He admired the meritocratic nature of the sport, where competitors are paired off by weight and age. He still follows wrestling closely: one afternoon, while we were at lunch, he pulled out his phone and watched video highlights of a recent high-school tournament while wolfing down a Cuban sandwich. During his sophomore year of high school, Troemel took a photography class. He liked how photography let him reframe the mundane details of his environment, in a way similar, he said, to how a skateboarder could turn a handrail into a productive obstacle.
He received a scholarship to a pre-college program at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City, and when he returned to Illinois he started considering a career in art. It was , the height of the housing boom, and he went around taking pictures of various artifacts of suburban development.
He did one series of concrete subdivision markers, arranging a hundred photographs into a Becher-like grid. The work looked impressive in a frame on his wall, but when he shared a photo of it on Facebook it was shrunk to the size of any other post, becoming lost in the ocean of content. Troemel enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he became disillusioned by what he saw as the lack of seriousness among many of his classmates.
Troemel was a contentious figure on campus. He dominated class discussions and was relentlessly critical of his fellow-students. Troemel gravitated toward artists whose work falls under the label of institutional critique, which takes as its subject the hidden workings of the art world itself.
Institutional critique was born in the political climate of the late nineteen-sixties, when conceptual artists began to mischievously subvert the conventions of the museum and the gallery. Marcel Broodthaers, the Belgian poet and artist, created a fictional museum that had gone bankrupt and needed to sell off its collection.
For one piece, Fraser filmed herself having sex with a collector, who paid for the privilege. As Troemel absorbed the lessons of institutional critique, he discovered the work of popular technology writers such as Clay Shirky and the former Wired editor Chris Anderson, who believed that the Internet was bringing about a democratic revolution in other cultural arenas.
Troemel saw the Internet as a way to circumvent the art world, by distributing art freely. But the Internet, Troemel explains ecstatically, has ushered in an era of art as pure information, uncontainable by the market. Scott Projects showed work by art students in Chicago, and its shows were well attended.
When Troemel and Christiansen began showing artists from outside Chicago, however, attendance declined drastically. People had been coming out to support their friends. Like Troemel, Christiansen had been a star athlete in high school—she had turned down a track-and-field scholarship from Arizona State University—and they shared a competitive streak, which they funnelled into making their trash sculptures as quickly as possible.
There was a pile of ice that was spray-painted gold and a litre bottle of Diet 7 UP Cherry that was balanced atop a pool cue. Troemel and Christiansen began to use Photoshop to enhance the photos of their sculptures with images and textures found on Google.
The Jogging was an inside joke that doubled as a form of institutional critique. Each work, no matter how tossed off or improvisational, was given a formal title. The Jogging, which had gained a small but dedicated audience, took a nearly two-year hiatus.
He became interested in the Silk Road, which used Bitcoin and identity-masking software like the Tor network to allow users to buy and sell illegal drugs. He ordered small amounts of designer psychedelics, amphetamines, and other drugs, using computers in an N.
The lab had creaky wood floors, and he remembers feeling as if everyone were looking at him. He was as fascinated by the Silk Road packages as by their contents, the ways in which the sellers balanced the need for anonymity with the desire to brand their wares. There was a plastic baggie emblazoned with red dice, a fake I.
Troemel is interested in the artistic potential of a particular form of attention unique to social media: the rapid snowballing of clicks, likes, and shares known as virality.
In , the Jogging relaunched, with virality as an explicit goal. Troemel had become fascinated by the anarchic message board 4chan, whose anonymous users are famous for posting pornography and explicit gore.
The Jogging had by then grown to be among the top one per cent of blogs on Tumblr, and attracted widespread coverage both inside and outside the art world. It was around this time that I discovered the Jogging, after it was shared by one of the Tumblr blogs I followed.
Each post was interesting on its own, but the steady rate at which new posts appeared, every few hours, each displaying a bizarre but consistent aesthetic, was the real mystery. Who was doing this, and why? A lot of them linked to the portfolios of young artists, many still in grad school. One of the main attractions of Internet culture is its transparency.
A meme or a viral video can serve as a gateway to another world, since it can often be traced, through links, back to its source. Like many of the other essays, it takes what are seen as turning points in art historical theory, and brings to light the limiting, and often times weak interventions that are contextualized around the practice of art because they are done within the boundary of the art world; a space which values the individual creator and dichotomy of viewer-creator.
And that it can and should do so in the digital space, beyond the push and pull of traditional linear forces like institution-curator-collector. Spaces where we finally counter the problematic concept of dominant market based buying-selling, the physical attendance of a show, and the ensuing dichotomy of viewer-creator that Troemel brings up in an earlier essay on RA and 4Chan.
Troemel also dwells on the social implications of media and social networks in how we perceive, build, produce and participate in the idea of a reality, and our identities within those realities. A lot of it thinks through the anxieties of what all that means. December 11, Brad troemel essays. Brad troemel essays. Doubt john patrick shanley essay writer.
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He did one series of concrete subdivision markers, arranging a hundred photographs into a Becher-like grid. And that it can and should do so in the digital space, beyond the push and pull of traditional linear forces like institution-curator-collector. The piece pulsed to the vibrations of people walking around it. Like many of the other essays, it takes what are seen as turning points in art historical theory, and brings to light the limiting, and often times weak interventions that are contextualized around the practice of art because they are done within the boundary of the art world; a space which values the individual creator and dichotomy of viewer-creator. Troemel is interested in the artistic potential of a particular form of attention unique to social media: the rapid snowballing of clicks, likes, and shares known as virality. For one piece, Fraser filmed herself having sex with a collector, who paid for the privilege.