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I'll Take 12: Wesley Weaver and Charles Schoen
Theorist David Joselit argues that art has moved away from a paradigm of form expressing content and rather toward artistic output via formats which he calls “dynamic mechanisms for aggregating content.” In our image culture, all aspects of a work of art may be appropriated, recognizable, or preexisting. The novelty of a format is how these components devise a web of connections in the artist’s own way, comprising structures of both display and thinking and critical outlooks on political scenarios. Mining the infinite supply of content already out in the world doesn’t stifle free-association, but encourages it.
It’s an outplayed trope to say that we live in a fast-paced era accelerating at unmatched speed. After all, what era hasn’t felt that way? These artists’ formats are native to high-output mentalities, so rather than the clichéd bewilderment with our present, they focus on the possibility of absurdity and humor perhaps with a nuance of the high-anxiety of current politics. It’s too easy to take the cynical stance that in (post-)postmodernism, anything can be art. But rather more hopefully (especially in our bleak political landscape), anything can be made art through the right format.
Poor Kelsey Harrison…where have you been?: KElsey Harrison
I can’t account for what happened on my last drive home from the sales office in the Cozumel model home. After I was fired, I loaded my car with my belongings from the office (see my catalogue) and drove home totally preoccupied. Given my complete distraction, I can’t relay to you how I ended up on that island alone and wrecked—I can’t string together the events that lead to my inconvenient perdition. All I can tell you is that it happened, that it sucked, and that I learned nothing. When you’re wrecked alone on an island for 4 days, you could learn a lot about yourself. But mostly, it’s boring. It’s hot in the day and cold at night and nothing happens if you complain about it. Your computer runs out of batteries. So does your phone. So does your oculus and your drone, so you can’t even see anything on the island. You can’t find food anywhere.
You know what’s most annoying about the island? It doesn’t matter where anything goes. Like you can put anything anywhere and it will always not be put away. Like you can’t…it’s hard to explain. But the same is true of yourself. You can be anywhere because you don’t belong anywhere in particular. I was on my island for 4 whole days, bored out of my mind, but I think I could have done longer. I think I could have made it work. At Daybreak, the master-planned community I worked at, we used to say to potential buyers, “Let the community grow up around you!” It may be cheesy, but it makes them feel brave for settling the frontier. Well, this could have been my frontier since I was the king of the place. I could have done it—settled the hell out of that place, made roads, made houses, places for stuff and people to go. But I got picked up, and so I didn’t. I also didn’t bring a hammer or anything. Anyways, I present you with the shit I had on hand with which I had to reproduce my life as I knew it.
Secret Wars 5.1.whatever: Adams Puryear
Secret Wars 5.1.whatever is the latest installation of an ongoing project that explores how digital culture and the internet’s convoluted information can be represented by tactile materials and alternate media.
Secret Wars is a Marvel Comic miniseries from the mid 80s. A group of divergent characters are beamed onto a planet in order to fight each other and the powerful cosmic figure that brought them there. This was followed by Secret Wars II, which started the same way, but fell apart with the cosmic figure having an existential crisis and the plot becoming similar to a soap opera of the same era. In his work, Puryear continues the quixotic Secret Wars story by bringing in additional characters to the melee and adding a layers of debris from the internet’s anti filter.
In these works, thoughts of digital culture, socio-economic-environmental degeneration, survival, frustrated bureaucratic logic, AI, brutal operation of power, image distribution, and cyberpunk intersect and materialized in two opposing video sculptures. They are jumbled amorphous amalgamations of material with a graphic depiction of the characters represented and embedded in video screen. The narrative movie portrays a group of fictional characters, living and dead, trying to escape from a internet web browser environment maze. Each of the characters have been trapped in a system or role in their own lives and are now trapped in a forced exile that may or may not have an end.