Saturday, April 19, 2008

David Rokeby in Conversation with Sabine Breitsameter

Interview - October 2002
»n-cha(n)t« - The Architecture of Language in a Networked Soundspace
David Rokeby in Conversation with Sabine Breitsameter

»n-cha(n)t« Interactive sound installation
by David Rokeby/Canada

The sound installation »n-cha(n)t« is based on language exchange through a computer network, and uses sophisticated language programming as well as voice recognition. - The visitor enters a gallery space, where a number of computers and monitors are hanging from the ceiling. On every monitor a person's ear is visible, which shows whether it is ready to listen or turning away. Below every monitor a microphone is installed. - What you hear is a concert of voices: Every computer you can see is represented by a human voice, speaking grammatically correct, sometimes enigmatic English sentences. - You as an interactor can speak through the mics to each computer, which then integrates your words into its speech, adapts the sense of its sentences according to your input, and after a while you can hear the whole computer community in the gallery space adapting your words, making them part of their speech.

installation shot of n-cha(n)t (2001) - Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre for the Arts

Step by step, their speech converges to the same overall topic and finally to the same words. It culminates in an unisono spoken chorus of voices. - The installation reveals itself to the patiently listening visitor, who is ready to follow the process of networked semantic convergence. The listener is rewarded by the installation's highly atmospheric sound environment and by observing the system's always exciting and surprising strategies to bring the different computers to consensus.
»n-cha(n)t« was awarded recently the Ars Electronica's »Golden Nica«, the first prize in the category »Interactive Art«.

Sabine Breitsameter:
David Rokeby, congratulations! Your prizewinning installation »n-cha(n)t« is one of the rare interactive audio works, that use language and its implications of semantics and meaning. - Looking at the title of your installation, it seems to be quite confusing. Could you explain it to us?

David Rokeby:
The title of the work is »n-cha(n)t«, which has a reference to the word in English, to enchant, to charm. That's however not such an important word in the title as the sub-sections, like the letter »n« which is a mathematical symbol for any number, if you think of algebra or in computer programming, for »n« equals 1 or 100 or whatever. »Chant« is because I have created this community of computers, that sometimes chant together, speak together in unisono, and then there is this complication where I put the parentheses around the »n« in chant, to imply that »n« is optional, without the »n« it's chat, so: to converse, to discuss - »n-cha(n)t«. There are seven computers in the installation, but it could be »n« computers. Seven is just a number. It could be one hundred, it could be three, that's where the title comes from.

Sabine Breitsameter:
So, can you describe us: What are the computers doing? What is happening sonically in your installation?

David Rokeby:
Well, what they are doing is quite complicated, they are a community, and a community who likes to feel some sense of togetherness. And I should carefully say that in fact computers don't have desires. It is not exactly that they as entities actually have this desire to speak together, but I have programmed them to have the desire, to feel some sense of togetherness with the other six computers. They also love to talk. They have the ability to use English in relatively complicated ways. They can formulate sentences that are in proper English grammar, they like to talk in a together way, they like to chant. They like to speak as they were reciting a poem together or in church. But they are also capable of being interrupted from the outside. Each has a microphone and a voice recognition system that allows them to listen to things you might say to them, and to be stimulated by that.
So, if you go up and talk to one of this chanting computers, it takes in that new information from you and it thinks about it, it tries to make some sense and contemplate the words you provided to it. That turns that particular computer into an individual, separate from the chanting community. So, it starts talking in a way that is relating to what you talked to it about. And it also starts sharing its information with one or two of its neighbors. So, it becomes a dissident. But it is a separate voice in the community. This creates a kind of chaos in the community, the whole community tries to deal with this information.

But then slowly if they are not interrupted or if they feel threatened, if they feel it is too much stimulation, they will find their way back by finding similar words, by finding communalities between them, to a point where they reach consensus again. And they come back to the chant.

Sabine Breitsameter:
As I already mentioned: Your »n-cha(n)t« is one of the very few works in the interactive arts' field that uses language and one of the main possibilities of language, which is: creating coherence. Why did you become interested in language for your artistic work?

David Rokeby:
I had avoided language as a way of working for many years, because I always felt as an artist, if I had to use language to describe my work, that some way I had failed, that my work had to transcend that. But language within the work is something quite different. So, then to approach the problem of making computers capable of dealing with language, I knew this was going to be a challenge, I didn't realize it was going to be so rewarding. Language is, I think, one of the most perverse human creations, and at the same time one of the most wonderful human creations. One of the amazing experiences especially of working with computer and language is that you are forced to take something, that is very natural to you, something we do all the time and we don't think about, and to try to make a computer do this sort of thing is to force oneself to think very deeply about it, and in a different way that a person involved in linguistics would do. Because you really have to go down to the bottom level again. You have to construct from the bottom and you run against a lot of amazing questions.

Sabine Breitsameter:
Constructing a networked process of finding consensus, implies enormous programming work as well as rather gigantic language databases...

David Rokeby:
Yes, they are very large. I used as many resources as I could that existed. For example I found very early on to my great pleasure something called »Word-Net« that is a project that came out of Princeton. It has been 30 years, I think, in development, which is a lexicon of English. It is more than a list of words or just a dictionary, it includes a certain number of links between ideas. So, for example mostly in the nouns a high hierarchical structure, so at the top you have the overall idea of noun, and then you have it split into entities, sensations, I don't remember exactly. It is divided into an ontology. This exists between the words. There are 500.000 words in »Word-Net« so, it is very large.
Then you have also the hierarchies of the natural world. You have mammals and sub-species. So, there are a bunch of existing structures. Not enough for my purposes, but a good start. I developed software to extract the most important words out of this and used the links that existed in »Word-Net« as a start to get me over the hump not to have to type in every word that I could think of or copy a dictionary into the knowledge base.
Then I had to develop a syntactical tagging for each of those entries. The syntactical information in Word-Net was not very useful, so I had to spend a lot of time researching syntactical models and grammatical expansion models. You start with the idea of sentence you expand from that to a noun phrase and a verb phrase
I had to research that, and then many words had special behaviors, I had to tag all that. Then I started to develop more and more connections between ideas and I tried in this case to use as many online resources that I could. Partly, because I thought, well I have a choice, I could make a self-portrait. I could only add connections that meant something to me. And I have done self-portraits with this kind of technology before. And I said, this time I want to see what would happen to imagine beforehand what knowledge might be accumulated by a computer that had access to the Internet. I used a lot of net based services, for example I used something called »The Bank of English» which is a website managed by »Collins«, which is - I think - a big dictionary company in the UK. They have a big pay-for service, where you get access to this huge data base of English, but they also have this free testing environment where you can type in any word and it will report back from a database of 9 Billion words of written, spoken, transcribed English. What are the 40 most common words to follow that word in English? In this later phase for »n-cha(n)t«, I have given the system the ability to read novels. So, if I can find an electronic version on a novel online, I ask it to read the novel and it will parse each sentence to discover the structure of the sentence and find out: this is the subject, this is the object, so say, if the sentence is »The captain ate the sweet tomato«, then from this sentence very simply, it can know, that the captain is capable of eating, and that a tomato is something that can be eaten, and particularly by the captain. It will know from its knowledge base, that the captain is probably a human being, it may know from its knowledge base, that a tomato is a kind of fruit, so eventually it may be able to generalize, that people eat food from this information.
It is not at this generalizing point yet, but it is at a point, where it gathers things like »a ship can sail«, and »it can sail on the ocean«. So,, by reading the novel it gains a sense of the world. And this is quite interesting to me, because in many ways this is similar to how I gained my sense of world as a child. And in a sense, these entities, that make up this piece, are purely literary.

Sabine Breitsameter:
And how does this process of semantic convergence take place in your installation? - Could you give us some general description?

David Rokeby:
For instance words spoken to the system by a visitor of the installation or words through the network from the other computers contribute to its shifting state of mind. For each incoming piece of information it resonates through the knowledge base a bit like if you drop a pebble into a pond and the waves ripple off from that.
If someone says to the system the word »orange« the computer will look at its associations. Because there are associations both to the fruit orange, to the color orange, also to the fact the Irish protestant in Ireland consider themselves »Orange Men« - so these are preliminary direct connections. But then the idea of fruit-orange connects to the idea of food, connects also a little bit less to other fruit: apples and bananas, it might also know that the orange fruit is round, so there is also a little bit that stimulation that leads to the idea of roundness, spheres, and the earth - I am making this up, because I don't know exactly, what the connections will be. But the connections in the knowledge base will mean, that the original stimulation of orange will spread to create a kind of pattern through the whole knowledge base, which in some way represents the stimulus.

So, this is quite a complicated landscape, a very individual state of mind, and the challenge to get the computers to actually chant together, was to find a mode of network communication between them, that would allow them to come to a state of what I would call a communion. Where they are not so much in a dialogue, but really synchronized, really drawn together to a similar state of mind. So, somehow all these individual levels of excitement must come to a point where they are all similar between all the computers. What happens is, at every moment, they tell each other, what is most important to them. So, they stimulate each other with what they are most stimulated by. And in the absence of outside information this creates a kind of re-enforcement between them to the point, where their states of mind get closer and closer and closer. As their states of mind gets closer, what they talk about gets more and more similar, not all the same words, but words that are somehow related. And then finally at some moment, they get to the point where they are so close, that what they say is almost exactly the same.

Sabine Breitsameter:
There are two layers of interactivity in your installation. One is the computers, interacting with each other. The second is the visitor of the space, speaking into one or several microphones and delivering language input to the network. What is your concept of this interactor?

David Rokeby:
This piece is quite different than many interactive pieces. In the 80s I did a lot of very directly, very intense directed mediated interaction. And I still love that, I still think it is wonderful. But I think it is only one narrow slice of what interaction means. Most of our interactions are not so clear. But still in interactivity there is a real impulse to create situations where the user is the god, the user is the whole focus. You go in and you do something, and there must be a response, and it must be very clear. And this is only one very narrow notion of interactivity. We interact all the time in much more ambiguous and complicated ways in the real world. And these are the ones that we would need an understanding of and to explore, I think. The pushing of a button, the clicking of the mouse is something that we understand completely. Emergent community behaviors don't reveal themselves in a second and won't respond to the click of the mouse. So, the challenge, I think, the difficulty is, that you as a visitor are not a god, but just a visitor to a community that has its own agenda.

Sabine Breitsameter:
So, your interactive concept is not based on a conversational or dialogical model. Which interactive principle does your installation follow?

David Rokeby:
Yes a lot of language-based stuff using computer relates to conversation as a model. I wasn't so much interested in dialogue in this work. To come back to the term »communion«: I think we are all somewhat lonely as human beings, at least some of the time, and feel a distance between ourselves and people around us. And there are those very special moments, where we find ourselves feeling suddenly, that the person we are talking to, really understands us in a way that's very moving and hard to describe and hard to repeat even. I sense, that in dialogue, we sometimes use language both to communicate and as a way to keep a sort of distance. To keep things polite, but distant. So, this idea of communion is a very important thing to me. A moment where you feel the miracle of communication more than the act of communication. The moment, when all those computers find their way to consensus and find their way to that place where they are together and not in dialogue is somehow related to that.

Sabine Breitsameter:
Thank you very much, David, for the interview.

David Rokeby, * 1960, is a sound and video installation artist based in Toronto, Canada. He has been creating interactive installations since 1982. He has focused on interactive pieces that directly engage the human body, or that involve artificial perception systems. His work has been performed / exhibited in shows across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia. - He was awarded the first Petro-Canada Award for Media Arts in 1988, the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Interactive Art (Austria) in 1991 and 1997 (with Paul Garrin), and the first BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award for Interactive Art. He has recently been awarded a 2002 Governor General's award in Visual and Media Arts and the Ars Electronica's »Golden Nica«, the first prize in the category »Interactive Art«.

Further links

above copied from:

In Boggs We Trust, Olav Velthuis

An earlier, abridged version of this article was published in:
Dagblad Trouw (Dutch National Newspaper), Saturday February 24, 2001

When Marcel Duchamp was asked why he stopped painting at an early age, his answer was: "I don't want to copy myself, like all the others. Do you think they enjoy painting the same thing fifty or a hundred times? Not at all, they no longer make pictures; they make checks." Now that the art world revolves around more money than ever before, and the commodification of art has reached neurotic levels, Duchamp's statement is hard to disagree with. But what if Duchamp had met J.S.G. Boggs (Fig. 1), an artist who actually makes bills, checks, and recently coins? As a moneymaker, Boggs seems to be the epitome of the commercial, repetitive artist Duchamp had in mind. Nevertheless, my guess is that he would take an interest in Boggs' bills. In fact, Duchamp made some checks himself--to pay for the services of his Parisian dentist Tzanck in 1919, to help his friend John Cage raise funds for the advancement of performance art, and to satisfy a personal fan's request for a signature at a New York gallery in 1965.

The parallels between the Tzanck Check (Fig. 2) in particular and Boggs' bills go further than the laborious production process that these painstakingly precise copies spring from. Like Duchamp, Boggs documents conceptions of value that inform the art world, and investigates how worth comes into being (even though enlightenment about these matters can hardly be expected). Furthermore, he plays with economic systems as if they were children's toys, like Duchamp did with the institutions of the art world. And if you still cherish any illusions about the absolute value of money, or art, for that matter, start thinking about Boggs' bills.

1. In the beginning

Boggs made his first bill in 1984--unintentionally so, and without the faintest notion of the never-ending lawsuits, the media attention, and the extraordinary prices that his bills would generate in the years to follow. At the time, Boggs was sitting in a Chicago bar, making a complex drawing on a napkin that depicted the number one. Numbers were an obsession of the artist at that time; they still are, in fact. A waitress of the bar instantly developed a liking for the drawing. It reminded her of a dollar bill, and as much as she liked it, she asked Boggs to pay his 90-cent bill with it. The waitress also insisted that Boggs accept a dime in change. With a fine pen, he has been copying bills ever since.

