THE PIN-UP STAKES: Poetry & the Marketing of Poetry

by on Jan.14, 2011

I. THE POET AS IMAGE ARTIST

“When Duran Duran arrived on the pop scene in 1980, they were scoffed at a good deal. A poor man’s Spandau Ballet, people said, in their clumsy new romantic gear; all breeches and frilly shirts and not much future. They looked…well, provincial. Yet four years later, not only are Duran Duran one of the hottest groups in the world, but they’ve cultivated an image of sophisticated, even languid, jet-setters. They appear to inhabit a world of glamorous places, designer clothes, champagne, travel and beautiful girls. Duran Duran are not much interested in being the boys next door. Every one of their singles has been a chart hit, they’ve released three best-selling LPs and excited hysterical devotion among hordes of young girls. They belong to an elite corps of young British acts (along with Eurythmics, Culture Club and the Thompson Twins) who have shaken up the American music scene with a new look, a new sound and the encouraging ability to shift vast quantities of records. In the last four years, Duran Duran have played before royalty, seen Is There Something I Should Know enter the charts at number one, spent a year in tax exile, and had their every affair or indiscretion splashed across the front pages. They’ve received few kind words from the music critics, but that doesn’t seem to matter; their popularity among young pop fans everywhere is rivaled only by that of Culture Club. And in the pin-up stakes, there’s no one who even comes close.” – Maria David, Duran Duran

“A lot of people didn’t like me. Most of them were poets. They called me names like proletarian, idealist, romantic, handsome. Fools I thought. Why would people sell themselves short and not just live the life of pure creative glamour. It was easy for me, to others it was a mirage. The real geniuses of history were the ones brave enough to be it. I couldn’t understand their criticisms to be anything but jealousy. I encouraged their cupidity and became even wilder and more attractive than ever. Around that time I released a book called Mirage, dedicated to my detractors. I won’t brag about its impact, but it was breathtaking.” – Jon Leon, Hit Wave

I want to talk about poetry and the marketing of poetry as part of a larger, image-making activity. This activity includes the creation of content along with the packaging, distribution, promotion, and performance of that content. I should emphasize, however, that actual content creation is not a requirement, since what matters most is the strategic framework that constitutes the image-making. The publishing or even writing of poems may be unnecessary—in some cases, one need only allude to their existence. So really what we’re talking about here is the poet as image artist, or in marketing terms, the poet as brand. There is an obvious kinship here with pop stars, Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes, political icons and others forged within an image matrix composed of the work they do, the interviews they give, their various associations and sponsorships, and the personal scandals and mundane details of their lives that filter through media outlets and social networks. As such, there is a collaborative component to this image matrix: the artist and the audience are its co-creators. You could even say they are co-creators of each other, with the image they share as the living, breathing document of their mutual existence.

Of course, anyone with a Facebook profile is engaging in some type of brand management. But an image artist is differentiated by a larger framework and vision. It’s a question of scale, dimensionality, cohesion and purpose. Let’s look at it from a marketing perspective:

Who is your target audience and what do they need? What is your objective, what is your strategic approach to achieving that objective, and what are the tactics you deploy to support that strategy? What are your key performance indicators or metrics of success, how will you monitor and measure them, and how will actual results inform your strategy and tactics, moving forward?

Marketing typically begins with a need: who are you and what do you need? This question determines everything. But the origin of an image artist is different. It begins with a vision (of life), which corresponds roughly to a marketing objective. It begins with a vision because the target audience is a priori everyone and no one. The image artist is always speaking to something universal in all of us, and either we listen or we don’t. Regardless, the task of the image artist is to contaminate the world with her vision, or, in marketing speak, to construct a strategic framework and tactical deployment plan that will achieve the objective. Whether cutting a diagonal across demographics or zeroing in on a specific scene, how you market and to whom you market works in tandem with what you are marketing. Everything is integrated and consistent with the objective. Everything is part of the vision.

