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Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:14 AM
As part of our first edition, David Stent wrote a piece called A Terezín Account;
The Terezín fortress, built under the Hapsburg Emperor Josef II in 1780, is situated in the north west of the Czech Republic. Its significance as a garrison town/citadel is overshadowed by the period 1941-1945 when the town was used as a transit camp and Jewish ghetto by the occupying German armies. The Nazis also used the town as propaganda, claiming that Terezín was a model ghetto, housing mostly privileged persons and artisans. Even a visit by International Red Cross in June 1944 failed to see beyond the elaborate pretence the Nazis had constructed. After the liberation, Terezín remained a Czech garrison town until 1996. It now has a population of about 3,000 people.

13.10.10 in the Telegraph, the filmmaker Sophie Fiennes (who has collaborated with Zizek, amongst others) is interviewed as part of the press for her latest venture - a documentary about the German artist Anselm Kiefer, called Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow. She comments:

Theres a knee-jerk response going to Barjac: Oh my God, its like Auschwitz. Or: Its very Germanic. It is kind of Germanic, whatever that means, in the sense that its austere, not prettified. But the longer you spend in the tunnels, the more they feel as if theyre sheltering you from the outside world. They even feel enchanting.
. Terezín after a storm: "the buildings now saffron with the wet." (more)



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:14 AM
The previous post got me thinking about the current state of Dispatx, specifically in relation to the last issue (forthcoming) and the possibility of something other emerging from its ashes. Considering the transitory state the site currently finds itself in - kept ticking over, just barely, through occasional entries by editors - it could be that there is a paradoxical danger of seeing the moribund site as being more fertile than it really is, or in some way misreading its potential. The reason I was thinking about this was that the previous post - with its references to gym shootings and postmortem forgiveness - made me think of a specific piece of writing by Gilles Deleuze. When discussing his thoughts on what he calls "pure immanence", Deleuze makes reference to a scene in Charles Dickens novel Our Mutual Friend, in which a reviled man is lying on his deathbed. However, the unpopular mans proximity to death reveals to those that attend him some other essential quality, quite apart from his personality, a quality toward which they start to respond with respect and love. Deleuze writes that "between [the mans] life and [the mans] death there is a moment that is no longer anything but a life playing with death. The life of an individual had given way to an impersonal and yet singular life that disengages a pure event freed from the subjectivity and objectivity of what happens. A homo tantum [only life] with whom everyone sympathises, and who attains a kind of beatitude (...) a life of pure immanence, neutral, beyond good and evil.” It is perhaps wishful thinking to associate the Dispatx platform, in its current, near-dormant state, with such a potential-laden, un-individuated singularity, but could there be way to think about the potential for something new to emerge from the stalled site in relation to this idea? Can the latent platform be re-thought as a diagram through which material can be modulated and rerouted into unforeseen contexts, uses and forms? In some ways, this would seem to concern a certain kind of anonymity in relation to the site, both as its winds down, and as we wait for the swan song of the final issue to gain momentum. Yet, this stage of the Dispatx story, so to speak, has the potential to be one of the most interesting and productive - what happens when a site draws to a close, yet has the potential and possibility to continue? What role could anonymity have as a basis for a shared community of a different sort? There are innumerable questions that can be asked here. It would also be interesting to note how the singular yet impersonal life of Dickens dying man contaminates those around him - perhaps we can hope for the same benevolent outpouring of creative sympathy when the site gathers toward its last throes. Contributors might make their way toward the site, not only as a gesture to what the site has been, but what it might yet turn into.
There are other ways to look at this, of course. If what Deleuze describes through the reference to Dickens scene - which he goes on to call a life - is subjectless, neutral, preceding all individuation, etc., this could suggest that a Dispatx-related site be thought apart from its current structure; its divisions and stratifications. There could be no theme for the final issue, or it could be that the subject should be theme-less-ness... - yet, with no theme, would we really be faced with the prospect of a generative receptacle, a fresh face for new expressions to come and play across? Does the sites proximity to death allows its potential to be seen in a clearer light? When Maurice Blanchot claims that death cannot be experienced, that "he who dies is anonymous," he immediately goes on to say that "anonymity is the guise in which the ungraspable, the unlimited, the unsituated is most dangerously affirmed among us." Perhaps, as Dispatx gathers its remaining energies for the generation of new material, it finds itself at such a productive and dangerous juncture - one where it may go in countless different directions, and where it is difficult to get a secure sense of where its potential lies, as well as what its original redeeming qualities might be. This is, then, also the sites risk - it is caught between life and death and, as such, oscillates between varying states of itself: what it is, what it was, what it could have been, what it will end up being, and so on. It is this betweenness that makes it difficult to answer the question as to how to honour a dying man...



