Author Archive


Monday, March 16th, 2020


Christine Sun Kim was born in 1980, in California, and studied art at Bard College and the School of Visual Arts in New York. She lives and works in Berlin. Her performances and exhibitions have been presented at the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Whitney Biennial, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, amongst many others.


Monday, March 16th, 2020

The world is strange and heavy right now. We’ve been headed in that direction for a while, and now it feels upended. In the last year, one of the things that’s helped me most is ecstatic singing and chanting, because it cuts through my anxiety. Sometimes I go to Kirtan, which gets wild in the best way. In that moment of chanting with everyone else, I feel connected to them, and it seems possible we’ll be able to face everything together. Though for the moment, it seems we’ll have to face it alone.

It makes me think of that verse by Bertolt Brecht: “In the dark times / Will there also be singing? / Yes, there will be singing / About the dark times.”

And it takes me back twenty years ago to Chicago, when there were hootenannies with my good friends, Alex Branch and Luba Winship. They played guitar, and we all sang. Maybe I sometimes played the triangle or the tambourine—I don’t remember. We often sang the old Scottish folk song “The Water Is Wide,” which was one of our favorites. I have the sheet music for it still, which I have placed lovingly on a shelf above my desk. I think the handwriting on it is Luba’s. I’m shocked at how time moves, I suppose I always will be, but how warm and cheering those evenings were . . .

Amina Cain is the author of a novel, INDELICACY, and two collections of short fiction, CREATURE and I GO TO SOME HOLLOW. Her writing has appeared in GRANTA, BOMB, THE PARIS REVIEW DAILY, n+1, and other places. She lives in Los Angeles.


Monday, March 16th, 2020


There is something about living in the place where your family has lived for thousands of years. I feel like there is a misbelief that because I am from these lands that I should know how to navigate them with ease. The precursor to that misbelief is the navigation of land, the way around it, the way through it, the way you maneuver within it, the breaking of the land to the organizational structures of the human mind. In the phrase, “I know this place like the back of my hand,” the land becomes synonymous with a part of the body, something that is known, familiar, something with utility like the hand, something always seen like the back of it. In fact, the ancestral homelands of my community and people remains largely a mystery to me. Each trip through Dinétah becomes one of discovery, journey, roaming (quite literally because of cell service), and exploration. There is an unconscious mapping that happens within the mind, one that aims to look for the familiar within the landscape, to position oneself in relation to other things. This happens perhaps for convenience. Perhaps mapping happens because one wants to conquer the land, to break it. After all, the first step to breaking a wild horse is the roping. What is a map if not a lasso? So in thinking through the things that influence me, I kept returning to the land. The various adventures in and the way I mapped the places not with conquest in mind but with language and image in mind. We map things but it is up to us to map things for the right reasons. The landscape is mapped best when it is mapped with memory and story. Scrolling through my iPhone camera roll today, I heard the stories and memories. I rolled out a map.

We need maps in our lives. We need patterns. We need familiarity. We need the things to repeat so as to know when things do not. The first image here is my first attempt to print my poetry manuscript for my first book. I knew I would lose the pages so I took this picture. Somehow, this entire page of coding came out instead of the poetry manuscript. I figured it was the map, the warp, the pattern of the poems. You see, the second image is of my partner warping a loom to begin weaving. It starts with the warp, its pattern, its structure, that will hold the design in place. I realized a Microsoft Word document is filled with coding that acts like a warp, pattern, structure, which will hold up the poem. Our world is no different. We can think of gravity, magnetic fields, gases, pressures, winds as the warp to our world, the pattern, the structure that holds us in place. There are small moments where we encounter this warp and these are the moments that inspire me the most, the reminder of energies, the reminder that we belong to a system, to a machination of small miracles.

The third image from my camera roll that stuck out to me is this image of Marble Canyon in Arizona. At the mouth of the Grand Canyon, one can see time in the flesh. Each layer holds time, holds story, holds a moment of the world. There one sees, again, the warp of the world, the pattern, the structure that holds us in place.

I do not assume that the universe is not revealed in urban structures. An entire city is a machine of systems, movement, energy, pressures that are hidden behind the noise and currents. A machination of small miracles. Even a building has a loom, a warp, a pattern, a structure. Each person who steps into an elevator, onto a floor, into a room carries with them a story, or what is known as live load in architecture. It can sometimes be felt when a person zooms by and a paper flutters on the corner of a desk. Now, imagine a poem too standing and daring it could withstand wind, gravity, and hold the weight of stories. Each element of a poem that steps into the poem’s elevator, line, room carries a weight, a story, a poem’s live load. It can sometimes be felt when you are forced to turn the page in a poetry collection, you feel something flutter.

It is said that they traveled by rainbow. You don’t need to know who, to where, from where, how, or for what reason. Trust in the miracle. Trust in the poem. Trust what you see in front of you. A rainbow. A small miracle.

We notice the ways the climate is changing. Pictured above is the Grand Canyon from the east rim on your way back to the Navajo Nation. My partner, my good friend, and I stopped to witness the setting sun and the canyon. We immediately noticed the smoke. A fire was burning on the north rim and I decided not to capture the plumes aching into the sky. Instead, I caught the after light, the after smoke that settled deep into time. Each rim, each lip, each cliff seemed to shush themselves as the smoke snaked down to the river. We notice these things changing but there seems to not be a way to change ourselves. The after smoke of our lives is embracing the warp, the loom, the pattern, the structure of this world. When my partner hits a snag or noticing something amiss in his rug, he mends the mistake of his design and continues. He never starts a new loom, a new warp, a new pattern, a new structure. That is not what one does. It is impossible.

I do not want to end this mapping on a darker tone. Rex Lee Jim, a Diné poet and traditional practitioner, told me once that the body is a machine. The body breathes in oxygen and transforms it to carbon dioxide. The body can change elements. So Jim said that the body can transform positive energy into negative energy and vice versa. The Earth is also a body. Laura Tohe, the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate, said mountains have kidneys and stomachs, each one alive, full of energy. The Earth will move to mend its body, even if we are not here to witness it. One day, it will want to return to the sea, to the sun. I think we all do at some point, too. So when I am out for a walk, I see these small miracles happen, though I tend to not walk far from home as I have an unreasonable fear of the woods. I snapped this picture of this single wild flower blooming. It had just rained and I was excited for the new semester but also extremely stressed. My book was going to be released the following month and I was nervous and afraid. I kept thinking about all the worst scenarios in my head and numbering all the things I needed to complete. Then, I saw this flower, took out my phone, snapped a bunch of pictures, and continued walking. For a moment, I had forgotten about all the things, all the moving pieces, and I was reminded of the loom, the warp, the pattern, the structure of the world beneath and above me. Coming across this picture again, I was reminded again of that momentary quiet from the noise, that small moment where I could listen and see, that small miracle. I took the picture then and saved it to my camera roll. Today, I rolled it out as a map.

Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Diné from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He is the author of EYES BOTTLE DARK WITH A MOUTHFUL OF FLOWERS, a National Poetry Series-winning collection of poems. He holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Skeets is a winner of the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Skeets edits an online publication called CLOUDTHROAT and organizes a poetry salon and reading series called POLLENTONGUE, based in the Southwest. He is a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: A Diné Writers’ Collective and currently teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.


Monday, March 16th, 2020


We cut to the inside of a cave deep underground, the woman alone, a lake and in it a boat, two oars resting on its sides. Pink and green lights. Stalagmites drip, rocks glisten. The echo of a song spilling in from an adjacent cavern. Watery. Like an old tape machine in the bath.

The woman looks at her reflection. A second woman smiles back at her. A third person also appears. Smoke envelops the cave. Shards of light project across the space, piercing the whiteness. We hear a voice:

“It’s in the desert, under a perpetual neon light. She’s a blackjack dealer. She drifts between work and home. An uncle dies, a husband is missing. First we see her asleep in bed, a hand on a white pillow, acrylic nails, long and red. Her job is vapid and she’s indifferent. Nothing really changes. She deals more cards”

We cut to a hotel room, the woman just risen. The same music from the cave still audible on headphones tucked under crumpled, abandoned sheets. The sound of a shower being turned off. She dresses slowly, methodically, then closes the door behind her and walks back out into the night.

Beatrice Gibson was born in 1978 is an artist and filmmaker based in London. In 2019 she had solo exhibitions at Camden art Centre, London Bergen Kunstall and Mercer Union, Toronto. She is twice winner of The Tiger Award for Best Short Film. In 2015 she won the 17th Baloise Art Prize, Art Basel, and more recently was the recipient of the Images Festival Award for Autobiography (2019). Her latest film premiered at Director’s Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival, 2019.


Monday, March 16th, 2020


Love punched Hate in the face,
grabbed hate by the throat.

Love scared the shit out of Hate.
Love beat the shit out of Hate,
literally made Hate shit itself.
Love made Hate eat shit and die.

Hate avoided thoughts and images related to having
Witnessed fellow Hates’ being hurt by Love.

Love called Hate names, told Hate what to do. Love
Isolated Hate from friends and family. Love intimidated
And diminished Hate making Hate feel frightened through
Threats of violence. Love coerced Hate into posing for nude
Photographs. Love hit Hate. Love threatened to destroy
Hate, threatened to destroy Hate’s possessions. Love
Criticised how Hate dressed. Threatened to share intimate
Details of Hate. Love put down Hate in front of others and in
Private. Love threw objects at Hate. Love pulled Hate’s hair
Out. Love slapped, smacked and kicked Hate, twisted
Hate’s Arms. Love devalued Hate’s opinion and took credit for
Hate’s success. Love threatened to hurt Hate’s loved ones.

Love scratched Hate’s skin
Love burned Hate, scalded Hate,
hit Hate, banged Hate’s head against the wall
Love stuck objects into Hate’s skin,
intentionally prevented Hate’s wounds from healing,
Forced Hate to swallow inappropriate objects.

Violence Hate suffered at the hands of Love,
contributed to Hate’s ill health and premature death.

Hate died more than a year after
Sustaining injuries caused by Love.

Love caused Hate actual bodily harm,
wounded Hate with intent causing Hate
Grievous bodily harm, attempting murder,
assaulted Hate.

Love taught Hate a lesson. Love taught Hate a lesson Hate
Would never forget.

Love stabbed Hate in the back
With such force that of the eleven stabbing
Injuries seven had gone right through Hate
Using a long and heavy love, Love’s
Stabs had gone through Hate’s clothing
And in and out of Hate’s body.
Love slayed Hate brutally, stabbing Hate
Repeatedly with a love, shooting Hate through the

Heart with a love before dumping Hate outside
Hate’s home. Love carried on stabbing Hate with
A love long after Hate was dead, leaving Hate’s corpse
On the ground with a love still in Hate’s back.

Love loved Hate lovingly, loving Hate
Repeatedly with love, loving Hate through the
Heart with a love before loving Hate outside
Hate’s home. Love carried on loving Hate with
A love long after Hate was love. Leaving Hate’s love
On the ground with a love still in Hate’s back.

Love loved Hate in the back
With such force that of the eleven loving
Loves seven had gone right through Hate
Using a long and heavy love, Love’s
Loves had gone through Hate’s clothing
And in and out of Hate’s body.

Love broke Hate’s bones with sticks and stones.

Hatred in tears at the hands of Love.
Hatred crying out Hatred’s heart.
Hatred’s heart was broken apart
By Love with love on purpose.

Love gave Hate a permanent smile with a sharp knife.

Love attacked Hate with a happy
Leaving Hate bloodied and unconscious.
Hate carried the emotional and physical scars
Inflicted by Love on Hate for ever.

Love punching, slapping and kicking Hate.

Love shouted angrily at Hate
Love hit Hate
Love threatened Hate
Love hit Hate again
Love left Hate badly bruised
Love left Hate scared of

Love pissed on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children piss On Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s children’s children Piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s children’s Children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children piss on Hate’s bones And had Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children Piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children piss on Hate’s bones and had Love’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children piss on Hate’s bones.

Love separated Hate from
Hate’s children, removed Hate’s
Children and forbade Hate’s children
From speaking Hate’s language.

Love discriminated against Hate
On the grounds of sex, race, colour, class, language,
Religion, political opinion, national and or social
Origin, property, birth and sexual orientation,
Gender, identity/reassignment status, marital
Status, pregnancy, paternity and maternity
Status and disability.

Love didn’t act to protect Hate from ill treatment and the
Immediate risks Love knew full fucking well about. Love
Recklessly endangered Hate.

Love danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children danced on Hate’s Grave. Love’s children’s children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s Children’s children’s children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s Children’s children’s children’s children danced on Hate’s Grave. Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children Danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children Danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children Danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children danced on Hate’s Grave. Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children danced on Hate’s grave. Love’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s Children’s children’s children’s children’s children danced on Hate’s grave.

Love wouldn’t let Love’s children play with Hate’s children.

Love made Hate change behaviour as a result of
Making Hate feel frightened through threats and acts
Of physical and emotional violence.

Love made Hate change behaviour as a result of
Making Hate feel loved through threats and acts
Of physical and emotional love.

Love made Hate disappear, stone-
Walled Hate, gave Hate the silent
Treatment, shut Hate out, closed Hate
Down, pretended Hate wasn’t there.
Love keeping Hate in the dark,
talked about Hate behind Hate’s back.
Hate’s cries fell on Love’s deaf ears.

Love kept Hate from holding Love to account.

Love interfered with Hate
Intentionally, inflicting severe physical
And mental pain on Hate for the
Purpose of obtaining information,
Punishment and intimidation,
Degrading Hate’s dignity,
Imprisoning Hate arbitrarily
Without fair trial.
Love blamed Hate.
Love did Hate in.
Put Hate to death.
Put Hate to sleep.
Took Hate’s life.
Did away with Hate.
Love killed Hate.

Love did nothing to protect Hate’s life. Subjected Hate to
Torture and degrading treatment and punishment, debased
And humiliated Hate held in slavery and required Hate to
Perform compulsory labour. Love forced Hate into labour
Without voluntary consent to perform work but Hate did so
Because Love threatened Hate both physically and
Psychologically. Love forced Hate to perform work with little
Or no wages in a condition in which Hate was effectively
Prevented from escaping for fucksake.

Love made Hate pay for protesting, denied Hate from
Associating with other Hates’ and gathering together with
Other Hates’ for a common purpose and Love made Hate pay
For not participating, denied Hate from not associating with
Other Hates’ and or Loves’ and not gathering together with
Other Hates’ and or Loves’ for a loving purpose.

Love gave Hate a hiding.

Love had a chilling effect on Hate’s
Fucking freedom of speech and the fucking values
Hate placed on particular forms of fucking
Expression and the fucking mediums Hate used.
Love denied Hate
An effective education that
Was adequate and appropriate.

Love denied Hate the capacity to enjoy
Possessions. Love deprived Hate of
Possessions and Love subjected Hate’s
Possessions to Love’s ffffucking control.

Love made Hate pay. Love took advantage of Hate taking Hate
For a fool, making Hate poor, getting wealthy at Hate’s
Expense. Making money off of Hate’s back Love sold
Hate’s Truth for cash and paid Hate back with sadness, sold Hate’s
Love and dreams for money and paid Hate a salary of smiles and lies.

Love exposed Hate to infection. Love
Denied Hate medical attention.

Love ripped off Hate’s head and shat down Hate’s neck.

Love gouged out Hate’s eyes and pissed on Hate’s brain. Ripped off Hate’s arms at the roots.

Love got fat starving Hate.
Hate starved got Love fat.
As Hate skin and bones b-b-begged
For food freezing cold outside sad,
warm indoors belly full happy fat
Love turned on Hate Love’s back.

Love broke Hate Two’s heart, lied to Hate Two about Love’s
Long-term relationship with Hate One. Love used lies of loving Hate
Two as leverage to coerce Hate One into having children With Love.

Love intimidated and diminished Hate. Love entered Hate’s
Home without consent. Love made Hate homeless for money
After putting up Hate’s rent.

Love made Hate cry.
Love set Hate on fire.
Love wouldn’t piss on Hate,
If Hate was Hate on fire.
Love left Hate to die.

Love spat at Hatred
Love made Hatred cry
Love wouldn’t spit on Hatred,
If Hatred was Hatred on fire.
Love would leave Hatred to die.

Love loved Hate from behind.
Loved Hate at least twenty nine times
And loved Hate to love making off
With Hate’s love.

Love attacked Hate from behind.
Beat Hate at least twenty nine times and
Strangled Hate to death making off
With Hate’s valuables.

Love touched Hate without consent.
Love touched Hate as hard
As Love could touch Hate
with fists.

Love denied Hate the capacity to enjoy
Possessions. Love deprived Hate of
Possessions and Love subjected Hate’s
Possessions to Love’s ffffucking control.

Upstairs Love stole,
Hate’s mother’s jewellery
From Hate’s mother’s bedroom
While Hate sat downstairs
Attending to Hate’s dying mother.

Love had a special
Place in hell for Hate.

Love kicked Hate
When Hate was down.

Love didn’t laugh with Hate.
Love laughed at Hate.

Love caused Hate stress and hostility over time, had Hate
Experience physical and emotional problems, like headaches,
Nausea, cystitis, depression, anxiety, problems sleeping and
Eating and loss of self confidence through harassment. Love
Harassed Hate, Hate suffered unwanted behaviour of a sexual
Nature that made Hate feel distressed, intimidated and or
Humiliated. Love harassed Hate with unwanted conduct of a
Sexual nature that had the purpose and or effect of
Violating Hate’s dignity creating a hostile, degrading,
Humiliating and or offensive environment for Hate. Love
Made, wrote and spoke comments of a sexual nature.
Happiness made inappropriate comments about Hate’s
Appearance and posed inappropriate questions about Hate’s
Sex life. Love stared at Hate’s body, leering at Hate. Love’s
Physical behaviour towards Hate included unwelcome sexual
Advances and touching, unwanted physical contact and sexual
Assault. Love bullied and coerced Hate in a sexual nature and
Subjected Hate to unwelcome and inappropriate promises of
Rewards in exchange for sexual favours.

Love ripped out Hate’s heart,
Love tore Hate’s life apart.

Love destroys Hate from inside,
Love incites Hate to commit suicide.

Love made Hate wear a noose,
around Sadness’s neck in mock execution.

Love took a happy to Hate’s head,
again and again until Hate was dead.

Love groomed Hate, having a measure of control over Hate. Love coerced and encouraged Hate into doing things leaving Hate feeling trapped in situations whereby refusal would leave Hate with less control. Over time Love introduced abusive Acts that Hate felt coerced into allowing. Consent was coerced Therefore not consent. Hate was left carrying the shame of the Events often represented in a sense of complicity – that Hate Had let it happen. This self-blame made the abuse impossible To talk about. Grooming made it impossible to identify when The abuse Love was exposing Hate to was happening and Impossible to identify and talk about in retrospect.

Love fucked Hate over.

Love wouldn’t touch Hate if
Hate was the last Hate on earth.

Love broke Hate’s will.

Love made Hate feel that
Hate’s death was imminent.

Love made Hate feel that
Hate’s death had taken place.

Love verbally threatened Hate’s life.

Blindfolding Hate, Love held
An unloaded gun to the back
Of Hate’s head and pulled
the trigger.
Love waterboarded Hate,
Simulating Hate drowning.

Love threatened Hate
With impending death.

Love took Hate to a remote area
And made Hate dig Hate’s own grave.
Love pretended Hate would be shot.

Love took Hate’s child
Around a building out of Hate’s sight,
Hate was led to believe
That Hate’s child had been executed when
Two shots were fired.

Love caused Hate flashbacks
In which Hate felt as though
Hate had already died.

Love used ropes to elicit
A confession from Hate.

Love hung Hate by the arms,
from the wrists.
Hate suffered long term damage
To Hate’s arms losing strength
And movement in one arm,
Suffering total paralysis
In the other arm.

Love tied hate’s elbows behind hate’s back and tightened Them until they touched. Love hung Hate by Hate’s limbs. Love tied Hate’s elbows behind Hate’s back and arched Hate’s Back with a rope stretched from the feet to the throat. Tension created in the muscles by this extreme tightening Exacerbated by hanging Hate from Hate’s limbs caused Hate Lasting nerve damage.

Love electrocuted Hate
With a device designed to deliver
A shock attached to a car battery.

Love caused Hate to understand that
“I love you” is equal to “I hate you”.

Love raped Hate and forced Hate
To watch Hate’s family being cut down.
Love allowed Hate alone to live
So that Hate would die of sadness.

Love repeatedly raped Hate until
Hate was pregnant and then
Forcibly detained Hate until
Hate delivered Love’s children.

Love violated Hate’s honour

Love beat the soles of Hate’s feet
Leaving Hate’s feet insensitive to
Temperature causing lasting severe
Pain and an altered gait while walking.

Love removed Hate’s
Fingernails, teeth and digits.
The physical pain and
Lifelong impairment
Such torture brought Hate
Was only part of the punishment.
Hate also became a social pariah
Because of Hate’s wounds.

Love cut off Hate’s air supply
In a number of ways causing Hate
Seizures and loss of consciousness
Resulting in brain damage, memory-
Loss and coma.

Love forced Hate to sit for hours
In icy water, infected with all manner of disease,
inflicted with wounds mimicking those received

On the battlefield.
Love would then treat Hate with reckless,
Painful procedures that end in Hate’s death.

Love used Love’s body to inflict harm on Hate.

Love left Hate disfigured and fighting for Hate’s life.

Michael Dean was born in 1977, he lives and works in London. In 2001 he graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London with a BA in Fine Art. His artistic practice investigates the relationship between the three-dimensional possibilities of language and physicality, using different media: sculpture, text and typography. His most recent solo exhibitions include: TU TEXTO AQUÍ, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2019), CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE: SAM ANDERSON & MICHAEL DEAN, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida, US (2019), HAVING YOU ON, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2018), ANALOGUE LOL, ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai (2018), FOUR FUCKSAKES, Herald St | Museum St, London (2017), TEAXTHS AND ANGERUAGE, Portikus, Frankfurt (2017), SIGHTINGS: MICHAEL DEAN OR LOST TRUE LEAVES, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2016) and QUALITIES OF VIOLENCE, De Appel, Amsterdam (2015).


Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019


Killing time before attending a panel discussion, I photographed these blue marbles in a toy store, East Village. Blue symbolized my nervousness about attending the panel, which I ended up loving. I sat in the front row, on a backless chair. I stared at the panel’s central participant, a handsome man who had been wearing blue overalls when I’d first met him, years ago. I always think of him as the man in blue overalls, though this epithet fails to encompass his fatherless charms. My hobby: losing my marbles, and then writing about the experience of loss.

I found, in the trash, a book with a corrugated cardboard cover. I tore off the cover and painted it thickly and sloppily with cheap blue matte acrylic. When the paint was nearly dry, I pressed watercolor paper against the corrugations, which left a raked imprint. A series of other, minor interventions on the paper occurred—gestures executed with a sensation of muted joy. The many marks constitute a stumbling language, nonverbal, as if in the lacustrine space where a knock becomes a throb, a fish becomes a portent, a red glyph (in baby guise) becomes a fever-chart’s oscillating, alarmist line. The line belongs to a landscape now, a vista I could call suckled by a borderline, an ambiguous phrase which suggests an origin-myth whose gory details I don’t have the strength this morning to unveil.

I denominate myself the figure in a horizontally striped shirt but in fact I rarely wear horizontal stripes. On a forgotten day in the early 1980s I wore a Breton mariner shirt with a neckline gaping open for my sliver-head (a merman’s) to slide through. The black horn-rims I wore, that day, that year, were too large, their oval apertures a technique of losing an unnamed sweepstakes. Who took the picture? Who asked me not to smile? Deracinated, pale, confrontational, I seemed to beg the so-called universe to uncover its unctuous alibi, to disclose the actual biography hidden beneath the fake front, a falseness I still embrace (or hold up for target practice) as a blamed nectar. Am I confusing or concrete? A devotee of the unnatural, I’m trying to speak now as plainly as possible.

My father’s mother died in 1943. Enigma, she oversees my entire life. Her non-existence offers a comforting container: I can be securely held by her absence, a flawless design. Her death notice appeared in a Caracas newspaper: invitation to the internment, taking place on the Avenida Las Acacias. I’ve never been to Caracas; I can’t picture an acacia. A tropical tree? The loveliness of an acacia tree is beyond dispute. If I could decode the acacia’s symbolism, I might forge a route, non-poisonous, through the future desolation that awaits us. Notice how quickly I flee from funeral particulars into abstraction. My grandmother’s name, Ilse Gutfeld de Koestenbaum, contains a suspect preposition: de. Was it meant to confer a momentary aristocracy? Or was it simply the custom of the time, to insert a “de” between the maiden and the married names? My father once told me that his mother’s ancestors had lived in Germany since the 1500s, a fact, or supposition, that gives me an unjustifiable sensation of security, as if my family were a pharmacy that had been in business for centuries, dispensing floral waters and healing powders.

To drag a palette knife, a broad utensil, across a paint-smeared sheet, and then print the shadow of these unchoreographed, spontaneous oscillations on rice paper, not even needing a brayer to enforce the print-marks upon the all-too-willing page—is this capitulation to painted impressions a plea? A plea for what? The words solitude or conviviality arrived on the scene of the monoprint through the sleazy yet magical gateway of Photoshop, a name sacrilegious to mention within the precincts of this mess hall, where you can opt for porn or Bambi, crowd consciousness or forty days in the desert. I made this casual monoprint in 2012. Seven years later, I found it in an ignored pile of drawings. I’m the miscreant who ignored them. Toward my own leavings, I sometimes play the role of villain. On good days, overstatement elevates me to the status of salvager.

Wayne Koestenbaum is a poet, critic, artist, performer. He has published nineteen books, including NOTES ON GLAZE, THE PINK TRANCE NOTEBOOKS, MY 1980S & OTHER ESSAYS, HOTEL THEORY, BEST-SELLING JEWISH PORN FILMS, ANDY WARHOL, HUMILIATION, JACKIE UNDER MY SKIN, and THE QUEEN’S THROAT (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist). His newest book of poetry, CAMP MARMALADE, was published in 2018. He has exhibited his paintings in solo shows at White Columns (New York), 356 Mission (L.A.), and the University of Kentucky Art Museum. His first piano/vocal record, LOUNGE ACT, was released by Ugly Duckling Presse Records in 2017; he has given musical performances at The Kitchen, REDCAT, Centre Pompidou, The Walker Art Center, The Artist’s Institute, and the Renaissance Society. He is a Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and French at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.


Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

June 12, 1979 / My 1st Birthday: My father & I in Santa Rosa, TX surrounded by the stacked, empty cans of all the baby formula I consumed during my first year of life.

Later, on June 12, 1979 / My 1st Birthday: I have been freed of the bonnet & my parents have loaded the “empties” of baby formula into a hatchback to drive to the dump. In my first year of life, I consumed enough baby formula to almost fill a hatchback.

I asked my mother (who took these photos) what made her & my father think to do this – collect empty cans of all the formula I consumed before my 1st birthday. She said she had copied my grandmother (her mother) who’d done the same thing with one of her younger brothers in the early 1960s.

By the early 1970s, more than 75% of babies born in the US weren’t breastfed & instead, fed on formula almost entirely commercially produced.

On July 4, 1977, a boycott against the Nestle corporation was launched in the US in response to Nestle’s “aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes,” especially in developing countries. According to a friend, “Nestle has been branding their Enfamil product with that tan color for a while so [the baby formula I was fed was] probably Nestle’s.”

The one other time I’ve seen photographs of children with empty cans of baby formula they’ve consumed was in an 2017 New York Times article “How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked On Junk Food”

Photograph by William Daniels for The New York Times

In 1978 (the year I was born & a year after the launch of the Nestle boycott), the president of Nestlé Brazil, Oswaldo Ballarin, was called to testify at highly publicized United States Senate hearings on the infant formula issue.

From the article:

The home of Joana D’arc de Vasconcellos, 53, another vendor, is filled with Nestlé-branded stuffed animals and embossed certificates she earned at nutrition classes sponsored by Nestlé. In her living room, pride of place is given to framed photographs of her children at age 2, each posed before a pyramid of empty Nestlé infant formula cans. As her son and daughter grew up, she switched to other Nestlé products for children: Nido Kinder, a toddler milk powder; Chocapic, a chocolate-flavored cereal; and the chocolate milk powder Nescau.

The Nestle boycott continues to this day. As of 2013, it was coordinated by the International Nestle Boycott Committee.

Wendy Trevino was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. She lives in San Francisco, where she shares an apartment with her boyfriend, friend & two senior cats. She has published chapbooks with Perfect Lovers Press, Commune Editions and Krupskaya Books. BRAZILIAN NO ES UNA RAZ, a bilingual edition of the chapbook she published with Commune Editions, was published by the feminist Mexican press Enjambre Literario in July 2018. Her first book-length collection of poems, CRUEL FICTION, was published by Commune Editions in September 2018. Wendy is not an experimental writer.


Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019


Accumulation energy:

1. Gathering cast-offs (resources)

2. Holding them in reserve

3. Allowing them to collect dust, i.e., entropy

4. Shaking them out after some time’s passed

5. Reconfiguring them to necklace form, each unique

Anna Sew Hoy was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from Bard College in 2008. Solo presentations of Sew Hoy’s work have been mounted at the Aspen Art Museum, CO; the MOCA Storefront, Los Angeles; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Koenig & Clinton, New York; LAXART; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles; the San Jose Museum of Art; and the California Biennial 2008 at the Orange County Museum of Art. Her work is in the collections of the Hammer Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. She was awarded a Creative Capital Grant for Visual Art in 2015 to support her public sculpture PSYCHIC BODY GROTTO. She was awarded the California Community Foundation Grant for Emerging Artists in 2013, and the United States Artists Broad Fellowship in 2006. Sew Hoy’s largest public sculpture to date, PSYCHIC BODY GROTTO opened at the Los Angeles State Historic Park in Spring 2017.


Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

During the last Nuit Blanche Montréal, I was invited to raise my glass to something we should all forget in an attempt of mass amnesia. The exercise was both exciting and challenging.

I decided we should all forget the notions of FEAR, this unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, and likely to cause pain or a threat.

Nobody wants to live in fear.

Because fear lives in the mind, and sometimes also lingers into the body.

It comes with negative feelings of anxiety, nervousness and self-doubt.

We develop specific fears as a result of our education and learning process. And it is our social relations and our culture that shape individual fears of social rejection and failure.

We are taught by our parents to not talk to stranger to protect us. And most often we grow up being afraid of the unknown and of the other.

We tell ourselves stories and give ourselves excuses that allow us not to face our fears.

We blame minorities because we don’t want to take responsibilities.

And we fear anything that could disturb the comfort of our lives.

We live in a time of divided societies. Where the growth of extremism is fueled by anxiety and fear.

FEAR is a powerful tool. It is used politically and culturally to manipulate, persuade or dissuade.

When we are afraid, a manipulator can talk us out of the truth that we see right in front of our eyes. And then, words become more real than reality.

They say: “It’s for your safety”. “For the safety of the country”.

FEAR makes people build walls, block frontiers, deny entry access, and breaks family apart.

FEAR makes people follow in line, in order.

FEAR stops public emancipation

FEAR brings racism and discrimination.

FEAR is when people feel that other people’s rights are subverting their rights.

And in some cases, FEAR is a feeling all too familiar.

We FEAR for our youth committing suicide in astronomical rate in indigenous communities across North America.

As women, we FEAR of walking alone in the streets at night.

We FEAR of forgetting our traditional languages and knowledge.

We FEAR of forgetting our past and not being able to move strategically into our future.

The idea that FEAR has helped us to keep us alive is no longer accurate.

It is not keeping us alive enough. The FEAR of the world’s end is not strong enough.

The world is changing more and more rapidly, and we are perfectly aware that it will continue to change faster and faster. And yet, we do nothing. We continue to consume the Earth. We put more pipelines on indigenous lands, and there still no running water for most indigenous communities across Canada.

How can FEAR work for some of the most horrific and irresponsible things in humanity, but does not influence positive and constructive change?

This is why I think we should forget about FEAR.

FEAR cannot prevent catastrophes.

Acknowledging differences makes us grow. Because when we are surrounded by the same prejudice as ours, the same opinions, the same views, we start to stagnate.

When we know who we are, where we come from and our sense of values, we feel stronger in our identity. And when we are confident in our identity, we fear less the other.

Instead of freezing in FEAR, we can acknowledge the possibilities for the future. We could dream of friendships, trust and loyalty that would counteract feelings of solitude and ignorance.

I am trying to forget FEAR. And replace it by simply trust, joy, calmness, and courage.

We have a collective responsibility for our collective future. Is there something we can do, all of us together, to be able to face the future without FEAR?

Caroline Monnet was born 1985 in Ottawa, Ontario and now lives in Montreal. She is very involved and active in notions of Aboriginal identity and is one of the founding members of the Aboriginal digital arts collective ITWÉ. Her earliest short films were shown at the Toronto International Film Festival (Canada), at Sundance and at Palm Springs (USA). In 2016, she won the Golden Sheaf Award for best experimental film at the Yorkton Film Festival for MOBILIZE. Being chosen by the Cinéfondation Paris for a residency allowed her to bring home the award for best script at Cannes the following year. More recently she was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. She is currently working on a feature film entitled BOOTLEGGER.


Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

— I just returned from two weeks in the Pacific. I am in the airport right now. I have been traveling back from Honiara airport to San Juan. Tropic to Tropic. I was in the Solomon Islands to be precise, though that is not precise at all as it names a huge land area of about 30,000 square km and comprising many atolls as well as the ocean between and around. Of all the places I have ever been or seen it is the most liquid. The sea is the playground, freeway, main food source, mythical and spiritual ground (though this might seem contradictory).

I had to constantly remind myself that I was very far away from home, as far away as could be. How uncanny that in the Pacific tropics and in the Caribbean we move with the same rhythm, that logically the houses take the same shapes, raised from the ground of course to be away from all sorts of critters, to be cool and to create another outdoor shaded space, among other reasons. That the palm frond roofs are weaved in the same way, that we have the same histories of colonialism, the same american military trash in the waters. In Honiara, the biggest town we went through, and only for a few hours, students in their uniforms walk slowly and avoid the early afternoon sun. I felt at home. Same sweat, same road. We were in areas remote to us but not to themselves.

There are some remarkable differences though with what I know:

Children of all ages and gender manage their dugout canoes through distances that would be frightening to most adults. I was most impressed by two 7 year old girls crossing island to island on a tiny canoe. I could have lifted each one with one hand, their bodies were perfectly balanced, only one of them rowing. People get on canoes like on a bike, fully dressed, they arrive everywhere completely dry. Rowing from place to place does not mean at all that you will get wet.

I asked a few basic questions of a canoe maker: Everyone knows how to make a canoe: father, uncle, mother, each family must know how to. The fruit of the tree Atuna racemosa is used for caulking, the seed is made into a paste. The tree that is used to make the canoe is called tau tau on one island but something else on another island. On the last night I was there I learned from another rower with a bright blue patch of caulking on his canoe that melted Crayola will also work in a pinch.

If you have the time to go all the way to the Solomons, you’d better bring some goods and not just money. Money is an almost useless placeholder. People would much rather trade a carving for a wetsuit or a good knife. Money is maybe just another long trip to town to buy what is needed which is probably batteries or a dress. Might as well bring it with. One man looked up to D on our boat and one hand on the paddle the other on the USB stick asked her, “More music please” and then, “You have African gospel?”. Yes, D had some African Gospel.

And the sky! One moonless night we spent in a very dark ocean night, was so gloriously filled with stars that I finally was able to make some sense of the myth from my side of the world. The stars were very brightly reflected in the water, creating a disorienting double landscape. You really could confuse the stars with something lurking brightly below a canoe. In caribbean mythology Anacacuya, in a canoe, mistakes a starry reflection for a large beautiful shell in the water and dives in for it. He drowns. I had never understood the confusion of star for shell, until now. I was completely unfamiliar with the atoll geology, but every time we visited a small island that had already been through devastating logging 20 perhaps or even 15 years ago—there and only there— I could recognize the tree species. What the place looks after it has been wiped out…that is something that I recognize. I see maga, maría, mangle rojo, a jackfruit or two, coconut palm of course and almendros, lots and lots of almendros.

Next time I will bring a hammock to trade.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz was born in 1972, in Puerto Rico. She is an artist and filmmaker currently based in San Juan. Her films arise from long periods of observation and research to explore the social and political conditions of her native Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Her recent solo exhibitions have been held at El Museo del Barrio (2017), New Museum, New York (2016); Pérez Art Museum Miami (2016); Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City (2014); and Gasworks, London (2013). In 2017 she participated in the Whitney Biennial. She has been awarded the Creative Capital Visual Art Award (2015) and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2017). Santiago Muñoz is also a cofounder of Beta-Local, an arts organization in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Director of Sessions, a series of experimental seminars anchored in the specific geography and emerging art practices of Puerto Rico.


Monday, March 11th, 2019

— I had known about my maternal grandparents trip to Europe post WW2, but had never seen the corresponding images. My mother had described one of the images- of her mother on a hotel balcony in Bern, Switzerland. She was not disappointed by her memory of the image when the case of slides was finally found last year. Here is an excerpt from my grandfather’s diary of their hotel in Bern.

My grandfather took all of the photographs with a camera that he describes as a pony–according to his diary–their kids had given it to them for their trip. It was a type of camera that Kodak manufactured from 1949-1959. This portrait of my grandmother, as they head out of New York’s harbor, contains all the promise and expectations of their journey.

Liz Deschenes was born 1966, in Boston. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1988. She teaches at Bennington College and is a visiting artist at Columbia University’s School of Visual Arts and Yale University. She was the recipient of the 2014 Rappaport Prize. Deschenes has recently presented her work in a series of two-person exhibitions with Sol LeWitt at Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco (2017), Miguel Abreu Gallery and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (both 2016). Her work was the subject of a 2016 survey exhibition at the ICA/Boston. In 2015, Deschenes presented solo exhibitions at MASS MoCA and the Walker Art Center, and was included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Musée d’Art Moderne, the Centre Pompidou, and Extra City Kunsthal in Antwerp. Her work was featured in Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions at the Museum of Modern Art in 2014, and in What Is a Photograph? (International Center for Photography, New York). In 2013, she exhibited new work in tandem solo exhibitions at Campoli Presti (Paris and London), and group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the Fotomuseum Winterthur, among others. She was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and had a one-person exhibition at the Secession in Vienna and a two-person exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago that she co-curated with Florian Pumhösl and Matthew Witkovsky. Previously, her work has also been exhibited at the CCS Bard Hessel Museum, the Aspen Art Museum, Klosterfelde (Berlin), the Walker Art Center, the Langen Foundation (Düsseldorf), the Tate Liverpool, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and The Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Recent monographs dedicated to Deschenes’s work include Liz Deschenes, Boston: The Institute of Contemporary Art, 2016, and Liz Deschenes, Secession, Vienna: Secession, Berlin: Revolver, 2012.


Monday, March 11th, 2019

— My non-religious upbringing provided many gifts, but withheld one that would later become meaningful to me: the automatic right to one of these:

My parents, one born in Greece and one in the U.S., were married by a civil ceremony in the latter country that went unrecognized in the former, which did not separate church and state. My father would joke: In one of your countries, you and your brother are bastards.


I keep my Greek passport—hard-won fifteen years ago, now expired—in a drawer along with an unofficial copy of my birth certificate; three U.S. passports (two outdated); and a duplicate New York State driver license I acquired last year when I thought I’d lost mine, but that I hold onto in preparation for whenever I lose the original for real.

When I open that drawer, as I did earlier this week, I pick up the inert thing and wonder: What is the value of an expired passport? What does it mean to be—to presume to be—unprecariously documented; to be doubly documented, to move between states of documentation? To be stamped legitimate in one nation, illegitimate in another? What is the trace of belonging or desire that marks the status of these outdated or surplus documents as less than valid or validating, but still somehow—until you need them—greater than zero?

In Greece, until recently and possibly to this date, the most official records of an individual’s right to be counted—the connection of each documented resident to a specific neighborhood—are written in ink and copiously rubber-stamped in tabloid-size ledger books that require two hands to turn a page. In cases where the records were burned in a fire, as I seem to remember some long-ago paperwork for my family was, there is no clear mode of recuperation. A hole replaces the certainty of any attestation. In a culture where linguistic and cultural fluency remain fundamental tickets to entry, some residents are much more vulnerable than others to falling down this hole.


One day, my brother and I will inherit a small apartment in a port-side suburb on the outskirts of Athens. In fact, thanks to a tax-resistant culture and a tradition of transferring ownership from parent to child well before death, we already technically own it. For this to happen, we had to be claimed as our father’s legitimate children; this entailed my parents’ waiting years for civil marriage to be recognized in Greece, then filing for one; the further step of citizenship entailed additional bureaucratic actions, including my eventual appearance at the local precinct to have my name entered in the two-foot-high ledger book, smudged by a stamp.

Here is a photograph of the entrance to the apartment building, screen-captured today via Google Street View but clearly taken in summer. If you could make out the front door—one level below the lowest visible portion of balcony—to its right you would see a mailbox that during my teenage years functioned as a site of obsessive, expectant desire, the only way—years before email or social media—to be certain my friends and crushes back home hadn’t forgotten me, written me off to my other, still officially unacknowledged and insufficiently inhabited national self.

The apartment was new in the early 80s when my family acquired it, a belated replacement for the semi-rural house my father’s father had long owned in the older, more working-class sector of the same suburb, a house that suffered extensive damage in the 1981 earthquake. My parents exchanged it for a spot in one of the new buildings that were certified earthquake safe, a claim hard to trust when the narrow balcony of our 8th floor apartment seemed to sway in the slightest wind.


My first name in Greek, written in capital letters, is ANNA—the same as in English. In sentence case, it’s Avva. The duality collapses and expands on a habit, on a whim. Please print your name in block letters, one per space. Do not use all-caps when filling out this form.


The reason I let my Greek passport expire is that inside the country its power is more than duplicated by the national ID card I had to get first, which legitimates residency, intra-EU travel, and the right to work, and which remains valid forever. My dad reminds me: the only reason to renew the passport itself would be to use it to travel between non-E.U. countries under something other than the U.S. flag. Last fall, I made an appointment at the passport office of the Greek Consulate in New York to apply for a renewal.

My middle name is Elizabeth, as was my mother’s middle name before she married. In Greek it’s rendered most often as Ελιζαβετ, though alternate phonetic approximations exist. My mother’s first name is Joan, which is sometimes adapted as Ιωάννα and sometimes transliterated as Τζον οr Τζοαν. This variability—or some kind of private judgement—stumped the Greek translator of my U.S. birth certificate, or maybe just the person who entered the translation into the consulate’s computer, one of whom neglected to enter a name for any mother at all. On the screen, tilted my way by the consulate’s passport officer, my father was listed as my father; the space where my mother’s name would be entered was blank. We’ll do the best we can, the officer said kindly, after staying with the problem for an hour past closing time.


I have some early memories from the house we lost to the earthquake: I remember its dark interior; the single heating unit in the small and windowless center room; the bright garden, the coiled, foul-smelling incense my parents lit to ward off mosquitoes. I also remember stories about the house, though it’s taken years to connect them. That it was once truly rural, on an unpaved street; that it was my grandfather’s pride and joy but he was rarely able to live in it; that it had been occupied by Nazis during the war and by the British in the years after; that when it was returned to my grandfather he didn’t move in but would take his lunch there, in his garden, on break from work in the next harbor town over. That he died in that garden, with no warning, two or three years before I was born. That when I was two or three years old, during the longest period we spent there, my mother suffered a double, debilitating grief and vanished into an uncharacteristic depression that left me temporarily bereft, a blank space in my life where her name would have appeared.


I am in Germany now, late February 2019, close to the site of its expired wall, my U.S. passport in my bag. I just learned that a U.S. citizen can be turned away from an international flight if their passport will expire within three months, no matter what their return ticket says. I think differently about the inheritance of property when I’m feeling sentimental about my family than when I’m not. I’m only learning now about my mother’s real relationship to religion, more nuanced than the strict atheist message I recall. I’m still hoping the Greek consulate will fill the hole in my documents and renew me; I’m still trying to learn passable Greek.


I Whats-App’d my father to ask for more details about the old house and its history. We talked for an hour, me mostly listening, letting the fragments connect. After, I messaged him for the address, which he sent, adding: Google Earth has an excellent view of it which shows the alterations the new owner made (closing the veranda and making a parking space) as well as the newly paved street.

From this view, I did not recognize the house itself. I did sense something familiar in the lot across the street, though there’s no telling how long it’s been empty, or if it hasn’t yet been built.

Then I thought to send the photo to my mother. It was full of white and yellow daisies, she remembered immediately. She would pick them—there was no fence—and bring them in the house.

Anna Moschovakis is a poet, translator, and author most recently of the novel ELEANOR, OR, THE REJECTION OF THE PROGRESS OF LOVE.


Monday, March 11th, 2019

Talia Chetrit was born in Washington D.C. in 1982 and now lives in New York. She has recently participated in solo and group exhibitions at Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2018), Sies + Höke, New York (2017), Kaufmann Repetto, Milan (2017), the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2016), Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto (2016), LAXART in Los Angeles (2014), Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2013), Studio Voltaire in London (2013), and the SculptureCenter in New York (2012). In 2018, she she was a finalist for the MAXXI BVLGARI Prize in Rome. Showcaller, a book of her work is published by MACK.


Monday, March 11th, 2019

Takashi Makino was born in Tokyo, in 1978. He graduated from Cinematography/Sound Recording course at Department of Cinema at Nihon University College of Art, Japan in 2001 and he studied about film, lighting, and music under Quay Brothers at Atelier Koninck QBFZ in London in 2001. Makino gained his skills relating to film and videos while he was undertaking coloration as a Colorist on various films, from 2001 to 2011. He has been started screening his works since 2004. He captures video of ready-made objects including natural phenomena, human, and cities with various formats. And he layers and configures them while in an editing process, his quite organic yet imaginative films, which seem like bursting unlimitedly are highly regarded internationally. Makino is currently based in Japan and presents movies, music, installation, audiovisual performances around the world.


Monday, March 11th, 2019

A desert,
captured with a 35mm camera on a black and white film. The sand stretches across the expanse, gentle hills structure the landscape. The sky hardly sets itself apart from the landscape. Only the dark horizon line separates sky and earth in this picture. The clouds stretch into streaks. Nothing else can be seen. Nothing else shows up.

A blanket made of non-woven fabric.
The individual fibres are not woven together, their peculiar adherence results in a soft surface. In front the blanket is taut over a mattress. Slight distortions run over the stretched surface. This reveals where the fabric is stuck under the mattress outside the frame. A crease in the middle of the picture becomes softer and softer from left to right. Diffuse white light falls from the window onto the guest bed.

A firmament of stars
in a Norwegian snowy landscape. Recorded on an already expired and very light sensitive black and white negative film. In the development process the material was pushed so that the rough grain becomes visible in the area of the sky. The snow cover seems to shine, it reflects the sparse light that is present. The horizon lies far away and is outlined in a diffuse dark line. No human being far and wide.

A salt desert,
captured with some distance from a much higher mountain. Diffuse shadows of clouds are drawn over the huge area. The salt arranges itself polygonically, but from this distance one recognizes only that the surface is not completely even. The white is not completely white.

A snowy landscape,
captured on a color slide positive film. In the front a small hill can be seen. Where it falls into an uneven surface, there is a shadow line that extends in the image depth to the upper edge of the frame. The snow cover is completely untouched, no traces can be seen. It is so thick that only larger bumps of the landscape can be seen. These slight slopes cast diffuse shadows on the surface. On the hill some snow crystals glitter in the sunlight.

A thin curtain of white silk.
The window is tilted so that the fine fabric moves in the draught. At the top the curtain is blown closer to the roughly plastered wall on one side, further down the structure of the surface becomes blurred in the greater distance between the wall and the window. A slight motion blur in the curtain results from the slightly longer exposure time with which the picture was taken. The daylight is scattered by the materiality of the textile and falls diffusely into the room.

Helena Wittmann was born 1982 in Neuss, Germany. Originally studying Spanish and Media Studies in Erlangen and Hamburg, she went on to attend The Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK) between 2007 – 2014. In her films and within her artistic practice, rooms constitute much more than just bare venues of a storyline. She questions and contextualises the boundaries of these rooms, in them, with them, on them and along them. Since 2015 she is working as artistic research assistant at The Hochschule für bildende Künste. Her work was shown internationally in exhibitions and film festivals.


Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Now, each time that I see her, her body is smaller.

What memories will I take from her. From her body that I was once close with, from her body that I loved, that I loved greatly. From her warm damp body after the shower, smelling strongly of soap, dressed in a cotton night gown. She didn’t wear under wear at night.

I have a box of her pictures and in so many of them it is just her, alone, posing.

A teen.

I am entirely unsure of her interior, what colors beat inside of that overcast withering sky. What cage she falls asleep in and how it may be opened during her dreaming. How her hands and body do shake. How restless and how far away.

Math Bass was born in 1981 in New York and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. They have had solo museum exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; the YUZ Museum, Shanghai, China; the Jewish Museum, New York and the Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA. Public collections include the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles and the YUZ Museum, Shanghai.


Sunday, December 30th, 2018

— Graffiti writing was my first committed creative endeavor, I was obsessed. An early passion that steered me away from less productive trouble as a teen and in hindsight, taught me about observing architecture and the built environment around me. Seems that the lessons I learned scrutinizing buildings and trains for the perfect spot may have much to do with the details of the world that so preoccupy my mind now.

The greatest writers are the Pichação of Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil. It’s a super specific culture that orbits the graffiti world, and short the commonalties of illegally writing on things, I find it to be quite unique. I do not claim to be some insider, only a DEEP fan. The Pichação’s developed a stunning type of hieroglyphics, slightly goth or heavy metal-ish and owing much esthetically to the materials they predominantly use – small rollers and cheap bucket paint. While there is a baseline of sorts found in their typography, each individual or crew customizes the language with specific flair. It requires the next level of skilled madness to be one of these writers as it is a hyper dangerous endeavor. Beyond the pursuit of illegally writing in the streets of one of the most violent, corrupt cities on the planet, the Pichação incorporate free climbing and rappelling with crude ropes and ladders up and down the highest buildings in the metropolis as a key component of their culture.

Looking past the exhilaration, I was always so impressed with the relationships between what is written and the architecture or infrastructure that was written on. Brazil’s messy mecca of Portuguese – Euro Modernism and Brutalist architecture has created a rigid, stepped landscape for the middle class of the city. The design of these buildings, many that have been abandoned or fallen into neglect, are full of nooks and steps in their stark, rhythmic, geometric design. The Pichação climb and traverse them like armies of small ants, using the architecture, and each other, to climb to new heights in competition all while observing and reinforcing the given details of the building as the parameters for their writing. Spacing and scale are always carefully considered, where a grid of blocks or recessed panel on a buildings facade starts and ends, acts as the parenthesis for the methodically cryptic writing of names. They take care to free climb a fifteen story building neatly writing above each window, above each patio awning, crawling up along the buildings pop-outs and boosting each other for grips and leverage.

I don’t imagine these writers care much about the artistic or conceptual relationships to the architecture they paint, Pichação use their writing as a way to reclaim the city for themselves, much of which wasn’t built with them in mind anyway. But I think I’m drawn to the unconscious effects that the city’s design has had on their style and technique of painting. The rhythm and organization related to the symmetries of these types of architecture – the esoteric humanness of the writer vs the cold logic of the building has made a direct impact on they esthetics they developed. The phenomenon of Pichação is a deep dark and complicated one, but it’s also so raw and free and beautiful. I first discovered Pichação in the late 1990‘s when Brazil’s greatest graffiti “art” export Os Gemeos, teamed up with the San Francisco king Twist. Twist had brought back photos from a trip to Sao Paulo, and there was a Brazilian feature in a graffiti magazine that I some how came across in suburban Phoenix, Arizona. I was captivated and followed ever since, from the zines, to the forums, to the blogs, and now Instagram. Honestly, it’s my favorite thing on Instagram (*and the crazy industrial milling videos) – its still so raw, unadulterated, and done purely for the twisted love. It’s quite refreshing to think that through deep dedication and focused madness, a young person from the lost parts of a mega city can reclaim it as theirs, a kind of David vs. concrete Goliath with handwriting. Here are some of my favorites.

Matt Paweski was born Detroit, in 1980. He lives and works in Los Angeles. A selection of recent solo exhibitions includes: LOOK OUT, SWITCH – SWITCH, COUPLES, FOUNTAIN, Park View/Paul Soto (2018), Los Angeles; SANOU OUMAR / MATT PAWESKI, Gordon Robichaux, New York (2018, two-person with Sanou Oumar); Lulu, Mexico City (2018, two-person with Ella Kruglyanskaya); Herald St. London (2017); Ratio 3, San Francisco (2016); and NEW SCULPTURE, South Willard, Los Angeles (2015). In 2018, Paweski took part in the group exhibitions ROCK, PHIL, Los Angeles; A PAGE FROM MY INTIMATE JOURNAL (PART I) —, Gordon Robichaux, New York; Condo, PARK VIEW/PAUL SOTO, hosted by Queer Thoughts, New York; and US SOFTCORE, curated by Matt Paweski, South Willard, Los Angeles. In 2016, he was exhibited in WALK ARTISANAL, Los Angeles; and, in 2015, KLEENEX ROSE, Bodega, New York; THE CURVE, Wallspace, New York; and MATT PAWESKI AND ANDREA SALA, Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles.


Sunday, December 30th, 2018

January 25th, 2013:
Invisible Cows and time lapse still from Hale County This Morning, This Evening

RaMell Ross is an artist, filmmaker and writer based in RI and Al. His work has appeared in places like the NY Times, Aperture, Harper’s Magazine, TIME, Oxford American, and the Walker Arts Center. He has been awarded an Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship and a Rhode Island Foundation MacColl Johnson artist fellowship. He recently had a solo exhibition at Aperture Gallery in NY. His feature documentary HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING won a Special Jury Award for Creative Vision at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has screened at Museum of Modern Art, Institute of Contemporary Art – London, Museum of Moving Image, and Lincoln Center.


Sunday, December 30th, 2018

People are thinking a lot about the current U.S. Government. I recall how I spent a year making “Portraits of the U.S. Congress 1986-87”. I did it basically because not unlike today, I couldn’t understand who they could possibly be. In case someone fresh wants to take a shot at photographing Congress (besides the most excellent press corps) here is a bit of what it was like for me.

In 1986-87, I dragged 45 lbs of equipment around the halls of the United States Congress in what amounted to a shopping cart. It was a half-assed thing to look at but the lightest means to transport my 8×10 camera equipment to the 15 minute appointments I had to make portraits of members of the House and Senate in their offices at the Capital.

Here is a page from my appointment book.

On alternate weeks, I made calls for appointments from my home phone in Pennsylvania some 220 miles away from D.C. using the invaluable Congressional telephone book.

Then I spent the next week in D.C. shooting. Here is a schedule of a week of shooting.

Here is a map of the entire Capital Hill.

And one of the Capital Building alone.

Finally the only hand drawn map I have remaining of the 4th floor of the House Rayburn Building and how to get around.

There was lots of walking from place to place. You used underground passageways to get from building to building. It was a miracle I could find my way and get there in time. I even learned which elevators took freight to carry me expeditiously. Looking at how I did things, I think it is very funny that I was able to pull this off. It should give anyone hope. Really it should. About anything.

When looking at these maps and schedules I found these notes I made about my appointment to photograph Senator Strom Thurmond, Republican of South Carolina when I was doing “Portraits of The United States Congress 1986-87”.

Notes on Senator Strom Thurmond Republican South Carolina:

His outer office had rich furnishings, french chairs and desks.

I sat opposite attractive and interested in me (mutual) older man.

We chatted about pressures of being in Washington – he only 3 days a year – me at that point 3 months left to go.

A lot of people came in – teenager boys gangly, goofy, lobotomized… hardly able to stand – walking like they had their legs tied together – so uncomfortable with the situation or themselves.

2 young girls — about 14 or 15, red dresses, thick (very), dark hair – smaller girl more sculptural of features like a greek sculpture in real life but a bit array with pouty lips just breaking into her womanliness. I think they sit very straight… their Dad is with them. Then a man who was on crutches or some major impairment of walking comes in and I move my seat for him and the girl, the smaller one in red, takes this seat.

The staff is chatting about the recent blizzard. I get a phone message from Senator Rockefelller’s office (Aside: I have no idea how they know where I am as there are no cell phones at this time. I use a typewriter and white out and a regular phone and zerox machine… it was all very old school for me.)

I use their phone to return the call — appointment cancelled. I am confused frightened and delighted to have the attention I feel the call brings upon me (Aside: No one actually cares but me and my ego.)

The Press Aide gets me into Thurmond’s office and it is like no other I’ve yet seen. Definitely Louis 14th furnishings. 20ft high ceilings 30 feet long 15 wide. Covered to ceiling with plaques etc. Strangest is that there are two desks, and in one further from me is Strom Thurmond who because of the dimensions of the room and of him, seems miles away.

He is barely seen above the desk yet feels very powerful. Fireplace on right, glowing family portraits – wife or daughter of exceptional beauty and sexual bloom. A Blond Prize. A surprising portrait. Surprised me even though I knew his wife had been, a young, beauty queen… she couldn’t be the one in the picture unless it was 10-15 years old… was it their daughter? (Aside: No pictures of his illegitimate black daughter who he conceived by the maid servant southern racist style!!!!!!!)

The Press Aide introduced me. I set up the camera. Egad! Simultaneously, they have decided to photograph all the horrid high school boys during my appointment! I folded up the tripod legs and stood precariously on the side with my camera almost being crushed when door from the hallway opened to let in the bored boys. I was stunned by the precision with which Thurmond arranged the boys around his body and his handshake. He was masterful. He stood where he always stands I assume, by the fucking flag. He in the middle. If there was more than one constituent, shaking hands was accomplished by crossing over his body’s front, a massive fucking front, (like a skater moves with a partner) all while telling the boys how to stand and where to look, smiling sharply while directing them. They seemed trapped by puberty, somewhere the needle was stuck. Maybe all their energies were concentrated in those newly energized reproductive organs. And there was no evidence that any could be diverted for any other purpose like thinking or responding to the outside world. I couldn’t blame them (Aside: I was stunned as well. How could I succeed in photographing this master of ceremonies. He had massive shoulders, a tiny shrunken — apple like head. He also had terrific charisma, though I loathed his political positions he was nearly overwhelming to me.)

The photographer of the boys did a grand job. Plastic staged shots. Flash smile Flash smile — Thurmond the director. Then Thurmond gave each of the boys a plastic key chain with his name and President Pro Tempore on it in a crappy cellophane wrapping. Only one boy seems disarmed-frightened during the hurried shooting. Thurmond didn’t have time or make any effort that I could see to really know anything about anyone — a publicity factory. (I met this same photographer by happenstance in Senator Roth’s office the next day… we had a nice chat about pain killers… he said that he works for “Close Up” a profit organization charging $850 plus flight costs for these portraits and he doesn’t believe Congress is aware of it.)

Anyway, I was appalled by how much time was taken by the commercial shooting of the kids… Then it was my turn and he (Thurmond) thought he could carry on a conversation with his staff whose desks also occupy the room.

I said I had to have him hold still.

First shot far away – thought it was nothing and was going to be nothing then moved closer. Terrified the whole thing was going very bad and almost at the same time it became incredible. I made five shots. At the last he began to smile. Done.

Then Strom Thurmond gave me a fucking key chain! He put his hand on my shoulder and drew me ever so

(After all, I had just seen him on my terms which are like love or close to it.)

As he drew me near, I felt compelled to embrace him but held back. With the other hand, he gives me this fucking key chain and I can still hear the cellophane wrapper on it and I was so thrilled. What if I hadn’t gotten my key chain. What a letdown that would have been!

The thought also came – as he drew me near, was he going to fall over — he is 85 years old. Was he steadying himself?


Judith Joy Ross was born in Pennsylvania, in 1946. She lives and works in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Since the early 1980s she has dedicated her work to the medium of photographic portraiture. Her books include CONTEMPORARIES (1995), PORTRAITS (1996), PORTRAITS OF THE HAZLETON PUBLIC SCHOOLS (2006) and PROTEST THE WAR (2007). Her photographs are included in numerous institutional collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Addison Gallery of American Art; Allentown Art Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Die Photographische Sammlung, Cologne; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; among others.


Sunday, December 30th, 2018

I have suffered from amnesia for a long time. Perhaps for ever. For as long as I can remember. I don’t usually remember anything. Or very little. I have often wondered why and how I am the person I have become. A ridiculous question I can never answer. Flipping through an old family album the other day, I happened upon these two photos that have always been there, that I’ve seen time and again since I was little. This man was decapitating people and burying their heads under a church. I used to live in Togo. Nobody ever explained these pictures to me. I’m not sure I ever even asked myself about them. It was thus. It was this man, near my home. It was me. I could have been him. I could have been this head. Perhaps I grew up without my head, or with my head in someone else’s hands. I know this picture is part of me, my constitution, my past and future. But I don’t know how. I will never know. Just as I’ll never know if the policemen made the body longer than it was. Or the head bigger. Or if they forgot to measure the head.

This morning I wrote to my mother:

“Who was this man? Why is he in our family photo album, among the pictures of my childhood?”

She replied by email two hours later:

“He had just beheaded a pregnant woman, and was looking for others to kill… It seems that someone told him that the more people he killed, the richer he would become! You can clearly see it’s not a woman’s head, he was executed on the beach, after photos were taken and measurements made of the remains of the body.
What’s the point of that? I guess the cops didn’t have a lot to do.”

Véréna Paravel was born in 1971, in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Paravel is a filmmaker, artist and anthropologist. Her works include the short videos 7 QUEENS (2008) and INTERFACE SERIES (2009–2010), the feature FOREIGN PARTS (2010) and, with Lucien Castaing-Taylor, LEVIATHAN (2012) and her latest film CANIBA(2017), both produced as part of Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab.


Monday, September 24th, 2018

— Sifting through hundreds of pages of my mom’s writings about working in the shipyards in the San Francisco Bay Area from the mid-1970’s to the early 1990’s—with the intent of finally making a book from her notes—I found these photos of her with some of her students, after she’d left the yards to become a teacher. At the end of fifteen grueling years working in the shipyards as an electrician, one of only a handful of women, she took out a loan, went back to school and got a teaching credential to teach English as a Second Language to immigrants, mostly from Latin America. In the writings, fluid connections interlink workers, immigrants, women, citizens, race and class. Labor, survival, emotion and outlook cycle, making explicit the ways our very bodies let alone our thoughts and words, are shaped by the flows (and stoppages) of power.

Sandra passed away in 2015 from complications related to dementia. She left a chronicle of her extraordinary, and also ordinary life in file cabinets of photos and writings (on typed pages and in hand-written notebooks—she never owned a computer,) some of which seem meant for the world to read.

In this dangerous time now, with fascism and xenophobia on the rise, I thought I’d share these images and some of her own words toward a picture of humanity, a reminder of love and agency. The words that follow are culled from various pages, written over the course of some years, by Sandra Kahn. Photos by students. Black and white photo by Stanya Kahn, 1986.


ESL studies is teaching me that it’s worse for the
young than I thought
traveling here from Central America from Viet Nam from Hong Kong
leaving cultures, looking for gold
only to find a more subtle war bastardizing their essence.
looking for laughter and rivers
finding only dried up wells with a sprinkling of methods
that lie about relief.
how did we let the sun get so hidden?

why don’t we women just mass together and seize the White House?
turning it into a home—into a seat of humane understanding
the man’s wars with the dick on a flag post raised high have undone the planet.
to carry on becomes a huge task

Leonore, Gui-fang
Luis, Jose, Guadalupe and Enriquita
Angel, Alma and Salvadore
They all work so hard at learning English.
Nestor, Esther, Leticia, Isabel, Marina, Angelica…

Morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and a class
of adults who need to get it
in this system that doesn’t want them—immigrants/us/women
no room in the inn
where we didn’t want a room anyhow.
It’s dread and fear they say for those who don’t believe in that
fairy world of a god… one is left without pretense.
raw fucking shit.


In LA, the new Rodney King trial
In Waco with craziness and too much money spent on the fire arms/alcohol division
In Bosnia/Herzegovina, people vulcanizing each other
And Hillary Rodham spends hours delving into the corporate healthcare system and her plan will still come up light-weight. She’ll fail to recommend a single-payer, national health system. Sorely needed.
Brothers are shooting brothers.
Any health care plan whichever way it’s addressed, does not address the wounded.
Greed is in tact.
Today I signed a petition for single payer. The petition holders believed.
Not me. I said not without a revolution.

The lotto is at $51,000,000.
I would help my kids, buy them each a house, send medical supplies to Cuba
take an unoccupied S.F. building and turn it into an alternative school
paying teachers at least $40,000 a year
Set up an ESL center in S.F.
Give myself some help at organizing.

You know what kills people?
The lack of love coming in.
Community strength.

You are dynamite.
flow with that.

Got a new job now
A healthy change
A life-line of communication
Warm receptive folks, newly arrived and determined to cope

From fifteen years in the shipyards
pulling cable, hard hat, steel toes, tool belt, security badge
swaying on the gangways high above cold down below,
supplying steel with 440 volts of electricity
to now supplying the language—English.

No more whistle sounding, reverberating every single nerve
at the punch-in-clock
I walked into the shipyard
knowing that the whistle was a plot
to deafen, destroy
and mess with my morning.

Now I’m writing a proposal for a scholarship to teach
an ESL workshop on poetics
How do I tell a board of decision-makers
that I qualify for the rights of poetry?
Maybe you wanna hear the flowers of light
that were my companion at dawn
when I leathered my neck and steeled my soul
to hook up yet another ship
in the yards of San Francisco.

Maybe I should dedicate this proposal to Joe Massey
with cajun freckles and a morning smile.
We worked long hours that night.
Put lights on the scaffolding going up the rudder
of that ship in drydock 2
50 feet.
Joe was at the top.
Circled the rudder.
Grabbed the rail
It was rusty. It gave.
Joe went down, down
to the steel on the dry dock’s floor.
We tried every which way to revive
never being able to compete with the 50 foot fall.

At the funeral in Oakland,
the laborers, the riggers, the electricians, the welders…
we locked hands around some words
I don’t even remember.

That was before John Ring got crushed between the pier
and the gangway on a hurry-up job
and it was before my foreman got electrocuted
on a gamble that the
power was secured—
on the other end of that voltage.

How do I take all this paper and turn into something
that will tell you
I have the right to poetry

Stanya Kahn was born in 1968 and grew up in San Francisco. She lives in Los Angeles. Kahn is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in video with a practice that includes drawing, sound, writing, performance and sculpture/installation. Recent solo exhibitions include shows at the New Museum/NY, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Marlborough Chelsea/NY, Weiss Berlin, Cornerhouse/Manchester, UK. Kahn is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow in Film/Video. Her recent film STAND IN THE STREAM is currently on view in the Gwanju Biennial (’18) and will screen at LACMA this month. Her writings and drawings appear in multiple publications including DIE LAUGHING (2nd Cannons), MOVING IMAGE (MIT Press), IT’S COOL, I’M GOOD (Cornerhouse), and ABSTRACT VIDEO (UC Press.)


Monday, September 24th, 2018

bobby with a y. bobby with a tie.

When i met Bobby they always wore a tie. I met Bobby in 2001 and they always wore a tie. If you saw Bobby they were wearing a tie. Without question.

And a nice shirt that was made by a tailor. And pants that were also tailored. They were jeans. Tailored jeans. And very expensive trainers, as Bobby would say. Not sneakers, trainers.

Bobby is German. They grew up in a village somewhere in Germany I don’t know exactly where.

Bobby’s mom would sew the clothes they requested–even in college and grad school. Bobby would send a request and their mother would comply.

When Bobby was very young they played soccer very well on a team with mostly boys. Bobby was asked to leave the team even though they were an excellent player. From Bobby’s kitchen window there was a view of the soccer field which was tantamount to torture and added insult to injury. Bobby’s dad, noticing how sad they looked staring out from the kitchen window at the boys playing soccer, decided to buy them a ping pong table. Within a few months they were playing competitively and winning every game. They were winning in every direction. They were boarding a bus in a little uniform and were driven here and there winning every game. Bobby was just a child, traveling around Germany beating everyone at ping pong.

Bobby has very good taste and high expectations. Most of these expectations can’t really be met by Americans but Bobby forgives us. Easily. The thing is that Bobby can do most things and can make most things very well. And they try. They try to make everything very well. We don’t try to make things well. We just don’t care. Americans. We don’t care because we are used to plastic and kmart and, in general, junk. But when we see Bobby’s things we say “oh I you made that? How can i get one of those? That looks really nice”. They probably think we don’t know how to do anything. They are absolutely right. We don’t. But Bobby is good at most things. Here’s a list of things they are good at;

Personal politics

making shelves, clothes, bag, making the house nice. Picking objects for the house and clothes.

Bringing people together.


making decisions

reading–taste in books

I have a feeling making art

helping friends

I have to come back to this list later. It will be a long list.

The reason I am writing this brief description of my good friend Bobby is because I am practicing remembering something. I am practicing remembering gender non conforming pronouns. Out of respect.

Also, I enjoy remembering key things about Bobby. The gender pronoun preference isn’t the key thing about Bobby. All these other things make Bobby who they are but they are more sensitive and compassionate having had to deal with a parade of idiots who think a boy is a boy and girl is a girl.

Or waiters who want to know how you ladies are doing tonight.

Eve Fowler was born in Philadelphia, in 1964, she lives and works in Los Angeles. She graduated from of Temple University (BA, 1986) and Yale University (MFA, 1992), and organises Artist Curated Projects in Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include Participant Inc, New York; Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland; Mier Gallery, Los Angeles and Artspace, Sydney. Her work was included in SITES OF REASON: A SELECTION OF RECENT ACQUISITIONS at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in the MANIFEST DESTINY billboard project, organized by LAND in 2014. Her book ANYONE TELLING ANYTHING IS TELLING THAT THING was published by Printed Matter in 2013. Her second book, HUSTLERS, was published in 2014 by Capricious Publishing. Fowler’s work is included collections such as The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, San Fransisco; and The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC.


Monday, September 24th, 2018

Here is a selection of images that I have been collecting on eBay to inspire future work.

Cheryl Donegan was born in 1962 in New Haven, Connecticut. She received her B.F.A. in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and an M.F.A. at Hunter College in New York. She was an artist-in-residence at ART/OMI, and Banff Center for Fine Arts, Alberta, Canada. Her videos have been exhibited internationally in museums, galleries, and festivals including, in New York, at NYC 1993: EXPERIMENTAL JET SET, TRASH AND NO STAR at The New Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, Guggenheim Museum Soho, White Columns, the 1995 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Film and Video Festival and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; 1993 Venice Biennale; Galerie Rizzo, Paris; the Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Donegan has had one-person shows at Nicelle Beauchene, New York; Galerie VidalCuglietta, Brussels; Hidde Van Seggelen Gallery, London; Lotta Hammer, London; Baumgartner Galleries, Washington, D.C.; Basilico Fine Arts and the Elizabeth Koury Gallery, New York; as well as solo exhibitions in Nice, Paris, Berlin, and Milan. She lives in New York.


Monday, September 24th, 2018

— While visiting Karachi for my solo exhibition titled All Divided Equally at the Canvas Gallery, I recorded a conversation between myself and a Careem driver (local transport service similar to Uber) on August 31, 2018. I booked my ride from my hotel to the Gallery where I was going to attend the opening. The video shows a screen of my phone, while we both are trying to find a way to the gallery in a city which is unfamiliar to me. He said he is completely unaware of a gallery name, and never took a passenger like me before, who is an artist. We spoke about my work and his work, I explained him the work I do as an artist and why I do it. He told me his sister drew a picture of him, that he framed and kept. He said she could have been an artist, but the family think it’s not respectful enough. I told him it is respectful, we laughed!

When we reached the gallery I invited him to the opening, he said he would come later but he never came.

Basir Mahmood was born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1985. He studied at Lahore at the Beaconhouse National University, and received a yearlong fellowship from the Academy Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany in 2011. Since 2011, his works have been widely shown, including: THE GARDEN OF EDEN, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012; III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Russia, 2012; Inaugural Show, Broad Museum, Michigan State University, 2012; Asia Pacific Triennial (APT 7) at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2012; Sharjah Biennial 11. (2013); At Intervals at Cooper Gallery Project Space, Duncan or Jordanstone College of Art & Design, 2014; Des hommes de mondes at college des bernardins, Paris, 2014; TIME OF OTHERS, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2015; Yinchuan Biennial, Yinchuan, 2016, China and Abraaj Group Art Prize Show, 2016, Dubai.


Monday, September 24th, 2018

Shot from studio wall, August 22 2018

“There is a too-much of the voice in the exterior because of the direct transition into the interior, without defenses; and there is a too-much of the voice stemming from the inside—it brings out more, and other things, than one would intend.” – Madlen Dolar

Mary Helena Clark is an artist working in film, video, and installation. Her work brings together disparate sounds and images to explore dissociation and embodiment. Using the conventions of narrative, language, and genre, her films explore shifting subjectivities and the mechanisms of sense. Her work has recently been exhibited at DOCUMENT, Chicago, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany, JOAN, Los Angeles, Kadist, San Francisco, the 2017 Whitney Biennial, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Finland, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania, and at festivals including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.


Friday, July 20th, 2018

— An ex of mine once made a snarky comment about how nostalgic I was, how my writing seemed perhaps overly preoccupied with the past in a way that glorified it. I don’t think nostalgic is quite right. I don’t long for the childhood I lived; I long for the one that could have been. One that was parallel. It’s like if I could go back to that time and have my adult self there as my guide to let me know that I made it out, then maybe I could have had more freedom to be a kid.

Recently I was given some photos of myself as a child that I had never seen before from different times in my life. Some with my parents. Some by myself. Some with other children whose names I no longer know. Some are pictures of when my parents were still together before I was two- a time I don’t remember except for blurry sensory details of tree stumps, the taste of snow peas picked from the vine, and the feel of my mother’s skirt.

These photos were in a box of my father’s things that someone else had for many years. That person died. My father got the box.

Maybe this person didn’t have to die for me to get these photos. But I won’t deny that there could be something literary in that.

Maybe there was something else that could have happened?

Maybe if my father hadn’t left the box with them in the house we all used to all live in, I’d have known more of myself in those years. But a photo from the past doesn’t mean what it does now without the context of the present.

