Friday, June 26, 2009

Conversation W/ Brad Troemel

Maciek : You deleted (or hid) everything you did on the internet, how come?
I redirected my portfolio site and my blog to a single, new, site (Jogging) because the new site combines both of the old sites’ functions.
A blog is a place to show all the new pictures of triangles you Google image searched and what posts on VVORK you like, with the implicit function of being a constant source of material updated regularly.
An eponymous art portfolio website is a cemetery for old work to be appreciated forever.
There are 10 projects or 4 photo series on the site on average.
This means there’s either an Acceptable Number of Projects on A Portfolio Website for an artist (pointless restriction based on the assumed attention span of the viewer) or the artist is curating their own work- either way you’re picking andchoosing who the internet “you” is.
A couple years ago when I became a Photographer-hater, I realized that you can’t possibly explain the world through a single tool.
I feel that way now in regard to The Art Project, that 10 projects can’t explain everything or anything either.
All you can do is have a constant engagement with art, trying to find meaning.
On Jogging, we, the creators, are the art and artists.
We also think choosing any specific persona is boring.
Being a Lifestyle Photographer is as bad as a Gender Identity Performance Artist is as bad as being a Minimalist.
We do like lifestyle photography, gender identity performance art and minimalism, though.
Everything we do is about trying to achieve the greatest amount of relevant multiplicity possible (with a disdain for craftsmanship).
This isn’t the result of some kind of rule we’ve made for ourselves (i.e. Note to self: make 1 sculpture, 2 installations and 3 videos by the end of the day).
It’s what we think happens when people are honest with themselves and acknowledge a variety of interests and intents instead of going down the pigeonholed self-curation route I described earlier.
It’s worth mentioning that interesting people make boring work and most every artist doesn’t want to limit themselves, on a surface level.
Fear and laziness are two big contributors for the youngins, as well as careerism for the old-timers.
We want many influences, mediums, intents, aesthetics, etc.
Our resistance to prescribe to a specific Type of Art naturally makes craft a useless idea.
The mastery of a physical labor seems silly if we won’t even commit to a single thought process.
Creating this way makes assessing/accessing our work on the whole difficult.
There’s no fitting “grading rubric” for everything at once because the intent of the art is multiple.
So, you can either assess every single work individually, or, you can assess us, ourselves, as the work.


Digital Image


You decided to go for a Tumblr (not a website, Blogspot) which might be at the moment the biggest amount of meaningless, incoherent, overwhellming collection of found images. Why Tumblr ?
People feel the only impetus necessary for re-blogging something is their own taste.
It’s not necessary to have a theme to your Tumblr because you’re collecting from every other themed blog you can find.
This odd collection of images, stories, links, videos, objects becomes “you”.
The themes are not original, but the multiplicity of content displays a unique taste specific to the creator.
It’s a “fitting metaphor” for us artistically.
We believe in our subjectivity.
We believe in (our) originality.
We didn’t invent the t-shirt but no one can go shopping like us.


Jogging is at this blurred boundary between “art and life”, where and how does art and life connect in this project ?
We acknowledge art is life and life is art and life is a performance and performance is art so life is art, bla bla.
All that- we know, we believe.
I don’t doubt someone on the toilet in Idaho right now is just as much Art as me casting Christmas lights in Jell-o, under the definition I have for art.
The point of art is not to create art out of thin air but to find what is meaningful out of everything in the world.
If everything is art, the only thing artists do is draw attention to what is more relevant to being alive than everything else.
We acknowledge we can’t put every single thought on Jogging, that there must be time to live and enjoy life unstudied (for us and the viewers).
So we offer up summations of what we consider major political and formal themes through sculptures, videos, photos, performances and everything else.
We aren’t curating moments out of life, we are trying to give valuable summaries/parodies to life and art’s problems, themes, and anomalies.
Maybe you can find the answer to your problems in a self help book, or maybe you can see an answer in a video of me maxing out on my sick bench press.



What’s the difference between an artist and a curator?
Art-making is finding what is meaningful out of everything.
Curating is selecting and dismissing things with a purpose.
Art school has taught me playing definition games with roles doesn’t do much but give everyone else in the world a starting point to disagree with what you said.


Since now you seem to have some kind of a daily production/update, how important is that? Is the daily publication/interaction with people an important point for your work? Daily production also goes with intuitive, bad, “quick” productions, how important is the plasticity of your work?
Making art daily and making a lot of it are extensions of the idea I described before where-
a.) We think Thee Divine Holiness of Thyne Art Project is silly
b.) We believe what makes us ourselves (aesthetic taste, psychology, digested information, history, humor) is actually the art so we need to show that we possess those things we claim to be the art source and the art itself.
To us, making art should be easy.
People who spend years making hand crafted screen prints out of rare dyes from the mountains of the Himalayas need you to believe art needs to take a lot of labor and be meditated on for years because that’s the only way they know how to do things so, obviously, that’s The Way.
I don’t know how long it should take to make a piece, but I know when I’m looking at the final product I don’t care how many millions of dollars or millions of hours of labor it took.
I also don’t think that everything made intuitively displays misunderstood genius, or honesty, or whatever other stupid descriptors are commonly fixed to Intuitive Artists.
The objects on Jogging are made, photographed and discarded or recycled.
The pictures of those objects are like still-born babies’ tombstones.
Saving some things and not others is like what I talked about before, questioning why 10 projects and not all.
I suppose we could save everything, but that would be messy and pointless when you can just throw the objects away and move on to something else or create new things out of the old.
The objects are just extensions of us, so as long as we’re here the objects don’t have to be.


Interaction with other people on the internet along with google put artschool legitimity in a “different position”, what’s your opinion on attending an artschool today?
I’ve been saying that the internet is just another art school for a while, because it is.
People who don’t go to art school but spend every other 5 minutes on their reader claiming they didn’t attain an education or aren’t part of a social network full of people doing image branding are kidding themselves.
It’s a different education though, that trains you to be good at different things.
If you use it wisely you can become well aware of your peers globally, be up to date on much of contemporary art being made (more than what will be taught to you at Art School, at least) from people of all ages, and be up to date on culture.
You can’t have a beer on Safari though, and you can’t create as strong of social ties.
It also doesn’t do shit for your ability to explain yourself.
The internet de-emphasizes text and emphasizes image.
This means that a lot of people who are able to locate visual trends and emulate them, don’t have a clue what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.
The intent is the first thing to go, but the image stays forever.
People celebrate Christmas but they don’t really care about Jesus anymore.
There aren’t many essays on Tumblr.
The most re-blogged image becomes the best one.
It reminds me of the currency-less hipster culture, where because no one is cool based on merit or talent, whoever is able to yell they are cool the loudest becomes the coolest.
I’m always critical of images I see re-blogged everywhere- why they exist, why certain image themes exist, and why no one says why they hate anything out loud anymore.




You can also check some of his older projects here.