Why People Hate Art: Our SoOnCon 2011 Talk

I edited the talk down from 28 minutes into a much more focused 18 minute presentation. The other half will be posted shortly (well…eventually) but here is the meat of the talk.

If you want the background to this talk, and don’t feel like digging through my earlier posts, here is a brief summary of this talk and how it happened:

Brad Blucher and I were invited to give a talk at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for SoOnCon 2011.

The topic for our presentation was “why people hate art”. Using examples of things we have experienced first hand, we launched into an attack on the pervasiveness of obscurantism masquerading as deep insight within the art world.

Art is often nothing more than a footnote to a (poorly written) essay using invalid logic to make unsound arguments, all the while using technical and scientific terms inappropriately and without justification in an attempt to apply a veneer of rigour and profundity over their steaming pile of banal observations and utter nonsense.

This talk is a criticism of that tendency in the art world.

Online Artist Statement Generator

Note: If you are only wanting to use the automatic artist statement generator, then click here to skip out on the story of how it came to be.

Back in 2005, I was in my 3rd year at OCAD, and I was taking a course titled “professional practices”. This course was supposed to teach students “everything you need to know about being an artist outside of the studio”

One of the assignments was the creation of an artist statement.

Now, I’ve always hated artist statements. “If you need text to explain your images, you’ve failed as an image maker” sums up my feelings on the matter. But, I had to write one. I decided that since I wasn’t happy about having to do this, I should at least have some fun with it. The challenge I set for myself was tuning this task into a creative outlet. I wanted to come up with something that was unexpected and unconventional. I was a tech nerd who was surrounded by a lot of non-technically-minded people, so I figured I should go down that route.

In high school, I had taken a programming class, and in my spare time, I created an “automatic insulter” program. This was an .exe file that would print something mean whenever you double-clicked it’s icon. It was very simple, but it was also very easy to modify and expand. An automatic artist statement generator seemed like a good idea.

I fired up my old laptop, and loaded up my copy of QBASIC, and I got coding.

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