I spent the better part of this year in therapy uncovering some of my time in that house with my father and the person who had these photos and who has now died, and the situation that led me to live with them. Somehow, it’s harder to write about them now that they are no longer here. Hard especially because they didn’t like when I had written about them before. Hard because for the past 15 years I had not been able to talk to them for reasons I do not wish to write about here. Hard because there have been many therapists and many years of trying to feel safe.

I have no desire to address the dead out of disrespect, but I’d like it to be known that I saw their pain, and all the ways they were undone by circumstance. My father reminded me when I was a child and stung by their lashing out. I held their narrative, it gave a reason for what felt unreasonable. This made it hard to lay claim to my own wounds or create a context in which to live. I felt invisible, without circumstance or context.

These photos, new to me, showed me things I had never seen.

On the back of a third-grade picture there is an inscription “with love” in my crude but careful letters.

A photo of me in a cloth diaper and white under shirt next to a wooden farm fence standing in tall golden grass and a sunflower bending above me, maybe 18 months old. An age I had treasured in my own son not long ago- while looking, he asks, “What I am doing here, Mama?”

“That’s me,” I replied, my heart warmed by the connection between our selves. And happy he sees himself in me despite everyone saying he and his dad are twins.

Another pic of my mom holding me, faded in color, magentas and warm pink hues taking over, a cigarette in one of her hand, me in the other, leaning against a car. Some of my dad in denim cutoffs holding my hand as I toddle.

My mother in jeans and mary janes and a Punk Magazine tee shirt on a motorcycle before I was born. A thumbtack hole from where my dad said he had it pinned on his wall.

Their friends in long scarves, billowing hair and sleeves, hats, denim. Faded golden pink or black and white- the stark sun shining.

My parents were just babies when they became parents. The same age as some of my students. Their brains still developing. In most all of the pictures there are adults, the child-parents posing, the real child prop like, or off to the side. I would have also made terrible decisions if I had been a parent at that age.

Who were we all before we were broken?

I tell myself there was a time, a small window, where I was just a child. And in that window, there are tea roses and nasturtium, redwood trees, foggy beaches with freezing water, naked baby dolls, acrylic knits from my grandmother and long homemade skirts, polyester pants form the goodwill, sensible shoes, red rubber boots, a mother with braids who baked bread, too soft fruit and my face sticky with jam. There are times when the sunlight was warm and would stream in through the window and I would go underneath a pink and white bedspread while napping in my underwear and see a quiet warm and rosy place.

But that space was a safe one that I found when I was old enough to already know that my body felt unsafe and full of worry outside of that blanket.

There is also a time, when I was eleven, that I was more than just my circumstance or context. I can see it in my face in these discovered photos of me in oversized 80s tee shirts, playing dress up in a blue gown, a towel after exiting a pool. My school picture from that year, in a green and black plaid flannel buttoned all the way up, bangs covering my eyebrows. The photos showing me that I was there all along, even if no one else saw me. It has been hard going, talking about this time in particular with this newish therapist. Times it’s taken me down onto the carpeted floor in his office. Times where I had to grip his hand tightly until I was back in my present body and sit in a ball in the next room while he saw another client until I was able to stand, walk, drive, then pick up my own child and mother.

Context and circumstance is not something I can dip easily back into. The time and place in that house where the photos were left was something I never wanted to return to. I spent years there waiting for something better to come.

And now here I am. 44. A mother of a five-year-old. A professor. Across the country from California where I began and grew up. In Rhode Island in a house I own with my husband. We have a garden that only grows small stunted vegetables and wild perennials that the previous owner planted and I appreciate. I write things that I try to finish. This over simplifies the present of course.

I’m afraid of dying all the time.

I want to be here.

I wonder if it’s possible that I am old enough or conscious enough so that my child won’t have to hold my circumstance or my traumatic experiences. I hope that I am not so undone that he will be free of having to understand the root of my pain. I’m hoping to get there. To give him the freedom my body mourns.

These pictures, the ones that allowed me to see myself, well I couldn’t find them for a couple weeks. I searched the house and they seemed to have disappeared, which somehow made sense and seemed to be part of writing this.

And then I found them and put them in an envelope, not looking at them again until I was finished writing.

Knowing that while remembering my brain will make up a new part each time with or without the photos. Memory is unreliable, but our bodies keep accurate records. The memory my body holds is more trustworthy than the pictures my brain creates and the stories that go along with them.

When I looked at the photographs, the first time, I could see me. A connection between the past and the present. One that I couldn’t quite see before because she, that child me, was stuck in that time and place, locked into her circumstance. And for reasons, having to do with time and space today, maybe she’s not now. Maybe she’s a little more free.

Amra Brooks’ novella CALIFORNIA was published by Teenage Teardrops in 2008. In addition, she writes critical essays and reviews about contemporary art, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Inventory, Printeresting, Ping Pong: A Literary Journal of the Henry Miller Library, Entropy, Spin Magazine, index, the LA Weekly, The Encyclopedia Project, and many other publications. She has taught at the University of California in Santa Cruz and San Diego, Naropa University, and Muhlenberg College. Currently she lives in Providence, Rhode Island and directs the creative writing program at Stonehill College in Easton, MA where she is an associate professor. She is working on a book of creative nonfiction called BREATHING ASTEROIDS.


Friday, July 20th, 2018

— In 2008 while working on modern architecture and its ruins in the city of Beirut. I visited the Carlton Hotel’s site that was being emptied and delivered to the company that was in charge of destroying it. This iconic building by Karol Schayer, a polish architect who found refuge in the city fleeing World War II, will be turned into rubble soon. I wanted to recuperate some furniture that was also partly designed by Karol Schayer himself. I ended up doing a whole project on the place, but here are some photos that I never used and found again while going through my photographic archives. Fragments of a modernist building.

Marwa Arsanios was in born in Washington DC, in 1978, and lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. She received her MFA from University of the Arts London in 2007, and was a researcher in the Fine Art department at Jan Van Eyck Academie from 2011 to 2012. She has had solo exhibitions at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016), Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2016), Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2015), and Art in General, New York (2015). Her work was also shown at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), Home Works Forum in Beirut (2010, 2013, 2015), the New Museum, New York (2014), M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium (2013), and nGbK, Berlin (2012). Screenings of her videos have taken place at the Berlinale, Berlin (2010, 2015), e-flux storefront, New York (2009), and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011). In 2012 Arsanios was awarded the special prize of the Pinchuk Future Generation Art Prize.


Friday, July 20th, 2018

In the town of New Haven, Enugu in Eastern Nigeria, a film of red dust coats everything.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby was born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1983 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She was awarded Financial Times’ Women of the Year, 2016, alongside the Future Generation Art Prize 2017 Shortlist. Recent solo exhibitions include OBODO (COUNTRY/CITY/TOWN/ANCESTRAL VILLAGE), MOCA Mural, Los Angeles (2018), COUNTERPARTS, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2017), PREDECESSORS, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2017), PORTALS, Victoria Miro, London (2016), I REFUSE TO BE INVISIBLE, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach (2016) and THE BEAUTYFUL ONES, Art + Practice, Los Angeles (2015), staged concurrently with a solo presentation at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015).


Friday, July 20th, 2018

Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs we both born in 1979, in Switzerland and have been working together since they met in Zurich University of the Arts in 2003. Their diverse projects are evolving around photography, also involving sculpture, installation, film and book publishing. Their work has been shown internationally in many galleries and institutions, among them solo shows in Kunsthaus Aarau, MoMa PS1 NYC, Kunsthalle Mainz, Fotomuseum Winterthur, CAC Cincinnati, Swiss Institute NY, LeBal Paris and KINDL Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin. They have published several artist books, the latest being CONTINENTAL DRIFT, Edition Patrick Frey, 2017. They live and work between Slovenia, Slovakia and Berlin.


Friday, July 20th, 2018

— I grew up on rivers and lived next to a big one, the Mississippi. Rivers are one of the only places where I feel free and yet grounded other than my studio and I need to retreat to them each summer.

My family spent weekends on the TN River on a houseboat named after me, “The Laurie Ann”. It was aqua-colored like my birthstone, aquamarine (I’m standing on it in the first photo). Growing up on the water, my dad instilled in me a deep sense of conservation and reverence for nature. He taught me to fish when I was 7 first by allowing me to fish crappie (a type of sunfish) off the docks (second photo). Casting off was the next right of passage and I tangled many a line on stumps before it felt natural.

We continued spending time together on boats, as I became an adult, more preferably in the Ozarks on the White River. The bottom photo was taken at our favorite unloading spot at The White. The river is stocked with brown and rainbow trout and they must be of a certain size or you throw them back. It’s misty like that every morning until around noon, when it burns off and the fish bite less frequently. I scattered some of my fathers ashes there, two summers ago, to send some part of him back into the energetic continuum of the river. That place is like part of my connective tissue now.

The short video was filmed in Arkansas on The Little Red River last year. Clear and quiet, slow and beautiful, cold as hell.

A few quotes on rivers:

“Rivers have what man most respects and longs for in his own life and thought- a capacity for renewal and replenishment, continual energy, creativity, cleansing.” – John Kauffmann, author

“In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create but by what we refuse to destroy.” – John Sawhill

Laurie Nye was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1972 and lives in Los Angeles. She earned a BFA from the Memphis College of Art in 1995 and a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2002. Nye’s solo show’s include VENUSIAN WEATHER, The Pit, Los Angeles, CA (2018), her work has also been featured in one and two-person exhibitions such as ANDROMEDA, Five Car Garage, Los Angeles, CA (2015) and THE CRYSTAL EATERS, Statler & Waldorf Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2013). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions including Moving, Still, Monya Rowe Gallery, St Augustine, FL (2017); Filtergeist, Open House, Brooklyn, NY (2017); Flying Man Revolved, Dread Lounge, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Super Bloom, PostLA, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Forest at The Edge of Time, The Pit, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Figure it Out, The Dot Project, London, (2016); and The White Album, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA (2014). Nye is a member of the all-female collectives Witch and Chameleon and The Binder of Women. Her recent curatorial project The Airtight Garage was presented at Big Pictures, Los Angeles, CA.


Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

In fall of 2016 I collected a little water from the North Pole.

From the North Pole or near it. New rain or centuries old ice melt. This or that. Pregnant or not? Actually due to cataclysmic climate conditions it was probably from deep in the glacier or deeper than it should have been. Deeper, older. Now people keep asking me from the Kickstarter: “When can I have my water?”

“It’s been 2 years,” they say, when they write. But then we had a baby and everything got effed up. Effed up for the better, but still effed up.

Effed up is a place I have been trying to get for many years, believing that, when done right, it means you don’t have a body. A Piscean event on a 3-D plane. For a brief moment (10 months) our baby was suspended and so, once I gathered it, was the 6 ounces, divided into two 3 ounces plastic bottles, of water. For my part I was also suspended: on a snow-bedecked artist-crammed boat.

One night, as I lay against my bed board, my porthole wept foam on my head. One night my bunkmate was yelling from sleep about what violence she would do to her ex-husband. One night it was 3 am and I was talking to the Captain, who was topless in pasties and a grass skirt, about my gender. “But what I want to know is what do you FEEL, Jess!!??” he slammed his beer mug on the bar top/his chest.

“More boy,” I said. (=more comfortable for Captain, allows more body swimming for me.)

And anyway, hasn’t this all been such a FLUID experience?

Except I live in Los Angeles, land of cracked sidewalks + drought. This morning at the organic grocery store a woman refused to enter the bathroom with me, even when I assured her: “I’m a woman?”

Now the first year of our baby’s life has sped by. Still, sometimes I squander my small ration of free time on Etsy or eBay looking for the right vessel so I can finally send the water off. I want to honor it with a container that’s vintage or scientific, but not “too.” It came from a place that resists bullshit/commodification: Fjortende Julibukta glacier, near 79 degrees North.

It must have rained 5 inches just that hour. We all know THE WATER, in Tsunmai-like portions, is coming. Nowhere on Earth to put it! My best conversation of the week? “I don’t like masturbating,” I admit.

“But what about showing up for self-love?” she says back.

It’s the paralysis of email, of contact. I leave replies unsent, easy texts unreturned. Even this started fun but became burdened by its eventual sending. We parents are so tired, our spirits shaved down to nubs. Our baby Osa flicks my eyelids open. There are flecks in the bottles, salt and minerals. When I finally scooped it up, knee-deep in icy slush, I was collecting bear follicles/long stretches of personless time/Osa’s kismet-like, still-occurring entrance into all our worldly stuff.

Is an aqueous state better? Do we have to be here, to be here? Walruses, those giant porous screens, nap for a week if they want.

Jess Arndt was born in Washington State, and lives and works in Los Angeles. They received their MFA at Bard and were a 2013 Graywolf SLS Fellow and 2010 Fiction Fellow at the New York Foundation of the Arts. They have written for Fence, BOMB, Aufgabe, and the art journal Parkett, among others. They are co-founder of New Herring Press. Their debut collection of short stories, LARGE ANIMALS was published in 2017 by Catapult Press.


Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

— It is in homage to the artist Bernice Bing that I share the following photographs of parts of paintings I’ve made over the last 10 years, which no longer exist because I painted over or destroyed them.

Bernice Bing (1936-1998) was an abstract expressionist painter in the Bay Area who participated in the art world alongside people like Joan Brown, Richard Diebenkorn, Wally Hedrick, Carlos Villa, Jay de Feo. Unlike myself, she even had teachers who were of Asian descent, including the zen master painter, Saburo Hasegawa. Her ambitious work is large, gnarly and physical, but subtle and commodious, and expands upon American abstract painting, considering calligraphy, landscape, and spirituality. She was among the first residents at Esalen Institute! In the 60s and 70s she organized neighborhood art programs in Chinatown, including work with youths involved in Chinese gangs which were violent at that time. She said it was the first time she felt re-immersed in Chinese culture since her childhood, and she continued in this work into her late 40s. By all accounts, it exhausted her.

I see her work as held hostage by the needs and taste of two communities who had little awareness of or interest in each other. White authorities and artists perceived of her as an activist and “member” of the Chinese community, a group whose specific cultural commitments, in turn, forced her to neglect her own work at crucial periods. She was left out of larger conversations about painting, while those who knew her hallowly recount her commitment to painting, her courage, her complexity.

In thinking about the photographs I had taken of paintings now “lost,” I’ve been reflecting on the labor that goes into painting… material processes, creative phases, decision making, as well as all the surrounding activities in life that are needed to support the work of painting. Also on a larger scale, the networks of people and communities that contribute to the production of painting. These photographs represent the temporal flux of working in the studio over the years. As I reflect on my process and ways to move ahead in my work, it makes me think about Bernice Bing, and how historical, social and economic conditions (and her reactions to them) have shaped her legacy. What evaporated off, and what was distilled?

Jamie Chan was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1984. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn. She attended Bard College and before that UCLA. Her work adopts the allegorical spaces of Renaissance painting, plumbing art history with an inverted telescope.


Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

— Here below a few scattered notes I wrote in Bangalore (India), where I was filming the very first rushes of Beyond the One. It was Autumn 2014. Seems so long ago.

# A filtered coffee, blue walls and men only. The town all around. (I had no way to control where the rickshaw was driving me on the way here). How to compose my camera in this vast dimension? How to compose this vast dimension through the camera? Not psychology nor sociology nor “representation” of India. Only these close and closest things. I can only work there where I happen to live (for a while long enough). Now, in Malleswaram.

# Filming for the first time out of Europe. Why would I be allowed to hold a camera here? Jean Rouch went to Mozambico, gave cameras to young people and encouraged them to invent each one’s cinema, each one’s reality. (Was I allowed to film in France having grown up in Italy, or in Abruzzo having grown up in Padova? Identities blurring at every corner. Was I allowed to film with people I don’t share the same addictions with? With my own friends and family being other than me? No chance not to end up being “nombriliste” at this rate). I take the risk. Humani nihil a me alienum puto. I care so I can perhaps live and film through all these differences. The film can perhaps create something that breaks through the existing ones and becomes pertinent to them all.

# Nor individualistic nor holistic: substance as multitude. But in this multitude, the very same mechanism that creates social solidarity also supports the explosive spread of violence. How to include these emotions and transform them? So tiring and yet! “Someone has to clean up”, as the poem of W. Szymborska goes. Someone has to reinvent bridges. To take care of feeding. Microscopically, tenaciously. No absence of conflict is possible nor violence for ideal purposes is wished, but constant negotiations. “Photogenic it’s not, and takes years. All the cameras have left, for another war”.

# I get barefoot in the middle of the street. For 20 rupees I leave my shoes to the shoes-keeper nearby. 20 mt on the public pavement and I enter the Sai Baba temple in Sampige Road. Anu says: basically be humble. We wash our feet and hands. We walk around the Sai Baba’s statue one time. When you turn around the God you are much closer to him than standing in front of it. The impossibility of a direct sight/contact. (The direct defeat of Icarus). The need of a medium, like a circle or a mirror. (The indirect victory of Perseus on Medusa). Turning around. Aesthetically fascinated by the temple’s structure and rituals. I seat among other people on the floor. Their deferent expression breaks my amazement. The radical example of one man turned not into a source of singular inspiration but into a system. At the same time, how I can deeply understand this need. See Gregory Bateson’s pages on the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous and the necessity of abandoning the idea of individual strength to overcome the addiction. The myth of autonomy is indeed broken.

# Since I left Italy, I’ve been living in different places, being a foreigner in all other languages I attempted to speak. It was painful and lucky to unlearn the idea of a perfect language, to peel off its power. Still my amazement towards words remains intact. Which way out then? I tried to compose a film through the others’ languages. I tried to break the self by composing with the others’ words.

# Not metaphors but contiguity.

# The fact is holding a camera in our hands does not give us any extra right than without it, in spite of many harmful examples. So the word “love” does not give us any extra right on the people we call companions.

# Not to smoke in public! Not to kiss in public! Not to eat in public while walking! Not to drink alcohol in the streets! Finally the owner of the alcohol shop around the corner murmurs hello when I go get myself some whisky. He wraps the small bottles in black plastic bags.

Anna Marziano was born in 1982, in Italy. She has been based in Berlin since 2012. Her films have been screened internationally as festivals such as, Toronto International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Torino International Film Festival, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, MediaCity Film Festival Detroit, FRAC.


Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

— That summer is fuzzy. I was a feral adolescent nobody who clowned around with fireworks and puked in ditches. Between ODing on repeated viewings of the horror movies I read about as a milk-toothed vampire and nocturnal excursions with my dog where he’d devour abandoned McDonalds meals through decaying paper bags, I decided to bring the two joys together in a cute mutant creature. The horror dog was born: the diagram of a prank; goth knowledge applied to flesh and bone.

You can get hyperreal mutt anatomy drawings or creepy virtual hounds flayed to show off their liver and heart but I liked this one with the fangs best: an alien cover version of a dog. He’s a Lewis Carroll rabbit hole (trap door?) leading to witchy ballerinas, Ghostwatch and Freddy Krueger. I was really into Carroll’s world distortion trick of reciting knowledge which is wrong but wrong in a weirdly logical way. ‘Tony’ being the mouth was meant to echo the sepulchral croak of Danny’s imaginary friend in The Shining; ‘Coil’ being the dick summoned ghouls from Hellraiser. The dog’s tail is the Renfield, natürlich, freaking out at the master’s presence. R.I.P. Heather O’ Rourke.

But he’s also encrypted with sadness. I just deleted a big fade-out thing about this picture, Zero from A Nightmare Before Christmas, and the void between what is alive and what is tragically not. My childhood dog, the horror hound’s 3D brother, is dead. I dream about him a lot. His ghost still barks.

Charlie Fox was born in 1991, he lives in London. His work has appeared in many publications including frieze, Cabinet, Sight & Sound, ArtReview, The Wire and The White Review. His book of essays, THIS YOUNG MONSTER, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2017.


Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Safe Travels, 2017, courtesy the artist and Jhaveri Contemporary

Shambhavi Kaul has exhibited her work worldwide at such venues as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlinale, The New York Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Edinburgh International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, and Experimenta Bangalore. Her work was featured in the 10th Shanghai Biennale, and she has presented two solo shows at Jhaveri Contemporary in Mumbai. She was born in Jodhpur India, and lives in the United States where she teaches at Duke University.


Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

— There’s an owl outside, 3 AM, talking to another owl. I imagine the nature of their commentary but I bet I’m wrong.

My mom lost her wedding ring again. Her house is complicated by an abundance of stuff. “I know I shouldn’t be so attached to objects,” she says, then, “Can you look in your house? Maybe I left it at your house.” She asks my dad to help her find it also. He’s dead but she finds the ring soon after, in a coin purse under a bag of hangers in the hall. “I have no idea how it got there.”

03l 04r
03l 04r

My daughters ask, “Where’s your dad?”
“He’s a cardinal.”
“A bird?”
Later one daughter explains it to a friend. “Our grandpa got the germs from smoking cigarettes. Now he’s a bird.”
It isn’t quite the lesson I intended, but it’ll do. Plus, it avoids mention of his unwashed socks and hairbrush I keep around for company, or inspiration, I guess.

The day I got engaged I stopped in the woods to pee by a pine tree. Under the boughs, someone had stashed treasure: two tiny pistols and a fake gold bracelet. The joy of the day had me temporarily, morally confused and full of myself. I stole the treasure. I’m confounded by my behavior. I hate guns. My friend Patchen was murdered with a gun at twenty-six, and when I work at my daughters’ school store I spend those mornings surrounded by five-, six-, seven-year-olds in the bright open foyer, wondering, when is the man with the gun going to arrive? When is the man with the gun going to arrive?

But I took the loot, the small pistols from under the tree. Miniatures are concentrated divinity, bouillon cubes, and there they were like an offering, a marriage present, or a tunnel back to other treasures I’d lost underneath other trees on other happy days.

My mother bought me six green lemonade glasses for my doll house. I swallowed three of them, tantalizing capsules, wanting their smallness and beauty inside. The tiny hats my grandma Norma Stallings Nolan Santangelo made for me, while similarly irresistible, made a less appetizing meal. The hats remain, the glasses only partially.

03l 04r

Objects are a problem. If I return the little guns now, my marriage might falter as I’m unsure of the magic they work.

Objects are a problem because they hold the dead. After my dad died I ate his half finished doughnut. I didn’t want to make a monument of his last breakfast treat, carrying an ancient piece of cake with me until it turned to dust. I know me. I have a clear vision of the jangly old woman I’ll become, wheeling my cart full of odd objects through life.
“How much for the bag of hangers, old woman?”
“They’re not for sale.”
“Well, what about that half-eaten donut?”

I inherited my neighbor’s end table, full-size. Both her sons were already gone: Vietnam, liver cancer, so I got a lot of her stuff. I found a disposable camera in one of the table’s drawers. When I sent the film out for processing, I won’t lie, I was hoping for a path back to the dead. Dori, Lindy, Randy. Time had really turned up the violet, blue and green in the film. Every image was of her peach tree laden with fruit.

I shouldn’t be so attached to objects either, and I’d like to return all the treasure I’ve stolen but those pistols are hard to decipher. Tiny and powerful. I don’t want to make a mistake with meaning or fortune. They grew that tree from a pit, a stone. And everyone keeps on dying, leaving stuff behind, objects I can’t get rid of because how else will the dead talk to me when birds can be so difficult to understand.

Samantha Hunt was born in 1971, in Pound Ridge, New York. She lives in upstate New York. Her novel about Nikola Tesla, THE INVENTION OF EVERYTHING ELSE, was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her first novel, THE SEAS, earned her selection as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 that year. Her novel, MR. SPLITFOOT, was an IndieNext Pick. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, Tin House, A Public Space, and many others. Her collection of short stories, THE DARK DARK, was published by FSG Originals in 2017.


Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

For my entry I put together a collection of some of the autographs my husband/bandmate Ira and I have acquired over the years, separately and together. In order of acquisition:

This is Ira’s playbill and his story… but it’s my entry so I’ll tell it. He and his brother Neil went to see Sammy Davis Jr. live in the 70s, at a theater in the round, meaning performers had to come down an aisle through the audience to get on stage. When Neil realized they were sitting near Sammy’s aisle he pounced, climbing over a bunch of old ladies in order to shake Sammy’s hand like a true fanatic. After the show they each got autographs by sending their programs backstage. Someone else (Neil perhaps) wrote “To Ira” on the top, but the rest is authentic.

When I was about 20 years old I was taken with Ian Whitcomb for some reason. He had a couple of hits in the mid 60s with the catchy novelties “You Turn Me On” and “N-E-R-V-O-U-S!” He also produced Mae West’s pretty nutty pop album. Okay, that record’s kind of great, so maybe that’s why I wrote him a fan letter. He sent me some of his books about ragtime along with this card.

The only reason I own this (and apparently kept it for 30-plus years) is because it came inside the album by the band Monitor that I bought at a show of theirs in LA in 1981 or 82. Not original. The autograph, I mean. The band Monitor on the other hand, very original.

A friend found himself in Jack Riley’s presence and requested his autograph which he scrawled on the back of a call sheet. Jack Riley played Mr. Carlin on The Bob Newhart show for those who aren’t MeTV devotees. As you can see Mr. Carlin felt compelled to identify himself and make sure the recipient (Ira) knew why he was given this autograph.

A gift from Ira’s brother Adam.

I have no need for more autographs now that I have these. I asked both June and Johnny to sign my (now retired) snare drum when our band was lucky enough to open for them in 1994. The two of them each voiced their concern over blemishing the drum.

Chow Yun-Fat in The Killer, signed by JOHN WOO. A gift from another John Woo fan.

Ira and I had a connection to Maxwell’s in Hoboken where Bruce Springsteen’s video for “Glory Days” was shot. But it was Jim Turner, on the production crew, who arranged for us to be extras. My friend Tara taped the video on her vcr and was able to freeze the half-second I appear on screen to take this picture—that’s me behind Steve the cook (possibly the original Maxwell burger king) not throwing my fist in the air as directed. Many years later we persuaded a reluctant Roger Moutenot, our record producer and Springsteen/Scialfa insider, to get it autographed by Bruce at the Meadowlands concert he had backstage passes to. As an unassuming and soft-spoken type of guy Roger really did not want to do it, but we put the squeeze on him. Since he had to cut out of our mixing session in Times Square early, seemed only fair to make him squirm briefly. Despite not needing more autographs I am very happy to have this one. Come to think of it, I’d be thrilled to get our 5 Neat Guys 8×10 signed someday.

We bought a couple of Robert Quine’s guitars from Carmine Street Guitars after he died. A few years later our pal Gil had reason to disconnect the neck from the body which revealed his signature.

A few notable omissions…

In the I couldn’t find department:
Somewhere we have a still from Billy Liar that a film editor friend asked her to sign for us, and I believe she spelled YO LA TENGO correctly.

This may be the first autograph I got. I remember being terrified approaching him at Forest Hills when I was 11. My brother Ray put me up to it. As a knowledgeable sports fan he knew something of tennis stars and their reputations. This one’s probably nice, this other one has a temper…that sort of thing.

In the I forgot to include department:
Our label-mate Liz Phair was performing on David Letterman in the 90s and Albert Brooks was also on the show that night. We asked Spencer, the Matador publicist at the time, to get him to sign Ira’s three copies of his two albums. He signed the shrink wrap on one, the protective plastic on another and actually managed to make direct contact with the third record cover.

Georgia Hubley was born in 1960, in New York. She is an American percussionist, vocalist, and visual artist. She is one of the two founding members of Yo La Tengo.


Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Retrieved in 2018 from a box saying “flowers from Lindsey’s funeral, 1994”

Jodie Mack was born in 1983; in London, UK. She is an experimental animator. Mack’s 16mm films have screened at a variety of venues including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Images Festival, Projections at the New York Film Festival, and the Viennale. She has presented solo programs at the 25FPS Festival, Anthology Film Archives, BFI London Film Festival, Harvard Film Archive, National Gallery of Art, REDCAT, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, and Wexner Center for the Arts among others. Her work has been featured in publications including Artforum, Cinema Scope, The New York Times, and Senses of Cinema. Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 2014 “25 New Faces to Watch” and one of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ YBCA 100 in 2015, she is an Associate Professor of Animation at Dartmouth College. She is a 2017/18 Film Study Center Fellow and Roberta and David Logie Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.


Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

— For my first solo show in 2007 I presented a video comprised of short unedited scenes shot in Japan and the US. It was titled, very straightforwardly, here and there, though it wasn’t always apparent what was where. It was shot before iPhones and Instagram were around, on a bulky prosumer canon camera I would carry around with me everywhere. And at the time I had all sorts of problems figuring out how to contextualize it; was it a narrative video, was it chance documentary, how did it relate to still photography, was it exotic or cliche or mundane, how was it to be presented, blah blah blah… people questioned its intentions as it seemed to fall somewhere between casual happenstance and possible orchestration. I remember a very good artist telling me I should re-stage all the scenes to make it more purposeful, he told me it was effective to use a tripod for a more stable image. Footnote, I intentionally shot everything handheld. Then when iPhones made making this kind of videos so much easier, I found it harder to remember to video things… maybe I started to feel that I didn’t need to record things anymore because everyone else was doing it for me. I turned to making other things that explored ideas of slippage. Recently, I realized I’ve accumulated almost enough footage for a second iteration of here and there, but maybe it’s more like now and then. Things are shifting again… when I’m between Japan and NYC, day is night and night is day. Also, as I return again and again to the same places, I feel like I’m seeing them simultaneously as they once were and as they are now. Time is floating. Where clocks were once important objects, now the next generation has no need for clocks… I almost never see someone under the age of 45 wearing a watch. It’s a good time to get into clock collecting.

Anne Eastman was born in San Francisco in 1973 and raised in Singapore and Tokyo, Japan. She currently lives and work Brooklyn, NY. She received her BA in Cultural Anthropology from Smith College and her MFA in Sculpture from Yale School of Art. Past shows include a two-person exhibition with Steven Pippin at Green Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a two-person exhibition with Tatiana Kronberg at Essex Flowers, solo exhibitions at ATM Gallery in New York, Galerie Lisa Ruyter in Vienna, Austria, Groeflin Maag Gallery in Basel and Zurich, Switzerland, and group exhibitions at numerous galleries in the US and Internationally.


Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

— He said to listen to the environment. The he being the master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, all of us leaned forward in unison on creaking seats and clung to every word that he spoke. I tried desperately to jot down bits and pieces, to grasp hold of his words even in the near dark of the auditorium.

In less than six months’ time, the words that issued from his lips would take on a fleeting, smoky quality, and our beloved mentor Abbas would be dead. And yet the time spent in San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba, doesn’t make me feel that such words should be just so ephemeral.

Even today, talking to the workshop’s other forty-nine participants whom I now called dear friends, catching up on the phone, bumping into another on a NYC street corner, we all play the part of detective. An array of anecdotes and lessons had burrowed into us all, accompanied us to our homes, our beds, our respective countries, absorbed in blood to mull over, dream, ponder, and process. All tenuous. All fragments. For me, it was when Abbas said: “Do not dictate the story to your environment. Let your environment speak to you. Let it tell you the story. It will be more real, more authentic, more genuine.”

My notebook from the near dark of that auditorium shows the violent scrawls of a hand impassioned. Possessed.

Words were important here.

After all, it was no coincidence that the film school hosting our ten day workshop, the Escuela Internacionales de Cine y Tv (EICTV), was founded by the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez—-a friend of Abbas and apparently a devoted cinephile. Words themselves adorned the school walls, parting messages spray-painted by all the mentors who had come and gone, the Coppolas, the Jarmuschs, the Hupperts. The words surrounded us daily as we stumbled to the cafeteria for coffee at dawn, haggard and bleary-eyed, as we raced the halls to beat the light to get that last shot.

There was no cell reception for us. No texting. So we left notes for another. We learned to use our hands again. We slipped them under doors, wedged between jamb and rusty knob, entrusted the words themselves to be passed to a friend when we could not find pencil and paper. Our own little oral histories.

I remember having to pitch my idea to a stranger, a beautiful middle-aged woman, with the hopes that she would be the lead in my film. I had no idea who she was. Or if she was even talented. We had simply to trust one another. The only problem was that I couldn’t speak Spanish.

Thankfully, my producer Cameron Bruce Nelson could.

He graciously mimicked my energy, retained my inflection as I hit the main story beats. And yet her eyes remained locked on me, never straying from my face, staring at me through the swirling steam of complimentary school coffee. Cameron gesticulated wildly, ever the earnest translator, even as her face remained stoic and cold. Impenetrable. Then the story was suddenly over. For a moment, I knew we had failed. Either she had not understood, or she simply wasn’t interested. Her face had not changed.

She gingerly leaned forward, and then with both hands, took me by the face and kissed me softly, tenderly on the lips. She leaned back, my face still in her hands, and gazed at me with tears welling in her eyes. Then she spoke aloud for the first time that whole pitch. A pause.

“She said she’ll do it,” Cameron mumbled.

My film Casa De Mi Madre is about the very nature of words. Of storytelling and its consequences. A woman bribes a small boy, new to the neighborhood, to come into her apartment so that she can tell him all the things she wished she could’ve said to her son before he perished in a fire.

The film hinges on a single, unbroken shot of the woman using this bewildered child as a surrogate—her emotions swinging in grief from anger to sorrow. And much like the boy who is a conduit for the woman’s dead son, Ms. Carmen Rodriguez —the enthusiastic and talented actress from Havana —was the conduit for my story that night. Her performance was tremendous, and I will forever be grateful for her vulnerability and courage.

I gave her my heart on paper. In turn, she gave me her heart onscreen.

Words were translated from English to Spanish and back, all through the night. It became as much a film about struggling to find the right words in grief as it was a film about a group of sweaty people all trying to effectively communicate within a small, cramped apartment. There is the old saying from Godard that every fictional film is a documentary of its actors. Rivette later expanded the aphorism, saying every film is a documentary of its own making. This is exactly what the film is to me.

03l 04r

The child who appears in our film—Christian Jaime—wasn’t an actor. He was a local boy with a trademark grin who’d frequently shadow the filmmakers through the neighborhood, often offering to help carry sound gear or camera equipment. I gathered by the end of the shoot that we might’ve rubbed off on him because you’d be hard pressed not to find him off in a corner, looking through one of our cameras. And when you’d try to pry it out of his curious little hands, he’d usually spin the camera around and begin directing us himself.

He would always speak to me in a hushed tone that was quietly conversational, even conspiratorial, as if we were old friends. Always posing questions he knew that I couldn’t answer in Spanish. And yet we talked regardless. In two separate languages. Still connecting. I think he knew I liked it.

There was a moment when I was describing the bribe the woman uses to lure the oblivious child to her living room. In my script, the bribe was money. Carmen and our tireless on-set translator Yaite Luque immediately glanced at one another and broke into knowing laughter. I was baffled. Carmen gently explained to me that it was a very American thing to use as a bribe — money. I asked them what they thought a good replacement might be. And their suggestion was something far more haunting and innocent than a few wrinkled bills could’ve ever been.

One of the last shots of the film is of an abandoned chocolate ice cream, melting languidly across the tabletop as we hear the offscreen weeping of a lonely mother.

Abbas said to listen to the environment. So I learned to listen.

And I’m still listening.

Frank Mosley is an actor and filmmaker from Texas. He has participated in the 2015 Berlinale Talents, 2017 NYFF Artist Academy, and Black Factory Cinema’s 2016 Auteur Workshop, led by the late Abbas Kiarostami in San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba. His performances have been seen at Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, New Directors/New Films, AFI, Viennale, BAMcinemafest, Slamdance, and much of his directing work has been exhibited on Fandor, MUBI, and Filmmaker Magazine. He’s been called “a superb actor and filmmaker” (, “an indie hard-hitter” (The Playlist), and “the sort of experimentalist we don’t see often enough” (Keyframe).


Saturday, November 4th, 2017

— Life plus 30 years is the sentence for this boy at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, California. I took his picture while working for The California Sunday Magazine a few years ago. Although I have portraits that show his face the magazine was afraid to publish them because they did not have parental consent. At 16, he was considered old enough to be tried as an adult for murder but not old enough to give permission to have his picture taken.

Stefan Ruiz was born in 1966, in San Francisco. He studied painting and sculpture at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Accademia di Belle Arti, Venice, before turning to photography. He has taught art at San Quentin State Prison and was the creative director for Colors magazine from 2003 to 2004. His work has appeared in magazines including the New York Times Magazine, Details, L’Uomo Vogue and Rolling Stone. His photographs have been exhibited at the Photographers’ Gallery, London; Photo España, Madrid; Les Rencontres d’Arles, France; New York Photo Festival; Havana Biennial; and the Contact Photography Festival, Toronto. In 2012, Aperture published his monograph, The Factory of Dreams, a book on Mexican soap operas.


