Author Archive

MERIÇ ALGÜN RINGBORG

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

— My grandfather was as an operator on freighters traveling around the world. He traveled from the northern parts of Russia to Cape of Good Hope in Africa, from Brazil to Japan to Canada. He started working on ships right after his mandatory military service in Zonguldak, a city located in the Black Sea region of Turkey, when he was in his early 20’s and he worked until he got cancer at the age of 65. He had five daughters. And he met three of his five grandchildren. He was gone nearly every six months of the year so his presence was, and therefore the memory of him, is very fragmented. He brought gifts and souvenirs for each member of his family every time he returned.

On one of his returns from Brazil, he brought two landscape prints mounted on wooden boards and on the prints there were two sentences in Portuguese. They were hung in the kitchen where time was spent most. It was assumed that the photographs were taken in Brazil but nobody spoke a second language in the family so nobody knew what the texts meant. However, perhaps in an attempt to feel closer to him, one of the two sentences had been memorized by every member of the family and repeated out loud during meals a tad humorously, a tad sentimentally. Nevertheless, it was almost like a prayer.

Turkish is a phonetic language so things are read as they are written. It goes like this:

osceus manifasitam aglorya dedeus eofirmamante anunçia obradasuasmaos

The kitchen where this took place was in a house that he built. Everyone moved out one by one and the house is now long gone. So the prints changed location and ended up under some bed from where I recovered them last winter. The thing I noticed first was the SL.19,1 under one of the sentences in small type and I immediately realized that these were verses from the Bible. After hearing it from my aunts so many times, I have internalized this text and I felt rather stupid finding the source to be the Bible. Nobody in the family is particularly religious. And if there is a religion vaguely present, it certainly isn’t Christianity.

As the next step into deconstructing this memory, I would really like to know where these places are. I image searched them on Google but couldn’t find the right match. Someone said they might be in Rio de Janeiro but they weren’t sure. If anyone reading this recognizes where these places could be, please do contact me at: mericalgun[at]gmail.com


Meriç Algün Ringborg was born in 1983, in Istanbul, and currently lives and works in Stockholm. The contrasting differences between the make-up of both cities – Istanbul and Stockholm – particularly socially and politically, as well as her movement between the two, play a key role in her practice. Her work concentrates on issues of identity, borders, bureaucracy, language and translation through appropriated and “ready-made” texts, dictionaries and archives. She had solo exhibitions at Moderna Museet in Stockholm (2014); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2013); Art in General, New York (2013) and Witte de With in Rotterdam (2012). She has participated in group exhibitions such as LEAVING TO RETURN, 12th Cuenca Biennial (2014); A THOUSAND DOORS, a collaboration between Whitechapel Gallery and Neon Foundation at The Gennadius Library, Athens (2014); WHEN ATTITUDE BECOMES FORM BECOME ATTITUDES at MoCA, Detroit and CCA Wattis, San Francisco (2012-13) and UNTITLED (12th Istanbul Biennial) (2011). Her work has been featured in numerous publications such as ArtReview, Frieze, Mousse, Glänta and The Paris Review amongst others.

www.mericalgunringborg.com

ENRIQUE METINIDES

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

This photograph always made me smile. How come the picture on the wall remained intact?


Santa Fe, Mexico City, 1978
Print color.

Enrique Metinides was born in Mexico, in 1934. He worked as a crime photographer for more than 50 years, capturing murders, crashes and catastrophes for Mexico’s infamous crime magazines. He has won numerous prizes and received recognition from the Presidency of the Republic, journalists’ associations, rescue and judicial corps and Kodak of Mexico. In 1997 he received the ESPEJO DE LUZ (Mirror of Light) Prize, awarded to the country’s most outstanding photographer. His work has been shown at numerous international venues, including The Museum of Modern Art, Josee Bienvenu Gallery, New York; Anton Kern Gallery, New York; Photographers’ Gallery, London; and Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie, Arles, France. In 2013 a retrospective of Metinides’ work, 101 TRAGEDIES OF ENRIQUE METINIDES, was shown at Aperture, NY.

www.joseebienvenugallery.com
www.212berlin.com

NACIO JAN BROWN

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

FAMILY ALBUMS

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner

— I was always fascinated by the 2400 block of Telegraph Avenue. On this one segment of one street were flower children and riots, hard drugs and Jesus freaks, left-wing intellectuals and psychedelics, natural foods and runaways. From the time I began to photograph for the underground press in the mid-sixties I planned to document the life on this block.

In 1969 I began. I felt that the counterculture was beginning to fragment. While most people on the block still identified more with each other than with those outside, tension was increasing and things were changing fast.

When I began, I simply wanted to document what seemed a remarkable and important social phenomenon. But as the photographs accumulated on my walls, I realized that something more was happening. This block had been my refuge for ten years. To photograph here was to turn my camera inward. I discovered that my feelings about the dreams and realities of this block were both stronger and more ambivalent that I had known.

It has been a long time since I began to photograph on the Avenue. When I go there now, which isn’t often anymore, I find it changed completely. The sense of community which once existed has disappeared. I will not forget the special openness of the people on the block to my photographing them. For them, as well as for myself, I want my photographs to be a way not to forget, a way for all of us who where there to remember how it was.

There is a sense in which this kind of photography involves taking something from people without giving them something in return. People reveal something to me, however subtle, which they would normally reserve for those much closer to them. My photographs then show this to others. But this is not so simple. Long after the moment of exposure, when the incident has been forgotten by the subject, I am confronted by it again and again—on the negative, on contact sheets, on proofs, and in prints. The images in this book have become my family.

In going through my photographic contact sheets from the period of 1966 through 1975 I had occasion to view again the work I did for a book project. The book, Rag Theater, is a photojournalistic record of the vibrant street life on the 2400 block of Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley between 1969 and 1973. During this four-year period I shot hundreds of rolls of film there. Looking at the work now, forty years later, I am struck by the feeling that what I have resembles nothing so much as a family album. The people in the photographs are people’s parents and grandparents, their brothers and sisters, their friends. Most were young at the time of the photographs. Some—too many—never got much older. Along with the recognition that I have in my possession a family album came a feeling of responsibility to share it. That is what my blog www.ragtheater.com is about.

The model for my blog is not that of a photographic exhibit where a stringent winnowing down of images is essential. Since a primary audience is people who were there, the model is instead that of a family album, with all the sprawling generosity that entails—always room for another picture of Uncle Harry, even if it is a bit out of focus. As in a family album some faces appear again and again. In one respect, however, the family album analogy breaks down—there are many missing faces. It was not my intent when I began the project to create a systematically exhaustive catalog of all those who frequented the Avenue. Consequently, there are people who were on the Avenue a lot but whom I somehow never photographed. On the other hand, there are faces here I saw only once. In any case, I hope that the abundance of photographs evokes, for better or worse, a feeling of the life and the antic energy of “the Ave” of our youth.

As I mentioned above I shot hundreds of rolls of film for the Rag Theater project. About seventy images are in the book, something over two-hundred on www.ragtheater.com. Only I have seen the rest–a lot of images of a lot of people. That will probably remain the case. This larger family album has been for me alone. Realistically, what could be the venue for my displaying these “outtakes?” And, at this point, what could be the purpose? And even if anyone else ever were to see any of these images, it is unlikely that they would know the people portrayed. So, the greater part of the family album that these images comprise will be gone, as the “family” itself is gone. So, William Faulkner notwithstanding, some pasts can hold on, but only for a while. In the end they disappear—without anyone noticing.


Nacio Jan Brown is a photographer residing in Berkeley, CA. He attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and after a false start as a painter picked up a camera and never looked back. His work has been exhibited at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Ansel Adams Friends of Photography Gallery in San Francisco, Focus Gallery in San Francisco, the University of California Art Museum in Berkeley, the UC Graduate School of Journalism Gallery in Berkeley, and elsewhere. His work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, George Eastman House as well as in many private collections. His book, RAG THEATER – THE 2400 BLOCK OF TELEGRAPH AVENUE 1969-1973 was selected by the American Institute of Graphic Arts for inclusion in its FIFTY BOOKS exhibit of 1975. The blog, www.ragtheater.com went online in 2011. In addition to photographs it has many recollections of the times posted by those who were there.

www.ragtheater.com

MARTÍN REJTMAN

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Some time ago, a local film festival commissioned me to make a one minute piece that would play before the regular program. I decided to film a head shot of several Argentinian filmmakers, who had shown their films at that festival, doing Sirsasana.

Then I imagined it would be interesting to expand the project: I could set up a camera in some corner of the festival and film all the participating filmmakers in Sirsanana. Furthermore, this could be done in every film festival in the world, covering all the filmmakers and the audience as well. And this idea could open up to further possibilities. My next project is a film about a yoga teacher, and is called The Practice.


Martín Rejtman was born in Buenos Aires, in 1961. In 1992 he made his first feature film RAPADO. His other films include, SILVIA PRIETO (1998), THE MAGIC GLOVES (2003), and his latest, DOS DISPAROS (2014). Rejtman is also a writer, his works have been published in Argentina and Europe. In 2000 he was awarded a fellowship for the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and in 2002 he received the Beca Antorchas.

SHIO KUSAKA

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I made mini Judd stool and Albers pillows. Yay!


Shio Kusaka was born in Japan in 1972 and lives and works in Los Angeles.

www.antonkerngallery.com
www.shanecampbellgallery.com
www.greengrassi.com
www.blumandpoe.com
www.themoderninstitute.com

YTO BARRADA

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

MIGRATION

— Some years ago, anticipating my mother’s fiftieth birthday, I decided to track down a film she had been in, and which she had never seen. She remembered one detail: she had worn her own clothes, a long skirt with flowers.

We had always kept a few black and white stills from the shoot, on which was inscribed, in white capitals letters “MIGRATION, A FILM BY AHMED RACHEDI.” My mother said she was the lead actress.

No other physical evidence — but a few clues from memory:

My mother spent her entire salary from the film on a trip to Lisbon, with some Situationists, to be present for the Carnation Revolution. So the film was shot in 1974.

Her scenes were shot in Paris, one around an elevated Metro station, and the other in a police station. (In the film as she recalled it, an Algerian immigrant arrives in Paris, meets a young Moroccan women—her role—on the Metro, and they get into a fight with a racist gang. While they were filming the fight, my mother left real scratches on the faces of the racists.)

The film must have been completed and released, since Scherazade (a sister of her sister-in-law) had recognized my mother one night while watching Algerian TV.

1994. The 50th birthday is coming fast. I find the director in the Paris telephone directory, and go to his office on the Champs-Élysées. He doesn’t remember my mother. Not very expansive, he informs me that he has no copies of the film, not even a VHS tape. The only way to see it would be for the film lab to strike a new new 35mm print. He hands me his business card, assuring me that will suffice as authorization for the lab.

At the lab, bad news: a print would cost thousands of francs, the equivalent of several month’s rent. All I wanted was a VHS tape. What would I do with a film print anyway? I had to abandon the project, and the surprise gift for my mom.

A few years ago. I am looking around IMDB and MIGRATION is not in Rachedi’s filmography. In 1974, nothing. In 1973, A FINGER IN THE GEARS, a political documentary on migrant workers; in 1978, ALI IN WONDERLAND. Was it a TV movie? An oversight? Maybe the title had been changed?

Or was the entire story one of the “family myths” I had learned to appreciate and take with a grain of salt. If so, my mother is probably in the film for 10 seconds — although she remembers spending days, weeks working on. My dad, an equally unreliable narrator in family memories, says it was a rape scene in the subway. What to believe?

Today, I am finally in a position to get to the bottom of it: I’m the founding director of the Tangier Cinematheque, North Africa’s first cinema cultural center, and one day soon, I’ll convince my colleagues to put on a retrospective of the films of Ahmed Rachedi. On my mother’s birthday.


Yto Barrada was born in Paris in 1971 and grew up in Tangier, Morocco. Her work engages with the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Exhibitions of her work have been shown at the Tate Modern (London); the Renaissance Society (Chicago); Witte de With (Rotterdam); Haus der Kunst (Munich); MoMA (New York); the Centre Pompidou (Paris); the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale; Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the New Museum (New York). Barrada is the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger. In 2011 she was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year, and is presently a recipient of the 2013-2014 Harvard University Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography. Her first comprehensive monograph was published by JRP Ringier in 2013.

www.ytobarrada.com
www.pacegallery.com
www.sfeir-semler.com

ELISA AMBROGIO

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

THE REPLACEMENTS — WITHIN YOUR REACH

 

The song was on my walkman; it was nighttime and everything was quiet and dark in the house. My father bought the soundtrack to ‘Say Anything’ and I stole it from his car. I lay on my side on the landing above the stairs. The first beats did not sound like a good song. I hated drum machines. The first line, ‘I could live without so much/I can die without a thing/sun keeps rising in the West/ I keep on waiting for a curfew.’ I thought it was, ‘I keep on waiting/but I’m confused.’ I understood that feeling, ambiguous, poised, some kind of unknown you wait for. ‘Live without your touch/die within your reach.’

I do not know who I could have imagined into that image. The sweeping arpeggio, the strange circular sounding guitars; ‘Live without your touch/die within your reach.’ Who was I thinking of? Leo, the overgrown looking 7th grader who wore sweats everyday, had a big nose, freckles and got in trouble a lot? Did some nascent pant already desire the bumping hang of 7th grade manhood doongling there below grey sweat shorts? Did I imagine the hairy school newspaper editor who first played me Danzig? Were these the boys for whom it would have been enough to simply die near them? I remember some feeling of knotted anticipation for something without a name that lay out there, knowing even then it was not Leo or the editor, or not just them anyway. A part of me knowing it was enough to die within the reach of that, as pedestrian as it sounds to me now. Alleyway typical teen. If I am honest: the only thing that keeps me going now (call it pathetic, adolescent, solipsistic, sophomoric, dingleberry-ish or what have you) is the same deal. The unknown thing out there, the best it can be, and whatever that is.

I was 11, my mother must have been at work. She worked night shifts at grocery stores, security companies, convalescent homes, miserable night shifts. I know this because I lay between our two rooms on the wooden landing of the stairs. I would not have done this if she had been home. Fur and piles of the tiny grey rocks of cat litter collected in the corners of the hall. A rope of vacuum tubing lay coiled by the built-in wall vacuum that trailed to some catch-all. We had lived in this house for 4 years, and I had vacuumed against 8 cats and two dogs and had never heard or seen a trap a catch-all being emptied. I just lived with the idea that somewhere in the house was an awful container filled to overflowing, with the years of fur and litter and detritus. Perhaps it just sucked the dust and tangle out into the yard. The socket used to disgust me. One of my daily chores was to vacuum the stairs and the stairwell. Directly at the base of the stairs was the only litter box in the house. The gas of Murphy’s Oil Soap and feline urine, the crumbed nebulas of fur and sand: everyone has chores, but this was my chore of piteous union, my chore of extreme unction.

I think about it with a sense of giddy triumph that I will never have to see that or do that ever, ever again. I have no Dylan Thomas fondness for the golden afternoons of childhood. Each day after the 8 cats would ‘do their business’ and make their way up and down those wooden stairs, a fresh cloud of fur and sand would settle there and I would begin again: a Sisyphus with stairs instead of a hill, instead of one giant rock, endless, cyclical shards of cat sand and shit. On my knees working each step at once checking corners, desiring to explode and explode the stairs and the house. Rolling minor tumbleweeds of non-specific feline origin: if I didn’t catch it with the vacuum tubing, they would collapse into greasy slicks of dark hair and oil soap and I would fetch them with tissue.

It didn’t bother me as much then, as it does in memory. ‘/Die within Your Reach/’. I have no pets.

Elisa Ambrogio is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and one third of Magik Markers. Her solo album, THE IMMORALIST, is out on Drag City on October 21st.

www.dragcity.com

FRED TOMASELLI

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

THE MONTH OF JULY 2013

— While some might know me for my fixation on birds, I’ve also explored, from time to time, the world of insects. This started over 20 years ago while working in an old barn in the buggy woods of Upstate New York. In this new environment, my curing epoxy resin inadvertently acted as a giant glue trap for errant bugs and a number of my works were ruined by collisions with them. I eventually decided to embrace these new conditions by hauling my canvases outside into the night where I would aim bright lights at them in order to draw the insects to the work. When the cloud of bugs was at it’s peak, I would pour resin onto the surface of the work, where they would stick and die in random formations.

It was a collision between nature and technology and a kind of snapshot of the nighttime atmosphere. These “chance operatives” (Thank you, John Cage) formed the beginnings of pictures that I would deliberatively work on during the rest of the summer.

Shortly after my period of buggy, upstate summers, I was able to get an old house in Brooklyn that came with a feral backyard. For years I’ve been struggling to turn its gray, dead dirt into something resembling a garden and some of what I grow ends up in my artwork in the form of dried and pressed plant material. Gardening has taught me to appreciate the benefits of spiders, ladybugs, moths, butterflies, worms and fireflies. These creatures pollinate the flowers, aerate the soil, and eat pests. It may be a somewhat dysfunctional urban ecosystem, but I do the best I can, and it can be a great place to hang in the heat of the summer.

There is, however, a fly in this particular ointment, and it has come in the form of the invasive Asian Tiger Mosquito. These aggressive daytime biters first arrived in the US through a shipment of used tires into Houston in 1985. They then began to spread through the southeast, finally arriving in NYC in the late 90’s or so. They seem to love my body chemistry, swarming me mercilessly and delivering painful, super-swelling bites. They’ve turned gardening from an activity of pleasure into an activity of total Darwinian torment. Due to our new warmer winters and hotter, soggier summers, the conditions for mosquito proliferation have only increased year by year. I had to do something to fight back.

After considerable internet research, I eventually purchased a Sentinel Mosquito Trap from an entomological research supply company. This device, which looks a like a cross between an IKEA hamper and a Noguchi lamp, uses a chemical attractant that works mostly on mosquitoes and has a small fan which then sucks the hapless bloodsuckers into an escape-proof bag.

Every couple of days or so, I remove the bag of angry insects and place them in the freezer in order to kill them. I then dump the contents of the bag onto a paper towel and arrange the mosquitoes into a grid in order to count their corpses. I write the date and a body count on the paper towel and take a picture of the day’s total. The following photo’s are for the month of July, 2013. The 466 mosquitoes I killed that month are just a fraction of the thousands I continue to annihilate.

A lot of my artwork has been influenced by my non-art hobbies. Drugs, utopianism, music, literature, birding, sociology, and gardening are among the many interests that didn’t start out to be part of my work, but they got in there anyway. Counting my mosquito kills might be the first time a hobby has been influenced by my art or about the history of art. While this endeavor may share some of the impulses that led to my insect works of the 90’s, and it has a passing resemblance to the flat-footed procedures of 70’s conceptualism, I still consider it just a hobby. Funny thing is that my friend, Lawrence Weschler, has linked this daily activity to the daily quality of my ongoing NY Times Project. And he might be right. While I don’t make a NY Times work every day, it comes out of the daily ritual of reading the paper. If it’s a nice day, I might be reading the paper in my garden. When I’m finished, I usually stroll over and see what’s in the trap….


Fred Tomaselli was born in 1956, in Santa Monica. He has had numerous solo exhibitions including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2014) and the University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014); a survey exhibition at Aspen Art Museum (2009) that toured to Tang and Brooklyn Museums (2010); The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2004) toured to four venues in Europe and the US; Albright-Knox Gallery of Art (2003); Site Santa Fe (2001); Palm Beach ICA (2001), and Whitney Museum of American Art (1999). His works have been included in international biennial exhibitions including Sydney (2010); Prospect 1 (2008); Site Santa Fe (2004); Whitney (2004) and others. Tomaselli’s work can be found in the public collections of institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art; the Brooklyn Museum; Albright Knox Gallery; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, LA.

www.jamescohan.com

EUGENIUSZ RUDNIK

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Regarding my occasional, and short, meetings with the master above masters, Karlheinz Stockhausen, in Cologne. I happened an adventure viz., he was making then Telemusik, preparing its performance in 1967. I came into the studio where he was working. There was a couple of engineers standing by him, dressed in suits and snow-white protective aprons. They were struggling with a problem. They were using a radio receiver and wanted to get signal out of short waves as a source to transform other sound, but did not want the sound coming out of the speaker, as it was disturbing the composer who couldn’t concentrate. I came in and he asked me: “Mr. Rudnik, maybe you could help?”.

The receiver was facing the wall and the back cover was removed. If I may say so, the group of engineers couldn’t cope with it. I had just bought myself a beautiful pair of pliers–a tool used to cut wires–and I just happened to have them on me. I approached the receiver and cut off two thin wires connected to the speaker. It simply resulted in turning off the speaker. It was a shock to all of them, none of the Germans would have ever come up to such idea. According to them, if something was once constructed it had to be deconstructed and not with the use of scissors.

After this performance, which I regard as a prefiguration of the Polish saying Polak potrafi (can-do Poles), or at least a performance fitting of the saying, first occurred in the 70s, Karlheinz Stockhausen then said, “Good then, you will work with me. We are going to Spain next week and I warn you that they have 60Hz in their power network.” He asked, “What is your family like?”–Well, like this and like that–“In that case please phone up Dr. Tomek (the chief of contemporary music), to find you an apartment here and you will work with me”.

Regarding didactics, I have been given the chance to teach at least four outstanding students, which was… the greatest total failure of my life. One female student, a university graduate, married a plumber, is a mother of four and lives in Paris. The second genius student did not get a pass in Russian language and was expelled as a result. The third one, a versatile musician, plays sax Tango Milonga in a motel in Wyszków, truth… and then there was one more absolutely talented woman. She now works in an accounting department. As far as I am concerned I have suffered from a sufficient number of failures and have therefore decided to save the world from one more type of failure.


Photos by Boleslaw Blaszczyk

Eugeniusz Rudnik was born in 1932, in Nadkole, Poland. He is a composer and pioneer of electronic and electroacoustic music. He was the first engineer of electroacoustic music in Poland, from 1955 associated with Polish Radio. Between 1967 and 1968 Rudnik worked in the Studio for Electronic Music of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne, where he cooperated with Włodzimierz Kotoński on implementation of Klangspiele. While in Cologne, Rudnik also worked with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Peter Kotik. As a composer he has created about 95 works, in electronic music studios in Warsaw, Stockholm, Cologne, Paris, Bourges, Baden-Baden, Brussels and Ghent.

RHEIM ALKADHI

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

PHOTO MANUAL BAGHDAD

 

 

1

I was given a camera in Baghdad. My mother recorded many of the twelve exposures. She was behind the window in the black and white picture, framed along the side of our house, which was under construction at that time.
03l 04r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

I snapped pictures in every direction. I turned numerous, collecting synchronous realities in the months just before the Iran-Iraq war. Our rawest forms and feelings multiplied, pitting chaos theory against red army fractals. New totems arose in a desert province.
03l 04r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

I take a picture of a drone, detail of the new American imagination. Totems replace totems. Ours is an international landscape where bombs and book delivery services are indistinguishable. I’ve lived here all my life.
03l 04r

 

 

 

 

 

Rheim Alkadhi was born in New York, in 1973. She grew up in Baghdad until 1980, and lived in the United States for the many decades leading up to a practice based variously in the Arab Region. She currently lives in Beirut. Recent projects include the commissioned digital work PICTURE CITY BODY for the New Museum’s New Art Online program; the object-based exhibition HERE IS MY LIFE WHICH I DEVOTE TO LEARNING ABOUT YOU at Darat al Funun in Amman; and the social intervention COLLECTIVE KNOTTING TOGETHER OF HAIRS in Palestine for the 2012 Jerusalem Show. Her work was also included in HERE AND ELSEWHERE, a major exhibition of contemporary art from and about the Arab world, at the New Museum.

www.picturesclerk.com
www.picturesclerk.net

JUSTINE KURLAND

Friday, July 18th, 2014

FATHER’S DAY

— My father, Bruce Kurland, died this past December. He had been a painter who lived in obscurity and poverty. A combination of bad temper and integrity had alienated anybody who might have been able to help his career. He would sell directly to a handful of collectors as soon a painting was completed, but each one took a long time to make. Whenever he received a check he said it was like finding Jesus in his mailbox.

Bruce had two Sagittarius daughters (Hannah and myself) and one Ares daughter (Yetta). The day he died the sun was in Sagittarius and the moon was in Ares. But really, Yetta was more like the son, and became the man of the house after my parents divorced.

I have blurry memories of being little and visiting my father, waiting for him to come down from his attic studio in an old, spooky farmhouse. I remember the waiting more than what happened after he did come down, I suppose to make us dinner or put us to bed.

In those summer days there was the sensuous pleasure of walking on the hot country roads, popping tar bubbles with bare feet. There were the sandy tongues of the neighbor’s calves licking the salt from my hands. Or the cruel pleasure of catching clumsy cluster flies in the dirty chiffon curtains and the satisfying sound of their bodies’ crunching against the window.

I tend to remember the stuff surrounding my father more vividly than the times he came out of his studio: his Audubon book of birds of North America; the World War II model airplanes he meticulously crafted; and the silk strings and feathers used for tying flies for fly fishing. The duck decoys, a deer being butchered on the kitchen table, the carousel patterned wallpaper, browned and peeling.

