[NetBehaviour] any thoughts about "Comedian"?

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 14 17:40:22 CET 2019

Hi all,

The coal mine comparison is interesting.  The below article about insects which I read this fall has an interesting idea about "shared substance," like honey in the case of bees, and how it can organize complex systems by feedback through a "shared stomach" which acts as a feedback buffer and "information center."


Maybe in "Comedian" the shared substance is not just bananas (food) or tape (tools) but laughter?  Like a silver-lining gesture, never certain but always hoped-for.

Somewhat interesting review in the Guardian that references flow metaphors in Cattelan:


I've noticed some posts bouncing since yesterday; is anyone else having issues?

All best and happy Saturday,


>From the insect article:

"A key problem for complex systems is achieving resilience through their (often nonlinear) interactions between components. Social insect colonies are natural examples of highly scalable systems that achieve homeostatic self-regulation based on local interactions. We describe a “functional core model” that we identified in three different insect societies (wasps, ants, and honey bees). This core model is based on self-regulation through a shared (limited) substance that works as an information center and as a buffer system simultaneously. This system has several adaptive properties, as it is robust against environmental disturbances and insensitive against parameter changes. Finding such a “common core model” is of high significance in understanding the discrete transitions from individuality to sociality in several animal species through convergent evolution."

From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Patrick Lichty <lists at voyd.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 6:01 AM
To: netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] any thoughts about "Comedian"?

Mainly, this is Cattelan in fine form. Taking the Duchampian approach to the art market is fine, except for the sales amount.
In some ways, the gesture is a bit of a problem based on this, but on the other hand, perhaps Cattelan nails the critique in doing so.
Dan Detuna's eating of the banana was good but expected, and the scrawl about Epstein just seemed purely tactical.
The iterations of derivatives is amusing, but in so doing, I think that it shows the frustrations about the art world, its level of hypercapitalization, hyperprofessionalism, hypermarketing, and in my opinion, I feel it is a harbinger of a correction in the next few years if not sooner.

Good on Cattelan for showing the Emperor's clothes, and selling them to him. It was a good Duchampian crit on the current state of the art world.
And don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with selling art, but as Lovink's new anthology on design states, and Schnayer's book, Boom both talk about is that the art world have changed so much in the past 15 years, and I share Marc's differences regarding the dominance of the neoliberal influence in it.  As some of my students tell me, their first impulse is to shape their practices to the market even before their vision is formed.  I find this perverse.
I don't think the canary in the coal mine will shut it down as long as the bosses figure there is still coal to mine.
And maybe this is a bad metaphor; perhaps we should urge shutting down the coal mine in favor of sustainable and renewable models.
Just metaphors.

On Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:21:35 +0000, Max Herman via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

Hi all,

I'm wondering if this art work can be mapped usefully or helpfully by a network hypothesis, as I'm trying to do vis-a-vis the Mona Lisa in "The Work of Art in the Age of Network Reproduction."

It does seem that the work is fundamentally designed to create ripples across media networks and society, in myriad forms like conversation, criticism, tweets, selfies, high-fives, etc.  Maybe the price is designed to give the artist three years of living expenses.  The duct tape represents the cheapest and most obvious way to "affix" an object to a location ( or as Stevens says, "let the lamp affix its beam").

Bananas represent empire, colonialism, and injustice (as in a banana republic), mass consumption, food networks, deforestation, racism (as when thrown onto football pitches), phallocentrism, poverty, etc.

When a banana is opened and consumed, you have a waste product -- a peel.  When someone steps on a peel and slips, that's a system intervention of a comic sort (though it's also a huge danger of severe brain injury).  Comedy is a staged performance where conflict and danger are resolved peacefully, without death as in the case of tragedy, with the participants laughing and feeling relief, a rescue from disaster and absolution from the guilt of unacknowledged wrongdoing.  Comedians are people who try to make comedy, not just the ones who succeed.

Has this all already been said?  Maybe so!  Does it relate to "Distant Feelings"?  I think there is a correlation that reflects very well on Abrahams' work.  It's not so much the object, but the network flow in time in which the process indicated by the object occurs and has or doesn't have influence.  I think it also relates to the Mona Lisa, in that Leonardo is also hoping to help make better possible futures more possible.

Best regards,


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