Globatron’s Art Laws #9 -All true art is digital

Posted by on Mar 28, 2009 in Laws

In a world overpopulated with objects and consumed with money, art should no longer be physical in nature. Art should be digital in order to remain true to itself, and to be removed from attaching itself to a value system consumed with selling and buying, and decorating.

Most physical art objects can not escape the consumerism that is attached to showing and selling the art object. Artists are then forced to compromise their artistic vision in order to be successful in the world of object making. The concept of their work is then sacrificed for the the possibility of becoming a successful full-time artist. Currently the Art World is not capable of the over commodification of digital art. Digital art still lives in its own netherworld, neither here nor there. It is hard to own something that you can not touch.

So in the year 2009, I state this being open to its discussion, “all true art is digital.” The evolution of art towards the digital will continue at a fever pitch in this new century.

Just for clarification, in my definition of digital here I am not including digital prints. I am including online digital works, video, video documentation of performance art, and anything that can not be physically reproduced. If it can be reproduced physically it is no longer digital in this reference.



  1. Akbar Lightning
    March 31, 2009

    yo downs,

    i get the impression you are just stopping by, you are of course invited to stay longer. but thanks for the book lead, i will check it out.

    if you would like to explain structuralism and post-structuralism i would find that interesting.

    i don’t remember anybody’s shoes getting peed on, that is unfortunate, i agree.

    this little sphere called globatron could use contributors who feel they have a handle on how to refine it and take it further. so jump in the pee is warm, i mean the water.


  2. Frank
    April 1, 2009

    Byron, on another post you asked me what I thought or felt about web based projects.

    My gut reaction would be disinterest in the internet as a medium, I can see the web quickly becoming a artistic vehicle (other than simply advertisement and documenting), but I personally find the internet to be to far removed from the hand to be capable of the kind of humanity I look for in art.

    If I understand your earlier post, you are attracted to web projects because they are without owners and because you see it as a more straightforward medium to translate your ideas?

    I need that clarified before I can further explain my thoughts…
    Mark, you mentioned “The only potential soul-destroying compromise an artist can do is to not do art at all to satisfy some perceived need or to make art to satisfy a market that that artist has no interest in. In Jacksonville that distinction is very real….”

    If it could be done with needlessly causing injury, could you explain the second half further and possibly give an example. If not, that’s fine.

  3. Mr. t
    April 1, 2009

    i tried to close the door quietly, and politely. we were having a dialog until byron unveiled his conspiracy theory. cut the post off right before that and it is a good back and forth, strong opinions, nice jabs. things got a bit derailed after that.

    still, i didn’t call anybody a fraud, con, or question their abilities as an artist or a teacher. i offered strong opinions on art and ideas.

    i then answered every question posed to me as the rant, and then nursery rhymes [(nursery rap?) yeah, that’s snarky, but you earned it], showed up. presumably poking fun at what i said or how i said it. so yeah, the lunchroom seemed an apt metaphor.

    politics play out when somebody is trading something for gain. what could i possibly gain from this for me or anybody else? it is a blog, a gym for the brain. nothing said here has been threatening. most of it can be found in back issues of mondo 2000. that too is a bit snarky.

    byron, if people don’t agree with you they are not treating you like a child. in fact the more forcefully they present their opinion, the less they are treating you like a child. if i don’t speak the way you would like, that does not mean i am talking nonsense. look through the posts, short of damp plywood, an injection of a little humor (and a cue to a visceral, tactile, pleasure in a discussion about the ascendancy of digital art), i said what i meant and i meant what i said. those weapons pieces are fucking fantastic, the gap between terror and power, hope and fear, expanded and made palpable in a major way (is that clear enough?). please note that i’ve got no reason to flatter you, just props where props are due.

    akbar, find a line where i was taking away. show me a single line that leads you to believe that i am not a seeker; unveil the big con, the dodge. you make a lot of assumptions about people. i may make a lot of assumptions about ideas, art, etc., but i don’t make them about people i don’t know. i’m glad you’ve got byron’s back, i understand that this is not my house and you are wary, but you should stick to attacking the ideas presented and skip making assumptions about the presenter. you are much better at the former. i thought about what you said and i posted a response.

    i’m not here to take anybody to school, nor meet them out back after. i take people to school all day. i was here to play, in the ed love sense of the word.

    so, anybody care to answer the charge that digital art, by proxy, is underwritten by porn, war, and the celebrity lifestyle?

    or how about the notion that virtual reality rides on the backs of people who can’t pay their way out of reality reality? (i.e., darfur, iraq, etc.)

  4. Akbar Lightning
    April 1, 2009

    Mr. T, i think many of your social concerns are shared among many members here at Globatron. so yeah, if you would like to create things here that address those issues, i think you will find willing collaborators here.

    you assume that i assume, so there. he he.

    hey, if you like what we are doing here, stick around, feel me. keep posting, keep having your opinions, we will integrate with each other through time.

    a short visitor gets swept up sometimes, as we are having many discussions at once, lots of old posts informing the context.

    that’s the best i can do to be welcoming. i think globatron is a great place to be.

    what you will learn about me, is that i am always searching for more clarification, many find it annoying, but you can ignore me. know what i’m saying. we are working on experiments here, it is playful, but in a scientific way, for some. for others its a buddhist practice.

    for instance, mark and i have never met, we had an intense dialogue or two, we’ve grown to appreciate our opposing opinions, its fun. we just did a collab together, and its one of my favorite things now.

    i don’t know, is that helpful, open?