Against these images I can hear the string of tenets my father would repeat ad infinitum, a belief system he handed down:


ON ART: “The problem with Abstraction is that it presupposes there is a god. But do you know what? No matter how abstract it got they always got the tits right.”

And with a book of Chardin’s paintings on his lap, his eyes squinting against the burning cigarette smoke, “Have you seen this painting. Look at it. Now that guy knows how to paint.”

ON PHOTOGRAPHY: “Do you know who is a goddamn photographer? Vermeer is a photographer. He painted goddamn light.”

ON THE ART WORLD: “Whatever you do is fucking for money.”

ON FEMINISM: “Don’t give your power to some man. That’s what every woman in your family has done.”

ON FAMILY: “I understand if you don’t want to spend time with me, I never wanted to spend time with my parents.”


One of the surprising things is that since my father died, I have spent a lot of time with him. In some deeper sense than I could have ever imagined, my father lives inside me, which reveals not only my father but also the fallacy that when we die we are dead and gone. Rather he is both utterly gone and still here. My father lives in me not simply through memory, not as the neurotic rehashing of childhood narratives, not as the persecutor of my psyche, nor as lineage or legacy, but as an intimacy that surrounds me. As something like love. I can see him leaning in the doorway with a cup of coffee in one hand and cigarette in the other, devastatingly handsome even with stains on his clothing and his cheap, worn shoes.

The other thing my father often repeated was his memory of being a little kid, the moment he drew a picture of a circle and realized everything inside the circle was something and everything outside the circle was nothing. Whatever joy he found in that act of creation is what sustained him the rest of his life. He rarely had relationships, was estranged from his family, and could count his friends on one hand, but in his paintings he could communicate the richness of his experience with an intensity so exquisite, so close to the bone, so goddamn beautiful.

Shortly after he died my semester of teaching ended and I began my habitual winter road trip. I listened to Marc Ribot’s Music for Silent Films on repeat and rarely stopped the car for the entire month. I was fueled by bloated emotions underscored by anxiety. I became my car and we were running as fast as we could. I made it all the way to Los Angeles, where the jangled raw nerve of the city met my own, and then flew home.


Justine Kurland was born in 1969 in Warsaw, New York. Her work has been exhibited extensively at museums and galleries in the U.S. and internationally. Recent and upcoming museum exhibitions include SOFT TARGET, at M+B, Los Angeles; LOOKING FORWARD: GIFTS OF CONTEMPORARY ART FROM THE PATRICIA A. BELL COLLECTION, at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, NJ; MORE AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHS, at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH; and OFF THE GRID #1 and #2, at Fotodok in The Netherlands. She was the focus of a solo exhibition at CEPA in Buffalo, NY, in 2009. Her work is in the public collections of institutions including the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the International Center of Photography, all in New York; the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal. In 2013, she was awarded The New York Foundation of the Arts’ Artists’ Fellowship for Photography. Her latest show, SINCERE AUTO CARE, opens in September at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.

www.miandn.com

MARLENE MCCARTY

Friday, July 18th, 2014

A field mouse found his way into my Headlands studio.

Outside of great apes the mouse brain most closely replicates the human brain. Their reproductive and nervous systems are like those of humans. The mouse immune system can be genetically modified to replicate the human immune system.

FIELD MOUSE / 9:10 minutes / Headlands SF (2009)

Marlene McCarty was born in 1957, she currently lives and works in New York. McCarty has worked across various media since the 1980s. She was a member of the AIDS activist collective Gran Fury and was the co-founder of the trans-disciplinary design studio Bureau along with Donald Moffett. Using everyday materials such as graphite, ballpoint pen, and highlighter, McCarty probes issues ranging from sexual and social formation to parricide and infanticide. A major survey exhibition of her work, HARD-KEEPERS, was presented at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin in 2013. McCarty’s work will be featured in two upcoming group shows; EATING PEANUTS which opens July 22nd at Offsite Projects, New York and WORKS ON PAPER, from September 2 at Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York.

www.sikkemajenkinsco.com

ALBERT SERRA

Friday, July 18th, 2014


Albert Serra was born in Spain in 1975. In 2006 he wrote, directed and produced his first feature film, HONOR OF THE KNIGHTS (QUIXOTIC), followed by BIRDSONG (2008); both were selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. In 2010 he made ELS NOMS DE CRIST before directing, a year later, EL SENYOR HA FET EN MI MERAVELLES for the exhibition CORRESPONDENCIA: ALBERT SERRA & LISANDRO ALONSO. These two films were screened at Locarno in the Fuori concorso section, in 2011. That same year he was also one of sixty filmmakers who contributed to 60 SECONDS OF SOLITUDE IN YEAR ZERO, a series of short one-minute films about the death of cinema. His most recent film, STORY OF MY DEATH (2013), was awarded the Golden Leopard at the 66th Locarno Film Festival.

www.albertserra.com

MICHAEL SIMMONDS

Friday, July 18th, 2014

— I found this old photo I took and it inspired me after almost 20 years. It was taken on a crummy Minolta, on the back porch of my childhood home. Before I knew names like Nan Goldin, Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Eggelston.

I heard from my high school photo teacher that line, shape, and form were the foundation of photography, so I looked for them. It was the first photo I ever took and processed myself and I am convinced it might be the only good photo I have ever taken.

Everything after this photo has been an attempt to copy someone else’s work. I am happy with what life has given me, but at times wish I could return to a more pure and naive view of the photographic image.


Michael Simmonds is a two time Spirit Award Nominated Director of Photography. Notable projects include, THE LUNCHBOX, AT ANY PRICE, PROJECT NIM, GOODBYE SOLO, CHOP SHOP, THE ORDER OF MYTHS, MAN PUSH CART, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2, BIG FAN and the short film PLASTIC BAG, featuring Werner Herzog. Michael’s most recent feature, THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD, recently premiered at Toronto Film Festival 2013.

GUY SHERWIN

Friday, July 18th, 2014

NOTES ON THE FILM PERFORMANCES

I am a film artist based in London currently working with 16mm film projectors in live performance. These notes describe various performances I have made, often with my partner Lynn Loo, and the events surrounding them. They are written partly as a record for ourselves, but also to share the experience of performing, to give an inside account of an ephemeral art practice that resists documentation and can be hard to convey.

01

Projection at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul 2014

 

A QUESTION
At a recent festival of expanded cinema in Seoul, South Korea, I was asked by one of the curators, film artist Hang Jun Lee, if there was an occasion when I’d performed that I considered particularly successful. I answered “yes, Paris in 2006” and offered a few reasons.

On reflection, there have been several such occasions that I could have mentioned; but to start with Paris 2006. Organised by Christophe Bichon of Light Cone, it took place at Les Voutes, a series of arches beneath a busy road near the Seine. We had planned my performance Paper Landscape (in which I apply white paint to a clear plastic screen, revealing the projected film) to take place inside one of the arches, but the audience couldn’t squeeze in, so, last minute and at the suggestion of Deke Dusinberre, we moved it outside under a willow tree for extra darkness. I was using white emulsion paint provided by Light Cone but didn’t think to stir it and it began sliding down the screen as quickly as I could paint it on. I had to re paint parts of the screen over and over surely this was a disaster !? …

… but no, the disappearing paint adds a quality, it accentuates the passing of time. You can see it here at as recorded by my partner Lynn Loo, with the camera set up in a hurry: www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6RZi_Nzyho

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Performing Paper Landscape outside Les Voutes 2006

 

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Setting up in the arches at Les Voutes

 

ACCIDENTS
Accidents often make the best outcomes. At Rencontres des Labos (2005), a meeting of European artist run film laboratories that took place at Cinenova, an old bank in the centre of Brussels, there were so many films that any attempt to timetable them had been abandoned and projections continued without gaps for days. In the middle of this I accidentally projected the film for my performance Man with Mirror at 24 fps instead of the usual speed of 18 fps. Having to move the mirror/screen so much faster transformed the work, and I found myself on an adrenaline high afterwards.

(S8) Festival in A Coruna Spain 2011 was particularly memorable. It took place in an old prison by the sea. The organizer, Angel, told us that the previous year when the festival opened some ex prisoners, along with their relatives, had dropped by to see where they had been incarcerated. Several of the trashed cells had been converted into little video installation rooms for the festival. The Panopticon, where the guards could keep an eye on all four corridors at once, had imaginatively been transformed into a lounge and soft play area, ideal for our two young children.

Lynn and I performed our films after dark in one of the four large exercise yards, projecting directly onto the high prison wall. Seagulls glided above, attracted by the projection light, their mewing mingled with our soundtracks and with the cries of our ten month daughter Mei. My nephew Ben Dowden, also a filmmaker, had flown to Spain to record his uncle in action and you can hear all this in his recording of Man with Mirror: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX1-xuCNIeg.

Ben (aka dowdenboy) runs a popular website with his videos of street musicians. Later he told me that he had uploaded the video and within a couple of days had several thousand hits, and a record number of ‘wtf’s as well.

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Preparing the frame for Paper Landscape in the prison exercise yard, A Coruna
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Performing Man with Mirror in A Coruna

 

 

07
performing Man with Mirror in A Coruna

 

At La Sala Rossa in Montreal, a music venue supported by God Speed You! Black Emperor, we were listed first on the bill which, Lynn explained, meant that we were headlining and had to come on last. We were preceded by a heavy rock band. It was late and I was worried about the audience getting home. But more important, what could we possibly do to follow a rock band? It had to be loud. We switched our programme around and started with Cycles #3, an optical performance for two projectors, with the handmade soundtrack cranked up loud on their powerful sound system: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5dPjmmp0uk

You can hear glasses clinking in this cabaret style setting and someone in the audience proclaiming the virtues of material film.

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Cycles #3 at La Sala Rossa Montreal 2006

 

OUTDOOR PROJECTION
Invitations to screen our work outdoors have increased in recent years. I’m not sure if there is a pattern here or whether it’s by chance. The prison yard of A Coruna was followed in 2013 by a roof terrace at Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in a suburb of Madrid where we were support act for Gary Wilson and the Blind Dates, a zany band from San Diego who performed in plastic clothes with home made sunglasses while the singer sung obsessively to a female mannequin. The organisers later made an excellent video of the whole event: www.vimeo.com/67074412

Later that year, at the invitation of Raffaella Morra, we were in Naples on the terrace of Museo Hermann Nitsch with Mount Vesuvius in the background and sounds drifting up from the streets below. A great setting, but how do you explain the museum’s photos of blood bespattered naked women to a five year old boy? Luckily Kai spotted tomatoes in the corner of one of the pictures. In the middle of our performance for six projectors, Vowels & Consonants, the rain came down and the festival projectionists (from Cinenova Brussels) produced a large plastic sheet to cover us while the audience retreated to the interior of Museo Nitsch from where they carried on watching through the windows. www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIZ1DX4EGSk

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Lynn and Kai setting up outside Museo Nitsch Naples 2013

 

11l
The terrace cinema
12r
Projection continues through the rain

 

My first experience of outdoor projection was in 1978 in Avignon France, at a film festival organized by Rose Lowder and Alain Sudre. I projected an early version of Short Film Series onto a large screen propped up against a tree in the courtyard of the art school venue. During one of my films a man on a motorbike drove through the projector beam and parked his bike. (Incidentally a DVD of 34 films from Short Film Series 1975-2014 has just been published by LUX: www.lux.org.uk)


Short Film Series projected outdoors, Avignon 1978

Cycle from S.F.S.

 

A few years later I performed outdoors at an arts festival in Brighton. Again it was Man with Mirror (it’s disconcerting to have made my most popular performance work so early in my career) and took place on the pebbled beach at night with the sea as a backdrop. This is difficult, because if you step out of line with the projector beam the audience has nothing to see.

VOWELS & CONSONANTS
Vowels & Consonants is a collaborative performance that Lynn and I have done many times. It makes use of graphic letterforms that generate graphic optical sounds and where possible we perform it with musicians from the cities to which we are invited. Our first performance was in 2005 with electronic musicians Sarah Washington and Knut Aufermann at the Bullion Theatre (now demolished) as part of Hackney Spice Festival: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuLtbiBrSFk

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Vowels & Consonants at Bullion Theatre 2005

 

Later, we asked our hosts in the various cities to find us wind instrument players (trumpeters Airelle Besson in Paris, Gordon Allen in Montreal, sax player Alan Wilksinson in Leeds). Then we began asking for voice artists. In Brisbane 2008 Joel Stern found us Potato Masta, an uninhibited Japanese voice artist who had no problem in riffing freely to the on-screen letterforms. In Tokyo 2009, Takashi Sawa found us Opitani Uri, a Tuvanese throat singer who performed with bells as well as throat. Here is an equirectangular panoramic photograph of the event made by brother Simon who lives in Tokyo: www.flickr.com/photos/simons/3604026608

All these interpretations were fascinating and took the work in unexpected directions. But at AAVE Festival in Helsinki, 2012, something else happened. Unusually, we had no one lined up to perform with us. Earlier that day I had screened Views From Home, a time lapse film that features the movement of light through rooms, and a soundtrack of improvised sax by Alan Wilkinson with whom I had previously shared a flat. After the screening a sax player from Naples, Mario Gabola, approached us, amazed that we knew Alan who he greatly admired.

We invited Mario to perform with us that evening on Vowels & Consonants, and he gave a great performance, with guttural throat and breathing sounds that played rhythmically with the sounds of the graphic letterforms – both optical and imagined. Later, when we came to Naples, we invited him to play with us again and it was he and Sec, a.k.a. Aspec(t), who continued playing through the rainstorm mentioned above.

17
Mario Gabola in Naples

 

RE-ENACTMENTS
A recurring theme in my work has been re-enactment, beginning with my Super 8 film performance Paper Landscape of 1975. For Lumen’s Evolution Festival in Leeds 2006, curated by William Rose, I based my programme around this idea and invited Alan Wilkinson to play live against a recording I’d stolen of him twenty years earlier, playing scales, that had become the soundtrack for Views from Home. During the performance, which took place in Leeds City Art Gallery, Alan circled the room a few times then stepped out (surely not to look at the paintings?) while continuing to play, the sound of his sax muted by the intervening architecture. All in the presence of our mutual hero, filmmaker and musician Michael Snow.

18
Alan Wilkinson in Leeds 2006

 

A few years previously, in 2002, I was invited by Image Forum Tokyo to perform my films in Fukuoka, as part of their touring festival. I also visited Maya, my daughter from my first marriage, who was teaching English in a nearby village. When Maya was very young I had worked on Messages (1983) a half-hour film partly inspired by her innocent questions about the world. For the performance at Fukuoka City Library Maya stood to one side of the screen and translated the on-screen text (that included her questions as a child) into spoken Japanese, rather like the benshi performers of the silent period who would interpret for the audience the events on the screen. Thank you Maya!
(Messages and Views from Home are included on a DVD published by LUX in 2010)

19
“why can’t you see the wind?” frames from the film Messages 1981-3

 

CHILDREN
Performing while looking after young children can be difficult, and would probably be impossible without Lynn’s careful preparation, clever use of the DVD player, and occasionally a volunteer to look after them. Our first venture was to Windsor Ontario in February 2008 when Kai was just five months, barely old enough to fly. We arrived in the worst snowstorm in memory. Luckily the distance from our accommodation to the venue was only a couple of streets, deep in snow.

Media City is a great little festival, thoughtfully curated by Jeremy Rigsby and Oona Mosner. We set up our projectors with Kai nearby in his basket. During the show Lynn had to leave the projectors in order to feed him – then immediately return to project.

20
With Kai at Media City 2008

 


Projection plan for performances at Media City

 

Now that the children are older (currently six and three) and if we’re lucky, the venue will have a room adjacent to the screening space where we can set them up with a DVD while we perform. But that’s not always possible. For a performance event at the new EYE Institute Amsterdam to mark their completion of an archive project for my films (thanks to Simona Monizza and Guy Edmonds) we had to leave the children in a room three floors below, accessed by lift, which added considerably to our performance nerves.

These days, for certain venues such as S. Korea, we’ve been able to leave the children with family in Singapore, freeing us to participate fully in the festival – a rare luxury.

NOISE MUSIC
Along with an increase in outdoor performances, as mentioned earlier, we find ourselves increasingly invited to music/film events (perhaps one explains the other?). This year Cable/Mire in Nantes, Audiograft in Oxford, Miranghang in Seoul and Latitude Festival in Suffolk.

In part this can be traced back to the publication of my book/DVD Optical Sound Films (LUX 2007) but also perhaps to the increasingly similar agenda of film artists and noise/music artists in their use of physical source material combined with analogue and digital processes.

Our work in live cinema attempts to free up 16mm film projection and bring it closer to the flexibility of improvised music, while giving greater importance to the dimension of sound. The Grenoble-based group Metamkine does this with great skill. It feels that we are starting out again, this time as improv performer/musicians, which is both challenging and scary.

True improvisation is difficult with film. The nearest I have been to it happened recently and by accident, which is often the best way. While setting up for a performance of Soundtrack Augmented with improv musicians Cranc, at Café Oto Dalston, my looper failed and I had to quickly reconfigure the work, even making radical changes during performance. For me the performance was successful, but that’s the thing about improv, as a performer it’s difficult to judge, isn’t it?

22
Fixing Eiki projectors and rehearsing for the first performance of Mobius Loops at Star & Shadow, Newcastle 2007.

 


Pop-up screening in Singapore organized by Shih Yun Yeo


Thanks to all the curators and organisers who have invited us to perform. Much of the above text relies on my memory, not the most accurate of instruments. Apologies for all lapses, errors and augmentations.

Guy Sherwin was born in 1948, he lives and works in London. Select exhibitions from include FILM IN SPACE at Camden Arts Centre, London (2013); SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT at Tate Modern (2002); andA CENTURY OF ARTISTS’ FILM & VIDEO at Tate Britain (2003/4). His book and DVD OPTICAL SOUND FILMS 1971-2007 was published by LUX (2007). Sherwin’s 16mm film AT THE ACADEMY (1974) is in Tate’s permanent collection.

www.luxonline.org.uk
guy.k.sherwin@gmail.com

PAUL LEE

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

— I started this book around 1997 and finished it in 2001. It was a mobile studio at a very transitional time. Made with found materials from London (where i grew up), Paris, New York, Provincetown and County Tipperary (where my parents are from). Some materials are Fedex envelope, newspaper, camera film boxes, beach ball, Jasper Johns and Monet postcards, bread packaging and mirror.

COSMONOLOGY PROJECT
Click image to see inside.

Paul Lee was born in 1974, in London. He lives and works in New York. He attended St. Martins School of Art and the Winchester School of Art, earning his BFA in 1997. Paul Lee has been shown internationally, including presentations at Maccarone, New York (2013), Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2013), Michael Lett, New Zealand (2013), Modern Art, London (2012), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2011), Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2009), and the Chinati Foundation, Texas (2007). Upcoming projects include an exhibition at the Rosenwald-Wolf gallery at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia.

www.modernart.net
www.maccarone.net

HARIS EPAMINONDA

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Work in progress – snap shots from contact sheets 1997-2014.


Haris Epaminonda was born in 1980 Nicosia, Cyprus. She lives and works in Berlin. Recent projects include a solo exhibition at Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, Massimo Minini gallery in Brescia as well as a collaborative project at Rowing projects in London together with part wild horses mane on both sides (sound artists Kelly-Jayne Jones and Pascal Nichols) who she often has collaborated with in the past for the sound compositions of her films. She has had solo exhibitions at Malmo Konsthall, Tate Modern, London, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Kunsthaus Zurich, Modern Art Oxford and Point Center for Contemporary Art, Nicosia. Group exhibitions include 52nd Venice Biennale, 5th Berlin Biennale as well as participation at the last dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel together with Daniel Gustav Cramer, who together have initiated THE INFINITE LIBRARY project in 2007, an expanding archive of books, each created out of pages of one or more found books and bound anew.

www.harisepaminonda.com
www.theinfinitelibrary.com
www.caseykaplangallery.com
www.rodeo-gallery.com
www.galleriaminini.it

ALEX ROSS PERRY

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

— The first item I rented at Kim’s Video on St. Marks Place was a bootleg of Johnny Depp’s unreleased directorial debut The Brave. Skipping over the excitement of finding something ‘unavailable’ and proceeding based on a presumed shared knowledge of how joyous that can feel, what mattered then wasn’t that movie, which is a curiosity at best, but my new relationship with an establishment and business which I knew would become increasingly important to me as long as I still had access to it.

My earliest memories of Kim’s all take place in winter for some reason. Vivid recollections of leaving class at NYU in the snow, going to the store around mid day, finding it mostly empty and having plenty of space and quiet to browse come into focus when I remember the cardboard laid down at the entry way to prevent the two flights of stairs leading up to the rental floor to become slippery and hazardous. I lived a few blocks away and would take advantage of the dollar-and-a-quarter ‘same day’ rental, knowing I’d be back before closing and able to bring home something else at that time.

I worked a part time job at NYU around this time and got paid every Friday. The wages were fair and I worked enough hours that every Friday I could justify going straight to Kim’s to purchase a weekly Criterion Collection DVD with twenty-six of my newly earned dollars. This task was taken more seriously than the work I did to earn the money and when I won the Oscar pool at said job and came into possession of nearly ninety dollars, a shopping spree couldn’t occur quickly enough. I divided my love equally between the video sales and rental floors, generally spending a bit of time and money on both. I was nineteen, had exactly three friends and a very specific view of what to do with your free time during college.

The final mystery was how to get back there, behind the counter. It may be apocryphal but the only person I recall asking this question to with any regularity was Sean Williams, who has gone on to be my cinematographer on every movie I have made. Memory serves that this more or less yielded the indented result immediately but in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if I kept at it for excess of five months.

My first day on the job was a weekday and nobody could figure out how to make a login for me to use the computer so I was not allowed to. A story of me telling an extant employee where certain videos belonged within two hours of my first day got retold a few times over the years, though I didn’t actually remember it myself. My second day was a Saturday and since the person whose job this actually was called in sick, I had to sit with the store’s owner Mr. Kim and a cinematographer he had hired to shoot his upcoming film while they read the script and I took dictation to assist with creating a shot list.

The cinematographer wore a baseball cap and answered my question of what format the film would be shot on by saying “35 Milliliter” which had the probably unintended effect of me distaining him instantly. I was asked to do this job ‘for a few hours’ but was kept there for five until Kim and the baseball cap wearing cinematographer decided it was time for lunch and told me to go back down to the floor and work until they were ready for me again. No mention was made of what I was to eat or when, though my excitement at being behind the counter of my favorite store to hang out in on a busy Saturday in February meant I had no appetite anyway. They were both very fascinated by a t-shirt I was wearing with the image of an eyeball on it that I had purchased at a recent Dali exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is 2005 and I am twenty years old.

That summer was the first since starting college that I didn’t ‘go home,’ that is return to where I grew up. Moving to an apartment on 11th Street and no longer having to deal with the inconvenience of going to school three days a week allowed me to work full time and see a double feature of repertory films before or after my shift, depending on the day. I’d never been happier. It was during this summer that my shifts with an assistant manager named Steven slowly developed into a more educational and important relationship than with any of my instructors at NYU. Steven grew up in New Jersey and had been around cinema culture in New York for some time, and was able to show me two films a night at work, often encouraging me to let him handle customers while I paid close attention, before sending me home with supplemental viewing. These were always ‘cult’ films, often released by the company Something Weird Video and were precisely the sort of things you need somebody else to show you in order to grasp their cultural and historical significance.

We closed together almost every night, meaning that from about 9pm to midnight on an average weekday there wasn’t much to do besides be quiet and learn. (He was a good friend and one of the most disheartening experiences I had at the store came two years later, by which time I had risen to the rank manager and I was instructed by our superiors to fire him since they didn’t want to tell this eight-years-running employee themselves that an injury he had sustained was causing him to miss too much work and he was a liability. That edict was the beginning of the end for me, and a proper representation that the carefree times of being the lowest guy on the totem pole were far behind me.)

By September of 2005 I was a full time assistant manager and also a full time student, though I had arranged my course load so that I only had class Tuesday and Wednesday and could work at Kim’s five days a week. That holiday season I volunteered to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, alone; one of my best memories is sitting on the counter eating food I had delivered to me while watching Jim McBride’s Breathless on Christmas while being paid double wage.

When my boss left I, at the age of twenty-one, was deemed the most responsible and trusted replacement mostly because nobody else could be counted on to arrive at or by 9:30am every day of the week. Here began the process of learning about the unfortunate distrust and mistreatment he had been sheltering us all from. I had never known how much scrutiny Chuck had been shrugging off when upper management would, for example, notice that there are less sales during the six to midnight shift and therefore whomever worked that shift is obviously clearly stealing because why else would this be.

It wasn’t so much fun all of a sudden, but so long as my employees enjoyed their shifts and were protected from this I felt that I was doing my job. And I took it seriously. When college graduation came around in June 2006 and my then-girlfriend asked when I would get ‘a real job’ and I told her that she must be mistaken because as she knew I had a real job and I went there every day of the week and one of those days went home with a bunch of money, she failed to understand what I was talking about. We broke up that September and I hope she feels great about the choices she made with regards to employment at that time, because I sure do.

I loved the intricacies of managing the store and in 2007 successfully got the vinyl records moved where they belonged, down on the music floor, allowing more room for videos. The store was somehow at once both chaotic and orderly; a messy kid’s room where they can tell you exactly where the baseball mitt is, under the coat on the floor behind the pile of magazines. As my third year there began friends who has been there since the beginning of my employment were mostly gone, fired or quit in protest of others being fired. I tried my best to replace them with good people with whom a six or so hour shift was something to look forward to; my promotion to manager blissfully resulted in the immediate resignation of a real wet blanket named Joe, a suspiciously quiet and introverted weirdo who responded to questions like ‘where did you go on your lunch break’ by saying ‘why are you asking me this?’

It was unspeakably sad when the long rumored news that the store would be shuttering and moving to a smaller location became fact and it was then that I decided to leave. I don’t want to be there to watch my loved ones slowly perish. I’d rather remember them as they were. Plus under the new structure I was to be demoted under the manager of another floor who was a huge piece of shit, which didn’t sit well with me. I had earned the respect and friendship of several employees who wanted to jump ship from his floor to my own by offering them asylum.

The closure ended up happening nearly a year behind schedule, so I was still able to stop by and see how the old place was coming along and also use the incredibly cold private bathroom should I be in the neighborhood and in need of a toilet. When it finally closed there was an unremarkable party with a catered table of sandwiches that recalled the pizza the management ordered for us the night the store was raided by the cops for selling music bootlegs and four of our co-workers were thrown in jail. It was always suspicious when they bought food for us, like I imagine a child would feel when parents get them their favorite food right before explaining that this isn’t their fault and no matter what, they will always be loved and things are just going to be a little different now.

The new location was still something, but to me it never felt quite right. Like one of those Twilight Zones where another species tries to replicate something about humanity and it looks pretty good but none of the ineffable details have been figured out. It was a nice place to kill time and catch up with whoever still worked there. I was there for about an hour doing just that the day before it was announced that, after five years, it too would be closing.

It’s a rotten world we live in; I’m not the first one to point that out, but really this sort of thing just sucks the life out of a city. St. Marks between Astor Place and 2nd Avenue was a block where I spent more time for three years than wherever I lived at the time. Walking out of the store during a closing shift on a Saturday night and seeing the throngs of people, many of whom would stop by to browse had a fantastic energy and when I walk around there now I never fail to be depressed by whatever it’s been replaced by. When somebody would come in to sell used DVDs and I couldn’t buy them, I recommended three or four other places nearby that they might try. I suppose those places are all gone as well now.


Alex Ross Perry was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1984. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. He made his feature debut with IMPOLEX in 2009. THE COLOR WHEEL, his second film, was released in 2012 and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. His third film, LISTEN UP PHILIP, premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

SUSANA DE SOUSA DIAS

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

— It was the year 2000 when I set foot in the film archive of the Portuguese Army for the very first time. Then, I was researching a film about times under the dictatorship and unaware that this subject would transform into the material for my future films. Despite not being the direct topic of my research, I inevitably came up against images of the colonial war.

A few years later, I returned to the same archive because of another film. Over the course of the months that the viewings lasted, I began to grasp that I had embarked on my research with a series of certainties about some historical events without, however, being fully aware of some of the dimensions inherently present in them.

The fact of having been born in the midst of the colonial war and having had close family members involved (two uncles both did tours of duty in Angola) had not enabled me to consider the paradox underlying the situation: a far off war which we were in opposition to, a close up war that went undiscussed within the family.

In viewing the images of the campaigns taking place in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau, in dwelling on the actions of members of the armed forces going about their daily routines or in situations of conflict (many of which were purpose staged for the camera, with others taken in extreme and unexpected situations within the theatre of conflict), I gradually gained the sensation that those men could so easily be my uncles, or my brother (if there had been no revolution) and even my son if he had already existed during the days of the dictatorship.

In this disoriented period of time, one image stood out with great impact. I found it on a roll of film not normally shown to the public, the leftover shots that did not make it into any of the final cuts. It is a close-up shot of a soldier, sitting on the floor, with his back resting against a jeep. I know, after having seen the preceding footage that he had just been the target of an ambush. Despite the movement in this sequence, the wounded soldiers carried by the fellow soldiers, the grimaces of pain, I ended fixated by this image, a short run of just three seconds and ten frames: an anodyne shot, without any great “information content” in the restricted meaning of the term. That soldier is just there, leaning back. He does not look, he does not see and does not move. There is no gesture in this image. Only a face. A face that nevertheless manages to become a screen for projection: on it we project our own traumas, our own constructions, our own doubts. In it, I make out the essence of the colonial war.

This was precisely one of the images that formed the foundations of my film Natureza Morta, integrally based on archival images. However, at the end of a year of editing, it was with great perplexity that I perceived that the shot itself would not be part of the final cut.

This image has actually haunted me ever since. This is a copy of a copy of a copy. It has already made the provisional cut in some of my subsequent works even while never having actually found its place in them.


Susana de Sousa Dias was born in Lisbon in 1962. Her film STILL LIFE (2005) has been shown in festivals and screenings in five continents, and won several awards, including Prémio Atalanta Filmes at DocLisboa 2005, Merit Price at Taiwan International Documentary Festival 2006, Honorary Mention at the Slow Film Festival 2007, Hungry. 48 (2009), her last film, won the Grand Prix at Cinéma du Réel 2010.

MATTEAH BAIM

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

— I spent quite a bit of time at the copy place when I was a kid. The process would start with me collecting all the things I found interesting that day in my room; this may or may not have included records, books, trash, rocks, clothing, photos, matches. I’d pack it all up in my bag and take the bus over to the copy place. Once I was there, depending on how much cash I had managed to scrape together, I’d either head to the color machine (preferred) or the black and white one (usual). Then, I’d just line up all my “items” on the glass and copy away, marveling at how much more beautiful it all looked once it had gone through the photocopy machine… smooshed into some kind of 2d tableau. I have no idea what this whole thing looked like to the people there for legitimate copy needs. A pre-teen laying out old bottle caps, an empty twizzlers wrapper, and a shoe on the copier could not have been the most normal sight. To my fellow customers’ credits and the staff’s, no one ever said anything to me and I was left in peace (and joy) at the copy place.
 
It remained this way until one day, while waiting for a machine, my most loved/favorite/admired local band walked in (I can only assume to pick up flyers or posters). They were probably no more then sophomores or juniors in high school but it was like a light from heaven suddenly shown down on the copy place. I don’t think I have ever been (before or after) more star struck then that moment. I remember the lead singer sorta of winked/hair flipped at me when they were leaving and I am actually surprised I didn’t have a heart attack. For a second, I felt like my little world collided with the big one. The one inhabited by heroes.

I don’t think that moment really ever left me… cause as I look around my work space now, I find myself surrounded by some strangely funny (?), subtly altered photocopy montages I have made of several of my heroes. Whether this an absurd attempt to interact with these people or some sort of subconscious high five I need to express for the moments captured in the photos, these photocopied combos bring me so much comfort, cheer, and hope on a daily basis that they have become some of my most prized possessions. 


1. A Light
2. Fosse
3. With and Without Johnny
4. Jim Bead
5. Gordon Matta Clark/Fire Cracker
6. Jay Adams Yin Yang

Matteah Baim is a New York-based artist whose career bridges both music and visual art. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from the San Francisco Art Institute, Baim moved to New York and formed the self-described soft metal band Metallic Falcons with Sierra Casady. Their 2006 debut, DESERT DOUGHNUTS, was released on Touch and Go Records. She went on to record her first solo studio album, DEATH OF THE SUN at her then-home in Venice Beach, CA in 2007 for DiCristina/Revolver USA. LAUGHING BOY, her second solo album, was recorded and released two years later. Her upcoming album, FALLING THEATRE, will be released June 2014 through Kobalt Music.

Baim has performed at ATP UK, Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit at the Shoreline Amphitheater, and at The Meltdown Festival as part of events for the 2012 Olympic Games. She has also performed in conjunction with Antony and the Johnsons’ US tour of The Crying Light as well as with Devendra Banhart, High Places, Sharon Van Etten, Lower Dens, Lucky Dragons, Jim Jarmusch, Liturgy, and Vashti Bunyan. Her work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, The Kitchen, Agnes B, The New York Armory Show, Gavin Brown Enterprises, and White Columns.

SARA VANDERBEEK

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

www.altmansiegel.com
www.metropicturesgallery.com

TAKASHI HOMMA

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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


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

www.longhouseprojects.com
www.360.co.jp

LAV DIAZ

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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

SEQ 70. INT. STUDIO. DAY.

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

HUGO
Please, could you possibly stop that.

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

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

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

LADY HOST
You do, Hugo.

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

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

LADY HOST
Please continue.

Hugo is staring at the legs.

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

HUGO (very low voice)
I’m a fraud.

LADY HOST
What was that?

HUGO
Excuse me.

Hugo leaves.

Cut to:

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

lavdiazofficial.tk

ELIAS HANSEN

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

www.anatebgi.com
www.jonathanvinergallery.com

DAVID OSTROWSKI

Friday, April 18th, 2014


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

www.alminerech.com
www.peresprojects.com
www.simonleegallery.com

TONY COX

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

— In October of 2000 I was sent to Japan to take photos of the 555 Soul skateboard trip. The trip got cancelled two days in and they sent everyone home. I knew one person in Tokyo so I stayed. After three days of not being able to communicate I started to become paranoid that the big black crows were trying to attack me and that people where following me. During this time I began to collect recyclable materials that were unique to there origin, making a visual journal in order to communicate through vision rather than words.


Tony Cox was born 1975, in Louisville, Kentucky. He lives and works in Mt. Tremper, New York.

www.marlboroughchelsea.com

SAM FALLS

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

JAMIE

— Jamie and I were best friends, he was my god-brother growing up. We went on family vacations and had dinner together all the time. We grew up in Vermont in a town of about 6,000 people, so we knew everyone and everyone knew us. He was five years younger than me so when you’re a kid that’s a lot. When I moved to New York City for graduate school he started going to school at Sarah Lawrence. He’d come sleep on my floor in Brooklyn on the weekends now and then and we’d stay up all night making music. That’s when we decided we were just brothers. We became so close. I was very alone in New York for a long time and we were support systems. He encouraged me to pursue art and living with nothing and I tried to keep him healthy and in school, whatever that means. There were a few late nights I’d drive up to stay with him overnight when things were tough for him and sometimes he’d come stay with me. One time after Christmas break I drove him down to school and dropped him off on my way to Brooklyn. I found out that night I had to move out of my small room because there was an issue with the work space being discovered as a live space and I moved into my car for a week. I talked to Jamie everyday that week. He moved to New York after he finished school, the same year I moved to LA, about three years ago. Then he moved to LA almost a year ago and lived with his girlfriend. I’d become so busy I didn’t see him enough, but when we saw each other it was great every time. He had a job and seemed to be doing well. When he moved to New Orleans like nine months ago he said he had to go – that he knew it was the best place for him. Jamie was a poet and musician, he knew the world very intimately but it didn’t really know him too well. He wrote poems for all my books and recorded albums on his computer that we started to release. I’d send him pictures of projects I was working on and he’d write poems for the books. He’d send me all his music and I’d make album covers. He started a poetry blog—gaiatincture.com—that we both frequently wrote poems for, along with some other friends. Before he left we went on a road trip together to make a new body of work I had been planning, hanging wind-chimes I made all across the national forests of California. We’d hike way out into the woods and I’d climb a tree to hang the chime, it was so nice being together, working together. He was writing poems along the trip, we decide haikus would be perfect for this book. Here’s a couple of poems he wrote:

 

1st Bite

the feeling of you

being trapped in your body

a breath of fresh air

 

19.

i wonder what you

see through the window after

 

god closes the door

 

We talked a lot on the trip, listening to the radio he said, “Sometimes I hear a song and it reminds me of the past and I knew this song would be on the radio at the right time, like everything is connected.” We stopped at gas stations and I drank a lot of coffee – Jamie favored as always red bull and blue gatorade. Here’s Jamie with my dog George somewhere off the 5 freeway on our way north.

 

Jamie had never been to northern California and he really enjoyed it, he loved Big Sur:

 

and the Redwood forest was his favorite place of the trip I’d say.

 

We drove my car through a tree and everything. We drank Gnarly Head wine from California every night and watched TV in cheap hotels.

 

Soon after the trip Jamie moved to New Orleans, where he finished working on his new album, he wen’t under the name Oldd News as far as music was concerned. He went under the moniker September Spring when writing poems – here’s another good one:

 

black wave

when it all comes

down to it, its the

 

sound of the saw

in the woods when

you wake up

 

the feeling of drinking

too much at once; full

 

the feeling of falling

asleep too fast; loan

 

“there’s places that i

can take you that

the theater can’t”

 

i told them all,

crossing my legs

 

“it’s like, your soul

is a little paper

 

and where the

hole punches

 

the west rain

seeps through”

 

and no one

can never

 

really summit

that west rain

 

forever, and i

can’t help but

 

pour a lot of

gas in the fire

 

 

the new idea

is that people

 

keep having

visions, the end

 

has approached,

everyone is huffing,

 

but then one day

scientists realize

 

there is this giant

rock getting close

 

and then they realize

it’s a planet but that it

 

won’t collide with our

planet and when it gets

 

closer to us we see it is

another planet populated

 

by people very similar to

us who have built these

 

great civilizations, and they

start shooting rockets to our

 

earth, when they come they

tell us that is truly the end of

 

the world for them, sometimes

we can see the explosions on

 

their planet at night from earth.

this of course all is coinciding

 

with a child who discovers a

cave deep in the woods near

 

an old elegant tomb with many

stone statues that linger, cold.

 

in the cave there are four zones,

the first being a secret forest

 

where the light comes from the

bark of the beautiful white birch.

 

there are guardians of every

feeling, and they hold it in pure

 

mists, far away from humans

who could limp and yield from it.

 

Jamie was going to come out from New Orleans in October back to California for a while. He was going to meet me out here and we were going to go collect the wind chimes. He died at the end of September this year and I left the next day for a couple weeks to reclaim the windchimes we had hung. I repeated the exact same trip we did , stayed in the same places, and cried the whole time. It was the only thing I knew to do at the time. I left the windchime in the Redwoods to hang forever and sound as his memorial.

 

On the trip we did together, Jamie brought a disposable camera, per usual, and below are the pictures he took with it. Here’s a song from his last album, it’s nice visiting them together:

OLDD NEWS – GREEN WAVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I miss him so much.

Sam Falls
February 4th, 2014

Sam Falls was born in 1984, in San Diego, CA and lives and works in Brooklyn. Selected solo exhibitions include; T293, Rome (2013); Balice Hertling, Paris (2013); Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich (2013); FINAL FOREVER, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles (2013), Ribordy Contemporary, Geneva (2013); Luce Gallery, Turin (2012); China Art Objects, Los Angeles (2012); Printed Matter, New York (2012); Marta Cervera, Madrid (2012); M+B, Los Angeles (2012); West Street Gallery, New York (2011); EVERYTHING KEEPS BEING NOTHING, Higher Pictures, New York (2011). Recent publications include; STUDIO SPACE PRINT TIME, published by Printed Matter; LATTICE, published by Gottlund Verlag; LIFE SIZE, published by Karma.

www.samfalls.com
www.hannahhoffmangallery.com
www.presenhuber.com
www.t293.it
www.balicehertling.com

RONI HORN

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

BUZZ AND DUST

I
The realism was disturbed by dust collecting on the ice floe and water. In the Hall of North American Mammals I wandered among the glass-fronted dioramas observing the minutely detailed replicas of animal life in native habitat. But the still setting and stuffed animals collected dust.

Gazing at an Arctic scene visible quantities of dust on the floating ice alerted me. Instinctively I knew that dust can only play at being a representation; instinctively I knew it was authentic dust.

As a child I observed the persistent presence of dust on everything at my steadily rising eye-level. Dust was especially visible on hard and reflective surfaces. I liked the way it mottled and muted reflection. When I sat on upholstered furnishings I knew the dust was there even though I couldn’t see it. I imagined it a neat filling, topping off each threadwork intersection. The soft things in the house were softer under dust and the hard things were as well. Dust reserved its most exotic forms and prolific expression for the more secret and unused places in the house. Under my bed, in my closets dust gathered— fluffy nuggets spawned and crowded. Through this youthful and intimate exposure I learned that dust never mingled. Even down among the long fibers of my mother’s rugs, dust was always on top.

Now, as I sit in my living room observing the dust I recognize how like my mother’s dust it is, how familiar and how plain. How it too sticks to eye-level vantage giving the feeling of endless déjà vu. And like my mother’s dust, my dust is authentic. And no matter what surface it garnishes, dust’s character is never changed.

II
As I sit in the evening light watching dusk settle around me a fly, noisy and casual, alights on the arm of my chair. Gross characteristics of the buzz are few. It’s constant with only a beginning and an end; it starts instantaneously with no prelude; it comes to you— to you personally. And though I can’t remember my first experience of buzz, a familiar quality attaches itself to the sound the moment I hear it.

It’s hard to get near a buzz though a buzz can come to you. In the past I may have followed one or two out the door. The smack of the screen ushered the buzz from earshot; the fly was gone.

As a child I associated the sound with a bit of aerial punctuation, a period perhaps— on the move, an end note. As a teenager I learned that a fly defecates twenty to thirty times an hour. The instant a fly would land I thought to myself: that fly is shitting on my table, my apple, on me. Sometime later, when I lived briefly in a log cabin upstate, I shared the living room on a seasonal basis with a large population of flies that settled on the windows. When I let the room temperature drop the flies would fall to the sills in a thick stupor leaving the glass mottled in a translucent fog of compost.

I was lying on my mother’s sofa reading when I heard a fly die. It was a summer afternoon, hot and rainy. Drops of water falling from the eaves softly thudded the glass. On the inside the dot-like body of a fly popped quietly against the window. The buzz resonated in the damp air compressing slightly each time the fly hit the glass. At length the buzz stopped. The black dot dropped onto the sill with a crisp, finite sound.

Reykjavík, Iceland,
July 1994

Roni Horn was born in New York in 1955. She lives and works in New York and Reykjavik, Iceland. In a career spanning thirty years, Roni Horn has produced drawings, photography, sculpture and installations, as well as works involving words and writing. Drawing, however, has a particularly important place within her practice. Horn is especially interested in the relationships and associations that can be established though this medium. Horn’s work, which has an emotional and psychological dimension, can be seen an engagement with post-Minimalist forms as containers for affective perception. A major solo exhibition RONI HORN AKA RONI HORN (2009-2010) was jointly organised by Tate Modern in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and was also presented at the ICA in Boston and Collection Lambert in Avignon.

www.xavierhufkens.com
www.hauserwirth.com

BERTIEN VAN MANEN

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Here are two pages from my notebook, from 1992. I was working in the former Soviet Union. This resulted in my 1994 book A hundred summers, a hundred winters and later in 2011, Let’s sit down before we go.

The first page is from when I was in Sochi, where the Olympics are taking place at the moment. I was in the old sanatoria and I was staying with a woman, Nina, who talked very discriminatory about the refugees coming in from the Kaukasian countries. These wars were starting then.

The second page is about my staying with a photographer and his parents in a datcha, in a little village in Siberia. We slept all together in a small room, we went for mushrooms for our meal, we had to do our business in the bushes and after 4 days without washing, we made the sauna work. I loved all of it.


Bertien van Manen projects include; A HUNDRED SUMMERS, A HUNDRED WINTERS, photographs taken in the ex-Soviet Union; EAST WIND WEST WIND, made in China; and GIVE ME YOUR IMAGE, which was photographed in Europe and shown as part of NEW PHOTOGRAPHY, MoMA, 2005. In October 2011 her book, LET’S SIT DOWN BEFORE WE GO, was published by MACK London. The following year EASTER ON OAK TREES, was published, also by MACK London, and shows intimate, black and white images of van Manen’s family in the Seventies. These projects resulted in photo-albums and exhibitions over the world. In April, 2014 van Manen’s latest book, MOONSHINE, will be released by MACK, photographs taken over the years in the Appalachian Mountains. Van Manen lives in Amsterdam and is currently working in Ireland.

www.bertienvanmanen.nl

NICK DARMSTAEDTER

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

this is my dad

TOM WOOD

Friday, December 27th, 2013

— I have been keeping a journal of stuff I’ve read. I never remember, so I have been writing it down since 1973 when I was an art student. In 1974 I scrawled across two pages “IT’S GOT TO BE INTERESTING AND REAL!”. I still put stuff in it to this day, though it has completely fallen to pieces and burst at the seams.

I have been looking through it lately because David Chandler phoned me out of the blue—I haven’t spoken to him for twenty-five years. He wrote the original intro to Looking for Love, and is writing a new text for a forthcoming book, Inside Looking for Love.



























Tom Wood was born in 1951, in County Mayo in the west of Ireland. He lived and worked on Merseyside between 1978 and 2003 before he moved to his current home in North Wales. Wood has published numerous books, including LOOKING FOR LOVE, ALL ZONES OFF PEAK, PHOTIEMAN, and MEN AND WOMEN. He has had solo and group exhibitions worldwide and his work is represented in the collections of major international museums.

MATT CONNORS

Friday, December 27th, 2013

— I was born in the suburbs of Chicago and before I was three years old, moved to the San Fernando Valley outside of Los Angeles, perhaps the ultimate west coast suburbia, and then moved again to the deep suburbs of San Diego, itself acting as a kind of a large scale suburb to the larger and more Cosmopolitan Los Angles. I stayed in San Diego until I left for college (in the woods of Vermont) but even within that time frame, moved several more times, each move, seemingly further into the depths of new-build suburbia.

My father once came home drunk and accidentally entered a different house, owing to the fact that there were only three, maybe four house models in our tract, and they repeated themselves endlessly in mirror images of each other, carpeting the hills as far as the eye could see.

The towns we lived in all had idyllic, even mythical sounding names,  i.e. Woodland Hills, Del Mar, Leucadia, Encinitas, etc,. but were in fact masses of faux Spanish, beige stucco boxes that had been glopped onto Chaparral hillsides. I would commonly wake in the middle of the night to the solitary cries of the coyotes that our “communities” had unseated, and would peer out my bedroom window to see bands of them slowly meandering through the automatic sprinklers in the eucalyptus groves  and artificially green common areas that punctuated the otherwise uninterrupted blocks.

Both my parents had been raised in small Midwestern towns, but I think my mother, (an artist manqué), resisted suburbia most of all, in whatever small ways she could, mostly, I believe, related to the decoration of, aforementioned Spanish, stucco, spilt-levels. This must be how I got my hands and eyes on what I now consider to be the foundational text for me; Terence Conran’s THE HOUSE BOOK (and subsequently The Bedroom Book ,The Bathroom Book, The Kitchen Book, as well as any number of the many books that aped the House Book’s distinctive square format and casual style in the seventies and eighties.)

My Family is very small, and over the course of my youth we never lived in any one neighborhood or house long enough for it to become really imprinted on my mind as a “home”. This in combination with the fact that I was a fairly solitary/unhappy young person, spending the majority of my time alone in my room, made The House Book a kind of bible, a portal to other worlds, worlds consisting of the cluttered, bohemian, food and art filled interiors of city and country houses, with nary a suburban cul-de-sac in site.

The House Book was for sure the first place I ever saw the work of David Hockney, Frank Stella and the Bauhaus. The life depicted in the House Book was a veritable siren-song for me, promising a modicum of control through style and aesthetics, in a time when I felt especially powerless. It promised that at the end of the long beige tunnel of suburbia, shaggy bohemians awaited, sitting around long dining tables covered in psychedelically striped table cloths eating baguettes and drinking wine. Everywhere were exotic textiles, warm colored, wood filled kitchens, sunken living rooms, raised platform beds, supergraphic adorned walls, striped curtains, glorious messes and minimal pleasure domes. They residents of this magical land lounged on flokati covered daybeds in the nooks of A-Frames, they drank a lot, all of their stuff had specific (often color-coded) compartments or was spilled out in beautiful piles all over the floor, they loved stripes, they liked to sleep on the floor or way up high, THEY LOVED PLANTS! The kids and the adults were always hanging out together and they were all extremely mellow, colors complemented but more often than not, clashed, patterns (and styles) jousted loudly with each other, there were lots of ladders and secret compartments, most of the WORK spaces seemed created mostly to make ART, form and function seemed to melt into each other by way of play and relaxation, and the light was always warm and promising.

When I revisit the House Book as an adult (as I ritually do) I immediately feel the aura and energy of the intense scrutiny and desire that I invested into each spread, each image, even into the beautifully duotone, sans serif, table of contents. I find that I’ve secretly (or not) held it dear as an internal model for the development of my taste, aesthetics, (morals?) and even happiness.

PATRICIA TREIB

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Milton Avery, Greenwich Villagers, 1946, Oil on canvas, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Emperor Justinian and Retinue (detail), c. 547 CE, mosaic, Ravenna, Italy.
St. Pareskevi, Novogordian work of the early fifteenth century, Russian Icons, 1963.
Dress of a Young Woman, Vyškova, Moravia, Plate 24, National Costumes, 1939.
Young Buják Girl, Hungary, Plate 19, National Costumes, 1939.
Henri Matisse, Blouse Roumaine, Fond Rouge et Bleu, 1937,
With Apparent Ease… Henri Matisse, 1988.

