Reconstruction of John Cage’s 4’33” using 68 YouTube videos of people performing the piece on a variety of instruments. Part of the ongoing RECON project. Many thanks to Rhizome.org andC-Monster for featuring this work recently.
“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.” (John Cage, Experimental Music)
Inspired by the Tao Wells video “A View To A Kill,” which consisted of a split screen video recording of Wells playing a two player first person shooter. In the top screen stands Player 1, unmoving. In the bottom screen Player 2, controlled by Tao, begins searching for Player 1. When Player 2 finds Player 1 he shoots him in the head. Cut. Repeat. Player 1 is still motionless in the top half of the screen, while Player 2 starts the hunt again. Finding Player 1, he slits their throat. Cut. Repeat ad nauseam. In Tao’s film there is a detailed exploration of our love of killing others. Here, we have the natural conclusion – we kill ourselves over and over again.
“Of course, capitalism was and remains a formidable desiring machine. The monary flux, the means of production, of manpower, of new markets, all that is the flow of desire. It’s enough to consider the sum of contingencies at the origin of capitalism to see to what degree it has been a crossroads of desires, and that its infrastructure, even its economy, was inseparable from the phenomena of desire. And fascism too — one must say that it has “assumed the social desires,” including the desires of repression and death. People got hard-ons for Hitler, for the beautiful fascist machine. But if your question means: was capitalism revolutionary in its beginnings, has the industrial revolution ever coincided with a social revolution? No, I don’t thing so. Capitalism has been tied from its birth to a savage repressiveness; it had it’s organization of power and its state apparatus from the start. Did capitalism imply a dissolution of the previous social codes and powers? Certainly. But it had already established its wheels of power, including its power of state, in the fissures of previous regimes. It is always like that: things are not so progressive; even before a social formation is established, its instruments of exploitation and repression are already there, still turning in the vacuum, but ready to work at full capacity. The first capitalists are like waiting birds of prey. They wait for their meeting with the worker, the one who drops through the cracks of the preceding system.” (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Capitalism: A Very Special Delirium)
Video mashup of Walk Disney’s speech at the opening of Disneyland, one of Hitler’s speeches and Star Wars. All footage sourced from YouTube.
“Werner von Braun entered the consciousness of America as its prophet of space travel on a Sunday evening in 1955. He had been hired by Walt Disney to develop a series of stories for his Disneyland television program With his smooth German accent, von Braun came across as foreign as outer-space; yet with Disney as his patron, he became familiar as Mickey Mouse and he seemed as squeaky clean as Snow White. We eventually learned – if we did not know already – that von Braun had designed the V-2 missile that had rained terror on London during World War 2 According to his story, von Braun had little choice but to let his genius be exploited by the Nazis. Now, in the mid-1950s, he was working for the United States Army to build rockets that would defend us from the Communists. About a decade ago, as many government documents from the end of World War II were declassified, von Braun’s true story began to emerge. The documents told of the Nazi activities of von Braun and other German scientists who came to the US after the war. It was no longer credible for them to say that they were not dedicated Nazis and only did what they did to protect their jobs They belonged to the Nazi party, the SS, and other Nazi organizations. They were honored by the Nazi party and by Hitler specifically. They were indirectly – and in some cases directly – responsible for the deaths of thousands of concentration camp slave laborers.” (Dennis Piszkiewicz, The Nazi Rocketeers: Dreams of Space and Crimes of War)
In 1933, the German American Bund was founded by Fritz Kuhn. An association of German immigrants to America, the Bund had a definite pro-Nazi slant. Disney animator Art Babbitt claimed his boss had a strong interest in, if not outright sympathy for, the Bund; “In the immediate years before we entered the War there was a small, but fiercely loyal, I suppose legal, following of the Nazi party… There were open meetings, anybody could attend and I wanted to see what was going on myself. On more than one occasion I observed Walt Disney and [Disney’s lawyer] Gunther Lessing there, along with a lot of prominent Nazi-afflicted Hollywood personalities. Disney was going to meetings all the time. The German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, whose documentaries in the mid-30s had helped to glorify the Nazis, claimed that “after Kristallnacht , she approached every studio in Hollywood looking for work. No studio head would even screen her movies except Walt Disney. He told her he admired her work but if it became known that he was considering hiring her, it would damage his reputation.” (Marc Eliot, Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince)
“I define feminist art as images and visualizations and actions which readdress the suppression, the marginalization and the denigration of works made by women for… for me, for over a thousand years. That’s the repression that I’ve been addressing.” (Carolee Schneemann)
“I have been thinking about something I’m been hearing, reading, everyday, especially now with politics, how he changed his mind, he changes his mind. Changing one’s mind as something bad, evil almost. I think that changing one’s mind is one of the best things that there is… Why I was thinking today about changing one’s mind — you won’t believe me — all the papers writing and making jokes about Paris Hilton. Paris saying that she changed, that she is not what she was two days ago, three days, changing her mind. And everybody making jokes, you know, that’s about her saying this. I was thinking how people don’t believe that any change can happen that would be positive. We have become so skeptical, so negative. We don’t believe anymore in slow or sudden changes… I am not saying that Paris has really changed – I am only reacting to the press, to their reactions, to their negativity and attitude towards changing of one’s mind, of becoming different.” (Jonas Mekas)
Reconstruction of Jorgen Leth’s “Andy Warhol Eats A Hamburger” (from the documentary film “66 Scenes From America”) using 33 amateur remakes posted to YouTube over the last 2 years. Part of the ongoing RECON project. Many thanks to Contemporary Art Truck and IconoTV for featuring this on their blogs.
