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Famous types spend lots of money fashioning their online presence and controlling the rank of organic search results for their names. But I think the converse could make for a pretty fabulous publicity stunt: temporarily abolishing their names from the interwebs altogether. Take Rudolf Steiner, the late Austrian philosopher and founder of Biodynamic Agriculture, among many many other things. Knowing he was nearing the end of his life, he started giving up to four lectures a day on his teachings. Also knowing he was nearing the end of his life, people listened and documented them. But it was after the end of his life, so these stories tend to go, that sales of his work surged. Now take Ken Wilber, the American philosopher and founder of the Integral Institute, among many many other things. Imagine if Wilber hinted he was departing from this world, spoke/wrote furiously for a stint, and then vanished from the web. Not a trace of him to be found by a Google spider.* Granted this would take some seriously expensive hackery. But it might inspire a premature surge in sales of his work, if not attract publicity. This is semi-similar to how Tupac was thought to have imitated Machiavelli in faking his own death, and would return in time, but in the digital universe. And why it's more interesting to me than simply faking one’s death, I'm not sure. I think I like the idea of digital disappearance; of anti-publicity as publicity.

*Update: I just learned from a developer friend that this is kinda impossible because of internet archives, i.e. only recent traces would disappear but anything older would hang out in [relative] perpetuity. Shucks. But I still like the idea, so please just consider it conceptual art.


feel the mouseclick

New media artists these days are too obsessed with interactivity. Lemme rephrase more academically: in Gartner's hype cycle, I'd say interactivity is hanging out at the peak of inflated expectations. But don't you guys get it? Unless you're in a sensory deprivation chamber, everything is interactive. I know I'm brattily spouting at an unidentified crowd of self-proclaimed interactive artists, but I nevertheless predict a backlash against/spoofing of interactivity ('feel the mouse under your fingers, listen to that click-click of the keyboard...'). And I nevertheless encourage interactivity to move along the trajectory of things, from being a binary (yes/no) or spectral (more/less) concept to a typological one. If everything is interactive, what type of interactive is it? Is the interaction meaningful, desirable, fascinating, new? Otherwise I'm just not very impressed if your art, per Wikipedians, "involves the spectator in some [ambiguous] way."


pole dancing to the people

One of the many fantastic things about pole dancing is that there are poles all over the city. I wanna get my pole dancing ladies to dress monochromatically (white? red?), each take a pole on a major city street (Market in SF?), and have us filmed from a low-flying helicopter while dancing. Public performance art therapy at its sexiest.


jewish wedding gifts restaurant yum come eat

Even the advent of wedding registries cannot curb the gifting of unattractive Judaica and tableware with names of brides and grooms curvily engraved. And it all ends up tucked away in hard-to-reach cabinets, basements, attics, or – oy gevalt! – shelves of the local Goodwill. The solution: Jewish diners. They could even be chain, wholly dedicated to giving bad Jewish wedding presents a venue in which to happily come out of the closet. Eat blintzes and kugel on a silver platter engraved with "Shira and Daniel Weissman," drink manishevitz from their fourth (and therefore donated) set of Kiddush cups, and do so by the candlelight of their similarly engraved candelabra. Sure it would be upsetting to find yourself eating off of a gift you gave, and awkward to be eating with its recipient when it happened, but by that point, having your gift accepted by the Jewish Wedding Gifts Restaurant Yum Come Eat (name suggestions most welcome) would be a source of pride.


fun with videochat

Throughout my adventures in tele-intimacy, which include so close yet so far away and this might be a Love story, I've thought of much fun to be had with videochat. And in the spirit of using my blog as a personal learning journal since nobody reads it (except you! hi.), I might as well make a list:

1) Make a film that's actually a screencast of two people videochatting back-to-back. The two people rotate in a circle and periodically move closer/farther away from each other, perhaps while singing a beautiful song (kinda like this but more beautiful), perhaps while in a beautiful place (outside?), perhaps as a music/dance video. Make audio and visual reverb. Make it stunning.

2) Stick someone in a videochat mushpot. Place him/her alone in a room, surrounded by videochatting laptops. This could be someone who is lonely, far away, in jail, in an assisted living facility, or a performance artist.

3) Let two laptops share a romantic moment together. Stick them alone in a room while videochatting with different people, enabling those people to kinda videochat (though this is really for the laptops). Spy on the laptops and take pictures like the one below.

4) Videochat with an avatar, as described here.

5) Semi-videochat with a political candidate, as described here.