The Mobile Sleeve, The Vogue Sewing Book, 1975.
Patricia Treib, The Mobile Sleeve (gray), 2013, Pastel on paper, 15 5/8 x 11 5/8 in.
Patricia Treib, Correspondence, 2012, Oil on paper mounted to panel, 15 3/8 x 11 3/8 in.

Patricia Treib was born in 1979 in Saginaw, Michigan, and lives and works in Brooklyn. She received an MFA from Columbia University in 2006 and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001. Solo exhibitions have been held at, Wallspace (2013), Tibor de Nagy Gallery (2012) and John Connelly Presents (2008). Selected group exhibitions include, MODERN TALKING, Cluj Museum, Cluj, Romania (2012); EXPANDED PAINTING, Prague Biennale 5, Prague, Czech Republic (2011); BESIDES, WITH, AGAINST, AND YET: ABSTRACTION AND THE READY-MADE GESTURE–curated by Debra Singer, The Kitchen (2009). Treib was a 2013 MacDowell Colony Fellow and a Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation grantee in 2007.

www.wallspacegallery.com

RUBY NERI

Friday, December 27th, 2013

— When I was younger I rode horses in Marin County, where I grew up. From about the age of 15-19 I worked and lived on my own in a trailer, on and off, at a horse ranch in Nicasio, CA. I consider those years an untouched golden era dedicated to freedom and youth, something completely unattainable later at any other time in a life.


Ruby Neri was born 1970, San Francisco, CA, she lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Her work was seen recently in Made in L.A. 2012, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; American Exuberance, Rubell Family Collection, Miami; and At Home/Not at Home: Works from the Collection of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

www.davidkordanskygallery.com

LODGE KERRIGAN

Friday, December 27th, 2013

CLEAN, SHAVEN
MISCOU ISLAND, NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA
JULY / AUGUST 1990

Lodge Kerrigan lives in New York City. His films include CLEAN, SHAVEN, CLAIRE DOLAN, KEANE, and REBECCA H. (RETURN TO THE DOGS).

STEPHANIE SPRAY

Friday, December 27th, 2013

KENTUCKY FRIED

— Just out of high school in ’69, my mother found a summer job waitressing at Claudia Sanders’ Dinner House in Shelbyville, Kentucky. There she would frequently see Claudia’s spouse Colonel Sanders, the man behind the lucrative Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. My mother was “just a tiny thing” and as part of her job she would carry a huge tray with 7 or more large serving bowls, quite awkwardly and in full view of Claudia and the Colonel. Mother recalls one of her sisters coming to the restaurant to visit her with my two cousins, who were only 3 and 5 years old at the time. The children saw Colonel Sanders and asked if they could meet the white-bearded American icon, but were told that he was too busy. Apparently the Colonel overheard and made his way over to meet them saying, “I’m never too busy to talk to children.” A few years later, another cousin of mine worked for Colonel Sanders as his bodyguard; rumor has it that he got this job because his mother, my uncle’s wife, was somehow related to the man.

In 1979 I am born in Minnesota and a year later Colonel Sanders dies in Louisville, Kentucky, where I frequently travel as a child to visit my mother’s family.

In 1999 I go to Nepal for the first time and then every year thereafter, living there years to months at a time. Thanks to my involvement in the Sensory Ethnography Lab, I begin making films in Nepal in 2006. In 2009 I shoot As Long As There’s Breath, which is comprised of a series of vignettes of my adopted Nepali family alternately lounging and gossiping at home or working in the fields as day laborers. These scenes are loosely organized around brief conversations or references to the family’s teenage son who left home to join the Youth Community League, a militant political group. This son, Kamal, never appears in the film, although we see his younger brother, Lakshe, making a bed in the first scene.

That same year KFC becomes the first foreign fast food franchise to open in Kathmandu on Durbar Marg, a relatively wide street running in front of the former kings’ palace.

Not long after I complete As Long As There’s Breath, I learn that the older son Kamal has left the Youth Communist League to look for work in India. Whenever I ask what Kamal is doing, they say he’s found work as a security guard, although for what company and where no one seems to know. The family wishes they could have sent him to the Middle East where he might have gotten a cushy indoor job at a grocery store or restaurant.

To better my Nepali, I read newspapers in my spare time and peruse the want ads, where I frequently find calls for employment opportunities at KFC restaurants in the Middle East. Here are a couple examples:

While the first claims it will provide employees with “Free Ticket! Free Ticket!!” the second says, “Free visa! Free food!! Free housing!!!” The final interviews for the “Free visa! Free food!! Free housing!!!” KFC opportunity are to be held on April 5th, 2012.

This very day I invite Bindu and her son Lakshe to Pokhara. I rent a boat and shoot Bindu as she attempts to paddle while seated at the stern. She talks about her domestic troubles and increasing concerns about her two sons. We hear the female Nyāuli bird singing its mournful song in the Rani Ban, or the Queen’s Forest, along the edge of the lake. Bindu tells me that in their previous lives, Nyāuli females were young brides who died not long after their wedding day, before they could return to visit their mother and father’s village. Forever separated from their childhood home and their beloved, they are doomed to cry out in longing for them deep within the forest.


QUEEN’S FOREST


Last I heard, Lakshe too had gone to India and is now likely somewhere in Bombay. The family doesn’t seem to know what kind of work he has found.

I have never been to the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kathmandu, but know that shortly after I returned to the States from Nepal in 2012 that it was closed temporarily because employees had threatened to kill the manager.

Stephanie Spray is a filmmaker, anthropologist, and occasional phonographer. She has been working and teaching in the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University since 2006. Her most recent film MANAKAMANA (co-directed with Pacho Velez) won first prize in competition at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival and led to a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award.

www.stephaniespray.com
www.manakamanafilm.com

LUCAS BLALOCK

Friday, December 27th, 2013

In 1989, when I was ten years old, my thumb was crushed in an amusement park accident. The digit was unrecoverable. In a subsequent surgery the great toe from my right foot was removed and grafted onto my hand.


Lucas Blalock was born in 1978 in Asheville, North Carolina and lives and works in Los Angeles and New York. Recent exhibitions include, ID, ED, AD, OD, Ramiken Crucible (2013); NEW PICTURES OF COMMON OBJECTS at MoMA PS1, New York (2013); SECOND NATURE: ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY THEN AND NOW, at DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA (2012-13); and TOWARDS A WARM MATH, curated by Chris Wiley, On Stellar Rays, New York (2012). WINDOWS MIRRORS TABLETOPS was recently published by Morel books.

www.lucasblalock.com

ALDO TAMBELLINI

Friday, December 27th, 2013

For me the most significant moment in my life occurred as a boy, in my home town of Lucca, Italy, when the Allied forces bombed my home and village. It is certainly the defining influence on my artistic vision. Here is a poem I wrote in 2006 about this event.

Click to view.

I also did some watercolors, while under Nazi occupation. At 14 I painted one of my mother, the church in my neighborhood and the farmers working with the wheat. These works survived the war and I was reunited with them in 2003 when my cousin gave me a shirt box full of my early works.



MOTHER, 1944 (during Nazi Occupation), watercolor on paper.
Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan Gallery.

Aldo Tambellini was born in Syracuse, NY in 1930. He lives and works in in Boston, MA. Tambellini was among the first artists in the early 1960s to explore new technologies as an art medium. Tambellini combined slide projections, film, performance, and music into sensorial experiences that he aptly called ELECTROMEDIA. His BALCK FILM SERIES has been recently restored by Harvard Film Archive.

www.aldotambellini.com
www.jamescohan.com

BERNARD PIFFARETTI

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Paris, le 10 octobre 2013 – J’ai tout mis sur la table…*

* Work in progress : project for Karma edition – New York

 

Bernard Piffaretti is based in Paris. Exhibitions in 2013 include: Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles; Klemm’s, Berlin; Frank Elbaz, Paris; Herald St, London; Krinzinger, Vienna.

www.bernardpiffaretti.com

EILEEN QUINLAN

Friday, December 20th, 2013

— Like many, I was saved by music as a child. It lifted me out of a bullied and tremulous adolescence, connecting me for the first time to like-minded souls. Through music, I discovered joy, community, and hope, not to mention an identity and the power of fashion! But I could neither strum a guitar, nor carry a tune, so I pursued art instead. Though art does some good in this world, it does it for so few. Music is the more powerful force. It’s easily available, infinitely portable, deeply memorable, and far more democratic.

In my travels across the city where I live, New York, I frequently encounter buskers. Stationed on dingy subway platforms, they tear me, willingly, from the all-business activity of getting from point A to point B. Last week I left a folksinger with a sign reading “HUNGRY, POOR, & SEXY” the four dollars in my pocket after initially passing him by in the long, lonely subway tunnel between 6th and 7th avenues. As I dashed the other way, fighting against the tide, I heard him yell, after fumbling his song, “That made me so happy, I forgot what I was doing!”.

I’ve heard Jesse Cohen perform on the platform many times. He’s always stirring, a big man with a tattered guitar and his eyes closed, playing unlikely, and possibly unprofitable numbers like Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”.

When I was a teenager in the 80’s, my father would talk about a wonderful singer he enjoyed on Saturday afternoons while passing through Harvard Square. We lived in New Hampshire. My dad worked long hours as a plumber, but he had a passion for Tae Kwon Do. Every weekend he went to Cambridge to study with his friend and mentor Sukjong Chung. There he discovered a young woman, playing on the streets, who so transfixed him, he was often late for class. In 1989 while my twin sister and I were watching the Grammies he exclaimed, “that’s HER”. There was his busker, standing alone on center stage, finding her courage to get through a performance of “Fast Car”.

Today I’m vivified by the music of the people I love, like my husband Cheyney Thompson, and our friend, Sean McBride. They are Epee Du Bois and Martial Canterel.


Eileen Quinlan was born in 1972, in Boston MA, she lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Quinlan has participated in numerous group and solo shows, some of which include; CURTAINS, Miguel Abreu Gallery, NY (2013); TWIN PEAKS, Campoli Presti, London (2012); NEW PHOTOGRAPHY, MoMA (2012); LENS DRAWINGS, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris (2013); THE CAT SHOW, White Columns, NY (2013); BLIND CUT, Marlborough Gallery, NY (2012); ACCROCHAGE, Miguel Abreu Gallery, NY (2012); SECOND NATURE: ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY THEN AND NOW, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, MA (2012); PRINTED, Mai 36in, Zurich (2012).

www.eileenquinlan.com
www.overduinandkite.com
www.miguelabreugallery.com
www.campolipresti.com

MATTHEW PORTERFIELD

Monday, November 4th, 2013

— My grandfather, Earl Collins, painted airplanes in England during WWII. After, in civilian life, he painted houses, until he was hired by a Baltimore savings and loan company to supervise maintenance of their city branch. I remember him as a kind and exceptionally generous man with impeccable style. When he died in 1996, my grandmother gave me his 35mm Nikon. I don’t remember him ever taking pictures, but a box of slides I found recently are evidence that he took a lot in the years between 1959 and 1972. These photos are also evidence of an aesthetic, which, if such things can be handed down generations, I believe I inherited. Though we never discussed photography or art and he didn’t like the movies, I am haunted by the similarities between the subjects that interest us and the way we organize the frame.



Matt Porterfield was born in 1977, he lives in Baltimore and teaches in the Film & Media Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University. He has produced and directed three feature films, HAMILTON (2006), PUTTY HILL (2011) and I USED TO BE DARKER (2013). In 2012, Matt was a featured artist in the Whitney Biennial, a Creative Capital grantee, and the recipient of a Wexner Center Artists Residency. He has two scripts in development, METAL GODS and SOLLERS POINT.

DARREN BADER

Monday, November 4th, 2013

NOTHING KNEW

— Everything you thought you knew is wrong (i.e. incorrect at least). But it also isn’t. If past knowledge had its puissance, its patency, poise and poignant pride, then that is what it rightly had.

Having is something very important to people—truism of truisms. Having is something most particular to the tactile sense. The partial deprivation of the tactile sense is something particular to many tenets of civilization. With touch out of reach, other senses come to the fore; I think art is about this.

Art is a word that has different degrees of common senses. As such, everything I thought I knew remains correct, but can’t be.

A crisis of faith, perhaps. When engaged in spiritual matter(s), it’s convenient/apt to establish rules. Rules can’t be wrong until they are. The horizon line is mean—the child cries/keens, a geometry sounds.



LEWIS KLAHR

Monday, November 4th, 2013

— This short sketch was a way to toe the water of my new film Color Diary. In this version, I culled color images from my digital films completed between 2011 and 2013. The home recorded, ambient soundscapes, however, were captured with this sketch in mind. The full length Color Diary, which I hope to create during the next year or two, will have imagery and sound created specifically for it with a running time around 10 minutes long.


Called “the reigning proponent of cut and paste” by J. Hoberman of the Village Voice, collagist Lewis Klahr has been making films since 1977. He is known for his uniquely idiosyncratic experimental films and cutout animations which have screened extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia – in venues such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, and the LA County Museum of Art. Klahr teaches in the Theater School of the California Institute of the Arts.

www.anthonyreynolds.com

ALAN VEGA

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Justice
the strong boys
a rage in heaven
rocket diseases
the chief of police
a kiss before dying
a woman’s face is smashed
raw killers
the dirty judge
I hear train whistles
I hear train whistles
a rage in heaven
Liberty
is worth shit


Alan Vega was born in Brooklyn, in 1938. One half of the seminal electronic duo Suicide, Vega began his career as a visual artist, gaining notoriety in the early 70s for his radical light sculptures. He also co-founded the NY gallery space, ‘the Project of Living Artists’, one of the first alternative artist-run spaces in NY, open 24/7.

IAIN SINCLAIR

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Here are some rough notes about my 70×70 film curation, while the project was still cooking.

A few thoughts, after our meeting, now that I have a better idea of how the films might be programmed.

Some of the films are only needed as clips. Or quotes.

Some of the films seem to work in pairs.

For example, BEAT goes with THE BEAT GENERATION. Both being low budget exploitations (in very different modes) of Beat Culture.

THE BEAT GENERATION also links, by way of Steve Cochran, with IL GRIDO.

And there is one other notion that strikes me, a film that was never actually made. See: THE FACE ON THE FORK (WILLIAM BURROUGHS TRIPTYCH). Beat Scene Press, 2012. THE FACE ON THE FORK being the Burroughs film I wrote for WDR (Cologne). Unproduced. It would be quite interesting, I think, to do a reading – perhaps with images or other Burroughs footage – of the script. A film made in performance.

BRING ME THE HEAD OF AG links, tenuously, via Mexico, with THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ (Which is also the film Gary Walkow wants to view during the making of BEAT.)

IN A LONELY PLACE (LA noir) links with THE LINE UP (San Francisco noir).

CANDY MOUNTAIN links with CHAPPAQUA: underground with ambition or vanity or budget. And being largely unseen. A little demented, both (Robert Frank has strong connections with Kerouac, Conrad Rooks with Burroughs.)

NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (Chile) links with TORNADAO (Mexico).

Two of the other pairs work more like conjoined twins.

I’d like to see TOUCH OF EVIL and PSYCHO intercut (compare and contrast motel scenes; the Welles single-take drive and the Hitchcock drive; and, above all, the presence of Janet Leigh in both films). Either mix and match as a single film. Or project alongside on twin screens.

VULCANO and STROBOLI, being attempts to make the same story, at the same time, on neighboring islands, should certainly be projected side-by-side, as an installation.

DRIVE would only be sampled for the one scene where the Chevrolet Impala is chosen.

I remembered another Danish take on the West Coast, the migrant director Nicolas Winding Refn’s film of the Jim Sallis novel, DRIVE. The stunt driver in the zipped windcheater who moonlights as a professional getaway man is checking out possible motors for the night’s business. The limping mechanic tells him he looks like a zombie and offers: ‘Benzedrine, Dexedrine, caffeine, nicotine.’… ‘There she is,’ says the gimp. ‘Chevy Impala, most popular car in the state of California. No one will be looking at you.’

This clip could be twinned with the material on Jim Sallis from ASYLUM, the visit to Phoenix made with Chris Petit. Which also links with the opening sequences of PSYCHO.

Only a couple of sequences from IN SEARCH OF DEADAD would be required: Hollywood and the visit to Mexico for the Day of the Dead. The Kötting material might lend itself to performance, readings. I’m sure Andrew would be prepared to do a gig. Bits from various places, along with a showing of SWANDOWN perhaps?

Iain Sinclair has lived in (and written about) Hackney, East London, since 1969. His novels include DOWNRIVER (Winner of the James Tait Black Prize & the Encore Prize for the Year’s Best Second Novel), RADON DAUGHTERS, LADOR’S TOWER and, most recently, DINING ON STONES (which was shortlisted for the Ondaatje prize). Non-fiction books, exploring the myth and matter of London, include LIGHTS OUT FOR THE TERRITORY, LONDON ORBITAL and EDGE OF THE ORISON. In the 90s, Iain wrote and presented a number of films for BBC2’s Late Show and has, subsequently, co-directed with Chris Petit four documentaries for Channel 4; one of which, ASYLUM, won the short film prize at the Montreal Festival. He edited LONDON, CITY OF DISAPPEARANCES, which was published in October 2006. Recently he has published HACKNEY, THAT ROSE-RED EMPIRE (2009) and GHOSTMILK (2011).

www.iainsinclair.org.uk
www.testcentre.org.uk

MATT SWEENEY

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— These two photos were taken almost simultaneously of my hero, “Cowboy” Jack Clement. This was last Autumn. I used my phone to take the shot of him smiling, sitting next to him on the studio couch where I’m writing this now:

Here’s the man who gave encouragement, guidance and careers to Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt and dozens more then-unknown outsiders and freaks. Supreme benevolent mentoring father. You can see the photographer Lindsey Rome in the background, taking Jack’s photo from the other side. With a turn of his head Clement put on an entirely different show for the large-format film camera operated by the attractive photographer: Here’s the badass ex-Marine and unknowable wildman emulated by Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. He could make these guys nervous- they were performing for his approval when he was producing legendary recordings of them. An awesome presence—in the true, scary and charismatic sense of “awesome”. Jack Clement, Nashville’s Wizard of Oz.

One of the principal architects and songwriters of rock and roll and post-1950s country music. He was switched on, making every moment into a performance that reveled in paradoxes. A famous Cowboy Jack line is, “Shakespeare was a big George Jones fan.” Clement never stopped flipping words and situations, Clement constantly fucked with “reality”.

These two photos together are some of my favorite possessions.


Matt Sweeney is an American guitarist, vocalist, and producer. He is best known for co-founding the band Chavez, in 1993. Sweeney also has worked with various musicians and groups including Johnny Cash, Endless Boogie, Cat Power, Guided by Voices, and Bonnie Prince Billy, with whom he recorded the 2005 album SUPERWOLF.

APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— When I was young a close friend told me about a black man on the ceiling. The guy would cling to the upper corner above his bed like a lizard and stare down at him with luminous red eyes. For a long time this image persisted in my nightmares. I lost touch with the friend and didn’t see him again until two years ago, when I ran into him at a reunion. He had become a dentist, and I doubt he remembered that man on the ceiling. Whatever the case, the black man has somehow become a part of my bedroom, and I have seen him on the ceiling many times since.

I grew up in Khon Kaen Hospital because both of my parents were doctors there. We lived in a doctors’ residence, a two-story wooden house. In memory it seems luxurious compared to the apartment building that the hospital provides for its doctors now (actually, that hulking dorm covers the ground where our modest Thai house once stood). My friends were the children of other doctors who had finished their studies in Bangkok and were hot to start putting the knowledge to work and itching to make babies. Doctors’ kids were a part of this provincial outback, and we spent our time in uncomplicated ways. Even just walking around was fun. We rode our bikes around the grounds and flew kites on the lawn in front of the canteen. We would sit and wait for a pushcart to buy chewing gum or sail metal boats on the pond in front of the walkway. Another thing we liked to do was sit in front of the morgue to see the corpses when they were wheeled out on gurneys with their feet sticking out from under the white sheets.

The thing that wasn’t fun was walking home alone at night. As I went along the path I could hear the noise of my own footsteps on the gravel, but with every step I could also hear the sound of someone following me. The faster I ran, the faster it ran after me. I always thought that it was a ghost called a kongkoi, a type that had its feet on backwards. When it walked it looked like it was turned around and heading away from you, and it made a noise—“kok koi kok koi”. The sound of its footsteps as it ran after me seemed to get closer and closer. I didn’t realize that all I was hearing was the sound of the pebbles my own feet were kicking back.

At home at night there was usually a gecko on the outside of a window. These big lizards latch their feet onto the glass pane and bare their pale stomachs. Sometimes there were eggs dimly visible inside. (These days geckos are getting scarce because they are being caught to sell to buyers from Malaysia and Taiwan who pay hefty prices for them. They say cells from the tail can cure AIDS and cancer.) Sometimes my mother would show 8 mm movies that she had shot and edited herself. She like to film flowers and the sea. Our favourite reel was one she shot when my parents and older sister visited the USA. Sometimes she would show slides taken on our different family trips. We would sit there in the little bedroom in a hospital in the middle of nowhere looking at pictures of ourselves. It made me realize that, in addition to her work as a doctor, my mother, in collaboration with the white-bellied gecko, could conduct a mysterious ritual from her movie camera. She filled the room with images of eastern seas, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Niagara Falls, a wax figure of Liza Minnelli, monks’ begging bowls being filled in the morning, my father playing tennis, a field of tulips.

In the darkness of my parents’ bedroom my older brother used to climb up behind the clothes cabinet and I would follow along behind him to have a look. There we found boxes of 8 mm porn movies that belonged to my father. The boxes had photos of foreigners having sex in different positions. I had never seen pictures of a penis before except the ones in my parents’ medical books, which usually showed the organ in a sorry state, dripping pus or bent and misshapen. It came as a revelation there behind the cabinet to see men’s cocks that were long and big and red and looked more than just healthy. They fixed the idea in my mind that foreigners had bigger dicks than Asians, and this was especially true of the ones on the Black men we called negroes in those days. Their cocks were long and hard like cacti.

At our house we used Darkie brand toothpaste, which had a picture of a smiling Black man on the tube. As a kid I couldn’t brush my teeth without imagining the sound of the 8 mm projector and the sight of those long Black cocks.

Secrets. Excitement. The forbidden. Keeping things hidden. Lust and death. These are the words that define cinema for me. It is like peeking at the corpses at the hospital, and my ghosts are ancient and primeval, not like the ones in Korean and Japanese movies. There is nothing majestic about them. They are bloody, full of pus and worms, and stink of decay. For me movies are a rural rebellion in shabby dress. When I make a film I can’t resist going into the forest where these rancid ghosts are because it makes me feel safe. I think of a film as a personal rite in which it is appropriate to speak in whispers to a small circle of friends, or to sit alone and dream frame by frame in a darkroom with a film printer, not at a museum.


Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a filmmaker, he was born in 1970, in Bangkok, Thailand and currently lives in Chiang Mai. Weerasethakul began making films and video shorts in 1994 and completed his first feature in 2000. Lyrical and mysterious, his nonlinear works deal with memory and subtly invoke social issues. In 2010, his film UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, France. Weerasethakul has also mounted exhibitions and installations worldwide, including the multi-screen project PRIMITIVE, 2009, which was presented at Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; and the New Museum, New York, New York, USA, among other venues. In 2012, he created the online film CACTUS RIVER for the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and was featured in Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany. He received the Sharjah Biennial Prize at the 2013 Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE, and is also a recipient of the Fukuoka Prize, Japan, 2013.

www.kickthemachine.com
www.anthonyreynolds.com
www.kurimanzutto.com

DAVID LOWERY

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— Earlier this summer, the Violet Crown Cinema in Austin, TX wrote to see if I’d be interested in screening my first feature film St. Nick (2009) in early August, shortly before my new picture opened at the same theater. I immediately said yes. I’d decided long ago to let the film’s lack of distribution serve as a badge of honor; there was some abstract value to be derived from its scarcity, and I was happy to let this screening foment its reputation. That being said, I hadn’t seen the film myself in over three years. I was cautious towards its qualities. As the date of the screening grew closer, I pulled it up on my computer one evening and pressed play.

Let’s jump forward now a few weeks, to the drive from Dallas to Austin on the day of that screening. In the car with me are Augustine, my wife, and Adam Donaghey, one of St. Nick’s producers. We have endeavored, as a challenge unto ourselves, to listen to the same song ten times in a row. This road-trip pastime, devised by a friend and I over the course of many jaunts between Los Angeles and Texas, might seem like an endurance test, especially when some of the songs we’ve anointed in the past are taken into consideration (that they include some grating quality is always a given), but the hope is always that quantity will give way to some hidden quality, and that within the literally decadent repetition of, say, Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain, endurance will give way to an appreciation that will give way—theoretically—to something approaching ecstasy. To be sure, we’ve never broken down the terms of this auditory dare in such certain terms, nor have we ever derived anything particularly transcendent out of listening to (for example) Give It Away Now by the Red Hot Chili Peppers for nearly one straight hour. But it’s all in the trying.

