Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Tract House Project

Goatsilk was recently asked to participate in something called the "The Tract House Project."

The Tract House is a "spread-the-word" project that debuted at the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore on May 31, 2008. The Tract House has distributed free tracts at Printed Matter, 195 Tenth Avenue, New York, New York and at Three-Walls in Chicago in 2008 and 2009.  In conjunction with the  American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum and Philagrafika, The Tract House: The Darwin Addition will be distributing tracts in Philadelphia in early 2010.

While most popular tracts are religious, The Tract House tracts can be nearly anything— manifestos, diatribes, stories, rants, poems, or lyrics. They can be about whatever the writer finds pressing, whether it be something personal, professional, political, domestic, local, or global.

We wrote a couple of short tracts over the Thanksgiving break and I thought I'd share them here on culturelovesus, since some of what we wrote has to do with things we've been talking about this semester particularly.

  • Narcissism plus charm is talent, and can be inspirational.
  • Narcissism  without charm is vulgar, and can be repulsive.
  • Open confession is narcissism combined with vulnerability, and is frequently attractive.
  • Refusal to join the masses in the growing network of online social exchange is usually just narcissism combined with elitism.
  • Narcissism nourishes voyeurism, and voyeurism requires narcissism.  In fact, these two powerful human impulses collapse into each other almost completely.  It might even be safe to say that the endless appetite for voyeurism can devour as much narcissism as we can offer.
  • There are only narcissists and ultra-narcissists, voyeurs and ultra-voyeurs.
  • Narcissism is a survival mechanism for the life online.
  • Narcissism isn’t new, but the current social networking environment provides new ways of revealing it. 


Museums have ceased to be stimulating to the public, while world news has become more exciting - and more widely viewed – than ever.  Similarly, Hollywood movies have ceased to be exciting, while Youtube and other forms of democratized entertainment are avidly consumed. This is because people are no longer interested in static sanctuaries for canonized trinkets, and rather turned on by the refreshing unexpectedness—and sublime qualities—of real life, real time, real consequence narrative.  Art over time has always followed this course of evolution, away from the artificial and towards the real.  Only now, with the advent of a bona fide digital revolution, and the increased speed of just about everything, we can see this more clearly than ever.  As this pace increases, the fracture between our collective consciousness and the potential realities we may be exposed to gets wider and more troubling. 

How can we restore this connection?

We propose an effective solution for the uncertain future of entertainment and art: employ high profile actors as news broadcasters, and broadcast the news each day –indoors and out- in large screen with Dolby surround at public museums.   In 10 years or less, it will be possible to hire the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, or Scarlett Johansson to host the nightly news, because there will no longer be profit in the artifice of big Hollywood films.  This new mode of delivery would combine the most exciting real world information with the most famous personas of yesterday’s cinema, presented in a public format where empathy most thrives.  The resulting product is not just another Jon Stewart Daily Show, but a non-comedic delivery of world events in the most sincere fashion.  True stories, not myths.  Real people, not roles.  Actual consequences, not just fantasies.


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