Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dave’s State Funded Artist art symposium.

Why does the state fund the arts? Why does the artist accept the funding? What is the core value of this contract? I have forgotten, or never knew in the first place, but seeing as the democratic ideal of peer jury allocations is being phased out for more reliable corporate models, I think it’s a good time to ask. It’s my impression that art advocates are immersed in language celebrating the bi-products of art as justification for the maintenance of an unexamined system. Things like economic benefit, community animation, social work, the integration of cultural constituents and the parroting of nationalist propaganda obscure our evident ‘sector’ wide shame of the urge to be artists. Maybe this is a particularly English-Speaking-Canadian phenomenon. Maybe it’s fear of our society, our families, ourselves as artists- if we ever get around to making such a claim. To outing ourselves as such. The work we make is intimately tied up with the structures we utilise. As an English-Speaking-Canadian state funded artist I have helped create and continue to support these models, and I am wondering about the effects of shame, fear and gratitude on that relationship and how it affects art. My art.

One bi-product of the recent provincial funding cuts is that I am actually heartened by the discussions I am having about art, with artists, and with my society (that’s all the fucking people, baby!), but I find our institutions, funders, and advocates harder to engage. So, I am going to pursue my own symposium with whomever.

For this symposium to work to my benefit, all you have to do is buy me a drink to tell me how wrong I am.

Here’s a few random topics to start (if you are buying, you can propose your own)

Topic #1
Art is deviant in practice and transient in materialisation.

Topic #2
Art is self-indulgent. Self-indulgence is hard.

Topic #3
Transmission is via the body. From one body to another.

Topic #4
Institutional, administrative, funding, and presenting structures; the primary function of art structures is to normalise art for the comfortable consumption of the bourgeoisie.

Topic #5
Art is something safe for our artistic kids to do with their university degrees, provided by the state and their community with just enough structure and hope to maintain their ignorance in a perpetual state of infantalised careerism.

We are the bourgeoisie. That is the promise of democracy.

Topic #7
David McIntosh is a cynical asshole who should just fuck off and get out of the system.

Bring it on!

Symposium and regret

My experience of Plato’s Symposium felt like a long night at a socially conservative gay male aesthete bankers’ dinner party. Love, power and passion within a guarded sense of privilege.

Structurally, I like the four or five layers of transference. The accumulated hearsay in relating the ideas others. The crude leaps afforded in such a form.

Here’s my favourite idea, via Diotima, according to Socrates, as related by Aristodemus to Appolodorous, who told an unnamed friend, according to Plato:

“...some one is said to be the same person from childhood till old age. Although he is called the same person, he never has the same constituents, but is always being renewed in some aspects and experiencing loss in others, for instance, his hair, skin, bone, blood and his whole body. This applies not only to the body but also to the mind: attributes, character-traits, beliefs, desires, pleasures, pains, fears - none of these ever remain the same in each of us, but some are emerging while others are being lost. Still more remarkable is the fact that our knowledge changes too, some items emerging, while others are lost, so we are not the same person as regards our knowledge; indeed, each individual item of knowledge goes through the same process. What is called studying exists because knowledge goes from us. Forgetting is the departure of knowledge, while study puts back new information in our memory to replace what is lost, and so maintain knowledge so that it seems to be the same.”

I like this because it affords me an opportunity to make my own crude leap of logic: If we are continually renewing and losing our constituent parts, then regretting is a passive aggressive act against our responsibility for the present. When you regret something you did or did not do in the past, you are blaming someone else, your past constituent self, for a state of disaffection you may be experiencing now.

Pour me another one.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Letter from the minister

(Dear all of you,

If I am whacked tonight by VANOC BLACKOPS, or arts "sector" oligarchs and their henchpeople, please, no violence in reprisals.

What I would like most is that you create or present some awkward unpopular un-entertaining art in my memory.

and fuck you, really

David McIntosh

Dear David McIntosh:

I write today to address a rumour that is circulating about the BC Arts Council (BCAC). You can be absolutely assured that our government has no plan to abolish or change the mandate of the BCAC in any way. Please consider this letter confirmation that no changes are being considered for the Council.

This government is very pleased and continuously impressed with the work of the BCAC and what the Council delivers for British Columbia’s arts community. We are grateful for their accomplishments, and how they represent you. Funding through the BCAC is being provided in 2009 at a level exceeding last year’s.

I hope this email will relieve any anxieties and eliminate rumours on this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact my office by email to if you have any questions.


Kevin Krueger
Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts

Dear Kevin Krueger,

I am honoured by your attention, but I simply do not believe you. If the BC Government were to publicly announce that they supported the BC Arts Council and fully endorsed the concept of an arms-length peer-juried arts award system, I would still be dubious. If the BC Government were to back up such words with the allocation of funds for the BC Arts Council to distribute as grants in a line item of taxpayers revenue in their budgets, I would be heartened, but I would wait and see, as obviously action speaks louder than political rhetoric.

I believe in transparency, democracy and honesty. I am not interested in benefiting from behind-the-scenes mechanisms that equate art and communities to capital and constituencies.

This may be inconvenient for me, but until the BCAC is able to write its own cheques to fulfill it's declared mandate I must assume it is not supported by this government.

I would be mad to think otherwise.


David McIntosh

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yes, I think it is about the Olympics.

These are hard times for bankers and politicians.

These are hard times, and the arts must take the blame.

In light of the prudent fucking of BC based artists by their just and honest leaders, I suggest it would show great fiscal responsibility if all arts organisations deferred their Vancouver presentation activities scheduled between January 22 and March 21st, 2010. Defer to a time when the global economy picks up and the children are allowed second helpings of gruel. Or until March 22nd.

Yes, I think it is about the Olympics.

The arts and culture "sector" was enlisted to help land this corporate cluster fuck. Now it's here the "sector" is expendable. Why be fearful of offending these people? You can't lose what you never had a chance of getting in the first place. Respect. What's to celebrate in this context? Don't stop making art, but make it on your own terms after Mach 21st.

I know, it's easy for me to say.

I've been planning my escape ever since I spent 3 days at an artist's consult meeting with Vanoc two years ago. Three days with risk averse corporate cluster-fuck operatives and a bunch of depressingly well behaved 'artists' from across Canada. For my troubles I got a severe MRSA staff infection on my face and a major boost to my misanthropic world view.

During the olympics I'll be doing a self-constructed developmental workshop in a totalitarian country in the tropics.

There is no escape.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Self Indulgent Artists

If you are not indulging your self
you are not working hard

Your aim
is too low.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

commmunity values

I like this, this Austin William’s critique of the “New New Urbanism” in the TLS.

A critique of the patronising, paternalsitic assumption that “community values could be built into the very fabric of architecture”, so as to create citizens.

“practically all architecture now attempts to force social solidarity into existence and, by definition, condemns those who do not conform”.

This feels familiar.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009



It seems the Cultural Legacy of the Olympics will be a gutted public funding system.