Artists consumer reports

Consumer Reports: Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel. TIM BARBER

Cory Arcangel.


Cory Arcangel is an artist based between Brooklyn, New York, and Stavanger, Norway. This weekend, he will be exhibiting at the 2015 Printed Matter Art Book Fair in a booth run by his merchandise and publishing imprint Arcangel Surfware. He will be showing The Source (2006–), an ongoing archival zine project in which he is publishing the source code for his past software works. The first eight issues of The Source will be available for purchase (including three new issues!). They will be presented alongside a small exhibition of seminal early works referenced in the zines. Arcangel has staged solo shows at, to name just a few venues, the Whitney Museum in New York, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo, Italy, the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and the Barbican in London.

One September week with Arcangel is spent in Stavanger, Norway, where the artist engages in more than a little bit of Skrillex-related consumption. Arcangel Surfwear work gets accomplished, tweets get fav’d, and an impressive work by Takeshi Murata gets hung inside of the artist’s home. And, taking things back to Skrillex, if you ever wanted to learn the secret to contemporary drum and bass music production, please keep reading! —John Chiaverina


8:22 a.m.


Decide it’s a personal day thus I won’t look at any art / business / admin related emails.

Got two emails from Jacob Ciocci. Jacob has been my primary net trash dealer for—almost twenty years (yes, twenty). His links are always of the highest quality. He sends me two videos. One is a link to Katy Perry falling off her Segway at Burning Man, and the other is a mash-up of a high-school professor entering class. The Katy Perry video reminds me that I have a half-finished code somewhere for a single serving website which only shows videos of people falling off stages.

Check Nytimes. I notice from the article titled “On Beyoncé’s Birthday, a ‘Bey Day’ Celebration Fit for a Queen,” it was / is (?) Beyoncé’s birthday. I wonder if the Nytimes will mention the truther movement about Beyonce’s age. I start scrolling through the article looking for a mention. I google “Beyonce real age.” Am immediately horrified to see a—high ranking!—search result which implies Solange is Beyonce’s daughter. Uuuugh. Am reminded that the only truther movement I ever got really into was the American Pickers truther scene.

More Nytimes. I can’t resist clicking on an article titled “How the Co-op Crumbles.” It’s something about co-ops and condos. I didn’t even know there was a difference. All the talk of real estate and lawsuits makes me miss New York.

Scroll through Twitter. Am OCD about my timeline and reading every message I missed since last time I was on Twitter. I fav a ton of tweets. Reply to a Dragan Espenschied tweet regarding the the formal salutation “Master,” e-commerce airline HTML dialogue boxes, and old school hip-hop. He replies, with a link to the Wikipedia entry for Master. Vaguely remember I had an idea years ago to make a Wikipedia entry for actual celtic frost; Frost_(Celtic).

10:12 a.m.

I leave the apartment without my phone. This is a new trick. It’s a life saver. Highly recommended.

2:00 p.m.

Back home. Skype my friend Olia Lialina about a show we are cooking up for the Western Front in Vancouver.

2:30 p.m.

My wife and I hired an art installer to help us hang some work in our APT. We hang a bonkers Takeshi Murata. I think about his recent survey show at Kunsthall Stavanger. For my money, his body of work exhibits the perfect combination of consistency and forward momentum. Humbled to be able to live with such a masterpiece. Send myself an email that I need to make him something in return (it was a trade).

9:37 p.m.

Call my family. My mom tells me to check out her new stuff on Etsy. One of her pillows was recently featured in HGTV magazine, and her shop has been on fire ever since. Note I’m very impressed with Etsy. It’s kinda like eBay, mixed with an SEO ponzi scheme. I email myself a note that we need to make her brand a website. Reminds me that I also need to update my own website (it’s been a year).

9:46 p.m.

Continue watching Spy, the Melissa McCarthy movie, from the previous night. Make it through about another twenty minutes. Fall asleep.


9:12 a.m.

Continue reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) on my Kindle. Somehow the font size has expanded considerably since the last time I touched the device. It’s now set to like 70 words a page. I struggle with re-sizing it. I touch—several times—the magnifying glass, which to my disappointment is for searches, not re-sizing. Remember I still need to read the Nytimes article about the toxic office culture at Amazon. Amuse myself for a second with the idea that Jeff Bezos being such a terror has somehow led to my current font issues.

10:23 a.m.

Arrive at my desk-share. Gmail. My gmail is divided between personal emails and art / business / admin emails. Depending on the day and time, I hide one or the other section. Put on my head phones, and google for a recent Ed DMX article about aughts acid jams. Start listening in preparation for the shock and stress of un-hiding 4 days of art / business / admin emails.

11:55 a.m.

An email concerning the future of Arcangel Surfware—the non-aspirational lifestyle, merchandise, and publishing imprint I am currently CEO of—contains a link to Skrillex’s 2008 Myspace project Twipz. Make mental note that the only picture of Sonny Moore on the Myspace page was taken with a fisheye lens. Try to remember what happened to my fisheye lens. Briefly wonder if Bruce Nauman ever made any fisheye videos. Try to think of fisheye ideas for my art game; can’t think of anything. Make a mental note to watch the recent Skrillex & Diplo Charlie Rose interview. Tweet a link to the Twipz Myspace.

12:32 a.m.

Reward myself for inbox zero by listening to Selena Gomez & The Scene’s “Love You Like A Love Song” several times in a row on YouTube. Each time, I have to click through the same exact pre-roll ad.

1:22 p.m.

Spend an hour editing various to-do lists. After editing, I go through items one by one (production & creative stuff, logistics, blah, blah, blah).

2:58 p.m.

Listen to Kate NV – Rewind on SoundCloud. Curious after seeing her play on Saturday night at the Perkapella festival. Find her on SoundCloud, follow her, and listen to her feed. See a suggested link to Le1f and follow as well. Only recently realized SoundCloud is a social network.

7:23 p.m.

Troubleshoot the LAN and wireless at Kunsthall Stavanger, where I am currently the volunteer A/V tech and systems admin. I recently set it up, and—of course—it broke. Think the error was a combination of conflicting DHCP address ranges between two routers, bad Internet service, and a misplaced wire. Fix it (I think).

9:43 p.m.

Skype my friend Tony Conrad to discuss something we are cooking up.

10:32 p.m.

Scroll through Twitter on my phone. Send myself links to a Nytimes article on Frank Stella’s upcoming Whitney show, top twenty tracks on the Planet Mu record label, as well as links to new records by Janet Jackson, JK Flesh, Airbird and Napolian, and Siren.


9:11 a.m.

More Twitter on my phone. Send myself a link to recent show of prints by Woody Vasulka. Make a mental note to try to get one.

10:00 a.m.

At the gym. It’s called Fresh. I love going to this gym because of the music they pipe in over the PA. The best part is—prolly cause of some intense music licensing laws in Norway(?)—the tracks seem to be all covers. Not cover “versions,” but instead, pitch perfect re-creations of the original tracks. So good, in fact, it took me a few weeks to even notice. Heard a cover of Jeremih Feat. YG – Don’t Tell ‘Em. Note they forgot the “hey”s on the upbeats in the pre-chorus. Get lost in an internal dialogue about intangibles in pop-music. My intuition tells me that the tiny differences in these tracks are important, as they represent the difference between a hit track and otherwise. Not so sure though. Think about an article by Duncan Watts about pop hits and 6 degrees of separation.

1:30 p.m.

At my desk share. Gmail. Load up in tabs all the stuff I sent myself from Twitter. Start smashing through my to-do lists while clicking one-by-one through 20 years of Planet Mu tracks on YouTube.

1:47 p.m.

All the tabs start to make me nervous, so I close them all, though I do sneak a peak at the Frank Stella article. I notice he compares Jeff Koons—one of my favs—to the Franklin Mint. Kind of an amazing comment, and the best summary of Koons’ work I have ever read. It seems it’s a beef though, but it really depends on your reading of Koons’ work.

8:17 p.m.

Walk by a BMW blasting music from some serious bass bins. Make a mental note that the sound I most associate with such vehicles is rattling plastic. Wonder how I can make that work for my art game; can’t think of anything.

9:00 p.m.

Skype with Arcangel Surfware HQ in Brooklyn. To-do list talk about our upcoming New York Art Book Fair booth & exhibition veers to a conversation about Zac Efron’s new EDM movie. Also learn that Wynne Greenwood is having a show at the New Museum. Tweet about her show.

10:19 p.m.

Scroll through Twitter, but I’m too tired to take it seriously so I stop. Finally get around to the Skrillex / Diplo Charlie Rose interview. After the Charlie Rose interview, YouTube auto-plays a Skrillex and Diplo interview on Hot 97. Stop watching when Diplo mentions a track he produced with Tiesto and Busta Rhymes. Find it. It’s gold. Back to the Hot 97 interview in anticipation of hearing what they say about Paris Hilton DJ’ing (which the title promises). Skrillex lets slip some insane production knowledge—the key to post-jungle drum and bass drum sounds is stacking 909 samples. I had no idea 909s were involved in that era of music. Fall asleep.


8:45 a.m.

Twitter. Fav a bunch of tweets. Bbbornaa sums up my life. Am reminded that Jayson Musson is one of the best comedy writers I follow—and he’s an artist! Get lost in Katie Notopoulos Buzzfeed land. Check out a video to some kinda cryptic LA fire stuff Axl Rose tweets. Watch Jacob Ciocci’s trailer for his upcoming show at Interstate Projects. Note that he is really going for it!

10:12 a.m.

Fresh again. This time I hear a cover version of Avicii – The Nights. Think about how this is the second or third EDM song going around lately which mentions “fatherhood.” So weird. Hear some very off-brand drum and bass remake of Kanye West’s – Bound 2, which aside from a wrong note in the piano intro—incredibly—has stacked 909s as drum sounds. Feel blessed my surf session with Skrillex last night is already changing the way I experience the world.

12:12 p.m.

Desk share again. Gmail. More to-do list shuffling. Accidentally budgeted about half the time I needed to do everything and am in a cold-sweat panic. No tabs, etc, etc.

5:16 p.m.

Get to DHL 16 minutes after it closed. Uuuugh.

6:23 p.m.

Hanne, my wife, emails me this gif (via Antoine Catala). Am reminded that in the mid-aughts she had the best trash internet delicious feed: kick_out_the_internet_jams.

7:52 p.m.

Given that I had both a to-do list and logistical meltdown, I give up on the day and waste a ton of time on my computer. Twitter. Notice Nick DeMarco posted images from his Yuppie Dystopia series. Check the Yuppie Dystopia page for additional updates I might have missed. Spend the rest of the evening screwing with the CSS on Get distracted and somehow make it over to a Pitchfork review of Slayer’s new record. Am slightly amused by the combination of these two brands. End up at this picture. Fall asleep.


10:21 a.m.

Twitter. Notice Skrillex beefing with “emailing.” Feel guilty I spend so much time on email. Briefly consider what an outsized presence he has been in my life this week. Get lost in Key and Peele think-piece land. Watched the first episode of the 7th season of On Cinema at the Cinema.

2:37 p.m.

Notice I have started using the salutation “yo bruh~~~~!” in emails. So lame. SMH.

4:00 p.m.

On the bus. With phone, but with data turned off. That’s my other new trick. It’s also a life saver. Bonnie Tyler’s – I Need a Hero comes on the radio, but because of bad reception keeps cutting out to pure digital silence. The effect on an otherwise quiet electric bus is rattling.

4:45 p.m.

Barely get to DHL in time. Send some office documents to Arcangel Surfware HQ in Brooklyn. I could have scheduled a pick-up but I wanted to visit because the DHL in Stavanger is in the Forus industrial park. Forus is massive and hosts hundreds of just-in-time petroleum industry manufacturing companies (Stavanger is the oil capital of Norway). Spend some time wandering around daydreaming about how I could go about convincing some of these companies to make stuff for me. Walk by a massive glass building titled “Metall Produksjon.” Feel like a kid staring in the window of a candy shop.

5:15 p.m.

Take another bus on the way home. Hear Maroon 5 on the radio. Spend a considerable about of time conceptualizing Maroon 5’s musical & cultural position—arrive somewhere between the Bee Gees, fedoras, and Instagram ab culture.

7:12 p.m.

Remember I want to get into Second Life this fall. Send myself an email about it. More Twitter. Retweet about Petra Cortright’s show. It looks so sick.

8:51 p.m.

Watch a reality TV show about a Norwegian hair metal band from the late ’80s that I have never heard of, but everyone in Norway seems to know. Am intrigued that every country has their own hair metal bands. Think about the term “knowledge gap” and wonder if it applies here. Random Surfs—so exhausted don’t make it far in any direction. Watch Little Britain for the first time. Check out the new remix of Wet. Spend five minutes with The Cuckoo’s Calling. Large font; low battery. Fall asleep.

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