MANIFESTO MUISTARDEAUX II
2009 - present
These are a bunch of things we think we know and believe right now about art making and us. Claiming anything more than that runs the risk of becoming a hard and fast philosophy, which runs the risk of becoming an ideology - and that is a crazy ridiculous idea, having an ideology about art making and yourself. We make no authoritarian claims. We approach art as explorers charting new land each and every time. In fact, what we discover to be true is entirely malleable, and purposefully so.
1. Greet them with honesty. TheyÕll understand.
2. Making art, at itÕs very best, is like making music. We have gotten to this point a handful of incredibly satisfying times in the Muistardeaux Collective, the point where making art feels like sitting down and jamming together, and the results of those sessions have been some of the best work weÕve made to date. Jamming, playing improvisational music, requires openness. It demands of its players the ability to listen. It demands trust in oneself and the other players. ItÕs about knowing when to be loud and when to be silent. And when itÕs working, the players naturally let go of any preconceived notions or sounds or styles. ŌWorkingÕ means that it is satisfying something in us. This is often a feeling that is hard to articulate. It may satisfy a thirst for the absurd, or the succinct. It may satisfy in its ability to provoke or annoy or it may simply be funny. Funny is usually good - in fact itÕs almost always good. Zen Buddhists have known that for a long time.
3. We think it was Schopenhauer who said that music was the only real art, the only pure art. And just ŅthinkingÓ that it was Schopenhauer who said this is a liberating place to be in the Information Age. We could Wikipedia that to find out if it was in fact Schopenhauer or if it was someone else. But if it were someone else would that make it any less or more true? And if it turned out that no one actually said it, and it was actually just us who said it right there above this line, then what?
4. Music, Schopenhauer said, is the only art that doesnÕt sound or look or feel like anything else other than music, other than itself. Whereas, the visual arts, he said, in some way are always a reflection or interpretation or abstraction or critique of something that already exists. In other words, the visual arts are a projection of something else. WeÕre not entirely sure we always agree with SchopenhauerÕs point, but weÕre also not entirely sure we donÕt always agree with his point. WhatÕs important for us is this: when we create or experience a piece of music or art that we really like, we donÕt worry about what it means or why it was made – unless the ŅwhyÓ is why we are enjoying it, the conceptual ingredient that is getting us off - we acknowledge that this thing that we love, in whatever form it takes, is coming directly and authentically from the source of something. Listening to it is touching that source of something. And that feels good. Playing it, actually creating it, is being that source. And that feels amazing. We love good music. We love lots of good music.
5. Deconstruction is all too often just another way to miss the point.
6. The object isnÕt always the objective, but sometimes it is. The good objects are a manifestation of the source of something.
7. We do tangents. We also do gay. Know what we mean?
8. Tom Borden is a sculptor, painter, videographer, musician, photographer, drawer, performer, and ceramicist from East Hartford, Connecticut. Mr. Borden is the recipient of the Murphy and Cadogan Merit Scholarship for Bay Area MFA Students. His work has been exhibited throughout California, in Oregon and New York City. Adeptly applying absurd logic to the absurd, Mr. BordenÕs work effectively dislocated expectation of the nature of art making. He is something not ordinary.
9. Eric Gibbons is a sculptor, painter, videographer, musician, photographer, drawer, performer, and ceramicist originally from San Angelo, Texas, a repugnant bedroom community boasting the erroneous claim of ŅMohair Capital of the WorldÓ. Mr. GibbonsÕ work has been featured in New American Paintings, Artlies Magazine, and Glasstire Online Arts Journal for Texas. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and in Ventura, California. A perpetual linguist with a penchant for pop culture slang, Mr. GibbonsÕ work is wrought with dumb humor that transcends the expectations of the intelligent. He is handsome to a fault.
