for the United States version or for one of the versions.  We should definitely talk about that.

[Greg]: yeah, let's talk about it.  You know, definite, I think it would be perfect.  I was born in Philadelphia so it would be really interesting to sort of explore some kind aspects of the history.  I used to work at the state hospital there, which was locally known as by Bilberry and completely demolished the building.  So I have my own set of entwined history with the space of that city

[Scott]: could you tell us some more about the histories themselves?  Or about the different examples of these "what if" scenarios?

[Greg]: yeah, I have another project by Jeffrey Schuler, who is a cinema study faculty member at Berkeley University as well as a filmmaker.  Jeffrey and I have known each other a long time and we're in a reading group together in New York in the eighties.  His project is a series of "what if" movie quotes by Sergey Eisenstein.  As if Eisenstein had completed this Hollywood movie he was once going to make and it didn't happen. Actually, one of the images that I sent you and I think to upload it shows this movie.  It's basically capital, which Alexander (inaudible 0:13:23.6) has also recently done a version of.  So that's one of the projects.  

More recently I'm developing one last" what if" project here and I asked people in New Zealand from Wellington what the general strike had taken place back in the turn of, what was it there really massive sort of strike here, and actually been considered radical political change.  You know, what kind of present would we be living in this, which is the capital city and the sea of the government, how would the architecture be different?  How would (inaudible 0:14:09.7) rights be different?  Gender issues?  And so people are constructing "what if" (inaudible 0:14:15.8) from now and make that into one final booklet.  And maybe I can share some of that with you once I get back a little bit further a long (inaudible 0:14:26.4).

[Scott]: Uh, yeah.  Please do.

(Loud background noise)

[Steven]: Oh yeah, Steven?

[Greg]: The project...

[Scott]: Oh, I'm sorry.  Go ahead Greg.  We can try...

[Greg]: I'm not sure, I think we lost the connection from you to me.  Maybe you can still hear me?  Can anybody hear me?

[Scott]: Oh yeah, we can hear you really well.  We were just these images while you were describing them.  Not to leave you hanging there (laughing).

[Greg]: the other project without another book store called (inaudible 0:16:16.3) and a particular project I created one of sort of a garage kit miniature projects that I like to do.  I took a book on landscape of New Zealand, which you can imagine the landscape here is extremely dramatic and really a big part of some of the cultural the imaginary of the country, and of course if you've seen the Lord of the Rings films you've seen actually some of the local imagery which is where a lot of that was shot.  But, I took a book of photographs on the landscape and then began to do kind of an archeological dig within the book.  I believe I sent a couple of those images as well.   

[Scott]: I like the Moma communist highlights.  So what's interesting is that how conceivable is it that a show like this would happen?

[Greg]: I think it was interesting kind of genesis.  I t was supposed to take place maybe a year earlier and then some things came up that made it impossible to happen.  I think that the idea here was that I was supposed to collaboration, it was unclear what the collaboration would be.  In an ideal world, I would have come here and maybe spent three or four weeks working with people and then produce an exhibition.  That wasn't really possible in terms of the timing and the money that was involved.  And so I had to come up with a kind of framework in which people could kind of plug in and collaborate in a way that was actually not that unlike what we did with (inaudible 0:18:16.8) history where we had a structure which was we create a sign about an unknown history.  And, you have certain dimensions you have certain specifications for that project.  But you are free to kind of work autonomously within that framework.  And that was more or less what I adopted here.   Imagine a future that hasn't happened and create a document for it.  That was more or less the dimension, the sort of parameters of what people could do.  

So, this is how this project came about and I think it's not been maybe 100% successful in terms of the local artists getting into it, but they are beginning to do that now.  But it's been sort of successful with (inaudible 0:19:12.5) particularly.

Oh, sorry Steven.  I meant imagine a future that hasn't happened that was, you know, the sort of limitations for the project itself.  That was the parameters for the project itself.

[Scott]: Gotcha.  Yeah.  I mean, it's incredibly appropriate.  At least from our point of view.  What's interesting is that when we first started talking about Plausible Artworlds as a general direction of looking at, I don't know, just looking at the different kinds of weird like half starved or untapped possibilities for creating cultural environments.  Or creative cultural environments.   We were looking a lot at fiction at first. A lot more than it turns out we've been doing since then.  I think maybe because we keep finding people that have actually started experiments of different kinds, you know, and have a sort of a vibe for the plausibility of those, you know, maybe, I don't want to say (inaudible 0:20:23.6) but you know, fledgling initiative and experiments.  But, to me, and I think to Steven too, and a bunch of other people involved or interested, you know, what's plausible and you can still argue if something is plausible if it hasn't happened.  Or kind of tease out its implausibility or its plausibility and that's part of what makes it so interesting. It's, you know, it could change at any point and maybe with a few differences, a world event or something unforeseen.  There's so many, there's kind of, I don't want to say a butterfly effect, but there are so many triggers.  So many trigger chains that can happen from any event.

[Greg]: Absolutely.  Yeah.  Well, I think what interested me here, and I think you're project was certainly one of the streams that kind of flow into this as well as the yes men publications recently and other projects.  What interested me here was because I'd done all this research into actual histories that didn't' seem to have a future, at least in terms of institutional proper kind of art.  I wanted to think about what would have happened had some of those now mostly overlooked histories been more recognized or had been more successful.  For example, the art workers Coalition in New York in the early 1970s, late 1960s made all kinds of demands on The Museum of Modern Art and other museums.  Some really interesting sort of proposals for example, suggesting that the museums actually provide health care and other social security to artists.  That there are galleries opened up for women artists, for minorities, that living artists have more rights over their work.  Where it's shown, how it's shown, how it's repaired and most of all getting some kind of numeration if the work is sold a second time.  All of this really didn't come about.  All of this was lost, except for one small change that took place in museums and that was that they created free nights.  Artist Coalition demanded that the museums be open for free.  The only thing that happened was that the museums had created one night that was free for people and other museums had the same thing.  So we have that tradition today.  What's really ironic in New York is that Target Corporation has taken to branding Free Night so that if you go there on Friday evening, to the Museum of Modern Art and see their logo all over the place, and yet people really don't know that it's the Artist's Coalition who generated this free night in the first place.

So, getting back to what I was talking about with the Imaginary Archive, what if the Artist's Coalition actually in fact had actually been successful?  How would the Museum o f Modern Art institution change?  What would have taken place?  What kind of institution might it have become?  Would that new institution actually then also gone through a transformation and become, in a sense, just sort of problematic?  Let's say, The Museum of Modern Art, after all these years.  These are some of the questions that I want to raise for the project.  In other words, I don't see the change in the future as being necessarily instantly positive.  I think it can also have some kind of (inaudible 0:24:22.4) and I think (inaudible 0:24:23.3).  And, I think someone is here.  Greg.  Is that GAAG?  Gorilla Art Action Group?  That was one of the spinoffs from Artist's Coalition.  They were involved in, for example, they carried out a number of actions in lobbies of museums against the war.  Perhaps most notoriously, they one of the Board of Directors' fancy dinners, the group along with Lucy Piccard and others, released thousands of cockroaches into the museum and upset the dinner.  The members of Gorilla Art Action Group were actually banned from the museum for many years.  Although one of them now ironically works there today.  These are some of the sort of convolutions that I was hoping people would sort of address.  I think that to some degree, that's starting to happen.   

[Scott]: Greg, so in the Dark Matter Archives, it's kind of a different direction.  I mean, it is right?  In the sense that there may be fiction inside.  There may be fictional projects inside of the Dark Matter Archives, the actual archive material.  But the material itself are all things that have really actually happened on some level right?  I mean, the archive itself is made to be, it's sort of mining things that were invisible in a way whereas the Imaginary Archives are sort of mining our minds.  Kind of what we, are, our collective desires or interests or these, um...

[Greg]: I didn't catch the rest of that.

[Scott]: Yeah, that's because I had a brain aneurysm.  Yeah.  They may be more ironic.  Sort of, these fictional works have a lot of cultural critique in them but also maybe some desire in there too, you know?   I guess I was just thinking that, I'm not really trying to say anything brilliant.   I guess I was just asking because we're now talking about Gorilla Art Action Group and you know, you're talking about these other examples and a lot of that stuff is in the Dark Matter Archives.

[Greg]: That is correct.

[Scott]: I can imagine. I mean, you can probably go on for twelve hours straight just about describing stories from these projects from the archive.

[Greg]: Absolutely.  Absolutely.  I mean, I have collected a lot of these histories and know a lot of these people are sort of knowledgeable about them.  It's not as much of an unknown history as it was when I began this kind of research.  Although, it Artworker's Coalition has become well known, there's probably dozens and dozens of other groups that remain pretty much in the dark, who were just as interesting but continue to be unknown.  I think that's kind of the project that is going on.  I wouldn't want to see an imaginary kind of fictional or para-fictional kind of project completely overtake the literal history in any way.  That's not the intention.  It's more to stimulate a question about history itself and the nature of remembering.  I think this is something that the group Rep History actually managed while it was at its best to do.  It wasn't that it simply put up site specific signs talking about histories that people didn't know about.  It did that.  That was part of it.  For example, marking the site of the first slave market in New York City, or in New York or Old New Amsterdam at the time.  Or perhaps marking where all famous abortionists had their offices.  Those are things we did and it was like you could walk by and discover something you knew very little about.   But what we did that was most interesting and successful was allow those histories, that past, to disturb the present.  Make some kind of disturbance in the everyday contemporary.  That happened particularly when Mayor Giuliani tried to stop several art projects from taking place, it was history itself.  This kind of other archive (inaudible 0:29:23.0) different city where something that just couldn't be tolerated in the new sort of gentrified and obnoxious city that New York has become.  I think some of that is what is the relationship to this notion to the imaginary archive.  To think of the archive itself as kind of politically unsettled bit of information that can (inaudible 0:29:48.7) into the present.

[Scott]: Yeah, Steven was just asking or just sort of mentioned something that was on my mind.  This isn't fiction of escape here in anyway.  I mean, it might be (laughing).  There might be an element of escape or of temporary escape into something.  I don't know if escape is really right.  There's an imaginary that can be fulfilling in its own right in a way, but, it definitely seems there is an interest in disrupting the present.  For sure.  I think that's what Steven is mentioning is you know, that maybe there's not that much difference between certain non-fiction documentation and some of these fiction projects in that sense.  What do you think Greg?

[Greg]: I think that absolutely.  I mean, the way we read history is constantly being read through the imaginary in the present.  It's also being read through sort of the ideology that people participate in the construction of the past.  So, I think these terms like "actual" and sort of "imaginary" are very fluid in many cases.  Obviously, we construct the notion of the past that we use in the present and that's of course what nations do all the time and what polictal parties do all the time.  Why shouldn't, what I sometimes refer to as, the Dark Matter construct its own concept of history or perhaps multiple histories?

I think to answer Steven's question, why shouldn't Dark Matter construct its own history since there was an argument against it.  It would be that history would pose itself sort of the correct narrative, the proper reading of the past.  But I'm sure that Steven and I would both agree that certain ways of narrating history could actually disturb the very concept of historical correctness itself.  And would begin to sort of rethink the very nature of the way history is written.  That's sort of the ideal.  My hope, for example, the book which I just posted a link for, is not that it's going to fill in the areas of art history that we don't know about.  That would be kind of a (inaudible 0:32:48.2) that I'm supposed to be somehow showing people the histories that aren't known.  As if I'm some sort of spelunker in a cave, you know.  My idea is that, and it's not so different from I'm sure, Steven's and others, is this way of thinking about history actually disturbs proper readings of history.  The way history has gone about being constructed, it actually challenges the very notion of how the archive is used and interpreted.

[Scott]: Exactly.   It's not about really bringing this stuff into (inaudible 0:33:30.1) of history, right?  I mean, that's kind of the thing that people say to us all the time too.  It's pretty annoying, actually.  It makes me feel like, it's kind of like imagining what we're involved with.  When we reach out to other people, it's not an attempt to join in this massive kind of gold rush of curatorial head hunting.  Like "hey, let's go to the farthest reaches of the world and find the people you've never seen before and aren't we so wonderful because we've uncovered this special thing and we're inserting this into history".  It's not that.  And I feel like Greg, with your project, my sense and one of the reason's I've always been so excited about it since knowing, the first time you wrote about the ideas about Dark Matter, is that...  I don't know.  It's just a very powerful metaphor.  Um, it's not, I think it's extremely challenging to ideas of what history is and why we even call it that.  Why we give so much weight to this.

[Greg]: Yeah, well obviously, this metaphor Dark Matter, it has its limitations, but it's been useful in the sense that Dark Matter has an astronomical concept.  It suggests that most of the universe is physical, it's non-reflective.  Some kind of energies, some kind of mass that's unknown.  Without it, the standard model (inaudible (0:35:07.8) proposes that the universe would fly apart.  It would just fly apart into a void in space.  So, it's an essential anchor of gravitational pull and at the same time it's an unknown.  So that kind of works very well with research and the history of (inaudible 0:35:28.3).  They form the majority of cultural production of the present but they are unseen.  They also anchor the mainstream of the artworld. The one big difference between the two metaphors right there is while scientists are desperately looking for what dark matter is, carrying out experiments, most (inaudible 0:35:59.3) art historians (inaudible 0:36:03.2) the dark matter of (inaudible  0:36:08.4).

(Background noise on Greg's end)

[Scott]: Alright, yeah Greg.  So, can we try that troubleshooting thing again?  I guess my question is, if you and Olga are sitting side by side or in the same spot maybe you guys could share the same audio one way or the other.  Through her mic or yours.  That's what we often do.  Like for instance, we have three people with laptops here right now, but two of them have their, aren't even joined on the audio chat because we can just share.  If we did that, it would be kind of reverby.  So...

Anyway, just suggesting maybe rearranging chairs or something if that could help.

[Greg]: Okay, we found the problem.

[Scott]: Okay, cool.  It's just tech set up.  So, yeah, you were just... Would you mind just repeating that last part again because I think it kind of got blogged out for people?

[Greg]: What I was saying is unlike the scientific exploration of what dark matter is and the search for what dark matter is, the artworld establishment, you might say the curators and the administrators, the art historians.  The people who generally think of themselves as the interpreters or managers of art and high culture.  They're not interested in discovering what dark matter is.  That's a contrast to the scientific community which is desperately trying to figure out what dark matter is, if it exists at all.  Obviously, if the standard model is wrong, maybe there isn't a dark matter.

[Scott]: There might be some difference in opinion out there.  Well, that's actually an understatement.  There's definitely some opinion out there about what would constitute what this metaphor you're bringing up, you know, what would constitute dark matter when we're talking about art practice.  Greg, you know what I mean?  There's on one hand...

[Greg]: Well, I can't.  You'll have to tell me what the differences are since I don't (inaudible 0:39:00.1).

[Scott]: oh, I don't have to know them all, everyone's opinions.  But, I definitely, I'm sure you've heard this as well.  You know, on one hand it's just there's an idea that this could describe, you know, new possible kind of hot artists we haven't discovered yet or something.  For example, you know.  And, you know, whether they're individuals or groups or whatever.  On the other hand, it could describe practices that might not be immediately recognized as art at all, and that might have a difficult time even, being articulated that way under current definitions.  It might be a ground swell of creative activity that is a little bit harder to handle.  Or it might just be, you know, people that are almost, you know, they're just ready to be discovered.

[Greg]: Okay, you're breaking up a little still in your audio.  It sounds like there are some other problems with the audio if I'm reading the script of it.  I think what you're saying is that the dark matter concept could be used to describe artists in waiting.  Waiting to become successful

[Scott]: Yeah, exactly.  I mean, I've heard this.  People try to get their heads around a concept like this that's thrown out there.

[Greg]: Well, I think if you read some of the essays I've written and when you read the book you'll see that's not, let me use the word plausible, interpretation of the way I'm presenting this idea.  I mean, essentially, if you said there would be three kinds of dark matter.  Let me put this schematically in cultural terms.  One would be artist groups such as Artworkers Coalition, who we spoke about.  Who had remained kind of hidden and sort of absent from the historical narrative.  But groups of people who sort of organize around and own redundancy, to use the term that you like to much Scott, recognizing that they are sort of structurally already failed in terms of the artworld.  And simply sort of addressing the politics of that kind of production from the outside margins.  That's the smallest group of dark matter that I talk about.  It's the one that interests me the most because it's the one that's the most self consciously politically aware, but in the smallest (inaudible 0:42:12.1).  If there is a dark matter universe.  

The largest section would be informal artists.  The people that maybe (inaudible 0:42:19.6) would have thought of as artists who could have actually been artists but never had the opportunity.  People who continue to do all kinds of informal art work totally for the sake of doing it for pleasure.  All of which are becoming suddenly much more visible curiously, thanks to internet technology.  And, I think more visible in interest to the business world.  So, we have all kinds (inaudible 0:42:49.2) around how the lines of professionals and amateurs have completely reshaped in a sense, capitalism.  That's another whole discussion.  But, imagine that sort of informal productivity as a kind of dark matter because many of those people actually, are directly tied into the economy of the art world.  Who takes art classes?  Who pays the salary for many, many people who teach art?  Who buys art supplies, thus supporting the professional manufacturing of art supplies from a few art professionals?  There's lots of ways of looking at it.  Who buys art magazine subscriptions, museum subscriptions?  Many of it is done by people who imagine themselves as amateurs or informal artists.

There might be a third component, and this is an interesting one in that most artists who are trained as artists, most professional artists who go to art school are basically failed before they even graduate.  They're structurally failed.  They can't possibly succeed because it's not possible for everyone to succeed in the way the art world is structured now.  Not everyone work can be galarized.  So, in a sense, the question is, what role do they play in the economy of high art?  And that's a question of course that you could answer quickly by referring to Marx's idea of the army of the unemployed, but it doesn't completely work in this situation for two reasons.  The classic Army of Unemployed is there to help lower the price of production, actually, the price of the commodity of labor itself.  So if you're working in a particular industry and most people are unemployed, you're fear that you might be replaced by one of them lets you accept a lower wage for the work.  In the art world, it's a little different.  The people who really are successful actually the value of their work is increased by the Army of the Unemployed.  That would be the price of the work itself.  

Steven, are you off line or are you just lost with what I'm saying?

[Scott]: Steven has actually been dropped from the call, we're actually just adding him back.

[Greg]: Okay.  So, I was making sort of a long...

[Scott]: It was really good Greg.  Oh, sorry.  Just saying it's really good to hear your descriptions. Okay, we'll add Heather back as well.

[Greg]: I think Greg Scranton's work is great.  I love that.  I wish I had that, I could have used that in my book.

[Scott]: (laughing) totally.  Nice one Greg.

[Greg]: So, I'll just wrap up this last point that the other way that the Army of Unemployed is quite different in the art world, is actually most artists who come out of art school train as professional artists.  Inevitably structured to fail in every league, continue to support the art world and reproduce it. They have to.  What they do is even when they're complaining about the art world, for their gossip at parties, whatever, they're helping to reproduce its system.  But of course, they're also talked into it in more ways than once which includes teaching art, buying magazines, going to museums, all those things that support the art world.  What you might say is a (inaudible 0:46:35.5) concept would be embrace your redundancy.  Embrace the fact that you are structurally going to fail and begin to sort of use that as a point of liberation.  Understand that it's a kind of freeing thought and go on to organize yourself that gallerizes your production without the gatekeepers of the art world necessarily having to sort of stamp your work with their approval.  And I think that gets back to the artist (inaudible 0:47:08.0).  I think in one way or another, whether it's conscience or not, that's exactly what they're doing.  They sort of accept the idea that they're not going to participate in this kind of gallarization.  And they try to discover self gallarizing, whether it's through politics or social engagement, or whatever.  That's a little bit more about the dark matter idea (inaudible 0:47:34.4) why artists who have not yet been discovered is not quite the right interpretation for what I see.

[Scott]: Yeah, absolutely.  And you wouldn't say Greg, that when you say that they must reproduce this, you wouldn't say that each individual must reproduce this for themselves, I would guess.  Just that for the system to exist as it is, it must be reproduced by the individuals who maybe don't really see any benefit for not doing that.  It seems to be all the benefits in the world, promised in a way.  Or at least tentatively promised if you do.

[Greg]: I'm just adjusting Olga's set.

(Loud background noise)

[Male group member]: Can you hear him?

[Scott]: Yeah, barely.  I don't know if what I said came through.

[Greg]: Okay, I'm back.

[Scott]: Okay, great.

[Greg]: I'm sorry.  Could you just repeat your last question?

[Scott]: Yeah, um, at one point during this, and I really grasp, I mean I really I think I have a pretty firm idea of what you mean.  By the way, with my comment earlier about how this can be misinterpreted, I don't necessarily mean by people who carefully read what you write (laughing).  You know, more so, most ideas are not passed around by people who carefully read texts.  They're just sort of notions that kind of get spun through word of mouth.  Sort of oral history in a way, kind of contagious thoughts.

 Anyway, I really think it's important to hear someone like you elaborate about this out loud and talk about it because it's the way a good number of people really get their information.  And feel like they can really grasp it, and there is less chance of it getting lost because there is a greater chance of them finishing listening than finishing reading your book.  This is sad, maybe, but probably true.  So I'm psyched about it and I guess there was just one point in what you said and before we get onto these kind of long questions here that are being typed out, you were saying that artists who are part of this group are not gallerized yet, they must reproduce the system.  And I get the sense that what you mean isn't that they must reproduce it for themselves but that for the system to exist it must be reproduced by them.  And they or we or whoever, may not necessarily be aware or have any real incentives to not reproduce it.  But yet, there seem to be all the incentives in the world promised or tentatively on offer when you do.  So how to get passed that for people who are going through art school and trying t6o get their heads around what world they want to live in or even just what kind of life they want to have themselves.  And how they can position themselves in whatever system is currently out there.  Not being a teacher myself, but having been in that realm too, I can see it being hard to convey that information and get the conversation about that going in a way that is really productive.  So, anyway, that's not really a question it's more of a statement of curiosity and I'd be interested to hear what anyone thinks about that.  Maybe as we address these other questions that are coming up.

[Greg]: Yeah, I totally concur with what you're saying.  But, you know, it's going to require peoples' minds being shaken up a bit in how they participate or reproduce a system that structurally locks them out the rewards that it holds out, as you say.  Which seems to really sort of plentiful.  And of course, people do actually cross over and grab the brass key, there's no question about that.  It's just that the point of view of the structured system can only be over a small number of people.  So, what would sort of full employment in the art world look like?

[Scott]: You know, or maybe.  I don't know.  I was just going to say or maybe it's not necessarily a good idea to shoot for full employment in the art world but to see these different fields of activity that could be called art worlds ad being other realms to help kind of pinch hit and fulfill some of those needs.  I think Michael has a question or wanted to...  Oh, my mistake.  I'm jumping the gun here.

Anyway, did that come through at all or is the audio just crap?

[Greg]: No, we're getting most of it.

[Scott]: Okay.

(Loud background noise)

[Michael]: Hi, this is Michael at BaseKamp.  I'm really intrigued by this idea of what full employment could look like if all artists were sort of employed in their field.  A couple things that sort of come to mind as, maybe certain moments such as the WPA maybe being some sort of attempt at something like that.  Or artist placement groups.  I'm wondering.   I'm trying to imagine what that would look like.  I'm curious about your thoughts.

[Greg]: Well, I kind of agree with Scott in that the idea of full employment in the art world might be maybe more (inaudible 0:55:06.2) than realistic.  Maybe what I was meaning was that artists could take responsibility to sort of collectively represent themselves in a way that could provide numeration for all those who participate in the art world but don't receive any of its benefits.  In other words, to begin to really think about collectively trying to develop (inaudible 0:55:33.7) security and full participation from people who are doing creative work which maybe extends even beyond professional artists at this point.  We have to begin to rethink the notion of value cultural production.  That seems to me what many of us, Steven I know, and others have been interested in for some time.  I don't know if that's an answer but I don't think APT would be the model.  Although, I find it very interesting.  Excuse me, I mean APG.   What I do think is that so many artists today could take greater advantages of these new technologies to begin to try to in sense, create some other system of (inaudible 0:56:32.9) for each other.  A kind of peer to peer art world, we'll call it.  And you know, maybe this economic crisis, which is only really beginning to effect contemporary art, maybe it will shake some things up and open up some possibilities for another way of gallerizing peer to peer art worlds.  Gallerizing artistic practice.

[Chris]: Hello? Can you hear me?

[Greg]: Hi Chris, yes.

[Chris]: Yeah, I was just saying that some of the artists might not want full employment.  Some of them might not be taking it seriously or just be doing it for the heck of it or something like that, you know?  That might not be their main interest.

(Inaudible comment from background)

Yeah, (inaudible 0:57:30.9)

[Greg]: I'm sorry.  I missed the first part.

[Chris]: That they might not be interested in having full employment for the artists.  Some of them might be.  

[Greg]: I'm not sure who you're talking about.

[Chris]: Well, some of them might...

[Greg]: You mean the artists? Some artist or some not artists?

[Chris]: The artists.  Or some of the people that we would consider artists.

[Greg]: I don't think that forced employment is a good idea if that's what you mean.

[Chris]: Yeah, yeah.  It's counterproductive.  Okay.

[Scott]: Yeah, it's interesting. Yeah, sorry. Go ahead.

[Greg]: I think... No go ahead.

[Scott]: Well, I think I was just going to state the obvious.  Those ideas of slacking, they sort of sometimes brush up against a sort of focus on labor gaining work for everyone.  It's interesting because often there are similar goals on a high level.  But on a level for the individuals involved, there are differing motivations.

[Greg]: Right.

(Loud background noise)

[Scott]: Greg, that's a fantastic idea.  

[Greg]: How about if we do that after we do the Imaginary Archive.

[Scott]: Yeah, maybe at the same time.  Maybe the boot camp can sort of be maybe compulsory voluntary to help put the show together.

[Greg]: Absolutely.  Or we could tell all the artists that they're going to go on a residency and when they get there, lock the door and make them start.

[Scott]: That's kind of what we do already (laughing).  No, I'm just kidding.  We're actually the only ones who work our (explicative 1:00:14.7) here.  Everyone else just slacks off.

[Greg]: No, I don't think so.  I think artists work really, really, really hard all over the place.  You know, it's just incredible.  You're working all the time.  You're working 24/7 and basically you're working in your sleep.  It's the way, of course, a lot of precarious workers in sort of knowledge industries now live.  It's like you're constantly tethered to the electronic office, to the turning out creative solutions for problems.  The system has mined itself deep into our psyches.

(Background noise)

[Scott]: So, Olga.  This is probably as good of time as any to just quickly mention this as a side note.  When Greg and Steven and Jato, the crew was over in Beirut, I didn't get a chance to mention that at all.  About the potential project and recording, so I hope that you've been able to connect.  But if not, maybe it would be good to just mention to you guys, Greg and Steven, that there might be some interesting connections although he's doing something with Efflux.  Maybe we could either talk to Anton or just talk to... One way or the other, try to make some connections.  For example, I think Olga would like to do some kind of a project.  Yeah, anyway, maybe we could talk after this about opening some communication channels about that.

Anyway, more on that later.

[Greg]: I just sent a little excerpt, actually, a quote from Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine talking about this concept of (inaudible 1:03:15.5).  FYI.

(Loud background noise)

[Scott]: Okay, Olga.  I'll try to type it up in a bit.  Not to derail this conversation.

So, yeah.  Um.  So Greg, so far how do you feel about how the project has been received in New Zealand?  Have you been able to talk to a number of younger artists or other groups that might be there?

[Greg]: Yeah, it's gone well so far I think.  What I can tell is I've had two radio interviews involving the project and people would ask me some very interesting questions.  People in the book store and the library were very open to the project.  I think it's a little bit odd a new experiment for the people here.  Both having someone in residence from so far away, at least for this particular alternative space.  I also think that many of the artists here are not as publically engaged with ideas as many of us are in Europe and the United States and so that's been kind of a new phenomena for them.  But I work with some great people.  One of them is an artist name Mary Hewitt and Mary's helped me construct the archive.  She went and got me recycled wood and helped me put it together.  But he also does really interesting work.  Actually, not so different from (inaudible 1:05:33.5) work in some ways.  He's working on a video project now about sites where the Maury encountered the colonists, the European colonists (inaudible 1:05:47.5) and he's kind of reviving that history of this video.  He also created a publication to that effect, which is in the archive itself and I think I have some images on my Facebook.

I think that we lost our connection.  Can you hear me Scott?

[Scott]: Yeah Greg, we can hear really well.

[Greg]: Okay.  So, I think, overall, the (1:06:37.9) been good although I think they've been a little bit puzzled of what it's all about.  Although I think they're starting to get into the spirit of it quite a bit.

So, at this point Scott, it might be better for us to move on (inaudible 1:07:17.0) here.

[Scott]: Oh hey Greg, um, I think you guys traded now all of a sudden.  Now Olga's audio is on and yours is off.  No actually, did you drop from the call?  I think so.  Let me try adding you back.

[Greg]: We lost you for a minute there.

[Scott]: Okay, there you go.  I think we dropped you from the call accidentally because of the connection.  Has anyone else, well, anyone that can hear us, not been dropped?  We'll ask in text.  But yeah, okay, great.

I'm definitely interested in what Steven just said (inaudible 1:08:14.7) just asked about as well.  

[Greg]: What?  I'm trying to find it.

[Scott]: Let's see.  7:40 pm, oh wait, that's a different time for you.  It starts of "Greg, are you in cahoots with..."

[Greg]: I don't see Steven's comment, sorry.

[Scott]: We'll repaste it real quick.

(Loud background noise)

[Greg]: Someone asked me, I'm not sure who.  Is this you Scott?  About Souly and about Anna?

[Scott]: That was a question that Steven asked.  I was just curious if you had seen it or what you thought too.

[Greg]: Yeah.  There both people that I've worked with in different ways.  Anna certainly contributed to the book as well as I have recorded her extensively in some places.  I'm not directly involved in their archive projects but maybe that's something that can actually come about.  That'd be great.  So, I think that'd be fantastic Steven.

Anyway, I think that we need to kind of move on and get back to some work here.

[Scott]: Well Greg, we often end a bit before this two hour mark. That's more than a maximum than a minimum.  So, it's wonderful to be able to connect with you while you guys are over there.

[Greg]: Yeah, I really appreciate the opportunity, it's been great.  It's been great to do this for the (inaudible 1:10:38.4) you know, we'll have to do it from the next strange location we end up in.

[Scott]: (laughing) exactly.  Um, yeah, maybe one of the upcoming strange locations can be this weird place called Philadelphia.

[Greg]: That sounds great.  The city of brotherly love.

[Scott]: Indeed.

[Greg]: I forget that W.C. Fields, who was born there, has on his tombstone "at least I'm not in Philadelphia".


[Scott]: Alright, well Olga and Greg, thanks again.  And to everyone else who has joined us.  Even though a few people just joined us.  We're recording this.  All of these chats.  You know, just hit us up if you want to hear more of this before we get a chance to move through the editing process and all of that.  So, yeah thanks again.  We'll follow up and we'll see you next week.

Later everybody!

[Greg]: Sounds good.  Bye Scott.

Page |


Chat History with basekamp/$ae9a4a704e5780fb" title="#basekamp/$ae9a4a704e5780fb">Dark Matter Archives and Imaginary Archives (#basekamp/$ae9a4a704e5780fb)

Created on 2010-06-22 21:30:50.


