Subj: In regards to un-art
Date: 11/15/2004 11:41:42 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Randofo1
To: akaprow@ucsd.edu


Professor Kaprow,

I read your essay "Happenings in the New York Scene" in the New Media Reader quite some time ago. I remember finding it quite amusing. In fact, I think I even took something you wrote and used it as my computer's away message that day. I suppose that afternoon I gave you your fifteen minutes of fame or what not. Anyway, after reading that essay, you and your ideas slowly oozed way back into the deep dark crevices of my cranium as I plodded forth back into the New Media Reader's elaborations on man-machine symbioses and non-linear library card indexing systems. Within a good fifty pages or so, I would venture to say that I had forgotten all about you and your writings. Nothing personal. But a month or so ago, when my teacher for Poetics of Everyday Life handed out a selection from one of your essays as that week's reading assignment, my first thought was, "Hey, I remember this guy." And then my second thought was, "Where is the rest of the essay?" After inspecting the handout quite closely, I came to conclude that my professor is either very cheap or very lazy. You see, what she did was print out the little preview excerpt that Amazon.com gives you in order to try to entice you to buy the book. This bothered me. I mean she didn't have to buy the book. As far as I know the library is still a free public resource. If she felt your writing was worth reading, at the very least she could have went to the library and got the full text. Anyway, I understand that this is my problem and not yours and as such, I managed to solve this problem without asking for your help in any way. You see, one frigid autumn day I visited, on-foot no less, nearly every book store from St. Marks to Rockefeller Center (which was temporarily called "Democracy Plaza" because NBC or whomever set up shop there wanted to neatly prepackage the election.) Anyway, after finding your book "Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life" at the Barnes and Noble at Rockefeller Center, I then commenced to read it to prove to myself that I am not illiterate. Well, after reading it, I have a few things to say to what you have to say. First of all, I caught you. In "The Education of the Un-Artist: Part 1," you talk about a hypothetical networked situation with countless televisions, video cameras and feedback loops. You then go on to say that its not art because by the time anyone realizes this multimedia extravaganza, no one will remember you had predicted it as art. Well, I'm primarily writing to inform you that this project has been realized. Yes, it was realized as a dot-com era art project. When the art project went bust, as tends to happen these days, it became a really lame night club where they have over-priced cocktails and showcase really bad video performance art. It's called Remote Lounge in case you didn't know already. Secondly, I must point out very clearly that it has been realized and I am aware that you stated that. Make of that what you will. But anyway, I guess I should maybe tell you something about myself, although you probably don't care. I go to Parsons School of Design and I'm studying Design and Technology, whatever that may be. I'm really not sure what it is I do exactly, but last year when my Studio class was given the assignment to create chaos in the school's main lobby, I was nearly lynched by a crowd of people (art students mostly and the oddball designer) that were more than happy to tell me that what I was doing was clearly not art. The more I thought about it, the more wonderful their reaction seemed to be. You see, they simply could not make heads or tails of "The Hug Me to Make it Stop Project." I guess I should explain. What I did was ran a small current of electricity through me to turn myself into a capacitance touch sensor and quite simply, when people touched me, my body would literally act as the switch that turned off the wretchedly loud solid tone being pumped through the industrial loudspeakers I installed in the ceiling. The tone was actually middle C in case you were wondering. Anyway, what I found was that people rather stand and suffer with their fingers in their ears than hug a stranger. That's not the point exactly. The point that I'm getting at is that I found the reaction from the person who was the first to proclaim, "You know, that's not art," wonderful. People are finally starting to understand what it is I do (I think). I've been trying to get that same reaction ever since with every undertaking I undertake. There's actually many an undertaking in the works, but I suppose it would make little sense to tell you about them. Actually, I could tell you about my thesis project, but I wont bore you with that. I've taken up enough of your time. Thanks for reading this far.

Sincerely,
Randy Sarafan