Saturday, November 4th, 2017
01.04.2016 7:57 a.m.

having a huge round window in my working space +
getting a sheep or two ++
55 kg +++
having my nails always painted beautifully +++
going to a volcano +, +++++
having the time to read for weeks. only reading +++++
feel the freedom to start painting ++++, +++++
be a little bit more social ++++
having a Saluki dog ++
having more light entering my apartment +, ++++++
doing more photography ++++, +++++
having my old Mercedes back +
be more interested in digital techniques ++++++
having my teeth repaired +
living for some time in an old house in Sicily +, +++++
speak French ++, +++, ++++++

+ financially impossible
++ tried before and failed
+++ i am too inconsistent
++++ unclear, hidden in a mist
+++++ time is the devil
++++++ impossible

Antoinette Zwirchmayr born 1989 in Salzburg, Austria. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Her works have been featured in festivals including International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (D) Indielisboa (P), Toronto International Film Festival (CND), Media City Film Festival (CND), New Horizons Film Festival (PL), CPH: DOX (DK), Ann Arbor Film Festival (USA), FID Marseille (F). She has been awarded with the Start-Up Grant for Young Film Artists (Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria 2017), Annual grant for photography (Land Salzburg 2017), Simon S. Filmaward (2016), Kodak Cinematic Vision Award (Ann Arbor Film Festival 2016), Best Innovative Film Award, Diagonale – Festival of Austrian Film (2016), Annual grant for film (Land Salzburg 2014), Best short documentary Award – Diagonale, Festival of Austrian Film (2014), Sponsorship Award (Salzburger Kunstverein 2014), Birgit-Jürgenssen-Award (2013).


Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Teresa Burga (born 1935 in Iquitos, Peru; lives and works in Lima) is a pioneer of multimedia and conceptual art in Peru. She studied in Lima before attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a Fulbright scholar. Recent solo shows include TERESA BURGA, Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin (2015); TERESA BURGA: AIR STRUCTURES, MALBA, Buenos Aires (2015); and PROFILE OF THE PERUVIAN WOMAN (1980-1981), Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City (2014). Significant group exhibitions include THE WORLD GOES POP, Tate Modern, London (2015); and WOMAN: THE FEMINIST AVANT-GARDE FROM THE 1970S, WORKS FROM THE SAMMLUNG VERBUND, VIENNA, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (2014). Her work was featured in ALL THE WORLD’S FUTURES at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). Burga was included in the group show PUDDLE, POTHOLE, PORTAL at SculptureCenter, Long Island City in 2014-15.


Saturday, November 4th, 2017

— A dedication to a much missed friend, confidant and mentor, the late, great Trinidadian artist, musician and poet, Emheyo Bahabba, aka Embah,(1937-2015). The clip is a grainy record of an impromptu performance he gave me in his studio in Port of Spain in 2005, demonstrating his old school Sailor Mas dance moves. The photo offers more detail…Cuss Stud.

He was free flowing with advice and instructions, one in particular on the subject of making work, I recall daily… “Invade Your Own Privacy”.

Lisa Brice was born in 1968 in Cape Town and lives and works in London, also spending time regularly in Trinidad following a residency in 2000. Solo exhibitions include: Lisa Brice, Stephen Friedman, London, UK ( 2017),‘Well Worn’, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2015); ‘Cut Your Coat’, French Rivera, London, UK (2014). Group exhibitions include: ‘La Diablesse’ Curated by Simone Kennedy Doig, Tramps, London, UK‘ (2017),‘Making and Unmaking’ curated by Duro Olowu, at Camden Arts Centre, London, UK ( 2016) ‘Home Truths: Domestic Interior in South African Collections’ curated by Michael Godby, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (2016),‘Puppet Show’, curated by Tom Bloor and Celine Condorelli, Gavle Konstcentrum, Kultur & Fritid Gavle, Sweden, toured to Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK (2014).


Saturday, November 4th, 2017

— Water-logged cherries sat dripping on the side table. I brought you a new pack of cigarettes from your room, peeling the cellophane off the top. After you lit up I laid back down on the couch thinking about that smell wondering if I’d ever smoke.

Under the palm trees, through and around the fronds scattered in our back yard I went over the route we laid out. You – under the awning drinking ice water or ice tea, I can’t remember – hitting pause on the tape player to tell me I’m off beat and off time and the first push up hasn’t even come yet. I couldn’t hear the down beat then, and I can’t now, but when I listen for that thud thwack thud thwack, yours is always the first voice on the up and up that tells me when I should be. Rewound tape begins again – counting, pausing, playing, aching – imagining when I would learn how to become someone new.

Canadian television at eleven AM set the tone for years after that first season, maybe the fourth, when we found our story. The serialized show from a reservation above the arctic circle gave me perspective with what we were doing in the desert. You and I in our living room, teaching me how to war dance like you learned from watching the old men and how you taught my brother and my mother. Thick dry heat suffocated us in a good way when we stepped outside, but for the most part swamp coolers and the broad slated blinds pointed upwards gave the living room a cool blue hue in the morning sun. The windows faced north – I never thought of that before.

At the airport my Aunty TeeTee, me, and my sister waited in the parking lot listening to a Yellow Jacket buzz on the radio. TeeTee told us stories of her time sweating away the pain of others. She was closer to god than I’ll ever be; a sacred cough too holy for those tubes of oxygen to contain. I often wonder if I regret that I only knew her when she was ill.

The Umatilla Studs sang a song you loved and so did I. That song was our victory song – an end song. Positively pounding as an intertribal that didn’t sound like an old song. Maybe it came from someone like my dad, Mike, who you’d tell me stories of between sessions, when I was sweaty and tired, laying on the floor breathing to the ceiling imaging the cottage cheese bumps were inverted mountain ranges of a great white country I was too large to traverse discretely. I thought of those years before in TeeTee’s apartment in Ferndale Square a long time ago last night with her and my sister watching VHS tapes of recorded television shows and movies pilfered with static. We’d take turns finding balance in the vertical hold.

I’d often wonder where I was. Insects scurrying next to my sleeping baby brother. We’d been in the desert for about six months and I began to realize what I was missing out on. Leaving my home under the cold gray blanket of the Pacific Northwest to live beneath the bright blue skies of the desert where lights shone on everything I knew I couldn’t be. I failed at being present and my presentation was beginning to fail. A thirteen-year-old in a new place full of groups of histories that spanned eight years or more. Quite a length of time when you’re an adolescent. The cockroach, its carapace crackling and collapsing under the weight of pressed toilet paper, stained brown red grey – seeping onto both the wall and my finger. I cried when I knew that I wasn’t going home again. Not heavy heaving sobs, but quiet gasps withholding tears in a way I imagined would make Mike proud. The person I’d been becoming wasn’t going to grow into the person I’d eventually be. It’s hard to describe such a sadness – where any small joy felt so fragile and tenuous that I’d hold on to and repeat whatever action or sentiment that brought about such plain and easy emotions. That was some time before we started to dance.

The joys present in a day or an evening are such because they are about the moment. Where everything else falls away and you’re allowed to be the person you’re supposed to be, or that’s what I’d tell myself.

As my world became smaller, my friends from the old town stopped writing. Maybe I stopped writing them. I was afraid of the new town and would go once a week to an independent study center. I had homework and presentations to give and you were my teacher. Yet I was still alone and my sadness grew with my body.

Two hundred and seventy is what the scale said that morning I stepped on it. It was in my mom and step-dad’s bathroom and it was a while since I looked. Size was always made important to me – earlier signs of this obsession popped up when I was still in grade school. I was never small and slight like my white classmates, nor short, and of a different kind of stock than my Native friends from the Northwest tribe in the town I grew up in. My tribe was from the woodlands of the Midwest. I latched onto that term – the Woodlands – as a way to enchant myself with a mystical idea of bodily self-hood that would explain everything about where I belonged. I was always bigger, and that largess of physicality grew when I became depressed, before I knew that none of that mattered. That’s about when we began to swim.

I can’t remember when I learned that you were a swimmer, but stories of Adak island on the outer reaches of the Aleutian Chain scuba diving and disc jockeying filled me with hope. You sat on a chair under an umbrella by the side of the pool and counted laps and taught me better form. It was a small kidney shaped pool but large enough for an obese boy of fourteen to get winded and feel accomplished. That’s about when we started to dance.

I felt at ease on those long drives to the mountain pass at the edge of the valley. Staring out the window listening to the hum of the wheel rolling along the road from our home to the Morongo Indian Health Services clinic. You, my mom, and my step-dad knew what you couldn’t do, and agreed that I needed someone to talk to. Dr. McMichael was white but had a brown beard and a thinning pony tail that for some reason made him easier to visit with. Each session we played Uno as he listened to me search for words that I didn’t know existed, told me stories, and gave me permission to feel how I felt. I’m glad I still remember his name.

I grew up practicing in the living rooms of our tiny apartments since before I could remember. Tiny circles grew smaller as I turned and ducked and dived – always reluctantly and shyly. You didn’t have time for that. Knees higher and get lower. Those commands bounce in my ears every time I get on the dance floor at a powwow or practice in my bedroom. I still practice with a sense of bashfulness, always when my roommates aren’t home. I’ve outgrown enough, but not that.

You died on January 27th, 2005. I was twenty and wasn’t there. I came home for Thanksgiving and my brother told me that you weren’t well. I came back for Christmas and played you some songs on my guitar. I remember when I’d be practicing in my bedroom and after I’d finish a song that I was trying to learn from tabs on the internet, you’d yell at me from the living room that I played your new favorite song and to play it again. You were barely awake. Your eyelids were heavy. You slurred your words. You said that song was still your favorite. I cried, not those proud-like-my-father cries I was used to, but heavy sobs that I buried into my mother’s chest. I went back to Riverside and waited for word. It finally came when my mom called and said that my brother was there with you when you left. I was proud to take care of you when I could, however little it was. You died at home back in the Pacific Northwest, in the living room of the house you and my mother and my step father worked for, where you decorated and potted your plants, sat and watched as I watered your dahlias. Where you said to me – You are not your father, and you are not your mother. You are not me and you’ll never be any of us. You’re okay as you were and as you always will be – Maybe that’s how I remember it.

Sky Hopinka was born in 1984, in Washington State and spent a number of years in Palm Springs, and Riverside, California, and Portland, Oregon. He is currently based out of Milwaukee. Hopinka is a Ho-Chunk Nation national and descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. In Portland he studied and taught Chinuk Wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. He received his BA from Portland State University in Liberal Arts and his MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Hopinka has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts; and the Whitney Biennial 2017.


Sunday, March 5th, 2017

Sketches… photographs… of photographs… and some more…

Liz Johnson Artur is a Russian-Ghanaian photographer. She lives in Brighton, based in London. Born 1964 in Bulgaria and educated in Germany, she arrived in London in 1991. For the last 25 years Johnson Artur has been working on a photographic representation of people of African decent.


Sunday, March 5th, 2017

I know this locket was my father’s and that he inserted the pictures of himself and my mother, but I’m not sure if he told me this or if it’s a story my mother told and I’ve imagined it so intensely it reads as memory. Regardless, I can clearly see my father showing me this locket. He had a metal detector—a top of the line model—which he and my mother would take outdoors to locations they imagined people lost stuff, and they’d run the metal detector across the ground, and when it recognized metal it would make some sound, and they’d dig up whatever. My father was a carpenter who worked for the school system, and favorite spots were under the bleachers at the various high schools he fixed up. You wouldn’t believe, he’d tell me, the treasure that falls out of people’s pockets when they’re sitting on bleachers.

Most of the items that were copper or silver got melted down—my dad had a homemade kiln in the basement where he could generate such heat—and sold. Special finds he kept in a cigar box in a drawer in the end table in the living room beside his armchair. I remember him, repeatedly, opening the box and showing me intricate rings and pins. This locket came from that cigar box. I acquired it sometime before or after my mother died. It sat on my dresser for several years until I met poet and jeweler Paige Taggart. Once, after visiting her family here in the Bay Area, Paige took the locket back to Brooklyn and turned it into this necklace. I wear my locket necklace more than any other item of jewelry, besides my wedding ring. Paige tested the metal. It’s gold-plated, not worth much.

On the exterior, two flowers arc; and beneath them is etched a more abstract, circular design. I imagine the flowers are my parents, mirroring the photos within. The circular flourish is the whirling vortex that is me. When I wear the necklace, the locket falls below my heart chakra, against my solar plexus. I associate the solar plexus with panic attacks because when I used to be plagued by them, that’s where they always started. Felt like there was a horse inside of me, bucking to escape. In the photos each of my parents is outside. The sunlight is dazzling and they’re smiling and anybody can see how fun-loving they are and they’d never ever do any of the things that make my memory of them so goddamned complicated.

Dodie Bellamy’s books include WHEN THE SICK RULE THE WORLD, THE TV SUTRAS, CUNT NORTON, and THE LETTERS OF MINA HARKER. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, writer Kevin Killian. She recently wrote an article for Frieze exploring exploring queerness, disability, the standardization of bodies and the politics of visibility: What Can’t Be Seen.


Sunday, March 5th, 2017

On the evening February 7th 2017, on the senate floor Elizabeth Warren should have kept reading.

Lorna Simpson is known for working in a wide range of mediums including photograph-and-text works, videos, drawings, collage and paintings that confront and challenge conventional views of culture, representation and memory. In her latest works, lone figures amidst nebulous spaces are a return to and departure from her earlier unidentified figures in a deepened exploration of contemporary culture. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Jeu de Paume, Paris; and Haus der Kunst; Munich amongst others, as well as important international exhibitions such as the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, Documenta XI in Kassel, Germany, and the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.


Sunday, March 5th, 2017

The story of how I started making films:
I have lived overseas for years. Back in Colombia for a month, I found out that my father was sick. He seemed fine to me, but he actually had something quite serious. He needed to take a series of tests to find out the exact cause.

But my father was more worried about a theft he had recently been the victim of than he was about his illness.

My father owned a large warehouse, which he rented to businesses. When the most recent tenants left, they took the electrical wiring, sockets and lamps with them, leaving empty tubes inside the walls. My father was going to have to have the whole circuit replaced.
He wanted proof of the theft, as he hoped to sue his former tenants. So he asked me to film the spots where missing lamps and sockets should have been, the holes through which the wiring had been pulled out, and more.

Of course, the images didn’t prove anything: the warehouse looked exactly like it did when he rented it.
Every morning, I would go to the warehouse with him, and every afternoon, to the hospital. Day after day, we would go from construction work to medical tests, from my images to his scans.

We were the only ones who could interpret the images we were producing, just as the doctors were the only ones for the scans. But that resonance was exactly what granted meaning to the images I took.

That is how I became interested in the fate of images. That is how I started making films.

Camilo Restrepo (1975, Medellín, Colombia). Since 1999 lives and works in Paris, France. He is a member of L’Abominable, laboratory of artist working on film stock. His short films IMPRESSIONS OF A WAR (2015) and CILAOS (2016) premiered at Locarno and both won the Pardino d’Argento.


Sunday, March 5th, 2017

— One way to know a film is through its sound. In his book Listening, the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy states, “although it seems simple enough to evoke a form—even a vision—that is sonorous, under what conditions, by contrast, can one talk about a visual sound?” Using the found material of film scores and diegetic sound to build a tonal composition of time, DECADES, a durational video work, pursues visual sound rather than visualized sound. One inspiration for DECADES takes it cue from the sound artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan, who in his recent work, used the interactive digital model of the Saydnaya prison in Syria to address memory, the politics of listening, and the forensics of sound. Part of Amnesty International’s work to raise awareness of the untold stories of President Assad’s brutal regime, Hamdan’s project with the former prison detainees is ear-witness: “Unlike vision,” he points out, “sound leaks into other people’s spaces.” Because many of the prisoners of Saydnaya could not see the rooms in which they were held captive and tortured, the former detainees recreated a forensic architecture of the prison based on the sounds they remember hearing in those rooms: “You try to build an image based on the sounds you hear,” explains Salam Othman, a former Saydnaya detainee in an interview. It is this idea of sound-memory and sound-recall, of pictures made of/from/by sound, that led me to make DECADES.

In Notes on the Cinematographer, Robert Bresson makes a similar point as Nancy: “No music as accompaniment, support or reinforcement. No music at all.” The aphorism, under the subsection, “On Music,” comes with a concessional footnote: “Except, of course, the music played by visible instruments.” (my emphasis). This concession is essential to DECADES. First Bresson vehemently objects to score as unseen, to score as non-diegetic garnish; to music that appears by not appearing. Then he revises his earlier decree by creating a statute: we must see what we are hearing and what we are hearing should be shown to us—made visible as diegetic (“music played by visible instruments”). DECADES makes sound visible, turning sound into image, disclosing it and the normally concealed work it does. Most TV shows today submerge every image in music. Every action and emotion is overbearingly codified by musical cuts, acts, cues, and emotional compressions that are never outed, yet are overarchingly present.

DECADES proposes that the way we experience cultural shifts is not simply visual or narrative, but tonal. Like LOVE SOUNDS, a 24-hour film which used audio (dialogue) from movies to compose a spoken history of love in English-speaking cinema, DECADES utilizes film scores to produce a score of every decade: a tonal ethnography of time—unearthing each decade’s particular sound patterns and cultural progressions: its themes, politics, anxieties, moods, recurring notes. DECADES asks: What sounds does a decade make? What is each decade’s mood, tone, and theme? Why do sounds return? How do sounds accumulate and accrue into a system of information? What do the sounds we hear tell us about what we are seeing, what we have seen, and what we expect to see in the future? Finally, what new narratives emerge if we use sound as our organizing principle for images rather than the other way around?

Both LOVE SOUNDS and DECADES ask us to listen to what is communicated to us by and through a visual medium but is not visual. Images train our ears, not just our eyes, so ears remember differently. This means we need a listening viewer. Not simply a viewer or a listener. Using editing as a tracking device, DECADES listens to the way images sound—or rather, to the sounds images make. After a new score for each decade is composed, the musical fragments will be correlated to their corresponding visuals and rearranged into a non-narrative order, producing a new cinematic history and chronology that privileges what Nancy calls visual sound. The musical structure for each decade will both determine and reveal the visual narrative.


I was trained as a classical musician and grew up listening to soundtracks. I would often ask my parents if I could buy the soundtrack to a film I had just seen: Out of Africa, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Pretty in Pink, Taxi Driver, Laurie Anderson’s Home of the Brave,Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth. I listened to Madonna’s Who’s That Girl incessantly one summer as a double score—to the film, to the score I invented for my tomboy girlhood. I wanted to understand movies through the sounds they made. It was how I remembered movies and developed memories around movies. Listening to a movie—its score, its dialogue, its voices—has in some sense always been more important to me than watching it. I wear things out with my ears until everything becomes an earworm. It’s the same with words. Lovers get wedged in the ear too.

Last April, I rewatched A History of Violence for a film class I was teaching on cinematic doubles. I had not seen the movie in 10 years but knew immediately that whoever composed the soundtrack for A History of Violence had also composed the score for The Silence of The Lambs and Se7en. I haven’t seen Se7en since it came out either, but I remember how all three films sound. I’ve internalized the notes, the mood, the time periods, not the plots. The sound of one film makes me remember the sound of another film. It is the ongoing thread of sound that connects all those movies: a tone recurs, persists. A tone that does not go away, returns through a composer. Different, but also the same. By listening intently to the sounds a decade makes, the sounds it keeps making, the instruments repeatedly chosen (the 70s harp, string instruments; the 80s saxophone; the prevalence of the pop song) to signal a particular time, place, mood, we can begin to understand something about the progression and treatment of time, and how a decade voices itself through sound.

In another aphorism from “On Music,” Bresson instructs: “The noises must become music.” No movie decade took this more seriously than the 1970s, which blended and layered diegetic sound with non-diegetic score, the filmic and profilmic, in often extraordinary ways. In 1970s movies, sound was visible. I think this is because the world was still real.

Below are some of my favorite film scores. Most are from the 1970s since it is the decade I am currently working on for DECADES. Apart from Taxi Driver, Body Double, and Day Out of Days, these musical segments do not exist as official soundtracks. They are my recordings.







Masha Tupitsyn is a writer, critic, and multi-media artist. She is the author of several books like LOVE DOG, LACONIA: 1,200 TWEETS ON FILM, and BEAUTY TALK & MONSTERS. Her fiction and criticism has been published widely in journals and anthologies. In 2015, she completed the film LOVE SOUNDS, a 24-hour audio-essay and history of love in English-speaking cinema. Her new durational film, DECADES, a study of time through film sound, is forthcoming. She teaches film, literature, and gender studies at The New School and Pratt in New York City. Her Tumblr, is Love Dog


Saturday, January 14th, 2017

— The war in Ukraine is burning. In early 2015 a Portuguese producer allocates a symbolic fund that allows for a return to Transnistria, a pro-Russian frozen-conflict in Moldova. We apply for journalist visas with a fake “script”.

The visas take too long. Nevertheless we book the crew their plane tickets; I fit part of the available budget in my pockets; S.D carries the rest from Berlin. Two days before departing all the crew members are granted journalist accreditations – including the Moldovan nationals.

The shooting runs as expected for 20 days; the only “incident” was recorded and is reported in Self-Portrait. We were shooting next to the border with Ukraine. There is no consular protection in the territory. I’m unsure if I’ll ever get to meet our friends again.

Transcript of dialogues

February 2015 – Conversation with the KGB, military checkpoint, Kuchurgan (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, Moldova) | Pervomaisk (Ukraine). Transcript of dialogues. The inquiry continued at KGB headquarters, Tiraspol (P.M.R., Moldova). It was not recorded.

/tc 00:37:54:05 00:37:57:15
– Damn, what is going on?

/tc 00:38:04:01 00:38:06:09
– Hello.

/tc 00:38:06:21 00:38:08:16
How are you?
– Everything is fine.

/tc 00:38:08:19 00:38:11:05
What is going on?
– Hello everybody.

/tc 00:38:11:08 00:38:13:15
Why are you all gathered here?
– Who speaks Russian?

/tc 00:38:13:18 00:38:16:01
Yes, but not all of them.
– Some do, the others don’t?

/tc 00:38:16:04 00:38:18:22
Where are the documents?
– Do you have them?

/tc 00:38:19:01 00:38:20:23
Where? Show us.
– We already showed you.

/tc 00:38:21:02 00:38:24:02
Yes, but not to me. Passport.
– The passport.

/tc 00:38:27:17 00:38:30:15
Where do you come from and where are you going to?
– Lenin.

/tc 00:38:30:18 00:38:36:00
What have you been doing there?
– Right, I recognize your faces.

/tc 00:38:37:15 00:38:42:12
Where did you register?
– They entered and left…

/tc 00:38:42:15 00:38:46:10
You’re out of time? Where were you lodged?
– No, no.

/tc 00:38:46:13 00:38:48:18
Did you enter through Moldova?
– Yes

/tc 00:38:48:21 00:38:54:19
Which Moldovan address are you all registered in?
– Well… we rented an apartment.

/tc 00:38:55:00 00:38:58:09
Still, there must be some kind
of registration in the EU?

/tc 00:38:58:12 00:39:01:21
The EU doesn’t require registration.
Today you won’t need it, right?
– Yes.

/tc 00:39:02:00 00:39:05:07
You only entered and left?
Rented an apartment in Moldova?
– Yes

/tc 00:39:05:10 00:39:09:15
What for? Are you the translator?
– Yes, I am.

/tc 00:39:09:18 00:39:13:05
Are you Moldovan?
– No, I’m Ukrainian.

/tc 00:39:13:08 00:39:16:00
From Ukraine. And you’ve
just arrived with them?

/tc 00:39:16:03 00:39:19:00
Yes, they don’t speak
Russian and I do.

/tc 00:39:19:03 00:39:24:12
Interesting. I want to know what you are shooting.
– You should’ve called before.

/tc 00:39:24:16 00:39:28:06
– I understand that you’re shooting
but… Is it over or what?

/tc 00:39:28:09 00:39:31:12
No, it is still the same film.
– Haven’t you finished yet?

/tc 00:39:31:15 00:39:37:16
Why Transnistria, what is the reason?
– Is it Moldova and Transnistria separately?

/tc 00:39:37:19 00:39:41:20
The main theme is Transnistria.
– What is he smoking? Show me.

/tc 00:39:41:23 00:39:45:06
– Our cigarettes don’t please you?

/tc 00:39:45:09 00:39:50:06
He’s used to rollies.
– Our cigarettes are expensive outside.

/tc 00:39:50:09 00:39:52:18
Are they expensive where he lives? …Yes.
– Yes.

/tc 00:39:52:21 00:39:57:08
Damn, here you can smoke them.
– That’s why they smoke tobacco. Half the price.

/tc 00:39:57:11 00:40:00:02
If you have the opportunity,
you should try smoking our cigarettes.

/tc 00:40:00:05 00:40:04:02
It might be better for him.
– Joking…

/tc 00:40:04:08 00:40:08:23
They bought some.
– Here everyone always smokes cigarettes.

/tc 00:40:09:02 00:40:12:17
I was also surprised.
For them, cigarettes are chic.
– Yes?

/tc 00:40:12:20 00:40:16:01
It’s expensive, you can
buy it for 5€

/tc 00:40:16:04 00:40:22:11
That’s too expensive.
– Not smoking costs less, here it’s the opposite.

/tc 00:40:23:21 00:40:28:14
They tasted and bought the Soyuz
cigarettes, with no filter.

/tc 00:40:28:19 00:40:32:12
Too strong for them.
– Yes.

/tc 00:40:33:12 00:40:37:03
Who is financing this expedition?

/tc 00:40:37:07 00:40:39:14
Is she the director?
– Yes, the director.

/tc 00:40:39:17 00:40:42:14
Who ordered it to be about Transnistria?
– She did.

/tc 00:40:42:16 00:40:46:12
She decided?
Is there any particular objective?

/tc 00:40:46:15 00:40:50:01
Interesting, no?
– What are you shooting in Transnistria?

/tc 00:40:50:04 00:40:52:18
That’s true.
– On television?

/tc 00:40:52:21 00:40:56:15
There’s nothing to see.
– Everything is adulterated.

/tc 00:40:56:18 00:40:59:14
Especially in Western television.

/tc 00:41:01:04 00:41:04:06
Everything’s clear with you now.
– I certainly want to see the film.

/tc 00:41:04:09 00:41:07:17
But isn’t there a script explaining
what the film is about?
– Yes.

/tc 00:41:07:20 00:41:11:08
Is it about the lives of ordinary
people or other things?

/tc 00:41:11:11 00:41:17:04
Is it a worthwhile project about Transnistria?
Or are there any other interests?

/tc 00:41:17:07 00:41:20:23
There must be something else.
– The history.

/tc 00:41:21:02 00:41:25:04
The history of Transnistria? Did you go to
United Work Collective Council office?

/tc 00:41:25:07 00:41:30:05
OSTK can tell you the origin.
– Yes, that’s why we did some interviews.

/tc 00:41:30:08 00:41:32:13
Have you interviewed people?
– Yes.

/tc 00:41:32:16 00:41:35:06
Who owns the car?
– We rented it.

/tc 00:41:35:09 00:41:39:22
In Chișinău? …Is the driver from Chișinău?
– Yes.

/tc 00:41:40:07 00:41:44:08
Are you from Chișinău?
– Yes.

/tc 00:41:44:11 00:41:46:08
Is it interesting?
– Very.

/tc 00:41:46:11 00:41:49:20
What border have you crossed today?
– We came through Dubăsari.

/tc 00:41:49:23 00:41:53:16
Did you jump right in our direction?
– To Lenin?

/tc 00:41:53:19 00:41:56:14
Yes, we came to Lenin with Kolja.

/tc 00:41:56:17 00:42:00:20
Who is Kolja? This is Kolja, right?
– Yes.

/tc 00:42:00:23 00:42:02:23
This is Kolja.

/tc 00:42:03:02 00:42:06:05
Kolja, what did you want to show them?
– Me?

/tc 00:42:06:08 00:42:09:01
Yes, where have you been?
– To Lenin, I live here.

/tc 00:42:09:04 00:42:16:05
But did you go to your house? Or have you
been shooting again?
– No, to Oksana’s.

/tc 00:42:16:11 00:42:18:11
– Natasha.

/tc 00:42:18:14 00:42:20:01
– Oksana.

/tc 00:42:20:04 00:42:22:08
Who’s she?
– And the grandmother.

/tc 00:42:22:11 00:42:28:00
There’s an old woman and an old man.
We wanted to talk to them.

/tc 00:42:28:03 00:42:29:23
Are they Kolja’s grandparents?
– No.

/tc 00:42:30:02 00:42:35:03
What did you want to talk about?
– Nothing special.

/tc 00:42:35:06 00:42:39:15
Considering that Moldova has almost
entered the European Union.

/tc 00:42:39:18 00:42:42:20
It is easier to cross the border, no documents
are needed, nor the registration, as before.

/tc 00:42:42:23 00:42:47:08
No, only the registration.
– And how many Moldovans do you see out there?

/tc 00:42:47:11 00:42:50:21
That I don’t know. I just know that
they have biometric passports.

/tc 00:42:51:00 00:42:52:22
Do you have a biometric passport?
– You don’t need one.

/tc 00:42:53:01 00:42:56:17
They arrive at any time, they rent an
apartment and live there as…

/tc 00:42:56:20 00:43:01:17
I’m not sure, if it’s for a long term stay
I guess you must register.

/tc 00:43:01:20 00:43:06:10
Are these people here for a long term?
– No, they stay until the 4th of February.

/tc 00:43:06:14 00:43:13:12
Isn’t that a long term stay?
– A long term stay is more than three months.

/tc 00:43:13:15 00:43:15:19
Now they’re here as tourists.

/tc 00:43:15:22 00:43:20:20
Have you filmed anything today in Rîbnița?
– In Rîbnița today… let’s see.

/tc 00:43:20:23 00:43:25:03
Yes, near the hotel…
We filmed him leaving.

/tc 00:43:25:06 00:43:27:14
Who, Kolja?
– Yes, leaving the hotel.

/tc 00:43:27:17 00:43:31:06
Is Kolja the protagonist?
– Yes…

/tc 00:43:33:13 00:43:37:04
Kolja, what do you do in Rîbnița?
– I work.

/tc 00:43:37:07 00:43:41:05
– In the Russian Regiment.

/tc 00:43:41:08 00:43:44:05
Do you work or serve in the Russian Regiment?
– I work as a civilian.

/tc 00:43:44:08 00:43:46:18
As a civilian?
– Yes.

/tc 00:43:48:10 00:43:51:13
In the heavy lifting work?
– What?

/tc 00:43:51:16 00:43:53:16
In the heavy lifting work?
– No, no.

/tc 00:43:53:19 00:43:56:10
– Surveillance.

/tc 00:43:56:18 00:43:59:00
I can’t hear you.
– Surveillance.

/tc 00:43:59:03 00:44:02:14
So you’re a guard?
-Yes, yes.

/tc 00:44:04:12 00:44:06:05

/tc 00:44:08:16 00:44:10:20
That cell phone doesn’t have signal.

/tc 00:44:10:23 00:44:15:09
She has brought you presents.
– You should’ve called before.

/tc 00:44:15:12 00:44:19:15
You should’ve called before.
Now we’ll have to escort you to Tiraspol.

/tc 00:44:19:18 00:44:21:18
– With whom?

/tc 00:44:21:21 00:44:23:18

/tc 00:44:25:20 00:44:29:11
I’m going to be punished.
– Seriously?

/tc 00:44:34:00 00:44:36:19
Why are you going to be punished?

/tc 00:44:38:03 00:44:39:14
Yes, yes.

/tc 00:44:39:17 00:44:45:05
The two people with the cameras
should go by jeep.

/tc 00:44:45:08 00:44:51:22
Me and Vitali Yurievich will go by van,
to divide ourselves.

/tc 00:44:53:20 00:44:58:13
You should’ve called yesterday,
warning that you would arrive today.

/tc 00:44:58:16 00:45:02:09
Then I would have met you…

/tc 00:45:07:17 00:45:11:19
Now it’ll be difficult.

/tc 00:45:19:22 00:45:25:22
Have you planned to return to
Moldova after this trip?

/tc 00:45:26:01 00:45:29:21
Yes, because we didn’t register for long.
– Did you enter for a day?

/tc 00:45:30:00 00:45:33:04
For about six/eight hours.
– Yes…

/tc 00:45:33:07 00:45:36:16
Is the authorization for less than a day?
– Yes, yes.

/tc 00:45:37:15 00:45:40:21
Did everyone register when
you crossed the border? – Yes.

/tc 00:45:41:00 00:45:44:01
Do you all have the immigration cards?
They must be in your passports.

/tc 00:45:44:04 00:45:45:17
They didn’t give us that.
– They didn’t?

/tc 00:45:45:20 00:45:49:17
They only returned us the passports
with our visas. – Visa.

/tc 00:45:49:20 00:45:52:20
All clear. Do you have a visa
for the Transnistrian territory?

/tc 00:45:52:23 00:45:55:15
– When does it expire?

/tc 00:45:55:18 00:45:59:09
Yes, it is valid until February.
– Hmm…

/tc 00:46:00:02 00:46:02:02
For a month.

/tc 00:46:04:16 00:46:07:04
Kolja, when should you go back to work?
– Tomorrow.

/tc 00:46:07:07 00:46:08:22
As a guard?
– Yes.

/tc 00:46:09:01 00:46:13:07
You are a Russian citizen, correct?
– I have their passport.

/tc 00:46:13:10 00:46:18:08
If you have the passport you are a Russian
citizen. Why are you so uncertain?
– Well… Yes…

/tc 00:46:18:11 00:46:20:21
You have the passport and you don’t
know which country you belong to?

/tc 00:46:21:00 00:46:24:06
Nikolai Nikolaevich, maybe it’s better
not to waste time?

/tc 00:46:24:09 00:46:26:15
Should Romanich write it or will it take long?
– We don’t need to.

/tc 00:46:26:18 00:46:33:13
The situation has changed a bit and
now you’ll have to be escorted to Tiraspol.

/tc 00:46:34:12 00:46:36:03
– It’s on your way out.

/tc 00:46:36:06 00:46:41:13
We need to talk to you in more detail.
There is no need to stay here in the open field.

/tc 00:46:42:02 00:46:46:21
Let’s go. In half an hour we’ll be in Tiraspol.

Salomé Lamas was born in 1987, in Lisbon. She studied cinema in Lisbon and Prague, visual arts in Amsterdam and is a Ph.D candidate in Contemporary Art Studies in Coimbra. Her work has been screened both in art venues and film festivals such as Berlinale – Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin, BAFICI, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, FIAC, MNAC – Museu do Chiado, DocLisboa, Cinema du Réel, Visions du Réel, MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Pacific Film Archive, Harvard Film Archive, Museum of Moving Images NY, Jewish Museum NY, Fid Marseille, Arsenal Institut fur film und videokunst, Viennale, Hong Kong Film Festival, Serralves – Museu de Arte Comtemporânea, Tate Modern, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Genève, Bozar – Palais des Beaux-Arts, TABAKALERA, ICA – The Institute of Contemporary Arts, TBA 21 Foundation, Mostra de São Paulo, CAC – Contemporary Art Center Vilnius, MALBA, SESC São Paulo, La Biennale di Venezia Architettura, among others. Lamas was granted several fellowships such as The Gardner Film Study Center Fellowship – Harvard University, The Rockefeller Foundation – Bellagio Center, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Sundance, Bogliasco Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD.


Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Willamette meteorite. A 14-ton hunk of nickel iron that looks like an accidental spaceship, delivering children a century forward in time.

As it turns out, its stowaway cavities aren’t a product of scorched entry, but of sitting and rusting away for centuries in a soggy Oregon forest.

In the top 1902 image, the meteorite is outside, sitting on dirt and surrounded, curiously, by large sheets of creased paper. A kind of protean set. The second image (1911) was taken after the meteorite was moved to a museum. I like the backdrops as much as the meteorite.

Earlier in its career, the meteorite had been dragged to the property of Ellis Hughes, the Welsh fellow who found it. Hughes had tried but failed to raise enough money to purchase the land where it sat. So he stole it off property that was owned, ironically, by the Oregon Iron and Steel Company. To keep his find secret, Hughes worked covertly with his son, their horse, a log cart and a rudimentary capstan-winch arrangement. It took them three months to exhume and haul the thing three quarters of a mile. Once Hughes had it in the yard, he built a shack around it and started charging twenty-five cents for a look. Coincidentally, one of the early visitors happened to be the Oregon Iron and Steel Company Attorney, who figured out the attraction had been pilfered, presumably by following disturbed ground back to a pit on OIS property. The case went to court. While it was in litigation, another neighbor tried to get in on the action, claiming he was the rightful owner by citing evidence of a giant crater in his yard. But that case was dismissed when neighbors reported heavy blasting the week before.

Comets are funny to me.
They’re like dumb magicians.
Metal space potatoes.
Galactic griots.

When something’s outside the system of things it can become a messenger. A rip happens in meaning’s fabric, and no matter how mute or inscrutable the guest that appears through the breach, it’s oracular.

I found this glob in the newspaper. Embedded in a passage about risk and fear. Was it in everyone’s paper that week?

NASA image of piece of junk orbiting Earth at 35,000km

I took these shots at the Computer Museum in Mountain View, CA when I was there with my family a few weeks ago.

Why is the spatiotemporal hiccup of my dad encountering his collateral mapped self so surreal?

At first I thought it’s because Google Earth images don’t register as ‘the past’. They seem a bit sentient, part of a giant responsive image net. Which puts dad in two places at once, on parallel forking planes of present. Borghes.

But it’s also because his blurred face always confronts the camera. He appears to see himself, or something, in the future. Marker.

Which made me think about a Klein bottle, if the bottle weren’t the bottle but the gaze.

Deborah Stratman was born in Washington DC in 1967. She makes films and artworks that investigate power, control and belief, considering how place, thought, and society are intertwined. Recent projects address freedom, exodus, sinkholes, raptors, orthoptera, surveillance, telekinesis, public speech, reenactment, levitation and faith. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at UIC.