10. Play is integral to our work. ThereÕs smart play and dumb play. Smart play is playing based on previous thought and ideas and training and practice and exercises and maybe some established structures, or a conscious decision to not have pre-set structure. And now that we have written that out like that, the less appealing it sounds even though the original point was going to be that smart play is usually better than dumb play. Dumb playing, at its purest, is unbridled play that isnÕt based at all on thought. It is acting purely on natural impulses. Rousseau and Sade called this the real reality of nature, meaning that the most Ōtrue to natureÕ a person can be, in SadeÕs and RousseauÕs minds, is by acting purely on the Id, purely for personal pleasure. For Sade at least, this was about primordial passion, but it was also about rejecting societyÕs desire for structure and codes of behavior and conduct. Sade felt that all these things – things that are core to society - are actually counter to the natural order. The Surrealists took that and ran with it and their manifesto said a lot of things about eliminating the rational and answering only to the unrehearsed murmurs of your unconscious. WeÕre pretty sure we think thatÕs uninteresting, and maybe even bullshit. Why would we want to answer only to our unconscious murmurs? WeÕre conscious human beings living in America in the early 21st century, this is our reality. WeÕre not children anymore, so why go back to our inner children? Why choose to ignore the reality of exactly who we are and when we are and where we are? We celebrate us, our place and our time, right now. We are acutely aware of our context in our society and we use it to our advantage. As fucked up as the world and America and the art world and anything else may seem to some people, it is actually a boon served up on an HD silver platter precisely for us to use as we please. And that is something that we think everyone can and should claim. And now weÕre a little lost, but the original point was leading to the fact that we make conscious decisions. We make conscious decisions about everything – aesthetics, content, juxtaposition and wardrobe - all along the way in our process up to the point when we sit down and play. We also feel that SadeÕs best song was not ŅSmooth OperatorÓ, but the more eloquent ŅBy Your SideÓ, a B-side on the Smooth Operator LP.
11. Often, ignorance truly is bliss, and a lot of fun. Making lots of sense is a cheap thrill that doesnÕt last very long or feel particularly satisfying down the road. Think Ed RuschaÕs ŅÕWow! Huh?Õ versus ŌHuh? Wow!ÕÓ theory. But we prefer ŅHuh? Wow! Huh?Ó a hell of a lot more.
12. The Gooding Jr. Family = Eric Gibbons Blows the Entire Mets Lineup = asianboywhiteguypug.com
There is something undeniably satisfying to us about all three of these phrases, and they are satisfying to us in very similar ways. It isnÕt a huge point, but it is a point worth making. ItÕs not something that we can really articulate very well. But thereÕs a lot of America in there, which means thereÕs a lot of us in there. Stuff like TV, cinema, sports, ignorance and TV.
13. The Muistardeaux Collective explores masculinity, partnership and the Information Age from a fairly two white guys from Connecticut and Texas perspective. We are native Americans with a lower case ŌnÕ, meaning that we are native to this very American culture we were reared in and all that that is. We are the products of everything that weÕve done and everything that has happened to us, as well as every environment that weÕve lived in our whole lives. And weÕre objectifying ourselves in a four-dimensional way.
14. We live in a land where 'nativeÕ has almost become a clichˇ. It's an ideal that might not even exist anymore, other than in the minds of some well-meaning thinkers. And if this ideal does actually exist, should we care? When an outsider species or person or idea is introduced and proliferates in a beautiful, sublime or even ugly way, is that not American? Is this not maybe more American even than the species that it subsumed? This is America the Beautiful, the country of consumption and subsumption. We are a people and a culture and a place that is constantly changing, constantly consuming itself. And in that consumption comes new growth - bigger, smaller, better, worse, more beautiful and ugly than ever before. A lot of it defies logic – the Snuggie Blanket With Sleeves recently exceeded $100M in sales since September, in the midst of the worst financial crisis in the past 80 years, howÕs them apples? – but that logic-defying outrageousness is America 100% through and through. America invented it and it is constantly re-inventing us. As Americans, that is something we should celebrate. Because to deny it and fight it is to deny and fight ourselves. No-Doz, Kenpo jeans, Eucalyptus trees, Tom SelleckÕs mustache and a stripper with a hammer and nails – from sea to shining sea!
