Joshua Citarella x New Models



Lil Internet: (00:00)
Welcome to the New Models podcast. This episode on the future of creator communities is being jointly, released in advance to you and to Joshua Citerella's community. If you're on the new models, discord server, you know that we've been thinking a lot lately about the digital architecture that underpins new models, our server, our aggregator site, how we will evolve them and the way these digital places linked to other dark forest enclaves, such as Joshua's and othes creators streams, a New York based artist who for many listening probably needs no introduction. Josh has been a guest on the New Models podcast twice before and also joined us last year at Trauma Bar und Kino for a virtual lecture on gen Z's, online political expression. We're sharing the following conversation with you to take you behind the scenes of how we're thinking about our respective platforms and the ecosystem we hope to seed in the coming months.

Lil Internet: (00:53)
A few notes before we begin, thank you to Seth Stolbun who funded around a research earlier this year on creator to fan networks, creator communities, and possible institutional counterparts. One cool result of this research has been the formation of, which Seth and The Stolbun Collection of just soft launched this month with the aim of solving some of the issues. You'll hear us address on this pod Go check it out. If you do, you'll see that the first content season of the Stolbun Institute is shadowlands on de and replatforming. After it's released to the public. This podcast episode will be archived as part of this season. This podcast episode will be archived as part of the shadowlands season. Secondly, you'll hear us mention some web three tech stuff on the pod, new models, and Josh have also been working with Mat Dryhurst and Holly Herndon, Duncan Wilson, Colin Miller, and James Gary on a new tool called channel.

Lil Internet: (01:50)
We'll be sharing more details on this with you very soon. Lastly, thank you to Kaleidoscope magazine for giving us the impetus to record these thoughts and for graciously letting us take their initial prompt of American memetics and expand it into a discussion around how said meme, culture and the structures of web 2 have profoundly changed Western cultural institutions, perhaps irreversibly for better or worse. An excerpt of this conversation is slated to appear in Kaleidoscope's summer issue. So look out for that. I'm Lil Internet joined by new models. Co-hosts Caroline Busta and Daniel Keller. We're joined again by Joshua Citarella. And here's our conversation from March about the future of creator communities and American memetics. Let's get into it.


Joshua Citarella: (00:06)
Hey gang, Josh here. This episode is a joint release alongside our friends at the New Models Podcast. New Models is a news aggregator and an online community. We've done many projects together, and we've been hard at work on a few things that I'm excited to finally share. In this conversation, we're diagnosing the current state of institutional failure within the art world and its relationship to alt media more broadly. We're coming up on the first year of the Discord server and we've just launched our community blog, Do Not Research. In recent community events like, the reading group workshops and lectures, I've tried to describe a lineage of art and tech reading groups that have been actively thinking about social media's impact on culture and politics for a long time.

Joshua Citarella: (00:58)
It's no coincidence that our most closely related channel is part of the same intellectual peer group that have been hacking away at these issues, for the last 10 years. These creator communities are emerging as new pseudo institutional spaces picking up where the art world fell short. This conversation will be archived as part of Shadowlands, an initiative from the Stolbun Institute, which helped to fund some related research earlier this year. The site is up now. Keep an eye out for an article from New York based writer, Dean Kissick, which will be posted a few days after this.

Joshua Citarella: (01:40)
In the later part of this conversation, we discuss something called Channel. Channel is a web 3 project we've been working on along with Matt Dryhurst and Holly Herndon from the Interdependence Podcast and Duncan Wilson, Colin Miller, and James Gary. As much time as we spend criticizing institutions and platforms, those words are only meaningful if we build a new path forward. After the Shadowban earlier this year, I'm constantly worried that our community could be shut down at any time. Part of this conversation will be transcribed for a story titled, American Memetics for the summer issue of Kaleidoscope Magazine. Thank you to Carly and Julian and Dan, thank you to the community. I look forward to the next chapter.


Caroline Busta: (02:39)
So New Models, I mean, Josh, I think a bit like you, New Models, it's format is evolving as fast as the media landscape is evolving. It's Genesis is in 2017 when I was working for a legacy art publication in Berlin that felt very (laughs) yes, Texte zur Kunst. Um, I was working a legacy art magazine. That's so funny to call it that a, a quarterly art magazine in Berlin that felt uncomfortable with addressing memes, addressing the material that was increasingly defining the most volatile part of the visual communicational landscape.

Caroline Busta: (03:17)
And I thought, okay, well, we needed to have some space outside of this legacy media in order to address what was happening. And we started as an aggregator site. And then out of that, grew a podcast to give some meta commentary that developed a listenership. The listenership wanted a place to speak. Someone suggested Discord and very rapidly, the Discord ground up conversation became as important as the top downstream, where you are giving a stimulus, but then 50% of your time is spent receiving what's coming back from your community, metabolizing that and sending it out to some kind of larger public or clearnet space. So-

Daniel Keller: (03:57)
I mean, I think that the audience becoming stakeholders, that's a real theme. And I think that you can even talk about the, like post-internet to podcaster, to community admin pipeline, 'cause it really does feel like the next step in that. And I think it's different than other podcasts. Let's say like the previous generation of, Patreon successful podcasts, where it is really much more this community focused. I mean, compared to, let's say Red Scare, which has a really, really active sub Reddit, but I feel like having an active Reddit is somehow very different than the Discord space and the type of stuff that happens there. And like, I don't see Red Scare fans coming together and creating Year Books or anything like that. There isn't the same type of generative energy. It's something really beyond a fan club. That's what I'm saying.

Lil Internet: (04:45)
Red, Red Scare is a vibe, New Models is a-

Caroline Busta: (04:48)

Lil Internet: (04:48)
... way of life.

Daniel Keller: (04:48)
Hmm. Yeah.

Caroline Busta: (04:49)
(laughs) Right.

Daniel Keller: (04:50)
But I do think that that's the trajectory, you know, I'm curious to see who else is doing the same thing.

Joshua Citarella: (04:56)
I tend to think of these spaces as being indicative of a general market failure in the art world, where although there's ample funds in the institution, they're not allocated to these projects. And so essentially what we had to do is people who have now come from through jogging to Bruce High Quality, to cloud-based institutional critique, to UV Production House. It's like, you know, it's almost like a decade of working in the art world that is one node removed in the network diagram. And for whatever reason, we can earn a better living as podcasters. And we're doing the same projects that we would normally be doing, but there's no institutional funding to do this stuff. And it begs the question of like, why are these conversations not being invited into the institutions? I think very vividly of a high contrast scenario where this is in 2017 and I was in a studio visit.