Recently, Boggs commemorated that original event silently: for his latest project, which started right at the official beginning of the twenty-first millennium, Boggs had 100,000 Sacagawea dollars fabricated (Fig. 4) by an organization specializing in educational materials regarding Currency. Boggs' own version of the new one-dollar coin is slightly larger than the original, (Fig. 5) and is pressed out of plastic. The coins have six different mintmarks--J, S, G, B, M21 and CH 84. The currency artist financed their fabrication with a 5,000-dollar bill that he self-evidently drew himself.

In the seventeen years that lie in between, Boggs has managed to spend his bills in several million dollars worth of economic transactions. If Duchamp paid for his dentist, Boggs paid for a Yamaha motorbike, for countless bills in bars, restaurants and hotels, for airplane tickets, artworks, rare old bills, and many other goods. In Portland, he bought a Hamburger with a 1,000-dollar bill, and received 997 real dollars in exchange. In the first months of this year he spent over 6,000 of his new plastic Sacagawea coins, among which 1,300 were exchanged for five ounces of gold bullion. All these transactions have elements of ordinary purchases, of barter transactions of an original artwork against a mass produced consumer good, and of artistic performances that are only slightly relevant to economics.

2. After Boggs

Is Boggs a counterfeiter--albeit a very successful one? No. A superficial glance is sufficient to distinguish Boggs' bills from the original. The backside is left blank and Boggs adds some puns to the front. Instead of "In God we trust," an orange fifty dollar bill reads "Red gold we trust"; a Swiss 100 Francs bill from the late 1980s (Fig. 6) depicts his self-portrait as an "angry young man"; on a ten dollar bill, the building of the treasury is replaced by the Supreme Court, (Fig. 7) accompanied by the text "Please give me a fair trial." Furthermore, all bills are signed by Boggs himself, sometimes as "treasurer of art," on other occasions as "secretary of measury."

The problem is that Boggs does draw his bills life size and in the actual colors of the original, which resulted in legal trouble on a number of occasions. In Australia, a court case was dismissed almost right away, after which Boggs received $20,000 in damages. In England, Scotland Yard arrested him and confiscated his work while he was installing a gallery exhibition. Again, he was acquitted of the charges. To celebrate his victory, Boggs announced that he would live on self-made money for an entire year. In the United States, however, his trials have caused him more lasting trouble. When Boggs was spending a year as a fellow at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the Secret Service raided his apartment and studio and confiscated approximately 1,300 objects.

Although the U.S. Attorney did not press charges, Boggs has been involved in a legal battle for almost an entire decade now to get all of his belongings back. Paradoxically, one of the few counterfeited bills that he owned (but did not make himself) was returned, but the Secret Service kept the clownish 1,000,000 dollar bill available by order from the Internet. Incidentally, the trial will result in the largest transaction in Boggs' career as a money artist, since he plans to pay for the lawyer's fee, which amounts to around a million dollars, with 100,000 dollar bills. Bogg's lawyers, who are most sympathetic to his case, have actually promised to accept these bills as a valid means of payment.

Unlike the Secret Service, the contemporary art world does value Boggs' bills. Museums like the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the British Museum in London own copies of his work. Private collectors underscore their cultural value by offering Boggs considerable sums for a hint about when and where he spent his bills; subsequently, they pay large sums to acquire a bill from the shopkeepers who were brave enough to accept Boggs' money. Like Duchamp, whose signature was sought after in the 1960s as if he was a celebrity, Boggs has a large following of people eager to obtain his signature. Personal fans have to pay him a small fee for an autograph, while a signature is only within reach for mavericks who are willing to spend $2,000 or more. No need for Boggs to complain about financial or artistic rewards.

In short, Boggs' bills generate extreme, albeit contradictory, reactions. I wonder, however, if the legal trouble and the arti-financial success that his work generates are really that distinct. Note, for instance, that both the legal apparatus and the army of collectors ultimately intend to take his work out of circulation. And when it comes to their sense of humor, my expectations of a collector who pays $50,000 or more for a Boggs bill are no higher than that of a prosecutor who wants to stop Boggs from making the bills in the first place. Both try to "capture" Boggs, with either money or the law as their instrument-- in vain, I presume.

3. No land for money

I met Boggs when he was in Amsterdam in early February for a performance in the "West Indisch Huis." In the seventeenth century, the "West Indisch Huis" was built for the West Indische Compagnie, which enjoyed a monopoly on trade between America, West Africa and Holland. Currently the building is the home base of the John Adams Institute, which organizes lectures by American intellectuals, writers and artists. The title of Boggs' performance there was I'll take Manhattan.

At the start of the performance Boggs, 44, who has wild gray-blond hair that nearly reaches his shoulders, takes a digital picture of the audience, while a bag filled with orange plastic Sacagawea coins lies between his legs. Then he recounts the story of Peter Minuit, governor of the West Indische Compagnie, who sailed to the island of Manhattan. He was welcomed in May 1626, 375 years ago today, by an Indian clan. Soon after his arrival, Minuit bought the island from the Indians for trinkets worth sixty guilders. Among those trinkets were "wampum," the Indian word for bead money, which had not only monetary but also cultural value for many clans--"wampum" was a means of transmitting the history of the clan from generation to generation. The Dutch, however, did not have history but money on their mind, which induced them to create their own "wampum" in order to deal with the Indians. Unknowingly, the Indians responded appropriately to the sly and sacrilegious offer of the Dutch by accepting the trinkets, but since they lacked a conception of land ownership, the Indians must have conceived of the transaction as some foreign ritual. Come to think of it, no land was exchanged for any money on that May Day in 1626.

The story of Minuit and the Indians is a perfect pre-figuration of Boggs own work; Minuit paid, just like Boggs, with improvised money, and probably needed a good share of rhetoric to do so. The color of Boggs' Sacagawea coins is the same as the family name of the Dutch royal family: Orange. In fact, many of the first Dutch settlers on Manhattan used to live north of the island in Fortress Orange (the present Albany), and after the Dutch re-conquered Manhattan from the English in the second half of the seventeenth century, they renamed it New Orange.

Here is another parallel: the acquisition of Manhattan by the Dutch is listed in American history books for $24, mistakenly so, since the nineteenth century American historian who came up with the figure used the exchange rate of his own time rather than some seventeenth century equivalent. However, the exchange rate he used (60/24) is almost exactly the same as the present exchange rate of the Dutch guilder against the American dollar. Is there a meaning to all these parallels--synchronicities, as Boggs calls them? "I have no answers, just questions," he says as he concludes his performance. It is the child in Boggs, who never seems to have deserted him, who needs these exercises in confusion.

4. Indecent proposal

When Boggs talks about his work, it is with great enthusiasm, cheer and wonder. However, when talking about the lawsuits, the tenderness in his eyes makes way for a furious look. Although Boggs seems flattered with the artistic and financial success of his endeavor, he does not strike me as particularly "money" oriented. Boggs admits that the material form of money is what fascinates him--the fact that it functions as a visual icon of society in a way that electronic money does not. But more than just a copier of money, he is a performance artist. When a collector recently offered to buy all his remaining coins for $100,000, Boggs refused. The golden rule is that he only parts with his money in real economic exchanges. He does not sell his work, in other words, he only "transacts" it.

"Do you think they will accept Boggs money here," he asks in an old Amsterdam bar. Boggs insists that I will not intervene during the transaction, and promptly walks to the bar with a gentle smile on his face. Then he explains to the barkeeper with a charming voice: "Hi, I am an artist; I make my own money, and I try to spend it in real transactions. Today I would like to spend my money with you. These coins represent the value of a dollar. Would you accept four of them in exchange for two beer[s]?"

The lady looks puzzled and doubts if she should accept his offer. Before she can answer, however, her husband intervenes: "Paying with fake money is impossible," he says aggressively, "is playing a trick" [in Dutch the husband used the word "kunstenmakerij," which means both "making art," and "playing a trick"]. Unsolicited, the barkeeper continues that he has been making his own living for thirty-five years, and urges Boggs to support himself with honest means as well. The next day, many refusals of his coins will follow, even at the coin shops located behind Dam Square. There is a striking pattern in the responses that his proposal evokes. Out of disbelief, men react irritated, while women often start giggling -- an indication for social scientists that some taboo is being violated. Never does Boggs mention that the deal he is offering them is an offer nobody can refuse -- after all, even the coins are worth much more than their face value on the resale market for Boggs' work.

5. Resisting uniformity

By fabricating his own money, Boggs takes us back to a time when money was far from uniform. That time is not as far behind us as we tend to think. Until the nineteenth century, and in some countries up until the early twentieth century, a hodgepodge of different coins and bills were in circulation. In the United States, for instance, the dollar as we know it was only standardized in 1928. Until that time, almost any bank could issue its own bills. The Central Banks that were established in the nineteenth century were supposed to monitor the circulation of currencies and to create order in the chaotic monetary traffic of those days. As a result, the uniformity of money increased rapidly around the turn of the century, while issuing money was monopolized by the state in many Western European countries.

Around the same time, the German sociologist Georg Simmel wrote in his magnum opus Die Philosophie des Geldes that money is ultimately a destructive force. Money, that colorless and indifferent equivalent, would cover the world with an "evenly flat and gray tone," Simmel wrote. Money reduced the diversity of goods and transactions to a common, uniform denominator. It even put pressure on relationships, Simmel argued, since social interaction was increasingly transformed into economic exchange.

In a late response to Simmel, the American sociologist Viviana Zelizer showed in The Social Meaning of Money (1994) that people do manage to resist the destructive power of money. In the second half of the nineteenth century, when monetary traffic was becoming standardized rapidly, many households started creating what Zelizer calls domestic currencies. They earmarked money for specific goals and named them Christmas money, drinking money, vacation money, etc. Moreover, these households established a direct link between the way money was earned and the appropriate spending of it. Thus, they partially nullified the alleged uniformity of money.

Currently, an area of tension is emerging comparable to that in the nineteenth century. This tension is exactly what provides Boggs' art with the necessary ammunition. On the one hand, the uniformity of money has entered an era of renaissance due to the introduction of the EURO in the European Union, no less than eleven different currencies will disappear at once on January 1, 2002. Because of the increasing use of credit cards and payment by means of a PIN code, money is on its way to becoming extinct in its material form of bills and coins. In the global economy, money can only be spotted as changing numbers on computer displays in anonymous offices. "You see?" Simmel mumbles posthumously.

At the same time, however, a widespread and multifaceted resistance against this ongoing standardization of monetary traffic is emerging. Look at the new republics that came into being after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the crisis in the Balkans. One of the first political acts in these countries is the introduction of their own currency, which serves as a symbol of national unity. As inhabitants of a small country, the Danish population had good reasons to vote against the introduction of the EURO in a public referendum that was organized last fall. And on the Internet, where you would expect the ultimate triumph of money's uniformity, new electronic currencies like e-gold are coming into being. Finally, it is remarkable that in the last decade, local currencies have been established in a number of places, like the British LETS (Local Exchange and Trading Schemes), Ithaca money in the American college town, or Noppes in Amsterdam. Like Boggs, many citizens refuse to reconcile themselves with the uniformity of money.

6. The Fragility of Money

All of these manifestations of resistance - Boggs' bills in the first place -- emphasize the conventional nature of money. If a businessman remarks that Boggs' money is not real, Boggs acts surprised. Why would it be less real than the money we spend in everyday life? With a smile he replies that it costs the Central Bank only a few cents to print the bills we use, whereas Boggs himself has to put many hours into making his own money. It is a reversal of Duchamp's institutional critique, addressing the economy rather than the art world. Whereas people demand originals rather than mass produced objects inside the walls of cultural institutions, Boggs' original work is not accepted in the economic realm as a stand-in for the ready-made bills of modern Central Banks.

Thus Boggs forces people to come to terms with the fragile basis of money, with the fact that money lacks a solid, material basis. It solely derives its value from agreement—a widespread agreement, for that matter, but certainly not more than that. Many people still think that we can exchange our paper bills for gold at the Central Bank in a case of emergency, but that possibility was abolished in most countries in the first half of the 20th century. Given the conventional basis of money, it is easy to understand why objects as diverse as pearls, horse blankets, beads, rice, salt, gold, playing cards or cigarettes could serve as media of exchange in the past. (Boggs united them in an installation for the New York office of the consultancy firm Accenture.) Because many of these means were neither divisible, transportable or perishable, they did not survive the test of time. In that respect, Boggs argues tongue in cheek that his own Sacagawea coin is a good competitor of the original. It is both lighter and larger than the original which makes it easier to distinguish from a quarter.

David Greg Harth, another American artist with a fascination for money, underscores that the value of money is ultimately founded on trust.(Fig. 8) On one-dollar bills he puts stamps with texts such as "I am not a dollar" (the parallel with René Magritte's painting Ceci n'est pas une pipe (Fig. 9) goes without saying.) "He is right," says Boggs. Ultimately, the bill is not a dollar at all, at most a representation of it. The bill is real, but the dollar itself is an abstraction… just like God. Indeed, it is remarkable how fundamentally modern monetary systems are grafted onto religion. According to Boggs the invention of both money and God date from the same era, and the traces are still visible in our own days. Just think of the double meaning of words like "redeem," or the root of the word "credit"--it is a direct derivative of the Latin word for believing. The side of Dutch coins reads "God Is With Us," while "In God We Trust" is printed on American bills.

7. Keep Boggs in circulation

Given the fragility of money, it is hardly surprising that Boggs' proposals arouse such hostile reactions. It confuses people to a greater degree than they are comfortable with. And who can blame them? How easily trust in economic value can be undermined and the consequences have lately been illustrated when investors gained billions of dollars on the NASDAQ and lost them as easily when stock prices collapsed only months later. As mysterious as the rise and fall of the Internet economy is the creation of value that Boggs realizes by printing his own money. Without the help of any official institution--the Central Bank in the last place--he sneaks plastic coins into the economy with a face value of 100.000 dollar. Their real value is even many times higher: a month after their first release, a complete set of six one-dollar coins was sold on Ebay for $87. It goes to show that as painstakingly as the fundamentals of our modern monetary system were established in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, so easily are they tampered with. Or, as Boggs remarks: "When you are dealing with an abstraction, the borderline between something and nothing is very subtle."