For example, what differentiates an image artist poet from, say, a regular poet, is that, to the image artist, a book of poems and the promotion of that book have a lateral relationship: a poem from a book, the physical design of a book, marketing collateral like videos and posters, a public event, and subsequent interviews, collaborations, interventions, investments, denials, etc.—these are all related forms of a consistent, evolving vision. To the regular poet it’s simply a matter of writing a poem and publishing it in one venue or another, preferably one with a sizeable, welcoming audience and competent promotional staff. To the poet as image artist, every decision is an act of fidelity to an overarching strategy and a singular objective. Whether or not to publish a magazine or anthology, or be published in one, and how to do so or not do so; whether or not to organize an event, or participate in one, and how to do so or not do so; whether or not to intervene with a critique, or respond to criticism, and how to do so or not do so; and so on. Obviously any number of factors will inform each decision (friendship, convenience, decorum, boredom, disaster, etc.), and depending on the stakes at hand there may be retreats and concessions, or miscalculations—but at the end of the day an image artist will prioritize the vision above all else, and act accordingly.

Image artists often have an ambivalent relationship with results. This is because results, whether quantitative or qualitative, act as positive or negative feedback within an image matrix, and thereby impact the image itself. Although the objective is unwavering, the method of achieving this objective is always open to review. An image artist might adjust strategic direction, or abandon an entire communication channel, based on results. But results must first be defined. Perhaps your metrics of success are site hits, or followers on Twitter, or Facebook friends, or Google Alerts, or mentions on key influencer blogs, or old-fashioned sales and event attendees. Maybe you check these figures at random intervals whenever it occurs to you, or not at all, or maybe you develop an automated feed and cross-channel offline/online formula that weights these metrics individually and in combination to postulate an overall performance score, and assign incremental change each month. Maybe you then make adjustments here and there in the production, distribution, and promotion of real or imagined content, based on a holistic assessment of the efficacy of your strategy and tactics. Maybe you forecast shifts in the landscape, based on historical data, and make cyclical or preemptive adjustments—or maybe you have an encounter that changes everything.

II. THE PIN-UP STAKES

“And the base things of the world and things which are despised God has chosen, and things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.” (1 Corinthians 1:28, NKJV)

I’m hesitant to attempt a taxonomy of image artists, but I do want to define a particular type who share a common objective: to end the world and change life. For ease of discussion, I’ll borrow a phrase from the opening salvo on Duran Duran and call these stakes The Pin-Up Stakes, and this type of image artist The Pin-Up Artist.

I should clarify that when I say “end the world” I’m not suggesting a kind of artistic terrorism or terrestrial apocalypse. By “life” I mean the form of nothingness we experience, and by “world” I mean the structure in which we navigate and make meaning out of this form of nothingness. Simply put, the world is a tool. One could argue that human beings could not function as such without it. The problem, however, is that this tool is most effective when it operates as life by supplanting it. The wall of Plato’s cave is analogous here, as is your handheld device of choice. What brings us closer to life is also what keeps us away from it, like Parmigianino’s hand in Ashbery’s convex mirror (protecting what it advertises), or AT&T’s plaintively ironic “reach out and touch someone” long distance ad campaign just prior to the Bell System divestiture of the mid ‘80s. This is not to critique the mediation of experience as a specifically “postmodern” condition, with techno-capitalist culture industries identified as culprits in the systematic usurpation of life by its representation. I’m positing it here instead as the foundation of human reality: life itself is the first mediating factor, or image, of nothingness, and the world is what mediates the mediation. The world is made in the image of the image.

