(Assumes David Shrigley-esque voice). Things that are popular on the internet:
1. Naked attractive people. 2. Cute kittens, jumping. 3. Opportunities to call strangers "asshole" and "douchebag". ....
89,374. The sort of things that Momus writes about on his blog, like arty bookshops in Berlin.
As a matter of fact I was planning to write today about an arty bookshop in Berlin, Motto, knowing full well that almost nobody would pay any attention whatsoever, and preparing to console myself with an insight of the Dalai Lama: "If a practitioner thinks I hope people admire what I'm doing, expecting to receive praise for the great effort he is making... these are mundane concerns that spoil one's practice, and it is important to ensure that this does not happen so we keep our practice pure."
But then something remarkable happened. As I was browsing at Motto, making notes of interesting things they stock -- a book called L'Humanisme de Michel Foucault quirkily illustrated by Isabelle Boinot (whose work is really quite reminiscent of Shrigley's), some short stories art critic Jeff Rian wrote about Paris for Purple magazine (Purple Years, which in fact you can download for free as a PDF file here), a book by Margot Zanni about film locations rather excellently designed by Swiss designer Corinne Zellweger (it made me want to produce a much more illustrated and designed book next time), a British magazine called The Mock which proclaims, in its second edition, that anecdote is the new theory (you can read the issue free online here), and the gorgeously-designed (by Zak Kyes, natch) Exhibition Prosthetics co-published by Bedford Press and Sternberg -- I was suddenly attacked by a small black kitten.
Akiko Watanabe, who runs Motto, has just acquired this captivating beast -- a white-pawed small black cat, two months old, with huge pupils and a miniaturised instinct to murder. For this kitten (I didn't discover its name), Motto's piles of arty, gorgeous, intelligent and obscure books are nothing more than rocky outcrops in a tiny landscape, a "killing fields" populated by "mice" and "birds" evoked by a playful customer's wriggling, darting hands. For the kitten, a free handout advertising an art event, rattled in the air overhead, is enough to make a half-convincing sparrow.
Like a masturbating internet-user or the audience at a Keiji Haino concert (I saw one last night), the kitten is willing to suspend its disbelief in the interests of having a more exciting and fulfilling life. Yes, that's almost a real naked woman on my screen! Yes, Haino really is flexing, thrashing and swishing his blond mane around in an orgiastic access of Bacchic excess, and not faking or formularising it! Yes, that really is a sparrow, flying around the shop at such a low height that I could plausibly catch, kill and eat it, staining my furry black kitten lips with warm, red bird blood!
While the kitten calculated this, I was calculating myself. "If I make a short video of this kitten," I reasoned, "I could post it to YouTube, and in no time at all rack up something like eight million views. Because kittens -- along with Magibon not even bothering to hide her product placement -- are what YouTube users love more than anything else!" Then, I calculated, I could simply add the URL for Motto Distribution and I'd be transforming the Motto kitten into a very successful and effective viral sock puppet ad.
What would be in it for me? Well, I'd find a populist peg to hang an unpopular blog entry on, for a start. Look, a kitten! But also, by making a free viral ad for Motto, I'd lessen my guilt about the freeloading way I tend to use the store myself: browsing the interesting paper publications Akiko has curated, noting the most intriguing names and URLs, then going home and downloading free PDFs and JPGs of the stuff off the internet. Look, everyone! A kitten! At Motto!
"Kittler's central project is to "prove to the human sciences [...] their technological-media a priori", or in his own words: "Driving the spirit out of the humanities", a title that he gave a work that he published in 1980. Kittler sees an autonomy in technology and therefore disagrees with Marshall McLuhan's reading of the media as "extensions of man": "Media are not pseudopods for extending the human body. They follow the logic of escalation that leaves us and written history behind it."
"Consequently, he sees in writing literature, in writing programmes and in burning structures into silicon chips a complete continuum: "As we know and simply do not say, no human being writes anymore. [...] Today, human writing runs through inscriptions burnt into silicon by electronic lithography [...]. The last historic act of writing may thus have been in the late seventies when a team of Intel engineers [plotted] the hardware architecture of their first integrated microprocessor."
It's a shame that nearly all black pen line drawing (and anything handwritten in capital letters) these days gets referred back to the Great God Shrigley, as if he is the only possible reference point, no-one had ever done such a thing before and he was shot down to earth to educate us in the ways of line n' joke. There's obviously a sense to it because he has been so -oh god I have to say that word- influential, but Isabelle Boinot's work looks like a lot of other work (esp. in contemporary illustration) before it looks like his. For an example see the Neil Fox illustration accompanying the Amis book review in your beloved Guardian today. Boinot's stuff is not really my bag, but there is a quality to it, and a different precision and labour behind the knowing naiivity than Shrigley's. And the all important humour element is not off-the cuff a-la DS, that being the thing that -whether or not you enjoy his humour of course- sets him apart from any disciples and copyists. But there are also aesthetic neighbours, and those caught in the large shadow he casts despite the possibility that they may have been working the land prior to it becoming overcast. To say nothing of prescedents -Sean Landers, Philip Guston (esp. his 'poem paintings'), early Sigmar Polke drawings, amongst others.
Isabelle Boinot's work looks like a lot of other work (esp. in contemporary illustration) before it looks like his. For an example see the Neil Fox illustration accompanying the Amis book review in your beloved Guardian today.
Oh momus. You need to take your kitten playing skills to the NXTLVL. Paper and bits of string are so bourgeois. Next time you go in that store take with you a laser pointer, an air-horn, a bullwhip, and a large bucket of water.
Oh momus, if only Click Opera weren't ending I could teach you ways to play with a kitten that would BLOW YOUR MIND!
this is my favorite although I do try to not engage with tons of kitty porn... and this isnt even a kitty... its a gown dog... I'm a perv I know
haha... I'm totally laughing about the Keiiji Haino knock you couldnt help but throw in there... I saw him a few years ago.. in Tokyo... ah... it was cool, but not the mythic experience that I had in my head from the Fushitsusha days... also he was using a drum machine of sorts that was like... the stupidest thing ever... I mean, he sucked on that thing...
but suspend disbelief? he is who he is... (sort of a non-statement I know but... he's kinda like an aging cartoon character... although.. an aging PeeWee Herman could easily outdo him at this point. )
oh yeah, suX dick, cunt-licking bitch your blogs for jackoffs
Ok, great idea, but i'm with the Count; this kitten video idea needs A LOT of work! You think you can just waltz in here with your waggling piece of paper and steal the limelight? Nice try buddy! These things take time, planning, preparation, rehearsals...bzbzbzzzzzzz
Is there not going to be a countdown till the end with some kind of anticlimax-whimper party?
Did you have a chance to read Isabelle's little book about Japan called "Sumimasen"? It's really charming, full of those precious emotions that one has when he travels Japan for the first time. You couldn't be farer from Shrigley, both in term of graphic sensibility and tone, though.