Above copied from:

Component-based design and software readymades, Anders Mørch


I present a vision for the integration of art in software design. The perspective is to support evolutionary application development with end users as active participants. A step towards this is component-based design. The paper starts by identifying some issues involved in component-based design by showing examples of how some everyday objects (e.g., bicycle wheel, urinal, coat rack) have be reused and redesigned in fanciful ways. A set of concepts and techniques for radical tailorability of software systems (i.e., software readymades) is proposed.


This essay examines two areas of design, an art discipline and component-based software development, respectively. I argue that they merit comparison and even cross-fertilisation. The two areas are 'readymades' (seen as art objects) and software components (seen as readymades). A commonality between the two and a basic premise of this essay is that the unit of design is a 'mass produced' and 'ready to hand' object that everyone (both young and old) can relate to. These characteristics are examined in some detail and ideas from readymades are reused in order to propose new concepts and techniques for software design.

Marcel Duchamp coined the term 'readymade' to explain the activity of making everyday objects art objects by certain operations performed by the artist. These operations were different from what most people associated with artwork. The end results were new objects only slightly different from the originally purchased objects, but after Duchamp's operations more fit for a museum rather than as tools for practical work (i.e., as originally conceived by their manufacturers).

Software components and component-based design have received much attention in the software engineering and application development communities over the past 5 years. Software components allow systems to be built by starting from high-level reusable building blocks instead of writing program statements in a general purpose programming languages. A goal of this approach to systems development is to find new ways of shortening the (often costly) software development cycle, to stimulate programmers to reuse each other's assets, and to make it more practical to include end-users in systems development.

Although there are similarities between readymades and software components, there are differences we need to identify before we embark on a closer analysis. Readymades is strictly not a design concept, but an approach to disassemble, reuse, re-arrange and extend already manufactured objects. Software components are parts to be assembled with other components in order to create new software systems. However, both approaches consist of ready-to-hand objects as the basic unit of design.

Readymades as art objects

Duchamp coined the word readymade by selecting manufactured objects from manufacturer’s catalogues and calling them art objects even though they were not his own creations. His operations were simple: choose certain objects, label them by a serial number and sign them by a short sentence to aid to the spectator (see the Fountain). In other cases it meant to take existing objects, taking them apart, and reassembling them in new ways to form radically different artifacts (e.g. stool and bicycle to create a bicycle wheel).

Duchamp's role as artist consisted in selecting existing objects he found 'interesting' and of presenting them as art. Since the world was already so full of interesting objects, why did one want to add to them? Instead, the artist could just pick one, which should be a choice of mind rather than the work of hand. Naturally, this way of working scandalised critics in the early part of this century.

Although Duchamp's readymades are only slightly modified versions of manufactured objects they have been carefully chosen and given radically new meanings (i.e., they can no longer be used as originally intended). In this way the readymades make us aware of aspects of everyday objects we normally do not attend to when we use them in our everyday activities. They serve instead as a counterexample: pointing out what an object is not.

The readymades not only shocked the critics, but they also challenged the conventional way of presenting art, e.g. as hanging on walls. Duchamp’s readymades were not placed on walls, but hung from the ceiling or were nailed to the floor, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: The artist's studio in New York 1916-17. The urinal, hat rack, and snow shovel are hanging from the ceiling. A coat rack is nailed to the floor (not visible). None of the objects are directly accessible for use. A complex web of thin wire-frame integrates some of the readymades.

Duchamp's pictures and diagrams were 'snapshots' of existing physical objects and presented from different viewpoints. He put great emphasis on the time and date of selecting, cutting (disassembly into parts), and reorganisation. Time and date were vital information in addition to their serial numbers. Many of the readymades continued to evolve on paper for many years (some even until the artist’s death). Since none of the original readymades no longer exist, their pictorial and diagrammatic representations serve as their reminders. Figure 4 shows a series of snapshots in the development of the Urinal readymade.

Figure 4: Time Line of Readymade Series of Urinals (1917–1989)

Contemporary approaches to computer art include continuing the evolution started by Duchamp. Two examples of work along these lines are multimedia renderings and 3D animations of two of the classic readymades (Urinal and Bicycle wheel).

A multimedia rendering of readymade in a video of Urinal animation (QuickTime movie) is at:

An assembled 3D model of Bicycle Wheel by Rhonda Roland Shearer (QuickTime) is at:

Compositional structure of readymades

One reason why readymades have not vanished from the art scene is because they identify aspects of everyday objects we normally do not recognise when we interact with them (i.e., when the objects are ‘'ready to hand'). We do, however, recognize the other aspects when they are shown us explicitly (i.e., when the object becomes 'present at hand’). This can be seen in the later snapshots, which reveal cuts (parts) that are only weakly connected to their physical counterparts. However, more importantly, the cuts reveal aspects of a well-defined structural composition. The effects of this are explored in the remainder of this essay.

An approach to decompose the Urinal readymade is seen in Figure 5. The cuts identify ‘parts’ that constitute its compositional structure (its sub units). The Urinal, consists of at least three distinct cuts: 1) Drain holes, 2) plumbing hole with the artist’s inscription next to it, and 3) mounting holes with the readymade’s serial number attached. The two first are parts that perform a well-defined function when the artifact is in use. Drain holes are the sub-unit of the urinal men interact with when using the urinal. The plumbing hole is the sub-unit that integrates the urinal with the sewer system. The mounting holes are used when ‘installing’ the urinal in a public bathroom.

It the latter part of this essay we refer to the parts of a readymade as its ‘aspects’ for practical reasons. Aspects are ways to see, rather than to build, a readymade.

Figure 5: Decomposing the Urinal readymade into three distinctive parts (referred to as aspects): Handle to mount on wall (37B), drain holes (37C), pipe hole (37D). In addition, the handle has a serial number attached, and next to the pipe hole is the signature and time-stamp of the selector (artist).

Another (contemporary) readymade (chosen by the author) is shown in Figure 6. The same three aspects can also be identified here, but now they are put together again. This kind of readymade is what we call an 'application unit'. It is ready-to-hand (i.e., it is meant to be used) rather than present-at-hand (i.e., Duchamp's readymades were made for exhibition).

Figure 6: The TrioVing cardkey. A readymade with three aspects exposed: 1) Handle, 2) recommendation for use (end-user-aided signature), and 3) coded mechanisms.

Software components and component-based design

A component is a unit of composition with well-defined interfaces to other components. It can be deployed independently or be subject to composition by third parties. Components are tools that together allow application developers to create applications by gluing together ready-made component without the need for programming.

Integration of components to build software applications can be compared to connecting Lego bricks to make toys. By keeping interfaces (connection points) general, each brick can connect to many other bricks (of different shapes). One of the great advantages of composition is that it has the potential to be performed at runtime (i.e., when the system is in use). Connecting two components requires only 'glue code' (i.e., a high-level script) that records the connections between the components. The computer can in many instances automate the writing of glue code, and this is an important aid for end-user developers. A 'snapshot' of this process is shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Component-based development with IBM’s Composition editor.
The complete scenario of this example, which shows
the steps for connecting the components is at:

The steps a user has to go through in order to assemble the three software components according to this scenario are as follows:

1. Select the Composition editor (a software development tool in IBM's Visual Age for Java)
2. Components can now be chosen from a component palette (see Figure 7).
3. Choose a button, a text field and a text area (shown in Figure 7).
4. Modify the Button's default names in the Button’s property sheet (named 'Overfør' in Figure 7).
5. Connect the three components: the effect should be to copy the text in the text field to the text area when a user clicks the button.
6. The logic for this is placed in the Button's 'actionPerformed' method[1]. Create a link with this method as the starting point.
7. The link is connected to the “getText” method of the text field component.
8. 'getText' is again connected to the 'append' method of the text area component.
9. The methods are accessed by right clicking on the components in the work area in the Composition editor.

Structure of components: application units

Duchamp revealed two kinds of mechanisms in the Urinal: artifact mechanism (drain holes) and mechanisms for integration with other artifacts (plumbing hole). These kinds of mechanisms (and their division into separate areas of concern) are useful for software components as well, especially for separating the definition of interfaces (software methods) from component functionality. We also need information about how to use the components, which is yet another area of concern. This is what distinguishes application units from readymades. However, the use dimension can be added to readymades by software. One way to accomplish this was shown above (multimedia and video animation). An alternative approach is to use software as handle (user interface) to serve as a point of convergence between the different aspects of a readymade, hence linking them together. The concept was not foreign to Duchamp, but developed by him only in mathematical terms.

Figure 8: Application units in the BasicDraw application (a small drawing program). Holding down a modifier key (alt, shift and control) on a user interface object allows the user to access each of the different aspects of an application unit. The aspects are partly interdependent. Each aspect may have to be changed during system development.

Software components needed to realize this are referred to as application units. Each application unit is a visual component with three aspects: (1) user interface, (2) design rationale, and (3) program code. These aspects have been inspired by the structure of readymades, such as the cardkey shown in Figure 6. For the software equivalents, the user interface is the point of convergence between the three aspects. This is accomplished by the 'event handler' mechanism. To view the different aspects the user simply needs to hold down a modifier key while performing the normal interaction gesture on a GUI object. This is illustrated in Figure 8.

Tailorability is needed for modifying individual application units and to create new ones during evolutionary application development (i.e., redesign and further development). Each of the aspects is tailored separately by three techniques known to as customisation, integration and extension. Customisation means changing the user interface and choosing among alternative configuration options (analogous to Java Bean’s property sheets shown in the scenario of Figure 7). Extension is modifying program code by subclassing and method extension. Integration is tailorability at an intermediate level. It includes both integration of new application units (composition) and integration of design rationale (to document the changes made). A goal of end-user tailorability is to bundle tailoring tools with components in order not to overload the user with irrelevant information nor make access to tailoring tools unnecessarily complicated.

Summary & discussion

This essay has identified some similarities of readymades-as-art-objects and readymades-as-software-components. It has argued that the compositional structure of Duchamp's readymades can be useful as structure for user-tailorable software components as well.

An open issue for further work is how Duchamp's artful integration of readymades (as illustrated in Figure 3) can inform us how to integrate software components. We can explore the dimensions of this issue by identifying several levels of 'software readymades':

· Software readymades as components of applications (as shown in Figure 7)
· Software readymades as complete applications, but running on the same machine
· Software readymades as applications running on different machines.

Integration of software components by end-users to make new applications is far from a trivial issue since it requires that end-users know what interface methods are defined on the various components and how they must be called to realise the integration of two components. In other words, flexibility at this level has still a long way to go before reaching 'artful integration'. Interestingly, a model for software component integration has been Lego toy construction. Lego construction has great flexibility in how two components can be coupled together. This generality is approached in software by method interfaces that cater to many combinational needs. However, the cost of generality (advantageous for component developers) is paid at the expense of end-user mastery because connection points will not have intuitive (domain-specific) names and may require parameters to be specified so that they can be used in many combinations. This requires programming expertise.

It may be simpler to consider stand-alone applications as the unit of composition since they allow greater degrees of flexibility (seen by an end-user). Imagine connecting a database system to a spreadsheet for plotting the data. This is integration at a higher level of abstraction that connecting software components. However, this may also require some form of programming. A scripting language can be used to get access to the data and to send it to the spreadsheet application by callings its plotting functions. An advantage of a scripting language compared to an object-oriented language is that is smaller and easier to comprehend by most end-users (i.e., functions rather than classes and methods).

Finally, software readymades can also be seen as applications running on different machines. Imagine a group of users located in different parts of the country (or world) that has decided to collaborate on a joint task over some time (e.g. a funded project). They should be able to select a suite of Internet tools (e.g. email, group discussion, chat) and be able integrate these tools in ways that support their needs. This localised 'ensemble' of tools may only be relevant for a short period of time (i.e., data storage is temporarily disk space can later be recovered). To create such an ensemble should not require any programming expertise, and it should minimise administrative overhead (i.e. it can be automated by the providers of the tools).

For software readymades to approach artful integration it is necessary that end-users (including artists) – rather than programmers and developers – are able to reuse and recombine user-oriented components. We are still not there, but the last scenarios I presented are within reach. However, to reach the level of artistry exemplified by Duchamp's studio of 1916-17, or fanciful Lego creations made by small children, is further away.

Note: most of the pictures shown in this essay are taken from Reference 5 below.


Ades, D., Cox, N. and Hopkins, D. (1999). Marcel Duchamp. Thames and Hudson, London.

Mørch, A. (1997a). Three Levels of End-User Tailoring: Customization, Integration, and Extension. In Computers and Design in Context. M. Kyng & L. Mathiassen (eds.). The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 51-76.

Mørch, A.I. (1998) Tailoring Tools for System Development. Journal of End User Computing 10 (2), 22-30.

Mørch, A.I. and Mehandjiev, N.D. (2000) Tailoring as Collaboration: The Mediating Role of Multiple Representations and Application Units. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 9 (1), 75-100.

Shearer, R.R., Alvarez, G., Slawinski, R., Marchi V. and Gould, S.J. (2000). Why the Hatrack is and/or is not Readymade: with Interactive Software, Animations, and Videos for Readers to Explore. Tout-fait: The Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal 1 (3), December 2000.

for image and the full essay see:

FLUXLIST and SILENCE Celebrate Dick Higgins, Ken Friedman

Ken Friedman's contribution to
"FLUXLIST and SILENCE Celebrate Dick Higgins"

Dick Higgins, 1938 - 1998

Dick Higgins was magnificent. In talent and achievement; in rigor and depth
of intellect; in the influence he exerted on the world, he was magnificent.
Born in Jesus Pieces, England, in 1938, he died in Quebec City, Canada, in
1998. He was sixty years old. During the last four decades of his sixty
years, he became a major figure in twentieth century culture.

