In this brief clip from the commentary track for his classic movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, John Hughes talks about how the art museum was a childhood refuge for him, how this scene allowed him to pay homage to his favorite art, and how the pointillist masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Seurat symbolizes Cameron's teenage existential crisis.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Kim Boekbinder for Medium. We chatted about innovative ways artists are employing the internet in their practices, and about some of my own experiments with leveraging the attention economy, particularly with my InterroClayton premium inbox, which we used to conduct the entire interview:
Kim Boekbinder: What was the impetus for The InterroClayton? ($2 question)
Clayton Cubitt: It came after I had to declare email bankruptcy.
I think any artist or public figure has a hard time keeping up with the questions and inquiries that come in every day. It’s gotten so bad that goals like “Inbox Zero” have been born. I tried for years to answer all messages I got, but always found myself feeling guilty for not being able to. And then social media exploded, and beside emails now there’s Twitter and Instagram replies and comments to manage, it just became too much.
So I needed to apply a throttle to it. And I’ve always been fascinated with the work of the economist Thorsten Veblen, regarding luxury goods. And I thought, in an Attention Economy, what’s more of a luxury good than someone’s undivided attention? So I just basically made an alternate “VIP” inbox, priced dynamically, based on how much attention someone wants me to pay their question, and how quickly I respond. The more they decide to pay, the more thoughtful are my answers, and the faster I respond.
I still have an open “free” email form. And of course people are welcome to send me notes that way, or via social media, and I try to read all of that, and still respond to especially thoughtful freemails, but every InterroClayton gets answered, guaranteed.
An afternoon spent with kids in Brooklyn as they carry on an ancient NYC tradition: opening a fire hydrant and blasting whoever comes within range. Start from the beginning and click through for captions.
Pleased to announce a dedicated site for my Hysterical Literature project. Includes the sessions, essays by the participants and art writers, frequently asked questions, and more! As of today the videos have been seen many millions of times all over the world, so the dedicated site is long overdue, and I'm happy to give it the room it deserves. Please visit!
In a rare on-camera interview, Nick Knight discusses SHOWstudio, how the nascent art of fashion film is evolving, how magazines killed photography, and how nobody under 40 should care to argue about "film vs digital."
He's one of the deepest thinkers in the nexus of fashion/art/technology, and when he talks, you listen.
Computer visionary Douglas Engelbart died this week. He's most often credited with inventing the mouse, but he's responsible for inventing or inspiring a whole host of computer innovations, from the internet to video conferencing to windowing. In the middle of his NYTimes obit was a brief reference to an essay that inspired him at an early age to think about the future of technology. I love moments like this, when we can trace back the lineage of inspiration, from one great mind to another.
The essay that started Engelbart on the path that led to you reading this via a window on a global network of computers was "As We May Think" by Vannevar Bush, written in 1945. Bush was a leading US military science director, and in the sprawling essay he attempts to project advances in technology, from computing, to communication and information storage. I'm going to excerpt the part about photography:
Trademarking your name is the legal "verification" you'll need to defend against impostor accounts.
A few days ago I was made aware of a new crop of fake Facebook pages impersonating me, and my Hysterical Literature project. This is to be expected, as the series is viral several times over, and has now been seen over 17 million times globally. Crappy knock-off versions and spoofs have been made, and every day I see GIF-rips and still frames with no attribution. I've had to take down hundreds of ripped and re-uploaded copies on YouTube alone. Just taking down the most egregious examples occupies a not-inconsiderable amount of my studio's time, for a project that gets a lot of attention but doesn't generate much income.
But this post isn't about the garden-variety copyright infringement that's rapidly becoming the new normal.
I enjoyed this short (16:00) TED Talk by David Byrne. In it, he explores how the architectural design and context of musical venues alters the type of music created for it, from the rhythmic drumming of West Africa, to Gothic cathedrals, to CBGB, to bird calls on prairie fields. Along the way he touches on how this is also true of the visual arts as well as politics, and even sneaks in a cheeky backhanded compliment to U2's arena rock.
I was fortunate enough to make David's portrait during his "Playing The Building" project, and this talk puts his inspiration behind that work in a new context for me. I highly recommend watching it. (via World's Best Ever)
recently had the pleasure of speaking with Live Fast Magazine about my work, process, and inspirations. A snippet:
"My work spans huge contrasts, between commercial and fine art, and between subject matter as varied as fashion, portraiture, and gritty documentary. The thing that ties them all together is a desire to disregard notions of allowed or not-allowed, high or low, sacred or profane, personal or professional.
I treat casual subjects with the same rigor and professionalism as I do formal subjects. I like to elevate low-brow subjects with a glossy treatment, and I like to take high-brow subjects down a peg by treating them with humor. All of it is wrapped in a sleek aesthetic, often with a clean or even austere calmness, or a darkness.
Like a film director, my different projects contain similar themes, but each tends to stand on its own aesthetically. I’m not a one-trick pony when it comes to how I technically treat a subject.
If I had to distill the meaning behind it all into a single message? Everything is art. Attention is worship."
Click over to the article for the rest.
To people outside of New Orleans, the iconic "HOMO" hat worn by Nicky Da B in our music video for Go Loko might resemble a navy or marine dress uniform hat. This is understandable, given the role military uniforms have played in gay culture. But people in New Orleans (or fans of the HBO series Tremé) will see it for what it actually is, a second line marching band hat. We put it in as a winking nod to our hometown culture, updated for Nicky's out-and-proud aesthetic. We even got ours from the same venerable (since 1894!) New Orleans hat shop the marching bands do, Meyer the Hatter (we did the "homo" hat band ourselves, though.)
Now you know!
It's with great pride that I debut "Go Loko," the insanely fun new music video I directed for Nicky Da B. Prepare yourself for machine-gun New Orleans Bounce, twerking latex-clad bunnies, intergalactic booty constellations that would make Carl Sagan cry tears of joy, an asstronaut, a possibly demonic hairless cat, and perhaps my greatest invention yet: The Asscam™.
Turn your volume up and get down! If you love it, click over to the Vimeo page and drop something in the tip jar!
I'm so honored I got to work with next-level genius editor Bob Weisz, who's edited videos for MGMT and The Killers, even though I did have to wait a year while he worked on some little beastly indie film.
Directed by: Clayton Cubitt / Edited by: Bob Weisz / Makeup and hair: Katie Wedlund / Wardrobe styling: James Rosenthal / Dancers: Ro and Quack / Contortionist: Amanda Whip / Metallic mesh masks and jewelry: Arielle de Pinto / Leg jewelry on contortionist: Lizz Jardim / Production assistance: Rusty Lazer, Yumna Al-Arashi, Julia Pogodina. / Song produced by: Joe Wit Da Dreads (Alternate video link: YouTube)
Links contained in my most recent essay, “On the Constant Moment,” in the order in which they appear: