Vuk Constant handshake

[-19] Pride and Fear

Constant Dullaart had an opening in Ljubljana last week and we’ve managed to spend some relaxed time together, talking. Two things were most important: when we spoke of the camaraderie between net.artists in the nineties and when we dwelled casually about things we could do together. That reminded me of a point that I hold dear. If I continue writing I might actually mention it. And if you continue reading you might find it. It’s as simple as that.

I met with Constant a year ago when he had a presentation at Aksioma, a good one, and in case you missed it here’s the video:

For me that talk was a confirmation that not all is lost and that there are smart n witty artists out there that are not simple career machines and that have serious contributions to make.

Last weeks meeting reminded me of the key qualities that all artists should have: naivety, kindness, idealism, sincerity… And it was obvious that these are exactly the last things a mainstream human wants to hear about her/himself in today’s cynical world. I felt good and confident about these thoughts, but I realised how frightening they must be to people.

Do you know Hollis Frampton? He used to make experimental films in the sixties and seventies and then he died. Personally I like Nostalgia very much but have only seen several fragments over the last few years. No patience. Anyway, I am bringing him up because of his famous letter to the director of MoMA that every protagonist in our art eco-system should read. Here’s a clip:

You have to read Hollis Frampton's letter to MoMA. Nevertheless -- one more point I am NOT trying to make with this post is about the economy (even though it is tightly connected)

Slowly we are approaching the point and it’s not (only) the economy. Careful now, here it goes.

Since forever I have understood that the real relevance of artists is in the fact that they are originators. Of meaning, of ideas and sometimes even of economy. And that as such they deserve a place under the sun. Not a very special place — just some basic respect for the fact that they contribute.  But if we are going to judge the artists through the cash register (better sales = crooks; lousy sales = free riders) then we are paving the way to serious exclusion in times of larger crisis. So the point that I am driving at was:

Don’t hate yourself if you are not an artist. And don’t shoot the ones that are.

Oh, and about that picture on top of the post: Constant and I had coffee that came with a spectacular wifi spoon. We then pressed it to our palms and shook hands. True wifi handshake. You see, this is the real point that got me writing this post: the one good thing in life is when you are an artist and you get to have good dialogue with another artist. Lots can come out of that. It is true that curators, theorists, and art bureaucrats have their precious views on art, but still: be double careful when artists talk to or about each other.  It’s not all competition and career orientation. I like to think that this whole blog at someone else’s art project is a proof of that. And if you look at that Janša movie you will see that some of the funkiest thoughts came from the artists. Plus, there’s a sea of such pearls in the unused materials. Check these suspicious art types and think about the implicit relationships, some are special: