BYOB Chicago: jonCates, Digital Arts Collector – jonCates (2011)

Digital Arts Collector - jonCates (2011)

jonCates, Digital Arts Collector – jonCates (2011)

TITLE: jonCates, Digital Arts Collector

ARTIST: jonCates

MEDIUM: Business Cards, Sobriety, Self-Projection through conversations

DATE: 2011/10/18

TIME: 7 – 8 PM

SITE: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

CONTEXT: BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer) Chicago:


in the performance/projection “jonCates, Digital Arts Collector” i had same day Business Cards (1) printed which read:


Digital Arts Collector


jonCates, Founder && Archivist

Special Collections department

the Business Card feels to me like an old-fashioned format for interpersonal interactions, like an antique form of communication or rather (self) promotion from an earlier era. at a recent conference (2) i was often asked for my business card (which i do not normally carry or even maintain current versions of) and presented w/a range of business cards from academics and artists. i found receiving these cards both novel and strange. this experience combined w/my invitation to participate in this most recent BYOB Chicago iteration of the ongoing series/platform. the BYOB Worldwide project initiated by Rafaël Rozendaal relies on Salon-style ‘hanging’ of the projections, social networks and networking and recent Web 2.0 technologies/platforms (such as tumblr, which the BYOB Worldwide site exists on and through). this intersection of very recent technologies and the turn of the second to last century approaches (late 1800’s/early 1900’s Academic Art exhibition formats) strikes me as similarly novel and strange, like business cards from New Media Artists and academics

1824 Salon de Paris, official Academic Art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts

Charles X assists artists at the Salon exposition in 1824 – Francois Joseph Heim (1827)

.gif - Brian Khek (2011)

BYOB Chicago .gif – Brian Khek (2011)

as i entered the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago‘s (MCA) Wolfgang Puck Cafe, where the BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer) Chicago event occurred, i engaged in conversations during which i presented this card. my script began w/the statement “i don’t think you have my business card, in fact, i know you dont b/c it’s brand new!” then i would present my new business card and ask the artists (if they were participating artists in the BYOB Chicago event) which was their work and if it was for sale. if they said yes, that it was for sale, i pursued negotiations w/them

BYOB Chicago at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Facebook photos) - Bea Fremderman (2011)

BYOB Chicago at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Facebook photos) – Bea Fremderman (2011)

the conversations i engaged in began w/Hunter Husar and Bea Fremderman who were standing together as i entered the space. Hunter (whois an old friend whom i went to highschool w/and spent time skating w/in the 1980’s) informed me that the beer cost 666. i went towards the beer but didnt intend to drink, only to mix w/other for my performance/projection of identity b/c as is listed in the “medium” my sobriety was a material i was working w/in this project

Sarah Weis (Facebook photo) and still image from Animated GIF Digital Art work “ink_levels10-18.gif”

i next engaged Sarah Weis, whose work in BYOB Chicago was in fact my favorite projection in the event. Sarah‘s work was an Animated GIF based on screen shots of low ink alerts from a printer at i^3 hypermedia in Chicago, where Sarah is Creative Director. Sarah was also dressed to match her Animated GIF w/her outfit corresponding to CMYK. Sarah expressed that her Animated GIF was in fact for sale and that it was part of a series which may be ongoing, potentially extending on indefinitely as a process. we then discussed the correct pronunciation of “GIF” b/c as Sarah explained she wanted to hear my opinion as an expert on Animated GIFs 🙂

i next engaged Chelsey Hoff and her brother. our conversation quickly turned to Artificial Intelligence research

Nick Briz and i then spoke as i performed my self-projection. Nick stated that his work was for sale and that it was especially designed for this event. Nick also told me that the water from the Cafe was free

Nick and i were joined by my old friends and former collaborators Mark Beasley and Jon Satrom. both Mark and Jon encouraged by performance/projection, performing themselves as new aquiantences, as if we had just met. this allowed me to extend my performance/projection further, improvising details of the Special Collections branch of the INSTITVTE FOR THE ANIMATED GIF, which i founded in 1996. i explained that as a Digital Arts Collector, i was about to publicly open this formerly private/personal collection which i have archived since 1996. when asked if their work was for sale, Mark replied yes, while Satrom replied that his device (a microfische reader) was not for sale, but that the print was. Mark set a price of 1337. Satrom stated that his work was in a quality of 600 DPI and that the price of the print was negotiable