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:14 AM
What makes a man good? How might we honour him?
I have slept alone for over 20 years. Last time I slept all night with a girlfriend it was 1982. Proof I am a total malfunction.
Michael Jackson, reviled and frankly negated super-hero, is killed at his doctors hand and becomes, once more, deified. What might he say he wants of us?
How can Dispatx rise up and reallocate itself, revise, stand down (stand up)?



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:14 AM
I had an idea for a theme when halfway through Jean-Jacques Rousseaus Reveries of the Solitary Walker. Written two years before his death, the book consists of ten walks made in and around Paris - wanderings that serve as departure points for Rousseau to move into meditations on his life up until that point. It is a poignant retrospective, occasionally defensive, even bitter, but always full of wry insight and beautiful writing.
I began to think this approach could be a good fit for the last Dispatx theme - a combination of an itinerant, ongoing search, with the retrospective elaborations. The act of looking back over a period of time or a body of work, when written in conjunction with an ongoing journey - whether this be a physical walk, image-based wandering, or some other interpretation - could be quite productive. How do new creative impulses weave into the act of closure?
In addition to this peripatetic material, which could be as open in scope as Rousseaus reveries (taking in geography, politics, art, philosophy, botany, etc.), we can bring in other references to the fact that this will be the last Dispatx publication. A Festschrift is a celebratory publication, most often produced in honor of an individual academic. The idea that this final Dispatx edition will form a collection of material that, however obliquely, celebrates Dispatxs work up until now, together with an implication symbolising the passing of a torch, seems perfectly apt.



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:15 AM
A line elapsed or escaped - a thing I need to track down.
The site lurches and shakes - we desire to bring it to life but it shudders under the knife like a greased baby - how to hold the thing still, how to get purchase, with so many other moving elements? Yet to be back here on the writer of old, to find a way to hack it out - by the machines invisible hand it was born and so we have then to assume that the death throes will be played out here also.
For death it is, apart from the discussion of how we can make the ephemeral live. There are various projects that need top be carved out and then embossed back into the thing - a physical rendering is an Ozymandias tombstone but a tombstone at least (an leave aside any thoughts and feelings I have concerning that which is held on beyond death). There is a need to close out - a need to draw various threads together. And there is a desire in parts to keep some element alive.
So then I ask - what is the element that remains? How can we generate enough of it this next 2 years to maintain interest and calm? And what is expected to remain?



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Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:15 AM

The suggestion that Dispatx could in some way be self-institutionalised was to suggest that one possible way for it to assume a critical position in relation to the art world, or the various other institutions mentioned (which is to say, in this case, (and in terms that come from Jacques Rancière) mechanisms that determine and are determined by specific distribution of power and authentication… that are constituted in terms of how they designate who is an a position to speak, what is said and where it takes place… how work is produced, distributed, consumed; what is appropriate to any given platform…) would be to take on the attributes of such an institution itself. Hence the tongue-in-cheek references to Dispatx having different divisions, and proposing a weird masquerade. It’s perhaps a throwaway remark, but it could be worth considering how it might be possible for a site like Dispatx to operate outside of given markets (or how it can create new ones, driven by egalitarian visibility, open access, counter-intuitive mixes of use-value and exchange-value, and so on) and how this might be important in terms of establishing a critical position, being able to think / act independently and creatively, let alone politically… How might this help in terms of making what is institutionally ?marginal’ heard, and what would this involve? How would the marginal change when dragged into the light? What might it turn into if it were to be made heard? Of course, it is partly a joke to think that one might better perform institutional critique by becoming an institution, but in the face of inevitable cycles of assimilation and institutionalization of institutional critique perhaps it is worth considering seriously… as if one could become a uniquely affective parasite if the host is invented – a pretence actually leading somewhere genuine.
It’s debatable whether avoidance of the art institution is possible, whether it has ever happened, or even whether these are stable terms to work against. For that matter, it could be said that even on its present scale, a site like Dispatx is a form of institution, complete with a modus operandi that sets inevitable exclusions in place (directed at first in terms of what it is possible to ?stage’) as crucial element of its design. Perhaps this is unavoidable. When you consider established systems or institutions and ?attendant’ spaces that can be set up in supposed contradistinction to them (e.g. the ?project spaces’ within larger museums that are often artist-run, almost as a concession… covering the market), it can seem that these are themselves institutions of a different form, spread into the shadowy cracks of their larger sibling. They are intractably tied together.

