Criptic Critic Conscience and Known for it

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A line has been drawn on University Fraud. - Tao Wells

In four years, I have yet to encounter anyone who is able to refute my serious accusation of University employees and their employers. That the perpetuation of fraud (26 years and counting), through the refusal to promote the public sponsorship of their work, specifically in the Fine Arts, is a total failure to “accept a role” as critic and conscience of society. This ‘role’, being one of the founding  legal principles on which a university is granted its status and title.  Being kept out of the art loop is one way to silence  my criticism, but let the record show, it is not from my lack of trying.
 

If there is anyone who is able to demonstrate that this accusation is false, I welcome them to a recorded public  debate anytime. 


  • In four years, I have yet to encounter anyone who is able to refute my serious accusation of University employees and their employers. That the perpetuation of fraud (26 years and counting), through the refusal to promote the public sponsorship of their work, specifically in the Fine Arts, is a total failure to “accept a role” as critic and conscience of society. This ‘role’, being one of the founding legal principles on which a university is granted its status and title. Being kept out of the art loop is one way to silence my criticism, but let the record show, it is not from my lack of trying.
    If there is anyone who is able to demonstrate that this accusation is false, I welcome them to a recorded public debate anytime. - Good morning
  • Paul Woodruffe I work for a polytechnic but bring it on
  • Wells Tao do you have skype?
  • Wells Tao when you have skype let me know a time that suits.
  • Wells Tao or private message me your telephone number.
  • Paul Woodruffe I don't do either, I write.
  • Wells Tao is that how you would like to debate the issue by writing? Sounds fine with me.
    • Wells Tao Would you like to start with a statement of what you believe the accusation I have made is?
    • Wells Tao
      Write a reply...
  • Jean E Loomis I guess this is why there is deafening silence around issues like the flag - no artists in Tertiary Institutions have spoken publicly about the significance of symbols or had the guts to ask the hard questions about what we stand for as a nation. No one on the 'flag group' has an art background.
  • Charlie Boylin lots of corporate back ground though, probably big part of the reason why the final options all look like sports logo's..
  • Draw Ward 2 comics artists have contributed ideas
  • Jean E Loomis A logo is not a flag. I plan to have a flag burning party when this is over - you can bet that they wont stay with the existing image.
  • Conscientious Holloway-Smith Or, they've been ignored. I'm a university employee and recently won the National Contemporary Art Award with a project that was a criticism of the flag debate, but there has been little media take up of this. The first real coverage will be by Ali Ikram in this Saturday's Herald. There has been plenty of comment from the academic design sector also. There are some broader issues here of the voices of NZ artists - academic or otherwise - not being represented in mainstream media, amplified by the axing of arts journalist positions in recent years.
    Like · Reply · 2 · 4 hrs
    • Jean E Loomis Conscientious HS - I'm overseas when I return I will check out the links you have provided thanks. Congratulations on your Award.
      Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs
    • Wells Tao
      Write a reply...
  • Chloe Ann King Often, lecturers are to worried about the next "restructure" and loosing their jobs to find the courage to actually speak out against, even, the structurual injustice entrenched within Universities. I found, so often, when lecturers told you they wanted you to "critique and think and pull apart the world" and encouraged you to "rock the boat", they did not really want you to take this "to far". I found it a real struggle to push against this and found myself in hot water a number of times through my University life, with tutors and lecturers who decidbly found my politics confronting. I found the "art loop" or scene within an academic context a fairly unwelcoming and hostile as fuck place to be.
  • Chloe Ann King ^^ I think this relates to some of what you said?
  • Paul Woodruffe I have never been told to pull back from critiquing anything, and my public social media profile is anything but for the status quo. Our discussions with students are open and very much about social justice, I personally encourage open disobedience to any rules that are not preventing harm to people, the environment or animals.
    • Wells Tao Chloe Ann King, my accusation is very specific legal argument.. It needs to be understood as such. All work places have what you described above, more or less, in my opinion.
    • Wells Tao
      Write a reply...
  • Ross Forbes Maybe artists who are the industrial representatives of their franchises....such as elam which is one of the best performing franchises of the education industry should have to wear a hi vis jacket with the wording..."elam artist...opening a branch near you soon"...or something to that effect
  • Ross Forbes After all "emirates team nz" did well didnt they?
  • Barry Thomas What does one expect when one industrialises human rights and virtues... inate things like art and creativity should be beyond the filthy fingers of the market. Old people should be daily involved with young people's lives not subject to further market subjugation. Sport should be fun simple pitting of one with/against another - commodifying it - like University arts and education per se is anathema in MHO.

    I like your stabnd and yours too Ross Forbes (Ross is the chap who wore hiviz vests in doing art school art - as something of a warning aiming at the same mindless bureaucracy. (Do tell us more Ross).

    Quite simply the Universities have been captured by their accountants who rule the roost... determine the pecking order and devise their golden eggs. Between Peter Jackson and Victoria I suspect there is little left of CBD land here in the capital they don't own... so like the Catholic church they have lost their real faith and calling to be barons and merchants of the market.
  • Wells Tao I wish we could stay on topic. But hey...
    Like · Reply · 1 · 21 hrs


  • Paul Woodruffe You can't teach if you don't do, you can't maintain the energy to give to students unless you can replenish through personal creative practice. I get paid to manage and facilitate learning, I get paid to be able to do this from the position of a maker
  • Murdoch Stephens It's interesting to read Section 162 of the Education Act in the context of Sections 160-164 on the establishment and disestablishment of universities. The section seems to place more onus on the university as an institution to uphold the five requirements, than to require every specific employee to uphold them. That would be my take on it if I were to litigate - linking it to section 161 which focuses on Academic Freedom, and suggest that the purpose of the legislation was to protect academics who fulfilled a critic and conscience role from undue pressure from their institutions. Then, if I were you, I'd counter that with some argument about the enactment of these freedoms also entailing responsibilities, which might be referred to in each academic's contract (or the TEU agreement).
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 3 hrs

      • Wells Tao THAT IS ABSOLUTELY MY TAKE ON IT TOO! Awesome Murdoch, and yes that is my strategy. But you can see that creating that kind of mirror, or self consciousness that see's what I am arguing as in fact constructive, as in fact an incredible legal weapon against their SILENCE, despite the myriad of ways I have approached this, has rendered little results. I understand that I failed so far on this point. But I continue to learn.
        Like · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs
      • Wells Tao I had always thought that because of the issues seriousness and enormity that someone with more brains, more legal know how would take over and that my job would have been well over by now. I am way over my head. But this is the state of things.
      • Murdoch Stephens It's an interesting way of approaching things - most of your comrades inside the academy come at the issue from a structural angle ie. the influence of neo-liberal ideas on universities, while you've focussed on a approach - fraud.