Elisa Harkins (who i had briefly spoken w/and presented my performance/projection to earlier) and Thorne Brandt then approached me. i engaged them both in my performance/projection. altho i have known Elisa (since the early 2000’s when we were co-organizers of events including the Version > Festivals at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago) and Thorne (since the mid-2000’s when we has a student of mine in Film, Video, New Media & Animation department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) i am unsure as to the ways in which they were relating to my performance/projection as both seemed to engage my performance/projection w/simultaneous curiosity, distance and sincere interest in the sale of Thorne‘s work. Thorne‘s work in BYOB Chicago was impressively projected in HD, taking up the entire space above the Cafe‘s sales counter. when asked Thorne repeated Elisa‘s quote that his Animated GIF work was in fact for sale at a price of $50 for a Blu-Ray DVD. Thorne also explained that i would be buying ‘today’s export’ w/new hand drawn content just added in advance of the event. Elisa added that the work, which is deeply layered, functions as a diary

Manuel Buerger (designer of the DIGITAL FOLKLORE Reader edited by Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied) then approached me and we began talking. Manuel had been previously introduced to me by our mutual friend ARAM Bartholl (initiator of the SPEED SHOW series/platform of international New Media Art events which directly influenced/inspired the BYOB Worldwide series/platform) online via email. while we spoke, Manuel asked me what my work in the BYOB Chicago event was and i delivered my lines which i had rehearsed earlier: “my projection is online. and it’s a projection into the future! it hasn’t happened yet, but don’t worry, it _will_ happen :)” at which time i presented Manuel w/my business card and explained that i was proposing to buy works that were currently being shown in the BYOB Chicago event. Manuel appeared to understand the intent of my projection and asked if i thought any works had actually been sold from a BYOB Worldwide to which i replied i don’t know but that Rafaël Rozendaal (initiator of the BYOB Worldwide series/platform) has certainly ‘opened new markets for ppl such as myself, who collect Digital Art’

soon MCA Security began to announce that MCA was closing and that everyone would have to leave. artists and organizers were alrdy packing up and breaking down the event. final photos and video documentation were being taken. i became aware that i had mostly been active w/my projection on the stage right side (upon entering the Cafe from the main MCA entrance) of the exhibition. i suspect that most of the more critically oriented works were in this section but this is due to spending almost all of my time on this side of the exhibition, the side on which, admittedly, my old friends and former collaborators were exhibiting on. i felt a sense of anxiety/disappointment in not having been able to have performed/projected w/all of the participating artists as i saw Louis Doulas packing up and breaking down his projector

Theo Darst's business card - Theo Darst (2011)

Theo Darst‘s business card (documented by jonCates) – Theo Darst (2011)

Theo Darst, also exhibiting in this area of BYOB Chicago, came over to me to say hello and goodbye. i quickly performed/projected myself for Theo and he reflected my projection back to me, handing me his business card while telling me he was ‘all about branding’ and that he had alrdy been approached by the curator of the MCA in regards to his projection in BYOB Chicago but that he would still consider giving me an insiders deal, negotiating a sale directly w/me, w/out involving his gallery or dealer. i thanked him sincerely and told him that i would be in touch

before leaving i quickly checked in w/Eric Fleischauer (co-creator of twohundredfiftysixcolors) and Andrew Rosinski (of, expressing my interest in purchasing their projections

as i left i said goodbye and thnx to Brian Khek (organizer of this BYOB Chicago event) who was standing w/Micah Schippa. i quickly presented my performance/projection to both of them before leaving, leaving them both w/copies of my business card and promises of future future projections which are as Brian said “very meta”

BYOB kulturalKapital - jonCates (2011)

BYOB kulturalKapital – jonCates (2011)

all artists above have now been contacted in regards to the negotiations for purchase of their projections and sent infinite Cultural Capital in the form/format of my certificate/cultural currency, the BYOB_kulturalKapital.PDF as pictured here in the GIF format




1. same day Business Cards are actually now difficult to order, a situation i did not expect to encounter downtown in Chicago. i made 2 orders, 1rst from FDS Chicago then from alphagraphics, neither of whom replied to my email orders. so i went to Staples and asked. the woman working explained that their system was broken and i explained that what i needed was exceedingly simple. she helped me to print a small run (of 50) and in the end didnt even charge me. i had prepared myself to pay at least $100 for the earlier orders and so i was super happy/enthusiastic to have these business cards for free and outside of commodity exchange.

2. Rewire, the Media Art Histories conference in Liverpool held at John Moores University, organized by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), 2011:

3. “twohundredfiftysixcolors is a 16mm film that traces the arc of increased complexity and pointed use of the animated gif… Curating and filming these pixels from the domain of the internet signals a new form of movie making and acknowledges the complexities embedded within these highly compressed files… The film is a curated archive that, when screened in a collective viewing environment as a cinema event, becomes revelatory for discussion, analysis, and conjecture on the animated gif’s current location and future trajectory.”

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