  5. Byron King
    April 1, 2009

    Professor Dooley, do I sense a bit of remorse and more structure and coherence in your thought processes today. I much appreciate that.

    I welcome people not agreeing with me that is indeed what I search for. I actually as stated didn’t agree with myself on the fourth comment. Read it if you wish.

    As for the politics bit, I wonder. A tenured art professor can say just about anything they want to correct? But an adjunct has to watch what they say or they won’t see the hallowed position you hold. That’s the politics I was speaking of. And you must admit gaining tenure is political. James is no longer contributing on Globatron because of those very reasons. It seems because until he is tenure he can not be controversial.

    And for your questions:

    so, anybody care to answer the charge that digital art, by proxy, is underwritten by porn, war, and the celebrity lifestyle?

    This to me is just as ridiculous as me responding to that same claim, by stating printmaking as an art form has blood on it’s hands, due to the printing of the Bible of which many wars have been fought over about the truth of the stories within.

    And your other notion about virtual reality riding on the backs of the poor and downtrodden is just as sturdy an argument.

    And for my counter argument:

    All culture has blood on it’s hands Mr. T. There is nothing pure before you that did not manifest itself through war, sweat, and hellish suffering.

    We as humans have been killing to survive for 80 thousand years now and it will most definitely continue. So with that said, I would argue killing, hunting, and survival are what have given us creativity in general and I believe many an anthropologist would agree. Without creativity we would not be the dominant species.

    But without the luxuries we hold now as the dominant species we have been able to develop philosophy, the arts, and words like Truth and sometimes find the time to ponder their meaning.

    Now to what means we use that creativity is up to us as a species and specifically up to us as artists. If we use it to not stand for anything. To not say anything is worth standing up for then what good is the power of creativity?

    And to go back to an argument from many moons ago, if we can stand on the edge of a cliff and see for one nanosecond that our standing for truth, justice, integrity, honor through our artwork could have made any small change for the future of humankind would we make that stand? Or will we let our species slide deep into the abyss it is heading for? Those are questions far greater to me than digital art, or virtual reality.

    Because the way I see it, no matter what position you have at that time, when the hundreds of thousands of starving, thirsting masses of humankind are migrating through the great plains of the Americas will a tenured professorship be able to save you, or any position at that. We will need to use our creativity to truly save us once again. And we will not have the luxury to argue over the petty and trivial. Possibly not until that moment will we truly know what it means to be artists.

    I would prefer to have conversations like this with you Mr. T. Are you game?

  6. downwithit
    April 1, 2009

    Akbar, Google is open 24/7, and I always assume people use it if they are actually interested in a term or concept they are not familiar with. Regardless, it’s sometimes difficult to separate the signal from the noise in a general search, so here are a few links, (not wikipedia, for what it’s worth,) to some general definitions of these theories and how they relate to the futility of finding objective truths in art, as well casting a light on issues that impede our ability as individuals to reach a mutual concession strictly through the supposed objectivity of rational discourse.

    Structuralism (sorry about the lavender background):


    On Post-Modernism, from the second link:

    “Post-structuralism and deconstruction can be seen as the theoretical formulations of the post-modern condition. Modernity, which began intellectually with the Enlightenment, attempted to describe the world in rational, empirical and objective terms. It assumed that there was a truth to be uncovered, a way of obtaining answers to the question posed by the human condition. Post-modernism does not exhibit this confidence, gone are the underlying certainties that reason promised. Reason itself is now seen as a particular historical form, as parochial in its own way as the ancient explanations of the universe in terms of Gods.
    The postmodern subject has no rational way to evaluate a preference in relation to judgements of truth, morality, aesthetic experience or objectivity. As the old hierarchies of thought are torn down, a new clearing is formed on the frontiers of understanding: quite what hybrids of thought will metamorphose, interbreed and grow is this clearing is for the future to decide.”

    Post-structuralism’s relationship to Post-modernism:

    Helpful links/ dipping your toe in:

  7. mark creegan
    April 1, 2009

    I have been commenting on blogs for many years. I know how difficult it is to read where someone is coming from (emoticons or not). I recognized a lot of wry wit in Mr. T’s statements, but I could also see how they could be taken the wrong way. reset button please?

    So, can we get back to discussing art now that the reset button has been pressed?

    Mr. T I think your point is valid regarding hidden costs of the use of this tool. All of which can also be applied to our American lifestyles in general. But porn, Halliburtin, and Rihanna ainâ??t payinâ?? my cable bill or my yearly hosting fees. I see your point and find it is interesting that we here are trying to eek out an intellectual dialog on machines and interfaces that were originally created in labs in Universities but is now dominated by commercial ventures.

    But the appeal of digital art (and specifically web-based correct?) I think Byron was trying to explain has to do with accessibility which is an advantage for an artist or anyone wanting to get their message out. So far itâ??s a big playground with few gatekeepers. I do not think there is much to the argument that using the web exclusively is the best way for an artist to avoid the market (and I especially reject the idea that, because of this, digital art is the â??trueâ?? art), because the web is just one of many gates into the market. An artist can negotiate her relationship with the market with equal effectiveness in the real or virtual worlds. Although I can also see having your work constantly available on the web interfering with this goal.