So, it is difficult to figure out how a site like Dispatx could engage with the established distributions of authentication and the divisions in terms of how discourse is partitioned and spread out without entering into those same systems of discourse, or without getting caught in its wake. But this leads us to ask how Dispatx is already implicated in an established system in terms of the way creative work is produced, distributed and engaged with online. It also leads us to ask how any assumption of the role of an ?institution’ could allow such a site to work against itself in an interesting way – staging seppuku; devising a super rigid framework in order to let woodworm loose; the site as scaffold (to an unknown structure). We should be careful not to set up a simplistic comparison of the authentic institution and wayward margins, or to assume that a large institution overpowers in a wholly unproductive way, that is always exclusive and excluding, etc. It could be said that the process of institutionalization is nothing new, nothing unusual, an ongoing rhythm of what is flowing, waxing and waning (“The conventional is now experimental / The experimental is now conventional / Its a dinosaur cackle…” [The Fall] – it’s not by chance that Mark E. Smith pronounces both…) – and it is a case of attuning to these modulating rhythms, as well as beginning to adjust the frequencies so the ?sound’ might reach as yet unsounded areas.
The redistribution of what is perceptible / sensible, as Jacques Rancière might have it, cannot be conceived in advance. If it is to be staged by a certain platform, this reconfiguring of how things are divvied up is to be negotiated as the platform comes into contact with an other, with an ?audience’, external systems, etc. The conditions of its own materiality and the stakes of the encounter in general are open to question in the ?texture’ of the event. Whether by assuming the structures of an institution in literal terms – taking on boards of directors, shareholders, experts and archivists, traveling shows, branded identities, house xstyles, colour schemes, patterned schedules, audience targets, demographics, members and mailing lists, etc. – or assuming the institution in more abstract terms, being a set of attitudes set into assumptions that have built up over time. This demands that self-criticism must constantly challenge its own conditions, taking the necessary unexpected forms to take it away from what is already known. Quite whether the conceit of, to put it another way, taking control of the ?naming space’ new identities could be constructed is open to debate. Is this type of naming a speech act that forces something into existence?
As an online platform, Dispatx’s use of interactive and collaborative tools & technologies (which are still developing rapidly) might point to future formulations that further exploit the combination of do-it-yourself ethics with the formally unified; a mix of the inchoate and the composed. A back and forth between these modes could be the most productive method of establishing new ways of thinking about what a site like Dispatx can do, what it can describe about the making of art and the generation of writing, as well as the discourses that surround it. It could harness the focus of localized responses as fed into, and by, the maddening expanses of immaterial networks and virtual worlds. It might be possible for a site similar to Dispatx to begin to identify different lines of inquiry and analysis, and to generate, out of a process of self-denial, new organizing (or disorganizing) principals. Whether this is temporal or spatial, social or ?institutional’, whether it juxtaposes language that is formal or personal, official or radical, it needs to put the conditions in which the ?event’ of the interface into question.



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:15 AM


One of the obvious parallels with the Dispatx model is the group exhibitions, and in the context of online collections of material (in a wider sense, not only in Dispatx) we could think of scattered site exhibitions. The scattered information system of the internet can be traversed in a number of ways, and these clearly offer a fascinating opportunity for curatorial stratagems. It is an obvious comparison to draw but if URLs were considered ?locales’ it is simple to envisage the navigation through a given body of material, perhaps via a given itinerary, functioning as both a curatorial framework and as the content of the exhibition. This might be a kind of menu, a set of directions, either with specific sequences or contingent options. There would, of course, be problems (is this, in fact, a welcome consequence?) of being abandoned by the itinerary as you proceed into wilderness of the online world, with infinite distractions and claims to your attention. How might the curatorial contribution in this case (like a hastily scribbled set of directions in the pocket) not be left behind, or its loss integrated into the process? It may be productive to provide directions that are impossible to follow, that slip immediately from the memory, or that make no sense in the first place. This is already happening with groups that usurp bookmarking systems like del.icio.us in order to create tracings of curtorial formations across the web: TAGallery. How can this form of collecting be taken further? What potential is there for it to be a confrontation between the free hoarding of material and the specificity of focused thought, a conversation of illogical flights and rigorously prescribed directives.

There is something interesting perhaps considering the role of the curator – and more pertinently, the role of Dispatx as a curating-site – as a guide or escort – even as psychopomp. It makes me think about the relationship between Dante and Virgil in The Divine Comedy, where the senior poet serves as a guide for Dante’s pilgrimage through the various levels of hell, purgatory, and onward toward heaven’s gates. The figure of Virgil is used to support Dante’s narrative, and provides commentary and explanations on the various events along the journey. His display of specific knowledge allows the main figure of writing to proceed on his way. Accepting Virgil’s role here as protective and trustworthy mentor (reflective how Dante regarded his work and historical standing), I’m not suggesting that this semi-authoritative figure is symptomatic of the way Dispatx works, but perhaps a skewed version of this symbol of rationality, this foil, this straight man, could serve as a curatorial model. The idiot Virgil, of whom you are never sure if he knows what he is doing or where he is going. Being presented with material, i.e. going to an exhibition, might be best conducted by a doubtful pilot, who leaves numerous things open to doubt. Even Virgil doesn’t accompany Dante into heaven – he must allow this to happen on undirected, unaided terms.


“I for thy profit pondring now devise,
That thou mayst follow me, and I thy guide
Will lead thee hence through an eternal space,
Where thou shalt hear despairing shrieks, and see
Spirits of old tormented, who invoke
A second death; and those next view, who dwell
Content in fire, for that they hope to come,
Wheneer the time may be, among the blest,
Into whose regions if thou then desire
T ascend, a spirit worthier then I
Must lead thee, in whose charge, when I depart,
Thou shalt be left: for that Almighty King,
Who reigns above, a rebel to his law,
Adjudges me, and therefore hath decreed,
That to his city none through me should come.”
[Inferno, CANTO I]
There’s also something compelling in the vision of the curator-figure as an impassive ringmaster, lining up spectacles, combinations of events that might shock, disgust or inform. The manufacture of visions and sensations. The intermediary here could be seen as malevolent or benevolent - Virgil as a salesman, out for profit, a concerned ghost, a Stalker, an unaware master of ceremonies. It is the level of involvement that is in question, the level of investment. I’m interested in how the them can signal changes in this dial, a relinquishing or tightening of the grip.



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:15 AM


I think its worth considering how the theme text (or theme agent) might be conceived as a speech act (illocutionary force, an utterance that does) in order to begin to transform that nature of the site. Perhaps the theme, one of the keystones of the relatively stable structure of the existing site relies on, might be hijacked in order to instigate different conceptions of individual/collaborative practice, curatorial self-positioning and audience participation from the way they are currently set up. The theme might be able to undo Dispatx to a certain extent – much like this interim process, to show the workings of the site in order to expose them to change. It’s also worth considering how Dispatx can begin to negotiate a position relative to the various institutions that it inevitably references and relates to, however marginally. This might involve a process of ?self-institutionalisation’ that can somehow ingratiate it with the structures of, for example, the art world, conventions of web 2.0, social sites, online and material publishing, the blog surplus, etc. If Dispatx were to create itself as its own institution, how might this allow it to establish a critical, productive new stage from which to conduct its activities? If it were to go through a process of subdivision, creating and naming new ?spaces’ in which it can operate, how might it relate with the other forms of social and cultural interaction that continually infect, traverse and surround it? Can such an identity – one of innumerable splits – be constructed, or forced to exist?



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:15 AM

Even in the process of exploring this interim-theme-about-themes, we might ask whether this continued introspection is necessary or productive, but there is surely something in examining the relatively recent emergence of curatorial agency, especially in relation to how a site like Dispatx can be critically positioned. It might also be useful to ask to what extent Dispatx can be seen as a performative project, and to consider its insertion into a ?market’ of cultural exchange – countless art websites, collectives both physical and virtual, art and literature magazines, academic journals, etc. A perspective that recurs seems to suggest that part of its potency comes from the fact that it does not quite know where it sits, or what it is. It might also be that this lack of obvious top-down authority (though a degree of control still exists) is what grants the site a future. So the question remains as to how this uncertainty of stance allows Dispatx to assume a variety of positions in relation to the art world, the digital world, accepted modes of discourse, relational economies, writing and its dissemination, etc. The nature of the ?platform’ is up for grabs here; what can be inferred or instituted through such a site? How can its form reflect these tasks? Can it perform a critique of a given system without itself entering into it; must it be implicated provided it has the requisite wit?

