Oct 29th, 2014
- I believe that the people who hold the most powerful opinions about contemporary culture are also the ones who stand to lose the most by voicing them. Anonymonth is an experiment designed to reduce the liability of expression for people in the public eye, and observe what may occur if they spoke freely. The first edition is concentrated on musicians, however it would be interesting to expand future experiments to other disciplines.
- It involves a very simple concept. For one month, a piece will be published daily on a specially dedicated website. Participating artists will select a number, and their piece will be published on the corresponding day in the month.
- Neither I, other participating artists, or the public will know whose content is posted on what day. I will, however, publish all of the names of contributing artists alongside each anonymous post. This provides a combination of anonymity and association; invisibility and credibility. The public will not know who posted a particular article, however they will know that it is from a reputable source.
- This project spawns from a concern that in a fragile musical economy there is significant individual risk attached to leveling dissent toward an increasingly centralized and interconnected infrastructure of artists, labels, press and cultural facilitators.
- On the one hand, it is remarkable that in a time of such austerity there is still a thriving musical culture to speak of, but the solidarity integral to keeping this culture afloat runs the risk of creating a consensus that may become increasingly difficult to challenge.
- The radical hyperbole of music ought to be held under close scrutiny in 2014.
- I am not alone in observing that in many ways, the music industry is petrified, literally and figuratively. The shapes and forms in which we privilege, critique and distribute media doggedly resemble a more prosperous time despite even generous predictions pointing to their demise. Most spend all of their time on the internet, and yet many of us treat internet native forms of expression with a skepticism that can border on reactionary.
- One of the great privileges of an internet era is the possibility of a multitude of effortlessly accessible competing narratives. It provides us with options to express ourselves quickly and cheaply, in response to unfolding conditions, that were simply not possible with the release of physical media. The future stability of most independent practitioners in all aspects of musical culture is posed with growing uncertainty, compounded by the global financial crisis, and yet we persist in presenting a facade of confidence, neatly confined debate and trivial chatter. Perhaps alleviating our identities will accelerate our conversations toward something transformative.
- Radical political units, from Wikileaks to Anonymous, have shown how a combination of dispersed network power and anonymity can be hugely influential in creating significant infrastructural awareness and change, and Anonymonth is an experiment to see what would happen if similar tactics were applied to the world of music. I have no idea what it will produce, however am resolute in the belief that experimental media ought not produce predictable results.
- Mat Dryhurst is an artist and technologist based in San Francisco. He co-runs PAN with Bill Kouligas, and serves as Director of Programming at Gray Area. He presents work and speaks regularly under his own name and in collaboration with Holly Herndon as K回IRO
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