Joshua Citarella: (05:50)
And I was, it was a picture of me as a precarious freelancer in my lower east side, Chinatown apartment and outside the window, is this fancy luxury building. And I'm like talking about class conflict and like just utopian scifi and whatever. And then the guy (laughs) dealer collector he's like, "Yeah, I live in that building,"

Caroline Busta: (06:09)

Joshua Citarella: (06:09)
... like he literary is in the Frank Gehry fucking building with the Uber chopper (laughing). And I'm like in my apartment-

Caroline Busta: (06:14)

Joshua Citarella: (06:16)
... there's a toilet in the shower. And I was like, "Fuck, this is... I'm done." Like there's no future for me in the art world.

Caroline Busta: (06:20)

Joshua Citarella: (06:20)
So I mean, the great oddity now is that like in the last few weeks, last few months, we've kind of learned how, (laughs) uh, how precarious it actually is to be on the platform. So this platform versus institution question has now taken on new meaning, but, uh, you know, years and years of exploring these questions in detailed ways. And now we are in some ways a case study for what that's going to be.

Lil Internet: (06:43)
Yeah. I always found it a bit strange that, and I guess it was an arrangement of convenience, but that over the Trump era, the left basically made this partnership with the platform terms of service in order to get people deplatformed. And now of course, we're seeing people on the left being deplatformed and as the right heads already for quite some time started its own platforms began finding alternative spaces to talk about utterly bullshit conspiracy theories and toxic politics, the left starting to find these dark forest spaces, these shadowland spaces of where can you build, uh, occupy that allows you to escape from the oversight of the algorithms and these private monopolistic platforms?

Daniel Keller: (07:37)
And I think a key thing that also we're trying, well, we need to solve is make your audience not dependent on a platform for mediation, but like a portable audience.

Caroline Busta: (07:47)

Daniel Keller: (07:47)
And of course that's one of the big benefits of web 3 stuff. Your membership is distinct from any specific platform. In theory, Discord or Patreon could de platform our site anytime. And of course we have all our other backup channels and we could tweet about getting deplatformed and probably we'd be able to port over a lot of our audience somewhere else. But if the membership was tokenized and it was on a blockchain that can't be erased, then that audience is sort of portable. And if it made sense for us to migrate to a different type of platform besides Discord or Patreon, then we'd be able to do that freely. And our relationship with the audience would be maintained.

Caroline Busta: (08:22)

Daniel Keller: (08:22)
I think that's like, that's something that hasn't really happened yet. And something that's gonna be really crucial for creating a sustainable shadowland.

Joshua Citarella: (08:30)
So if I can just maybe offer a synopsis of how I'm understanding this conflict at the moment, we're looking at both an institutional failure where there is not funding allocated to these topics, to these questions. And then we're also running up against the terms of service and things like this on the platforms. So the question is, where do you go? Is it a lesser of two evils question? Is there a third alternative or something like that? And I think the closest thing that we've come up with so far is as Carly's has been describing it, this dark forest analogy, which is essentially what is kind of happening in the Discord where I feel like we're having these high res rigorous conversations that then trickle out in the form of memes and posts and essays and things like this, podcasts of course.

Caroline Busta: (09:14)


Lil Internet: (10:10)
We of course, like that term came from Richard Dawkins and Susan Blackwell and these people who started just thinking about media in evolutionary biology terms of being spreading virally, uh, ideas and concepts spreading virally. And, and then of course, in terms of internet memes, there was very early things the Dancing Baby, Mr. T Ate My Balls. That's a really, really old one. AOL days, early websites. You know, when two channels started in Japan, that's when meme started functioning almost as a sort of slang, a language that came out of a particular sort of isolated community.

Lil Internet: (10:44)
And then of course, 4chan was essentially the American version of this culture and type of mechanics of website. Um, and the interesting thing about 4chan though, and I've mentioned this before in previous episodes, but it's important is that it always operated as like the most instantaneous extreme focus group you could imagine, but if you post something on 4chan and nobody replies to it, it vanishes entirely from the site within about two minutes. So it's just like this insanely fast arms race of grabbing attention. And at its peak, there could be 100,000 users on 4chan at any time. And that's how Pepe the Frog came around, how Rickrolling came around. And I mean, there was a time in the late aughts where every single meme online came from 4chan, all of it, the swarm essentially is an algorithm in itself. It boosts to the top things that resonate the most with the most people.

Caroline Busta: (11:40)
Right, But then meme suddenly became much more mainstream and they also seem to be the domain of gen Z and like really important form of communication, Josh or Dan, do you want to continue the story?

Daniel Keller: (11:53)
I would say generally the crucial change was that sometime around 2015 or 2016, memes became really politically significant. And before that, it was much more about-

Joshua Citarella: (12:04)
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Daniel Keller: (12:05)
... self-expression or whatever, just internet culture. And it was even before meme magic, but around then, when I think, uh, of course there's precedent for that, I'm not saying like really means only became political then, but that's when people recognized the political power that they had.

Caroline Busta: (12:19)
At the same time that memes became political didn't politics become a lot more meme like?

Daniel Keller: (12:23)
Yes, I think that's fair to say.

Joshua Citarella: (12:26)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, there's a few contributing factors there certainly were like the meme ability of the Trump presidency for sure. There's also something that in a series of internal panel discussions at Rhizome, uh, I think we have to credit Michael Connor for this. To some degree, these are the early adopter benefits. Social media was set to explode regardless of, of who happened to be the candidate. And then on top of that, you have the multiplier effect of the aesthetic phenomena of the Trump campaign consuming all of culture.

Joshua Citarella: (12:55)
Uh, I think there's a way to divide these things of like meme, uh, subcultures or small pockets of consensus, reality, uh, dark forest spaces, et cetera. They can act as incubators or as a form of quarantine. And when you get neither things get like much worse than you just maintain steadily on the deep, uh, neoliberal decline. Um, so potentially there was a period where 4chan acted as a space of quarantine where people could get their frustration out and, uh, you know, live out their fantasies or post into the void and vent rage or something like that.

Joshua Citarella: (13:30)
And then at one point it shifted to incubator and those things sprouted. And so you would have something that was quantitatively undetectable in the Google trends or whatnot, and then would spike enormously with almost no signal and no warning. So a lot of the conversation around, um, preventing disinformation, preventing stochastic violence and things like this is about this early detection. Like how do you detect a meme before it becomes mainstream? And, you know, in some cases that's very beneficial. So that brings us back to where we are generally in this like platform, institution discussion and our role as artists, because we, based on the virtue of the communities that we're adjacent to and our job as being creatives and what have you, we frequently get access to very large, very visible platforms that we can legitimize kind of crazy radical ideas. So you're on this tight rope between like the institutions and the platforms (laughs) and, um, it's not especially clear, like if exit is really an option and I feel like I had these things sorted out well, and now I should mention, I've just exited 60 days of shadowban.

