The Trial of Akbar Lightning and Globatron – The Gods Debate.

Posted by on Apr 7, 2009 in Akbar Lightning, Globatron, Laws

Well, having some doubts, which is what I do.  Because I know Byron, as Globatron, will never give up in a tireless pursuit of the truth I have invited him to discuss them with me.  I am upset by all the negativity that are proximate to our actions.  I think I might believe our letter was a wrong thing for us to do.  In this post Globatron and Akbar Lightning will see if we can get to the truth of this question.  We will have a post below this one for all our readers to have their own parallel discussion.

The rules are thus, don’t comment in ours, and we won’t comment in yours.  This will be an exercise in parallel dialogue.  You may make your cases for or against us there.  The only time we will use our administrative rights is when people make personal attack statements that serve no argument in the thread.

Akbar Lightning



  1. Byron King
    April 8, 2009

    Akbar I am surprised as usual by the negativity we’ve received over the past few days. I’ve been attacked on this blog locally for two years now but now I’m getting hateful comments from all over the country.

    To tell you the truth I feel as if we’ve shaken a tree and a few nuts have fallen off. I’m scared to tell you the truth. I’m am completely amazed that a good friend of mine Mark Creegan would not see this as an art project. He seems to see everything as art but not the Chicken Wire project.

    I know why he didn’t support the project but that could have been just stated plainly and diplomatically and that would have been sufficient I would have thought.

    Everyone is so upset over us emailing UNI’s art department. What I don’t understand is how Mr. T came on the blog and made spiteful comments over and over and how that’s okay. That attacking us is accepted. It seems to always be accepted on this blog to attack us. I mean at first it was me. I was the controversy maker on this blog for a year or so because I spoke my mind openly and thank God I still do.

    I live in Jacksonville Florida and it seems that it’s not accepted to speak one’s mind about art in this city, so that’s why I decided to do so. And it’s been non-stop for over two years now. And I’m so proud of this blog. I really am. I am proud of the people I’ve met and all the interviews I’ve done, and all the art shows I documented. But after a while I realized that there was no discussion on the blog posts I did the most work on. All the art shows I covered, close to fifty in two years, were easily dismissed if noticed at all. I could only expect a handful of comments if any on all that work I would put in. I think a lot of people thought I worked for the city and had a salary or something as some folks would bitch to me via email that I wasn’t at their art show. Really. That happened to me several times. Mind blowing.

    So while all of that was going on I had a brain tumor I was fighting with ongoing medical treatment and bills, two brain surgeries, and to little girls to raise, a wife, and trying to make art. I felt as if I had put myself in a black hole. And nothing was coming out of the work I was putting in to the blog.

    So when you began the Art Laws exercise: I was overjoyed. Finally we could get back to talking about art. To me that’s what this site was always meant for in my mind. To have real hardcore Socratic method discussions. To THINK. And we did. We had some great conversations about art and its relativity, and truth. All that fruitless talk about truth that seemed to upset so many and go no where.

    And all this time Frank Matthews and I had an ongoing debate going. I’m not sure where our personality conflict came in, but there seemed to be an underlying oil and water reaction from the beginning. Even though I respected his opinions and felt he always represented himself very intelligently of which I truly appreciated.

    I made this post called Homage to Frank after he quit commenting for a while. He quit commenting after I got upset over him disagreeing with me on universal health care. Yes I admit I was pigheaded on that. I agree. But I had just come out of my first brain surgery and was scared to death of the financial obligations that were going to be placed on my family, even though I have great insurance. Oh I can’t help it, here’s the video to it once again for those who didn’t watch it. I still can’t believe they actually did video for me of my brain surgery. Super cool:

    So I made this post:
    And from its creation a shit storm began. First (offline among contributors) Mark Creegan suggested I should apologize to Frank. Even though I felt I did nothing wrong by doing the post but meant it as a real invitation to become involved with globatron once again. I still wish Frank was involved more in the site. Well James took that suggestion as either you do it or I’m quitting the site. For some reason James took the Frank post very personally and said it didn’t align wit his values. So there. That was done. I thought that was the end of it.

    But it wasn’t because a day later James emailed me saying he had to stay away from any controversy professionally and that was the real reason he had to distance himself from the blog. That was after several emails where he personally attacked me just like everyone else has been doing lately on here. But he said it was really just that he had to have no controversy in his life. That’s it. I could have accepted that. That’s easy enough to understand. Right?

