Per la serie: le interviste che avrei voluto e dovuto fare io, se ancora fossi il ghepardo di dieci anni fa. Kenneth Goldsmith è il fondatore di Ubu, un immenso archivio online di poesia, videosperimentazione, arte d'avanguardia e nicchie creative varie, con frammenti di Cage, Ballard, Sun Ra, Satie, Borges, Brecht, Greenaway, Eno, Debord, Sontag... Semplicissimo nella struttura grafica (very 1.0), ma dotato di una sua arcaica multimedialità (con video, testi, immagini, audio). Goldsmith viene intervistato dal magazine Tank. Qui sotto, qualche estratto. Qui, l'intervista integrale.
NR: Why do you think that is the case?
KG: Everyone is frightened of copyright. Ubuweb simply acts like copyright doesn’t exist: we just ignore it. Everything on Ubu is free. We don’t touch money. The site is run by students and volunteers, and our server space and bandwidth is donated by universities. Ubu has discovered an economic gray zone by hosting out-of-print and hard-to-find items that aren’t valuable, economically speaking. It’s mostly artists’ ephemera and although it might not be worth a lot of money, intellectually and historically it’s priceless. The only value of the avant-garde is artistic and political.
NR: How do you think new digital technology affects how artists create and show their work?
KG: If you look at art galleries and art fairs, you’d forget that the internet even exists. To me, that’s not being contemporary. The market is still the thing that drives the art world, to the exclusion of almost everything else. I feel the art world is falling behind culture. Art used to lead culture – if I wanted the latest and most innovative ideas, I’d go to a contemporary art museum. Today, I’ll go to Apple. Corporate and mainstream culture makes the art world look like an antiques shop. What the art world is missing is the idea that it’s not the content any more that makes a work radical; instead, it is the way it’s distributed. A Matthew Barney video is still a Matthew Barney video, just as it was 20 years ago, but how it is distributed – across file-sharing networks to far-flung corners of the world, for free and on demand – is what makes it radical. For the art world, the primacy of content has long been replaced by market status. The art world doesn’t care what artworks are about; they care how much money they are worth.
NR: You have said you don’t believe in a democratic approach to art – why is that?
KG: One of the problems with the web – and social media in general – is the ethos of “everything is good” (the “like” button on Facebook), or “everybody has a voice”. Everybody might have a voice, but not every voice is worth listening to. You need someone to separate and discern which ones are worth hearing. And that’s always been the role of the curator. In the age of the archivist – and we are all archivists by default in the digital era – curation has become even more important. With more and more artworks and files, you really need someone to sort it all out for you. Ubu doesn’t have an open policy or any social media or “community” attached to it. It’s more like a library where you come to it and take what’s there.