Versions: Constant Dullaart


Interview Versions by Annet Dekker

by e-mail

Could you tell me about the origins of the online comment culture and its development?
I am fascinated by the dialect that is found in comments: the rapid-fire jokes, the celebration of bluntness and deliberately saying stupid things. It has a semantics that is different from existing spoken and written language. Internet makes it possible to show and share your work immediately. You don't have to wait any more until it gets into a gallery. At the same time you couple the material that you use directly to the source: you manipulate an existing YouTube video and put it back on YouTube again. The medium is also your platform.

Is it possible to talk about comment as medium and could this lead to a shared or distributed aesthetics?
It seems to me that the comment is still in its infancy as a medium, so it is difficult to have any insight into that.

Do you think beforehand about the comments and do they influence your own artistic practice?
I do think about what people are going to say about my work, or how it perhaps is going to be copied – which has happened a couple of times. Secretly, of course, I hope that happens. The best possible thing is if it turns into an interesting discussion. The process in comments is interesting, such as trolling and breaching - breaking social codes in order to force a response. That's something which I myself like to do too.

How do you deal with comments by others, and your own?
I can't stand anonymous comments. If you have a comment, let people know who you are so they can reply.

Do you see your own work as unique or is it part of a larger entity?
I was raised with a strong sense of community. I see the importance of authorship as absolute, and that includes the importance of always giving the author's name, but I also believe that knowledge and findings have to be shared, for the good of all.

Is commenting a form of collaboration or is it something else?
One can only call it cooperation if you have directly or implicitly asked for comments. There are for example people who encourage others to remix their work, after which it becomes part of another work. But, on the other hand, what I find interesting is to work without permission. That is where comments get interesting, unfiltered and uncensored. Often however comments are censored because the risk exists that the website moderator will be held responsible for providing the stage for racist content, for instance. That is unfortunate.

What does appropriation mean in this time of comment culture?
An an ordinary manner of collecting material that you can work with, almost not worth mentioning.

And what does this mean for the question of authenticity and originality?
Authenticity should be connected with the work, the idea or the concept, and not to the individual who is behind it, but in this society that seems to be impossible.

Does comment culture surpass the scrapbook?

Sometimes it does and sometimes not...

How do you translate your work to a physical and static environment of a gallery space? Do the qualities of the collective online working process remain?

They are really different worlds, with different languages and concepts. But that appears to be changing because there are more and more people on the web, and less and less g33ksp34k [internet jargon] being spoken. As a result, people understand what is going on on the web better, and that makes the translation to another space easier – but up to now there always still has had to be a text or an evening's explanation.

Is the offline version an illustration or a reaction to the comment culture?
Sadly enough, often as an illustration.