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Art Dirt Redux - One Year Out


Trying to measure something like the success of Art Dirt Redux is rather difficult. I look at it as an artwork that Rob Murphy sometimes collaborates on with me. I do see it as a media art piece. When Rob and I walk around and look at galleries there is an art history and aesthetic discourse, a shared language of conventions. When I start to edit and layer the sound it is after the fact in the studio. The audio recorder is a dumb instrument or maybe a disinterested third party. It records all things equally. It doesn’t filter out background noise or zoom in on someone’s voice the way the human mind and ear do. What it does is present me with a way to read alternative ways of hearing and present those in the final edited piece.

Media art has a couple of earlier examples to measure against and play off. The obvious one is mass media also called mainstream media. Media critique and all the other theatrical traditions that were carried over to msm are a part of this discourse. The other part is phenomological and conceptual media works. The papa of this type of art is Bruce Nauman. One could also say that all conceptual artists and body artists from the 1970’s laid the groundwork for this type of phenomenological, media art. It is also fairly obvious that concrete music and sound art are influences for Art Dirt Redux.

In America the question for a media artist is either how to be absorbed by the msm or how not to be compromised by the msm. The issue is how to let the public know that there are other ways of listening and seeing other than lowest common denominator entertainment. The other problem is one that has to do with the gallery-museum complex. This has also has procedures and expectations that are a problem. These have to do with exclusivity, connoisseurship, the reification of the art object and the system of patronage with this system.
Digital media, new media, networked media are all terms that seek to differentiate forms created using computers and the Internet.
Art Dirt Redux is this; it starts with the idea of an artist or two doing a walkabout and talking about art. The incidental sounds recorded become a part of an immersive memory. The layered sounds, created in the studio also erase or create entropic situations that obscure meaning. The dynamic tension is a series of expectations. This is a media report, actually no it isn’t it’s a sound art piece but sometimes you can get very honest and important information by listening. It critiques media and your conditioned expectations formed from years of being entertained by msm. Another part to Art Dirt Redux is the dialog or interview. I like to do this occasionally. A discussion between two people always clarifies ideas. A listener can gain the benefit of hearing the clarification. This may seem at first to be straight msm but the person (me) choosing and interviewing is not an msm type. There is some other reason, some other agenda other than money or power or garnering eyeballs at work. There is a search for truth or perhaps small truths between two people. These are honest truths. The agenda is that there is no agenda.

The phenomenological parts to Art Dirt Redux reside in the machine recording and the data of sound files I am building. At the moment there are 40 separate files of Art Dirt Redux.
The underlying structure of Art Dirt Redux is a complex system of information that is deconstructed to find it’s meaning and then reassembled. It is also layered in a manner that creates informational entropy and erasure. The access of this information, the mode of presentation is both impersonal and personal. It depends on the unfiltered impersonal aspect of the Internet. All information is equal. The personal part is the listener who takes the time to seek out the experience of Art Dirt Redux and listens to it over headphones on their iPod.
Recently my sound mixes have become more complex. When I first started doing Art Dirt Redux I was saving the sound files in mono. Now I am placing layers of sound in positions from left to right and in the center. This means that on the left may be one galleries discussion with Rob on the right may be a different galleries sound samples and in the center is whole other talk. Sometimes I create five positions Left, Right, Center, Left-Center and Right-Center. This allows for 5 separate samples to run at the same time. With a little practice a listener can select which sample to listen to and block out the rest. The listener also has the choice of surfing the information while it is being played. The idea of synchronous media is rather important. It also speaks to the notion of selective filtering and the aesthetics of truth. When you approach reality by disengaging from whatever expected or ingrained narrative you have, there is the potential to see in a different way, to see the truth. The dynamic then is to build a layered reality that is different from a sound effects surround sound track that one would expect in a movie or an msm music presentation.
The question is an extension of the idea of detournement that was utilized to great effect by the Situationists and also by Jacque Tati in his films. Art Dirt Redux is a detournement art piece. It is situational, it is also relational and it is deconstructionist. I could envision a room with surround sound and a database of Art Dirt Redux files being fed into the six or eight channels at random. This would re-shuffle the information once again or as they say in academic circles re-contextualize it.

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