On this trip, we have chosen a particular pop song by a particular artist who, in the weeks ahead, will gain such notoriety that I now hesitate to cite his or her name—I don’t want this experience to be contextualized by culture. What is important is that the song is particularly good. We are aware of this going into it, and we know that we’re setting ourselves up for an ordeal that will be painless at worst. What we don’t expect is that, after ten listens, we don’t want to stop. As the miles drift by out the window, the song infects us with its ebullience. We ultimately listen to it twenty times over the course of the drive, and upon arrival in Austin we still aren’t ready to quit it. We disembark from our journey full of a rare joy.

This is the happiest memory I have from the past few months. It is linked, emotively, circumstantially, to another recent peak: the moment I skipped past a few paragraphs ago and which I’ll now return to the periphery of. I watched St. Nick that night, after pulling it up on my laptop for what I expected to be a curious, cursory glance. I found that I’d forgotten much of it. And also that I loved all of it. I was watching it for as close to the first time as I could. I saw in it all the confidence which I’d been having trouble hanging onto of late. There was a guileless intent to it all, and an enviable clarity. I’d more than a few times in recent memory brushed this film aside, unsure of its value, and now I saw that it had plenty, that it had more than enough, and that it had matured in my ignorance of it. Exactly as I’d presumably planned.

In this way my first feature’s return to the big screen became an event to which I greatly looked forward to, and there was a second anticipation nested within it, a hope creased gently with certainty: perhaps in two or three or four years the movie that has been my immediate concern and the source of no small amount of soul searching will be open to rediscovery; to a surcease of disappointment; to my liking (I won’t go so far as to say loving). This is a wonderful thought.

I am thinking about this again now, in the afterglow of a second trip to the same cinema in Austin, a few weeks after that more vaulted experience. Many people who had come to see the old also stopped by to look at the new. A lot of folks seemed to like it, but my confidence is still borrowing against the future. Upon arriving home after that three hour drive North, I crawl into bed and look online and find that the song which underscored my previous trip has in the past few hours exploded everywhere. I listen to it again—the 21st time, this time live—and know that, however perverse or ironic or postured this corollary might seem, it will forever be tied in my mind to the promise of good things to come.

David Lowery is an American filmmaker. His work, including the award-winning short film PIONEER, has screened and won awards at film festivals around the world, including Sundance, SXSW, Festival Internacional de Cortos FIB (Spain), and Ashland Independent Film Festival. Filmmaker Magazine named him one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2011. His most recent film AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, received the cinematography award at 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and was part of the Critics’ Week selection at Cannes, 2013.

ANDY COOLQUITT

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— one of my favorite things to do when i go somewhere is to look at the public sculptures. not necessarily the official public sculptures, although sometimes i look at them too, but the things that happen in public, usually in the street, or in this case, on the street. things that are clumped together, or stacked on top of each other, or simply placed just so. usually there’s something happening that captures the little design decisions that are being made—by officials, by regular folks or by chance, and that’s what makes me look. when i said one of my favorite things was to look at, i also meant to snap a picture of.

this set of pictures is from houston texas, and it might be helpful for readers to know that in houston the football team used to be the called the oilers (because…you know), and the basketball team’s the rockets (because of nasa), and these pictures were taken on the 4th of july, our national holiday of independence, and on that day we eat ribs.

which is a way of introducing another favorite thing i like to do when i’m looking at public sculptures in the city, and that’s to name them. and on this particular day, i kept coming upon these public sculptures of stripe paintings, and the stripe paintings always seemed to stripe over a circular man-hole cover, and those who work for the city, who inevitably have to pry open the man-holes, like to play a little joke on the composition of the stripe paintings when they put the covers back. i mean, how hard is it to line the stripe back up the way it’s supposed to go? and for some reason, on this day, the day of our independence, it really got under my skin. please excuse my outrage…


stick


bar


franzwest


which one


oilers


rockets


art school


oil and gas


ornament and crime


imi knoebel


wrong


wrong…


wrong again


right


magritte


this is a restroom


hubcap grill


almost


pigeon language


math


geometry


flowshafts


duh


round sculptures


4 round sculptures


real round sculptures


trim


dumbass


coolquitt


fake sign


fuckin idiot


2 pipe sculptures


happy 4th


Andy Coolquitt was born in 1964, in Mesquite, Texas and lives and works in Austin, Texas and New York City. Coolquitt is perhaps most widely known for a house, a performance/ studio/ domestic space that began as his master’s thesis project at the University of Texas at Austin in 1994, and continues to the present day. Recent exhibitions include attainable excellence, Blaffer Museum, Houston; chair w/paintings, Lisa Cooley, New York; + at Locust Projects, Miami; Everyday Abstract – Abstract Everyday at James Cohan Gallery, New York; Wirtreffen uns am Abend at Galerie Kamm, Berlin; Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork… at Galerie Johann Koenig, Berlin; dwelling at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; and Real Estate at Zero, Milan. In Summer 2013 was an artist-in-residence at 21er Haus, in Vienna, Austria.

www.coolquitt.com
www.lisa-cooley.com

OLIVER LARIC

Friday, September 6th, 2013

— In 2011 I named a new hybrid orchid after Aung San Suu Kyi. This was in response to an orchid being named after the current Burmese president, Thein Sein, in 2008. It took some time to find a breeder who would allow me to name a new orchid hybrid. The orchid is now officially registered with the Royal Horticultural Society in London and can be found on their database:

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/horticulturaldatabase/orchidregister/orchidregister.asp

I’ve spent days going through their archive, looking to see which other known personalities have been honored with an orchid in their name. Below is a list of what I found.



Click image to view the full document.

Oliver Laric was born in born 1981, in Innsbruck, Austria and lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo and group exhibitions include: DETOURS OF THE IMAGINARY, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); THE IMAGINARY MUSEUM, Kunstverein München (2012); Museum of the Image, Breda, The Netherlands (2012). Laric is a co-founder of the VVORK platform, alienate/demonstrate/edit, Artspace, Auckland (2012); Villa du Parc Centre d’art Contemporain, Annemasse, France (2012); IN OTHER WORDS, NGBK, Berlin (2012), LILLIPUT, High Line, New York (2012); Frieze New York (2012); Kopienkritik, Skulpturhalle Basel (2011); Based in Berlin (2011); YOU DON’T LOVE ME ANYMORE, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2011); Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London (2011); MUSIC FOR INSOMNIACS, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico D.F. (2011); PRIORITY MOMENTS, Herald Street, London (2011); MEMERY, Mass MoCA, (2011); FRAME, Frieze Art Fair, London (2010); ARTISTS’ VIDEO, Vancouver Art Gallery (2010). Laric is a co-founder of the VVORK platform.

www.oliverlaric.com
www.tanyaleighton.com
www.seventeengallery.com

RICK ALVERSON

Monday, July 8th, 2013

The wall in front of my desk at the moment: May 2013 in Church Hill, Richmond, VA., a somewhat arbitrary collection of things that comfort me, posted in 2011 in the hasty (and often failed) effort to make a home of a room.



& on a nearby wall…


1. Postcard from C. Bowles.
2. Quote (“What was my crime, and when was the time, that I should live to see this day”) and illustration that had lingered around the house for years.
3. THE LAND OF COUNTERPANE, Jessie Willcox Smith illustration for Robert Louis Stevenson poem (“When I was sick and lay a-bed / I had two pillows on my head / And all my toys beside me lay / to keep me happy all the day…”)
4. Memorialized grocery list, from an old kitchen C. and I shared on Cherry St. in Oregon Hill.
5. Photograph of my mother, Regina Alverson (b. 1928), age 13 & bell from E. Rex.
6. A photograph of me and my sister, Kathryn Alverson, on the day of my christening, 1971, Spokane, WA. She is 3 yrs 10 months old. I am 3 months.

Rick Alverson is a filmmaker, he was born in 1971, in Richmond, Virginia. His dramatic feature THE COMEDY (2012) premiered in competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was released that year by Tribeca Film. His other films include THE BUILDER (2010) and NEW JERUSALEM (2011), the latter of which premiered at the 40th International Film Festival Rotterdam and SXSW in 2011. That year he was awarded a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He also has directed videos for Sharon Van Etten and Bonny “Prince” Billy. In addition to his directorial work he has released 9 records on Jagjaguwar, most recently with his band Spokane in 2007.

www.jagjaguwar.com

JOHN SMITH

Monday, July 8th, 2013

DAD’S STICK


My dad always decorated his own house. When he repaired any damaged paintwork he would pour a few drops of paint into this cup. It is made from pink bone china and is very delicate. It was part of my grandparents’ best tea service.


This is a cross-section of the wooden stick that dad used to stir his paint. A few months before he died he cut the end off with a saw, so that he could look back at all the rooms he had painted over the years. I can see the greyish green of our kitchen cupboards in the 1950s and the bright orange of our hallway in the 60s.


This is the new camera card I bought last week. It holds no memories.

John Smith was born in 1952, in Walthamstow, East London. Smith is a British film and video artist known for his playful subversion of documentary imagery. Drawing upon the raw material of everyday life and frequently looking at issues of memory and history, his films explore and expose the language and manipulative power of cinema. Since 1972 Smith has made over fifty film, video and installation works that have been shown in art galleries and independent cinemas around the world and awarded major prizes at many international film festivals. His recent solo exhibitions include Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2013, 2012 and 2010); Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2012); Weserburg Museum for Modern Art, Bremen (2012); Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden (2011); PEER Gallery, London (2011). John Smith’s films are distributed by LUX, London and Video Data Bank, Chicago. He is represented by Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin.

www.johnsmithfilms.com
www.lux.org.uk
www.vdb.org
www.tanyaleighton.com

OSCAR MURILLO

Monday, July 8th, 2013

— Of course I must explain what “malandro” means, since it is a local term. Malandro is a guy that is at the same time smart, bohemian and streetwise. He can see and build good opportunities to get an advantage when dealing with people… I always wanted to know who was the cool looking fried-chick with sunglasses on the back seat of the bus.

On the contrary since I can remember my mother has always worked in a candy factory.

Happy birthday!







Oscar Murillo was born in 1986, in La Paila, Colombia and lives and works in London. Murillo’s performances, paintings, videos and installations utilise opposites to explore commonality. Using vocabulary from everyday advertising in his canvases, he explores the functionality of displaced and reconfigured words, recalling a 1960s Neo-Concrete approach to language.

www.carlosishikawa.com
www.bortolozzi.com

DAVD GRUBBS

Monday, July 8th, 2013

— These are two images of Untitled (I just have to say), a wall drawing that I made for the Tel Aviv CCA as part of the exhibition MUTE: The Politics of No Sound, in July 2010.

The text comes from a remark by Susan Howe during a public conversation that we had at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. When we received the transcript of the talk, we were both surprised to find the following phrase attributed to Susan: “Bartleby is my favorite male villain.” We checked the recording and what she in fact had said was “‘Bartleby’ is my favorite Melville.”

Besides Tel Aviv, the only other place that Untitled (I just have to say) has been exhibited is in Abu Dhabi, where Jennifer McCoy executed the drawing.


David Grubbs was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1967. He has released an even dozen solo albums, the most recent of which is, THE PLAIN WHERE THE PALACE STOOD (Drag City). He was a founding member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and is the author of the forthcoming book RECORDS RUIN THE LANDSCAPE: JOHN CAGE, THE SIXTIES, AND SOUND RECORDING (Duke University Press).

www.dragcity.com

MARK RAPPAPORT

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

CHILDREN OF PARADISE, CHILDREN OF LIFE

— Let the pro-lifers and anti-abortion crowd argue about when life begins. I’m much more interested in an even thornier issue—when does nostalgia begin? How old do you have to be before you can be nostalgic about something? Can you be nostalgic for experiences you never had, or memories that weren’t yours, or a history that belongs not to you but to others? In other words, is nostalgia fungible? Let me go back to the middle of the last century. I am about 10 years old—maybe a little older, probably a little younger. In the bottom drawer of the fake Chippendale secretary that everyone had at that time, mixed in with the family photo albums, are a few copies of Life magazine and The New York Post, which in those days, was a liberal paper. Huge headlines. STALIN DIES. ROSENBERGS EXECUTED. It was that kind of family. The newspapers didn’t interest me very much. It was the issues of Life that always got my attention. There were all those pictures. Sometimes, on very rare occasions, let us say a rainy, wintry afternoon when I was home alone and filled with undefined feelings of re-visiting a past I never had, I would swaddle myself in a linen shroud of the recent past which I had no memory of and knew nothing about and I would go through the old issues. There was something very visceral about it. It was like exploring an attic, replete with spider webs, that filled your nostrils with the smell of dusty wood, or descending into a rank musty damp cellar. I was especially taken with one issue of Life in which there were pictures of a film I never heard of, but I liked the title. Children of Paradise. The images were magical and stuck with me. There were, strangely enough, only of scenes taking place on stage. I remembered very vividly photos of Arletty, as the statue of a muse, lyre in hand, while Jean-Louis Barrault, in his Pierrot costume, is asleep on the bench next to her, dreaming of her. It occurs to me now that those stills were probably the reason I loved the idea of theater, if not theater itself. You probably know the stills as well, even if you’re not familiar with the movie. The same stills even today are invariably used whenever the film is revived or written about.

Decades later, after my mother’s death and all the artifacts in the house were long gone, I wanted to get that particular issue of Life. It cost $54. If you want to run your nostalgia to ground, be prepared to pay for it. The issue with the photo spread of Children of Paradise was dated May 14, 1945. The reason my parents kept it is because the issue documented the surrender of Germany. A historic issue. The cover picture is of an American soldier in Nuremberg standing in front of an ornate sculpture of a swastika wreathed in a garland of sculpted flowers. He is in the stadium of Nuremberg, mise en scène courtesy of Albert Speer and immortalized, and lasting longer than the Thousand Year Reich, in a film by Leni Riefenstahl. The American soldier is raising his arm in a mock “Heil Hitler” salute. I remember this picture.

It was taken by Robert Capa, whose name I didn’t know as a kid but was a famous photo-journalist. I recently found out that he had a very torrid affair with Ingrid Bergman. It wouldn’t have meant anything to me then and it probably doesn’t mean very much to anyone now. Their incompatible lifestyles apparently were the model for the couple played by James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window, another factoid that probably has no special resonance for anyone but interests me. There was also a full- page photo of an Allied prisoner of war about to be decapitated by the sword of Japanese officer. I remembered that, too. It’s a classic of documentary war photography, although at the time it was just a news photo bringing the horrors of war home to your living room. There were also articles about Germans committing suicide rather than surrendering—with photos. An article about Dachau—with charcoal drawings. Actual photos would have been too upsetting for us Life-rs. There was more than that, too. A picture spread of a new Broadway musical called Carousel. Pictures of Mussolini’s death, all of this smashed cheek-to-jowl with ads for consumer products. The Dachau article was the centerpiece of a triptych, flanked by advertisements of men in underwear, home appliances for women, shaving cream, liquor, and so on.

The juxtapositions seem breathtakingly grotesque and insensitive to us today (or do I mean incredibly contemporary?) and without any intention of ironic counterpoint, even if you wanted to be or could be ironic about the war and concentration camps. Unless you think, of course, of today’s newspapers which similarly ignore the casually brutal juxtapositions of articles about poverty in Third World countries and wars around the world yoked together on the same pages with ads for women’s fashions and luxury goods.

The trivial, jokey ads, the unmitigated horror contained within the context of the articles themselves all indiscriminately thrown together, each democratically vying for attention, suggesting that life, as well as Life, is a grand smorgasbord in which one can pick and choose but no priorities are assigned in the placement or sizes of images. Post-modernism before the fact—trash-mashing the ghastly with the frivolous, history and horror trumped by consumer products, the grim and the soothing, the high and the low together, sleeping in one Procrustean bed.

Speaking of which—at some film festival or other, I met a German filmmaker, now dead, who called himself the Little Godard. He wanted to know if I knew anyone who had a VHS of Holocaust, the TV mini-series which first put Meryl Streep’s cheekbones on the map. He wanted to show the series, complete with commercials, in Germany. I also recall watching a TV movie by someone I knew about white American journalists—what else?—in Ethiopia taking pictures and writing articles about starving children. In between the segments, there were commercials for Weight Watchers and other weight-loss programs. To quote that great American philosopher, Jack Parr, “I kid you not.”

Back to Children of Paradise. Movie stills offered a promise that the films themselves could only partially measure up to, where a moment could last forever, unlike its screen counterpart, a fleeting elusive image that disappeared before you could fully possess it. Until the movie itself was seen, they not only stood for the movie, they were the movie. Maybe if the other photographs of that particular issue that I would look at so bemusedly on a chilly afternoon had had as strong an impression on me, I might have been interested in becoming a historian or a still photographer. But it was the images of Children of Paradise that held me. And still do.

So, how is it that these same publicity stills, used over and over again, a tiny part of the movie that is frozen in amber, comes to replace the movie because it’s nailed into your brain and when you think of the film, the first thing that comes to mind are the stills that are permanently engraved there? Why do these stills, a handful of images from a film that contains around 260,000 of them (the movie is 3 hours long), printed with ink that dried almost 70 years ago, in a magazine that hasn’t existed for decades, copies of which are scarcer than hen’s teeth, still feel like precious slivers of the true cross?

Mark Rappaport was born in 1942. Rappaport is a filmmaker, whose films include; THE SCENIC ROUTE(1978), IMPOSTORS(1979) and, more recently, ROCK HUDSON’S HOME MOVIES(1992), and FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG(1995). A collection of some of his writings’ THE MOVIEGOER WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, is available as an e-book. Rappaport currently lives in Paris.

RYAN FOERSTER

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

This is a recording I made in April 2011 of my neighbor Ira Wolfe, in Brighton Beach. We ate pizza in his basement one night. It was rainy. He played his keyboard and sang a few songs he wrote. He just moved to Sheepshead Bay and was a great neighbor.

I JUST CAN’T SEE

Ryan Foerster was born in 1983, in Newmarket, Canada.
He lives in New York.

www.ryanfoerster.ca

PHIL SOLOMON

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

— Being an artist who has spent a great deal of his adult life exploring the haptic sense of the (treated and untreated) patinas of film texture and film grain, I have approached the squared off geometries of the digital domain with some degree of reluctance and aesthetic caution. In the past few months, however, I have been doing these ‘digital paintings’ in my spare time, with very little fuss (and no toxic fumes or messy cleanup) by employing, to some extent, orchestrated chance operations, a sort of digi-roulette wheel – and almost accidentally bumped into what I can begin to think of as a possible “pixel aesthetic” – something that perhaps Cézanne – or Francis Bacon – might have appreciated. I find the complexity of the color combinations and the inter-mangling of shapes to be something approaching the “organic” in feeling and texture. Doubt that these techniques would work as well for “moving pictures” for me at this point, and I do like that these images stay where they’re told.

As they say, every pixel tells a story.


TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"OF GRAVE CONCERN 2"
OF GRAVE CONCERN 2

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"ECLIPSE"
ECLIPSE

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING"
KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER"
SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"MISE EN SCENE"
MISE EN SCENE

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"OF GRAVE CONCERN"
OF GRAVE CONCERN

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"SUNDAY DRIVE"
SUNDAY DRIVE

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"THE DAY AFTER"
THE DAY AFTER

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"THE LETTER"
THE LETTER

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"THE RELUCTANT VISION"
THE RELUCTANT VISION

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"THE SEEN"
THE SEEN

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"UNTITLED"
UNTITLED

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"UNYIELDING ANGUISH "
UNYIELDING ANGUISH

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"WATCHING HER SLEEP"
WATCHING HER SLEEP

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"WATCHING THE DARK"
WATCHING THE DARK

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"WATERCOLOR"
WATERCOLOR

TLC_PHIL_SOLOMAN_"WITH THE X RAY EYES"
WITH THE X RAY EYES

Phil Solomon was born in 1954, in Manhattan, N.Y. Solomon has been making films since 1975 and is currently Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He was awarded a USA Artists Fellowship (2012), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1994) and has exhibited his films in every major venue for experimental film throughout the US and Europe; including as part of Whitney Biennial twice and three one-person shows at MoMA. His 3-channel installation, AMERICAN FALLS (2000-2012), was recently exhibited at the Museum of the Moving Image, NYC.

www.philsolomon.com

ANDREW & EDEN KÖTTING

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

— We have been making work together for almost twenty years, both in the French Pyrenees and also in the UK. Traditionally Still Life paintings would often contain allegorical symbols relating to the objects depicted on the artists’ studio table. This is something which connects directly with the This Our Still Life project as a whole. Hereunder in chronological order of their making are a few of the drawings that we have produced as well as some of the prose that was generated around the time of their making.

I’m dragging things out my nose again

highest

And not even the
flying birds of meaning can reach me
but the sun filtering through the rotten beams certainly shed some light
what can be said is that
seeing the unseen carries with it the importance of the insignificance

Votre beau discourse
Me as
Morbid melancholic
Fascinated by mortality
Contemplation as a means of navigation
Into the undulating sea
Of inevitability
Probably
And all because I’m nearly fifty and you still can’t talk.

Trivial amongst the elements
I am trivial amongst the elements
We are trivial amongst ourselves
The mountains plunge us into a perspective that I can ill afford
At this end of life.
Plight
Full.

Andrew Kötting was born in 1959 and grew up in Elmstead Woods. He then became a Lumberjack in Scandinavia and a Scrap Metal Collector in South London before making GALLIVANT, THIS FILTHY EARTH and SWANDOWN. In 2006 he was made a Professor of Time Based Media at UCA, England.

Eden Kötting was born in 1988 and grew up on The Pepys Estate in Deptford with a rare neurological syndrome before moving to St Leonards-on-Sea with her father Andrew. She has been drawing all of her life and has collaborated with her father on numerous projects including; MAPPING PERCEPTION, HIDING FROM THE BIG GUNS and LOUYRE THIS OUR STILL LIFE.

www.andrewkotting.com
www.bfi.org.uk/this_our_still_life

JASON MEADOWS

Monday, March 11th, 2013

MISCELLANEOUS MODELS AND STUDIES, 1999-2013

The interesting thing about model making is the need to scale down your perception, a kind of Go Ask Alice thing, “…one pill makes you larger, the other makes you small…”. One must train their mind to oscillate between actual and provisional scale. I don’t really enjoy model making, but it is sometimes necessary, so it gets done. A lot of times, they are destroyed or discarded—here are some that weren’t…

Jason Meadows was born in 1972, in Indianapolis, Indiana and currently lives in Los Angeles. Meadows has participated in numerous solo and group shows, including those at; Marc Foxx, Los Angeles; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; Corvi-Mora, London; Galerie Sabine Knust, Munich; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; Orange County Museum of Sculpture, Newport Beach; CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

www.marcfoxx.com
www.tanyabonakdargallery.com
www.corvi-mora.com

AKRAM ZAATARI

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

— In 1981, my father asked me what do I wish for a birthday gift. I said a Film encyclopedia. I had spotted this beautiful two-volume French edition at the only library that carried french and English books in Saida, where we lived. After seeing me a few times looking at it, the owner told my father: you can have it at cost price. Nobody was going to buy it in a provincial city at war.

When I turned 16, my father asked me again what I wanted for a birthday gift. I said a typewriter. So in 1982 I got my typewriter. And from there on, I spend most of my free time updating the film encyclopedia by adding inserts with new film titles and names that I thought were important to include.

When I made Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright (2010), I used this typewriter to simulate an online chat, or possibly simulate the unfolding of a film script literally on screen. It is a tribute to love stories that marked our imagination when we saw them on film. These are the two stencils that I typed while filming Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright. You never see them as objects, all at once, in the film because the frame focused on what was being typed.


Akram Zaatari was born in 1966, in Sidon, Lebanon and currently lives in Beirut. Zaatari works in photography, video, and performance to explore issues pertinent to the Lebanese postwar condition, specifically the mediation of territorial conflicts and wars though television and media. Zaatari collects and examines a wide range of documents that testify to the cultural and political conditions of Lebanon’s postwar society. His artistic practice involves the study and investigation of the way these documents straddle, conflate, or confuse notions of history and memory. By analyzing and recontextualizing found audiotapes, video footage, photographs, journals, personal collections, interviews, and recollections, Zaatari explores the dynamics that govern the state of image-making in situations of war.

www.sfeir-semler.com
www.thomasdane.com
www.kurimanzutto.com

PETER TSCHERKASSKY

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

THE TOM GUNNING, OR: HOW THE COCK GOT ITS TAIL

— A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from my dear friend Nicole Brenez asking me to write a “Love Letter to (one of) your favorite artist(s)” on the following occasion: “The wonderful online film journal, La Furia Umana, edited by Toni d’Angela, is preparing its first printed issue: In a nice turn-around of things, the best of the internet will become a physical publication. This first, special issue will open with a series of letters from filmmakers: each is invited to write about a favorite artist, freely chosen from the past, the present, or even the future… from any field, but above all, of course, from film.” Well, in response I wrote a letter to Pat O’Neill, who probably had the biggest influence on my own filmic aesthetics (as I have pointed out in several interviews throughout my career.)

Anyway, if I had been asked to write a similar letter to “one of your favorite film theoreticians,” I would have undoubtedly chosen Tom Gunning. By now I have known Tom for almost twenty years and I have had the honor of inviting him to two symposia I organized in Vienna: The Modernist Vision in 1996, and Early Cinema and the Avant-Garde in 2002.

During preparations for The Modernist Vision I went with a friend of mine, (then) film journalist Claus Philipp, to a cocktail bar to discuss how things around the symposia had evolved. When the waiter came to take our orders Claus was so absorbed by our topic that he didn’t ask for his favorite cocktail, a “Tom Collins,” but ordered a “Tom Gunning.” Instead of reacting bewildered, the waiter simply turned around and left (appearing a few minutes later with a perfectly mixed “Tom Collins”). I myself took this wonderful incident as an inducement to commence a kind of structural/linguistic investigation as to what a cocktail called “Tom Gunning” is made out of – not least because I wanted to present the drink to Tom as soon as he arrived in Vienna. I sent the result of my research as a letter to Tom in advance of his visit:

Dear Tom,

Finally – after long and intensive investigations I found out what a TOM GUNNING is made out of. The following results of my research are based on the TOM COLLINS as definded by Charles Schumann in his book American Bar. The Artistry of Mixing Drinks (1991). Despite his first name Mr. Schumann is a German, a former boxer and one of the great authorities on mixing drinks. He resides in Munich where he runs his famous bar Schumann’s. For many passionate drinkers he’s simply the best.

As you can tell from the enclosed photocopy, a TOM COLLINS consists of gin, fresh lemon juice, liquid sugar (sugar syrup or “treacle” or “molasses”, as my dictionary suggests), combined with soda (in German “soda” always means “soda water”), decorated with a cherry and a slice of lemon. If you change the basic liquor, the first name of the COLLINS changes: with white rum it becomes a PEDRO COLLINS, with cognac a PIERRE COLLINS, and so on.

Now let’s compare TOM COLLINS and TOM GUNNING. Since both of them are Toms, we easily can tell that TOM GUNNING’S basic liquor is Gin. A quick solution to an important question. But things get more difficult as we approach the surname. There are some remarkable and very instructive structural similarities between the two names which suggest splitting the names as follows:


CO/LLIN/S – GU/NNIN/G

Remember – a COLLINS contains lemon juice – and if we investigate the “CO” we discover that it recalls the citron! GUNNING starts with GU; so if we look for a fruit with a G as its first letter and consisting of two syllables (like the citron), we discover not only the grapefruit but also that the third letter of the second syllable is a u – just as the o in ci/tron:


C    O/LLIN/S  –    G       U/NNIN/G
ci/tron        –    grape/fruit
1    3         –    1       3
And this was step Nº 2!
Next step.

What significantly differs are the very last letters of the two names: S and G. Well, the TOM COLLINS gets filled with soda water – and of course the S is the signifier for soda. Since the S vanishes, there must be another modifier for the TOM GUNNING – something with a G. My very first thoughts directed me to Grenadine syrup, but that differs much too much from soda – totally unsatisfying. And then I had the idea of ginger ale! Even so, in the beginning I was not really convinced though I was quite sure that this could very well be the solution… and I went on to solve the riddle of /LLIN/ and /NNIN/.

These two little beasts really gave me a hard time, especially since they resemble one another so much. I was sure that within /LLIN/ must be the sugar of the COLLINS. I thought if /LLIN/ stands for treacle the /NNIN/ might be powdered (confectioners’) sugar. But I was absolutely convinced that He, who is behind all of this, positively couldn’t want us to pour more sugar into the TOM GUNNING than the ginger ale already contains! Well, the solution came when I found out that the N alone simply stands for sugar!

N = sugar! (Seemingly simple things always hold the greatest difficulties in life, don’t they?) And of course /(L)LIN/ means liquid sugar. So instead of dividing GUNNING like GU/NNIN/G we have to read it as GU/NNI/NG – with the /NG/ for “zuckriges Ginger Ale” – which translates as: sugary ginger ale!

And what’s more: the German word for ginger is “Ingwer”. And if we read GUNNING as GU/NN/ING, we have the INGwer as well – the very last proof that ginger ale must replace the soda.

But now the mysterious /NN/ still has to be decoded. We see that there is no deeper meaning to the first L in COLLINS (besides making it very liquid) which allows us to dismiss the first N in GUNNING. And we have to stick to the version of GU/(N)NI/NG to find the hidden meaning of the /NI/. It’s in the center of the whole thing, tiny and important as a heart. It has to harmonize, has to support the flavor of the other elements. As it is in opposition to the /LI/(quid sugar), it must be something bitter – and which of those three magic bottles, Grenadine, Orange Bitter and Angostura – flavoring parts of so many great cocktails – could it be? Right. It’s OraNge BItter!

Here we are. Dear Tom, I’m proud that I was able to reveal that the TOM GUNNING consists of gin (and I would strongly recommend the dryest of all – Tanqueray), grapefruit juice, Orange Bitter and ginger ale. The open question as to the exact amount of each component is proof that this drink is a freshly discovered classic within the wonderful world of cocktails and the answer has to be found out during many nights of excessive studies with lots of different versions of TOM GUNNING.*)

(Peter Tscherkassky, 1996)


*) And we did find out: It’s 5 cl Gin, 6 cl grapefruit juice, 5 cl ginger ale, and some dashes of Orange Bitter.

Okay. So much for what you can taste as my obeisance towards Tom. And now comes what you can see. In 2010, nearly fifteen years after the discovery of the “Tom Gunning,” I made a film called Coming Attractions – strictly hand-made in my darkroom. Coming Attractions and the construction of its images are woven around the idea that there is a deep, underlying relationship between early cinema and avant-garde film. Tom Gunning was among the first to describe and investigate this notion in a systematic and methodical manner, in his well known and often quoted essay “An Unseen Energy Swallows Space: The Space in Early Film and Its Relation to American Avant-Garde Film” (in: John L. Fell [ed.], Film Before Griffith, Berkeley 1983).

Coming Attractions additionally addresses Gunning’s concept of a “Cinema of Attractions.” This term is used to describe a completely different relation between actor, camera and audience to be found in early cinema in general, as compared to the “modern cinema” which developed after 1910, gradually leading to the narrative technique of D.W. Griffith. The notion of a “Cinema of Attractions” touches upon the exhibitionistic character of early film, the undaunted show and tell of its creative possibilities, and its direct addressing of the audience.

At some point it occured to me that another residue of the cinema of attractions lies within the genre of advertising: Here we also often encounter a uniquely direct relation between actor, camera and audience. The impetus for Coming Attractions was to bring the three together: commercials, early cinema, and avant-garde film.

Coming Attractions is divided into eleven individually titled chapters, all eleven related to either a famous early film (by Auguste & Louis Lumière, Georges Méliès, Birt Acres & Robert W. Paul, Henri Chomette, Fernand Léger and Jean Cocteau), or to an influential publication on the field.

Chapter #1, “Cinema of Attraction”, attempts a literal re-interpretation of a cinema of attractions. Chapter #2, “Cubist Cinema №1: An Unseen Energy Swallows Face” of course refers to Tom Gunning’s above mentioned essay “An Unseen Energy Swallows Space.” Here it is, with its soundtrack by Dirk Schaefer:



And here is Chapter #6: “Cubbhist Cinema №3: The Path is the Goal (Natura morta with Tulips, Guitar, Pork Roast and My Wife in the Bush of Hosts).” The chapter title refers to Standish D. Lawder’s influential book, The Cubist Cinema (New York 1975). Meanwhile it also represents a playful allusion to the Buddhist saying that the path is the goal. It is based on a commercial for stockings. We see a woman running across a meadow over and over again, seemingly without a goal she could ever attain. The imagery makes use of common motifs in Cubist paintings (mainly Braque and Picasso), and playfully refers to that wonderful record by Brian Eno and David Byrne, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981) – using a lot of found footage in the form of radio preachers. I inserted woven fabric into the meadow (in early cinema dream sequences sometimes were filmed through tissue), some Brakhage-Mothlight bushes, some coffee party hosts, some Natura morta – “dead nature” in the form of cooked food – and I got my lady running.


Peter Tscherkassky, born in Vienna in 1958, started making films in 1979. Today he is acclaimed as one of the most significant artists in the field of avant-garde filmmaking. His films have been honored with more than 50 awards including the Golden Gate Award (San Francisco), Main Prize at Oberhausen, and Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival. Tscherkassky earned his Phd. in philosophy in 1986 with a dissertation entitled FILM AS ART and started teaching in 1988. He has organized several film festivals and curated countless film programs. Since 1984 he has published numerous essays on avant-arde film and in 1995 co-edited the book PETER KUBELKA with Gabriele Jutz. in 1991 he co-founded sixpackfilm. In 2005 INSTRUCTIONS FOR A LIGHT AND SOUND MACHINE was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and a bilingual (English/German) monograph entitled PETER TSCHERKASSKY was published. His light box installations have been exhibited throughout the world, including a one-person show at the renowned Gallery naechst St. Stephan/Rosemarie Schwarzwaelder. 2008: Lecture and world premiere of the original 35mm version of PARALLEL SPACE: INTER-VIEW at the Louvre in Paris. 2010: World premiere of COMING ATTRACTIONS at the 67th Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia (Premio Orizzonti Cortometraggio). 2012: Publication of the book FROM A DARK ROOM. THE MANUFRACTURED CINEMA OF PETER TSCHERKASSKY (English/Spanish; Mexico City: Interior 13, Alumnos 47). Editor of the book FILM UNFRAMED: A HISTORY OF AUSTRIAN AVANT-GARDE CINEMA (Vienna 2012). In the 2012 ranking of the Greatest Films of All Time, published every ten years by the BFI film magazine Sight & Sound, OUTER SPACE was honored with the ranking of position #322 (Filmmakers poll) and position #377 (Critics poll), based on 846 top-ten lists of cinephiles including directors, academics, distributors, curators and writers from 73 countries who collectively cited 2,045 different films. INSTRUCTIONS FOR A LIGHT AND SOUND MACHINE was honored with the ranking of position #894 (Critics poll).

www.tscherkassky.at

ALLEN RUPPERSBERG

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

— A few years ago, on a trip back to Cleveland, I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time. I found it fun enough, lots of memorabilia, film clips, old records, of course, and the now familiar story of R’n’R, told again in the basically familiar way. On a subsequent trip I was looking around an antique store in Mid-Ohio and saw, laying in a back room, a 78rpm Little Richard record that I not only had had a 45rpm of when it came out, but had also just seen in a vitrine at the Hall of Fame. I bought it for a dollar. Afterwards I wondered what other great artifacts from this familiar history, now over 50 years long, clearly as old as I was and seemingly as distant as Atlantis, could be lying around. What I found was more than I could have imagined.

Over a period of about 3 years of searching in flea markets, junk stores and antique malls for these leftover materials from the era, in an effort to try and construct a random history for myself of what R’n’R was, how it came to be and what became of it, I amassed over 4,000 records, mostly 78rpms, with a sampling of 45s. Some of the early 78s dated back to just after the turn of the century and to the popularization of recorded sound.

With the advent of sites like eBay and with enough time and money, anyone can conceivably construct a collection and a history on just about any subject. You may not be able to get all of it, or the extremely rare of the very rare, but it would seem you could come pretty close. What I was interested in, however, was closer to the idea of an archeological dig, where the removing of layers of whatever kind of sediment slowly reveals an unfolding story, artifact by artifact, of a history and a culture that was not visible before. And by roaming the miles of aisles in antique malls, flea markets, etc. looking for something quite specific, the unseen has more of a chance to appear and the story can begin to tell itself in a more personal way. The way a collection can be arranged so as to make a history visible is a subject I love and have explored in other works.

A database of Allen Ruppersberg’s records from the last three years.
Click image to view the full document.

Allen Ruppersberg was born in 1944, in Cleveland, Ohio. He lives and works in New York and Santa Monica, California. Ruppersberg is a conceptual artist whose work includes paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures,installations, and books. He is recognized as a seminal practitioner of installation art, having produced such influential works as AL’S CAFE (1969), AL’S GRAND HOTEL (1971), and THE NOVEL THAT WRITES ITSELF (1978). Since the late 1960s, his work has been the subject of more than 80 solo exhibitions and nearly 200 group exhibitions.

www.greenenaftaligallery.com
www.greengrassi.com

LEONOR ANTUNES

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

— Somewhere during May 2008 I bought, in the city of São Paulo, a Portuguese gold coin dated from 1763, the reign of Joseph I. The coin had been minted after the Great Lisbon Earthquake, which took place on November 1st, 1755. By that time the King had already placed effective power in the hands of Marquês de Pombal. Facing the earthquake’s devastations, Pombal gave orders to the Portuguese mint to buy all the gold and silver recovered from the debris and fires, and to use that metal to mint coins of King Joseph I.

I re-melted the 3.16cm diameter, 1.13mm thick, gold coin in a jewelry workshop in Rio de Janeiro and put it inside a wood box which I’d made from Pau-Brasil. This type of wood was the most precious commodity found in Brazil in the 16th century. When Portuguese explorers discovered those trees, they used the name Pau-Brasil to describe them. By that time, this name had been used already to denominate a different species of tree which was found in Asia, and which also produced red dye. Later, the country obtained its name from those trees and hence was called Brazil.

One year later I travelled to Ouro Preto, to the state of Minas Gerais, where the Portuguese settlers found gold and exploited it. I had the idea to make a book that could witness and contemplate a coin that is no longer visible. I was looking to the Atlantic forest which proliferates and invades place without any control or direction, covering everything that is behind, in a way erasing its memory.


Leonor Antunes was born in 1972, in Lisbon, Portugal. She Lives and works in Berlin. Antunes’ work manifests itself through measurement, material, memory and site. Her interest lies primarily in how sculpture can relate to the body—through size, scale and proportion—focusing on the space between viewers and artworks. Antunes has participated in numerous group and solo shows in Europe and North America.

www.marcfoxx.com
www.bortolozzi.com

KEITH CONNOLLY

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

The below text is a work in progress which was incorporated in a performance I did recently as LLILW GRAY, at the now defunct Crown Heights venue PORT D’OR.



a color may be spoken of RED perhaps into the telephone A COMBINED HISTORY or out the window, into the day.
this mathematics INEVITABLE tossed aside BECAME UNPACKED all by itself. PERHAPS a diorama, illustrating
JUDGEMENT by proxy, all by ITSELF tempting fate itself TO RETURN.

a scratch LEFT to begin above the left eye. ASIDE a placement AS MARKED, an emptiness contained. NO PUSSYFOOTING, or projection. A SUGGESTION box, permanently sealed.

the sweep hand GLIDES in its inimitable formatting, SANS unit, sans TICK. the legendary WIPE.

fifteen nineteen, TWENTY TWENTY (20/20)-five, five o six… THE SEFER yetzirah in theory AND PRACTICE.




(***)


Eleven as the apple’s cored to one its silent partner—
Divisible intrinsically by only one another, lasting nights…

These are the mystical powers of DISTINCTION.



EASTER MORNING, 4:49
Recitation, overhead projection, dry-erase board
and Guy Reibel’s GRANULATIONS-SILLAGES (played at 8RPM)
With thanks to John Jines

Keith Connolly is a founding member of the No-Neck Blues Band (NNCK). Over the past 20 years the group has published over 30 LPs, CDs, singles, and cassettes, performing extensively throughout the US, Canada and Europe. In 2011 Connolly organized the three-night music and performance festival, NUMINA LENTE, with Jay Sanders. He has shown work at Greene Naftali Gallery, PS1, Roulette and the Sculpture Center, amongst others, and is currently working with Richard Maxwell’s New York City Players.

LIZZI BOUGATSOS

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

— I’ve been re-visiting these photographs as a way to clear my aesthetic of vulgarity, some how find a pure place that is pleasing to look at or create some sort of balance. These pictures were the ones that got me my first art exhibition with Colin de Land at American Fine Arts. He liked that my thumb was in the picture, as if it was part of the process. I think he also liked the sexiness of the carpet and maybe my nerdy interest in Books, particularly Anarchist culture. I had my show with Jess Holzworth and we were called Boug & Worth, another de Land driven name. He would secretly tape our conversations at the gallery and put them on Public Access Television. Our show was titled Fuck All Our Art Heroes/Assholes. I remember me describing the work to Rob Pruitt and I told him I was doing negative sandwiches in the darkroom. Anyway, Colin didn’t like the first show. He said it wasn’t what he had in mind for a Boug & Worth Exhibition, so with no money of course, we had another Boug & Worth exhibition right after. I guess it was the Summer slot so the gallery had no plans anyway. For that show, we painted our conversation on the wall. The last photograph was Colin in front of our piece. The title had something to do with the Germs and Negating space but I don’t remember. Those were the days…………..

Click each individual image to view larger.

Lizzi Bougatsos was born in 1974, in Queens, NY. She lives and works in New York. Bougatsos is an artist and the singer for Gang Gang Dance. Selected solo shows include SLUT FREAK, James Fuentes, New York (2010); SOLO EXHIBITION, The Breeder, Greece (2009), STREET FEATHER, James Fuentes, New York (2007); THE NOBLE AND THE LAND, James Fuentes Gallery, New York (1999). Two-person exhibitions include FAILURISMS at Reena Spaulings with Kim Gordon (2005) and BOUG & WORTH with Jess Holzworth at American Fine Arts Co. (2000). Selected group exhibitions include: The NewBridge Project, London, England (2012); The Victoria Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver, Colorado (2012); American Contemporary Art from the Astrup Fearnly Collection at the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2011); The Whitney Biennial, New York (2008); The Astrup Fearnly Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Norway (2008); IN/OUT OF ME, curated by Klaus Biesenbach for MACRO – Museo d’arte Contemporanea di Roma, Milan, Italy, and Kunste Werke, Berlin, Germany (2007); and CRISS-CROSS: SOME YOUNG NEW YORKERS curated by Klaus Biesenbach for P.S.1 Institute of Contemporary Art, New York (1999). Bougatsos is a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation grant (2003).

www.jamesfuentes.com

WYNN CHAMBERLAIN

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

— Nudism had a long history among small groups in Northern Europe and America, but in the 1960s with the huge population of beautiful young bodies in California it became a mass movement. It was wartime in America again, and it was thought that if people got rid of the feeling of armament that clothes gave them they would be more peaceful. Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky had just returned from India where they had been mingling with Naga Saddhus, naked yogis, and were firm believers in peace through nakedness. It was 1964. I had recently been in California and been fascinated with all the magazines depicting ordinary people in ordinary surroundings without clothes and saw this as a possible way to move figure painting out of its academic past to a bright new level. So I began taking these photos of my friends, their wives and children, many of poets and painters I knew. The exhibition of these paintings in New York in February 1965 caused a furious response from the establishment, even two years later they were still complaining about nakedness. This letter to Allen was to suggest that our response should be taken to whole new level by making posters of these photographs which, because of Allen’s increasing social visibility, would increase the pressure for American’s to relax. Two years later this whole idea culminated in the Woodstock festival where thousands of young people frolicked and made love in the surrounding forest and incited the violent response which followed from the new conservative president, Richard Nixon.

Transcript of the letter:

Dear Allen, no doubt you have seen the issue of LIFE magazine in which I am referred to as “one Wynn Chamberlain” and you as “one of the most unpalatable models of all time.” While I’m still not doing the nudes, nevertheless, the whole thing made me mad. I’m wondering what you would think of having a large poster made from the original Poloroid I took of you holding Peter in your arms. I think that more of the same and more so is the only response to those people, and you would receive any percentage of royalities that you like. Let me know what you think.

Sally and I are back in New York and expecting a baby in March. Taylor is here too and I am preparing to shoot my first film called “Dr. Mystic” which will star him.

Affectionately, Wynn

222 Bowery

Wynn Chamberlain was a successful artist in New York in the 1960s. He lived and worked at 222 Bowery and was friends with Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Frank O’Hara & Jonas Mekas. In 1967, he produced Charles Ludlam’s off-Broadway extravaganza CONQUEST OF THE UNIVERSE starring Taylor Mead, which was attended almost every night by Marcel Duchamp. In 1969 he wrote & directed the ground-breaking film BRAND X (released in May 1970 – see www.brandxmovie.com) starring Taylor Mead, also attended constantly by Marcel Duchamp when it showed at the Elgin Theater in New York. In 1971 he went to India, lived there for twenty years with his wife and children Sam & Sara & wrote two novels GATES OF FIRE & THEN SPOKE THE THUNDER, published by Grove Press. In 1997 he moved to Marrakech, Morocco & wrote another novel, PARADISE, published by Kadmos Publishing.

www.kadmospublishing.com
www.brandxmovie.com

MIKLÓS JANCSÓ

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Translation:

To date, there are no fashion films upon which we should be thinking about. Nowadays the films one should be thinking about are not in fashion. But this few minutes is a film like it. What do you think the message is?

Miklós Jancsó was born in 1921 in Vác, Hungary. Jancsó is one of cinema’s greatest visionaries. His films from the second half of the 1960s, such as THE ROUND UP (1965), THE RED AND THE WHITE (1967), and SILENCE AND CRY (1968) were at the forefront of the revival of Hungarian cinema. At 92, he continues to make films regularly. Most recently he directed a segment from the Béla Tarr-produced anthology, MAGYARORSZÁG 2011 (2012), a response to Hungary’s right wing government and it’s increased restriction of culture and film.

JULIA LOKTEV

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

NOTES ON DANCING WITH STRANGERS

I like dancing with strangers.

Mostly salsa, cumbia, forro, bachata…

Sometimes I’ll try a Romanian folk dance too.

(I don’t know how to Romanian folk dance.)

Often the only words said are “thank you” or “gracias.”

Sometimes they ask your name.

You hope they don’t ask for your number.

Usually they don’t.

Older men make the best dancers.

Often they lead you back to your table and pull out your chair.

Sometimes they say “gracias” to you, and then to your friends for allowing them to borrow you.

They don’t ask for your number.

I like following.

I like surrendering entirely to the movement of another person.

Things are very clear.

He is the man.

He leads.

You are the woman.

You follow.

This is unquestionable.

Otherwise you just mess things up.

So I just follow.

I’m not supposed to like that.

But I do.

To follow, you have to listen to the man’s hands.

I like that a man can control me with just one hand holding my hand, one hand on my back.

I like not knowing what comes next.

Sometimes I still mess things up.

Sometimes we dance very close.

Sometimes they dance a little too close.

Sometimes I can smell their sweat.

Sometimes I worry they can smell mine.

Usually it doesn’t matter.

Usually we don’t make eye contact when we dance.

Sometimes I don’t know where I’m supposed to look.

Sometimes this makes me a little nervous.

Sometimes I go to a dance club alone.

Sometimes this makes me really nervous.

Usually getting asked for the first dance takes a little time.

Sometimes getting asked for the first dance takes a little effort.

Sometimes I try different facial expressions to look like I want to be asked.

Usually after they see you dance, other men come to ask.

Usually after each dance, you change partners.

Sometimes you dance with the same man most of the night.

Usually not.

I try to make a good impression on the good dancers.

I try to make the bad dancers feel not so bad.

I like when the good dancers ask me to dance again.

With each dance, I get to know their favorite moves.

Sometimes, by the end of the night, I know all their moves.

I have never danced like this with a man I loved.


CLUJ-NAPOCA, ROMANIA


ISTANBUL


MEXICO CITY

Julia Loktev was born in 1969 in Leningrad, Russia. Her latest film THE LONELIEST PLANET, released by Sundance Selects in October 2012, won the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Film Festival and was selected in the New York Film Festival. Her previous films include DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT, which premiered in Cannes in Directors Fortnight, where it won the Youth Prize, and MOMENT OF IMPACT, which won the Best Director award at Sundance. Julia has also shown video installation work at Tate Modern and P.S.1.

DAVINA SEMO

Thursday, November 1st, 2012


Davina Semo was born in 1981, in Washington, DC. She Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Solo exhibitions include MIAMI – 70 NW 20 STREET, Shoot The Lobster, Miami (2012); PACING LIKE A TIGER, Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam (2012); WE BEGIN WITH THE NOISE, Martos Gallery, New York (2012); BEFORE SHIFTING TO THE BLACKNESS, Rawson Projects, New York (2012). Selected group exhibitions include IN SEARCH OF LIGHT, Paul Jacobsen loft, New York (2009); EVERYTHING IN MODERATION, 106 Green, New York (2010); HELL, NO!, The Covenant of Saint Cecilia, New York (2010); BORDERLINE, Pabloʼs Birthday Gallery, New York (2010), WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU THERE IS CURRENTLY NO SPACE OR PLACE FOR ABSTRACT PAINTING, Martos Gallery, New York (2011); HOME AGAIN, AGAIN, The Journal Gallery, New York (2012); SIDE SHOW, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York (2012); B-OUT, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York (2012); CREATURE FROM THE BLUE LAGOON, Martos Gallery Summer Location, Bridgehampton (2012).

www.davinasemo.net
www.martosgallery.com

NEIL MICHAEL HAGERTY [NOMINATED BY ALAN LICHT]

Friday, September 21st, 2012

CALYPSO FOR LORD GLOVES

— When Lord Gloves started to lose his touch, he blew it all cuz he was in a rush. His ideas like petals in his fist were crushed, but we told him not to worry cuz he don’t know much. Once he was like Viv Richards before the sticks, when he scored a century on only fifty-six. The day will come again for a Lord Gloves scene, a moment like when Viv pissed off the Pretoria Regime. South Africa offered a seven figure check, to break the boycott and come play a Test. Well Viv told them to go fuck off, Lord Gloves your dignity will be reward enough.

