Archive for May, 2016


Monday, May 30th, 2016

— There are some large white arum flowers growing on both sides of the garden path. A thick orange pistil lies in the middle of the blossomed corolla. The organ is so soft that walking my fingers on it is a delicious pleasure. And yet I know that it damages them, which is why I do it on the sly. The yellow particles on my fingers leave a scented trail that will be difficult to remove. Sometimes I’m neglectful and spread this scented color on my sheets.

The path bordered with arums leads to a clinic where babies wail. My father, wearing his white coat, delivered them. He has black hair and very beautiful, brown eyes. I live in another part of the clinic and hear him talk through the walls. What he’s saying is still a mystery to me, but I know he obeys a very precise ritual that requires a needle. During the ritual, the baby cries. However, its tears are the tears of a baby freed through a brief and welcome pain.

What I like most is hearing my father’s voice through the handset of the heavy telephone I pick up behind his back. This is how I learnt another ritual I can mimic: reciting the letters of my name. Trust me, it’s not easy. I haven’t told you yet, but this name, he gave it to me, and I mustn’t damage it by mixing up any letters.  

When I am not in my room, I play in the garden. I’m too small to see beyond the wall but I can hear the boys laugh and fight on the other side. I find it reassuring. Sometimes they throw rocks in the garden. Happy with these gifts, I pick them up and pile them carefully in a hiding place. I like these stones a lot, they come in handly at night to fall asleep.

In the garden, where I always play by myself, I have all the time I want. That’s why I look at everything very carefully.

I can hardly ever go on the path that leads to the outside because the street, which is so close, is forbidden. But it interests me less than the narrow lane where the flesh of the arums throbs. An infinitely exciting place, where flowers give their soft pistils to my shaking fingers. This is where one night, after the rain, I see something terrible: slimy snails appear and wander inside the spotless corolla. I don’t dare to touch them, even though their obscene presence excites me. They eat and slobber over the flowers which they leave pierced and withered.

The night when the snails soil the arums, I feel a sacrilege. Nothing will ever be the same. The high flowers with their imposing calyxes were planted on this path that connects us to the world to inspire respect and mystery to those about to step into the clinic. I wonder what my father will say when he sees this waste. Will someone be held responsible? Must the alley be shut down and stay closed, forever shielded from our walls? Or will other flowers sparking similar feelings replace the arums? In the meantime, the edges of the path have become rotten. The snails have mysteriously disappeared after their crime. I think they sank into the ground, metamorphosing.

A curtain of rain closes the garden in on itself. The outside moves away, sounds and shapes dissolve, and the rising smell of wet ground breaks my heart.

Lucile Hadžihalilović was born in 1961, in Lyon, France. In the early 1990s she founded the production company LES CINEMAS DE LA ZONE with Gaspar Noé, with whom she worked on CARNE and SEUL CONTRE TOUS (I STAND ALONE). Their collaboration continued with her contribution to the screenplay of Noé’s ENTER THE VOID. In 1996 Hadžihalilović produced, wrote, edited and directed LA BOUCHE DE JEAN-PIERRE (MIMI), a 52-minute film that screened in Un Certain Regard, at Cannes, and won several prizes. In 2004, she directed the feature film INNOCENCE, produced by Agat Films Ex Nihilo. The film won the Best New Director Prize at San Sebastian International Film Festival, and at Stockholm International Film Festival. EVOLUTION is her most recent film, directed in 2015 and co-written with Alanté Kavaïté. It won the Special Jury Prize and Best Cinematography at San Sebastian Film Festival.


Monday, May 30th, 2016

Rosalind Fox Solomon was born in Highland Park, Illinois, in 1930, and currently lives in New York City. For the past 45 years, Fox Solomon has created challenging bodies of work, shown in nearly 30 solo exhibitions and 100 group exhibitions, and in the collections of over 50 museums worldwide. John Szarkowski included her work in the 1978 exhibition MIRRORS AND WINDOWS, at the Museum of Modern Art, and exhibited examples from her Dolls and Manikins series in the show Photography for Collectors. Her most recent show GOT TO GO, at Bruce Silverstein (New York), featured her audiovisual installation SCINTILLATION, along with 30 prints of varied sizes, hung in erratic salon style. Recent group shows include MoMA PS1’s Greater New York (2016); and THIS PLACE, Brooklyn Museum (2016). Other important exhibitions of the artist’s work were held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Die Photographische Sammlung, Cologne, Germany; Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, France; and Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru.