    So we continued the site as always as if it’s an art project.
    (Announcement: is an art project folks – the entire thing – all the content – everything on it).
    Ken created a great globatron theme song and Mark made a wicked music video out of it. I even went to Mark’s Design 1 class and gave a talk which was one of the proudest points in my life, where I talked about my journey as an artist/designer, and spoke openly about my life story. This was only three weeks ago folks. Can you believe that? I was so happy to have been able to do that. I really hope someone got something out of that. I wonder what he would tell his students about me now? Here’s a post to that.

    And then this Law was posted and it was the Law that caused this whole mess.

    It’s a silly law really but I was trying to get at something. I really thought there was some truth to it that’s why I kept on discussing it and seeing where it would take me. Akbar was leading me down a path with it too which I appreciated as from the start it seemed an ignorant path to go down. A dead-end of sorts.

    Then Mr. T started in. And he just slathered all over the discussion from the beginning. I felt we were going somewhere with it but Mr. T just chopped it off at the knees. “All art sucks. All digital Art sucks. Are we still questioning truth? etc.”

    He did not add to the discussion but just pissed on it really. So I admit I was defensive, but I believe that’s how one gets when they are defending their position. That’s what I’ve always done on here. Tried to defend my position and as intelligently as I possibly can without attacking anyone. I got the complete opposite from Mr. T.

    Historically on this site, the problem is that no one ever wanted to take a position. Especially not Mark. James sometimes, but Mark never. So when Tim Dooley from UNI felt he could just come on the blog and vomit all over it I felt I had the right to defend myself. He after all was James Greenes’ ex-professor and I felt for a fact there was a personal connection for his new found commitment to the site. Like he was fighting for James. He was at liberty to be the controversy James could not be.

    So with that, we emailed Tim Dooley’s (who is tenured faculty at in printmaking) entire art department and let them know there was a serious debate going on about digital art. Or so we thought it was serious. Plus I wanted them to know how Tim had been representing their department. I didn’t feel it was right that folks like Mark and James who were adjuncts who always showed respect for others could have someone who is tenure just make a show and do it without any regrets or repercussions whatsoever. I mean walk the walk. You can’t have it both ways. So the initial email was a challenge to continue the dialogue. That was its intent. It was a rather polite letter at that. It’s posted somewhere on the digital art law thread. You can read it if you wish somewhere on this post:

    So as all of this was going on, Akbar and I got the idea to begin a project where we directly address Art Departments with a letter. In the letter we were going to ask some very serious questions in some very serious times. And since had been recently introduced to us we felt we’d give them the first go at it. Both Akbar and me being huge fans of the HBO series The Wire we wanted to do something that could directly have an impact on social issues. I believe we both fear it’s all connected, Education, Economics, the Environment, Wall Street, Main Street, etc. for the mess we are currently in as a country. Contemporary art should not get off guilt free. There should be repercussions for the part contemporary artists and educators played in this mess. There is blood on our hands too if it’s just in us being complacent and apathetic.

    And now to backtrack, as the art laws continued to get beefed up we realized there was a distinct line in the sand. Akbar and I wanted to help others define their belief system and wanted to champion one standing for their own personal definition of truth. To me that was the cohesion in all of the Laws. A journey for defining truth, a long and dirty road that it is. Truth is not an easy word to define, and it never will be. But that journey is not over in post-post-post-post-modernism. We feel it’s our obligation as artists to continue to search for it.

    And then we emailed the entire UNI art department with the letter that is now the Headline post of this blog:

    While that was going on (there was about three days of complete silence) but we really thought we were onto an art project that could help answer some major questions for society in general, so we were patient. As that silence continued Mark Creegan developed an email and sent it out to the local art community saying he was going to ditch Globatron and wash his hands of us. We did not receive that letter. I have yet to read it.

    See a theme here. Two local professors washing their hands of a blog that is asking real questions about art, and truth, and the life within all of it.

    The funny thing is, James and Mark were both at my surprise birthday party before I had my first brain surgery. I’ve documented art shows for both of them. Collaborated creatively with both of them on this blog (as if it were our own child) and as soon as the content became political or possibly could jeopardize one’s position in academia, I was thrown to the curb. A recovering brain cancer patient who had just started chemo and had a several years friendship with both of these professors was just thrown out like the dirty bathwater.