15. We are easy, we are open, that is our gift. We can roll with the punches, we can drift with the drift.
16. Bifurcation is the process of dividing a single organism into two equal or unequal parts. ItÕs about heaven and hell, life and death, iconic maleness and females that are and are not having sex. ItÕs about the kids who like Sonic Youth and the ones that donÕt. ItÕs about Me and Eric. ItÕs about Yin and Yang joining together two extremities. So do hermaphrodites.
17. WeÕre Eastern Philosophers, not assholes. Not being an asshole is extremely important. What we make or do is either a genuine self-portrait of us and the way we think, or it is not. When it is, itÕs good. It feels good. When it isnÕt, it doesnÕt necessarily feel bad, but it does feel less good. And the goal is to feel more good and have other people feel more good. Not less.
18. Making sense is played out. And surrealism doesnÕt really exist anymore. Just look around the world and try to tell us that either of these statements isnÕt true. There really isnÕt any counterpart to how fucked up the world is right now, and how fun that can be.
19. A bad system is better than no system at all. Our system embraces absolute freedom and acceptance during the early stages of any new idea. We donÕt want to limit ourselves. We canÕt edit the crap out of ourselves, because we must have a lot to work with. And we do, just look around you.
20. There is a moment right at the instant of germination of a new idea – and we believe this holds true for every free thinking human being – when we can choose to either act on that idea or wait for a better one. We choose to act. Because we have to be able to conceive and act on the stupid idea and the confusing idea as well as the offensive idea and the idea thatÕs simply not going to work. ItÕs the pursuit of all these ideas that allows us to ultimately intelligently determine the good from the bad. Inevitably, by the time we get to that point where we realize that an idea is not going to work our brains have already branched off into a tangent thatÕs somewhat related and is working. Without the initial bad idea there wouldnÕt be a tangent to begin with. We trust this process implicitly.
21. ThereÕs a lot weÕd like to say about knowledge and how important it is or isnÕt to art making.
22. Materials are important, but ideas are more important. The idea usually dictates the materials, and the materials rarely drive the idea. But sometimes they do. If you want to buy materials, go to Home Depot or a really nice fine art photography store.
23. Aesthetics is a tough one. We have it down, though, just look at our website: www.muistardeaux.com <http://www.muistardeaux.com>.
24. Chaos is great, itÕs how the world works. Chaos has its own crazy order and logic. The Lorenz Theory, also known as the Butterfly Effect, is based in Chaos Theory. It was developed by a guy whose last name was Lorenz and basically it showed that a variation in a mathematical equation as seemingly small and impactless as the single flutter of a butterflyÕs wings in Brazil can cause a weather shift in Texas so severe as to cause a tornado. Lorenz originally used the metaphor of a seagullÕs wings but later changed it to the more poetic butterfly.
25. We employ deliberate decision making, even when weÕre doing spectacle.
26. We consider and utilize all of our available information when weÕre creating. ItÕs a holistic process of alchemy that uses the site, the materials, the attitude, the audience, the time and the conversations that weÕre having while weÕre making whatever weÕre making. Everything is context and essential to the formula. But after this information is processed, our final edit ultimately happens very organically – what stays or gets thrown away is based on what simply feels right to us.
27. Loose ends are liberating.
28. Uniqueness is important. There have never been and never will be anyone exactly like us in the world, physically, psychologically or spiritually. Every being on Earth can and should claim that. Uniqueness is not in itself unique at all, but it is precious. It should be celebrated as often as possible. These celebrations make the world an interesting wonderful place. If that sounds airy fairy, who cares?
29. We just cut our first album and it is fantastic. Side A is live at Dirk & NicoÕs house. Side B is studio recordings from Eric & ElizabethÕs place and a lot more heavily produced.
