flesh h][i.j][acker on 7 Dec 2000 02:45:41 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] [7-11] How to go beyond the mountain?

I have been asked to give an explanation for my resignation from
net.art. This explanation is as follows:

I have lost the nervous wonder of that first attempt to find a 
voice. The heartbreak of nervous joy has been replaced by the 
heartbreak of every extended hand unseen by Those Who Would Be 
Touched. I have created some of the ironically self referential 
monstrosities I'd long to destroy. 

There is no longer a refresh button on the internet art world. 
We cannot resist any longer the pressures from the institutions.
For what we have given them, we still can not eat. The exhaust 
from the machine thins enough to see the walls we are surrounded 
by in this gas chamber, and we ask them to burn more so we may 
be illusioned once again. 

We have become a hierarchy. We have become an institution. We 
have lost the chance to express our hopes to those who cannot 
afford the cable modems and leisure time to surf this world wide 
web of fractured and compromised ideologies. 

Our fists broke through the walls of scrutiny only to be 
amputated and sold for steak and wine, at the expense of those 
beneath us, climbing on top of each other to see whats at the 
top of this pile, only to be amputated and fed. Who else have 
we inspired to climb not into truth but into this harsh illusion
that serves to insulate us from it? Does anyone really believe 
that net.art can still change these structures? 

I dreamed of a vast interconnected world of silent coders 
creating ten million variations and translations of a single 
manifesto: "We are the ones who could not be heard, and this is 
the bullhorn which will shatter your eardreams."

And we have Steve Dietz at the Walker declaring that voice 
dead, before it could ever even be seen, before reality could 
shatter the hallways of the Guggenheim or Moma. Truth is not 
representational: while we describe the newest work by Shulgin 
and Bookchin, there is a world of brilliant and radiating decay 
going ignored. There is a world of significance behind the irony 
we feel essential to critical academic worth in art. As our one 
trick ponies get food, fame and lecture opportunities, we get 
table scraps, false promises, dangling carrots from those who 
observe us and report on our doings but never stop to feed the 
starving work horses. 

There is a world of refusal hiding beneath the gears of this 
machine. A refusal ensures they come to a halt; a refusal 
ensures that you remain as steadfastly uncorrupted as you can 
be by the world outside of yourself. How can we make this 
world better? How can we do the best thing? How can any of us 
call it "art" when "art" is supposed to be that which inspires 
us to do great things, to give unselfishly of our love, to cast 
our dollar votes for a steady course of progress as opposed to 
flash software, domain hosts, internic fees? Do we really 
believe that our art is a valid allottment for these votes, that 
this money we put towards our art is best spent on our art, and 
not in the stomachs or spirits of the weak, starving and sick? 
Is antiorps software sales saying anything more important than 
her previous "beautiful spectacle" mode? Is the question of 
how ________ relates to previous theory really more important
the billions of geocities sites of people screaming to be seen in 
this tragic and gorgeous confusion?

Inside of some of us is this aim in art: To improve the space
we live in while we live in it. For every moment to taste 
better because of its inevitable end. And the network exists; 
the people who wonder about these questions, who demand that 
they be asked. There are also those who wonder silently, 
for the fear that they are alone in it, from the corrupting 
effects of irony, convienience, and the self-destructing nature 
of words. It was my aim to break forward these questions, but I 
too have been corrupted: The one who questions such things out 
loud gets no where. Don't speak of your ideals too loudly or 
you may be held to them later, when they have inevitably been 

I demand a world where this is not inevitable, where truth is 
still honored, and where the right questions get asked. Not of 
whether the institutions have won, of dubious friendships
outcomes of careers, or why we are excluded. But questions of: 
How do I improve this place? 

The continued existence of new work created for public
only supports the structure which leaves me hungry, flinging cake
batter overnights onto pans for the wealthy to complain about; 
surrounded by rats and filth and the smell of grease traps like 
excrement. The removal of my work is a direct and meaningless
accusation against the culture of corporate museums buying as 
many commercials for individual powerartists as they can afford. 
I masquerade more and more every day for thier benefit. I write
texts to create a softer pillow for thier validity. Even my 
protests feed the power image of these imaginary disneylands of 
paint, networks and placards. 

I feel that I have convinced myself of a meaning in my work 
which does not exist; I feel that I have convinced myself that 
my ideas were too large to accomplish. I forgot that the sound 
of the statue cracking is nowhere near as perfect as the sound 
of the crowd cheering as they try and topple it. That beauty is 
in the struggle, not merely the victory. 

I have settled for the safe route of lectures, exhibits, 
conferences, alliances, associations. I feel I can't continue 
this path anymore: I have asked myself the questions I feel 
important, and I have found that this method is not the best 
manner in which to create even my futile attempts. This is not 
the hollow surface my fist can bring resonance to. In these 
empty gestures there is room enough to breathe for just one 
second. In the empty gestures dedicated to anything else, there 
is only suffocation.

This is my sad refusal to take part any longer in the compromise, 
in the spectacle of new media. This is my sad refusal to pretend
any longer that I have an answer, or that anyone else does.

-eryk salvaggio
December 6th, 2000

"How to relate to the meaning, 
how to go beyond the mountain."
>>>> what
**** Command 'what' not recognized.
>>>> why
**** Command 'why' not recognized.

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fl][qu][es][t][h h][i.j][acke][t][r             
.... .                  .???  .......

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