Mike Winkelmann alias Beeple in conversation with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev – Season I, Episode III
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev : Today I read an article and it was very, in a way, weird, but also coinciding with what you always say. There was a cat by a crypto company. He basically was saying that the future is when stop being just associated to art, and they get more widespread and common. And as if this phase of this association between digital art and at seven I mean slowing things down in terms of universalizing the use of nets.
Mike Winkelmann: No, it’s not slowing things down. It’s more so that it’s the lowest hanging fruit in terms of this use case, for this technology, the other things that I believe will eventually become used for. We don’t have those things built and we don’t have a way for your car to come with an f and a system. It’s more like you could sell a car with an f, but it’s like okay, great, who cares? Versus if we had everybody and we all had like a standard for how tents are attached to cars, then you could just have a database of TS and you could basically have a database of cars. And it’s one of those things where it’s not so much that it’s slowing it down. It’s just like these other use cases are not built yet right, like it will take some time for these more utility based use cases to get built.
C.C.B.: Right, well, you’ve always said that even since our first interview, you said.
M.W.: It’s only one year. I mean think about like 1993 internet to 94 internet.
C.C.B.: An enormous difference.
M.W.: Well, there’s some difference.
C.C.B.: It was I was around at the time, I remember, but they seem small now. But what I mean is you’ve always said that this technology of blockchain smart contracts will be used widespread in the future, and it is quite normal that things start in the field of art. Very often I mean 11. He wrote about submarines and basically Jules Verne, the novelist, 19th century novelist, but Leonardo Da Vinci, you know, basically invented the helicopter and so on. It’s quite normal for me. It’s normal to think that things start in art and then they continue in society later. But I did find it interesting that he was basically saying: as soon as we can move on, you know, and that kind of coincides with what with what you are saying. But can I ask you what would be the purpose to have a car attached to an? I mean why is that a better way?
M.W.: I think what in my mind how it could be better is if again all of the cars were sort of like using this thing as like a very standard way of sort of like searching through it, then you sort of like have a way of sort of like searching through all cars. It’s not, it’s not attaching an where they’re all different. It’s more so. If you had a standardized way of like this is a car and it had all the metadata, was all standards for all of them, then you could just search through a bunch of cars. And the other thing is, if you had the car, it would be like easier to transfer the like ownership that it’s like, okay, whoever has the ownership versus now you got to have the title, you got to go down to the dam. There’s a bunch of like bullshit, so it’s like it’s more so like paperwork, things that it would be like in terms of like just imposture things. This again isn’t like the like sexiest most like. Is this going to like revolutionaries? Cars? No, but it’s just like incrementally better system than the like patchwork of bullshit we have now.
C.C.B.: But that brings me. I mean I’m deviating from a sort of order of things that I wanted to talk about. But it brings me to the question of the relationship between the physical part of Human One and the smart contract that Ryan sure owns. In other words, we keep. I mean, I keep going back to this question all the time with you. But as time goes by you kind of change your answer. So I find it interesting. I’m going to ask again. I mean you, your complexity and articulate more you answer when I ask you: where is the artwork in Human One? You know, is it in the smart contract at all? Is it in the physical object, in the space at all? Is it in the video files that come from your studio? Well, I think a little bit. Yes. Is it in the past files that were there or not? What gets bought and sold when you sell Human one or when he sells Human one and is the physical part? It’s not exactly the same as saying an exhibition copy, because an exhibition copy, the whole thing, is there as an exhibition copy, not just a piece of it, is there as an exhibition copy. It’s a little different from that. And then I always ask you: is the money which corresponds to numbers which corresponds to audience and attention and social media part of the artwork or not? And I’ve always as a person who loves Joseph Boyce and the concept of the social sculpture, I’ve always thought that it is part of the artwork, but you’ve not really thought that and then as the, so that I was going to go on and more and more. But my question is: where is the artwork? And if you?
M.W.: This is a seven-part question.
C.C.B.: I know, I know, but starting with what you said about the car, you know the car and then if I sell the car, I sell that and there’s an object that goes with it here. That’s not right, because you could also probably rebuild the screens and still have the video part more complicated. I would like to know what your answer is: no.
M.W.: In my opinion, in my opinion, the artwork is the physical object, the. It’s kind of like all of those things in a way because it’s a little bit of the smart contract, because the smart contract allows us to do, allows us to continue to change it. It’s obviously the video that it is and it’s also obviously the physical object to degree too. In my opinion it’s all of those. What I need to do, and I will do before I sell another of those boxes. Define more clearly what this artwork is because I agree. I should have defied, which I thought I did, but I see now that it’s somewhat big. I mean to be honest, the whole idea of an exhibition copy, to be kind of it, feels a little cheating.
C.C.B.: But that’s how one!
M.W.: It’s getting to do that a lot.
C.C.B.: Of course, but it descends from conceptual art in a way.
M.W.: I see this piece as I mean, to be honest, I think it is a little sort of like conceptual in my mind, because you’re also what you’re also buying when you’re getting that, as long as I’m still alive, you’re getting a commitment that I’m going to continue working on this piece and that the piece is not finished to me, and so it is conceptual in that way. To me that it’s sort of like you’re getting the idea that i’m going to continue participating in this thing and that i’m doing that to show that this is a dynamic piece of art.
C.C.B.: I understand, but I want to go back to that exhibition copy and cheating now. I don’t think we’re exhibiting an exhibition copy in Rivoli, even though we did not insure.
C.C.B.: For 29 million dollars, because why am I sure that I’m showing the work? I’m sure I am because I have the courtesy in the lab and the label has the smart contract. That was very important to me. So what is being loaned to me is that smart contract and that smart contract is part of the work.
M.W.: What do you mean, that smart contract being loaned to you?
C.C.B.: Well, the label says human, 12000 and 21, and then it has the smart contract under it and then it says Courtesy Razor. So fundamentally in terms of conceptual art, I am borrowing the original work because I am borrowing the smart contract. That makes the difference, a huge difference, and it has to do with trust and achievement of loans.
M.W.: Well, you’re not actually borrowing the smart contract, because for you to actually so, it’s not even the smart contract for you to actually be borrowing that. I would need to give you the.
C.C.B.: No, because that would be a gift.
M.W.: No, that would be a.
C.C.B.: Of what?
M.W.: Of the.
C.C.B.: But wait a minute, the smart contract. Well, here we have a debate.
M.W.: The smart contract is kind of what is used to, sort of like. It’s kind of like the rules that sort of like govern how the sort of like work. The smart contract, and so the smart contract and they are two separate things.
C.C.B.: For god’s sake, it’s driving me crazy, so what is the end of?
M.W.: The is the token that was sort of minted from the smart contract. The smart contract is sort of like a set of rules that basically said okay, we’re going to make this with these rules and here’s the ways we can change it in the future. Kind of like governs there. There’s actually sort of a couple of things here. There are wallets, there’s smart contracts and there’s sort of like tents is sort of minted from smart contracts. People write a bunch of code and its sort of like: ok. Here’s going to be the meditate in the smart in the token in the and then they execute, they execute a function which is like a set of instructions in the smart contract to mint the. That actually creates the actual like things, the smart contract. And then those are two separate things. It’s very complicated and it’s very complicated. And did I tell you about the people who locked 35 million dollars in a smart contract?
M.W.: You get this ship wrong people. There was a private action.
C.C.B.: Come again, though, I vaguely remember.
M.W.: Yeah, there was a project about, I don’t know, two or three months ago, or something like that, and again because of this ship. If you screw up, there’s no, no, there’s no. I’m going to call text support and see if they can get this started out. Now you’re faced, and so programmers screwed up and they locked 35 million dollars in a smart contract which they will never be able to get out. That money is basically just defeated. It’s gone and.
C.C.B.: Wanted an.
M.W.: Not meant it. It’s sort of like it’s kind of like it’s locked in the smart contract, controls that money, and so it’s locked in a place where nobody can ever get through it.
C.C.B.: Okay, now you’re complicating things. I want to simplify them again because I’m translating for the traditional atop.
M.W.: You know I really need to understand this stuff full. Even I don’t understand it super, super, fully, like there’s a lot of new and there’s a lot of things, but all.
C.C.B.: But I just want to because I’m here in outer space, you know, with these pictures of the black holes and nobody knows what the hell that means. Really, I want to go back to the issue now. When I borrowed Human One for an exhibition, it was extremely important to me to be able to borrow it from the person who had purchased. I mean I’m not going into the details of if there’s more than one person or not but purchased it as an and therefore the squat contract which is associated to that was very important for me. As a description of the medium. Let’s say in the label that’s important because for a curator you know if you borrow something, for example, from a collector or from an artist, it has a certain number, has a certain prestige. If I go out and take a copy off the internet of a video and I didn’t even tell anybody who has the rights on it of any sort, that’s like a fat exhibition that’s like the immersive wagon you know, and it’s not so in order to show that I have the original artwork in my exhibition. And this what this gives is empowerment to the viewers because the viewers who come to the museum say: wow, you know we have human one and I’m in front of this digital artwork, which is the digital artwork. It’s like showing the borrowing, the, I mean the smart contract, I guess, associated to an ANT of an everyday versus just downloading the everyday and printing it out and putting it on the wall in the museum. For me, this was the proof, let’s call it the proof that it was legitimate curatorial practice, that I borrowed the artwork, and it was all connected with that smart contract being able to put it in the label. That’s why I went through so many.
M.W.: Well, it’s.
C.C.B.: Part of it there were two things for me. The other is working with the artist. When you work with the artist, it’s legitimate when you work without the artist, like through the gallery or through a collector, and not the artist. It’s not a real exhibition unless the artist is dead. What makes a contemporary art museum important compared to another one? Another museum is working with the artists. It’s like a proof that there’s an intellectual and cultural relationship going on even better if you’re premiering work, a new work. You know for the first time. So.
M.W.: I agree with all that and I think I think it’s just, it’s more so. It’s kind of a technicality that it’s sort of like you like. I don’t know that I would have put like I’m trying to think, and I don’t know how most places do this if they’re like actually having the token move for the exhibition.
C.C.B.: How do you move a token?
M.W.: You just transfer it like, and I believe they could have. I believe there’s a way and maybe I’m wrong on this, but I believe there’s a way that you could, maybe not, that you could transfer it a way that it’s sort of like it transfers to your wallet, and then you have the, which I don’t know that this is totally necessary. You have the and then you can prove that you’re the only person who is in possession of this, because you have the wallet in you. You have, then in your wallet, and then it’s sort of like: if your ship gets hacked, he’s going to lose that Fontan. Then you really have.
C.C.B.: But that’s not borrowing, that’s gifting.
M.W.: No, no, it’s borrowed its borrowing because it’s just like again that that is the way. If you want to really sort of like be like I am the only one displaying this thing. That is what you actually have to do. He would have to give you the transfer them to you. Then you have it in your wallet, similar to a painting. Whereof that painting, somebody breaks into the museum and steals the painting.
C.C.B.: Would you like some wine?
M.W.: What if somebody breaks into the museum and steals that painting? You’re going to have some answers, you’re going to have some collectors to answer to. You would have the in your wallet and then you would give it back to him at the end of the exhibition.
C.C.B.: How would you give it back?
M.W.: How could I transfer it back? You just say I’m sending it back. That’s it.
C.C.B.: I have to.
M.W.: These things back and forth is trivial. It’s like nothing it’s like.
C.C.B.: But you would have to trust me that I give it back to you.
M.W.: Yes, but the same. It’s no different than a painting. You have to trust that you’re going to give the painting back when you are it.
C.C.B.: This is something that I.
C.C.B.: It’s impossible, though, because we cannot transfer value like 29 million dollars. It’s.
M.W.: Of course, you. Could you transfer value in paintings all the time?
C.C.B.: No, because we insure them.
M.W.: Well, did you ever get a painting for that’s worth 50 million dollars?
C.C.B.: Very, very rarely, very, very rarely, no, no, very, very rarely.
M.W.: But do you see?
C.C.B.: I mean most paintings. I don’t know. Here we get back into the numbers, but most, very, very good paintings, even by dead artists, are way below that. I mean Francis. Bacon is a very rare.
M.W.: 50 million a lot, but okay, let’s say five.
C.C.B.: Five million. Yes, of course you insure five million, but we would not be able to cover the costs of the whole museum for like five years to pay the premium of the 50 million. So that basically makes it nonsensical to do that. Now I can tell you that when we show media art, we never do that. No museum in the world would do that. Let’s say, a very wonderful William Kentridge video: it’s worth, however much we would never insure it because we borrow the media file.
M.W.: And we like is actually a good question. That’s a good question. Media file like that. What do you do? They just send you the file and that’s it. You throw it on projector. Who cares?
C.C.B.: No, I wouldn’t say that I throw it on a projector.
M.W.: Whatever I’ve just named.
C.C.B.: But what counts there is what I was telling you: the label. When the Wall Museum label, if it says collection of the artist, it’s valuable that I’m showing it. If it says lent by Mama, you know we’ve borrowed videos from Mama and we send videos to other museums, it says collection of Castile rival. What’s in the label gives it authenticity. But the fact of having paid the insurance company, you know, for the value, market value of the of the video work. So, and that is actually the trajectory of media art. I mean unless the object is unique, like a broken monitor, unless the object is one and unique and never can be replaced. It has to do with the intention of the artist, you know.
M.W.: That’s how I intend human one to be. I don’t intend human one to be like these exhibition copies and it’s all over the place and whatever. That was mostly just because it was sort of like. If we wanted to do the thing right now, that’s what we needed to do, but I envision it to be like the one in Christie’s that is the falcon one, and so it’s sort of like that’s kind of where.
C.C.B.: That’s a problem. What you’re saying is that the physical object, that crisis, the physical object, is the artwork as well as in Christ, and there’s only one.
M.W.: It’s only ever in one place, at one time only.
