Preface: The following conversation took place in Second Life, at ETeam’s Second Life dumpster. I am Salty Clarity; ETeam is Lothar Apfelbaum and Tempo Strom.
Tempo Strom is Online
Lothar Apfelbaum is Online
Salty Clarity: Hi guys!
Lothar Apfelbaum: hi Salty
Tempo Strom: hi there
Lothar Apfelbaum: glad you found your way here
Salty Clarity: as you can tell i’m not great with second life yet
Salty Clarity: So then how about we get started? do some pictures mebbe afterwards, or if you wanted to even during?
Tempo Strom: 😉
Lothar Apfelbaum: we’ll do some pictures inbetween…
Salty Clarity: That sounds good. Man it took me like
Lothar Apfelbaum: it’s easy
Salty Clarity: 20 minutes to just focus in on my avatar
Salty Clarity: who, by the way, doesn’t have panties. soo…just a heads up.
Salty Clarity: lol i need to find her some under garments.
Lothar Apfelbaum: no problem…
Salty Clarity: but anyways. So, where I left off with Cary
Salty Clarity: was he was explaining how he first got to know you guys
Salty Clarity: which was through 1.1 acre flat screen
Salty Clarity: Do you wanna talk a little more about that project?
Tempo Strom: sure
Tempo Strom: we can give a brief summary
Tempo Strom: it was also the first piece of land we had ever bought and owned
Tempo Strom: it was 2002 and we found out that you can buy land on ebay
Tempo Strom: and really cheap
Tempo Strom: we placed a bid and a couple hours later we were the lucky owners of 1,1 acre desert in utah
Tempo Strom: for $450
Tempo Strom: that’s how it started
Salty Clarity: Wow!
Tempo Strom: then we had to figure out what to do with it.
Tempo Strom: we developed a 5 step plan for one year and after this year we wanted to auction the land off again
Tempo Strom: during this year we did a couple of things with the land, a residency program and a trainstop inn.
Tempo Strom: the trainstop inn was our attempt to improve the infrastructure of the land
Tempo Strom: by stopping one of the nearby running trains.
Tempo Strom: I guess that’s the quick version of this project
Salty Clarity: And so were you presenting this at a convention when you met Cary Peppermint of Eco Art Tech?
Lothar Apfelbaum: 1. buying 2. finding 3. temporary use 4. improvement 5. selling the land
Tempo Strom: No we were both in a show at Pace University
Salty Clarity: Ahh ok
Tempo Strom: the title of the show was ebay
Tempo Strom: …
Salty Clarity: Ha!
Tempo Strom: there was a talk and presentation at one point and that’s where we met.
Salty Clarity: Ok, so now that we’ve given a bit of background on 1.1 Acre Flat Screen, would you like to also say a little bit about where we are?
Lothar Apfelbaum: we are at the SL Dumpster.
Tempo Strom: 4096sqm full of trash
Tempo Strom: slowly decaying
Salty Clarity: Which is another project that you can learn more about here…
Salty Clarity: And now getting to the heart of the matter…
Salty Clarity: How do you define systems, networks, and systems vs. networks?
Lothar Apfelbaum: when I think of how I would make a drawing of a system, I would draw a circle.
Lothar Apfelbaum: When I would make a drawing of a network, it would be several dots, connected by lines.
Lothar Apfelbaum: The system seems to be a closed form, whereas a network seems to be more open.
Tempo Strom: a system is something I can understand or create. a network is a different animal
Tempo Strom: I am not sure I understand how to create a network, but i can be part of one
Tempo Strom: much easier
Tempo Strom: I think a system has a function and a network can just happen
Salty Clarity: Lothar, do you agree with Tempo? Does that fit your idea of systems and networks?
Lothar Apfelbaum: In general yes…even though I am not sure if I really understand most of the systems I know of
Salty Clarity: That’s a good segue into my next question.
Salty Clarity: So where do you both, individually and as eteam, see yourself in these models?
Lothar Apfelbaum: in which models?
Salty Clarity: Systems and networks
Salty Clarity: Are you part of a network? Are you part of a system? If so, which?
Tempo Strom: we see ourselves as participators and as creators
Salty Clarity: And which of these include you both voluntarily or involuntarily?
Tempo Strom: a network is including us, mostly voluntarily
Tempo Strom: a system can enclose us involuntarily, but that again leads to a challenge which we seek in our work
Tempo Strom: so the boundaries of restricting systems can be a “help”
Lothar Apfelbaum: they can be a good starting point
Salty Clarity: So my impression is is that you see networks as more….organic?
Tempo Strom: yes
Salty Clarity: But systems have restrictions. And these restrictions inspire you as artists.
Lothar Apfelbaum: yes, they grow based on the need of the individual parts
Tempo Strom: the network
Salty Clarity: Read my mind
Salty Clarity: So does your work then primarily focus on systems alone? Or do you ever engage networks in your work the same way you engage systems?
Tempo Strom: networks are more of an anarchistic nature so much harder to utilize
Lothar Apfelbaum: We usually start with the system, because it’s a more abstract approach
Lothar Apfelbaum: one can think broader about a subject, or a method with some distance
Lothar Apfelbaum: for example, a village
Lothar Apfelbaum: is that a system or a network?
Tempo Strom: it has a bit of both
Lothar Apfelbaum: yes, the people in the village are the dots, that are interconnected
Lothar Apfelbaum: they might form a ring.
Lothar Apfelbaum: If this ring is closed… the network of people in a small village becomes a system.
Lothar Apfelbaum: Something abstract…
Lothar Apfelbaum: Sometimes the network ring follows the layout of the village.
Salty Clarity: This discussion almost leads me to believe that you feel removed from systems, or at least the systems you engage in your work. Is that correct at all?
Lothar Apfelbaum: Yes, we approach them as strangers.
Salty Clarity: Or do you seek out systems that you deliberately are not a part of, like with Acre 1.1?
Salty Clarity: Err, sorry other way around–1.1 Acre
Tempo Strom: I think it is a mix of both
Tempo Strom: entering a system we are not part of and we don’t understand
Tempo Strom: helps us to ignore certain things
Tempo Strom: at the same time this allows us to introduce a new system
Tempo Strom: a system within the system
Tempo Strom: this allows for a more precise set of parameters
Salty Clarity: And all the while your place is on the outside? Or does it change when you introduce the new system?
Tempo Strom: we walk the line
Lothar Apfelbaum: Ideally the systems overlap.
Tempo Strom: if it is a circle we walk a circle
Tempo Strom: or a square
Salty Clarity: What would you say to someone who says you can never really exist outside of a system?
Lothar Apfelbaum: I would ask: how much impact does the system has on you?
Tempo Strom: that’s true
Salty Clarity: Which is rather convenient for me since that was my next question for you guys! Ha! But go on…
Lothar Apfelbaum: Of course we are part of multiple systems and networks, most are made by others and we follow the established rules of these systems
Tempo Strom: but you can live outside many systems as we discovered
Lothar Apfelbaum: … but that doesn’t mean, we can’t create our own systems within the bigger systems and get other people to understand its logic
Tempo Strom: touring small villages
Salty Clarity: We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on how you both engage systems
Salty Clarity: But how do you feel these systems act upon you and, more importantly, your work?
Tempo Strom: I feel we are mostly listeners
Tempo Strom: to these systems we don’t create
Salty Clarity: When you go in to the village, there’s going to be a reaction that may or may not affect your place within the circle/square/whatever
Lothar Apfelbaum: Other systems make us curious.
Salty Clarity: So it’s a very passive approach, then, to systems?
Tempo Strom: yes and that’s the time issue
Tempo Strom: most of our projects take a long time
Tempo Strom: since we cannot just show up some place and expect
Tempo Strom: to be allowed in the system
Tempo Strom: Imagine you were given a new computer system you have never used before
Tempo Strom: it is similar to your old one, yet totally different
Tempo Strom: in this case you have to relearn the same functions you knew before
Tempo Strom: we have to do the same
Lothar Apfelbaum: it’s like you being new in Second Life.
Lothar Apfelbaum: You are flying around, asking questions, trying to figure out this world.
Salty Clarity: Yes. It’s taking me lots of time to integrate into the system, and I think i’m mostly just pissing off people as I go along, lol.
Tempo Strom: that’s the trial and error stage.
Tempo Strom: if you are lucky
Tempo Strom: you will meet someone who likes you
Salty Clarity: Sounds like you’re familiar with the “trial and error stage?”
Tempo Strom: not just like mercy
Tempo Strom: but different
Tempo Strom: and then you understand the system
Salty Clarity: When do you know you’ve reached the point when you’re out of the woods, you’ve entered the system just about as much as you can?
Tempo Strom: we never know the trial and error stage extends.
Tempo Strom: we will know when things happen
Lothar Apfelbaum: When you set up a certain goal…and you find a way to reach it, a way to make things happen, using the means of the system.
Salty Clarity: Is there anything else you’d like to add about your thoughts and feelings on systems and networks, or even your own work as it relates to what we’ve been talking about?
Tempo Strom: this system is quite difficult to navigate in terms and interview. I wasn’t sure which question I was answereing at what point
Tempo Strom: and so we might gave you some riddles
Tempo Strom: to think about.
Lothar Apfelbaum: What do you think about SL? Is it a network or a system for you?
Salty Clarity: Hm.
Salty Clarity: You know, I set out on this whole thing because one day I saw this advert on the train
Salty Clarity: and I realized I couldn’t really definitively say what the diff between systems and networks is
Salty Clarity: and while I think you guys definitely touched upon a lot of things that resonate with me
Lothar Apfelbaum: What was the ad?
Salty Clarity: I still dont know
Salty Clarity: Mehhh something for like Reuters
Salty Clarity: I think it was Reuters
Salty Clarity: about how like
Salty Clarity: they get news to you faster
Salty Clarity: Second Life to me
Salty Clarity: because I’m still so much of an outsider
Salty Clarity: Is a system
Salty Clarity: I dont have my heart in here like a lot of people do
Salty Clarity: And I think for them this is their network
Salty Clarity: It’s a great question, though. What do you guys think?
Lothar Apfelbaum: True… so a network has a heart and a system has a brain?
Salty Clarity: Yes. I like to think of life as being very much like the Wizard of Oz, lol.
Salty Clarity: I feel as though
Salty Clarity: Systems might have an agenda, whereas networks–because I do agree that they grow organically
Salty Clarity: networks arise out of chance, like..haphazardly
Salty Clarity: But who knows. Maybe my interview with Kristin will convince me otherwise
Lothar Apfelbaum: That’s what great about systems.
Lothar Apfelbaum: That they are designed to make it easier to navigate through life.
Salty Clarity: Interesting…
Lothar Apfelbaum: On the other hand there is a certain path you have to follow…
Lothar Apfelbaum: a path someone else has designed for you.
Salty Clarity: It’s like how
Salty Clarity: having unlimited options can be more oppressive than restricted options
Lothar Apfelbaum: Right. Do you think networks are human, or human driven?
Salty Clarity: Reminds me of the artist Art21 covered in season one Andrea Zittel who wore the same outfit everyday for a month or something
Salty Clarity: hm.
Salty Clarity: Human or human driven? I’m not sure I get the full scope of what you mean…Clarify, please?
Lothar Apfelbaum: Maybe “human” is the wrong term.
Lothar Apfelbaum: Maybe I wonder, if we conceive networks as something “natural”.
Lothar Apfelbaum: Like a species that develops under certain conditions
Salty Clarity: I mean honestly, when I think of the word “network” I think of that damn linkedin website
Tempo Strom: linkedin is useless IMO
Salty Clarity: Which is odd…and prob a great commentary on where contemporary society’s head is at in terms of networks
Tempo Strom: facebook is fun
Salty Clarity: linkedin is so cold
Salty Clarity: but no one uses the word “networking” in facebook
Salty Clarity: linkedin actually uses the word “network” in the invites
Tempo Strom: social networking site?
Lothar Apfelbaum: because it’s naturally there
Salty Clarity: it’s certainly implicit
Tempo Strom: but isn’t network this business term, too
Salty Clarity: Yeah, and “network” i think in that context
Tempo Strom: and as such it is a career term
Salty Clarity: has more properties of a system
Tempo Strom: and boring
Salty Clarity: that a “network” as we’ve discussed it
Tempo Strom: agree
Tempo Strom: so how many different networks do you know?
Salty Clarity: but you know…i keep coming back to linked in. i think i dont regard facebook as my social network as much because…
Salty Clarity: i dunno, for whatever reason i just think of it as my friends. it’s like having your friends on your AIM buddy list
Salty Clarity: but with linked in
Salty Clarity: there’s a measured action there, i consciously promote a different version of myself, you know…Nicole Sansone the super professional who doesn’t ever swear
Salty Clarity: and I consciously send out those cold, bland invitations to people whom I know in formal settings
Salty Clarity: I wouldn’t add someone on facbeook as my friend if they were just my co worker, but i might be more inclined to do so on linked in
Salty Clarity: Are you asking how many networks i belong to on facebook??
Tempo Strom: and does linked in work for you?
Salty Clarity: Its all the language with those sites, the linguistic system
Salty Clarity: Ehh
Salty Clarity: you know
Salty Clarity: Im trying to make linked in work for me
Salty Clarity: I got the recommendations, I update the status
Salty Clarity: I try to make it seem all cool and neato
Salty Clarity: I’m so young in my career
Salty Clarity: and my network is so young
Tempo Strom: to me it seems it is a formal showcase of networking
Salty Clarity: that it doesn’t really work for me.
Tempo Strom: ps all networks are young
Salty Clarity: Like that site fame game?
Tempo Strom: linked in in particular
Salty Clarity: That site is the root of all evil. Shameless!
Tempo Strom: fame game i don’t know
Lothar Apfelbaum: me not either
Salty Clarity: I dunno, my dad is on there and his network looks pretty settled in their careers…lol.
Lothar Apfelbaum: I don’t even know linked in
Tempo Strom: lol
Salty Clarity: Oh fame game is a social network site
Salty Clarity: I suppose
Salty Clarity: but you get ranked on how “famous” you are
Salty Clarity: and like..
Salty Clarity: it keeps track of parties you went to
Salty Clarity: and pictures you were in with other fame game people
Lothar Apfelbaum: how high you climbed up on the new Olympus?
Tempo Strom: of fame game
Salty Clarity: Are you asking me???
Tempo Strom: sure
Salty Clarity: Oh no no no
Salty Clarity: I’m not on fame game
Salty Clarity: I’m fairly certain you have to register an acct
Lothar Apfelbaum: So, do you think, once it turns out, that a certain network works… it automatically turns into a system after a while?
Salty Clarity: I think these questions are all
Salty Clarity: inextricably linked with questions of humanity and human nature
Salty Clarity: like that “Friends” episode about whether or not you could actually do something that was entirely altruistic
Salty Clarity: And I mean…I’m inclined to say you can’t.
Salty Clarity: So I think that networks will become systems
Lothar Apfelbaum: I am asking that, because I think because to be part of a network you have to maintain your part in it
Lothar Apfelbaum: constantly…
Salty Clarity: if we think of systems as many parts working together to form a whole entity, working towards a goal
Salty Clarity: Great point
Lothar Apfelbaum: but you can be part of a system passively
Salty Clarity: You have to keep up with the Jones’s
Salty Clarity: Aha…
Salty Clarity: See, now I agree with that as well
Salty Clarity: But I feel like I just contradicted myself
Salty Clarity: with the definition of a system that I just put out
Lothar Apfelbaum: in which way?
Salty Clarity: My definition of a system really rested on the fact that all these individual parts worked together toward a goal
Salty Clarity: But I do agree that as part of a system, you’re part of a closed-model
Salty Clarity: There was something to be accomplished
Salty Clarity: you’re in that circle
Salty Clarity: so if you’re not gonna move around the circle
Salty Clarity: the guy racing around behind you with push you forward
Salty Clarity: like race cars
Salty Clarity: So i suppose
Salty Clarity: that you can allow the other members of the system to push you around, and you can passively participate in the system
Salty Clarity: but what suffers as a result
Salty Clarity: is the goal of the whole system. Maybe then there’s a question of…can other members of a system decide who stays and who goes?
Salty Clarity: Which might be pigeon-holing me into taking about systems only as they relate to human lives
Salty Clarity: talking*
Lothar Apfelbaum: That depends on the rules of the system. If you are Homeland Security you can decide who can leave and who can stay
Lothar Apfelbaum: for example.
Salty Clarity: I suppose if you’re in the digestive system
Salty Clarity: You decide what stays and what goes
Salty Clarity: Not in it.
Salty Clarity: I mean if you were a stomach or a large intestine
Salty Clarity: Equally as ridiculous but it fits the logic a bit better, haha.
Lothar Apfelbaum: 🙂
Tempo Strom: i prefer to be a stomach
Tempo Strom: not my area of expertise
Tempo Strom: ;
Lothar Apfelbaum: I have another question for you.
Salty Clarity: Yeaa …gastroenterology is not, and would not, be my deal either.
Salty Clarity: What’s your question, Lothar?
Tempo Strom: it’s in the making
Salty Clarity: Oo that’s a bit intimidating
Lothar Apfelbaum: Can a system work for only one person?
Salty Clarity: They say no man is an island…
Salty Clarity: Hm.
Salty Clarity: Yes
Salty Clarity: What about daily habits? Wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed
Salty Clarity: Or no…
Salty Clarity: Because someone had to make that toothbrush, those clothes…
Lothar Apfelbaum: is that your system?
Salty Clarity: Certainly the wake up brush your teeth part
Salty Clarity: Though for me next usually comes coffee
Salty Clarity: Do you think that a system can work for only one person??
Lothar Apfelbaum: I was thinking of a serial killer…how he takes people apart…
Lothar Apfelbaum: that system might only work for him alone
Salty Clarity: But serial killers follow a profile
Lothar Apfelbaum: or her
Salty Clarity: People passively participate in that system
Salty Clarity: by falling into the criteria necessary for the serial killer to choose them
Lothar Apfelbaum: good point
Salty Clarity: I mean its a grim and morbid thing to say and obviously I can talk about this with a big healthy distance
Salty Clarity: Before we go too much farther
Salty Clarity: Though I almost hate to kill the magic here because I’ve really enjoyed this conversation
Salty Clarity: I just want to get a few words on how you guys know our next artist, Kristin Lucas
Lothar Apfelbaum: There is no single occasion. Kristin popped up on various networks and systems
Tempo Strom: and we just met over and over again
Tempo Strom: and got closer and closer
Salty Clarity: maybe the system pushed you all into a network
Tempo Strom: untill we all arrived at that little town
Tempo Strom: in nevada
Tempo Strom: …
Salty Clarity: Nevada??
Lothar Apfelbaum: At the International Airport montello, a system of it’s own
Lothar Apfelbaum: http://www.internationalairportmontello.com/
Salty Clarity: haha! Reminds me of that line from 30 Rock, where Jack says
Salty Clarity: With real estate there are no rules. It’s like check-in at an Italian airport.
Tempo Strom: haha i like that!
Lothar Apfelbaum: that’s exactlly how it is:)
Tempo Strom: nice closing remark
Salty Clarity: lol, can’t go wrong with Alec Baldwin.