The Jogging

DANNY BROWN WHEATGRASS plant (Dormroom Accessories), 2012



FRED bottled water bottle with 50/50 frozen organic MILK and frozen TOMATOJUICE split (Unique) and Print of Original, 2012



Work from The Jogging (and available on the Etsy Store).

Q&A w/ Brad Troemel

Earlier instantiations of The Jogging privileged the idea of the online readymade as a method to escape object hood. Some of the newer pieces (particularly New Home for XXX posts) repurpose these (arguably) “non-objects” as objects. In that sense, is the new Jogging a fundamentally different project than its original?

Imagine for a second if –when Drake founded YMCMB records in 2005– if he wouldn’t have brought along a generational prodigy named Tyga? If he wouldn’t have given a then unknown rapper by the name of Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. a shot at the big time? If he wouldn’t have appointed his step-uncle Baby as the manager and interior decorator? In the year+ that Jogging was down I read Hillary Clinton’s now infamous Thought Catalog essay, titled It Takes a Global Village, and realized Jogging needed to be a network of creators just like how its audience is a network of re-creators, that the aestheticism and athleticism required of the blog’s break neck posting schedule would best be exercised in harmony with others. Everyone has a position: Artie is the center because he’s the tallest. Kate is the Dennis Rodman. Aaron is the Ryan Sheckler because he’s the youngest. Daniel is the Utah Jazz because he lives in Utah, etc. So that’s probably the biggest difference between 1.0 and 2.0.

My previous position about the eradication of objects in favor of digital images was a kind of “Creative Destruction” (shout out to Bane, Bane Capital) ideology which proposed the populist decontextualization of art through digital images to be superior to the five-bankers-in-the-center-of-the-earth management style of the conspiratorial art market. Sometimes when you punch a cop in the face you get carted away in a police car. The best challenge to the authority of something is to find where its semantic or enforceable borders break down and to exploit those shortcomings. This means becoming a contradiction so that definitions of authority or meaning lose their value. It means becoming multiple things at once so that the difference between things becomes self-evident rather than voiced through partisanship. In becoming a contradiction you create a level of nuance between what might otherwise be perceived to be opposing factors. For instance, my current interests lay in the similarities between the laissez faire art market and the digital commons. For all that is communal about a decentralized network of artistic peers sharing and recreating each other’s work online, the dispersion of this work takes the shape of free market populism, of the free exchange of information sorting itself out among those most willing and able to produce and consume it. Oppositely, you can look at the highly individualized pursuit of brand recognition among artists employing social media to vie for positioning in the art market as a constantly communal effort. Unlike the reality television star brand, young artists employing social media are not connected to a behemoth like Viacom or NBC and need to generate their popularity on a grass roots level– like Soulja Boy or Jerry Saltz did. Brands are more often than not defined in relation to each other and imply the ongoing support of a devoted audience. There is no successful artist brand built on an island, each requires a level of collaboration with viewers willing to share, follow, friend, and comment on the object of their interest. In other words, what is communal about the commons is run by an every-man-for-himself free market ideology and what is individualist about personal branding is bolstered by a need for community. It’s very fitting that the Silicone Valley-based forefathers of social media, the California Ideology technologists who juggled utopianism and capitalism in each hand are the ones who are responsible for a generation of media obsessed artists who are now doing the very same thing. Long story short, when I became Lena Dunham’s god daughter she made me watch a lot of Adam Curtis documentaries that totally altered my understanding of idealism.

The oscillation between digital readymades and objects seems to directly address ideas of the existence of the art object and challenge the notions of artistic validity as a byproduct of commerce while at the same time democratizing the sale of art through the sale of works on Etsy. How do you reconcile these two disparate formats and does this represent a refresh/reification of the discourses of earlier internet art works?

I look up to a lot of people– Terry McGinley for Levi’s, Lloyd Banks Violette for Hot Topic, Cory Darkangel for Nintendo Prada, K-Mart for Jeffery Deitch, etc. I think a lot of people have been beating me at my own game who don’t know they’re playing it. The discourse that I want to be part of is one that recognizes the internet isn’t a destination, but a middle ground that complicates the stability of art’s borders. Through the internet images become other images, images become objects, objects become images, objects become other objects. Every object can become an image and nothing that is represented as an image on the internet can be stopped from becoming an object– or better yet, a product, a Chris Crocker t-shirt, a Chocolate Rain VHS tape, a Hot Topic t-shirt rack entirely comprised of Youtube memes. Murphy’s Law takes hold: whatever form or context a bit of content can inhabit, it will. In addition to the confusion over authorship and context created when something is circulated and recreated online there is also a confusion over how art and culture should be valued– both qualitatively and monetarily. I don’t want to reconcile these (often competing) systems of value, I want to conflate the statistical understanding of value propagated through Tumblr’s note and follower system, the art historical tradition of appropriation, Etsy’s vision of handmade items deriving their worth from craft’s manual labor, the MFA Degree’s ability to confer the status of Fine Artist to its graduates, the tradition of art that generates mainstream attention for itself through being understood as something other than art, the Avant Garde’s desire to mix art and everyday life by dissolving contextual differences between the two, the market value for re-selling items purchased at Whole Foods online, the conceptual worth allotted to something that is sold in a Chelsea gallery, the conceptual worth allotted to something that is sold as organic, the commodification of rebellion, etc. I want to put them in a Blender Magazine and watch them Spin Magazine around into a beautiful oblivion.

Can you discuss the juxtaposition between Whole Foods and Hot Topic?

I certainly can. The world looks a lot different once you realize that people make objects while objects simultaneously make people. Inanimate objects can animate. The things around us attune us physically and emotionally. I wouldn’t appropriate things if I was capable of instantly creating images and objects that were consummately indicative of certain cultures and their related associations. It’s just easier this way. Of course, many of today’s finest companies preempt or are indiscernible from the cultures they serve products to. This may be one of the strongest arguments for corporate personhood –the creative capacity of companies to produce viable lifestyles for their consumers– as a continuation of a tradition previously led by more obviously human-run organizations like religions or nation-states or subcultures. That’s the first type of company I’m interested in. The second type of company I’m interested in are the ones that create fun house effects with their target demographics, where the company will take an idea from a subculture which is then purchased/worn/used by that very subculture in a way that differentiates slightly. The mass creation of products and the subversion of those products’ purpose become endless echoes in a chamber, opposing visions that are impossible without each other, a married old couple that only understands how to communicate through bickering, your grandparents arguing over whether to buy you cooking classes or Fair Trade coffee from Whole Foods for your birthday.

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