margin creep began with a zine called eXstacies(sic) of DEATH that I made with students enrolled in a graduate seminar I was teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Fall of 2013,
modeled on a class that I had taken as a graduate student a dozen years
before, in which we also produced a publication with the guidance of our instructors - artists Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam. In the summer leading up to the class I was teaching, I had begun to experiment
with self publishing - producing my first perfect bound book; and two years before that, I had started blogging (despite my
initial reservations about the form) - beginning with my first blog - a tumblr called a little less democracy, and soon followed by a dozen more, with names pulled from all over: so much tenderness, named after a song in a Fassbinder film; punishment park
- named after a pseudo-documentary from the early seventies about a
fictional park constructed to punish draft dodgers during the Vietnam War; all the best people,
a fashion blog of sorts - named for an aside uttered by the manager of
the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's classic horror film The Shining; the theory of the leisure class, named after an early twentieth century sociological study by the same name; and the myth of forester,
named for a poem I wrote when I was still in high school. This latter became
the basis of my first book, a full color montage of all of the images I
had posted up to that point - black and white nature photographs, pictures of interiors - verandas and staircases - most of which were reblogs of images others had scanned from books or pulled from other places on the web.
When I joined tumblr, and started blogging, the
consensus seemed to be that it was important to distinguish between
reblogging - that is - posting another blogger's content without
severing ties to the source - and reposting - which is more or less the
opposite - pulling an image from another blogger's post and representing it
as your own with out giving the other blogger credit; all of which is further complicated by the fact that most of the images posted on tumblr, at least at that time, were already once or twice removed from their original sources to begin with, and more often than not unapologetically left uncredited.
In his essay The Accidental Audience, artist Brad Troemel draws a connection between these distinctions made by users of social media, and those made by art historian David Joselit between image fundamentalism, in which the source of an image is indelibly linked to its circulation, and image neoliberalism, in which it is not, making a further case for a third term - image anarchism - which absolutizes the nascent spirit of piracy embedded in image neoliberalism. If image neoliberalism entails the circulation of images without respect to ownership, exploiting hidden and asymmetrically distributed networks of power and access for the sake of profit, image anarchism is about taking advantage of the hidden weaknesses in those very same networks - eroding the grounds of exploitation by expropriating the force of the expropriated. If image fundamentalism is about conservation of existing chains of meaning and control, and image neoliberalism is about capitalizing on those networks, image anarchism is about incorporation and transformation, operating from a position which makes the most of the fact that the field of distribution of signification is irredeemably distorted and imbalanced, and propriety is up for grabs.
margin creep is an expression of the emergent collapse of the public and the private - exporting the mythopoetic logic of branding and identity from the cathected realm of the commodity to the dedifferentiated terrain of experience itself. On a personal level, margin creep embodies the evolution of a narrowing practice with widening margins into a broadening practice with narrowing margins: a practice of production in which almost nothing is done, into a practice of consumption where almost nothing is wasted (or to put it another way - the conversion of a process of making in which almost nothing ever gets out of hand, into a process of thinking for which almost nothing is ever out of reach.) As a profession of faith in the idea of profession as such, margin creep represents an extension of the imminent domain of the subjective into the eminent domain of the objective (and vice versa), and an expansion of the concept of collaboration from that of conscious cooperation and co-development of form and content by knowing participants to the sampling, blogging, reblogging, and reformatting of life as art through the act of publishing.