Massive Links! Science Fiction Scandals | Blinking Destroys Art | Artforum Responds (Legally) to Intervention
China bans time travel
- George Lucas failed in his attempt to stop one of the original designers of storm trooper costumes from selling replicas. The British Supreme Court overruled Lucas's lawsuit, on the grounds that the costumes are functional, rather than artistic works, so you can keep legally buying them here. Andrew Ainsworth, the designer, was quoted by BBC News: “Art is like a Rodin sculpture, film production is an industry and that’s what these products are, they were always industrial designs.”
This episode raises a few questions, such as the British Supreme Court's definition of art as strictly non-functional. The Governor General of Canada and fellow supporters of interactive artists such as David Rokeby might disagree. His celebrated “Very Nervous System” was first conceived of as an interactive installation and performance piece, but was adapted to a number of practical functions, such as a tool for a paralyzed woman to create sound using only her eyelids. So blinking at the art no longer makes it art? What’s the sound of one eye closing?
Also, by the logic that “Star Wars” is an industry that functions to entertain, employs a massive team of designers to make objects for that industry, and is therefore not art, then what does this mean for, say, Jeff Koons and his balloon animals?
- In additional science fiction news, China officially banned time travel in T.V. and movies (that includes the Austin Powers series, A Christmas Carol, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.) Apparently, it's time to get serious; not only are they fed up with lazy writing, but time travel is a threat to China's history and beliefs. The State Administration for Radio, Film & Television condemns time travel stories for their “promot[ion of] feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.” I wonder how they feel about Japan's reincarnating squids.
- AFC alum Marina Galperina recently posted a ranking of multi-hyphenate artists, a now unavoidable term describing multi-multi-talented prodigies, such as James Franco, whose hyphens (artist-writer-director-actor-hyphen) just keep coming. This led to the inspiring realization that, sure, we may not all be artist-director-writer-musicians, but most artists already get to be hyphenates: artist-waiters, artist-assistants, artist-babysitters, and artist-cashiers.
- Hol Art Books, an independent publishing company dedicated to promoting high quality art writing, produced a “bootleg” version of summer 2011 Artforum, proposing a readable alternative to the magazine: a black-and-white, paperback version with no ads. Immediately after sending the prototype to Artforum, they received a letter from the magazine’s lawyer, insisting that they were guilty of copyright infringement. Hol Art Books claims that the bootleg was not made for production, but only to suggest that there is a market for pared-down, ad-free art writing.
- Also, on unnecessarily muddled writing is Times columnist Geoff Dyer’s must-read book review, “An Academic Author’s Unintentional Masterpiece.” Dyer loquaciously calls out the tropes of frilly academic writing that manages to fill volumes but, somehow, in a manner of speaking, say nothing at all.