I don’t believe in closed discourses because I’m sure it’s a way of manipulating people.

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Some of the phrases i hated the most in college, and also why I ended dropping out of it were:

 

-What does your work mean?

-What does it represent?

 

Or even worst:

-Where’s the justification?

 

So it doesn’t matter if what u do brings u pleasure. The only thing that matters are the limits that cage your creation (As if one thing meant or represented the same to all of us… fuck u Kant). And why on earth we need to justify that we do? Is it because art is useless and artists, curators, and critics just can’t deal with that?

 

Justify, justify, justify. Fuck u I don’t justify a shit. I just do things because I like to do them. And because if I didn’t probably not much people would do what I like. The artists who can’t do this should grow a pair. If you need 5 pages to convince people that your work deserves their attention, then prob not even you believe your work is good.

 

Unfortunately sometimes on the cultural ground, blindness, prepotency, misunderstanding and ignorance can be confused with great intelligence. So since the 20th century, art’s mainstream has tried to become trans-philosophic (or just trying to illustrate philosophy on a “fur dummies” way). It’s all: “Foucault said” or “Delueze believed”, or “Lacan proved”. Congratulations asshole, just tell me what did you do, believe, found out, or proved? Do you think I wanna know about Lacan, Deleuze and Foucault and that’s the reason I actually approached your art?

 

If u wanna understand Lacan, u read Lacan. Wanna give a try to the Rhyzome? U read Deleuze and Guattari. U wanna know y everyone like Foucault? U read Foucault (even if after u don’t fully understand y’s everyone so excited about him). U don’t go to a museum or gallery to know about their thoughts cause that would be quite an ineffective method. No offense (remember I’m also an artist) but learning philosophy from artists is just like asking an elementary school classroom their opinion about the daily and foreign politics of our government.

 

The art world is trying desperately to reduce art. It cages it with concepts like meaning, representation, and justifying. This is foolish. I‘ve seen lots of artists receive wonderful feedback and automatically reject it because “that’s not what they meant” or isn’t “what they tried to represent”. In those cases the ignorant dbag is always the artist.

 

The deal is that artists are no longer concerned about triggering thoughts in people’s minds. Instead they aim to infect their viewers thoughts with their ideas. The goal: to manipulate and make them all believe a single idea stated by the artist.

 

The funny thing is that after years of manipulating people through art discourses, and making people think they’re stupid because what they read “isn’t what the artist meant”, the art world still gets angry because people prefers music, football, and TV shows instead of our boring museums and galleries.

 

The thing is, will we ever be able of building museums and galleries that give people a rush on the same way music, football and TV do? Or is that just impossible? I know they are also used for manipulating people, but ain’t we supposed to b different? Can art be a field that completely rejects to manipulate it’s visitors? At least I’ll keep on working the way I do, using my work as an excuse to share thoughts an ideas on a P2P way. And never with closed discourses, cause I’m absolutely sure it’s quite a mean way of manipulating people.

Francisco González Zubizarreta <f_zubiza@gmail.com>

 

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Setting the record straight.

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In January, a federal appeals court rejected regulations that tried to impose broadband rules under the wrong regulatory framework in the US. The FCC’s new chairman, Tom Wheeler, said he would comply, rather than appeal. FCC says that it is fixing the open-web problem while actually letting it get worse, by providing a so-called “fast lane” for carriers to hike fees on sites trying to reach customers like you and me.

Now a blog post by Tom Wheeler called “Setting the Record Straight on the FCC’s Open Internet Rules”, says his new proposal “would establish that behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet, will not be permitted.” However, the rules would allow: the oligopoly ISPs, by all reports, to have the right to cut special deals with web companies in order to give them that fast lane.

This is sick. We pay our ISPs for access to the internet and to get a certain speed (which is almost never delivered; my friends in Mx always complain about their internet service, but I believe ours is actually worst). Consider this: an ISP tells, let’s say, Bandcamp, that it’s songs won’t reach us nor download at the speed we’ve already paid for… unless they (a company that has little or no competition) pays a fee. Imagine the impact on the company, and remember Bancamp is relatively a big internet enterprise. Think too of what would happen with sites like WordPress or Tumblr.