    And if the email mark sent out was not enough, it was the sneaking in and deleting two years of content by James and Mark that was the pudding on the cake. I mean this site is an archive and a journey of my life, an art community and a personal collaborative art project. I ask you, how could one do something so drastic as that? As artists we generally take joy and pride in our creative work. I was able to pay some money and get the content back, thank God, to keep the sites cohesion. With those gaps in the content the site would make little sense. One post leads to the next. There’s a sort of ballet in the creation of content on this site that’s been a complete collaboration between its contributors. Just glad it’s all whole again. Words can not describe my disappointment in Mark for doing that. I think of Judas ( now) when I think of Mark now and I’m sure he thinks of Judas when he thinks of me. Strange twist in perceptions isn’t it?

    So a definite line in the sand had been drawn, the Academics vs. the “truth seekers”. That’s the way I see it. And the funny thing about our journey Akbar is that we have never said one person was right over the other, but have just begged for folks to take a stand one way or the other. To not hide under the empty veil of relativism. That’s all we have ever asked. Pick a side and stand up for it. Tell us why? Defend it. If you disagree with us tell us why. And throughout it all attempt some type of intellectual discourse about art, culture and life.

    I know this is turning into a novel. Sorry. I’m almost done.

    The email to the UNI art department has caused more hateful, attacking comments than I could have ever imagined. Both emails to UNI were challenges yes, but they were not spiteful or hateful. They were indeed, direct challenges to toe the line. Practice what you preach. Profess what you teach. And through the process we silenced an entire art department with the challenge but at the same time created up to ten or so snarky anonymous commentators from all over the nation. Much of the traffic is from UNI (Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa) as my sitemeter states but not one of them has attempted to answer the questions in the letter but has continued to attack us and tear us down.

    I honestly feel as if we have done nothing wrong. Globatron is an art project for Pete’s sake. And for folks who have argued for months for relativity all of a sudden our actions are reprehensible? The line that has been drawn in the sand tells me we are on a truthful journey that is revealing a lot about certain social structures and the academic power paradigm in general. The adjuncts ran away from a long time friend who is going through chemo treatment with a short prognosis in order to guard their positions. That to me is utterly shameful.

    So I’ll quit rambling. Sorry. My question for the Chicken Wire project is what would the reaction be if we hit Yale’s art department? I believe they would answer the call because they have the power to do so. These state schools don’t have the money or power to make mistakes or stand up for what they believe in.

    What say you Akbar?

    There’s some background information on my life and this entire blog for you anonymous blokes who just dropped by a few days ago to give Akbar and I a bloody nose. This soap opera has been running for several seasons now and it’s getting better every day. I hope you continue watching. Currently it’s a Greek tragedy. We do try to interject some comedy in it here or there.

    And to be truthful, I do have serious doubts about the sanity of some of the people commenting currently and it does make me question continuing the project. I would hope that we could continue and actually get some answers to that letter. I hypothesize once we go after another school it won’t be so bloated with personal vendettas from past contributors and will become more actualized and complete as a project. I really think we’re onto something Akbar.

  2. Akbar Lightning
    April 8, 2009

    Wow man, that is something, really is.

    My doubts come from my fear of irrational emotion, and all the negativity that is coming at us. I’ve been called a sociopath, a fascist, labeled as mentally sick. it is really frightening, truly, sincerely.

    and of course, i ask myself, have i done something wrong?

    my personal life is a rich one, i have friends, i volunteer in my community to help others, i have a rich artistic life, i have a loving family, i barely pay the bills but i pay them.

    has this blog become an outlet for me to hurt people? these are my doubts.

    i am not angry because i think i deserve something, i have been luckier than most artists. i am a little angry because the top tiers of the art world are just not attractive to me, there seems to be an extravagance that I find not only unattractive but somewhat grotesque given the state of our world.

    my heroes are the social critics that stood for economic equality and peace. and so, i have acted on these impulses.

    we have to decide where to go next, as we thought to send emails to University of North Florida. There are two issues here.

    1. – We are sending them here because of our relationships with Mark and James. Is this a wise thing to do?

