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Damien Crisp

The country dried up and flattened out. Pseudo-intellectual Tom Friedman turned out to be right with best-selling predictions of a flat world. Friedman was wrong in his enthusiasm for a flattened reality. We deal in blips now when we can scrounge up hits. Trading in disposable pieces of text to make a living, real thoughts no matter how empty they become in the end, I feel like my employment has become synonymous in my mind with the dry and flattened reality of the country.

My job is filling the Internet with all of the text that passes by as we surf the web for information. Because I can choose writing jobs, my list of texts reads like a tightrope walk between good and evil. Iím saving the texts to break my contracts and reprint them as some kind of evidence of the economy of information and what it says about us.

March 15 ∑2014 My last night in New York I rode in the passenger seat of a man-with-a-van service to help bring a friend's folded painting from a lobby of a building on Broadway to Red Hook Brooklyn. We had arrived with the work on a Saturday and the building does not allow deliveries of any kind to be carried through the lobby. My friend and I stood in the empty outer entrance between two sets of glass doors. No one passed. We easily could have taken the work up. The doorman called a supervisor. The therapist who bought the work calked the supervisor. So, we called a van service and spent money neither of us had to get the work back to my friend's studio.

On the way back I rode with the delivery driver. He was an older artist who survived with his van service. We talked about politics at first but of course this led right into discussing the crisis in contemporary art. We both agreed the current contexts promotes cynical and overly ironic work without any vulnerability or meanings as if wallowing in the crisis. The crisis is created by too much money and all of the professionalization that comes with a subculture turned into a luxury industry for the 21st century.

The broader crisis of our times, beyond but reflected in art, we decided, contains a neurotic need to find meaning. Our system can sell anything except real meaning. The more money you make, the more you confront this impossibility of attaining real meaning through the system you have beaten.

This, the driver said, is a motivating factor behind the art bubble. Collectors with as much money as you can desire are trying to buy meaning but their influence promotes empty art. And even if they buy a deep complex artwork, they cannot understand making it. They can never buy what they seek.

We talked about how the current system is going to drive us all into the ground and implode instead of making the social changes needed to adapt to the end of the industrial consumer age. As artists, we said the collapse can arrive and it simply means having more time to make art. He said the wealthy, even collectors, hate artists because they carry this ability to create with them despite the external world.
Whitney Counterweight 2014
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