BASEKAMP team: 18:01:25
we received a lot of response from people about tonight's chat, but no one has appeared yet at the baekamp space
BASEKAMP team: 18:01:44
we're all set up with audio too. tested with Greg, and all good
BASEKAMP team: 18:02:06
won't make Greg - or any of you - wait too much, but perhaps give a few mins to let people arrive here?
gregory sholette: 18:04:48
ok I see the window now
BASEKAMP team: 18:05:17
ok great smiley we're just helping channel people in...
BASEKAMP team: 18:05:24
if we can give that a few mins...
BASEKAMP team: 18:05:45
in the meantime, how's everyone doing?
Greg Scranton: 18:06:12
grrrreat! hoping this thunderstorm wil cool things off
gregory sholette: 18:06:13
sounds like a job for a psychic
Greg Scranton: 18:07:11
maybe but I am more of a shamen
gregory sholette: 18:07:50
its been mostly rainly and cold here - between 48 and 65 max (fahrenheit) with short days that end around five pm - essentially its like winter in oregon
BASEKAMP team: 18:08:05
mm sounds unpleasant
stephen wright: 18:08:11
gregory sholette: 18:08:46
its been nasty at night to be honest because there is no indoor heating - but after a couple of nights they provided portable heaters
BASEKAMP team: 18:09:04
so greg S, we're downloading your images - didn't realize clicking that link wsn't all we needed. Took a few xtra mins due to that
Greg Scranton: 18:09:07
I must be a misanthrope because that sounds lovely to me
Greg Scranton: 18:09:30
ha ha I am assuming that I am not "greg s" in this instance smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:09:40
oh dang. yes...
BASEKAMP team: 18:09:46
greg sh
gregory sholette: 18:09:55
it has its lonely charm I suppose - a bit like being on a whaling ship
Greg Scranton: 18:10:05
it's TODAY you're birthday at least?  smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:10:08
hi Paul - added u
gregory sholette: 18:10:42
so Stephen W - what do you make of this recent Supreme Court ruling - our time in Beirut might be open to question even?
stephen wright: 18:10:56
gregory sholette: 18:11:15
where are you now ?
stephen wright: 18:11:16
aiding and abetting those terrorists by debating with them
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 18:11:19
but you are not american, are you?
stephen wright: 18:11:43
you mean they won't let me into guantanamo?
BASEKAMP team: 18:11:50
gregory sholette: 18:11:58
i am sure they make special exceptions for special people
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 18:12:02
yes. greg will do the term for both of you.
gregory sholette: 18:12:12
i snore
gregory sholette: 18:12:48
could be worse than torture
BASEKAMP team: 18:13:57
greg scranton - if you've got a sec, want to batch UL some images to the Flickr page?
gregory sholette: 18:14:32
I sent Scott some images of the project as well as a few of new zealand in and around wellington
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:00
greg yeah  i was going to try to upload in advance, but haven't had a chance yet
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:16
we can look at them here, but will need to get them up somehow...
gregory sholette: 18:15:34
Wellington (pronounced /ˈwɛlɪŋtən/) is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand. The urban area is situated on the southwestern tip of the country's North Island, and lies between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is home to 386,000 residents, with an additional 3,700 residents living in the surrounding rural areas.
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:36
oh, actually -- Greg, I couuld upload the Zip archive to for people to download faster?
gregory sholette: 18:15:53
sure whatever works
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:55
ok, well - time is crawling... and the weather here is the opposite of yours Greg - hot & soupy
gregory sholette: 18:16:23
I don't look forward to those conditions when we return next month
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:39
enjoy the bitter cold while you can!
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:45
ok... so perhaps we can get started with the audio and get more time to chat together
stephen wright: 18:16:54
That is poetry -- the piece on ˈwɛlɪŋtən
gregory sholette: 18:17:28
thank Captain Cook
gregory sholette: 18:17:54
Captain James Cook FRS  RN  (7 November [O.S. 27 October] 1728 – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer, ultimately rising to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy. Cook was the first to map Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean during which he achieved the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia  and the Hawaiian Islands as well as the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.[1]
stephen wright: 18:18:12
he had a way with words, did the Captain.
gregory sholette: 18:18:32
aye he did matey he did indeed
gregory sholette: 18:19:19
but when as Europeans arrived they found another group of people had been here about 1000 years earlier:
stephen wright: 18:19:33
gregory sholette: 18:19:44

The Māori (commonly pronounced /ˈmaʊri/ or /ˈmɑː.ɔri/) are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand (Aotearoa). They arrived from East Polynesia in several waves at some time before the year 1300,[6] settled and developed a distinct culture. Their language is very closely related to Cook Islands Māori and Tahitian.[7][8]
stephen wright: 18:19:48
that's always a drag
BASEKAMP team: 18:20:10
gregory sholette: 18:20:18
oddly enough this particular group of colonists were somewhat more accomodating to the native population
stephen wright: 18:20:31
hence the All Blacks
gregory sholette: 18:20:44
very popular team here
gregory sholette: 18:22:32
its a law in parliament that the Maori have automatic seats and are permitted to speak their language with an interpreter - imagine if cherokee or mohawk were fully recognized in the congress with set-asides
Greg Scranton: 18:23:05
scott are we no longer doing public chat links? Did that stop working for us for some reason?
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:08
hi Heather smiley
heather hart: 18:23:14
gregory sholette: 18:23:36
we can do this via chat if  you prefer
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:47
Greg SC yes - i mean, yes that stopped working. Skype is b0rken on that one... but.. we don't need it!
gregory sholette: 18:24:01
not following you
gregory sholette: 18:24:25
oh the OTHER greg!
stephen wright: 18:24:33
But isn't there some movement in NZ that all the settlers should leave.
BASEKAMP team: 18:24:37
greg sholette -- hhe, yeah. 2 Greg S's here
BASEKAMP team: 18:24:39
BASEKAMP team: 18:25:00
texting is super-wicked-fun, so no harm there... but will be nice to hear your voice too
gregory sholette: 18:25:05
settlers might be the wrong term now but no doubt there is something like that Stephen
Greg Scranton: 18:25:12
Scott, ok. I just wanted to invite folks to this chat and sometimes that public chat link was useful is all but yes don't "need" it. Thx
BASEKAMP team: 18:25:39
i know... it's an annoyance... but... imagine trying to do this at all 15 years ago smiley
stephen wright: 18:25:57
Or skyping with Captain Cook
stephen wright: 18:26:02
can we start?
gregory sholette: 18:26:03
what Olga and I noticed is that many of the less desirable jobs (trash collecting etc..) are held by Maori
stephen wright: 18:26:52
are they a large segment of the overall population?
BASEKAMP team: 18:26:59
BTW Greg (Sholette), we're uploading the images to the site.. will link to them when it's ready for people to download!
gregory sholette: 18:27:04
there also appears to be a Guiliani like policing of younger Maori - controversy now about illegal DNA procurement of young people
gregory sholette: 18:27:45
In 1840, New Zealand had a Māori population of about 100,000 and only about 2,000 Europeans. The Māori population had declined to 42,113 in the 1896 census and Europeans numbered more than 700,000.[26]
gregory sholette: 18:27:46
In many areas of New Zealand, Māori lost its role as a living community language used by significant numbers of people in the post-war  years. In tandem with calls for sovereignty and for the righting of social injustices from the 1970s onwards, many New Zealand schools now teach Māori culture and language, and pre-school kohanga reo ("language-nests") have started, which teach tamariki (young children) exclusively in Māori. These now[update] extend right through secondary schools (kura tuarua). In 2004 Māori Television, a government-funded channel committed to broadcasting primarily in te reo, began. Māori is an official language de jure, but English is de facto the national language. At the 2006 Census, Māori was the second most widely-spoken language after English, with four percent of New Zealanders able to speak Māori to at least a conversational level. No official data has been gathered on fluency levels.

There are seven designated Māori seats in the Parliament of New Zealand (and Māori can and do stand in and win general roll seats), and consideration of and consultation with Māori have become routine requirements for councils and government organisations. Debate occurs frequently as to the relevance and legitimacy of the Māori electoral roll, and the National Party announced in 2008 it would abolish the seats when all historic Treaty settlements have been resolved, which it aims to complete by 2014.[32]
gregory sholette: 18:28:10
I am getting this from wikipedia of course so its probably reasonably accurate but...
BASEKAMP team: 18:28:50
wow, so... just a sidenote
gregory sholette: 18:29:08
all of the signage here is in English as well as Maori (mostly) and many peole of apparent European extraction have at least some Maori vocabulary
BASEKAMP team: 18:29:47
i picked up a *cold* case of beer 30 mins ago - now it's luke warm -- and it started raining here. good thing we're inside online!
gregory sholette: 18:29:51
all in all, its a very different history of colonialism than america and I would guess africa and asia as well
gregory sholette: 18:30:45
but as one person told me this more 'progressive' history was thanks to the english landing here and not the irish prisoners that went to nearby austrailia
gregory sholette: 18:31:13
despite being 50% american-irish I still managed to hold my tongue
BASEKAMP team: 18:31:26
ok everyone! the images from Greg's project in New Zealand are here: at the bottom of the page
BASEKAMP team: 18:31:32
under "Attachments"
BASEKAMP team: 18:31:41
everyone DL @ once!
stephen wright: 18:32:09
THe Irish prostitutes and Cockney prisoners never actually ran Australia. The British military ran it.
Greg Scranton: 18:32:27
Scott & Greg should we keep these where they are or would it be ok if I uploaded them to Basekamp's Flickr?
gregory sholette: 18:32:33
but of course the english that came did so in the 1800s as opposed to in america - they had already ended slavery years before the US and perhaps had some lessons in colonial power given to them by the american colonies - so maybe that also plays into this somewhat less harsh approach here?
BASEKAMP team: 18:33:13
greg seems ok w whatever works -- so Greg scranton yes please UL to the Flickr page if u have the inclination -- will be easier for some people smiley
Greg Scranton: 18:33:32
will do!
BASEKAMP team: 18:33:40
ok let's do a phone call -- i'll stat it -- ready?  smiley  smiley  smiley
gregory sholette: 18:33:42
THe Irish prostitutes and Cockney prisoners never actually ran Australia. The British military ran it  - I was citing the person here who defended NZ politics who also FYI happened to be american and british - wonder why she had her opinions as she did!
gregory sholette: 18:33:49
call away
Jessica Westbrook: 18:34:44
: )
Greg Scranton: 18:34:48
good thx
gregory sholette: 18:34:54
how is the sound its a bit fuzzy here
gregory sholette: 18:36:14
interestingly the Maori themeselves managed to exterminate one of the largest birds the great moa when they arrived here only a thousand years ago!
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:40
the project itself is great, whcih is why Basekamp has offered to help with the online component!
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 18:38:19
i have no audio
Greg Scranton: 18:38:30
uh oh audio in robo-mode
BASEKAMP team: 18:38:33
olga- i thought you were there with Greg? sorry
BASEKAMP team: 18:38:39
let's add you back
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 18:38:43
Jessica Westbrook: 18:38:44
we have okay audio here
gregory sholette: 18:38:53
can you hear me - greg sholette?
stephen wright: 18:39:00
I hear you okay
BASEKAMP team: 18:39:03
olga, please mute your audio when you get back on smiley
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 18:39:10
but i use my own computer.
BASEKAMP team: 18:39:13
Jessica Westbrook: 18:39:18
i do hear typing
gregory sholette: 18:39:19
so I will continue where I left off? greg s
Greg Scranton: 18:39:21
Same images on Flickr as on the Basekamp page
BASEKAMP team: 18:39:22
added you back
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 18:39:27
sorry, i misunderstoo.
BASEKAMP team: 18:39:34
everyone please mute your audio unless you're speaking -- thanks!
BASEKAMP team: 18:39:47
(please do feel free to speak though)
gregory sholette: 18:39:59
now I am hearing myself
Greg Scranton: 18:40:16
wooden structure:
stephen wright: 18:40:18
Olga needs to mute her microphone
BASEKAMP team: 18:40:33
greg, yes Olga needs to turn off her audio -- there is a mute button "||" in the bottom left of the audio window
BASEKAMP team: 18:40:46
you're getting double smiley
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 18:40:58
i did that!
Greg Scranton: 18:42:05
outside stairs
BASEKAMP team: 18:42:17
Greg Scranton: 18:42:18
(and I am just guessing these are the corresponding images btw
stephen wright: 18:44:25
Maybe Basekamp would be the suitable place for that
Greg Scranton: 18:45:09
posted file Screen shot 2010-06-22 at 6.44.58 PM.png to members of this chat<files alt=""><file size="11769" index="0">Screen shot 2010-06-22 at 6.44.58 PM.png</file></files>
Greg Scranton: 18:45:23
just posted a screen shot of the mic icon
BASEKAMP team: 18:46:55
thx gregscranton
Greg Scranton: 18:47:59
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:08
we're loking for that now --- oh, great thx
stephen wright: 18:49:00
the "what if" structure was one of the tropes that Scott and i used to frame the whole plausible artworlds project.
Greg Scranton: 18:49:07
installation shot including Eisenstein et al
Greg Scranton: 18:49:13
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 18:52:10
yeah, it was the most elaborate contribution to Greg's project.
stephen wright: 18:53:37
"Imagine a future that hasn't happened, and create parameters for it"
stephen wright: 18:53:49
That sounds P@W-like
stephen wright: 18:54:15
I understand!
stephen wright: 18:55:04
Here's a quote from our introductory essay, with a quote from Vaihinger:

" What-If expresses the basic logic of fiction, which he defines as a superflexible mechanism of the mind for the solving of problems. “What, then,” he asks, “is contained in the as if?”

“There must apparently be something else hidden in it apart from the unreality and impossibility of the assumption in the condition sentence. These particles clearly also imply a decision to maintain the assumption formally, in spite of these difficulties. Between the as and if, wie and wenn, als and ob, comme and si, qua-si, a whole sentence is implied. What, then, does it mean if we say that matter must be treated as if it consisted of atoms? It can only mean that empirically give matter must be treated as it would be treated if it consisted of atoms or that the curve must be treated as it would be treated if it consisted of infinitesimals. There is, then, a clear statement of the necessity (possibility or actuality), of an inclusion under an impossible or unreal assumption.”

Fiction, in other words, enables our understanding to be guided by the effort of subsuming the unknown under the known. Thus the As-If is a kind of relay, forcing the imaginative into a form in order to pry open a broader ranger of plausibilities. It is where the imagination and consciousness overlap, yet where practical purpose (tackling the existent artworld) requires that consciousness remain dominant, such that the imaginative is present in consciousness only as potential, as a still empty, plausible space.
gregory sholette: 18:55:18
A public art project, An Imaginary Archive of novels, brochures, catalogues, pamphlets, newsletters, and other publications and material will infiltrate Enjoy and other Wellington locations during Sholette's residency. Inserted into a number of second-hand bookstores and other public places, this archive moves to present an alternative vision of the realities our society might inhabit, had the world been shaped differently. Sholette explains, that 'the exact content of these "para-fictional" publications including their layout and cover illustrations will be articulated within the processes of the Collaboratorium, but the goal will be to imagine an alternative future in which various artists groups and collaborations successfully changed the culture of Wellington, New Zealand, the region, and the world.'
gregory sholette: 18:55:49
Sholette's residency project takes the notion of collaboration as a living, working material to be uncovered, explored, and put into motion. The project has developed from a series of open calls for participation, and as a result Sholette has been working with artists and collectives in the months building up to the residency. These artists include Danna Vajda (NY), Darra Greenwald & Josh MacPhe (NY), Grant Corbishley (NZ), Matt Whitwell (NZ), Bryce Galloway (NZ), Johan Lundh (NY/Sweden), Lee Harrop (NZ), Malcom Doidge (NZ), Murray Hewitt (NZ), Oliver Ressler (Austria), Yevgeniy Fiks (NY), White Fungus (Taiwan), Maureen Conner (NY), Olga Kopenkina (NY), Jeremy Booth (NZ), Jeffrey Skoller (NY), and Ellen Rothenberg (Chicago).
BASEKAMP team: 18:57:12
back to back texts!
BASEKAMP team: 18:58:22
Greg Scranton: 18:58:34
GAG ++
BASEKAMP team: 18:58:48
MoMA --
Greg Scranton: 18:58:56
Basekamp ++
Greg Scranton: 18:59:07
oops yes
Greg Scranton: 18:59:10
sorry about that
BASEKAMP team: 18:59:15
P@W ??
stephen wright: 18:59:31
I'm thinking so
Greg Scranton: 18:59:36
a classic
BASEKAMP team: 18:59:41
loves the cochroaches -- yea
Greg Scranton: 19:00:07
and Jean Toche
Greg Scranton: 19:00:19
oops his famous fight in the foyer of MoMA
Greg Scranton: 19:01:10
gregory sholette: 19:01:18
among the 13 deamnds by Art Workers Coalition AWC included:
gregory sholette: 19:01:26
Sholette's residency project takes the notion of collaboration as a living, working material to be uncovered, explored, and put into motion. The project has developed from a series of open calls for participation, and as a result Sholette has been working with artists and collectives in the months building up to the residency. These artists include Danna Vajda (NY), Darra Greenwald & Josh MacPhe (NY), Grant Corbishley (NZ), Matt Whitwell (NZ), Bryce Galloway (NZ), Johan Lundh (NY/Sweden), Lee Harrop (NZ), Malcom Doidge (NZ), Murray Hewitt (NZ), Oliver Ressler (Austria), Yevgeniy Fiks (NY), White Fungus (Taiwan), Maureen Conner (NY), Olga Kopenkina (NY), Jeremy Booth (NZ), Jeffrey Skoller (NY), and Ellen Rothenberg (Chicago).
gregory sholette: 19:01:41
oops sorry did not cut and past correctly
gregory sholette: 19:01:55
among the 13 deamnds by Art Workers Coalition AWC included:
gregory sholette: 19:01:56
‘Museum staffs should take positions publicly and use their political influence in matters concerning the welfare of artists, such as rent control for artists' housing, legislation for artists' rights and whatever else may apply specifically to artists in their area. In particular, museums, as central institutions, should be aroused by the crisis threatening man's survival and should make their own demands to the government that ecological problems be put on a par with war and space efforts.’ The AWC also demanded that museums should show ‘the accomplishments of Black and Puerto Rican artists' and ‘encourage female artists to overcome centuries of damage done to the image of the female as an artist by establishing equal representation of the sexes in exhibitions, museum purchases and on selection committees'. The association soon broadened its scope to include protests against the Vietnam War.
Greg Scranton: 19:01:58
oh awesome I did not know this
Greg Scranton: 19:02:04
wonderful resource
stephen wright: 19:03:57
but fiction and documentation ("non"fiction) are not in opposition here -- it's all about disturbing the present, right?
BASEKAMP team: 19:04:10
a lot of this material is here: (the current site, which will be updated again soon)
gregory sholette: 19:04:59
my chapter on REPOhistory in the new book is entitled "History that Disturbs the Present" btw
BASEKAMP team: 19:05:36
stephen wright: 19:06:23
Why shouldn't the dark matter construct its own histories? Yes!!
gregory sholette: 19:06:23
Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (Marxism and Culture)                    
Greg Scranton: 19:06:54
"Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available." smiley
BASEKAMP team: 19:07:21
gregscranton - it hasn't been published yet, right?
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 19:07:28
probably, in the end of this year.
gregory sholette: 19:08:05
the book should be out from Pluto Press in November they tell me
Greg Scranton: 19:08:29
oh I see.
gregory sholette: 19:09:02
I am in the process of proofing the text and collecting images for it so its far along at this stage -
Greg Scranton: 19:09:20
looking fwd to it
BASEKAMP team: 19:10:44
looks like both greg & olga's audio are back up
gregory sholette: 19:10:55
the sound is really breaking up for us down here
BASEKAMP team: 19:10:58
still listening, but - reverb=ing
gregory sholette: 19:11:08
at times it sounds like flocks of birds
gregory sholette: 19:11:33
let me check her settings gain
stephen wright: 19:11:35
Most of the universe is invisible, not reflective, but without that part, the universe would fly apart. so evocative
Greg Scranton: 19:11:44
looks like Olga's audio is pretty hot generally
atrowbri: 19:14:31
audio dead here
gregory sholette: 19:14:32
curiously birds became the dominant animal species in new zealand because there was only one type of mammal - the bat- here until the Maori came with goats a thousand year ago
atrowbri: 19:14:47
call dropped maybe?
atrowbri: 19:15:41
BASEKAMP team: 19:15:53
no prob adam
stephen wright: 19:19:28
lost me
BASEKAMP team: 19:19:32
note: the 44 min mark in the recording Greg Sholette talks about the 3 kinds of Dark Matter he'd identified
Greg Scranton: 19:19:34
we should all be so lucky to fish in the morning and critique art in the evening!
BASEKAMP team: 19:19:37
ok, re-adding you
heather hart: 19:19:59
me too please
BASEKAMP team: 19:20:20
Greg Scranton: 19:20:23
I think it's maybe from german ideology
BASEKAMP team: 19:20:35
talking about the "army of the unemployed"
Greg Scranton: 19:20:50
that's my poor recollection and paraphrasin of course
Greg Scranton: 19:22:30
it was my attempt to connect what Greg was saying about Art School graduates have already failed in a sense and his comments on Marx.  And it is from German Ideology
Greg Scranton: 19:22:30
He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
Greg Scranton: 19:22:35
gregory sholette: 19:22:57
yes Greg - I got that right away and really liked your spin on it!
Greg Scranton: 19:23:44
oh good
gregory sholette: 19:23:58
Product Description

Art is big business, with some artists able to command huge sums of money for their works, while the vast majority are ignored or dismissed by critics. This book shows that these marginalised artists, the 'dark matter' of the art world, are essential to the survival of the mainstream and that they frequently organize in opposition to it. Gregory Sholette, a politically engaged artist, argues that imagination and creativity in the art world originate thrive in the non-commercial sector shut off from prestigious galleries and champagne receptions. This broader creative culture feeds the mainstream with new forms and styles that can be commodified and used to sustain the few artists admitted into the elite. This dependency, and the advent of inexpensive communication, audio and video technology, has allowed this 'dark matter' of the alternative art world to increasingly subvert the mainstream and intervene politically as both new and old forms of non-capitalist, public art. This book is essential for anyone interested in interventionist art, collectivism, and the political economy of the art world.
gregory sholette: 19:24:32
that is the blurb from Pluto about the new book fyi
gregory sholette: 19:25:26
your fading in and out Scott
gregory sholette: 19:26:12
they are like heliotropic flowers - despite being far from the sun they constantly point towards it!
BASEKAMP team: 19:27:15
stephen wright: 19:28:24
I wish I could participate more, but the sound is pretty choppy
Greg Scranton: 19:28:46
I can try to call everyone from here for the last 30 mins if you'd like
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 19:28:46
i agree.
gregory sholette: 19:28:52
during the WPA and during the 1970s when the NEA was at its peak in the USA there was an attempt to "employ" as many art workers as possible
gregory sholette: 19:29:07
hi Michael
BASEKAMP team: 19:29:08
can u all hear michael?
gregory sholette: 19:29:27
I can hear him but only geting some of it
BASEKAMP team: 19:30:39
michael was metioning examples like the WPA and Artist Placement Group, and interested in what you think full employment by artists *might* look like...
BASEKAMP team: 19:30:46
sounds like you got most of that
stephen wright: 19:31:21
a P2P artworld!
BASEKAMP team: 19:31:30
Kris here also has something to say at the next break
gregory sholette: 19:31:39
hi Kris
BASEKAMP team: 19:31:51
peer to peer model for artists - definitely an interesting idea IMO
gregory sholette: 19:32:03
who does it for the heck of it - that part was lost
gregory sholette: 19:32:13
who is they
BASEKAMP team: 19:32:22
Kris suggests some artists might not be interested in ful employment
gregory sholette: 19:32:41
no labor camps for aritsts!
BASEKAMP team: 19:32:45
atrowbri: 19:32:46
no work.
Greg Scranton: 19:32:47
atrowbri: 19:33:25
"we don’t work anymore: we do our time. "
stephen wright: 19:33:25
some "retraining" camps for mainstreamers, as Gustav Metzger suggested
gregory sholette: 19:33:33
there is of course a pleasure artists take from being semi-employed - but I am not just talking about money but also wuffie
Greg Scranton: 19:33:42
no more reality TV shows about the "next great artists" hosted by the bourgeoisie
BASEKAMP team: 19:33:52
gregory sholette: 19:34:05
retraining camps for art workers - we should set one up at basekamp!
gregory sholette: 19:34:16
someone help me with a definition
Greg Scranton: 19:34:22
The Hegemonic Art Studios
stephen wright: 19:34:23
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 19:34:30
how about this?
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 19:34:34
atrowbri: 19:34:45
kopenkina: YES
gregory sholette: 19:34:53
sorry I spelled it wrong:
gregory sholette: 19:34:54
Greg Scranton: 19:34:56
BASEKAMP team: 19:35:05
for sure
BASEKAMP team: 19:35:35
Whuffie is new to me - thanks for that!
Greg Scranton: 19:35:47
gregory sholette: 19:35:52
its a hacker term I think
stephen wright: 19:35:56
Olga, on the same note, here's a great interview with Mladen:
stephen wright: 19:35:58
gregory sholette: 19:37:51
‘Now we have armies of amateurs, happy to work for free,’ exclaims Chris Anderson, editor of magazine Wired, one of the early proponents of the networked ‘gift’ economy,


Previous industrial ages were built on the backs of individuals, too, but in those days labor was just that: labor. Workers were paid for their time, whether on a factory floor or in a cubicle. Today’s peer-production machine runs in a mostly nonmonetary economy. The currency is reputation, expression, karma, ‘wuffie,’ or simply whim.
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 19:37:56
Greg Scranton: 19:38:10
Greg do you have a link to that article?
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 19:38:22
i couldn't hear well what scott said about mladen..
gregory sholette: 19:38:22
so sure Scott - once we are back up north into the hot summer we can discuss this and other ideas
Greg Scranton: 19:38:49
oh I think I found it:
atrowbri: 19:39:52
we got dropped again smiley
Greg Scranton: 19:40:12
atrowbri: 19:40:19
hamburger lady
atrowbri: 19:40:37
stephen wright: 19:40:48
Greg, are you in cahoots with people in other areas who are working on similar archiving projects? I'm thinking of the COnceptualistas del Sur in SOuth America -- people like Suely ROlnik and Ana Longoni amongst others are doing incredible stuff around the alternative histories of political conceptualism
BASEKAMP team: 19:41:05
Olga, I was saying now that Greg & Stephen and you are all on the call - maybe we could open a channel of communication with Anton and whoever else about that Mladen show, and get some cross pollination
gregory sholette: 19:41:13
hi Greg here it is:   ‘People Power Blogs, user reviews, photo-sharing – the peer production era has arrived’, Chris Anderson, WIRED July 2006,
BASEKAMP team: 19:41:19
hi George, adding you to the call now
Greg Scranton: 19:41:58
uh oh
BASEKAMP team: 19:42:23
has anyone else been dropped?
atrowbri: 19:42:41
we're here
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 19:42:48
to Scott -- Anton is going to be a speaker on the CAA panel on 'dark matter' next year.
lga_kop" title="olga_kop">kopenkina: 19:43:03
but we can try to initiate something before that..
stephen wright: 19:43:05
I was referring to Mladen's show in Montreal: Idler: An Artist who invents nothing
BASEKAMP team: 19:43:14
Greg, are you in cahoots with people in other areas who are working on similar archiving projects? I'm thinking of the COnceptualistas del Sur in SOuth America -- people like Suely ROlnik and Ana Longoni amongst others are doing incredible stuff around the alternative histories of political conceptualism
gregory sholette: 19:43:21
Hi everyone - just along these last lines of dark matter and p2p networks here is an excerpt from the new book to end with:
gregory sholette: 19:43:26
The once shadowy archive spills open. Blogs, wikis, mashups, fan edits, numberlesss P2P file sharing programs and free, collaboratively evolving software evince the revenge of the excluded. But De Certeau’s everyday dissident appears on the verge of mutating into something else, something that some neoliberal theorists describe as the networked engine of 21st-century capitalism. ‘Now we have armies of amateurs, happy to work for free,’ exclaims Chris Anderson, editor of magazine Wired, one of the early proponents of the networked ‘gift’ economy,


Previous industrial ages were built on the backs of individuals, too, but in those days labor was just that: labor. Workers were paid for their time, whether on a factory floor or in a cubicle. Today’s peer-production machine runs in a mostly nonmonetary economy. The currency is reputation, expression, karma, ‘wuffie,’ or simply whim.  

Still, there are filters. Ways of pruning, delimiting, and enclosing impurities within this social productivity without completely erasing its fecundity. Shortly before the crash in 2000 a leading oracle of networked culture prophesized that the initial, giddy, ‘protocommercial stage’ of cyberculture was necessary before profits could be realized. According to Wired magazine’s founding editor Kevin Kelly,

The early Internet and the early Web sported amazingly robust gift economies; goods and services were swapped, shared generously, or donated outright – actually, this was the sole way to acquire things online. Idealistic as this attitude was, it was the only sane way to launch a commercial economy in the emerging space. The flaw that science fiction ace William Gibson found in the Web – its capacity to waste tremendous amounts of time – was in fact, as Gibson further noted, its saving grace…In the Network Economy, follow the free.   

There are filters because like all dark matter some of this ‘amazingly robust’ free productivity distributes less commercially desirable offerings. Gifts whose embrace remains suspect including dissident, even poisonous gifts. Right from the start De Certeu’s primordial tricksters began to hack the Internet. Open-source programmers developed free software to compete with privately copyrighted commercial programs, The Yes Men produced mirror-images of the World Trade Organization website that ‘corrected’ its institutional identity; and hacktivist culture-jammers built self-detonating ‘Google bombs’ so that someone searching for the phrase ‘more evil than Satan himself’ would find themselves directed to the website of Microsoft corporation. And yet these tactical games operate in two directions simultaneously. While they provide a means by which the wary and ephemeral fishes of resistance can hide from the panoptic gaze of power, disappearing into some inner fold or temporary autonomous zone from where they can carry out tactical strikes, this same clever mimicry inadvertently projects onto the spectacular screen something that in a moment of panic might be mistaken as an exaggerated menace. Perhaps this is why a deeply compromised government already seduced by the fog of war initially misapprehended the threat presented by Kurtz, Ferrell, and CAE? Like a mistaken encounter with its own doppelganger the state was first startled, then transfixed. Then its disciplinary apparatus drove forward with one objective: to produce a political show trial in which an unnamable threat would not only be given a name, a fearful name, but ultimately compartmentalized, disciplined, and assigned a numbered prison cell. When CAE transformed various insurgent theories – either avant-garde or radical-corporate – into accessible, DIY procedures, and then directed a diffuse, yet unquestionably resistant force towards select, private and governmental targets, it publicly demonstrated its ability to operate within the same nebulous terrain of power that the state now deems its privileged concession to own, lend out, or direct. Authorities compare CAE to terrorists? They reveal their inability to categorize what is unnamable. Kurtz and his colleagues sinned yet a second time and really brought down ‘the man’ when they published manuals explicating how to make use of this counter-knowledge, including its tactics and circuitry, and did so not with the ambiguous idioms of art-speak, but rather with the determined hyper-clarity of the techno-geek. This is where something far more grotesque than a simple return to the past begins to be teased out of an otherwise incomprehensible instance of state censorship. It is a warning aimed as much at the ‘avant-garde’ entrepreneurial spirit of many dot-comers, as it is against a group of interdisciplinary TM interventionists who refuse to stay in their assigned role as isolated cultural workers.
BASEKAMP team: 19:43:34
omg ok
BASEKAMP team: 19:43:49
olga ko great - so sounds like you have the communication alraedy open
stephen wright: 19:43:51
stephen wright: 19:44:09
I know you know them
BASEKAMP team: 19:44:25
interesting yes
stephen wright: 19:44:34
maybe it could be facilitated
stephen wright: 19:46:21
Greg, sound has been a challenge for me tonight -- but what I've heard has been great
gregory sholette: 19:46:25
by everyone - sorry to end a bit early but its difficult here in this noisy cafe! best - greg
Jessica Westbrook: 19:46:30
stephen wright: 19:46:35
good night
Paul Wityenbraker: 19:46:35
George Wietor: 19:46:38
heather hart: 19:46:40
sound dropped but thanks!
BASEKAMP team: 19:46:54
we've just ended the call ---
Jessica Westbrook: 19:47:17
oh hey Paul
Paul Wityenbraker: 19:47:24
BASEKAMP team: 19:47:41
if anyone wants to listen to our recording of tonights chat -- give us a heads up! or leave a comment here -- you'll automatically get an update when we post the audio
BASEKAMP team: 19:48:40
We really need some podcast closing music!  smiley  smiley
heather hart: 19:48:55
atrowbri: 19:49:41
BASEKAMP team: 19:49:59
next week starts a 6-week course on Plausible artworlds with the MFA students from UArts... they'll be joining these weekly potlucks each Tuesday night from here
BASEKAMP team: 19:50:37
adam, playing now...
BASEKAMP team: 19:50:58
ok, so if everyone on the chat clicks that link and hits play... you'll get a sense
atrowbri: 19:51:05
Jessica Westbrook: 19:51:38
BASEKAMP team: 19:51:46
adam & jessica, when does P@W start at SAIC?
Jessica Westbrook: 19:52:10
i need to plan classes next month
Jessica Westbrook: 19:52:19
i dont have my head there yet
Jessica Westbrook: 19:52:25
moving in 6 days
BASEKAMP team: 19:53:17
let's work all together (on some level) on an open curriculum
BASEKAMP team: 19:53:36
we're still playing "it's a shame" btw
Greg Scranton: 19:53:41
oh no it's over?
atrowbri: 19:53:45
it's a creat cover
Greg Scranton: 19:53:48
Well thank you all
BASEKAMP team: 19:54:10
Greg, the audio is anyway -- Greg had to roll
Greg Scranton: 19:54:18
BASEKAMP team: 19:54:26
ok, another track coming up...
Greg Scranton: 19:54:59
I am running bet basement & 2nd fl...sweaty
BASEKAMP team: 19:55:21
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:09
^ this is the next track in our closing intro
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:56
ada & jessica & greg & stephen -- you all got the Google doc for the UArts P@W curriculum right?
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:12
we can also migrate to IRC now that the chat is over
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:17
if you'd like?
Jessica Westbrook: 19:57:31
scott - do you draw?
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:43
in the curriculum? sort of
atrowbri: 19:57:52
atrowbri: 19:57:55
i do not remeber getting it
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:59
i changed it to include .. um.. i forget -- "air drawings"
Greg Scranton: 19:58:05
got it Scott! Looks like a good sturdy skeleton thus far.  Are you looking for feedback, ideas, "curriculum".
BASEKAMP team: 19:58:05
oh, hold on a sec
atrowbri: 19:58:09
the outline?
BASEKAMP team: 19:58:11
greg yes
Jessica Westbrook: 19:58:11
i got the keynote grettttt twittererered
atrowbri: 19:58:11
or more?
BASEKAMP team: 19:58:18
ohh yeah smiley
BASEKAMP team: 19:58:22
keynote is different
BASEKAMP team: 19:58:42
getting googel doc link now...
Greg Scranton: 19:58:53
Greg Scranton: 19:58:56
About (1/2 of) this course

This course is an extension of an evolving conversation about the plausibility of different kinds of artworlds. The course will attempt to open up more questions, rather than attempting to define or answer anything definitively. Using an open doc like this for the the course outline process itself will help keep the material fresh and open to active engagement.