C.C.B.: Worked it out, but we have worked that out in the art. We’re not stupid. When we borrow the original video of Sea William Kentridge, you have to borrow one that actually exists. If it belongs to Mamma, it is one; MoMA only has one. If they’re lending it to us, they cannot lend it to anybody else. The fact that there may be three of the same work of William Kentridge in three different places is not because they are exhibition copies, which they are not. It is because that work is editioned. It’s one out of three of you.
M.W.: My opinion, in my opinion, that system is actually much flimsier and more based on faith than the whole thing, because with the thing you can prove very clearly who has the copies by sending the, and there’s no like in that instance. You’re trusting MoMA and you’re trusting all these people to be like to not just magically produced another copy of this. There’s no trust. It’s sort of like it. If I did that, you could show the work.
C.C.B.: Not about trust. I mean not exactly in our world, because if you buy a work like you buy William Kentridge, you have a certificate of authenticity. If that work is editioned in five copies, one out of five out of 53455 out of five. By the way, the one out of five is worth more in the market than the four out of five, although it’s sold at a lower price, because the first edition sold is usually at a lower price, and then the third edition and the fourth edition cost more. So not only do you want to be the first museum to acquire it, but you also want to have that prestige of having the lower number in the addition.
M.W.: When they send you the word, do they send you the certificate of authenticity?
C.C.B.: No, they don’t send that certificate, absolutely not, but we.
M.W.: What is the artwork?
C.C.B.: Artwork: well, that’s why I’m trying to figure this out. I think there is a difference. I don’t think you need to send the certificate because in the case of William the artwork is not the certificate, the artwork is the video, and the certificate certifies that there are only four or three or two or one legitimate copies. And that’s it. If I don’t write courtesy, MoMA, or I don’t write courtesy the collection of the artist, I might be piloting it. So for me it’s all in the label, it’s all in the label. You know nobody needs. I wanted proof.
M.W.: In that instance, you are trusting that they still have that certificate.
C.C.B.: Of course, but.
M.W.: Put it in the label that you have the right to do this. You are trusting that they didn’t do it to three people. That’s actually the.
C.C.B.: I only trust, no, I’m not only trusting there’s a loan contract and they sign the loan contract. If they’re lending something that they don’t have, they’re breaking the law.
M.W.: You’re trusting that they’re not breaking the law, but that’s where fees are different. You have the actual code and you can see I don’t have to fag. Trust you. I have the file on in my wallet. There’s no trust needed. I can see. I have one of the three copies period.
C.C.B.: But all but I could ask mama to send me a scan of their certificate if I didn’t trust them.
M.W.: You could, but you could. You have to gain trust that they’re scanning the paper and they didn’t just do that with three other things. I promise you you’re trusting them.
C.C.B.: I understand, I think we got somewhere here. We got somewhere, which is that all the contracts of buying and selling and therefore owning and not owning, and therefore having the authority to lend or not lend something, are not a 100% secure without a kind of blockchain, without having something which is like an oft in your wallet.
M.W.: Not something like a tent and that thing. I think, in the future, in the future this will become much more standardized, because then you can prove that these shows happen. You will be able to see the promenade of the actual to the went from Rinsers wallet to Castillo DE, Rivoli’s wallet for three months and then it went back. That was the show and it’s literally in the blockchain recorded there. There’s no way anybody can dispute that actually.
C.C.B.: But that means that he is actually the artwork. While I’m saying that the certificate of property does not need to be, I mean mamma doesn’t have to git me the William Kentridge and we go to a lawyer, and I change the property and then I got it back. We don’t have to do that.
M.W.: You don’t have to, but I think it’s one of those things that, yeah, I mean you don’t have to, but I guess they’re both. In that sense, they’re both very conceptual and the entire idea of sort of like media art, which everybody in the art world has accepted, is definitely art, is just as conceptual and is just as much. If you want to call it bullshit in terms of ownership as the world does, that happen?
C.C.B.: With you it’s not, but neither the will nor the media art will, but clearly.
M.W.: Well, if you’re calling Boston one than you have, I’m not saying you are, I’m not saying you.
C.C.B.: I’m not, and what I’m saying is that we don’t need to transfer the property of the William Kentridge video from MoMA to Castello in order to, aside from the fact that we own a lot of William Kent, so we would want to borrow it. But that’s just another detail. We don’t need to transfer the property in order to borrow. I think that I don’t need it would make it impossible to work with tools.
M.W.: It’s one of those things where it’s sort of like to me. Some of these things are sort of like they’re so technical and people are getting so hung up on these things that it’s sort of like, like, honestly I don’t it doesn’t I don’t know, like there’s not this like sort of like dissonance in my head around this stuff and I think it’s sort of like again, you accept the system with this media stuff and you accept that there’s some level of trust and its and it’s not massy. And you understand what the artwork is. And I think there’s right now there’s this massive focus on all these tiny technical sorts of like. You know what about this and it’s sort of like, ultimately this stuff is, let’s be honest, you’re selling something that doesn’t bucking exist. It’s a bit conceptual, which we all agree, that that’s part of our but don’t like it. In this instance it’s like, I can say, sure you have no problem with that.
C.C.B.: I know, but you’re talking to somebody who’s you know, who was a great friend of a ton of people like Lawrence Weiner, and I mean I met and learned a lot from the conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth. Lawrence Weiner was one of my best friends. I’m so sadly died; I mean all of them. I’m very trained in understanding what you’re saying. But I’m still thinking that there’s a difference which has something to do with where the artwork is and also with the general society shift, which has to do with the concept of property. And I would like to now expand that and get to the next question. I think the notion of private property was something that was established at a certain time in history. It wasn’t always established. You know that you have a certificate of property now that didn’t exist, like 1000 years ago, or even in the ancient Romans. Let’s say, the ancient Romans established a lot of things about ownership of goods and contracts, so that did not exist everywhere, and it appeared very clearly in the modern era.
M.W.: With all the.
C.C.B.: Laws, you know commercial laws and so on. Laws, property laws. Let’s say that it starts in the Middle Ages with putting fences around pieces of land before the commons. The angles and the Saxons have a lot to do with the history of the notion of private property. Now there’s something that is shifting because, and so maybe in the 21st century there has to be a new concept of what property is, because it’s not the commons and it’s not private property because your file, like human one, it’s I can download it from the internet, I can find the images, and so there’s something that’s part of the artwork which is not private property. There’s something which is part of the artwork, which is private property, but it’s only a piece of it. This concept of private property is maybe prototypical also of other shifts. You know, like when you talk about the cars and everything else. You know how can we consider, for example, private property of oxygen? We don’t have enough air right. There’s a lot of problems with co two and global warming, and all of that you can’t really buy air unless you put it in a in a canister when you’re very sick. But you’re really so. How are we going to deal with, for example, the fact that Africa produces most, together with a little bit Brazil of the oxygen of the planet, not the US, not Canada, not Germany, not Italy. So, is there ways in which we can define a partial private property, an impartial comments in the future or a new concept of private property?
M.W.: Wait, let’s go back to this, so let’s go back to that other method. I have no idea that seems like that. That problem might be above both of our pay rates here, but back to the way that that, like that, William Kenrick. No.
C.C.B.: Oh god!
