Le Parergon: Tom Moody bio

Thanks to artist and musician Pierre-Luc Verville for including me as a topic on his website Le Parergon. The writing is in French; below is a machine-translated version. I added the hyperlinks for additional background.

Tom Moody

Tom Moody is an American musician, visual artist, and art critic. His work is characterized by the détournement [diversion, hijacking] of digital means of expression in order to subvert or sublimate their contradictions.


...Moody studied literature and art in Charlottesville [VA] and then in Washington, D.C., before moving to New York City...

Course of work

Banality and technical obsolescence are two important leitmotifs in Moody's work. Both embracing the limitations of the tools he uses and developing his art within the corporate world he infiltrates, he creates a body of work that can be said to explore the aesthetic and social ramifications of postmodern computing. His music explores the sonic aesthetics of the computer retroactively, as well as the aesthetic peculiarities of telecommunications and computer technologies and the social fantasies attached to them (Generic PC, 2017; Hypercylinder, 2019). In the visual arts, he is interested in optical effects, the dialectic between economy of means and maximalist aesthetics, and the changes brought about by new techniques in pictorial production (Kevin, Les, Steve, Kerry, oil on canvas, 1979-80; Advil Box, 1994, acrylic on promotional display box).

An aesthetic of the shift

From a technical point of view, Moody's art exploits the extreme limits, even paradoxes, of digital forms of expression. The audiovisual and minimal computer environment of the late 1990s (Microsoft Paintbrush and Paint, Windows 95 and 98, Sound Blaster, etc.) is reused by the artist in a way that subverts the corporate logic of the computer.

What is contradictory in the computer aesthetic is between what we expect from computer tools and what they do. Moody exploits this paradox by turning the fundamental elements of the perceptual system of computer environments into expressive elements that refer directly to the history of art. By exaggerating what the computer may or may not be expected to produce aesthetically, Moody reveals a world whose conditions of aesthetic possibility are constantly being transformed by the machine.

The appropriation of obsolete devices is thus the occasion for a critique of the obsolescence of the various aesthetic stages of the computer, for a re-reading of the horizon of expectation which frames the experience of it. In other words, his appropriation of computing is an art of the shift, which consists in shaping the contradictions of the aesthetic language of the cybersphere in order to question them [1].


1. Marc Augé, L'art du décalage, Multitudes, vol. 25, no 2, 2006, p. 139-147.

cheney and not-cheney

For those still shocked and traumatized by the 2016 election it's pure heresy to suggest anything good came out of it. But some antiwar people are doing that. Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a left/right/antiwar think tank, notes that the Republican electorate has shifted away from Dick Cheney and his ideas of aggressive intervention:

In 2014, Republican Congressm[e]n Justin Amash and Thomas Massie fought for non-interventionism in their party but knew its leaders were eager to revert to a permanent war stance asap. Little did they know at the time that Trump, however imperfect, would soon bulldoze the GOP elite, neuter their power over the party’s base, and make peace more of a conservative value than war for a majority of Republican voters. Dick Cheney wishes he had a smidgen of the influence over conservatives that Trump does today.

More heresy:

Trump [has] called Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal a “wonderful and positive thing to do.” Trump’s primary beef with Biden is that he is taking too long to pull troops out, surpassing the Trump administration’s original May 1 deadline.

In other words, if Biden is doing something antiwar, Trump’s impulse is not to be reflexively pro-war like Cheney and [Lindsay] Graham, but to remind Americans that he’s even more antiwar than the current Democratic president. Not surprisingly, a majority of Republican voters are also on board with ending America’s longest war.

Meanwhile Biden openly calls Putin a "killer," meddles in Ukraine, stalls on rejoining JPCOA, etc. Might as well be Cheney's man but his election gave some 2016 traumatees personal closure so it's OK. (Of course those traumatees will claim that Trump's antiwar stance is all an act -- one acquaintance of mine believes if it weren't for covid, we would be at war with Iran right now. People believe what they want to believe.)

artist bios on Discogs that are too long and/or contain hype

As previously noted, the record-collecting website Discogs uses volunteer labor for much of its thankless editing chores. These laborers attempt to make sure the database conforms to the site's Guidelines, which require, among other things, no hype in artist biographies. The list below appeared on a forum thread about hype-containing artist pages that still need to be edited down to a few neutral, informative sentences.
I am reproducing the links here purely for humor and bathos. In theory, all these bios will be made less fabulous, but it's hard to imagine any of the authors going down without a fight, no matter how experienced or adept the editing.

Update: I parked this ridiculously long list here so I could chuckle at these at my leisure. I've noticed a few that actually don't contain hype; I'll remove ones that seem normal to me.