Caroline Busta: (14:41)

Joshua Citarella: (14:41)
Like I had to do a solo show and launch a book, and it's like extremely clear to me that I worked for Instagram and my wages were docked for misbehavior on the job or whatever, because I couldn't reach like 1% of my following. And on the stroke of midnight on March 1st, the day I made my first tweet ever in my life, my first tweet, magically the shadow ban was lifted. So I'm, I'm so fucking paranoid right now because (laughs) I'm like trying to work for someone else. And then Instagram is like, no, you work for us. You can't possibly leave. Brad started Discord that same day. And his shadowban was lifted, you know, at least partially like, yeah.

Daniel Keller: (15:20)
So you think the platforms are targeting you and they're trying to lure you back. They somehow realized that you started a Twitter or that Brad started a Discord.

Joshua Citarella: (15:28)
I think in the case of, Brad I think there's definitely someone who works for the government who has a file with his name on it.

Joshua Citarella: (15:33)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Joshua Citarella: (15:33)
No, no shadow of a doubt for that. Yeah. 'Cause I mean that meme with the, you know, his brain know his heart, like there's a folder marked, Brad.

Caroline Busta: (15:44)
The Biden Meme.

Daniel Keller: (15:44)
Yeah. That and the undeclared Bitcoin, the undeclared Bitcoin fortune.

Joshua Citarella: (15:45)

Daniel Keller: (15:46)

Joshua Citarella: (15:47)
I think for me, it's, I think what we watched was a general tightening of the terms of service.

Caroline Busta: (15:53)
Yeah. I mean, it's interesting when you say you work for Instagram, a lot of these platforms have started to introduce a micropayment forums. They see what's happening in these Web 2.5 spaces like Substack or like Patreon. And if you are outside of their overton window of accessibility, well, then you get fired from your job. And that is a radical change. Uh, just to reiterate something we said in the beginning, you do need to have light leak from clearnet like what you're doing in the dark forest zone is only, I mean, it has its own value, just like spending time with your family has its own value.

Caroline Busta: (16:30)
Like that's a good value, but in order to leverage that value, whether it's political or whether it's economic or cultural, you have to have some communication line to a clearnet space, to a larger platform. And it's really telling that at this moment, culture sector institutions, they also are subservient to the clearnet platforms. I don't know if it's worth meditating for a moment on what institutions were so scared of in 2015, '16 when they started, you know, because if you think of the aughts you think of vice, you think of like a very different kind of cultural approach.

Joshua Citarella: (17:07)
You've given me the easy one here. Yeah. All right. Fuck it. I'll say it. Uh, (laughing) the issue is that we are in the most rapacious era of capital in the last hundred years, like this is absent 1914, where children are working in coal mines in Manchester or some shit.

Caroline Busta: (17:27)

Joshua Citarella: (17:27)
This is the worst period. And we're on a pretty steep, downward trajectory. So capital is wrapping itself in the moral rhetoric of, you know, all of these like woke diversity, what have you, and it's prioritizing institutional funds for the most effective form of recuperation and optics and reputation washing. And one thing it's like, it's the soft squeeze of just where institutional, uh, funds are being allocated. But if you are trying to point the finger with a critique at the relationship between arts patronage and what is happening in the rest of the world, like that is not very efficacious for the reputation laundering that the art world traffics in.

Joshua Citarella: (18:08)
So people move to crowdfunding, right? Crowdfunding is a way of boosting counter hegemonic narratives. And the art world is like, you know, at the Zenith of that pyramid, but you know, this whack-a-mole approach, it's been pretty disastrous like deplatforming people from Twitter has just sent them to Parler, deplatforming Parler is just sending them somewhere else. I feel like you're treating the symptom and not the cause. And unless you, you know, unless you can magically realign wages and productivity and remove alienation from American life and, and everything else, then these problems are just going to continue to reproduce themselves.

Joshua Citarella: (18:45)
Yeah. I mean, yes, the institutions are really bad. There's historical injustices. They're exploitative, all that is true, but the platforms are way worse. They don't even donate to the museums. They don't care about culture. Like at least the aristocrats funded the opera as like civilization. It's like visibly falling apart and the infrastructure doesn't work. But like, we can't even get Silicon Valley people to donate to the museum, like literally in their town. So-

Caroline Busta: (19:12)
That's 'cause they have amazing wall murals at their headquarters that are like-

Daniel Keller: (19:19)
And they have NFT's in their wallets.

Caroline Busta: (19:19)
... by a local artist. Yeah.

Joshua Citarella: (19:19)
Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Caroline Busta: (19:19)
What are you talking about, Josh? They invest in the arts. Just not like elitist art.

Daniel Keller: (19:25)
They're just against gatekeepers. Finally were, yeah. I mean, this platform's probably believed at themselves, like they were getting rid of gatekeepers and then of course.

Joshua Citarella: (19:34)
Well, not all gatekeepers are created equal, right? Like editors-

Daniel Keller: (19:37)

Joshua Citarella: (19:38)
... curators, like there's good gatekeeping. And then there's bad gatekeeping.

Daniel Keller: (19:41)
Yeah. I think it's-

Caroline Busta: (19:42)
There're bad editors and curators.

Joshua Citarella: (19:43)
Yes, yes, they are. Absolutely, yeah. But that's also like (laughing)-

Caroline Busta: (19:47)
Yes [crosstalk 00:19:48].

Joshua Citarella: (19:47)
Those subjective decisions.

Daniel Keller: (19:49)
It is not an inherently bad thing at all, expertise is not bad, gatekeeping is not inherently bad.

Caroline Busta: (19:53)

Daniel Keller: (19:53)
I think that's very true.

Caroline Busta: (19:54)
I mean, and something that's characteristic of your community of New Models is that there is a degree of gatekeeping. We're like this two way osmosis system between clearnet and dark forest. So we're just basically a filter. It's not so much a gatekeeper.

Joshua Citarella: (20:07)
I, I sometimes give this kind of silly clumsy analogy, but I feel like the institutions, uh, like mainstream capital A art institutions are the Titanic and Crowdfunding and Discord. And the communities that we're trying to cultivate now are a type of a life raft. But in the long-term of this, my objective is to re dock with the institutions once they've course corrected to avoid the giant neoliberal iceberg, you know, like I really do believe in the importance of institutions, the importance of curation and expertise and all of these things. But it's just so clear how dysfunctional they are at the moment where I'm doing something that is clearly of interest and very relevant, and I'm doing it to a sizable audience online. But for some reason you can't get institutional funds allotted to support what you're doing. So you have to take to crowdfunding and, um, potentially that path leads to a very dystopian cyberpunk blade runner corporatism that is, uh, equally unpreferable.