Dick's qualities of character and mind gave substance to the public person.
The historical Dick Higgins was an inventor of happenings and a co-founder
of Fluxus. He was the founder of Something Else Press and the critical
theorist who shaped the concept of intermedia. Behind these facts stood a
deeper, more complex figure. He was cut of the same cloth as the great
humanists whose intellectual and spiritual creativity helped transform the
medieval world into the modern era.

More than a few thoughtful scholars rank Dick Higgins with Marcel Duchamp
and John Cage as an influence on the arts of the century. The comparisons
are appropriate in similarity as well as difference. Higgins abstracted and
concretized the profound artistic and intellectual ferment of an era. He
was a bold experimental artist. He was also a quiet, tireless contributor
to the world of ideas. Through exhibitions, projects, and publications, he
became a pivotal figure in the network of idea-based artists whom he
attracted and with whom he interacted. . From the late 1950s through the
last days of the century, Dick Higgins personified and exemplified the
issues he explored.

In his art, Higgins explored and problematized some of the most interesting
artistic challenges of our time. Specific works functioned as the
demonstration of larger theories, and his theories shaped the crucial
framework within which much of the artistic thinking of our era emerged.

Dick Higgins's program of research and artistic experimentation was serious
in scope and scale, encyclopedic in perspective. His work ranged across
painting, performance, and poetry; happenings, intermedia, and film;
typography, book art, and publishing. He shaped a theory of the arts for
our times. He explained his theory in an extraordinary series of books and
essays. His explanations opened a world of artistic territory for those
around him. At different times, Higgins described these worlds as
experimental art or the arts of the new mentality. The most descriptive
term was the word that Higgins himself gave to the English language:

Higgins coined the term "intermedia" in the mid-sixties to describe the
tendency of an increasing number of the most interesting artists to cross
the boundaries of recognized media or to fuse the boundaries of art with
media that had not previously been considered art forms. With
characteristic modesty, Higgins noted that Samuel Taylor Coleridge had used
the term over a century and a half before he himself independently
rediscovered it.

Higgins was too modest. Coleridge used the term "intermedium" once --
apparently once only - to refer to a specific issue in the work of Edmund
Spenser. Coleridge's use of the word "intermedium" in Lecture Three: 'On
Spenser' suggests a distant kinship to Higgins's construction of the term
"intermedia." Nevertheless, Coleridge's usage was different in meaning and
in form.

Coleridge referred to a specific point lodged between two kinds of meaning
in the use of an art medium. Coleridge's word "intermedium" was a singular
term, used almost as an adjectival noun. In contrast, Higgins's word
"intermedia" refers to a tendency in the arts that became both a range of
art forms and a way of approaching the arts.

Higgins said that he might have read the Coleridge essay in his years at
Yale or Columbia, taking it in subconsciously. This may be true. Even so,
Higgins coined a new word in the term "intermedia," giving it the current
form and contemporary meaning it holds to this day. Higgins went on to
elaborate the issues and ideas involved in intermedia through a program of
artistic research and writing that spanned nearly four decades.

Higgins was an artist as well as a theorist. He approached experimental art
in a genuinely experimental spirit. In essence, he constructed an extensive
research program of ideas and issues ripe for exploration. He then posited
the cases and examples that would explore them. These cases and examples
formed the body of his work.

To place the radical and experimental nature of Higgins's work in proper
perspective, one must compare it with a scientific research program.
Although he was interested in the operation of chance, he did not rely on
chance effects. One of his famous one-sentence manifestos was "If you
haven't done it twice, you haven't done it." Higgins placed great emphasis
on learning and mastering the specific artistic skills needed to undertake
his experiments. In some cases, he only put these skills to use once or
twice, but he felt the mastery of skills essential if art works were to
fulfill the experimental goals for which he shaped them.

He was scientifically rigorous in documenting his results. He accepted and
critically analyzed his failed experiments as well as his successes. Rather
than bury his failures as most artists do, he often published or exhibited
to demonstrate a larger program of ideas.

Most important, he challenged the scope of an art world that insisted on
artists who confined themselves to the limits of a single discipline or
medium. Scholars and critics with no stake in the art market admired
Higgins's extraordinary experimental spirit and his rigorous integrity.
Sadly, these virtues did not suit him to an art world interested in the
repetitious production and sale of recognizable artifacts. Like soap or
automobiles, art is marketed under brand names. Salable art is expected to
embody brand values. Many of the critics and curators who see themselves as
opponents of market mechanisms and corporate branding expect art to be
packaged in readily identifiable formats and brand-value packages. Dick
Higgins was not suited to a life in their world.

Critics and curators should have been excited by Higgins's work and the
range of meanings he helped to shape. Why weren't they? Higgins himself
considered some aspects of problem on page 227 of his last book, Modernism
Since Postmodernism in a note describing how Fluxus artists have been
systematically excluded from the art market at the very moment their work
has made them increasingly famous. Rigorous analysis of the intellectual
foundations of experimental art by critics and curators might have made a
difference. Then, if more critics and curators understood the intellectual
foundations of experimental art, the art world would take a different shape

As it is, Dick Higgins was concerned with far more than his own work. He
was engaged in the work and ideas of the colleagues he respected. This was
a major reason for his work as a publisher and critic. His role as a public
thinker was the basis of Higgins's great influence. He helped to create an
international community of art and knowledge through two major forums for
intellectual dialogue and artistic interaction, the laboratory of ideas
that comprised Fluxus and Something Else Press. These became a
meeting-point and breeding ground for some of the best and most innovative
experimental art of our era, in music and performance, in visual art and

Comparing Higgins with Cage and Duchamp has become common for a
knowledgeable few. Higgins holds his own in this comparison. He also holds
his own because of the important differences between his career and theirs.
The world will never finally take his measure as an artist because he will
never complete the program of works he planned to undertake. Consequently,
his potential as an artist will never be known. With the possible exception
of the well known Danger Music series, few of Higgins's works rank with
Duchamp's masterworks. This is partly because Higgins was not given to the
memorable single gesture. It is also because times have changed. They have
changed, in great part, due to the triple influences of Duchamp, Cage, and
Higgins. However, Duchamp emerged and found his platform in the Old World
of an art market built on the industrial economy of the Guggenheims, the
Rockefellers, bankers, and robber barons such as J. P. Morgan and the
pre-philanthropic Andrew Carnegie. Higgins found his platform in the New
World of the postindustrial economy, the first moments of an information
era defined by Daniel Bell and Marshall McLuhan.

Lord Duveen and Bernard Berenson shaped the art market of Duchamp's
industrial world. Duveen was an inspired merchant. Berenson was a
connoisseur of great talent and questionable ethics. These two were role
models of a sort for the people who replaced them in successive waves as
the wheelers and dealers of the art market and the critics who serve them.
While time and the patina of history didn't quite catch up with Duchamp's
market while he was still alive, his fame, and his native skills as a
wheeler and dealer himself made it possible for him to survive in good
style. Higgins lacked those skills.

Despite the seminal impact of his ideas, therefore, few of the artists and
composers whom Dick Higgins influenced are aware of Higgins as a source of
their ideas and work. Neither, for the most part, are the critics and
historians of contemporary art. This, too, is a result of several decades
in which scholarship in contemporary art has functioned as a tale wagged by
the dog of the market. This will be remedied when Higgins's work is given
proper historical study.

The outlines of the history are already clear.

It is not yet possible to evaluate Higgins's work as a visual artist. This
will surely change. Given the fact that Higgins's body of work will remain
incomplete, it is hard to say how dramatically our understanding of the
work will change. Even so, his art will inevitably be reconsidered. I still
recall the time in the late 1960s when a friend of mine was offered an
original Duchamp for $300. Joseph Beuys was an eccentric art teacher in
those days and the original Fluxus edition of George Brecht's Water Yam
cost $5.00. Duchamp's reputation wasn't always what it is now. Neither was
Beuys's or Brecht's. Dick Higgins's reputation as an artist is likely to
grow in the years to come.

As inconclusive as one must be about Higgins's reputation as an artist,
however, it is clearly possible to measure the impact of his ideas on the
arts of our time. Dick Higgins was one of the few artists since Duchamp who
had the capacity to plan and complete a comprehensive program of idea-based
art. Unlike Duchamp, whose program was expressed in enigmatic notes and
elliptical comments, Higgins was a skilled theorist who presented ideas and
concerns in an expansive corpus of sophisticated, articulate publications.

As Cage did until he was quite old, Higgins lived in genteel poverty.
Unlike Cage, Higgins was not old enough to have been forgotten and
rediscovered. Some differences might have been rectified by a longer life.
As it is, many who understand Duchamp's work and Cage's ideas hold Higgins
in high esteem as a figure unique in twentieth century art.

To understand why Higgins is unique in our time, one must look back in
history. The explanation will not be found among the composers of the
Romantic era nor the artists of the Renaissance, but among the humanists
who transformed the Middle Ages into the modern world. To find a proper
comparison for Dick Higgins, one must look to Erasmus of Rotterdam.

Like Erasmus, Higgins's work attracted many of the best minds of his era.
His thinking and his work ranged wide and deep over several fields. He
exchanged letters and correspondence with a wide circle of colleagues. And,
in notable similarity to Erasmus, Higgins harnessed the power of the
printing press in the service of his theories. Time and context gave
Higgins's works different meaning. Like Erasmus, he viewed life and
learning in the broadest perspective.

Higgins read widely. Aided by a near-photographic memory, superb analytical
skills, and a fine sense of rhetoric, he made good use of nearly everything
he read. Higgins could have said -- as Erasmus did -- "My home is where I
have my library."

As it was with Erasmus, principles held prime place in Higgins's life.
Principles informed his art, his intellectual activities, and the way he
conducted his life. He was a human being whose character reflected the
natural dignity of moral grandeur. This dignity combined with talent to
make him admirable in the deepest sense of the word.

Like Erasmus, Higgins was committed to the knowledge of past and present.
He understood classical and modern concerns and he studied prehistoric and
postmodern phenomena. His books reveal a broad range of interests. Among
them were the first major historical study of pattern poetry; monographs on
a sixteenth-century Italian philosopher, a seventeenth-century English
theologian-poet, and a pair of eighteenth-century German critics. As well
as these, he wrote on modern composers, poets, and designers. At Something
Else Press, Higgins built a large public platform for Fluxus and he was
responsible for the great Gertrude Stein revival of the 1960s. There is

The next few years will see a decent collection of Dick Higgins's writings.
This will be followed by a complete collection of annotated works, a major
retrospective exhibition with full and proper catalogue and, finally, the
intellectual and artistic biography he deserves. As important and useful as
these will be, no catalogue of facts will contain Dick Higgins. The
critical, conceptual and artistic histories that will be written about Dick
Higgins must inevitably be abstracted from the intricate weave of Dick's
human qualities. No biography, however respectful, can incarnate the
feeling and tone of a person whose death affects so many. Nothing remains
but words, thoughts, memory, and reflection. Yet they are a powerful
presence and each memory and reflection on the man opens new horizons.
These are horizons of idea and experience. Through them, the man, his work,
and his words take on new meaning.

It is Christmas now. Here in the Swedish countryside, the weather has been
dark and gray for weeks with an occasional hour of piercing sunshine. The
last time I saw Dick, we went walking here, down the same road where I go
walking every day. It was spring then, going on summer. As so often before,
we talked about a hundred things. We shared an on-going conversation that
crossed years of multiple connections. The topics were often the same from
each time to the next. There was always change, though, and the changes in
each conversation chart the changes we made through life and time.

We strolled around the village church, an austere and beautiful structure
that is now eight centuries old. Then we went to the forest, the Priest's
Woods, a tract of land that belongs to the Diocese of Lund. The forest was
given to Lund Cathedral over a thousand years ago, when King Knut the Holy
of Denmark established the cathedral here under the guidance of Absalon,
the founding bishop of Copenhagen. Dick liked walking in these history-rich
woods, and he loved the flow of history.

That afternoon, we spoke of many things. As always, we fished in the river
of history. But personal issues were more important. Foremost was his
health. Dick had been in a bad automobile accident only a year before,
together with Alison Knowles and Jessica Higgins. He was recovering, but he
wasn't yet feeling great. This was the first long walk he'd taken in a long
time. He was worried about finances, too, and work.

We also spoke of happiness and interesting things: Fluxus, old times at
Something Else Press, Dick's next show, my latest project, Hannah Higgins's
book, Dick's new book, my new book, getting married (me), being married
again (Dick), Dick's day with Bengt af Klintberg the week before. For me,
it was a day like many days since I first met Dick in 1966. We'd see each
other after a separation of a few months or a few years. In between, we'd
correspond or talk on the telephone. The distance in time and space always
seemed about the same. We'd catch up and go on.

Dick wrote me just a few days before he died. He was at work on a new book
titled The Theory of the Book. I was looking forward to the manuscript. In
the 1960s, we sent manuscripts back and forth as typewritten or xeroxed
documents. We even used such now-ancient technologies as carbon copy,
mimeograph, and spirit duplicator. By the late 1980s, we were sending
beautifully printed desktop documents and computer diskettes. These days,
it was email and attached files, along with links pointing to resources on
the World Wide Web. Through all the years, our discourse was the same.

Dick was a model for me, a model of everything one may aspire to be as an
intellectual, as a man of dignity. I didn't agree with Dick on everything
nor did I need to. That's not the role of a model. When two kindred minds
meet in difference, they learn and grow as much as when they meet in
similarity. One of the things I loved about Dick was the way he cherished
the life of the mind. We could debate freely. We could trade ideas,
sources, and suggestions for reading. We could share thoughts for our next
debate. Because he cherished the life of the mind and the life of ideas,
Dick became a model and an intellectual partner to many of us across the
multiple disciplines of knowledge and around the world. That, too, is why
he is well compared with Erasmus.

