One of the things I really want out of art, what I see the job of the artist to be is to try to learn how to see the historical moment that you find yourself living in. I mean that very simply and I mean it very literally. How do you see the world around you?
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Today, in this country, we are suffering from a mass contraction of the heart. And I firmly believe that it is artists that can reopen the heart of America. It is our duty and our responsibility to do this. The day after the election I was terrified. I didn’t want to get out of my bed. I sat in my bedroom crying. But I remembered the young women that I had told just the night before that it was going to be okay. So I did the only thing that I could do. I got up and I got to work.
Let’s ask a very simple question. Why are there so many art projects today? Because we live in the world of mass art production. Basically everyone is an artist nowadays. Or at least he or she has an artistic project. We can speak of a surge in the creation of art. The production of art is proliferating.
For any artists that are working in this field now, if I was good at painting I’d probably be looking at how to find styles that work well with these kind of representations and make them easily automatable or transferable so that if I had fans as an artist they could say, “Hey, I would like to have a picture of my cat painted.”
I use my body, as a lot of people do that work in public, as a kind object of commerce, frankly. When I go out and do a gig, somebody has to pay for the presence. And that’s a certain gig. When you’re still pushing a hype like that, you lack cultural weight until you get to the end of that story where everybody knows you really don’t have to anymore except for an interior reason.
I think that what I want to say is that the polemics around the discourse of the Web are too binary. I think that one of the problems that we have in theorizing the Web is that we tend to moralize it in binaries. I get it. It’s bad. The Web is bad for you. Or the sort of free culture is always like, “It’s really good. It’s great. Free culture is great.” It’s neither.
It’s interesting and scary to think about an Earth that could be completely controlled by humans, but it seems like it’s definitely possible. I could find fun thinking about living under the sea or all the places that humans really haven’t been able to sustain themselves in very well. Like, if we could really get control of that. I mean, it’s definitely a dark future, but I think something that I could embrace if we did go there.
[We] could hope because we’d seen what it had done for us. We were refugees from the world’s cynicism because we’d grown up in belief, and knew just as our mothers knew, that each act of making is born out of hope because there, in the rank earth where cynicism flowers, nothing grows.