Minimalism, a rebuttal


Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamMinimalism is to me the epitome of this idea-less, loveless, lifeless society. Replace a life with an empty space. Decluttering is one thing; removing all aesthetics and life values is another.

What, nothing matters? No keepsakes, no beautiful things? Exactly what I’d expect from this rathole of a pseudo-civilization; a barren wasteland, with a brand name and a smug little rationale. Minimalism is the sort of aesthetic you’d expect from an underachieving termite.

What minimalism is and isn’t

Listen, phonebrains, while I explain a few things:

Minimalism is called “living with less”. That’s a death sentence if ever there was. Already living in overpriced antique pigeon coops, you want less?  Remember doing more with less, that farcical fraud foisted on business? Remember how it meant doing a lot more with a lot less and achieving nothing but stress?

This is a simulation of the known universe. Minimalism? None.

The universe. Minimalism? None. This single picture has more meaning than any empty damn barn will ever have. You wouldn’t be allowed to put it on your wall, because it’s not a minimalist value.

Minimalism means by definition fewer aesthetics. Can you exist without a likeable environment? Would you want to? Because that’s what this “interior desertification” means. How at home do you feel in a barren space like an airport? Do you go to a “nice” pub, with a friendly environment, or some damn laminated hell with nothing but lifeless spaces?

Minimalism means life without art. Ignore a few thousand years of aesthetics, why don’t you? You could be as pig-ignorant as anyone you’ve ever despised. “Well, how long can you look at the same painting?”, you ask? Answer; decades, if you know a damn thing about how to look at a painting. You’ll always see textures, colour combinations, etc. The painting will reflect differently with different moods, emotions, etc., too.

The lifestyle aspect of minimalism is one of its few valid features; it reflects a nothing of a lifestyle. Emptiness, not humanity, not even personality. The irony of using natural materials in “minimalist” environments is that you might as well be back in the caves, where you presumably belong, not living as some sort of allegedly advanced, evolved being.

To me, minimalism is subhuman. It’s a monument to nihilism, that great philosophical cop-out of humanity, in which everything is considered meaningless. It’s as pitiful as “prove existence” for first year philosophy hacks. How spiritually gutless can you get? Minimalism, like nihilism, means you have no skin in the game of being yourself. You can’t win, but you can’t lose, either, with no commitments. You can’t even play the game. That’s minimalism; a void in to which you can escape. You can have it; just don’t ask me to do anything with it but bury it.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books


Art appreciation for morons



Wasp2Host: Welcome to the Celebration of Minimalism. We’d like you to fawn, gush, drip slightly, and perhaps even stand on two legs at our latest selections. We’ll show you what art appreciation is all about.

Imagine the minimal version of a Monet. Two dots in a pristine white canvas. How deeply poignant and moving it would be. Beethoven’s Sixth, without all that noise. The Sistine Chapel, with some dignity. This is the New Culture, the spiritual version of enchanting emptiness.

No, we don’t have any paintings or sculptures. We’re really minimal. We have instead Fred, a local building-nuzzler and fortunately portable cultural icon. Fred’s not allowed in to buildings in this city any more, so we’re having our show here in this wonderful car park off ramp.

Say hello, Fred.

“Fresno intersection”.

Close enough.

…But enough of this artistic banter. Now let’s move on tepidly to the real meat of our celebration; the famous Larry. Larry can hold eight hour monologues in confined spaces, preferably as small as possible. All that breathing just gets in the way, doesn’t it? Larry’s contribution to art appreciation is based on his work as a critic and occasional sales-thing for various major corporations.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Larry.

“It was when I was six that I discovered my hatred of all life. I loathed interesting things. Why have beauty when you can have maniacal, obsessive boredom? Why have love, when you can have empty plates and empty minds? So, naturally, I decided to become an art critic.”

Strange how evolution works, isn’t it?

“I don’t know. I’m not a subscriber.”

Do go on.

Job page 21“Here, ladies and gentlemen and other great losses to entomology, you see pristine art. This is real culture; the frenzied mentality of the driver on the off ramp. The endearingly vacuous expression on the alleged face. The mystic cowering of ramp users. That’s art.”

(Larry pauses to scratch face; continues)

“I first discovered art appreciation as a salesman for Roombas. Yes, all those days ago, I wrote my seminal work, the Roomba Super Destruct Slam Dunk 24. I’d like to read you an excerpt from my piece on this delicious appliance….?”

(Enthusiastic whimperings from crowd)

“Thank you. It’s a template for my later work in teaching art appreciation and formal art criticism. I blush to say that it’s even been compared to some online direct marketing copy.”

(Picks up brochure, smiles and begins to read.)

“The sheer ferocity and unbridled passion of the Roomba Super Destruct Slam Dunk 24 can be compared to Wagner, Liszt and certain anonymous, discreet decors in New Jersey. In unknown places, covens of fans gather to watch their mighty role model as it whisks through grime and grit to expose pure lino. They shudder in ecstasy as it symbolically collides with family members, and other liabilities.

The creative process coverOne day, a savant called Sniffles McClownvomit decided to try an experiment. What if the Roomba Super Destruct Slam Dunk 24 could be persuaded to deliver colored fluids all over the house? Using a Ouija board and a madman’s palette of lawyers, Sniffles fitted acrylic paint dispensers to the Roomba Super Destruct Slam Dunk 24.

The result was what’s now called Instant Expressionism. Expressionism, as you know, is to art what enemas are to ballet – Possibly useful, but not in public.

Sniffles soon discovered that there was a problem with his idea – The Roomba Super Destruct Slam Dunk 24 ran out of paint, or clogged, or tried to commit suicide. The result, however, was interesting – Little or no paint.

Yes, friends and other debtors, it was Minimalism!…”

(Pauses as person faints in delirious crowd explosion of enthusiastic whining.)

“…Control yourselves, please… Well, OK, don’t…And here we have a spot of paint, actually supplied by the Roomba Super Destruct Slam Dunk 24!”

(Cheers, stamping of feet, and sound of adenoidal-overachieving person asking to have his baby or some other souvenir.)

The police were called and responded with cheerful arrests of all involved. Now that’s art appreciation. Go out and buy some, right now, and cower along with the other intellectual bedpans.


LOGO with Sydney Media Jam edit 300PPI