tom moody

Archive for the ‘art as criticism’ Category memorial, part 3

The creator of the shabby-chic meme above, Chris Duncan, quit dumping long before died but this makes a nice memorial. Duncan went on to an excellent career as a Vine troll, harassing random urbanites and uploading their reactions. E.g., "You ride your motorcycle like a real weenie!" Duncan's dump memes were noteworthy for being made in MSPaint and saved as degraded jpegs. This one is missing the characteristic artifacts. The football jersey font was typical.

- tom moody

February 27th, 2017 at 9:09 am

milutis essay comments


Comments to Joe Milutis' Hyperallergic article on slowly trickle in (hat tip stage for upset "I Don't Get It Guy"):

sara • 15 days ago

Rene sucks d*nkey d*ck [asterisks in the original --tm]

Ross L. Gould • 2 days ago

No mention of deal with it??? Did you ever even dump bro?

tom moody • 11 hours ago

Thanks to Joe Milutis for this eulogy. Dump is hard to write about, and anyone who attempts to nail the experience risks becoming the IDGI Guy (a grumpy stock photo actor who, in real life, was one of the first people not to get Dump -- he and the photographer complained loudly until Jeanette Hayes painted IDGI Guy's portrait in oils -- then they got it). In fact, every dumper thinks they "get it" and will greet another's theories with sllence or abuse, hence this comment section. I said to one dumper that "Rene sucks d*nkey d*ck" was kind of a lame response and the dumper said the comment was "probably about the aspects of dump Milutis forgot to mention or couldn't fit in." And I said, "You're reading a lot into 'Rene sucks d*nkey d*ck.'"

tom moody • 5 minutes ago

And as for not covering "deal with it," the answer is -- [slowly descending sunglasses] -- "deal with it."

- tom moody

February 22nd, 2017 at 6:23 am



IDGI Guy, posted by ryder on

- tom moody

February 22nd, 2017 at 6:23 am

Joe Milutis Eulogizes

On Hyperallergic, Joe Milutis discusses the recently-deceased website, in an essay titled In Memory of An Endlessly Collaborative Image Poem.

Neither an art-world-ish “internet surf club” nor a monetized zeitgeist sump pump, dump seemed to harken back to a pre-1997 internet era, when it was possible to imagine that the users you met online were a small enough cohort to seem communitarian, but not large enough to merely replicate the social structures and hierarchies of the world at large.

Milutis' treatment of the site as a poetic language is appreciated:

Weird fragments, heavy dithering, pieces of images or text floating without context. Inaction gifs as opposed to reaction gifs. The quasi-syntactical combinations of these crappy objects were only possible if participants were more interested in treating the combinations like a language — one for which they would both have to amass the vocabulary and then be willing to speak with it. The rapidity of these combinations allowed for the unexpected, as if Breton’s automatic writing had finally found its imagistic counterpart.

Milutis avoids the political in discussing the Rene Abythe GIF below, except in the sense of dump-vs-tumblr politics and dump's intriguing disconnections with the rest of the world ("real" or online). For the record, it depicts Hillary Clinton's "pointing to the right and the red" logo crudely morphing into the Outback Steakhouse logo. (Electors asked Where's the Beef and gave us Trump.) The geek joke is that that the red arrow, when compressed, becomes a jagged outline resembling that familiar outdoors-y mountain range, helpfully rotated so we can see it.

- tom moody

February 7th, 2017 at 6:34 am

m.po list of banal phrases (2017 update)

Last year, reader m.po sent a "curmudgeonly and William Safire-ish" list of words & phrases from the depths of officespeak and millennial-by-way-of-advertising-speak.
Here's the original list; below are new phrases added in the past 12 months.

It's hard not to use these words on a regular basis. Many are just linguistic shortcuts, skid-greasers, and ice-breakers but that doesn't mean they aren't a blight on speech.
m.po says "I started keeping the list [of phrases] so I could make damn sure never to repeat any even as their cretinous lure was upon me, like $2000 'cash back' or a box of chicken mcnuggets (I’m lovin it)... a lot of these are the linguistic equivalent of a fist bump."

because…(noun), e.g. because…football
chicken and egg problem
bring to the table
team player
new normal
outside the box
no brainer
... much?
good luck with that
feature not a bug
off the hook
that’s money
its what we do (or its what you do)
any variation on "owning it"
sked, or worse, skedded
black swan
perfect storm
facing headwinds
tipping point
tail risk
wake-up call
an "aha" moment
data driven
loaded for bear
living the dream
tuck into (e.g. she tucked into a salad of roasted beets and cornichons)
bingeworthy, bingeable
...forward (fashion-, malt-, dog-)

- tom moody

February 2nd, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Posted in art as criticism

the face of resistance

It's not fair to smirk at a million person march because of a few narcissists but they do seem pretty prevalent in this photo (cropped from a less diplomatic Nina Illingworth meme; that's her cat in the upper left). The presence of the upward-failing John Kerry makes the event seem like compromised Dem politics-as-usual. As one internet commenter put it, "a million people is impressive: I hope you had fun and have lots of good memories."

- tom moody

January 26th, 2017 at 7:34 am

Posted in art as criticism

it's too soon to be complacent

Several liberal blogs I read, anguished about the "inexplicable" election loss of the noble, honest, highly competent Hillary Clinton, have eagerly jumped on revelations by the "IC" (euphemism for US spy agencies) that the Soviet Union, that is, Russia, influenced the outcome of the contest!