Monday, May 30th, 2016

— In 2010, I was going through a very dark period of my life. My marriage had ended, and in an attempt to stabilize and ground myself, I moved out of New York City and into a former Methodist church in the Berkshires. I began doing daily hikes on one stretch of the Appalachian Trail – the section that goes from Route 20 in Becket to Upper Goose Pond. The hike is 45 minutes into the wilderness, then 45 minutes back to my car, with a mile swim in between.

This is how I passed each morning. I did it in order to clear my head, and gradually over time, it’s how I escaped the crushing feeling of being lost.

Each day on my hike, I passed a small wooden box that contained a notebook – known on the AT as the “trail log.” I would make an entry in it. Some days, I would snap a picture of what I wrote and text it to my friend and colleague Juliane. She kept all the pictures that I sent to her. They are included here, along with others I took on the trail. Given the way I usually make pictures, with a large crew and carefully orchestrated details, taking pictures like this on a phone was a completely new thing for me at the time.

These hikes, and the documentation of them, became a profound part of my life and of my artistic process. Eventually, Juliane started coming along. Conversations we had on the hikes became germs of ideas. I started imagining pictures during my swims in Upper Goose Pond. Ultimately, it would be on trails in Becket that I would envision my next body of work: Cathedral of the Pines.

In the end, the hikes were not just a way to clear my head. They were, in a profound way, how I became connected to myself again. It wasn’t an accident that I was in Becket, and hiking to Upper Goose Pond. My family had had a cabin nearby on Upper Upper Goose Pond when I was growing up. Perhaps I was searching for a lingering ghost of a former version of myself there.


Then I woke up, Mom and Dad/Are rolling on the couch/Rolling numbers, rock n’ rolling/Got my KISS records out. (Cheap Trick)


Write about what you know, and what do you know better than your secrets? (GC)


Had you gone for a Sunday afternoon ride that day you might have seen him, close to naked, standing on the shoulders of Route 424, waiting for a chance to cross. You might have wondered if he was the victim of foul play, had his car broken down, or was he merely a fool. Standing barefoot … (Raymond Carver)


A temporary bandage on a permanent wound. (from Mad Men)


Keep separate and one with nature. (GC)


If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. (from Mad Men)


Frank Roy Crewdson Memorial Hike and Swim 9/2/13


All photos courtesy of Gregory Crewdson, except drone photography by Terry Holland, courtesy Gregory Crewdson.

Gregory Crewdson was born in 1962 in Brooklyn, NY. He is a graduate of SUNY Purchase and the Yale School of Art, where he is now Director of Graduate Studies in Photography. Crewdson’s career has spanned three decades. His work has been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe and is included in many public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Crewdson’s awards include the Skowhegan Medal for Photography, the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowship, and the Aaron Siskind Fellowship.


Monday, May 30th, 2016

I just re-read Harry Martinson’s space epic Aniara from 1956 for a project I am working on. Aniara is a space ship, it is also the Greek word for sadness and despair. In the story, the ship has been thrown off course by a meteor cluster. On board are 8000 refugees from earth, which has become unlivable because of vast ecological destruction from wars and toxic exploitation.

An important part of the architectural interface of the ship is Mima, an all encompassing female mystical proto-artificial intelligence. Data was the first word for computer in Swedish, it was deemed a feminine word although Swedish articles are gender neutral. Mima relieves the population on board of their boredom by screening scenes from other times and spaces on earth. The rooms of the ship are her forms of consciousness. Eventually her extended sensitivity cannot withstand the devastation she witnesses from the screenings. She auto-destroys. Helpless, the refugees are ultimately unable to live with their internal and external emptiness and die of hopelessness, on their way out of the solar system.

