[hey D C Age/Digital Cage, D.Cage is ©pete kennedy 2014!]
We are now living in the digital cybernetic age it’s easy to say but less easy to ’get’, to under-stand, to comp-rehend, to fully appreciate. We are living like the players in The Fifth Element and Tron, altho my wife doesn’t wear a bandage outfit and I am not shooting thru space in a super-fast car. But the D C Age is upon us, like stone age tools and bronze age (BC), iron age, Age of Empires, Steam age, nuclear (AD) age tools were the state of the civilisation for humankind over several thousand years, now it is digi-tools (DC). I am contacting you with a digital post, a blogArt ting-a-ling.
Now that impacts on all we do but most of us are blissfully, sadly to an extent, unaware of the possibilities open to us, others are overwhelmed by them and slaves to social media and the lucky ones (?), like good Buddhists, stay in the middle track, using D C Tools and still swimming in the rivers and walking thru the woods. I went to a ‘symposium’ at firstsite in Colchester this Saturday and it was really good. BUT. Part of the amazement was a tiny inkling of how much we live in the D C Age (Digital Cage?). It’s hard to get a handle on it all. Like the size of the universes. Like the vastness of the Information out there and in there in this computer’s accesss to the ‘cloud’.
One shift, and we can’t make shifts if we have not prepared and are unready for a shift, as in my ‘art’. In fact I been going thru shifts since I began to make art*, I have shifted, now I use digital means to create , or rather re-create/rework/revisit/reappraise/reprise, re-PRIZE, prise my art out of it’s hiding or its rut or its anon etc. One of which is to have my images printed on an inkjet printer then either leave it alone or get stuck into it onto it, enhance refine it mess it up destroy it and make it anew. Now I am starting to talk in MY tongue, like when I change the spelling of words which leads me into some amazing discoveries. So, I am free-ing up. at last. But I still will do lino cuts etc, old school, I insist. [*At first I had a reasonable amount of ‘control’as I went thru my impressionism, fauvism, matisse cut outs, soutine phases, that was all by the early 1970’s. Then I invented apulhed in the 70’s and unbeknown to me I became a pop artis. And I composed my first self-published ‘buk’, apul-one, in 1975
and my ‘writing’ joined my images as my ‘art’. Then I went thru 40 years of playing with my ingredients, sometimes like an alchemist, sometimes like a buffoon. I insisted on keeping some ‘old-world’ aspecs to my ‘art’; lino-print, screen-print, oil paint, acrylic, bronze but I slowly introduced tissue paper, chicken wire, old clothes from my wardrobe and Oxfam, then ‘dance’ then ‘reading’ and on. But now I realise most all of them ways of working are the ways of ‘others’. I proved myself as an oil painter, a pen sketcher a writer of correctly spelt words and all those things. Now I see I can and do use very different ways to produce my outputs.]
self portrait in digi-media
D C world has become the world in which we move and have our being, my parents both born 1918 knew little about Alan Turing, many of you probably know little of Alan Turing, come to tink of it I know little of Alan Turing but I do understand he kind of invented computers and his genius was overshadowed by his being gay which in those days was illegal. Anyway, his glory came like so many recipients of the V.C., posthumous. And whether he ‘knows’ he has that glorification, who knows, maybe the Dalai Lama? In 1987 whilst at Cambridge Institute I typed my essays on a bbc computer, nightmare. Only relatively recently has the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak revolution become available to me/you/us. But it’s as if they were alien invaders bringing a vast change to people Earth. Let me cut to the quick.
In ‘art’ we saw Hockney and the whole graphic novel world and pixar began using ipads etc. Many people, most from 10 to 60 years old? use social media now. The G P O is dead.
The symposium at firstsite (http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/coming-soon-simon-denny-the-personal-effects-of-kim-dotcom )included people who involved in their present shows like Simon Denny, Alexandra Domanovic and then they had various ‘experts’ in related fields like James Bridle and Kieran Long. The fields it related to are to do with copyright/ rite, right! And piracy. Kim Dotcom is a man, a big man, who thought it ok to rip off movies and let you access them free to start with. His idea of immediacy was something which ‘public’ want, immediate access, preferably free. Quick Fix. Anyway, he made billions, some of which was confiscated when the fbi went into his golf club sized mansion complex down in Aussie-land-down-under tootin machine guns and all. (How can the fbi operate in Australia!)