M.W.: I don’t know, I don’t know.
C.C.B.: William Kentridge is one of my oldest friends and organized his first survey exhibition outside of South Africa. He is the son of Sydney Kentridge, who wrote the South African Constitution and when he was very young, he saw a lot of things happen because his father was a lawyer and his mother was a lawyer, antiapartheid and so on. He came to the fore with his charcoal on paper drawings which are stop-motion animation, where he erases and draws on the same paper, and he never understood whether he was documenting. He started by wanting to document a drawing because if the drawing became ugly, he would at least have a trace of how it was and it was good. So that’s how it started. But then in the end he never understood if the drawings are made for the making of the film and the artwork is the film or if the film is a documentation, you know if the reverse. In this kind of uncertainty, where you don’t know where the artwork is quiet, he became very well-known and maybe was one of the most important artists in the 19, yes and two, Thomas, and was in the Documenta of Catherine David 197 and now works with my Goodman. And anyway, I do lots of very good artists.
M.W.: I wouldn’t look well. Look up this stuff. That sounds super interesting. So is his stuff on you too.
C.C.B.: Yes, because he worked this out, he worked out that he makes the video, which is in an addition of, say, three plus two, artist proof or whatever, and then he also retains the rights to distribute it freely for educational purposes to anybody. But you’re not showing the artwork, you’re just doing a screening and for that part of his work he has copyright over it, obviously, so he can ask you to pull it off some place. We do have museum quality, high resolution image videos, which are the ones of the artworks in the museum or collectors. And then there exists compilations, you know DVD compilations or whatever you can download of all his works because he likes to distribute them freely and those are much lower resolution.
M.W.: They, they’re slightly different. Their lower resolution online, because I think to me it’s sort of like that, seems like there is some sort of like precedence for this stuff that it’s sort of like. Well, why would you borrow? I mean, I guess in this instance, because the ones online are sort of like he’s purposely making them worse.
C.C.B.: No, it’s just that it’s easier to send its lower, you know, lower weight. But I wouldn’t say he’s purposely making them worse, but I would say the opposite. He’s purposely getting the museums and the collectors to have the best possible quality and he doesn’t think in school or, you know, watching on you on YouTube. You need to have such a great resolution because you can.
M.W.: You still could. It would be very little work for him to upload the best version to YouTube, so he’s purposely making the tube version lower quality. It’s sort of like in that instance. It is different, but he could also make them both. High quality could also just make it so you could just download it because you can rip it off a view tube. He could also just make a version that’s able to be downloaded for free in the full quality that he’s giving the museums. It’s sort of like in that instance it’s very similar to an. Why would you buy it when you can just get it online? You know what I mean in terms of the like, sort of like arguments with a lot of the, the sort of like media art I feel like, but in terms of, I don’t know this stuff with sort of the and in that instance, like I don’t think there isn’t this like people aren’t bothered by that. I think people are actually weigh more bothered by the fact that this is attached to crypto, which they don’t like and don’t trust pretty reasonable numbers, and they also do not like the esthetics of this art, because it is not the esthetics of art that is come before and as is customary, anything new. Those esthetics, they say, are talking shit, and so.
C.C.B.: I completely agree with you and that’s why I’m interested in your work, because it is a different esthetic. That’s what happened with everybody, like Andy Warhol’s soup can looked awful to an abstract expression.
M.W.: Actually, have you watched the thing on that flit? I just started watching it.
C.C.B.: Yeah, yeah, I watched it, of course.
M.W.: I can’t see, I’m only half, but don’t tell me how.
C.C.B.: I once sent you a photograph of him before he had his wig, and you didn’t even recognize him. He looked a little bit like you, but now I don’t want to finish, as I have many questions. Can I just pass to the next one which is connected to this one?
M.W.: The point then: I have a question.
C.C.B.: Do you want to ask it first, or should I ask my second one?
M.W.: Let me ask one first, so how did things kind of there? There’re actually two questions. Actually, I’ll just ask the one. I saw something and I didn’t read it. I didn’t read the article, but there was some article, and I should have to and read it. They were talking about Italy with, like the government stepped in with something like museums. What was that?
C.C.B.: That’s very important, France has already done it. It’s very important. They did very well to do it. They are copying France, where my friend Mister Con, he runs all the museums of France, and he is a very intelligent person. He comes from contemporary art originally and the French government realized that the copyright laws are not well-written to in order to address the ends and issues, property and so on. That it’s like for an older historical period. There were many, maybe museums, and this was also copied in Italy, many museums that own work that already exists.
C.C.B.: Mona Lisa in the Louvre, and we’re thinking of fundraising by images of those works in public museums. The basically the government in France stopped all that and said: we have to first write the laws and make the regulations to understand what regulates the use of the image that you’ve made the end to, because you might, you know, get money for that and then it might be much more valuable than the Monalisa itself in 100 years. And what do we do with this situation? They just wanted to figure it out and write new copyright laws. So now Italy has proceeded in that direction too. I’m very, very happy.
M.W.: I mean I wouldn’t want to that, because I know you are sort of like thinking about doing something like that at some point.
C.C.B.: As I was, and then I stopped thinking about that after I saw what happened with the Hermitage and with Fitz. I mean there was a little company in Italy. I can’t remember the name that made some ants of things in the and it didn’t go well, you know. It’s just terrible for the image of the original work. What happened with the Hermit, what happened with Fitz and also, I have to admit, talking with you made me understand that it doesn’t make any sense. You know that I have to make the end of it with the artist and it has to be like.
M.W.: If there is.
C.C.B.: Yeah, so you’re going. We’re going back to what I said about borrowing the artwork from the artist is more important than borrowing it from the collector, which is more important than borrowing it from the gallery, which is more important than borrowing it from nothing and just taking up a picture of it. Yeah, so it’s another similar guess case. I mean I understood what you said.
M.W.: Another, just like said: like chill-out here guys and tell.
C.C.B.: We cannot let your museums start making notes of all your shadow.
M.W.: Makes sense.
C.C.B.: And then we don’t have any copyright laws that make sense in relation to this. We need to figure those out. Where does the royalty go? You know, maybe we have to put in a smart country that there’s always a royalty for the museum for ever and ever, and we have to figure it all out. I’m very happy that that that was done, that was blocked, and I so that’s that. But was that your question to ask? My question? My question, which is related to the earlier one, about where the artwork is, and all of that is the following: when I spoke to a museum, an eminent museum director from the US was on a jury for their prize. I’m on every year and we were sitting in London and at dinner and talking and he was having me explain a lot of what I know, which is very little, but the little that I know because he knew that we had gone off to, I mean to do these interviews and then I’ve seen each other more. What he ended up saying to me was: there is something very interesting in what you’re describing, which is, on the one hand, a world which gives value because everything is about value and what we attribute, how we attribute value even in a relationship in a war, you know, do we attribute value to human life or not? And all that. So the interesting thing is the contradiction between, on the one hand, value having been given to the openness to the sharing, to the community, to the 2.5000000 followers, to this this like attribution of value to to no gatekeepers, to all that against the elite, and then, on the other hand, this world which is very conscious of like small, not small, not all, but of being part of a hermetic circle of secrets. How things work, of what wallets are you know of this chat? What do you call those chat rooms and that you call them something? And there’s some sort of hermetic and code. You know the slang, the abbreviations, a kind of coded thing, whether so you’re either in it or you’re not in it, and otherwise you’re like a spectator just watching this. It’s a generation. Now I’m 64, so I don’t feel humiliated, that I don’t understand anything, and I don’t have a wallet and I don’t miss things. I’m very, very curious, but maybe somebody else might feel humiliated or like there’s a barrier. There is a barrier of secret knowledge that you have to know, like mathematics. You have to know this.
