[-empyre-] Thanks to Yiannis and Helene and lurking vs. participating

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Thu Dec 1 09:24:56 EST 2011

Dear Yiannis and Helene,

Our most appreciative thanks for nurturing empyre during the month of
November.  While Tim has been traveling pretty extensively, I have been
lurking in on the conversations this month.  It has been an incredibly busy
and productive month of creating in the studio, but also teaching.  Quite a
few of the posts have resonated with my experiences this semester of
shepherding twenty-two BFA Senior Thesis students in Cornell's Department
of Art. Their work over the semester has evolved both practically and
theoretically, but that progress has been overshadowed with ontological
struggles. It appears to me than many of them are in absolute panic mode
while they struggle to answer basic questions such as “where am I going to
live, how will I pay my bills, how will I get health insurance if I work
independently, who will be my community?” Other questions are asked
regarding what kinds of art practice will be sustainable with living life
and whether or not he/she prefers to participate in the network of museum,
gallery and art market or remain outside of it. Some of these students I
realize will probably eventually choose not to be producing artists at all.
Hopefully some will proceed to graduate school or not but find a balance in
a sustainable artistic production and creation.

Finding a sustainable balance in the United States is more difficult than
ever.  Bill's post just a couple of days ago pointed to this reality.  More
often than not alternative or independent art making including new media
are not legitimized by funding organizations.   In one of my recent quests
for funding a project I was hopelessly frustrated by the highly stringent
application guidelines that dictated very specific modes of production and
taste.  In my case my potential funders would fund paintbrushes and canvas
but not the electronics platform I needed to ultimately deliver my piece.
 There seem to be strict requirements about the purchase or rental of any
kind of electronics. This past month's discussion on art funding and
politics seems well timed and important.

Yiannis and Helene while you may not have heard directly from many of our
subscribers in the most distant places of the world,

I know verifiably that many lurk, reading the conversations from day to day
without actively participating.  The task of reading long, and detailed
posts multiple times a day is sometimes a daunting task. The ebb and flow
of empyre discussions are rhythmical.

I am an optimist and I can say whole-heartedly that Tim and I try to
actively engage a diverse group of participants, discussants and
subscribers.  Our base continues to grow. Ten years worth of archives are
available online to anyone at


One of the things that I have been committed to is to engage more
non-academic artists to participate in our discussions.  I would like to
encourage our guests not to copy long posts of pre-published scholarly
writing and instead use a more conversational style that encourages an
informal, inclusive style of discourse.

Yiannis and Helene, we are thankful not only for the important work you do
but also for your friendship.  A reminder to all of our subscribers to
check out NEME http://www.neme.org/  Thanks again to you.

Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space

Art Editor, diacritics
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