        Part of the difficu
        lty of framing it as fraud is that a cynic can quite easily say 'so what?', the government is here to reproduce itself with a few minor windowdressing conceptions of justice and meritocracy. That cynic would say you're naive for not seeing the university as an institution of the state, and impolite for pointing out the compromises of those who are, after all, selling their labour.
        Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 hr
      • Wells Tao As a poor person, as a beneficiary if I was able to say "so what" to my abuse, my use as a pawn in politics/ economics I would have to simply lay down and die. The fact that as a poor person, I've also spent the greater part of my adult life in universities, at enormous expense, the desire to participate in this community is real.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Wells Tao Universities as institutions of the state is exactly how I see it, and within their own laws I would like to evaluate their behavior and performance. I do this from the position as someone who doesn't see a functioning democracy. So this is an attempt to prise open that which doesn't want to be.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Murdoch Stephens (to the first comment) But it's a very particular community with a lot of tabboos and plenty of totems. I, too, see it as something worth defending, but in the current environment much of the work is on defending what once was, rather than making these institutiuons more democratic or subject to popular sovereignty.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Wells Tao I'm not asking for new laws, nor am I saying that the existing law has ever been in effect. I am saying that defense is a poor tactic. that here is existing law that empower the offensive. Let's have it.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Murdoch Stephens (and the second) I like the prising metaphor, though I doubt another tool of the state: the judicial system, would be much help. I like the emotive use of the term fraud, however, but then we're getting more into popular opposition to an entrenched class of people who sell credentials to high(er) society.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Wells Tao sure you doubt. but that is just the fuel for action to those willing to act.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Murdoch Stephens I wonder whether something like this can be litigated - the Education Act makes it seem more of the administrative arm of government than the judicial ie. it is up to the education minister to bring it before the house who then goes through the governor general. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/.../latest/DLM183677.html
        Subject to this section, the Governor-General may, by Order in Council made on the written...
        legislation.govt.nz
      • Wells Tao It is deception when you accept money for one job and do another. It is fraud when that deception is deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain. I have tried to draw a visible line (with your help, thank you ;)) to at least try to make it clear that this is not just deception.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Wells Tao Murdoch Stephens I have many ideas about who and what and where to go with this argument, but none have convinced me to act as yet. Hence my ongoing work.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Murdoch Stephens Some parrallels would help the argument, I'm thinking... but then I'm not a lawyer and those folk have a whole world of their own around intention, (mis)representation and besmirching.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Wells Tao I like your comment Murdoch Stephens, about impoliteness, as this ballet of manners has been the leading arm of defense as far as I've experienced it on behalf of the University fraudster. That I have broken rank by outing such an obvious flaw as a somewhat member of the fraternity, has seen me routinely personally discredited. But a great deal now are use to this tactic and are able to focus on the greater issue at hand. For myself it is out of respect and politeness that I have kept the argument to date, informal and amongst my peers. There seem to me more severe routes possible.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Wells Tao Murdoch Stephens I've provided many examples of parallels. While the public behavior of critics such as Prof. joy of Massey University provide more extreme examples. Surly all employees involved in making presentations to the public can be as forth coming with their institutional authority. I for one want this so I could articulate important differences between the activist action taken at grass roots and that at institutional levels.
        Like · Reply · 1 · 57 mins
      • Murdoch Stephens I guess I meant parrallels of non-uni people who have committed professional fraud like this so people can more acutely visualise it as fraud.
        Unlike · Reply · 1 · 51 mins
      • Wells Tao oh right. Sorry. Yes that's a good idea
      • Conscientious Holloway-Smith I'd contest your statement that there " is a total failure to “accept a role” as critic and conscience of society". There are a number university Creative Arts employees that I can think of (granted, perhaps a dearth in Fine Arts) who are active critics of society - just perhaps not making the kinds of criticisms you are specifically hoping to hear. As for the term "conscience" I think this is overly romantic, subjective, and problematic.