Caroline Busta: (21:08)

Lil Internet: (21:09)
On the other hand, I mean the Titanic sinking and big tech is making all of these like carnival cruise lines where the cruise ships are coming in with like plastic water slides and macarena club nights (laughing) and pools that smell like chlorine and piss, like and buffets, like, you know, and that's their replacement. It's all ersatz it's-

Daniel Keller: (21:30)
Yeah. I though the Titanic analogy. I thought you were gonna say we were the orchestra, not the life raft (laughing) but-

Lil Internet: (21:37)
Well, the Patreon and these platforms. Yeah. The dark forest are life rafts right now. And it-

Caroline Busta: (21:42)
I think something that, Josh pointed out in a previous conversation, which is worth repeating here is that, so the institutions say that they want to center marginalized voices and they want to platform women or people of color or anybody who's not whatever they consider to be the oppressor. Okay. That's fine. That's a, that's a good thing to do. But unless they radically change their funding structures, artists who do things for museums, they don't make a lot of money off of that exchange. It's expected that their market will then improve if they have museum exposure and they will sell their paintings through their gallerists, but their exchange with the museum, I mean, maybe they've changed and maybe some museums do pay their artists a lot of money for exhibitions.

Caroline Busta: (22:26)
But, so you have black voices, older women, voices, outsiders not being paid while they're laundering the reputation of museums. Meanwhile, those who would have previously been a museums have left and are now making money on Patreon and these other, from these other sources. And so it's actually just delaying the ability for people who were marginalized historically by museums to get on life rafts. It's like giving them almost a disadvantage because they are now stuck in museums. I'm not saying this in the most elegant way, but do you know?

Joshua Citarella: (22:58)
I think I know what you mean, though, for sure. It's ends up being a consolation prize because you'd be have like a last movers advantage even though you're being prioritized and the institutions, but they're dying institutions. Yeah.

Caroline Busta: (23:08)
Right. And then at the same time, you're not getting in on whatever new economies are evolving-

Daniel Keller: (23:13)
You're still dependent on.

Caroline Busta: (23:15)

Daniel Keller: (23:15)

Caroline Busta: (23:15)
Right. Yeah. I think that's fair to say.

Joshua Citarella: (23:17)
I mean, it's also, I, I, okay. So not to belabor this, but I feel like while we're watching play out in the art world is very clearly an infra elite conflict where representative diversity does very little to transform the structure of the economy. And I think what I came to in a painful way relatively early on is that, uh, let's say for example, I used to use (laughs) I used to use Jon Rafman as the example for this, but maybe I'll, I'll mention someone else just so it isn't especially tinged with all of the other unintended, um, things that I'm trying to demonstrate for this analogy. Um, so let's say, who should I throw under the bus here? Let's say Artie Vierkant, a dear friend, very talented artist. Let's say Artie Vierkant, is a better artist than I am. Artie Vierkant might be twice as good of an artist as I am.

Joshua Citarella: (24:03)
Artie Vierkant is not a hundred thousand times better of an artist than I am. So the problem here is the way that resources are allocated within the art world and what you, what you start to realize is that, well, unless I can get a hundred thousand times more talented, sometime I don't know, in the next year or something I'll work really hard I promise, is that what is actually most necessary, what would make the most meaningful material difference in my life is just the general benefits of social democracy. I actually don't want to earn an income through the art world. I want to be a freelancer, but I want to earn three times the wage and work half of the time. You know, like if you can be instead of a Sunday painter, you could be a Wednesday through Sunday painter. That is a more preferable life than fiercely competing and trying to tear each other down for these increasingly scarce resources within the institutions. So-

Lil Internet: (24:52)
I hate to, I hate to tell you, Josh, but Alec Monopoly is a million times [crosstalk 00:24:59] better than you are.

Joshua Citarella: (25:01)
Yup. I'm sorry. I'm sorry to throw you under the bus for that one [crosstalk 00:25:04].

Caroline Busta: (25:03)
What about Beeple?

Lil Internet: (25:07)
Beeple is, [crosstalk 00:25:07]. 100 million times better than US artist. [crosstalk 00:25:12] You need more puns about money.

Daniel Keller: (25:14)
I mean, one thing that I don't, it should be mentioned is like I enjoy being on the internet more now than I have in many, many years partially just because this ecosystem kind of exists finally. And I really think we were in a weird, awkward interim period for the last several years. And it just finally, now really feels fruitful again in a way that like early post-internet this kind of experimentation and like naive hope for web 3. And that's cool. I don't know. Um, it really does feel like this new wide open plain right now where the art world is also becomes so irrelevant culturally, that it doesn't even for me anyways, it doesn't feel like something that I have to consider. Of course we're gonna be in Kaleidoscope, I guess, probably not this excerpt, but-

Caroline Busta: (25:58)
I will say that-

Daniel Keller: (25:58)
... there's full autonomy at this point. Sorry, go, go-

Caroline Busta: (26:01)
I would say though that, um, we, we've tried to map this before and I would say that Kaleidoscope and Novembre. And I mean, I guess you could imagine like late teens Balenciaga, but there is a zone of creative production, which is like not squarely in the legacy industries. And I would say the Kaleidoscope fits there. They're not exactly a dark forest, but they're very much like working old school, social networks, off-chain like, it's not exactly a clear net space. I mean, it is like Kaleidoscope has a big commercial presence also, but it's more niche than say Conde Nast-

Daniel Keller: (26:34)
I mean there's always been like-

Caroline Busta: (26:35)
Or something.

Joshua Citarella: (26:36)
... good and bad art institutions, but I don't think we can say that Kaleidoscope is anything other than an art institution. I mean, it's, it's one of the better ones.

Caroline Busta: (26:45)
I would disagree. I would disagree. I really don't think that I'm interested to hear what they have to say. I really think that they stand outside. I mean, just their embrace of a lot of mainstream things. And they're like, you know, art institutions would be a way cagier about inviting in mainstream fashion and also wouldn't be able to get mainstream fashion.

Lil Internet: (27:04)
Carly, would say that Dis Biennale was the last hurrah-

Caroline Busta: (27:09)
Yes. Yes.

Lil Internet: (27:09)
... of a certain era [crosstalk 00:27:11] world.

Caroline Busta: (27:12)
Oh, yes. Definitely.

Daniel Keller: (27:12)
We all knew it then too, which I think is pretty notable-

Lil Internet: (27:14)

Daniel Keller: (27:15)
... because I think a lot of the times you don't really know that a historical period is turning in the moment, but that was one of the very clear ones.

Caroline Busta: (27:22)
I think though, too. So DIS was nominated in 2014 and the biennale happened in 2016 and when they were nominated to be the curators, at that moment, they were being asked to do something they had already produced in 2012, right? So by the time the biennale happened, it almost felt like a retrospective snapshot, I think for them too. right? Of what that special just pre apocalyptic art world moment had been.

