title>Source Code Source Code: 11/2005


I tag ----> I own

It all began a couple of weeks ago with the post "on blogging as curating". Quickly the discussion about it turned into "tagging as curating". Katastrofsky took it one step further, proposing in his personal blog (in accordance to what he had explored in his "the original" project) tagging as owning.

The idea is simple, and it would make Duchamp proud of this new pupil of his. In a set of three simple rules the artist asks us to choose one site whatsoever (the more you like it, the better), then to tag it as an "interactive readymade by Carlos Katastrofsky" and it's done. You become the owner of an online readymade done by you and Katastrofsky himself.

The simple act of signing, so characteristic of readymade works of art (and from a conceptual point of view, the work itself) is replaced by a tag defined by the artist, the creator of this "performative" piece. The interesting thing here is that it is not the artist who signs (tags) the existing object. The artist only allows us to do it for him, and by doing so he completely looses control of what becomes one of his works of art. In the end it doesn't matter if noone else recognises what you just did as a readymade done by both of you, but then again they might.

Using del.icio.us, and defining a priori the readymade-iser tag, Katastrofsky allows for a community, or a net of readymades of his authorship to exist. Tagging something as a Katastrofsky's collaborative readymade opens the door to the club. You get to know what are his readymades, how many of them there are and who owns them (and most important of all, if yours is better than the rest).

By recurring to del.icio.us or the Flock browser he is creating a "one tag" network centred around the ideas of tagging as signing (he allows others to tag in his name) and tagging as owning (what you tag in his name becomes your own katastrofsky piece). If in "the original" it wasn't possible to choose what you could own, the decision belonging solely to the artist, now it depends on you entirely. Now everyone can have whatever "interactive readymade by carlos katastrofsky" they desire.

free interactive readymade
Carlos Katastrofsky


Go for the original, not the copies

The dichotomy between an original (authentic) work of art and its copies isn't a new one. Walter Benjamin adressed it a long time ago and stated that the work's aura (its distinctive characteristic) gets lost when technically reproducing it. This discussion became a bit obsolete when digital culture (and its artifacts) became common in our contemporary world. When looking at a net art piece, how can you conceptualize an original (and its copies) when the work is online, accessible to everyone at the same time? Ubiquity doesn't go along with unicity, at least not at a first glance.

This debate has become old, so much has been said and written around the lost of "the original" (its death by means of the digital) that nobody is interested in it lately. Benjamin couldn't expect this turn of events, but we solved the problem. No original, no copies, just information accessible to everyone.

But what if someone wanted to subvert this status quo? What if an artist missed a time when a work of art was a unique object that one could own? That is what Carlos Katastrofsky's "the original" is all about. This netart project allows you to be the owner of a unique (one of a kind) netart piece. The confusion arises. How can one be the owner (in the traditional sense) of netart? The truth is one can´t and in this lies the interest of "the original". Katastrofsky allows you to be the owner of a unique, numbered, but not signed (the irony continues...) work of art; of something that isn't an object and that will disapear from your screen as soon as you close the window. Your original work of art will forever be gone and the only memory of it will be a print (if you decided to take the artist's advice and print it) and your name in a list of "owners of original artworks by carlos katastrofsky".

This is an extremely ironic project. It allows you to traditionally own a net art piece, own it like any objectual art piece. But the irony lies in the fact it isn't an object, and what you can own is nothing more than a copy (a print out) of that non existing object, another irony (what is a copy of a net art piece?)... In the end there is nothing of an object here, just a process, a set of rules that leads you to the point of questioning unicity, ownership and the object-like nature of a digital art work.


On blogging as curating

What if a blog could be thought of as an exhibition? It would turn blogging activity into curating.
The idea isn't new at all, but is still somewhat difficult to accept by those practicing traditional curatorial activities. I thought about it last week. What has SOURCE CODE become? I (the blogger) am responsible for selecting works (and other relevant documentation for the purpose of this blog/exhibition), displaying them (their urls) and recontextualizing them from my own point of view. What I am doing in this process is basically what any curator does. Starting from my own subjective views of the world, I try to organize, to give meaning, to make sense out of the cultural production I'm interested in. I include them in my discourse, using them to pass a message. The choices I make have a purpose, they are not random, and consequences can arise from them.

The practice of curating remains the same, only the context changes.

So start staging your own shows. Select, include, exclude, draw similarities, contextualize, organise the unorganisable. Blog your heart out.
Licença Creative Commons
Esta obra está licenciada sob uma Licença Creative Commons.