M.W.: I would not say it’s secret knowledge, it’s just knowledge that you have to figure out, but there it’s freely available.
C.C.B.: But as we stand now, we’re talking about a world which is very, which seems very cogent and very difficult to access. The thing is is that, on the other hand, there’s this value given to this idea of distribution and sharing and free and collect.
M.W.: When you say the world is coded and difficult to access, there’s literally dozens of hundreds of sites explaining here’s how to buy. There’s plenty of people would love to tell you how to buy. I can assure you of that. They would love to help you buy, and so the world is. It’s coded in some sense in the actual content, that there is a lot of codes in the content that I make. That is sort of like imbedded in draws from kind of like mean culture and sort of like internet culture. And it would be difficult, though not necessarily impossible, to figure out what those means are, because there’s it’s sort of like jokes upon, jokes, upon jokes upon jokes, but the actual participation in this thing. It is absolutely open to everybody, anybody anywhere in the world, without any partisan nobody does it matter who they are. You can get on, take a piece of artwork of whatever the fuck you want and suddenly start participating in this market. Now participating in it. And anybody caring that you’re participating in it are two very different things. Just like nobody can stop you from going and drawing on any piece of paper and going and standing wherever the book you want and trying to sell that piece of paper. And you’re suddenly part of the art world, selling your artwork and it’s sort of like: is anybody going to give a book? It’s sort of like that’s the thing, and I think there’s this confusion that it’s sort of like you know, you start telling something and suddenly everybody knows about it, and they want to buy it, and it’s like: no, that’s not the case. It’s just like if anybody, and it’s like they’re tricking you into participating in this. It’s like no, just like that’s like saying like the canvas industry is tricking people into being artists. It’s like anybody can go buy campus and start painting on it. Nobody’s going to care like that’s it. Just because you did, that doesn’t mean anybody’s going to care, and that costs money too. You caused money to buy canvases and buy paints and vetted, and then when you do that, there is absolutely no guarantee that anybody’s going to buy that from you. The world is the same thing. Everybody is free to participate, and everybody is not guaranteed success, though.
C.C.B.: Right, that’s not my question was something else, but I think you replied my question was: it’s a very interesting phenomenon because on the one hand there’s this apparent hermeticism and on the other side there’s this apparent attribution of value to this openness, into this sharing in this. Anyone but you said to me, I think you answered no, that’s not true. It’s just that you have to make a little bit of effort to learn. You know how to learn is all over the place. You just have to pay attention and and learn how to do it. So where are less? You’re saying that there’s a generational divide more than.
M.W.: I think it’s a generational divide. I think it’s an information device because again, there’s nothing that’s stopping you from doing it, as, whatever however old you said you were a person, you could still do it. It’s just you don’t have any interest in learning how to do it.
C.C.B.: No, but I’m not talking about the audience, the public. If I go into a museum, anybody can look at. You know the Monalisa or look at Venere degli stracci by Pistoletto. There’s a lot of care, are to the idea of access and you don’t need to have any tools to be able to look at the Monalisa, while in order to look at the ants you have to have a little bit of tools, I mean of tools, so it’s kind of literacy.
M.W.: What do you mean? You have to have tools.
C.C.B.: Well, you have to know what websites have them and you have to.
M.W.: Well, you have to know where the love is.
C.C.B.: Well, no, no!
M.W.: Get yourself to the.
C.C.B.: No, no, I’m talking to you more about those, what you call the secrecy. I mean the inside jokes and inside knowledge and the means.
M.W.: Content of the actual artwork itself, and that’s just in the content of my artwork. Some of my artwork, and so that’s where I’m sort of like, I don’t actually think are much more open, because, yes, you do have to have a tool, but that tool is a phone and almost everybody has that tool and that’s the only thing. You have to have to see the moon. Alas, you have to get yourself to Paris, you have to know it’s in the LO, you still have to have the phone to probably tell you all of that stuff and then you have to pay to get into the loop in a very specific time to go see this thing verses with the. All you have to do is like these sites. These sites aren’t like. There’re only a few sites that you need to go through to see that one.
C.C.B.: Fair enough, I think that you answered perfectly that that was. That’s a wrong description of, let’s call it crypto art, or did?
M.W.: I think what you might be sort of like driving to is because there is sort of like again in the content of some of this artwork. It’s very sort of like coated in that are hard to understand. But to be honest that’s not that different than the art world that has all these codes and self-referential things that nobody understands.
C.C.B.: Well, well, not unless you study a little bit. I mean you have.
M.W.: Time to study it, and that information is out there, and so it’s very.
C.C.B.: I agree with you, I agree with you. I think that that was not correct description so that I was given, although I found it fascinating actually. But let me get back to some more really simple things, but they’re not simple. I noticed that you really love the picture of kids with educator in front of human one Castelli.
M.W.: We shall be saying to them.
C.C.B.: What was she saying? I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there, but I told you we have big education programs. I told you that.
M.W.: And it’s true, yeah, I guess I wasn’t sort of like thinking, I think, when I saw the visual of a bunch of kids sitting in front of it to me that was like: oh, that’s great.
C.C.B.: But why did you like that? I mean: what does it mean to you? I know that your wife is also a teacher or was a schoolteacher. You do have two small kids, not to psychoanalyze you here, but it is one of the few times you’ve noticed an image of the piece in the museum. Does that mean to his mother?
M.W.: To me it’s sort of like very much. I think it’s cool because I think that is a piece of work that the kids like will identify with more and those kids growing up won’t see a distinction in my eyes between the painting on the wall and this box. It will be like both our work and they’re coming in from a more. There’s not. It won’t be all of this sort of like baggage that we come to this stuff with because we had to go through this sort of like mental exercise to recognize one thing as artwork versus the other thing again. Even me I grew up a painting is obviously artwork, but you’ve had to go through some sort of like mental exercise to be like this stuff. This digital art is artwork because before, I do not believe, you kind of recognized if you would have saw my work before that Christie sale, I do not believe you would have completely dismissed it as not being our work.
M.W.: You had to go through some sort of like thought to be like maybe this is a work those kids, I don’t think we’ll have to go through that. They’ll just accept both of them as artwork from the time they’re very young and to me that’s very exciting, them seeing a piece by piece being a part of that.