30. Eric Gibbons is a British-born rocker from Texas.
31. Tom Borden is a filthy emu farmer from E. Hartford CT.
32. Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If youÕre a man, you take it. ThatÕs Malcolm X. Like all great thinkers and great people in history, when heÕs talking about his specific experience, in this case the Black American experience, heÕs also speaking very much to the human experience, about what it is to be a human being. That resonates strongly with us. ItÕs why we respond strongly to the words and actions of Gandhi, Frank Zappa, Philip Petit, Mother Theresa, Paul Simon, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Yoko Ono, Miles Davis, Simon Bolivar, Siddhattha Gotama, Nelson Mandela, Tecumseh and The Cars. When the true greats speak or act to the specifics of their situation, their words and actions resonate for all of us.
33. WeÕd like to get back to the aesthetics issue because itÕs an important one. Looking at art shouldnÕt be too easy, it should be a somewhat of a challenge, a treasure hunt that you might never get to the end of, but you do pick up little slices of pleasure and interest and challenge and fun along the way. If the aesthetics are always ŌgoodÕ then weÕve removed one important element of challenge, for us the makers and you the viewer. Sometimes our aesthetics are not pleasing to the casual eye but that is very carefully thought out.
34. We do contemporary relevance. We do us, right now.
35. There was a 6-day period recently – actually the past six days – where we really thought that we were better than the Beatles. But one of us is listening to Abbey Road right now and thereÕs no question that those guys are better than us, and thatÕs OK because theyÕre the Kings.
36. Turns out ŅBy Your SideÓ is an A-side on Lovers Rock.
37. kings die, then there are new kings.
38. people yelling
people getting drunk
drunk people getting kicked out of bars
San Francisco 49ers
San Jose Sharks
Golden State Warriors
people getting killed
people getting caught in forest fires
cars going through red lights
fans getting into fights at sporting events
sports teams brawling
living room disasters
people getting evacuated
kids getting hurt
people cheering at basketball games
Barry Bonds hitting a home run
kids escaping fires
tigers loose at the zoo
elephants getting squirted by water
rhinos loose on the street
monkeys and lions escaping from cages
pit bulls attacking policemen
a big shark bite
fans throwing bottles and glass and beer onto the ice at hockey games
fans throwing chairs at basketball games
people throwing hats at baseball games
football players throwing helmets
people getting mad
boxing match riots
funny stuff like Anne Frank and people getting loose from concentration camps
Lethal Weapon 4
39. All works of art are self-portraits, some more flattering than others. The ones that are most flattering are the authentic ones. The most authentic ones are the ones that are a pure reflection of the artist. The least authentic ones are the ones that are a reflection of what the artist wants the viewer to think is the artist. Those suck.
40. Jimmy, we appreciate your explanation. And we understand what you are talking about there. It's a very good lesson for you, and us - failure always is, weÕre big fans of it. The 'real world' is everywhere and you should look at your entire life that way. It's one of the reasons that, as we told you in our first meeting, we firmly believe no matter how old or young or inexperienced someone is and regardless of the task they are performing, they should be paid for their work. Some kind of payment, even if it is just a trade for services. This is how the entire world goes round and always has, commerce and barter. It creates responsibility and accountability and rewards people properly. Treat someone like an adult and they will hopefully behave like one. That's why we prefer to adopt a no bullshit attitude - it's not at all to simply be an asshole, although we have been called one before. In fact, it's the exact opposite - our objective is to be honest and clear. We find that when we are very clear and direct in terms of what we want and expect, the world responds with clarity and directness. Sometimes the answer is "no", but at least then we know that quickly and we can move on to someone or something else where the answer is "yes". Communication is essential - it's what makes the world work. And not work, when it doesn't happen transparently. Muistardeaux Collective employs a lot of play in our work - we do and play what we like to do and play, first and foremost because it feels good and is true to what we like to do and play. ThatÕs how we feel good as artists, being honest and clear with our audience about us and about what makes us tick, and importantly about what we find interesting, strange and amusing in the world around us, because no one can deny that the world is an outrageously interesting, strange and amusing place. Sometimes someone might interpret our playfulness and absurdity as meaning that we lack seriousness in our work and are just having a good time - and we have been confronted with that in the past, don't worry you are not the first. But this is incorrect and shortsighted. We are very serious about our play and our absurdity, and we are very deliberate about it and how it interacts with our environment and context, because we are very serious about presenting a fully authentic expression of us and who we are, how our minds work and how we see the world today right now. The ultimate goal in life, for anyone we believe, is to be happy. And the best way we've found to do that is by being ourselves 100%. The art world struggles with an authenticity problem, many artists do and write and say and create things that they believe will look good or sound good or be impressive to others. That stuff sucks. Mainly because it's not real, created by people who live at least partially in fear. Good luck with your work - you know by now that we wouldn't say that unless we meant it. Enjoy yourself.
41. eric has something to say now
42.5 Hi, my name is Eric Gibbons. I am an artist working on photographs.
43. I am very concerned with craft! YouÕre damn right I am committed to the photographic image not because of Lacan or, or , or Barthes; more because of Narcissus.
The image is the signifier . The photographic image has transformed all prior concepts of knowledge, and by extension all of art.
By working solely in photography, I am mining and exploiting the seductive image of the truth.
Finding the reasons why the photographic image, while pervasively manipulated, still, as an object, signifies fact.
My images are completely devoid of fact, yet they exist (or existed) in the physical world.But I control them, I place them, I light them, and of course, I frame them.
A feeling is the most nuanced experience a human being can have.
Walking on the moon wouldnÕt mean much without the feeling attached to the factual event.
Through all ways a photographic image can be explored I find the routes to document the nuance of feeling under the guise of the cameraÕs insistence on documented fact.
45. the streets are full of tears and it means Clarence on the bass, but Clarence is actual laying down some slide guitar. And the sky is crying.
46. Honestly, we donÕt like being told what to do.
47. But we are lifelong learners. If the guy from the beatles was all like: try it this way mate, weÕd be all like: OK.
49. If any of this sounds contradictory or redundant, a lot of it probably is in a number of spots. Shit, we are sorry. The world doesnÕt always make sense to us.
50. What we think we know and believe right now is what we think we know and believe right now. If we have pricked you in some way, if any of this rings particularly true or if you simply like what you see or read or hear here, then by all means buy a slice of us. Buy lots. If not, then please find another artist or any other something or someone that does prick your interest, and buy a slice of them. There are a lot of things in the world. Tally Ho!
51. ThereÕs a saying that goes something like: Take one step towards Allah, and Allah takes a two step toward you. Our work is about trust and about faith. ItÕs about having the trust to take a leap of faith on something thatÕs impossible to completely define or even confirm, knowing full well that when we believe in it, it responds.
52. We do collaboration. Khyssup Muistardeaux is no longer with us. Her spot is now undeniably filled by Muistardeaux, something that we can only describe as God.
53. What we do with rhythm and melody and art is create our own version of perfection. And the way that we do that together is by being acutely aware of what the other person is creating and by feeding off it and by being absorbed by it but also by not being beholden to what the other person is playing. Perfection is about letting go when you innately know that it is right.
54. Clement Greenberg=Identity=Group Identity=Sucks
Okwui Enwezor=Identity=Group Identity=Yeah!
55. Knowledge can be boring. Smart rarely is.
56. "Wouldn't it be great if we _________?" This is a question that we often ask ourselves, sometimes a bunch of times a day, and very often when we are discussing a project. The answer is almost always "Fuck yeah!"