Lil Internet: (27:50)
It's kind of true. It was like New York, 2012. Like-

Caroline Busta: (27:52)
Yeah. Telfar then and-

Lil Internet: (27:54)
... came back to life in Berlin and it was a lot of-

Caroline Busta: (27:57)
Ryan Trecartin Yeah.

Daniel Keller: (27:59)
It was a lot of fun and it was already getting the same kind of criticism that all that stuff would, you know, be completely subsumed by.

Lil Internet: (28:04)

Daniel Keller: (28:05)
I mean, and I think that goes to tell you sort of just how, that art institutions are ill equipped to deal with the speed that culture is changing at this time, you're booking curators-

Lil Internet: (28:13)

Daniel Keller: (28:14)
... to perform what they do. And it's four years later, especially now that's gonna be really out of step with culture.

Joshua Citarella: (28:21)
There was a few projects at Red Bull Studios in New York around that era. And I was thinking like, oh yeah, that was, that was kind of before everything just became too atomized. And, but I think there's something different for what we're doing. 'Cause I was searching my head for a analogy of like, oh, are we like this? Or, or what started as a collaborative artist project and then became a space or various examples. I don't wanna cite anyone specifically for this, uh, just yet, but I think there's something fundamentally different about what we're doing because of the crowdfunding aspect and that-

Caroline Busta: (28:53)

Joshua Citarella: (28:53)
... a functional institution is opposed to allot funds, uh, for projects, that markets would not otherwise support.

Caroline Busta: (29:01)
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joshua Citarella: (29:02)
And I think what we're seeing is actually the reverse of that, where we are proving through crowdfunding through being outside the institution, you know, like our incomes are public relatively and that you can see how many subscribers there are, and that should work as a form of market disintermediation, but potentially to, to launder their reputations or to show that like we can not actually grow outside of them or really exit. Then we're being offered other legacy (laughs) institutional, uh, platforms and things like this. But also there is, I think just the simple example of like when our channels have more followers than the mainstream legacy institutions, that's when we no longer need to work with them, but that is potentially an order of magnitude beyond where we are now. Maybe that's two years, maybe that's four years down the road. I don't know.

Caroline Busta: (29:53)
Yeah. I agree with you. And I think that as web 3 evolves, it will be interesting to see how legacy institutions adapt to that space. Specifically, we've seen how difficult it's been for legacy institutions to understand their relationship to the digital and not, you know, they've tried, there's been a lot of different projects to archive the web or to think through some of the problems that being an artist that's digital first or whatever, but none have really been successful at that. So I wonder as creator communities like ours expand to web 3, the idea of an institutional structure is going to have to be something completely novel. I don't know if Dan, if you have thoughts on how an institution might work in a web 3 space, and maybe also just for anyone who doesn't know just very briefly say what web 3 is specific relation to a blockchain.

Daniel Keller: (30:40)
Okay. Yeah, sure. I think web 3 basically refers to applications built off of decentralized networks, blockchain specifically, but not an inherently, probably a lot of amount of Ethereum. The main thing is that there's, it's censorship resistant, it's decentralized. The organization can be delegated. It doesn't have to have necessarily one developer that's public. And there's a more direct relationship between the user and the stakeholder and the developer. Their incentives are aligned with a web 3 platform in a way that if a web 2 platform there's really an extractor and then there's this sort of feudal under lords. With web 3, there's at least the potential that organizations can be set up in a more horizontal way. And I do think that there's a really good chance that these creator communities are gonna turn into DAO's or decentralized autonomous organizations and overly become kind of institutions in themselves.

Daniel Keller: (31:33)
That's really what I hope will happen. And I, I see the very inklings of that starting to happen already. It's gonna be funny, like being cast out of these institutions and then being invited in as consultants telling them how to adapt to these new scenarios. I think that's really the position (laughing) that we're in at this point. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's, it's definitely notable that MoMA doesn't have a successful podcast as far as I know, none of these institutions do, they haven't been able to adapt even to the 2.5 Patreon model of direct audience interaction. So we'll see.

Joshua Citarella: (32:03)
Yeah. If I can just throw in something on that topic. I was, I was thinking back in anticipation of this conversation and, and trying to understand the potential of these creator community is for lack of a better term to grow into pseudo institutional spaces. And, you know, the explosion in the memesphere was, I think uncontestably early, the most significant visual culture happening in the last half decade.

Caroline Busta: (32:31)
The last like 50 years.

Joshua Citarella: (32:33)

Caroline Busta: (32:33)
I mean really in terms of like a cultural sea change.

Daniel Keller: (32:37)
Yeah. Really, really significant.

Caroline Busta: (32:38)

Joshua Citarella: (32:38)
For sure.

Joshua Citarella: (32:38)
In the significance of like a global political consensus, all of these things played out through these aesthetic materials, you know, I mean the significance of that really can't be underplayed, but I can list basically on one hand, the total number of artists who made work confronting this wrote about it made memes, uh, devoted exhibitions and conversation to that. And it just seemed like there's a meme I'm gonna paraphrase it. But something, Brad made a few years ago, like, um, "Why is it that teenagers on the internet are producing aesthetic materials that are more, discursively significant than the stuff happening in the mainstream art world," right? It's like, that's really pressing on the sore spot. And I, wanna say also that that Rhizome did a great job of signal boosting those projects and all of us have participated in various things with them over the last few years, but generally it was kind of like radio silence.

Joshua Citarella: (33:33)
And there were these like two tracks of like, what is happening in your newsfeed and what is happening in these institutions.

Caroline Busta: (33:38)

Joshua Citarella: (33:38)
And now, now that they're in a position to respond like maybe four years later, like it's done, like the whole thing is over and we're-

Caroline Busta: (33:45)

Joshua Citarella: (33:45)
... in a new world. And so there will just never be significant art about that period, other than like maybe a few things that were posted and maybe somebody saved a few memes or (laughs) something like that. But yeah, it really feels like a time capsule where the art world, you know, there's like a dozen things, but otherwise it's just this empty vault.

Caroline Busta: (34:04)
And then a time when the art world was so well-funded, like the institutions were more well-funded than they had ever been historically. You know, the magazines, of course, they were grappling with dwindling subscriptions and not understanding what it meant to be digital first or whatever, but like this content was explicitly not allowed. And I cannot think of another time in history, unless we're thinking of like Nazis talking about degenerate art or something. I mean, maybe that's too strong to include in here. I don't know if it's useful but-

Daniel Keller: (34:31)
I think, I mean-

Caroline Busta: (34:31)
... it seems that.

