Pornography Sucks

Dear Dexter,

I came across a story about a British “guerilla artist” who,

tampered with 500 copies of Paris Hilton’s debut album across 48 record shops in the UK by replacing the CD with his own remixes featuring such titles as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For? as well as swapping out her picture on the CD sleeve with one of her topless and with a dog’s head.

Are you the guerilla artist in question? Assuming you are, what do you expect to be the result of your guerilla action? Incarceration? A top-ten hit? A videotaped affair with Paris?

—Regular Artist

Dear Regulator,

You can see the results here. You’d think this is the kind of thing I’d appreciate, but it’s not. I respect the ballsiness required to pull it off, but as a cultural stunt, or some kind of culture jamming, it’s too boring even to want to contemplate for more than a minute or two. It’s self-promotion masquerading as social commentary. I know this is true because of the answer to the following question I could have asked myself:

Dear Dexter,

I’m interested in promoting my self as a "guerilla artist" but don’t want it to look like an act of self-promotion. I’d rather it look like a courageous act of social commentary/culture jamming, because then various media outlets, and hot girls I’d like to have sex with, would take me seriously as a social critic rather than dismiss me as a shameless self-promoter. Any suggestions?

–Dexter

Dear Dexter,

Good question. Might I suggest the following: Tamper with 500 copies of Paris Hilton’s debut CD across 48 record shops in the UK. Replace her sexy but not quite pornographic photos of herself with various digitally altered, quite explicitly pornographic photos of her, thus making the point that she’s selling sex. Re-mix some of the tracks on the CD with your own re-mixes of her songs that make the point that she’s famous for being famous and hasn’t actually achieved anything other than being famous. Also include some photo collages that aren’t quite so explicit in their meaning so that it seems as if all of your meaning isn’t right there on the surface, because after all you’re an artist and artists leave much of their meaning buried beneath the surface. Make sure everyone knows who’s done the tampering and that they know that you’re a guerilla artist. Rinse and repeat.

See what I mean. Obvious. For more on the guerilla-artist-in-question (GAIQ), who’s apparently well known in the UK for his brilliantly executed but basically boring art-pranks, here’s an article. His own website is here. The Wikipedia entry is here. I report, you decide. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m unlikely to like anyone who can say the following:

Remember crime against property is not real crime. People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.

Talented guy, but shallow politics, which wouldn’t be a problem if his art didn’t seem to be all about his shallow politics. Then again, since his secret, probably unconscious aim is to be famous (or semi-famous, which is the best that any visual artist can hope for in his or her lifetime), he’s actually going about it quite brilliantly. Yes, I know that he’s "anonymous," but he’s suspiciously well-known for someone who believes in anonymity. If he really wanted to be anonymous he wouldn’t manage to let everyone and their mother know that he was the anonymous prankster who did whatever it is he just did.

It’s important that he believes that he’s not in it for the fame, though, as the truly genius self-promoters have to believe that they’re not in it for the fame. I suspect this is true even of Paris Hilton, though it’s hard to see how.

Finally (and yes I know this is getting tedious but I’m really annoyed by this guy, which probably has something to do with the feeling that he and I are doing the same kind of thing but he’s gotten more attention for it), consider this passage from his website and tell me that it doesn’t unconsciously reveal that his motive is, after all is said and done, fame.

The time of getting fame for your name on its own is over. Artwork that is only about wanting to be famous will never make you famous. Any fame is a by-product of making something that means something. You don’t go to a restaurant and order a meal because you want to have a shit.

Whatever, dude.

as The Superficial writes:

Author: Dear Dexter

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