[rumori] warm sprinkles... commodification

illegal art [rumori] warm sprinkles... commodification
Thu, 17 Dec 1998 08:46:41 +0900 (00913852001, v04011701b29de11e4feaat[])

At 11:32 :( -0500 12/16/98, Polenberg, Todd wrote:

>i'm a little surprised to hear this view coming from you, given the kind of
>excellent political art you've been responsible for disseminating.
>with 'the flow' being a system of distribution + copyright that you don't
>participate in and whose values you don't espouse, how do you propose to
>become a part of it without believing in it?

i can only talk about what happened w/ deconstructing beck and that is...
we existed primarily outside of the flow and then then this fall we got
distribution with very little effort (via Seeland/Mordam). the next thing
i know i go to the tower records here in tokyo and it is on a listening
station. i get letters from people complaining that they bought it
thinking it was a beck release (as some store ignorantly or maybe not so
ignorantly filed it with the beck stuff).... and the more i think about it
is one of the most beautiful things that could happen as these 'i'm such a
beck fan' people pick up these cds that beck supposedly doesn't even like
(the last i heard). some of them actually like it. such as one
self-described beck fan who said "I can't even begin to describe how I felt the first time I listened to it!!! It blew me away and I couldn't stop
listening to it!" with other people i've exchanged email with them seeing if they could listen to it with an open mind and i like that notion that
i'm not preaching to the converted... that maybe some person who thinks
beck is so radical might realize there is a whole lot more going on...
that appropriation extends way beyond just cute little samples for slacker

>i think the line between flow and not flow has more to do with how/where one
>is selling their work than how much of it gets sold. hasn't it been easier
>for you/us to just become part of the outsider flow? the internet has
>allowed us to set up an alternate network of dissemination--shouldn't we be
>more interested in exploring and protecting that than banging our heads
>against (or feeling the warm sprinkle of piss as it rebounds against) the
>mainstream system? or can we really deal from both ends of the deck w/o
>sacrificing our ideals?

i'm dealing at both ends right now... so far it hasn't changed how i make
my art. i am very interested in the outsider flow and the internet as a
network for disseminating art etc. my guess is that d-beck was sort of a
fluke and eventally illegal art will probably reside mainly outside. but i
think it's good to take advantage of any opportunity to penetrate the
inside as long as the actual art isn't compromised.

> or is 'sacrificing our ideals' just kind of an
>outmoded concept? (if so, color me outmoded, i guess...)

i guess my question is what have we sacrificed? i didn't change what the
artists did for their tracks or the packaging. note that we did change the
sticker earlier so that it has the track listing for seeland. they
requested it as "not everyone has internet access" but that was before we talked about distributing to stores and was just for their mailorder
catalog... so at the point of "joining the flow" (although these things aren't black and white and even being in negativlands catalog could be a
step towards the flow) nothing changed with the actual object at hand.
conceptually it was actually a move to see if we could push it further...
as in maybe we got away with it since we were such a small time operation
and once you go to a distributor and stores then you are actually more of a
threat to the flow.

also note that once people email illegal art we take them out of the flow.
we introduce them to other like-minded projects (well eventually once i
find time to put together a mailing list of sorts to spread propaganda
about such projects etc.).

but i'm open to discussion about this... did we sacrifice something?


ps. on a similar topic i recently got a copy of Terre Thaemlitz's 'Love For
Sale - Taking Stock In Our Pride'. he usually puts his liner notes up on
his website (try www.comatonse.com). in short the release is packaged and
marketed as "queer media" while on the inside it is critique of such marketing.