Saturday, January 14th, 2017

— “What’s Ben Vereen doing at a kid’s birthday party?” I thought. I remembered the video from twenty years ago I was never able to forget about. I introduced myself and Ben spoke to me warmly, until I brought up Nobody, when Vereen performed in blackface for Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration in 1981, and his demeanor shrank. Detecting that I hit an unforeseen nerve, I asked if I could call him and discuss it further. I did not tell him I had a performance in mind for him then, I erred towards caution, fearing he would avoid me till I went away. “Ask my daughter for my number”, he told me. I realized then that artist Koran Davis, was his Koran Vereen. I was at the Underground Museum, an alternative artist space in Arlington Heights, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. Co-founded by the great figurative painter, Noah Davis and his wife Koran, the Underground Museum is a cultural hub that serves low-to-moderate income neighborhoods with contemporary art. It was my first time there to the space, a gem of a exhibition hall, hidden behind a nondescript storefront, that I had driven by without notice on many an occasion. Before I left the party, she promised to share with me later, the rest of the story. It wasn’t until Koran and I spoke later that week, that I learned of the tragic aftermath of Nobody. The bend in Ben’s neck and slump in his chair when I mentioned that performance, was subtle yet beneath the surface was bloated with the deepest of yearnings. “I convinced him that you could be trusted. That you were one of the good ones. So here’s his number”.

It was early spring, 2014, and I was in North Hollywood, driving along a sedate family neighborhood, of well kept upper middle class homes, along a tree lined street. He met me at the gate and escorted me in. The house was scented with incense and a painting of Chicken George, his iconic role in Alex Haley’s, TV Mini series Roots, was on the wall. It was a beautiful home, large interior and well decorated but with the markers of a single man. “I don’t live here, I just keep my things here” I recall him saying to me as he showed me into the home.

“So what do you want to know, or how can I help you?” said Ben as he sat there in a love seat and me across from him. His shirt was unbuttoned down his chest, and a long scar was visible in the center of it. Perhaps a scar from a surgery years before from his car accident I wondered.

“You want some tea, or some water?”

“Water be great. Thank you.” I replied.

We were alone, just the two of us in this big living room, I nervously knocked over the water bottle. He offered to show me the video.

“I haven’t seen it in 20 years, and I can’t find it online anywhere” I told him.

“Yeah, well I don’t have it either, but I do have the first version I performed on television for an awards show.” He sat on the floor in front of me with the glow of the television in front of him, creating in mind a timeline.

Before that night in 1981, he had already performed Nobody across the county in his traveling show, and now I’m watching it with him, as he sits on the floor in front of me, watching himself. “Look at those high kicks, I was a bad man back then… Look at me, bam, bam. whoo!”

I witnessed the windows of time align, me watching Ben, watching himself, embodying Bert Williams, revealed the archetypal past alive within the transient present. I could see myself from the outside, like in a video feedback loop where the room can be seen in the room inside the room stretching beyond my horizon. When did this performance of Nobody begin, and when did it end? Would whatever I was dreaming up to propose to Ben that afternoon, be the resolution or the continuation of that event?

His dancing and singing were as phenomenal as I remembered it, and the ending as touching and emotionally devastating. Even more so, when he sat down back in his love seat in front of me.

Ben Vereen in Pippen. 1972

Bert Williams. Ziegfeld Follies, circa 1910.

“I never got my chance to tell my side of the story. I went there to tell the story of our people, what we went through, and that we can never let that happen to a people ever again”. Sitting erect in his seat, I could see the body of Ben’s dancer self, strong and poised emerge in front of me.

“It was like someone pulled a plug out of my heart.” The very community that he want there to represent were the one that turned on him the most.

After a long pause, I said, “I’d love to do something with you about this, I don’t know what yet, but if your open to meeting with me again, I’d like to show the performance the way in which it was meant to be seen. I believe now is the time, people will be able to see this, really see it.”

I smiled, and sank in my chair, glimpsing again at the scar just beneath his shirt. I hoped that in my smile, that he felt my recognition of his hurt. When I peered deeper, was it my imagination that I detected tears in his eyes? I again saw an alignment of windows. Beyond the personal, was a generational despair that traveled beyond the era of Bert Williams and minstrelsy.

After a prolonged pause, “Alright Edgar, lets do something together. You just gotta promise me that you’ll protect me. I can’t go through that again.”

Accepting the weight of that burden as opportunity, numerous discussions, consultations and persistence, Ben grew to trust me to tell his story, and we became friends.

The memory of meeting Ben at the Underground Museum is bitter sweet, since Noah Davis, Ben’s son-in-law would tragically succumb to his fight with cancer in August of 2015, during the height of his creative output. Survived by a young family who loved him tremendously, Ben’s daughter Koran had become a widow. Unable to remedy your child’s pain is one of the worst things a parent can fathom. Having a 10 year old daughter of my own, I cannot fathom how my wife and I could possess the power to console her of such a loss. Ben and I only spoke of Noah’s death briefly by phone when I called him to shared my condolences. We spoke in the evening from the studio before beginning thats nights rehearsal for Until, Until, Until. After we hung up I thought of that scar that ran down the middle of Ben’s chest, atop his heart.

“This is your material now, I did my part, now it’s your time to make it your own.” he told me and Frank (Lawson) the actor who was playing Ben. “Make it your own”.

Actor Frank Lawson as Ben Vereen performing Bert Williams
Photo credit: Lamont Hamilton. 2015

Actor Frank Lawson as Ben Vereen performing Bert Williams
Photo credit: Lamont Hamilton. 2015

Actor Frank Lawson as Ben Vereen performing Bert Williams
Photo credit: Lamont Hamilton. 2015

Edgar Arceneaux and Frank Lawson in final scene of UNTIL, UNTIL, UNTIL…
Photo credit: Paula Court. Performa Commission 2015

Edgar Arceneaux was born in 1972, in Los Angeles. Arceneaux was the director of the Watts House Project from 1999-2012. Solo exhibitions of his work have been mounted at Kunstverein Ulm, Germany; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; and the Project, New York, and most recently MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge. He has been included in group shows at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris; Mona Bismarck American Center, Paris; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Orange County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunstmuseum Basel; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and many more.


Saturday, January 14th, 2017

— Decades ago I was in a very wonderful relationship with a woman who enjoyed me and loved me, and I enjoyed her and loved her. We had fun, we had great ideas, we enjoyed thinking and moving through the world together. She was a lanky sexy girl, with a bleach blond kind of Twiggy cut, and special light blue hot pants. She has long legs. She was super smart. Her parents were active alcoholics, and their lives were falling apart. My gf couldn’t call them after 2pm or they would be drunk. I remember they came to visit us with bottles in their suitcases, as if they couldn’t get alcohol in New York City.

My lover had a lot of insecurities, she always thought that other people looked down on her, and she also often thought that she was being stalked. In fact she kept her phone number unlisted because she and her previous girlfriend had had phone calls from a man they didn’t know when they lived in New Jersey. I never got the whole story.

I am the kind of person who buys a six pack and it sits in my refrigerator for three months to a year. But if I brought beer to her place, the next time I came over, it was gone.

One night we went to a party. She was just learning how to be an artist, and she believed that everyone looked down on her. When we left the party I suddenly realized that she was drunk. “You’re drunk,” I said. “No I’m not,” she said. “OK,” I said. “You go home and I will follow you.” I walked behind her, and it didn’t take long until it was clear she had no idea of how to get home, even though it was only six or seven blocks away.

Anyway, about four years later something absolutely terrible happened to me, and–in summary–she disappeared. She never spoke to me again. I didn’t know why she disappeared. I didn’t understand what was going on. It never actually occurred to me that she disappeared because something terrible had happened to me. I didn’t get it. Finally she agreed to meet me in the office of a therapist we had gone to see a few years back.

The doctor heard all the details that I spare you here, and suggested that she go to Al-Anon. The shrink said “Your parents are alcoholically depressed. They can never solve problems. That’s not what happened to Sarah. She is upset because something terrible happened. If you go to Al-Anon you can learn to tell the difference.”

Anyway, a few days later she called me from a pay phone, after her first Al-Anon meeting. “I have nothing in common with those people. And anyway, I don’t even know if my parents are alcoholics.”

I never heard from her again. A few times, maybe once or twice, in the subsequent seventeen years, I have run into her. I am always happy to see her. I feel love when I see her. I say “Hello” and she says “I don’t want to talk to you.”

Recently she won a high honor. I was happy. I thought that maybe if she felt better about herself she would get it together and stop blaming and hurting me instead of dealing with the fact that her parents chose alcohol over her. I went on line and looked at some recent photos of her. She looks horrible. She has gained about 80 pounds, and from the puffiness of her face, I could see that she is drinking. She also cut her hair in a self-hating way, and dyed it the same brown as a motel carpet.

They say that “time heals all wounds” but actually, time embeds wounds. People blame and hide out of shame, and then they keep up the performance out of shame, and then they build new relationships on the negative bonds of that shame, so that if they ever told the truth and actually dealt with the pain they had caused, they would lose their new bonds. It’s a scary, divisive trap. It makes me feel loss, and grief.



Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Number One
Trumpet song
She comes falling from the sky
Falling from heaven – trumpeters sounding her arrival

Number Two
Song of 153 Fish
“They caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break,”[1]
“It was full of 153 large fish, but even with so many the net was not torn”.
Repeat chorus

Number Three
Song of seeds
She sells seashells by the seashore
She sells Za’tar, raisins, and figs
She sells
And oil of olives

Number Four
The Syndrome Song
A person with a god complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks. Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.[1]

Number Five
Song of fauna and flora
In everyday non-technical usage, the luffa, also spelled loofah, usually means the fruit of the two species L. aegyptiaca and L. acutangula. The fully developed fruit is the source of the loofah scrubbing sponge which is used in bathrooms and kitchens. The name luffa was taken by European botanists in the 17th century from the Egyptian Arabic name “Loof”.[1]

Number Six
Song of the Narcissist
Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things looking so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you’re in love, my how they fly (original words by Irving Berlin)

Number Seven
Rub a dub dub,
Three fools in a tub,
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick maker.
Not me not me not me.

Number Eight
Song for all songs
Consumed, I burn
Burning in the dark

Jumana Emil Abboud was born in 1971, in Palestine, and currently lives in Jerusalem. She works with drawing, installation, video and performance, exploring personal and collective memory, loss, longing and belonging.


Monday, October 31st, 2016

— I found these pictures in the bottom of a bin in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They were taken in South Korea, in the 1970’s, they are probably of the kind that South Korean businessmen would take on business trips and bring back to the office to show to their colleagues as slideshows. This was a period when the country was rapidly industrializing and the dictator was a man named Park Chung Hee. Buildings were flying up everywhere. In these photos, a visiting Kenyan businessman is passing through a new factory, looking at the construction.

What is interesting to me about these photos is first that they reveal power dynamics that felt like they could be happening anywhere. Tensions, misogyny, moments of kindness, and the kind of general misunderstanding that can happen between people from different places. I can see the familiar performance of a workplace here and also a set of real people in the time period of a lot of the other archival material I use in my own work – the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s – with it’s optimism and its modernist idealism. There is also a lot I can’t know. I don’t know the particularities of South Korean customs, or the words that were being spoken, or what happened before or after. I’m most interested in the woman in the pictures. What was she doing there? Is she a worker? A hired escort? A wife? 

I particularly like the way that the hands in the photographs are always a little bit more tense than the faces, seeming to reveal some actual human feeling in the past.

And I like these pictures most of all because they remind you that you can’t really know anything from looking at a set of photographs. I think of this line from Lacan, “you never look at me from the place I see you”. He means something a bit different, but for my purposes here, those words mean that you can never look at a picture of someone from the same experience, or subjectivity, or place from which they look back at you. Something to think about.

Sara Cwynar is a New York-based Canadian artist who uses studio sets, collage and re-photography to explore the ways in which the meaning of design and images change or endure over the course of time. Her work has been exhibited recently at the Prada Foundation, Italy, the Hessel Museum, Hudson, NY, and at MoMA PS1.


Monday, October 31st, 2016

— I began collecting personal stories in the Story Gathering Boxes from gallery-goers in 1972 because I was interested in breaking down traditional barriers set up between the public, art space and works of art. In addition to inviting people to participate in writing stories for the boxes, a place to sit, linger or have conversation is also provided by situating the boxes on a table with stools. An edited selection of the thousands of stories collected over the years will hopefully be published one day. The configuration and scale of the boxes was inspired by sacred ancient Egyptian canopic chests that held the organs of the pharaoh. I am looking forward to the day when I have the means to go to Egypt to produce four Story Gathering Boxes carved from Egyptian translucent alabaster.

Mary Beth Edelson was born in 1933, in East Chicago, Indiana. She lives and works in
New York City.


Monday, October 31st, 2016

I’ve been reading my old diaries for a new project. Here are four passages that stuck out to me.

4 Obstacles
Money (job)
Accountability —> she needs to matter

I hate dream stories. They’re so annoying. Every morning my sister tells me her dreams. Last night I had a dream that the Geico gecko went down on me. That means that your love for that campaign has gone too far. Last night I had a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” That wasn’t you, that was Martin Luther King Jr. Black history month is getting to you. I’m really good at interpreting dreams.

I get bored of everything in real life. All the characters are so predictable and they keep making the same mistakes. I’m trying to get myself out of this rut, but it’s hard. I forget why I ever wanted to do anything. I’m always disappointed. Maybe my expectations are too high.

“Do all African-Americans have curly eyelashes?” Joan asked while squinting at me. “I don’t know,” I replied doing my best not to sound the least bit offended. “I think mine are curlier than most.” She squinted for a few minutes longer and went back to her easel. I stared at an old drawing of a big head. They were making a drawing of me. My eye would lose focus after a minute and I hope it didn’t look dead. I wanted to look like I had “something going on in my head.” Nancy once told me about a girl who modeled for her that was clearly not thinking anything. I didn’t want to be like that. I sat on a white chair on two ratty beaded pillows. I stared off at the big head and thought about my poor life for three hours. Joan offered to drive me to the train. Even though she’d confessed earlier that she’s supposed to wear glasses when she drives, I took her up on the offer. I had nothing to lose. Although the entire ride I imagined us getting into a horrible wreck. In the car she asked me if I was having fun in life. “I am,” I told her sincerely. She remembered for a while about how much fun she had in her twenties and I sat back and listened. Joan turned 73 last month. She spent her birthday in Paris with her husband. I tried to imagine her husband with no luck. I was convinced she was lesbian. A stereotypical lesbian with short hair, a gruff, go-get-it attitude, no make up, no dresses. Although, or maybe because, that could describe me I had my suspicions. “Is your boyfriend black too” She asked curiously. “No he’s white.” I sensed her discontent. “Well, diversity is good” she offered. I nodded.

Martine Syms was born in 1988, in Los Angles. Her artwork has been exhibited and screened extensively, including recent presentations at Karma International, Bridget Donahue Gallery, the New Museum, Kunsthalle Bern, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Index Stockholm, MOCA Los Angeles, MCA Chicago. She has lectured at Yale University, SXSW, California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and MoMA PS1, among other venues. From 2007–11, she directed Golden Age, a project space focused on printed matter. She also recently founded small press Dominica.


Monday, October 31st, 2016

— Languidly walking my way through the meticulously well manicured and stunningly beautiful gardens at Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center residency in Italy this past summer I imagined what a 17th century aristocrat must have felt, prancing atop the same gravel with silk slippers. And that’s when it hit me. Ill at ease and suddenly clear headed I understood that I was participating in and carrying on a tradition of privilege that, as a man of African descent, was never a beneficiary of. The history of exploited labor, deception and control of common folks — European peasants and colonized dark skinned people from abroad — were hidden deep below in the ground underfoot.

My month long residency was to allow me the luxury of time to make art works unmasking the pervasive catch 22 of mental colonialism so that other colonized minds might question the origin of subtle, self defeating impulses and insecurities. residing in their own heads. I’d been woke, and my work is to wake others so that we may become more resilient to the stress and confusion of living in a post colonial global economy.

And here I was indulging and gorging at the kings table. When I shared this inner conflict with my fellow Rockefeller fellows, one artist remarked, “Are you telling me you didn’t know you’d be staying in a 500 year old villa atop of Lake Como? So why’d you apply?”

I called my friends Meena Nanji and Yong Soon Min, artists I knew who also attended the residency and asked if they had a similar existential crisis and hungrily received their counsel.

By my second week I was in full production mode, cranking out critical works, dancing in the night and thanking the stars I was here. Life is strange. So is inner conflict. I honor both. History’s a bitch.

Todd Gray was born in 1954 in Los Angeles. Gray received an MFA and a BFA from California Institute of the Arts and is currently a professor at California State University, Long Beach. He has shown performance work at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater), Los Angeles (2010); California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2009); the Commons, New York University (2008); 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica (2008); New Renaissance Theater, Syracuse, NY (2007); and Academy of Media Arts, Cologne (2004). Gray’s work is in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; University of Connecticut; and University of Parma, Italy. Gray is the recipient of a Los Angeles International Airport public art commission (2007); a California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists (2005); a Pasadena Art Alliance Grant (2004); and a City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship (1997).


Monday, October 31st, 2016

I get most of my ideas and images from driving to and fro in the Pacific Northwest and walking up and down in it. Scouting out landscapes and our often fraught relations with the land. I’m interested in the landscape not merely as a backdrop, or scenery, but rather as a character with agency. So these pictures of mine are really a form of landscape portraiture.

I trace this interest back to my childhood on the edges of Forest Park in NW Portland, the largest park within a city’s limits in the US. The Wildwood Trail runs more than 20 miles along the Tualatin ridge. When I was a kid the ridge extended, forested, to the coast range, and a black bear had to be tranquilized in a neighbor’s backyard. Development severed this link, but coyotes are regular visitors.

I used to terrify my mother because I would play behind the houses where the yards met the forest, rather than out front. Playing games like moving around the neighborhood without touching concrete. Like in Opal Whitely’s journal, I remember going on these “explores” from a really early age. Always alone, and this capacity for solitude turned out to be really useful for a painter.


When I go out on these scouts I bring along my kit. Inside a small Filson shoulder bag are sketchbooks, fountain pens, ink, and a camera. I’ve always drawn with fountain pens, and I’ve had the black one for 25 years and the blue barreled one for about 20 years. The first pen I had, a beautiful reproduction of a 1930s pen, bought while still in art school, I lost somewhere. The loss still pains me.

I like the finality of the ink, putting a line down and having to react to, with, or against it. No erasures, just barreling forward. You really see something when you’re drawing it. The camera, now digital, is small and simple. The drawings and photos, though essential, are the raw source material for my paintings, and all the paintings are studio productions.


The most recent scout was a trip to the Owyhee, at the end of September. The Owyhee, an archaic spelling of Hawaii, is so named because a pair of Hawaiian fur trappers disappeared in this country in the 19th century. It’s located in the far SE corner of Oregon and is stark high desert, and very remote. A land of towering rhyolite formations, honeycombs, lava flows, basalt, bone-dry yellow grass, sage, a sky so blue as to seem almost black, starry nights, and the Milky Way’s strip from horizon to horizon. Strangely, we didn’t see the moon the entire trip; only a handful of people, cows, and gravel roads.

All the places are named after calamities, disasters, and misfortunes. In fact, the whole county is name Malheur, after the French for “bad time,” “bad luck,” etc.

The first night we camped at Succor Creek (pronounced “sucker”) under the trees that hug the bank. Then on to Leslie Gulch, named for Hiram Leslie, a 19th-century pioneer who was struck and killed by lightning here. The gulch is known for its rhyolite formations of ochre, red, purple, and corpse green. In the morning we were buzzed by two F-16 fighter jets, deafeningly loud and so low as to clearly make out their undercarriages as they banked hard right above us, then were gone.

On to Jordan Craters, a 28-square-mile lava flow from eruptions 3,000 to 9,000 years ago, which in geological time is now. This is a pahoehoe flow, ropey, with splatter cones, enormous pits, precarious footing, and sharp surfaces. During the height of summer, temperatures reach 120° F. A terrifying place and so quiet as to hear the earth’s hum.

Finally, on to Birch Creek Ranch. Thirty miles of gravel road to the entrance of the Ranch road, where a sign warned: “Extremely steep and rough road, extremely slippery when wet, high clearance vehicles recommended.” The road was a single-track dirt and boulder-strewn six-mile nightmare to the river. We crossed four creeks at the bottom, and traveled the six miles in one and a half hours, one way. At the bottom were the ruins of the original pioneer structures and a contemporary house set amongst trees with sprinklers going. We traveled another mile to the large, open, recently harvested alfalfa field between the Owyhee River and rhyolite cliffs, and set up our final camp. A peculiarly warm wind blew through the night (the other nights were very cold) and we awoke early on high alert, worried that rain was coming, making the road back up impassable.

Then we faced our own small calamity, a flat tire. And what turned out to be an ill-fitting tire iron, with no way to reach the recessed lug nuts of the wheel. We hiked to the house with the sprinklers, hoping someone was there with tools. A pickup was out front, empty, with the engine idling, and onto the porch stepped Jim, a BLM employee who lives year round in this isolated spot and who had a wrench that fit. He told us that last winter he went five weeks without seeing another human being, the road being impassable. We were struck by how isolated we were—only three people in a hundred square miles.

One and a half hours on dirt, two hours on gravel, and we were back on concrete for the eight-hour drive back to Portland.

The Owyhee is being considered for National Monument designation. The road signs were ubiquitous: NO MONUMENT.

Owyhee Scout 9.26–9.30, 2016
Miles traveled 1,150

Animals sighted:
Bats, bighorn sheep, chukars, cows, coyotes, flickers, hawks, ground squirrels, many flying insects (flies, gnats, etc.), mule deer, lizards, ravens. No rattlesnakes.

Michael Brophy was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1960. For over two decades Brophy has painted the Pacific Northwest landscape. He has shown extensively in the Northwest in both solo and group exhibitions.


Saturday, September 10th, 2016

— A proposition: that the most beautiful and emblematic images of our era come to us in the form of transmitted sporting events, frozen and distorted while being streamed over badly-connected laptops. This goes beyond the aesthetic of the glitch, or the history of the found image: the moment the screen jars and goes all wonky imposes an entire ontology; it seizes hold of us and wrenches us out of the imagined ‘natural’ or continuous order we thought we were inhabiting (here’s an event on grass; I’m watching it; no problems), plunging us instead into the realm of inexorable mediation. For the next ten seconds, or five minutes, or half-hour, as we scream at our screens and curse the broadcaster or internet provider or illegal streaming service or fibre-optic cable-installer whom we hold to be responsible for our plight, our very existence can only be experienced as a being-in-relay, a being-in-suspension, being-anxious, being-towards-technology, towards-the-law and, of course, towards-death. It’s a man-behind-the-curtain, blue-pill moment – all the more so since it reveals to us, with implacable assurance, that the first, ‘uncorrupted’ stream was in fact the construction or illusion: this is the accurate picture. Reality, in its far-flung entirety, is not the distant little game. It’s this: this vast, networked in-betweenness; this unmanageable surplus that is also deficit; this excruciating, almost unbearably intoxicating cocktail of too-much- and not-enoughness. Once we’ve drunk it, nothing will ever be the same again.

And why would we want it to be? Look at this snapshot of my MacBook during Wimbledon 2014.

With its insistent geometry of lines and vectors, broken only in order to be repeated; its dispersal of the human figures throughout space (Federer and Djokovic are genuinely ‘covering the court’); the refusal of its pixels to refresh (that is, erase their former contents) that ensures the persistence of one instant through the next one, and the next, making the image haunted, overtaken by the unshed ghosts of its own past; the reflection of the viewer (me) and his dual technologies of watching and recording (iPhone, laptop) in the screen, right down to the eye-shades, new screens that re-embed the screen that embeds them, so on ad infinitum… Forget the tedious narratives, endlessly proliferated by sport’s official media, that vainly attempt to place the ‘psychology’ of the individual player at the centre of the sporting experience. This multinodal ecstasy of relay, this communal technopsychosis, this mediomnesia, is what tennis, or any other sport, is really about. It’s why we watch it; why it matters; why it’s true.

Or this one, from a 2012 Spain-Croatia World Cup match.

Here, the screen is breaking space down into zones, flows and coagulations, sequences of colour, movement, energy. In other words, it’s doing the players’ work – but doing it much better. I love the way the artefacted section hovers above the humans, pressing down: it’s like a spaceship bearing a higher, more developed species – or perhaps the planet’s first, most native one, returning from a centuries-long sojourn across distances it has traversed as quick as light, or signals – coming in to land.

Tom McCarthy is a writer and artist whose work has been translated into more than twenty languages. His first novel, REMAINDER, which deals with questions of trauma and repetition, won the 2008 Believer Book Award and was recently adapted for the cinema. His third, C, which explores the relationship between melancholia and technological media, was shortlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize, as was his fourth, SATIN ISLAND, in 2015. McCarthy is also author of the 2006 non-fiction book TINTIN AND THE SECRET OF LITERATURE, an exploration of the themes and patterns of Hergé’s comic books; of the novel MEN IN SPACE, set in a Central Europe rapidly disintegrating after the collapse of communism; and of numerous essays that have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The London Review of Books, Harper’s and Artforum. In 2010 he wrote the screenplay for Johan Grimonprez’s multiple award-winning film DOUBLE TAKE. In addition, he is founder and General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network of writers, philosophers and artists whose work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Palais de Tokyo Paris, Tate Britain and Moderna Museet Stockholm. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Windham Campbell Prize for Fiction by Yale University.


Saturday, September 10th, 2016
MODESTO 2014/2015

— This series of photos was taken as part of the research for a film I’m currently co-writing with my good friend Rick Charnoski. Rick is an amazing filmmaker based in Los Angeles who has worked extensively with Super 8 and has directed some really powerful intimate films with his filmmaking partner Buddy Nichols including Fruit of the Vine and Tent City. Rick’s upcoming feature film is set in the small Californian town of Modesto and these photos are from a number of test shoots and location scout/casting sessions during 2014. I have been making films in the US since 1998 when I shot my first documentary Chasing Buddha about my Aunt Robina Courtin – a Buddhist nun who teaches Buddhism to prison inmates around the United States. These particular trips to Modesto were deeply inspiring but also very distressing in terms of hearing endless stories from Modesto locals about the impact of draconian drug laws and the private prisons across the state of California.

Amiel Courtin-Wilson was born in Australia, in 1979. His debut feature documentary, CHASING BUDDHA premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000 and won awards including best documentary at the IF Awards, as well as Sydney International Film Festival. A director and visual artist, he makes experimental films. His video installation work has toured internationally (I THOUGHT I KNEW BUT I WAS WRONG, 2004) and his films have screened at the National Gallery of Victoria, MONA, the Gallery of New South Wales and The Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Courtin-Wilson’s feature documentary BASTARDY won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the 2009 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards (FCCA), Best Documentary at the ATOM Awards, was released theatrically to critical acclaim across Australia and was nominated for three Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards. The same year, his short film CICADA premiered at Cannes in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section. Amiel Courtin-Wilson participated in the Venice Film Festival in 2011 with his first feature-length film HAIL. Courtin-Wilson is currently developing several feature film projects and a number of screen based installations including THE SILENT EYE, a feature length performance film collaboration with Cecil Taylor and Min Tanaka, which was presented by the Whitney Museum, in 2016.


Saturday, September 10th, 2016

What has me right now are the flowers. The colors are nuts. I’m soaking up smell of the leaves and flowers, and scent of the dirt they grow in.

Sarah Braman was born in 1970 in Tonawanda, New York. She currently lives and works between New York and Amherst, Massachusetts. In 2013, Braman was the recipient of the Maud Morgan Prize, and in 2014 Braman’s solo exhibition ALIVE opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. Her first European solo exhibition was on view in 2011 at MACRO in Rome, Italy. Braman has exhibited work at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY (2016); the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MI (2015); The Broadway Mall Association and the New York City Parks Department, NY (2015); Kunstforeningen G1 Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark (2014); deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA (2013); The Zabludowicz Collection Inaugural Installation, Sarvisalo, Finland (2012); THE SHAPE WE’RE IN, The Zabludowicz Collection, New York, NY (2011); The De La Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, FL (2010); The Lisbon Biennial, Portugal (2010); Greater New York at PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY (2005). Braman is also one of the founders of the artist-run Canada Gallery, in New York.


Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Dear Michael,

We’ve never met. The unanticipated arrival of your postcard from the heavens deeply moved me. I was having a hard time…

I went to bed with your poem under my covers and I dreamt of my childhood home. Like an overgrown garden, it had formed with the earth and had an exterior of granite. The inside of the house was as gothic as I remembered: the wrought iron gates, the fountains, the Spanish tiles, the small chandelier in my bedroom, the child’s head of porcelain on the door. Every detail was untouched by time except for my father’s bathroom, which was covered in black veils. I woke crying from my sleep like Dorothy, with the taste of rainbow sherbet in my mouth, wanting to be home again.

Thank you Michael for sending me the most exquisite poem that defies being ephemeral.


Malerie Marder was born in 1971, in Philadelphia, PA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Selected solo exhibitions include ANATOMY, Kruger Gallery, Marfa, Texas (2015); ANATOMY, Leslie Tonkonow Art Projects, New York, New York (2013); CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, Blain/Southern, London, England (2011); NINE, Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2007); NINE, Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York (2006).


Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Yeah, you know he too big to be a housecat, and he too small to be a lion.
“Crosseyed Cat”, Muddy Waters

— This was the first book I wrote. It was a book of journals, but I wrote it for publication. Hoping to get it published, I mean. When I was just out of high school, and finished with writing anything I didn’t want to write, someone told me if I wanted to be a writer I should keep a journal, to keep my hand in. He was a family friend—a stage director in Boston who came through Cleveland every year or two in the summer. So I started writing this journal, though it was never daily, and it was never private. I typed it up, the entries, made photocopies, gave them to a couple of friends, who circulated them to other friends. I must’ve gotten that idea from when I drew cartoons in high school. And I sent them to this family friend, the director, who wrote me long letters about them. I did it for a year. (It was a good year to keep a journal: I was on a steep learning curve, nearly 90 degrees. I must’ve found school so arid and oppressive that I put myself on hold till I could get the fuck out of there and start my life. What’s the opposite of precocious? I was delayed or something. I was overdue. So I covered a lot of ground in that year, including my first encounters with women, a guy, an orgy or two—there might’ve even been a little makeup in there, who knows? And possibly a scarf. My first scene—in this case, the Cleveland music scene around the Mistake and the Phantasy and the places in the Flats; a lot of hitchhiking; my first trips on my own to New York and my introduction to the Lower East Side; my first time trying to move to New York; my first girlfriend, such as she was; first breakup.) I went from a lonely lurking suburban virgin living at home who’d never smoked a joint to, okay, a still-pretty-green kid living in an old hotel downtown and kept as a sort of pet by a couple of older dykes, shooting pharmaceutical morphine and getting lost in their floor-to-ceiling library of New Directions, City Lights, Grove Press, and Black Sparrow books. (In the morning, beside the bed, there’d be a big prenatal vitamin stolen from the same pharmacy where the morphine came from and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Pretty nice setup.) More consequential: writing this blue book of mine was my first experience of turning my life into writing.

It’s written by a guy who didn’t know I exist.

As an object, the book is kind of an awkward possession. It’s embarrassing. I can’t read it and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. So I’ve lugged it around the country, place to place, for 35 years, and it’s sat in the bottom of a box or a drawer or a milk crate, with the dust and bits of spiderweb and termite wings. It’s soft and puffy now, as though it’s been through a flood. I like the book as it exists in my imagination. It has a kind of glow around it, which is dispelled by a glance at the thing itself. But with its feeling of time-as-it-happens, with its variety of tones and textures and its collage of vignettes and snatches of dialogue and descriptions of the weather, it became the template for my first novel, Through the Windshield. Writing it, I discovered the kind of book that comes natural to me to write. The approach was waiting there for me: I found my form. It was also my first experience of how something this size—a year of your life, 400 pages—takes shape at a chance word or suggestion. I started it on October 5, 1980, with an account of driving, alone, to see a show of watercolors in Canton, and I ended it on October 4, 1981, with a description of the sky. I was ready for anything.

Click any image to view larger
Photo credit: Don Heiny

Mike DeCapite is the author of the novels THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD (Sparkle Street Books, 1998; Red Giant Books, 2014) and RUINED FOR LIFE! (excerpts of which have appeared in 3:AM and Sensitive Skin); the chapbooks TRAVEL NOTES (Price of a Drink, 1995), SITTING PRETTY (CUZ Editions, 1999), and CREAMSICLE BLUE (Sparkle Street, 2012); and the short-prose collection RADIANT FOG (Sparkle Street, 2013). His work has appeared in CLE, CUZ, Evergreen Review, Vanitas, and many other publications. In 2016, with photographer Ted Barron, he presented the Sparkle Street Social & Athletic Club, a series of performances accompanied by photos and films, at the Howl! Happening gallery, NYC. DeCapite lives in New York.


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.


Thursday, April 14th, 2016

When I moved to NY in 1999 I was doing mostly art with photocopying text. As such I didn’t have much of a studio practice, so to pass the time I would write short stories, essays and prose poems. A few of these started working their way into my art. In my recent show, Time Stopped, Time Started, I presented a painting upon which was attached a series of drawings done in the early 2000s that came from one of these texts. The story was called The War pt.2. I recently looked through my digital archives of these early writings and found The War pt.1 and The War pt.3.

The War pt.1

We were shuddering, shoulder to shoulder, and shouting out at them. We were drunk on plum wine and all that had happened these past two years was finally coming out. All that we were commanded to repress, unconsciously or not, was surfacing. That is one of the few things drink is good for, and we were partaking in its glorious function. It was smuggled in by someone and we should not of been drinking it at that particular time, considering what kind of a situation we were in, and where we were at. It was complete grounds for dismissal. Not that they would of done something like that– they needed us. They needed us more then we needed them that is for sure.

Suddenly the earth shook. And my hat boggled on top of me head. It’s metal lip covering my eyes for a second, bouncing up and down like a go-go dancer, like a video of some stripper, dunk dunk dunk. My hand unconsciously went to the crown of my forehead, and my arm wrapped around my rifle. We got up and started running down the trenches, to the command-post-out. Dirt was flying everywhere, sideways like they had invented some new gun to use against us. Foundation deep somehow.

Clunk our feet went, he was leading our way and I had my hand on his back as not to lose him. The air was suddenly thick with green smoke, and hardly could I see a thing at all. We heard shouts of liberty, but it wasn’t us. It echoed almost louder then the bombing shells, and we couldn’t figure it out, waving our hands in the air.

I shot out when we paused. Something had hit something and our trench was no longer going anywhere. It just stopped. It was quite abrupt and we wondered if they had built a new gun that redirects our trenches to confuse us and get us lost. If so they were way smarter then we. Out of the trenches, into the trenches, forward forward. That last night I was with.

Click image to view larger

The War pt.3

There were three of us this morning. There were two of us this evening. I took my gun and vanished. I was sent to the forward front. I’d spent years behind the lines. I was in school. I was from the school. We had books and papers and we learned by fire light at midnight. And we thought that we must go on. We bridged frontiers of acceptance, and of kinderedness. And the rains did come. And pour on the cement floor. It came down in sheets. And I remembered hearing that before, ‘coming down in sheets’ and now I was seeing it, and now I was saying it. There was dirt on the ground it muddied quite quick and thick. The wind, the wind was blowing. I was talking with a partner and showing off for everyone, “Nancy was here before and she said to take what she can and why not ask for more.” I was going on and on. An alarm claxon went off, we were startled, and we threw our helmets on and headed out. We knew the line to the front like the lines on our hands. We were turned into legacies. A bomb went off and we turned into dust. We fizzled. We clutched our ears and clenched our eyes. The bomb went off far enough away that we weren’t hit with any shrapnel or debris but the sound was deafening. I heard a vague whistle and looked over, it was the sergeant and he was motioning us on, yelling, and his mustache zipping all over. I felt like I was underwater, I couldn’t hear a thing, shots went off like small pops. Like popcorn. I nodded vaguely, still in shock from the bombing. It seemed like the sky was still lit up, orange and pink and sometimes blue. We ran forward and body parts lay upon the ground. It was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen. Arms and legs and just mashed bloodied pulps. Men where kneeling down and taking razor blades to their arms, just cutting themselves clean. The blades slipped into muscle, through skin and nerves, and trickles of blood leaked out. One man took the blade to his eyeball, and clear liquid spewed out. I was almost vomiting and still I couldn’t hear, and still I felt like I was underwater.

“Why are they doing this?” I shouted.

Not to anyone in particular, and I am not sure who I meant by ‘they’. And I am not sure what ‘this’ was either; was I doing ‘this’? It was ghastly and ugly and bastardly. I took to the air. I hadn’t even fired a single shot and I turned and ran. But then I realized not where I was going to wasn’t really there. I was confused and sick. I looked around for my companions but they were lost in the fog. I saw silhouettes, the skies were still afire, but they all had the same hunched back and round head and stinking smell.

Suddenly Shots rang out full speed. In all the confusion I hadn’t noticed that no one had been really firing, but now after the bomb had blown the enemy had repositioned themselves for a frontal assault. We were caught completely off guard. I heard shouting uncontrollably. I was relieved when, upon mumbling to myself ‘at least it isn’t me’, that I realized, at least, it wasn’t.

