Arts & Culture » Visual Art

Point and crit

Ubuweb.com is an outrageously useful Web site that explores the last 50 years of avant-art through sound, poetry, essays, video and film, all free for the taking. For people on the ragged edge of the marginalized alternative cultures, it’s a dream come true. Things that have been nearly impossible to find since their creation are now there to be plucked like grapes. Listen to Nam Jun Paik and Joseph Beuys’ stumbling piano and groaning homage to Fluxus champion George Maciunas, listen to Ed Dorn read from his wonderful poem "North Atlantic Turbine," watch 37 Fluxus films, change your life by reading Michael de Certeau’s opening essay to his book The Practice of Everyday Life, watch scores of artist’s films that will make you swear to never see another commercially released film, read composer Erik Satie’s funny "A Day in the Life of an Artist," in which he proclaims he eats only white food including crushed bones, hear performance artist Karen Finley’s finely tuned poem "I Am an Ass Man" or read a whole "Anthology of Conceptual Writing." Listen to literally scores of MP3’s that are devoted to undoing your sense of the world.

During his recent visit to Detroit, famed avant-garde artist Vito Acconci was asked by a student: "To you, what’s the most important book you’ve ever read?" Without hesitation he responded Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. He explained how it debunked the formal alliance between government power and Western philosophy, and provided an alternative model, based on the rhizomic structure of fungus, for philosophical methodology. Ubuweb is a realization of the fungus among us.

In its manifesto, Ubuweb calls itself a "Deleuzian nomadic model: a 4 dimensional space simultaneously expanding and contracting … growing ‘rhizomatically’ with ever-increasing unpredictability and uncanniness." Ubuweb is the answer. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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