It is possible to keep examining the role of the curator with relation to Dispatx It’s not clear if, or how, Dispatx fits in to these discussions, so it is an obvious opportunity to prod the conceptual terrain around what the site does, especially through unpicking the figure of the theme. If we think about curating and the figure of the curator, we can exploit the different claims to this position made from different viewpoints. From its position of uncertainty - from it not being recognised as a verb – to curate can take in terms as diverse as carer, medium, behind-the-scenes manager, aesthetic arbiter, co-author, collaborator, ?-/artist/-’, midwife, DJ, agent, provider, mediator, facilitator, negotiator, agitator, and so on. How can we conceive of the role of a site in similarly exploratory way, testing out these various compound assignations to figure out what a platform is or is capable of? [One might ask whether this mass of associative terms suggests the desperation of a figure without qualities of their own… as Hannibal Lecter might have it, the “elaborations of a bad liar”?]
Interestingly, when the figure of the curator is considered as a type of middleman this raises interesting points. Conceived not as a suspect, average character that might need to be ?cut out’, nor as a neutralising agent that defuses conflict and restores order, the middleman relates to the relations between assignations of ?use value’ and ?exchange value’, operating in the interim zone of ?capital value’. Via the middleman relations between producer and consumer are disrupted or even overtaken – and it might be said that Dispatx occupies something of this intermediary role, a schizophrenic split between a manufacturer and a distributor. This is not to suggest that the site is a type of capitalist agent, so to speak, but we could imagine a kind of ?subjectivity’ of the intermediary emerging. In the case of Dispatx’s mode of operation, how is this intermediary ?figure’ made up? What constitutes a middle-site?
Perhaps it is useful to think of this so-called figure as an evacuated space (the curator Mary Jane Jacobs suggests that part of the work of curating is “maintaining an empty space”, access to and from the unexpected) – a figure without qualities – a placeholder that can be filled in, rubbed back, made to form some kind of invented critical ?persona’ who might be addressed, and who serves to position a series of events in the line of fire, so to speak. This suggests a collective or composite curatorial remit poured into an empty vessel; the curator-figure as legion, multiple middlemen inserting delays and diversions in the creative process. This also brings in references to anonymity and impartiality, though these terms suggest yet further complications.
Dispatx exists both as a system of production and mediation; these tropes are bound up with one another. The order of dependency between these two modes, and they way they infect each other, might be worth emphasising as the project develops. We could ask whether it is in the role of Dispatx as producer (how does this manifest itself?) or mediation that a process of authorisation comes in? What kind of mediation is at stake in combinations of site, contributors, users?



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:15 AM

The way Dispatx sets itself out, as epitomised by the theme text, is directly related to these questions of its power to be subversive or confirming of existing modes of exchange, constellations of what can be said, by whom, how and why, etc. One might ask if there is a way that the Dispatx site can be developed further so as to make this aspect completely open up. And if there were various things that could be done to institute a fully non-hierarchical platform, what other dangers does this bring with it? It has been suggested, with reference to distributed networks where there is supposedly no top-down system of control / mastery, that this can result in the establishment of other, more insidious forms of control and influence. Perhaps what is central to these concerns is the task of accepting an inherently unstable curatorial, critical, creative (etc.) position from the outset, and whether this is possible. If there are no fixed demarcations as to where the authority of a discourse lies, if the patterns of editorial influence are not firmly in place (nor entirely absent), then perhaps this difficult uncertainty could promote a genuinely fruitful engagement with new forms of practice. It is not entirely clear (especially in the process of writing this...!) how such an unstable position could be brought about, or how it could be upheld in practical terms, but these concerns seem to be pertinent to this examination of what make Dispatx tick. The ideal curatorial position here would seem to be something akin to spinning plates - a near-farcical back-and-forth between assertion and relinquishment that works toward the point of production being seeded on uncertain terms. A project born into doubt, in stateless transit, might be an offspring free to move and grow into anything.
There is also the not-unreasonable demand that a platform such as this needs to function from a specific position, but this also leads to various difficulties, not least in terms of what this position should be and how it should manifest itself. In what way does Dispatx formulate a position with the theme texts? Is this written anew with each collection of projects? What might a more established position be in relation to politics, aesthetics, material or immaterial emphases, etc, etc.? To what extent can Dispatx work as a vehicle for making a point or displaying an argument? In the case of the theme texts, what is the Dispatx that is behind these publications, and where is it writing from? Does the writing encourage further research, further reading, and if so is this within or beyond the borders of the site itself? Who is the audience - and isnt the site its own? (assuming that it doesnt know whats coming...) - and what is their respective position? Is there a way to engage the informed and the uninformed alike; how do the rules of engagement differ?



