Archive for April, 2014


Friday, April 18th, 2014

— I recently received these Polaroids from two different family members at two different intervals this winter and it felt as though something of importance was convening with my new ownership of them. Each was taken at a similar time early in my life with each of my parents at my family home in Baltimore, Maryland.

My father often visited the military depot for inexpensive supplies, and various goods that could not be found elsewhere. It was like the Canal Street of his memory from his earlier life in NY. I believe that is where he purchased the expired film that these were shot on and where he got the old military Jacuzzi that he and I are sitting in the picture.

I fondly remember the Jacuzzi because it was very makeshift, and fun but also dangerous. It was emblematic of my father’s spirit, make do, rigged up and exciting because every time you would go to turn it on when you were sitting in the water it would shock you because the switch wasn’t grounded.

He was an electrifying figure, and I have only early life memories of him because he died when I was seven. My idea of him fades and burnouts like the edges of this picture.

In the second image, my beautiful graceful and patient mother is holding me, wearing a striped shirt I so favor now and her smile is gracious and kind like her.

When looking at this image, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for the home we no longer live in and for the young and agile person she no longer is. I visited her recently at the nursing home she lives in completely debilitated by advanced MS and yet she was a vibrant in mind and spirit as ever.

We were listening to a recording about the 60s and early 70s and Vietnam. She was discussing her impressions of that time in her life shortly before I was born. She spoke of high-school friends and boyfriends going to and returning from Vietnam, of the death count being broadcast on TV at breakfast and dinner, and I thought of her awareness of the disturbing impact of the media of her time and her continued love of TV. It’s her companion now that she can’t do much more with her body and that must have been something my father and my mother shared—talks of media, images, TV, film, war, their children, love, life and death.

It also made me think how that Jacuzzi was probably used in the Re-Habilitation centers for the veterans returning from the war that would continue to haunt their generation and ours to follow. It’s amazing how images can transmit out depths of information if you study them closely and when viewing them one can travel in time within a very small space. Looking at these images makes me mournful but also very inspired by the strength of my parents and by the power of photographs to be so many things at once.

Sara VanDerBeek was born in 1976 Baltimore, Maryland. She lives and works in New York. Recent projects have included a solo exhibition at Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art (March -June 2014) and participation in the 12th Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Group exhibitions include HAUNTED: CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY/VIDEO/PERFORMANCE at The Guggenheim Museum, NY as well as The Museum of Modern Art’s annual exhibition, New Photography.


Friday, April 18th, 2014

— I’ve been going to the forest in Fukushima every Autumn since The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Decontamination of radioactive material lumbers and post-treatment of the nuclear power plant that was in the accident does not progress at all. But the mushrooms still breed every Autumn in that forest.

Takashi Homma was born in Tokyo. In 1999 he won the 24th Ihei Kimura Photography Award for TOKYO SUBURBIA – TOKYO KOGAI. In 2010 he was assigned to a guest professor of graduate school of Tokyo Zokei University. From January 2011 – September 2012 the traveling exhibition NEW DOCUMENTARY was held at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art , Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art.


Friday, April 18th, 2014

A scene from one of my scripts, Ang Uniberso ni Hugo (Hugo’s Universe)


Images from the films of HUGO are running in the background, a wall that seemed clothed by crashed tusks of walruses and narwhals, giving a rather superficial luminance akin to standard commercial movie and television productions; bad, bad lighting really. Annoyed, HUGO points his finger to his back.

Please, could you possibly stop that.

Lady host gestures to the director; running footages stop. Hugo and the host suddenly seem to eerily float on white.

LADY HOST (trying to conceal her irritation)
Ok. When does it actually come… I mean, the film?

An idea comes, the so-called germ. It could be inspired by a vision, an event, an incident, a poem, a novel, a song, a hymn, an anthem, a theory, a news item, a text message, a scent, a curve, the rain, the clouds, the dust, the earth, the sound of a rushing car or just a feeling, an abstraction, pathos, an energy. The initial struggle would be articulation; how to articulate it in the medium. So, I try to follow a storyline, create an outline. I create and follow characters. Zero judgment, they must be pure, primal, elemental. I visualize these dynamics. I watch the film in my head, unlock the kaleidoscope, the juggle, create details to make some verisimilitude, impose a pattern, or address some dialectics to make a sense of a current that can be followed and discoursed upon. Just like a dream. There are threads playing in my head and I follow them, I play with them, I struggle with them, everyday, in my sleep, in my waking hours, when I make love, when I masturbate, when I’m fucked up, about to kill myself. I often carry a pen and a notebook. In case, a good idea comes, I take note, I write it. In the absence of a pen and a notebook, I shall be repeating, till kingdom come, the idea or the image and the imagined in my head like a mantra, like a refrain from a suffocating hit song. I write my dreams, what I can remember. It’s hard to remember dreams, they escape, they burst. But if you write them right after waking up, the images are supreme, sublime, transcendent; it’s poetry. The greatest filmmaker is the being inside of us, the one that dreams, the one who lives inside a dream, the invisible, the one who doesn’t give a fuck. Our physical being, this overt and corporal thing is so fucking conscious. I wish I can only exist in that inside being. I’m in the middle of a dream right now. I’m in a zone. I’m trying to finish a film. I don’t know if I can actually finish it. Filmmaking has no mathematical certainty to me. I’m still trying to find its origins. That makes cinema infinite. Life is mysterious but it is quite precise as death is a certainty. But cinema is the great continuum; it is immortal; it can recreate life; it immortalizes being; there’s no death. I am talking about the greater cinema, a cinema that is not methodical, a cinema that is free. I am talking about the inside being. I am in solidarity with greater cinema; I struggle to be in the domain of the inside being, the invisible filmmaker, the filmmaker who knows nothing. Man, am I making sense at all?

