Saturday, September 22, 2007

Art And Life Posted by olvlzl.

Or, we’ve had so much bullshit "art" over the past sixty years that it's entirely old now.

I’m glad to see that there is less hilarity over the foolish MIT student who walked into Logan Airport with a home made electronic device attached to the front of her sweatshirt than the incident in Boston last winter. Maybe it’s because so many people in the white collar, commenting class fly. In yesterday’s incident, a homemade electronic device with wires visibly going into her sweatshirt with a hand written message that would have looked odd and cryptic to anyone who wasn’t familiar to the rather odd seeming program designation system at her university worn by a 19-year-old carrying around playdough which apparently even the experts said looks remarkably like some forms of plastic explosive set off the security at the airport. It should be noted in passing that when Star Simpson was given the chance to answer an airport official’s question about what she was wearing she walked away without answering.

When Maria Moncayo, who worked at the information counter, asked Simpson what the device was, she walked away without responding, according to the police report. Moncayo then called police.

I won’t ask for forgiveness for suspecting it. I fully believe that Star Simpson, who by her own admission wanted to get attention with her art, really wanted to to get lots and lots of attention. It will take a lot of evidence to the contrary to make be not believe that the reportedly intelligent MIT student intended to get it by causing a sensation at Logan Airport. That the student in one of the most competitive and demanding universities of science and technology in the Unites States didn’t know that she would almost certainly be noticed through her antics at one of the airports from which 9-11 was launched strains credulity.

Since, according to her lawyer, Simpson believes that what she was wearing was “art” which she had worn for several days explicitly for the purpose of attracting attention of prospective employers (I don’t know if the playdough is part of the “art” or not, though I'd hope playdough isn't a job recommendation in and of itself) I’ve read a few blog comments defending her clearly idiotic actions. Apparently anyone who had experienced directly Simpson’s “art” was deficient if they didn’t “get it” in all its brilliance instead of mistaking it as a “hoax device”, a fake bomb, in short. I’m so sorry to have to put this kind of “art” into context but when “art” impinges on as real world a situation as Logan Airport making these “artistic license” arguments are dishonest hogwash in defense of clear stupidity and irresponsibility. No, let’s call it what it is, it is lying bullshit. No amount of libertarian blog babble changes the fact that Star Simpson’s attention getting stunt could have gotten her, and possibly others, killed.

If her “art” had turned out to not be simply “art” but the product of a disturbed techie (of which the university saturated Boston area has, one might be forgiven for suspecting, one of the world’s largest concentrations) and the information person had stopped to wonder if she was experiencing a work of “art” instead of a possible incipient crime, we could be talking about how useless the police and other first responders are even after 9-11.

At risk of lowering the tone of the elevated artistic discussion with too much reality, I think that Scott Pare of the Massachusetts State Police said it as eloquently as it could be put.

"Thankfully, because she followed our instructions, she ended up in our cell instead of a morgue."

The circuit board was juvenile attention getting, Pare’s statement, now that’s art. I’d nominate it for a major prize, it’s likely to be better than what wins.

Note to MIT: That friend of Simpson's quoted in the Globe who says that all the male Techies at MIT wear circuit boards? Maybe you should clue the bright boys in that their fashion statement is unwise outside the citadel of cleverness that we have reason to wish MIT is. We plebs just won't get it.