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:16 AM

This practice that refuses to sit still, so to speak, arguably for fear that if it were to come to rest it would make no sense, is a constant presence in a project like Dispatx, given the emphasis on the creative process, the open work and the digital environment for developing and presenting ideas. Does this confluence of the unfinished and the complete bring out a concern for sense and nonsense? It might be worth asking where this obligation to make sense is coming from in the first place, as well as the demands of originality and contributions to knowledge. The relation to language (slowly coming back to the question of themes) is also important. If Dispatx is, for the most part, concerned with creative method and immaterial labour, does this call for a type of language that reflects the uncertainties and disruptions of the paradoxical presence of the site? If there is a perceived need for a kind of a-grammaticism when it comes to the way Dispatx is oriented between production and consumption (so to speak), how might the platform, and more specifically the use of language in the theme texts, explore this stuttering / glitching? If such disruptions of language and established structure are required - aphasic, dyslexic alterations of perception - how might this be controlled... how is control to be relinquished? How can such a collective platform engage with the passage of alteration as one terrain traces into another? And, if there are opportunities for extended writing experiments that might do and undo compounds of text and image, does it necessarily come from a marginal position? How might such spaces for writing be assembled from the outset; how can a call for contributions hope to both disrupt and cause disruption? Can the Dispatx format be deliberately corroded toward potential for the new?



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:16 AM

With regard to different modes of engagement, particularly the contrast between material and immaterial exchange, Dispatx seems to offer a position of some potential subversion. The practice of displaying work in progress as something that can be actively engaged in a sense presents it as a material, malleable substance - a series of events that can be shaped and effected by outside influence. This is one way of considering the process material, but there other ways of looking at it. There is also the combination of works designed for on the web and those projects that consist of forms of documentation of objects or events taking place elsewhere. There are countless varieties of these different practices combining aspects of material and immaterial exchange. There would seem to be exciting potential in considering how the formats and aesthetic qualities of particular types of online interfaces could be exploited and tested. Further to this, it might also be suggested that the Dispatx site as a whole offers a interstitial position with regard to its look and feel. As its design and use of language suggests, there are clearly references to business memes and conventions of commodity-based vocabularies of product, services, etc. This proximity to the aesthetics and discourses of business, especially in contrast to a great deal of the contributed content housed by the site, is a very interesting area - potentially staging a kind of collision that tests different ways of thinking and speaking about creativity, forms of use and exchange value, etc. It is not only an exchange of ideas, but a space in which the language with which we express these ideas moves outside of usual habit. Staged as critique, with the tongue leaning slightly toward the cheek, the echoes of retail sites where online activity is oriented toward purchase or acquirement (whether it be products or relations), in the design and functionality of Dispatx - logos, private collections, taking possession of content, etc. - seems to be a space full of potential. It might even be suggested that this could be the seed of a critical position - offering a marginal, etiolated, perfectly diseased version of these discourses made up of directives and surety.