But no one cares about cricket in this town, they only grab a six when the sun goes down. They drink and brood on the things they hate, they hide from their wives and they masturbate. Somebody said James Baldwin I’d guess, when the hate is gone only the pain is left. So they gotta see red or they’ll go insane, crash like Clemente in a cargo plane. Lord Gloves y’know I saw Clemente play, when Mom was shopping in Sears on a sunny day. She parked me in front of the appliance, which unto this day I pledge allegiance. From the magical precision of Roberto, to the racist violence of the cowboy show. I can’t tell you Lord Gloves all the time I missed, TV is not a substitute for experience. And now I am old and alone and poor, no one cares about trick roping anymore. No one wants to pay for that hard work, they just crank themselves like soda jerks. No one wants to burn the oil of the midnight lamp, no one wants to wear the dress at the mining camp. They’ll stroke their guns and they’ll have this dance, but when it’s their turn to be the girl they won’t exchange their pants.

So Lord Gloves don’t despair, throw your hands up in the air, this is tragic but compare, to the collapse of Night Ranger, synth player busted with child porn, their reputation now forlorn, no amount of Jesus could make him stop, cuz like they said, ‘this boy needs to rock,’ pure inspiration is no solace, remember DF Wallace, you saw a film that was so great, according to the keepers of the great art gate, you were embarrassed to see it wrong, but it was simply much too long, you’d rather claw over every little thing, on the power of your own two wings, one day the power in your voice will sing, you’ll climb again into the ring.

So soon Lord Gloves you will rise again, the truth will triumph in the end. You will broadcast a shadow so large and true, those lying bastards will all refuse to compete with you. And thus Lord Gloves my song is at an end, before I head down the road let me call you a friend. Your nobility shines through the gathering dust, you’re a man of strength who deserves our trust. Thanks for the time to sing my song, I’d like to end it with the crash of a suspended gong.


Neil Michael Hagerty is a songwriter/guitarist/producer. He previously played guitar in Pussy Galore, before forming Royal Trux in 1987. Since 2001 Hagerty has recorded albums both under his own name and as Howling Hex. He is also the author of two books, PUBLIC WORKS and VICTORY CHIMP (which exists in paperback and as an epic 4 CD audiobook).

www.howlinghex.com
www.dragcity.com

ALLAN SEKULA [NOMINATED BY JIMMIE DURHAM]

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Surf Movie was photographed in 1973 but never printed until recently. J. Stephen Buck, who plays the surfer, and I were studying film with Manny Farber at the University of California, San Diego. Buck is currently an assistant director in Hollywood.


Allan Sekula was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1951. He studied at the University of California in San Diego from 1968 to 1972 with Herbert Marcuse, among others. He lives and works as an artist and photo theoretician in Los Angeles and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts. His works make critical contributions on questions of social reality and globalization, and focus on what he describes as “the imaginary and material geographies of the advanced capitalist world”.

www.michelrein.com

GEORGE CLARK [NOMINATED BY LUKE FOWLER]

Friday, September 21st, 2012

“Entering a library, I am always struck by the way in which a certain vision of the world is imposed upon the reader through its categories and its order. Some categories, of course, are more evident than others.”
~ Alberto Manguel, ‘The Library at Night’, 2006

Since 2009 I have been working periodically on a film project generated from the relationship of different classification systems. Drawing from the traditions of ornithology in Hong Kong, I have returned to two locations at intervals of one year to film multiple times. In returning I’ve been attempting to remake, repeat and maybe undo what I filmed on the previous visit in order to explore the contradictory traditions of bird keeping as well as my own framing and editing tendencies. The project is still ongoing so here I have gathered together some material that I have found while doing research for this film as well from curatorial projects. The material – text, animations, images and a video interview – is connected through my exploration of the ways in which information is collected, categorized and translated in the disciplines of science, bibliography, literature and cinema.

 

Geoffrey Herklots came to Hong Kong in 1928 and left 20 years later. During this period he found increasing pleasure, amusement and profit in the pursuit of many branches of natural history. His interest in birds was aroused by friends in the Services and, in consequence, bird-watching became a major hobby. In 1938 he spent some time in the British Museum (Natural History department) examining hundreds of skins of birds from South-east China and in writing descriptions.

This book is based on those notes, on the articles in the ‘Hong Kong Naturalist’, on the author’s field notes – most of which survived the war – and on additional recent studies in the Museum. The book is illustrated in colour and black and white by Commander A.M. Hughes (O.B.E., R.N.). Commander Hughes served on the China Station from 1929 to 1931 and therefore has firsthand knowledge of the local birds. He is already known in the Colony for his beautiful paintings of birds reproduced in the ten volumes of the ‘Hong Kong Naturalist.’
~ G.A.C. Herklots, ‘Hong Kong Birds’, 1967

The study of natural history in China was a passionate pursuit for many colonialists during the 18th and 19th Century. The discovery and categorization of the birds by Western Ornithologists was often conducted in spare time around commitments in colonial or trade offices. Geoffrey Herklots (1902-1986) specialised in birds as well as the botany specific to Hong Kong. His work draws on the pioneering studies of J. D. D. La Touche and the seven volume ‘Handbook of the Birds of Eastern China’ (1925–1934). Despite various changes in the classification of birds since LaTouche’s work, the illustrations by A.M. Hughes and entries by Herklots utilise his numerical system to enable cross-referencing between old and new taxonomies. The pages from the book displayed here show their use of numerical and pictorial systems as means of classification.

The ornithologist Robert Swinhoe (1836 – 1877) was the first westerner to publish a list of Chinese birds in 1863 and was a dedicated sinologist. As Fa-Ti Fan argues persuasively in his recent book ‘British Naturalists in Qing China’, these pioneering naturalists were not without knowledge and respect for Chinese culture and their work would not have been possible without collaboration on a local level despite the prejudices inherent in the imperialist project. Swinhoe along with other colleagues and fellow enthusiasts suggested that the names given to birds or plants should relate to their Chinese names to allow some continuity between the local culture as well as the many Chinese studies of the natural world, that date back many centuries, and the new ‘scientific’ classifications from Europe being applied in the 18th Century. But this conscientious practice was a minority pursuit. As the Russian botanist Emil Bretschneider observed in 1881, whereas some scientists strived “to preserve in the new generic or specific names the indigenous popular appellations, where known. […] the fashion now-a-days cherished among botanists is to transform names of savants or other persons (who frequently have had nothing to do with the plant dedicated to them) into botanical names, which are often dissonant and difficult to pronounce.”

 

The words of the analytical language created by John Wilkins are not mere arbitrary symbols; each letter in them has a meaning, like those from the Holy Writ had for the Cabbalists. Mauthner points out that children would be able to learn this language without knowing it be artificial; afterwards, at school, they would discover it being a universal code and a secret encyclopedia.

Once we have defined Wilkins’ procedure, it is time to examine a problem which could be impossible or at least difficult to postpone: the value of this four-level table which is the base of the language. Let us consider the eighth category, the category of stones. Wilkins divides them into common (silica, gravel, schist), modics (marble, amber, coral), precious (pearl, opal), transparent (amethyst, sapphire) and insolubles (chalk, arsenic). Almost as surprising as the eighth, is the ninth category. This one reveals to us that metals can be imperfect (cinnabar, mercury), artificial (bronze, brass), recremental (filings, rust) and natural (gold, tin, copper). Beauty belongs to the sixteenth category; it is a living brood fish, an oblong one.

These ambiguities, redundancies and deficiencies remind us of those which doctor Franz Kuhn attributes to a certain Chinese encyclopedia entitled ‘Celestial Empire of Benevolent Knowledge’. In its remote pages it is written that the animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.

The Bibliographic Institute of Brussels exerts chaos too: it has divided the universe into 1000 subdivisions, from which number 262 is the pope; number 282, the Roman Catholic Church; 263, the Day of the Lord; 268 Sunday schools; 298, mormonism; and number 294, brahmanism, buddhism, shintoism and taoism. It doesn’t reject heterogene subdivisions as, for example, 179: “Cruelty towards animals. Animals protection. Duel and suicide seen through moral values. Various vices and disadvantages. Advantages and various qualities.”

I have registered the arbitrarities of Wilkins, of the unknown (or false) Chinese encyclopaedia writer and of the Bibliographic Institute of Brussels; it is clear that there is no classification of the Universe not being arbitrary and full of conjectures. The reason for this is very simple: we do not know what thing the universe is.

~ Jorge Luis Borges ‘The Analytical Language of John Wilkins’, 1942
Translated from the Spanish ‘El idioma analítico de John Wilkins’ by Lilia Graciela Vázquez.

The film director Hugo Santiago (Buenos Aires, 1939 – ) made two unique feature films in collaboration with Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy-Casares. The first film Invasión / Invasion was made in Argentina in 1969 and second Les Autres/The Others was made in France in 1974. Originally from Argentina, he has been predominantly based in Paris since 1959, where he has made both fictional features and a range of essay films and documentaries on and with figures such as Maurice Blanchot and Iannis Xenakis.

The interview here focuses on his work with Borges and Bioy-Casares on these two feature films; the development and planning of Invasion and in particular the design and mapping of the fictional city of Aquilea out of fragments of Buenos Aires. The discussion of his second and lesser known film ‘Les Autres’ explores the films complex splintered narrative, his use of color as well as the films troubled premier at Cannes in 1974.

The video is a newly edited from an interview I conducted in September 2008 while I was in Paris researching Hugo Santiago’s films. The interview was conducted in French with live translation by Aubrey Richard Wanliss-Orlebar. Thanks to Chris Pencakowski for help transferring the video.

The film and its opening are the same mobile story in two modes. A son kills himself, and the father, as though unhinged, will pass through a series of metamorphoses: a sadistic small-time crook, a disturbing wise man, a nomadic walker, a young man in love. The actor who plays the father, Patrice Dally, displays a deep sobriety, an almost humble manner, which intensifies the violence of the metamorphoses. The pretext is a sort of inquiry into the son’s death. The reality is the broken chain of metamorphoses, which operates not by transformation, but by leaps and bounds.

[…]

It’s like a story planted in Paris, not at all heavy and static, but with light stabs that correspond to each camera position. The story comes from elsewhere: it comes from South America, from the Santiago-Borges-Bioy Casares ensemble, bringing with it that power of metamorphosis which one finds in the novels of Asturias, and it emanates from other landscapes: the Savannah, the pampas, a fruit company, a field of corn or rice. The precise point at which the story is inserted or stuck in Paris is a small bookstore, “The Two Americas,” the father’s business. But there is no application in the story, no symbolism, no literary game, as though an Indian story were being told in Paris. Instead, the story is precisely shared by the two worlds, a city fragment and a pampas fragment, each of which is quite mobile; the one is stuck in the other and carries it away. What appears continuous in one would be discontinuous in the other, and vice versa. I am thinking of the admirable way in which Santiago filmed the interior of the Meudon Observatory: a metallic and deserted city has been planted in a forest. The tam-tams leap from Couperin’s music, the parrots screech in the Odeon hotel, and the Parisian bookseller is truly an Indian.

Cinema has always been closer to architecture than to theatre. A particular relation of architecture and of the camera holds everything together here. The metamorphoses have nothing to do with fantasy: the camera leaps from one point to another, around an architectural whole, just as Planchon leaps around the huge stone fountain. The bookstore’s characters leap from one to the other around Valery, the heroine who knows how to strike architectural poses. Standing or bending, leaning or upright, she watches the metamorphoses from Meudon; she is at once the victim and the instigator of the game; she is the center for the bookseller’s leaps. Actrice Noelle Chatelet: what talent and beauty, what strange “gravity” in the detailed love scene. What about the way in which she, too, though differently than the bookseller, maintains her relationship with the other world? What she says in architecture, in her look, and in her position, he says in movements, in music, and in the camera. It is strange that the critics didn’t care for this film, even if it were only an experiment in cinema endowed with a new mobility. Santiago’s previous film, Invasion, was already moving in this direction. (The tiebreaker: why is the bookseller named Spinoza? Maybe because the two Americas, the two worlds, the city and the pampas, are like two attributes of an absolutely shared substance. And this has nothing to do with philosophy, it is the substance of the film itself.)

~  Gilles Deleuze, ‘A Planter’s Art’, 1974
From Desert Islands and Other Texts 1953-1974
Edited by David Lapoujade, Translated by Michael Taormina,
SEMIOTEXT(E) FOREIGN AGENTS SERIES, 2004


George Clark is a writer, curator and artist. He recently worked with Luke Fowler on the film THE POOR STOCKINGER, THE LUDDITE CROPPER AND THE DELUDED FOLLOWERS OF JOANNA SOUTHCOTT (2012) based on the experiences of Marxist historian E.P. Thompson in West Yorkshire from 1946 – 1965. Together with Beatrice Gibson he co-wrote the script for her film THE FUTURE’S GETTING OLD LIKE THE REST OF US (2010). He was one of the curators of the 6th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival (2012) and curated the Lav Diaz focus at the AV Festival (2012). Other curatorial projects include INFERMENTAL for Focal Point Gallery (2010) with Dan Kidner & James Richards and NO WAVE: NEW YORK 1976-1982 (Glasgow Film Festival, Worm, Rotterdam & Cinéma Nova, Brussels, 2011). Together with Dan Kidner and James Richards he edited the new book A DETOUR AROUND INFERMENTAL (2012).

JOHN KELSEY [NOMINATED BY RITA ACKERMANN]

Friday, September 21st, 2012

These readymade lines were taken from spam emails. Randomly pasted into the bodies of messages advertising cheap drugs for erectile dysfunction and depression, they could be the junk DNA of a possible post-literature. Reassembled in a new form here, they begin to resemble poetry.

ECRETION
I would like to thank you for the excceellent seirvice that youu hhave given mmee.
I leftt the paalcee and wennt to the esspnlaae in order too wait foor himm.
I ve stppped lsing my hairr aand I ve even sseeen sooee regorowth.
I am iprsesed and willl refer your cmapny to oters.
I hope II spell tthis right but MMcho Grarcis!
Ione Golick

For a long tiime I have been wwrokng as a maeup arist at a pesttigioous beaty salon.
. Epigg. quoed by Varro aand attrituted to Pluats hismsef, ap. Gell.
ABlxackDagdgerexvanWalstejdyNoaTime.
TookTheCigarBetweenTwofingersAnd.
Again thank you so very muuch.
Kayleah Priewe

WasHardlyAsurpriseNortonContemplatedThe FlusrhpOfHerBieavutyHuadtA AgainI
tWasA lw aysWi se stNot OutOneBsyOneIyReoacheddooowpn
OugkhtaGoyInThoerecAxndSlncip.
SheAny Id eaWhoM ightHa ve.
Ilna Sa id InAV oiceA s.
Novelia Musil

CocruscangceoftSunkraysLeikeHereNobThavtSeeamedHjigzhlyUsnliknely.
oueldNuotcForvbearVmowifngrevpengexchqaqpterViaofTbhe
Unna tura lDeath Of TwoSa lama n der sDo
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Fidel Woodward

Wat ching F romTh eDormi toryW ash e nS aw WomanD idN otE njoyA Ki ss Anyt h
Se ducti onDo neBy Co logn e.T r yYou r OwnWa y.
StaerkNaknedHaivrFoallinwgLooysePtakst.
IntoItsAmbiancetheEmotionAndConscious.
pTjheyAlwbaysDoTyhantIn.
Gusti Vatter

ingiS t ayed A tT heCon trols O verri d in g IfH eWe reCon sideri ngA Pur ch as e.
ItsVeryCleverHowDoesIt TheDoorButALightBlinded
Th eGreen eyed Man pptra it orHeS aidCal l.
HimiSatxeppxedIntosMyRqoomAnd
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Blondy Dumyahn

John Kelsey is a founding member of Bernadette Corporation and co-Director of Reena Spaulings Fine Art.

www.bernadettecorporation.com
www.reenaspaulings.com

BONNIE CAMPLIN [NOMINATED BY MARK LECKEY]

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I made this fifteen years ago.

Bonnie Camplin’s practice she broadly describes as the Invented Life and has included eight years as a para-theatrical producer, director, dancer and performer of experimental club nights in Soho London as well as work across the disciplines of drawing, film and video, performance, music and writing. She has shown in London and Internationally and her work has included collaborations with artists Enrico David, Mark Leckey, Lucy McKenzie and Paulina Olowska. She has lectured at Goldsmiths London, The Ruskin School Oxford, University of Manchester, The Architectural Biennale Venice and has participated in Jury work at the AA London. She was Professor of the Film-Class at Städelschule Frankfurt from 2008 to 2010. Most recent project (in collaboration with Kieron Livingstone and James Mullord) was devising and leading a workshop on the metaphysics of surveillance at Hayward Gallery London as part of the Wide Open School project. She is currently a visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths College.

www.ubu.com
www.cabinet.uk.com
www.galeriefriedlaender.de
www.beneventolosangeles.com

DAVID KILGOUR

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

— Here’s some photos of The Clean Diaries. From about 1980 to 82 we kept a diary of our activities. Mainly comments on gigs we had performed, and basically anything that came by our way including press clippings, etc, etc…


David Kilgour was born in Dunedin, New Zealand. He is a guitarist, singer and songwriter, best-known for co-founding The Clean in 1978, with brother Hamish Kilgour. He also has seven solo albums under his belt, the most recent being LEFT BY SOFT.

www.davidkilgour.com

LAIDA LERTXUNDI

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

I took the opportunity to make a manual for shooting. These are the first few pages. As I work, new entries are added.
ESPACIOS DE LIBERTAD
Click image to see inside.

Laida Lertxundi makes films with non-actors, landscapes and sounds. Her work has been selected for the 2012 Whitney Biennial, MoMA, LACMA, the Viennale, VIEWS FROM THE AVANT GARDE at the New York Film Festival, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. She received the Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival and was named as one of the “25 Filmmakers for the 21st Century” in Film Comment’s Avant-Garde Poll. She is a film and video curator in the U.S. and Spain, and teaches film at the University of California San Diego.

www.laidalertxundi.com

JOHN MILLER

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

— I wrote this song in one afternoon, following a morning of intensive dental surgery. Oddly enough, this allowed me to concentrate better. Recording it was another matter. In some sense, it involved re-thinking the song itself – which is still a work in progress. I did this version with Aura Rosenberg (keyboards) and Frank Lutz (guitar). Frank and I worked out the arrangement together. Then he recorded it and I did the mix.

CATALOG OF DAYS

John Miller is an artist, writer, musician based in New York and Berlin. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1954. His work has been exhibited at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Kunstalle Zurich and the Musée d’art moderne et Contemporain (MAMCO) in Geneva, among others. His publications include THE PRICE CLUB (SELECTED WRITINGS, 1977-1998) and THE RUIN OF EXCHANGE, both part of the Positions series by JRP Ringier and Les Presses du Réel. He teaches in Barnard College’s Art History Department as a Professor of Professional Practice.

www.lownoon.com

NICOLA TYSON

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

— I made these collages over the last few days prompted by the invitation to contribute to This Long Century and it’s impending deadline. I live in upstate New York and my junk mail consists primarily of catalogues selling everything from fascinating farm equipment to creepy rightwing infected gift selections. There are of course many gardening catalogues, such as the bleak but well meaning Spray n’ Grow.

I had thrown a selection into a box as ‘possibly useful’ and last week I finally upended it looking for ‘a palette’ and surprisingly—or not—I ended up narrowing that down to just two: J.Crew and Consolidated Plastics Commercial Matting. For a while Dutch Bulbs was in the mix, but the giddy array of tulips proved too loaded with colorful suggestion. I chose instead to work with the already limited visual co-ordinates of J.Crew for men, and commercial matting. The print quality of their respective reproductions sat well together, which helped, because this was going to be a scalpel knife and glue stick project, no photoshop—I don’t know how, plus I enjoy the tactile jigsaw puzzle pleasure of handling the actual bits and moving them around until they fit right.

I then scanned them inexpertly on my HP All-in-One, so the quality’s not great but there’s always the original, albeit here on my desk! The images all feature the same guy, as it happens. He was ‘someone’—one of those guest models from the real world—but I’m sorry, I didn’t make a note of who, and the rest of the catalogue is now binned. Once complete, I realized that I had ended up doing just what I do in painting, which is to take a figure (usually one of my own invention) and make it pop or flatten in accordance with some kind of invisible ley lines of desire—though not for the figure represented, but for the creative process itself.


Nicola Tyson is a British artist who has been based in New York for many years. She is primarily a painter, although she has worked with photography, film and lately the written word and sculpture. The Fall of 2012 sees the publication of her satirical and autobiographical LETTERS TO ARTISTS AND SOME OTHER MEN, and an exhibition of photographs at White Columns in New York—her archive of London club photos from the late ‘70s. She is represented in New York by Friedrich Petzel Gallery, and in London by Sadie Coles HQ.

www.petzel.com
www.sadiecoles.com

ED BEREAL

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

When I’m asked to comment on or to somehow make a definitive statement positioning myself relative to my Art………..there is a statement by P.L. Dunbar that expresses “where I’m at” much better than I can…

When de Co’n Pone’s Hot
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Dey is times in life when Nature
   Seems to slip a cog an’ go,
Jes’ a-rattlin’ down creation,
   Lak an ocean’s overflow;
When de worl’ jes’ stahts a-spinnin’
   Lak a picaninny’s top,
An’ yo’ cup o’ joy is brimmin’
   ‘Twell it seems about to slop,
An’ you feel jes’ lak a racah,
   Dat is trainin’ fu’ to trot—
When yo’ mammy says de blessin’
   An’ de co’n pone’s hot.

When you set down at de table,
   Kin’ o’ weary lak an’ sad,
An’ you ‘se jes’ a little tiahed
   An’ purhaps a little mad;
How yo’ gloom tu’ns into gladness,
   How yo’ joy drives out de doubt
When de oven do’ is opened,
   An’ de smell comes po’in’ out;
Why, de ‘lectric light o’ Heaven
   Seems to settle on de spot,
When yo’ mammy says de blessin’
   An’ de co’n pone’s hot.

When de cabbage pot is steamin’
   An’ de bacon good an’ fat,
When de chittlins is a-sputter’n’
   So’s to show you whah dey’s at;
Tek away yo’ sody biscuit,
   Tek away yo’ cake an’ pie,
Fu’ de glory time is comin’,
   An’ it’s ‘proachin’ mighty nigh,
An’ you want to jump an’ hollah,
   Dough you know you’d bettah not,
When yo’ mammy says de blessin’
   An’ de co’n pone’s hot.

I have hyeahd a’ lots o’ sermons,
   An’ I’ve hyeahd o’ lots o’ prayers,
An I’ve listened to some singin’
   Dat has tuck me up de stairs
Of de Glory-Lan’ an’ set me
   Jes’ below de Mastah’s th’one,
An’ have lef’ my hea’t a-singin’
   In a happy aftah tone;
But dem wu’ds so sweetly murmured
   Seem to tech de softes’ spot,
When my mammy says de blessin’,
   An’ de co’n pone’s hot.


Ed Bereal was born in 1937 in Riverside, California. While still a student at Chouinard Art Institute, his work was included in the controversial 1961 exhibition War Babies at Henry Hopkins’s Huysman Gallery. Bereal’s assemblages challenge the viewer, directly addressing identity politics and racial stereotypes prevalent in the U.S. in the 1960s and beyond. These works also engage with uncomfortable and complex moments in global history, such as Nazi-era Germany. Bereal has been a mentor to several generations of artists and has taught at universities throughout the United States.

KELLY REICHARDT

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

— I grew up in Miami in the 1970s. My father used to come home early in the mornings after a long night of overtime, unclip the holster from his belt, pour himself a tall glass of milk and say, “Ah crime pays.” My mom carried her holster in her purse and in a pinch was as likely to pull out a ratty hairbrush as a 38. My dad worked the midnight shift. His car had Dade Country Crime Scene painted on the sides. My mom was an undercover narcotics agent and always had a different car – ones that were non-descript and which apparently you were not supposed to transport children in. I know this because my sister and I did a lot of crouching on the floor when we would enter certain parking lots. We would stay hunched over- mind you I was probably three feet tall at the time and my hunching was unnecessary- and move quickly into our own car where we again would lay low until we were outside the parking lot. Suitcases might appear from a trunk and be moved to another waiting car. Despite my parents line of work, despite the influx of Cuban exiles and boatloads of Haitian refugees floating up on the shores and despite Miami being the murder capital of the country – it seemed a pretty dull place to grow up. I remember Thurston Moore recalling when he was visiting Miami in those years, seeing an ad in the Herald that said, “if anyone has heard of The Clash, please call me”. That really gets across the isolation and general feeling of being a teenager in an endless string of sunny days in a city of retired people.

Through out the late 60s and all through the 70s, I spent a lot of time on Miami Beach – first with my grandparents and later as a teenager taking my first photos. Somewhere in the early 80’s, having secured a job at Peaches Records and Tapes, I quit The Clog Shop on 163rd street and dropped out of high school. I was no longer living at either of my parent’s houses (they divorced when I was eight) but was bouncing around between my friend’s parents houses, my grandmother’s condo in a retirement village and pretty much blowing it in every situation I landed. The order of things gets a little foggy here but I did get my GED and enrolled in Miami Dade Community College. I got a little apartment in North Miami for a brief spell and through all the haze and chaos of those years I continued to photograph Miami Beach. Then, encouraged by the sixteen dollars I won in the Miami Dade Community College photography contest, I headed north.