      • Wells Tao Murdoch Stephens Conscientious Holloway-Smith, thank you for staying on the point. And yes this is NOT about being the "critic and conscious of society" I would never to presume how you would measure that. This is about representation and public appearances. It is about the massive financial investment we the people have made in these people to "accept a role", and the failure for that role to be EASILY seen. It's not a quesiton of did they cover them selves, with a mention in the bio, or a logo somewhere. The question must be if they receive power and authority to influence students and university life, if part of that job is the making of art and it's public exhibition. Then we the people need to see the connection, overtly.
        Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs · Edited
      • Wells Tao I think the issue can be seen in Design, or the Sciences more clearly than in the arts, where University staff "moon lighting" other simultaneous careers is carefully managed. No designer wants their work t be suddenly owned by their employer, these relationships are negotiated and I am sure remunerated so that work ownership is clear. Some used by the university, promotion, research points etc. Some clearly not. Sciences too. where the publishing of papers etc, research done is clearly defined as a product of the school, that they themselves represent the school in their research. It is the way that some how, artists in their production of symbols and commodities, as employees act as if their employment and the responsibilities of that don't exist. That statements like "I just work here" are some how suppose to apologize for them taking the money, authority, social status, but not the public responsibility for being clear about who has sponsored their work and what that work is tied to.
      • Conscientious Holloway-Smith Admittedly, 'conscientious' was a word that frequently popped up in my primary school reports...
      • Wells Tao I have to say this is all tied to the way I was treated as a Beneficiary taking public money to make art. I (and Laura) were thrown so far under the bus, that they invented illegal ways to hurt us. All I am doing is looking at the other end of the 'social pyramid" and asking if it was so important, where are those concerned about those taking public money every week and making art, who have clear legal responsibilities that I've never seen enacted.
      • Conscientious Holloway-Smith Do you mean - where were the Fine Arts academics to defend you during the Beneficiaries Office media circus, or why was no finger pointed at academic artists who also rely on public money to make art..or...? sorry...just trying to understand exactly what you're saying
      • Wells Tao kind of, yeah both to a degree. Not that we expected the first point. But the second is what our experience with the Beneficiary's Office highlighted in startling contrast. A brutal social "free pass" could be seen to be given to artist of a certain type of public sponsorship. One I've written about else where as tied into a kind of invisible welfare for the rich that works to make them as silent as a "koru lounge" despite the role, demanding the exact opposite.
      • Conscientious Holloway-Smith FWIW I have seen some shift at Massey Fine Arts of staff tackling political social issues more directly since your points have been made. Heather Galbraith et al organising a candidate's debate around last year's election is one example...
        • Wells Tao yes I could make a reasonably impressive list of 'influences' the point may have had. But all done with out addressing the point directly. And, (not that it really matters) include me.
        • Wells Tao
          Write a reply...
      • Ross Forbes To go slightly off topic regarding t narrow legal reqs of an academic artist and t broaden t conversation...universities r first and foremost institutions with an agenda...that agenda being t "educate"..they are extremely stratified and resemble any large business u care t mention in terms of their organisation..they also value written'text based knowledge over any other type of knowledge..including the knowledge embedded in paint or three dimensional artefacts...given this scenario dont people think that there might be something worrying about a "contemporary art" made by representatives of such a culture...thst there might be a cultural bias t the resulting art?
        Unlike · Reply · 2 · 4 hrs
      • Wells Tao Yes universities have all kinds of agendas, if we can see their economic base, then we have some ability to pick out some of these agendas. There must be debate to define these lines and at the moment they are obscured by the willingness of to many to not address for example the legal point I am making.
        Like · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs
      • Paul Woodruffe Another assumption, sausage roll machine? That's high schools I think. You boys need to get out more!
      • Wells Tao Paul Woodruffe teach us differently. If we are to know better. And as this argument is about universities and you seem to be arguing on their behalf as an employee of a Polytechnic, would you mind clarifying your understanding of the issue at hand and what your position is.
      • Paul Woodruffe A lot of whining about university staff in the creative departments? Their perceived privilege and collusion with an unfair system? My position is one of pragmatism and the empowerment of youth through the creative arts, I work from within for those without
        • Wells Tao yeah well to me you are beginning to act like a troll on this argument and not really contributing anything . I guess this is a warning.
        • Wells Tao
          Write a reply...