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:16 AM

In thinking about the development of themes for Dispatx and how they function to bring work together, it might be worth relating this to questions of the point of production in general. We might ask what this momentum of production is geared towards in the case of the curatorial platform, and ask if, how and why this might be developed in the future. The question as to how production gets started is crucial to thinking about the site overall and, again, the theme is central to that. How does the theme get produced - how does this production beget production? How does the site contribute to the production of knowledge? Given the contentious status of such terms, not least in the endless discourse around institutional language and questions of art research, etc. this is a complicated issue. But these considerations of the theme, and the way this forms a cornerstone of the site, inevitably leads one to question who or what the platform is for and whether it is successful. One starts to wonder why there is such an emphasis on a rather earnest exchange of ideas, an insistence on openness to diversity of practice, and how the site can best locate itself to the general and the particular.
Perhaps just as pertinent are considerations of the productive power of distributed networks (whether these are social sites, collaborative / collective / distributed practices, democratic access to information, publishing, etc). How fertile is this phenomena of dynamic contacts, associative strategies and relational interaction; to what extent does it generate interesting work, or work that persists on its own terms? Is there a substantive weight beyond the glee of plugging things in, or disrupting concepts in the hope of framing them anew? There can be criticism of what can appear to be unfettered esoteric juxtaposition - a kind of endless channel hopping - that floats at the periphery of any substantiation yet crucially doesnt seem to conjure any implied other mystery. There are, of course, arguments to be had in defence of such strategies - utilising chance, mimicry, self-reference, avoiding taking a fixed position and so on - but there is also the prospect that such practice can be hiding behind a glut of surface connections with nothing behind the curtain. Still one might question why this is problematic, but certainly the relationship to ambiguity is often a difficult one. Its waters are treacherous (but the coastlines seen from deck are among the most compelling...), with no plumbs to draw, no real process of testing, no maps to consult. Perhaps it appears (from an outside? What is this?) as though there is always an escape clause, as if, when creative connections fail to produce the goods, so to speak, it is again deferred by the possibility of further connections yet to be made, understood or experimented with. Substantiation is put off - perhaps it is overrated in any case - and no access is granted to a point where or when a work might stop or begin to endure. It would seem to be a terrifying, abyssal involution where creativity and communication are interchangeable to the extent that nothing is being transmitted but transmission itself. Where does this circling get us, the readers, the artists or the work? The elusiveness suggests invulnerability - an inability to be refuted, since associative surface connections often dont add up to a sense that can be directly challenged other than via the way it is phrased, not what is being said. This is, in some way, a movement of isolation - I see it as a task of the Dispatx site to stage the engagement with these problems, bridging the incisive and the diffuse, always with the prospect of generating matter that hasnt been encountered before. For all the potential for productive self-disruption and connectivity of content and ideas, it could be argued that needs to be a counterweight of clarity and proposition (both need to be present) to force the spinning vortex back into the ring, where it can do some real damage. Its always possible that the forces of distributed connectivity and the practices of immaterial labour can become esoteric, impotent, cut off from another type of network: one that stays still long enough to get a sense of it, even if it is then made strange once again.
[image - Bellmans Map from Lewis Carrolls The Hunting of the Snark]



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:16 AM

Something about this admirable project to reinvent analog film seemed to resonate with the Dispatx project. Perhaps it is the transparency of the process already in evidence, or the strict 12-month time limit emphasised by the counter running down in the corner of the website.

The impossible mission is "NOT to re-build Polaroid Integral film but (with the help of strategic partners) to develop a new product with new characteristics, consisting of new optimised components, produced with a streamlined modern setup. An innovative and fresh analog material, sold under a new brand name that perfectly will match the global re-positioning of Integral Films".







Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:16 AM


When considering the importance of the theme and its various functions, we must acknowledge the fact that it is dominated by writing. There is, of course, no reason why a theme should not be an image (or countless other ideas – which all bring their own problems) but the dominance of writing is certainly notable. Not only that, there is no doubt a particular type of writing emerges in these texts and it would be interesting to examine why this is be the case. Do these texts need to be written like this to achieve what is required? What other forms of writing might be usefully employed to develop new ideas and original work?
The order of dependency between the works in a collection and the writing that accompanies this process is also interesting. There are not only theme texts, but also the strange presences of the editorials and the supplementary discourses that make up the intermittent reviews. The function of writing here, in its different forms (not just those traceable to individual authors), deserves to be interrogated further. Does the way the editorial (which one might consider as correlate to the catalogue text – with all the baggage that implies) is written alter what the collection is ?about’? How is the ?thinking’ of the collection’s thematic thread strengthened through a writing process?
Do these texts make judgments or requirements by which a project or collection might be considered successful or interesting? How does the theme set up the possibilities of judgment or propose terms of value for the works it anticipates? How might criticism be anticipated in the primary texts, and what are the relationships and connections to other ?partner’ texts (and adversarial texts) throughout the site? It would seem that there are clearly marked entry and exit points designated by the theme text and the editorial. The Dispatx process might be seen as a kind of experimental laboratory between these points, where matter is inserted at one end of the machine and different matter emerges at the other. The degree of control and transparency associated with the process of ?digestion’ is where the majority of Dispatx’s focus lies.
Just how important is this initial text? Is it an expendable guide, or an unnecessary interference from the editors / curators? Would the site generate content without these prompts? What kind of extensible arguments are being made? What do the collections achieve? Are conceptual frameworks being forced onto projects simply to satisfy some assumed curatorial obligation? Is it possible for editors / curators to operate invisibly, beyond group authorship – and could this rob the whole project of the individual impetus of personality? There is also the question of coherence. How do separate works come together to support exploratory ideals or present bold statements? Is this a place for cumulative or collective solutions? How might the ?problems’ be better expressed in the first place? What does it mean for a collection of works (in the context of Dispatx) to work at all?