I had my canteen and opened it up. I had a nice three-quarter of opium spirits and downed it. We all drank it then, someone came over, then another. We sat hunched together, our backs to the fire. Our opium turned into the water and someone joked about Jesus, someone else said, “no, that’s wine” we laughed. The smoke was clearing out and we realized that we were close to the base, and there was our Sargent motioning us back. We went, all too happily, and he was warm and concerned. It the most sincere voice I’m sure he could muster he said, “everything’s fucked, the transport ships are located back, (he motioned with his thumb, very military like) get out there.”

Later when we were on the ship he began to play the clarinet and he was awful. There was a boy with a guitar, and this girl that would kind of hum/moan to his melody, but the sarge shut them up with a smack and a “what? I saved you and this is what I get?” Then ran through his scales and we were to applaud. It was unbearable.

Suprisingly enough we got all our men onto the ship before it took off and we had suffered few casualties. Our spirits were high and we were going to another line.

Richard Aldrich was born in 1975 in Hampton, Virginia, but grew up outside of Dayton, Ohio. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


Thursday, April 14th, 2016

— I have a terrible memory for names, and often faces too. It seems that my brain memorizes someone I come into contact with through something other than their physical makeup. What my brain does remember often has very little to do with the person but more with the entire scene in which I am interacting with that person. So the color of the wall behind someone I meet for the first time might become the color of their eyes, a high ceiling could come to stand in for tallness. I’m exaggerating, but something close to this–I believe–is happening in my brain. I have likened people who look nothing alike, had a name burned into my memory for someone who is called something else, and then with others, the name is solid, fixed in place correctly, never to be lost again, and it has nothing to do with the nature of the relationship I have to that person. I have once forgotten my own family name for at least one minute.

I am fixated on what I do remember. How an instance that is conjured is slipping away the moment that instance has passed with something else materializing in its place. Ever since I can remember, any memory I have lingered on that has come to replace an event grows more and more distant from the original event that it no longer even bares a resemblance to it. What is replaced is sometimes dull, others times red, milky, pulsing, bright, black and white or slow with all kinds of smells and surfaces, and from time to time I have the ability to observe an emotion as pure action.

Sitting across from someone I was having a conversation with at a bar recently, it occurred to me that I was day-dreaming. That I had taken a nose dive into a memory that had been triggered subconsciously and was swimming deep in it’s oceans but I could neither remember the faces that belonged to any of the people in my hallucination in a space that was meant to be the outdoors but felt like a vacuum with the air still, the sky flat, the roads unpaved, the sounds distant. It was neither urban nor rural, and when I emerged above water in what must have been under 10 seconds, I picked up the conversation to casually drop on the table that perhaps no conversation was ever a direct exchange but that each participant was in their own world.

The four videos below are four of my memories.

Basma Alsharif is an artist and filmmaker of Palestinian origin. She was born in Kuwait, raised between France and the United States, and is currently based in Los Angeles. Basma’s work centers on the human condition in relation to shifting geopolitical landscapes, natural environments and history. She works in cinema, photography and installation. Major exhibitions include: les Module at the Palais de Tokyo, Here and Elsewhere at the New Museum, the Jerusalem Show, Yamagata Documentary Film Festival, the Berlinale, the Sharjah Biennial, Videobrasil, and Manifesta 8. She received a jury prize at the Sharjah Biennial 9, the Marion MacMahon award at Images, and received the Marcelino Botin Visual Arts grant. Basma is represented by Galerie Imane Farés in Paris, distributed by Video Data Bank and Arsenal.


Thursday, April 14th, 2016

I’ve been clearing up my study, a ritual activity conducted when I’ve finished a book and begin to feel like I might start on another. One of the best things I found was a crop of handmade books and zines made by my friends.

Lili lives in Devon now but right through our twenties we were inseparable. We grew up together, she was my partner in crime. When I think about her now I think about that line in Michelle Shocked’s song Anchorage: Hey Shel, we was wild then. She grew up on a remote farm in Wales, it was part of her myth that her family were practically bandits and ruled the valley. This is a book she made for me, with her drawings. One of the photographs is of her in an incubator, and the other is of the calves in the barn at Llanant being fed.

The first time I met Sherri was in Boston a few years back. I went to a friend’s for dinner, and there she was, sitting on the couch. We could have talked about pretty much anything: one of the things I most love about our friendship is the sense of a hopscotching conversation, resumed whenever we’re both in the same country at the same time. We once met at the Met to see a performance and just stood on the steps for hours talking about the ins and outs of designing the 9/11 museum, a project she had a hand in. You can see part of what’s so exciting about her in this zine, which documents driving around Deming, New Mexico with Johnny Dark, a counter-culture photographer who was best friends with Sam Shepard. She’s so curious and focused and meticulous and patient. I love these pictures.

Sarah is my cousin, and we often collaborate. I’m in love with one of her cats, so I go round for dinner every Thursday and try to woo him. She’s a filmmaker, but she also makes fantastic handmade books. The Dictionary of Lost Languages is an A to Z of languages that have been eradicated, but it’s also about resurgence and resistance and is weirdly joyful. And Mars is a book about violence and images and the relationships between them. It includes some of our grandfather’s photographs, taken during the Second World War in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon. It’s nice, working with someone who comes from the same place as you. It saves having to explain.

This is another one-off, made by my friend Tony. He’d just spent a winter in Estonia, making films, and was experimenting with these books with pages dipped in wax. He mostly works in prisons now, but his own stuff is so beautiful. There was one film in an abandoned building where he made the shape of a bird on the floor out of tiny pieces of coal. He filmed it being broken up, by a hair dryer or something, and then played it in reverse. This black bird, assembling out of nothing.

Olivia Laing is the author of TO THE RIVER, THE TRIP TO ECHO SPRING and THE LONELY CITY. She’s currently working on EVERYBODY, a book about embodiment in the 21st century.


Thursday, April 14th, 2016

— I shot this footage on one of my Super 8mm cameras when I was visiting a friend at the beach a few summers ago. More than anything it’s a document of motion and repeating form—something I return to often, particularly in music… the sound component came about earlier this year after I dug up the film and got it processed. I multi-tracked some guitars until a pattern began to emerge from the repetition… not a raga, but a monotonic system all the same… The tools aren’t so important; an Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer for the drone and a Color Sound Fuzz Wah for the majority of the guitar sound, with an old Memory Man echo and a cheap tremolo thrown in for good measure… The amp was 60s Silvertone, I don’t recall which guitar I used. A lot of the edits were done in-camera, but it’s not entirely ‘as is.’ I reversed some of the sound and picture, and added some more flicker to create a repetitive visual stimulus.

R.I.P to Tony Conrad, who passed away last week (April 9, 2016)—an inspiration in approach and spirit.

Ocean waves
Super 8mm film (2011)

Sound waves
Guitar improvisation & drone loop (2016)

Tres Warren was born in Texas in 1978 and has lived in New York for the past 15 years. He is a songwriter, guitarist and filmmaker and has been involved in a variety of musical collaborations most notably his band Psychic Ills.


Thursday, April 14th, 2016

20 East 65th Street, July 5, 1998

“The more arduous and the more complicated it got, the more desperate we became, and the more morbid-minded we became. We wanted to kill her.”
— Kenneth Kimes

When Irene Silverman rented the ground floor apartment of her 65th Street townhouse to a man purporting to be Palm Beach businessman Manny Guerrin, she had owned and lived the building for nearly 50 years. Although she was initially hesitant to accept the stranger as a tenant without a thorough check of references, Silverman acquiesced when Guerrin was able to immediately produce the first month’s rent ($6,000) in cash. Silverman would become increasingly suspicious over the next four weeks; her boarder would not allow cleaning staff access to his rooms, he was evasive, his footprints were repeatedly found outside of her office doors and bedroom, household staff had caught him spying on Silverman’s private phone calls, an unusual middle-aged woman regularly visited him wearing a variety of bizarre disguises. Silverman disappeared on July 5, 1998, the day before mother and son duo Sante and Kenneth Kimes were caught with a bag that contained falsified identification cards for Manny Guerrin, Silverman’s house keys, passport, checkbook and pay stubs, a red wig, power of attorney forms and a notarized deed with Silverman’s forged signature transferring ownership of the property to the Kimeses. Though Silverman’s body has never been found, in 2000 the Kimeses were found guilty of her murder as well as those of David Kazdin and Sayed Bilal Ahmed.

34 East 62nd Street, July 10, 2006

“You deserve it. You will be transformed from gold digger to rubbish digger. You always wanted me to sell the house. I always told you ‘I will leave the house only if I am dead.’ You ridiculed me. You should have taken it seriously.”
— Nicolas Bartha in an emailed suicide letter to his ex-wife

The building at 34 East 62nd Street had a storied history; it had been one of the first townhouses constructed on the Upper East Side in 1862, a Neo-Grecian jewel box that had been used as a war room for FDR in the 1940s. Nicholas and Cordula Bartha had purchased the house in 1980 after decades of scrimping and saving, but from the outset, life inside was far from ideal. Nicholas was cruel and controlling, a workaholic who frequently referred to his wife and daughters as whores, decorated the inside of the home with images of swastikas and hoarded newspaper clippings about pedophilia and abortion. When Cordula finally filed for divorce in 2001, the house became the object of a vitriolic and protracted legal battle that would rage for nearly five years. In 2006, a judge initiated the eviction of Bartha and ruled that the property be sold with all subsequent proceeds split evenly between both parties. Bartha had made repeated reference to the fact that he would vacate the home only in the event of his death, and on July 10, 2006, he opened the gas throughout the house, lit a match, and razed the property to the ground with himself inside. Though Bartha survived the initial blast, he died six days later of his injuries.

Dorrian’s Red Hand, 300 East 84th Street, August 26, 1986

“Use these with someone else, because you’re not going to get the chance to use them with me!”
— Robert Chamber’s unidentified 16 year old girlfriend upon throwing a bag of unused condoms at him on the night of Jennifer Levin’s murder.

Robert Chambers was 19 years old in the summer of 1986. Addicted to both cocaine and alcohol, the former alter boy had fallen far from the life that his working-class mother had tried to construct for him. He had never been able to align himself with the privilege that surrounded his classmates at the various prep schools that he attended via scholarship at her behest, and he had been failing in more and more profound ways. He’d been arrested for stealing, he’d been sent to rehab, he’d been thrown out of Boston University and fired from his job. On August 26th at Dorrian’s Red Hand, Jennifer Levin watched as Chambers’ underage girlfriend broke up with him at the bar. Levin and he had been intimate before, and she immediately took the opportunity to tell him that it had been the best sex of her life. They sat and drank until 4:30 the next morning, eventually leaving together and making their way to Central Park via the 86th Street entrance adjacent to the Met. Several joggers had seen the couple having sex in the grass- one remembered hearing a woman yelping in pain and had stopped, some distance away, and asked if everything was alright. “We’re fine,” Chambers yelled to him. At 6:15 am, Levin’s body was found. She’d been strangled and was lying naked in the grass; Chambers was observed standing at the stone wall by the museum watching the police attend to her body. Though he would subsequently claim that the scratches evident on his face and body had come from a cat, he would eventually make a partial confession, claiming that the two had been engaged in rough sex gone terribly awry.

424 Hudson Street, September 28th, 2006

“It looked like he had a bad night, I can tell you that.”
— Passerby Ralph Costanza

It was close enough to Halloween that witnesses had walked past the body attached to a wrought iron fence outside of 424 Hudson Street for several hours before anyone thought that something might be amiss. Dressed in chaps, a leather vest, spiked leather gloves and a hood, the figure appeared to be an early decoration, a life-sized spooky prop attached to the fence by a dog collar at the neck. Was it murder? Was it an accident? I’m not sure- the news stories dried up relatively quickly. I have never even been able to learn his name.

700 Avenue C, August 19, 1989

“Is it soup yet?”
— Phrase scrawled on the apartment door of Daniel Rakowitz, The Butcher of Tompkins Square

In 1989, drastic cuts to social welfare programs in New York triggered an economic crisis that left a huge swath of the low-income population on the brink of total disaster. With unemployment skyrocketing and a conscious lack of state intervention, the city had an estimated 80,000 residents that were without both homes and recourse. Daniel Rakowitz was small time drug dealer and self-proclaimed devil worshipper who had become a well-known figure to many people in Tompkins Square’s Tent City, an improvised community of homeless New Yorkers who took up residence in the park. In August of 1989, Rakowitz began bragging to Tent City inhabitants that he had murdered and cannibalized his roommate, Monica Beele, a 26 year old Swiss woman who had been a student at the Martha Graham School of Dance and a performer at Billy’s Topless on 24th Street and 7th Avenue. Though his claims were initially dismissed as fantasy, a tip-off eventually led police to a locker at Port Authority Terminal, where Beele’s bleached skull was recovered. Several witnesses would subsequently claim that Rakowitz had served soup in the park, playfully claiming that it contained Beele’s brain.

Crime enthusiast and writer Alissa Bennett was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1980. She is the author of DEAD IS BETTER, a twice-yearly zine dedicated to celebrity death, criminal behavior, and the American television program Intervention. Bennett lives and works in Brooklyn.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

— The shooting and editing of my first film, Katalin Varga was entirely financed from inheriting a portion of my uncle’s semi-detached house in Coronation Road, Aldershot in the early 2000s. The house had history, as my uncle spent his whole life there. A physically and emotionally draining few weeks had been spent sifting through two generations of clutter that had accumulated into every nook and cranny of the house. In a trunk in the loft there was a scuffed notebook that reeked of damp, containing military drawings from The First World War. There was no name attached. The only clue in the drawings was the wording ‘23rd Field Company Royal Engineers’ and a date on each page. Bomb boxes, periscopes, pile drivers, portable artillery bridges, rifle racks, telescope cradles, snipers’ posts and so on were divorced from the horrific connotations of war by the sheer beauty and immaculate detail of the drawings. This was work you could hang on a wall despite its troubling context.

One of the drawings was loaned to Organum’s David Jackman in 2003 for his solo record, Edge of Nothing. Also, a segment of another drawing was used for one of our Sonic Catering releases.

It is one hundred years since this particular drawing was made and ten years since I shot Katalin Varga. The irony is that the sole purpose of the drawings in the notebook was to defeat the armies of the very land we shot our film in. Far from being the enemy, the ethnic Hungarians, Romanians and Hungarians from Hungary offered their time, talent and energy for a film that neither paid well nor had any guarantee of a future in front of an audience. We bickered a lot, but I’m eternally grateful to the cast and the ten crew/catering members – Anikó Bordos, Zsolt Páll, Márk Győri, András Szőke, Csaba Ványalós, Zoltán Karaszek, Dezső Gálfi, Zsolt Kiss, Botond Huszti and Marek Szold – from the summer of 2006 in Transylvania. It seems cruelly absurd to imagine our grandfathers once fought against one another.

Peter Strickland was born in 1973, in Reading, England. His first feature, KATALIN VARGA, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for its sound design. His sophomore feature was BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO (2012), followed by THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY (2014). He recently directed an audio version of the cult 70s horror, THE STONE TAPE, for BBC Radio 4.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

— I lead a rich and full life, and I like routine, which on most days (when not teaching) means going into the studio in the morning, handling email, then making stuff. Then lunch, more studio, figuring what to make for dinner and shopping, more studio, then the important 5 o’clock gin while doing something like arranging a fantasy football line-up on DraftKings.

And my routines have sub-routines. Lunch, for example, means eating while listening to an audio book and playing fantasy solitaire. Every day this last week the sandwich was saucisson sec on a baguette with lots of butter, and 2 clementines. Let me explain fantasy solitaire. My father once told me how there used to be a casino game, turn of the 20th century I imagine, in which one bought a deck for $50 and was paid $5 dollars for every card played above the line, going through the deck once, a single card at a time. So I keep a Post-It tracking my winnings or losses in the cards’ box. Of course because of the odds, I always ended up in the red. Last summer I created new rules (I own the casino) that permit a fantasy side-bet of any amount, which I win if I get more than 10 cards above the line (plus the $5 cards). I need to imagine/place that bet after the initial round of cards is displayed but before flipping the first card. Inevitably I can recoup my losses with some outrageous bet. I get a minor gambling jolt from the game, and the audio book allows a proper amount of distraction from its onanistic tedium.

Dike Blair was born in 1952, he lives and works in New York. He has mounted solo exhibitions at Gagosian (New York), Linn Leuhn (Dusseldorf), Feature, Inc (New York) and Karma (New York). His work has been exhibited in group shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), and Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). In 2015 Karma published a collection of his gouache paintings in conjunction with his solo exhibition. In 2010 he received the Rome Prize and in 2009, a Guggenheim Fellowship. Blair says one constant in his work is the subject of light, remarking that his paintings are personal while his objects tend to be more formal. Dike Blair studied at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1977. He is also a senior critic in the painting department at Rhode Island School of Design.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

— I was 11 years old when the revolution in Iran started in 1979. It had been a few years since my father had become obsessed with photography. Most of the demonstrations took place downtown, very near his office in Tehran. We lived in the northern part of the city, which was mainly an affluent neighborhood. Unlike me, most of the kids in our apartment complex that I was friend with had pro Shah, anti revolutionary parents. I knew what my father was up to with his camera everyday going to work and several times without my mother knowing he took me downtown to show me what was going on. I felt uncomfortable talking about all this to my neighbor friends, but one day I found out my father, behind my back on several occasions had gathered the kids up and had given them slide shows of his photos. Here are few out of many I have preserved:

Seven years later my father died of a sudden heart attach. I inherited his camera and all the gears with it. It had been three years since we had immigrated to U.S due to the Iran /Iraq war. On my first few trips back with his camera in hand I took slides obsessively; always of what was going on downtown and occasionally out of town. Here are some of them:

Raha Raissnia was born in 1968, in Tehran, Iran. She immigrated to U.S in 1983. She received her BFA from the School of the Art institute of Chicago in 1992 and her MFA from Pratt Institute in 2002. In the interim, her interest in avant-garde filmmaking led her to work at Anthology Film Archives (1995–1999), where she has also exhibited. In 2015, her work was included in All the World’s Futures, 56th International Art Exhibition, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Venice Biennale. Previously, her work has been featured in exhibitions at White Columns (New York), Access Gallery (Vancouver), the Museum of Contemporary Art St. Louis, Khastoo Gallery (Los Angeles), Thomas Dane Gallery (London) and The Kitchen (New York), among others. Recent solo shows were held at Miguel Abreu Gallery (New York), Galeria Marta Cervera (Madrid), Galerie Xippas (Paris), and the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art (Isfahan, Iran). Raissnia’s expanded cinema performances, undertaken in collaboration with musicians such as Panagiotis Mavridis, Charles Curtis, Aki Onda and Briggan Krauss have been held at The Drawing Center (New York), P.S.1 (New York), Arnolfini –Center for Contemporary Arts (Bristol, UK), Issue Project Room (New York), and Emily Harvey Foundation (New York), among others. Raissnia’s first solo show in Tehran was held at Ab/Anbar in December 2015. An upcoming retrospective of film-based works will be held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in March 2016.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Master Parker was born in 2012. These paintings were made while he was between 2 and 3.5 years old. I love watching him paint and making marks. The process is so free and pure. It’s inspiring to see the uninhibited colors and lines flow out of him. I’ve got a lot to learn from him.




2014 – Collabs

Rhys Lee was born in 1975, in Brisbane, Australia, he lives and works in Melbourne. He has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and internationally in New York. Lee’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne (2015), the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2012), Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2001), The University of Queensland National Artist’s Self Portrait Prize (2009) and the Doug Moran Prize at the State Library of New South Wales (2009). A monograph on the artist was published in 2009. Lee’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian Government’s Artbank.


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Here is a small selection from a set of very quick drawings I made on a train ride through the Rockies, in 1997.

Now I only experience the world in fragments………moments
of time tentatively connected………….coming together…
…….drifting apart……..superimposing….

Malcolm Le Grice was born in 1940, in Plymouth and lives and works in London. He studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art but began to make film, video and computer works in the mid 1960s. He has shown in major international exhibitions including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Louvre Museum and Tate Modern. His films and videos are in collections at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Royal Belgian Film Archive, the National Film Library of Australia, the German Cinamatheque Archive and the Archives du Film Experimental D’Avignon. A number of longer films have been transmitted on British TV, including FINNEGANS CHIN (1981), SKETCHES FOR A SENSUAL PHILOSOPHY (1986) and CHRONOS FRAGMENTED (1995). Le Grice has written critical and theoretical work including a history of experimental cinema, ABSTRACT FILM AND BEYOND (1977). For three years in the 1970’s he wrote a regular column for the art monthly Studio International and has published numerous other articles on film, video and digital media. Many of these have been collected as an anthology under the title EXPERIMENTAL CINEMA IN THE DIGITAL AGE by the British Film Institute (2001). Le Grice is a Professor Emeritus of the University of the Arts London where he is a collaborating director with David Curtis, of the British Artists Film and Video Study Collection.A monograph of his work, LE TEMPS DES IMAGES, was publish by Les Presses du réel in 2015.


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— I got a polaroid camera in 2003. Around that time I gave up my apartment, and just travelled. I moved permanently back to NYC in 2008, and soon after that the polaroid film stopped being produced. For those five years I had a big suitcase that would go with me, and boxes of polaroids that I would bring in the suitcase. I would also leave them at my boyfriend’s place in Berlin. I was shooting a lot, in different countries. I never did a show with the polaroids—always meant to. I should scan them soon before they fade.

These are 7 of my favorites.

New York based artist Sue de Beer was born in 1982, Tarrytown, New York. She has become well known for both her dubious characters and her cinematographic experimentation including colored filters, flickering lenses, and tight crops. To more fully transport the viewer into her worlds, de Beer often screens her films in site-specific environments where fiction can rarely be distinguished from fact, and the psyche of our contemporary culture is cross-examined.


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— I lived in Chicago from 1992-1999. I moved there for grad school and then stayed on for another 5 years painting, teaching, working at Dusty Groove and playing music. I met Devin Johnston early on while he was getting his PhD at University of Chicago. We became fast friends and started playing music together. Our first foray into recording was an attempt to cover the entirety of Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait. We abandoned the project after the first track, but we have been collaborating ever since. Soon thereafter, we started playing with Corre Dilworth as the 53rd St Project. This was probably the summer of 1994. Gene Booth moved back from New York and Gene, Corre, Devin and I started playing as USA. We recorded an EP and an LP for Drag City. USA disbanded sometime around 1998, and Devin and I continued writing and playing together as The Hours. After accumulating a batch of songs, we enlisted Rich Germer to drum and play some electronics. We tried to keep effects and overdubs to a bare minimum. I don’t quite recall why but I suppose we were trying to construct a fairly minimal form of songwriting. We recorded several songs with Jim O’Rourke in Chicago and then some more with Paul Oldham in Shelbyville, Kentucky. A few weeks after recording with Paul, I moved back to California. Corbett vs. Dempsey will release an EP from these recordings in early 2016.



A Barrel Drops (& All Falls) and A Little Money were both recorded with Jim O’Rourke at his home studio in 1999. If I remember correctly (Jim and I did a lot of bartering back then), I traded a painting for Jim’s payment. The painting was subsequently used as the cover for Loose Fur, Jim’s project with Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche. We stopped referring to the band as The Hours as another band started releasing music under that name shortly thereafter.

Devin Johnston lives in St. Louis and teaches at Saint Louis University. He is the author of several books of poetry. He co-founded, and co-edits, Flood Editions with Michael O’Leary.

Brian Calvin was born in 1969, in Visalia, California, he lives and works in Ojai. He has had shows at Almine Rech Gallery, Paris; Anton Kern, New York; Corvi-Mora, London; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; Marc Foxx, Los Angeles; and Gallery Side 2, Tokyo, amongst others.


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— In the early 90s I had an unpaid position at i-D magazine. Nick Knight, who I had assisted, was the picture editor for a time and one of my roles was to go through the photographers’ portfolios, between 30 and 50 a month, and push anything interesting his way. One perk was going through the piles of unwanted look books and catalogs that would get sent into the office. The pages illustrated here were a brochure for the ’creative communication’ agency Imagination.

I had been making these collages since my early teens, as a way to consolidate and centralise my interest in images and experiments with layout and context. I think I was using visual prompts to assume different cultural positions, in the same way that I would come to understand clothing and later on photographic aesthetics.

This scrapbook covers a period from mid-1992 to early 93 and contains original prints from photographers I worked with or knew at the time including David Sims, Craig McDean and Wolfgang Tillmans. (Other editorially sourced inclusions included Bruce Weber, Mary Ellen Mark and Corinne Day.)

These pages set off a soundtrack in my mind and were made at a transitional point in my musical journey. I had just tried Ecstasy for the first time and it marked the end of an exclusive roots reggae/digital dub diet (Jah Shaka, Disciples, Alpha & Omega, Manasseh, Zion Train) as I began to connect with the spacier, crustier end of the rave scene (Megadog, Sugerlump, DIY, the Orb, Mixmaster Morris, Plastikman). A reoccurring subtext in this culture alluded to utopian heavens, other worlds, with outer space the ultimate cosmic destination. As someone who was not comfortable in his own skin inner space was what actually needed to be charted, though it took me a while to figure that out.

Jason Evans was born in 1968, in Holyhead, Wales. He is a multidisciplinary photographer who, since the early 1990s, has had a broad cultural practice. His out put developed to include writing and teaching alongside applied image making. He works around art, fashion and street photography tropes making work which is often influenced by vernacular culture. His long term projects with musicians Four tet, Caribou and Radiohead resulted in influential sleeve imagery and portraits which seek to redefine the relationships between sound and image. Since 2004, Evans has been maintained which celebrates simple pleasures as their own reward. Every day an image of something which made him happy is presented on this one page, non-archived website. His work has been exhibited internationally, and his game changing series STRICTLY is held in the Tate collection. Solo shows include his nomination for the Grange Prize at the AGO in Toronto and a retrospective of his Fashion work at the Hyeres Festival du Mode. He has been published and exhibited in several significant contemporary photography surveys, notably David Campany’s defining survey ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY and Charlotte Cotton’s new genre mapping PHOTOGRAPHY IS MAGIC. His monographs include NYLPT (Mack 2012) and PICTURES FOR LOOKING AT (Printed Matter 2014).


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— I’ve just finished a draft of a novella-length memoir charting the dissolution of my thirteen-year long collaboration/friendship/fascination with an extraterrestrially off-kilter actor and musician named Fred. We met in late 2000 when I cast him to play a chorus teacher who gets mocked and humiliated by a class of junior high students in my autobiographical short film, Mr. Rose. As I learned more about him during the production process I started feeling like I’d discovered the jackpot of eccentrics and for the first few years I knew him it seemed like he’d reveal some wonderfully bizarre detail about his life every time we were together.

In the Summer of 2001 Fred made the two-hour long trip by bus from his home in South Jersey to visit me in the East Village and as we strolled through Tompkins toward the vegetarian restaurant Kate’s Joint I apologized for all the walking I was making him do. “I don’t mind walking at all,” he said, completely nonchalant. “I can walk and walk for hours. When I was in college I walked 25 miles each way to school.”

Such an incredible revelation obviously required more attention so I pulled him to a bench and forced him to explain himself further. “I didn’t start college until I was in my late twenties and I was already living on my own. I had this beautiful blue Mustang but I needed money for tuition and my parents weren’t supporting me financially anymore. So I placed an ad in the paper and a few weeks later I sold my car to a plumber. Two days after that I walked outside of my apartment and looked at my empty parking space and said to myself ‘wait a minute, now how am I gonna get to school?’”

I was immediately struck by the implausibility of what he was suggesting. Nobody can walk two marathons a day as a commute so I pressed him, could it really be true? But he was insistent and said, “I waited so long to get to college that once I was able to afford it nothing was gonna stop me from getting an education, so I just did what I had to do.”

There were no combination of buses that would get Fred from his apartment to his school, Rowan University, and even though he’d hung up flyers around campus seeking a ride share and gotten his professors to allow him to get up before his classes at the beginning of each semester to explain his situation and beg for a ride nothing had ever come together, and he was forced to walk. “I’d tell everyone I’d pay half gas but all of these kids at this school were spoiled,” he said with a shrug.

I remained skeptical, and to prove himself a few weeks later Fred produced a laminated copy of an article that had chronicled his journeys to and from school. I borrowed the copy of the article as part of my research for a documentary about his life that I’ve never finished and it’s been a permanent fixture on the walls in my life ever since.

When Fred first revealed his walking tale to me I was immediately compelled by the Herzogian image of a man stubbornly walking along the highway alone in the dead of winter, a duffel bag loaded with oversized textbooks dangling from his hand. The article revealed that he’d suffered through numerous encounters with the cops – walking on the highway is illegal in NJ–and had even had a gun pulled on him while being searched one cold December morning.

I also loved how his story took the cliche’ idea of “back in my day we had it really tough, we had to walk through three miles of snow to get to school” to such hilariously grotesque lengths.

What I found strange was how he seemed to revel in the unique absurdity of his walking tale, proud that it made him an especially rare person, deserving of attention, while never once acknowledging how painfully sad it was.

He came across as a total oddball so I could understand his classmates not wanting to commit to the intimacy of being alone in a car with him day after day, aside from the nightmare of coordination such an act of charity would have required in the world before cell phones, but still, once his struggle became public knowledge someone should have been courteous and decent enough to come to his aid.

Yet nobody ever had, and Fred claimed with a smile that he was forced to walk for years and was even singled out by the dean of students during his graduation ceremony for his dedication to obtaining his degree.

I’m always charmed by desperate acts of deception and if my experience is enriched by a victimless fib then I appreciate the other person making the effort to entertain me.

So now, as I sit here after living with this story and having this weathered, laminated article in my possession for all these years, what I value most about it is how I doubt it even really happened. Walking 50 miles a day is impossible. That’s a cold, irrefutable fact. But Fred’s been living out this and many other strange tales for decades. And that was the real gift of knowing him. To share in his warped, mysterious, unfathomable, truth.

Ultimate Commute
Click image to view larger

Jason Giampietro was born in New Jersey and moved to the East Village in the early 2000s. He’s a cofounder of Magic Square Films and has written and directed the short films THE SUN THIEF and WHIFFED OUT, both of which played at BAMcinemaFest and The Maryland Film Festival, and HERNIA, which screened at the New York Film Festival. As an actor he appeared in Nathan Silver’s STINKING HEAVEN. In addition to his directorial work Giampietro is known for his street photography, which he posts through his instagram, named The Village Voice’s best local instagram. He has also written and recorded music as part of Mighty Moon and Daylight’s for the Birds.


Thursday, December 31st, 2015

— I was in love with Lili Taylor in high school. Lili Taylor as Valerie Solanas in I shot Andy Warhol. Her voice kept me awake at night. She was the sexiest woman the world had ever known. Before I ever heard her voice, maybe I’d read a little Rimbaud. Something was beginning. Thickening. Something was happening to me. Preparing me for her. The first thing I ever did on the internet was search for the S.C.U.M MANIFESTO. My best friend and I printed it out from her mom’s computer. Lili T’s voice. Her blunt, uncondescending face. Her tough little ears, her hard little wrists. Her voice.

In 2010, at a studio in Bushwick, Lili Taylor recorded a little poem of mine called SAVE THE WORLD. The poem is kind of about one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s also about tired twentieth century ideas about women and men and the end of the world. But because it’s a poem it’s also just about nothing.


Ariana Reines is a poet, playwright, and translator. She was born in 1982, in Salem, Massachusetts, she lives and works in New York. Her books of poetry include THE COW (2006), which won the Alberta Prize from Fence Books; COEUR DE LION (2007); and MERCURY (2011). Her poems have been anthologized in AGAINST EXPRESSION (2011) and GURLESQUE (2010). Her first play, TELEPHONE (2009), received two Obie Awards, and the Guggenheim’s Works+Process series in 2009 featured a re-imagining of its second act.


Friday, November 27th, 2015

— These photos are part of a much larger portfolio that I hope to publish as a book at some point. Pictured are my wife, Nancy and our two boys, Matt and Pete. These were taken in the 70s and 80s.

As a high school teacher on Long Island, New York for more than two decades, Joseph Szabo used photography as a tool to reach out to and connect with his students, giving him access to the world of teenagers adults rarely see. Szabo’s images depict the importance of peer acceptance, the significance of the right pair of jeans, cars, cigarettes, friendships and first love. These photographs are a poignant reminder of what being a teenager is all about, a time we can all relate to; the fears, joys and insecurities of being “almost grown-up”. These photographs also capture and preserve a particular time in American Culture, the fashion style and the mood of the 70’s and early 80’s.


Friday, November 27th, 2015

— My grandmother started teaching Russian language and literature in Moscow when she was 19. She spent the rest of her life teaching high school and elementary school, has co-written several textbooks, and continues to give private lessons at her apartment today. This is a phonetic diagram of letters and sounds that was hand-painted by her first class in 1953 as part of an assignment. On one of my trips back, I asked if I could keep it. It’s been hanging on my studio wall for a few years now: a baseline intersection of looking, speaking and making.

Sanya Kantarovsky was born in 1982, in Moscow, Russia, he lives and works in New York. He has had shows a venues like Altman Siegel, San Francisco, Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen, Germany; Marc Foxx, LA, Tanya Leighton, Berlin; Studio Voltaire, London, Office Baroque, Brussels, The Moscow Museum of Modern Art; Bortolami, New York and Wallspace, New York.


Friday, November 27th, 2015

by E.M. Forster (1909)


Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading-desk-that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh-a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. It is to her that the little room belongs.

An electric bell rang.

The woman touched a switch and the music was silent.

“I suppose I must see who it is”, she thought, and set her chair in motion. The chair, like the music, was worked by machinery and it rolled her to the other side of the room where the bell still rang importunately.

“Who is it?” she called. Her voice was irritable, for she had been interrupted often since the music began. She knew several thousand people, in certain directions human intercourse had advanced enormously.

But when she listened into the receiver, her white face wrinkled into smiles, and she said:

“Very well. Let us talk, I will isolate myself. I do not expect anything important will happen for the next five minutes-for I can give you fully five minutes, Kuno. Then I must deliver my lecture on “Music during the Australian Period”.”

She touched the isolation knob, so that no one else could speak to her. Then she touched the lighting apparatus, and the little room was plunged into darkness.

“Be quick!” She called, her irritation returning. “Be quick, Kuno; here I am in the dark wasting my time.”

But it was fully fifteen seconds before the round plate that she held in her hands began to glow. A faint blue light shot across it, darkening to purple, and presently she could see the image of her son, who lived on the other side of the earth, and he could see her.

“Kuno, how slow you are.”

He smiled gravely.

“I really believe you enjoy dawdling.”

“I have called you before, mother, but you were always busy or isolated. I have something particular to say.”

“What is it, dearest boy? Be quick. Why could you not send it by pneumatic post?”

“Because I prefer saying such a thing. I want—”


“I want you to come and see me.”

Vashti watched his face in the blue plate.

“But I can see you!” she exclaimed. “What more do you want?”

“I want to see you not through the Machine,” said Kuno. “I want to speak to you not through the wearisome Machine.”

“Oh, hush!” said his mother, vaguely shocked. “You mustn”t say anything against the Machine.”

“Why not?”

“One mustn”t.”

“You talk as if a god had made the Machine,” cried the other.

“I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind.”

She replied that she could scarcely spare the time for a visit.

“The air-ship barely takes two days to fly between me and you.”

“I dislike air-ships.”


“I dislike seeing the horrible brown earth, and the sea, and the stars when it is dark. I get no ideas in an air- ship.”

“I do not get them anywhere else.”

“What kind of ideas can the air give you?”

He paused for an instant.

“Do you not know four big stars that form an oblong, and three stars close together in the middle of the oblong, and hanging from these stars, three other stars?”

“No, I do not. I dislike the stars. But did they give you an idea? How interesting; tell me.”

“I had an idea that they were like a man.”

“I do not understand.”

“The four big stars are the man”s shoulders and his knees.

The three stars in the middle are like the belts that men wore once, and the three stars hanging are like a sword.”

“A sword?;”

“Men carried swords about with them, to kill animals and other men.”

“It does not strike me as a very good idea, but it is certainly original. When did it come to you first?”

“In the air-ship—” He broke off, and she fancied that he looked sad. She could not be sure, for the Machine did not transmit nuances of expression. It only gave a general idea of people – an idea that was good enough for all practical purposes, Vashti thought. The imponderable bloom, declared by a discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse, was rightly ignored by the Machine, just as the imponderable bloom of the grape was ignored by the manufacturers of artificial fruit. Something “good enough” had long since been accepted by our race.

“The truth is,” he continued, “that I want to see these stars again. They are curious stars. I want to see them not from the air-ship, but from the surface of the earth, as our ancestors did, thousands of years ago. I want to visit the surface of the earth.”

She was shocked again.

“Mother, you must come, if only to explain to me what is the harm of visiting the surface of the earth.”

“No harm,” she replied, controlling herself. “But no advantage. The surface of the earth is only dust and mud, no advantage. The surface of the earth is only dust and mud, no life remains on it, and you would need a respirator, or the cold of the outer air would kill you. One dies immediately in the outer air.”

“I know; of course I shall take all precautions.”

“And besides—”


She considered, and chose her words with care. Her son had a queer temper, and she wished to dissuade him from the expedition.