Then the legal eagles get to work and most of his stuff has now been returned, apparently, ask me if I care. But it’s all to do with values, worths and provenances. And of course I am interested in that. (Did you know someone in Africa has stolen my name, or one of them, apulhed? The evidence is in google search, take a look duck.) but in a way dotcom’s case is only an analogy, just a kick start for the theme of the symposium, a big theme, so big it is the whole of existence in a way. They were talking about the vastness of information we can access now, about wikepedia and how that can be a very creative media as used by James Bridle in his (artist? books) http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/09/a-book-made-from-wikipedia-edits-to-the-the-iraq-war-entry/63175/
In fact the question as to whether JB is an artis or not is pertinent to the history of art since at least the sixties when art became (also) the writing , the note, the typed page and in Weisner’s case the manhole cover writing. (You can see jimmy wales talking to Andrew Marrs here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04647bc/the-andrew-marr-show-01062014 at c. 20 mins in)
When I say the whole of persistence I mean art is persi-stance (Percy’s Stance, Perseus dance, shut it blarty boy), but seriously folks (siriuslee Foulkes) in a way the www is an analogy for the, for Everting out there and in here. The Akashic record on the web. The Cosmic Mind is BIGGER than the web, wow, and that’s BIG. Like this blooming bleeding blArt (yes all this typing is making my fingers bleed). Bridle touched on the bigness with his Iraq war book piece, but more so with his maps of the links his iphone made when he was on a trip across England which produced a record, on his phone, of all the folk using their phones as his train passed within a certain distance of them! You can pop and see the books he made using this data here; re James Brindle shorttermmemoryloss.com/portfolio/proj…
Like a Buddhist would say, we can’t know everything that is happening, IF we only knew say 1 per cent of everything our brains would explode, or would they? They are pretty incrediable tings brains. And one of the tings what came out is we so underuse our resources. I deliberately did not take any photos at the symp cos I wanted to make a point to firstsite that they need to get that sorted out, but I shot myself in the foot as now I have no images of the event to use in this blArt. Another ting (annudda twing) was the idea of catalogin or inventoryising which came up when Kieran Long from the V&A got going on how they are collecting tings used everyday-nowaday…s. It also came up in conversation with the visiting London based artist Ellie, who remarked on the contradiction at Edinburgh’s modart gallery where they are trying to inventorise all the tut Paolozzi left to them and are showing his studio in a clean tidy space where it was really a dirty old ting.
Drawn by pete kennedy at Tate 1994.
So, the d c age lets me sit ere (listen ear) and relay my reactions to the symposium and you can read them in a flash as you access your digital media, you can even react, make contact etc. my blArt is being read in Turkey, (I write in turkey, not really it’s pigeon), Antipodia, USA, Saudi, Morocco, Germany, Italy & Denmark (tanks Mette?) to list a phew. I find that amazing. OK in my case , as a writer performer on the blArtist stage there’s only a handful of you (sorry I called you ‘only’, I don’t mean to demean, I actually glad that you handful do come in) what am saying is the ‘social media’ is being accessed by millions. Bridle mentioned millions in his talk when he pointed out that Shenzhen the city in China where Apple have their paraphernalia made was 30 thousand strong, it is now over 10 million.
So, in China, the d c age is like the industrial age was in Europe, all the mass of people are on the move with the requisite rise in disenchantment etc which comes with such unsteady ill-planned social migrancy. Mass exploitation, by governments, local politicians AND Apple are also leading to disasters in Bangla Desh where they make clothes for the western marketeers. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/26/bangladesh-clothing-factory-safety-agreement-compensation-closures . I mention these cos they are consequences of the thirst for fast knowledge and fast clothing. Ironically as Kieran Long, V&A, pointed out, those workers in Shenzhen whose work trousers, the design of which for each factory is different and they all wear, even when not working as a badge of identity. He has a pair of Primark jeans made in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh the week it collapsed and the first 3D gun printed on a laser cutter. Both these last items bring up issues, lots, but he mentioned ‘provenance’, the pants being more valuable cos they were made that fateful week. Then the printed gun, it’s maker had one which he had actually fired so Long bought it as its provenance is greater. Made me tink does that mean that the gun which Burroughs shot his wife with has greater ‘provenance’ than…eugh, makes me feel …sad. I thought we had left 1984 in 1984, but obviously NOT. We are now somewhere Orwell and P K Dick never imagined. We are in the d c age (in de cage), and it can be very scary unless you can say stop! Hang on a minute. I want to go walk in the wood, swim in the sea, do Ashtanga Yoga, get my head out of these screens, just sit around a table and talk. I am going to stop here, end of part one. IF you are intrested, see part 2 in a day or two.