Friday, May 15, 2015

Some people are bad at math with other people's money

Currency by Denis Beaubois, 2011
(aka $20,000 AUD cash)

Denis Beaubois received a $20,000 grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. According to the Australia Council for the Arts the "decision date" was July 5, 2010 but it wasn't exhibited until Aug 18-30, 2011 and his "work" was auctioned off Aug 31, 2011. Assuming the government sends its checks promptly, he could have collected interest on the $20,000 for over a year. 

He took the $20,000 AUD in 100 dollar bills and declared the pile of 2 bundles of money to be art. He titled it the creative name "Currency." It was then auctioned off with a high bid of $17,500 AUD but with the buyer's premium the total was $21,350 AUD. I suspect the high bidder may have gotten carried away or hadn't known the correct percentage charged for the buyer's premium. 

Some of you might notice that $17,500 is noticeably less than $20,000 while some art majors might not. Spending $20,000 to get a return of $17,500 does not seem like the best business plan. It seems Australian arts funding isn't focused on efficiency. But don't worry, he wasn't spending his own hard earned money.

(note some of the pdf links I had found no longer work since I originally wrote this post and were removed and I can't find the replacements. This is not necessarily a complete list. A searchable database is here)
in 1995-1996 he received $8,200 for a "hybrid art project"
in 1997 he received $6,200 for Presentation and Promotion to "O'seas"
in 1998-99 he received $8,045 for Presentation and Promotion to Germany and the Netherlands
in 1999-2000 he received $5,694 for "new work"
in 2000-2001 he received $8,930 for promotion in the USA
in 2001-2002 he received $8,000 for "Part-time residency at UNSW to work with forensic psychologists"
in 2005-2006 he received $20,000 for "new work"
in 2007 he received $20,000 to "Create new video works ‘video for living room’"
in 2010/11 $20,000 to be sold as a pile of cash.
in 2012 he received $20,000 to "Research theories of Capitalism and the Banking system to produce a series of new artworks"

I wonder what percent of grant recipients have previously received a grant?

You'd think the Council would require the grant recipients to send a photo of their work into the council website so people (ie the people paying for it) could see what they've been up to. Imagine a series of photos of Denis Beaubois sitting in a chair between July 5, 2010 and August, 2011 thinking and planning and practicing (counting and stacking bills) and learning the necessary skills ("Hi, I'd like to withdraw $20,000 in cash") and then executing his project.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How Orwellian : "Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas"

The headline at the Washington Post reads :
Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas

One who just skims the headlines might be led to believe that the event organizer had organized the attack. Not so.

The line of thinking is similar to Garry Trudeau's suggestion that Charlie Hebdo staff "incited" their own murders. The notion is that Pamela Geller organizing an event caused people to attack it. Would they ever claim a broad group of adults lacked moral agency?

It seems only if they encounter a contradiction between what "everyone knows" / "things you can't say" and reality. The solution seems to be to rephrase reality so that "everyone knows" factoid can stay standing.

Like the previous post suggesting that media outlets that ostensibly show a Mohammed cartoon but censor it are signaling compliance, there is another signaling going on : to signal "I'm not one of 'those' people."

It says "*I* follow the social rules." If you can't say "some muslims refuse to accept the American level of freedom of expression" then the source of agency must be elsewhere. 

It seems to be a social set of rules. Trudeau's punching up/punching down distinction stands out because Trudeau appoints himself as the person determining which way is up.

People with guns executing unarmed people in a magazine office? Ah, well the people with guns are members of a minority group (note that this can override the circumstances of a specific individual). They can keep adding criteria to analyze until they reach the destination they want.

from Ace of Spades :
1. To speak of Islamist violence, or to suggest there is a problem in Islam, is racist, and hateful, and irrational, and "islamophobic."
2. It is so predictable that Islamists will kill you if you say something "anti-Islamic" that victims of murder attempts can be said to have brought their attacks on themselves.
It depends on who says it. These are social rules with the consistency of High School cliques. 

Immediately after the Boston Marathon Bombing, Esquire's Charles P. Pierce (who, by the way, is an idiot) wrote :
Obviously, nobody knows anything yet, but I would caution folks jumping to conclusions about foreign terrorism to remember that this is the official Patriots Day holiday in Massachusetts, celebrating the Battles at Lexington and Concord, and that the actual date (April 19) was of some significance to, among other people, Tim McVeigh, because he fancied himself a waterer of the tree of liberty and the like.

Don't jump to conclusions is a fine sentiment, but he does so want to disparage someone. Don't jump to conclusions about foreigners when you can jump to conclusions about your fellow citizens. There are socially unacceptable targets of venom and there are socially acceptable targets of venom.

from the NYTimes editorial by the NYT Editorial Board titled "Free Speech vs. Hate Speech" :
There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.
But it is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.
(As an aside, note that the New York Times Editorial Board views religions as hierarchal with followers and leaders and nary a mention of books or ideas.)

In the editorial, the Times draws a distinction between free speech vs hate speech depending on who is speaking. What is being said is pushed off to near irrelevance so the exact same thing can be said by two different people and one can be noble Free Speech while the other is odious Hate Speech.  More importantly, the New York Times appoints itself as the arbitrator of who is or who is not an acceptable speaker.
Charlie Hebdo is a publication whose stock in trade has always been graphic satires of politicians and religions, whether Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. By contrast, Pamela Geller, the anti-Islam campaigner behind the Texas event, has a long history of declarations and actions motivated purely by hatred for Muslims.
The NYTimes defense of Charlie Hebdo as free speech, in contrast to Geller's hate speech, is that they have a broader range of targets. That is to say, Charlie Hebdo is not as offensive as Geller because they are more offensive to more people.