transcript of the live chat session regarding please change beliefs
Jenny Holzer's project on adaweb
these conversations took place on tuesday may 23rd, 1995 in the auditorium of club hotwired

jfsjr: Do you watch TV a lot? Jenny Holzer: Sure, honey.
kjean: Your work seems to allow itself only to be internalized by the reader, as opposed to allowing the reader to become judgemental of others. Was the discovery of this direct line to the psyche accidental or by design? Jenny Holzer: Sorry, kjean. The answer is both. I was lucky.
oksksko: Artists all have influential persons in their developmental stages. Who do you consider to be among those people who have shaped your particular point of view? Jenny Holzer: My grandmother, because she saved me from my grandfather. After that, Nancy Spero and Louise Bourgeois. Jenny Holzer: Here's some more STUFF; kreth/"c" is for cookie: go, go! DESTROY SUPERABUNDANCE. STARVE THE FLESH, SHAVE THE HAIR, EXPOSE THE BONE, CLARIFY THE MIND, DEFINE THE WILL, RESTRAIN THE SENSES, LEAVE THE FAMILY, FLEE THE CHURCH, KILL THE VERMIN, VOMIT THE HEART, FORGET THE DEAD. LIMIT TIME, FORGO AMUSEMENT, DENY NATURE, REJECT ACQUAINTANCES, DISCARD OBJECTS, FORGET TRUTHS, DISSECT MYTH, STOP MOTION, BLOCK IMPULSE, CHOKE SOBS, SWALLOW CHATTER. SCORN JOY, Jenny Holzer: For reasons that have to do with my newness at this, parts of the texts have been cut out and oddly spaced in the process of transference. Oh well. minettem: What filmmakers have you been influenced by? do you want to work in film? Jenny Holzer: I would have liked to have been Kurosawa. shivathecat: Of all the mediums you've worked with, which worked the best for you? Jenny Holzer: I'm most fond of the street posters, but I like when people come back at me thru the computer. jfsjr: I know you produce objects for sale that on which you print your truisms. How do you choose those objects for instance the golf balls? Jenny Holzer: The golf balls are gifts to Jenny Holzer: Sorry - the golf balls are gifts to my dead father. scamp/Susanna Camp: Jenny, I forgot to mention about the lag :( Sorry!) mosco: Jenny, could you tell us something that you truly believe is absolute? Jenny Holzer: The unanswerable. minettem: What do you have in common with Kurosawa? Epic scope? Jenny Holzer: Nothing, that's why I would like to BE him. minettem: Why did she influence you? The use of repetition? Jenny Holzer: Her insistence on women's bodies as appropriate subject matter. hymen: I still do not understand. Are you crying out, trying to effect a change or is it just art for art's sake? Jenny Holzer: I hope there is a chance for change and there's nothing wrong with art for arts' sake. ari: Besides the web site, what other pieces are you currently working on? Jenny Holzer: I'm doing a "black garden" in Germany that is an anti-memorial. All the plants in it are black or very dark red. There are terrible texts on garden benches. mosco: Do you consider yourself a feminist? Jenny Holzer: Yes. sean: Do you create your works with a particular meaning in mind, or is the viewer supposed to create their own? Jenny Holzer: I imagine that people complete the work. Sometimes the work completes itself. Sometimes I know what I'm doing from the beginning. jfsjr: Of all the submissions you've gotten so far to your WWW site, do any stand out as your favorites? Jenny Holzer: I think fully fifty percent of them are better than the originals. If there's time, I'll go look at them and tell you privately. minettem: Have you installed any of your own pieces in your home? If so, where? and what other artist's work do you have in your home? Jenny Holzer: There's only one of my things in the house and it seems appropriate tonight. It begins, "Die fast and quiet when they interrogate you, or live so long that they are ashamed to hurt you anymore." ari: What impact have the recent attacks by the right on political art had and what will the impact be if NEA funding is drastically cut or zeroed out? Jenny Holzer: It's embarrassing to be in a country that thinks the arts are the problem. kjean: Sometimes it seems you are insistent on the idea that human nature is, at its core, pure (ex: "YOU ARE GUILELESS IN YOUR DREAMS"). Is this something you believe, think about, study, etc.? Jenny Holzer: Ususally people ask if i am certain that things and people are hopeless. I'm pleased that you found a lovely one. It's reassuring to me somehow. handi: Since most of your work over the last few years has been reinstitutionalized (ie put into museums and collected by fine art elitists), do you have any plans to disseminate your messages to more mainstream and less marquee valued venues? Jenny Holzer: The public work continues and remains my primary interest. mosco: In the Web series you parsed the Truisms down - how did you pick them? Jenny Holzer: I didn't. kjean: You mentioned you were influenced by Spero because of her "insistence on womens' bodies as appropriate subject matter." I'm not familiar with her work, and am curious about how this relates, in your mind, to feminism. Jenny Holzer: Spero has always focused on women, on crimes against them, and achievements by them. minettem: Do you ever think about writing more narratively? Jenny Holzer: I can't sustain a thought long enough. Jenny Holzer: Here's a recent & appreciated submission from my project on ada web: A SLOW DESCENT INTO MADNESS IS PREFERABLE TO ENDLESS UNHAPPINESS scamp: How much self-promotion do you have to do? Do you ever feel conflicted about that? How do you get out information about Please Change Beliefs? Jenny Holzer: I'm better off laying low. kjean: Do you try to live by most/any of your truisms? Jenny Holzer: I live them all. To write them I had to imagine them. ari: were the quicktime movies and audio recordings created specifically for the web site? Jenny Holzer: No, but we've fooled with them specifically for the web site. mosco: Are you interested in the work of younger artists like, let's say, mathhew barney? Jenny Holzer: Yes, I like his videos especially. minettem: Do you have any plans for teaching? Jenny Holzer: I like to lecture and answer questions afterwards once i get over my stage fright. hymen: Do you hear the birds sing in the morning? Do you enjoy watching the sun rise in glory? Have you ever written anything of an extremely positive nature? Jenny Holzer: Occasionally, to my amazement. toosmall: Could you tell us some of the text in germany garden? Jenny Holzer: The text sprang from the sentence, "I am awake in the place where women die." drew: Does she have anything short enough I can put on a liscence plate? I would love to share a truism with everyone I share the highway with. Jenny Holzer: How about "The future is stupid" - sas vowels? scamp/Susanna Camp: LOL, Jenny. Jenny Holzer: We have to go in a few minutes, so if there's anything else you want to let me know, let me know now. scamp/Susanna Camp: Can you text-bomb us again before you leave? kjean: Have you found it difficult to make the leap from imagining to action? Jenny Holzer: Always. I also can't imagine many of the actions I see. scamp/Susanna Camp: I mean that in a good way, it transforms the whole space here. bemorgan/morgan: Ah ... transforming the space. That's a wonderful euphamism for a text bomb. scamp/Susanna Camp: Jenny Holzer's project is at Jenny Holzer: We'd like to send some more text, but the computer doesn't want to. jfsjr/jfsjr: ABUSE OF FLOWERS COMES AS NO SURPRISE mosco: is that sentence from your lustmord series? Jenny Holzer: Yes - I'm impressed. scamp/Susanna Camp: Thanks Jenny, a lot of "questions" are coming in, people expressing appreciation. Final thoughts? minettem: there's a kitchen cleanser TV commercial running now...with a very Holzer likerr-like LED screen..any comment? Jenny Holzer: I'm pleased to make kitchens cleaner. Thank you and good night! OTHER CONVERSATION blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, ari/public display: I think that was a truism submitted by someone to the web site jfsjr/jfsjr: has anyone been to the web site? zano/zano: thank you shushmeister snw/shushmeister: Now shush. what's it like zano/zano: haha jfsjr/jfsjr: what's it like ari/public display: yep coon/cowboy: Hello snw/shushmeister: Hello again. ari/public display: There are three sections do you understand what the sections jfsjr/jfsjr: what are the three sections can you explain them? ari/public display: one has a bunch of her work: truisms, survival series, living, lamentations, some with qucktime movies or audio recordings ari/public display: the second has some truisms you can alter or you can just make up your own, the last allows you to vote on the trusisms you believe in jfsjr/jfsjr: It sounds really great, do i get there? ari/public display: the one with the most votes was abuse of power comes as no surprise with about 53. jfsjr/jfsjr: That comes as no surprise! ari/public display: the least was romantic love was created to manipulate women with 3 jfsjr/jfsjr: I heard there were some video that true? ari/public display: yeah, there are a number of quicktime videos. I think they are based on some spots she did for MTV ari/public display: There are also some readings of lamentations which may have been taken from the video on the Dia installation jfsjr/jfsjr: Did you work on the site, ari? or just a fan?....where are you? ari/public display: I'm in San Francisco caleb/caleb: ari: do you write aphorisms of your own? ari/public display: I studied her in college (at the u of Illinois) and then saw a lot of her work when I lived in NYC from 89 - 91 ari/public display: I've done some sticker art with definitions. ari/public display: and some public poster art caleb/caleb: I thought so, ari.... We thought that beauty was enough... we were, of cour, wong -- is that one of yours? caleb/caleb: ANTHROPOMORPHISM IS A FRIGHTENED KIND OF EGOTISM ari/public display: nope. I did all of this stuff when I was in college. Some of it may still be on a bench in urbana caleb/caleb: "the computer doesn' want to" caleb/caleb: hmmm, nevermind, ari... thanks. CONVERSATIONS AFTER jfsjr/jfsjr: wow - that was great! ari/public display: she was better than Tom Brokaw on AOL earlier today, but a little bit more elaboration would have been good zano/zano: quit snw/shushmeister: You know it's a decent club wired when we don't have to resort to the boxers or briefs question. bemorgan/morgan: Techno ... type /a for who, /? or /+ for help with commands. technoblonde/technoblonde: thanks caleb/caleb: hey, snw, I invented that question! I think it says a lot about a person.... snw/shushmeister: Yeah, like what kind of underwear they wear for instance. caleb/caleb: like that, for instance.... bemorgan/morgan: Or at least a lot about that person's underwear. ari/public display: Some people have cited that ? to clinton as an example of the decline of public discourse snw/shushmeister: I think it's just an example of how sexy young americans find clinton. or not. technoblonde/technoblonde: darn few of us left snw/shushmeister: Time for us hotwiredlings to go back to typing in our other windows... handi/thimk: byeeeeeee bemorgan/morgan: Aw ... have to go back inside now, eh? Can't stay and play? technoblonde/technoblonde: club time here bemorgan/morgan: Well ... I don't know that much about modern art ... I do know that her web site just didn't impress me. fatherfeta/I know who shot Mr. Burns ari/public display: why not? cayla/somebody hates me bemorgan/morgan: There wasn't anything in it that caught me. Nothing that moved me emotionally. As a think-piece, I suppose it works. ari/public display: The opening screen shows how her art originally looked - the posters all over soho caleb/caleb: yeah, it's different on the Web, where you're used to reading quikly stuff like that... ari/public display: The lamentations piece was very moving at dia bemorgan/morgan: Well, the web's a different medium, with different qualities. ari/public display: they were carved on stone coffins and there was a totally dark room with vertical led displays bemorgan/morgan: That would be impressive in and of itself. ari/public display: You might be alble to find catalogs with pictures of her public installations at a good library ari/public display: She's had her work on the electronic sign at times square, on signs in Vegas and in Sports stadiums cayla/somebody hates me ari/public display: she was the first woman to represent the us at the Venice Binenale and won the prize that year bemorgan/morgan: Well ... her work seems to garner some respect. caleb/caleb: I like her work, ari, but I find myself being disappointed that she hasn't done more different stuff, moved on... i get numb to all the aphorisms after a time, and I find myself nodding along..... ari/public display: It would have been good to have some other example of her work on the web site besides the unreadable poster for people who aren't familiar with her work ari/public display: her work has developed, but all of the series are often grouped together, so the newer stuff isn't as well known ari/public display: she did a series on being a mother, lamentations was about AIDS and she did a VR piece on rape in bosnia ari/public display: well, I should get back to writing. nice talking to you all bemorgan/morgan: so ... the WWW site is a repurposed version of some previous work? caleb/caleb: bye ari, thanks bemorgan/morgan: peace, ari. kwarwick/{{In Stereo Where Available}}: hey! bemorgan/morgan: Hi Karl. kwarwick/{{In Stereo Where Available}}: morgan, caleb! ari/public display: yeah, it is from five or six of her previous series caleb/caleb: Yeah, morgan, I think the WWW stuff is all old stuff form other places.... pity, really. caleb/caleb: hey kwar bemorgan/morgan: Hmmm. It doesn't seem to explore WWW as a medium. There is some interactivity, but not much else ... kwarwick/{{In Stereo Where Available}}: pretty quiet here! ari/public display: Some sutff lke the future is stupid does take on a new meaning on the web, but it would have been good to do a new series on technolody bemorgan/morgan: Not being familiar with her earlier work makes it difficult to place the WWW site into a context. ari/public display: Yeah, it would have been good ot have more backgroung info. There is a link for mthe club wired page to an interview in wired about her VR pieces bemorgan/morgan: I'm tired of talking about an artist whose work I really haven't seen ... on to something else? bemorgan/morgan: Hi coon. coon/cowboy: how are ya? bemorgan/morgan: I'm better. In almost every way. caleb/caleb: wow, there are really few people here.... bemorgan/morgan: It dropped off after our artist left. coon/cowboy: Where are you from Morgan? bemorgan/morgan: Milwaukee ... and yourself? coon/cowboy: Texas bemorgan/morgan: Still waiting for that logic board, caleb? (of course you are ...) coon/cowboy: Where did everybody go? bemorgan/morgan: Some people have lives, apparently. coon/cowboy: Oh bemorgan/morgan: Aphorisms as art? coon/cowboy: What is an Aphorism????? bemorgan/morgan: Marshall McLuhan made a career out of it ... bemorgan/morgan: A 'saying,' a 'truism.' coon/cowboy: Otay bemorgan/morgan: God, I wish McLuhan was alive today.