This is all to say that the pin-up stakes are defined by a subjective rather than material objective (though it may have material effects), and it is precisely this tension between life and the world that the pin-up artist exploits: the nexus of the first image (life) with the second (world). The greater the tension, the greater the cataclysm when this tension is antagonized, and the greater the probability that a linear conjunction of world-life-nothingness will be knocked loose and repositioned into a triangulation, with the artist and audience communing at the very center of it. This center is the experience of the end of the world, or rather, the end of the dominating proximity of the world. The position of life is changed. From this space, in equal proximity to nothingness, its image, and the image of its image, reality is no longer limited by what is possible. The impossibility of existence itself is experienced first hand, whether as a rapturous, uncanny joy, or terror, or trauma, or profound boredom, or as a kind of pure occurrence, void of affect. The exact contours of the experience are incidental: no specific feeling is sutured to the specifics of what happens. What we’re talking about is the point at which meaning collapses into infinitude. If we were to locate this vision politically, it would be the moment of revolt, inside the event, where all rules of particularity are annihilated. If we were to locate it personally, it’s the experience of right now as it really happens, tethered to but undetermined by the factual chronology of our lives.

I want to end this section by talking about tactics and risk. Rather than execute a strategy of risk mitigation toward a position that can’t be flanked or undone, the pin-up artist operates entirely within the field of risk. Everything a pin-up artist does is intended to be misread, whether celebrated or dismissed, by the well-read and worldly but uninitiated: with one hand the pin-up artist speaks directly to people who get it, and with the other she blocks the profanation of her work by playing into the paradigm of people who don’t. This is an open challenge to those who have the capacity to live like immortals yet choose to live for the world. All of us have this capacity and face this choice. The goal here is not to make fools look like fools, but to risk looking like a fool in order to raise the stakes. There can be no revolution without risk. This is not to say that the pin-up artist is a revolutionary. There is no concrete objective she is striving toward, only the vision she already inhabits and offers up to us. But it is precisely this vision of the impossibility of existence that enables the possibility for change. Either you believe in it or you don’t believe at all. To the pin-up artist, these are the highest stakes. What happens next is up to us.

Coming up: Case studies on Jon Leon, Ariana Reines, and others

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22 comments for this entry:
  1. Jerimee

    I think Dan Hoy you are in the manifesto business and wish more power to you.

  2. m kitchell

    i’m going to print this out and glue it to my face

  3. jackie wang

    i think yr analysis of the circuits of immaterial production is right on, but it kinds of falls apart at the end. all production recreates the world since production is generative. the question is–what forms of subjective production recreate capitalism? this is also the critical question for me, as an anti-capitalist artist

  4. Dan Hoy

    “the question is – what forms of subjective production recreate capitalism?”

    I’m tempted to say all of them. What I outlined could easily lead to a reinforcement of the status quo. At some point you have to make a choice. What I’m trying to get at is a reorientation that puts you in a position to make that choice – but it’s an ongoing reorientation and a choice you make every moment. No path of resistance is good for long because the terrain shifts and absorbs. Look at what’s happening now – what’s powering the capitalist system is a strategy of transparency, community, shared ownership, access to the mechanisms of digital production, etc. and so on. It’s an upgrade in efficiency and an internalizing of the state via self-surveillance – the system evolves to ensure the survival of the coordinates that benefit those in power. Wikileaks is a red herring. Even the Time Magazine I read at my parents’ house over the holidays couldn’t see the difference between the vision of Wikileaks and the vision of Facebook. I don’t really consider myself an anti-capitalist artist, and I’m not a militant and certainly don’t have a theory on how to go about enacting material change (my focus is the moment of revolt, the clearing away), but I think any approach probably begins with a vision (e.g. universal emancipation), then a choice to externalize this vision (assessment, strategic plan, tactical execution), analyzing and adjusting along the way. There will always be failures and disasters, many of them horrifying ironies. These don’t discredit the vision. You learn and move forward.