    2. – There is a class issue that I will speak on further on.

    on #1 – Nobody has told us yet whether art professors are in ‘real’ danger from having association with us. If they were I would like to know why. This is a sincere question and one i think is artistically valid because it relates to the notion of creative freedom. that makes me think that addressing their schools is valid. do i have any feelings that i want to harm them. HELL NO!!! I sincerely like Mark, I sincerely like Valuistics, as I have known them through this site. I have never thought of challenging exchange as dangerous. I was hurt by Mark taking the video we made together, and I have given him much praise for things about his work that I liked. if at times we were challenging one another, it takes two to tango. There are two reasons he could have left in my estimation. 1. he felt that globatron could endanger his career – i think this would be a mistake, if Mark felt that his participation was a mistake, and that he was thoughtless with his participation then i would agree he ought to have the right to remove his material, but he has not expressed that. people make mistakes, but he would have to admit that, we cannot assume that. i thought his participation was thoughtful. 2. he left because he felt our activities violated certain social norms that he felt were foundational. again, this is a place where he could have easily expressed that. Either way i think that his actions were inconsistent, and anyone who reads this blog can see he engaged us every step of the way, he was no victim. I would have been happy if he would have just started ignoring what we were doing and maintained a set of posts that reflected his own artistic perspective.

    now i am running on. the point is, the thing i am most uncomfortable about is that i accused him of cowardice. and as myself i am a coward and i have no right to judge, i will apologize for that. i think that is the right thing to do.

    however, through this process we have been brought face to face with the university system, and i myself am a product of it as well. and i cannot deny that Globatron and I are onto something that feels compelling. that brings me to #2, the class issue.

    When we contact a smaller state school, we are in contact with people much like us, middle to lower middle class people who take loans to go to school, who have uncertain financial futures. Addressing an art school at such a school engages all kinds of dynamics that are specific to this. The teachers as well as the students are caught in similar binds, and this is perhaps the most exciting thing. I see this somewhat similar to Martin Luther King Jr. who fought for his ideals ‘through’ his church because it was what he knew.

    now when we contact a large ivy league school like Yale, we are dealing with upper class, highly educated, worldly young people with professors who also have greater levels of access. these people know the game we are trying to expose, they are the ones reaping the benefits. Our problems there are twofold. one, we have less experience there, and two what is our motivation for confronting them? with smaller schools we are simply trying to establish the connection between the security-focused professor and the credit-laden student, opening up that consciousness is to me a valuable goal. what similar goal could we craft to direct our efforts upwards?

    in other words, in a small state school, the professor might acknowledge the class(social class) issues that they take part in as a result of their authority. their students are likely to be burdened by the very education they are giving them. this seems to me to call for a responsible and conscious approach. the student in this paradigm ought to have certain rights associated with this dynamic that would allow such a professor to feel good about the compromises they are involved in. i am not yet clear on those rights, but it seems a good start that professors be able to elucidate the object of exchange.

    just to wrap up, we will talk more i’m sure, we always do. i must remind myself that as an art alum I have a stake in artistic education and the university system is in my jurisdiction of concern as a citizen, it is a right of mine to ask questions. I am not entitled to an answer but I am entitled to ask.

    I am still conflicted over Mark’s departure, but i think all relationship issues are difficult to solve when one person has left. I feel badly for what i said as a result, but i cannot see any reasons to feel bad about what was done prior to his leaving. His departure was an obvious response to our actions toward another university. it is difficult not to see this as his attempt to instruct us, as it did not directly affect him. There is a kind of unspoken set of rules that we are constantly being told we are breaking and that is frustrating. i don’t know why they can’t just tell us outright like ‘you can’t contact a school’ or ‘you can’t argue with people’, or ‘you can’t look for truth’, etc. what is upsetting is the way they want us to behave a certain way but won’t be clear on how that is.

    I suppose i want to move on, but only because what else am i going to do. what do they want us to do? destroy globatron and become invisible, this is who we are. why will they not tolerate us? they have every right to ignore us, am i wrong? i hope the post we made for them to argue these points yields some helpful direction for us.

    anyways, those are my doubts.

    Akbar Lightning

  3. Byron King
    April 8, 2009

    You have done nothing wrong. Neither of us have. We have only done what we have outline numerous times in an attempt to further dialogue about important cultural issues of our time.