As an intellectual presence, Dick Higgins is still alive for me, towering,
and grand. He remains an embodiment of ideas and issues, a mind engaged in
the virtue and value of ideas without consideration of personal advantage.
Some days, I find myself thinking he is still here. In the life of the
mind, he is.

There is another Dick Higgins, and I will not see him again, at last not in
this place. That Dick Higgins headed his letters and email messages with a
little reminder of what happened on the day in history. That was the Dick
Higgins who knew how many years of effort and negotiation it takes to
realize an exhibition or a book, the Dick Higgins who always sent a cordial
note of congratulations. That Dick Higgins would remind an artist irked
over a trifling error that he or she could have avoided the problem by
answering a query two years earlier. That was the Dick Higgins whose
sensitive and subtle analysis of George Maciunas's typography was grounded
as much in his friendship for George as in his sense of type. And that was
the Dick Higgins who could take you on a guided tour of Southern
California, outlining everything from the location of 18th-century Spanish
stagecoach rest stations to the geological cleft marking the San Andreas

That was the Dick Higgins known and loved around the world. Just as he had
friends around the world, he was a public figure in many nations. His death
occasioned obituaries and notices in many places. One appeared in the New
York Times. A far more perceptive essay appeared in Sydsvenska Dagbladet,
the newspaper of the Skåne region around Lund, where Dick had recently been
visiting professor at the Lund University Department of Theoretical and
Applied Aesthetics.

"For me," wrote curator and art critic Jean Sellem, "Dick Higgins was a
direct contact with modernism, a brilliant, many-sided and productive
poly-artist with a subtle and poetic imagination. He was a visionary, a
humble man with high thoughts on the deepest issues in life."

So he was to many of us. He was a friend, a colleague, and an exemplar. He
was an explorer of new worlds, a pilgrim.

"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth
abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth
to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth
about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth
again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the
sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they
return again."

-- Ecclesiastes 1:4 - 1:7

Thank you, Dick, for everything.

Ken Friedman

An earlier version of this note appeared in Umbrella, Vol. 21, No. 3/4,
December 1998, pp. 106-9. Reprinted courtesy of Judith A. Hoffberg and
Umbrella Associates.

above copied from:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Unification of Art Theories (UAT): A Long Manifesto

I was curious to learn new ideas/schools/styles/techniques/movements in arts and letters. I permanently bear with me a little notebook and a small pen in my pants’ or short’s pocket, so at any time I can write down any idea that spontaneously comes to my mind, or citation I read on newspapers, journals, books which jump under my eyes.

And later, at home, I order and group them in essays, articles. I keep databases that I continuously update and can never finish! I try to be comprehensive but I know I’ll never succeed to catch everything is this complex, vague, chaotic, large world.

I visited museums and galleries in about 30 countries so far, collecting and then mining data, and doing a Comparison Art study. The pile of books and articles on my computer table increases to the measure I study them one by one, since new references provoke my attention towards multiple directions.

What can I bring new for humankind’s dowry? A New Art Order?? It looks that nothing has been left for the young artists and writers, but a recombination and reinterpretation of past arts and letters treasury.

There is a circuit of movements in humanities, like the circuit of water in nature, but going in spiral, each time at a superior level. From a “Pre-X” or “X” movement an “Anti-X” and latter “Neo-X” or “Post-X” movements arise, afterwards “Anti-(Neo-X)”, etc. and the cycle, or part of the cycle, goes on for ever:

- Pre-Raphaelite à Raphael à Post-Raphaelite [or, from normal to grandeur];

- Classicism à Anti-Classicism à Neo-Classicism à Anti-(Neo-Classicism) [=Modernism];

- Expressionism à Anti-Expressionism (=Impressionism) à Neo-Expressionism (Neo-Ex);

- or Impressionism à Anti-Impressionism (=Expressionism) à Neo-Impressionism or Post-Impressionism;

- Dada à Neo-Dada;

- Paradoxism à Neo-Paradoxism;

- Minimalism à Post-Minimalism;

- Traditionalism à Modernism à Post-Modernism;

- Next, after “New New Painters” (2002 in Prague), would be “New New-New Painters” or “Anti-(New-New Painters)” (?)

I like to invent, experiment, discover new movements, new styles, and to do art in a very different way.

It is believed that in the 16th century, at the Academy of Bologna, Carraci family promoted a theory that each painter should select among schools and teachers and combine their findings into the same artwork. It was called Eclecticism.

This is similar to the Unification of Fusion Theories (UFT) in science [Smarandache, 2004], from sensor Information Fusion, used in cybernetics in order to combine paradoxist/conflicting information received from sensors, in order to get an output allowing the robot, or auto-pilot in airspace, to take a decision by itself.

So, let’s promote a generalization of Eclecticism:

Unification of Art Theories (UAT) considers that every artist should employ - in producing an artwork – ideas, theories, styles, techniques and procedures of making art borrowed from various artists, teachers, schools of art, movements throughout history, but combined with new ones invented, or adopted from any knowledge field (science in special, literature, etc.), by the artist himself.

The artist can use a multi-structure and multi-space giving birth to a hybrid art.

The distinction between Eclecticism and Unification of Art Theories (UAT) is that Eclecticism supposed to select among the previous schools and teachers and procedures - while UAT requires not only selecting but also to invent, or adopt from any field, new procedures. In this way UAT pushes forward the art development.

Also, UAT has now a larger artistic database to choose from, than the 16th century Eclecticism, since new movements, art schools, styles, ideas, procedures of making art have been accumulated in the main time.

Like a guide, UAT database should periodically be updated, changed, enlarged with new invented or adopted-from-any-field ideas, styles, art schools, movements, experimentation techniques, artists. It is an open increasing essay to include everything that has been done throughout history.

This book presents a short panorama of commented art theories, together with digital art images using adopted techniques from various fields, in order to inspire the actual artists to choose from, and also to invent or adopt new procedures in producing their artworks.

A mosaic of ideas is tessellated in this (opposed to ethnocentricity) ‘globalized multiculturalism’ of permanent immigration and mélange of people.

The negative publicity attracts more than positive one, therefore contradicting my UAT will turn out to be beneficial. Let’s have an open dialogue through arts.

An album or exhibition in only one style/movement is monotonous, so let’s do a TOTAL ART: in every style and representing any movement.

Hybrid Art is based on Multi-Structure and Multi-Space:

A) Definition of Transdisciplinarity:

Transdisciplinarity, as a neutrosophic method in art, means to find common features to uncommon entities: i.e., for vague, imprecise, not-clear-boundary entity {a} we have:

i) {a} intersected with {nona} is different from the empty set;

ii) even more: {a} intersected with {antia} is different from the empty set.

B) Definition of Multi-Structure:

Let S1 and S2 be two distinct structures, induced by the ensemble of laws L, which verify the ensembles of axioms A1 and A2 respectively, such that A1 is strictly included in A2. One says that the set M, endowed with the properties:

a) M has an S1-structure;

b) there is a proper subset P (different from the empty set, from the unitary element and from the idempotent element if any with respect to S2, and from M) of the initial set M which has an S2-structure;

c) M doesn't have an S2-structure; is called a 2-structure.

But we can generalize it to an n-structure, where n 2 (even infinite-structure).

An n-structure on a set S means a weak structure {w0} on S such that there exists a chain of proper subsets Pn-1 <> {wn-2} > … > {w2} > {w1} > {w0}, where '>' signifies 'strictly stronger' (i.e., structure satisfying more axioms).

For example in algebraic structures:

Say a monoid M, which contains a proper subset S which is a semigroup, which in its turn contains a proper subset G which is a group, where M includes S which includes G.

[This is a 3-structure.]

C) Definition of Multi-Space:

Let S1, S2, ..., Sk be distinct two by two structures on respectively the distinct (not necessarily disjoint) two by two sets M1, M2, …, Mk, where k 2 (k may even be infinite).

We define the Multi-Space M as a union of the previous sets:

M = M1 c M2 c … c Mk, hence we have k different structures on M.

For example we can construct a geometric multi-space formed by the union of three distinct subspaces: a Euclidean, a Hyperbolic, and an Elliptic one.

Similarly one can define the Multi-Group, Multi-Ring, Multi-Field, Multi-Lattice, Multi-Module, and so on - which may be generalized to Infinite-Structure-Spaces, etc.

{F. Smarandache, "Mixed Non-Euclidean Geometries", 1969}

Examples of Hybrid Art (= multi-structure and multi-space in art):

- Combine Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or Islamic religious arts into a same piece of artwork (drawing, painting, sculpture).

- Put together Traditionalism and Exotism: the picturesque of Nicolae Grigorescu (painting Romanian peasants), Ion Luchian (florist), Nicolae Tonitza, with oriental landscapes. Or Neoclassicism and Romanticism.

- Handle cameo and intaglio in the same composition.

According to Webster’s dictionary, cameo is a carving in relief on stratified gems or shells so that the raised design is in a layer of different color from the background, while its opposite, intaglio, is a carving into a hard material so that the design is below the surface.

- Or a science object + art Object together as an outer-installation.

- Inner Expressionism, based on emotions, and Impressionism, based on careful methods, are opposite to each other. For the sake of unity of contraries and for the UAT, let’s design an artwork which half expressionist and half impressionist.

The emotions distort the shapes, perspectives, colors. The careful methods restore them back: simple, bold, unbroken colors. So, the same figure in both styles on the same canvas.

George Seurat (1859-1891, the painting called “Sunday afternoon on La Grande Jatte isle”, 1884) and Paul Signac (1863-1935) colored with tiny dots/points of pure color or discontinuous small strokes (procedure that became known as Divisionism or Pointillism).

- In my Mail Outer-Art I employed exquisite corpse collages [or better, montages] and computer scanning and (un)polishing techniques, without using artistamps (invalid artist-designed stamps) and different from classical mail-artists such as Yoko Ono, Eleanor Antin, On Kawara, or Tom Marioni..

Stricto sensu, Exquisite Corpse means to subsequently make drawings by many participants, such that the previous drawings are not seen by the next participant since the paper is been folded, then the final result is a collective random-like artwork.

- Drawing a pastel in crayon in a part of the canvas, and the other part oil painting.

- Or memory painting together with natural landscape.

- We thus have, for example, a Magic Realism, hence a mixture of mystery & realism, comprising exaggerated imagery by Paul Cadmus and Ivan Albright.

- What about a modern approach of Medieval and Antique Arts, or an anti-aesthetic interpretation of the Aestheticism?

- How to combine the Pop Culture with Rembrandt and Raphael? Or Disney with Leonardo da Vinci? Or the violent art with naïve artists? Would that be an out-of-mind Mind?

- Egotism and Collectivism interpenetrate.

- Feminism should be counter-balanced by a, let’s say, “Masculinism”, since today’s society seems to give more rights to women in children custody battles, in families (since in Western family the woman leads the man, so we return from patriarchy to a stone-age matriarchy).

- Bauhaus synthesized architecture, sculpture, painting integrated with technology and science.

- Compare Joan Brown’s nudes with Wilhelm DeKooning’s nudes.

- Mix salon painting with postmodernism.

- Painting by Sorano, which looks like a sculpture.

- Navajo Indian art in a Post Modernist style (see what hybrid-hood) at artist Elriggs Allen from Gallup, New Mexico.

Outer-Art is eclectic in nature. During the whole history of humankind, from pre-historic art (some critics call it Primitivism) to contemporary Avant-Gardes, artists tried to shock and even affront the public by any mean. We make an inventory of some art theories, styles, ideas in order to select the worst in the processing of outer-art creation (placing them in the wrong place).

The superposition of many art works, as that of many vibrations in physics, produces an outer-art work whose parts: Subject, Expression, and especially Form are functions of the previous ones, without keeping any proportionality. And the Form has five elements: Line, Color, Shape, Texture, and Space, which become, in their turns factions, of the original art works.

All these associations end up in unions & disunions…

The classical artistic guidelines, Repetition, Variety, Unity, Balance, Harmony, should be entangled. So the Visceral and Cerebral principles. And the Time, Space, Consciousness correlation.

What are the rules in art? I want to entangle and encroach upon them!

But how to violate the outer art rules when it has no rule!? Is this self-abusive?

To be rejected by the mainstream is not an offense, it is normal to be abnormal.

Are, for example, the forgers of Matisse artists, non-artists, or outer-artists?

Can outer-art be an Abbazzo [sketch, preliminary drawing] for future traditional art?

We may use a technique Alla Prima [at the first] for any outer-creation, somehow not even that since we can pick a creation up from the near environment. No polishing, erasure, or completion later.

Since it is the spontaneous manifestation of the subconscious, it can serve as an outer-art therapy for curing mentally and physically disabled. Discharging their souls from the tension which is released as the pressure of a volcano. All their fear is laid down on canvas…

Robert Motherwell’s “ordered chaos” paintings, within existentialism, emphasizes much subjectivity, individuality, and free will. But existentialism preoccupied more writers such as Søren Kierkegaard, and philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre or Albert Camus, than artists.

Tessellations consist of repeated patterns. Let’s experiment with outer-tessellations than utilize repeated asymmetric or anti-symmetric tessera in 2D artwork, or analogously in 3D.

The fauvist side of outer-art focuses on large spots of color rather than geometry, and embraces quotidian objects found in society. How would a Henri Matisse or Georges Rouault, Maurice de Vlaminck, André Derain, Georges Braque and Raoul Duffy look like in their outer part?

Theorem Painting relates to a formula or expression (actually with stencils) for home decoration in 1800s.

Today we can make computer programs with input parameters such as: colors, lines, shapes, and output: an artwork.

“Outsider Art” is a concept curated in 1972 by British writer Roger Cardinal, but Outer-Art is not the same.

