so I’m a subscriber to this e-list and we ocassionally forward each other notices about events and art happenings and opportunities in the arts and general going-ons in New York City. One just came in, and it reads a little something like this,

Spindle 7 is an ongoing performance in which I bring my drop spindle on the #7 train during its run in Queens.  As I spin wool, I invite other passengers to comment and participate, teaching them how to spin and giving out homemade spindles and fleece along the way.  Part counterpoint to the sea of iPods, iPhones and other electronic gadgets on the train, part conversation starter among the diverse communities who use the #7, and 100% fun, Spindle 7 is funded, in part, by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

So there’s that phrase ‘part counterpoint to the sea of iPods, iPhones and other electronic gadgets”, and frankly it disturbs me.

As a matter of fact, this email about happenings in the city I read on my electronic gadget, a phone which downloads emails while I’m walking so I can read them while I wait for and ride the train. It’s how I multitask. This way I can stay informed of as many events and activities in the city as possible.

And I’m concerned with what is implied by ‘part counterpoint’. That phrase imposes faith in an idea that proclaims everyone on the subways are e-Zombies and somehow gadgets do not Connect Us.

Case in point: when in the history of NYC’s subways have you ever seen anyone carry a photo album onto the subway and share it with their fellow straphangers? When? I’m talking analog color-negative prints behind those sticky clear cellophane pages in 3-ring binders. Have you ever seen that on the subway, do you ever think that existed? Could you imagine someone pulling out their point-n-shoot film camera and wanting to share their celluloid film with their mates, as they pop open the back only to expose the film and lose their memories. Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?

Now, conversely, how often have you looked at someone’s digital photos, shared memories, discussed collectively-shared moments thanks to your gadget containing documentation of said memories? Sure a parent may carry a single solitary picture of their child in their wallet but I currently carry 200 images of some of my best friends and moments in my gadget.

‘Part counterpoint’ reminds me of groups of people that are antagonistic towards sub-groups of other cultures simply because they don’t take part in that culture, and more often than not because they do not understand it.

I understand that MOST people employing these gadgets don’t use them the way I do, don’t connect to networks the way I do or multitask to the same mechanisms I do, but ARTISTS need to stop positing their ideas in opposition to a popularly held belief or format. Tell me actually what are you doing! Don’t tell me you’re doing this in ‘counterpoint’ to that, actually tell me WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? I’m tired of artists, Artists (with a capital A it appears as though you have more Responsibility), assuming a critical position of technology or groups of people that use technologies as somehow being un-connected to their analog world. Tell me less about that and more about you.

Don’t get me wrong, I truly dislike people listening to iPods on the subway. You miss announcements (I saw that happen yesterday), you miss people telling you you’re beautiful, and you’re unaware when someone yells, “There’s a Gorilla on the train! RUN!” But artists need to be more particular with the language they choose, else it comes across as a type of plebean antagonism.

And no I do not know this artist.

And yes I do love the 7 train.