The 'teachers' and the students of this course are all curious - trying to learn and share what we can from this ongoing research. Everyone can get something out of this and everyone interested can help. Let's get this party started!

About Plausible Artworlds 2010

Plausible Artworlds is a project to collect and share knowledge about alternative models of creative practice. From alternative economies and open source culture to secessions and other social experiments, Plausible Artworlds is a platform for research and participation with artworlds that present a distinct alternative to mainstream culture.

The aim of the project is to bring awareness to the potential of these artworlds as viable “cultural ecosystems” that provide both pedagogical and practical solutions to a range of emergent socio-cultural challenges. We view Plausible Artworlds as an opportunity to discuss the interdisciplinary role of artist as creative problem solver and the expanding notion of what an artworld looks and feels like.

The project currently offers a weekly public potluck hosted at Basekamp in Philadelphia, during which open informal discussions are held with invited artists, writers, curators and anyone interested. The project is also compiling a collaborative publication from research, conversations and projects connecting with the Plausible Artworlds initiative.


We invite participation by sharing your stories about the Plausible Artworlds you are creating in your own community. We want to know what this artworld looks like, what it smells like and what kinds of impacts it is motivating. Send us text, send us a photo or video and send us your ideas about a Plausible Artworld you wish existed. Propose a project or ask for help on an existing one.

Our plan for this year is in process. We have slots open for our potluck and a collaborative workshop and exhibition space available for use. If you want to get involved, get in touch with us!

• Propose a Potluck Topic or Guest

• Learn how to “tune” in or visit the Basekamp space in person!

• Submit your ideas and stories about a Plausible Artworld

• Start a project at Basekamp


    * WEEK 1: Archiving creative culture

    * WEEK 2: Organizational art

    * WEEK 3: Secessions and other social experiments

    * WEEK 4: Open source culture

    * WEEK 5: Alternative economies

    * WEEK 6: Autonomous information production


Class group projects


Week 1: Intros, personal and entire P@W project quickly - announce the weekly guest - look at P@W as a living archive for creative culture - begin experimental micro-research-project w students, start with discussion-based air-drawings (collaborate w 1 other person)

Week 2: Weekly topic, look at what organizational art sometimes is, and consider what it might be - open discussion during train ride together to and from the end of the line - continue micro-research project - consider perhaps how to work within the confines of the university, or our day jobs (collaborate w 2 people)

Week 3: Announce weekly guest - discussion about secessions - consider other approaches for experimental research project responses, consider dropping out of school and living on a communal farm (collaborate w 3 people)

Week 4: Presentation of FOSSCON rapid examples (nearly 100 slides and semi-automtic-shotgun-style info saturation on open source @Ws">P@Ws) - consider how to extend or build upon existing research through a rapid micro-project (collaborate w 4 people)

Week 5: Announce weekly guest - bring a gift and exchange ideas or consider alternate compensation for each other's time - expand experimental research project (collaborate w 5 people)

Week 6: Weekly guest is announced & quickly discussed - past weekly experimental research projects are considered in the context of autonomous information production - agree on a form of exchange for knowledges and experiences produced over course of past 6 weeks (collaborate with entire group)


Set up a workspace in a given area at BK to be used throughout the duration of the course.

Before each weekly potluck, join improv cooking class - bring and prepare food - culminates w/ feast - collaborate w entire group

White elephant research

the thought is that each week's topic could also have a set of secondary research topics the students can draw from for mini-research projects.

I've adapted these instructions for white elephant gift exchange here

    * All participants draw a number (from a hat, perhaps) to determine their order.

    * The participant with #1 selects a face-down topic card. Each successive participant, in the order determined from the drawing, can either 1) "steal" an already flipped topic card (if there's one they really like) or 2) be adventurous and go for a face-down topic card. If the participant chooses to steal, the person whose topic is stolen now repeats his turn and either 1) steals another person's topic (he cannot immediately steal back the topic that was just stolen from him) or 2) selects a new topic.

    * This cycle of stealing can sometimes continue for a long time, (although we could set a stealing limit per topic per round of 3 or something) until a new topic is chosen, at which point the turn is passed to the participant with the next number from the drawing.

    * Since topics can be stolen, the topic in your possession is not yours until the game is over. However, this is often amended with a rule declaring a topic "dead" or "safe" after it has been stolen a certain number of times (usually three). This helps the process go more smoothly (avoiding, for example, the hypothetical scenario of the same topic being stolen by every successive participant) and limits the disadvantage of being among the first to choose gifts. The game is over once all numbers have been withdrawn from the hat or all gifts are opened
Greg Scranton: 19:59:02
oh yeah! bam!
Jessica Westbrook: 19:59:06
plausible promises
Jessica Westbrook: 19:59:09
june 18
BASEKAMP team: 19:59:16
nice greg - thx!
BASEKAMP team: 20:00:05
keep in mind, this is our syllabus
Greg Scranton: 20:00:19
also just emailed it to AT & JW
BASEKAMP team: 20:00:40
greg.. the google doc link?
Greg Scranton: 20:00:49
Greg Scranton: 20:01:02
well it said "attach as html"
BASEKAMP team: 20:01:05
W to the double 0 to the tt
BASEKAMP team: 20:01:12
Greg Scranton: 20:01:28
oops brb. if u guys are gone when I get back g'nite
BASEKAMP team: 20:01:53
stephen wright: 20:06:35
This description sounds like a slightly determined kind of artworld already, one premised on gaming, creativity. If we really want them to come up with new artworlds, plausible ones, then we need to give them less direction, no?
stephen wright: 20:06:44
I don't know, I'm tired I guess
BASEKAMP team: 20:07:33
stephen, you mean the White elephant research method idea?
BASEKAMP team: 20:08:40
stephen, gotta step away for a moment - Michael & I need to plan this week - but will be back on in a bit!
Greg Scranton: 20:09:22
nite all
BASEKAMP team: 20:09:38
night gregg!
stephen wright: 20:09:48
BASEKAMP team: 20:10:51
Stephen - let's talk about the overdetermined part tho soon.. this is something we can change. Personally i just want to bring them in and have immersion into p@w examples... but that might mean other experiences than just a verbal description... so... something to think about
BASEKAMP team: 20:10:58
be back in a few...
atrowbri: 20:13:15
I agree with Stephen. I get the idea of getting people involced with a game but I don't see how this really bridges anything
atrowbri: 20:15:04
On the other hand, I really wonder if the students will be able to come up with new, plausible artworlds without some sort of anti-direction, by which I mean actively attacking scholastic structure, freeing them from expectations and encouraging them to look at their own lives, communities and asking them to consider plausible artworlds that are not imposed from outside

Week 16: Collective Foundation

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Joseph del Pesco about three experimental grants developed by the Collective Foundation.

As recently mentioned in Art Work newspaper:

The Collective Foundation (CF) describes itself as “…a research and development organization offering services to artists and arts organizations. The Collective Foundation focuses on fostering mutually beneficial exchange and collective action by designing practical structures and utilizing new web- based technologies. Ultimately the central concern of the Collective Foundation is to serve as an ongoing experimental process and catalyst for new ideas. CF proposes ‘bottom-up’ and decentralized forms of organization and investigates the formation and distribution of resources. This means inventing new forms of funding and new ways of working together. Like the Art Workers’ Coalition, who proposed pragmatic solutions to problems faced by artists, the Collective Foundation seeks alternative operational solutions, while reducing the bureaucratic formalities of overhead and administration.”

In 2007, this San Francisco-based group issued three separate $500 grants to artists using a variety of creative fundraising strategies. For the Collective Library Grant, Collective Foundation solicited donations of 100 art catalogs from ten area art spaces that were sold as one Collective Library. Sales of the library paid for an artist grant to facilitate research and participation for a web-based audio project that Collective Foundation hosts. Uncirculated or old exhibition catalogs are a very common surplus item at art spaces. A particularly sweet result of this sale was that the library was purchased not by an individual for private consumption, but by the San José Institute for Contemporary Art, which turned the books into a reading room.

The $500 YBCA Grant drew money from three separate sources in conjunction with an exhibit that Collective Foundation participated in at the Yerba Buena Center for Art (YBCA). Memberships sold during the exhibit opening, part of the sales from the Co-op Bar (another CF project created with artist Steve Lambert), and some of the sales from CF’s printing press generated a $500 grant for an artist. The final jurors of the grant consisted of YBCA guards.

The $500 Collective Hosting grant generates funds from fees paid by artists who host their websites on CF’s web server, paying a $100.00 fee into a fund used for grants rather than giving it to an internet service provider. Those who pay into the fund then become the jurors for the grant. Source:



Week 16: Collective Foundation

[Joseph]: Their chat side.  This is the first I’ve done the voice oddly enough.  By the time we talked about Pickpocket Almanac it was just text.

[Scott]: Yeah, that’s right.  Interesting.  I guess we had done voice maybe like a year before that.  In any case, awesome.  So, yeah, great.  So this week I guess the plan was to, I mean there is a lot of things to talk about with you.  I guess the plan was we were going to focus mainly on your micro funding project or I guess y you could say experimental grant structures that the collective foundation set up.  You may have noticed this Salem, the description, not our description but the description that we sent out, we basically said “as recently noted in Artwork Newspaper” and basically just cut and pasted what you had.  Perfect description of these systems.  But for everybody here that didn’t either see that email or didn’t get to read it, it was a little big long for one of these intro emails.  Would you mind describing a little bit Joseph?  Or do you want way to pick one and ask you about it?  Or is it easier to just kind of jump right in it and tell us a little bit about it.  Like give everyone an intro to why you guys started that.

[Joseph]:  Right.  Um, I’ll kind of like start talking and you can kind of interrupt me and ask questions.  It’s sort of a monster, the Collective Foundation.  It’s a fairly large beast.  It came out of research into groups like kind of the early stages of the alternative space movement in the late sixties and early seventies and thinking about the history of these spaces as in responding to specific needs and concerns of the day.  People, there’s actually a wonderful book by Julie Alts that was like a key text, it’s called Alternate Art New York” and with the dates which go through the eighties and start with the early seventies.  Anyway, in the various kinds of contributors to that book, that collection we’ll talk about that and enforces why these spaces started.  There were things like a need to have a space to exhibit the work of women and minorities or a need for space to exhibit experimental media installation performance and space for radical political work or group thinking or organization for self representation of artists or supportive representation of artists who were doing outside of a commercial gallery sort of representation system.  So these were kind of specific needs that were kind of, not exactly oppositional,  although some sort of post themselves as a more political structure, but a  kind of rationale and certain forces at work that were being kind of dealt with and considered when they were founded.  And how over the years those forces have shifted.  You know, a lot of museum (inaudible 0:03:47.05) now bring in the work of women and minorities.  Maybe not as much as we would like but it does happen.  And the same thing with installation and video and even performance.  So., the question that a lot of people who are involved in the alternative space network and, you know, history now because many of the spaces that are running now have been doing so for 30+ years, are asking themselves the question of “what is the function of these spaces?”  And so, that combined with an interest in the art worker coalition and in thinking about their statement of demands and the work of people like Lucy (inaudible 0:04:30.5) and Andre (inaudible 0:04:32.8) who are all involved in that origin in the moment of that art worker coalition.  And thinking of the things that they set out to do and that they were kind of hoping for some reforms in the museum.  I mean, the demands were originally, at least, directed to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  

Anyway, so those two things were kind of the background in the foundation for what became the Collective Foundation.  So in a sense it is a proposal, not just for a new kind of space and space in the broadest sense of the word.  You know, as a metaphor more than a grounded term.  And the problems of like the economic situations for the alternative spaces in the Bay area but sort of nationally too.  You know the rising costs of renting a space and that in relation to the amount of money available to actually fund projects at that more experimental level than the lower or smaller budgets of these kinds of spaces.  Anyway, we were trying to deal with that complex constellation of problems in doing this in these spaces already thinking about.  And so, in a sense, it’s presented The Collective Foundation as a research and development organization.  It’s thinking about things that the alternative space and network doesn’t really have time, money or personnel to deal with or think about.  So it has a number of different programs that try to accomplish or peek at development seriously.  They started with a shotgun review which was kind of an early days of art blogs.  It was an attempt to kind of distribute the critical dialog about exhibitions and events in the Bay area with a goal of having as many writers as possible.  A lot of blogs now operate on this sort of (inaudible 0:06:53.4) of people who are regular contributors and we wanted to have 100, 200 or 500 people contributing.  The idea was that if we could get to that point, even if any individual only contributed once a month, that was a total cloud of critical (inaudible 0:07:11.6).  It’s sort of to culminate and create this sort of ferment and build on that kind of excitement.  And the idea is sort of a dream of having every exhibition having a possible response.  The idea that even the small exhibition in out of the way spaces could have a chance to be part of a larger discussion. So anyway, the key to the Shotgun Review is the idea of reducing administration and (inaudible 0:07:46.1) kind of collecting small contributions from lots of people.  And that led to a larger thinking of distribution ideas.  I feel like I’m just talking and talking and talking (laughing).   

[Scott]:  That’s okay Joseph.  I’ve muted myself so we didn’t get total feedback.  I think the other reason you’re talking is because what you’re saying is super interesting.  So I’m guessing everybody is just listening.  But uh…

[Joseph]: Right.  But uh, maybe I should, while I’m sort of talking since it would be useful since we’re on computers anyway, would be to click over to  Then I can kind of narrate a little bit with some images.  I think it would be useful.

[Scott]: That would be great.  And before you do, I wanted to paste this link here just in the frameset.  The statements, The Collective Foundation statements which kind of summarize six of the points.  I think you’ve pretty much covered most of these briefly over the last few minutes.  Some of the background of these came to be or some of the reasons why you’re interested in these.  I just wanted to ask you, when were these set up?  Pretty early on right?

[Joseph]: Yes, I think we set the Shotgun Review up in 2006, or 2005.  I can look it up, the site is still going and it has an archive.  I worked on that with Scott Oliver, who when we were in school together we had this idea to take advantage of (inaudible 0:09:43.9) and develop.   It’s quite common now to have this sort of art blogs and journals that happen primarily online and through that work together we kind of spun onto while we were in school.  It started while we were finishing our masters program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.  So, I think it’s useful to talk a little but about, well the name is Collective Foundation, which implies granting and that a key part of the work of The Collective Foundation.  And it’s the only thing at the moment that kind of continues on.  You know, I asked Oliver Wise to join me today because The Collective Foundation at the moment is just starting a new grant partnership with The Present Group, which is a wonderful really subscription project in Oakland that it works with (inaudible 0:10:47.7) and produces projects.  And we’ve worked together on another thing as well, which we can talk about later. The…

[Scott]: Is Oliver with you there now?

[Joseph]: He’s not.  He’s connected to us but he’s not in the room.

[Scott]: Oh!  Is there an Oliver online?

[Oliver]: I’m here now.

[Scott]: There you are.  I guess I wasn’t sure who that was.

[Joseph]: He’s the rocket ship.

[Scott]: Yeah, Mr. Rocketship.  How are you?

[Oliver]: I’m pretty good, how are you?

[Scott]: Awesome.  Yeah, that would definitely be good to.   I know I would be interested in that.  I don’t know about everyone how.  But about how that shaped up, at some point.

[Joseph]: Yeah, maybe I can give kind of a little background and history of some of the grant programs of The Collective Foundation and then we can sit and talk a little bit about the travel programs that we are working on together.  How does that sound Oliver?

[Oliver]: Sure.

[Joseph]: So, the idea of the grants came out of the wanting to find us our third option in relation to the sort of non-profit fundraising.  You know, the 501c3 sending out applications to other foundations in the state or that kind government or asking for money to support programming.  And, you know, reading people out of college who are thinking after the culture wars brought down things like individual artists and the NAA and thinking about how important it was to try to work out schemes outside of the different funding structures, also, sort of outside of this kind of marketplace selling objects, selling artworks as commodities.  So yeah, trying to be outside of that market and also outside of the 501c3 was the goal of The Collective Foundation grants.   So it became primarily about trying to identify surplus and really trying to transform it or repurposing into funding for artists.  We did three grants all of which involved going around to all the art spaces in the area and asking for one copy of every publication that they had ever produced.  We did this knowing that there would be boxes of catalogs and such in the basement.  We produced a gigantic library that was like 5-6’ long and sold it as kind of a survey of the Bay Area activity for $500.  That $500 became a grant for an individual artist.  

We also did a hosting grant.  Actually (inaudible 0:14:00.6) before because that sort of leads into the (inaudible 0:14:04.1) with Oliver.  (Ringing) oh, now I’m getting a ring.

[Scott]: Yeah, we’re just adding Steven to the right chat

[Joseph]: Oh.

[Steven]: I’m on.

[Scott]: Hey Steven!  Welcome.

[Steven]: Thank you.

[Joseph]: So Steven, we were just talking about the grants produced by The Collective Foundation and I just mentioned the, actually, if you click.  If you go to the website and click on that initial image, it takes you to a page with a list of programs of The Collective Foundation.  The one of the top right is the Collective Grants and if you click on that it will take you to a sort of blog page that has the three grants that back in 2007 when The Collective Foundation was happening.  Well, I should say launched since it hasn’t exactly gone away but, this is sort of an act leading up to the big exhibition at the Yerba Buena Convention Center in San Francisco.

So we just talked about the Library Grant and so the YBCA Grant was a kind of combination of those things that were happening, during the exhibition.  The most interesting of which was the club art that was produce in collaboration with Steve Lambert.  Now this was in New York, I didn’t live in the Bay Area at the time but anyway, he and I worked on a sort of… You know every opening has a bar, at least at the Yerba Buena Center, so we saw that as an opportunity to kind of create a micro economy.  We invited individuals to contribute a little bottle of alcohol in which they became a shareholder in the Co-op.  So each time a drink was poured it was a mark on the bottle and they received part of the profits.  After that percentage the total profits from the bar were into the Yerba Buena Grant.  And part of that included the sale of pod cast publications which I can talk about a little later.  So the idea there is just like drinking happens and there is an incredible mark up on how you pour a shot.  It costs $0.50 and you charge $6.00 or whatever.   And so we kind of took advantage of that situation and turned it into an experiment.

And the last thing, which leads mostly into the conversation with Oliver and the travel grant is the collective hosting grant and it is instead of paying $100 or $90 or whatever for an artist to pay a company for yearly hosting of their website, we hosted five artists on The Collective Foundation’s server and they each paid $100 into the fund and (inaudible 0:17.13.1) program.  So it actually was taking advantage of the surplus of a typical webhosting account that was like several gigs and needed to be fast to download you know with images and texts and we ended up using 3%-5% of what they were actually paying for. So it was taking advantage of that left open 95% of space.  And so right now we’re hosting a number of different people who, three years later, we’ve asked to kind of like follow up and do it again with a final Hosting Grant.  Five people which paid $100.  And then while working with Oliver… Hey Oliver, do you want to post the link for the for the present group hosting?

[Oliver]: Okay.

[Scott]: And while you’re doing that Oliver, how many people did you say you were hosting now?

[Joseph]: Well, two people have multiple sites on the server.  So right now we’re at five people who are hosting a bunch of things.

[Scott]: Okay, cool.

[Joseph]: To kind of, uh yeah.  Oliver has just posted the link for the new group hosting.  So we’re sort of like picking up on that strategy of simply working with artists and providing what (inaudible 0:18:56.2) works for them, the hosting group.  Maybe you can just have a quick look at that just the general (inaudible 01:19:06.07 – 0:19:12.9)   

So (coughing) that’s the kind of Collective Foundation grant section in general but we’ll send you guys the link to the blog so you guys can read about the Travel Grant. So the Travel Grant is, and a again The Collective Foundation is about picking up on needs and specific conditions of the Bay Area.  Alrighty, there it is.  Thanks Oliver.

[Scott]: So can I just recap for just a super quick sec about what we’re talking about now because the BaseKamp, via Meg, just logged on.  We’re talking about is that Joseph is describing one of the collective grants that is part of The Collective Foundation.  There’s some links above but I’ll just read posts and you can follow them and follow what he’s… Okay, there.  Cool. Great.

[Joseph]: Yeah, this is um (inaudible 0:20:38.5) on this blog (inaudible 0:20:44.5) There was a recent post by a man named Renny Pritikin about artists leaving the Bay Area and artists staying in the Bay Area and quite common for people to (inaudible 0:20:59.0) here and schools are quite good.  So thoughts are that we’ll come here and stay for a few years and then we all have to judge the limitation to being here.  So, there is this kind of loose, this idea on a kind of informal conversation of how useful it would be if there were a travel grant.  You know, to kind of increase mobility and do it in a way to increase people to travel, add more mobility and access to (inaudible 0:21:17.6) that actually might be easier to make a home here.  The idea of the Travel Grant kind of came about.  Partnering with the present group was a way to think of the life span of the Collective Hosting Grant as a strategy which as they build, actually continues to do that.  They’re kind of going forward and Oliver has a tremendous amount of experience in like internet applications and much more than me (laughing).  And so they have developed this package and we’re kind of working on it together and I had recommended a couple of web content managing systems that I think are key and useful for artists and one of them is Monitored by WordPress.  Actually, back to Steve Lambert because he worked on what’s called WPfolio and it’s quite a simple thing to install with WordPress and it allows you to (inaudible 0:22:51.5) for artists basically.  So it’s a mod of WordPress.  Another one is (inaudible 0:22:59.4).  Those are the only two.  Right Oliver?

[Oliver]: Uh, yeah.

[Joseph]: So, given the option for artists to sign up with this package to have one of those like automatically installed.  And that’s part of the feature for this set of web hosting package.  Anyway, it’s $25 a year for the total and well go (inaudible 0:23:30.2) grant with the present group.  Hopefully it will make it so much easier that there’s like thousands of dollars to have been given away.  That’s only my hope for it.

[Oliver]: Oh boy.

[Joseph]: (Laughing) so yeah, we’ve just kind of kicked this off a couple weeks ago.  So it’s just like in the first phase since the beginning.  We’ll see how long it takes to build it up to give $1,000.   I can’t imagine an artist who like has a website that wouldn’t rather send their money rather to the arts rather than to any internet company.  Certainly there are internet companies with value and that’s…

[Scott]: I don’t know.  I kind of like Go Daddy.  

[Joseph]: Something about the NASCAR and the…anyway, go on.

[Joseph]: (Laughing) there are some free ones.  Is that what you’re talking about? The Go Daddy free one?

[Scott]: No (laughing).  I’m like definitely kidding.


(Inaudible comment or question from background 0:24:50.0)

[Joseph]: Post Papa.  Is that the one you meant to say? (Inaudible 0:25:21.0) that’s an example of an ISP has its values, we can say. (Mumbling or reading out loud)

So anyway, that’s the overview.  In a way that’s why we wanted to bring up The Collective Foundation again.  For me it serves in 2007 and 2008 it was a fairly elaborate proposal for a new kind of an institution.  One that didn’t rely on space and you could use the capabilities of the internet and technology to allow for inexpensive structure to make things happen in terms of cultural production.  For example, we for the exhibition produced I think five publications, which using print on demand and (inaudible 0:26.14.1) I hope that one of them was a different provider.  Um, but, that was more for those five publications that was more than any non profit.  It is still, I think. To my knowledge doing in the Bay Area in any given year.  We sort of are prototyping a lot of these things and know that many of these non profits are now using print on demand, not that we necessarily gave them the ideas.   It was out there to begin with.  I think to, in some sense, demonstrate that it is a useful tool for artists and some things, and some applications anyway.  And that it’s a smarter economic processing that maybe ideally you could spend more of your money on paying rent or as an  artist produce incredible content on the $5,000 or $10,000 it takes to produce a minimum of a publication.  And then again, you don’t have boxes of dead trees in your basement rotting away.  And that seemed like an important proposal to make.

And so The Collective Foundation kind of was a kind of capsule of these proposals.  Do we want to talk about some of the other things The Collective Foundation is involved in?

[Scott]: Um, yeah.  Definitely.

[Joseph]: Okay, and then maybe I should open it up to question or directions that are more interesting for you guys to sort of like follow.

[Scott]: Well, I’m definitely really interested in these grants and how they’ve evolved.  I guess my Understanding before has kind of changed.  I was kind of thinking that the baton has sort of been passed.

[Joseph]: I think that’s right in the case of this grant.  Oh but…

[Scott]: Except that Oliver was involved sort of early on, right? Or was that just later on?

[Joseph]: Sorry?  Oliver?

[Scott]: I was under the impression that Oliver from this chat was involved from the outset.

[Joseph]: No.  Oliver and I just work on this travel grant.  I mean, Oliver and Eleanor, the other half of the present group.  We’ve kind of just, a few weeks ago, worked out this and at the end of last month worked out this idea to compose this travel grant together.

[Scott]: I see.  Oh, cool.  Okay.

[Joseph]: And they have been slowly behind the scenes working on launchi8ng this new hosting platform and kind of providing that service to artists.  I think in general, I supposed.  It’s not always artists right Oliver?  It’s just that culture workers are sort of the target and who you’re interested in working there.  It’s just a hosting thing.

[Oliver]: We are just hosting.  We were just trying to think of another way to produce grant5 money basically.   

[Joseph]: And then kind of mapping and crossing, in some extent, into the present group and the production of the additions, right?

[Oliver]: Yeah, to help support the project.  That was the other idea behind it.

[Scott]: Did you guys see this question from Adam?  Do you want to ask that Adam or do you want me to sort of…

[Adam] Q: Is there anything different in the grant recipients are selected?

[Joseph] A: Yeah.  We wanted the process to be more transparent.  A big part of us prototyping in the original phase of the grant making process was to kind of think about the process of the grants as well and transparency this idea.  Like is it possible and what are the limitations of transparency? So we actually had a Wiki, it’s not up online anymore, but use the Wiki to have kind of a transparent process of (inaudible 0:30:21.2) for the grant.  And we felt like because the amount of money we’d be giving away was quite small, that asking for artists to even propose anything there just wasn’t enough money involved to do that.  So for example, the calling for Hosting Grant, we invited each of the artists who were paying into the grant and were ultimately the jury to nominate.  And so that nomination process was on the Wiki.  It’s also a blog as well.  You can see if you click on the bottom.  The $500 Hosting Grant.  It says the jurors and the name of the artists and then eventually who won the grant.  And then a very funny picture of me and Rene Gisman giving it away and no Amy.  Which I guess is strange.   

An anyway we kind of wanted to open up part of the exhibition of The Collective Foundation.  If you click on the pull down menu on the top right of The Collective Foundation window you can go into installation images.  And it sort of gives you an overview of the actual installation which I mentioned to Scott however earlier in relation to the Shotgun Review.  And Scott did all of the furniture, which is also a project which I can tell you a little bit about too.

 But what I wanted to mention before was the Service Works project by Josh Green which was included in the exhibition as a kind of autonomous thing that is like related in spirit.  Josh green worked at a fine dining restaurant in San Francisco and once a month he took all of the money he made as a waiter in tips and turned that into a grant and gave it away to anyone that sort of emailed and sent him a brief proposal.  The idea was to kind of cut out the bureaucratic process of applying for money to set up a foundation or something like that.  There may be a jury and everything is fair but you have no idea what the process actually is.  Josh was a just hinting that he was very explicit of about what he was interested and what kind of work that he was making and what to support and you could directly send him an e-mail or have a conversation with him.  That sort of like cutting through the bureaucratic (inaudible 0:33:10.0) of it (inaudible 0:33:10.9) was important to him in that project.  And I think crossed over into (inaudible 0:33:18.1) The Collective Foundation too.  You know, wanting to make it simple for those involved especially given the level of money they were working with.  The idea was that some of these could be scalable.  It might be possible to sort of prototype a kind of grant with $500 and then over time scale it up to, say, $5000.  I think that that's more realistic for some more than others.

Yet, maybe since we're looking at the images of installation we can talk a little bit about that.  Does that make sense?

[Scott]:  Yeah, absolutely.  From my point of view.  I have just a quick question.  

[Joseph]: Sure yeah, go ahead.

[Scott] Q: will enter my mind is you are talking about Josh Green's Service Works and as you were also talking about The Collective Foundation's, well this particular grant in the same breath.  It ties with something that I've been thinking about, but you and I have discussed before kind of a lot in the past.  I hate to get bogged down with some kind of focusing strictly on the art status of these projects but I'm kind of curious because we are looking at artworlds as models to sustain creative practice and also to see what kind of practices can cannot of these different kinds of structures.  Artworlds structures.  It seems that what you guys have set up with The Collective Foundation is a series of proposals were there are several different models being proposed.  But overall it's a kind of art world in itself, a small one maybe?  You know?  But one that basically says like you had just said, it's scalable and it says "Hey! This could be expanded to a larger scale!"  These ways of doing things could be on a citywide or an international scale.  I guess my question was that you identify as a curator.  An independent curator.  But ultimately you're a transdisciplinary person and a lot of what you guys do and what The Collective Foundation does is, maybe I should just focus on that, could be described in lots of different ways.  But what I was thinking about in comparing Matt to jot screens project I wonder what makes a more of a curatorial initiatives and the other in our project?  

[Joseph] A: Yeah.  No, it's a good question.  I think probably the Josh would say he's an artist with curatorial leanings and I would say that I am a curator what kind of artistic means.

[Scott]: Yeah, totally.

[Joseph] A:  Maybe that's not enough to some. (Inaudible 0:36:15.4) I had the same conversation and I think the…  You know, I've always worked with artists and cultural producers in general but I think that artists have more flexible, well not that they, yeah, it's kind of blurry.  A lot of times artists work with other people as collaborators on projects were as I'm pretty much just presenting and developing programs that people work with and respond to and that sort of thing.  I mean, I guess the general kind of role (inaudible 0:36.51.3) is that I'm always still working with artists and that's how I makes sense of it.

[Scott]: Yeah, that makes sense.  Say you include the work of, I mean, it definitely seems like you adopt curatorial strategies and the things that you do and in a lot of The Collective Foundation's components.  You know like" what is this".  So anyway, if you get why am asking it was mainly not so much to try to make the conversation born all of a sudden...