The first distinction between OUTER-ART and Outsider Art is that OUTER-ART seeks the ugliness, while Outsider Art seeks the opposite. OUTER-ART is intentionally ugly, wrong, impossible, and done by accident. This is done by people with no talent. Outsider Art is intentionally beautiful, good, but done by unqualified and unschooled people, but with talent - I mean people who have some hobby or passion for art. So the outcome of Outsider Art could be unintentionally ugly. I claimed that in OUTER-ART we should learn to love what we don't normally love, thus to change our feelings in opposite direction. From this anti-manifesto I understood that what is ugly for somebody might be beautiful for someone else... that happens in life...

Outsider Art is done by persons outside of the mainstream, including either Folk Art or painting of dreams, fantasy (Memory Painting), inmates, and schizophrenics, paranoiacs.

Actually it is Jean Dubuffet’s Art Brut [“raw art” in French], who collected works by naïve artists, children, mentally ill and in 1945 opened a large exhibition.

Individual psyché, unaltered by professional training, manifests in Naïve Art with much detail and small depth.

See Fred Martin’s curious pedagogy at the San Francisco Art Institute: not using books neither any list of publications in teaching art history!

Outer-Art is against institutionalization of art, against "bossism" (nice word!) in art, against established order (like a petrified forest where we can't bring anything else any longer). Let's fight for a New Art World Order!

The hierarchy in art is made by powerful art critics or historians, and journals, and museums… and not necessarily upon merit, but according to the international manipulation of tastes, ideas by bias mass-media, and to the international traffic of influence, certainly, behind the scene –that's why we remain outsiders or outers...

Yes, I am against BOSSISM in art, bossism promoted by some ones pretending they have the right to do so [because of their cultural positions], and extended by others through ethnic/political/religious/financial reasons. That's why people invent new movements: because they revolt against the previous masters, because they want to be original, because... Bossism in art is a kind of cultural terrorism!

But the tyranny in art is still kept up by "influential/official" critics and journals and institutions, that unfortunately exercise a kind of totalitarianism/dictatorship in this filed. They also ignore the poor countries’ artists and their works.

- Why complaining of the great need for a fight against tyranny? I was asked in the Outer-Art Yahoo group.

- This is a remnant from my past, years 1979-1988. Then a miserable life in a political refugee camp in Turkey, 1988-1990. Have you ever been prohibited to publish, to go to a conference, to travel, to have a job? I was! You didn't feel the tyranny, did you?

We should defy those who detain the artificial power of deciding what is good or bad in arts (that they do according to their own interests!). Neither "indifferentism" nor “apathy” towards them.

Can you try to love what you don't normally love? I did, I do... this is outer-art...

I nonwrite and nonpaint because I have this hobby in my blood, although I'm not talented for painting like you!

Van Gogh sold, during his entire life, only a painting, and today art dealers squeeze millions of dollars from each of his paintings.

In conclusion, Artist's Life starts after s/he dies!

Hence, be happy, maybe after your death your paintings will worth billions...

Tonalism was influenced by the climate’s haze and fog in Northern California. Its characteristics are: subdued tones, harmonious and somber colors, serenity and calm landscape without humans, emotions, mood. Tone/Tonality is measured in the degree of light that colors reflect or absorb.

The aesthetic of Outer Art is unaesthetic! The intent counts.

If do an ugly art, you're an outer artist. Outer Art is upside down.

What did Johnny Rotten said: "we're the flowers in the dustbin", not talking about Charles Baudelaire’s "fleurs du mal".

The simulacrum should be as wrong as possible! The discovery never ends... Investigation goes on for ever…

The outer artist creates things than can NOT be purchased, reproduced, sold or requested for exhibition by a museum.

Outer Art means garbage art, be happy! Outer Art should be contiguous (adjacent), but free human spirit.

Creation under stress, under fever, under angry, post-trauma, after incest, etc.

Donald Kuspit explored perversion in art.

Yes, the attitude towards art or outer-art counts, the experience or lack of experience. The beautiful becomes less beautiful after a time because of common-ness.

Modernism (1860-1970) reversed the Catholic Church and historical themes (especially Narrative Art telling stories from the Bible and facts from the Classics) to contemporary life subjects of the middle class, and leaned upon industrialization and secularization. Many (sub)movements flourished within.

As a prolongation, in Po Mo era (Post Modernism) a furniture, for example, became a sculpture. Each new movement, or art school, starts through defying the previous works, so did the postmodernism with the 19-20th centuries’ bohemian creators. Now, Po Mo-ists are more money-oriented than their predecessors.

Herein, Semiology, the science of signs and their laws, developed by F. de Saussure and C. S. Peirce - with its signified and signifier -, post-structuralism and de-constructivism played a pregnant role. Conceptual Art was also based on semiotics.

On previous movements’ tree other movements budded.

Malevitch painted just simple… squares!

Jasper Johns used the simulacrum in art.

In Conceptual Art. the distinction between art itself and the history of art is confused,vague...

Duchamp made a joke of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa drawing her a… moustache! Ecce Home! Mona Lisa’s eyes appear to follow the viewer, phenomenon named Ubiquitous Gaze, similar to the deception of the eye [Trompe l’Oeil, in French] by William Harnett and classical Greek artist Zeuxis, whose painted grapes looked so natural that birds tried to peck them!

Mocking on previous art started with Dada (1916-1924) which also used irrationality, sarcastic expressions, Found Objects and Found Art (besides Marcel Duchamp, were Jean Arp, Francis Picabia, Max Ernst).

Museums of images in motion (Gerry Louis, USA).

Crespuscolarismo is a literary movement joined by Aldo Palazzeschi.

Ars poetica is someone’s concept, someone’s idea about art.

- Orphism – in painting, 1911- dissolved lines and edges; intensify the color; Robert Delaunay, Patrick Bruce, A. B. Frost, Franz Kupka.

- Purism – in painting, 1918; two painters: Amédée Ozenfant, Charles-Edward Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), the movement lasted only seven years, clarity and objectivity; the end of pleasure in art, but the supremacy of joy.

- Vorticism – 1914, England; they published a magazine, only two editions, first in 1915 and the second in 1915, Wyndham Lewis, Roberts, Edward Wadsworth. The name of the movement comes from the word vortex, intensive.

- DE STIJL or Neo-Plasticism movement 1917-1931, by Piet Mondrian & Theo van Doesburg (painters), Gerrit Tietveld (architect); they published manifestoes, and committed to primary/essential colors: yellow, blue, red; vertical and horizontal power of the lines; and abstraction.

- Neo-Platonic philosophy of the mathematician Dr. Schoenmaekers – The Principles of Plastic Mathematics”.

- Suprematism – it was almost one-man performance: Kasimir Malevitch (1878-1935). It appeared in Russia in 1913, to express “the metallic culture of out time” to create new realities, straight line, the square was the basic suprematism element. In 1915 he painted a black square, then a grey one.

The same painting displayed on various positions in a larger tableau [Archimboldi’s model].

The Selariu Supermathematical Functions generate 2D and 3D scientific art that resemble quotidian shapes and objects from a geometrical perspective (techno-art).

There is no clear frontiers among art & letters movements/concepts/ideas/schools, hence not even between so called “good art” and “bad art”, neither between “art” and “outer-art”, or between “art” and “non-art”, or high art/style and low art/style, lowbrow and highbrow arts, or aesthetic and unaesthetic, harmony – nonharmony, between “inner” and “outer” arts, not even between ‘art form’ and ‘art content’.

Their delimitations are fuzzy, or more general neutrosophically from a logical point of view, which means that there exist banners between a concept [a] and its counter-side [antia], banners which have common characteristics of both [a] and [antia]. And similarly between [a]and [nona].

According to neutrosophy, which is a generalization of dialectics in philosophy, [antia] is the opposite of [a]; [neuta] is what is neither [a] nor [antia], i.e. the neutral between [a] and [antia]; while [nona] = [neuta] c [antia], i.e. what is not [a].

How to intentionally do a bad art? When the definition of “bad art” is an art intended to be good, but fails…

Is a boring art necessarily bad?

Anti-Art was a rebellion against conventional forms and theories promoted by Marcel Duchamp in 1914. Such ideas aroused to F. Picabia (1879-1953) too.

But today this term of anti-art slowly transformed into another form of art. So each time when a new theory or movement occurs, it is a kind of partially or totally new anti-art, revolting either counter a particular style or movement or school, or counter all previous ones. That’s Avant-Garde, which shocks the traditional and lazy bourgeoisie! 19th century Bohemianism defied too bourgeoisie and intellectual philosophies.

Analogously the Art Brut [= Raw Art, in French], coined by Jean Dubuffet in 1945, got bored with the Academic Art style and people, and faced his passion for children’s art, mentally ill’s, naïve’s, or isolated guys’.

How should we axiologically measure the value of a canvas, painter, artistic theory?

There are many schools and movements hard to distinguish from each other, and sometimes the difference in style could be… just the artist’s signature in the corner of the canvas! So, the delimitations among art movements are in most cases artificial…

Lowbrow Art, coined by Robert Williams, has roots in 1950s popular street culture, underground artists, with alternatives creations, often very violent and sexist, Sci Fi posters, pinups. It is close to outer-art, and opposed to the Highbrow Art which cultivated the pure pastoral painters and was represented by world famous Picasso and Matisse.

Outer art is my hobby. Can art become a persona nongrata when crossing the line?

How should an artist behave as a nonartist or create a moronic art?

Dix and Groz depicted degenerate individuals.

Oldenberg explored non-art objects.

Mr. Coleman from the Outer-Art Yahoo Group exclaimed about Outer-Art:

- We don’t want to sell, we want to make things so ugly and crappy that no one would love them, not even us.


- This would be the absolute outer-art. But, because of subjectivity, you might find someone who loves the ugliest painting at all!

Here there is an aphorism from Buddhism, “suffering is good”, while a friend of mine from Netherlands, Adrian Rezus, reminded me a French proverb: “il faut souffrir pour être beau” [one has to suffer in order to become beautiful].

Mr. Coleman:

- Is Good Art necessarily interesting?

Analogously the non-linear music by Stephen Sondheim (without linear transitions from a sound to another).

John Cage wrote a musical composition called [4’33”] which requires that the interpret will seat at the piano without moving for 4 minutes and 33 seconds (in perfect silence).

He’s renown for the music of changes.

While Eric Satie composed a piano piece, called “Vexations”, that repeated same phrases for hours!

Ad Reinhardt painted a tableau completely black (a square of 60 in X 60 in) in 1960: “Abstract Painting”.

What about inversing the parergon image role in a canvas and making it from secondary to a focus point of the viewer? So attracting the eye’s retina towards a corner of the canvas instead of the middle?

Is it needed today a Photo Realism when the photography is so widespread?

Anamorphous means to distort an image with an optical system, such as curved mirrors for example. In order to correctly see we have to regard it from a specific angle. Samuel Van Hoogstraten in the 17th century combined anamorphic images with fine art and created an apparently larger work (he called this Perspective Box).

I was dying for artistic movement, for all kind of “isms”, just eager to learn more and more. For experiments in arts

According to Daniel C. Boyer, artist Francisco Rivera Rosa “painted” with coffee on paper, and coined the term Arfé [= art + café, in French]; also Pierre Bettencourt painted with coffee beans and egg shells.

I painted with my own blood licking from nose, with jam, with leaves, with cake, oranges, and strawberry my favorite fruit.

A lady painted with her menstrual blood on wood and with urine; she offered to send me a such… gift. So, let’s pee on pieces when needed.

I like (!) her canvas with menstrual blood... it is new for me, I don't have period unfortunately, to paint with... my wife once said that my period is from my nose, which is true, almost daily hemorrhages. I already did painting with my bleeding nose... and with vomits…

An anti-aesthetic attitude made Piero Manzoni (1933-1980) who conserved his shit in a can, labeled it 100% artist’s shit, and… sold it!

But a petrified shit of a pre-Colombian Indian and of an Egyptian Pharaoh, would be extremely important for science to research their nutrition habits.

What about the “spit/saliva” of a Western Influential today (for future political studies!)?

Cris Ofili created Holy Virgin Mary, exhibited in Brooklyn Museum of Art, and succeeded in infuriating the clerics, since he employed a vagina from some pornographic magazine and the elephant dung as… parts of the saint Mary...

It is now a fashion to affront public opinion and bourgeoisie’s sentiments or faith in order to achieve the media fame!

In 1993 Ofili had included among other materials shit in his paintings.

What about animal’s excrement on canvas?

We are all first outer-artists, i. e. mathematicians or truck drivers maybe (artist Frank Lobdell was temporarily a truck driver). Then a critic or (h)art historian comes and picks Mr. X up from the non-artists trash and installs him/her into another trash of so called “modern artists” - because that's what the critic wants or he believes to be right.

Everybody starts as an outer artist and finishes as a good artists, but there are exceptions of outer-artists who remain… only outers!

Don't go by artistic dogmas learned in art classes, but against them.

I was a little shy of being too shy in art…

Feather Art from Nasca culture (100-600 A.D.) was a pre-Inca culture, arising in Nasca Valleys (actual Peru), and continued by Wari culture (500-900 A.D.); feathers from various colorful birds were knitted.

Ancient Egyptians used Egg Tempera which is a mixture of egg yolk, pigment, and water for paintings. Then the oil was introduced in the 15th century.

Earth Art requires huge work on land, sod, grass. It started in 1968 with Robert Morris utilizing a pile of dirt, and Robert Smithson who filled some boxes with rocks. Some projects demand enormous effort, for example carving the American presidential portraits in Mount Rushmore by Gustom Borglum, or wrapping the Australian coastline in 1969 with plastic and rope by Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Christo (packed objects).

Ephemeral patterns (art) in the snow by Dennis Oppenheim.

But some earthworks are criticized of disturbing the nature and upsetting the ecology.

Earth Outer-Art takes the work done by nature, such as Volcanoes, Storms, Hurricanes, Tsunami, Earthquakes, etc. as Found Earth Outer-Art, but unfortunately destructive art.

