Marc thanks for a passionately argued post.
I don't like secrets either.....
----- Original Message -----
From: "marc" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2004 2:27 PM
Subject: gate keeping & who gets seen...
Firstly, I would like to thank all those who have sent me personal
emails (which surprised me, and there are quite a few) regarding this
issue. And also, a thank you to Sarah & Simon who both declared
honourable text’s that I agreed with on the whole…
It seems that many are too afraid to openly declare their own
experiences and misgivings on this list because they fear being
blacklisted or not included in certain funding or potentially
collaborative remits. Isn’t that a sad state of affairs?
Secondly, I would like to welcome the sudden (masked) appearance of
'Secret Fluxus' to this list.
Hello ‘secret Fluxus’ - you may have managed to place (hopefully not
deliberately) Jess in a box that is not appropriate to the discussion
needed on here. By inferring that Jess is only interested in her own
state of being or personal, nationalist vision or as you say 'special
pleading to give British artists a place in the American sun', you have
managed to belittle original intentions – if you are seriously
progressive then you will not mind who wishes to have their own voice
heard. Whether one wishes to change the currently stale ‘new media’
hierarchies as an artist or as a group, there is plenty of room for
alternative imaginations to explore such options; seen and acknowledged
(or not, as is the case here).
So what you are said you are doing is of course admirable...
If you really are a secret ‘Fluxus entity’, or belong to a Situationist
sect/group – you might possibly (hopefully) be aware or informed that
the ‘Temporary Autonomous Zone’, is no longer appropriate. It does not
work any more, it merely puts those who refer and expound its relevance
in the driving seat, and those who lived it, become consumable
curiosities. Fodder left in the vaults of selected historical annuals,
categorized as ‘safe = past’ therefore, ineffectual.
Rather than taking on the very real and urgent challenges at hand,
certain default led individuals and groups would rather just say ah, he
or she is just whining. One of the most commonly used weapons, tactics
by despotic rulers, or tactically controlling organizations; is to drown
out valid concerns, dissent and social disquiet by stigmatizing them as
whiners. Dumbing it down to a level that cheapens the original intention
itself. Putting it all down to a backward non progressive act of jealousy…
In essence these tactics and responses are psychologically reactionary.
Such properties are mannerist, whether conscious or not - they do serve
to inflict disempowerment and do act to trivialize the disputer’s voice,
diverting them and others away from the actual context of what was
originally argued or disputed. A patriarchal function (similar to
governmental functions) that pulls rank, displacing the upstart in
question and literally placing them to the back of the queue called
'shut up listen person'.
Thomas Moore said 'All attempts to give a strict form to life, even if
they are based in a fantasy of self improvement, participate in Sadeian
This is the perptually (unconscious probably) repeated action that
occurs between situations suchas this.
Jean Dubuffet wrote 'What cultured people want, in terms of language
(and thought), is to be well-defined, correctly positioned in strictly
combined terms, and this is what they call good speech, good thought,
and good writing. But they do not realize that they are thereby creating
a closed circuit that leaves no room for anything but what was there in
the first place---except for the decomposition inherent to all closed
circuits, like moss that grows in a hermetically sealed jar.'
The psychological relationship between academic intelligence and
outsider intellectuals has been a constant battle through history and
one that institutions should not be proud of. The stance that many
academic individuals use to hide their emotional and intellectual
inadequacies is to add clout to their own use of language by imposing
the official 'wild card' that they know more because they have gone
through the process of induced learning. This failing of coming to terms
to the idea, the reality that actually there might be equivalent,
relevant ideas and people out there that have not of been processed by
the same protocols, is shameful. For this puts in place barriers
enhanced via denial, plus the default of the traditional and tiresome
dichotomy of, we are right and you are not. 'We are right and you are
not' does not even have to be said, for it is assumed.
What this means is that the probability for those who have not had
institutional support compared to those who have had institutional
support, regarding being seen by writers and critics with strong
institutional connections, is a vast chasm. For institutional historians
for some reason by habit it do not value social change, they seem to
value history instead. Thus they do not feel that it as part of their
remit to put forward a more democratic vision. A more realistic
Secret Fluxus - Your secrecy worries me slightly, because you could be
either a group of top down instigators and we have no way of knowing
that - your acceptance or recognition that something is indeed not
working does declare a mutual possibility that I do warm to; yet,
declaration of your selves, or yourself can open things up a little in
regard to the dynamics of this current argument. Then, I will feel that
you are putting your money where your mouth is (excuse the wording here).
Getting back to what I view as a misdirected reference yet seemingly
relevant statement 'special pleading to give British artists a place in
the American sun'. May be it would be more constructive to redirect that
statement elsewhere. Surely the Tate needs to stop gloating on American
institutions and go wider a field, invite other groups who are not
necessarily institutionally supported but are equally effective in their
critical and fluid presence and experience in respect of new media (hate
that word), digital and networked creativity. Perhaps be more
imaginative, playful, and less self-conscious and include a mixture –
surely this is more productive rather than supporting the same old
names, perpetually building larger walls.
It is not about wanting to be part of an institution as many might
think. No, many of us have opted out of such things to consciously
discover other options instead, forging new territories that are
actually very exciting and offer great rewards. There is nothing more
stimulating than building something of value that is special, with other
like-minded people who are passionately involved in the process,
context, inventing, re-inventing new fields and platforms that were not
there before for others to enjoy with you. In fact it is beautiful,
magical and contextually liberating, and one is continuously
reevaluating, relearning, learning new ways to negotiate and
communicate. Sharing self- made platforms independently is a respectable
thing to do, not a negative thing. And what many of these groups and
people are asking is that they should be seen, not ignored.
No, of course soft groups such as Furtherfield do not wish to become the
same as other more static, bricks and buildings ‘hard groups’, who
(obviously) find it less easier to move beyond the remits of traditional
constraints. We wish to be working with people who have vision beyond
top down led conferences, who actively work together because they
believe in what they are doing collectively. Who are genuinely wishing
for something better than what is already here – build a new creative
world that does not rely on history alone to change our perceptions, we
want to change things now, not tomorrow.
Those who are not comfortable with such changes will view this sort of
talk as scary. Well, we are not asking for a revolution silly, we are
asking for an evolution, that’s all – calm down. Do your job and let
others be seen…