Paratactic Commons

Page 166

Gary Schultz

This article describes the operations of the record label, Care Of Editions, which uses the profits from selling vinyl records in order to pay people to download. It shows how ephemeral objects that resist being counted or being given a market value can still be given the appearance of limitation, while also showing that this limitation is contingent upon the complicity of an unknown audience. I. Care Of Editions is a record label that pays people to download. In effect, this limits downloading and makes these digital objects countable. Having a number, being countable, amounts to having a name, or an image. Paying people to download is an excuse, or a moment of theater, that allows this limitation to take place, and it’s a limitation that affords legibility into something unknown. Lending legibility is the aim of Care Of Editions, but it leaves open the question of what or who is being made legible, or if this legibility will take place. Ultimately, it only unfolds with the participation of a consumer base, or audience. So even though the model has been crafted with certain surroundings in mind, the whole project is contingent upon a participatory and performative nature. In writing about the project, I want to describe how the project was modeled with this contingency in mind. II. Care Of Editions is a redesign of market perception. It treats the lens of the market like another form of perspectival space. It recognizes that perspective is an internal logic that can unintentionally change the way we see things beyond its borders, and like so many logics, obscure any perception of these borders at all. Care Of Editions proposes that by playing with this logic, and by redirecting some of the endless energy of the virtual market back into the market of limited objects, we might find objects and numbers, both real and imaginary, that we never expected to be there. Text by Gary Schultz Keywords: virtual economy, speculative realism, music industry, commerce art, poetry, number.

Care Of is also a practical acknowledgement that the art world is not always as egalitarian as it might wish to appear. Just like the market, it places more value on individual creativity and on limited editions than on downloads or any object that’s endlessly reproducible. Moreover, it has a somewhat destructive relationship to the immediate past. The distant


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