Ten Reflections on Mark Amerika’s PHON:E:ME .05

Mark Amerika faces this problem in a startling way. He doesn’t try to finesse it, or step around it, or transcend it. Rather, he meets the dilemma head on, by embracing it without reserve. Amerika knows that the culture of global capitalism is the all-too-legitimate heir of modernist aesthetics. And he knows that he shares in this sinister genealogy--as do we all, like it or not. That is why PHON:E:ME, in both content and form, is to a great extent an advertisement for itself. One of its main subjects is a meditation on the ways the artist can turn his/her identity ("phony me") into an instantly recognizable brand name. Of course, this does not mean that self-advertising is all there is to the work. Far from it. But self-promotion is an aspect of the work that can never be excluded from it. Amerika’s highly self-conscious art-entrepreneurialism seeps into and contaminates everything else the work does.

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