Tom Reich
Tom Jones
Alan Bell (3)
Brian Keane
Eddie Giles
Anders Lundqvist
Fluid (28)
Joey Argiro
John Paul Musser
Maurizio Cerantola
Ray Wilson
The 49 Americans
Bob Stubbs
Michael Siegl (2)
Andrea Gabriele
Richard Blohm
Mick Karn
Kim Larsen
Bass Bastards
DJ Patife
The Ritchie Family
Noro Morales
Alceu Valença
The Accents (5)
José Melis
Brian West
Ali Chant
Gareth Jones
Social Club (3)
Bobby Emmons
The Balladurians
Steven Frederick Cook
Tommy Scott (7)
Kasey Taylor & Chris Meehan
Chris Hill
Peppe Voltarelli
Nathaniel Glover
The Malta Bums
The Gerogerigegege
Harris Chalkitis
Nox Arcana
5D Psychic Systems
Carla Magnan
The Persuasions
Miguel Valbuena
Buck Ram
Mhax Montes
Fashion 6
Stan Lokhin
Charly Lownoise
DJ Alex Cervera
Eddie Cochran
Wild Turkey
Antonio Conte (3)
French Fries
Desakato Dada
Pat Reedy & The Longtime Goners
Lou Bonnevie
Sakai (8)
Benedetti & Svoboda
Tammy (17)
Hittar Cuesta
Lord Of The Lost
Atomic Simao
AGSO Quartet
Eyre Llew
La Vierge Du Chancelier Rolin
DJ Sarasa
Ronnie Dove
Morgan Visconti
Jørgen Teller & The Empty Stairs
Victor Castro (Pt)
Hornsman Coyote
Timo Manson
Aztec Sun
Damian Kozub
Rafael Kozub
Treat (2)
BK Duke
Cecil Washington
Serial Cut™
The Bo-Keys
The Cedars (2)
Christine Ott
Anfisa Letyago
Léon Destroismaisons
Ryan Carter
José Luis Feliciano Vega
Azam Ali
E.L. Me
Johnny Favourite
God's Grandparents
Peter Caelen
Freddy K
Mako Sugita
Andrea Celeste
Norma Ray
Danny Eaton
Zé Ramalho
Professor Trance
Ace Frehley
Artefactos de Dolor
Klaus Munzert
Phat Fred
Kunt And The Gang
Enrico Rava
Eric Cody
Edward Buadee
Taggy Tones
Véronique Labbé
Lil Knock (2)
Brian Harris (8)
William Oscar Smith

around the web

DeJoy Is Hell-Bent on Wrecking the Postal Service — and Maybe Your Life (Lauren Weinstein)

[Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's] 10-year plan for destroying the USPS, by treating it like his former for-profit shipping logistics business rather than the SERVICE is was intended to be — was released today, along with a flurry of self-congratulatory official USPS tweets that immediately attracted massive negative replies, most of them demanding that DeJoy be removed from his position. Now. Right now!

A Biden Appointee's Troubling Views On The First Amendment (Matt Taibbi)

The Cliff’s Notes version of [a thesis of Columbia prof Timothy Wu, recently appointed to the National Economic Council]:

— The framers wrote the Bill of Rights in an atmosphere where speech was expensive and rare. The Internet made speech cheap, and human attention rare. Speech-hostile societies like Russia and China have already shown how to capitalize on this “cheap speech” era, eschewing censorship and bans in favor of “flooding” the Internet with pro-government propaganda.

— As a result, those who place faith in the First Amendment to solve speech dilemmas should “admit defeat” and imagine new solutions for repelling foreign propaganda, fake news, and other problems. “In some cases,” Wu writes, “this could mean that the First Amendment must broaden its own reach to encompass new techniques of speech control.” What might that look like? He writes, without irony: “I think the elected branches should be allowed, within reasonable limits, to try returning the country to the kind of media environment that prevailed in the 1950s.”

Meaning, enforce a balance of viewpoints, presumably, as government did under the old Fairness Doctrine. Taibbi believes Biden's antitrust people don't want to break up big tech companies so much as harness their broad reach. (For good, of course.) Taibbi quotes another writer, Matt Stoller, comparing social media monopolies to Tolkein's One Ring of Power that of course everyone wants. But will the "difficult" voices who are currently being deplatformed in droves be returned to their pulpits under Biden? Not likely, since Timothy Wu's beloved 1950s were a time of top-down control, "fairness" notwithstanding.

seuss hyperventilating

Left-leaning online mag Counterpunch (which was good before it went full-on Russiagater) defends censorship in a recent article about the hot topic du jour:  dated racial stereotypes in old Dr. Seuss kids' books.

It’s a fairly self-righteous screed that employs the familiar tactic of arguing that “if X is allowed, it will lead to death camps!”

It's hard to convey without reading it how un-nuanced this writing is. In fact Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) worked as a cartoonist during World War II and helped rally Americans to save people from death camps. This Counterpuncher doesn't want truth to get in the way of a good rant, though.