  5. Coolguy

    Very interesting idea you have here about using brand. I’ve been interested in brand strategy for a long time, and I liked the photos that say “free drunk” because it’s catchy, yet at the same time your not sure what it means. This is a deeply profound strategy about capitalism. The first time I ever heard about this idea was in the manifesto written by Shepard Fairey, one of my top six favorite artists of all time. In his manifesto ,Fairey wrote, about his creation, the sticker OBEY GIANT, “The sticker has no meaning but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning in the sticker.” Like life itself, the slogan “Free drunk” also has no meaning, yet we are inspired to discover it. In this way I thought this pictures in this post were very good. Hopefully, this will rocket your manifesto to great success, and many people will read it. I plan to do so, myself, very soon.

  6. jackie wang

    your temptation to say “all of them” is certainly a widely shared sentiment.

    as zizek, fredric jameson, and mark fisher always say: “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.” capitalism is so thoroughly naturalized that we think it’s the only way. you express a certain cynicism about the potential of resistance and thus opt for a market-oriented rhetoric…perhaps out of a sense of futility?

    “‘capitalist realism’: the widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagille a coherent alternative to it.

    The ‘realism’ here is analogous to the deflationary perspective of a depressive who believes that any positive state, any hope, is a dangerous illusion.”

    i think there are subjectivities that actively work against capitalism–politicized subjectivities, such as black radical subjectivities, etc. but we tend to channel more energy into the production if individualizing brands using advertising models…it will certainly work to recreate capitalism and alienation but it hardly raises the stakes. indeed, it lowers them

  7. Dan Hoy

    Hi Jackie,

    I appreciate the engagement here. I’m certainly not a cynic, and I’ve read the same authors and am on board. When I say “I don’t really consider myself an anti-capitalist artist” I’m not saying I am pro-capitalism, I just mean I wouldn’t go on a forum and say “I am an anti-capitalist artist.” If I had to pick an “anti-” label I’d probably say I’m anti-human (as in “pro” the inhuman core common to us all). This to me encompasses the uncanniness and complicity of operating within any system, whether that system is the capitalist system or the universe. I will say that if I were creating a system its primary objective would not be to expand endlessly and it would not be predicated on pockets of localized, conscious suffering.

    I’m using “marketing” in a very broad sense for how we engage with the world in public forums (as opposed to how we engage with it privately), and applying this terminology to the task of the image artist. Part of my goal here is to differentiate between objectives and strategy/tactics — people too often associate a strategy with a specific objective (or infrastructure or ideology), and then assume this strategy is sutured to that objective. The strategy is always determined by the objective, but conflicting objectives may share strategies (e.g. how congruent are the objectives of Deleuze and the IDF?). So I want to shake off the negative connotations with a marketing model and look at what we’re doing honestly. I also feel using this model brings to the foreground the difficulty in identifying the demarcation between resistance and complicity. This is an important point for me personally, and I feel this difficulty manifests in the extreme, historically speaking, when revolutions attempt to maintain a revolutionary “state” (I’m punning here) via internal purges.

    I agree with you there are politicized subjectivities, and I think we’re in agreement on what “politicized” means as well. But you asked what types of subjectivities recreate capitalism, which I took to mean “which subjectivities might lead to materialized capitalism?” Real-time terrain is unstable and destabilizing, and it’s only through a rigorous fidelity that you can maintain this subjectivity indefinitely. There are moments though when we slip, or when the terrain shifts suddenly and we are slow to adjust our strategic approach, or we abandon a set of tactics too late. I’m not sure if this is addressing your point adequately, or maybe you thought I meant non-capitalist subjectivities are no longer possible?

    One more thing I think is important — the reference to alienation as something that advertising creates and its link with capitalism. I think “alienation” is an outmoded logic of domination, or at the very least it’s mutated into an ironic form. The current mode is an accelerating connectivity, an increasingly social and portable web propagated via gadgets and marketing that enable and encourage instantaneously monetized user-generated products (including thought-actions as data). It’s as if “sharing” is offered up as an antidote to alienation, and yet the revenue generated from this sharing still lands with the fat cats. The trade-off, of course, from an end user perspective, is an “enriched” user experienced that users knowingly and lovingly create– that is to say, a sense of ownership. But already there is a kind of profit-sharing occurring online between brands and the individuals that traffic these brands, and there is also a data-portability movement underway that would put users in control of their own data (which they could then monetize). It’s these kind of trends (self-surveillance, fusion of brand/consumer, crowd-sourcing, etc.) that I’m referring to when I say the state is being replaced by the individual. Why alienate when fostering community is so much more effective at managing and evolving the system? It’s like what Debord says about how exile is impossible in a unified world. What’s terrifying is “We are the world.”

