October 2nd, 2005

Retirement Letter:Sunday October 2, 2005

At the end of one of their essays in one of their books Critical Art Ensemble offers their definition of the gift economy (from Lewis Hyde), which i remember as going something like this: at some points certain people have more time/labor or capital and can give it away to others who have less, which they do until they no longer have more time/labor/capital and then they cannot give it away, so they stop and someone else gives.

Deleuze (in one of his essays in one of his books) speaks of the idea of ‘becoming,’ and the way i always understood it was that an idea/person/etc should always be in the process of becoming something, as opposed to having become something. always evolving, changing, not staying still.

At this point i do not have the time/labor/capital to continue the calls and opps list. my service provider is making it difficult/impossible for me to run my own independent mail script (sendmail throttling, changing anti-spam verification rules, etc). i thought about possible methods of sustaining the project, (advertising, membership fee, etc) all of which turned the project into an institution. an institution is about as un-becoming as you can get, and also the last thing i want to be responsible for at this point. (smile.)

The thing i liked best about it was how un-institutional it was. I did it because it was easy to do, and made things easier: rather than sending out these list of calls by typing in all of my artist-friends’ emails, i could just set up mailing list and have them join. and then i and they could invite other people to join. and after four years, there would be over 5000 people subscribed worldwide.

The good news is that because it was easy for me to set up, it would also be easy for someone else to take it over, and improve on it. The calls come from the obvious email lists/website sources: Rhizome, Thingist, Syndicate, nettime, artservis, ANAT, franklin furnace, LMCC, Experimenta, e-flux.

As far as improving on it: one thing that would be feasible would be to build some scripts that would automate the process: one script to pull the emails from a POP account, sort through them for the obvious keywords (Call, Exhibition, RFP, CFP, Job, etc) format them, and drop them into a Blog/CMS database. users could browse online via the blog/site, content could be RSS syndicated. superusers could help catch posts that incorrectly made it through the keyword filter (spam/show announcements). and a second script could be added to email out the conventional emails. an extremely useful further step would be to allow each user to set preferences such as location of call and medium, so that each user’s email would be tailored to them.

I am open to passing the user email list on to an individual, or to someone affiliated with a institution (I think that there is a career counselor/dept chair/administrator/prof from just about every major art school sub’d to the list). i would require that your system double verify all user subscriptions, including the addition of the base email list. I think that it should be called something other than the calls and opps list. If you are serious, please contact me and tell me why you want to take it on, why you would be well suited, what your technical approach to the project would be, what improvements you would make, etc.

If you do not want to be included in the next incarnation of this mailing list (if there is an next incarnation) than please unsubscribe yourself on the calls homepage:

I hope you have enjoyed the last four years of this project. I have.


Michael Mandiberg

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