Damien Hirst’s diamond skull sale publicity vs. Neuron Factory / Invisible Generation (2010)
Boo-hoo. While arts funding was disappearing in 2010, so did funding for a presentation by Art Design Publicity magazine for a ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie museum presentation aiming to encapsulate the state of media / communications art.
“Hirst’s diamond skull sale publicity vs. Neuron Factory / Invisible Generation”
Length: 6-8 minutes
Accompanying music: Neuron Factory / Invisible Generation by Cabaret Voltaire, of music-journalism fame, and/or other selections by R.J. Preece and musician Stephen Mallinder.
General concept: The proposed video presentation synthesizes various elements developed at Art Design Publicity magazine to portray a short story about Damien Hirst’s international media coverage of the announcement of the “sale”. The proposal aims to pitch itself “in between” various elements, including a corporate-like presentation and something more conceptual and artistic.
Estimated cost: €10.000
The following elements are proposed:
I. FIRST LAYER, CONTENT (PRODUCT-ORIENTED):
>  There’s the adc logo, like one for TV. However, the logo is a cube that turns left / right to spotlight cross-disciplinary contributors. As the cube turns to show their image, their name is spelled out. Then cube turns back to the logo. (Contributors include M. Contraband, Esq., “The PUNK lawyer”; L.A. Roka, PhD, Journalism, etc.) Here we emphasize the importance of an interdisciplinary specialist team, versus “R.J. Preece”.
> An image of Hirst’s sparkling diamond skull appears monumental on screen, dances to 2-3 beats, then spins back into space— and re-emerges as Google Earth. (See section II, next page, on process: copyright / animation, as this could be a drawing, etc.)
>  On earth, London sparkles simulating the announcement of the “sale”. Lines radiate out of London, like airplanes that take off in flight, to the location of news wire agencies in Paris, Hamburg (DPA), New York, etc. (as well as across the UK). Emotionally it aims to parallel the ecstasy of the alien orgasm of sensation in Liquid Sky.
> There could be imagery spliced in referring to how sensation affects human physiologically. Scientific. Medical. Maybe flashes relating to soft pornography, horror, war, love and money.
> A dancing shadow appears at the bottom right, Nina Flowers, a fierce appearance / reality parallel. Flowers dances to the sensation of music & media coverage.
> The globe shifts to focus on Europe— with lines and sparkles identifying detailed media coverage placements, news networks and selected art magazines. The globe moves to the upper left and 10-15 frames of sample news articles appear, stacked like cards. The newspaper logo, headline, and first paragraph appear.
> After about 5 of these, after each sample, the view of a camcorder lens— or infrared night goggles— appears. The color changes to grey and grainy. Public relations evaluation data appears in the top right in white. This information spotlights: “Estimated readers” and “Publicity value”, in euros. Key messaging and the source, like DPA, is circled—and identified. To its left, a counter in red totals the publicity value of the announcement of the diamond skull in euros based on the research.
Damien Hirst’s diamond skull sale publicity vs. Neuron Factory / Invisible Generation, visualising skull sale international media / communications flows, storyboard #4 (proposal) (2010).
> This analysis and presentation ends for Europe, then moves to America, [storyboards 3, 4 & 5] South America, Russia/Middle East, Asia and Australia.
Damien Hirst’s diamond skull sale publicity vs. Neuron Factory / Invisible Generation, visualising skull sale international media / communications flows and quantified publicity value, storyboard #5 (proposal) (2010).
> Interspersed are PowerPoint-like announcements of key editorial quotes and other information like quotes from reports that the sale didn’t really happen. Also, possibly selected TV news footage appears across the screen.
> Overall, the presentation aims to be layered but accessible; hypnotic, soothing and disturbing, and maybe plays with split-second subliminal messaging (but informs the viewers)— a parallel to the propaganda-like communications system.
II. SECOND EMBEDDED PRESENTATION LAYER: COPYRIGHT / ANIMATION (PROCESS-ORIENTED):
As we know, legal copyrights are an element that end up supporting propaganda-like information flows. In order to highlight these manipulations to viewers, the copyright approval request process—any requested fees, or conditions, rejections, delays, etc. will be exposed. Our two PUNK lawyers at artdesigncafe.com will plan the strategy and I will take full responsibility. On the odd chance the presentation content needed to be altered, a section can be easily replaced—with notice to viewers. In a “pure form” of the presentation, the elements in the presentation are designed to become fully censored through propaganda-facilitating copyright law.
At the bottom of the screenshot of the article sample, short messaging will flash and could include statements like: “Permission to reproduce granted!” or “Permission granted, but copyright reproduction fee too high”.
These elements could be integrated into the region-by-region presentation or placed at the end. Plan B is to have the presentation use more animation when necessary to avoid copyright, like perhaps the South Park TV show.
At the end of video, on screen:
CRITICAL MEDIA ANALYSIS
PULLS BACK THE CURTAIN
SO WE CAN SEE THE HYPE.
INCLUDING THE HYPE IN OUR ART WORLD.
STRUCTURALLY IN PLACE AT ALL LEVELS.
III. Physical context at [museum]
A small viewing room, comparable to the design for certain video installations. Outside of it are three computers with chairs that will enable people to look more deeply at a compilation of Damien Hirst diamond skull publicity on the artdesigncafe.com website. This could be somewhat comparable to the eight pages we’ve done on Spencer Tunick’s glacier project.
Second level: If the [museum] floor plan and practicals made sense, etc., I’d propose siting this presentation-installation into the space of the existing [museum] PR office. I also would propose that the PR office activities be relocated directly into the exhibition space among the artwork during the time of the exhibition. If there was a budget, I’d propose certain “guest arts PR people” who, like DJs, fly in and “spin” communications with their contacts— the working process visible to viewers. If interested, I can explain more.
IV. Visual references
> Nina Flowers dancing shadow on a white background. [Sci-fi movie clip with alien cartoon characters sitting in a movie theatre in shadow, commenting on film], in the foreground.
> Emotion of sensation in Liquid Sky clip— towards end of one-minute clip, exploding egg— Just emotion here.
> Infrared or camcorder lens references: The infrared look in Silence of the Lambs. Or the interior of a camcorder
> Splicing effect: Music-journalism by Cabaret Voltaire, early 1980s— Big Funk.