    The fact that someone could call you a fascist or sociopath for asking questions makes me wonder what year it is? They seem to be talking about our quest for truth as regressive as a theme, yet labeling someone a fascist and attacking them personally behind an anonymous mask is somehow acceptable. So I back you 100 percent. Our action were an always are an art project to investigate life. To delve deeper into truth seeking.

    So to your questions:
    1. IF we send the letter to UNF it gets us back in the game. James and Mark have obviously been preparing us to send that letter because of their actions. Also, it takes these issues to the local art community of which globatron was founded. I don’t expect many answers from them also but it’s worth a shot. A new pack of wolves will attach our efforts I’m sure but it will play off the socio-economic diversity that the state schools have to offer.

    – funny thing is we were never planning to send it to UNF. Mark’s actions now make me feel as if it’s my obligation to do so now. Not for personal reasons but because if someone like him was to act the way he did, then his University needs to answer to why someone would act that way. It seem the line of the the investigative reporting we must follow. Follow the breadcrumb trail so to speak. It’s leading to UNF currently.

    2. To send it to Yale. I am very interested in the difference in response from a school of that stature. I must admit my artwork was selected as cover art for their Sage Magazine. Here is the image. It’s from my Polar Brokers Project. Found out yesterday. The publication goes out today. Just thought that was funny I mention Yale and then I am selected for local cover art for a publication the same day. The universe works in mysterious ways.

    Yale would toe the line. They would put us in our place. I mean in a way the letter is asking to be put in once place. And I believe both of us are fine with that. It is a direct challenge for sure. It saddens me an entire art department would be silenced because of politics. But so it is. Lesson learned.

    I believe our next steps should be shoot the letter to UNF. Just keep it as clean as possible. Maybe make the letter more inviting and less challenging. I question that though as the letter had real power in it. I question taming that power, and see where that leads us.

    If UNF is silent, we always have the larger schools to go after. I am very interested in the difference in responses between a state school and an Ivy league school.

    I don’t think we have done anything wrong. I do think the insulting comments and hoax comments that were done are mind boggling. I do think those people should re-examine their response to us. I do think they should read this thread between us and after doing so, if they can still believe we are fascists or sociopaths I’d love to see their argument for that.

    I don’t expect much more from UNF, but the project must go on as it has yielded no answers to any of the questions. In many aspects I am reaffirmed in our project by the response we have gotten from the commentators and from Mark.

    And you are correct to ask, if there are no rules, what are they?

    We so often continue to break these rules of which James and Mark argued there were none. I am a bit confused how we can see the irony in that and no one else can. Also, you and I would have never not supported one of their creative projects on the site. We were always pushing others to contribute and make globatron a home for creative collaboration and expression.

    Onward to UNF my friend. Just watch your back as it seems some of the commentators will need to be moderated even more as the personal vindictive attacks continue. I sure hope that is not the case.

    And honestly Akbar, calling Mark a coward is nothing to be ashamed of. He acted in a cowardly way such that he deserved that label.

    I still love Mark and James and therefore appreciate your apology for calling Mark a coward. I would give either of them them the shirt off my back though and I’m not a religious man. But they sure showed me how much our friendship meant to them. The lesson I learned is, when climbing the ladder of academia let no man or blog get in your way.

  4. Byron King
    April 8, 2009

    Please read the post again. Please. There were specific rules set up for these two posts. This one is specifically a dialogue between Akbar and myself.

    If you have commented here and your comment has been deleted I apologize but those are the rules. Here are the rules for the project once again:

    We will have a post below this one for all our readers to have their own parallel discussion. The rules are thus, don’t comment in ours, and we won’t comment in yours. This will be an exercise in parallel dialogue. You may make your cases for or against us there. The only time we will use our administrative rights is when people make personal attack statements that serve no argument in the thread.

    An entire other post was created for input from the public. And that post is below this one.

    Here’s the link:

    I definitely want to hear your feedback but please put it on that post not this one. Thanks for your support and for giving us your input on the project.