[Joseph]: That's okay.

[Scott]: It was more to, I guess, to think about the reproducibility of this because when these things get reproduced there not only going to be, I mean, maybe they will.  But it seems that your hope might be that they may not only be reproduced, shoot a lost my (inaudible 0:37:46.5)

[Joseph]: I mean, in part, let me try to pick that up.  I think that the thing that we're interested in proposing (audio feedback 0:37:54.6)...

[Scott]: Hey Jonathan, are you there?  I was just adding someone else to the call.

[Joseph]: Oh.  I mean the thing that we're interested in was propagating it as this idea as this kind of thinking about surplus as a strategy.  You know the idea.  There's a series of statements that we call out and serve as little anchor points.  It's a kind of like really (inaudible 0:38:30.3) we to say but thinking about (inaudible 0:38:32.8) tie and how a society uses its surplus it defines this culture and the kind of values the society gives in kind of speaking through kind of like excess or an expenditure of excess.  I think it's crucial in sort of like a really macro way of thinking about general economics after Mouse's "The Gift".  And it was sort of a response to that.  There's lots of like thinking and economics that came after that but were trying to just pick upon the idea of surplus as defining culture and how, there is a lot of ways, and how a lot of it has value.  I've actually been working on this project off to decide with Marisa Jahn about byproducts and artists roles in sort of working with business and government and on and on.  Enough about that.  So anyway…  

[Scott]: If you don't mind just quickly before moving on.  I think what I was really, why I was really asking about roles is that part of how, part of the ways that we can have access to both identify and ultimately have more access to different kinds of surpluses depend on the certain types of roles that we take and how we define those.  At least to others that they know how to give us those access points, you know (laughing)?  I guess what I was asking you earlier I got kind of distracted because I'm realized I needed at somebody to the call, but what I meant to ask was about the artist vs. curator roles and how those can be useful or leveraged.  Mainly I was asking because if this is something that could be scaled or reproduced, it could be scaled in reproduced by others more.  It would be good to sort of help others to know how they can reproduce these kinds of things.  And how we identify what these projects are have a lot to do with that.  Don't you think?

[Joseph]: Yeah.  I would agree with that for the most part.  I mean I think…

[Scott] Q: It's also good to blur those and sometimes ambiguity can be super helpful.  But I was just curious if there was something in that.

[Joseph] A: I think, one of my favorite conversations after a presentation of The Collective Foundation was with Robert who was like teaching (inaudible 0:41:05.2) state schools in California and he was talking about how (inaudible 0:41:12.7) to stick with it and taking advantages of that is a way to concrete resources quickly and (inaudible 0:41:18.5) and how it is sort of like a field and you can just interpret and find ways to identify the surplus and transform it.  What he thought was potentially useful was the like activist groups and us just sort of like a general strategy.  To think about surplus and identify it and kind of track it down and (inaudible 0:41:41.1) how hard would it be to transform this particular excess into something that is useful whether it is literally transforming someone's money and buying things or funding things with it or building things.  I guess I'm interested in this toxibility of surplus in general in thinking about art, not just as a surplus.  That's just too easy were simple.  But kind of thinking through how (inaudible 0:42:26.6) there is this excess time and energy and it's pointing me to this guy (inaudible 0:42:32.5) who talks about gin and sitcoms and Wikipedia and saying how like people have this sort of cognitive surplus correct and (inaudible 0:42:43.4).  I watched some YouTube video that was a little fuzzy but basically the idea that Wikipedia takes images like cognitive surplus so that before we volunteer, it's a way to kind of funnel the sort of cognitive surplus and it's mutually useful for a kind of common experience.  So anyway…

[Scott] Q: Is this kind of where the reason for the focus on collective and The Collective Foundation comes into play do you think?  Where the overlap of people's ideas and interests can create more than what they do individually?  I mean I would want to try to turn this into (laughing).

[Joseph] A: Yeah.  I mean, I think there's more like in the collective and The Collective Foundation comes into play like with the grants the in the right kind of (inaudible 0:43:39.0) that individuals are each paying $100.  It's time to find something that, like in that case, is mutually beneficial.  You're not just paying $100 as a kind of philanthropist.  You're paying $100 for something you need and then we are transforming that money into a grant.  And so we have just been able to identify this sort of virtual or sort of (inaudible 0:44:03.1) somewhere on the Internet into money.  And that's like a strategy.  I don't know (inaudible -reading question to himself 0:44:15.0).  For artists per say, but and I am kind of like skeptical of this kind of venture philanthropy.  There is something interesting about its potential but I am not (inaudible 0:44:29.1) in effect, right?

But anyway I still think that if he can do it and have values and be really open about it and do good things with it if and ideally do it without having (inaudible 0:44:42.3) and having it take up to much of your time as the organizer of this thing.  That's kind of a crucial goal.  In some ways I mean we haven't really like talked about whether we can assess the value of these (inaudible 0:44:53.8).  That's kind of a useful consideration to bring into the conversation but (inaudible 0:45:03.6).  And another kind of key idea here is about distribution and is one of our other statements.  It says something like the future is already here it's just not evenly distributed yet which is from William Gibson, a Canadian fiction writer.  And this idea is just like matter of finding ways to distribute our information and ideas and the money.  The process in which through distribution happens are kind of the future as well as the ideas that need to be distributed.

So, maybe I can kind of like shift gears and talk about a couple other programs in The Collective Foundation?

[Scott]: Yeah definitely.  Please feel free to chime in.

[Joseph]: I'm sorry?

[Scott]: I just talked over you accidentally.  I was just going to say, just to let everybody know that is listening, just to reiterate to totally please feel free to chime in at any point.  I know it's not always easy to know how to do this on a Skype call.  One of the really easy ways is to just like type something in if you have a thought or a question that want or can contribute.  If you want to know something more about it, it's perfectly fine at any point.  But yeah, for my sake, I'd be very interested and I think other people would probably want to hear more about other parts of The Collective Foundation, other projects.  Oh, but before, it looks like Steven did just send and something.

[Joseph]: I try to leave some spaces too when I'm talking about things for people to jump in.  I'm going to read Steven's question here.

(Inaudible Joseph reads question out loud to himself 0:47:09.5)

[Joseph]: Well, okay.  So (inaudible 0:47:48.4) talks about surplus and (inaudible0:47:50.8) he's thinking about not economics of (inaudible 0:47:57.2) but economics of excess right?  It sort of like a different, at that moment in time any ways, a different way of thinking beyond kind of a capitalist motto or as like now the gift is what we're trying to deal with.  There are political implications for thinking that way.  For me, the theory is (inaudible 0:48:19.2-0:48:28.5) so to me this motto is like okay well the status quo as far as (inaudible 0:48:31.8) talked about with surplus and excess energy is one of the first things that happens (inaudible 0:48:37.6) and, um, you know an expansion often leads to limitations.  Like you should hit a limitation within town or a group or a city.  And then as soon as you run up against those limitations you hit another town or another city and war happens in conflict happens and it becomes about surplus (inaudible 0:49:00.3).  And then he talks about the history of religion and a bunch of other things.  And I'm sort of interested in what those values are.  With surplus, you can put it into Wikipedia and GEN account.  I don't know how those things happen.  I don't pretend to understand the macro social economics to say I can make a call.  But I do see it as like more than just like carrying the artists but as kind of like a subject that is interesting to artists I guess.

(Inaudible Joseph reads question out loud to himself 0:49:42.3)

[Joseph]: I'm not sure I'm really hitting on your question Steven.  We can talk about it.  Are you still there?

[Scott]: I think Steven is still on the call.

[Joseph]: Did you want to follow up on that?

[Scott]:  Yeah.

[Joseph]: Okay. Did you?

[Scott] Q: Well, I had a question.  I was wondering if part of the, if part of your question Steven...  I mean, I think I get parts of that.  I'm wondering if part of that question comes from the fact... Oops.  Sorry.  Let me just add BaseKamp again for second.

[Joseph]: Okay.

[Scott] Q: It should be happening now.  Hey guys.  Cool. So, I guess I was wondering if part of Steven's question, I suppose this is directed to you Steven.  If this had something to do with the fact that these grants were kind of pulled from artists and then sort of given back to other artists as opposed to maybe crossing disciplines or cross and other areas of culture?

[Joseph] A: I'm just trying to read your question again Steven.  I guess I would say that it's a model of political implication but not a political model.  I think that the proposal of collective information is like kind of quietly embed values (inaudible 0:51:28.4) be a political statement (laughing).  Is that alright?  Was that responding to what you said or what Scott said?


[Joseph]: Sorry, I've kind of lost track...

[Steven] Q: Maybe my question wasn't entirely clear and maybe it's not actually entirely clear to me because maybe I tried to get a number of different things at once.  I think that you were being excessively humble when you say that it just has political implications.  I mean, if I understood correctly the way you describe the projects and then when you argue that surplus is something that defines culture, I mean I entirely endorsed those kinds of insights.  But I think that in going about this, you know, despite the relatively modest scale it really is experimenting with a truly political model redistribution of wealth and resources and what you call, I don't know, the drawing (inaudible 0:52:35.9).  What you call the excess drawn from me general economy rather than be restricted sense of the economy.  I mean most people will see things that way.  Most people will think that they have their (inaudible 0:52:45.9) they are just barely getting by.  You know?  

[Joseph] A: Right, right, right.  Yeah.  And I think that is something we wanted to draw attention to as a potential practice for artists and for social workers in general, just sort of a not just identify the surplus of their own practice but identify surplus and culture by been general.  I think you're right.  I'm not totally, I hadn't gone super deep and thinking through surplus and all that's sort of…  But there's something incredibly exciting to me about these ideas.  If only that's suddenly there was a new way to like raise funds outside of signing up for the bureaucratic trappings of a 501c3 or kind of like hocking artwork.  And that sort of like what registers.  But I think surplus in general there is kind of like a rug there that kind of crosses over.  Am I too quiet?

[Scott]: No actually our setup at BaseKamp got a little compromise this week because our audio setup was different.  Hold on; let me talk a little louder.  Um, okay great.  Yes oh, I think that maybe the voice level is normal but maybe we can try to speak just a little bit louder for...Oh great! A little bit louder for their sake.

[Joseph]: Steven, I know that you were sort of deeply thinking about these issues and maybe you have some (inaudible 0:54:29.2) if you want to copy me in making sense of what we are doing in making an (inaudible 0:54:33.0) read of this.  Sometimes it's (inaudible 0:54:37.2) but I haven't necessarily been able to find the time and information and I also haven't been digging deep.  And in fact if there are some key facts, I'd love to know about it because thinking about surplus in this way has been really exciting for the project.

[Steven]: Yeah I know, but you guys are actually doing it.  That's the thing.  It's kind of like you're raising taxes.  It's something that normally someone does on a scale where there is legitimacy on a state or some kind of institutionalized level.  But you are actually doing on a voluntary basis within sort of a self identified community.  And that's what makes absolutely fascinating.  But the process is the same.  Basically it's suggesting that there is redistribution of resources and there needs to be democratic oversight.  So, I think that it really is excessively humble to not described in those terms because it's precisely what your experimenting with and yet what you're doing is totally different than what, for example, in places Canada, in Quebec or in France where surplus is sort of redistributed to artists or whatever for whatever system.  They obviously with entirely different results.  I think it's super important also, is who it is that's organizing.  It's not passing through a state sanctified kind of structure.  I mean, these are not really questions their kind of suggestions.  And very much to mix with a lot of praise also.  The encouraged emulation of these things that you set up.  

[Scott]: I kind of agree that they should be taken seriously both in terms of praise and criticism wherever possible.  You know, not to be, not that I actually have that right at this second, but I'm just saying.  I think that we often sort of what verged on various projects.  Sometimes seemingly unfairly because they are so small it's like "why are you kind of taking this task is so much?" And I…

[Steven]: Seriously, right?  

[Scott]: Yeah, I think it's important to take something seriously as a model if it's been put forward as something that could be considered for, like you said emulation.  For doing it for other people as well as in other ways and finding ways to overlap different examples are practices or even just sort of take it to the next level whenever possible.  Whether it's only five people hosting and sort of channeling this monthly or whether it's 50,000 people doing it.  I think the model is just as important and that that needs to be thought of and considered.  I mean, had fun with too but, you know.  All of that should be…  I think it's important to think about and look at.

[Joseph]: Yeah.  I think that, you know one of the things that I didn't mention early on when I was just laying the groundwork for The Collective Foundation and how it came to be was my sort of excitement about the (inaudible 0:57:47.6) interpretation and worked a little bit with (inaudible 0:57:51.8) when I was in graduate school and learn a lot about how they work.  The network model of the interpretation.  And how a lot of the work they do; the tours, the sites, the kind of thinking about when.  It's kind of like their following this simple strategy of sort of uncovering things and talking about things and finding sort of like hidden and stories.  There actually is that kind of political implication and everything they do but they don't present it in that way. It's not even an indication of a strong political kind of aspect to what they're doing.  And I guess I can sort of identify with that, which is to say that there is certainly kind of underneath.  I don't know, maybe I'm totally off here.  But there is some sense that like the values are embedded rather than having been sort of like a stigma of chronic, you know, in itself.  It's about surplus and surplus has political implications.  I'm trying to kind of like just do the work and make it work and just stating that through that, I guess show the potential that maybe something kind of grows out of that.

[Oliver]: Can I ask something about the Present Group real quick because I feel like it might be related?

[Joseph]: Yeah, definitely.

[Oliver]  Q: Um, for people who don't know what that Present Group is, it's sort of a subscription based model for creating work.  Basically artist multiples and limited additions and then redistributing them to all subscribers.  And going along with what you're saying about the models can be reproduced.  When we first started and in 2006 there really wasn't anything like that and one of the goals was to spread this idea, basically like an artsy essay sort of.  People put all of their money in a pot and that money produces surplus or whatever and it's redistributed again.  But that idea, now there is probably eight different ones and in all different styles on that same basic model.  Like Helena as hers and there's one in Oakland called Art in a Box were they all have sort of different parameters but they are all sort of built out of this subscription model.

[Joseph]: Right, and the thing.

[Oliver]: And the thing.  There's one with paper mateese or something where it's like paper, flat paper works.  But the only thing that I would say that I wouldn't get too carried away with, I don't know, the thing I think about a lot is sort of that it's more like a conservative idea.  This idea is more conservative.  It's like the ownership society.  Carry and the government is not going to support you, you have to do it on your own.  I don't know.  That's just one of the things that I worry about sometimes.

[Scott]: You mean that it might seem sort of libertarian sometimes?

[Oliver]:  Yeah.  You're right.  That line runs into problems too.  You know, there's problems sort of.  I mean, you can try to keep it as democratic as possible if everyone is aware that sort of (inaudible 1:01:56.7) that happens with private institutions or just large institutions in general than maybe you can sort of avoid pitfalls.  But that is basically what it is.  You know, I mean…

[Joseph]: I'm not sure that, I'm sorry I want to think about this for a little bit.  I'm not sure if the present group are involved (inaudible 1:02:21.2) exactly.  I mean I think the people are buying a subscription and their potentially funding artworks that they then receive.  So they're buying kind of a distributed series of things for a year, right?  And they are paying the cost of producing the objects and to some small extent, the labor for the people who produce it.

[Oliver]: And, right.  And the grant is what they paid up artist stipend to.

[Joseph]: Right.

(Inaudible - speaking over each other 1:02:52.8)

[Joseph]: I can see where that would be where paying the artists type would be like a place where after the production costs there is money to pay the artists a stipend.

[Oliver]: I mean, really what it is that, you know, the cost of an artwork is of physically producing a piece of art as much cheaper than it actually worth.  It's almost like surplus is art itself.  I don't know.  But yeah, maybe you are right.  Maybe it doesn't fit into the...

[Joseph]: No, I mean (inaudible 1:03:27.1) production.

[Joseph] Q: Yeah, I'm not particularly sure.  Certainly with the collective host, with the hosting thing the Present Group is like in a way more apparent or something to me.  $25.00 comes out each year towards payment of the hosting, which is like after the kind of costs for hosting has been paid.  Am I right?

[Oliver]: Right.

[Steven]: How would you feel about upscale in your grants allocation system on a very large scale?  I mean is it important to you that the grants are $500 or $1000 at a time or would you like to go up to the Guggenheim scale?  Say $60,000 at a time?  I mean it's not just (inaudible 1:04:25.3) question because you don't have the means to do it but the notion is really whether you see the essence of what you're doing in these kind of a more grassroots modest structure and it kind of goes back to this idea of what kind of experimental model you were composing.  Or do actually like to replace the overwhelmingly bureaucratic top heavy kinds of grant allocation systems which exist on state or on very large institutional levels which is something that is much more democratically controlled?  But still, with 1000 bucks that's helpful but it's not the same kind of thing.  You can't live for a year on that, you know?  It can help you do a project but it can't help you.  Whereas a Guggenheim grant, if you ever get one, you can go nuts right?

[Joseph]: Right, right.  Part of the question of scalability is the transition from the sort of prototype of the collective hosting grant into what the present group that Oliver and I are doing, which is a much more (inaudible 1:05:26.3) and it's more thought out.  It can accommodate.  We sort hit the limit in terms of like the hosting, actually sort of like the service that we have.  We can't really host too many more people.  You know, Oliver has a mechanism to keep the cost low and actually to be able to afford to do it which means that you have to be a realistic and take $25.00 out of the hosting fees rather than 100% of that fee which we were a little bit optimistic.  Yeah, it is more kind of grassroots thing.  I would love to see these things get scaled way up.  I mean, I'm not sure that any of these here are that exactly.  But we did take seriously, we had some conversations with a few investors about taking on (inaudible 1:06:17.5) or other people's pixels that hosts like hundreds of artists and they make almost $0.5 million a year, so I've been told.  That's significant.  They don't give any of that money back to the artists.  So it should follow that if someone was doing that potentially the same thing that giving a significant percentage of that money, I mean hopefully (inaudible 1:06:46.4) and kind of transparent, but in a strange transparent way that art would work for that.  I'm not sure anyone is really doing it but the present groups hosting could very well be that thing.  And maybe it's just a (inaudible 1:07:05.0) making and presenting it clearly.

[Oliver]: That actually sort of answers what you were talking about earlier Joseph.  Is that maybe the surplus in the Present Group is about $2.00 per subscription.

[Joseph]: Right.

[Oliver]: Right, and by binding them together they create something.

[Joseph]: But in a way, I mean like there should be in my mind, like an expectation to pay artists.  And so that's a built-in cost, right?  And so like if we were to say "what is that $2.00 per subscription going to" you know what I mean, just in terms of like (inaudible 1:07:48.9) of a grant.

Like my cat is meowing and meowing at the door.  I'm going to have to go letter in.  I'll be right back.

[Scott]: Awesome.

(Cat meows)

[Joseph]: Okay, sorry about that.

[Scott]: No, that's great.  What's your cat's name?

[Joseph]: Uh, her name is Melba.  

[Scott]: Nice.

[Joseph]: She's happy now.  So anyway, I don't know where we left off.  But I think the conversation about surplus is super interesting and I'd like to go a little deeper.  And actually just in recent weeks been looking back at the tying in and kind of rethink about how to use that as a starting point of the project rather than ending there and working.  Sort of more recent thinking about general economic theory because I don't have much thinking of knowledge about that stuff.  And there's a lot of work being done right now about irrationality and economics and how people's behavior influences.  Because economics is always considered with sort of rational thinking and I've been kind of working on gaining theories.  Even just like in the Obama administration.  They are rethinking that sort of like hyper rational expectation of people to behave like according to these charts and graphs and trying to take an account of people with a more irrational behavior.  So how about like affects our expenditures.  I truly want to think about (laughing) some way to do this.  Just kind of (inaudible 1:09:39.1) in a way that would actually work.  I haven't gotten there but these are kind of like examples and bread crumbs that could sort of lead to something more significant.  The things that I've done more recently, The Pickpocket Almanac, which we talked about awhile ago.  Their very much like in echoes of this sort of sphere of The Collective Foundation.  I think that the model that, I'm doing a much better job of working at certain scales, much larger scales.

A lot of the things that are a part of The Collective Foundation now, or have been kind of passed on or closed down for the time being, to make an example, I saw Meg and company (inaudible 1:10:31.6) had actually been picked up by a web kind of journal called Art Practical.  And we handed Shotgun Review over to them last year and they started a new site that incorporates the search (inaudible 1:10:48.2) for Shotgun Review which is like as many people as possible to kind of more measures and edited way of critical discourse.  So, and then Collective Playlist started by simply as a kind of project site for thinking about playlists as kind of a production, kind of a creative production.  And to do something that was a bit more like (inaudible 1:11:22.8) if you know what that is.  It's kind of a (inaudible 1:11:24.2) different mp3 media close.  

(Inaudible Joseph reads question out loud to himself 1:11:35.1)

This one is like actually super complicated technically.  It's pretty amazing.  It's like tens of thousands of mp3s here and it really compiles references links to all this music online so it makes it available.  It's actually not illegal because its separate links and you can create playlists based on mp3s based on people's computers and you know like e-mail them to people and stuff. (Inaudible 1:12:17.5 - 1:12:23.1)  Anyway, you can like look here and blog it and search it and tag it and do all kinds of things.  And sort of like halfway towards something interesting.

[Scott]: Joseph, aren't the Collective Playlists curated?

[Joseph]: Uh, no.  Well, originally they were.  And there is one on the left there called the Feature Playlist if you're looking at the website,  That one on the left there Product Placement Rap, it is kind of like curated you could say.  Curated is probably an understatement for this. By this artist, David Stein (inaudible 1:13:07.5) these songs that have like product placement in the songs.  

[Scott]: Yeah, I just remembered that from the past.  I wasn't sure where it....

[Joseph]: Yeah, I really like that kind of function.  That was sort of the idea to have that part of it.  But, you know it does get up into like turning into a copyright and just became in the end, a lot more interesting...

(Rap music playing loudly)

...collective action of all this activity.  All these music blogs and all these people uploading tracks and (inaudible 1:13:47.3) log in through the back here and figure it out. And the idea is you can add tracks in places and make your playlist.  It's free to sign up and this whole thing is just kind of bizarre experimental (inaudible 1:14:06.2).

(Middle Eastern music playing loudly)

But and there have been some kind of like experimental collaborations of people using this playlist in the database.  Anyway, that's probably something that should have second life because it's potentially like super interesting and scalable in a really extreme way.  But we started with just this simple collection of artists' playlists and they, in a very interesting way, scaled it up to something that's much more like ongoing and very active in terms of its input.  It's very aggregate.  We're scraping all these music boxes (inaudible 1:14:52.1- 1:15:02.7) we figured out how to manage this like mass of information.  You guys know about that?  Hype machines?  Pretty awesome.

[Scott]: Wait, what is that? Sorry?

[Joseph]: A good place to fine music.  Hype Machine.

[Scott]: Hype Machine? I don't know.  Maybe.

[Joseph]: It's mostly, it's more like a community.  People who are into like electronic music alternately.  But you can find just about anything through their search and figure out where it is on what blog.  Um, so, anyway.

[Scott]: But Joseph, the goal of this is not, the goal of the Collective Playlist wasn't just to have a new tool to share music right?  I mean, it seemed to me that this was a place where the idea was that people would generate these playlists that had some, I mean, they are exactly like what Meg, or whoever at BaseKamp was typing out, like these mixed tapes.  They make maybe a theme or something else, but there is some intention behind each clipping of music.

[Joseph]: I mean, like, again.  It was a rough prototype that evolved into something and this is what it evolved into.  You know what I mean?  It is ultimately now, the form that it's working in, is less programmed that it was when it started.  It became more open ended than a tool to be able to program your own playlist, your own collection.  Your dramatic thinking about a group of artists through a series of tracks.  But whether or not that's something interesting (laughing) is at least arguable.  I don't use it (laughing).  Maybe it's not so great.  But it's like what's the motivation to create a playlist?  It's not very clear.  These are things that we haven't thought through.  That was part of sort of like the irony attitude of The Collective Foundation.  Just like "let's try this out and see what happens!" Maybe it's going to be amazing.

[Scott]: Weren't there some statements before on that site that aren't there now?

[Joseph]: Sorry?

[Scott] Q: Weren't there some statements about, I just remember this from awhile ago; maybe I'm focusing on it way too much just asking it.  I get like that.  But, weren't there some statements on the Collective Playlist project page before it became its own site that um, sort of described what it was about and why this was here?  It sort of seems like even a tool can have a fore grounded mission.

[Joseph] A: This is the original site.  I just sent you a link.  The music doesn't work at the moment in part because they pulled, I think the server was just like killing mp3s everywhere (inaudible 1:18:18.4) Yeah, we were kind of like asking people, like Mark Fisher, who did the Screaming in Music production, which is like a much deeper thinking about the history of a particular genre and strategy and kind of politic even.  And those riot shows of Julie Myers.  There's like a lot of, these are super interesting.  Let's see if the music works at all.  Oh yeah, it does on some.  No, that's great. I mean, these are still here.  But yeah, it's like, I don't think that there is a statement of purpose and maybe that was kind of like the fault of the project.  It never kind of arrived in a clear goal.  I think it probably would have been better just like programming.  But then again, that's sort of like... Part of the overall goal of The Collective Foundation is to sort of like give out these structures that have lower administration because of these web interfaces.

[Scott]: Welcome back Salem.

[Steven]: Steven here.  I was just reading your statements.  Um, the red manifesto statements?  Nicely written.  I was just wondering, it occurred to me in reading them if that kind of very self conscious articulated approach doesn't predetermined to a great extent that type of, I don't know, symbolic activities which you describe as art. Art is a word that's pretty unstable these days.  We tend to all use the same word but we're really not talking about the same things.  That's not a bad thing it's a good thing, probably.  But it's a bad thing when we don't recognize that and we start to think that we've the monopoly on the definition.  I was just wondering if there's something self consciously value laden about what you are doing.  Or the grants for example.  Can they go to like impressionist painters or does it have the kind of go to the type of thing that fits in with the kind of groove that you were talking about.  Do you know what I mean?

[Joseph]: Um, I think I know what you mean.  I mean, this value laden I think that these sort of like statements our kind of key for setting context for a foundation and how it behaves in trying to make sense of something that doesn't necessarily have an a ton of precedent.  For example, it's a collective foundation but it has no space.  So that's a really simple way of saying "how do you make sense of it?" Well we are making the argument and this obviously has sort of like a Marxist ring, but space is not a physical thing but rather a structure of relations.  You know, they have kind of histories and they're kind of complicated but in some sense like in thinking about them in practical ways.  I think trying to get to your kind of more complicated questions or the second part of your question about like who ends up with these grants. The Collective Foundation operates on the same network principle as the center for learning and interpretation which has grown and now has employees but is still a fairly a lightning fast network of internationally contributors.  Not everyone is interested in this kind of thinking and so we sort of tend and people who are tend to fall into the mix and knowing about the grants when they come about.  Or when we are looking for people to sign up for hosting we sort of (inaudible 1:23:08.3).  It's just a kind of default.  I mean I don't think that there's an explicit or calculated decision to sort of say that we want to end up finding people whose work we like.  It just sort of ends up happening with the circles that are available and interested and are enough affiliated with in terms like the interest and in terms of their politics and their practices.  I mean it's more of kind of like an accident, will not really an accident, just more of a default part of the process.  It's new and coming out into the world.  And maybe overtime you would see that.  I mean, I used to work at Artist Space and they have a wonderful artist file but its full of like impressionist painters and those are the kind of people, for whatever reason, are kind of like out there more so than the project artists or the people who were doing (inaudible 1:24:09.6) work and maybe that's just like different decisions have been made along the way.  I'm not sure what it is exactly.

But that's a good question.  I don't know that the values extend.  It's a problem of the artists and art spaces, the alternative art spaces in the sense that when you do have a truly democratic system I mean a lot of them were founded with that idea that politic was kind of post SDS and some of the founders who are involved in it were kind of like at that moment in the seventies do talk and point to you.  You know, artists run.  The idea of giving artists power and that was certainly a big part of what the imprint is for the Art Worker Coalition too.  Putting artists on the board at the Museum of Modern Art.  And all of those things if you really do have a democratic situation, you end up with not always the best stuff.  Does that mean you change the system?  I mean, The Collective Foundation never lived long enough to have run into the problem which could be a proof of some sort of problem at it aspect of it.  I think that's legitimate.

[Oliver]: Um, whenever we do subscribers choice ones, we narrow down the proposals to like five proposals and then the subscribers vote within that.  So it's not, at least for us, it's not fully democratic.  It's just one way.

[Joseph]: I think there's like really good practical considerations that make that a good idea.  Like you were gonna have to deal with this person.  You want to present the kind of work that is relatively interesting to you.  Let's say your constituency IE your subscribers.  I mean, you know, there are all kinds of forces at work there.  And to some extent the straight democratic coalition is it necessarily taking into account all those forces and conditions at work.  Wouldn't you agree?

[Oliver]: Yeah. Right.  It just wouldn't be practical to do.  To put out 50 proposals and have people try and go through them all too.  People just don't have the time for that.  That's another consideration.

[Joseph]: Without paying them something that like that you mean?

[Oliver]: Right.  Well I mean for the subscribers.  That's even the problem in California where we're voting on all these issues that really know when fully understands.  That's why we have representatives.  I don't know.

[Joseph]: I mean, to some extent we have a responsibility to understand when it comes to politics.  That's different than saying like you are paying money as a subscriber to in addition to a subscription projects and suddenly you have to do a bunch of work.  I mean, like reading 50 proposals is work that a jury gets paid for by a foundation.

[Oliver]: That's true, that's true.

[Scott]: I was just curious why do you actually even inject the voting site into this?

[Joseph]: for us, it was part of the original idea that this is a group funding project that they want.

[Scott]: But in a sense,  I mean, not to play devil's advocate too much because I'm not necessarily suggesting that you should do all of what you said what was completely impractical.  But say you were narrowing down these things in order to present selected choices.  Out of 50 present maybe five.  Or what if you narrowed it down to two?  Or why not just a " hey guys you're finding the kinds of projects that in general you think are good because you trust us to make these decisions" and that's part all works.  Ultimately, there's a lot of that going already so I guess I was just curious why.

[Oliver]: No, that's a good point.  Three of four issues a year we do that.  We do just that were we just pick and if you don't like the type of work that we pick a then you don't sign up.  But the reason, I mean, it was an experiment originally and we've got a lot of participation with it so that's what we kept going and its fun.  One of the other reasons that we started in the first place was in sort of gives you an appreciation of the process too.  So you get to see the row proposals, you get exposed to five different artist as opposed to one every season.  You can sort of see how the finished product ends up being different than the original proposal.  It's more collaborative.  But that was one reason.  But you're totally right.  By us choosing five we are, it's no longer a democratic.  But I still think there's value in that.

[Scott]: Yeah, yeah.  It sounded like I was kind of (laughing) suggesting that was sucky way to do it, I can see.  But that's not really how I feel personally.  It sounds like there's a really a lot of good things that come out of that process.

[Joseph]: So where are we?  Sorry.  I just had to step away for a minute.

[Scott]: Oh, I was just like "Hey! If you guys are narrowing down from 50 to five, why don't you just go ahead and pick one of them?"

[Joseph]: Pick one? Is that what you're saying?

[Scott]: Oh, I was just trying to catch up Joseph as he stepped away for a second.  I was just saying hey if your narrowing down from like 50 to five, like 50 proposals to five proposals, why are you actually present in these options in the end?  Was it just sort of to make it seem as if more people are involved in the process than they really are?

[Joseph]: Like it's a false choice sort of?

[Scott]: You know, just sort of asking the question.  Basically all over was saying, he just sort of explained some of the other…  First of all that this isn't an attempt to try to create a specific model of democracy but that there were practical reasons why this way of choosing was helpful.  Anyway, was that a good summary?  I don't know.


[Joseph]: Sounds good.

[Oliver]: Yeah.

[Scott]: So guys, we've got leaked T-5 minutes before we generally end our weekly chats.

[Joseph]: Right.  Well maybe we can open it up a little bit to any other directions or questions that are relevant two things that we've been talking about.  I was quite enjoying the kind of directions and thinking about surplus more specifically and its political indications, Steven, earlier.  But maybe there are other threads like that that we could pick up on (inaudible 1:32:32.6)

[Scott]: would you think about, you may have noticed a number of people have been proposing using the public school opened course proposals as a way to follow up on these weekly chats or different threads that have come out of them.  Would you think about having a micro class on surplus?