    I can only say for myself that the internet has been a wonderful learning and research tool, I have used it to connect with people and on a few occasions it has led to art-making opportunities. My recent experiments in video and sound works are very humble, I do not think that I am at a point where I can claim these as good members of my portfolio, even tho I am sympathetic of Dieter Rothâ??s idea to include all of it, the good, bad, and in-between, as part of my practice.
    But I wonder if we can run the risk of valorizing the medium too much. I mean, itâ??s a tool that has strengths and weaknesses like any other. And I especially think that it is important to avoid this for the simple reason that flexibility with media is good, for someone like me who thinks, based on experience, that too rigid an investment in a medium is limiting. And for a medium like the internet, a big concern would also be if it is just a convenient tool for those with anti-social tendencies.

    And Frank I sympathize with your need for tools that involve the hand more, but this distance seems to be narrowing a bit with digital media. I never thought that I could manipulate material to the extent I can on a computer before now. As the programs become more sophisticated, they seem to be satisfying my need for direct control more these days. Although I agree not to the extent of conte on paper.

    As for my comment about the compromising, I was trying to describe the feeling I have that an impossible compromise for me would be to change my art simply to satisfy a market that may be the predominate one in a given community. Here in Jax, that line is very pronounced since there are only a few types of work given regular exposure. In a larger art community that becomes less a concern where there are many markets and one just needs to find the proper one. Interestingly, the internet has allowed me to allieviate this problem to some extent.

  8. Mr. t
    April 1, 2009

    akbar was kind enough to email the following to all of my colleagues at my place of work. so much for integrity. trust me, they will find it hilarious. post at your own risk!

    Dear University of Northern Iowa Art Department,

    My name is Akbar Lightning. I am a contributor to, you might have heard of us. We are dedicated to sharing art and culture in a conscious collaborative process that looks for connections and principles that we can use to discover new ways of thinking about the creative process.

    Recently we engaged in one of our collaborative processes that became a bit controversial as we sought to define art through a discussion of proposed laws. Of course, it was not well received because, as you know, artists can be rather resistant to confinement. At least, one would think. Anyways, in one of our recent propositions we were joined by one of your faculty who assumed the moniker Mr. T. He was rather hostile to our ideas and we engaged in dialogue with him. We were disappointed to find out that some of our discussion left him with hurt feelings.

    Click here to read the post in question.

    He revealed that he was a faculty (Tim Dooley) at your university and so we thought we would contact your art department and invite all of you into the process. He said he kicks his students’ asses, yet he failed to really convince us of his perspective. His comments are mostly to be found under a recent post concerning digital art, of which he was rather critical and so we were not surprised to find your website was not very digitally impressive. It might be time for a website redesign, if you are not afraid of a little critique.

    Anyways, we invite the students and faculty at University of Northern Iowa Art Department to jump into the controversy over here at, where we hope to find out what 21st century art is all about.

    Sincerely and Ironically yours,

    Akbar Lightning and Globatron,

  9. Frank
    April 1, 2009

    I could be wrong, be I thought Mr. T’s heavy handed condemnation of the internet was meant to be a wry/satirical response to the original statement that “all true art is digital.” An exaggerated response to a exaggerated position? As I find the holes in Mr. T’s response, the holes in the original statement become evident – rather like a Colbert skit.
    Mark, I remember when Pong was cutting edge, and now Halo?! That’s not even the most sophisticated example, so I can see where the web and all will eventually be like a holo-deck. It’s not the extent by which the media can be manipulated, but the extent that the media reflects an individual’s hand. That technology is great for entertainment or propaganda, but fails, for me, why it comes to things soulful.

    I’m not explaining this very well, and I’ll be the first to admit my attitude is more conservative/traditional in the fashion (expect different?).

    I need to think about my words a little more to articulate this idea….

  10. Byron King
    April 1, 2009

    Yes Frank, that is what I was saying and what initially spurred this post.

    I feel as if the web is very accessible. Even for the poor these days, the entire global users are currently, 1,574,313,184 and users are growing in massive numbers, here’s a direct link to current stats:

    Now I find those numbers way more accessible than any gallery. I find that one’s art project could reach far more people through the web than through any gallery with it’s limited space on earth and gallery hours to keep at that.

    No one really owns the work, but the host, and if you keep good backups, which no one does, your work can have a half life that is hard to estimate. Some say 5-15 years for CD-Rs. Some report magnetic tapes have a lifespan 30-100 years.

    I know archiving work is usually a big question for many artists and that’s why many choose bronze sculpture for it’s obvious longevity. Immortality or mortality through their artwork in general is very high on a lot of artist’s agendas and I believe the rate at which digital works decompose, how long will the servers will be up on the grid, etc., are all questions that are interesting to ask.

    But from an accessibility standpoint I believe web works circumvent the gallery system, and for that I find a lot of freedom in making them. I personally have no urge to show in galleries anymore. I’ve struggled with making art objects (physical ones) vs. digital art for well over a decade, and I’ve come full circle once again. I’m fine with the lack of clarity in the bits and bites long-term lifespan. I began making web works in the mid nineties:

    I enjoy the freedom online work gives me, without any curator, or anyone keeping me from presenting my concepts or projects to a venue that is much larger than any of the best galleries or museums. I find real freedom in that. Truth even.

    And that’s where this all true art is digital statement came from. I know there were many holes in that argument and I acknowledged them moments from posting it. I’m still happy to have posted it to have had this conversation. To me that’s what it’s all about. I wouldn’t have thought much on the half life of digital media today if I hadn’t.

    Here are some links I found to support digital medias half life:

    I hope that answers some questions on why I did this post. Thanks for contributing everyone.

