The mysterious Visceral Added Value

Ben Vickers

June 14, 2015

Art didn’t loose its agency to emancipate the world, it simply never had it. What we are learning from the way some groups are working today, is that emancipation is not one-sided. Rather, it can result from a collaboration among different disciplines and competences. What can we do within our capacity and skills to add value to a certain concept that could contribute to an awareness and mentality shift? For the kind of art we are interested in, we believe that discourse is important (semantics is a powerful tool) as well to make it accessible to as many as possible in order to have bigger influence. Giving it a form, spatial and/or visual, – transforming it into what we call an object of discourse– might be a way to do that. On the other hand, Ben stressed the point of using vagueness and arbitrary language as a strategy for protecting ideas from co-optation. He is interested in experimenting with the concept of transparency. At the unMonastery, for example, they are experimenting with tracking everything, even things that are from nature untrackable or unquantifiable, but on the other hand they insist in using vague terms such as the Visceral Added to describe their practice Value and arbitrary graphics;  the unMonastery webpage looks like some sort of corporate start-up while this is not what it is. Extreme or radical transparency comes close to what Metahaven’s idea of Black Transparency; something that maybe you can see through it but at the same time you see a reflective surface. We are seeking for a way to disseminate of one’s creative ideas and at the same time to protect honest thoughts and expressions. Is that even possible? “I think that art is in a bad moment right now because there is now way you can escape the conversation of capital flow”. Listen to the complete podcast to hear about some more interesting ideas, such as the Braid (a plausible fiction of a community of artists that support each other through a global network), who is building a new structure for society in the hollow shell of the old one, resource hacks, sacred temples in time and the power of shared routines.

Ben Vickers

Ben Vickers is a curator, writer, explorer, technologist and luddite. Currently Curator of Digital at the Serpentine Galleries, is Co­Director of LIMAZULU Project Space, a Near Now Fellow and facilitator for the open­source development of unMonastery, a new civically minded social space prototyped in Matera, Southern Italy during 2014 and now set to replicate throughout Europe 2015/16. During his spare time he contributes to EdgeRyders, co­runs the nomadic talks programme The Thought Menu and host’s Open Funerals.

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