[Joseph]: Oh, you mean in Philadelphia?

[Scott]: May be between Philly and wherever else.

[Joseph]: Well it sounds interesting I wish I could be there for it (laughing).  I'd actually to learn a lot more about it and think a lot more about surplus.  I think that there's a lot (inaudible 1:33:19.8) to be sort of explored and considered.

[Scott]: I was actually thinking more along the lines of, yeah there we go.  Exactly.  We could do over Skype or what to do over IRC or we could do it over whatever.  And just sort of follow-up even whether it's just discursive and people just contribute things that they happened to have found in the meantime and are looking for and like.  Or you just want to tease out ideas or whether there are very specific resources that could be offered, texts or whatever, that might be helpful to some people.  That could be something that can be grouped together really easily and a course, and open Free course.  It's just a practical way.

[Steven]: the one thing that um, I mean if you go back to (inaudible 1:34:11.6) idea of the general economy that type of excess that he was so radical about is approach to economics when he talks about the general economy and excess which is being produced, he's not talking about the universal equivalent.  I mean, he's not talking about money because that's what he calls the restricted economy.  That's the way economists think the economy is.  In fact, the excess that is being generated and absolute profusion according to him is all the other forms of energy and value which are in commence with the universal equivalents.  It's true that it becomes a model when you redistribute the surplus money but in fact, to follow on Scott's question I think he said that to redistribute resources but in fact it is even hard to put your finger on what those resources could be because...  For example, if you take a project like ARG, which is in a certain sense is facing difficulty I understand, what they're doing is using this proliferating capacity of digitizing things to really break the whole notion of a restricted economy.  It's a very Batai sort of conducive kind of endeavor because it's not taking anything away from anybody but it is identifying the surplus and making absolutely available all over the place.  So would be interesting to consider the generation and distribution of excess in terms other than of money.  Money is an interesting way of dealing with the universal equivalency, and that's how we do it, but there's so much other energy that can be and value that can be thrown into the mix.

[Joseph]: yet and I think that's a lot more interesting to me ultimately, the models like a ARG that you can give away, so to speak, a PDF without losing what you have so that kind of a feature of a copy is also true of mp3s.  And so the way that the Collective Playlist sort of operates in general strategy.  Which is to say like aggregating…

[Steven]: I just signed out.  I did know about it before, but now I'm a member.


[Joseph]: Cool.  I hope you can find some music.  I mean there's certainly lots of music there.  But you know it's like having other kinds of resources.  Its super great, I think.  Art is something that happens in other domains, right?  It happens in academic domains to write disciplines (inaudible 1:37:22.8) and distribution like informally around.  It's like just for some reason it's more recently happening, to me anyway, through ARG.   And I'm starting to scan text that I think are interesting to me (inaudible 1:37:42.7) making them searchable that spend kind of like the new addition of my kind of process and practice as a curator and researcher.  So we should all run to support ARG in my opinion, but it is the public good's dilemma.  Like the social economists talk about like where everyone loves the benefit but how many people contribute (inaudible 1:38:14.0) the number of people who were just like taking advantage, and not necessarily wrongly because they are welcome too.  But the very success of art might be its downfall because of bandwidth issues and stuff like that that are running (inaudible 1:38:31.0).

(Phone rings)

[Scott]: Yes.  It definitely seems like there's some mutual interest for us to cross the board here and having a follow-up course but some resources posted on ARG.

[Joseph]: I think it would be great to have liked a (inaudible 1:39:11.6) were like a reading list like with the issues.  Sort of like a....

[Scott]: Yeah. Exactly.

[Joseph]: I think it's pretty cool.

[Scott]: Well, the great thing about the public school courses is that they are integrated on the back end so you can pick text to add to a course.  And like you said, you can group them on the art side too under an issue or something.  So on both fronts it can be super helpful.  And since you want to follow up on this anyway, and we're interested.  Let's do it.

[Joseph]: Okay.

[Steven]: I have one last question. Slightly different but a little bit linked to this one. It came from (inaudible 1:39:58.6).  We identify The Collective Foundation as a Plausible Artworld.  It's easy for us to see why we did that and it's easy to see that it's justified on the basis, from our perspective and my perspective, in the light of this conversation, because we talk about an artworld, we're talking about an art sustain ecosystem.  A system where art can thrive and prosper and not only survive.  And in a sense, on a certain scale, this is what you're doing.  But how do you feel about being described as something that came into a Plausible Artworld?  Maybe that's not what you're up to at all.  Maybe you just didn't know.

[Joseph]: Um....

[Steven]: Maybe (inaudible 1:40:54.9) falls into something else and you don't want to be one.  I don't know.


[Joseph]: I'm interested in culture and arts (inaudible 1:41:06.6) sort of like ability to direct and participate in culture in general.  An artworld is a kind of like encapsulation and to an extent, you might even say isolation.  I think it was like Dante that proclaimed the term "artworld" in like the sixties or something.  And I think he was thinking about a very specific artworld, not definitive (inaudible 1:41:31.8).  The interest in the Plausible Artworld is that there can be many and they are layered as a constellation of them I think.  The idea that is kind of working for me and is interesting to me right now is the idea of algorithms or programs and like responding to the conditional complexity of various situations and trying to build a program that has the built in freedom, the built in flexibility but that also makes something kind of productive happen.  In that sense, those algorithms can (inaudible 1:42:11.1) and things like that so it's just one of those kinds of things.  For me it's a model for a new kind of institution which services artworlds.  I've always sort of like struggled when I've talked about, for I don't know, for over a year now and it's like I've never quite like clicked with this idea of Plausible Artworlds even in just understanding what it's goal is.

[Steven]: Yeah.  But, so you see Collective Foundation more as a kind of proto institution.  Is that right?

[Joseph]: Yeah.  A proto institution but that has a sort of shift and it does kind of like embed values and kind of directing.  It's more reformed that it is (inaudible 1:43:07.9).

[Steven]: Okay.  That's a very clear answer. Okay. Great.

[Joseph]: I'd say that it's a reform of the alternative which is a strange thing to.  But as the alternative becomes institutionalized, not homogenized, but standardized by the foundations which are supporting them, there's a need to kind of break away again and to kind to get back to something that's more alternative.  You can even say it's something like a lefty conservative (laughing).

[Scott]: Well yeah, definitely.  That's a common criticism against people that take a reformist stance like probably maybe 1/6 of all the different people we're talking to are people who are working with organizations directly.  You know, and who often take that kind of stance.  That's a legitimate position.  You kind of take it slightly differently because you often throw these proposals out there and let them spin themselves into something and then our willing to work with an institution at whatever point comes along, not necessarily doing one or the other.  You guys tend to see one leading into the other.  If you understand what I mean.

[Joseph]: Yeah, I think like (inaudible1:44:32.2)lets say like a bureaucratic (inaudible 1:44:40.9) make other things possible and have a value and kind of spread out like cancer (laughing).  Or a contagion I should say is better.  It does value.  And I think that's true in different kinds of groups and including BaseKamp.  Working from a curatorial perspective but also from a perspective that you are able to kind of create agency from within an institution that doesn't necessarily give that kind of flexibility in the agency out so freely to even artists.  And that's the great thing about working as an independent curator is you can actually fight for things and not feel like you're going to lose your job.  That's a Plausible Artworld in my mind.

[Scott]: Well, I'd like to recommend that we go ahead and wrap it up for the night to give a break to everybody who is either... For me, it's only 5:00 here but for Steven it's like 1:00am and for other people.  It's really been great having you man.  And having you too Oliver.  I'm glad that you were able to come.

[Oliver]: Thanks for the invitation.

[Joseph]: I'm just noticing that Steven put this quote from Dante (inaudible 1:46:05.7) and a bunch of the history of art and artworld.  Great to do that.  Thanks for that.  Yeah, and I guess maybe we can talk offline about the afternoon since you don't know where to go, we should hang out.

[Scott]: Yeah, definitely.  Now that I'm feeling a little less (expletive 1:46:29.4) up, I'm going to give you a call and try to get together.

[Joseph]: Maybe we should talk to Adam and see if he's got time.

[Scott]: That sounds perfect.  Yeah, see ya Salem. And with everyone else here, we'll...It sounds like someone will propose a course, a public school course, and we can tie in the text that Adam posted.  You know, we can start the discussion.  Like, with everybody who is interested and take it from there, let that have its own life and then we can get on our stuff.

[Joseph]: Sounds good.

[Scott]: Alright guys, have a good evening.

[Steven]: Thanks a lot Joe.  Thanks. It was super interesting.

[Joseph]: Thanks Steven.  Thanks for your comments and everything.

[Steven]: I must say that I'm very sympathetic to your social democratic radical reform approach to institutions.  It's maybe not one I always endorse publically, but it's one that bears a lot of reflection.  So I hope we'll have the occasion to think more about it and talk about it sometime.

[Joseph]: Thanks, I'd like that.

[Steven]: Okay.

[Scott]: Okay, bye BaseKamp.  Bye everybody.

Page |

Week 11: Groups & Spaces

Hi Again,

This Tuesday is the next event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

We’ll be talking with Chris Kennedy, Brett Bloom and Scott Rigby, about the history and future of Groups & Spaces.

Edit - the URL is now live:

Groups & Spaces is an online platform, initiated by Temporary Services with the help of many contributors, which gathers information on people making art in groups and collaborative situations, and groups that independently run artist spaces and centres. In the site relaunch we will discuss the potentials for the Groups & Spaces project to provide historical reference points, opportunities for networking and the chance to visualize collaborative cultural production and its impacts on situated and global communities.

The discussion will touch on a preliminary research project initiated by Chris Kennedy called Artiscycle which explored the inner workings of various independent art spaces around the country. Brett Bloom of Temporary Services and Scott Rigby of Basekamp will talk about the early manifestations of the Groups & Spaces site, its intention and current content.

The deliberately unrestricted scope of “groups” and “spaces” — avoiding any mention as to whom the groups are comprised of or what the spaces may plausibly contain — raises a crucial question: Is the Groups & Spaces platform a catalyst for plausible artworlds? Or is a federating initiative such as this a plausible artworld in and of itself?

The following day, Wednesday March 17th at 7-9pm, Basekamp will also host a community dinner for members of groups and spaces in Philadelphia and anyone who would like to connect with this community! During the dinner, Janette Kim of Columbia University’s Urban Landscape Lab will share renderings of a physical archiving unit and library that will accompany the Groups & Spaces site to provide a physical interface for the information gathered through the site. Bring some beer, something green and let’s talk about groups and spaces!

Week 10: Community Museum Project

Hi Again,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

We’ll be talking with the instigators of the Hong Kong-based Community Museum Project (CMP).

The CMP was founded in 2002 by Howard Chan (cultural programs curator), Siu King-chung (design educator), Tse Pak-chai and Phoebe Wong (cultural researchers) — basically a group of disaffected curators who believed that another museum is possible and, pointing at the streets, shops and housing of Kowloon, that it was this one. The Community Museum Project thus focuses not on establishing conventional “museum” hardware and elitist collections, but carrying out flexible exhibition and public programs, within specific community settings and driven by timely issues. Through this process the Community Museum Project aims to nurture platforms that articulate personal experiences and under-represented histories. For though Hong Kong is highly multicultural, it is not transcultural: CMP seeks to foreground overlooked forms of everyday, non-professional creativity and to reevaluate the cognitive contributions of the city’s marginalized populations, by creating platforms that can also be occasions which facilitate cross-disciplinary collaborations and neighborhood participation. To CMP, the word “Community” has three connotations: subject matter, settings and creative public interface. It is the site of their reframed museum — a plausible artworld.

CMP website:



