waxy bees ..

These are the main categories of information here:

  1. art
  2. music
  3. writing
  4. animations
  5. podcast

3-2-1 contact! ..


background info ..

MJT here. I enjoy many genres of music, or at least illogically hoard mp3s in the face of free streaming. I had a dog named Katy who died very young. I have been bloggin' off and on since 2003. For complex and silly reasons I have taken three genetic tests.

welcome 2 mai website ..

I have maintained a portfolio website since around-about the year 2000; 22 years at the time of this writing. Maintaining a showcase of my creations is fulfilling, especially since I'm disabled and long term unemployed.

Certain kinds of websites have problems: Twitter, Instagram, etc, outright replaced personal sites, mobile apps took over a lot of the general infospace, blogging is mostly kaput, and academics have fled from "internet art," citing excessive geekery. Furthermore, it's hard to get around the fact that no matter how many hours and years you put into your web-inhabiting work, it can end up on a 15" CRT monitor in a basement, glanced over for a few seconds before that user moves on to email or Pong or a spreadsheet, which kind of all look the same (lights on a screen); "the medium is the message." I guess internet art has an ontological problem: what *is* it?

I used to get frustrated when I'd show someone my website and they'd react with "Cool! Now let me show you MYYYY website!"

No, mine is special: it's thousands of words of writing, DOZENS of hours of music, and 41.2 MB of images! No but seriously -- this is my life's work: text, image, sound, video. Residing on the web does not make those forms illegitimate.

The web was new and special in the late 90s and early 2000s, and work presented there was elevated, for a while. I remember how cool websites were back then, and how people marveled at "welcome 2 mai website"-type content that is now sort of obvious as unremarkable at best. My work might have been regarded as better than it actually is, back around the year 2000, because it was on the web. Web presentation engenders lack of curation, and the resultant long list of items seems to amount to 'more,' even if each individual project is low cost, low care, and low complexity, especially compared to a giant oil painting or a bronze sculpture.

A professional, well-appreciated, accepted as "real" artist paid me a studio visit at my MFA program and critiqued that my animations, on a laptop at the time, were like Youtube (i.e. not art but only Youtube) -- so I think ultimately the artist or creator can't get around "it's just a website," but only some proverbial 1% of consumers can. But do you see the irony here? An artist, who is supposed to be Duchampishly (!) open-minded, is refusing to consider a project because it appears in the wrong setting.

Maybe it's just that everyone has already seen my stuff, and I have unreasonable expectations of continued interest in non-dynamic content. Also, this here thang (avoid typing "website" again) is mostly not mobile friendly, except for a few pages including this one NOW ALMOST ENTIRELY MOBILE FRIENDLY AFTER MANY HOURS OF WORK. I myself am not mobile friendly. Mobile browsing made web art even more diminished-seeming, stupid-seeming, and pointless-seeming; it caused an anti-Duchampian de-gallery-fication...a de-arting. OR maybe I just can't compete with Doodle Jump and Breaking Bad.

art. art? art! ..

Duchampishly, Duchampian, Duchamping. Duchamp's importance is best seen as a reaction to the changes in art brought on by the Industrial Revolution and photography, which kicked off the contemporary struggles of art to remain relevant, interesting, and an audience draw: if you're surrounded by smooth surfaces, bright colors, perfect right angles, intricate patterns flawlessly etched in plastic, etc, whether all this is mass produced or not, art-that-you-make seems less special. One solution is to submit deliberately roughshod art as an indictment of capitalism, and another is to close institutions off from mass culture and practice incest.

People are going to produce art, just as they are going to worship God(s) and rear children, regardless of how 'contemporary' or evolved or self-aware their art might or might not seem, or whether or not others want to buy it when they can just order a Beanie Baby online. Art might be somewhat like jazz music: it requires some empathy to be an art fan, to put yourself in the artist's shoes; otherwise it just sounds like noodling.

Two things were important in Western art: 1) the Renaissance (identify "art"), and 2) the Industrial-Photographic Revolution (art is no longer rare, expensive, or difficult). Impressionism, abstract art, minimalism, surrealism, the avant garde, conceptual art, and relational aesthetics are all part of the Sisyphean project to Make Art Special Again. Conceptualism especially gets cheapened into a one-liner -- art amounting to a smirking sort of cleverness and a single "hook" that can be stated in a sentence.

Laziness is a real problem, in the avant garde, in minimalism, and on the computer. Unless you're some kind of genius, (digital) art makers (majors) do what they do because they can't do anything else. If they could make movies or video games or do interactive complex websites for companies then they would be doing that. David Hickey (art critic, RIP) said something similar about how if you're dyslexic, retarded, ADHD, etc, you end up in the art department, where there is no path to a viable moneymaking career. There's a narrative that "artists" do what they do because they choose it or are passionate about it, but that is not entirely true in all cases. I think often we're here because we have to be.