71. California is a great place, there is always lots of sunshine and ways to enjoy yourself.
88. Khyssup Muistardeaux is an ancient being that spent a lot of time on mountain tops eating milky ways and surveying.
57. We are selling 100% commitment.
58. The notion of 'community' is a contentious issue right now in the art world. It is a foundation for multiculturalists who believe in the power of the community and the importance of giving voice to all communities. But theorists like Slavoj Zizek, and to a certain extent Giorgio Agambem and Michel Foucault, argue that community is toxic, corrupting - community breeds the exclusion of the 'other' - and that it plays into the hands of the ruling polis and the play of power relations that dominates every society. Ultimately, community strips away the power of the individual. Muistardeaux Collective celebrates the notion of the individual - "yes, you CAN do that." But this celebration is for the collective individual, the collective id, the collective ego. This is the power of the couple. The 'duo' is the only potential community without the dangers and toxicity of community.
59. Lighting a fart on fire is ALWAYS funny.
60. Is this the manifest two? Lots of good information , specially "Schopenhawer"( can't ever spell it right...) ideas about Music , Lorenzo 's atractor and Jack Derrida's deconstruction pointers , i myself are inclined to feel very Dada about everything that relates to art... having said that , music is the only thing i take a bit more seriuosly , yet , a la Cage... Looking forward to spend some time with you and your extremely handsome friend , gay is welcome , so are agnostic , atheous and anarquic inclinations , long live Evo Morales , salud !! m.
61. What it all boils down to is that our work is about world peace.
62. Our Collective is a two-person monarchy, which is essentially a single all-encompassing two-person entity made up of two smaller, complementary but still separate one-person entities. Like a continent made up of two countries, both monarchical, that work seamlessly and peacefully together, to make the whole shebang a much better shebang. It's a deauxarchy. Our experiment is like any other: testing a hypotheses at its simplest and most stripped down level to prove that something is scientifically possible when and if it is expanded onto a grand scale. But instead of working to prove that synthetic biology can successfully manufacture a living organism from scratch, we are working to prove that world peace is achievable.
74. iPhones are way cooler than Blackberries, but have crap reception and a lot of dropped calls. This is to say, listen to your heart.
87. Music is a great way to speak from the heart. Art is too, but there's always someone who wants to call your heart a liar-NOT COOL.
82. Mustaches come and go, lips remain.
63. The Blue Angels are worth every single penny of our taxpayer dollars. Anyone who doesn't believe that is not an American who has seen those people buzz Coit Tower with a howling arcing turn not 50 feet from the top of the tower and rip through hundreds of cubic miles of three-dimensional atmospheric space in seconds with a power and grace that makes birds seem stupid, clumsy and self-conscious. These pilots are the most talented humans on earth, uberbeings on the physical and mental level of the very best six physicists in the world, operating machines that are the absolute pinnacle of engineering. The only thing on the planet that potentially rivals these guys is the black panther.
64. Most of this stuff can be learned from the Star Wars Trilogy; i.e. "Do or do not, there is no try"
75. We do all of the social sciences. We do pre-med and post-med. We work as an electrician for a year. Or litigate a divorce trial. This is economic geography. Counseling. Infomercials. Chemistry. ItÕs playing the baritone saxophone for the first time. And singing the best John Denver cover you can without knowing any of the words. We do alchemy. We do alchemy.
83. Congratulations everyone! Enjoy everything!
81. a decent movie is Carlito's Way.
65. Some day we're going to be gone and people will be looking and listening and either conjuring us up or not. In order for that to happen, we have to put something of ourselves in it.
66. Ying - Yang. WeÕd love to talk a lot about this, because itÕs really ALL there is to talk about and itÕs also the most important thing weÕve brought to the table today. But thereÕs no time right now. Pull us aside later if you are interested.
67. We donÕt know if "Life is short" is the oldest clichˇ in the book. But weÕre pretty sure that someday it will be.
69. Whoever said that a great artist couldn't make a lot of money in the infomercial business?
70. Kimmerly is a pretty sweet album.