  11. Byron King
    April 1, 2009

    Mr. T.

    The letter Globatron sent to your peers seems like a rather thoughtful invitation to join this dialogue. To me it serves two purposes.

    To make them take notice of some of the earlier statements you made about digital art, quoted again below, and to join the dialogue.

    If I was teaching digital art which would most likely be my chosen field if I was to do so, I would definitely not appreciate someone slathering about how digital art sucks.

    Personally I would find it offensive. Especially if you were a representative of my school. Especially when I would always be looking for future students, funding, etc. Talking about peeing on someone’s shoes.

    Again, here are some more of your offhanded remarks about digital art and art in general.

    Unfortunately, most digital art sucks.

    Drunk people told me to go to art school.

    it is still kind of nuts to talk about digital art as ‘being free’

    i’d never dream of talking about ‘true art’

    so, if anybody would like to actually make some relevant points to reclaim the digital way, truth, and light, get on with it already.

    i never said that digital art was less, or more, than any other method of making and distributing art
    o.k., so i did say most digital art sucked, but then so does most art in general,

    i think i’ll stick around a while and irritate you all some more

    i don’t believe in truth, i believe in plywood.

    As a representative of any Arts Institution I would guard my opinions and words a little closer than you do, but that is your choice to represent yourself and your Art Department however you wish to do so.

    I would hope your peers join in on the discussion. I’m sure they have other opinions on digital art that would add beautifully to the discussion.

  12. Rachel
    April 1, 2009

    It seems one of the themes on this thread is that we are typically unable to execute our vision exactly, and that our ideas are unable to be shared as they exist in our minds.

    I don’t know if any of you heard about this, but late last year it was published that a Japanese company has been able to reproduce simple images as pictured in the minds of their test subjects.

    Imagine being able to hit record on your dreams. Or sitting down for a vision session, recording what you envision onto some form of digital media.

    What I would find to be really interesting is to see what our minds actually fill in around the actual images to give us the visions we desire to create. How much isn’t actually image? How much is memory, emotion, and nostalgia? Even if we could hit “play” on our dreams to share them with someone else, how would we be able to share the entire vision as we experience it, especially if they do not share the same memories?

  13. mark creegan
    April 1, 2009

    oh my god.
    I was not aware of that letter, I want to say right now.
    Byron, you have got to be kidding me. We invite the man’s colleagues to the site so that they get to see his comments and views? Seriously not cool!
    If we had contacted Tim directly and asked him to ask some of his colleagues to check this thread out, fine. THAT would have been the proper tactic to open up the discussion to other participants. But do what you guys did is beyond the freaking pale!
    Seriously I love you guys, I love our discussions and collaborations, but why why why the drama? Why?
    I am so sorry Tim. I know that any intelligent person would not hold you to statements written on a blog, but I am sorry if this causes any stress.
    And no Byron, my comments are not about me trying to get into a full-time teaching position but about calling out a poor tactic that is intended to damage relationships and a career. It is about making something I am involved in and love aware when it does things outside of my value-system (which was James’ main concern).

  14. Byron King
    April 1, 2009

    I hear you Mark, but don’t think the letter was at all disrespectful compared to the comments that Tim stated on the site. It was in fact an open invitation for more dialogue.

    One should be aware of how they represent themselves and their school in public and in private, and especially on a blog that can possibly be read by over 1 billion people.

    I am not sorry. I have towed the line always on this blog. I have created this blog as a place for truthseekers. I will not apologize for the statements he made. I will not apologize for defending myself against nonsensical statements. We have done nothing but try and engage intelligent conversation from his peers.

    It seems now a days that even that has to be apologized for.

    I completely disagree that any intelligent person would not hold one accountable for statements on a blog. Every time I write a comment I am aware of how it portrays me. The only stress it was to cause was awareness, and more dialogue.

    Mark, I understand if you want to distance yourself from this action, especially being in your profession.

    Don’t you find it interesting that Tim is James’ ex-undergraduate professor Mark? Don’t you see the irony in any of this? I do.

    Also, I believe adjunct professors like yourself deserve folks who have made tenure to walk the walk and show the position the respect it deserves.

  15. mark creegan
    April 1, 2009

    Unbelievable. Nothing he contributed seemed disrespectful to me and certainly not to the extent that it warranted sending that letter. My profession has nothing to do with my reaction. What is guiding me here are my ethics and my love for this blog.
    Why would anyone want to join in and participate in this blog if there is the risk that we are going to send a spam email to their friends and colleagues ? How is this good for discussion and for this blog? There is sooo much potential here and so much accomplished. Rich conversation, ideas considered and debated, artworks created etc. Why do not you see how things like this cut the blog off at the knees? I implore you to think about this.

  16. Byron King
    April 1, 2009

    You can see it as spam, and I can see it as an invitation for further dialogue. Amazing the difference in perception.

    Also, amazing your perception on his quoted comments. I’m amazed that they seem to just be the regular back and forth on a blog and not brass knuckle fighting. After all, he is a self confessed brawler.

    Mark, you deserve better. We all do. Tenured faculty should not conduct themselves in such a manner in my opinion. You don’t as an adjunct. You walk gracefully, and that walk is very well respected.

    But when someone comes in like a bull in a China shop they deserve to be called out on it. I mean you can’t have it both ways. Have the hallowed position of tenure, and act out in a childish manner.