Week 10: Community Museum Project
[Siu King Chung] I’m ready.
[Scott]: Ok. Excellent. Let’s just make sure that we have everyone on chat. I’m not 100% sure that everyone knew that we were going to call right this moment so they might not have been like ready to pick up. So if you could just hold up one second for me, I’ll start chat.
[Siu King Chung]: Your audio, your sound seems to be a little bit staticky.
[Scott]: A little staticky?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah. (inaudible 0:00:42.0)
[Scott]: Um, how about now, is it better?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah it is better now.
[Scott]: Ok. We actually have a microphone we can pass around if we need to do that. So, um, so. Super.
[Siu King Chung]: Ok.
[Scott]: Uh give me just a moment. We’re just trying to get everyone else on the phone.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, uh, whenever you, you say start.
[Siu King Chung]: We can just start.
[Scott]: Ok, perfect. I’d at the very least like to uh, I, I, I know Renee would like to be in, I know Steve and Ray would like to be in, um… We’ll give this a shot. I think it’s Stephen now. Interesting, it doesn’t seem to want to let me add. Oh yeah you know what, um King why don’t I, why don’t I try calling you right back. I don’t seem to be able to add people to the conference. Maybe because you started it. So why don’t we uh give you a call back?
[Siu King Chung]: (inaudible 0:02:01.0)
[Scott]: Yeah, we’ll end it and we’ll call right back.
[Siu King Chung]: All right. All right.
[Scott]: Ok, bye bye.
[Scott]: (inaudible 0:02:08.01). Ok, lovely, all right, yep that’s always good to impress uhh, (inaudible 0:2:53.8). But actually if you would be into..
[Scott]: (Inaudible 0:03:07.2) Let me know if you’re not able to hear for any reason.
[Unknown female group member]: Ok
[Scott]: Hey there. Hello. Hello. Yeah I’m here. (laughing) Great. Ok, I think we. I think we have almost everyone on the phone. Let me just check if people that said they’d definitely log in are in, uh, Aaron is not. Let me just try to add him.
[Unknown Male Group Member]: Yes it’s working. We’re gonna just add a few more people.
[Scott]: Just like it is. Ok great. Uh, ok. Super. So, hi everybody. Welcome King. Thanks for joining us. Um. Thanks for joining us so early. There, you’re time. Oh great just want to add one more person. (Inaudible 0:04:20.6). Yeah so, you know we’re happy to welcome uh, King. Umm, from Community Museum Project. And you know that King we talked to you earlier and you’re basically ready at any moment to jump right into your presentation, um. I’m not actually sure if I’m pronouncing you’re your name correctly, I’ve just been informally referring to you as King but your name is Su King Chung? That’s more of a question. Can you still hear me?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, just a just a little bit (inaudible 0:05:01.6)
[Scott]: The audio isn’t that great?  
[Siu King Chung]: No.
[Scott]: I can hear you actually really well. How is the audio on your side?
[Siu King Chung]: Ugh, it it’s very, uh, far away. So it (inaudible 0:05:16.2)
[Scott]: Ok.
[Siu King Chung]: (inaudible 0:05:18.6)
[Scott]: I see.
[Unknown Male Group Member]: Ok, (inaudible 0:05:23.0)
[Scott]: How about now?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah this is better.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Yeah it’s better.
[Scott]: Ok, we can actually we can adjust. Get us a pencil (inaudible 0:05:36.0) so we can adjust more. So uh, so great, uh, King, am I pronouncing your name correctly? Su King Chung?
[Siu King Chung]: Yes that’s correct.
[Scott]: Awesome. Ok great. So for everybody here who doesn’t know Su King Chung is from Community Museum Project in Hong Kong. Um I won’t assume that you all read our little announcement that went out, but um, basically instead of giving you a long introduction about Community Museum Project. We really. We’ve spoken to King earlier and he’s ready to go ahead and just jump right into a presentation. So uh, so yeah so thanks a lot and uh I’m looking forward to hearing about CMP.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, uh, so we set up this entity Community Museum Project in 2002. Uh it’s basically a, a name that we accidentally come up with. In order to apply for funding. Uh, from the Astibellum Council. Because, the Astibellum Council has to provide us, to, would like us to have a kind of entity uh so that we could apply. So uh. The the project uh, that we were trying to get funding from was uh called Optical Demonstration. Um, so we were very interested in the focus culture in Hong Kong at that time. And, and this idea we have been pondering around for around ten years. Uh, before in 1994, uh, uh. While we were all doing research with the design school. We meaning, uh, Howard Chan, Wong, uh, and some other colleagues that is now not CMP members anymore. But uh, interestingly um, we were very interested in this kind of indigenous creativity as opposed to this elitist art world creativity that we have been always seeing in the museums, um so so we promise to try to mix and match a couple of words like community like uh museums together and uh and then we started to think of maybe we should call ourselves project because we really don’t have a museum, we really don’t have the art work, right, so we are not going to collect the thing and and, and uh and store it somewhere. We have no space. As you can see Hong Kong is uh a very small space and there is no space for us whatever to get our collection stored uh in any form so, so we, we decided to call ourself projects because projects would be more classical and uh and whatever things come up we could call it projects and we do the projects and then we vote someone could stick around with uh some antiquity or through long time. So at the time, then we started to, to uh, get to know people from the activist circle uh, trying to borrow the protest objects from them. Um, and then we met Pok Chi, um at that time from the Social Work Department from where I teach at the college at the university. So he was one of the activists uh, which bring us to all these activist groups and then we start our research in talking to all these protesters frequent protesters who has put a lot of effort in making the protest objects uh, in every demonstration, and the intent is interesting that the they are very conscious in making these objects so that it captures the media attention in the news, uh uh . One secret example is that this uh person always make coffin, coffin from either the Chinese tradition and western tradition. He’s at, he makes coffin in the kind of Chinese form that (inaudible 0:10:51.6) and, and the demonstration with. He makes the coffin with the Western form so he has a kind of hiarchy of a of a choice to make this coffin and bring it to the demonstration and in front of the camera he will throw the coffin onto the ground and broke it so, so that it has this kind of high climax at this uh demonstration so yes this, this is very interesting and eye opening for us and we met a lot of different communities who are very conscious in, in doing these uh demonstration objects and some ladies form into groups and make poetry and uh and out of uh, uh out of the blue so, so and, and this poetry is very rhythmic and uh attention grabbing uh it highlights some of the, the issues that they want to protest uh again and (inaudible 0:12:21.7) so, so we at last found that this is very interesting because we don’t see this kind of like dynamics in the art art world. Uh, many studio artists think in our circles seem to be hiding uh in the studio and work and when they show they are and when they do their exhibition or these um people dress in dress in suit will come and have wine and all this kind of culture. Which is not happening in the community groups that we are encountering at all and they have really practical uh reasons to get together and to be creative so but, but the, the thing that uh, we, we have this I, I, I would say a kind of at least at last found this alternative uh perspective towards great dignity and uh and then we have this uh, exhibition and immediately it draws a lot of media attention and it further confirms to us that ok this is the thing that we want to do uh is that is that to highlight it highlight some of the, the things in our culture or in our city which has not been not paying much attention too, so, so I think this is the genesis of CMP. Uh, am I making any sense to you guys?
[Scott]: Absoultely, yea um, it’s definitely really great to hear you speak about it. I, I was able to glean that from your website after spending a long time with it, um, but uh, I think it was difficult at first, would you say that the city. Oh actually you know what there’s, there’s a question from Stephen. Here that just came up. Um, I’ll hold mine until afterwards. Do you want to go ahead and ask that Stephen?
[Stephen]: Q: Um, k mate, (inaudible 0:14:46.5) it’s pretty simple. More simple than sugar, even though I just typed in. You say you’re interested in indigin in indigenous creativity as opposed to the art worlds uh elitist variety. But indigenous to what, indigenous to, to uh a certain community, indigenous to a neighborhood? indigenous. It’s kind of a slippery word, I wonder if you could clarify that a bit?
[Siu King Chung]: A: Yeah, I thought this indigenous to our uh, city. City. (inaudible 0:15:21.3) at first, because now I think you can I just want I think you just want to get an, an alternative uh, uh, uh reference to what this art world can typically reference. So, so I think indigenous in the sense of the city at first when we tend to view our other projects we get to be more specific into the context of the each project so, so it may be indigenous to the project or to the community partner where we’ve engaged with during executing our project. Am I answering your question?
[Scott]: Yeah, definitely. Um, no, that’s, that’s definitely, I think it would even be more clear King if you actually would go through a couple of the projects which you actually have done. I’m familiar with a couple of them but it would be interesting to hear you describe uh, one or two or three um, over the eight year history of the project.
 (Many people talking in background)
[Siu King Chung]: Ok, ok, so, so indigenous to, to the afterward. So when people still ask what is for the community right? So, so I think um to us I think community has to come first is a kind of like small uh, group uh, they all have similar intentions towards certain things uh towards some, some city issues, that they want us to bring out. And one of the interested thing was that the (inaudible 0:17:25.4) of these this, this culture which is not very explicit uh, from the uh, media uh, perhaps at first. For instance the, the demonstration operates at the (inaudible 0:17:48.5) demonstration exhibition. And when the media portrays them, it always, um, do it, it always, they always do it in ways that they, they are protest right, so they never talk about these people as some kind of creativity. They just say that they are people who have special (inaudible 0:18:13.9) or special political ideas cus they don’t talk about it (inaudible 0:18:22.5) so, so later because we, we get to know the, the activist group and then we get to be more sensitive to this local community, community, some special or, or specific community, for instance the (inaudible 0:18:44.4) street project. Uh, where we, where we take pictures of the whole façade of the street uh, which is uh a, a kind of intensive uh, stock ticking process. Because this uh, (inaudible 0:19:06.8) was uh, was going to be dismantled uh, by the government or the Urban Renewal, Renewal Authorities. So these uh, residents come up and, and start, to, to lobby or, or protest against the government of a different kind of, of a model of renewal, so they, they don’t want to, to let the government just dismantle the, the, the area but uh, there has to lot of political complaint there. But all these complaint, have a case of the news, was just uh, talking about control by the selfish residents who want to keep old places and uh, and (inaudible 0:20:12.3) and must pass for good conversation or something like that, so, so the media or the government try to influence the public to see this event as a, a kind of negative. Uh, uh or to the benefit of those residents. But um, but what we are thinking of or what the, the, the community of (inaudible 0:20:43.0) street residents were thinking of is to (0:20:46.6) of a different model of urban renewal. They want, they don’t want to be moved out and, and left (inaudible 0:21:00.2) this uh, assembled so they want to get this whole street, cus this street is a commercial area um, which is famous for, for wedding street uh, wedding part and (inaudible 0:21.23.4) so this is for also for the wedding part street. So it has a name, it has a system, um. But once it was dismantled then the whole community was in (inaudible 0:21:35.8) right, so, so um so they, they asked people plan different models for, for Urban Renewal and (inaudible (0:21:50.0) talking about all kinds of public forums and debates. Uh, uh I only saw the one. But, and, and some were (inaudible 0:22:02.7) but the issues never come across as a kind of uh, uh as (inaudible 0:22:12.6) we didn’t know what and the same time we were preserving the (0:22:20.4) of the street. So that we accomplished the uh, the higher the (inaudible 0:22.29.0). And each shop and each floor, uh, each apartment of the street and then compose the whole thing together uh, with photo shops and some uh, uh (inaudible 0:22:57.9) and, and that’s the whole street here, that’s the whole façade. The whole (inaudible 0:23:09.4). So that suprisingly at the time we, we did the English (inaudible 0:23:15.9) and people started to talk about the piece and, and the interest that they see from this, this façade picture uh, because it really captures a lot of details of the, the shops and the apartments and it becomes a kind of talking point for, for people on the streets and most of the residents themselves. To start sending me their, their, their stories uh, in front of the apartment. So, so the image on the street to our realization becomes a kind of talking point. A kind of soliceter of some, some uh, discussion and issues, so, so and also community starts to be more clear. Clearly, uh, uh more apparent I would say uh, by, by coming together and, and talking friends of the picture. Right so, so in that sense the community is quite uh, physical uh, at first I mean what we think the community was a group of people living around streets and around this uh, uh around the area who are interested in proposing the remodel of uh Urban Renewal, but once these image appears uh, then they, they start together, together in front of the image and start talk about them. So then that said by needs of this uh, physical work of the facade image we are able, at least we thought so uh, that we draw the community together and lift it a (inaudible 0:25:35.5) in a sense. Uh, so that this is not only uh, our CMP point of view. Of course it becomes some social activist or social worker who have been involved in this project. We already have a lot of different kind of forum activity to which try to draw people together, uh, but without that kind of initial interest that we are able to achieve uh, in attracting uh, uh the, the general populace to really, really look at the issues. Am I uh, making myself clear enough?
[Scott]: From our point of view
[Siu King Chung]: Scott?
[Scott]: From our point of view over here, definitely.
[Siu King Chung]: So, so this is a, another uh, portent that we talk about (inaudible 0:26:38.1) but somehow uh, there’s another context that the, that the community was not as concrete as, as we wanted it to be at the very beginning. It was only after the projects that we have done then there seems to be bonding of community. For instance. We did the project on a bunch of five people on Christmas. These five people originally don’t know, don’t know each other, or, or they, or at least don’t know each other personally um, so they was just practicing their own trade uh, and then they all were very pessimistic about the future because these uh, hanging ponds uh, in the industry in Hong Kong has been uh, disappearing. Are going to be extinct right, so, so we were very interested in research in the pond area but it wasn’t process and ordinance and also they found mongoloids and, and (inaudible 0:27:57.3) our audience or whatever. So, so we tried to um, propose for an exhibition which features all these fat people from this uh, from this uh, district called (inaudible 0:28:16.6) Po in Hong Kong. So, so we get to know them we take a lot of process photographs from their working places and then uh, I put that together and also an exhibition. So in that sense, in that sense after we take all these, then because we, we, we keep it when we do the exhibition and also invite all these uh, young people to come to do a demonstration and they know and they can know each other and then they can talk to each other uh, and whatnot. So in that sense after we do this project then the community must pass people seems to strong (inaudible 0:29:10.0)
[Unknown Group Member]: (Talking over voice of Su King Chung.) It’s real interesting, isn’t this?
[Siu King Chung]: Uh, uh, under the structure of our project uh, yeah of course I’d be very interested in, in also the condition as the (inaudible 0:29:32.9) of these fat people because they are all making interesting stuff like wooden pot. Uh, I (inaudible 0:29:42.5) A couple are (inaudible 0:29:48.2) in their sentences. Uh, but they have been doing this trade like, making wooden pot out of recycled material uh, fifty years or so. At least fifty years ago (inaudible 0:30:04.4)
[Unknown Group Member]: (Talking over voice of Su King Chung.) Is this stuff on the web site do you know?
[Siu King Chung]: And there is a panel for me to operate (inaudible 0:30:09.6) that is uh, they try to uh, collect, uh, use the tire and then and also use a ribbon length uh, from this (inaudible 0:30:31.2) and from the garage and then they have this economic relationship, so when they pay them uh, bring them this root uh, or the (inaudible 0:30:43.6) tire they will pay them back, small amounts, right. So, so they keep constantly taking orders and material then they will fashion, repurpose this material into a ribbon pot. Uh, so they use this uh, tire, use the fire and they cut it and then they use the roller to make the (inaudible 0:31:13.2) off the pot and also the wheel of the pot and, and they in time they develop a kind of modular system for bunching as well. Uh, uh they make this rolling wheel uh, wrapped with this piece of rubber and then they have it done in piles of different sizes and then they use this uh, to start the drip to make this, this uh, Teflon, this pot uh, in different sizes as well. And to and then to pile them up as well so then when customers come in they will walk and make an order will assemble them according to the customers requirements. In terms of the size and the features of the pot in two hours. So, so we found that this kind of working process very fascinating. Uh, not only that this (inaudible 0:32:29.7) family, There is a kind of (inaudible 0:32:29.0) but since fifty years ago, long before the (inaudible 0:32:37.1) was talking about it. And then they developed this kind of modular assembles, assembling system for, for the pot assembly. Um, um, so, so, so, we are really looking into, looking for from our city and not only, not only this pot maker there are, there are other (inaudible 0:33:08.2) a, a shop which make, make stuff animals but not of this Mickey Mouse or a (inaudible 0:33:21.1) type. Very strange and uh, uh like monster looking stuff animals. Which is very unusual to commercial market. Uh, but they are making them for a lot of persons. So, so I think this kind of things um, which strength the community and the quality of the community together. Uh, this tie to business activity, this tie to economic relationship and also uh, this tie to practical ideal that they pursue. And we thought this a lot to a lot for us to learn about as a kind of (inaudible 0:34:23l4). Well maybe I, I should ask weather you have questions.
[Scott]: Uh, yeah, definitely. (laughing) I wouldn’t want to overtake the conversation with questions but I had a, I had a few.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah?
[Scott]: Um, well there’s one. Ed, Ed actually just asked a question. But there’s one that I asked uh, just a moment ago that I think you may have, you may addressed, um. Sorry just helping someone with tech support. That you may have already addressed in a way but, I wasn’t completely sure. Um, I don’t know if you were able to read this but, um you had sent us earlier notes on the street as museum as method.
[Siu King Chung]: Yes.
[Scott] Q: Um, and I’m not necessaryily gonna read this question but um, well maybe I just should. I like the way you think of museum as a way of doing something not as an architectural structure. But you do seem to think of museum in the context of uh, of place. And from what Stephen’s told me you or at least this is what I interrupted him as saying awhile ago. That you see the on one hand you might even see the entire city of Hong Kong as a kind of museum or as a kind of art world. Um. Which I think is you know it’s a pretty grand scale, to think of of a creating another kind of art world and I was just wondering if you see that as, um, if you see that at all of if that’s mainly us kind of applying our, our a perspective on what you’re doing? Um.
[Siu King Chung] A: Yeah. I think this idea seeing the whole city as a museum comes from my original friendliness as painter. In fact, all right? So I have to tell you a bit about this story. Uh, because um, when, when I do a painting when I was studying um, there is always a hard time of thinking of what to do with this uh white frame right, what to put in it. Um, so if I stop to imitate a (inaudible 0:36:36.9) style of painting and try to find what you could put on this white surface, white frame. So, uh, I think in that sense, a painting is a (inaudible 0:36:55.0) in a way and it makes you think of nothing uh, uh you think of contents of nothing. And, but I’m not satisfied with this kind of, like uh, pondering (inaudible 0:37:11.1) uh, pursuit. Uh, because all I need was some kind of content. Which has meaning to it. So I started to try sculpture then. And uh, but not as satisfactory as I expected because in making a sculpture I seem to, I seem to create something out of , out of nothing. But also is the meaning of the work or the contents. It still, it still needs to be justified, right? So, what, what needs to be done with this sculpture with knowledge to make it meaningful? And, and this also inspire me of, of the model of uh, uh from the point of view from the audience because, because as you, as you see we look at a painting we look at it uh, in front of the painting. But if you look at a sculpture, you walk around a sculpture and uh and experience the aura and visual impact of this sculpt this uh, uh this sculpture. So maybe the, the uh audience as factor are very important so I, I, , started to think about installation in that way, so maybe uh with a person could get into the right frame or get into a kind of interior then experience the frame in three dimension that becomes the final installation right, and, and maybe we are not only taught in thinking up some meaning and putting it on the surface. We as audience or creator could in fact be part of the installation, inside uh an interior frame. Ok that is the into the interest of the museum. Because the museums need as audience try to experience what is inside the museum and the meaning of the exhibition inside the museum was determined by the, the curator. Uh, in terms of new categories of uh, new ways of sorting out the art work inside the interior right? So, so this has some kind if implication of what is the role of the curator as well as an audiance so, so in a sense a curator is trying to do to, to uh craft the paints from, from whatever he wants to craft and arrange them inside the room which is another (inaudible 0:40:48.1) the white frame of the painting. (inaudible 0:40:50.7) Four dimensions right, so so this notion of curator interests me technichly. And then if you extend this model, of thinking into a street as well as a city, so what we are doing is in fact arranging stuff uh in a meaningful way for the audience. Inside this city frame or the street frame. Uh, it doesn’t matter what uh, our design it is a matter it is only a matter of our arranging it, and feeling it in order to uh, bring out certain kind of meaning which is uh, what happens, it happens to be meaningful to somebody. So in that sense we try to, we establish a (inaudible 0:41:56.9) a concept of theme staging so, so we in fact stage a theme of certain pictures and then and treat the city as a museum entity. Kind of a museum interior. Uh, so that the people, the audience are the participants, actually get involved. And, and, and uh, uh, work with things themself and ultimately they are of course get a lot of different models. Uh, how should rend our city, or how we should theme our city. There are a whole lot of possibilities that we really want to explore in our project. So, does that make sense?
[Scott]:Q: Yes, yes absolutely. I, I think what you’re saying is very, very clear. Um, Ed had a question that uh, we said we would get to. Next. Um, actually right after Lukes question. Luke’s is more pragmatic. Is, is the notes on street as museum as (inaudible 0:43:11.4) posted online somewhere, by the way?
[Siu King Chung] A: Uh.
[Scott]:Q: Or is that more of a private thing? I, I wasn’t sure actually after asking that.
[Siu King Chung] A: No, it’s, it’s from a journal. Uh, I, I could send it to you if uh, if you want me to do that.
[Scott]: Ok, we do have a copy so if, if uh, if you think it would be helpful, we could uh, we could add it online and let people who are interested know.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, you could do it. I think there, there might be some kind of copyright issues. Uh, the CD put onto this uh, CD publisher.
[Scott]: Ok.
[Siu King Chung]: And, and they will sell it I think.
[Scott]: Ok
[Siu King Chung]: I think I’ll (inaudible 0:43:55.3) my rights to you to use it.  
[Scott]: Ok, you won’t feel, you won’t feel uh, betrayed?
[Siu King Chung]: No, no, no.
[Scott]: Ok, excellent. We’ll, we’ll uh, we’ll take it as it comes then. Ok. Great. Um, and then Ed had a question um. So, anyway Luke. We’ll, we’ll uh, we’ll let you know. Um. And uh, Ed had a question. Uh, he, do you want to go ahead and ask um, verbally Ed or would you rather us just read it out loud, or?
[Unknown Male Group Member]: Uh, is it (inaudible 0:44:32.2) Sorry.
[Scott]: That’s ok. Hey Ed.
[Ed] Q: My question was about how
[Scott]: Come on in.
[Ed] Q: How Community Museum Project interfaces with communities. How does the um, how does trust build between these, the project team and, and the community that is being interpreted, being represented, being gauged or whichever sort of term um, fits best for that project? And sort of what are, I got, what are some of, some of the obstacles that came up with um, working with specific communities? What are some of the hurdles, I guess that, that you need to get through to, to get uh, sort of a healthy working relationship going with the community?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, I think this is a crucial question. Uh, because every time when we approach these craft people and go to the residence they don’t seem to trust us at first. Uh, and because we, we need to for instance on the (inaudible 0:45:32.3) Street Project we need to go to the shop and then, and then sometimes and then uh, stand in front of the shop and take their picture. Uh, so they are very suspicious at first. Uh, so, if, if we, we, if we insist. And we, if we have a, a photographer uh who uh, social (inaudible o:45:59.2) um, we need to talk to those people. Uh, and ask them thing, ask if we are customers first and then when times uh, or, or, or our conversation builds up they will show them some of our pictures of other shops. So that to create a kind of like I don’t know a kind of jealousy in a sense because uh, if we show them picture of another shop, taken in a really impressive uh, uh, look or manner then they will want to do it also themselves and slowly with this ninety different shops on (inaudible 0:46:55.5) we are able to talk to all these owners and they are all willing to be uh, research point and also be taken uh, uh pictures of. So, so I think this is time and social skill and also with great examples of work at hand so that you could show them. So this is one of our tactics. The other for instance for the craft people project. At first when we approached them we. They send them, they sent us away. They, they are not really welcoming us. So, so but we insist. We, we wanted to talk to them and ask them a lot of question about how these, these uh, carved or items or stuff animals or leather is made right. So we, we keep asking them question but we at first we, we don’t treat ourself as curator. I mean at least we not uh, uh identify ourself as curator or, or, or, or uh researcher. At first we just identify ourself as uh, ordinary customers which, who are, who are very interested in the, the logistics or the jist of, of their, their work and started to talk to them. And once do the, we have this request taking picture. They are all very suspicious and when we talk about having to do an exhibition with them there’s even more uh, uh suspicious. So, so we, as usual we would show them work of other projects at that, at that point so that they, they would be more interested in the other project and or some kind news clipping. News clipping from other projects so, so they are uh, tempted somehow to do it. One very crucial methodology for us it that uh, ok, for instance if we, uh, we want to take pictures or their working process which is uh, uh very tedious to them uh, but we willing to pay a higher price to commission their work for instance. Uh, uh, uh a metal box right and then and request them or, or ask them if they, if we could view the boxes stack by stack uh, in the, uh, (inaudible 0:49.49.1) right. So that we could take picture of each stacks. Uh, so, so this is, I mean at first we, we, we need to use uh, different uh, uh tactics to, to get them in and get them involved so we pay them two or triple the price of an ordinary uh, items. But request them to be uh, making it slowly and then so that if they allow and, and, and, and ask them if we are allowed to take pictures of it. So, ok once this part is done we have the material and then we start to do the exhibition uh, thing and always get them involved. And always involve, inform them of our progress will, will help and then this kind of relationship lives on. And, and in the later stage, they are all who come in part with our, our uh, uh curator scheme in fact. We ask them where this kind of arrangement or display is telling what they are really doing so, so we always go back and consult them. So I think in this way it enables us to build up their trust and not cause after the exhibitions was launched uh, or the book was launched a lot of other ordinance of customers um, started to, to approach them and commission them to do things. So in a sense they, they, they get a lot of uh, new commissions after the exhibitions and, and the publication so, so if people will, will follow the address inside the publications and go to that shop and show them. Uh, show the crafter people. Uh, think oh I want to order this particular item something like this. So, so in a way uh, they, they started to own the project themselves and then they have also this kind of recognition from people from all other places how to make that. So now they are very happy with all these new commissions and media explosion. A lot of reporters uh, approaching them as well. So, so in that sense the trust was confirmed. I mean after all these uh, all these tactics I should say and now uh, they feel part of it. Uh, I have on and off some art commissions that I will also go back to these craft people and ask them to make it for, for us. And then we will also now introduce designers to them so the designers and these craft people can work together to develop new products so, so I think in a way uh, originally that was not a community persay. But now we are forming a community on the streets uh, where these craft people, with designers, with new customers, with students and teachers as well because uh, teachers and students sometimes uh, saw our book and then they will, they will do a kind of life subject tour uh, and visit the craft people on the streets. Yeah, so. Did I answer your question?
[Ed]: Yes, very well thank you.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah.
[Scott]: Do you have a question as well?
No response given.
[Siu King Chung]: So, uh, are we doing allright?
[Scott]: (Laughing). I think so. Are you still awake?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, yeah fine.
[Scott]: (laughing) It’s a, it’s a, there hasn’t been a, a, a. We really haven’t stepped in to interrupt you too much because I think you’ve been inter.. I think it’s been really informative to hear you describe um, how the project is going um. I think there have been a couple of things that were asked that, that um, that may not have been addressed fully. Um, I think Stephen’s was probably the. Yeah.
[Stephen] Q: Stephen here. Um, I have uh, I have two questions actually. Both related to what you’ve been saying about uh, confidence building, but not uh, with a little bit of a difference. The first part is, I’m trying to think of what the uh, the, the (inaudible 0:55:18.6) for this type of project might be. I mean, your precursors. And one of the things that occurred to me is that it might be somewhat late to uh, out (inaudible 0:55:28.1) um, which you know DuBefey defined as art without artists. And I was wondering at, at one point when you saw your project as a sort of a, a museum elite so to speak. But, listening to you, I’d like you to comment on what some of your historical anchor points might be. But it seems to me that on the contrary what you’re, even when you’re talking about the confidence building the way CMP functions is on a kind of a, a disparity in your capacity to up to scale up. Uh, I mean your capacity are as curators or as initiators and the indeginous creators that you identify in each segment. Uh, thery’re sort of otherwise being condemned to just being what they are. So, you’re, you’re able to confer that specific museum like visibility on, on their work, but if that’s the case. Uh, this is my last question. Do you want to break down that disparity? The disparity between your capacity to confer that, that museum kind of status or uh, break it down so that you, so as not to reproduce museums uh , in the street and just sort of colonize uh, uh the entire city basically with a museum logic or do you want to use that disparity in a stratigic way um, to , to valorize and validate and perhaps uh, in that way uh, overturn the, that higharichal elitist system which you began by,by critiquing?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, um. Let’s see if I understand your question right.
[Scott]: (laughing) There was maybe five questions or so.
[Siu King Chung]: Pardon me?
[Scott]: I was going to say there might be about five questions or so.
[Stephen]: Two.
[Scott]: Oh. Ok.
[Siu King Chung]: So, I, I try to uh, do it briefly. Um, historically it’s not if you, if we say a museum group yeah I think this might be a kind of cool terms. having talk about it. In a way it’s, I think philisophically it is quite different because we are I mean the work that we are doing is not replicating a museum logic I think . It’s just employing the museum logic as method so is quite different uh, and the end is not to to make up another show or other art or indigenous art show so as to impress people from the city. In fact our focus are on people themselves. Uh, why we have been pondering on the word social curating, term social curating. In fact we are not curating the work but we, we use these all these excuses involving around the work or the class or whatever issues in order to heal up social relationship. And for instance, for incident the craft peoples project uh it seems to me that they see the people themselves. No matter the designers the teachers the students the craft people craft persons all see themselves differently after the project because uh there has been more public attention to this kind of thing that has been silenced by whatever social political agenda and now they are coming back and then they have participate uh more activlly in in the city in wait. And in a sense the craft people have managed to, to be their own network other than or beyond their own circle right now they are they are always meeting different commissioners from all other places so, so I think in that sense it’s not uh, the museums uh, as the street as a museum as a kind of like physical hardware kind of things uh, not a showcase but the people who has been changing. This is what interests us. Ok. Is it clear or does it make sense to you?
[Scott]: Absolutely, um, King
[Steven]: Extremely clear, thank you.
[Scott]: Yeah. Uh, one thing that I, I uh, can’t help but to continue want to ask is how um, maybe kind of I think it’s related to Stephens question and also um, the question that Ed was asking earlier. I’m wondering how the people that you’re describing see um, see themselves. I guess really, do, do you think that the people that you’re working with understand that uh, their work is being presented um, in a context that draws on um, that draws on, on art I guess you could say, uh, or on museum histories or on presentation histories or that it’s part of the conceptual art project um, or do they not and if either way does it matter to you?
[Siu King Chung]: I don’t think it matters. Um,
[Scott]: Okay
[Siu King Chung]: I think this ok if you use this uh uh terms stick holders, right.
[Scott]: Uh huh.
[Siu King Chung]: Uh, stick holders always has a different perspective on, on the same thing. Uh. They, they are super stick holders while we are curators having our stick as bringing things to the cultural scene. They as stick holder has perhaps has uh benefits from the new commissions. So, so for the teachers and the students they have their own stake of having this education done. Uh, for this uh, future requirements from the school, right. So, so I think in that sense we are only producing projects which becomes an excuse for all these uh, peoples to, to join them and in that sense uh, we, we believe this is a path of win, win, win, situation. We don’t need to, to like a pollinate one of the meaning so, so I think this is our approach so they, they will get whatever they get from, from selling things but I think what we do is just apparently initiators of, of things by having this knowledge and skills to apply funding and also having the network from the cultural circles to uh, get things done on, on the end through the cultural circles or the activist circles in order to bring up the issues that we want to initiate. Yeah. So.
[Scott] Q: The other day. Or actually the other week, King. We, we spoke with Barbara Stiviney from Artist Placement Group and uh,
[Siu King Chung]: Yes?
[Scott]: And talked, as you know talked quite a bit about um, uh, the incidential er art. Well not just the incidential person but art as incidential generally speaking. Um, to some of those practices. And you have referr, you have mentioned, um, uh, uh art or even, even uh, museum or a museum method or an art world as a, as an excuse a number of times.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah.
[Scott]: I saw that there might be something kind of similar there.
[Siu King Chung]: Um.
[Scott]: I think that’s more of a statement but uh, I’m not sure if there’s a question attached, in fact. Uh, but I, I like, I like your uh, I like your not necessarily reliance on um, uh on histories of art presentation but I like uh, that your use of this as a um,
(inaudible mumbling)
[Siu King Chung]: Scott? Uh, is the audio having some problems?
[Scott]: No, that was me mumbeling.
[Siu King Chung]: Oh, okay.
[Scott]: Laughing. (inaudible 1:05:35.7) go ahead please.
[Siu King Chung]: Uh, In fact if you, it is not entirely out of the historical context I think because what I believe what art and history has done at least they are like seven different levels of work or idealogy right. So I mean arts the first level art is a pleasure kind of thing the second is this apparent business okay, that’s why you we have the gallery system and, and the art dealer and all that so, so this is a second effort I would (inaudible 1:06:26.1) and then the third level I think this is the art as therapy kind of stuff, kind of stuff so, so art somehow on the third level I think this is art therapy so you could express yourself and you, you , you like art those things to be a kind of therapy. So, the fourth level is perhaps is kind of like um, critical and intellectual cultural. I mean we use art as a kind of malaise and phylisophical pursuit. Uh, and the fifth level you could say this is a kind of the art is a means for the creative culture so you talk about larger thing it’s not only personal, phylisophical pursuit but also a means for creative culture of a place or of a city so the sixth level it could be a kind of like uh, uh, critical culture right, uh, and seventh level is sometimes exploration for a secret society. So I think in a sense if you use art instrumentally which I think in whatever sense this is true then the ultimate goal for art is to achieve some kind of insight or, or, or some operation to what’s a kind of secret society. So, so I think in a secret society the craft men the people who have not been portrayed by uh, a specific attention culture should be attended to as well and, and their view uh, could be attended to. I think this is most cruitial for our ideal. So, I don’t know whether this makes sense but I think at the back of our mind I think most of you want to achieve from the museum community museum project has all in a way we want to use social curators to achieve that. Um.
[Scott]: I like, I like your uh, I like your textonomy for uh, categorizing uh, the different levels of, of a art. (laughing) I was tempted to paste in some of what you had written in that uh, in that text but I think I’ll just save it for uh, we can post it later and send a note to everyone about this.
[Siu King Chung]: So, so I this has been on and off in history has been many stressed in whatever level. I mean there are a lot of examples in different kinds of art in our world but most of our discussion has been drawn to this uh, like, has not been drawn towards this simple society kind of stuff I think. I mean especially in Hong Kong.
[Scott]: Can, can I ask you just a quick question about the um, that you’re working with once again. I know you spoke quite a bit about them. But um, I
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah.
[Scott]: I’m curious if you, if you all, if you guys also work with other um, with other artists or other people who might um, have an understanding of what they’re doing that would, that would in some way match with yours. I know how you described how the shareholders may have, I’m sorry the steakholders may have a um, a different, you know, understandably a different idea about what’s going on than the people that are, are helping to organize the project um and who are working as a curatioral team. Even though you see them as part of that team they probably see themselves differently. I’m wondering if. I’m wondering how many people, or if you if you ever really do work with people that um, that you feel you could probably share your critical perspectives with or at least overlap a number of them. And that you feel you know you’re on some kind of an equal playing field on that side of things. Um, I’m curious because these notions of participation, contributorship um, uh as Stephen likes to describe, not to paraphrase you Stephen but, uh, describing people as users, um, talking about usership. I guess what I’m thinking about uh, trying to imagine these um, the social relations that you’re helping to set up. I think your, your goal is really not so much to create an art project but like you said, to work to use art in the service of the civil society. Um, I’m just, I’m still curious though about if those implications for other art practices um, and I think the kinds of social relationships we help to create have something to do with, with that.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah. I mean the, the first criteria is not to dominate any of the social relation or social perception.
[Scott]: Uh huh. Right.
[Siu King Chung]: I mean, for us as (inaudible 1:12:47.0) or as people from Community Museum Project, we, we do have a certain kind of agenda but the people comes in at different levels at a time, but depending on situation. Uh, so, so we don’t do, make uh, we don’t intend to dominate on any of the agenda where everybody could pick their own part, take their own thing away. I, I think this is important for us. But on the other hand, uh, in terms of social relations uh, it depends on which group we are cooperating with or collaborating with. For instance we have the other projects uh, we have been doing a project uh, for the last suit you’ll ever need uh, which is working with this elderly uh, on the, the, the funeral suit funeral clothes. So we invite designers uh, to, to talk to these elderly people uh, whether they want what kind of like burial suit or what kind of funeral suit they, they want and, and through this process I mean the designers are painting new perspectives on the elderly. And, and visa versa as well, so, so uh, another project is dealing with these uh, people on, on welfare social welfare uh, we manage to take pictures of every item in their refrigerators and uh, and did a show on it and using a refrigerators as a kind of manifestation of their life. Uh, as a, as a receiver of social welfare. But of course this is a little bit complicated to talk about. But what I want to say is uh, uh, uh, yes, there are, there are different agenda for different people. If we are able to build a platform, the platform, is for everybody to, to play fair in it. And to their own satisfaction so after, when we promote our exhibition we don’t usually call it an art exhibition. We just call it an exhibition about certain issues. So, but we, we use this excuse, I mean, you are aware of my language here right? Uh, I always use excuses to get people together and to get people uh, uh, say the things they wanted to say but without a channel. Hopefully, CMP projects could provide such channel for them and for also for us to learn about them. I think this is very important. Because in exhibition I have been pondering a point. Why am I going to exhibition at all? Uh, and perhaps uh, we need to learn something from it or we need to make (inaudible 1:16:57.9) work from it. I don’t know. Maybe there are some agenda behind uh, which is more meaningful to a secret society. Uh, is there any other question?
[Alan]: Uh, yeah I have one, I, I think Aaron had a question I thought. Just let me ask this one. Um, a couple of years ago uh, I remember Howard was telling me about a project which you were working on with uh, recent immigrants to Hong Kong, in order to shift the negative uh, perception of them as benefit seekers and social parasites towards a more positive uh, understanding of immigrants as knowledge producers and inseminators. I like that. I don’t know whether you did that project but I like the idea because it didn’t have to do with the production of objects. But rather, with the dissemination of knowledge. It was kind of an immaterial case of indigenous uh, creativity. Because you asked them, if I remember correctly to teach uh, evening classes, teach language classes and, and, and otherwise disseminate their sort of a public school. Did that ever take place? And if so, could you comment on it.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah. Uh, not to that extent. Uh, in teaching classes. But we are still working on it. Uh, but, but this, rich project that we have just, I have just talked about is uh, somehow linked to that idea. Um, before this social group uh, I mean many of them are new immigrants from main land China. Uh, and also some from Southeast Asia. So some of them are receiving social welfare right. And uh, so the media has been blaming them of doing nothing but receiving money, that kind of stuff. And, what the media has missed is how they manage to live under this kind of circumstances and how they manage to live creatively or, or effectively. Under this kind of circumstances. Uh and then we need to admire them of that abilities to do so right. So, so their excuse was the, the fridge project uh that we work with Ox Farm um, is to go with, it is to identify every items in their refrigerators and then of course we, we had twenty four cases. Uh, half of them social welfare receiver and the other half was some well off uh people from well off family. Uh, refrigerators from a well off family. So the reason why we look into the refrigerators is that uh, we believe that they are some kind of indigenous (inaudible 1: 20:28.6) in the, in the way they preserve things, in the refrigerators. Uh, things meaning the physical things of food. Uh, and surprisingly we found the refrigerators is not only for preserving food. They also preserve toy uh, Channel perfume and also uh, the memories so so we use this exhibition. We displayed all these objects from, from their refrigerators and do a kind of like uh, statistic. A visual statistic of it and uh, and trying to see from the objects something which is indigenously created or memorable to their life. Uh, and we solicite a lot of interesting story uh and also for indigenous knowledge for future part. For instance because these people are really careful in using their food because they don’t have money to replenish their, their refrigerator often so, so what they do is they come up with a lot of interesting method of preserving food uh and surprisingly uh, the most uh, the most abundant items in all these refrigerators all together uh, dry food, uh, so if you visualize a kind of like food pyramid out of all these uh, food items from these twenty four refrigerators you can see most of them. Uh, either sauces at the bottom of the pyramid are sauces and the second level is fried food. So this say something about how they use this sauces and dry food for, for their, their cooking and, and, and this is quite interesting so, so, um, so I, I think we, we uh, research a point of view a view of these people who, who has a special way to preserve their dry food and a special way of utilizing them uh, I think this might be the kind of knowledge uh, we are looking for. Uh, and also another thing that we are working on is a, a kind of kitchen uh, where the, we are thinking whether or not we could um, try to curate a kind of cuisine tool. A kind of cuisine exhibition. Having all these people, some of these people perhaps to demonstrate how they cook their food out of limited amount of resources uh, does this example work for you?
[Scott]: Oh, um was he asking me?
[Alan]: Excellent, yes. I can’t wait to see how, what the results of will be of, of your cooking show. But I think there are some other questions actually that are on cue here.
[Scott]: (laughing) Cooking show, exact. Yeah um.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, uh, curate of cuisine exhibition. Yeah.
[Scott]: So.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah?
[Scott]: So uh, King. Um, Aaron had a question. Can you hear me pretty well by the way? I did turn down that uh, ok.
[Siu King Chung]: Yes
[Scott]: He, he was, I don’t know if you’d like to ask it Aaron or if you’d just rather me read it out loud or either way is perfectly ok.
[Siu King Chung]: I’m checking the, the text.
[Scott]: Oh, yeah so basically Aaron asked how would you represent social curation? Um, he’s wondering what you mean by, I think this a multiple part question too. He’s wondering what you mean by a civic society? Um, in the art context that you’re describing, um, he’s saying why do you speak in and us? Supposedly yourself, he’s supposing, yourself and the people in the museum and them possibly people you work with. Um, he’s wondering if there is such a division at all or if or yeah, that’s really his question and then we have two more as well.
[Siu King Chung]: Uh, us, ok this is uh, a good question I think. Okay when, when plenty of time we talk about community art we have notion of community artists that lives in Hong Kong is that uh, we as artists use some art and then we use some art for the community and or as if we are outside of the community. So that we make some kind of art to inspire them uh, so we inspire the community. So there is a kind of implicit hierarchy that artists make art for the community right. But uh, in our sense of the community we are already in that community we are the community. Once it is formed together. So, so we are not making the art for the community we are producing art from the community including us as a kind of curators with a kind, a certain kind of skill. But on the other hand, the craft people uh, uh, uh, duh, the residents from the Mekong streets they have their own agenda for themself right. So, so and together we work out something within our own strength. So I think in that sense this is what social curating is all about I think, because uh, if you look at it as a community then the most important entity inside this community are people so we are not doing art work. I mean the end is not to do art work. The end is to have everybody get related and do something together as a community. As a whole. Uh, did I answer your question Aaron?
[Unknown Male Group Member]: Just let him know.
[Siu King Chung]: Uh, is that not an artwork? Yes this is an artwork in a sense. But a kind of intangible, a more intangible one. Like social sculpture perhaps. Using a (inaudible 1:28:42.7) terminology.
[Scott]: Ok, so uh, there’s also um, (chuckling) great, um, there’s also a question um, that uh, that the Elsewhere Group um, asked um. Do you guys want to go ahead and ask that out loud or would you rather us read it.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Um, I can talk if you can hear me.
[Scott]: Yeah we can hear you really well.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah. Yeah.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Oh great.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Um, I guess that my question is a two part question. Uh, I think you talked a little bit about it but I just wanted a more direct answer. One, I was wondering um, when you were talking earlier about how you try not to label your exhibitions as art exhibitions and how you in fact are questioning the whole idea of an exhibition in itself. I was wondering um, to what extent the question of audience comes in? I mean it’s part of CMP’s goals to change the audience that sees the quote unquote art or that changing it from a gallery or a museum kind of audience um, and if so I was wondering what strategies you’ll employ to achieve that goal? Given that you and your cofounders seem to have a strong network within the art scene in Hong Kong.
[Siu King Chung]: Um, in fact.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Is that clear?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Ok.
[Siu King Chung]: In fact. Uh, we don’t attract a lot of art audience in many of our shows. Uh, many of our shows could draw a lot of media attention and then a lot of the public audience. Mainly ordinary citizens uh, looking for things interesting. They would come. I, I remember for our (inaudible 1:30:54.3) demonstration of tradition during the opening although we uh, we were having the at the art (inaudible 1:31:01.8) we call it an art village.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Uh huh.
[Siu King Chung]: In Hong Kong. But the very few artists come, come by. But all these people from the social welfare circles and also ordinary citizens from around the city come to our exh, our opening and some are very participatory as well, they bring their own demonstration object uh, uh, uh at the opening, they, they bring their own object and, and put it in our show. So, so I think in that sense this is quite uh, interesting see the art circle was not aware of it, in fact uh, at that time (inaudible 1:31:57.6) time, uh, but later on uh, as we had more publicity and for instance the, the, the MeKong Street image has been publicized in lots of like uh, um, um news media then the artists started to aware of this kind of like artistic craftsmanship which has been involved in, in making this uh, these kinds exhibitions possible. So, so it has been talked about by the, by the art circle a little bit. But I think the most crucial thing is to invite them to get in ball park so we have other programs uh, like uh, like uh, like the craftsmanship program we invite designers and artists to join us and to develop the, the, the new products as well so, so some of the art the art world will (inaudible 1:33:05.2) or beatify the artist for a kind of for their own show was later on commissioned by uh, later on made by these craft people. So I think in that sense. The art circles does take the channel or, or take the opportunities to, to collaborate with some of our partners uh, uh later on.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Hmm. Okay. Uh, just one last thing. I was wondering whether you said a lot of sort of you know, people who wouldn’t or weren’t connected to the art scene in Hong Kong came to your exhibitions. It, was that, um, was that um, something you worked towards in any way or did that just happen organically.
[Siu King Chung]: I think it uh, I think it happened but uh, I don’t know why this is uh. I mean originally we were not that conscious about it. But if you think about secret society as the ultimate goal then this is the way we should go. I mean having people from different communities or different circles to join together on secret issues and then all could contribute to either working together or keeping comment on certain things so this is the kind of opin, opinion generator with ,with possible in the longer run.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Okay. Um, thank you. That’s very interesting.
[Siu King Chung]: So, is there other questions?
[Scott]: Yeah. We can just keep throwing them at you all uh, all (laughing) day.
[Unknown Male Group Member]: No, all morning.
[Scott]: All morning for you. Um, I, I had one quick question. I mean it may not necessarily be a quick answer but maybe it is. I was wonder if you uh. Yeah, or all night for Stephen, yeah. Uh, and many of you here. Um, I wondered if you were concerned at all um, about Community Museum Project being instrumentalized by the state or, or even directly co-oped at some point or on some level. For two reasons, one is that I know that you guys received funding you said you received funding and it sounded like it, the funding came from the state. Um, and secondly I’m um, I’m uh, I’m not making a direct comparison but I’m thinking of uh, how some of these kinds of projects um, are, are at risk of being corrupted by the st or instrumentalized by the state here in the U.S.. Uh, one small example is people will do a uh, uh, a community oriented project um, which is really, which is really great, and uh, you know I for one would be very, and very supportive of the, of more of this kind of thing happening. But there, there is a concern I think by a number of people that sometimes it might, it might even unintentionally lead to be counterproductive and lead to less of this kind of thing happening in the sense that these in order for a real uh uh civic society like you’re describing to take place um, it would need to be supported by the state it can’t just happen here and there in an ad hock way by a few artists or a few people trained from the art background and I think the funding or the support from the state is often um, mostly a token form of support. There’s really no interest in changing the social program in order to uh, in order to help change the conditions overall it’s mostly just in order to gain a lot of visibility in, with these very, very tiny drops of, of uh of sort of social programs that are launched by artists. And so I guess I was just concerned if that um, issue that we face here in the U. S. I know that that’s an issue in the U.K. as well with council funded projects um, turning into you know kind of group hugs that sort of are more of a conscious, a conscious clearing thing if anything for the state. I was wondering if that was an issu, a concern of yours uh, in your context because I don’t know as much about your context as I do about here. Does that, does that question make sense or?
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah I uh, we, we don’t intend to get funding from the city or what you call state but we are in a city. It’s not a state yet. But
[Scott]: Okay, right yes, that’s I meant that generically speaking. But you’re right. Sorry about that.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah. In fact a lot of our collaborators are NGO’s. Like Ox Farm and, and uh, uh, and also the um, um, district council so it’s not and then we for, for the, for the pocketbook demonstration afterwards we acquire the funding from the Arts Development Counsel. So, so there, there are different channels of funding uh, that, that come to our work. Uh, I think recently either a lot of different NGO’s with, with some agenda, with their own agenda in mind will approach us and, and ask us whether we could come up with some kind of good ideas to help them promote their, their issues. Uh, through our like museum methods. So, this is, this is what we have been doing. Uh, before for the city funding we just uh, we just uh, got the funding from Design Smart. Uh, uh, which is uh, a funding organization uh, which support designers to be able to fund their own work and, and, and the back of state is going to, I mean the city is trying to boost our image as a kind of creative city. Hong Kong right, so, so they have this, this kind of agenda and they distribute funds to, to us. But uh, but what we propose uh, is that we do an up cycling project drawing the experience from these craft people and uh, and the collaboration between designers and craft people and NGO’s. Uh we, we now seems to uh, uh, be like tapping into a project which the city has not been thoroughly uh, uh, thought about. Uh, that is to, to build up the kind of like system for recycling or, or creative reuse of stuff thrown out from the factory. So, so, so yes we, part of the funding is coming from the, the city but we are always aware of the issues that you have talked about that we, we co, co-opted by a friend but on the other hand we uh, tries to do the things in a different perspective than they what, than what they expected and if they give us the funding we have a chance to do a little demonstration on uh, uh alternative way of funding people. Because uh, uh, uh they don’t, I think this is the first time they tries to um, uh sponsor like, like uh this kind of craft people and designers uh, collaboration project as well. So, so I think that if we had the chance to, to apply for funding from whatever sources. I think we will propose something with a different perspective on that at least as a start. As you know, later on with this demons, if this example is successful they will tries to replicate it and in whatever their own way. But I think uh, as a initiator of my years and uh, projects. I think we will do it first. Right. Okay.
[Scott]: Yeah that definitely does address what I was, what I was wondering. I, I, I, I didn’t really ask you this. Oh my gosh. I apologize for the noise uh, after unmuting. We’re. There is Kung Fu going on right above our heads. Um.
[Siu King Chung]: Really?
[Scott]: Many of the people that join these pot luck chats know that because every so often when we turn our volume back on there’s some ass kicking that’s going on. Uh, it just happened right when I unpaused so sorry about that. Um, yeah, I, I, I wasn’t really asking. Oh first of all, and thanks a lot um, for coming but uh, but uh, yeah, King I wasn’t really asking, assuming anything um, but just curious because I know that um, that these issues I, I can imagine them being a problem everywhere or something that people who are doing the kind of work that, that you are doing and um, and that a number of people here are doing here need to think about. I can imagine that being an issue regardless of where you are just because business seems uh, you know, somebody’s business model and uh, uh and I was calling it the state but think I really meant Governmental I guess um, uh, models of government or whatever are uh, seem to work for some people everywhere. So I was curious you know if you were you know if you ran into the same issues and if maybe some of the ways that you’ve been able to uh, to deal with them or even some of the strategies that you’ve come up with or, or have been thinking about could even help us and visa versa so definitely seems like we could be contact about it since it does seem to be an issue there too, from what you’re saying.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, I, I think the, the, the government or the state or the city should be inspired by some kind of alternative perspective as well. So, so if uh,
[Scott]: Uh huh.
[Siu King Chung]: We could establish a different kind of examples uh, we wanted to illustrate different possibilities. Then I think this our work are meaningful.
[Scott]: See you later Salem. Well we’re, we’re really wrap uh, we’re three minutes until uh, we normally end um, I’m uh, you know I’m hesitant to bring up other questions that would take up uh, quite a bit longer because we like to kind of try to end on time but um, uh unless there was any other burning you know kind of statements that anyone wanted you know wanted to say.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: (inaudible 1:45:02.9)
[Scott]: Oh, do you have something that.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: (inaudible 1:45:04.0)
[Scott]: Oh.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: (inaudible 1:45:07.5) why didn’t they just interview the people.
[Siu King Chung]: Interview who?
[Unknown Female Group Member]: The people that they were doing things with the, with the suit and the refrigerator and everything.
[Siu King Chung]: Why? Would you repeat the question again?
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Why didn’t they just come out there and, and talk to the people about, interview them about their life and such?
[Siu King Chung]: Do you know, who are “they”?
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Excuse me?
[Siu King Chung]: Who, I said who do you mean by “they”?
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Well the people that were doing their projects on their refrigerators and the, and the uh, suits and
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah we, we have been interviewing them.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Oh, okay.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah we have been interviewing them as a process, but as you see uh, we do interview in all our projects the only difference is that from a social work fair or for people in a social science. The interview is all by cash and it is often hard to approach people with this uh, taxes based information so, so
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Yeah
[Siu King Chung]: from a community fusing project we are very conscious of isolating this kind of action from interesting official or, or meaningful official so this is our apple, our approach to (inaudible 1:46:48.1) That’s why the excuses for exhibition is to, to do this official (inaudible 1:46:55.5) of issues.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: I thought it was something like that. Okay thanks.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, Okay thank you.
[Scott]: Well, um, King thanks so, I’m really glad that we had this excuse to have a good conversation about what you guys are doing there.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, thank you.
[Unknown Male Group Member]: Yeah, thank you, thank you, thank you very much. It has been extremely uh, rich and uh, precise. Uh, and also the reception was really good so, I, I certainly got a lot out of it. Thank you so much.
[Siu King Chung]: Okay, thank you, thank you. Um, so, do you need me to send to you this uh, street as museum as method thing?
[Scott]: Well I have a uh, well I’m not sure unless what you sent earlier was only an excerpt. Um.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, that’s uh, an excerpt. I, I just gave, sent you a full article.
[Scott]: That would be fantastic. If you wouldn’t mind, we would probably post it on and send everyone the link. Um, they, they pretty successfully uh, uh, uh, well, uh, allow text to be posted for a long time without uh, only very rarely our, our publishers um, uh, concerned about their placement there so.
[Siu King Chung]: Ok, then yeah no problem. Yeah I’ll write.
[Scott]: Excellent. King, thanks so much and we’ll, we’ll uh, we’ll be in touch about, about the space here and, and everything we’ve discussed.
[Siu King Chung]: I see some Cantonese and Chinese in the text. Is there somebody uh,
[Scott]: Oh, yeah.
[Siu King Chung]: Uh,
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Yeah that’s me. (laughing)
[Scott]: Oh there was actually a question earlier that you had, wasn’t, wasn’t there about, about civic
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Oh, I was just wondering about how you, how you translate uh, civil society into Cantonese because I asked because from the time that I spent on the mainland. It took me a very long time to understand um, this idea of (speaking Cantonese). Like this overwhelming idea of creating a harmonious society on the mainland. Cus westerners I think, don’t really have that concept. And so, I was wondering how you translate civil society into Cantonese? And also just to say, (speaking Cantonese).
[Siu King Chung]: Responding in Cantonese
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Responding in Cantonese. Huh, huh, interesting, okay. So it’s just,
[Siu King Chung]: Okay?
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Yeah.
[Unknown Male Group Member]: So, what does that mean?
[Siu King Chung]: So, this means, uh, (speaking Cantonese). It’s citizens, citizens society. Something like that. Yeah, it’s, it’s similar but uh, often we use (speaking Cantonese) uh,
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Speaking Cantonese
[Siu King Chung]: Uh, rather that’s (speaking Cantonese).
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Okay, thank you I’ll, I’ll, I’ll do a little bit of my own research.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah, okay.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Okay.
[Siu King Chung]: Thank you.
[Unknown Female Group Member]: Thank you.
[Scott]: Thanks so much King.
[Siu King Chung]: Yeah
[Scott]: Laughing, And we’ll all, we’ll all speak soon, so. So, see you all next week.
[Siu King Chung]: All right, thank you.
[Unknown Male Group Member]: See you.
[Scott]: Bye bye.
[Siu King Chung]: Bye bye.
[Scott]: Nice, I have the feeling like he probably would have stuck around for an extra fifteen, twenty minutes if people kept asking him questions. It’s nice to let him off the hook. (laughing) yeah, I’m going to go ahead and stop recording this now.