      • Richard Reddaway It’s taken me a while to respond, Tao, because I have to be very careful what I say. This is social media, after all. I would say, very few academics satisfy their “critic and conscience” role in any meaningful way (Jane Kelsey, Mike Joy and Michael Baker are the exceptions that come to mind), but then, very few artists are critical of the system that patronises them (you are a rare and wonderful exception, Tao). So, it’s hardly surprising that a critical artist/academic is anything but a very, very strange beast. And who listens? Case in point, Conscientious, the flag debate… where is the forum for us to make any significant contribution? There are no artists or designers on the official panel, which show how little we are valued, really. People seem to have very unrealistic expectations about what academics can actually do. Which is all to say, I agree with you, Tao.
        Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs
      • Wells Tao Thanks for the compliment Richard. What is it that you agree with exactly? As for 'being valued" the nuts and bolts of it is that you receive a chunk of cash on a regular basis, I'm talking about that kind of value. Basic but real and with very important strings attached.
        • Wells Tao Richard Reddaway, I guess it needs to be said, that what I am arguing is a line of defense available to you and other Uni employees to make yourself more publicly visible/ relevant, to be the force in society the law in my possibly unqualified opinion, asks you to be. If public visibility was generally practiced I feel that it is possible that the value/worth of such an investment, materially and knowledge based, would be self evident. And at the very least, regularly tested.
        • Wells Tao
          Write a reply...
      • Wells Tao Hi Richard, yeah this is not about the 'critic and conscience' part of the deal. And yes those more overt critics are exceptions. It is however about the default visibility that the role of public/ government sponsorship should play in institutional free speech, in institutional contributions to democracy.
        • Wells Tao If it is not visible then we can not have a debate about its merits. We can not see the way in which money supports certain arguments against other arguments, for better or worse. Our communities can not see these debates happening at a relative level of comfort and protection, compared to them, there is no ice breaking leadership being done by those in that very position.
      • Wells Tao Hi Richard, yeah this is not about the 'critic and conscience' part of the deal. And yes those more overt critics are exceptions. It is however about the default visibility that the role of public/ government sponsorship should play in institutional free speech, in institutional contributions to democracy.
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
      • Ross Forbes Your legal argumentative is correct tao. In terms of the point I am making one very obvious pont....why, dezpite the emphasis on " criticality: at art svhool was there no mention of the work of ivan iich, "deschooling society"...or paulo friere, s work, "the pedogogy of the oppressed"...two writers critical of the educational agenda ahich underwrites all artschools. I just did six yeRs at artschool and now eithsr of tneze authors was menioned.Why? If criticality is primarily the idea that one should examine ones own bias where is the examination?
        Like · Reply · 1 hr
        • Wells Tao yeah I did a Masters at Massey in Welly, attempting to look at the incongruity of using the historical avant-garde as models when the institution itself could not afford to embody such methodology. The result was two hard years that turned into 3, a divided fraternity and public personal attacks from the head of the school, later to become the head of the University. So yeah there have to my knowledge always been these painful experiences and awareness's, but that in some ways makes them so perpetually valuable. And what is not being said, so loud.
        • Wells Tao
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      • Conscientious Holloway-Smith Ooh, can we please talk about what role PBRF plays in this paradigm? Although, maybe it's a can of worms...Government measuring the value of academics through emphasis on their research outputs (with international exposure being given greater cred), not so much emphasis on teaching quality, or other contributions to society. This final grade being the way they decide what funding they will allocate to whom. Academics must continually prove their worth in this sense.
        Does the art world want to hold up this ideal that artists are working independently - does the idea that an artist is institutionally supported sully the romance, and make the artist less appealing to the market? Does this mean that institutional artists need to hide their affiliation in order to gain better, brighter PBRF-able credits?
        Is this as much a problem with the broken art world system as it is with public accountability of arts academics? Is institutional free speech really even a thing?
        Wells Tao I know that for many this is a can of worms but for me it really isn't. If the institutional employee agreed to "accept the role" and that role was public, that the pay off was worth it, that they could DO THE JOB. Then yes the question of how the art market would value their work, taking into account their public sponsorship could go either way, up or down. In that case I don't see how it is different to any other kind of sponsorship and art/artist. These relationships are full of historical and contemporary slippages and hidden views. That will continue i'm sure. It is about those artist employees who want to be visible for their institutional authority being protected from invisible censorship.

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