“It is contrary to the spirit of the age,” she asserted.

“Do you mean by that, contrary to the Machine?”

“In a sense, but—”

His image is the blue plate faded.


He had isolated himself.

For a moment Vashti felt lonely.

Then she generated the light, and the sight of her room, flooded with radiance and studded with electric buttons, revived her. There were buttons and switches everywhere – buttons to call for food for music, for clothing. There was the hot-bath button, by pressure of which a basin of (imitation) marble rose out of the floor, filled to the brim with a warm deodorized liquid. There was the cold-bath button. There was the button that produced literature. and there were of course the buttons by which she communicated with her friends. The room, though it contained nothing, was in touch with all that she cared for in the world.

Vashanti”s next move was to turn off the isolation switch, and all the accumulations of the last three minutes burst upon her. The room was filled with the noise of bells, and speaking-tubes. What was the new food like? Could she recommend it? Has she had any ideas lately? Might one tell her one”s own ideas? Would she make an engagement to visit the public nurseries at an early date? – say this day month.

To most of these questions she replied with irritation – a growing quality in that accelerated age. She said that the new food was horrible. That she could not visit the public nurseries through press of engagements. That she had no ideas of her own but had just been told one-that four stars and three in the middle were like a man: she doubted there was much in it. Then she switched off her correspondents, for it was time to deliver her lecture on Australian music.

The clumsy system of public gatherings had been long since abandoned; neither Vashti nor her audience stirred from their rooms. Seated in her armchair she spoke, while they in their armchairs heard her, fairly well, and saw her, fairly well. She opened with a humorous account of music in the pre Mongolian epoch, and went on to describe the great outburst of song that followed the Chinese conquest. Remote and primæval as were the methods of I-San-So and the Brisbane school, she yet felt (she said) that study of them might repay the musicians of today: they had freshness; they had, above all, ideas. Her lecture, which lasted ten minutes, was well received, and at its conclusion she and many of her audience listened to a lecture on the sea; there were ideas to be got from the sea; the speaker had donned a respirator and visited it lately. Then she fed, talked to many friends, had a bath, talked again, and summoned her bed.

The bed was not to her liking. It was too large, and she had a feeling for a small bed. Complaint was useless, for beds were of the same dimension all over the world, and to have had an alternative size would have involved vast alterations in the Machine. Vashti isolated herself-it was necessary, for neither day nor night existed under the ground-and reviewed all that had happened since she had summoned the bed last. Ideas? Scarcely any. Events-was Kuno”s invitation an event?

By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter-one book. This was the Book of the Machine. In it were instructions against every possible contingency. If she was hot or cold or dyspeptic or at a loss for a word, she went to the book, and it told her which button to press. The Central Committee published it. In accordance with a growing habit, it was richly bound.

Sitting up in the bed, she took it reverently in her hands. She glanced round the glowing room as if some one might be watching her. Then, half ashamed, half joyful, she murmured “O Machine!” and raised the volume to her lips. Thrice she kissed it, thrice inclined her head, thrice she felt the delirium of acquiescence. Her ritual performed, she turned to page 1367, which gave the times of the departure of the air-ships from the island in the southern hemisphere, under whose soil she lived, to the island in the northern hemisphere, whereunder lived her son.

She thought, “I have not the time.”

She made the room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light; she ate and exchanged ideas with her friends, and listened to music and attended lectures; she make the room dark and slept. Above her, beneath her, and around her, the Machine hummed eternally; she did not notice the noise, for she had been born with it in her ears. The earth, carrying her, hummed as it sped through silence, turning her now to the invisible sun, now to the invisible stars. She awoke and made the room light.


“I will not talk to you.” he answered, “until you come.”

“Have you been on the surface of the earth since we spoke last?”

His image faded.

Again she consulted the book. She became very nervous and lay back in her chair palpitating. Think of her as without teeth or hair. Presently she directed the chair to the wall, and pressed an unfamiliar button. The wall swung apart slowly. Through the opening she saw a tunnel that curved slightly, so that its goal was not visible. Should she go to see her son, here was the beginning of the journey.

Of course she knew all about the communication-system. There was nothing mysterious in it. She would summon a car and it would fly with her down the tunnel until it reached the lift that communicated with the air-ship station: the system had been in use for many, many years, long before the universal establishment of the Machine. And of course she had studied the civilization that had immediately preceded her own – the civilization that had mistaken the functions of the system, and had used it for bringing people to things, instead of for bringing things to people. Those funny old days, when men went for change of air instead of changing the air in their rooms! And yet-she was frightened of the tunnel: she had not seen it since her last child was born. It curved-but not quite as she remembered; it was brilliant-but not quite as brilliant as a lecturer had suggested. Vashti was seized with the terrors of direct experience. She shrank back into the room, and the wall closed up again.

“Kuno,” she said, “I cannot come to see you. I am not well.”

Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling, a thermometer was automatically laid upon her heart. She lay powerless. Cool pads soothed her forehead. Kuno had telegraphed to her doctor.

So the human passions still blundered up and down in the Machine. Vashti drank the medicine that the doctor projected into her mouth, and the machinery retired into the ceiling. The voice of Kuno was heard asking how she felt.

“Better.” Then with irritation: “But why do you not come to me instead?”

“Because I cannot leave this place.”


“Because, any moment, something tremendous many happen.”

“Have you been on the surface of the earth yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Then what is it?”

“I will not tell you through the Machine.”

She resumed her life.

But she thought of Kuno as a baby, his birth, his removal to the public nurseries, her own visit to him there, his visits to her-visits which stopped when the Machine had assigned him a room on the other side of the earth. “Parents, duties of,” said the book of the Machine,” cease at the moment of birth. P.422327483.” True, but there was something special about Kuno – indeed there had been something special about all her children – and, after all, she must brave the journey if he desired it. And “something tremendous might happen”. What did that mean? The nonsense of a youthful man, no doubt, but she must go. Again she pressed the unfamiliar button, again the wall swung back, and she saw the tunnel that curves out of sight. Clasping the Book, she rose, tottered on to the platform, and summoned the car. Her room closed behind her: the journey to the northern hemisphere had begun.

Of course it was perfectly easy. The car approached and in it she found armchairs exactly like her own. When she signaled, it stopped, and she tottered into the lift. One other passenger was in the lift, the first fellow creature she had seen face to face for months. Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul.

The air-ship service was a relic form the former age. It was kept up, because it was easier to keep it up than to stop it or to diminish it, but it now far exceeded the wants of the population. Vessel after vessel would rise form the vomitories of Rye or of Christchurch (I use the antique names), would sail into the crowded sky, and would draw up at the wharves of the south – empty. so nicely adjusted was the system, so independent of meteorology, that the sky, whether calm or cloudy, resembled a vast kaleidoscope whereon the same patterns periodically recurred. The ship on which Vashti sailed started now at sunset, now at dawn. But always, as it passed above Rheas, it would neighbour the ship that served between Helsingfors and the Brazils, and, every third time it surmounted the Alps, the fleet of Palermo would cross its track behind. Night and day, wind and storm, tide and earthquake, impeded man no longer. He had harnessed Leviathan. All the old literature, with its praise of Nature, and its fear of Nature, rang false as the prattle of a child.

Yet as Vashti saw the vast flank of the ship, stained with exposure to the outer air, her horror of direct experience returned. It was not quite like the air-ship in the cinematophote. For one thing it smelt – not strongly or unpleasantly, but it did smell, and with her eyes shut she should have known that a new thing was close to her. Then she had to walk to it from the lift, had to submit to glances form the other passengers. The man in front dropped his Book – no great matter, but it disquieted them all. In the rooms, if the Book was dropped, the floor raised it mechanically, but the gangway to the air-ship was not so prepared, and the sacred volume lay motionless. They stopped – the thing was unforeseen – and the man, instead of picking up his property, felt the muscles of his arm to see how they had failed him. Then some one actually said with direct utterance: “We shall be late” – and they trooped on board, Vashti treading on the pages as she did so.

Inside, her anxiety increased. The arrangements were old- fashioned and rough. There was even a female attendant, to whom she would have to announce her wants during the voyage. Of course a revolving platform ran the length of the boat, but she was expected to walk from it to her cabin. Some cabins were better than others, and she did not get the best. She thought the attendant had been unfair, and spasms of rage shook her. The glass valves had closed, she could not go back. She saw, at the end of the vestibule, the lift in which she had ascended going quietly up and down, empty. Beneath those corridors of shining tiles were rooms, tier below tier, reaching far into the earth, and in each room there sat a human being, eating, or sleeping, or producing ideas. And buried deep in the hive was her own room. Vashti was afraid.

“O Machine!” she murmured, and caressed her Book, and was comforted.

Then the sides of the vestibule seemed to melt together, as do the passages that we see in dreams, the lift vanished , the Book that had been dropped slid to the left and vanished, polished tiles rushed by like a stream of water, there was a slight jar, and the air-ship, issuing from its tunnel, soared above the waters of a tropical ocean.

It was night. For a moment she saw the coast of Sumatra edged by the phosphorescence of waves, and crowned by lighthouses, still sending forth their disregarded beams. These also vanished, and only the stars distracted her. They were not motionless, but swayed to and fro above her head, thronging out of one sky-light into another, as if the universe and not the air-ship was careening. And, as often happens on clear nights, they seemed now to be in perspective, now on a plane; now piled tier beyond tier into the infinite heavens, now concealing infinity, a roof limiting for ever the visions of men. In either case they seemed intolerable. “Are we to travel in the dark?” called the passengers angrily, and the attendant, who had been careless, generated the light, and pulled down the blinds of pliable metal. When the air-ships had been built, the desire to look direct at things still lingered in the world. Hence the extraordinary number of skylights and windows, and the proportionate discomfort to those who were civilized and refined. Even in Vashti”s cabin one star peeped through a flaw in the blind, and after a few hers” uneasy slumber, she was disturbed by an unfamiliar glow, which was the dawn.

Quick as the ship had sped westwards, the earth had rolled eastwards quicker still, and had dragged back Vashti and her companions towards the sun. Science could prolong the night, but only for a little, and those high hopes of neutralizing the earth”s diurnal revolution had passed, together with hopes that were possibly higher. To “keep pace with the sun,” or even to outstrip it, had been the aim of the civilization preceding this. Racing aeroplanes had been built for the purpose, capable of enormous speed, and steered by the greatest intellects of the epoch. Round the globe they went, round and round, westward, westward, round and round, amidst humanity”s applause. In vain. The globe went eastward quicker still, horrible accidents occurred, and the Committee of the Machine, at the time rising into prominence, declared the pursuit illegal, unmechanical, and punishable by Homelessness.

Of Homelessness more will be said later.

Doubtless the Committee was right. Yet the attempt to “defeat the sun” aroused the last common interest that our race experienced about the heavenly bodies, or indeed about anything. It was the last time that men were compacted by thinking of a power outside the world. The sun had conquered, yet it was the end of his spiritual dominion. Dawn, midday, twilight, the zodiacal path, touched neither men”s lives not their hearts, and science retreated into the ground, to concentrate herself upon problems that she was certain of solving.

So when Vashti found her cabin invaded by a rosy finger of light, she was annoyed, and tried to adjust the blind. But the blind flew up altogether, and she saw through the skylight small pink clouds, swaying against a background of blue, and as the sun crept higher, its radiance entered direct, brimming down the wall, like a golden sea. It rose and fell with the air-ship”s motion, just as waves rise and fall, but it advanced steadily, as a tide advances. Unless she was careful, it would strike her face. A spasm of horror shook her and she rang for the attendant. The attendant too was horrified, but she could do nothing; it was not her place to mend the blind. She could only suggest that the lady should change her cabin, which she accordingly prepared to do.

People were almost exactly alike all over the world, but the attendant of the air-ship, perhaps owing to her exceptional duties, had grown a little out of the common. She had often to address passengers with direct speech, and this had given her a certain roughness and originality of manner. When Vashti served away form the sunbeams with a cry, she behaved barbarically – she put out her hand to steady her.

“How dare you!” exclaimed the passenger. “You forget yourself!”

The woman was confused, and apologized for not having let her fall. People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine.

“Where are we now?” asked Vashti haughtily.

“We are over Asia,” said the attendant, anxious to be polite.


“You must excuse my common way of speaking. I have got into the habit of calling places over which I pass by their unmechanical names.”

“Oh, I remember Asia. The Mongols came from it.”

“Beneath us, in the open air, stood a city that was once called Simla.”

“Have you ever heard of the Mongols and of the Brisbane school?”


“Brisbane also stood in the open air.”

“Those mountains to the right – let me show you them.” She pushed back a metal blind. The main chain of the Himalayas was revealed. “They were once called the Roof of the World, those mountains.”

“You must remember that, before the dawn of civilization, they seemed to be an impenetrable wall that touched the stars. It was supposed that no one but the gods could exist above their summits. How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!”

“How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!” said Vashti.

“How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!” echoed the passenger who had dropped his Book the night before, and who was standing in the passage.

“And that white stuff in the cracks? – what is it?”

“I have forgotten its name.”

“Cover the window, please. These mountains give me no ideas.”

The northern aspect of the Himalayas was in deep shadow: on the Indian slope the sun had just prevailed. The forests had been destroyed during the literature epoch for the purpose of making newspaper-pulp, but the snows were awakening to their morning glory, and clouds still hung on the breasts of Kinchinjunga. In the plain were seen the ruins of cities, with diminished rivers creeping by their walls, and by the sides of these were sometimes the signs of vomitories, marking the cities of to day. Over the whole prospect air-ships rushed, crossing the inter-crossing with incredible aplomb, and rising nonchalantly when they desired to escape the perturbations of the lower atmosphere and to traverse the Roof of the World.

“We have indeed advance, thanks to the Machine,” repeated the attendant, and hid the Himalayas behind a metal blind.

The day dragged wearily forward. The passengers sat each in his cabin, avoiding one another with an almost physical repulsion and longing to be once more under the surface of the earth. There were eight or ten of them, mostly young males, sent out from the public nurseries to inhabit the rooms of those who had died in various parts of the earth. The man who had dropped his Book was on the homeward journey. He had been sent to Sumatra for the purpose of propagating the race. Vashti alone was travelling by her private will.

At midday she took a second glance at the earth. The air- ship was crossing another range of mountains, but she could see little, owing to clouds. Masses of black rock hovered below her, and merged indistinctly into grey. Their shapes were fantastic; one of them resembled a prostrate man.

“No ideas here,” murmured Vashti, and hid the Caucasus behind a metal blind.

In the evening she looked again. They were crossing a golden sea, in which lay many small islands and one peninsula. She repeated, “No ideas here,” and hid Greece behind a metal blind.



By a vestibule, by a lift, by a tubular railway, by a platform, by a sliding door – by reversing all the steps of her departure did Vashti arrive at her son”s room, which exactly resembled her own. She might well declare that the visit was superfluous. The buttons, the knobs, the reading-desk with the Book, the temperature, the atmosphere, the illumination – all were exactly the same. And if Kuno himself, flesh of her flesh, stood close beside her at last, what profit was there in that? She was too well-bred to shake him by the hand.

Averting her eyes, she spoke as follows:

“Here I am. I have had the most terrible journey and greatly retarded the development of my soul. It is not worth it, Kuno, it is not worth it. My time is too precious. The sunlight almost touched me, and I have met with the rudest people. I can only stop a few minutes. Say what you want to say, and then I must return.”

“I have been threatened with Homelessness,” said Kuno.

She looked at him now.

“I have been threatened with Homelessness, and I could not tell you such a thing through the Machine.”

Homelessness means death. The victim is exposed to the air, which kills him.

“I have been outside since I spoke to you last. The tremendous thing has happened, and they have discovered me.”

“But why shouldn”t you go outside?” she exclaimed, “It is perfectly legal, perfectly mechanical, to visit the surface of the earth. I have lately been to a lecture on the sea; there is no objection to that; one simply summons a respirator and gets an Egression-permit. It is not the kind of thing that spiritually minded people do, and I begged you not to do it, but there is no legal objection to it.”

“I did not get an Egression-permit.”

“Then how did you get out?”

“I found out a way of my own.”

The phrase conveyed no meaning to her, and he had to repeat it.

“A way of your own?” she whispered. “But that would be wrong.”


The question shocked her beyond measure.

“You are beginning to worship the Machine,” he said coldly.

“You think it irreligious of me to have found out a way of my own. It was just what the Committee thought, when they threatened me with Homelessness.”

At this she grew angry. “I worship nothing!” she cried. “I am most advanced. I don”t think you irreligious, for there is no such thing as religion left. All the fear and the superstition that existed once have been destroyed by the Machine. I only meant that to find out a way of your own was—Besides, there is no new way out.”

“So it is always supposed.”

“Except through the vomitories, for which one must have an Egression-permit, it is impossible to get out. The Book says so.”

“Well, the Book”s wrong, for I have been out on my feet.”

For Kuno was possessed of a certain physical strength.

By these days it was a demerit to be muscular. Each infant was examined at birth, and all who promised undue strength were destroyed. Humanitarians may protest, but it would have been no true kindness to let an athlete live; he would never have been happy in that state of life to which the Machine had called him; he would have yearned for trees to climb, rivers to bathe in, meadows and hills against which he might measure his body. Man must be adapted to his surroundings, must he not? In the dawn of the world our weakly must be exposed on Mount Taygetus, in its twilight our strong will suffer euthanasia, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress eternally.

“You know that we have lost the sense of space. We say “space is annihilated”, but we have annihilated not space, but the sense thereof. We have lost a part of ourselves. I determined to recover it, and I began by walking up and down the platform of the railway outside my room. Up and down, until I was tired, and so did recapture the meaning of “Near” and “Far”. “Near” is a place to which I can get quickly on my feet, not a place to which the train or the air-ship will take me quickly. “Far” is a place to which I cannot get quickly on my feet; the vomitory is “far”, though I could be there in thirty-eight seconds by summoning the train. Man is the measure. That was my first lesson. Man”s feet are the measure for distance, his hands are the measure for ownership, his body is the measure for all that is lovable and desirable and strong. Then I went further: it was then that I called to you for the first time, and you would not come.

“This city, as you know, is built deep beneath the surface of the earth, with only the vomitories protruding. Having paced the platform outside my own room, I took the lift to the next platform and paced that also, and so with each in turn, until I came to the topmost, above which begins the earth. All the platforms were exactly alike, and all that I gained by visiting them was to develop my sense of space and my muscles. I think I should have been content with this – it is not a little thing, – but as I walked and brooded, it occurred to me that our cities had been built in the days when men still breathed the outer air, and that there had been ventilation shafts for the workmen. I could think of nothing but these ventilation shafts. Had they been destroyed by all the food-tubes and medicine-tubes and music- tubes that the Machine has evolved lately? Or did traces of them remain? One thing was certain. If I came upon them anywhere, it would be in the railway-tunnels of the topmost storey. Everywhere else, all space was accounted for.

“I am telling my story quickly, but don”t think that I was not a coward or that your answers never depressed me. It is not the proper thing, it is not mechanical, it is not decent to walk along a railway-tunnel. I did not fear that I might tread upon a live rail and be killed. I feared something far more intangible-doing what was not contemplated by the Machine. Then I said to myself, “Man is the measure”, and I went, and after many visits I found an opening.

“The tunnels, of course, were lighted. Everything is light, artificial light; darkness is the exception. So when I saw a black gap in the tiles, I knew that it was an exception, and rejoiced. I put in my arm – I could put in no more at first – and waved it round and round in ecstasy. I loosened another tile, and put in my head, and shouted into the darkness: “I am coming, I shall do it yet,” and my voice reverberated down endless passages. I seemed to hear the spirits of those dead workmen who had returned each evening to the starlight and to their wives, and all the generations who had lived in the open air called back to me, “You will do it yet, you are coming,””

He paused, and, absurd as he was, his last words moved her.

For Kuno had lately asked to be a father, and his request had been refused by the Committee. His was not a type that the Machine desired to hand on.

“Then a train passed. It brushed by me, but I thrust my head and arms into the hole. I had done enough for one day, so I crawled back to the platform, went down in the lift, and summoned my bed. Ah what dreams! And again I called you, and again you refused.”

She shook her head and said:

“Don”t. Don”t talk of these terrible things. You make me miserable. You are throwing civilization away.”

“But I had got back the sense of space and a man cannot rest then. I determined to get in at the hole and climb the shaft. And so I exercised my arms. Day after day I went through ridiculous movements, until my flesh ached, and I could hang by my hands and hold the pillow of my bed outstretched for many minutes. Then I summoned a respirator, and started.

“It was easy at first. The mortar had somehow rotted, and I soon pushed some more tiles in, and clambered after them into the darkness, and the spirits of the dead comforted me. I don”t know what I mean by that. I just say what I felt. I felt, for the first time, that a protest had been lodged against corruption, and that even as the dead were comforting me, so I was comforting the unborn. I felt that humanity existed, and that it existed without clothes. How can I possibly explain this? It was naked, humanity seemed naked, and all these tubes and buttons and machineries neither came into the world with us, nor will they follow us out, nor do they matter supremely while we are here. Had I been strong, I would have torn off every garment I had, and gone out into the outer air unswaddled. But this is not for me, nor perhaps for my generation. I climbed with my respirator and my hygienic clothes and my dietetic tabloids! Better thus than not at all.

“There was a ladder, made of some primæval metal. The light from the railway fell upon its lowest rungs, and I saw that it led straight upwards out of the rubble at the bottom of the shaft. Perhaps our ancestors ran up and down it a dozen times daily, in their building. As I climbed, the rough edges cut through my gloves so that my hands bled. The light helped me for a little, and then came darkness and, worse still, silence which pierced my ears like a sword. The Machine hums! Did you know that? Its hum penetrates our blood, and may even guide our thoughts. Who knows! I was getting beyond its power. Then I thought: “This silence means that I am doing wrong.” But I heard voices in the silence, and again they strengthened me.” He laughed. “I had need of them. The next moment I cracked my head against something.”

She sighed.

“I had reached one of those pneumatic stoppers that defend us from the outer air. You may have noticed them no the air- ship. Pitch dark, my feet on the rungs of an invisible ladder, my hands cut; I cannot explain how I lived through this part, but the voices till comforted me, and I felt for fastenings. The stopper, I suppose, was about eight feet across. I passed my hand over it as far as I could reach. It was perfectly smooth. I felt it almost to the centre. Not quite to the centre, for my arm was too short. Then the voice said: “Jump. It is worth it. There may be a handle in the centre, and you may catch hold of it and so come to us your own way. And if there is no handle, so that you may fall and are dashed to pieces – it is till worth it: you will still come to us your own way.” So I jumped. There was a handle, and —”

He paused. Tears gathered in his mother”s eyes. She knew that he was fated. If he did not die today he would die tomorrow. There was not room for such a person in the world. And with her pity disgust mingled. She was ashamed at having borne such a son, she who had always been so respectable and so full of ideas. Was he really the little boy to whom she had taught the use of his stops and buttons, and to whom she had given his first lessons in the Book? The very hair that disfigured his lip showed that he was reverting to some savage type. On atavism the Machine can have no mercy.

“There was a handle, and I did catch it. I hung tranced over the darkness and heard the hum of these workings as the last whisper in a dying dream. All the things I had cared about and all the people I had spoken to through tubes appeared infinitely little. Meanwhile the handle revolved. My weight had set something in motion and I span slowly, and then—

“I cannot describe it. I was lying with my face to the sunshine. Blood poured from my nose and ears and I heard a tremendous roaring. The stopper, with me clinging to it, had simply been blown out of the earth, and the air that we make down here was escaping through the vent into the air above. It burst up like a fountain. I crawled back to it – for the upper air hurts – and, as it were, I took great sips from the edge. My respirator had flown goodness knows here, my clothes were torn. I just lay with my lips close to the hole, and I sipped until the bleeding stopped. You can imagine nothing so curious. This hollow in the grass – I will speak of it in a minute, – the sun shining into it, not brilliantly but through marbled clouds, – the peace, the nonchalance, the sense of space, and, brushing my cheek, the roaring fountain of our artificial air! Soon I spied my respirator, bobbing up and down in the current high above my head, and higher still were many air-ships. But no one ever looks out of air-ships, and in any case they could not have picked me up. There I was, stranded. The sun shone a little way down the shaft, and revealed the topmost rung of the ladder, but it was hopeless trying to reach it. I should either have been tossed up again by the escape, or else have fallen in, and died. I could only lie on the grass, sipping and sipping, and from time to time glancing around me.

“I knew that I was in Wessex, for I had taken care to go to a lecture on the subject before starting. Wessex lies above the room in which we are talking now. It was once an important state. Its kings held all the southern coast form the Andredswald to Cornwall, while the Wansdyke protected them on the north, running over the high ground. The lecturer was only concerned with the rise of Wessex, so I do not know how long it remained an international power, nor would the knowledge have assisted me. To tell the truth I could do nothing but laugh, during this part. There was I, with a pneumatic stopper by my side and a respirator bobbing over my head, imprisoned, all three of us, in a grass-grown hollow that was edged with fern.”

Then he grew grave again.

“Lucky for me that it was a hollow. For the air began to fall back into it and to fill it as water fills a bowl. I could crawl about. Presently I stood. I breathed a mixture, in which the air that hurts predominated whenever I tried to climb the sides. This was not so bad. I had not lost my tabloids and remained ridiculously cheerful, and as for the Machine, I forgot about it altogether. My one aim now was to get to the top, where the ferns were, and to view whatever objects lay beyond.

“I rushed the slope. The new air was still too bitter for me and I came rolling back, after a momentary vision of something grey. The sun grew very feeble, and I remembered that he was in Scorpio – I had been to a lecture on that too. If the sun is in Scorpio, and you are in Wessex, it means that you must be as quick as you can, or it will get too dark. (This is the first bit of useful information I have ever got from a lecture, and I expect it will be the last.) It made me try frantically to breathe the new air, and to advance as far as I dared out of my pond. The hollow filled so slowly. At times I thought that the fountain played with less vigour. My respirator seemed to dance nearer the earth; the roar was decreasing.”

He broke off.

“I don”t think this is interesting you. The rest will interest you even less. There are no ideas in it, and I wish that I had not troubled you to come. We are too different, mother.”

She told him to continue.

“It was evening before I climbed the bank. The sun had very nearly slipped out of the sky by this time, and I could not get a good view. You, who have just crossed the Roof of the World, will not want to hear an account of the little hills that I saw – low colourless hills. But to me they were living and the turf that covered them was a skin, under which their muscles rippled, and I felt that those hills had called with incalculable force to men in the past, and that men had loved them. Now they sleep – perhaps for ever. They commune with humanity in dreams. Happy the man, happy the woman, who awakes the hills of Wessex. For though they sleep, they will never die.”

His voice rose passionately.

“Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives in the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It was robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops – but not on our lies. The Machine proceeds – but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die. Oh, I have no remedy – or, at least, only one – to tell men again and again that I have seen the hills of Wessex as Ælfrid saw them when he overthrew the Danes.

“So the sun set. I forgot to mention that a belt of mist lay between my hill and other hills, and that it was the colour of pearl.”

He broke off for the second time.

“Go on,” said his mother wearily.

He shook his head.

“Go on. Nothing that you say can distress me now. I am hardened.”

“I had meant to tell you the rest, but I cannot: I know that I cannot: good-bye.”

Vashti stood irresolute. All her nerves were tingling with his blasphemies. But she was also inquisitive.

“This is unfair,” she complained. “You have called me across the world to hear your story, and hear it I will. Tell me – as briefly as possible, for this is a disastrous waste of time – tell me how you returned to civilization.”

“Oh – that!” he said, starting. “You would like to hear about civilization. Certainly. Had I got to where my respirator fell down?”

“No – but I understand everything now. You put on your respirator, and managed to walk along the surface of the earth to a vomitory, and there your conduct was reported to the Central Committee.”

“By no means.”

He passed his hand over his forehead, as if dispelling some strong impression. Then, resuming his narrative, he warmed to it again.

“My respirator fell about sunset. I had mentioned that the fountain seemed feebler, had I not?”


“About sunset, it let the respirator fall. As I said, I had entirely forgotten about the Machine, and I paid no great attention at the time, being occupied with other things. I had my pool of air, into which I could dip when the outer keenness became intolerable, and which would possibly remain for days, provided that no wind sprang up to disperse it. Not until it was too late did I realize what the stoppage of the escape implied. You see – the gap in the tunnel had been mended; the Mending Apparatus; the Mending Apparatus, was after me.

“One other warning I had, but I neglected it. The sky at night was clearer than it had been in the day, and the moon, which was about half the sky behind the sun, shone into the dell at moments quite brightly. I was in my usual place – on the boundary between the two atmospheres – when I thought I saw something dark move across the bottom of the dell, and vanish into the shaft. In my folly, I ran down. I bent over and listened, and I thought I heard a faint scraping noise in the depths.

“At this – but it was too late – I took alarm. I determined to put on my respirator and to walk right out of the dell. But my respirator had gone. I knew exactly where it had fallen – between the stopper and the aperture – and I could even feel the mark that it had made in the turf. It had gone, and I realized that something evil was at work, and I had better escape to the other air, and, if I must die, die running towards the cloud that had been the colour of a pearl. I never started. Out of the shaft – it is too horrible. A worm, a long white worm, had crawled out of the shaft and gliding over the moonlit grass.

“I screamed. I did everything that I should not have done, I stamped upon the creature instead of flying from it, and it at once curled round the ankle. Then we fought. The worm let me run all over the dell, but edged up my leg as I ran. “Help!” I cried. (That part is too awful. It belongs to the part that you will never know.) “Help!” I cried. (Why cannot we suffer in silence?) “Help!” I cried. When my feet were wound together, I fell, I was dragged away from the dear ferns and the living hills, and past the great metal stopper (I can tell you this part), and I thought it might save me again if I caught hold of the handle. It also was enwrapped, it also. Oh, the whole dell was full of the things. They were searching it in all directions, they were denuding it, and the white snouts of others peeped out of the hole, ready if needed. Everything that could be moved they brought – brushwood, bundles of fern, everything, and down we all went intertwined into hell. The last things that I saw, ere the stopper closed after us, were certain stars, and I felt that a man of my sort lived in the sky. For I did fight, I fought till the very end, and it was only my head hitting against the ladder that quieted me. I woke up in this room. The worms had vanished. I was surrounded by artificial air, artificial light, artificial peace, and my friends were calling to me down speaking-tubes to know whether I had come across any new ideas lately.”

Here his story ended. Discussion of it was impossible, and Vashti turned to go.

“It will end in Homelessness,” she said quietly.

“I wish it would,” retorted Kuno.

“The Machine has been most merciful.”

“I prefer the mercy of God.”

“By that superstitious phrase, do you mean that you could live in the outer air?”


“Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?”


“Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?”


“They were left where they perished for our edification. A few crawled away, but they perished, too – who can doubt it? And so with the Homeless of our own day. The surface of the earth supports life no longer.”


“Ferns and a little grass may survive, but all higher forms have perished. Has any air-ship detected them?”


“Has any lecturer dealt with them?”


“Then why this obstinacy?”

“Because I have seen them,” he exploded.

“Seen what?”

“Because I have seen her in the twilight – because she came to my help when I called – because she, too, was entangled by the worms, and, luckier than I, was killed by one of them piercing her throat.”

He was mad. Vashti departed, nor, in the troubles that followed, did she ever see his face again.



During the years that followed Kuno”s escapade, two important developments took place in the Machine. On the surface they were revolutionary, but in either case men”s minds had been prepared beforehand, and they did but express tendencies that were latent already.

The first of these was the abolition of respirator.

Advanced thinkers, like Vashti, had always held it foolish to visit the surface of the earth. Air-ships might be necessary, but what was the good of going out for mere curiosity and crawling along for a mile or two in a terrestrial motor? The habit was vulgar and perhaps faintly improper: it was unproductive of ideas, and had no connection with the habits that really mattered. So respirators were abolished, and with them, of course, the terrestrial motors, and except for a few lecturers, who complained that they were debarred access to their subject- matter, the development was accepted quietly. Those who still wanted to know what the earth was like had after all only to listen to some gramophone, or to look into some cinematophote. And even the lecturers acquiesced when they found that a lecture on the sea was none the less stimulating when compiled out of other lectures that had already been delivered on the same subject. “Beware of first- hand ideas!” exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. “First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element – direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine – the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought LafcadioHearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution. Through the medium of these ten great minds, the blood that was shed at Paris and the windows that were broken at Versailles will be clarified to an idea which you may employ most profitably in your daily lives. But be sure that the intermediates are many and varied, for in history one authority exists to counteract another. Urizen must counteract the scepticism of Ho-Yung and Enicharmon, I must myself counteract the impetuosity of Gutch. You who listen to me are in a better position to judge about the French Revolution than I am. Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time” – his voice rose – “there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation

seraphically free

From taint of personality,

which will see the French Revolution not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened, had it taken place in the days of the Machine.”

Tremendous applause greeted this lecture, which did but voice a feeling already latent in the minds of men – a feeling that terrestrial facts must be ignored, and that the abolition of respirators was a positive gain. It was even suggested that air-ships should be abolished too. This was not done, because air-ships had somehow worked themselves into the Machine”s system. But year by year they were used less, and mentioned less by thoughtful men.

The second great development was the re-establishment of religion.

This, too, had been voiced in the celebrated lecture. No one could mistake the reverent tone in which the peroration had concluded, and it awakened a responsive echo in the heart of each. Those who had long worshipped silently, now began to talk. They described the strange feeling of peace that came over them when they handled the Book of the Machine, the pleasure that it was to repeat certain numerals out of it, however little meaning those numerals conveyed to the outward ear, the ecstasy of touching a button, however unimportant, or of ringing an electric bell, however superfluously.

“The Machine,” they exclaimed, “feeds us and clothes us and houses us; through it we speak to one another, through it we see one another, in it we have our being. The Machine is the friend of ideas and the enemy of superstition: the Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is the Machine.” And before long this allocution was printed on the first page of the Book, and in subsequent editions the ritual swelled into a complicated system of praise and prayer. The word “religion” was sedulously avoided, and in theory the Machine was still the creation and the implement of man. but in practice all, save a few retrogrades, worshipped it as divine. Nor was it worshipped in unity. One believer would be chiefly impressed by the blue optic plates, through which he saw other believers; another by the mending apparatus, which sinful Kuno had compared to worms; another by the lifts, another by the Book. And each would pray to this or to that, and ask it to intercede for him with the Machine as a whole. Persecution – that also was present. It did not break out, for reasons that will be set forward shortly. But it was latent, and all who did not accept the minimum known as “undenominational Mechanism” lived in danger of Homelessness, which means death, as we know.

To attribute these two great developments to the Central Committee, is to take a very narrow view of civilization. The Central Committee announced the developments, it is true, but they were no more the cause of them than were the kings of the imperialistic period the cause of war. Rather did they yield to some invincible pressure, which came no one knew whither, and which, when gratified, was succeeded by some new pressure equally invincible. To such a state of affairs it is convenient to give the name of progress. No one confessed the Machine was out of hand. Year by year it was served with increased efficiency and decreased intelligence. The better a man knew his own duties upon it, the less he understood the duties of his neighbour, and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole. Those master brains had perished. They had left full directions, it is true, and their successors had each of them mastered a portion of those directions. But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine.

As for Vashti, her life went peacefully forward until the final disaster. She made her room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light. She lectured and attended lectures. She exchanged ideas with her innumerable friends and believed she was growing more spiritual. At times a friend was granted Euthanasia, and left his or her room for the homelessness that is beyond all human conception. Vashti did not much mind. After an unsuccessful lecture, she would sometimes ask for Euthanasia herself. But the death-rate was not permitted to exceed the birth-rate, and the Machine had hitherto refused it to her.

The troubles began quietly, long before she was conscious of them.

One day she was astonished at receiving a message from her son. They never communicated, having nothing in common, and she had only heard indirectly that he was still alive, and had been transferred from the northern hemisphere, where he had behaved so mischievously, to the southern – indeed, to a room not far from her own.

“Does he want me to visit him?” she thought. “Never again, never. And I have not the time.”

No, it was madness of another kind.

He refused to visualize his face upon the blue plate, and speaking out of the darkness with solemnity said:

“The Machine stops.”

“What do you say?”

“The Machine is stopping, I know it, I know the signs.”

She burst into a peal of laughter. He heard her and was angry, and they spoke no more.

“Can you imagine anything more absurd?” she cried to a friend. “A man who was my son believes that the Machine is stopping. It would be impious if it was not mad.”

“The Machine is stopping?” her friend replied. “What does that mean? The phrase conveys nothing to me.”

“Nor to me.”

“He does not refer, I suppose, to the trouble there has been lately with the music?”

“Oh no, of course not. Let us talk about music.”

“Have you complained to the authorities?”

“Yes, and they say it wants mending, and referred me to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus. I complained of those curious gasping sighs that disfigure the symphonies of the Brisbane school. They sound like some one in pain. The Committee of the Mending Apparatus say that it shall be remedied shortly.”

Obscurely worried, she resumed her life. For one thing, the defect in the music irritated her. For another thing, she could not forget Kuno”s speech. If he had known that the music was out of repair – he could not know it, for he detested music – if he had known that it was wrong, “the Machine stops” was exactly the venomous sort of remark he would have made. Of course he had made it at a venture, but the coincidence annoyed her, and she spoke with some petulance to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus.