Let’s say volcano Krakatoa in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans… see how impressive destructive earth outer-art they did! Or the falling of a meteor on planet Earth, creating big craters as work of natural art. Thomas Cole, in the 19th century, believed that nature was created by God, who is an Artist.

Catastrophic Outer-Art at a large scale is that inflicted by atomic bombs, as those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki! Or inflicted by Weather Modification Weapons…

Room Outer-Art would be the arrangement of ordinary objects by ordinary citizens in ordinary rooms.

Temporarily Water Outer-Art is formed by the water waves, Sound Outer-Art formed by invisible sound waves – both as Objets d’art.

The cosmic outer-art of the Solar System, or of the Galaxies, or of the whole Universe – as a complex structures.

In order to burn the barriers between life and art, the Environmentalists (late 1950s) designed large group-of-objects artwork so the viewer goes inside and not only look at it.

In UAF the viewer is part of the artwork.

Andy Warhol did a room full of floating pillows that people walked among, while Mark di Suvero built from junk a big construction that people could climb on.

I fancy a canvas-sculpture that people looks at it and then enter into the painting. Embracing Environmental Art and Earth Art we can get Environmental Earth Art.

Marcel Duchamp, a Dada artist, placed on a stool a spinning bicycle wheel in 1913. This ordinary assemblage moved in an exhibition acquired… artistic value! He called this prank… sculpture, which is a form of Kinetic Art since incorporates movement. Others proponents of Kinetic Art are Alexander Calder, George Rickey, Yaacov Agam.

Kinetics is a branch of mechanics which studies the laws of physical phenomena based on the matter movement, so Kinetic Art includes, besides motion, changes of colors with time, which are brought by:

- magnetic, optical, mechanical, electro-mechanical and electronic systems;

- flow of liquids and chemical reactions;

- changes with time occurring in objects are either random or programmed or responsive to some stimuli (for example to the frequency of a sound or to the characteristics of alpha brain waves);

- changes due to slide projections, cinema, or television techniques;

- changes of luminosity: projections with laser, screen displaying images, computers, vibrations of tables;

- holography, which is a procedure of registering spatial image using laser’ light, becomes a medium for art as well;

- there exists, for example, audio kinetic sculpture;

- radios, cybernetics, automata are employed in art.

Animal Art. We see on TV monkeys painting with their paws or elephants with their trunk. What would be the likes and dislikes of an animal in art?

- Homeostatic systems – structure composed of complex components capable of movement, but that are placed in an inert state. When tripped by external intrusion, the system generates movement, but seeks to regain its equilibrium and return to its inert state.

Pictorialism was a movement in photography which tried to make a unique photographical image to look like a painting (end of 19th century – beginning of 20th century); represented by Constant Puyo (1857-1933), Edwards Weston (1886-1958), Ansel Adams (1902-1984).

Penelope Rosemont mixed oil paint with water on her canvas.

Andy Warhol repeated the figures.

Photography through grillage.

Founded in 1927, artificialism was a Czechoslovakian movement that opposed the artistic naturalism.

Based on optical illusions and optical principles Op Art (abbreviation of Optical Art) was coined in the 1964 by George Rickey, but its roots are in the German Bauhaus School (1920s).

Performance Art is merely associated to Body Art, Fluxus, Happenings, and consists of scenic events by artists for closer communication with the public. Among initiators Anna Banana (nice… scene name!), Rebecca Horn.

My oUTER-gRAPHs are not like Keith Haring’s or Jean-Michel Basquiat’s street graffiti art, but computer happenings. My old PC created them by mistake. See, sometimes it is good to have a bad tool!

I thought at making ugly art (not Plop Art, but appealing), I thought at selecting from the waste basket the worst, incomplete, in-aesthetic pages, not necessarily rat work, and present them as outer-art.

My ugly art is nice.

I bet you, as a traditional painter, you'd not be able to be bad...

The conceptual art is based more on posting/displaying information/ideas than on (really) showing art work, but it is not outer-art.

Okay dock, let's approach and mix the "conceptual art" with "outer-art": i.e. give wrong, tricky, puzzling information on some paintings. We call this new style: "conceptual outer-art". It is devoid of content specifics and ambiguous.

In conceptualist art Joseph Kosuth considered the photography of a chair + the real (from photography) chair [“One and three chairs”, 1965] whose shadow is visible.

Painting with words (the definition of “painting” from dictionary, that’s all!): Joseph Kossuth, “Art as Idea as Idea”, 1966.

Conceptual Art, or Conceptualism, also called Idea Art, relates on text and information rather than on image, and asserts that art should exist for the sake of the art. It was, of course, an opposition to the commercialization of the Pop Art (also called Gag Art) and impersonality of the Minimalism.

It evolved to Video Art, Earth Art, and even Performance Art so the field broadened wider.

Joseph Kosuth (1969) excelled in this direction.

Pop(ular) Art depicted commonplaces in mid 1950s and used mass production objects in art, where Andy Warhol stands out with his Campbell’s Soup Cans, and others with repeated and diversified portraits of contemporary stars, such as Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe. This was a reaction against Abstract Expressionism. I was particularly impressed by artists Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons

Filippo Marinetti’s 1909 Futurism focus on machine and elements of the future (technology).

Programmed repetitive photography, from a fixed point (“photographic-novel”, Mugur Grosu).

Everything is possible in art, the impossible too! [my favorable paradox].

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

I want to tell you a true story that I read in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!", an old edition. An American publican, in the nineteenth century, asked a painter to make a large ad for his firm and post it outside of his store, telling the clients that: "Here we are selling the best cigarettes". But the painter, because he hated the publican and he knew the publican could not read or write, wrote on the ad: "Here we are selling the worst cigarettes"! Well, next days the publican had a fantastic record of clients buying cigarettes from him!! This is outer-art, isn't it?

Even more exactly: this is conceptual outer-art, what we talked about before.

This is a common paradoxist style: titled “Untitled” (Mathias Gruenwald with his painting titled; Untitled, 1992-1995.).

Non-poetical poem. Anti-war war!

How is that to be outer of out or inner in? (Coleman)

Contraries attract and reject themselves in the same time in order to neutralize, like positive and negative charges, like man and woman. Contradictions give birth to new reality, they are engine of discovery. In arts the same…

Print/paint on transparencies in many colors, then overlap them to get multi-images, scan them.

Exposition with music (in Paris).

“Imaginary Museum” (A. Malraux);

Drawings on a wrinkled paper (Toma Roat ), or on poor matter.

Paintings by Salvador Dali: “Venus with drawers”, “Homar clock”.

Sculptures made of scraps or garbage (Tengali).

Sculptures made of ordinary objects, fruit’s peels, cardboard, strings (Joseph Boyz).

Electronics works (Steve Willats in London);

Ecosystems in art – isolating actual (biological, chemical, physical) systems of nature and placing them in an art context (Alan Sonfist did).

Underestimating construction (George Brecht).

Subversive constructions (Ben Vautier).

Object-collages (by Joan Miró, 1928).

- Phenomenology – philosophical, idealistically doctrine which studies conscience phenomenon’s through the prism of their orientation and of their content, not taking in consideration the real person, of his concrete psychic activity and of the social medium. Hegel: The conscience is first and then the existence; tries in rational mode to describe the process of the development of conscience. This can be extended to art’s phenomenology.

- Martin Heidegger - “The Origin of the Work Art” - Nietzsche said “God is dead”!

- Edmund Husserl gives (the movement) phenomenology (1858-1938).

A way of painting [from Mexico, Peru, Bolivia]: spray colors on white cardboard using no brush; make several signs (to dry the paint); rub with paper or cellophane on the painting; then with a teaspoon/knife make traces on the paper; put objects or paper over painting on which spray again (to cover a zone which you don’t want to be colored); keep a paper vertically on the cardboard to trace lines;

Art Deco(ration) was generated by the “machine-inspired geometry” in 1920-1930.

Neo Deco movement, initiated by Hisashi Otsuka (Japanese living in Hawaii), which combines the traditional with the modernism: the modern woman emerges from the past time limitations by pinpointing the feminine mystique (meticulous, stylistic); around 1990.

Sculptures in/on leather (Chan Liu Miao, Chinese).

Painting over various common objects (Tom Haas did over a rainbow).

Beverly Carrick (Santa Fé) with her famous “Sun set” (tableau, lighted by a bulb with various intensities, giving the impression of the sun, from high light to low light as the sun sets), 1999.

Create special paints (mix oil with substances; Leonardo Da Vinci did).

Intellectualism (Caravaggio, painter, 1578).

Colored cuts with the scissors and applied on great painting (Henry Matisse).

Installation art means an oeuvre made of arbitrary elements, organized in a given space.

“17 acts with Piet Mondrian”, producer and scenography: Horatiu Mihaiu – inspired from Mondrian’s tableaus; he proposes to the public to contemplate 17 Mondrian’s tableaus; the epic is missing; it does not present language barriers, has a modular structure, therefore it can be presented in short versions.

335 personages in the “Family’s Chronicle” by Petru Popescu, 3 volumes, 1500 pages, 1957.

Op(tical) Art used the optical illusions and principles, interacting colors and lines.

Herein we can overlap effects by placing in front of an object another object.

A painterly technique occurs when the forms are given by color regions not by lines.

Papiers collés (=collages) were employed since the beginning of the twentieth century in France. Originator of the collage was Juan Gris.

Shape, Lines, Colors, Light/Shade are major components of the artwork.

Non-Objectivists (or Pure Abstractionists) reduced the objects to their essential forms. The best one is Constantin Brâncu i. See also Wassily Kandinsky, who tried to stimulate feelings from abstract images to viewers [Der Blaue Reiter = Blue Rider, 1903].

Non-Representationalists (as subgroup of Abstractionalists) relied more on distortion.

The division and subdivision and sub-sub… of ideas/concepts continues, and so the mixture and re-mixture and re-re… of ideas/concepts.

Such we have: culture, subculture, sub-subculture, …or say abstract expressionism, abstract impressionism, abstract figurative, etc.

Art Engagé en outer-art.

Outer-art for the sake of… art!

Is art useless? Bauhaus teachers tried to reconcile utilitarianism [pragmatism] with aesthetics-ism in architecture. But utilitarian objects are also used in modern sculpture.

New Art (Art Nouveau) prevailed between 1895-1905 in applying artwork using organic forms to ordinary objects. In Hispanic communities it was labeled Modernista.

New Outer-Art ??

Intuition, Irrationality, Randomness rise in Automatism as technique involved in Dada and Surrealism. Art work is created unconsciously.

Instead of an École des Beaux-Arts [School of High Arts, 1648-1663-1793], among the styles included herein Romanticism, Renaissance, Baroque, let’s study their opposite, and establish an École des Mauvaix-Arts, since between them there is not a clear separation, everything is subjective in humanities and creation regarded from various angles produces various conclusions, even contradictory.

Yves Tanguy used contours that resemble the plants and animals (Biomorphic Art) rather than hard lines, kinship of Organic Art which concentrated on non-contrived beings. In Amazonian area (Brazil, Ecuador, …) indigenes make art crafts and textiles (embroideries) from seeds, plants, and from shells/bones/skin of animals.

Carving diversified in unstable material such as Butter Sculpture (Carolyn Brooks in 1876), Wax Sculpture, Ice Sculpture… and Chocolate Sculpture for children’s candies.

Paraffin, Carnauba, and Candelilla are used in Wax Sculpture, but it is not durable because wax melts at less than 100EC.

Upside-down caryatids supporting as columns which support an entablature.

From Stone Age Cave Art to contemporary Electronic Art.

Imagism based on individuality and against High Arts in 1960s in Chicago.

Classicism relies on ancient Greek and Roman styles.

A reaction against control of art expression and against Nazi censorship (CoBrA) was initiated by Carl Henning Pedersen, Pierre Alechinski, Karel Appel using saturated colors, primitive art, and violent appearing work.

An out of Western-dominance style engendered the Primitive Art, according to Michael Delahunt. Sacred Art is still practiced by Indians, most of them employing totems (with animals or plants considered as protectors of tribes).

Computer/Digital Art connects humanities with sciences. It is possible to program inconsistent, chaotic styles.

The Immaculates conveyed a good order, clean cut, simple forms, flat colors, precision, that was named Precisionism (or Recisionism).

Art demands a convergence of divergences and subtleties of forms.

A photographer can modify an image after initial capture, or can shut the object using various perspectives or luminosity in order to change its appearance.

Painted realism has wormer objectivity than photograph realism.

Painting is akin to poetry, photograph to prose.

The effect of the rain on a painted canvas (Yves Klein).

Display the traces left on a wall by a painting (Alexandre Guri ã).

The ugliness represented as being good (AG).

The passage from the aesthetics to ethics and the evolution in art.

The art is proportional with the measure of being, of development, of being; (AG).

Art sans oeuvre (AG).

The oeuvre is your life (AG).

Schwitters used tramway tickets and valueless German currency.

Yves Klein opened an empty… exhibition! “Art is you!”, he told the visitors.

oUTER-aRT [=OA]should be:

- non-representational art;

- disengaged art;

- relegated, enfeebled, incomprehensible work; Informal Art.

Neither amateurish painter nor nonpainter.

I am sure my tastes are different from yours, but it’s okay.

I did not go to an art school because I don’t like to follow any rule in creation.

The beautiful is represented ugly, and reciprocally.

Who said that all is art, Fluxus artists?

Controversy dialogue brings progress.

- the contrapposto pose of the art;

If for Realism there is a corresponding Corealism (Nick Swider), then for outer-art there should be a co-outer-art.