Something that I’ve been thinking about as a Mexican-American, is if the proposals by Wheeler and the Mexican Government on regulating the internet are just a weird coincidence. If you live in North America (MX or US at least) and believe in an open internet, don’t waste your time sinking into despair over politicians’ betrayals. Aiming at the apparent leader, like Tom Wheeler or Enrique Peña Nieto is pointless. I suggest we should focus our attention on the people who they work for, and who allegedly work for us. Start with people like President Obama for Wheeler, whose unequivocal vow as a candidate to support an open internet was a scam, plus who does Obama works for?; and for President Peña Nieto (among others) Carlos Slim, Tomás Milmo Santos, and Emilio Azcarraga Jean.

I actually believe the menace of an internet censorship in Mexico, is a wicked strategy to keep mexicans away from seeing how much money and power will telecommunications companies in their country get out of this law. This empowering happened too with Salinas de Gortari. Once again, is it a coincidence it happens once again? Plus, it doesn’t matter if the reform agrees to respect internet freedom once the empowerment happens, the censorship will occur anyway. What these people are doing is selling Mexico and US to the telecoms empires, and strengthen their oligopoly.

We are on the verge of turning over the internet to the enterprises that have grown huge through governments of Mexico and US granting them monopoly status. Companies like Verizon, Comcast, Telmex, Axtel, and Cablevisión will have staggering power to decide what bits of information reach your devices and mine, in what order and at what speed.The telecom companies got this big in the first place because they were once granted exclusive rights to “serve” their geographic communities by our governments.

However once again we can say its all about information and controlling it, as well as getting profit out of it. We can’t say that this isn’t happening already in companies like Facebook. Plus, in Mexico City everyone can consult Google Maps for free. This means that Google can pinpoint your location, and technically they could handle it to anyone. And it’s not only Google. The telecom companies are the ones that will always know your location! Plus don’t tell me you have never experienced slow web surfing on certain sites while surfing with no problem in others.

Internet access is a public utility and should be kept as that. But the most important thing is for us to see and distinguish between distractors and the real enemies and menaces, which I believe once more are our countries’ telecommunications enterprises. If we do that, we have more chances of striking an accurate counter attack, and not a perhaps heroic but useless one.

Francisco González Zubizarreta <f_zubiza@gmail.com>

Better than a robot

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Photo: Peter Yang

I logged into virtual worlds and began working inside them at the beginning of 2007. Those days were filled with tapenipulation, drumbots making, and a bit of circuit bending. I didn’t really liked working with computers back then. For me they were boring, and perhaps too easy. Modular synths and tapes seemed so much more interesting. Then I realised I didn’t liked computers because they allow much more intuitive ways of working. Everything is easier and simpler. All the work of building a synth, studying music, none of it matters when using computers. The knowledge might help, but it’s not necessary. And that’s our current reality. It’s very easy to become an artist nowadays if you use computers.

Suddenly, I had an epiphany: I rejected computer generated works because they were menacing my field of expertise. I think I even thought their existence was something unfair. This made me remember the words of a piano teacher (which I had considered too conservative): “Synths doomed musicians. The work of 90 can be done by them, so people prefer to pay the work of one, than the work of 90.”

I realised my thoughts were not very different from my professor’s. So I decided to act the opposite. Then I began making music with computers and inside virtual worlds and net communities. I realised the true beauty behind computer generated works, is that anyone can do them. Suddenly the web has been flooded with songs of unknown musicians thanks to myspace and soundcloud. And that’s amazing! One can visit soundcloud and listen to songs that were uploaded seconds ago. You just have to write that name on a browser to call them up. More than a collective place, the internet is a land where anything is possible.

After visiting a friend in New York, and seeing the shows in all the museums, as well as the galleries in Manhattan and Soho, I realised all the art they house is so contemporary. And it’s time for it to be that no more. That’s why since the beginning, S.T.A.R.S. has acted like a Trojan horse for reality. Our ultimate goal: to bring the art world together with the 21st century’s reality through the internet. The internet is all that the art world wishes, and claims to be. And thanks to its possibilities we’ve envisioned another art world. A new reality – one that offers a different future, to a “contemporary” art world that is still stuck in 1648.

Most of the people working with computers are not contemporary artists, so they haven’t been stuck to a specific form. They’re trying all the buttons and all the combinations. And that’s the beauty behind Digital Maoism. All the information on the web, each song, each image, each algorithm, they were all done by people. Nothing’s magically created, but somehow authorship disappears. What matters are the benefits that the network gets out of data. And that’s how art is gonna be. Art is becoming useful for people. Since the beginning we’ve done everything wrong, and the internet is giving us a chance to change that. Inside the internet, art may be free. And by free I do not mean cost-less, but rather the freedom to copy art and then adapt it to one’s own uses.

Franz Zubizarreta <franzubizarreta@gmail.com>