Merlin Carpenter, TATE CAFE, 2012, installation detail, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York.

Merlin Carpenter, TATE CAFE, 2012, installation detail, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York.

Merlin Carpenter

Merlin Carpenter, TATE CAFE, 2012, installation detail, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York.

THESE SENTENCES are responses to a series of questions that are not being printed. This kind of presentation of information, where journalistic opinions are sought from wise experts, is rather bourgeois. It’s hard to refuse to participate in this personality puffery (especially knowing someone at Artforum), as it might benefit my career. But my career also depends on not accepting offers like this. I don’t teach and I represent through what I do, not by spelling it out as a bureaucrat. I view my work’s reception with extreme suspicion, including being asked to contribute to Artforum’s anniversary issue.

But here goes. The “artist” has to metasynthesize the whole field in light of the recapitalization of her project, which happens instantaneously. The “viewer” doesn’t. Because it is not her work, the “viewer” is not responsible for its ongoing viability. Synthesizing information into a blog post or an artwork is, today, not the form of the work itself. The form of the work is the whole life lived round that statement, the positioning in a network, a class positioning; and a series of syntheses that fail and form examples for a metasynthesis. Within the above structure it is true that the most abject, evil, or powerless viewer now sets the debate. This had been coming for a long time, but social media completed the process, and it makes more sense than the inside/outside hierarchies of twenty-odd years ago. The work is information.