    And to answer your question this is great for the blog and conversation in general as it was a letter inviting an entire art department to engage in further discussion. How can that be seen as a bad thing? I’m mystified that an email to ten people is considered spam too.

    I get spam all day long and it’s trying to sell me pharmaceuticals not asking me to engage in a conversation about art?

    Strange analogy my friend.

  17. Akbar Lightning
    April 1, 2009

    HAZAAAH!!!! this is getting rich my friends, and let me tell you why. we have been arguing tirelessly that there are constraints on our artistic freedoms, that they need to be discussed, and we have been getting non-stop arguments about how there aren’t any rules, there is absolute creative freedom. and we send a work of art to an art department and we get told that we have broken some rule.

    what are the rules folks? you tell us now. we are engaging freely, openly, how is it that we are the only ones who have to follow rules?

    what are the principles that we are breaking?

    we get a lot of dissatisfaction here? tell us why, what are the principles that we are not following?

    did we break the rules of post-modernism?

    akbar lightning strikes

  18. Jack
    April 1, 2009

    Disclaimer: I teach “digital media art” on the hallowed academic grounds, LOL.

    For the most part, I agree with Mr. T.

    1. Unfortunately, most digital art sucks.

    AGREE – I know, I’ve seen quite a bit of it. I would also say that most art sucks. Proportionally, art that would categorize itself as “digital” probably sucks more than art that doesn’t pigeonhole itself as such.

    2. digital is NOT somehow intrinsically “free”

    AGREE – technology is susceptible to the very same power structures that influence any other part of culture.

    The point is, that because of some hangup about categories of practice (a need for medium distinctions), people get sidetracked from “art.” Digital means nothing. Culture, as I experience it (can’t speak for others), is increasingly involved with and determined by its relationship to technology. For that reason, as an artist, the relationship becomes a point of interest that directs my work. I hear the discourse that claims some utopian freedom as a result of technology, and I am suspicious. Like many, I recognize that change is afoot and realize that this offers opportunities for a reconsideration of our value structures, but I know that there are powers that seek to maintain the status quo. We see this at every turn. In response, the practice of some artists is to engage this situation tactically/relationally in order to directly effect change, rather than through the process of critique (most recently, the favored form of production). Some combine approaches while others use strategies that are more traditional. Either way, the work is what matters. Truth is relative.

    The only points I’ll quibble with Mr. T are these:
    “so, anybody care to answer the charge that digital art, by proxy, is underwritten by porn, war, and the celebrity lifestyle?”

    ANSWER: No more so that any other part of life….of course, I reject the term “digital art” as meaningless.

    “or how about the notion that virtual reality rides on the backs of people who canâ??t pay their way out of reality reality? (i.e., darfur, iraq, etc.)”

    ANSWER: human history is full of attempts to escape reality via immersion, so VR (a mutating term these days) is a logical progression. The same critique was levied at Film and other forms. The value in these environments is experience. Is there a way to create meaningful experiences? There is no need to compare them to “reality”…..that’s not the point. Whether we like it or not, increasingly the primary cultural interface (shared experience) is the video game. How can we make it “better” (or can we)? Can we use this primary language to create the kinds of experiences we value in our current understanding of “art”?

    Just my opinions…now don’t go emailing my boss 🙂

  19. Byron King
    April 1, 2009

    That was a great find Rachel. Love that. I hope they continue to develop that. Definitely to me, it’s the loss in translation between the minds eye and what the end product is where the compromise comes into place and then how that product fits in with society, that we were speaking of way back in the beginning of the thread.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Also, great point Akbar. Seems there are no rules, but for us for some reason. I’d love to see someone define the principles we are continually breaking that seem to have developed such outrage.

    Seems anything goes unless you want to have a discussion about truth and how it fits in with the arts. Truth in Art. Now with the seemingly no rules of post-post-post-post-modernism, it’s something that is sacredly guarded against discussion.

    So in a sense it’s a rule.

    Like don’t speak to your coworkers about your salary, religion or politics.

    What are we not to speak of? What are we not to engage in? Define those rules. I’m open to that discussion?

  20. Akbar Lightning
    April 1, 2009

    yo Jack, thanks for jumping in. we will begin looking for your bosses immediately, just kidding.

    with all due respect, i would like to raise a few points. firstly, i agree that sometimes the dangers of technology are overestimated, just as are the benefits.

    but you do say that most art sucks, that most digital art sucks. all we have tried to do here is deconstruct that. have you? what are the parameters for sucking? that is what we are getting at. we think that the relativity has allowed all of us to just judge what we like, but that is a reflection, a mirror, and a calling for us to evaluate our systems of evaluation, that discovery process should yield our values. and that set of values should be able to be expressed. especially by teachers. a person’s right to values is part of relativism, not the absence of values. but living in such a world, one would think that having them out there in the open, and open for discussion to be a healthy thing.

    ‘truth is relative’ – i have heard this alot and it sounds good, but to me it sounds truthy, truth is truth and relativity is relativity, to combine them is to destroy an already difficult medium of exchange, language. i see the post-modern fallout kind of like the credit industry, it’s all about remaining ahead of the curve. fact is, the current expectations are not sustainable, and some day we will have to face it.

    thanks for jumping in Jack.


  21. madeleine
    April 1, 2009

    I think the biggest fallibility in this argument is that objects for profit are inherently bad.

    It is also an argument that finds antecedents in Ad Reinhardt’s writings of the 50s and 60s (non-commercial, unreproducible works), and even John Ruskin’s ideas in the 19th century (truth, beauty, etc..).

    It’s the schism between commerce and purity…when, and should, artists compromise?

    Jim Draper once said to me that the most subversive thing an artist can do is to make money. And though Jim has endured lots of snide, sniping comments about his work, my experiences with him has always been those of generosity, curiosity, and the desire to create new things, alongside the things that pay his bills.

    So maybe the best thing to do is make work in a manner that is in agreement with the artist’s own criteria…and phrase arguments around specific events/works of art.

  22. Akbar Lightning
    April 1, 2009

    yo madeleine,

    yes, that is what we are engaging in, the schism between truth and commerce.

    i’m not quite sure i agree that the most subversive thing an artist could do was to make money, it sounds good, again, it’s clever because it is not what we would expect. but maybe we don’t expect that because it is true that making a lot of money from a market that is itself currently morally problematic would itself be an indicator of something problematic in the work.

    all i am saying is that one could make this argument, and i suppose i am. the free market does operate as an organism, feeding on the unconscious desires of its people. and laissez faire feelings about art and about its role in society, could perhaps lend itself to art that is complicit in the problems we face as a species.

    this seems quite logical to me, and it feels way less confining than the art market itself. it actually feels liberating to reawaken an artistic unity in a search for art that is true, rather than a whole institutional approach that looks to me like sophistry.


  23. Ill Papa Mulder
    April 7, 2009

    that looks to me like sophistry

    but to me it sounds truthy,

    and I can see it as an invitation

    Amazing the difference in perception.

    Mr King and Mr Lightning. Your current employers are? If freelance then please list the last 10 or so so that I may contact them with an ‘invitation’. Of course I will adhere to the “Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.” rules as spuriously as you all have. It’s only a difference of perception after all. I wil assume you are both willing to publish that list here, publicly, in keeping with your “Mail (will not be published) (required)” non rule, no?


  24. Byron King
    April 7, 2009

    Yes I can see how my freelance clients would be interested in an art blog/email project that asks very profound questions about art to art professors?

    So would you email them and ask them questions about interactive design and how it fits in with the current socio-economic situation?

    I like that as an art project actually. Is that your intention?

    I don’t see how they would be interested in that though because they are not in the position to answer those questions. But art professors are in the position of authority to answer questions about Art, last time I checked.

    Don’t worry mate, my employers are fully aware of the nutsy art projects I do and they realize how they inform and educate me and make me a better interactive designer/art director.

    As long as I’m making my clients happy with my design/development solutions that’s all that matters in my line of work.

  25. restraining order
    April 7, 2009

    papa mulder please be careful about posting here. in the “culture of children” thread last night byron posted downwithit’s ip address along with the actual street intersection he was posting from. that is some messed up shit. it is gone now, but it was someplace in texas. hope that means that the truth seekers will not be showing up at downwith’s door soon but if you are anywhere near jax or poughkeepsie you may not be so lucky. good luck getting akbar and byron to play by the same rules. i have yet to see them post any of their employer contact information or their own work addresses anywhere.

  26. Ill Papa Mulder
    April 7, 2009

    “Is that your intention?”

    Sure thing if that makes you feel better.

    ”I don’t see how they would be interested in that though because they are not in the position to answer those questions…

    …that’s all that matters in my line of work.”

    I’m sure they wouldn’t either, but hey, why don’t we let them be the deciders huh? After all art as it relates to life in the larger context is a cultural thing more inclusive than just us wee artists. Right? But what about your clients clients, or corp owners and partners, or ancillary customers, oe even past employers; they might have a worthwhile opinion on the subject, but we won’t know till we ask will we? After all the law of unintended consequences is a two way street and I can see it as an invitation, an invitation to allow a broader conversation.

    Semi-holes rule!

    restraining order, sure they can readily put up my ip and even a map to where they conclude that is. That’s all childs play though. I’ve been shot, beaten, run over by a bus, and called bad names even and still know how to tick among other things.

  27. Akbar Lightning
    April 7, 2009

    an art school is not an employer, it is a university devoted to a free exchange of ideas. if you are out to hurt us, you have missed the point of this exercise. we emailed every professor, we did not name anyone, we invited the school into a discussion.

    personally, i am self-employed half the week, and the other half i watch my 13 month old daughter, if you would like to send her an email, you can email it to me and i will read it to her.

    this is not about employment, this is about power. byron created this blog, nobody was forced to participate. there have been a barrage of personal attacks as a result of socratic questioning. our contacting schools in no way endangers anybody.

    your emails are threatening. if you belong to the institutions that we contacted, and this is your response, it will be noted. most of our personal information can be found online. anybody who knows me knows that i like to engage in social activism, and most of my loved ones believe in the things i do, so go ahead, write to them, do whatever you like, but if you’re intent is to harm me, i hope you will reconsider for your own soul.


  28. Byron King
    April 7, 2009

    restraining order…

    hello? everyone’s IP address is visually traceable. You can’t comment anonymously and that IP not be known. I deleted that because I did think posting someone’s address was a bit much.

    The point I was trying to make by doing that is that there is no anonymity on the internet or very little at least. You all think you are anonymous by hiding behind your fake names but with a little bit of googling someone’s identity can be found out. Or at least their location. And I could care less where you are from downwithit.

    Does that make sense to you? Google me? All my info is out there plain as day. I’m still fighting for the number one spot on Google though. I’ll get it soon enough. I had it for seven years.