Daniel Keller: (34:31)
... that's hyperbole, but I think there's a, that's a comparison. It really does feel like looking back. It's just like a dead period. I can't think of, I mean, I'm sure I could get my memory jogged, but I can't think of any like famous artwork even that's been created in the last four years. Like I can't think of-

Caroline Busta: (34:47)

Daniel Keller: (34:48)

Caroline Busta: (34:48)
... Sergeant Pepper's Band.

Daniel Keller: (34:49)
Exactly. When was the big, last sensational Jordan Wolfson thing was that before or after Trump, I can't think of anything on that level that has, you know, escaped from the art roles and became a meme itself. Anything that seems kind of-

Caroline Busta: (35:01)

Daniel Keller: (35:01)
... like universally appealing. And I don't think it's material reasons it's really fear or something. Right. I mean, it was really, I think there's immaterial reasons.

Caroline Busta: (35:10)
Yeah. Um, I did want to speak a little bit about the American element here. Of course message boards happen and what's the different languages for instance, Wojak comes from Polish boards, right. Um, that said, I think it's fair to say that the American memesphere has been dominant. Dan, you've often talked in our podcast about American politics being its number one form of entertainment, but also it's top export. Also, you know, related here is the fact that the platforms on which these memes are being generated are American. Uh, so even if it's somebody who's sitting in Germany, who's posting to their own Facebook or whatever, they're doing that essentially on American territory, it's like an extra state craft of America's corporate sphere. So memes in a sense are at least during this time period, they are predominantly American. Is that fair or how would you think about American memetics?

Daniel Keller: (36:07)
I think that tracks, for sure, you can't really separate the nature of the platform and what gets prioritized from the content. I think that's fair to say. And of course, if those platforms are all mostly headquartered within, you know, 50 square miles of each other, then of course they're gonna have a lot of similarities. I mean, I think that you can say, yeah, politics is the main export, but clearly it's really internet stacks and financialization and the politics that has been diffused through that, that happened to be the fuel, to get people engaged. Ultimately it's just content for these sort of neutral networks that are being built just to sort of expand American power around the world.

Caroline Busta: (36:46)
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Daniel Keller: (36:47)
And, okay TikTok is Chinese. There's a little bit of something different there, anything we can start talking about Chinese mimetics, for sure. And then Telegram is Russian, which I think is notable.

Caroline Busta: (36:56)

Daniel Keller: (36:56)
Of course, I think it's specifically notable just because that's like the last exit for people that are being deplatformed from everything else. Somehow Telegram is the last resort.

Caroline Busta: (37:06)

Daniel Keller: (37:06)
So I think like memes that are happening in Telegram, I don't know if we can call them American. I mean, it's sort of like that's where the anti-American stuff is gonna happen. I don't know.

Joshua Citarella: (37:15)
It's, it's ironic because that's where all the American nationalists are-

Daniel Keller: (37:18)
Of course. Of course.

Joshua Citarella: (37:19)
... record now is in Telegram. The, uh, afternoon or the evening of the sixth after storming the Capitol, they all posted partner lists of, if you follow me, follow these 10 other accounts and you know, the first 30 minutes of each of their streams that evening were in onboarding tutorial for how to get on Telegram. Yeah. It's curious.

Lil Internet: (37:37)
Of course, from a Russian perspective, uh, that is anti-American, American nationalism. It's polarizing and disruptive to the internal fabric of America and therefore distracting and weakening and also damaging for the American brand in the eyes of the Russian population.

Caroline Busta: (37:54)

Daniel Keller: (37:54)
Yeah. It's destructive of American imperialism, maybe not domestic policy, but in isolated and conservative-

Caroline Busta: (38:01)

Daniel Keller: (38:01)
... America is better for Russia inherently.

Caroline Busta: (38:03)
Yeah. Like I wonder if like the aggregate effect of the American memesphere, if that was like good for America's brand, because it showed that there was some kind of pulse or else and just capt- America in the minds of everybody nonstop for four years or if it was not bad because the overarching message is that America's broken.

Daniel Keller: (38:24)
Yeah. I think that like, we're, we're just clearly past the place of bad or good PR and it's just neural activation and definitely did a good job of activating the world's American neurons.

Caroline Busta: (38:36)

Daniel Keller: (38:36)
And I think that's ultimately what counts.

Lil Internet: (38:38)
To some degree. I mean, America is exporting these political trends, theory trends, like, I mean France, which has, you know, had such a mainstream edge lording culture for so long from the, um, '70s, media theorists to the new French extremity cinema in the early 2000s, late '90s, all the way to like, you know, when me too was in the big news cycle, France had the most major figures checking it and being critical of it. And I think also now-

Caroline Busta: (39:12)
Who was edge lord though, I feel like that's just more of like a French legacy French cultural thing. I don't-

Lil Internet: (39:17)
I'm talking from an American perspective.

Caroline Busta: (39:19)
Uh-huh (affirmative). Okay.

Lil Internet: (39:20)
I mean, right. And even in terms of American identity politics, France also is like, oh, this is cultural imperialism or something like, this is an American cultural export that does not resonate with French culture.

Caroline Busta: (39:34)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lil Internet: (39:34)
You know, like I heard this, I don't know an interview with some French woman academic who was like, you know, the, these French philosophers that Americans are obsessed with just, just a small fraction of our breadth of our French philosophy. And we have no idea why they're so obsessed with them.

Caroline Busta: (39:49)

Lil Internet: (39:50)
And then, so I mean, fearing that framework, it does solidify the fact that these social political trends, the ones that demand the most attention of online discourse, those are American exports.

Caroline Busta: (40:01)
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lil Internet: (40:01)

Daniel Keller: (40:01)
Yeah. I mean, ironic that a lot of the radical American politics did indirectly come from French theory, but regurgitated back in a much more moralizing tone. And that's the big difference. And that's of course I think always been this sort of French problem with American culture right. Was being crass, but then also being really moralizing-

Caroline Busta: (40:19)
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Daniel Keller: (40:19)
... that's American memetics at its core, right?

Lil Internet: (40:23)
Oh, France has been fueling American radicalism since 1776, so-

Daniel Keller: (40:28)
Exactly. I mean, it's a long (laughing) it's a long standing, uh, uh, motor, I guess the two cultures grinding-

Lil Internet: (40:33)

Daniel Keller: (40:34)
... against each other.

Joshua Citarella: (40:36)
What is it that you hope this community, the Discord community, the broader New Models as an entity, what is it that you hope this could grow into? And I'll just offer a little bit of background info of conversations I would have with Brad, especially when we were doing UV and, uh, various projects throughout the years is that we felt like we were competing for the hearts and minds of young people, BFA students, people who are looking to artists a few years older than them. And like, do I want to be like XYZ who's in the institution? Or do I want to be like this renegade character on social media, you know, to add a little bit of drama to it, but it seems the broadest description that fits most people in my Discord community, are people who are currently enrolled in arts or humanities, liberal arts, what have you, currently enrolled in universities and they're underserved by the current curriculum.