  5. Akbar Lightning
    April 8, 2009

    Globatron, as i look at that post, i did notice that I called his act cowardly, and not him.

    what bothers me the most about all this is that I do seriously doubt that any of these professors think they are in danger. rather, i think Mark did what he did to ‘teach’ us something. and it is in that spirit, the irony there, that I am bothered. it shows how those in power begin to believe in their power.

    what i learned by Mark’s leaving is that there are rules of politeness in the art world, and one of those is not to challenge the ways in which an artist compromises for his art. this is something maybe we should consider, as both of us make compromises in our art. for instance, i have eliminated certain lines of inquiry in my studio because i wanted to focus in a singular direction so that i could get farther along there. some might say that i compromised my creative freedom. well, i guess they would be right. again, i am brought back to the idea that i am aware of my compromises, and i am fine with them. it is the emotionality, as you could see when Mark got personal against me in the Frank episode, this emotionality reveals an unconscious tension among these people.

    that begs us to ask, should we be messing with the unconscious tensions out there? what do you think? i suppose if we are willing to do the same then we are merely treating others how we would like to be treated. again, we cannot follow rules that nobody is willing to tell us, we are not mind readers.

    As far as the dichotomy between the ivy league and the minor leagues, what I see very clearly in the minor leagues is a complicity with a credit system, and that credit system creates indentured servants by the millions every day. An art professor ought to have a conscious resolution of this conflict, this is so clear in my mind. when we go to the ivy league, i am not quite sure what a clear approach would be yet. i know it will reveal itself when the time is right, call me superstitious.

    well, the angry aggressive activity has calmed down a bit, and i am comforted by that. whoever was responsible for those threatening posts certainly are confused, and are far worse off than we are. it’s a crazy world. it is a time when people have to do a very difficult thing, ask for progress, and try not to anger the people to the point of violent reactionary rage. it does feel good as an artist to be out of the studio and involved in the art of social consciousness.


  6. Byron King
    April 8, 2009

    Yes I’m glad the angry insulting comments have stopped but it does make me think about the reasons someone gets engaged in such activities in the first place. There are profound social implications that there is none of that activity being done as we speak.

    In a discussion like this where we are talking back and forth and no other input is accepted we can easily have interesting dialogue. Not attacking each other. Not once. I mean we might disagree for sure, but we can easily form words to intelligently as possible communicate our viewpoint. Make an argument for or against such views as we see fit.

    For instance you were correct that you called Mark’s act cowardice, not Mark himself. But I question an act of cowardice and how that defines a person. Does that not make him a coward? This has made me think of courage. And what it means to really stand up for what you believe in. To really put the work in.

    I find it interesting that you find his act a possible act of trying to teach us a lesson. That’s an interesting perspective. I don’t see it that way at all but respect your perspective. I see it as him trying to bury a dead body of sorts. I feel his collaboration with globatron has incriminated himself. That they had to bury the evidence. That our questioning academia would lead the very academics that we are to question right to Mark and James, adjuncts looking to make a tenure track position.

    So they buried the body. Snuck in with a chainsaw and hacked up all that content that they lovingly created with the swift action of a delete button. All to save face.

    And again it’s the irony involved in the whole thing that gets me. If there are no rules then how can our questioning academia be breaking a rule. And you are correct one who teaches knowing that most of the students are on student loans should have a pretty good explanation for what they are teaching especially in the field of art.

    Art is a long road to travel. There usually is nothing out there for an art graduate but pain and suffering for many many years. Very few find financial success. I don’t think the same questions apply to someone teaching computer science for instance. But art professors should be able to answer these questions easily. It should be their responsibility to do so.

    So back to the this parallel conversations blog post experiment. It seems fine to attack us if one is expecting a reply. They want to engage in an open back and forth. A battle. A smear campaign of sorts. Take us down further and further, but when given a holy place where they can speak their minds to their hearts content there is little input. Sharla’s comment was wonderful and I really appreciated that by the way, but it seems the naysayers have disappeared because they know we won’t reply.

    Stick and Stones my friends. Stick and Stones.

  7. Akbar Lightning
    April 8, 2009

    hey Globatron, i think my way of seeing Mark’s actions in some way gave him the benefit of the doubt, by seeing as a lesson to us. If you are right, if he really did it because he was worried about the association, that to me would be sad, because i do think an artist ought to feel comfortable with their commitments. you invited me to participate here many times, and i did not start participating until i had something specifically i felt i wanted to contribute, and because i was conscious of what i was doing i don’t feel i would ever want to secretly erase anything i’ve done. because, if someone called me to task for something i’ve done, and i agreed with them, i would simply apologize and say i was wrong. point being, we can only speculate about Mark’s actions, again, it’s like his work, we can only speculate about it, because his intentions are unclear. Globatron, your passion for this project is bolstering me. I think mostly i have found it disheartening how people cannot see the value of what we are doing. it actually overwhelms me, pure surprise. i would have never guessed that artists were such a sensitive bunch.

    it is important to say, that there might be a great number of people who have checked this out, and just ignored it. but again, that is speculation. it is possible a few overly-sensitive people are over-representing this process. I am happy that somebody in ‘The Peoples’ Debate’ chose to speak up in our defense, not because I want to be right, but mostly because I think open and challenging talk about art is healthy and good.

