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"The new creativity is pointing, not making."
March 9, 2013 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Proudly Fraudulent: [The Awl] An Interview With MoMA's First Poet Laureate, Kenneth Goldsmith. [Previously] [Previously]
posted by Fizz (19 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
An appropriate poet laureate for MoMA. Someone who has proudly used radio time to broadcast silence, and has challenged traditional writing in many many more ways, as this interview reveals. As much as I appreciate the beauty of skillful writing, MoMA is an institution that needs a writer whose blood runs thick with Dada, post-modernism, found language, conceptual art, etc.

In the spirit of the 21st century, in which the avant-garde cannot really exist as such, we are in the age of pastiche, or, less kindly: "Whatever." "It's all good." "It is what it it is." "All of the above."
posted by kozad at 8:41 AM on March 9, 2013


The Awl continues to be excellent at everything, it seems.

I like Goldsmith. He's thought-provoking and seems like a fun guy. The reveal in the end was very clever. I am also glad that his vision of the future is not the only vision of the future, and I suspect that most of his work would not only bore me but fail to interest me. That's okay, though. And UbuWeb is one of the best things on the Internet, so there's that.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:51 AM on March 9, 2013


Seven American Deaths and Disasters is fascinating, however. I read the preview pages, and there's something beautifully absurd about how the regular patterns of the radio begin to break down.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:54 AM on March 9, 2013


"Likewise, in the future, the best writers will be the best information managers."

The problem I see with that is that less isn't necessarily better than more. Oftentimes, less is just less.

We're dealing with really complex problems in this world, and a few points, combined with a shared audience attitude -- think Boing Boing, HuffPo, Drudge, etc. -- does not, in itself, point us to solutions. Rather, it gently caresses our current attitudes, while encouraging them to be that much more doctrinaire.

It's a bit like the ultra-linked, rather Boing Boing'ed Maker movement. It's great that everyone has at least one steampunk creation, and at least one device that would appeal to the sci-fi geek in all of us, but I'm still waiting for one of them to figure out how individuals can manufacture an affordable, practical, massively scalable system for green energy self-sufficiency in their spare time.
posted by markkraft at 9:12 AM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other words...

"Hey, Lemming? Is that a cliff up ahead?"
"It might be. Don't ask me. I'm just following Lemming.... O HEY, IT"S A CAT!!!"

posted by markkraft at 9:16 AM on March 9, 2013


I'm reading his book Uncreative Writing now, and enjoying it. Also, [previously]!
posted by moonmilk at 9:30 AM on March 9, 2013


We're dealing with really complex problems in this world, and a few points, combined with a shared audience attitude -- think Boing Boing, HuffPo, Drudge, etc. -- does not, in itself, point us to solutions. Rather, it gently caresses our current attitudes, while encouraging them to be that much more doctrinaire.

Well, Goldsmith explicitly (and IMHO rightly) rejects the idea that it's the job of artists and writers to solve problems:
Warhol claimed that, "Art is what you can get away with," something I am inspired by. Artists ask questions, and they don't give answers. Artists make messes and leave it for others to clean up. I've left a long trail of appropriated texts, dishonest statements, and brutal pranks. I've stolen things that weren't mine and have made a career out of forgery and dishonesty. I'm proudly fraudulent. And it's served me well—I highly recommend it as an artistic strategy. But really, don't take my word for it…
posted by DaDaDaDave at 10:52 AM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you want a little dose of Ubu in your daily life, you can subscribe to their Twitter account. Some recent items that I've liked are

Henry Flynt - trance-inducing, psychedelic hillbilly music
Inuit Vocal Music - which could probably be an FPP
Ali Reza Mashayekhi - pioneer Iranian avant-garde composer
posted by benito.strauss at 11:11 AM on March 9, 2013


Rather, it gently caresses our current attitudes, while encouraging them to be that much more doctrinaire.

I haven't been a lurker on Something Awful for a long time, but this still made me do a double take.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


He'll always be Kenny G to me.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 12:04 PM on March 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


also know for Kenny G sings Wittgenstein (and also Freud and Walter Benjamin)
posted by ennui.bz at 12:23 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kenny G to me too. And holds a permanent special place in my heart for this. Which I can no longer play — Damn You RealPlayer!
posted by benito.strauss at 1:48 PM on March 9, 2013


"The new creativity is pointing, not making."

I wonder if "the new creativity" will fuck us all over as thoroughly and as hard as "the new economy" did.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:19 PM on March 9, 2013


I wonder if "the new creativity" will fuck us all over as thoroughly and as hard as "the new economy" did.

I can't believe anyone can even say "the new creativity" with a straight face. I like this iteration of Kenny G, but there is nothing he has done which hasn't been done before. He's riffing on some pretty mid 20th century ideas. Nothing wrong with that; most of us are recycling our influences with contemporary accents. But "new" he ain't.
posted by kozad at 3:39 PM on March 9, 2013


This cannot be a new idea- which I suppose is part of the point- but, why doesn't some young/ambitious/bored person start up a career straight-up plagiarizing Kenneth Goldsmith?

You'd think he'd welcome this, but possibly it'd just make his actual career look like the kind of half-clever retro-modernist dodge that it already seems like to me.

If I cared that much, I would have done this whole comment via plagiarism from something about I don't know Duchamp from the 20's, but honestly, I'm just not that committed to Sparkle Motion at the moment.
posted by hap_hazard at 4:57 PM on March 9, 2013


The fact that it's actually too much work for hap_hazard to do a good job of posting a plagiarized comment is, I think, a hint that there's more to this whole thing than just "my 5-year-old could do that with control-C control-V."

I wonder if "the new creativity" will fuck us all over as thoroughly and as hard as "the new economy" did.

If you let artists control your life and society as thoroughly as you already allowed financiers to do, they might have a better chance to fuck you over.
posted by moonmilk at 5:28 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you let artists control your life and society as thoroughly as you already allowed financiers to do, ...

Reykjavik seems to be doing okay.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:52 PM on March 9, 2013


And Gnarr is an awesome name! GNARR! GNARRRRRR!
posted by moonmilk at 6:03 PM on March 9, 2013


As soon as we start putting our thoughts into words and sentences everything gets distorted, language is just no damn good—I use it because I have to, but I don’t put any trust in it. We never understand each other. Art is not about itself but the attention we bring to it. You get my idea. Nothing of "artistic" literature about it, just straight medicine, a universal panacea, a fetish in a sense.

I realized very soon the danger of repeating, indiscriminately, forms of expression... for the spectator even more than for the artist, art is a habit forming drug. The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.

Better? It's not that it's too much work so much as it ain't my job to spend more time consuming or responding to one of his works than it took him to make it. It's not that I don't get it, it's just that frankenstein-pasted M Duchamp did more interesting things w/ the concept 50 years ago, and if all you've got is a concept- even the concept of unoriginality- that seems pretty damning. Or at least boring. And Warhol has that one covered, no? But on the other hand


Among our articles of lazy hardware, I recommend the faucet that stops dripping when no one is listening to it.
posted by hap_hazard at 7:18 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


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