Page |

Week 2: The Library Of Radiant Optimism For Let’s Remake The World

Hi everyone,

This Tuesday is the second evening in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 focusing on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll have a converstion with Brett Bloom and Bonnie Fortune about The Library of Radiant Optimism for Let’s Re-Make the World, which is both a historic archive and a generative project focused on connecting current related practices. During this event, books will be available for folks to take, a live video will be projected, and The Book of the Month Club will be launched.

The Book of the Month Club is an opportunity to share some newly selected titles with you. Each month during 2010, a new book will be scanned and uploaded to their website. Books that are hard to find, or particularly capture the spirit of the Library, will be selected to share with you during the Book of the Month Club project.

The Library of Radiant Optimism for Let’s Re-Make the World was started as a way to gather, look at, and catalog a groundswell of optimistic and visionary activities in the late 1960s and early 1970s represented by how-to books. Many people organized around freely sharing information and materials. The books they generated embrace a grass roots exchange of information and themes of self and community empowerment. These books are written from the counter-culture. Their authors were interested in communicating their direct experience as it related to their experiments for living in harmony with the natural landscape, building sustainable communities, and more. They offer practical applications of optimistic ideas for radical change.


Week 2: The Library Of Radiant Optimism For Let’s Remake The World


[Background Noise]

Scott: Alright. We see you on the wall now.

Male 2:  [0:00:59] [Inaudible]

Scott: Larger than life. I’m waving back but you can’t see me.


Male 2: Hey, Scott.

Scott: Hey.

Male 2: [0:01:25] [Inaudible] some pictures. I didn’t get enough chance to [0:01:29] [Inaudible] and share to people.[0:01:34] [Inaudible] going to talk about. But maybe you could [0:01:38] [Inaudible] and start talking about [0:01:40] [Inaudible]

Scott: Sure. I guess what we could is we could upload the images to photo which –

Male 2: [0:01:49] [Inaudible]

Female 1: Yeah. Just to get pumping. We’ll just do what you were about to do.

Scott: [Laughter] Rock on. If you want me to do it, I can, you know if you want to focus on the talk but it’s up to you.

Male 2: Oh, okay.

Female 1: [0:02:06] [Inaudible]

Male 2: Yeah. I’m going to send them. Which should I send them to?

Scott: Oh, emailing? You can send it to That way several of us will get it.

Male 2: [0:02:26] [Inaudible]

Scott: If you send it thru Skype I think it’ll send to everybody in the Skype chat there, unless you have any separate one.

Male 2: I’ll set up a separate one here [0:02:40] [Inaudible]

Female 1:  Let’s start he talk.

Male 2:  [0:02:53] [Inaudible]

Scott: I was actually just suggesting that we wait just another moment because there are very many people here. Why don’t we wait. I was gonna say till quarter after but that’s in three minutes. That’s probably okay. Why don’t wait at least until then. And then go ahead and get started and people can join in when they do.

Male 2: Alright. [Cross-talk] [0:03:16] [Inaudible]

Scott: Yes. Definitely.

Male 2: Right?

Scott: I’m not sure.

[Background Noise]

Male 2: Wait a minute [0:03:45] [Inaudible].

Scott: Yeah. Michael is coming. He’s running a few minutes late.

Female 1: What’d you do?

Male 2: [0:04:02] [Inaudible]

Scott: Yeah I think that’s sent to everybody. [Cross-talk]


Female 1: Aah.

Scott: No worries, it’s all good.

Female 2: Doing great. [0:04:27] [Inaudible]

Unidentified Male: Oh, you guys haven’t seen the library yet.

Male 2: No, we haven’t. [0:04:57] [Inaudible]  [Cross-talk]

Scott: I’ll grab a couple and put them on flicker and send you guys a little of it.

Male 2: [0:05:16] [Inaudible]

Scott: That was my way of saying I think that’s a good idea. Cool. So, now it’s nearly 6:15. We should probably check in. Matt, who is on this, why don’t I ask people who would like to join the audio and we’ll start adding people now.

I probably should have done that ahead of time. I think we got caught up on the recording side because we didn’t want to be a tree falling in the woods. Although we could if we had to. But now that we don’t have to, that’s probably a good thing.

[Background Noise]

I need to add. Where is Adam and Jessica? Okay, anyway, Matt, we can add to the chat. Oh, yeah. [0:06:55] [Inaudible]. Awesome. [Background Talk].

[Background Noise]

Okay. There’s someone here who is really trying to join but we cannot seem to add them easily.

Unidentified Male: Seventh?

Scott: Yes.

Male 2: [0:08:22] [Inaudible]

Scott: Yeah. That happens sometimes. Like last week, we had to ask some of them to restart. Adding Abby now? So, Matt, can you hear us, by the way?

Male 3: [0:08:36] [Inaudible]

Scott: Okay, great.  I think we’re going to go ahead and get started soon. We’re jus – preferably week by week we’ll inch minutes closer to starting at six.

Male 2: Alright.

Scott: So … Did anyone else on the track ask to be added to the audio that I [0:08:59] [Inaudible]. Okay? Okay, cool. So what do you think, Greg? Do you want to – oh you’re adding us to [0:09:13] [Inaudible].

Greg: Well, I mean I could stop to it.

Scott: Okay. [0:09:21] [Inaudible] it’d be pretty cool.

Greg: Well, I can do that. It’s up to you. I mean …

Scott: Mabel’s copy. Oh, thank you, Steven.

Male 2: [0:09:33] [Inaudible]

Scott: Where’s Mabel? I don’t see Mabel, Steven.

Male 2:  [0:09:42] [Inaudible]

[Background Talk]

Scott: Great. So if you can give us just one more moment. I think – oh, fantastic.

Male 2: [0:10:46] [Inaudible]

Scott: If you don’t mind, can I just try to get Adam and Jessica on the call real quick? I believe they have a class that’s supposed to patch in here. And I would sort of hate to miss them. Although I don’t want to put you off any longer so …

Male 2: [0:11:12] [Inaudible]

Scott: Right now, audio? 1-2-3-4-5-6.

Greg: She’s, Jessica doesn’t seem to be able to get to …

Male 2: [0:11:36] [Inaudible]

Scott: No, absolutely not.

Greg: Our U stream is buffering.

Scott: But that’s okay because if we need to we can always refresh it.

Greg: Okay, you got it.

Scott: Okay, cool.  Now writing Adam. Fantastic.

[Background Noise]

Male 2: [0:12:54] [Inaudible]

Scott: Hi, Adam, can you hear us by the way?

Adam: [0:13:07] [Inaudible]

Scott: Hey, fantastic, yeah. So did you guys have your class hooked up to this tonight?

Adam: Yes. [0:13:17] [Inaudible]

Scott: Awesome.

Male 4: Hi, everybody.


Scott: So if you guys could turn your microphone up a little bit, Adam, we could actually hear you. I think it’s just a little bit low.

Adam: [0:13:51] [Inaudible]

Scott: Oh, that’s not possible?

Adam: Yeah. [0:13:55] [Inaudible]  

Scott:  Oh, that’s totally fine.

Greg:  Whatever you’re doing now is better.

Adam: I’m talking louder.

Scott:  You’re yelling.


Excellent. Okay, why don’t we go ahead and start chatting so that we’re not just waiting. So yeah –

Adam: Is there a [0:14:29] [Inaudible]

Scott: There is a text chatter. You guys not in the text chatter? I thought you were. Oh, I guess you’re not. Hold on a second. Here you go. Great. So how about this now? Can I sort of replace this Greg?

Greg: Yeah. [0:14:50] [Inaudible]

Scott: [0:14:50] [Inaudible]. Well, first of all, welcome everyone. Thanks for coming to our little weekly chat. [Laughter]. Can you all hear me? Okay.

Male 2: Scott, which one [0:15:10] [Inaudible]. Did you invite us?

Scott: Yeah, I believe so.

Adam: [0:15:14] [Inaudible]

Scott: Oh, I see.

Adam: [0:15:18] [Inaudible]

Scott: Yeah. If you click into there first. I think you have to click in first, you kind of can’t [0:15:25] [Inaudible]. Stay there. Now you can [0:15:28] [Inaudible].

Greg: Alright. So I’ve got Jessica in. oh, she got banned?

Scott: Yeah. For some reason it’s saying that we cannot add you to the text chat. I don’t really know why that would be. It says …

Greg: Jessica [0:15:45] [Inaudible] is using an older version of Skype that does not support  multi person chat?

Male 2: [0:15:50] [Inaudible]

Scott: Yeah, we did that first but let’s try that again. We’ll try one more time and if not, the … Oh, look at that.

Greg: Here you go. Oh.

Scott: Oh, you got bounced.

Greg: Same thing.

Scott: You got bounced. Sorry, guys, that’s actually really annoying, isn’t it?

Male 2: Okay. I that a [0:16:10] [Inaudible]  

Greg: Yes.

Male 2: Thank you.

Scott: Rock n Roll. So great. Welcome everybody to our little chat. We’ll be adding more people throughout the evening, more people’s audio. So if anyone sees someone on Skype that [0:16:38] [Inaudible] that’s pleading to be added, please let us know. We just might not be noticing it, okay? Great. So first of all, I want to welcome Brett and Bonnie, our invited guests for the week.

Brett: Hi Scott. Hi Greg and Steven.

Bonnie: Hi.

Scott: Hi.

Greg: Hi.

Scott: And hi everybody –

Greg: Natalie, hang on a second. Sorry.

Scott: Cool. The way the evening will go is – just to let everyone know, this week, Bret and Bonnie will be giving a more straightforward presentation probably for about 20 to 30 minutes or so and after which we can have a Q&A and a less structured discussion.

So first of all, everyone at the class, once we actually get to that point it would be great if you guys could flag us whenever you can on text or kind of like step up to the  computer’s microphone so that we can hear you.

In any case, and then we can just spend the rest of the evening on that. And near the end, what we’re going to be doing with this week and future weeks throughout the year is focus a bit of time at the end, kind of reviewing some of the ideas and interests that came up through the evening.

And see if we can come up with some course proposals for the public school. At the end we’re going to be generating public school courses at the end of every week or at the end of every Tuesday night, I mean. So Brett and Bonnie, just let you guys know, we’ve been in dialogue for probably about ten years now.

And one thing I should probably say now that I just remembered; if everyone can press mute on your Skype until you want to say something, that will be excellent.

It will help keep the feedback really low. But, at any case, we’d known each other for years now and one of the reasons specifically though that we invited Brett and Bonnie to come in talk with us tonight is because they’re working on this called The Library of Radiant Optimism for Let’s Re-make the World which is a long-term project that they’ve started. I won’t describe it in detail.

I’ll leave that to them. But as sure, we’re looking at this project as what we’re calling a plausible artworld because they’re focusing on some highly optimistic work and DIY manuals from the ‘60s and ‘70s and the range of practices that grew out of that era. They also do work together.

In many ways is inspired by that era and the work that they are compiling in their library and they seek to work together with other people who are similarly I think reinvigorating some of those practices from that time. And so we’d like to focus on that side of what they’re doing, those networks that were created and are continuing to be created now. Anyway, Brett and Bonnie, would you guys mind going ahead and giving us an intro to The Library of Radiant Optimism?

Brett: Sure, Scott. [0:20:29] [Inaudible]

Scott: Awesome.

Brett: [0:20:36] [Inaudible]  Bonnie and I discovered [0:20:52] [Inaudible]

Scott: Okay. We’ll let them know thru the text chat. You guys can go ahead and keep on going.

Brett: Okay. That sounds good. So Bonnie [0:23:49] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: So the first. I’m Bonnie. [0:24:22] [Inaudible] the first few books that were [0:24:25] [Inaudible] project came from our personal collection. And [0:24:31] [Inaudible]. And it’s [0:24:35] [Inaudible] because the book document not only, it [0:24:56] [Inaudible]. So pretty great book and Brett can tell you about [0:25:40] [Inaudible] now.

Brett: Alright.  [0:25:42] [Inaudible]  published probably and it’s been around for less than a thousand hard bound black and white [0:26:14] [Inaudible]  produced [0:26:15] [Inaudible]  from internet and useful source. Yeah. [0:26:28] [Inaudible]  it’s really interesting [0:26:34] [Inaudible] experiment [0:26:35] [Inaudible] your [0:26:36] [Inaudible] as well as create small efficient psychological values [0:26:44] [Inaudible] rethinking [0:26:47] [Inaudible] . [Cross-talk].

Bonnie: This is where we are guys. We found this book in a [0:28:00] [Inaudible] near it in [0:28:02] [Inaudible]. And this is a radical [0:28:05] [Inaudible] community of the [0:28:10] [Inaudible] community now.  

Brett: Primary [0:28:13] [Inaudible]

Bonnie:  The primary community now and made by people in our town in the [0:28:18] [Inaudible]  all of the academic art [0:28:25] [Inaudible]

Brett: Yeah. [0:28:35] [Inaudible]

Scott: No.

Brett: [0:28:48] [Inaudible]

Scott: Sorry, sorry. Hey guys.

[Background Talk]

Brett: So, another part of what we have [0:28:59] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: Oh, oh yeah. [0:29:19] [Inaudible]

Brett: [0:29:56] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [0:30:18] [Inaudible]

Scott: Guys, sorry about the continual audio [0:30:38] [Inaudible]. We’re just adding people up [Cross-talk] Okay. Super.


Bonnie: [0:30:48] [Inaudible]

Brett: [0:31:15] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [0:32:30] [Inaudible]

Brett: [0:33:14] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [0:34:00] [Inaudible]

Brett: [0:34:55] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [0:36:36] [Inaudible] Is there anything we can do to change that? So [0:37:51] [Inaudible] they’ve been making illustrations imagining what  people would look like by [0:38:34] [Inaudible]. We produced a different kinds of poster that you would see right here on this table and [0:39:08] [Inaudible] on the wall here. We’ll put a [0:39:13] [Inaudible]. This is one thing [0:39:18] [Inaudible] library. [0:39:21] [Inaudible]. We definitely [0:39:36] [Inaudible]

Brett: [ 0:41:35] [Inaudible]

Scott: I was just going to say Brett. No, never mind.

Brett: Yeah?

Scott: I’m sorry dude. Just not to trample over you, but yeah, we have a stack here, like basically a box of books that Bonnie and Brett shipped here that we’re giving away to people that come.

So if you’re local and Philly and you are just listening on Skype, just flag us down, let us know the [0:43:06] [Inaudible] for you if you‘ve joined tonight and get to wing by some other time to pick it up. I’ll post photos of the library right now. Philip, Philip. Greg was just saying he’ll post photos of the library on flicker right now and we’ll send you the leg.

Brett: [0:43:24] [Inaudible] website later as well.

Bonnie: So, tonight [0:44:04] [Inaudible] Library of Radiant Optimism for Let’s Remake the World book of the launched book. And this is [0:44:33] [Inaudible] project . We’re [0:44:36] [Inaudible] uploaded a new title and [0:44:43] [Inaudible]. Our website and [0:44:48] [Inaudible]. [Laughter] but [0:44:56] [Inaudible] . The first title in [0:45:02] [Inaudible] child. [0:45:05] [Inaudible]

Scott: Hey, Bonnie.  Sorry. Can I interrupt you for a quick sec? Hey, Bonnie? Hey, did you guys – is the video down? Because it looks like other people are not getting the video. We thought it was just us.

Brett: [0:45:23] [Inaudible]

Scott: It’s okay. We’re just checking.

Bonnie: [0:45:27] [Inaudible]

Scott: Okay. Cool., cool Carry on. If –

Brett: [0:45:30] [Inaudible]

Scott:  Just in case you didn’t know. Thanks. But yeah, please go on about the book of the month club.

Bonnie: [0:45:37] [Inaudible]  The video will be back in just a second.

Scott: Awesome.

Bonnie: In the meantime, [0:45:47] [Inaudible]  Brett?

Brett: I dunno. No. [0:45:51] [Inaudible]

Scott: Oh, really.

Brett: [0:45:56] [Inaudible]

Scott: That’s completely fine.

Brett: [0:46:11] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [0:46:14] [Inaudible]  and in the meantime we’ll go [0:46:17] [Inaudible]  the posters here.

Scott: Thank you.

Bonnie: [0:46:20] [Inaudible]  And we are – we think that [0:46:26] [Inaudible]   we haven’t shared them with others and this is our [0:46:43] [Inaudible]  of the library project and one of  the reasons that we [0:46:48] [Inaudible]  was that basekamp provided us with the [0:46:53] [Inaudible]

Brett: [0:49:31] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [0:51:02] [Inaudible]

Brett: And we found many people [0:51:31] [Inaudible]

Scott: Great. Guys, thank you so much for that key end to your project. I think  if we went ahead and had a quick conversation without that presentation,  many of the people here wouldn’t have any idea what kinds of things you’re talking about or what range of practices you’re looking at. Yeah.

By the way, anybody that wants to, anyone on the call can feel free to unmute at any time to ask a question. Or I’ll say you can send to your text chat as well. It might be worth [0:53:02] [Inaudible].

Brett: Hey, Greg.

Greg: Yeah

Brett: [0:53:09] [Inaudible]

Male  1: Oh, sorry can you –

Brett : [0:53:17] [Inaudible]

Scott: Sorry guys. When people ask you a question --  I was sort of was guilty about this. This is Scott speaking right now. Can you just briefly introduce yourself, just sort of saying who is speaking so we can all know. One of the requests we had from last week was that people had no idea who was talking. This is Adam, right? Is this  Ad –

Unidentified Male:

Scott: Oh, okay. I didn’t hear.

Unidentified male: [0:53:44] [Inaudible]

Brett: Okay. [0:54:23] [Inaudible]

Scott: So, guys, the mike’s on right now. So if you wanna say anything, ask anything, just flag me and I’ll unmute it. And then I can help flag it down too.

Bonnie: [0:56:21] [Inaudible]

Scott: Hello, yeah. No, we’re here. We just have ourselves  muted  so you don’t hear the interment and kung fu while you’re talking. And we’ll unmute as people have questions or wanna say something. Did you have something that you wanted to say? You can. But I think you need to get a little closer.

Unidentified Male: I mean, these books, you’re just selecting them  previous – I mean, you’re selecting as the book of the month from previous  publications, right in the 60s and 70s. They are not books that you are actually bringing up, right, like publishing and writing.

Brett: [0:57:04] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: Yeah. [0:57:46] [Inaudible].  We will be uploading a new file this month. We actually [0:57:50] [Inaudible]  the books that are in our library or the books [0:57:55] [Inaudible]

Brett: Yeah. And we are also publishing our own books but that’s not part of [0:58:20] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [0:58:52] [Inaudible]

Brett: [0:59:19] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [1:00:35] [Inaudible]

Brett: [1:01:34] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: Do we have some more questions [1:03:04] [Inaudible]

Scott:  Yeah. Steven had a question. We can read it out loud if that would be helpful or Steven can actually read it out loud if you’d like to ask or you –

Bonnie: Sure.

Scott: I was just thinking that it might be good to repeat it for everyone, one way or the other. Steven, are you there? Would you like to or would you rather one of us do it?

Steven: [1:03:28] [Inaudible]



Scott: Brett, I hope your mom and dad are in town are listening to this.

Brett: [1:04:40] [Inaudible]

Steven: [1:04:53] [Inaudible]

Brett: [1:05:02] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [1:08:55] [Inaudible]  

Scott: Yeah, just unmute it.

Michael: Hi there. This is Michael at [1:09:00] [Inaudible]. I’m interested in what you guys mentioned about sort of idea of cultural amnesia or ways and which  I guess there can be extended projects or ways to activate some of this material that you’re sharing. I guess the second part of the question would be, has there been any interest in terms of connecting with the intentional community that you guys mentioned in Tennessee that’s still up and running. I hope that makes sense.

Brett: Yeah. [1:09:42] [Inaudible] in Tennessee?

Michael: Yeah.

Bonnie: I mean [1:09:47] [Inaudible]


Brett: [1:10:01] [[Inaudible]

Bonnie:  [1:12:19] [Inaudible]

Brett: [1:13:44] [Inaudible]

Bonnie:  So another question?

Scott: Yeah. Hi. I think Greg had the next question. Do you still remember?

Greg: I have no idea but I’ll make one up.  No. I remember. IN fact it’s about remembering in a particular way right? I’m curious how these books carry a certain sense of nostalgia and how that might affect sort of the potential for the book to be acted upon because it seems like you guys are really about the intentionality, the thoughtfulness, the content really, less so in the context of kind of culture.

But still along that some of the questions that Steven was raising. Is nostalgia a dangerous emotion or how does that factor in to you as you read it and how potentially the view in public might interpret these texts? As like, ha-ha, goofy or wow, this is incredible stuff, you know.

Brett: [1:15:21] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [1:18:47] [Inaudible]

Brett: [1:19:31] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: We’re trying to include more issues of [1:20:27] [Inaudible]

Brett: yeah. We’re also doing [1:20:43] [Inaudible]

Scott: Thank you. That was great. That absolutely covered it more. Thanks. So Hank had a quick question actually. And then Steven did. Hank was asking who your audience is or  if you have a target audience or if you market your projects at all? She was curious I guess about who you’re speaking to? Oh, sorry if you wanted to say [1:21:31] [Inaudible]  okay.  Hey, Gerick. Hey. Come on guys. Come on in and have a seat, guys. Brett and Bonnie and everybody, we just have some more people coming in and –

Female 1:  Hi people. [1:21:44] [Inaudible]

Scott: Hannah, did you have anything else to ask about that or did I –

Female 1: Well, I mean, I guess, you know, I work in the design field and I guess, you know, I just been recently really interested in kind of how projects relate like if there’s a specific target for this information getting distributed and who, you know, if that’s thought about in the process.

And in turn, you know, we can all sit and discuss this information. I guess it’s just interesting to me that process of if there’s a goal in mind as far as distributing these information or if it’s just open discussion with likeminded people. I guess that’s kind of – yeah, the basis of my question.

Brett: [1:22:42] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [1:22:47] [Inaudible]  control center. So that meant that there were  [1:23:08] [Inaudible].  There were discussions sort of like a community center. Okay. So within that space there was cultural [1:23:23] [Inaudible]  Brett and I both noticed almost at the same time that [1:23:35] [Inaudible]  and that really sort of [1:23:48][Inaudible]

Brett:  And there also  seems an explosion and interest in these terms of [1:23:58] [Inaudible] issues and [1:24:00] [Inaudible]  but I think there is a research and  interest on this kind of information and it often goes, like we’re saying the history of these things. [1:24:25] [Inaudible] so the history [1:24:29] [Inaudible] working on the internet which are called [1:25:03] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: [1:25:11] [Inaudible]

Brett: So, its –oh thanks.

Scott: Yeah. He’s not on the call yet but he will be in a second.

Brett: Okay, guys. So [1:25:22] [Inaudible]. That’s quite [1:25:30] [Inaudible] in art to figure out sometimes. We’re also. We also [1:25:36] [Inaudible] who lived in Cummings. [1:25:38] [Inaudible].


Female 1: [1:26:02] [Inaudible] Aaron’s question and then I’m going to put Steven Wright’s question which I think is great  about other international histories that [1:26:17] [Inaudible] and so we’ll take Aaron’s now? Is that okay with everybody? And that question is, what do we mean by  [1:26:30] [Inaudible]

Brett: Okay. So  Aaron is, in terms of plausible artworlds, we’ll just say that [1:26:35] [Inaudible].  We jokingly call ourselves librarians but we’re not trained as librarians. [1:26:55] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: Yeah. Exactly. The first reason [1:27:38] [Inaudible] of our practice. We only [1:27:42] [Inaudible] and we use  [1:27:44] [Inaudible] that’s because that’s the world that we’re involved in. But yeah, there are  many [1:28:01] [Inaudible]. It’s not a library  [1:28:11] [Inaudible]

Brett: Yeah. But it is a [1:28:21] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: But it’s a [1:28:21] [Inaudible] at the same time so [Cross-talk]. And we actually had a [1:28:31] [Inaudible]


Brett: We’re going now to Steven’s question.

Bonnie: Steven asked,  he’s kind of wondering why we focused on the United States and he’s talking about [1:29:03] [Inaudible] in France and [1:29:05] [Inaudible]  in this country as a  separate secularly [1:29:08] [Inaudible]. But not only that. And here is the [1:29:15] [Inaudible] Argentina, Turkey [1:29:20] [Inaudible] and I think that’s a really big question. And we have been talking about adding books [Cross-talk].

Brett: [1:29:33] [Inaudible]  from Denmark that we want to add. I ‘m sure the books [1:29:39] [Inaudible] in Canada and in the United states.  [1:30:10] [Inaudible].

Bonnie: Yeah. I think [1:31:23] [Inaudible]  from power points to sound to other things. These are things that we are [1:31:45] [Inaudible]  at to the library [1:31:48] [Inaudible]

Brett: Alright. So let me add a question for Aaron.

Bonnie: Okay. So this is another question about plausible artworlds. [1:32:04] [Inaudible]

Brett: [1:32:06] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: Aaron is asking, you mentioned that you use that in your project in your daily lives and then added that in art context as well. And since you did [1:32:17] [Inaudible] I wonder in that case what other context you define as art?

Brett: Okay. So I think those contexts [1:32:25] [Inaudible] already by other people. So [1:32:31] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: We have [1:34:44] [Inaudible]  

Brett: Okay. I’m just typing in [1:35:27] [Inaudible]

Scott: I was curious if Adam, if any of your students have questions. I wanna hear from them. If Adam’s still with us, I’m not sure.

Unidentified Male: [1:35:50] [Inaudible]

Brett: I’m sorry? [1:36:04] [Inaudible]

Unidentified Male: [1:36:07] [Inaudible]


Scott: Okay. Guys, I just wanted to mention something really quickly. Actually Bonnie, can you hear us okay?

Bonnie: Yeah. [1:36:30] [Inaudible]

Scott: Okay good. I just saw that you were breaking up but they seemed like it wasn’t like a very contemporary way of breaking up with us., but your just saying the audio you can hear. You’ve heard about all that, right? So I guess we won’t get into that.

Bonnie: [1:36:47] [Inaudible]

Scott: Yeah. That would be a text message. But yeah, if everybody would be into it, or if anybody would be into this, we could still continue to discuss this but as it’s now quarter till the time when we usually stop out chat,  one of the things I wanted to  --

Brett: Scott, [1:37:10] [Inaudible] one more question [1:37:11] [Inaudible]

Scott: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you said that you didn’t. I apologized. Yeah. Totally.

Unidentified Male: [1:37:17] [Inaudible]

Scott: Oh, yeah. Rocking.

Unidentified Male: Alright, Scott. Did you ever build any of these things [1:37:27] [Inaudible]

Brett: Yeah. There was a lot of things that were kind of related [1:37:41] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: I think I checked this out [1:37:46] [Inaudible]

Brett: Yeah. [1:37:49] [Inaudible]

Scott: Oh, yeah. We can see you guys now actually holding up a lamp. There might be a delay.


Greg: Ask Brett to move back towards the [1:40:56] [Inaudible]

Scott: Oh, Brett. Can you move back towards the camera ever so slightly? We want to  -- ooh, look at you, very spooky. Oh, look at both of you, very nice.


Anyway, we wanted to take at least one photograph of that. So thank you very much. Yeah. It just took us a while to get the U stream to capture it properly. And you know what it was, it was a several second delay. So it’s sort of a little disorienting which is probably good.

Brett: Yeah.

Scott: But guys, I wanted to quickly, oh I just want to make sure I did … Adam and Jessica, I didn’t hear the name of the person you asked that question, but if, did that sort of address what you guys were asking?

Adam: Yes. [1:41:54] [Inaudible]


Scott: Awesome. Yeah. We’ve talked about building some crazy stuff here. IN fact, when Adam and Jessica were in Philadelphia on New Year’s, part of our plan was we were going to build some of the stuff. But then I think after talking more with Brett and Bonnie, it seemed that wasn’t really necessary and it probably was more important to really focus on the book of the month club and have that going. In any case, one thing –

Brett: [1:42:25] [Inaudible]

Bonnie:  [1:42:48] [Inaudible]

Scott: Yeah. I was hoping you guys would be wearing them during this chat, but anyway, oh well.

Brett: What’s that?

Scott: I was hoping you’d be wearing them now during the video, but …

Brett: [1:43:50] [Inaudible]

Scott: I’ll share it with the rest of the group here. We’ll all try to fit in together.