“The most beautiful thing in Tokyo is McDonald’s. The most beautiful thing in Stockholm is McDonald’s. The most beautiful thing in Florence is McDonald’s. Peking and Moscow don’t have anything beautiful yet… What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.” (Andy Warhol, From A to B and Back Again)
“He is told that he has to say his name and that he should do so when he has finished performing his action, but what happens is that the action takes a very long time to perform; it’s simply agonizing.I have to admit that I personally adore that, because its a pure homage to Warhol. It couldnt be more Warholesque. That’s of course why he agreed to do it.” (Jorgen Leth, in Mette Hjort & Ib Bondebjerg, The Danish Directors: Dialogues on a Contemporary National Cinema, p70)
“If Andre the Giant had been the enduring icon of pro wrestling in the ‘70s, the ‘80s belonged to Hogan. It was inevitable that the two would meet so that Hogan could officially take over the reins. The clash took place in 1987 at the legendary Wrestlemania III, where millions watched Hogan bodyslam the 7’4”, 520-pound colossus. “I felt like I needed an ambulance after that,” says Hogan, who tore several muscles in his back performing the move. Though he was already the champion, and by no means a runt by any standard, Hogan emerged from the match as wrestling’s David, having vanquished Goliath and thus anointed the king of the ring.” (Caroline Ryder, Hulk Hogan)
“I’m sure everybody has this capacity. But it’s not activated… I think a lot of it is the fault of art critics who speak in a kind of highfalutin way… that unless you’re highly educated and very bright and know the right language you really haven’t got any rights to be having an opinion, so people are frightened, they feel they don’t know.” (Sister Wendy in Conversation)
“I have to tell you something – they say she is about to go through a nervous breakdown. I mean I am going through, almost practically every day, through a nervous mini-breakdown and nervous breakdowns are very necessarily. And artists who don’t go through nervous breakdowns I don’t trust them. I don’t think I even like them. They are no good. They are just square, too normal. For an artist to be normal is a disaster. So, leave her alone, you square, normal, boring people… It has nothing to do with what she is singing or not singing. I am talking about her as a person… I am talking about the inside.” (Jonas Mekas on Britney Spears)
“I suspect that the day Britney Spears shaved her own hair off represented a kind of Sartrean or Socratic argument (rather than, say, a nervous breakdown). She was, in effect, by the use of appearance, shrewdly de-mythifying beauty. The hair lies on the floor, “inexplicably faded” (Sartre), and the conventional notion of femininity likewise.” (Andy Martin, The Phenomenology of Ugly)
“I brush my hair with a metal brush held in my right hand and simultaneously comb my hair with a metal comb held in my left hand. While so doing, I continuously repeat ‘Art must be beautiful’, ‘Artist must be beautiful’, until I have destroyed my hair and face.” (Marina Abramovic)
“We may assume that a time will come when that which I am about to describe will name itself—but for now: ‘Computational periodics’ is a propositional and tentative term which may help to designate a new unified field for a heterodimensional art; a field whose special dimension is time. An art which is temporal, as music itself; being, that is, spatio-temporal. An art whose time has come because of computer technology and an art which could not exist before the computer. Even though this art will be found in the notebooks of Leonardo and has been in the collective imagination, like the flying-machine, since his epoch it was a technological impossibility until the development of computer graphics.” (John Whitney, Computational Periodicals)