In other words: ever notice that they only call useless shit "art"? Industrial design, movies, videogames, etc, isnt "art," because it makes money and is wanted by society. The enterprise of institution-driven contemporary art is there to pick up the dregs.

natural stupidity ..

Artists have been prepared for artificial intelligence, such as it is, since the start of photography and industrial production; we already know we can't depict or fabricate as well as a machine. The solution has been, and will continue to be, to make art 'about' human creativity and in fact 'about' being human in and of itself, rather than assembling line and color. Duchamp wrote the latter off as "retinal art," and his conceptual revolution later lead to things like performance art and relational aesthetics: artists running around with green hair and bones in their noses, acting the part, to distract us from cameras making better images and factories making better objects.

I complain that Brad Pitt makes art and everyone pays attention only because he's a celebrity, but this is unavoidable -- in big art markets the name of the artist is what matters; no one would notice the Mona Lisa if a famous name were not on it and if it did not have its socio-cultural location. Maybe conceptually-flavored, university and gallery-driven art, which observing aliens would agree is less complex, generally, than 'mainstream' movies or video games or the Empire State Building, needs to be made by people in order for people to take an interest in it.

Computers can easily create images on their screens. One could print them out big and at great cost in order to get others to pay attention, but then the images would look like prints, which I guess is fine, but maybe you want more variety in your museum halls, and maybe you want noseboned greenhairs, venue, installation, etc, to augment the product so it stands above the Apple Macintosh you made it on. Robots that make oil paintings or sculptures are not commonplace -- the objets d'art AI is generating now are small rectangles full of pixels on a screen, and so the only artists AI is replacing are people like me. But even if AI art can't or just won't paint in oils, it can compose a 2D image, and in later years maybe compose one that hits all the right spots, and then some painter only has to copy this design down onto a canvas.

I find myself strangely uninterested in AI art products now, in 2024, even if there is no qualitative difference between them and manmade images -- if I can't tell which was generated by AI and which was painstakingly mouse drawn by a human being. Since mass production and photography can already generate 'art' (or aesthetic product) that shows signs of the 3 C's (complexity, care, cost), it's not a leap to require art to bear a "human made" seal of approval before we pay attention to it, regardless of the way it looks and is.

Paintings, installations, performance, short video -- stuff you do in and after art school and that ends up in museums and galleries or in a drawer -- needs to remain a human endeavor in order to retain human interest, but this has been true since sometime between 1760 (start of the industrial revolution) and 1917 (Duchamp's "Fountain"), with 1822 (invention of photography) being a good midpoint. For stuff like movies, video games, architecture, gastronomy -- REAL art, for REAL people -- the quality of the product is paramount and it doesn't matter who or what made it. For art world art, the art has already been mixed up with the artist for more than 100 years and having an artificial intelligence do it is tautologically impossible. From my vantage point, "art" mostly looks like stylish people in stylish buildings doing community-building or fencing out the uncool kids, and then a few images are on the wall in the background. How those images are configured seems secondary, as it in fact has been for a long time; what an artwork actually turns out to be -- the physical parameters of the product -- is not its essential nature. Rather, its essential nature comes from how and why and by whom it was made. If this were not true, art would have stopped a long time ago.

Furthermore, computers are not (yet?) art consumers and art-appreciators -- they aren't making art as an experiential expression of themselves but only according to a blueprint or rubric, like a factory worker assembling an iPhone. This works ok for a "Land's End" catalog layout, but fine art, MFA art, gallery/museum art, etc, is so deeply psychological and sociological and broadly concerned with the human experience -- and has been for a long time -- that in order to make that sort of art an intelligence would need to feel, experience, or at the very least perceive, something around and about it.

Generative AI doesn't have a smooth road ahead. Its products now seem mostly derivative -- riffs on other ideas that work best as jokes or tricks, like putting the other Beatles into Lennon songs. If AI did its own thing (provided its own seeds and didn't try to imitate or recycle human tropes), no one would be able to relate to the resultant products since they would be so foreign. If AI "wants" a human audience, it has to find that sweet spot where it participates in human culture, but its art is still perceived as original. I can imagine people never giving AI this green light, and arriving at the conclusion that product must be made by a person in order to be considered art. I say "person" rather than "human" because if AI does become conscious at some point and makes art because it wants or needs to, then fine; knock yourself out :)

things i enjoy ..

Work, love, food, etc.

me no like ..

Tailgaters, noise, obfuscation, etc.

etc ..

Of course I'm projecting -- I'm not psychic. Of course I don't grok all of human culture. Of course I'm just ranting and raving in a padded room. Of course my work is mid-tier. Of course I'm a midwit.

But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.

So long and thanks for all the fish.