Ron Carraher on Tue, 29 Jun 1999 03:30:53 -0700

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Re: Syndicate: Appropriations = Art Imitating Work


The Agency Databank has a fine conceptual appeal.
For years I have doing Work disguised as Art. I used guise of art to 
dignify what was basically any activity which I hoped would make me 
money. Without some minute future hope of monetary reward...all pretense 
of art might have ceased; however, the Art-as-Work somehow 
worked...(interesting that artists like to use this word "work" as a 
substitute for art. "Does this piece of art work?"
And then there is the "work of art". An artist is being successful when 
s/he can live off of their art and not have to work. 

We might look through the other end of the telescope. An inverse law. Art 
imitating life?
As I face the process of making art each day...I often procrastinate and 
distract myself with little pieces of work...wash the dishes...fix a 
broken door...anything to keep from facing artmaking.

Perhaps there is a dopplegänger for the Agency. It would be a databank 
WORK...the things artists do to avoid making their art.

Ron Carraher
Simpleton Foundation
Seattle  WA   USA

>>Appropriations Databank
>>To whom it may concern,
>>Agency invites you to collaborate on the constitution of a databank on
>>approriations. This databank about appropriating different given situations,
>>such as the city, work, the home, transportation, the law... will be
>>developed in various phases. During the first phase, the databank collects
>>information about the ìartî of appropriating work situations (lab, studio,
>>office, factory...).
>>Using is a form of making. (Michel de Certeau) The appropriations of the
>>organized time and space are ignored by the working situation. Employees
>>disguise their own work as work for their employer. This may vary from a
>>secretary writing a love letter during work hours to a woodworker using
>>leftover wood to build a cabinet for his living room. This common practice
>>differs from stealing or skipping work. Employees only divert time and space
>>from the work situation for their own ends. It is a way to signify their own
>>capability and to confirm their solidarity with other employees, family
>>members or friends. Although appropriations are an implicit part of the work
>>situation (in the same place and at the same moment), this kind of ìmakingî
>>is being repressed.
>>How do you appropriate your work situation? What tricks do you use? You may
>>add information to this databank by mail, telephone, fax or e-mail. The data
>>can be stored as text, drawing, photo, video or sound material. When sending
>>the information, please take into account the following parameters: 1. the
>>work situation, 2. using the work situation, 3. appropriating the work
>>situation. Agency guarantees your anonymity!
>>This interactive databank will be accessible from September on. Users will
>>be able to retrieve or store information. In this way one can exchange
>>tactics of appropriation.
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