It was understandable that the Russians would want a socialist anti-militarist in the White House, but it's going a tad far to think they could have engineered the Sanders win. Sanders is more of a Roosevelt Democrat than a "commie" -- he's not against capitalism per se. There was certainly plenty of "dirt" on Clinton to turn Democrats against her at the primary stage, without alleging foreign influence. And it's obvious that once Sanders was in, he didn't need any additional help in the form of "hacking" to beat Trump.

It's too soon to be complacent about President-elect Sanders' hard-fought election victory -- we need to support him now, against this propaganda "soft coup" by disgruntled Washington insiders. Pass this post along, share it on social media, send it to newspapers, write letters to the editor -- support President-elect Sanders!

- tom moody

January 14th, 2017 at 9:25 am

Posted in art as criticism

utopia and dystopia in architecture (a capsule)

Louise Belcourt, Mound #28, 2015, oil on canvas, 66 x 85 inches

Will likely not make it to Locks Gallery in Philadelphia for Louise Belcourt's show so this is a "jpeg review."

The recent film Midnight Special, a leaner, meaner version of John Carpenter's Starman [caution: spoilers], imagines a race of perfected humans in a dimension "above" ours, who "have watched us for years." At the end of the movie we're given a glimpse of their architecture, very tech-y, CAD-designed, eco-friendly structures twisting and soaring above the landscape. Belcourt's urban vision above, for me, better approximates what an evolved humanity might build. Kinder, gentler, more integrated and integral than the film's Eiffel-meets-Saarinen machine confections.

On the other side of the design-wheel, opposite Belcourt's mound cities of neopolitan ice cream but not that far off from some of Midnight Special's skyscraper para-buildings, we have this clanking artifact from the real world, spotted by James Howard Kunstler (fortunately not yet built -- this is only a rendering -- but awaiting city approvals -- in Los Angeles -- near the airport):

Friendly aliens, if you are watching us, please intervene now.

- tom moody

January 9th, 2017 at 8:33 am

begin the new year with an...

ambient bro starter pack

full-sized image posted by jonathn on
email if other credits need to be added

- tom moody

January 3rd, 2017 at 5:14 pm

strange pro-oligarchy demonstration

pantsuit protest

Paddy Johnson's explanation of this pro-Hillary Clinton, post-election art event in Madison Square Park isn't very clear.

On days like this, it can be easy to lose sight of the work that is being done. Amidst all the set backs, there are people protesting and taking a stand. One such example came yesterday in Madison Square Park, when a small group of 10 women performers stood clustered in the cold wearing pant suits and holding scissors. Organized by theater directors JoAnne Akalaitis and Ashley Tata, the group invited park visitors and audience members to cut pieces from their suits, drawing from Yoko Ono’s 1965 performance “Cut Piece.” The pieces of fabric, according to Tata, would serve “as a gift or a reminder, a remembrance of recent events and potentially more optimistic actions.”

Layered onto this interpretation, is the meaning of Ono’s original piece, which suggested that viewing without responsibility has the potential to harm. This speaks harshly, to those who chose to cast their vote away or not vote at all. Additionally, it continues to speak the disturbing undercurrent of violence and misogyny in our culture.

Presumably readers get the pantsuit reference (Hillary Clinton favors this garb) but Johnson also assumes they know the specifics and mechanics of Ono's Cut Piece. Johnson offers only vague suggestions of how that work relates to Clinton's election loss to Donald Trump.

Let's unpack it a bit. The Ono piece assumes an aggressive audience cutting off large swathes of the clothing of the vulnerable young woman performer, exposing her body, and it indicts non-participant witnesses who fail to intervene to prevent this humiliation. In the case of the pantsuit protest we're not told how much, if any, clothing was cut from the performers' bodies. The audience is described as "attentive and kind," so it's unlikely any bystander guilt actually took place. Unlike Ono in her piece, the performers were arranged in buddy pairs and had whistles ready if anyone took the artwork at its literal meaning.

Regardless of what effect (or lack of effect) the protest might have had in real time, Johnson editorializes as to the intended message: that voting for someone other than Clinton, or not voting, was the equivalent of standing by while sexual violence is committed.

The performance, Johnson notes, was timed with efforts by the Clinton camp to change the electoral college vote by convincing electors to reconsider their November 8 choices. If Trump had lost and mounted such an effort, howls of outrage would likely have emanated from Clinton supporters. The Madison Square performers' de facto alignment with the intelligence community's "Putin interfered with the election" stories -- also intended to flip the vote -- is not discussed. Also not considered is the cutting-of-the-cloth in relation to Clinton's own aggression. "We came, we saw, he died" (Clinton's brag about the non-judicial murder of Gaddafi) doesn't suggest much in the way of vulnerability.

Update: Just sticking this here, filed under "pantsuit" -- the LA Times reports on the pro-Clinton Pantsuit Nation, a "secret Facebook group." These private groups on Mark Zuckerberg's website have become quite the rage. He may be a data-exploiting monopolist, but it's OK to use his platform to host your political forums as long as they're "secret." And of course no one in Bangalore is monitoring it for content.

- tom moody

December 24th, 2016 at 11:02 am