C.C.B.: You’re thinking in a way like a child in the future or like an adult in the future. That’s something that you always do. I think when I asked you where you want to be when we were in the metropolitan, you said you pointed to the wall, you know where the Greco was, and I think you speak sometimes about. I want to do something that’s relevant in 500 years. In your psyche there’s something about not the present. There’s something about way in the future that gives you pleasure or joy or peace of mine, and it has, and I think this, yeah, it has something to do with the esthetic, also of children. It’s interesting because your work also looks a little bit like illustrations of things. I mean there’s something in your person also and in your jokes about youth and being a child, and so I wonder what that means. I mean how you felt when you were little, like when you were eight or 10. What were you thinking and how was your mother? Who was she?
M.W.: I do think a lot about very far in the future and how people will perceive my work and how people will perceive artwork in the future, and this is something that I always thought about to some degree. But I’ve thought about a lot more now. Especially. I thought about it more now, learning more about the past and sort of like what has made some of these ideas stick around over hundreds of years. Why do people care about this painting? Why did they not throw this painting away? Because again, a long enough time period. It’s all going up in the trash and sort of like maybe not all of it, but a lot of shit ends up in the trash and just because the museum collects it of course gets a dissention and then ends up in the trash. And to me it’s sort of like how.
C.C.B.: It was.
M.W.: In the trash.
C.C.B.: Everything in the trash we only throw into the storage because I believe.
M.W.: That ship’s going to end up in the trash at some point you will be like.
C.C.B.: The opposite happens. When you do put things in storage, people can pull them out and rewrite the past. You know it’s really fascinating to rewrite the past because you have to have stuff to rewrite the past, things that weren’t important in the past. They become important later and you have to have that. I mean that happens all the time. If they had thrown all the Shakespeare out when they thought Shakespeare was it, which they did in the 17 hundreds, then we wouldn’t have Shakespeare, but in the 18 hundreds they thought it was great gain. You have to do something in order to. But anyway, that’s another question. I wanted to know two more things just quickly. One is about gaming and the metaverse. Do you think? Because I think a lot of people are thinking that gaming is the space of subjectivity in the future and that we have to make exhibitions about gaming? You know, and I do understand that it makes sense and that it’s very interesting that people are together online playing games. But I wanted to know your opinion on that, and I can tell you that I did one test with my little grandchild, my daughter’s son, and I was with him two weeks ago and I said: do you play games? And he said yes, I do, and I said well, show me the games, you show me some stuff and he showed me some stuff and then I said you want to play checkers and he said yes, but you mean like on the computer. I said no real and he said oh, I’d love to. I took him to the shop and we bought five games, like five, a sort of monopoly, a sort of checkers and so on, and we played for like five hours with physical games. And I said: which do you like more? And because I’m a little bit of a scientist, you know, I ask all these people questions and he said: well, I really like physical games more. What does that mean? What does that tell us about this whole idea that gave me?
M.W.: Would have I could have guessed that he said that because there’s and there’s a very specific reason why he said that, because he plays video games all of the time and he doesn’t get to play physical games very often anymore. That’s it.
C.C.B.: And there for.
M.W.: Therefore, the video games are like the default that it’s sort of like if you’re always doing something, it’s like that’s the same is true of my kids, because they play video games. It’s like that’s like nothing, that’s like the thing that they do all the time. It’s like when it’s like: oh, let’s pull it for game. It’s like, oh, this is a special treat. We don’t get to do this very often, for we certainly don’t get to do it as often as we play video games. It’s like it’s more of a like. This is something that it’s like, more unusual and more sort of like the spoke. If he was playing physical games all the time and then every once in a while, you were like here’s this video game would be like. You know what I mean, these kids are so inundated with video games. That’s the like day and day and default.
C.C.B.: But do you think that it changes the brain, and the mind of people work?
M.W.: How could it not?
C.C.B.: Exactly, and you think it’s problematic or it’s great.
M.W.: I think I think there’s probably some good things about it. I think, to be honest, I think video games are very engaging and I think they can be very educational and grew up on video games and it was. I learned from them, and I learned a bunch of things and I think they can. I think they can teach you a lot and I think it depends on what you’re playing too. If you’re playing, I think it’s if you’re playing a wide range of games. It’s sort of like books and sort of like any of these, any media it’s sort of like, and that’s why it’s sort of like people being like. Can this be art? It’s sort of like? Well, of course it can be art. There are video games that are very. It could be very educational and could be very something that you actually grow and sort of like learn from. And there’s other video games where they’re more about sort of like competition and sort of they all. It’s sort of like books or anything else. There, like some of them, are really good and some of them are not so good and some of them are good for learning a certain type of thing and some of them are good for learning a certain type of other things and I think some of them are, I don’t know, like I think there’s all. It’s just like. It’s like a kind of media that it’s sort of like again, I’m sure, when the TV came out it’s like this is the end of everything, this is the end of.
C.C.B.: It’s the end. I’m just trying to understand if it can be a model of how we think or live, the characteristic of our particular culture, because nobody said that the board games were the characteristic of the culture of, say, in the 18th century. They did games and did have board games. But there are some people running around saying that gaming is somehow the metaphor of how our society works, characteristic of our times.
M.W.: I mean, I guess, II think it’s I don’t know that a 100% agree that and let’s just say, there’s a lot of sorts of promises and hyperbole in the space about how everything’s about to change. And instead of you, you know, having your head behind the metaverse, your head in front of the matters there, you’re going to be in the matter and it’s sort of like. I personally believe, a lot of those things are marketing bullshit and that what people are building right now, in my opinion, are not made verses at all. They are game with ties, and I think that’s very interesting, and I think there could be some very interesting applications from that. But to me honestly, I think Facebook and Instagram is more of a sort of metaverse than these other things, because it’s a system in which you have a giant mass of people who are sort of all doing different things within this list, more of a metaverse than a video game which will only appeal to a very small set of people.
C.C.B.: I completely agree. It’s the social media which is the whole.
M.W.: The real aversion to me of the metaverse, a game with Ants that is like I don’t personally care about that game, so I’m not going to be in that game. So now I’m not part of the metaverse.
C.C.B.: Yeah, I agree. I agree with you that the social media is both a metaphor.
C.C.B.: Society and diverse, but what about this behind me? Is this also just employ, like a commercial, to make people optimistic that we can see really far?
M.W.: These men behind you, why did I make that? What is the story?
C.C.B.: Why? You made it? Because yesterday NASA released the first images of deep, deep space. They released them yesterday at four o’clock right, and it was a big deal also in Italy. And I wonder you know what does it mean? Is it just a coincidence, or is it? Is it well, like everybody’s depressed because of the war, because of the crisis, economic financial crisis? Is that the other people are really scared and negative? And suddenly we get the web, you know, telescope, by the way, it’s also called Web with two. It seems about the Cold War. They suddenly had all these zombie movies, made, you know, sort of rations coming. And then when everybody was depressed about something else or sad or whatever, you certainly had the moon landing. There is this tendency.
M.W.: They just they, they just finally got the telescope working like some coordinated like again in that instance. Who would be coordinating the release of this? Some like kind of luminate group that like try to like to distract us from the war or something.