- under-painting and under-drawing;

- overlapping, overdrawing, overpainting, overcarving;

- pre-art;

- consider an anathema to all movements;

- art which is self-destroying;

- intentionally damaged art;

- self-degenerated art;

Ideas of Art:

- an article of science nicely framed as a canvas;

- a poem, a short drama framed as in a canvas;

- using a Fan Brush for fast colors;

- don’t fettle extraneous material in ceramic and sculpture;

- inside of the outside mainstream;

- drawing/painting on foxing paper;

- an outer-artist is like a garzone (apprentice) for the artist;

- outer-art is a kitsch (unsophisticated attempt) of art, or “rearguard” art as C. Greenberg deduced;

- art full of lacunas;

- we now live La Mauvaise Époque unfortunately, La Belle Époque is long passed away !

- hors art!

- a latent art!

- art of marginalized, discriminated minorities;

- I love these guys who oppose the dictatorship of the mainstream…

- the form should be informal (doodled);

- eccentric art;

- no main theme, rather parergons, but unlikely Jan Wermeer;

- auto-parody!

- outerly stylized!

- topographical outer-art (distorted maps);

- using yellowing old oil paintings as a style per se in outer-artwork;

- try building an outer-artwork with many vanishing points, instead of only one point where parallel lines seem to meet - as a fugue musical symphony – feeling that the outer-artwork pixels converge/run in many directions simultaneously, hence per total it diverges… Thomas Cole, in early 19th century, had vanishing points in many parts of his canvases;

- outer-art is deception/trick of the art!

- drawing/painting on (non-flat) 3D surfaces;

- chaoticism.

Can you see beauty where it is not? Can you see beauty in the ugly art?

Transitionalism, as a spatial art, transforms an image or perspective into another one, while Outer-transitionalism can gradually transforms an image/perspective into its opposite.

In Medieval and Renaissance periods Christian Churches employed triptychs in Altars, which were a three-part religious artwork, most of them on wood. This would be an impulse to construct an n-part artwork (as a book of thick planks/boards).

Outer-Art as an Esquisse (preliminary sketch) for further artwork.

Paul Feltus depicts the representational (synonym of naturalistic) in his Figurative Art.

As an extension of Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957)’s Double Image, we proposed the usage of n-uple Image, as a multi-perspective, where an image appears in n places in the same work. We can give it a Dynamic Symmetry.

Women protested against being Sex Objects, and in 1985 Guerilla Girls was set up by a group of females bearing masks so they could not be recognized. Their book was titled “Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers” (2003)!

Famous for distortion, due to a physical defect, was El Greco, whose portraits were elonged, then the Mannerists and Surrealists.

Aubrey Beardsley’s Decadent Art drawings were not really “decadent”, since they were concerned with beauty, while the subject was neglected.

Decadent Art was referred to as Aestheticism or Fin de Siècle too.

Involuntary, automatic, immanent art arises from Action Painting (just dropping the paint on canvas as Pollock did) or in Coulage (molten material poured into cold water).

Academically untrained or self-taught artists produced Folk Art, outside of the controlled mainstream. Associated with religion and myths, some folk artists pretend to experience visions or voices, as the Oracle of Delphi – that’s Visionary Art.

The sculptures posted in public spaces, are often called Public Art.

Rococo in 18th century is regarded as furniture and architecture for aristocracy at leisure, with pastel colors, curvilinear forms, tortuous decorations.

While Regionalism means art from a particular region, and in U. S. it rebelled against industrialization and against European experimentations. We assist at Artistic Wars among ethnics, ideas, and styles …

Foreshortening gives the illusion of 3D to a 2D artwork. Inversely, from a 3D object to look like a 2D flat image.

The form (shape, size, color, scale, lines, etc.) dominate over the content in the Formalism.

Claude Monet (1840-1926) led the French Impressionism movement concentrating on color/light changing effects. The paint was thickly laid on canvas (procedure called impasto). Post-Impressionism was dominated by Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin (so exotic his Tahitian scenes!), and Vincent Van Gogh, who came back to the form.

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque revolutionized the Art with their Cubism in the beginning of 20th century, which is divided into Analytical Cubism and Synthetic Cubism (see herein Metzinger’s). Multi-perspective and Geometrism were its main characteristics.

Chinese painted with the brush, not with the palette. Chinese also, at various times, applied paint with their fingers.

At Window Rock in Arizona I saw Sand Painting done by Navajo Indians, and used for religious rituals as bearing healing powers, according to the Medicine Man. The paintings were 2-8 cm thick and built from materials as sand, pollen, plowed petals, rocks.

Day Glo Colors co. did Fluorescent Paint (with synthetic pigments which create glowing luminous colors).

Wolfgang Paalen used smoke or flames to make impressions of paper (called fumage).

Art should be fun, said Norm Magnusson, and founded the Funism! G. Saia, R. Gabe, and M. Tims liked to make fun of contemporary art and of the mainstream, so they ignited a Miss General Idea movement in Toronto (1968-1994). I subscribe, it is good idea to offend and contradict the mainstream!

Vardea Chryssa’s Plexiglas boxes launched in 1962 the Neon Sculpture, employing neon and fluorescent light. So science and technology came into the help or arts. And vice versa, with the Nose and Tail Art of imaging noses and tails of aircrafts.

Laser painting/sculpture should be next.

New Wave’s artists T. Otterness and J. Ahearn got tired of artificial galleries and moved the exhibitions in alternative spaces such as a massage parlor or the so-called P.S. 1.

People invent-invent… experiment-experiment… indefinitely for the sake of novelty!

Avant-garde art expositions employed multiple objects randomly arranged; warm surfaces, scented sculptures, wet.

The Eatery Art was an artistic exposition of cuisine objects, wines, food, by Daniel Spoerri, in Germany, 1971.

Édouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock pioneered the Gesturalism, which reflects the gestures of the artists in doing his artwork.

Walter Ufer (1876-1936) manipulated brilliant effects of light in his Glare Aesthetic.

Graffiti [=scratch, in Italian] is part of Folk Art done by kits on streets and buildings!

Fluxus was more a street spectacle in the 1960-1970, including mixed-media, guerilla theatre, electronic music.

The movement was anti-cerebral and a smidgen anti-intellectual anarchic idealist stance and argued against conventional embodiments for the work of art, such that Fluxus monuments fall between the artistic and bibliographic.

Techno-Art is specialized in design.

Cyber-Poets and Cyber-Artists are exponentially growing in this Internet Era. I admired Tamara Lai’s pastiche of English/French texts and imagery with virtual relations, ephemerality, anamorphic space, syncretism, while Alan Sondheim emphasizes on body, language, and interiority. Cyber-Critics were born too (Alessandro Ludovico, Florian Cramer, etc.).

Synesthetic Art = art that produces a secondary sensation as when some colors evoke specific smells.

Feeling art beyond our senses, with a sixth extra-sense, due to the fact that sometimes we like something without knowing why!

Concrete Art was not based on nature, but on geometry, gives the impression of machine-generated work, and promulgated by Josef Albers and Max Bill in 1933, then later transformed into Color Field Painting.

I originated the Neogeometrism, that is a style of using not only classical (Euclidean) geometry in arts but also a mixture of Euclidean and non-Euclidian geometries (called smarandache geometries). This new art space is distorted and hybrid.

See my recent printed and online album of art "neogeometrism": .

A movement erected on precision and economy, Constructivism (1913), by V. Tatlin, grew up from Production Art, and generated the Dynamism and specially Kinetic Art, employing “artist engineers” [I love such hybrid association] such as Alexander Todchenko, Naum Gabo, Antoine Pevsner.

But Contemporary Art went even further, pushing the taboo and immoral facts in front of the public: sexual acts, excrements, urine.

Cutting photos into squares or other shapes and then reassembling them in a different way engendered the Cubomania.

An interesting idea in the 19th century was of the artist supposedly being surrounded by a cylindrical surface and he painting everything around him (Boston Cyclorama).

Improvised multi-media events in theater, occurring in many places simultaneously, propagated the Happenings movement in 1959, originated by Allan Kaprow, and influenced by avant-garde American composer John Case, from whom I was honored to have received a letter. Other participants are Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Alfred Leslie, etc.

Happenings are states between life and art, according to Robert Atkins.

One easy extension would be multi-media outer-art, and in a particular case video outer-art.

There are in arts and letters movements of social revolt of minority creators against discrimination.

Hoping that a similar act would some day burst, and marginalized artists/writers/scientists will rebel against the mainstream ones who oppress and suppress them.

Kurt Schwitters gathered thrown-away material from the streets and assembled them into what’s called today Junk Sculpture. Junk-Artists employed wrecks of vehicles, destroyed houses, garbage – which are part of our society - to build their creations (J. Chamberlain, M. DiSuvero, Lee Bontecou, R. Stankiewicz, R. Raushenberg, L. Nevelson, and J. Tinguely).

Instead of focusing on medium and idea, R. Irwin constantly changed the projected light of his installations, pedaling on perceptions.

1850-1875 Luminism plaid with (saturated) light effects and allegorical themes. Luminosity, or the sense of illusion from a glowing light, was prominent in Fitz Hugh Lane’s work.

From the color theory, Morgan Russell and Stanton MacDonald-Wright started the Synchromism (1908-1911), focusing on pure colors and their synchromy (harmony). No lines of separation were used, only colors.

We could have a Syn(mono)chromism and a Syn(poly)chromism. There are three types of colors: primary, secondary, and tertiary (in between primary and secondary).

Paradoxism is an avant-garde movement in literature, art, philosophy, science, based on excessive use of antitheses, antinomies, contradictions, parables, odds, paradoxes in creations, set up and led by polymath Florentin Smarandache since 1980's.

Paradoxism started as an anti-totalitarian protest against a closed society, Romania of 1980's, where the whole culture was manipulated by a small group. Only their ideas and their publications counted. We couldn't publish almost anything. In painting, sculpture similarly - all existed in nature, already fabricated. Therefore, a mute protest we did! Later, I based it on contradictions. Why? Because we lived in that society a double life: an official one - propagated by the political system, and another one real. In mass-media it was promulgated that 'our life is wonderful', but in reality 'our life was miserable'. The paradox flourishing! And then we took the creation in derision, in inverse sense, in a syncretic way. Thus the paradoxism was born...

The first manifesto for Surrealism was written by André Breton in 1924 in Paris, and emphasized on dreams, fantasies, spontaneity, intuition. Among artists: Salvador Dali, Max Ernst (who used wood grains), Man Ray, Mark Rothko, Yves Tanguy, etc.

Symbolism shared interest in mystical, spiritual, idea (not description), and focused on symbols (signs or images which represent something else) in the late 19th century. Indian tribes in America have employed symbols (most of them created by tribes’ shamans) in their believes since long time ago.

Check for highly figurative metaphysical paintings.

Guy Debord radically contests and condemns the society of consumption in May 1968 in his Situationism movement.

While in 1975s the Punk movement was developed by youngsters from U. K. marginal society, who took in derision by using exuberant coiffures (oddly clipped hair), motley clothes, and punk rock music against classical rock.

Mother-Fucker “movement” is, of course, in vulgar slang, considered as unpleasant, despicable, horrible artwork…!

The 1959 auto-destructive art, coined by Gustav Metzger, refers to art which destroys itself from artificial or natural causes; its duration can be from a few moments to 20 years. As technique for self-destroying he painted on nylon with acid in 1960-1962.

In largo sensu all artworks are auto-destructive since no medium (wood, paper, metal, textiles, etc.) last forever, little by little it degrades…

See, as destructive methods of creating, Cornelia Parker’s.

Dada challenged the First World War propaganda, bourgeoisie’s sexuality, and the eugenics movement [of improving human species by controlling heredity and mating].

Miniature Art, from miniature exhibitions across America, related to the size of art, should distinguish from Minimalism (also called “ABC Art” by art historian Barbara Rose in 1965) which is defined by the minimum of lines, curves, shapes, colors. I’d categorize the minimalists as “style-izers” or simplifiers of reality or even sketchers. Reductionism is more mechanically-done than Minimalism but on similar principles (restricted, sparse), yet both are neighbors of the abstract form.

Minimalism helped the Industrial Sculpture: simple, of geometrical forms, big, marked by coldness aspect, impersonal character, such as those designed by Donald Judd (rolled steel structures), Frank Stella (pliable metals and canvas), or Dan Flavin (fluorescent light tubes).

How would be the opposite Maximalism?

Instead of a ‘brainstorm’ for science development we must do a “heartstorm” for arts, since art appeals to the eye (Retinal Art) than to the mind!

Funk Art is intended to be vulgar, to shock, and to offend. A funk art made by W. T. Wiley, made a funk art titled "Harpoon for the Dreamer" which was a painting-sculpture. Is that interconnected with Satanic Art?

Bad Art did, for example, Jean Michele Basquie, with dispersion of elements, ignorance of colors, and freeing the art from perspective.

As a “femme fatale” [= deadly woman, in French] style Edvard Munch entered in an 1892 exhibition in Berlin a painting depicting Madonna (mother of Jesus) framed with… sperm.

This is the way every professional painter, researcher, writer does... polishing his/her creation... But Outer-Art means the opposite!

Who said that “Art is a lie”?

What today is considered “out of art”, tomorrow may be labeled “art”.

Doing without any reason, just for feeling it from inside.

In 1992 Dejo and Blaak initiated a movement called Toyism having a figurative style and reinstalling structure to individualism’s detriment, and uses smooth lines with sharp boundaries.

I made efforts to register and learn about as many art movements, styles, and ideas as I could. So, I noted each day everything which felt under my eyes related to these subjects.

In this Information Revolution and electronic era, computer/electronic art gains ground. We need next to reflect the nano-art of nanotechnology structure, keeping art on the track of human advancement.

I’d like to be a loner in art, literature, science.

To imply multiple view points in the artwork the artist has to be original at any cost! He is a leaving art himself/herself… The idea to shock, that’s artist’s aim. Art market becomes industry, but to be able to sell you need novelty and… odd ideas.

Like musicians Ashes and Diamonds, in Andrzej Wajda's movie, we play our beautiful (?) music to the end. Ad infinitum nauseum!...

Yours UAT-artistically,

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