But it is not simply the object asserting itself in the milieu of light, information, and electricity. Much more is encoded in the image: indexes of past readings and the act of scanning itself.
An incomplete inventory of modifications to the book through reading and other typical events in the life of the thing: folded pages, underlines, marginal notes, erasures, personal symbolic systems, coffee spills, signatures, stamps, tears, etc. Intimacy between reader and text marking the pages, suggesting some distant future palimpsest in which the original text has finally given way to a mass of negligible marks.
Whereas the effects of reading are cumulative, the scan is a singular event. Pages are spread and pressed flat against a sheet of glass. The binding stretches, occasionally to the point of breaking. A camera driven by a geared down motor slides slowly down the surface of the page. Slight movement by the person scanning (who is also a scanner; this is a man-machine performance) before the scan is complete produces a slight motion blur, the type goes askew, maybe a finger enters the frame of the image. The glass is rarely covered in its entirety by the book and these windows into the actual room where the scanning is done are ultimately rendered as solid, censored black. After the physical scanning process comes post-production. Software—automated or not—straightens the image, corrects the contrast, crops out the useless bits, sharpens the text, and occasionally even attempts to read it. All of this computation wants to repress any traces of reading and scanning, with the obvious goal of returning to the pure book, or an even more Platonic form.
And here’s a link to the open source platform, the Public School, one of Sean’s many excellent online projects with videos by Silvia Federici and Deleuze amongst others.
Nils Norman speaking as part of the ‘Changing Places‘ roundtable in Frieze Issue 148:
Many artists are of course complicit with these processes. (It’s hard to generalize about how artists are contributing – or not – as a generic group.) But some who are critical of how they are inscribed within gentrification processes are becoming more militant and refusing to participate in such events. Groups of artists interested in these problems are developing real alternatives amongst themselves, in communities and larger networks, and in that sense are trying to eliminate the ‘rock and the hard place’ option through self-organizing and collective action.
Dan Fox quoting Claes Oldenburg:
‘I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero.’
‘I am for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting signs or hallways.’
Can you make any kind of living as an artist?
“I do feel resentful,” she admits. “I don’t have as much time to think or to read as I’d like. I don’t dislike my job and the people I work with are really nice but, in and of itself, there’s a limit to how excited I can get about selling TV programmes such as Farmer Wants a Wife to Slovenia, although,” she adds, drily, “it was a ratings hit.”
“I’ve seen Arts Council grants and subsidies as being there for people who really require them: if you’ve been a writer for 10 years and there’s nothing else you can do and you can’t get another job, for instance. For me, it’s similar to unemployment benefit really.”
The ‘double jobbers’ making a living while working in the arts
I’m not prepared to live in a bedsit and work in a freezing cold studio. Most of my artist friends have a “bread-and-butter” job. I’m quite lucky to have a good job that I am proud of and which I find stimulating. I don’t have to work too many days – other artists have to spend a lot of time working in bars, waitressing or teaching. My part-time job doesn’t get in the way and is in fact quite good for grounding me. I can spend a lot of time in the studio flailing around and thinking and not doing a lot. If you have less time, you tend to use it more constructively.
Antony Hegarty’s Meltdown: New York pioneers who walked on the wild side
The only recent cloud over the scene has been gentrification, which began under Mayor Rudy Giuliani and went into hyperdrive under Michael Bloomberg, forcing up rents beyond the grasp of most artists. “The real-estate bubble was like cancer,” complains [William] Basinski, who was priced out of Arcadia four years ago by the hipster colonisation of Williamsburg. During the same period the city slashed arts funding. “You used to have ambitious ideas,” says Atlas, “but when funding was cut it had a big impact on what people felt they could think of doing.”
AN would like to thank everyone who came along and everyone involved in the Tanks event on Friday including: Five Years, Making a Living, Tate Modern, Ladies of the Press*, Edward Dorrian, John Trayner, Barry Sykes and Endless Supply, ᏴᏫᏫ Wallin, Elsa Westreicher and Esa Matinvesi for their savvy poster designs.
The resounding comment I took away with me was whether the work suffers if you’re getting paid to make it?