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:16 AM


There are further implications when it comes to the notion of immateriality and the nature of Dispatx as an online platform. As the focus of curatorial attention has extended from the object, to processes, to dynamic network systems, the distribution of curatorial process and responsibilities have become more widely distributed between multiple agents, including technological networks and software. This upgraded operating system of art presents new possibilities of online curating that is collective and distributed, to the extreme of a self-organising system that curates itself. As with Dispatx, the curator is part of this system but not central to it. There are also interesting questions to ask about notions of power and control at play in these processes, especially regarding the levels of control exerted by those that operate the website and the collective networks that they are tapping into. The fundamental negotiation between the forms of authority (of which the theme is but one) and the potential of free, distributed access, is of central importance to the evolution of Dispatx.
There are inevitably restrictions as to what can be shown or experienced on the web (there are things that are unique to web-based media too) and often the focus is on the methods by which material is located and navigated, rather than the substance of what is being said or done. In the Dispatx format, the templates that allow the site to work inevitably restrict the degree of connective and associative combinations of difference, sympathy and contention that might occur. It is a difficult thing to mark out a territory that faces demands of both chaos and order, and the manner in which transgression arises (using inappropriate formats, strange convergences of text and image, etc.) , how the new is anticipated, is what Dispatx is all about. This requires that strategies be developed that force the site to mutate and react to what is developing within it – moving with its content into unusual territories, beyond meat-less meta-texts and moving toward practical applications, affects and accomplishments, etc.
In order to make the site work, the organization of material needs to provide a compelling personal experience for as many people visiting the site as possible. We might ask how the site can provide a setting for collaboration and collective exploration that is different from other sites? Is the combination of work in progress and finished submissions what separates Dispatx? What role could the comments system, the fluid mapping of tags and individually curated collections within MyDispatx (with the unnerving prospect of proliferating theme texts… exercises in criticism), DxNews feeds and reviews – posts that supplement ongoing projects with relevant interjections and annotations, aiming to keep everything moving right up to publication – play in this process?



Fecha Publicación: 4/23/2022 5:01:17 AM


The process of selection and curatorial control raises its head here. An interesting aspect in terms of the process and its relationship to other forms of curatorial practice would seem to be absence of projected selection. When selecting a theme for an issue, it is rare that any existing piece of work is being considered beforehand. In this sense, the Dispatx themed issues are designed for the creation of new material, work that hasnt been seen before (at least in this context) rather than combinations of existing works designed to embody relations out of which a theme might be pulled. The practice of piecing together a unifying theme from the scattered associations of discrete artworks (for example) does not tend to happen. If a theme is designed to approach the new, so to speak, and not as a pretext to show the already valued items in a collection, or to unearth items that are in storage, does this constitute a riskier or uncertain process? Obviously, there are always doubts that the prepared theme will be responded to at all, or whether it will serve to disrupt things enough that what comes of it is not simply instances of work that have been seen numerous times before.
We might ask what is at stake in the develop of a theme, not only in terms of how works might be collated together, but what the resultant body of work might do, what interdisciplinary exchanges or forms of thinking it might generate. It is important that illustrative responses to any given theme are avoided wherever possible. The theme stands to provoke contributors into generating material, which of course does not preclude taking issue with anything expressed or implied by the body of the theme itself. The theme functions as a preparatory, heuristic or propaedeutic item. It is not intended to dominate or to paralyze, but to both instigate and respond. To the extent that it might withdraw once its initial impact has been made, it might also be said that the theme texts are often filled out by the projects that stem from it; its meanings are underlined or undercut as each project rubs up against it. Though it is clearly there to serve an organizational purpose, it should not be regarded as a precious text that cannot be challenged or otherwise unsettled. It is not an instructional directive that must be followed but a point of departure that can be left behind, secure that it might be referenced again, like an origin that is slowly receding from view. In fact, the theme often supplies tools that might be used against it. It can be a protective system, a machine of justification, or a burden that can be shucked. This is part of the reason that the theme must promote a mixture of intuitive ?not knowing’, as well as possessing a strategic, didactic presence.