  29. Ill Papa Mulder
    April 7, 2009

    ”an art school is not an employer, it is a university devoted to a free exchange of ideas.”

    Largest Employers in Tallahassee

    State of Florida 25,204
    Florida State University 8,784
    Leon County Schools 4,403
    City of Tallahassee 3,327
    Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare 2,850
    Florida A & M University 2,681
    Publix Super Markets 2,000

    Odd how universities nad schools show up there isn’t it? Odd too would be that all then folks getting a paycheck from those institutions would consider and be considered by all rational folks to be employees.

    Odd that asking to be allowed to contact those from whom you get paid threatens you. I made no threat, simply asked if you would supply me with the info so I could. I have no desire to do as y’all have done in some misguided attempt to shake the tree you seem intent as labeling poisonous, even though you both have eaten the fruit from it and survived and give air to have even prospered following.

    It seems you two still don’t have a clue as to what you did, and why it was wrong. I doubt you ever will. Trust and respect are earned in any group, culture, society, blogo-whatever. You violated that trust by publishing Mr. T’s identity w/o his consent. That you did it to his U only adds to the offensiveness. It has nothing to do with you questioning da man or wanting answers from ‘power’.

    It’s just peachy that you want to “engage in social activism” – you should really reconsider what your means are relative to goals, as they are not always justified and oft are detrimental to the desired outcome. But you knew that; right?

    And no, I am not in the employ of any U, I am SE full time.

    Tah tah

  30. Byron King
    April 7, 2009

    Yet you have not attempted to answer any of the questions in the letter. All of this is a smoke screen from the real concept behind the project. Smoke and mirrors to keep folks from not thinking.

    Mr. T’s identity was revealed by himself in this post not by me. He actually posted a link to his work. Then I critiqued it and his identity was then revealed. Read the thread or have you? Anonymity is cowardice. Something you and others continue to hide behind on this blog. Something you hide behind by continuing to not even attempt to address the questions in the letter that was sent to an art department. Not anyone’s employer but an entire art department.

    If you wanted to ask my clients about my design skills I’d be more than happy to give you some references, but I know you don’t want to do that.

    That’s all that was addressed in the letter were questions about art of which any art professor should be able to answer.

    I mean jeez. It’s obvious you didn’t read this thread and don’t understand the intentions of the project.

    Nice stats on educational employment though. I’m sure some of those employees would love to answer questions about their field of expertise if given the chance and a platform to do so.

  31. Sock Puppet
    April 7, 2009

    ‘Yet you have not attempted to answer any of the questions in the letter. All of this is a smoke screen from the real concept behind the project. Smoke and mirrors to keep folks from not thinking.’

    The letter was not sent to me. I chose to not answer of my own volition at this time. You really need to wonk on the “concept” part. What’s the response been so far? Any [other than aakbar] that responded favorably?

    Yes I did read the full thread, thus my position/statements, which I believe I am not alone in having.

    “I’m sure some of those employees would love to answer questions about their field of expertise if given the chance and a platform to do so.”

    Give it a go using the same process you’ve used here; who know’s there could be that big research grant in it. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the ass? Until then you’ll have to do you own kicking.

    ”If you wanted to ask my clients about my design skills I’d be more than happy to give you some references, but I know you don’t want to do that.”

    How? Crystal ball? Is the only power to be questioned in the arts that of the University Art dept? I mean if they’re buying art services/art does that not qualify them in some way? Seems to me that a ‘follow the money’ jaunt would be a better place to start, after all money is power.

  32. Akbar Lightning
    April 7, 2009

    Papa Mulder, I agree, a university is an employer, albeit a particular type of one. So if i understand your argument, because a university is an employer it has the right to curtail its employees freedom of speech?

    I disagree with you sir.

    puppet, great link on the manifesto manifesto.

    i think the unfavorability is an interesting thing, as well as the passion. i’m not exactly convinced that we did something wrong, i would love to be convinced, in a rational way, but somebody would have to state a principle that was broken.


  33. Byron King
    April 7, 2009

    Good points Sock Puppet. Nice name by the way. Maybe the design industry will be another season. We are following a theme here. Currently the project is questioning Academia. I was thinking the galleries, then maybe curators, and art critics. What say you?

    Do any of you have real names or care to stand up for anything other than completely dissing and bashing the project, Akbar and myself?

    If not please just discontinue the nonsense.

  34. Sock Puppet
    April 7, 2009

    “I disagree with you sir.”

    Well of course you do. You also have problems reading. Well reading what you want to be said rather than what was actually said.

    FSU eliminate core curriculum?

    Matches start fires. Fires burn. You played with matches and don’t understand why or how the results came to be.

    Y’all will never be convinced.

    For example

  35. richard D
    April 7, 2009

    That article on one-way harsh arguments is fantastic, Sock Puppet.
    Thanks for the link!

  36. Akbar Lightning
    April 7, 2009

    i agree, matches do in fact start fires, and those fires do in fact burn. i don’t remember us playing with matches, though, i take exception to that statement. perhaps you could define matches.

    your statement about my reading skills suggests you are clear on your readings. great, please clarify the matters for me.

    again, we have never really implied we know the answers, we are just interested in having this dialogue. do you not like this dialogue, i think it’s pretty amazing. your language sounds a bit dissatisfied, but then again, i have problems reading. i assume because you are involved, you are enjoying it, so looks like a win/win to me.


  37. Sock Puppet
    April 7, 2009

    ”So if i understand your argument, because a university is an employer it has the right to curtail its employees freedom of speech?”