Aniara is written in meter, so reading the text puts one’s body and thought into a patterned flow. Birgit Åkesson choreographed the dance for the opera version of Aniara. She said: “dance allows for a deep commitment to being, to dance reality is to reach the other.” Through the 1980s Åkesson traveled through Africa to record tribal local dances, which were quickly disappearing, partly because of the devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

I collect images daily from the constant stream of news on my digital devices. How can these images describe global, abstract scenarios that operate on imperceptible and microscopic levels? How do these bits of information on cosmic shifts affect our cellular composition, our anxiety levels and collective being? I am thinking about stains and membranes, toxic spills and the traces of bodies, of fingers moving in rhythm, making syntax across technical surfaces and other growths.

Mima’s hall and Mima herself from the 1959 opera Aniara. This image is shot of the computer at the Royal Swedish Opera archives.

Choreographer Birgit Åkesson’s ritual dance of grief for the no longer functioning Mima in the opera Aniara, 1959. Shot of a computer at the Royal Swedish Opera archives in 2016

Headline, November 23, 2015: “Toxic mining waste reaches Brazilian coast two weeks after BHP dam collapse.” The mud extinguished vast amounts of plant and animal life. Water use has been banned along a 400-mile stretch of the river.

The surface of my iPad, shot on iPhone then inverted, from lecture performance The Growth and its Perennials, 2014-16.

Molded orange in my kitchen, shot with macro lens on iPhone, from The Growth and its Perennials, 2014-16:

The abstraction of time and scale
We for an I, we sense, we move, we move each other, we affect and are affected, techno-nature is affecting us

Moving across a surface, touching what is above, and what is under, not visible nor perceptible.

What I cannot see still affects me
What I cannot feel still affects me
What I cannot sense still affects me

December 28th, 2013
I was in my garden today. It is covered with snow. Earlier in the fall I pulled up weeds and vines. An entire root system came unearthed, merging the visible with the invisible upon touching the surface.

The invisible part of radioactivity. 

The invisible part of the medicated body.
The invisible part of rotting decay. 

The invisible part of our innermost feelings.
The invisible part of what is in-between us

Countering abstractions through daily routine. To share, to affect, to mean. How can we connect through our collective anxieties to create new rhythms for future rituals? The globe, my intestines, the labor market, our friendships, your neuro- psychology, my compost, all entangled eco-systems. Just like the stock market can bloom so can the garden and psychosis. After devastation, infrastructures re-structure, re-organize, re-grow and grow again. Muscles grow as does the national debt. Everything is intertwined, my feelings become your outburst, my battery release leads to bird’s disease. The air that you breathe went through factories in Michigan or China. Cosmos is a shared thing, cosmos is a thing. The boundary between you and me, a cup, an income cap, or a fly, is fluid. Where is the line transitioning between me, a wall, and mould. These non-perceptible realities somehow enters the real.

As opposed to measures, bodies cannot be globalized. We work from specifics, and not from economics and statistics. The arythmia of the beating heart, the timbre of a voice out of tune, the moisture of breath to breath.

Fia Backström was born 1970 in Stockholm, Sweden; she lives in New York. Solo exhibitions and projects include the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2009); the ICA, London (2009), and White Columns, New York (2008); Murray Guy, New York (2011). Her work has also been part of numerous institutional, international exhibitions and projects, including 9 SCREENS, at MoMA, New York (2010); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2010); the Whitney Biennial (2008); and MoMA PS1’s 2015 GREATER NEW YORK. She represented Sweden at the 2011 Venice Biennale and was the subject of Artist’s Institute fall season 2015.


Monday, May 30th, 2016

N. Dash was born in 1980, in Miami Beach, she earned a BA from New York University in 2003 and an MFA from Columbia University in 2010. In recent years, Dash has presented solo exhibitions at institutions including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014-2015) and White Flag Projects, St. Louis (2013). Dash has recently been included in group exhibitions such as the Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Strozzina Centre for Contemporary Culture (2015); Pier 54 High Line, New York (2014); Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley (2014); Maxxi Museum, Rome (2014); Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio (2013); and Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), Los Angeles (2013). A solo exhibition is on view at Casey Kaplan, New York through June 18 2016.