Grout 99 Problems but the Bleach Ain’t One

Is the work self-published?

Is it on Youtube? Did you upload it to Youtube for hosting, i.e. is the channel private?

Or did you upload it with the hope of being “found,” of creating a meme and being invited to act in commercials, or of gaining revenue from selling ad space? Does your work begin with “You may skip to the video in 4-3-2-1”?

If it’s a blog, is that platform monetized? Does your intent to make money matter? Shouldn’t you be creating art as a small triumph of being over nothingness?

Did you share it with 1000 of your closest friends on Facebook?

Does Facebook now technically own the rights to it?

When you used the xerox to distribute it around town, calling it a “zine,” did the distribution numbers and size of the audience matter?

Is the medium fixed?

Did you write it as a series of puns in the grout (The Big Legroutski, hot dog and sauergrout, Oscar the Grout, seeing a man agrout a horse) of the Albuquerque dive bar bathroom, knowing it could never be erased?

Were you shocked to discover that someone else had done the same thing in a trendy Portland bathroom? Did you realize that the idea was never truly yours to begin with?

Or that folk art has a life of its own, and that those participating tend to write, “Shout! Shout! Grout it all out!” more often than not, perhaps because it plays on the jukebox?

If you photograph it now, do you own it?


  • Michelle Kozlowski says:

    What are you trying to say? People are submitting already-published crap these days?

    • Sam Ligon Sam Ligon says:

      I think it’s weirder and more diffuse than that,Michelle. What’s out in the culture and in the air can certainly creep into work unexpectedly. That’s the whole zeitgeist thing. But this also seems to be interested in how work appears out in the world — media. And, of, course, ownership. I love how this list works, how the idea arises and becomes larger and harder to hold onto as it unfolds.

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