    Obviously you did not understand. You really need to work yourself backwards and figure it out. Then think about all the reasons we can self justify our actions regardless of intent or outcome. Or pay me some tuition, I am SE so it’d not be going to no stinkin house of corrupted power.

    ”so looks like a win/win to me.”

    Yeah, but at my age brick walls do start to hurt after a while.

    Try some history.

    Quintus Fabius Maximus

  38. Akbar Lightning
    April 7, 2009

    yo puppet, again to tell somebody to ‘try some history’ in your attempt to reprimand me seems a little contradictory. i have tried history, we have probably tried two different versions. if you’ve read the whole story i would be quite amazed.

    to be upfront, i like my Plato, my Thoreau, my Kierkegaard, my Martin Luther King Jr., and there’s Larry David of course, well, he’s making history now.

    i’m no brick wall, maybe a thorny brush, but if there is an alternative history you would like to share with me, i invite it.

    my language was trying to build a bridge. i do think there is a contradiction in focusing on the university as an employer and as an institution of higher learning.

    by the way, a brick wall only hurts if you bang your head against it. come on puppet, we are just having an art talk here, if it hurts, i suggest you stop. we are trying to keep this enjoyable. emotionality should be a sign of the unconscious, almost all of us learned that in art school.


  39. Sock Puppet
    April 7, 2009

    “i would be quite amazed.”

    Then you are, or should be according to your words.

    “i’m no brick wall, maybe a thorny brush
    my language was trying to build a bridge.”

    “i do think there is a contradiction in focusing on the university as an employer and as an institution of higher learning.”

    Well there is a contradiction, that’s for sure. As I stated In my first post here, you’ll likely never be able to understand what was done and why folks think it was in bad form. In the Grand Scheme a very minor act, but one that did nonetheless hit someone below the belt. Matches. And yet you still wonder. It’s like a snow dome. Almost.

  40. Akbar Lightning
    April 8, 2009

    snow dome? not familiar with that term, i did spend my youth in florida.

    i’m thick, ok. alan watts says the philosopher is like the village idiot, pointing out things that others take for granted. i feel a bit like that. i’m cool with it, happy to be ignored.

    please put some of these words in quotes, it makes me feel listened to, he he.

    just curious puppet, do you have any beliefs about art that you would like to share? no pressure, but they are welcome here.


  41. Chris Crites
    June 12, 2009

    I have not had the time to read all the above, but must add a “general issues” question I came up with the other day:

    “Can you do your job with the power out for 2 weeks?”

    Digital Art does not actually exist. We the lights go out, when the grid fails, it is gone. Not to say it isn’t art, but it won’t be “there”.

    I understand the point of this statement, but disagree with “law”. It is human beings who assigned “value” who ruined art. As with everything else on this planet. Give it value and it is finished. Until a new way of thinking, or consciousness is reached by this species, we are doomed. Hence, Globatron!!

  42. Akbar Lightning
    June 13, 2009

    i’m not sure if you mean, hence Globatron is a new way of thinking, or hence Globatron and we are doomed.

    either way, without electricity it would be quite difficult to experience much of what has been traditionally called art, we could of course expose to the mona lisa to natural light and watch her fade into memory. virtuality is as much a part of the human experience, especially art, as is physicality. some might say consciousness is a form of virtuality that arises accidentally from the physical structure.

    if you read the entire argument, you will see that we admitted that the law was not one that withstood the test, however it led to some illuminating insights.

    i will take issue with your statement about values. one cannot at once ascribe value to something while it simultaneously loses value, unless it is losing value for someone else as a result of one person ascribing value. in that case the person who devalued the object is really just devaluing the person who placed the initial value. when you say that art is ruined, you are speaking in values, so call the kettle black as much as you want but it is not an argument you are making, it is an attack on our attempt to find values that are shared among artists. so far we see that there is a divide between a minority of people who believe there is something worth discussing in the mysterious practice of art making and the greater number who feel that such discussion is somehow dangerous or regressive.

    there is also an important distinction to point out, there is the act of asserting value, which is an empty practice, and there is the act of discovering value, which is more about uncovering unconscious motives. the assertion of value is found much more in the majority, at the expense of a science of value.


  43. Globatron
    June 13, 2009

    He obviously didn’t have the time to read the entire thread. This is after all the longest thread in the history of Globatron. You make a good point Akbar, about everything being transient though. There’s a crazy show on the History Channel called “Life After People” and the entire show goes over the specifics of how long it would take the Earth to reclaim itself after man dies off.

    I can’t believe they were able to make more than one show personally about this topic but there seems to be enough interest that they’ve made an entire series on the topic.

    But the show thoroughly outlines how everything is transient. That man is just a small part of Earth. I’m not what sure the commentator was speaking of when it pertained to value. I would prefer to believe he meant monetary value vs. value in general.

    The purpose of this post was to try and make a statement about digital art having more purity to it because it isn’t necessarily tied to the gallery system, art market, etc. And that through digital art the creator is more free to create without those constraints.

    It was one of the last Art Laws and personally I believe much good came from this one as it spurred several art projects and was the moment when Globatron recreated itself and shed some of its skin.

    Throughout this entire process we have severed ties with our founding city Jacksonville, and created a new Mission statement. We have new momentum and new focus now. Much of what we do on this site is experimental and we often make statements that we disagree with as soon as we make them.

    Here’s the new mission statement if you haven’t had time to read it yet:


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