    I will begin working on the UNF letter tonight, and I will use this thread to discuss new challenges. I want to make the letter a bit more inviting, but without the loss of the focus on the challenges we have found.


  8. Akbar Lightning
    April 9, 2009

    “Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile I caught hell for.”

    Earl Warren (1891-1974)

  9. Byron King
    April 9, 2009


    I think I properly defended our actions in my earlier short novel in the first comment. I’m glad I did that but the next time I do that much writing I want to be getting paid for it. No doubt. I wonder if anyone read it. I doubt it as the ones who have judged us will not be convinced with me writing a thousand pages that we had, have good intentions in what we did and are doing.

    1. I think we need to continue the project. Most definitely.
    2. The silence on the this post,, proves to me that the noise we were getting was from folks who were wanting to hurt us not have a discussion about art, etc.
    3. I love the term relativist island and that makes me think they deserve their own theme song and blog even. Maybe as a project we could set up a blog for relativist artists and have it wide open for anyone to post. With absolutely no rules. It could be the second side of globatron. Relavitron? That would be fun.
    4. Let’s get that letter out to UNF asap. Did you get the letter together? I’d love to read it. Shoot it to me when you get a chance.

    I’ll check back at lunchtime, and after 9pm from now on.

    Thanks for all your help Akbar. I really feel we are onto something here. I have a feeling if we contact enough schools we will get some answers. Remember Oprah 2010. Let’s keep our goals high. I just hope we have some answers to our questions to present to her.

    Have a great morning.

  10. Akbar Lightning
    April 9, 2009

    My dearest Globatron,

    I agree. I think you will see in my comment on your Courageous post that I am a bit more convinced of the value of this project. I think what happened, the controversial aspects of what happened here between us and some other contributors has mostly to do with differing opinions on exactly what the site should be for, what it’s purpose ought to be. Seeing it in that light, it seems more a natural process than one where anybody did anything wrong.

    As we tried to create a site where differing projects could exist simultaneously, we were rejected because our ideas were found to be objectionable. We reacted by pointing out the inconsistency of those actions.

    I attempted to write the UNF letter last night. 2 things. One: I have a sinus infection and started anti-biotics yesterday, so I should be feeling better by tonight. hence, my ability to focus was compromised and I didn’t get anywhere with it. Two: I think that your interview with Iowa’s student paper might be the actual beginning of that project. I would like to wait until that occurs before we remove the welcome mat. I will keep working on the letter, when it comes, as I depend upon some level of grace, waiting for it to feel ‘right’, I will let you know. Our first level is completely satisfactory to me. I might decide after working and working, that the first letter is sufficient, but my instincts tell me a custom letter to UNF would be good. Again, I am looking forward to seeing if an article in Iowa would have any effect on the students.

    As far as Oprah goes, she is one of the nation’s largest corporate powers. When I think about it, she is often able to engage in socially controversial subjects, but politically controversial subjects are another matter indeed. We’ll see.


  11. Akbar Lightning
    April 9, 2009

    I just spoke to Father Mapple Moab Adzu III, he said he is working on a rough draft. He wants to focus a bit more on the process by which professors are chosen. What values are used? If there is no set of agreed upon values, then a professor is chosen simply by a majority of personal opinion. He is going to try and focus on that a bit, and tie that more specifically to how art and schooling has a financial aspect that takes into the realm of values, and hence it is not immune from such questions.


  12. Byron King
    April 9, 2009

    That was a great morning. Got a lot done. Lunchtime, time.
    Akbar, I think maybe we should keep the letter as is after thinking about it.

    Yes it is challenging but should it not be? Maybe the first few lines should be specific to the school we are sending it to but the rest should just play as is.

    There is real power in that letter and please tell Father Moab not to play with that power. To keep it pure.

