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.