    I talk about this a little in an interview with Jon Leon here: http://www.thefanzine.com/articles/poetry/423/glory_holes_and_hot_tubs-_dan_hoy_and_jon_leon_in_conversation

    Maybe I am overemphasizing the online experience at the expense of the physical world, but it’s hard not to do so given how integrated and inextricable the two are becoming.

  8. Dan Hoy

    “In this way I thought this pictures in this post were very good. Hopefully, this will rocket your manifesto to great success, and many people will read it. I plan to do so, myself, very soon.”

    That last sentence had me rolling

  9. Coolguy

    @Dan, Interesting poist. Maybe their truly is no escape from capitalism. After all, any form of resistance always re absorbed by the truly fat cats? But I agree with you that there is a truly great chance if we ourselves can becomre our own brands. Then, what will we have left to sell to us? Check this out, once upon a time the only way for us to form communities, was mediated by capitalism. But with the world wide web, capitalism is out of hte picture. On the web, we are all connected, no bodies, no selfs, just infinite brains floating in a jar of space, an experience defined by ultimate enrichment. It is an interesting point you made about the future of technology, which reminds me of somethig that was written by one of my favorite writers, Brenda Laurel. “Convergence is in the air. One cannot help but sense that the trajectory is an exponential curve. What next? Whatever, it’s out of here. Out of today’s media constructs, saturated as they are with a bogus third-person view. Out of here, and into here with new eyes, ears, noses, fingers…” To me, this quote says something about how capitalism is its own future. I mean, all time, and technology, is an exponential curve. Community is a virus, and it’s catching. Everything is destabalized, but instead of falling apart…. its coming together. It’s like, at the end of history, floating in space, we’re a big global village. I, myself, can’t wait for that to happen.

  10. jackie wang

    let’s bring something out into the open here–the position you are speaking from is a class-specific position. The hyper-techno (gadget) mode of image-production is not open to everyone. When you say that alienation is irrelevant in the hyper-connected world of cellphones and laptops, you’re creating a picture of the world universalized from a specific privileged location.

    why is it so much easier for people to say–on blogs, etc–that they support the tactics of advertising than anti-capitalism? both certainly have political/ideological implications–perhaps marketing appears to be a more neutral mode?

    i totally agree without about being honest about what’s going on. certainly, your diagnosis of what’s taking place makes sense. it’s the celebratory attitude that i am contesting.

    from the book profits and pleasure (which discusses the limits of queer performativity):
    “The watchwords of queer praxis in both arenas are ‘make trouble and have fun’ (Berube and Escoffier 15). But often trouble- making takes the form of a cultural politics that relies on concepts of the social, of resistance, and of pleasure that keep invisible the violent social relations new urban identities depend on.”

    “One effect of the aestheticization of daily life in industrial capitalism is that the social relations cultural production depends on are even further mystified. The aestheticization of everyday life encourages the pursuit of new tastes and sensations as pleasures in themselves while concealing or backgrounding the labor that has gone into making them possible.”

    “Aestheticization in consumer culture is supported by philosophies of the subject in postmodern theory that for all of their “social” dimensions nonetheless pose art — not social change — as the goal of a new ethics.”

    Case study: widespread suicides among exploited chinese workers that build iphones.

    when destabilizing norms via the production of edgy images becomes an end in itself, the goal of liberation is erased in favor of aesthetic innovation.

    i think you are misunderstanding my use of the term alienation. i am not just talking about a feeling of being detached from the people around you–but in a marxist sense–as in, we are detached from the circuits of production that are lifestyles relying on. the case of the iphone suicides is a good example of the the disturbing exploitation that middle class identities rest upon. do we know where our food comes from, out clothing, our laptops, our cellphones? probably not, since the image functions to alienate us from the violence of our lifestyles and identities.

    but even if i were using alienation in your sense of the term–i think it’s perhaps even more relevant today than ever. i personally feel hyper-alienated by the modes of social interaction under late capitalism (part of the reason why i deleted my facebook a month and a half ago). i found that the more digitally connected i was, the more i was alienated from the people actually around me, the less i felt compelled to go outside, the more anxious i felt when away from my computer. i found most of my interactions mediated through sites like facebook to be fairly meaningless and ultimately dissatisfying.

    i find the end of negri and hardt’s Empire to be pretty compelling. in talking about the movement toward subjective and immaterial production in the era of Empire, they discuss how it is not actually production itself that is bad, but the fact that people do not have control of the means of subjective production. for hardt and negri, capitalism is not substantive–it is that which distorts, negates, directs, and corrupts production. we produce bad/violent subjectivities–not because subjective/aesthetic/cultural production itself is innately bad or capitalist–but because we are subjugated producers under capitalism. hardt and negri–like marx–essentially see the power of generation and the fundamental productivity of being as a beautiful thing.

  11. Dan Hoy

    Hi Jackie,

    I never said alienation is irrelevant, and I already admitted I may be over-emphasizing the online experience, but it doesn’t matter: if you’re serious you have to stay ahead of the curve – the strategies I’m referring to are already being rolled out and need to be addressed. I do think throwing “privilege” around is a somewhat careless maneuver. What technology isn’t privileged? Where do you draw the line? At 75% access? 90%? 99.9? Bottom line: you are either a radical egalitarian or you are not. It’s all or nothing. This is the only real politics as far as I’m concerned. Politics is always about space and about time. How these categories are defined, who defines them, who benefits from these definitions, who suffers. I’m talking about obliterating the two categories altogether via universal subjectivity. The point at which meaning collapses into infinitude. You want me to use anti-capitalist rhetoric instead of marketing rhetoric? Why? We’re talking about the creation of images here, not the cliffs notes version of the Left. My job is to evoke and induce. If you want to reach your audience you have to speak their language, which also happens to be my language. Are there risks in this? Of course. But that’s because risk is mandatory. You have to risk total disaster if you want a total revolution.

    To clarify: my post is about two specific roles, the image artist and the pin-up artist. The image artist, as a role, is ideologically neutral – it’s filled with the ideology of whatever is filling it, and its goal is to contaminate the external world with its image, whatever that is. Critical and commercial darling Lady Gaga would fit here. The pin-up artist, on the other hand, is a type of image artist, and it comes preloaded with an ideology. Its goal is to contaminate the external world with its image of a dislocated subjective world – to reorient our relation to world, life and nothingness. The pin-up artist brings nothingness to the foreground in order to assert the impossibility of existence, the infinitude of thought, and the complete arbitrariness of all rules and particularities. It is precisely this reorientation that generates revolutionary potential – you have to already believe the revolution has happened in order to enact it. You have to live the vision in order to make it real. Lady Gaga, as you note on your blog, would not fit this description. But the word “potential” is key here – the pin-up artist offers up communion with its audience, but it can’t determine what happens next. That is up to us, the audience. It sounds like you are worried about the ideological flotsam of a marketing model influencing the direction this potential takes, and that a more conventional “anti-capitalist” model (whatever that is) would be more appropriate. Yes I am using “conventional” ironically. Because we are not operating in a vacuum here. What artwork you disseminate is not all encompassing – you can’t control the environmental coordinates and ongoing input of your audience. Your work permeates and is permeated by a real world scenario, and it needs to be designed as such to even have the opportunity to realize that potential.