Joshua Citarella: (41:32)
So they come here to become intellectually stimulated, to learn and whatnot. And I think this lineage passing of the baton, this is kind of what it's building towards. It's like, are we tech startups? Are we institutions (laughing)? Are we publishing platforms? Maybe we're a little bit of all of them, but maybe to concretize this question, if you were a young person, you're a BFA student and you had the option of publishing on a, let's say a legacy institution or publishing on I think most people are going to choose New Models because that's where the cultural capital is. And does that represent some opportunity for this to correct some of these seemingly intractable problems in institutions?

Caroline Busta: (42:15)
Yeah. I have a thought, but I'd be interested to hear your response to it.

Lil Internet: (42:18)
I mean, I, I would guess if I were to like say what I hope for is that New Models that ends up kind of, it's like a union for the mind. And I can just imagine New Models is being this sort of overarching meta layer for different forms of creative production and thinking where it almost acts like, I don't know, maybe like the Discordians or something, where it's like a loose meta group of people who have a similar vision and way of understanding.

Caroline Busta: (42:45)
I mean, I think that that's right. In terms of the affect, I think to maybe speak more directly to Josh's question in terms of structure, I would hope that New Models, which began as a top-down stream is now top-down and bottom-up can-

Lil Internet: (43:02)

Caroline Busta: (43:03)
... figure out a way to become a kind of Dyson sphere of this energy and that it can somehow be self perpetuating. I imagine that web 3 mechanics could be helpful or some system of governance that has, even if it's in Fiat, a kind of prodo Dow or something, some kind of collective pot. So that, I mean, I hate to, to merge your early analogy to a life raft, Josh and Dan, your experience with sea steading I guess, I guess-

Lil Internet: (43:34)
A flotilla?

Caroline Busta: (43:34)
... I guess I'm imagining a kind of, yeah. Kind of confluence of those two concepts that can self run. I mean, I think another thing that's been important to New Models is being very open-ended about some kind of final form. Like the, the name mean it's obviously, it's funny to say it's New Models and all the illusions, but really that's part of the experiment, what different forms this can take. I don't, I don't know if Dan, if you want to add nuance-

Daniel Keller: (44:02)

Caroline Busta: (44:02)
... to that, or if you think-

Daniel Keller: (44:02)
And I just think that we do have amorphous flexible framework from the very beginning. And like, I think that's one of our strengths that we don't necessarily force the stuff that isn't working and we're, I mean, I don't think we expected the Discord to be as important as it's become, and it really became the nerve center in a way that we thought the aggregator would be. The fact that we can just be open to these things is already better than a lot of institutions. But I really do think, yeah, web 3 and what this can turn into is just a mesher network for aligning incentives and greater democratization is good, but yes, with some sort of gatekeeping structure there that keeps it, I just think that like very often there's these tech attempts at democratization just means flattening it and then letting raw powers of numbers, whether it's attention or, or capital in the case of a lot of blockchain voting.

Caroline Busta: (44:52)

Daniel Keller: (44:53)
And like we're in a position where we're trusted stewards of New Models, you know, that eventually could become elected. But I do think that there's some kind of structure that we have that is gonna be really beneficial towards being more adaptable than institutions are and navigating whatever is next. Yeah. I have a lot of hope that DAO structures are gonna finally be useful for people. Hopefully the transaction costs will be low enough that doing these things on blockchain networks, won't be too cumbersome. So people with not that much money to pool will be able to do it. I think that the opportunities there are just so clear.

Caroline Busta: (45:28)
I can imagine, I could imagine a future that would involve younger people in their 20s, having membership in multiple communities like yours and like New Models participating in projects that in return they get DAO remuneration. They also get credibility for working on projects that are bigger than themselves. This stands in as a kind of replacement for what art school had been or any kind of creative sector, higher education. And they sort of survive in their 20s by participating in these different communities and maybe the occasional freelance job, but this becomes a real kind of guild system until they start whatever they're going to start in their later 20s or 30s. Um, I mean, we're a three people to each also do external freelance in addition to, or other kinds of things in addition to New Models. But as an artist who's made this, your practice fully, how does this, how do you imagine the next 10 years if you were to speculate?

Joshua Citarella: (46:27)
Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's, uh, I think you put it aptly that we have to be quick on our feet and adapt. I had initially thought that it was going to be the podcast and then it was going to be the live stream and then it was going to be the Discord. And it seems to be this culmination of all of these different things and, uh, in doing a significant amount of like survey research and finding other channels. And there's just not something that's exactly comparable to what we're doing. And I think that speaks to the potential of what we're talking about. So-

Caroline Busta: (46:57)
Yeah. Totally.

Joshua Citarella: (46:58)
Yeah, we have to have a presence for the meantime on these mainstream platforms to allow just a certain level of click-through that we're, findable. Uh, essentially the way I'm treating Instagram now is just like the phone book that people will-

Caroline Busta: (47:10)

Joshua Citarella: (47:11)
People will find my name and then find the real stuff on Patreon an the real stuff on Discord and-

Caroline Busta: (47:15)

Joshua Citarella: (47:16)
... in a few days we're going to be launching a blog, which is the collaborative work of a bunch of really active people in the Discord. This will become a platform to pool creative labor or creative projects. And I think, you know, in general, all of this stuff goes back to the question of market failure, that our generation of artists many generation, uh, lived through with the collapse of about a dozen galleries, uh, a-

Caroline Busta: (47:42)

Joshua Citarella: (47:42)
... dozen plus galleries in New York, specifically in the lower east side and this massive consolidation and bursting of a bubble. Uh, and if you look at the career trajectory of people who are now graduating, who are talented, ambitious, everything else, there's just not opportunities and places for them to show. Maybe there's projects spaces, there's ample number of project spaces, but it's either project space or blue-chip, and there's nothing in between. So if what we're doing here can become, you know, a type of creative incubator of sorts, maybe that is helpful, but gathering all of these creative people and publishing their work is the first step to whatever these communities grow into.

Caroline Busta: (48:20)
Right. Yeah, totally.

Daniel Keller: (48:22)
I wonder if it's worth mentioning Friends of Benefits, that's maybe something that's similar to what we're doing, but a little different direction than the other institutions. Friends of Benefits came, I don't know, a year after we started our Discord and Trevor McFedries, who was one of the creators of Lil McKayla. Uh, he also created a tokenized Discord community called Friends of Benefits. Well, it's crypto focused and it's tokenized and there's a community token called FWB, which you need to hold to get access to the Discord. So as opposed to using Patreon like we do to gate access, it's using this token, there's definitely benefits and drawbacks I think, to doing this, the benefit, especially for early adopters and people who would be just subscribers, they're stakeholders, they feel some sort of literal possession or attachment to the community and they have a direct monetary incentive for that community to succeed.

