More manifestos

Douglas Edric Stanley



Still in preparation for ENIAROF 0.2, and while we’re waiting for things to start, my collegue Ben Chang over at the Chicago Art Institute sent me to Tale of Tales’ Realtime Art Manifesto [link]. He suggested it in relation to our DOGMeNIAROF, and indeed there are many similarities. But they’ve got even better slogans: « Do not render! », « Be a dictator », « Interactivity wants to be free », and other semantically ambiguous slogans. And then there is the last one, which ties in very well with the whole ENIAROF philosophy: « Develop a punk economy ».

In fact, on this last idea is absolutely something that inspired ENIAROF. We’ve been talking quite some time in the Atelier about punk rock, and how it developped not only its own community but its own economy. Of course it got co-opted, but I remember fondly as a youth things such as the Gilman Street Project (which still exists I’m told), along with MAXIMUMROCKNROLL which was always payable in cash. The shows and magazines were cheap, but you still paid for them. They were also easily sneak-in-able and photocopyable, which brings us also to digital distribution and filesharing. These two things are not mutually exclusive. Often, my students confuse anti-globalization with issues of monetary exchange (of any kind), whereas it’s far more instructive to look at the economies of scale rather than getting bogged down on whether or not to pay people for stuff-you-want™ anyway. They looked at me a little screwy last week when I suggested that it’s a good idea to sell your music and software for a few bucks. We were discussing these issues in relation to the recent Microsoft XNA Game Studio announcement for independent developers. They just snickered, « sure iTunes is cool, but it’s always cheaper on Emule ».

« Sell your games! »

All that said, I disagree when it comes to Tale of Tales’ « Game art is slave art » : « Make art-games, not game-art. Game art is just modern art - ironical, cynical, afraid of beauty, afraid of meaning. » I don’t know who they’re referencing here, but I can think of a few, and if so, I don’t agree. While I’m sympathetic to their attitude there, I think there is still a lot of fun to milked out of irony and cynicsm. It’s a little too easy to embrace the populist spirit 100% - down with sophistication and all that hogwash. That’s why I like the ENIAROF spirit - we can be highbrow and lobrow and whatever. What I personally find so interesting about the emerging Kaiju-culture is how it’s both cynical/ironic and fun. Like money and sharing, these two terms are not mutually exclusive.

Update: I forgot to mention that Tale of Tales exhibited their Endless Forest at the ZeroOne festival this summer. It looked very pretty but I didn’t really have time to play with it, unforunately.