After starting a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com for Village Alchemy (link) (website), I am learning what to do and not to do from other Kickstarter campaigns. There’s a public art project on Kickstarter right now called called “Make Capitalism Work For Me” (link) which was created by artist Steve Lambert (website). I like this project a lot, and for several reasons shown below:
Capitalism works for me.
TRUE or FALSE?
The first reason I like this project is because – it’s about time! You actually get to vote whether capitalism is working for you or not. The artist takes the holy grail of American democracy – the almighty vote – and runs with it, turning the truth that shit sucks into a play about all this shit sucking. And even though it’s just a game that apparently costs tons of money to do and doesn’t really count for anything, that OK. (It’s just like actual voting, get it?) It’s drawing out the reality that peoples’ personal propositional attitudes contradict the present situation – and maybe there’s even a situationist aspect to all this. Consider how framing affects the political subconscious for a moment and you’ll see what I mean…
Second, have you noticed Americans are dissatisfied with voting? Even the Tea Party says voting isn’t working for them. You don’t say? So a preliminary true/false question could be whether voting works for me or not. That’s where this rabbit hole is leading me…
Third, it’s a personal question. Does capitalism work for me? Mass societies, authoritarian by nature, assume total objectivity. This sidesteps personal (subjective) validity. Dictatorships do this. Democracies do this. All political systems essentially are like candy wrappers and on the inside it’s always about the same thing: managing subjects and capital. If you’re an anarchist like me, you don’t think any politics has objectivity. No politics is objective. What is true are the multiplicities of subjective experience. Is there anyone who is not a singularity unto themselves? Oh really, where? Maybe they live in a democracy.
Relationships of solidarity between individuals is a de-alienating process. Their singularities crisscross in a beautiful, reciprocal pattern of love and sharing. That’s how I see it. If something doesn’t work for me, I talk to other people about it, and typically I find out that it doesn’t work for them either. So we’ve started the ball rolling on alternatives. “Society” doesn’t need more information in the encyclopedia – this is the Information Age after all! We need more information like this, about each other: what other people want, feel and desire.
You could view this as “public art” exclusively without seeing all these other qualities. You could even think of it as “civic art” or talk about the role of art in a well-functioning democracy or some bullshit like that. That is a conversation from one bourgeois drone to another. Art can take on qualities beyond its role as a bourgeois public artifact – more than a division of labor, etc.
I’m thinking like this: What information, art or experiences would create in me a higher revolutionary consciousness? It pretty much boils down to an understanding that other people want the same things as me. (This was basically the aim of Commune too, and I’d like to do more media/film experiments and free and public presentations like this.)
Fourth is the irony. Notice the play on words in the title “Make Capitalism Work for Me”? Is the artist asking you to help make capitalism work for him? Or is it for me? So even the title is not a presumption of what other people think. That has a doubled-meaning which I like. Another irony is that it takes capital to question the role of capital in our lives, and that’s why this artwork is situated in the capitalist mode of art-production. So can we use capitalism to make art that questions capitalism? That is to say, can we use capital to create situationist uses of capital (i.e. art)? Yes. The new world is created from the shell of the old.
And finally I really appreciate how his campaign is run have learned some things. You can tell right away the campaign is very open with the viewership, and you know exactly what’s going to happen when the project is completed. I’m taking note of a few things listed here:
- He’s mapped out exactly where he plans to tour.
- He uploaded plenty of drafts for the project.
- One of the “rewards” for donating is a personal call from the artist’s mom and dad.
- The donation rewards are clever, exciting and fun.
- One of the rewards are books signed by the artist, but not his own books.
- He breaks down exactly what the money will be used for.
- He uses byproducts of the artwork, like sign-making material, as gift rewards.
- The Kickstarter page has a lot of pictures of the creation of the project, and also really wacky and fun images.
- He tells the viewers personally to tell their friends, share, and donate and even “do it now” so there’s a sense of urgency.
- He shows you images of his past projects and something about them.
- The FAQ questionnaire is carefully worded out.
That’s my list for now. I’m looking forward to possibly seeing this on display. It would be cool if this project traveled to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions next summer, when the election machine is running full blast………