C.C.B.: It’s not exactly like that, you ask me, sometimes you say, but if the artist doesn’t have the intention, how can you say that that work means that there are some things that are like part of a collective subconscious, a certain moment. It’s the will and the desire of many, many, many people at a certain moment in society, in a certain economy and a certain historical moment, and then suddenly things that are there that may not have been very important in another moment are really very important, because the society sort of needs them. It’s not that it’s an Illuminati group, but it’s the social history, art and political actions. I mean my mother was an archeologist, so I kind of am a little bit trained at looking at all these signs and then interpret.
M.W.: I think you do go a little too far. Sometimes I think you put together you’re so looking, and I think sometimes you connect dots that nobody sees, but sometimes personally again, I’m not like this. Neither bad nor good. I think sometimes, in my opinion, you can, lads that are not there.
C.C.B.: Well, maybe, but you know there are books now that talk about the relationship between the spy movies of the Martians and all of that with the Cold War and at the time, they weren’t thinking that and they weren’t saying that. I think that the fact that in history, often historians or sociologists or anthropologists, they look back and then they see things that the people at the time didn’t see. I’m trying to see our time from the future. I mean you’re trying to see the future. I would say that you like are in the present trying to see the future and be there, be there and I.
M.W.: I’m trying to make that I mean to make the things now so that they have to work even harder in the future, that we have those ideas.
C.C.B.: But that’s you and me. I’m somehow in the future, looking back and trying to understand the past.
M.W.: I mean that’s what we look like. You’re in the future right now. I won’t give you that.
C.C.B.: But anyway, so what does this? What does this every day, you know, mean, because he’s outside of the universe and is looking at this picture from the web.
M.W.: Have you heard, like people talk about? One of the ideas that’s very sort of like prevalent on the internet is that we are, we are living in a simulation.
M.W.: That nobody can prove we’re not living in a simulation, which is certainly possible, and I believe that certainly could be the case, that it’s sort of like either we are at 100% base reality or we’re in a video game right now, and maybe you’re real, maybe you’re just in my fond and I’m playing the video game and you’re just a fuckin non-player character who’s just part of the simulation. And so there was kind of a lot of jokes around the when that image came out yesterday, that we were seeing the edges of the simulation, and so I wanted to imagine what it was look like if somebody was looking at our simulation, watching our simulation, some other sort of like more advanced race that created this simulation and they’re looking at it and sort of like that’s the person is like a person who created our simulation and they’re looking at it and this is the like. That dome is like the like viewing and the like. Base is sort of the computer around; it is the computer running the simulation and this is how they look into our simulation.
C.C.B.: That brings me to my mind two things. One is that when I was little there was something called the twilight zone.
M.W.: No, I did not like it that much, though my my dad made us watch that a lot, and I was always like this. I didn’t like that. It was in black and white.
C.C.B.: Anyway, I loved the twilight on. Maybe I don’t know.
M.W.: Episodes were.
C.C.B.: I had a lot of these episodes were about being in a simulation, a lot of them. That’s one thing that came to my mind and the other thing that came to my mind. If someone is looking at us in the simulation from the outside, that’s a little bit where I want to be when I look at us from the future, as if we’re the past trying to connect the dots. So that’s an interesting thing that you just described, because it’s exactly what I was trying to describe, which is how you can be outside of something and see it and analyze it, and you’re also somehow in it. And that’s kind of hard. So how do you?
M.W.: Very hard, and that’s the thing that I think is. There’s a lot of people in the art world who are very good at looking at the past, and it’s like guys that’s not hard: 20 hindsight is 22. Well, let me say that that’s maybe a little reductive. That’s not as hard, in my opinion, as looking at the future and doing what you’re trying to do is understand what’s going on right now. Yeah, because that’s.
C.C.B.: The past, as if it’s the past.
M.W.: As if it’s the past that is trying to contextualize and because in that way you’re predicting the future, because you’re looking at it from a space that is the future and you’re kind of pretending to look back, but you have to sort of assume how things are going to play out. In many ways we’re both doing the same thing. You’re trying to predict how things are going to play out.
C.C.B.: Your predictions.
C.C.B.: No, I’m not really doing that. I use your predictions.
M.W.: Well, you’re trying to sort of like predict, but you’re also you’re thinking about the things I’m saying. Does some of them make sense or some of the? I don’t think that’s going to can happen. So it’s like you’re trying to predict the future in a way too, and I think that’s very hard. Looking at the past and like: okay, well, what did van go? You know, think when he cut his ear off or some bullshit or whatever? It’s sort of like. That’s especially because in some ways you’re never going to put on now.
M.W.: Make up a bunch of bulls as sort of like. Nobody can call you out on it unless they find direct evidence to refute it. So it’s not like it’s like nothing, but I think.
C.C.B.: Well, it’s not enough to bother them.
M.W.: What we are, what’s going on right now, and actually this is how it’s.
M.W.: I’m much more interested in.
C.C.B.: Well, yeah, me too, but not knowing what it’s like in the future. I’m just interested in looking at the present from the future, but I don’t think about what the future will be. It’s just that I have to abstract, you know, in order to look at today in an analytical way. But there’s something before. We don’t know how much time you have, because it’s already been one hour and seven and 24 minutes. So I don’t know.
M.W.: But you better go.
C.C.B.: Okay, one more question, then. I don’t want to leave without talking about what we did. I want to know about your experience. You came twice to Europe, once in April to see on your way to the Castello delivery for the opening of Human one, and then we met again in Base couple of months later and you spent time at the Art far and then went to Documenta15, although I went a day earlier because I wanted to be there for the press conference in time, and we spent some days in Castle in Documenta and which is kind of sure I mean for me there’s something totally serial to be with you in Castle in Documenta because it’s not. It’s more normal to be with you in Basle because your work has a huge market. I mean it has, but it’s very much not attached to the politics of Documenta, especially this year.
M.W.: I went to be honest. I was very back and forth throughout looking at that. When I first looked at it I hated it. As you heard, the first couple of hours I was like this is literally garbage. I hate this ship. Then I realized, like sometimes if something, but I can’t get it out of my head that it really like. Sometimes I like there’s a piece that I hate so much that it’s sort of like this made me think about it so much that there’s got to be something there. Why do I hate this so much? Why does it make me so mad? And then I’m sort of like I can go. Then I’ll like flip and I’ll be like, well, I have to admit, even though II kind of hate it in a way it really made me think a lot and then I’ll sort of like it. And then I kind of switched to sort of like actually I don’t hate it. I kind of like it a lot and then by the end of it I was sort of like no. Actually, I do. It’s very interesting because I think it goes to a lot of to me, speaks to a lot of the same sort of things that are happening with the world and with this convergence of these two worlds where there’s no gate keepers in the, and it’s just sort of this free for all whatever. And I think this document was somewhat trying to build itself as like there’s no gatekeepers, they, the gatekeepers of Documenta, temporarily assigned new gatekeepers and those gate keepers were Ruan Grupa.
C.C.B.: Ruan Grupa
M.W.: Ruan Grupa, they were the new gate keepers because again they were the people picking it, and so.
C.C.B.: They both collectives.
