[rumori] BOUNCE rumoriATdetritus.net: Non-member submission from [erickATear.Psych.Berkeley.EDU (Erick Gallun)] (fwd)

Steev Hise (steevATdetritus.net)
Tue, 21 Dec 1999 23:21:03 -0800 (PST)

bounced to me.......


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 00:50:57 -0800
To: rumoriATdetritus.net
From: erickATear.Psych.Berkeley.EDU (Erick Gallun)
Subject: Re: [rumori] Anti-Capital

Steev wrote:
>We're all part of
>this capitalist society, and we're acting for the most part in the best
>way that we can, but it's a complicated web and it's not easy to
>immediately or totally extricate oneself. Every action has effects, many
>that we cannot see right away or ever. All we can do is keep trying to do
>our best.

This is really important. I am an active sample-based artist, both musical
and graphic. I want to make art that responds to our culture and makes
people think about it. I also want to amuse and entertain. If I can
strike a blow against corporate control of our minds and our lives, I will.
However, I am always running the risk of hurting some individual who
doesn't deserve it.

Suppose I sample from a videotape I shot at a recent performance. The
people whose images appear on that tape haven't given me permission to use
their images. I don't intend to ask them. I don't intend to ask NBC if I
can use their advertisements. I don't intend to ask NPR if I can use their
advertisements, either. Should I? Maybe I should respect the rights of
the individuals on my videotape. Maybe I will. But I believe it is okay
to use whatever sources I find to make my art. This could cause me trouble
with a corporation. If that meant that I got to get a message out about
corporate control of culture, that would be okay. This could make trouble
with an individual. That would suck. But what about the individual who
made the commercial? Am I doing them harm?

This is a really hard issue for me to sort out. I can't really believe
that I am harming anyone by making a collage. But, then, how can I claim
that the collage is an effective political statement? I don't think I can
target corporations without hitting individuals, and I don't even WANT to
constrain my art by making sure that it only targets corporations.

Here are some thoughts that I have about why collage and sampling is
important...why it is worth doing, despite the risk...

For me, collage is an effective artform because of its social commentary as
well as its covert political agenda (or overt in some cases). By using the
stuff we are bombarded with every day as source material, I am sharing my
experience of the world and the things that I think about when I look and
listen every day. I can make you think them too if I do my job well. And
to do that effectively, I need to be able to capture anything that I ever
see or hear and recontextualize it...chew it up...spit it back out. This
is the way for me to communicate about these things without just saying
them. I want you to think what I think, not just hear that I think
something. You can disagree, but I can make my point best by playing you
what I hear and showing you what I see.

I object to the fact that corporations can feed me visions of guns that
kill - without ruining lives, corporate exploitation of the world's
resources - that is really the same as recycling, and beautiful people
living rich, expensive lives - without going to work. If they can blanket
the airwaves with their hallucinations, then I should be allowed to poke
holes in them. Even if my work is not parody or critical analysis or

I should be allowed to make art that is directly about the world I
experience. And until the dialog becomes a two-way street, I will resent
Sony and NBC and CNN and become very angry when my response gets co-opted
into a commercial for Sprite. Collage is now heard across the nation in
the jingles of "alternative" radio stations. It is featured on the MTV
Video Music Awards. If the advertisers take my medium...which IS my
message, ultimately...how do I fight back?


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