COMMENTARY: A New Word For Pretentious


Parbunkells: A word as rare and fragile as the special snowflake who wishes to co-opt it

I SUPPOSE RANTALLION WAS TOO COMMON A PARLANCE: Article on “Artist Posts 17th Century Word on Billboard, Asks That Nobody Else Use It”

Ah, parbunkells. Straight from the bowels of the Orwellian world of university style post-conceptual contextualized readings comes the latest production of hipster welfare.

I’ve written in the past on how conceptual art is a tool of oppression. It’s part of an elitist strategy of filtering and access control. The promotion of soulless art without skill is one of the techniques by which the establishment proclaims 2+2=5. Embracing their doublethink lies, proselytizing on behalf of their reality-denying agenda, becomes the price of admission, mandatory behavior for being subsidized by the cultural institutions they dominate.

As I observed in my piece on the ridiculous Tracey Emin, “The scourge of postmodern relativism as a cultural force is no accident. It’s a top-down driven campaign, the result of a cabal of well-connected interests trying to remove any kind of objective standards that could lend perspective and inflict consequences for the lies, manipulations, and abuses practiced as they try to maintain control over the rest of us. Anyone allowed to move into this privileged New Class has to adhere to these deceitful practices.”

So who are these people? Who are the supplicants who are eager to to join the club of the cosmopolitan elect, the new aristocracy of the well-connected?

In the establishment art world, climbing the ladder requires being able to produce empty gestures while simultaneously discoursing about interfacing with hierarchical normative significations, or some such blather. You’d think that would be easy, and you’d be right. The real trick is getting close enough to right asses to kiss to earn the magical bestowal of the dingle berries of favor.

You see, they’ve made the commercialized contemporary arts such a tiny insular world that opportunities are hard to come by, and are jealously guarded by the power brokers. They are rulers of their own little parched desert kingdoms of cultural irrelevance. Competition is fierce for the limited resources available inside the art bubble, and since quality is not a concern, it all comes down to nepotism and tribal signalling.

It’s why academic art programs have developed such an emphasis on jargon as opposed to developing hands-on technical ability. Artists are being trained to speak a dead end language of obfuscation, the polar opposite of the clarity of truly intelligent discourse. They presume such sophistry can take the place of tangible accomplishments. Talking all this crap is one of the ways the insiders recognize each other.  There’s no art spirit to be found in the maneuverings of these ambitious bureaucrats.

Which leads to the sad case of Julia Weist. She’s behaving as a loyal member of the Party is expected to, coming up with a pointless idea, with a veneer of technology for a hint of pertinence. She discovered an archaic word, “Parbunkells,” which refers to rope splicing. She’s put it on a website and hopes to enforce her exclusive rights to use this word, which will apparently to help her connect with people.

If you click on her website a light clicks on in her home. What a meaningful way to engage with humanity!

To help spread this earth shattering concept Julia hooked up with an institutional enabler called 14 x 48, which put the obscure word on a Brooklyn billboard without any further explanation. There, before a diverse crowd of thousands, it will doubtlessly be widely ignored and make no impact whatsoever. If someone gets curious enough to google it Julia might get 15 seconds of illumination. That’s some profound artifying right there.

 14 x 48 states their mission “repurposes vacant billboards as public art space in order…to enliven the vibrancy of our urban environment.” Can’t get much more vibrant than unknown 17th century sailor lingo. They are run by Fractured Atlas, which takes part in the rarefied system of grant monies. They state “Fractured Atlas is non-curatorial. That means we do not discriminate, nor do we judge your art.” Thank goodness for that! Guess it come down to who can fill out paperwork the best, or who knows someone on the committee.

If tracking hits to a website seems more like a marketing scheme that a work of art, well, welcome to the establishment contemporary art world.

The confusion of art with incoherent philosophy and  half-baked sociology is toxic to our culture. This whole corrupted tower of art babble is destined for destruction.

*Thanks to Sarah Hoyt for discovering this on the Internets, good grist for the mill*


13 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: A New Word For Pretentious

  1. “The real trick is getting close enough to right asses to kiss to earn the magical bestowal of the dingle berries of favor.” F’in brilliant.
    It’s unfortunate how the art world is sometimes more of a popularity contest as opposed to substance and profundity. Kudos, Richard!

  2. It’s part of the double think strategy of the establishment, another way to claim 2+2=5. Orwell described our current situation very well in 1984. Yes, it is silly, but it is not harmless.

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