I've been doing projects with found pennies since 2002. Why? I'm asking myself that regularly. They are these recurring elements, falling in between valuable and worthless, noticed and unnoticed, cared for and disregarded. They are like so many, many things in our world. It's not about the pennies...
One must become acquainted with everybody except oneself; one must not know which sex one belongs to; I do not care whether I am male or female, I do not admire men more than I do women. Having no virtue, I am assured of not suffering from them. Many people seek the road which can lead them to their ideal: I have no ideal; the person who parades his ideal is only an arriviste. Undoubtedly, I am also an arriviste, but my lack of scruples is an invention for myself, a subjectivity. Objectively it would consist of awarding myself the légion d'honneur, of wishing to become a minister or of plotting to get into the Institute! Well, for me, all that is shit!
What I like is to invent, to imagine, to make myself a new man every moment, then forget him, forget everything. We should be equipped with a special eraser, gradually effacing our works and the memory of them. Our brain should be nothing back a blackboard, or white, or better, a mirror in which we would see ourselves for a moment, only to turn our back on it two minutes later. My ambition is to be a man sterile for others; the man who set himself up as a school disgusts me, he gives his gonorrhea to artists for nothing and sells it as clearly as possible to amateurs. Actually, writers, painters, and other idiots have passed on the word to fight against the 'monsters', monsters who, naturally, do not exist, who are pure inventions, of man.
Artists are afraid; they whisper in each other's ears about a boogey man which might well prevent them from playing their dirty little tricks! No age, I believe, has been more imbecilic than ours. These gentlemen would have us believe that nothing is happening anymore; the train reversing its engines, it seems, is very pretty to look at, cows are no longer enough! The travelers to this backward Decanville are named: Matisse, Morandi, Braque, Picasso, Léger, de Segonzac, etc., etc. ... What is funniest of all is that they accept, as stationmaster, Louis Vauxcelles, whose great black napkin contains only a foetus!
Since the war, a ponderous and half-witted sentiment of morality rules the entire world. The moralists never discern the moral facts of appearances, the Church for them is a morality like the morality of drinking water, or of not daring to wash one's ass in front of a parrot! All that is arbitrary; people with morals are badly informed, and those who are informed know that the others will not inform themselves.
There is no such thing as a moral problem; morality like modesty is one of the greatest stupidities. The asshole of morality should take the form of a chamber-pot, that's all the objectivity I ask of it.
This contagious disease called morality has succeeded in contaminating all of the so-called artistic milieux; writers and painters become serious people, and soon we shall have a minister of painting and literature; I don't doubt that there will be still more frightful assininities. The poets no longer know what to say, so some are becoming Catholics, others believers; these men manufacture their little scribblings as Félix Potin does his cold chicken preserves; people say that Dada is the end of romanticism, that I am a clown, and they cry long live classicism which will save the pure souls and their ambitions, the simple souls so dear to those afflicted by dreams of grandeur!
However, I don not abandon the hope that nothing is finished yet, I am here, and so are several friends who have a love of life, a life we do not know and which interests us for that very reason.
originally published in Littérature, new series no. 8, Paris, January 1923 as 'Francis Merci!'
"the radical artists' manifesto"
by arp, baumann, eggeling, giacometti, helbig, henning, janco, morach, richter
11th april 1919
A clear, straightforward gaze must predominate if decisions of great import are to be taken. Spiritually and materially, we demand our right: representatives of an essential part of culture, we, the artists, want to take part in the ideological development of the State; we want to exist in the State and take our full share of responsibilities. We declare that the artistic laws of our time are already formulated in their main outline. The spirit of abstract art represents an enormous extension in man's feeling of freedom. Our faith is fraternal art: art's new mission in society. Art imposes clarity; should serve as a basis for the new man. He should belong to everyone without class distinction. We want to channel the conscious production-strength of each individual into the completion of the communal undertaking. We are fighting lack of system, destroyer of strength. Our highest aspiration is to realise a spiritual basis of understanding for all men. This is our duty. This work ensures the greatest vitality for all people. The initiative for this is ours. We shall direct its course and give expression to its wishes by joining into a harmonious whole its most disparate elements.
This is a picture of a mouse that has been frozen for 16 years. Why are we looking at this? Scientists have successfully cloned a healthy mouse from the cells of this mouse-sicle. Scary.
What's next, Woolly Mammoths? Saber Tooth Tigers? Or how about we bring to life some of our ancient relatives, like our dear friend the Neanderthal Man or Turkana Boy, so we can imprison them in laboratories, stick electrodes in them, and study ourselves!
Who are the aliens that are abducting people and probing them in scientific experiments? WE ARE!
Okay, this website, and the projects on it, are INCREDIBLE!
Here is some info about the group:
"Bestiario is a small Barcelona/Lisbon based company, which was founded two years ago. We are dedicated to data dynamic representation and to the creation of digital spaces for the collective creation of knowledge. Our slogan is: 'making the complex comprehensible.' We combine art and science to design and create interactive information spaces. We developed a powerful framework based on graph theory, topological algorithms, physic models, geometrical and geographical representations."
I was in a large warehouse style room. Gigantic really. Everything was white, metal, clean. There were enormous storage bins suspended from the ceiling which held different ingredients. It was some kind of backstage for a restaurant. A kitchen. I was managing a team. Restaurant workers? We were preparing something, cleaning, putting things in order. Something was spilling. Maple Syrup leaking out onto the floor, overflowing from a dish on a table onto the floor. No problem, just clean it up. Then drip drip drip, leaking from above. The bin, a bedroom-sized box filled with Maple Syrup, is busting at the seams. Streams of Maple Syrup running down its sides. And then it "goes" - and there is a Maple Syrupy mess everywhere. We are startled. We step back and clear the space, and then the bin next to it goes. Large rigatoni pour from above, crashing over the sterile kitchen architecture. Another bin goes. More pasta. Click clackety tap. Click clackety-tappity-clackety-tappity-clackety-tappity-clackety-tappity-clackety-tappity-tap. Raining percussion . There is no anxiety, only suprise. We retreat.
I left a note for Laurie Anderson. I told her about the uncontrollable cascades of food items and ingredients. She and I exchange words in whispers. She is like an aunt, who is not really my aunt. Wise, Experienced, Gentle.