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Alternative World: A Code of Ethics, Behaviors, Attitudes, and Understandings

The great thing about being asked to envision any kind of idealized social construct is that the petty annoyances and obstacles presented by human egos and material pragmatics can be ignored. With that in mind, a code of ethics, behaviors, attitudes, and understandings that will govern my perfect little world follows.


Making things will be considered no more or less important than organizing and distributing them; both activities will be called “art.”

There will be no individual s’ names attached to works of art; works will be known only by their titles, not their authors. 

The audience will determine titles for themselves.

Art will be recognized as an ongoing and never-ending series of amendments, confirmations, refutations, and enhancements.

No work of art will ever be considered finished.

Vandalism will be neither encouraged nor discouraged, the word will have no meaning.

People won’t take a work of art out of circulation unless they put one back in.

Sharing will be considered a moral imperative and trading things will be done without negotiation.

Museums will be dynamic social institutions of constant creative activity and change. 

Museums will have no storage facilities.

Institutions will not departmentalize art.

Art will never be blamed for anything.

Art critics will only write in the first person.

Preferences will be understood to be ever shifting and changing one’s mind will be regarded a virtue.

No one will ever say, “That’s been done.”

Interpersonal relationships between sentient beings will be called “life.” Relationships between sentient beings and everything else will be called “art.”

Art will never be mistaken for life; art will be considered a part of life. 

Everyone will be a collector.
Everyone will be a curator.

Everyone will be an artist.

Laziness will not be considered a vice.

Art will be a verb.


Oliver Wasow

OLIVER WASOW is a photographer currently living and working in Rhinebeck, NY.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2013

All Issues