They replied, as before, that the defect would be set right shortly.

“Shortly! At once!” she retorted. “Why should I be worried by imperfect music? Things are always put right at once. If you do not mend it at once, I shall complain to the Central Committee.”

“No personal complaints are received by the Central Committee,” the Committee of the Mending Apparatus replied.

“Through whom am I to make my complaint, then?”

“Through us.”

“I complain then.”

“Your complaint shall be forwarded in its turn.”

“Have others complained?”

This question was unmechanical, and the Committee of the Mending Apparatus refused to answer it.

“It is too bad!” she exclaimed to another of her friends.

“There never was such an unfortunate woman as myself. I can never be sure of my music now. It gets worse and worse each time I summon it.”

“What is it?”

“I do not know whether it is inside my head, or inside the wall.”

“Complain, in either case.”

“I have complained, and my complaint will be forwarded in its turn to the Central Committee.”

Time passed, and they resented the defects no longer. The defects had not been remedied, but the human tissues in that latter day had become so subservient, that they readily adapted themselves to every caprice of the Machine. The sigh at the crises of the Brisbane symphony no longer irritated Vashti; she accepted it as part of the melody. The jarring noise, whether in the head or in the wall, was no longer resented by her friend. And so with the mouldy artificial fruit, so with the bath water that began to stink, so with the defective rhymes that the poetry machine had taken to emit. all were bitterly complained of at first, and then acquiesced in and forgotten. Things went from bad to worse unchallenged.

It was otherwise with the failure of the sleeping apparatus. That was a more serious stoppage. There came a day when over the whole world – in Sumatra, in Wessex, in the innumerable cities of Courland and Brazil – the beds, when summoned by their tired owners, failed to appear. It may seem a ludicrous matter, but from it we may date the collapse of humanity. The Committee responsible for the failure was assailed by complainants, whom it referred, as usual, to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus, who in its turn assured them that their complaints would be forwarded to the Central Committee. But the discontent grew, for mankind was not yet sufficiently adaptable to do without sleeping.

“Some one of meddling with the Machine—” they began.

“Some one is trying to make himself king, to reintroduce the personal element.”

“Punish that man with Homelessness.”

“To the rescue! Avenge the Machine! Avenge the Machine!”

“War! Kill the man!”

But the Committee of the Mending Apparatus now came forward, and allayed the panic with well-chosen words. It confessed that the Mending Apparatus was itself in need of repair.

The effect of this frank confession was admirable.

“Of course,” said a famous lecturer – he of the French Revolution, who gilded each new decay with splendour – “of course we shall not press our complaints now. The Mending Apparatus has treated us so well in the past that we all sympathize with it, and will wait patiently for its recovery. In its own good time it will resume its duties. Meanwhile let us do without our beds, our tabloids, our other little wants. Such, I feel sure, would be the wish of the Machine.”

Thousands of miles away his audience applauded. The Machine still linked them. Under the seas, beneath the roots of the mountains, ran the wires through which they saw and heard, the enormous eyes and ears that were their heritage, and the hum of many workings clothed their thoughts in one garment of subserviency. Only the old and the sick remained ungrateful, for it was rumoured that Euthanasia, too, was out of order, and that pain had reappeared among men.

It became difficult to read. A blight entered the atmosphere and dulled its luminosity. At times Vashti could scarcely see across her room. The air, too, was foul. Loud were the complaints, impotent the remedies, heroic the tone of the lecturer as he cried: “Courage! courage! What matter so long as the Machine goes on ? To it the darkness and the light are one.” And though things improved again after a time, the old brilliancy was never recaptured, and humanity never recovered from its entrance into twilight. There was an hysterical talk of “measures,” of “provisional dictatorship,” and the inhabitants of Sumatra were asked to familiarize themselves with the workings of the central power station, the said power station being situated in France. But for the most part panic reigned, and men spent their strength praying to their Books, tangible proofs of the Machine”s omnipotence. There were gradations of terror- at times came rumours of hope-the Mending Apparatus was almost mended-the enemies of the Machine had been got under- new “nerve-centres” were evolving which would do the work even more magnificently than before. But there came a day when, without the slightest warning, without any previous hint of feebleness, the entire communication-system broke down, all over the world, and the world, as they understood it, ended.

Vashti was lecturing at the time and her earlier remarks had been punctuated with applause. As she proceeded the audience became silent, and at the conclusion there was no sound. Somewhat displeased, she called to a friend who was a specialist in sympathy. No sound: doubtless the friend was sleeping. And so with the next friend whom she tried to summon, and so with the next, until she remembered Kuno”s cryptic remark, “The Machine stops”.

The phrase still conveyed nothing. If Eternity was stopping it would of course be set going shortly.

For example, there was still a little light and air – the atmosphere had improved a few hours previously. There was still the Book, and while there was the Book there was security.

Then she broke down, for with the cessation of activity came an unexpected terror – silence.

She had never known silence, and the coming of it nearly killed her – it did kill many thousands of people outright. Ever since her birth she had been surrounded by the steady hum. It was to the ear what artificial air was to the lungs, and agonizing pains shot across her head. And scarcely knowing what she did, she stumbled forward and pressed the unfamiliar button, the one that opened the door of her cell.

Now the door of the cell worked on a simple hinge of its own. It was not connected with the central power station, dying far away in France. It opened, rousing immoderate hopes in Vashti, for she thought that the Machine had been mended. It opened, and she saw the dim tunnel that curved far away towards freedom. One look, and then she shrank back. For the tunnel was full of people – she was almost the last in that city to have taken alarm.

People at any time repelled her, and these were nightmares from her worst dreams. People were crawling about, people were screaming, whimpering, gasping for breath, touching each other, vanishing in the dark, and ever and anon being pushed off the platform on to the live rail. Some were fighting round the electric bells, trying to summon trains which could not be summoned. Others were yelling for Euthanasia or for respirators, or blaspheming the Machine. Others stood at the doors of their cells fearing, like herself, either to stop in them or to leave them. And behind all the uproar was silence – the silence which is the voice of the earth and of the generations who have gone.

No – it was worse than solitude. She closed the door again and sat down to wait for the end. The disintegration went on, accompanied by horrible cracks and rumbling. The valves that restrained the Medical Apparatus must have weakened, for it ruptured and hung hideously from the ceiling. The floor heaved and fell and flung her from the chair. A tube oozed towards her serpent fashion. And at last the final horror approached – light began to ebb, and she knew that civilization”s long day was closing.

She whirled around, praying to be saved from this, at any rate, kissing the Book, pressing button after button. The uproar outside was increasing, and even penetrated the wall. Slowly the brilliancy of her cell was dimmed, the reflections faded from the metal switches. Now she could not see the reading-stand, now not the Book, though she held it in her hand. Light followed the flight of sound, air was following light, and the original void returned to the cavern from which it has so long been excluded. Vashti continued to whirl, like the devotees of an earlier religion, screaming, praying, striking at the buttons with bleeding hands.

It was thus that she opened her prison and escaped – escaped in the spirit: at least so it seems to me, ere my meditation closes. That she escapes in the body – I cannot perceive that. She struck, by chance, the switch that released the door, and the rush of foul air on her skin, the loud throbbing whispers in her ears, told her that she was facing the tunnel again, and that tremendous platform on which she had seen men fighting. They were not fighting now. Only the whispers remained, and the little whimpering groans. They were dying by hundreds out in the dark.

She burst into tears.

Tears answered her.

They wept for humanity, those two, not for themselves. They could not bear that this should be the end. Ere silence was completed their hearts were opened, and they knew what had been important on the earth. Man, the flower of all flesh, the noblest of all creatures visible, man who had once made god in his image, and had mirrored his strength on the constellations, beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments that he had woven. Century after century had he toiled, and here was his reward. Truly the garment had seemed heavenly at first, shot with colours of culture, sewn with the threads of self-denial. And heavenly it had been so long as man could shed it at will and live by the essence that is his soul, and the essence, equally divine, that is his body. The sin against the body – it was for that they wept in chief; the centuries of wrong against the muscles and the nerves, and those five portals by which we can alone apprehend – glozing it over with talk of evolution, until the body was white pap, the home of ideas as colourless, last sloshy stirrings of a spirit that had grasped the stars.

“Where are you?” she sobbed.

His voice in the darkness said, “Here.”

Is there any hope, Kuno?”

“None for us.”

“Where are you?”

She crawled over the bodies of the dead. His blood spurted over her hands.

“Quicker,” he gasped, “I am dying – but we touch, we talk, not through the Machine.”

He kissed her.

“We have come back to our own. We die, but we have recaptured life, as it was in Wessex, when Ælfrid overthrew the Danes. We know what they know outside, they who dwelt in the cloud that is the colour of a pearl.”

“But Kuno, is it true ? Are there still men on the surface of the earth ? Is this – tunnel, this poisoned darkness – really not the end?”

He replied:

“I have seen them, spoken to them, loved them. They are hiding in the midst and the ferns until our civilization stops. Today they are the Homeless – tomorrow —”

“Oh, tomorrow – some fool will start the Machine again, tomorrow.”

“Never,” said Kuno, “never. Humanity has learnt its lesson.”

As he spoke, the whole city was broken like a honeycomb. An air-ship had sailed in through the vomitory into a ruined wharf. It crashed downwards, exploding as it went, rending gallery after gallery with its wings of steel. For a moment they saw the nations of the dead, and, before they joined them, scraps of the untainted sky.

Matt Damhave was born in Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, in 1978. He is a New York-based artist who studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art (1997-1999). He was a co-founder of Imitation of Christ, and his own work has been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo. His solo shows include, HELP IS ON DELAY, White Columns (2015); and Half Gallery (2008). He also makes audio and visual work under the name UnchiNeko.


Friday, November 27th, 2015

— I’m the guy that’s painted about three hundred thousand paintings that have been sold or given away. That’s kind of my day job, but a hobby that I have is making drawings on sheets of plywood. The drawings are made in the computer and engraved on the plywood by a CNC machine. I think as a painter and my skills are with a brush. I don’t know how to draw well but I want to turn lines into color and paint by their density.

My hero is Winslow Homer, the 19th century American artist. His day job was as illustrator for Harper’s Weekly during the Civil War.

My dad was the kind of guy that would spend his weekends with a metal detector. He would go to different sites to try to find Civil War artifacts. I would have to go with him sometimes on saturdays and I hated it.

Back then all I wanted to do was go to the library and look at art books. The intersection of what I loved and what my dad loved were these illustrations from the old newspapers.

These have become stronger to me in color, composition and content. I use these as my main tool for these drawing ideas that I have which I am building in three-D in the computer to be cut by a machine. I’m not there yet – but it feels like I’ve opened a window into another physical world that goes backwards and forwards in time.

Steve Keene was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957. Keene has created album and video set art for groups including Pavement, Apples in Stereo, Molly’s Folly and The Silver Jews. His work has been shown at the Goldie Paley Gallery at the Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, 1997; Threadwaxing Space, New York, 1993-95, and Kunstraum Wien, Austria, 1995.


Friday, November 27th, 2015

— This is the studio today. It is make shift while I am in LA. I didn’t want to rent somewhere to work as that seemed to forced so once I found this house I knew the garden was exactly want I wanted, big enough to sketch and have between two to four paintings on the go at once. I may also take photos if I can find something to take pictures off that interests me for that reason I am living close to downtown, when I lived here previously I lived in Santa Monica so I am hoping the change of location will spark new ideas. But right now I’m in my head and that is where the paintings come from. The paintings are my inner world, my photos deal with the world outside of my physical existence. I like to paint outside I would do it in London/New York all year if the weather was good enough so this place is a kind of winter paradise for me.

Nick Waplington was born in 1965, in Aden, Yemen, and is based in London and New York City. Waplington received an ICP Infinity Award in 1993, and represented the UK at 49th Venice Biennial, in 2001. He has exhibited widely including the Whitechapel Gallery, London and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. His work is held in a number of prominent museum collections including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and MoMA, New York. He has upcoming shows, in early 2016, at Brooklyn Museum and Jewish Museum, both in New York. WE LIVE AS WE DREAM, ALONE, photographs of SS prison cells in WWII prisoner of war camps, will also be released by Morel Books in 2016.


Friday, October 23rd, 2015

— Here’s something: Two notebooks from 1995, my fifteenth year. 1995 was the first and last year I didn’t give a shit about what anybody thought about me. The year I dressed in polyester and spray-painted boots, novelty earrings and a corduroy sport coat. All summer I strode up and down Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, taking in the scummy atmosphere crawling with lovable weirdos—my camera, my notebook and my friend Nickole in tow. We always had a notebook and a camera, and no money.

These aren’t sketchbooks, although there is the occasional drawing. They aren’t journals or diaries, because the writings were meant for public consumption, either snippets for a later story, or a screed to be pushed onto an unsuspecting family member, stranger or friend. These were our public writings, our laboratories for developing a nice blend of sleaze, toxic humor and absurdity. Naturally, since I carried it everywhere, my notebook also became a place for phone numbers, funny quotes, clippings, recipes, mix tape track listings and lists of various sorts. In them, now, twenty years later, I see (and am somewhat surprised by) the use of constraints, the obsessions, the easygoing attitude toward things that don’t make sense, often employing a confrontational style bordering on mock didacticism. Truth be told, we were just messing around, trying to push people’s buttons. It’s play, something I must never forget—play in writing.

Grace Krilanovich is an author. She was born in 1979 in Santa Cruz, California. Her first book, THE ORANGE EATS CREEPS, was published by Two Dollar Radio in 2010. In 2010 she was also named a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree.


Friday, October 23rd, 2015

— As a journalism student, I had a job on campus working at the newspaper morgue: a basement archive where newspaper clippings were kept for research. I used tiny, pointy scissors, to meticulously clip articles from The Christian Science Monitor or The Globe and Mail. The clippings were cataloged and put in folders with titles like, Crime: At Night. It was the beginning of my obsession with seeing the newspaper as a material.

Newspapers often inform my work. I self-published a newspaper series of graphic silhouettes called, copy, which I made on various regional printing presses. I did a lithograph edition of words re-photographed from headlines. I have a formidable collection of newspapers with production flaws. These are some examples. They are always a nice surprise, like accidental works of art. I can see Franz Kline, Warhol, and Christopher Wool. I also see the printing press working this process so hard, churning out huge runs of daily papers with a lucky few receiving the ones that got messed up.

I really should stop my New York Times delivery since I tend to read the paper on my phone these days but I can’t because I want to catch as many of these poetic aberrations as I can before newspapers are really gone.

October 10th, 2015

Leah Singer was born in Winnipeg, moving east to Toronto, Montreal and Tokyo before settling in New York City. She is a visual artist and a writer. Her artist publications are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The live manipulated film and video performances she started doing in the early 1990s in collaboration with musicians, including husband Lee Ranaldo, have toured widely including to The Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Reykjavik Arts Festival, and the JUE music festival in Shanghai. She continues to develop site-specific video installations intended to exist both as static artworks and components to live music performances. She recently contributed video to the multi artist project, THE EXHIBITION OF A FILM, curated by Mathieu Copeland.


Friday, October 23rd, 2015

This is my collection of screen grabs of pics of Andy Warhol when he shows up on Instagram.

Oliver Payne was born in London, in 1977. Solo exhibitions include Federico Vavassori (2015); Gavin Brown’s enterprise (2015); MOCAD (2015); 356 S. Mission Rd. (2014), Herald St. (2013) and Nanzuka Underground (2012).


Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Here is my small collection of toilet hygiene inspection notices.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, 2014

Rompetrol Village Catalan/Motorway service station, France, 2014

The Star Ferry Company Ltd, Hong Kong, 2015

DFDS Dover to Calais Ferry, 2015

Park Skocjanske Jame Cave, Slovenia, 2015

Morrisons Supermarket, London, England, 2014

Nigel Shafran was born in 1964, in England. He lives and works in London. He has had several books published including VISITOR FIGURES (2015); TEENAGE PRECINCT SHOPPERS (2013); RUTH ON THE PHONE (2012); COMPOST PICTURES 2008-9 (2010); FLOWERS FOR ____ (2008); EDITED PHOTOGRAPHS (2004); DAD’S OFFICE (1999); RUTHBOOK (1995). MACK Books will publish DARK ROOMS in 2016.


Friday, October 23rd, 2015

— On the ground-level of the 70s hi-rise where I have been living since before the millennium runs a local drag of small shops; an optician, a funeral director, an Indian take-away and now FILET. The corner shop had been empty for a long while, and when next doors Drinkers Paradise got changed into a coffee/pizza joint, my neighbour Uta, from the 17th floor, and I decided to take on the vacant lot, and invite artists to make new works for the site. The first was Eva Stenram, whose libidinous photo-works and fabric loungers rendered the shop into the seedy studio of an x-rated photographer during the heydays of the parade.

Rut Blees Luxemburg was born in 1967, in Trier, Germany. She now lives and works in London. Blees Luxemburg has been the subject of a monograph, COMMONSENSUAL, which details projects including the opera, LIEBESLIED/MY SUICIDES, a collaboration with the philosopher Alexander Garcia Düttmann, and documents public art installations such as CALIBAN TOWERS, with muf architects, and PICCADILLY’S PECCADILLOES in Heathrow Airport.


Monday, September 14th, 2015

— How do movement and our changing surroundings alter the way we inhabit time? In Graham Greene’s novel Travels With My Aunt, an anecdote is told about a character, Jo Pulling, who finds he has only a short time to live. Seeking to make his waning days seem longer he arrives at a solution: he will spend every night that remains to him in a different bed.

“He wanted to slow life up and he quite rightly felt that by travelling he would make time move with less rapidity. You have noticed it yourself, I expect, on a holiday. If you stay in one place, the holiday passes like a flash, but if you go to three places, the holiday seems to last at least three times as long.”

With Jo in mind, and despite my good health, I decided sometime last year to begin documenting my own movements by keeping a record of every bed I sleep in (or at least those I remember to photograph). Some of these I slept in for longer stretches but most were for a single night. Only once did I seek reentry to a hotel room that I had forgotten to photograph – thank you to the Milwaukee Athletic Club, and to all my hosts for their hospitality.


As for this long century? Greene again: “A man without memories might reach the age of a hundred and feel that his life had been a very brief one.”

Eamon O’Leary is a musician and songwriter from Dublin now living in New York.


Monday, September 14th, 2015

— When I was 26, I became a friend and fan of Clifford Woods, a largely unknown and never recorded alto saxophone player. Clifford came up on the west coast with the likes of Harold Land, Dupree Bolton and Chet Baker. On weekdays, Clifford could be found playing in front of the China Trade Center on Grant street in San Francisco; on weekends, his spot was on Union Square in front of Macy’s.

I was a bit of a groupie, recording Clifford’s music, conversations and stories on my Sony Walkman, and making mix tapes for Clifford and his friends. I made this tape right before I left San Francisco – you can hear Clifford playing on the street in Chinatown; talking with his girlfriend, Melita; singing Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac in a stoned, close harmony with a drummer who’s name I can’t remember; and in a conversation with me that’s still painful to hear and hard for me to excuse.

Doug DuBois’ photographs are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NY, SFMOMA in San Francisco, J. Paul Getty Museum and LACAMA in Los Angeles, The Museum of Fine Art in Houston, the Library of Congress in Washington DC and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The National Endowment for the Arts, SITE Santa Fe, Light Works and The John Gutmann Foundation. Doug DuBois has exhibited at The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art and Higher Pictures in New York; SITE, Santa Fe; New Langton Arts in San Francisco; PARCO Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, Museo D’arte Contemporanea in Rome, Italy and The Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. His photographs have been published by Aperture, My last day at Seventeen, (2015) and All the Days and Nights (2009); the J. Paul Getty Museum, Where We Live: Photographs from the Berman Collection (2007); the Museum of Modern Art, The Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort (1991). Doug DuBois is an associate professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University.


Monday, September 14th, 2015

“People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad.” – Marcel Proust

This is a photo of Daniel and I in Mexico City, where I grew up. He was my cousin but was more like a brother. He committed suicide 4 years ago.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Fabiola Alondra has lived in New York, Milan and London. She earned a Master’s degree in Modern & Contemporary Art in London. Previously, she worked as director of John McWhinnie’s gallery and rare bookshop and as director of Richard Prince’s Fulton Ryder. She is currently running 303 Gallery’s publishing imprint, 303inprint. She also hosts a private art, book and ephemera salon in Brooklyn Heights and is a member of the radio collective Minerva on Know Wave.


Monday, September 14th, 2015

Steven Stapleton is a composer, producer, and sound artist. Nurse With Wound has been Stapleton’s main musical outlet for some 30 years. He has also appeared on records by other artists and worked as a producer, remixer and, more recently, a critically acclaimed soundtrack composer. He also runs the United Dairies record label, which apart from the NWW output, has released records by Current 93, The Lemon Kittens, Volcano the Bear, AMM, and Guru Guru, amongst others.


Monday, September 14th, 2015

— I hardly called anybody the whole time I was in Portland. Then when I was back in Paris, I was worried all my Portland friends were mad at me. What happened was, when I got to my mother’s house in Portland, something wasn’t normal, wasn’t right. So my time there was completely taken up with that. I had no time for my usual Portland fix, laughing myself silly with old friends. None of that. I had no time for fun.

I arrived at Mom’s thinking she had forewarned her lodger that I was coming from Paris for three weeks and would be staying in my old bedroom, the one across the hall from the one he was renting for the huge sum of $100 a month. I thought he knew I’d be taking the upstairs phone away from him for the three weeks. But when I got to the house, I went upstairs and got hit in the face with an unclean, almost unholy smell, the likes of which I’d never associated with my mother. It had to be his smell. Then I discovered his room was locked with the phone inside. It was upsetting. Even though the phone was jacked in his room, I’d told Mom long distance from Paris that I’d get a long cord and take the phone into my room. First I’d told her I’d like an entirely new phone line installed, that I’d be happy to pay for it.

“No, I don’t think so,” she’d demurred coldly, abruptly. Still her assertive self at 88, iron will intact. The old guillotine flash of anger: “Just use his phone, that will do fine.”

“What if he objects?” I’d said sarcastically across the great waters. I wasn’t totally weaponless against my mother, but she’d gone on to another subject, so maybe I was.

And she’d had her way, a tiny but tough old lady. No new phone line was installed. It was, of course, her decision to make. It was still her house, her great comfort, the place she expected to wake up dead in one day, never having had to leave it for some pointless stop-over on the way to stillness.

Stillness after a simple fade to white, that’s how Mom imagined dying. She saw nothing more elaborate happening. Living and dying were just movement followed by stillness. Mom was an atheist as far as I could tell. I’d never seen her doing any kind of spiritual thing. What Mom believed in was doing the smart thing, for its own sake, not for any ulterior payoff. Doing the smart thing would have its own payoff in the here and now. It was similar to the idea of good habits getting you through rough periods. And if you had to ask what either the smart thing or good habits might be, you were hopeless.

“That’s not smart,” Mom would fiercely snarl at some idiot behavior or other, and if it was me doing it, I viscerally remember the chill that would settle over me, over my not-smart, hopeless self. Whatever it had been, I probably never did it again. I remember too how she’d say “Flap your wings! You’re smart!” as she pushed me out of the nest, and I certainly learned how to flap.

And this woman set good examples for doing the smart thing: For instance, she had figured out twenty years earlier what the smart thing would be to enable her to keep living on into her old age in her own house, alone after my father’s death. One day she walked across the street to the Baptist Theological Seminary, put up a notice for a room to rent to a student, and within a week, she had a girl from The Philippines who was perfect, perfectly reliable, perfectly Christian, perfectly boring. After the Filipina came another perfect lodger, then another. Several of them stayed two years. One stayed four years, his entire experience at Seminary.

My brother and I never worried about Mom as long as the Christians were there. She never worried either. All of us, atheist, or whatever, were reassured by those Christians. We never worried when she went off to China or the Middle East or the South Pacific for a month, leaving her house and her cat in the safe, trustworthy hands of her lodgers. Mom grew fond of several of them, the odder ones I noted. And all of them understood she wouldn’t tolerate any kitchen-table proselytizing. Not a single word about the Lord need be uttered, not a single tract brandished as she sat at the kitchen table happily smoking cigarettes. She would smoke with her left hand and play solitaire with her right, only half listening to anyone who might be talking to her. Mom’s other rule was that her lodgers had to stay in school. They had to stay registered at the Seminary, as this was proof of goodness.

When I got to Portland and smelled that godawful smell and found the lodger’s room locked with the phone inside, I went to bed that first night worrying. Fraught with jet-lag, I heard the guy’s door open in the middle of the night. I jumped out of bed and ran out in the hall in my pajamas.

“I need to have the phone,” I said to the tall shadow in the darkened hallway. He breathed in, turned abruptly, stepped back in his room, shut the door. Had I scared this giant? I was thinking. This smelly giant. Yes, it was he who smelled. He smelled of old sweat and tennis shoes, and something else I couldn’t identify from only one whiff. His smell was startling in the middle of the night. Distracted, I went back to bed and couldn’t fall asleep. The smell lingered. I fretted and thrashed around. The jet-lag kept me alert. I smelled the smell even when I covered my face with the sheet.

The next morning at eight o’clock, I awoke abruptly. I must have drifted off. I lunged out of bed and into the hallway, up against the lodger’s door. “Give me the telephone,” I said evenly. There was no response. Perhaps he, unlike me, was sleeping. I went back to bed and held on to the two sides of the mattress.

An hour later, I arose, went into the hall, and spoke through the lodger’s closed door again, this time authoritatively. “Give me the phone,” I commanded. “NOW.” I heard him grunt in response. Inevitably, I lost control, giving in to sleep deprivation. “ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE ME THE PHONE?” I growled.

“TEN MINUTES?” he snarled back, tit for tat.

“WHY TEN MINUTES?” I shouted.


Oh. Of course. That seemed reasonable. I quieted suddenly.

Back in my room, I sat down in Mom’s old granny rocking chair. Was what was happening important or was it utterly not important, a kind of hallucination? I thought about my partner in Paris, the darling boy. Maybe he was trying to call me right about now, it would be about six o’clock in the evening in Paris. Across the street, the row of towering virgin Doug fir trees on the Seminary campus moved gently in the breeze. There was a still point of calm, of fatigue, of falling back hopelessly.

Ten minutes later, the lodger I’d still never seen tossed the phone/answering machine combo out into the hall onto the carpet, then shut his door. He didn’t slam his door. But he did toss the phone, didn’t set it down. There was definitely something there. How could this person be a student at the Seminary?

I went to pick up the phone and said “thank you,” through the closed door. Then I noticed that the phone cord was just long enough to reach under the lodger’s closed door but no further. I would have to press my face up against the crack under his door to make a call. This was funny, so I laughed. I’d no doubt crossed some kind of threshold and besides, I had the phone in my possession. All I needed was a long cord, and that was easy to get in the old U.S. of A. It wasn’t Paris where it might take all day. Everything seemed easy and in proportion.

When I asked about him, Mom told me that her lodger’s name was Greg. She said Greg was kind of secretive, furtive it sounded like, going in and out at night, so she never saw him at all. He never spoke to her, and worst of all in her hierarchy of goodness and badness, he’d failed to take the yellow recycling bins out to the curb on Tuesdays even though she’d asked him to do so on three separate occasions. She wasn’t alarmed, only annoyed, and I didn’t tell her what had been going on upstairs with the phone. I was beginning to get the rhythm of the experience, the world had reappeared on my horizon, and if the business with Greg had ended there, I wouldn’t have had a story to tell.

I finally actually saw Greg after two days. He was around six feet four, had a flat, bored look and the physique of someone who worked out at a gym. He was wearing Gore-Tex Nike sport clothes, so to my eyes, he looked innocent, Oregon health-freak innocent. Mid-afternoon, he had unexpectedly whisked in the front door and up the stairs scarcely seen, except for the purple and turquoise clothes with the swish on the sleeve. The day after that, a second sighting: I was sitting alone at the kitchen table having breakfast. Mom was still asleep. Suddenly I heard Greg come downstairs and go for the front door, two rooms away from where I sat. I called out to him as he reached the front door where I could actually see him.

“Could you come here?” I called out, friendly like. Greg stopped, jerked his head around toward me, glared, one hand on the doorknob, the other moving slowly toward his hip where it settled impatiently. He did not come any closer, and there was a deadness in his eyes that chilled me out completely, even two rooms away.

My voice wavered slightly when I asked Greg what his plans were.

“Huh?” he said, as if I were stupid, as if I were a crazy person.

This galled me. He was the stupid crazy person, not me. “Are you going to be a student at the Seminary or what?” I asked, straight on, eye to eye, twenty-five feet away.

“That’s supposedly the set-up,” he said with a dead, blank voice, then broke eye contact, turned fluidly and slipped out the door, all of this in a single motion. The fluidity was important. It was threatening somehow, as if I’d seen the devil turn in his cape and vanish into thin air.

When I called the Theological Seminary to ask about Greg, the woman said they had no record of him and suggested I might want to call the police. “But,” I said, “the guy had to have gotten the information about the room through you.” The housing listings are available to anyone who asked at the Seminary office, she explained, and again suggested I might want to call the police. When I did so, the police officer on the other end of the line interrupted my story to say, “I don’t even want to know his name. No crime’s been committed, as far as I can tell. Didn’t your mother check him out, get any references?”

“No, so what am I supposed to do? Let him just … ???” I couldn’t finish the sentence. Bludgeon her? was what I was thinking. Strike her on her little pile of curly white hair?

“I recommend you talk to your attorney,” the policeman said, and that was that. I went downstairs and told Mom the Seminary had never heard of Greg and that the police suggested we contact an attorney. This was the first time she seemed alarmed. She got out her address book and gave me her attorney’s phone number and then watched me with wide attentive eyes like a frightened child. She seemed to get smaller by the second. With her looking at me like that I had no choice but to play the parent role, to make the switch, to act as if I knew what I was doing.

Mom’s attorney, who’d had no more to do with her than the four hours it took to prepare her will, told me when I called to stop referring to Greg as a psychopath as it was potentially libelous. He said the only thing that sounded aggressive to him was Greg’s throwing the phone out in the hall. “And even that’s pretty iffy.” Then he painstakingly explained the basic points favoring the tenant in Oregon’s Landlord/Tenant law, some of which Mom and I were on the verge of violating. “I don’t think you want to end up with a law suit on your hands, do you?”

I wanted to forget about it for awhile. I told Mom it was probably just some misunderstanding and went back upstairs to escape. Upstairs, I found the light flashing on the phone indicating a message. My partner had called me, the darling boy. I saw that it was eleven P.M. in Paris, his favorite time to call. He gave me three contacts to call in the States but said not to call him back because he was going to bed.

I went downtown to my brother’s office to send a fax, also to get out of the house. In the parking lot across the street from my brother’s office, a car piled high with junk backed up into mine (my mother’s), and I got out to see if there was a dent. A tough-looking red-neck girl got out on the passenger side of the offending car, crossed her arms akimbo, glared at me. I smiled at her, probably rather arrogantly, and said, school-teacher-like, “That’s why it’s illegal to pack your car so you can’t see out the back window.”

“That ain’t illegal,” the girl said, standing her ground and then some.

“Oh, yeah?” I said, impervious to harm.

“Yeah,” she said, itching for a fight, reaching one hand around to her rear jeans pocket to extract a switch-blade.

I don’t know what came over me; it must have been the jet-lag again, but I said, “I’m a police officer. Could I see some I.D.?” The guy driving the car screamed “fuck,” and drove off laying rubber. The girl ran after him and he slowed to let her jump in, and then they took off hauling ass. I could only figure they had a load of contraband midst all that junk.

My brother upstairs in his office was cute and funny, quite lovable actually. He couldn’t believe I had actually impersonated a police officer, as he put it. “A crime in itself,” he pointed out. I managed to forget about Greg until I got back to Mom’s, went upstairs to my room and noticed Greg’s smell. He’d come into my room! I sniffed around and found that the smell was coming from the bed. He’d lain down on my bed! Christ! I ripped the bed apart, threw everything in the dirty clothes, re-made the bed. Then I went downstairs and told Mom. She looked at me strangely, like a waif. This parent-gone-to-child-thing was entirely new to me and made me go strong in the opposite direction. I was completely, utterly in control.

“Oh, he probably used the phone and made himself comfortable,” I said to her reassuringly, convincingly.

“Well,” she said, looking me right in the eye, perhaps not entirely buying my parent behavior. I would have to do better, I thought to myself. She pulled herself up and continued firmly, “I’ll tell him not to go in your room again.”

We didn’t lay eyes on Greg the rest of the day, so Mom had no opportunity to say anything to him at all. That night when I went to bed, I left a note for Greg out in the hall on the floor in front of his door. Please use downstairs phone for your calls, it read. I was wide awake when I heard Greg come in, pick up the note, snort. My heart lurched. He could easily open my door and shout at me or do pretty much anything else he wanted. I got no sleep lying there across the hall from this creepy character, fretting that I certainly couldn’t do much to protect myself or my mother should the need arise.

At 2 A.M. I got a phone call for Greg, the first one. It was from Sacramento. “Why hadn’t Greg sent the title to the car like he’d said he would?” I said I’d take a message. The guy said “What for? Greg’ll never call back.” So Greg was using his real name. Or at least the same name he’d used before in some other nefarious setting.

My brother phoned the next day and said I had a fax from someone in Paris. “Read it to me,” I said, and he tried but struck out on the impossible French penmanship. I had to drive downtown to get the fax message which said essentially that the fax I had sent my partner had awakened his wife at two A.M. Paris time. Well, fuck you, what do you expect? Fuck her! Who the fuck cares?

Back at Mom’s, I tried to find serial numbers on the two bicycles Greg had stowed in Mom’s garage. The police weren’t interested when I couldn’t find any numbers. They weren’t interested in just a description with the make of the bikes. No, they told me, “over a hundred bikes are stolen every day in the Portland area.”

Mom was getting gradually more apprehensive, and we went through what she needed to say legally to Greg the next time she saw him coming or going. I thought it was important for her to do this part herself. She was ready for him at breakfast the next day, and when she perceived him sneaking out the front door out of the corner of her eye behind her thick, post-cataract glasses, she found her courage somewhere, stood up and made hell-bent for the front door, flapping her wings, an 88-year-old hero. From the porch she shouted at Greg to come back, that she had something to say. Then she came back inside and sat down on the couch, very short of breath. Greg came back, stepped inside and waited. Mom stood up and said to him, a little breathlessly but to my eyes solid as a rock, “I don’t think this is the right place for you, and I don’t think you think so either, so you can stay 30 days from today, but if you want to leave before that, it will be fine.” Letter of the law.

“Hm,” Greg grunted blankly, no affect at all, not happy or sad, neither surprised nor angry, but flat, like a man whose next move you could not predict with any certainty. Then he was out the door with that familiar threatening fluidity.

“What did that mean?” Mom turned and said to me.

“You were great,” I told her. “Just great. You did the smart thing.”

For the next three days, we didn’t see Greg at all. His employer, Ron, at Giant’s Gym on Sandy Boulevard called four times on that crucial upstairs phone, each time leaving a message. The phone was the key. Greg had known that once I got the phone away from him, I’d start to get his calls, and I’d know everything. He hadn’t imagined I’d suspect him even before the first call.

The first couple of phone messages from Ron were bland enough, just asking for a call back. By the third and fourth, Greg was apparently not showing up for work. After the fourth call, I called Ron back. In utter frustration, he told me there was $500 missing from the till at Giant’s the last day Greg had worked.

I called the attorney back, and he told me to remember not to call Greg a psychopath, or a thief, to stick to what he’d actually said or done. I left a written message on Greg’s door to call Ron.

I didn’t hear Greg come in that night, but I did see him come downstairs the next morning wearing a little backpack and carrying a satchel. My mother was sitting in the living room doing an Aubusson needlepoint for me to take back to Paris. Greg saw her and stopped. Almost like a human being, he said, “I’m going to stay with my friend in Vancouver, I’ll check back with you in the morning.” I called a locksmith right after he left and had the locks changed. On the phone, the attorney told me that after five days, I could write a letter to Greg and attach it to the front door, telling him in legalese that as it appeared he had abandoned the premises, we had stored his belongings, which turned out to include a Bible, at the Theological Seminary, and he could check with the Dean of Students.

We never saw Greg again. Of course he didn’t check back in the morning. I lived in dread of hearing his key struggling to get into the new lock and then a frustrated Greg blowing the lock to smithereens with his Magnum .357. I didn’t think Mom was living in dread. She went right on smoking cigarettes, reading, playing solitaire, working the daily cross-word puzzle, watching television while she did needlepoint. She went to bed at eleven, slept soundly ‘til nine, and relied on good habits to get through a rough period. The police detective I called said he was sure Greg was long gone, that if his name was as he had stated it to us, there was a man by a similar name with warrants out on him for assault and larceny in both Washington and California. I kept my ear cocked to the front door, especially in the middle of the night.

I went back to Paris to get some sleep and see if I could restore my working relationship with my partner. Mom on the phone sounded fine although she was coughing more. She had a new lodger, hand-picked by the guilt-ridden Christian Dean of Students. The new lodger was a girl, and she was in the old mold. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was the one who would find my mother one day when she didn’t wake up, after she’d gone to stillness, faded to white.

Penny Allen was born in Portland, she lives and works in Paris. Her films include PROPERTY, PAYDIRT, THE SOLDIER’S TALE and LATE FOR MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL.