Introduction to OOGLEPLEX ⁽²⁾

Issued simultaneously in two very limited editions, the book OOGLEPLEX ⁽²⁾ by Joe Truax and Jim Sanders was published in the mid eighties. The illustrations were news photographs of various atrocities juxtaposed with print media text and headlines concerning the (visual) “arts”. The end result was at once scathingly revealing and darkly amusing. There was no question that I would be interested in writing an introduction. Reflecting gathered evidence integral to my world view, the initial version was structured in a linear fashion. So, in order to get a bit beyond the obvious, I took a somewhat superficial page from Brion Gysin’s cut-up method (which, giving credit where it’s due, took a page from Tristan Tzara!); splitting up the individual statements and drawing them out of a hat to ascertain the order. (Ironically and fittingly, the last statement here never made it into the book as it got stuck in the sweatband, only to be discovered over a year later.)

Obviously, if I had written the introduction now, certain word choices and the like would be different (in some cases, markedly so). And I most certainly would have put the words “art”, “arts” and “artists” in quotes more often than not. But, as the essence of what was written remains essential to my struggle, I thought it worth revisiting publicly.


The dues paid in one’s life are the result of one’s decisions.

From Volume 1 of THE MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES by Robert Musil: “And, after all, if stupidity did not, when seen from within, look so exactly like talent as to be mistaken for it, and, if it could not, when seen from outside, appear as progress, genius, hope and improvement, doubtless no one would want to be stupid, and there would be no stupidity, Or at least it would be very easy to combat it. But, unfortunately there is something very winning and about it…The long and short of it is, there is no important idea that stupidity does not know how to make use of, for it can move in all directions and is able to wear all the garments of truth, Truth, on the other hand, has only one garment and one road and is always at a disadvantage.”

Efforts to battle social ills (which are the direct result of the world’s corrupt nature) through organizations become causes which mask the real problems.

Organizations that exist long enough (molding themselves to fit the values of the status quo) become institutions unable to deal with reality.

Making substantial money off one’s art is not a problem. Buying into the “game” at the expense of one’s life and art, is.

It is the nature of all organizations and institutions to support the status quo.

Is the inherent corruption in all its overt and subtle shades propagated due to ignorance or conspiracy? The latter, unspoken and unaligned formally stems from the former.

Many banal art projects are funded because they look good on paper. And bureaucrats love to push paper, especially good looking paper.

Life must be perceived beyond personal and cultural values/morals.

When any strong valid idea is disseminated into the world, its opposite is put into practice.

“Teaching” the “art” of grantsmanship has become a lucrative business in itself.

How much did the photographers get paid for these photos?

It is the rule rather than the exception that the more an artist is funded or gets work, the more inconsistent  that artist’s work is overall.

Corruption (self-deception) was sewn into the very fabric of this planet a millennium ago.

Could, should, or did the photographers try to help some or any of these people?

Joe and Jim are visual artists, hence their selection of captions. However, the captions can easily apply to all artistic endeavors, and, in fact, to all human endeavors.

Relying on the opinions of experts most often means relying on the opinions of corrupt fools.

It’s all dirty money.

Those involved in the arts are traditionally thought to be people digging deepest into their (and the culture’s) psyche to distill and reflect what is happening and has happened on the planet.

People, essentially weak, afraid, and unable to deal with reality, join together to create organizations unable to deal with reality.

Corporations and individuals buy art to round out their investment portfolios.

There’s no way for institutions to clean up their act – the corruption is inherent.

Institutions, by and large, support people unable to deal with reality.

Artistic activity can be any activity.

Some people will find these photos arousing.

In subtle and overt ways, the pictures herein represent the status quo.

One can apply for grants more honestly by not molding one’s expression to fit the latest trends, forming collaborative marriages of convenience with artists in the “in” crowd, planting friends on grants panels, going to the “right” parties, being seen at the “right” events, ad nauseum.

One can carve out a small niche for oneself, somewhat removed from the “way of the world” through a hard fought lifelong process.

From Volume 2 of THE MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES by Robert Musil: “Let us try to imagine the opposite — a writer who did not do all these things. He would have to refuse cordial invitations, rebuff people, assess praise not as though he himself were the object of it, but like a judge, tear the natural state of things to shreds, and treat splendid opportunities with suspicion merely because they were splendid; and he would have nothing to offer in return but processes going on inside his own head, difficult to express and difficult to assess, and the work of a man of letters, something that an epoch already possessing supermen of letters need not set much store by. Would not such a man inevitably remain an outsider and have to withdraw from reality, bearing the consequences of his attitude?”

Some of these photos won awards.

So, during one grant round, person “a” is on the panel and insures that person “b” gets a grant. Then, during the next round, person “b” does the same for “a”. It’s common practice – just check the records. Call it cronyism, friendships, the good-old-boy/girl network, political alliances…and a fair amount of it isn’t even overtly conscious and is well-intended, which makes it all the more…corrupt.

Some artists retain artistic integrity while losing personal integrity. There are not many artists with artistic integrity.

Some people will find these photos funny, even without the captions.

From Volume 1 of THE MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES by Robert Musil: “Ideas that had once been of lean account grew fat. Persons who had previously not been taken altogether seriously, now acquired fame. What had been harsh mellowed down, what had been separated, re-united, those who had been independent made concessions for the sake of public approval, and established taste fell, a prey to new uncertainties. Sharp borderlines everywhere became blurred, and, some new, indescribable capacity for entering into hitherto unheard-of relationships threw up new people and new ideas. These people and ideas were not wicked. No, far from it. It was only that the good was adulterated with a little too much of the bad, the truth with error, and the meaning with a little too much of the spirit of accommodation.”

Arts bureaucrats love to “discover” and groom artists. Examples of both can be seen in these photos.

People choose (consciously or unconsciously) to be ignorant.

Artists, like everyone else, are willing (in that they don’t consistently step outside their subjective consciousness) victims of self-deception.

The only real/meaningful revolution is one’s battle against oneself. That’s the only place real change can occur.

Whose coffee table will this end up on, and why?

Everything we do supports the status quo.

People most often appreciate an artist because they are told they should by an institution and/or critic, rather than through their own investigations and feelings.

The fact that many art institutions have investments in questionable countries, businesses, etc. is hardly shocking.

Neither funding or lack thereof guarantees strong consistent art.

Some artists retain personal and artistic integrity. They are even more rare.

This book is about the genocide of the human race that has been going on since the human race.

–milo fine


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