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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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13 August 2011

gratuitous image

No. 3,706 (cartoon)

I keep making the wrong choices.

Like continuing to live?

For starters.

14 August 2011

Annalee’s Wrong Answers

Annalee picked me up at my boat to head out for a walk this afternoon. She told me about all the predictable problems she’s having with that rascal Kiliaen; all the stories were familiar. She was clearly upset; that may or may not be why she distractedly turned the wrong way into a one-way street.

Fortunately, there was only one car on the street. Unfortunately, it was a police car.

“Who taught you how to drive?” the sergeant asked.

“That’s no way to address someone with a doctorate degree,” Annalee replied.

“OK, have it your way,” he replied, “By whom were you taught to drive, knucklehead?”

“I suppose you have a quota of tickets to write,” Annalee suggested for her second bad move.

“We used to,” the officer admitted, “but now we can write as many as we want.”

Predictably, Annalee’s impertinent responses earned her an expensive ticket. Evidently her higher education didn’t include practical things such as addressing cops obsequiously.

15 August 2011

The Greatest Generation of Car Thieves

Sid likes to complain about how civilization is collapsing around us. I want to be a curmudgeon one day, and Sid’s a wonderful mentor.

As yet another example that the world’s “going to hell in a handbasket,” (Sid loves clichés), he cited the case of Roy and Jessica Fritts. The Oregonians hijacked a car, but didn’t get far because neither of them know how to shift a manual transmission. Predictably, Sid told me that no one in his generation ever stole a car from someone who was driving it because they all knew how to break into a locked car and start it. And of course none of them required an automatic transmission; that’s one of the reasons his generation is frequently called the greatest.

Sid said the couple were emblematic of “kids these days.” Police captured the pair after they were unable to break into a home to hide. Sid’s right; kids these days know nothing of craft.

16 August 2011

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Nine-Eleven Times One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty-Four

I love being an artist in residence at the Internet Archive. I’m surrounded by nice, smart people living on rivers of free coffee and the occasional free lunch. Except, as everyone knows, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That’s why I volunteered to help with a project documenting television coverage of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the east coast. Specifically, the work involved cutting and pasting one thousand eight hundred and twenty-four photographs into a huge poster. The piece featured images that appeared on nineteen television stations from around the world, showing what happened to appear on the screen every ten minutes beginning at eight in the morning.

I didn’t think much of the project initially, but I got involved anyway because my low entertainment threshold made me eminently qualified for such a tedious task. Curiously, I was unfamiliar with much of the imagery from that day; I haven’t owned a television in decades. And so, I got to see lots of images of destruction, but also lots of the random images that were wonderful examples of the medium’s banality: advertisements, pasty talking heads, and even a few frames of old television programs from Bewitched to Teletubbies.

After cutting and pasting the first few hundred images, I realized that I was really working with found objects. Readymades, even. I also came to appreciate that the piece involved one of my favorite aesthetic concerns; each of the images was selected at ten-minute intervals.

This was perhaps the first time I enjoyed working on someone else’s project. Perhaps the last time as well; I still prefer doing my own self-indulgent pieces.

17 August 2011

The Trouble With Talking Vaginas

As I noted last year when I wrote about the bizarre line of Vagisil products, it must be difficult to market “feminine hygiene” commodities. Take Summer’s Eve, for example. Last year the company was rightly ridiculed for its campaign suggesting that women should douche before asking for higher wages. The company didn’t do any better this year when it broadcast talking vagina videos that turned out to be racist as well as stupid.

Stan Richards, whose advertising agency came up with the ill-advised promotion, doesn’t see it that way. “We are surprised that some have found the online videos racially stereotypical.” I think it’s pretty hard to believe him after a hand puppet acting as a Latina woman’s vagina begins its sales pitch with, “Ay-yi-yi!”

Oy oy oy.

18 August 2011

Gutenberg’s Second Book

Everyone knows that Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg’s first book was a bible. Today, Gerrit told me that Gutenberg’s second book was a treatise on the precarious state of the publishing industry. I suppose I should have known—or at least guessed—that.

19 August 2011

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Nineteen Protected Petabox Photographs

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a monkey that owns the copyright to a self-portrait he made. With that in mind, I decided to make a number of virtually identical photographs, but with different people pressing the shutter release button and thus owning the photograph. And then to confuse things, I copyrighted the entire set, Nineteen Protected Petabox Photographs.

The piece turned out better than I expected. Several people chose less restrictive Creative Commons licensing agreements, and one person said his image was covered by WTFPL/1.0. I’d never heard of that, so I asked the Internet what it meant. The Internet replied, “Do What The Fuck You Want To public license.” That was a nice surprise, a contribution to a dog’s breakfast of conflicts that could feed a pack of lawyers for at least a year.


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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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