Daniel Keller: (49:16)
But by the nature of it being crypto dependent, the focus is crypto in the community itself. And I think the real challenge that I hope that we can tackle is how to take some of these mechanics, I think are really beneficial. Having a community token, being able to align incentives, allocate resources, have the treasury, but then not alienate, you know, young, creative people that are our audience. And I do think that's a really interesting problem. How do I get past the Patreon model, which has clearly has faults towards something that's more web three. Friends of Benefits, I think that's a good case study. I think we can't really talk about de platforming-

Caroline Busta: (49:53)

Daniel Keller: (49:53)
... and re platforming without thinking about stuff like this I think happening.

Caroline Busta: (49:56)
That's definitely true. Although I do think that anytime you have a speculative valuation of a community, then you are inherently going to incentivize things that may be corrosive to the community at scale or over time. And I do think that one of the values of cultural institutions in their ideal form is that they do shelter creators a little bit from the direct UV hit of the most gruesome parts of capitalism, right. And in building web three structures, we have to be mindful that, I mean, it's kind of like the inverse problem of art NFTs, right? It's like you have this financial structure and then you're attaching to it an art object. I'm not talking about NFTs in their expanded form, Dan.

Daniel Keller: (50:39)
Oh, of course-

Caroline Busta: (50:39)
... just specifically like you're buying the image.

Daniel Keller: (50:40)
Colloquial NFTs in their current form as-

Caroline Busta: (50:41)

Joshua Citarella: (50:42)
... stupid collectibles. Yeah.

Caroline Busta: (50:43)
Right. Right. If you, if you're interested, Dan can tell you a lot about-

Daniel Keller: (50:48)
The power-

Caroline Busta: (50:49)
NFTs and the much more-

Daniel Keller: (50:49)
... the future of NFTs. Yeah.

Caroline Busta: (50:49)
... interesting. Yes, yes, exactly. That far exceed like the Twerky Pepe GIF. But you know, I think it's just the value of its own. But, um-

Joshua Citarella: (50:58)
My favorite work.

Caroline Busta: (51:00)
... but I, you know, if tech has ported in this art NFT model and it went voila, we have art. Similarly, you are inversely. If you take a cultural community and then you just put it into a financial structure, you may not end up with the community that you want long-term. And I think as New Models, we've been very careful about not doing the easy financial solution to something because we wanted to protect the, I mean maybe this sounds nostalgic, but I don't think what New Models, I mean, I imagine seeing with you Josh, like, it's not like you just want an easy get rich quick exit. You want to build something that has value. That's not at the whim of the, you know what I'm saying about like-

Daniel Keller: (51:38)
But I also think-

Joshua Citarella: (51:40)
We wanna grow old with your community and die with our community [crosstalk 00:51:44].

Daniel Keller: (51:45)
I mean, I just think the-

Caroline Busta: (51:46)
I mean, I don't think that's a benefit. I mean, there's a lot of criticism of that model. I don't know [crosstalk 00:51:49]-

Daniel Keller: (51:49)
I think sort of it's resulting in the opposite of what you're saying is people are incentivized not to sell and stay dedicated to it. I mean, you have to look at the price action of Friends With Benefits. It's like acted like a stable coin. People aren't selling. And I think that shows you a lot about, and also like NFTs, like also even when there's a sell-off NFTs kind of stayed fairly highly valued, a lot of them. And of course it's 'cause it's a bubble, but also it's because like these tokens that are really explicitly Fiat in the sense that they're backed by a community or by like a shared interest, those are not at the whims of speculation in the same way, especially because Friends With Benefits is so small that it's just like under the radar of speculators. I think like, of course there's, it could happen in the opposite way, but I think we have to look at like, what's happened so far with Friends With Benefits and that has not happened.

Caroline Busta: (52:41)
I think it's also been coeval with the biggest bubble ever. So, I mean-

Joshua Citarella: (52:41)
Right. But it was already-

Caroline Busta: (52:42)
I guess it'll be interesting to see what happens this spring.

Daniel Keller: (52:44)
Yeah. But it was already successful. Like before the bubble really, really got under swing because people like the community.

Lil Internet: (52:51)
This isn't a useful conversation.

Daniel Keller: (52:53)
Okay. Sorry. But I do think what we had, what I said before.

Joshua Citarella: (52:57)
I mean, I feel like, again, this comes back to our unique position as artists, where if you are any other form of a content producer, you were already crowdfunding your practice. If you're a musician, if you were, um, making videos on YouTube or what have you, but artists, because we were showing in galleries and we were mostly selling luxury artworks to very rich people. We have, you know, almost 10 years of accumulating a following that was not monetized in really any way whatsoever. So if you look at these communities now, the click-through rates, the conversion rates from viewer to subscriber are astronomical. There's just simply nothing else that is comparable to it.

Joshua Citarella: (53:32)
And that's because there's almost a decade of accumulated trust. And like, you know, as much as the idea of like a student or a collaborator choosing to liquidate their relationship with me at some point the future, like as much as I don't like that, our communities are relatively speaking, more resilient or resistant to that because of the accumulated trust. I mean, that being said, if it could, it comes down to a decision between liquidating the relationship as a possibility and not having a platform at all. Of course, yeah. I'm gonna go totally web three, whatever.

Caroline Busta: (54:05)
Right. Well, this is definitely a conversation that I imagine will continue to evolve over the next few months. And it'll be interesting to see under Biden, how these platforms evolve. I imagine our conversation on deplatforming and re platforming and where we may take platforms. And I'm sure a lot will depend on how platforms arrange themselves [crosstalk 00:54:27].

Joshua Citarella: (54:27)
Yes. Yeah.

Lil Internet: (54:28)
Well, also as American platforms lose dominance. I mean, the landscape's gonna change.

Joshua Citarella: (54:32)

Caroline Busta: (54:32)

Lil Internet: (54:33)
And the sheer number of people who are continuing to get access to higher bandwidth, I mean, America got the internet first, but that doesn't mean they're going to dominate it forever, right?

Caroline Busta: (54:44)
All right. Well maybe that's a good place to stop. Thank you for listening to our conversation. Ciao!

Lil Internet: (54:47)
Thank you to Kaleidoscope.

Daniel Keller: (54:47)
Yeah. Thanks guys.

Joshua Citarella: (54:47)
Thanks guys.

Lil Internet: (54:47)

**Please note this transcript was created in Rev and we are continually improving accuracy

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