TIM BLUE on 60X1.COM
September 4 - October 11, 2002
60x1 is a website requiring examination at multiple levels. At once it is an on-line
gallery of reworked imagery taken from the internet or sourced from popular
culture, while also serving to comment on the nature of world events as well as
how those events are perceived through cyberspace, as if the internet as entity
was watching us. It operates at the very surface of artifice according to the rules
of advertising while selling nothing, ultimately posing question after question while
answering nothing, but edging us closer to understanding the nature of the Image
in new and troubling times.
Image versus Picture
The Image has a quality of mysteriousness, is porous and to an extent, incomplete.
Evidence of it being a created thing is often apparent; brushstrokes, chalk lines, a
lens flare. The result of this is the introduction of the viewer as a way to completion.
The Depicted, on the other hand, is saturated with information. That information is
laden with its own, pre-existing meanings. The objective in the pictoral is to fill the
blank space with the visual equivalent of literal meaning, having a clear purpose
and subservient to an idea. Ultimately one gets bogged down by the Image, it has
a slowing effect on the viewer, whose interaction is needed to complete it. The
Depicted is a hard, polished surface easy to skate over, which is why it is so
prevalent in the advertisement.
60X1 treats the pictoral as image, which is precisely where much of its power
resides. By taking these ready-mades from the stuff of everyday life, they are
juxtaposed in a conflict of positive/negative, the outcome of which reveals that
these once culturally charged representations have become completely bankrupt,
absorbed into Spectacle.
In two of the most saturated pages, Pac Mao and When Pac Mao Married Maodonna,
all trace of mystery has been removed and there is no room for interaction, as in an
advertisement. That 60x1 is a one way site works both functionally as well as meta-
phorically; it uses a manipulated iconography of popular culture, where the content of
meaning has been emptied, taking the form of advertisement to illustrate that the internet
itself as a forum for exchange, or as communications null.
While some of the pages are hyper-saturated, others display a cool austerity. One of
these is laid out with all the formalisms of a fashion shoot, wherein two figures in suits
calmly pose while their heads explode, flanked by some creature composed of female
legs. Another seemingly evokes war with its derelict and graffittied truck, but stripped
of any sentiment associated with war. In fact what we see is coated with saccharine
geometric shapes that imply war as a form of entertainment for those who do not live it.
Desire and Identity
We can see the workings of both on the Internet laid bare on the Battle of
Supergreg vs. Peter pan. The exotic zed other in the history of western art has
been a prevalent feature of both high and low culture. The pickaninny and
Chinaman has existed on through the likes of Blowfly, or outsider artists such as
Wolfli or Finster. The tensions between the real persons and how they are
perceived can be controlled to a greater degree in cyberspace and this control
utilized to the ends of either situating desire or being situated as desired. Take as
example Super Greg. The function of quirky, inspired, but ultimately laughed at or
revered character that dares present himself or his work outside the framework of
the establishment often leads one into the realm of cult, or folk status. This
phenomenon has been perceived time and again, that in the schema of marketing
led a clothing manufacturer to create such a person, setting up a website with all
the qualities of such a potential cult hero. After six months the site was then linked
to the clothier. One can imagine that the hits were assiduously counted, e-mails
studied and a proper demographic established.
In such an exercise advertising has taken quite a frightening step in maturity, the
outcome of which desire is more efficiently manufactured through a utilization of the
cult phenomenon of exoticization. The actual person, Super Greg does not exist
other than a mechanism of manipulation and control. In the instance of Peter Pan,
however, we see something that works opposite of Super Greg.
Here we have a real person, presenting himself as he wishes to be desired. In the
non-world of the Internet he becomes a folk hero. He has got what it takes; he uses
his Christianity like a crutch stuck in the door between the real and nonreal. He is
young, fit, impeccably dressed as a nymph and looking for love. He acquires cult
status from his audacity to present himself as he wishes, disregarding taste, con-
vention, or real world methods of acceptance.
This is one place where the battle of constructed identity takes place on the web. It
is a battle of manufactured desire versus projected, of capitalism versus individual
subjectivity. Ultimately, even the persistence of a Peter Pan, or I should say how a
Peter Pan is utilized as a delightful/derisive exotic feeds capitalism. In a future battle
it is quite possible that Peter Pan will eat Super Greg, and replace him as a runway
model for a fashion designer.