M.W.: They, they were the ones picking collectives, but they were the new gate keepers. This absolutely still had gatekeepers. It was just the kind of allowed these people to be the gate keepers for this year, and so then this group selected a bunch of people and in my opinion the quality of many of the artistic ideas that I saw from that method of gatekeeping was alone. I did not see much work that I thought was very strong in terms of the amount of original artistic ideas that were being put forth. In my opinion, and I think it made me paradoxically appreciate gatekeepers more. And I said something at the very beginning of this before I saw any of the show. To you and I said, and I don’t remember, I’ll have to look and see what you answered. I said you can look at the chap. I said: do you believe this rule group is worthy of the honor of this thing? Because in my opinion they were not. They had not done enough work to the point of somebody like you who has a very strong history of curatorial.
C.C.B.: But I disagree with you. I disagree, I really do. I’m going to cut you. I’m going to interrupt you because when I was nominated to do the Documenta in 2009, everybody was saying: who the hell is that? Why did they nominate this person who almost never heard of? I mean I had done things in art, but I was not famous. I mean I became. I shot up to number one in that review. Power 100. But before Document not so many people in the, let’s say, power of the art world had seen the Sydney Banal because it’s far and not many people had seen my work at Castello. I remember those accusations. You know why, who is this? And then at the end it was this snowball. You know, of success. I do believe in giving the chance to people who are not necessarily famous or it’s not like you have.
M.W.: It’s more like they’ve put in the like. You were already at least a museum curator before this. This group was not that, and when I tried to find any sort of like, what have they done before? This sort of like, like, like missing, could find very little.
C.C.B.: Yeah, but they did it in Indonesia and this whole politics of this document, of the people who chose Ruin group like Charles and others. They wanted outsiders who are not part of the gatekeepers of the official art world, and they also wanted to shift, you know, to another part of the world, which is not the global north, and give it give it a go. You know, and I don’t even think it is important to them whether there are worthy artworks in it. I think the important thing was the idea of these collectives and just making the most important show in the world without necessarily any art, just with a lot of creativity, let’s say, without necessarily art around by collectors and sharing. That was like a statement, it’s like a conceptual curatorial statement, but I agree with you that I see a similarity with your world. You know, because.
M.W.: The quality of the actual artwork that you saw there was.
C.C.B.: The point is, I’m not asking.
M.W.: Answer my question there.
C.C.B.: But I’m not answering because it’s like somebody asking me, and they do. Do you think the quality of the actual crypto punks is high? And I try to say no, but that’s not. I don’t I say to them I don’t want to answer because it’s not about the individual image of the crypto punk. It’s the whole system of the seriality and the variations and the distribution of it because you explained it to me. I try to tell people you don’t understand what’s going on in this world. I would kind of answer the same to you. These are two universes full of no gatekeepers and what they wanted to do in castle was a kind of an image of that. It’s like as if you take the fat wild and you give it to somebody who does a document where they intentionally want to bring in a lot of crap and a lot of good things, but a lot of bad things, because they’re saying this is what the world is.
M.W.: You know to me there’s two different things that you’re talking about. You are taught speaking to the concept of the fair itself. Yes, I’m speaking to the product, of what that produced, and so to me you are speaking to. You. Keep speaking to the concept of the curators of it, speaking to okay, that’s great. But in the end, what did this produce? I’m looking at each individual artwork in the show and it was sort of like: I get the concept of the people at the very top and there’s a lot of focus on. They were so sort of created to do this whatever, and that’s fine. But then at the did this produce? I’m also looking at. It is like, okay, that’s an interesting idea from the people at the top perspective. But then in the end did this produce a show where the, the actual artwork in the show was strong? In my opinion it did not.
C.C.B.: Yeah, well, I might agree with you actually, and I don’t remember very much individual works, except.
M.W.: A good point. You don’t even remember very much individual works.
C.C.B.: Yes, that’s true, except for I really liked in the Documenta Hale that group from, I think it was in Bangladesh that you actually referred to you. On the day that you visited Documenta, there was the camel soup one.
C.C.B.: Referencing this collective from Dark and Bangladesh that did all those that strange kind of shop with all these sculptures of daily life objects, I think that was a good project, actually in the way that it conflated the idea of these little terracotta or whatever they were sculptors, and the idea of the shop. I thought that was good. But and there was a lot of different things, I mean the tapestries.
C.C.B.: Polish artists in the Documenta Fredericianum and there was, I mean, but I can agree with you and I think that it’s I mean, what’s interesting to me in being in the future and looking at the back backwards, is that I see this big mess in the traditional art world where the gates were opened and the flood came in, including antisemitism. And then I see at the same time this huge cosmos speaking about the image behind me, huge cosmos of this digital stuff, all this mess again and a lot of really bad things. And then suddenly you know there might be some really interesting things, like I come across you or your work or pack, or but overall, I see these two kind of floods, floods and funnily enough, they happen at the same time.
M.W.: I know, and it really made me sort of like think about like really, and that’s why I kept going back and forth that it’s like there’s no gatekeepers. And then it was like this: there is gatekeepers and then it’s like. And then it was sort of like: oh, but it’s this more democratic process where they’re sort of like bringing in all these people who normally wouldn’t have this this sort of like chance. But then it was sort of like, yeah, but in the end what they produced kind of blows. Why did I get very fuzzy here?
C.C.B.: Getting very fuzzy, but the cosmos is wonderful.
M.W.: I don’t know why this isn’t focusing, so it’s one of those things where I really kind of went back and forth a lot and sort of it made me realize that there is time and place for some sort of like curation and some sort of like contextualization, and I think it needs to be somewhat of a balance. I guess, in my opinion, that it’s sort of like there’s neither system is the right system. Solely in my opinion that there needs to be some sort of like recognition of sort of like or some sort of like democratization of the process. But then also, I think there’s still value to people who have, who are truly expert and can and sort of can see what are stronger ideas that.
C.C.B.: I think that.
M.W.: New ideas.
C.C.B.: I understand what you’re saying, and I think one could summarize saying that it’s the dilemma. What do we do with collective intelligence? You know, when does collective intelligence become collective stupidity?
M.W.: And I think there’s exactly, I think there’s a lot of like right now. It’s very much like. Well, if we just get more voices, then it’s going to be a better outcome and it’s like if that’s necessarily true. And again, I look to mean a lot of people vote in our last election and we voted for Donald Trump and it’s sort of like I don’t not a 100% true, more people equals better, and I think that’s something that to me is. I think that the idea that that is true is sort of narcissistic and that everybody, everybody’s an expert, that it’s sort of like. Well, you know my voice on this thing is just as valuable as anybody else. The more you know me out there in terms when I say it’s like each person is just as like nobody’s smarter than anybody else. And it’s sort of like that. It’s sort of like. If we just get a bunch of all of us, we’re all talking geniuses at everything and so we just pull all of our ideas. We’ll have the most super genius outcome and its sort of like, I don’t think that’s true. I think there are people who can know more about certain subjects than other people and we should probably listen to those people. You know what I mean.
C.C.B.: I do anyway. Is there anything that we missed that you wanted to say?
M.W.: I think we are good. Have a good night!