Prefixing “Un” is a growth industry in 2013 and set for peak nausea in 2014. Music suffered this affectation in the 80’s with “Anti music”, which engendered “Unsound” which got a nice tour schedule, presumably on the basis of what wasn’t on offer. Now that the scribblers have encountered sampling technology we’ve got ‘uncreative writing’, a petulant response to plagiarism, ‘so I’ll plagiarise everything! Naah naah!’, displaying about as much merit as the Christmas carols played on dog barks we got in the early days of sampling. If you ask a scribbler about the worth of uncreativity, they inevitably carry on about plunderphonics and hip hop albums from 20 years ago. Guys, we wore that out a decade ago and it’s time for glitch poems, do please keep up.
What it really means: I need to keep a cop out from what I am doing in case it gets criticised.
2. “Thinking with”.
Everybody is thinking with. They’re thinking with painting, thinking with sound, thinking with sacking workers. It’s the most pompous possible way of saying that you completed a work process, usually a very traditional one, and then reflected on what happened. That’s like a first year university exercise and it’s shameful to hear senior people patting themselves all over for doing something so bloody obvious. Given the only alternative to “thinking with” is a lobotomy, I guess they earn a pass.
What it really means: I had to ply my trade, and am embarrassed that somebody might think I was just a tradesman.
Everybody do the robot. Take any old ‘new media’ proposal, replace the word ‘computer’ with ‘robot’, get grant. I already said this many times, all that has changed is that the university wanna-be’s – the corporations that call their workplace a ‘campus’ – are getting heavy with the robot as well. My suspicion is that all the people who worked on AI and robotics in the 1960’s have retired and the youngsters have dusted off their blissful ignorance and are going to run this dream one more time, with feeling. I can’t tell you that AI is always going to fail, but I can tell you I’d rather bet on a horse. For human/robot relationships please see Disneyland. I’m serious, they worked it out decades ago.
What it really means: Computers are associated with dorks, I don’t want people to think I’m a dork so I’ll talk about robots.
Some god please punish the person that came up with ‘STEM’ – the useful studies of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics*, also known as ‘the humanities are useless garbage that should go die somewhere’. It’s like C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures rolled into a simple slogan STOP THE ARTS for maximum affront and argument. The Arts continue their degrading attempt to hang with the cool kids via idiotic me-too scientism – the ‘social sciences’ and ‘art metrics’. One particular act of desperation is trying to align with some hard science, any hard science, to rub off some of that sweet funding – and this has come to be known as ‘STE-A-M’.
Why does Science need the Arts? Particularly as the Arts have thrown away every distinction and advantage they once had to offer. Yes, they could once make beautiful illustrations of the data that science creates, except of course we don’t teach how to make beautiful illustration any more, merely the idea of getting some support staff to do it. The Sciences can do that just as well, thanks very much.
What it really means: I do too have a real job! I’m an ideas man!
* The only jobs in STEM are weapons. So a slow clap for all that.
I can hear programmers already gnashing their teeth. Programming, coding, is fucking hard work. So when somebody waltzes in and describes scripting or filling in an event questionnaire as ‘coding’, go right ahead and school them. No, clicking together Little Bits kits is not coding. It’s good to know that you can re-arrange elements to personalise your consumption, but only if you realise that you are still a consumer re-arranging the symbols that the actual coder has provided. Choosing from an a la carte menu, you are not the chef. Either gain the skills and be the chef, or give respect to the person that did the actual coding – yet again the craftsman that the artist fails to respect.
What it really means: I don’t want to be seen as a consumer, and so I’ll claim that I’m a collaborator instead.
Here’s a non-word that fires off my spell checker. Once upon a time you would be an artist, but then everyone was an artist. So then you would be a band, or an art collective, but then everyone was that. So you would be a label or a gallery, but you know what. So now everyone is a curator and that’s the best of all. A curator is anyone that likes some stuff, and organises that stuff somewhere. In the 80’s you would make a mix tape for your girlfriend, but the 21st century converts that to ‘curating a series of audio recordings in an emotionally significance sequence on the most appropriate analogue format to evoke the relevant time period for the collected works’. Sounds like a full job! Already people are curating curators.
What it really means: I may not be able to paint, but I can fill a room with paintings. I am better than artists.
7. Clouds. Still happening.
Where a year or so ago you had the suspicion that your private files were going to be used for spam and surveyed by the NSA, this year you actually know that’s the case. You might remember that you were assured that wasn’t so, and frankly if you don’t feel like a farm animal you need to wise up. This is more about the continuing utopian rhetoric of ‘the cloud’ as a universal spice for any possible teaching or collaboration no matter how ineffectual or meaningless. The unopened textbook is not improved by the unwatched YouTube lecture and time spent in turd polishing is better spent on working on the content. The worst possible case is when information is edited down to fit in cloud delivery. They used to do that to women’s feet to hobble them. Don’t call that a breakthrough.
What it really means: Same Great Taste Now In New BITE SIZE Foil Pack!