Artist & Author

Clearinghouse Publishers: “Official”

Excerpt from “Official” (2010), issue #5 of “Clearinghouse Publishers”. Download here

This issue marked the first public emergence since the late ‘90s of my project “Imperial Services.” As is clear from the letter quoted in the previous post, I was once again exploring art as an activity, comparing it to different other kinds of work. One idea that came up often in conversation with Imperial Services contributors/participants is that of consulting, of many services offering something deeper behind the stated service, something psychological or aesthetic or sociological, or all three, and the idea that art could be a kind of consulting in that it could provide the same services. It’s almost like working backwards from the effect to a way to achieve it, the opposite of what many people perceive art’s function to be: plop some object down and wait for it to have an effect. The Imperial Services method would be to design something to have a certain kind of effect (which would vary client to client). Maybe this isn’t art, but it represents something more intriguing than the old plop-and-wait.

Throughout the making of “Official”, the image stuck in the editorial mind was of artist as office worker, for better or worse. As individual toiling in obscurity on small works of no consequence which are brought to the public with great effort and to small effect. Clocking in and out, only without the paycheck. I asked contributors to work backwards from the [tele-]visual presentation of ideas to the ideas themselves.