Author: Thomas Dreher  
Posted: 19.12.2002; 21:35:15
Topic: Question 6
Msg #: 631 (in response to 428)
Prev/Next: 630/632
Reads: 82830

Response to John and his answer 6/23:
1.) I don´t criticize the paintings of Art & Language in general. The series "Index: Incidents in a Museum" and "Hostages" are extraordinary. In the eighties they were some hope in a sea of paintings which offered the features which were necessary for a success in the art market.
2.) I see the problems in the manner how they use procedures of plagiariasm in "Homes for Homes". Usually projects (including series of paintings) of Art & Language had explicit and implicit points of reference to their context. The conceptualizations of these points lead further than the direct references to problems which were established as problems of art. Their specific use of theories of analytical philosophy lead to questions if they constitute and problematize their frameworks in an adequate manner. Corrections and proposals for transformed or alternative frameworks were and are possible for interpreters of these projects. But until now I cannot see how they develop their plagiaristic strategies further than the fake strategies of the eighties and how they embed their practices in a new mediascape with new alternative meanings of plagiariasm and fake strategies. Procedures of self embedding are procedures of Art & Language. And these procedures demonstrated that the art context couldn´t avoid transgressions of its own limits. They contradict themselves or reduce the meaning of their own practice since the sixties if they want to build a glass house and if they want to forbid any comparison to other strategies outside the established art context. They can react to the changed surrounding f. e. as painters, as writers and as contributors to this discussion forum.
3.) Í wrote in a provocative manner about some problems of their last series "Homes from Homes". My writing explains some of my hesitations concerning the new series and it is written for a dialogue with counterarguments by Michael Baldwin and/or Mel Ramsden. It is not clear until today (or it is not clear to me) how they plan their plagiarism as a project which leads to conceptualizations of any valuable sort. But it is clear they moved a great amount of material and colours. The arguments in the catalogue of the exhibition of Villeneuve d´Ascq and the present state of their plagiarism doesn´t satisfy me - but there are proceedings possible. If Art & Language wants to remain a project with proceedings than their proceedings are in a state which needs some clarification.
4.) The net allows to realize some implications of the collaborative project of Art & Language and it is not clear if the copntemporary members want to recede so far behind their own goals that they want to become now what they always critized: Fighters for a terrain within the art world instead of constructors of possible generalizations which demonstrate that theories of art as a system or terrain with its own characteristics (its own media) are too narrow. But here an answer of the two actors is necessary.
5.) It was impossible for me to react to your questions without reconstructing the context which the contemporary members of Art & language chose with their procedures - in my opinion and for my knowledge of contemporary practices. Somehow I have to be able to construct frameworks of contemporary practices of art and media which I find relevant and to utter criticism. Open relations between questions of "authenticity" and "copyright" are my basic framework in answer 6/15 and this framework includes practices of "Homes from Homes" and net plagiarisms. Painting practices and net projects can lead to conceptualizations which reflect the problems of the contemporary mediascape or they are only one more example for an established art practice. The painting practices of Art & Language are relevant as more than only the next preparations of works with easy recognizable characteristics which artists and dealers can use as logo for collectors.
6.) Is a split between new media practices and Art & Language really wanted? Are the hypertext characteristics of Blurting in A & L something which exist only in my head? Blurting In A & L remained ignored but the hypertext characteristics demonstrate that it contains features which remain relevant for "associative indexing" and networks. Are there other interpretations? Please, offer one.
7.) Please, don´t try to reduce the contemporary problems of the net architecture to a standardized imagination of a hacker. This is a transfer of the old art strategies to ridicule the engagements of others. Engagement embeds itself within a horizon of problems of a certain time which will be inevitable a past in later times. Neither the hacker nor the plagiarist have to be able to offer exemplary roles for engagements in the future. But they are part of a history of forms of engagement for changing problem zones. The model of the artist who prepares now his future saturation is part of a self professionalization within the art market: Either what you do today constitutes your market value tomorrow or you do the wrong thing. This model of artistic practice is not relevant for media activists who work for basic conditions of possible art practices. Here we are again at a problem zone which "The Fox" marked in the seventies.
Thomas Dreher (


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