    I want to stress that these are “roles” and not people. A person can play many roles simultaneously, such as pin-up artist, militant, girlfriend, critic, and so-on. I am not diagramming a program for life – this is about life in the role of the image artist.

    I’ll throw out two examples from the poetry scene without elaboration: I would consider Ariana Reines a pin-up artist, and I would consider Tao Lin an image artist but not a pin-up artist.

    But to get back to your original point, I’m not misunderstanding your use of alienation. I was using “alienation” to suggest both the relation to production (e.g. crowd-sourcing) and the relation to community. Segmentation is still in play – capitalism loves specialization, it loves to differentiate and enumerate particularities and insert mediation everywhere. But it’s applying these protocols to generate a celebration of difference and a community of endless gradation and categorization, along with, in the digital space at least (but it’s becoming dangerous, I think, to isolate this critically), access to content creation and ownership. It is enabling users to be their own producers. The exploited Chinese workers are not invisible to me – there are in fact obvious, and have been discussed at great length, we could cut and paste examples ad infinitum – keep in mind your audience here, I am not a middle class identity, resting comfortably on my ignorance. I am choosing to emphasize an emergent form of control instead. If you are truly positioning yourself against a system you need to understand how it’s evolving and get there ahead of time. Anyway I understand the personal experience you relate, how the digital connectivity is isolating, and it’s what I was alluding to when I said perhaps the strategy of alienation has taken on an ironic form – as an extension of the logic of expansion and profit, accumulating “friends”, “fans”, or “followers”, requiring a surplus of friend data via Facebook/Twitter/Foursquare/etc. in order to feel indefinitely, partially satiated in the real-time of late capitalism.

    I’m hoping this will help clarify? Apologies if my tone is combative, but I feel like I’m being asked to wear a strawman hat. I do feel, from what little I know of you from these posts and what I’ve encountered before online, that our overall objectives are not dissimilar. I don’t even think our approaches are all that different. I honestly feel there is a misunderstanding at play here, and if it is due to some imprecision on my part, again, I apologize.

  12. Coolguy

    “If you want to reach your audience, you have to speak there language.” “If you want to be cutting edge, you have to stay ahead of the curve.” Two great lessons I learned in my marketing seminar. It’s really all about risk in this game. After all, were not just playing with matches any more. If you want to start a revolution, you have to be ready 2 rumble. Language is a virus… and you just caught it. After all, sincerity is a dead concept. Were all just playing roles, so why not play the ultimate role, and rocket beyond everything, and spurt your infinite dick up into da sky??

    Technology allows us to literally be above everything. Since we can be anybody, it doesn’t matter what we say, because we can always change our minds. This is close to the true meaning of language, which is that there is no meaning. After all, how can you say anything when it’s all just words?!??!? This is why I agree with your manifesto so much. I think anyone who tries to say anything meaningful with their art is stupid, since meanig is a lie. The only path forward, to remain truly on the cutting edge, is by negating all meaning. The pin-up artist commits pure suicide, pure murder…. he kill’s himself, metaphorically, so that others may live. He turns himself inside out, and risks everything, by posting on facebook. Let’s get ready for a revolution!

  13. “Why would people sell themselves short and not just live the life of pure creative glamour.” | HTMLGIANT

    […] Friday night I read Dan Hoy’s post over at Montevidayo entitled THE PIN-UP STAKES: Poetry & The Marketing of Poetry. Approximately 2 hours later I was wasted in a bar across the street from my apartment, yelling at […]

  14. Adam Roberts

    “Rather than execute a strategy of risk mitigation toward a position that can’t be flanked or undone, the pin-up artist operates entirely within the field of risk. Everything a pin-up artist does is intended to be misread, whether celebrated or dismissed, by the well-read and worldly but uninitiated: with one hand the pin-up artist speaks directly to people who get it, and with the other she blocks the profanation of her work by playing into the paradigm of people who don’t….The goal here is not to make fools look like fools, but to risk looking like a fool in order to raise the stakes. There can be no revolution without risk. This is not to say that the pin-up artist is a revolutionary. There is no concrete objective she is striving toward, only the vision she already inhabits and offers up to us. But it is precisely this vision of the impossibility of existence that enables the possibility for change. Either you believe in it or you don’t believe at all. To the pin-up artist, these are the highest stakes. What happens next is up to us.”

