beggars in Goldsmith 2011

ace, there is no limit as to how big the site can grow. For the moment, we
have no competition, a fact we’re not happy about. We’re distressed that there
is only one UbuWeb: why aren’t there dozens like it? Looking at the art world,
the problem appears to be a combination of an adherence to an old economy (one
that is working very well with a booming market) and sense of trepidation,
particularly in academic circles, where work on the internet is often not
considered valid for academic credit. As long as the art world continues to
prize economies of scarcity over those based on plentitude, the change will be
a long time coming. But UbuWeb seeks to offer an alternative by invoking a
gift economy of plentitude with a strong emphasis on global education. We’re
on numerous syllabi, ranging from kindergarteners studying pattern poetry to
post graduates listening to hours of Jacques Lacan’s

And yet . . . it could vanish any day. Beggars can’t be choosers and we gladly
take whatever is offered to us. We don’t run on the most stable of servers or
on the swiftest of machines; hacks and crashes eat into the archive on a
periodic basis; sometimes the site as a whole goes down for days; occasionally
the army of volunteers dwindles to a team of one. But that’s the beauty of it:
UbuWeb is vociferously anti-institutional, eminently fluid, refusing to bow to
demands other than what we happen to be moved by at a specific moment,
allowing us flexibility and the ability to continually surprise our audience .
. . and even ourselves.

Originally Published: April 26th, 2011

Kenneth Goldsmith's writing has been called some of the most "exhaustive and
beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry" by _Publishers Weekly._
Goldsmith is the author of eight books of poetry, founding editor of the
online archive UbuWeb (, and the editor _I 'll Be Your Mirror:
The Selected Andy Warhol..._


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