Brett:  [1:44:01] [Inaudible]

Scott: One thing I just wanted to mention is it’s a little less than ten minutes before we usually end. One thing that – pretty much every single one of these weekly chats, there’s some interest to follow up with everyone. And I have to say, that’s probably on us but usually that rarely happens.

One of the things we want to do – yeah it’s like there’s sort of these micro discussions that seem like there’s a real desire to continue. And they really don’t, partly because everyone’s busy but also partly because it’s probably not that easy. And we wanted to change that or at least make that a number of people ahd wanted to  change that. They’ve been asking us and have been pitching in to try and help make that happen.

What I was mentioning right before the class question was that one of the things  the people from the public school wanted to help do during the year. Just like you guys are doing a year- long thing here  with the book of the month club, they wanted to offer the public school like the  Philly branch of the public school has a place to basically to follow up on interest that any of us have that we would like to  explore further. So basically, anything that has come up in the form of questions or interest that people might have that they just didn’t  ask per se.

Or even something that you guys have said that anyone either in class there or in Skype or anyone else listening or anyone here would like to follow up on. We can form that into a very simple class proposal. Most of them probably won’t happen. But the ones that gain some interest can happen. So I just wanted to throw that out there and suggest that for this year we’ve turned on comments on the events on the basekamp site.

We’ll be posting links to the audio just like we did for last week and also any links to public school courses that are created thru this process which set a number of them were last week probably because we were talking with them, but also I’m just thinking we may want to do that again. So that was a long winded way of saying, if you have ideas about those, feel free to type them in or post the comments and all, or say them now. I’ll send the link where you can post comments if that helps.

Adam: Sure.

Bonnie: [1:46:50] [Inaudible]

Scott: Yeah.

Bonnie: [1:46:55] [Inaudible] happened in Los Angeles?

Scott: Yes.

Bonnie: [1:47:02] [Inaudible]

Scott: Basically the public school has branched into different locations. There’s one that has started in Chicago and one that started in Paris, Belgium and

Brett: Brussels

Scott: Oh, I’m sorry, did I say Belgium? In Brussels and in San Juan. Anyway, I won’t go on about it,  but I’ll paste the link so that you at least have a sense [Cross-talk]. Here’s the link to last week, the comments for last week which has links to the audio and we’ll be pasting links to the course. And then I’ll go ahead and also past the link  to this week’s. Just so that – oops. Yeah, paste the link to this week’s chat so you guys know where you can make recommendations for courses.

Female 1: You talked about this thing?

Scott: Exactly. And in fact, the great thing about the way that’s set up now? Here’s where to post comments for this week. Sorry guys.

Greg: We lost your stream.

Scott: Anyway. Yeah, the AAAARG. Org is a place where like Bonnie and Brett like we had talked about posting the PDFs of their books from their library. And the great thing about creating a course is that we can tie any course to any publication on AAAARG very easily.

They have a back end where the two sides are tied, so we can potentially carry on with a number of discussion threads or as course proposals that connect with any of the publications  in the Library of Radiant Optimism.

Greg:  For instance I just proposed to class for the Philly Public School for making things out of buckets. So we could potentially use some of your texts – buckets.


Yeah. Wouldn’t it be a great class?

Scott: Yeah. Actually, we’ll send the link just so that you guys get a sense of what this is about and how approachable it is to suggest the course. It’s not something that you have to spend weeks or months putting together.

They can develop into more full blown curriculum but they don’t have to. And some of the courses are extremely simple. Like one is called how to get in and out without being seen. And others are more developed of course.

Brett: Sounds like a [1:49:57] [Inaudible] It’s awesome. Alright?

Scott: So anyway, please add your comments to that length right above the last comment. Also, you should know that we’re eating fortune cookies that – What’s your name? Gerard Rock. And I think we should at least read you one fortune specifically for Bonnie, get it?


Bonnie: Wait, I don’t get it.


Greg: And mine says a good time to start something new.

Bonnie: BY making buckets.

Greg: Exactly.

Scott: Well, yeah. Guys, thank you so much for joining us. I know we’ll carry on but being able to talk with you with everyone on audio has been a real pleasure.

Brett: [1:51:09] [Inaudible]

Bonnie: Yeah. This is really fun.

Brett: So [1:51:16] [Inaudible] We also encourage you to [1:51:26] [Inaudible]

Scott: Hey guys. We have some burning desires.

Gerard: Late question. I arrived a little bit late. Make PDFs of everything. I kind of have been doing that for quite a few years. Do you  have  server you want to upload it to, or where do you, where you want it to go?

Brett: [1:52:14] [Inaudible]

Gerard: Scott and I can do that.  I mean, we have a pretty substantial library of stuff that’s pirated to share.

Brett: Cool.

Bonnie: Sorry. What’s your name? And do you have a place to access the server that you have set up or --?

Gerard: No. I was asking if you knew of a good server to use. My name is Gerard.

Bonnie: Oh.

Scott: Yeah. I was just gonna recommend –

Gerard: For wide access. Scott was recommending one right now. So …

Scott: Yeah. In fact this site is tied to the  public school that were stating about. And the great thing about  proposing classes on the public school, I was suggesting that we do that in relations to this chat tonight, that you can also do things in relation to other things too. And you can tie  any of the PDFs that you upload to these courses. Great.

Gerard. Thank you then.

Scott: Awesome.

Brett: [1:53:19] [Inaudible]

Scott:  And we could definitely anybody who’s on. One other thing that might be kind of nice if anyone’s still listening. It looks like pretty much everyone is, we promise not to create a spam list but if you would like to send your emails to us, we can keep you in touch about this particular threat of conversation because there will be some ongoing updates. So many of you are already on our list, but the ones that aren’t, please let us know if you want to receive info. And we’ll do it. But anyway, that’s the least exciting of it. Thanks a lot, guys. It was great.

Greg: Thanks, guys.

Bonnie: Thank you. That was a lot of fun.



Scott: Stay warm everybody.

[Background Noise]

[1:54:37] End of Audio


Chat History with basekamp/$6091908a676b1f3" title="#basekamp/$6091908a676b1f3">The Library Of Radiant Optimism For Let's Remake The World (#basekamp/$6091908a676b1f3)

Created on 2010-01-13 02:14:57.


BASEKAMP team: 17:49:46
Hi Brett & Bonnie
BASEKAMP team: 17:49:48
we're here
Brett Bloom: 17:49:55
BASEKAMP team: 17:49:57
settings up audio
Brett Bloom: 17:50:02
Jonathan Wagener: 17:50:17
howzit everyone
BASEKAMP team: 17:51:06
Hi jonathan - we're setting things up now & will start in 10 mins or so
stephen wright: 17:51:06
Hello all!
BASEKAMP team: 17:51:12
Hi Stephen
Jonathan Wagener: 17:51:16
ok awesomesmiley
BASEKAMP team: 17:53:37
hey B&B can we do a quick call to check the recording levels?
Brett Bloom: 17:53:43
Brett Bloom: 17:54:04
call bonnie
BASEKAMP team: 17:54:51
bonnie can you set your skype status to active
Brett Bloom: 17:54:58
it won't
Brett Bloom: 17:55:21
there it is
BASEKAMP team: 17:55:26
hmm really? i don't think we can call an inactive skype person :/
BASEKAMP team: 17:56:19
can i try you too stephen? we need 3 to conference call
Brett Bloom: 17:56:23
it says call refused when she tries to call you scott
stephen wright: 17:56:36
call me
BASEKAMP team: 17:56:39
yeah - we're trying to set a conf call, so we can add more. cool
Brett Bloom: 17:57:20
bonnie's skype crashed
BASEKAMP team: 17:57:24
Bonnie: 17:57:33
I think I am on this chat
BASEKAMP team: 17:57:35
we can try again in a moment
Bonnie: 17:57:38
BASEKAMP team: 17:57:59
hey bonnie let me add you
mattadams: 18:05:33
haha am i here or am i supposed to join a conference call?
BASEKAMP team: 18:06:03
hello everyone
Aharon: 18:06:20
hiyas! smiley
bfreee" title="dbfreee">Dave Beech: 18:07:02
Brett Bloom: 18:07:11
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 18:07:29
hello smiley
Greg Scranton: 18:07:38
hey everyone
mattadams: 18:07:43
Greg Scranton: 18:07:48
just working out the tech on our end here at Basekamp
Brett Bloom: 18:07:59
Brett Bloom: 18:08:42
the link is so yous can see us. weird delay happens sometimes between skype and ustream.
Brett Bloom: 18:13:00
posted file k_isaacs-136.jpg to members of this chat<files alt=""><file size="311377" index="0">k_isaacs-136.jpg</file></files>
BASEKAMP team: 18:14:03
hi stephanie
mattadams: 18:14:46
hmmm no audio on the ustream. just me?
Bonnie: 18:14:54
no audio on ustream
Bonnie: 18:15:00
we dont want feedback
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:02
so who wants to join the audio chat?
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:05
Matt, right?
Bonnie: 18:15:06
its just for a visual
mattadams: 18:15:06
ahh gotcha
stephen wright: 18:15:16
I'm on already
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:20
mattadams: 18:15:22
yah would like to listen smiley
Aharon: 18:16:02
can not hear a thing from ustream
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:04
hi adam & jessica
Brett Bloom: 18:16:12
sound will come from skype
Brett Bloom: 18:16:16
ustream is just video
Brett Bloom: 18:16:21
otherwise mad feedback
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 18:16:22
I would like also to listen from skype as poss
Aharon: 18:16:37
i c.. lol
stephen wright: 18:18:20
mabel tapia is asking to join
BASEKAMP team: 18:19:01
we don't see mabel?
BASEKAMP team: 18:19:12
jessica & adam - do you wantt to join the audio now?
BASEKAMP team: 18:19:55
mabel can you "request contact details" from us?
mabel: 18:20:16
mabel: 18:20:20
Bonnie: 18:23:32
Hello everyone!
Jonathan Wagener: 18:23:40
Brett Bloom: 18:23:47

[1/12/10 5:08:41 PM] Brett Bloom: the link is so yous can see us. weird delay happens sometimes between skype and ustream.
Bonnie: 18:24:06
thanks for having us!
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 18:24:17
glad to be here listening. hope to talk next time!
Brett Bloom: 18:26:44
but we are open to questions in the middle
BASEKAMP team: 18:27:48
hi natalie
BASEKAMP team: 18:27:52
Jonathan Wagener: 18:29:06
i will be on audio just now
BASEKAMP team: 18:29:19
welcome bojana
Aharon: 18:29:44
wasup with audio..?
bojana romic: 18:30:28
Aharon: 18:30:31
i can c bearded guy talking on ustream.. no sound via skype
Bonnie: 18:30:34
Bonnie: 18:30:39
that's brett
Bonnie: 18:30:47
you shouldnt be able to hear him on ustream
Aharon: 18:31:07
i know.. am looking fwd hearing on skype..
Bonnie: 18:31:14
Aharon: 18:31:38
and the answer is..? smiley
Bonnie: 18:31:55
not sure why you cant hear him on skype that is up to Basekamp team
mabel: 18:32:23
I can't hear him either...  smiley
Bonnie: 18:32:29
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 18:32:39
love the name and philosophy. I can hear
Aharon: 18:32:39
hello BR team!! wassup with skype audio again..? smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:32:57
mabel, sorry but the UStream has no audio here, we're using Skype for audio
Bonnie: 18:33:02
mabel: 18:33:30
yes, I know. I have no audio by skype (sorry
Aharon: 18:33:35
i can not hear the skype audio!!
BASEKAMP team: 18:33:40
ah, no problem smiley
Brett Bloom: 18:33:48

BASEKAMP team: 18:33:51
aharon, let's add you then
BASEKAMP team: 18:33:56
ad to skype audio aharon?
stephen wright: 18:34:07
please add mabel too
Aharon: 18:34:09
pls do
Brett Bloom: 18:34:23
Spiritual Midwifery, By Ina May Gaskin, Book Publishing Company, 1976, 480 pages, paperback, ISBN: 1570671044

Spiritual Midwifery, now in its fourth printing, is a must read for students of midwifery but it is also an influential history of the counter culture. Ina May Gaskin and her husband Stephen Gaskin are founding members of The Farm in Summertown, TN, one of the longest running communes in the United States. The Farm was founded in 1971, Ina May published Spiritual Midwifery, in 1975 to document of the beginning of the Farm and the development of a successful out of hospital birth center, one of the first in the US. The book describes how the Farm was settled and how soon after there was a need for safe and secure medical care for pregnant and birthing women. The Farm Midwives learned how to be midwives out of necessity. An understanding local doctor aided them along with their education. The Midwives have gone on to deliver thousands of babies and are still practicing today.

The majority of the book is a collection of birth stories from the women of the Farm. The fourth edition has added birth stories from the Old Amish Families near the Farm whom some of the Midwives worked with, and birth stories from people who came to the Farm just to give birth. The book also includes a practical section for midwifery students with how-to skills infused with the Farm philosophy of home birth.

Ina May’s writing makes this book special, particularly in the way she frames the material. Although she never set out to be a midwife, she pays close attention to the way words affect how women perceive not only labor, but also their bodies in general. In the book, she weaves a powerful history of a group of people creating their own place in the world, calmly and peacefully, and how communication through specific language and touch plays a vital part in the success of their endeavors. There are also amazing photos of women giving birth.
Bonnie: 18:35:05
BASEKAMP team: 18:35:13
hi Dave, we're adding you to the conference call now
BASEKAMP team: 18:35:34
everyone, please mute your audio - until we do Q&A in about 20-30  mins smiley
Bonnie: 18:35:34
Bonnie: 18:35:45
That was the pdf of the book for ya'll
Aharon: 18:35:57
Bonnie: 18:36:00
Bonnie: 18:36:05
here are some more images
Bonnie: 18:36:15
Aharon: 18:36:18
..and adio audio..?
Bonnie: 18:36:36
Aharon still does not have audio Scott
Bonnie: 18:36:49
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:11
h iMabel
mabel: 18:37:25
great!! It works
mabel: 18:37:27
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:30
please mute your audio everyone until we do Q&A in about 20 - 30 mins smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:32
Aharon: 18:37:36
looks like it blocked me out
Jonathan Wagener: 18:37:43
Abigail: 18:37:48
hey basekamp, can you add me again, i got booted
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:49
aharon trying to add you again
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:51
Bonnie: 18:37:52
can you see the map
Bonnie: 18:37:53
Abigail: 18:38:00
BASEKAMP team: 18:38:11
adding you again
Bonnie: 18:39:45
BASEKAMP team: 18:42:13
mabel i think you need to turn your skype status on
BASEKAMP team: 18:42:33
we are trying to add you to the conference call (only we can add you)
mabel: 18:42:46
BASEKAMP team: 18:42:58
but we need to have people accept our details request & turn on their status to 'available'
mabel: 18:44:03
it's done now isn't it?
BASEKAMP team: 18:44:09
yes - adding you now
mabel: 18:44:24
mabel: 18:44:34
working now
Bonnie: 18:44:40
aquaculture is done now.  we visited an amazing aquaculture space in northern denmark
BASEKAMP team: 18:44:45
smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley
mabel: 18:44:58
Jonathan Wagener: 18:45:05
Bonnie: 18:45:06
Jonathan Wagener: 18:45:12
BASEKAMP team: 18:45:21
hi valentina
BASEKAMP team: 18:45:38
fantastic Brett & Bonnie
Valentina Desideri: 18:45:43
BASEKAMP team: 18:45:51
Valentina, would you like to be added to the audio too?
BASEKAMP team: 18:46:00
we have a dozen people on the call
Valentina Desideri: 18:46:14
i have bad internet connection audio won't work
BASEKAMP team: 18:46:34
BASEKAMP team: 18:46:54
Bonnie is talkign about the book "Radical Technology"
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:04
Whoa - that looks amazing
Brett Bloom: 18:48:24
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:33
For those not on audio, they are holding up an image of a DIY basemaent workshop
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:35
there you go
Brett Bloom: 18:49:02
Brett Bloom: 18:49:08
poster from the gathering
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:09
Everyone please mute your audio, until we move to Q&A (the microphone icon in your call window)
Brett Bloom: 18:49:38
Brett Bloom: 18:49:47
images from the event
Brett Bloom: 18:50:01
Jonathan Wagener: 18:50:10
I want to try my audio. Please add me to the call.
Brett Bloom: 18:50:22
Bonnie: 18:51:33
Bonnie: 18:51:40
The book that we put together with YNKB
Bonnie: 18:51:54
Bonnie: 18:52:04
Bonnie: 18:52:17
The spaces we have worked with that we are talking about
Bonnie: 18:52:30
thanks greg!
Bonnie: 18:52:39
Bonnie: 18:52:50
we have got a lot of optimism to share!
BASEKAMP team: 18:53:15
David do you want to join audio too?
Brett Bloom: 18:53:27
Jonathan Wagener: 18:53:35
Could I join?
BASEKAMP team: 18:53:41
mattadams: 18:53:47
thats a mouthful smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:53:48
loves the title BTW
Jonathan Wagener: 18:53:49
Don't know it it will work
Aharon: 18:54:33
it is down
Bonnie: 18:54:40
we need to check brett's connection
Bonnie: 18:54:52
Brett Bloom: 18:55:55
video should be back
Brett Bloom: 18:56:15
can you all see it?
mattadams: 18:56:16
it is
Brett Bloom: 18:56:28
The Library of Radiant Optimism for Let's Re-Make the World began with a mutual fascination for books from the late 1960s and early 1970s that shared the aesthetic and ethics of self-publication and self-education. These how-to books document cultural practices from the founding and maintence of communal living spaces and growing your own organic garden, to early sustainable design initiatives and home-birthing. The people and projects represented in the books selected for inclusion in the Library paved the way for today's environmental movement and sustainable design culture. The counterculture of this time took seriously the task of building the world they wanted to see.

The Book of the Month Club is an opportunity for us to share some newly selected titles with you. Each month during 2010, we will be scanning and uploading a new book to our website. Books that are hard to find, or particularly capture the spirit of the Library, will be selected to share with you during the Book of the Month Club project.

We begin welcoming Library patrons on January 15, 2010.

The Book of the Month Club is realized in collaboration with basekamp.
BASEKAMP team: 18:56:39
btw, stephen wright is co-host since he's co-organizing Plausible Artworlds with us in 2010 ]smiley
Brett Bloom: 18:56:59
oh yeah, thanks stephen
Brett Bloom: 18:57:10
Charas, The Improbable Dome Builders, By Syeus Mottel, Drake Publishers, Inc., 1973, 191 pages, hardback, ISBN: 0-87749-490-8

“This book is dedicated to everything that is.” This simple dedication begins Charas, the Improbable Dome Builders. The book is a document of a Lower East Side community and their struggle to build a geodesic dome, beginning in the early 1960s with struggling New York City street life and systemic racism. Several men who would become CHARAS members led or were involved in gangs and moved in and out of prison while watching friends and loved ones succumb to drugs and violence. Carlos “Chino” Garcia and Angelo Gonzalez, Jr. two friends from the Lower East Side and involved in gang life from an early age, start the CHARAS story.

Angelo, after serving a long jail sentence and Chino, after spending a year in Puerto Rico at the request of the NYPD, meet up again in their old neighborhood with the idea to do something for their community. The two men were inspired by Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society plan which sought to eliminate poverty and racial injustice in America. Talking at a party they joked that they would start the “Real Great Society” in their neighborhood. The joking led to long discussions drawing in friends and neighbors in an apartment space on East 6th Street. Finally, the group was able to obtain the entire building as a meeting and organizing place to launch the Real Great Society in earnest. Much of what the Real Great Society project was about was developing community autonomy through self-directed economic and education projects. The project managed to do a lot for the neighborhood forming several businesses and setting up several storefront schools for teaching reading and basic math in East Harlem and the Lower East Side.

This project brought national attention to the Lower East Side. Despite its initial successes the group continued to do research and work toward finding the answer to affordable housing. This led them to contact R. Buckminster Fuller, after Chino learned of his design work. Fuller came and spoke at the Real Great Society loft to a rapt audience. This meeting led to the formation of CHARAS, an acronym of the first names of the original six members of the group, committed to implementing Fuller’s ideas for housing in their community.

The original idea was to build a dome in upstate New York so that city dwellers could experience fresh air. Budgetary constraints forced the group to begin building on an abandoned lot in the city. The group worked closely with Fuller’s assistant Michael Ben Eli, a PhD student in London at the time who often traveled with Fuller. In a strange collapsing of scale, Ben Eli commuted from London to the Lower East Side to teach the CHARAS members and friends about the applied geometry of dome building. Several CHARAS members had not graduated from high school and had a skeptical attitude to teacher student relationships. According to the book, there was a long period for CHARAS members and Ben Eli as the learned to communicate with each other. The commitment to the idea finally led to the building of a dome.

Marriage, childbirth, death, and the need to work to support families form the backdrop of the CHARAS story to build a dome house. The process as described in the book is long and arduous and the dome house does not clearly produce lasting change in the community. Rather the process initiated by the former gang members of creating alternatives to poverty and the violence of street life through collective work is the most salient aspect of the book. The book includes an introduction by Fuller and plans for dome building in appendix. Domes were a touchstone for liberation through design, and captured the imagination of many people; this is one of the more interesting stories of their impact on radical culture.
Jonathan Wagener: 18:57:11
mattadams: 18:58:30
been reading about / watching tons of buckminster fuller this week. nice!
Bonnie: 18:58:42
cool matt
Bonnie: 18:58:48
you will love this download then
Aharon: 18:59:19
how is a book of a month become such a book..???
BASEKAMP team: 19:00:52
hi carolyn & henken
Aharon: 19:00:53
..but surely one of the creteria is how you chose/selct/curate these..?
Bonnie: 19:01:11
how do you mean Aharon?
Bonnie: 19:01:35
we select titles that we are interested in and fit the criteria of the Library
Bonnie: 19:02:24
And criteria for the Library are-books from the late 60s early 70s that are often "how-to" books.
Bonnie: 19:03:00
They are also often self published, but not always and they express some idea about building up another culture or way of doing things
Aharon: 19:03:02
@bonnie you have a range of books to be chosen as book of the month, surely, someone somehow chose it..?
Bonnie: 19:03:46
yes we have a range.  We have been wanting to add Charas to the Library itself for awhile
Bonnie: 19:04:09
so we saw this as a perfect opportunity to both add it to the Library and to put up a scan of the book as well
Bonnie: 19:04:35
does that help?
Aharon: 19:05:41
hummm.. did i hear that u chose a book from a range of them each month..?
Bonnie: 19:05:53
Aharon: 19:06:10
who makes that selection/choice?
Bonnie: 19:06:16
we do together
Aharon: 19:06:29
i c.. thanks! smiley
Bonnie: 19:06:43
cool  smiley
Jonathan Wagener: 19:07:02
Very interesting
BASEKAMP team: 19:07:16
hi cecilia
Jonathan Wagener: 19:07:22
What do u do about copyright?
Cecilia Guida: 19:08:08
copyright??? and you? let me think and know what you're talking about
Aharon: 19:08:09
another thing.. i wonder if this can be elaborated by ppl, i have not heard the term "counter culture" for a veeeeeeeeeeeery loooooooooong time.... Do u use this term because it was a rather used one at times these books were made..?
stephen wright: 19:08:30
I have a question. I'm of two minds about "how-to" books. Growing up in the 70s, my parents had all sorts of these books around: user's guides to this that and the other thing. Joy of Sex. Build your own log cabin. How to tie flies. How to catch salmon. The anarchists handbook... I always figured that those books came too late. Kind of like Hegel's owl, that flies only with the coming of dusk. I mean, the action was relevant before the book spelled it out for everyone, by which point the cutting edge had moved on. -----
BASEKAMP team: 19:08:55
So stephen has a question, then Michael has a question after that
Aharon: 19:09:18
i had 1 b4.. smiley
Bonnie: 19:09:33
That's is an interesting thought Stephen. I wonder if that's why we feel the need to draw attention to these titles for a new generation, because perhaps there is time to "how-to"
BASEKAMP team: 19:09:38
oh, yes - aharon first
BASEKAMP team: 19:09:42
then stephen
BASEKAMP team: 19:09:44
then michael
BASEKAMP team: 19:09:53
keeping a queue smiley
Jonathan Wagener: 19:10:16
Bonnie: 19:10:52
thanks basekamp team
BASEKAMP team: 19:11:17
then greg
Aharon: 19:11:43
ok.. i get that.. it is contextual.. smiley
Bonnie: 19:11:56
Aharon: 19:12:45
..and another one.. I wonder.. u just mentioned that u publish books as well as gathering/collecting in your library.. am just wondering if indeed this is a library or a "library"..
Bonnie: 19:14:21
you mean do we lend the titles out like a regular library?
Aharon: 19:15:10
in a sense that titles are produced by you(??) getting lended out/avaliable to download..
stephen wright: 19:15:36
the urban homesteading case is a good example of how recalling usership 's potential is empowering
BASEKAMP team: 19:16:39
the next question in queue was from Michael
Bonnie: 19:16:45
So, it's two-fold. We collect the book titles and share them through reviews online and the PDFs (Book of the Month.) But also, we self-publish our own titles-reviews of the books, or documents of projects that we have done
BASEKAMP team: 19:17:56
B&B you guys could take pics and make a pdf out of thost if it's too fragine to scan
Bonnie: 19:18:09
that's a good idea
Aharon: 19:18:16
i c.. so in that case am wondering why you call yourselves a library? it seems like this is not a description but more of a metaphor in the "as if" sense of a metaphor..
BASEKAMP team: 19:20:57
Guys, was that the first time you've visited that island as part of Continental Drift?
BASEKAMP team: 19:21:14
that was a quick Q i guess --
BASEKAMP team: 19:21:26
Greg is in queue for the next question
BASEKAMP team: 19:22:27
Hi Alex
Brett Bloom: 19:22:36
ourcreamesteem" title="sourcreamesteem">Alex M.: 19:23:32
Henken Bean: 19:25:10
I'm curious who your audience is or if you have a target audienceand if you market your projects if at all. Maybe it was already answered earlier-
BASEKAMP team: 19:26:37
So Henken is next in queue unless there was another one we missed?
Bonnie: 19:26:45
BASEKAMP team: 19:27:02
BASEKAMP team: 19:27:36
we've finally downloaded the call to farms pdf & are projecting in the space
Bonnie: 19:27:44
Bonnie: 19:28:34
stephen wright: 19:29:10
I totally agree with your point about re-evalutating the 60s, taking back their work from its dismissal, and repurposing the hard work that was done.
BASEKAMP team: 19:29:23
smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley
stephen wright: 19:30:11
But don't you need to expand -- geographically -- what you mean by the 60s.
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 19:30:47
hey henken
Bonnie: 19:31:35
@stephen you mean will we include books that are from other regions and the counter cultural activity that happened there?
Aharon: 19:32:03
hummm... in terms of paw.. would you say that your artistic practice is curative..?  with an emphasis on curation of the "counter culture" lit within a library metaphor..???
Henken Bean: 19:32:21
Hey scrap!
Bonnie: 19:34:00
I think @aharon should be the next in the cue yes?
BASEKAMP team: 19:34:08
Hi Alan
BASEKAMP team: 19:34:14
adding you to the call now
Aharon: 19:34:17
thanks! @bonnie
stephen wright: 19:34:43
While you answer the other questions, let me contextualize mine: I live in France, and May '68 in this country is a secularly sacred moment of contestation; it changed everything (and opened the door to gentrification). But not only that, and here as in the States, the radical and caustic edge of that movement needs to be reposessed. But what about Mexico? Argentina? Turkey? India? The global spirit to do things differently and to do them oneself was very powerful. So I think you might want to consider that in choosing your titles of the month.
Henken Bean: 19:35:01
Yes thank you!
BASEKAMP team: 19:36:01
Alan btw, there werre lots of hellos to you after adding to the text chat & before you got on audio  smiley
Bonnie: 19:36:11
@stephen wright nxt in the cue
Bonnie: 19:36:20
hello alan
BASEKAMP team: 19:36:24
oops, alan calling you back
BASEKAMP team: 19:36:54
will try again
BASEKAMP team: 19:37:30
hmm, alan we have to add you
Aharon: 19:37:49
Aharon: 19:37:49
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 19:37:56
not fully researched-- but I work in the International Center of Photography Library and there is a radical self-reliance spirit that seems to come out in Eastern European solidarity movements of late 80's/90's
Aharon: 19:38:09
thanks! will have a follow up though.. smiley
Bonnie: 19:38:39
BASEKAMP team: 19:38:53
hey alan - you got in the call!
stephen wright: 19:39:54
the problem is that south american counter culture was crushed and exterminated by american imperialism
mattadams: 19:39:54
pura vida!
Aharon: 19:40:51
hummm.. to follow on the question regarding your project as a paw.. you mentioned that you use stuff from your project in your daily lives, then added that in art contexts as well.. In a sense you did there a seperation between "life" and "art".. I wonder, in that case, what are the contexts you define as "art"???
stephen wright: 19:41:01
great! thanks
Bonnie: 19:41:29
you are welcome
Greg Scranton: 19:41:50
Photos of the "library" at Basekamp:
BASEKAMP team: 19:42:09
thanks for that Q stephen -- i would like to follow up with this maybe as a public school course proposal, as well as other ilnes of thought or questions that have come up tonight
Greg Scranton: 19:42:10
books will be added each month
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 19:42:14
scrap compilations of resource information fuel activated intelligence toward living systems without conflict! rock-on
Bonnie: 19:42:41
that looks great @Basekamp team
Bonnie: 19:42:48
thanks for putting it together
Greg Scranton: 19:42:59
sure Bonnie
Aharon: 19:43:47
i c.. thanks!
Bonnie: 19:44:19
Brett Bloom: 19:44:47
for those who just joined or recently joined you can watch us without sound:
Bonnie: 19:45:11
breaking up
Bonnie: 19:45:52
I can hear you!
Greg Scranton: 19:46:07
Adam, if you or your students do have ?s perhaps text them in
BASEKAMP team: 19:48:26
can you show us those things again?
BASEKAMP team: 19:48:30
BASEKAMP team: 19:48:37
took us a while to get ustream to show
Bonnie: 19:48:44
BASEKAMP team: 19:48:48
Bonnie: 19:48:51
I will show you the lamp again
Bonnie: 19:48:54
get ready
BASEKAMP team: 19:49:19
okay... but there's a delay
BASEKAMP team: 19:49:27
grr, now it's spinning. dang
BASEKAMP team: 19:49:47
alan we have to add you to teh conf call, whcih is why we keep declining your call
Bonnie: 19:51:02
Bonnie: 19:51:08
BASEKAMP team: 19:52:03
we keep trying to add you alan,... seems like you are in for a moment or so at a time
Greg Scranton: 19:53:25
bucket undies?
Bonnie: 19:53:40
Bonnie: 19:53:55
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:36
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:22
stephen wright: 19:59:17
Thanks so much B&B! It's 2 am here, so I'll be acknowledging my comatosis and going to sleep, but it's been... radiant hearing about your project.
BASEKAMP team: 19:59:20
Bonnie: 19:59:36
Oh thanks Stephen we sincerely appreciate your feedback
Bonnie: 19:59:37
Bonnie: 19:59:48
Please keep in touch
stephen wright: 19:59:58
count on that
Bonnie: 20:00:07
sleep well
Aharon: 20:00:20
thanks guys for coming!!
bfreee" title="dbfreee">Dave Beech: 20:00:50
thanks everyone
stephen wright: 20:01:08
Long live radiant piracy!
bojana romic: 20:01:13
thanks, bye!
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 20:01:26
any brooklyn affiliates? we run some of our own inititives as "noetic lab school for noosphere" but not reaching a growing population and would rather have discussions for "creatively/collaboratively envisioning new futures" than  just high-brow Art discussions (such as bhqfu). thanks BASEKAMP and RADIANT OPTIMISTS!!
Bonnie: 20:01:26
crapworm" title="scrapworm">scrapworm: 20:03:01
stephen wright: 20:03:23
until next week!
Bonnie: 20:03:23
smiley  smiley  smiley  (wave)
Brett Bloom: 20:04:47
BASEKAMP team: 20:05:35
you guys rock
mattadams: 20:05:59
thanks guys!
Greg Scranton: 20:06:11
L8R all. Thx a million Brett & Bonnie
Bonnie: 20:06:24