    Also, as far as the reporter from Iowa I’m not sure we should wait on that story. Stories can take weeks to develop through the media. There is a lifecycle. Stories get in a cue. The way I see it UNF is a go.

    The only issue is from what I hear a lot of professors read globatron from UNF, and they should already be aware the letter is coming. Also, I’ve sent emails to the entire art department of UNF before inviting them to becoming a part of what we were doing and did not get one response.

    So again, I’m not going to be shocked if there is no response. I deeply believe we won’t get any answers to this letter until we start going further up the food chain. State schools only have so many resources, they are all scared to keep their positions and you will find it rare for even tenured professors to take a position I would think. Especially on a blog since most of them that I know that are tenured are not hip to the computer.

    This letter might be best served via snail mail honestly. If they could touch it and hold the letter in their hands then maybe they’d realize the questions were as real as the paper they are printed on.

    I mean it’s sad but true. It’s like McCain saying he doesn’t do email, and Obama saying he needed his Blackberry to better do his job as President.

    There’s a real generation gap from the tenured faculty and the bulk of the students they teach. Even though we are old enough to be tenured faculty and many of our friends are, the fine arts have seemingly shunned the digital world or at least that’s been my experience.

    I do truly desire to get answers to this letter and believe deeply in the power of this project.

  13. Akbar Lightning
    April 10, 2009

    Did you exchange
    A walk on part in the war,
    For a lead role in a cage?

    Pink Floyd

  14. Akbar Lightning
    April 10, 2009

    Yo Globatronickton,

    I don’t want to send anything anywhere if we don’t believe we can find somebody to help us find some answers. If we are going to send a letter to UNF, I want to remain open to the idea that somebody there will present to us a reasonable argument that resolves these tensions.

    If we are certain of the stereotype, the research is pointless. The point for me is to find people within the system that want to change it from within, that want to shake it up in a way that brings everybody together. As we go up the scale that is reflective of class and power, the issues also change.

    Even though we believe there are some problems to be addressed within the small state schools, we are the same as them, we are graduates of that system. We have loans from a state school, we have state school art educations. so for me, the creative tension has everything to do with that, with being face to face with our past, and yet remaining in the belief that it can be shaken up in a way that is beneficial for all involved.

    I think there are very important facets of the upper levels of the art world that deserve social criticism, but we would be better served if we found some solid ground as a result of this investigation with which to move in that direction. our power comes from honestly believing that we have no idea what art is, and having a sincere interest in finding one of two things. one, somebody who clearly defines something that we can agree on, or two, a broad consensus that nobody knows. if we find #1, we have something to unify artists, if we find #2, there is unity there, but also we have a legitimate reason to question power structures that must spring from agreed upon values.

    i will get the letter ready. i believe if the Iowa student paper is interested in running a story, that we ought to give Iowa a chance to participate, once the students are given an opportunity to be involved. We have no access to the students, and the professors have either ignored this altogether, which is fine if they believe this is silly and pointless, but it is much different to withhold this from the students. we have no way of knowing because nobody has stepped forward. The student paper offers us a chance to learn something about how this project is perceived, which will be important information. What we do know is this, that we have a set of pranksters that have engaged in sarcastic, character attacks. That is strange, and implies aggression. If you speak with the paper and they want to run something soon, I think it would be most sincere if we waited a very short time. I honestly want to see if someone thoughtful is out there who can answer some of these questions. I want to know if a professor perhaps has thought some of this through and come up with some good way of making these decisions.

    As far as UNF goes, if the paper does not want to run the story in Iowa, we will know in a day or two, and then I’m ready to go.

    I do think these are tough questions, and I do think we ought to have a bit of compassion for what it must be like to have a couple of guys like us throwing things around. but we are trying to be somewhat transparent about it, about the fact that we are a couple of artists trying to grapple with complex problems in our world, and that we want to remain youthful in our belief that artists can come together as a community, through intellectual exchange.

    i guess what i’m trying to say is I want to keep moving but just wait one more beat on the Iowa thing, i want to make sure we give every lead its due. and we only got the one more base to cover.

    what i have gained from this dialogue with you is a feeling of enthusiasm, and a stronger ability to ignore the pranksters, to see that we are raising threatening questions, but that those questions are true questions, in that we don’t know the answers, and they are threatening to us as well. the tension among us artists, the ability for artistic dialogue to get so heated, is itself an indicator.



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