    Is it okay to ask how a recent project I tried out might fit/not fit into this discussion?

    http://www.jerseyshorepoem.blogspot.com

    Thanks for all this!

  15. THE PIN-UP STAKES: Case Study on Jon Leon - Montevidayo

    […] by Dan Hoy on Jan.19, 2011, under Uncategorized * This is a follow up to The Pin-Up Stakes: Poetry & the Marketing of Poetry […]

  16. Person Ablach

    “I do think throwing “privilege” around is a somewhat careless maneuver. What technology isn’t privileged? Where do you draw the line? At 75% access? 90%? 99.9? Bottom line: you are either a radical egalitarian or you are not. It’s all or nothing.”

    This makes discussion at the level of individual privileges, or the qualities that make individualize class disparities impossible to discuss. I’m willing to say you’re refusal to acknowledge your relationship to the VAST and UNQUESTIONABLE class distinction between you and at least 3 billion people makes for a weak petition against.

    and worse, you’re:
    1. using this argument to render a truly “meaningless” (non)representation of those who truly are suffering under you and others complicit in the class war. by
    2. Using a rhetoric that celebrates your privileged explicating of a meaninglessness that denies its own existence.

    I’m not hating on technology though. Just the refusal to be empathic or worse to claim there, because of technology exists no ‘other.’ I’m sorry that the futurists were wrong in championing a fascistic early postmodern brand of nihilism. And I’m sorry so be so unsexy and unmarketable right now.

  17. Dan Hoy

    “This makes discussion at the level of individual privileges, or the qualities that make individualize class disparities impossible to discuss. I’m willing to say you’re refusal to acknowledge your relationship to the VAST and UNQUESTIONABLE class distinction between you and at least 3 billion people makes for a weak petition against.”

    Fair enough. I’m not in disagreement with you. But this is not the focus of my post, which is limited to artistic activity, and concerns a process of strategic and tactical adjustment determined by a singular objective. This objective is an ongoing subjective reorientation of world/life/nothingness in order for us to maintain an equidistant relationship to all three. I think this is important because I’ve identified this triangulated subjective space as what disables the belief that systematic change is not possible. That’s it — that’s the goal. It does not guarantee change, it just enables the potential. Anything else is beyond the scope of this model. I realize this may sound like nonsense to some people, and others may find it comprehensible but not actionable. That’s fine.

    I don’t have a problem using marketing terminology to discuss how artists use images to communicate this objective with the external world, but I realize a lot of people do. I personally feel that in the same way we should resist the temptation to approve of something because it’s sexy, we should also resist the temptation to dismiss something because it’s not unsexy enough.

    I’m sure Coolguy can elaborate from here.

  18. therealbucksuckit

    o man i’hve been reading this and i think my head will explode lol this is between a smart group!!! but its true

  19. THE PIN-UP STAKES: Clarifications - Montevidayo

    […] Dan Hoy on Jan.24, 2011, under Uncategorized * This is a post-script of sorts to my original post THE PIN-UP STAKES: Poetry & the Marketing of Poetry. [for the below I'm paraphrasing and reorganizing replies I made in the comments field of the […]

  20. Approaching an Ideology of Art | HTMLGIANT

    […] what any of this has to do with my formerly established ideas that I’ve nurtured via Dan Hoy’s writings on The Pin-Up Artist, especially in contrast to what I said at the beginning of this blog post– that “I have […]