I made a rod for my own back.
There. I said it. I set up this prize because I believe it is so important to have a prize that is open to EVERYTHING. But all the adages about how hard it is to compare apples and oranges are true. It was easy to draw up a shortlist. But beyond that I’ve been through agonies. In the end, it came down to a choice between two. Gupter Puncher I had ruled out of the reckoning because I know Oli just too well. I couldn’t judge it objectively. Mutatus is the best book of the last year. Better even than Veronique Olmi’s Beside the Sea. But I felt Peirene were doing something so exciting, and so complete, that it gave them a slight edge. So it came down to a choice between a blog, and a publishing house. How on earth does that work? I can only say that I am in love with both Peirene Press and the Thomas Stolperer Blog. Utterly in love, and I will do all I can to support both in the coming year, and beyond. I intend to write a long article about the issues that have been raised, but in the end the choice came down to my gut and, it has to be said, to love at first sight. The first time I saw the winner, my jaw dropped. It was the best thing I had ever seen online. It still is. Whenever there’s a new post my heart leaps like a sixteen year old’s. An interweaving of words and images so perfect the relation between text and footnote shifts endlessly between them like an optical illusion, an interconnection between the posts that makes the whole thing grow exponentially with each entry. A feel for the fluidity of words and lines that crosses the boundaries between them again and again, and carries one on a sea whose liquid surface belies the depths into which one finds oneself suffenly plunged only to be spat back out into velvet.
with thanks to the Spencer Brownstone Gallery
This entry, from August 12th 2010, is called Small Slidable Plastic Tiles. And it may be the best thing on the whole internet
Small slidable plastic tiles with pictures of more or less unhappy actual people who work in moderate- or lower-levels of the art-business industry printed on them and fitted into a square device as a grid with one tile-space left free so they can be moved around one at a time like those puzzles where you have to arrange the tiles into a sequence, except that here there is no discernible potential sequence, although you could create or imagine one, for example, assuming that you can tolerate the high subjectivity and the problems it causes when ranking things in numbers greater than 4 or 5, the tiles could be ordered according to degree of unhappiness, but that’s not the point, because it’s an artwork made by a self-declared yet in reality not at all asexually minded artist who, fully aware that this work here is a gimmick that consists of commonly-known and negative references to the art system mixed with concepts like “nostalgic toy/game” and “easily graspable mechanical apparatus and aesthetic scheme”, spends a large part of his time imagining how the essence of his main art, almost completely unrelated to the tile-puzzle, will and should someday be judged as the perfect combination of reference to particular modes possible in art (like writing, creation of form, humor, mental conception, personal use of media, juxtaposition)with the actual application of these modes, a combination magnified by his ability to maintain it across such a vast range of modes that someday a full article about him in Artforum or a write-up for his retrospective, which would include work from undergard school all the way up to an ongoing, at the present time yet unknown work, should close with the line: “From the sublime to the tactile to the conceptual to the real to the intuitive, he works purposefully yet instinctively up to the points where these and all other artistic properties reach a natural or historical equilibrium point, and stops there without temptation to cross that point, beyond which they would become aesthetic commodities and self-responsive building-blocks to an artwork rather than elements of art, and the result for the viewer is an introduction to new dimensions and the realignment of the fronts of beauty and expression.”