Whereas the page depicting the battle of Super Greg vs. Peter Pan can illustrate how
identity can function with desire on the Internet, Asian Prince plays with identity in the
context of the Internet hoax. As mentioned in the artists statement, the original identity
of Asian Prince was as a Vietnamese glam rock star of the 1970s. Over time an image
was unearthed and new meaning applied as Asian Prince. We see again the occurrence
of the novel and exotic trivialized, and though not overtly racist, functioning with the
machinery of racism. On the page we see here, Asian prince is resurrected as promoting
a new record, Modified Van. The glam star sings again, though there is no album, no
Asian Prince, no desire, nor any situating of desire. It is a hoax, or rather a depiction
of a hoax, in a stunning re-creation of an advertisement. Should there ever have been
such a person, we most likely would have ended up with the same thing; Nothing,
Emptiness, and emptiness so vivid, so intrusive so as to be virtually invisible in the
The sense that time has stopped while one is traveling is commonplace. It is where the
linear march of our routines is disrupted and we find ourselves in anothers spatial/
temporal that we experience non-linearly. Yet in so many of these metaphysical
paradises dotted around the globe the march of the linear continues in a much more
harmful way to its inhabitants than ours is to us. Hunger, repression and fear are
often the given for those people inhabiting these ruptures we move through. The non-
reality of our vacations is constructed on their impoverished reality.
The Internet mimics this travel, and these ruptures for many who cannot afford gorgeous
third world beaches. For hours that evaporate between the viewer and the screen, the
sense of time likewise evaporates in a voyeuristic frenzy of pornography, mp3 downloads,
and chat rooms with virtual friends. The viewer travels to this site or that, and speaks of
being somewhere the next day to coworkers as the boredom of the linear continues.
With todays world cluttered with wireless phones, high-speed modems, e-mail, and easy
access to tropical paradises to those who can afford them, we are increasingly a people
who are at once everywhere and nowhere.
Two such stops on the World Wide Web are splash pages on 60x1, though both expose
the fraud implicit in these ruptures. On one of these, titled, Yogurt Yoga, we first see
hazy blobs of pastel slowly gain detail. A pleasing landscape of soft, round forms that
appears as a hybrid of cartoons and surrealism. Along with the title one gets the
impression of walking into some inner journey that is altogether peaceful, while snacking
on that delicious vanilla bacteria until a window that appears disrupts the process of
self-discovery. The window onto paradise here depicts a man lying on a trash strewn
beach, a caption that reads, I dream of you all the time. As this image is loaded into
the window, the window itself begins to convulse violently, erratically, careening over
our inner journey. While this progresses the image of the man on the beach is replaced
by insects that remain the sole inhabitants of our travel.
A recent release to the toy market is a bombed out building, which includes such detail as
bullet scarred walls and broken windows. It is advertised on the box as being suitable for
children five years old. One imagines that the blood has been cleaned up. The existence
of such a product can only be seen as rooted in, or addressing a deep cultural cynicism
that can only be experienced by a victor gloating in bloodlust to be shared with it's children,
as if bringing home a fresh kill to share with the family.
On a few of the pages of 60x1 that deal with more explicit, contemporary political images
the mechanisms of such cynicism are laid bare, the forms of advertising utilized and sub-
verted to the end of revealing them to be what they truly are; propaganda soaked in blood,
presented with the cool detachment of a society that does not ask questions. A few hours
floating around other websites that present images dealing with the aftermath of September
11, or middle east politics will leave one with the fatigue of having been just treading the
water of Americašs racism, homophobia, bloodlust and misplaced sexual envy.
Two splash pages on 60x1 deserve mention here as images that reveal a trivializing force
and underlying violence in American popular culture. In one we see Arafat as Godzilla in
a showdown with Sharon morphed into a toy robot, the other (Evildoers), perhaps more
concentrated with meaning shows an apocalypse crusade of Christianity and Islam that
could be taking place in Hell, the participants in role reversals. Osama Bin Laden crucified
to a cross jammed into the Kaba, Bush as a Revelatory and Avenging angel, with Sadam
Hussein, Rumsfeld, Chaney and Blair as stoic witnesses to a final playing out of our history
To Be Continued...
next topics include:
George Bush as desirable commodity--see Ballard, Why I want to fuck Ronald Reagan
Hottie dislocated, reproduced and male obscured; not one person or another but an
unnameable and a commodity
Evolution of pornographic/ detail vs. concealment
removal of object in desire
Artiface in advertising
Ambivalence in composions, neutrality as commentary