You do, Hugo.

I can’t believe I’m uttering all these nonsensical…

Hugo stops talking. The lady interviewer looks stunned, dumfounded, loses her guard, disabling her knees, her skimpy skirt abandoning, retreating, exposing—

Please continue.

Hugo is staring at the legs.

LADY HOST (composing herself, joining her knees, pulling her skirt down)

HUGO (very low voice)
I’m a fraud.

What was that?

Excuse me.

Hugo leaves.

Cut to:

Lav Diaz was born in Cotabato, Mindanao. He works as director, writer, producer, editor, cinematographer, poet, composer, production designer and actor all at once. Since 1998 he has directed twelve films. In 2013, his film NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY was presented at Un Certain regard Cannes Film Festival.


Friday, April 18th, 2014

— I just moved into my current studio a couple months ago. It has windows that get the morning light, white walls, and plenty of space. I bought new shelves, tables and chairs when I moved in. This is the first time that I’ve had a studio space that is separate from my living space. Establishing a relationship to this new space has given me time to think about all the studio type spaces that I have had over the years, and how they related to the work I was producing.

The first time I dedicated a space in my house to my art was my kitchen table in Tacoma about a decade ago. I would spend hours at this table, fiddling with little objects, reading the paper and tracing pictures of naked ladies. It got pretty messy, but I really liked having all the objects within arm’s reach of where I sat, where I ate. This is where is I started developing the small, intricate objects.

Once I started showing work, I dedicated a little 10’ x 10’ room in my house to most of the objects, though I kept some outside. Most of the time I would be making art, but sometimes I would just play with the objects, arrange them in interesting ways.

When I moved into a house that had a basement, I combined my studio with a weight machine and an alcohol still. My workspace was also a workspace for house projects, and a hang out place at night. I would work on tables made of plywood and 2 x 4s, and they would accumulate detritus from all the projects. At one point, I took one of the tables to a show because I needed a pedestal, and it became part of the piece. This is where I developed the idea of creating a table as a sculpture that looks as if someone has just walked away from it, telling a story with the abandoned objects.

I moved with my wife, Blair, to Vashon, a little island between Tacoma and Seattle for a year. My studio there was mostly our little front porch, or if it was too cold, I would use the coffee table. We used one of my stands with found lab glass on it as a Christmas tree, decorating it with a little life preserver ornament. During a super low tide, we spread a bunch of colored glass out in the sand and rocks.

When Blair and I moved to upstate New York, the house we moved into had a garage. I built some shelves and worktables, installed some track lights. I bought a heater. Even with the track lighting, the light was pretty crappy, and the cinderblock walls made it seem really dark. I spent a lot of time outside in my rabbit hutch, using a piece of plywood I screwed to one wall to mock up my pieces. I wanted to spruce up the darkness a bit, so I started using the colored CFL bulbs, mostly just to decorate and make things exciting while I worked in the cold. They quickly got incorporated into the work.

So this is really the first time I refer to my studio as a studio, before this it was always so mixed into my living situation that it didn’t really feel like a studio. I guess it’s only now that I am establishing a studio separate from my house that I am realizing I have had a studio the whole time, maybe I just didn’t have a house.

Now that I have a studio space, and white walls, I am really enjoying being able to put all my glass and other objects out on shelves, put some work on walls, and really observe everything in real time. I am a little nervous as I feel I am spending too much time standing around looking at all these trinkets without doing anything, but I guess that’s always been part of my studio practice. But all those windows? I feel helpless in a space like this: all I want to do is look at the way all the different colors look in the light.

I think I’m finally getting somewhere with the ponies, too. They take about a minute to complete, but it took me about 4 years to learn how to make one. Every time I blow glass, I make a few of them. It’s usually just a warm up exercise, something to make sure my tools are clean, and to get a feel for the glass if I’m in an unfamiliar shop. I usually just give them away to kids or friends, but I’ve started keeping a few around to look at. I’ve never used them in my art, but I’m beginning to really like them. Perhaps they just needed some space to move around.

Eilias Hansen was born in Indianola, Washington and lives in Upstate New York. Recent exhibitions include solo presentations at LISTE, Basel and Frieze Frame, London, with Jonathan Viner, London, UK; Maccarone, NY, Balice Hertling, Paris, and The Company, Los Angeles. Hansen’s work has exhibited in the Seattle Art Museum, WA, Howard House Contemporary Art, WA, and Parc Saint Leger, Paris (with Oscar Tuazon). His book, I’M A LONG WAY FROM HOME, AND I DON’T REALLY KNOW THESE ROADS was recently published by DoPe Press. EVEN CROOKS HAVE TO PAY THE RENT, his second book, will be published by Minor Matters Publishing. He is currently working on pieces for the Yokohama Triennial.


Friday, April 18th, 2014

David Ostrowski was born in 1981 in Cologne, Germany, where he continues to live and work.