Author: Kenny Schachter --- Date: 11/30/95--- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Ben Kinmont
We Both Belong
Internet project for Adaweb

Ben Kinmont @

If Duchamp were with us today, he'd jump up in his Nikes and proclaim: "I am not a role model". Perhaps as early as 1910 D. had the notion that anything could be art. Perhaps people like John Armleder, Hiam Steinbach, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and countless others were just not paying attention. (See Nauman print, titled: "Pay Attention Mother Fuckers") In any event, as a strategy, the idea of using preexisting objects as a time-saving ploy to make conceptual art, in order to make extra time for dinner and drinks at Odeon, is tired and stale. So, the mavens of art as idea have come up with a new set of clothes for the emperor. As society shifted from an emphasis on the manufacturing of hard commodities to a service oriented economy; and, subsequently to a world driven by the creation and dissemination of information and technology, the readymade has reappeared in yet a new guise. Yes, new and improved methods of artistic production have arisen to meet and elucidate the burdens of our time. Services, information, and technology -- as is, as art. For an example in the former category, we have one of the brilliantly brilliant British artists, Michael Landy, ready, willing and able to pick up your trash for you, for society at large. What a guy, what a piece In the realm of information as object, there is the tireless, hyper-paranoid gatherer of covert data, Peter Fend and his "news room" projects. He is at the ready to make you a commission (for lots of unmarked hard currency) based on your heritage, if the CIA hasn't closed in and captured him yet. And, last but not least, the vast virgin field of information content; and, that infinite horizon we know as the internet. An example of a purveyor on the net in the name of alleged art is none other than cyberpreneur Wolfgang Staehle himself, and his baby, "thing". I'm afraid its true, the html-fascist ran out of tv commercials to appropriate for his video clip pieces, and his dealer nailed his doors shut to become a gentleman-farmer in a far-off land. So, Mr. Staehle began tinkering with pc's, and for lack of a better term; or, in order not to alienate his European dealers and collectors, calls it art.

Ben Kinmont's adaweb project, entitled "We Both Belong", sounds like a new age, self-help guide to the internet. In the category of a service equaling a piece of sculpture (he said it, not me), Kinmont attempts to posit that washing dishes is akin to a piece of art. Coupled with the trash hauling Brit, we are well on our way to a cleaner more beautiful land, all in the name of art. Using the buzz words of the crystal carrying new-agers like "shared space", "means of empowerment", and "domestic action", Kinmont, in an act of chimera, is under the impression that a little house cleaning goes a long way. It goes like this: he did his, now you do yours. Respond by e-mail, then send in a photo of yourself doing the dirty (I mean cleaning pots and pans!). Later, in the real world, Kinmont will exhibit little diptychs of the both of you bent over the sink, and thereafter, you will receive the piece for your troubles. Dream on. I imagine his most receptive audience, as well as his most encouraging fan, is his wife. Not that I mean to belittle this inventive use of ada's wavelengths, for I myself have e-mailed a response to the query, though I have yet to follow up with a photo (nor have 34 of the 40 who have thus far participated). In the end, who am I to suggest that everything isn't art? If I find the vacuum, mop, fantastic, paper towels, use em, then shower, I have enough domestic action for a retrospective.

-Kenny Schachter

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Wolfgang Staehle --

kenny --

i finally broke down, and photographed myself sleeping next to a pile of dirty dishes. though the pict., reduced in size, did briefly appear on the ada site; somehow it later mysteriouly vanished. oh where, oh where, has my little gif gone, oh where oh where has it gone?

Jordan Crandall --

Whoever this guy is, he totally misses the point about Kinmont's work. It would be tolerable if he missed the point in an interesting way, but, alas, what we have is a lazy and tenuous leap from the readymade (why do people who know little about art always drag that it?) and "services, information, technology -- as is." Even if we could locate the latter (information as is? technology as is?) we'd be hard-pressed to view it as a readymade and even harder pressed to understand the connection. What we have is a rubber band stretched from the readymade to these ridiculous "as is" concoctions, that the reviewer hopes will hold for a minute while he sits back and twangs it with his finger. Does this section have an editor? What are you doing here? Posting such predictable, status-quo kinds of reviews that you can find anywhere online, or trying to develop something truly adventurous and relevant?

ks --

dear mr. crandull: for someone that truly knows as much about art as you indicate that you do, why dont you know who i am? besides, your elucidating comments, including the fabulous rubberband analogy, shed no light whatsoever on the actual subject of kinmonts work. by nature of the fact that you package multiples and project internet sites on the walls of a soho gallery (i suppose thats art too!); by the way, it would be remiss not to mention, the same gallery that exhibits kinmont, does that make you the banner carrier for all that passes on the net? by the way, those colorful satany capes, to be worn while interacting with your web projection, simultaneously enhanced the virtual realtiy of the piece while making a great fashion statement. mr. crandull: have you cleaned your dirty dishes today? -- bill rogers

The thing that makes the manufacturing age cooler than the service/information age is the junk it creates. An old vacuum cleaner can live on as art (and poke fun at the rote chores glorified by some over-reaching thinkers) when it gets a new purpose in life. It can be beautiful, but is most-so when NOT running.