I had gotten a ride to Boston and was staying at a friend’s apartment. I experienced my first snow and randomly met a bunch of punker art-school kids. They seemed to have it all going on. Thrift store dresses, army boots and shaved heads. I had no idea how old they were, I had no idea what punks were, they just seemed to be from mars (as it turned out they were from Martha’s Vineyard and weren’t actually very punk in their musical taste but more into records like The English Beat and Rock-a-Billy tunes by the Collins Kids) All my life I had suspected cool shit was going on all over the place if you could just get yourself north of Tallahassee and it was all proving true. I knew these kids (if they even were kids) were better educated, more cultured, and just generally better for having grown up someplace other than Florida. Within a week of being in Boston I enrolled in night classes at Mass Art and when I was invited to flop on a couple of the art-school kids couch, I was so totally fearful of them seeing my corny Miami photos that I destroyed them all. I remember tearing them up and throwing them in a dumpster on my way to buy some plaid trousers. I felt a real need to disassociate myself with all things Miami especially since the old timers and the Mahjong scene was being quickly replaced by Miami Vice, body builders and super tanned rollerbladers.

I can’t recall exactly where I first discovered Andy Sweet’s photos but it wasn’t long after moving north, probably in some bookstore in Boston. In any case, seeing images of Miami Beach in a different context had a real effect. I can still conjure up the physical pain I got in my gut. Seeing Sweet’s photographs outside the glare of Miami, I realized that my own photos were probably, some of them at least, possibly pretty ok, maybe even good. They were at the very least pictures of a unique time and place that was already fading away. If only, back when I was out there on Ocean Drive, with my Pentax K-1000 – If only I could have stumbled into Andy Sweet’s photographs or for that matter Stephen Shore’s. Even if I had just seen some little bit of good art as a kid I think I could have had a whole different experience. If I had met anyone, just any one person along the way that had heard of The Clash those years could have all been so different.

Andy Sweet was murdered in 1982 in the City of Miami Beach in The Carmel Villas Apartment Complex. He was stabbed 29 times. Approximately 99 color photographs were taken from the scene. My dad sent me a copy of the crime scene report; blood splatters run at a 45 degree angle, two ashtrays are over turned, there is a wooden box on the bed, TV is tuned to channel 7…

Twenty years after Sweet’s murder a local storage facility lost all the negatives of his work. His parents rented the space which advertised “Museum Quality Storage” for 10 years, paying the $25 a month fee until they received a notice alerting them that the five boxes of negatives could not be located. The Sweet family was paid $1 per box in keeping with the agreement they signed in 1992.

After you get some distance from a place, you realize there were some things you liked after all. And one of those things for me was the Miami Beach that is represented in Sweet’s photography. These photos come from the now out-of-print book entitled MIAMI BEACH.


Kelly Reichardt was born in 1964 in Miami, Florida. She lives and works in New York City. Her feature debut RIVER OF GRASS (1994) was acknowledged at many international festivals. Her second feature, OLD JOY (2006), won a Tiger Award at the 2007 Rotterdam Festival. WENDY AND LUCY (2008) had its premiere in Cannes and her most recent film, MEEKS CUTOFF (2010), premiered as part of the Official Section at Venice Film Festival. In the 2012 her work was included in the Whitney Biennial. Reichardt is currently Artist-in-Residence in Film and Electronic Arts at Bard College, New York.

JOSH BRAND

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

— In the past eight years I’ve spent a lot of time in Columbus, Ohio, at the home of Bernard and Linda Beck. Bernard and Linda’s house is a record of their life together – it is full of emotional portraits they’ve made of each other and of themselves, as well as portraits (of self, mother, father) by their daughter Bianca. Their house was formerly a duplex, so it has a nearly symmetrical structure – every room has its double on the other side. This doubling is continued and amplified throughout the house as the family members are mirrored and echoed in various portraits.

This is a song that Linda recorded in the eighties with Eric Shinn and Lucy Jimison:

MAGNOLIA

And these are some more of Bernard’s paintings:

The initial impact of Bernard’s paintings is strong and sudden. As objects and images they often appear to be quite blunt or direct – their space is compressed, their subjects are immediately and centrally present, their colors and contrast are vivid and clear – but over time this frankness is transformed into something else: a chain of questions. “How did this painting come to be? What space is this? Where am I now and how with these figures, these things?” The paintings grow in my mind and in front of me, becoming gradually more potent and more fascinating.

The language in Linda’s songs is always clear and classical and intense. The songs themselves are formally and sonically seductive – alive and catchy, full of beguiling musical details – yet within them I am slowly led to the same sorts of questions and sensations that I find in Bernard’s paintings. I become gently disoriented, even in the midst of familiar words and feelings and musical structures. In Linda’s songs (as in Bernard’s paintings) things are always somewhat strange to begin with, but this strangeness changes and vibrates in new ways as time is spent within it.



For the past year Bianca and I have been staying in the home of Tuli Kupferberg and Sylvia Topp. Tuli was an artist and poet and performer – he was involved in a lot of wild and intelligent and positive things in his life, but he’s best known for his activities as a member of the band The Fugs. He passed away in 2010 and left behind an apartment full of books, as well as an archive of writings, drawings, and recordings of various sorts. Tuli’s daughter Samara and her boyfriend Brendan have been organizing all these things for a while now, but when they moved to Maine last year no one was living in the apartment, so Samara asked us if we’d like to stay here.

This is a recording that Tuli made sometime close to the end of his life:

LET’S HAVE HYSTERICAL HAPPINESS

One night Samara, Brendan, Bianca, and I were listening to some of Tuli’s cassette tapes and we found this song. Tuli would record one song idea at the beginning of a cassette and leave the rest of the tape blank. A lot of his songs are about mortality, so this relationship between song and silence is both apt and intense. It was amazing that night to hear Tuli’s voice come so roughly to life and then slip abruptly into the hiss of blank tape.

While we’ve lived here I’ve also thought a lot about these drawings that Tuli made in the fifties. It’s hard to grasp them by saying what they are – they resemble simultaneously journals and poems, cartoons and jokes, stories and notations. They are all these things, drawn out in an elliptical near-narrative way. Each one is a time warp – spending time with them is similar to the experience of living here in this apartment that feels like another, lost version of New York. I look at these drawings and wonder “Is this what life was like then? Is it like this now?”


Josh Brand was born in 1980 in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. He lives and works in New York City, where his art was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial. One-person exhibitions of Brand’s photographs have been presented at White Columns, NY; Herald St, London; and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo. His most recent show was “Nature” at Herald St in January 2012. He is a member, with Richard Aldrich, Peter Mandradjieff, and Zak Prekop, of the band Hurray.

www.heraldst.com
www.misakoandrosen.com

ABIGAIL CHILD

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

PUMP: THE ART OF FILM IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL REPRODUCTION

— Walter Benjamin had it wrong when he spoke of the loss of “aura” in the age of mechanical reproduction. In his essay, film has all the radiance of a postcard. Perhaps he was always wrong? In that place, time, audience, projection speed and print damage meant each screening could have its unique flavor and memory. Seeing Hollywood features in the balcony of a Newark, New Jersey downtown theater, its floor crunchy with popcorn, sticky with candy and noisy with audiences who did not hesitate to speak back to the screen, is one such example. Experiencing Do The Right Thing in a spic & span New Jersey shopping mall with a largely white audience who walked out head bowed is another. Going to a drive-in movie as a pre-teen where the prints were so beat up and “reproduced,” the advertised pizza looked like nothing but a bloody bruise slipping off the screen – hysteric materiality – unforgettable.

Now, with the rise of digital reproduction, its endless and presuming exact cloning – it appears film has become rarer and rarer, and thus, full of aura. Film has no longer the pretense of an infinitely repeatable production but exists as a nearly extinct species. Its glories renewed, revived and praised when a preserved print is shown – shockingly precise and at full resolution – a silky shine clinging to its industrial past. Not so much nostalgic, though there is some of that operative – but rather, a physicality, a depth, a “look” that neither video, HD, nor digital can project. The rise of these new technologies successfully redefine film: celluloid as industry is defunct, hail celluloid as art!

Examples abound. The print itself becoming rarer and rarer as stocks go out of production – whether Kodachrome, acetate print stock altogether, or reversal ultimately. The print becomes unreproduceable. Films that were shot in or printed in Kodachrome can be so no longer. Thus, the five copies of my film Ornamentals (1977) are now a limited edition. Or Nathaniel Dorsky, an artist who has shot Kodachrome exclusively, is experimenting with other film stocks but cannot get the same contrast or reds that that original camera stock contained. As aspects of prints fade, much as a painting might crack or become dirty over time, the film begins to disappear. The 100-year history of film is chockablock with lost originals and/or prints and now, prints can’t always be recovered because of fading or breakage. Such an example, Mutiny (1982) used workprint to cut in with reversal original. Workprint was/is developed differently than original. It is not intended to last and indeed it has not. It has gone red – the magenta that celluloid aspires to (as with tulips, whose original color is red). This means there is difficulty in getting the footage to what it was; this means only one print remains without scratches, cuts or broken sprockets. Thus Mutiny is a mono-print, the only print. The implications are large: I hesitate to show it except at forums where the projection is controlled and I am in attendance. Suddenly a populist medium has become that of the specialist.

Perhaps in the more rarified atmosphere of the art film, the experimental film or independent film, this has always been the case. Many prints of Report (1967), which Bruce Conner distributed personally, were actually monoprints, in that he would tinker with individual prints extensively. I have seen at least four different versions in which the montage changes, sometimes in length, sometimes in the image itself. It was a privilege to buy one of these prints that had its cut-ups intact.

Then again prints get scratched. They are such “tender” vehicles of image and emotion (however deep their impact). The scratches disturb rhythms, undo meaning, destroy aesthetics. And there might very well be no existent negative. The film/digital divide makes me think of the divisions between oil painting and acrylic from the mid-twentieth century. I can only hope that just as oil painting survived with small producers, celluloid will as well. Am I being unjustifiably optimistic?

Ironically film is, in some ways, cheaper than digital: does not need computers that change every year, does not need ever-changing software or more memory. Instead its mechanical machines last for 20, even 30 years, and do just as well as they did in their original state. It was Arthur Jafa (aka “AJ,” marvelous cameraman for Daughters of the Dust and Crooklyn) who taught me how to make video look like film. I told my students video could do this. But I lied. Recently shooting film I realized how wrong I was. As of now, film remains, what AJ calls, the gold standard of image making—what “is considered definitive.” A nineteenth century relic then, or is film the definitive icon?

When one sees film, the image shudders, there is a little shake as the film moves through its sprockets – it reflects tenderness, fragility, mortality. Like rockets blasting into space, it has hubris and a mortal life. It recovers and uncovers a world. Like the touch of a lover, it has a remembered feel, smoothness and depth, a purity of complex light. It is silky without flatness. It won’t let go. Perhaps because we grew up with this form of representation, one can’t imagine a world without this satisfaction. How could the blank faces of corporate bottom lines allow this to happen? How could machines replace older machines with less authenticity? How is memory erased? Is the future not a projection in a community space, but rather individual peeks at Vimeo? How can the medium go extinct and yet continue its message?

Personally, I can’t let celluloid go. It’s too much fun. The little yellow packages, that like taxis, take you to and fro over the globe and inside communities, architecture, places and peoples. Film challenges you to lug that camera into the world, to observe exactly, succinctly. Not surveillance, but selection. Not anything goes, but everything possible. Not turn on switch and go, but turn on and attend. You find a corner in shadow to change the film and not expose the “daylight” rolls. You remove carefully the pieces that get “left” in the Bolex. You read a light meter and decide whether to shoot for the shadows or for the light. You refocus. These are skills, attitudes, a philosophy of seeing – that will be lost to automatic switches. But it need not be a battle, no need for automatons.

My memories include that of hand-developing reversal film: when the strip of film comes out of its first “bath” in chemicals, it is a negative image covered with a milky caul. A shock of light (a bulb in our set-up) undoes the caul, reverses the negative image and a positive appears: ethereal, shiny, gorgeous, miraculous.

Alternative to such alchemy – I remember getting a print back from a submission (yes we sent prints themselves!) with a deep scratch down the entire film. Or a print coming back with surrealistic timing, the lab having made a mistake. And of course no DVD to mail in when a curator requests same, no Vimeo for programmers to watch in their considerations. Yes. There is gain as well as loss. No doubt.

So – I say hello to digi-land but I reject it too or want to. We are all taken by our corporate sponsors: so clear and so debilitating. My art determined by digi-world where previously it was determined by Kodak? Perhaps yes, yet the digital cameras, the Canon for example, designed to resemble film, makes China look like Staten Island. Film becomes nostalgic, an effect in corporate software – that removes difference and flattens the affect of the person behind the camera.

Am I being nostalgic myself? Writing evolves – stick in dust, stone, ink, pencil, typewriter, computer – and yes there is that difference and it makes a difference. The means reorders my attachment1. All those years of cut and paste and now there is copy and paste. Digital editing serves as both optical printer and editor. The computer supplies you with a copy machine. NO resistance to multiplication. We are industry and industry is us. We are condensed, packaged, replicated (?) for the future. We mediate the medium. We are the mediating heart of the world we are analyzing and inventing. We are pushing the hearts of the world in and out again, pumping, pulsing, perturbed, perplexed, persistent.2

1From my poem LUST, in A MOTIVE FOR MAYHEM, Potes & Poets Press, 1989
2With hat off to Guy Maddin’s 2000 short film HEARTS OF THE WORLD

Abigail Child was born in 1948 in Newark, New Jersey. She has been at the forefront of experimental writing and media since the 1980s, having completed more than thirty film/video works and installations, and written 6 books. An acknowledged pioneer in montage, Child addresses the interplay between sound and image. Her major projects include IS THIS WHAT YOU WERE BORN FOR?: a 9 year, 7-part work; B/SIDE: a film that negotiates the politics of internal colonialism; 8 MILLION: a collaboration with avant-percussionist Ikue Mori that re-defines “music video”; THE SUBURBAN TRILOGY: a modular digi-film that prismatically examines a politics of place and identity; and MIRRORWORLDS: a multi-screen installation that incorporates parts of Child’s “foreign film” series to explore narrative excess. Her most recent film, A SHAPE OF ERROR is constructed as an imaginary home movie of the life of Mary Shelley.

Winner of the Rome Prize (2009-10), a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship (2005), Guggenheim (1996) and Fulbright Fellowships (1993), and the Stan Brakhage Award (2011), as well as participating in two Whitney Museum of American Art Biennials, (1989 and 1997) Child has had numerous retrospectives worldwide. These include Buena Vista Center in San Francisco, Anthology Film Archive (in conjunction with The New Museum, NY), Harvard Cinematheque, Reservoir, Switzerland, EXIS Korea and most recently at the Cinoteca in Rome. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art NY, the Whitney Museum, Centre Pompidou, Museo Reina Sofia, and in numerous international film festivals, including New York, Rotterdam, Locarno and London. Harvard University Cinematheque has created an Abigail Child Collection dedicated to preserving and exhibiting her work.

Child is also the author of five books of poetry, among them A MOTIVE FOR MAYHEM, SCATTER MATRIX AND ARTIFICIAL MEMORY, and a book of critical writings: THIS IS CALLED MOVING: A CRITICAL POETICS OF FILM (University of Alabama Press, 2005). As a teacher at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Child has been instrumental in building an interdisciplinary media/film program.

[neuespalte]


Photo from PREFACES (1981)
by Abigail Child

JACOB KASSAY

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

— Here are two photos. One is a photo of my sister at a show of mine and the other is of my cat in my fathers garden. Both are from the this Spring.


Jacob Kassay was born in 1984, in Buffalo, New York. He lives and works in Los Angeles and New York. Solo shows include Art: Concept, Paris; Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Eleven Rivington, New York; and Kitchen Distribution, Buffalo, New York.

www.galerieartconcept.com
www.xavierhufkens.com

BARBARA T. SMITH

Friday, June 22nd, 2012


Pioneer performance artist, Barbara T. Smith began her body-oriented work in 1965. By ‘68 she was creating powerful transformational performances and has continued to the present. The work often externalizes her inner psychic material in mythic rituals, based on issues of gender, spirituality, and sexuality and are integrated with larger cosmic laws and structures. Many pieces are intimate, personal and participatory often extending over many days. Since 1964 has also produced collages, prints, paintings, drawings and sculpturesfrequently related to her performances. Smith has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad and has taught at universities and art institutions around the world. A recipient of several awards and grants, Smith was a founding member of many alternative spaces in L.A. She was included in OUT OF ACTION: BETWEEN THE PERFORMANCE AND OBJECT, 1949-1979 at MOCA (1998); the survey show of L.A. artists at the Pompidou in Paris (2007); and WACK! ART AND THE FEMINIST REVOLUTION (2007) first at MOCA, later at PS1 in New York. In 2008 she had a solo show at Galerie Parisa Kind, Frankfurt and was included in the major Oslo exhibition called WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SEX IN SCANDINAVIA. Her work was included in eight PACIFIC STANDARD TIME (2011-12) exhibitions addressing the histories of performance, feminist art in Los Angeles.

www.barbaratsmithart.com

ALEKSANDRA MIR

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

COMMUNISM IN COLOR


May Day, Poland, 1971. Our neighbor, mining explosive engineer and avid amateur photographer R. Kondracki shot thousands of stills on ORWO color transparency film in this period.


ORWO was the East German cousin of Kodak, their histories fabulously intertwined: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orwo


This project is to honor Kondracki’s commitment to everyday photography, moments of joy, and especially to Color photography in a reality that is most often described as nothing but Gray.


After we left in April 1972 and were denied re-entry, our family reunions would happen in one or another Eastern Bloc country. Kondracki documented them all with great passion.


On the 40th anniversary of our exodus, I am gathering more ORWO Color photography from this era and from the Communist Bloc, shot by enthusiasts like Kondracki, to turn them into a book.


If you know anyone who visited or lived there in this period and who has ORWO Color pictures to share, get in touch! admin at aleksandramir.info, www.aleksandramir.info

MATTHEW HIGGS

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

EXPANSIVES – LIFE WITH YOU …

— This is the most expensive record I’ve bought (to date.) I think I paid $255.00 for it (plus shipping.)

It’s an early (1982), raw example of what would come to be known as Italo Disco, and was written by Gianluigi Farina, Francesco Rago and Monneret De Villard Xenia Olga Anastasia (aka X. Monneret.)

Farina, Rago and Monneret were responsible for other proto-Italo classics including Wanexa’s The Man From Colours and ‘Lectric Workers Robot Is Systematic and The Garden.

I’m still looking for a copy of The Man From Colours.


Matthew Higgs is an artist, writer and curator based in New York. Since 2004 he has been the director of White Columns, a not-for-profit art space located in New York’s West Village. Over the past twenty years he has organized more than 200 exhibitions and projects with artists, and has contributed writing to more than fifty publications. White Columns has a vinyl-only record label THE SOUND OF WHITE COLUMNS, its next release – summer 2012 – will be a 12″ EP of new recordings by Malcolm Mooney, the original vocalist from CAN.

www.whitecolumns.org

NINA BEIER

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

— Lately I have been receiving snapshots from around the world showing real life stuff that looks like my work. A curious fact, that I only realise now, is that they were all sent to me by people born in Norway.


Photo: Maria Brinch, 2 May 2012 10:39:49 CEST


Photo: Yngve Holen, 23 August 2011 12:43:35 CEST


Photo: Eivind Furnesvik, 9 May 2011 07:35:35 CEST

Nina Beier was born in 1975, in Copenhagen. Recent solo exhibitions include NINA BEIER at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; FOUR STOMACHS, Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp; Standard (Oslo); Croy Nielsen, Berlin; and Laura Bartlett Gallery, London. Beier’s works have been included in various group exhibitions such as MODIFY, AS NEEDED, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; EXHIBITION, EXHIBITION, Castello di Rivoli, Turin; MUSEUM OF SPEECH, Extra City, Antwerp; UNDER DECONSTRUCTION, The Swiss Institute, New York; LOST AND FOUND; and Neugerriemschneider, Berlin; and AUDIO, VIDEO, DISCO, Kunsthalle Zürich. Forthcoming exhibitions include WHEN ATTITUDES BECAME FORM, BECOME ATTITUDES, CCA Wattis, San Francisco; THE NEW PUBLIC, Museion, Bolzano; DOGMA, Metro Pictures, New York, PERFORMANCE YEAR ZERO, Tate Modern, London.

www.laurabartlettgallery.co.uk

KEIICHI TANAAMI

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

— Twenty years have already passed since I started drawing “my memories”, which began with a little fortuitous consideration. My drawings are like a diary, a recording of memories which are far away and blurred, like scenery flickering behind the deep fog. They continue to increase and there are almost ten thousand of them now.

Every secretly cumulated memory in my brain is a response to a delicate stimulation from my body or skin. These emerge at the moment of an event or incident, like when a polaroid photo gradually becomes vivid.


Keiichi Tanaami was born in 1936, in Kyobashi, Tokyo. He is one of the leading pop artists of postwar Japan. Recent shows include DRAWINGS AND COLLAGES 1967-1975, Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Berlin (2011); DIVIDING BRIDGE, Nanzuka Underground, Tokyo (2011); LOST AND WANDERING BRIDGE SERIES, Nanzuka Underground, Tokyo (2011); Keiichi Tanaami / Oliver Payne, STUDIOLO, Zurich (2011); WANDER IN THE CHAOS WORLD – KEIICHI TANAAMI’S FANTASTIC WORLD, The OCT Art & Design Gallery, Shennan, China (2010); KOCHUTEN, Nanzuka Underground, Tokyo (2009); SPIRAL 2, Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden (2010); DAYTRIPPER, Art & Public – Cabinet PH, Geneva, Switzerland (2008). As a filmmaker Tanaami’s films have been included at festivals such as the Norwegian International Film Festival, the Rotterdom International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the London International Film Festival.

www.nug.jp
www.galerie-lehmann.com

LEE ROURKE

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

DIALOGUE FROM A NOVEL ALREADY WRITTEN


“I think I like it out here because everything seems still, there’s hardly any movement, everything seems stationary . . . I like that.”


“What’s down below, under the waves, down underneath, through the planks of wood, beneath the dirty water, beneath all of this? . . .”


“I don’t really think of much, I just look at the sky, the shape of things . . .”


“I enjoy the silence, I guess. I like it that way, not too many families walk all the way out here, it’s too long, and when the train isn’t working, it’s near empty. That’s the best time, for me, when no one else can get here . . . But it’ll all end. It’s not always going to be like this. Our time here, however we use it, is limited.”

Lee Rourke is the author of the critically acclaimed novel THE CANAL (winner of The Guardian’s Not The Booker 2010), the short story collection EVERYDAY and a work of non-fiction A BRIEF HISTORY OF FABLES: FROM AESOP TO FLASH FICTION. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at Kingston University, London.

leerourke.blogspot.com

OSCAR TUAZON

Monday, April 30th, 2012

— The best part of my job is getting to work with a lot of amazing people. I’m actually not much of a builder myself – I’ve worked on a couple remodeling jobs, but always as the low guy on the totem pole. I know my way around a hammer, I know how to weld, but not too well. After years of working with concrete I still have a very crude understanding of it at best. But it’s what I like to do. And I’ve been very lucky to be able to learn on the job, working with people who know a lot more than I do.


Oscar Tuazon was born in 1975, in Tacoma, Washington. He lives and works in Paris, where he co-founded the collective-run artists’ gallery castillo/corrales. Recent solo shows include MANUAL LABOR, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich (2012); DIE, The Power Station, Dallas (2011); STEEL, PRESSURE-TREATED WOOD, OAK POST, OFFICE CHAIR, INDUCTION STOVETOP, ALUMINUM, Standard (Oslo), Oslo (2011); AMERICA IS MY WOMAN, Maccarone, New York, USA (2011); MY MISTAKE, ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2010); Oscar Tuazon, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2010). Selected group exhibitions include Whitney Biennial 2012, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2012); THE LANGUAGE OF LESS, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2011); ILLUMINATIONS (curated by Bice Curiger), 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2011).

www.maccarone.net
www.standardoslo.no
www.presenhuber.com

HEDI EL KHOLTI

Monday, April 30th, 2012

— Last year I went to see Peter Hook, the bass player from Joy Division/New Order, perform their debut album Unknown Pleasures at the Henry Fonda Theatre. I was with my friend Stephanie. We got tickets without thinking too much about it. As the event drew closer, it became obvious that it was terrible idea. Still, I was hopeful that Hook and his band could somehow pull it off. Maybe he knows what he’s doing and this isn’t just a way to make some quick cash now that he’s left New Order.

The place is packed. Old and young people, couples with kids are standing around waiting for the show to start. A transmission of knowledge. We sit at a booth and exchange trivia about Joy Division with a couple, while a documentary retracing the band’s career is projected on stage. The show finally starts and after hearing the first song, we completely lose hope. Stephanie leaves during the third song to go to our friend Heather’s Christmas party. She wants to buy a t-shirt but I convince her not to. I promise her that I’ll make her one. I think about the band’s off-grooves etchings and describe them to her. The one on Still, released after Ian Curtis’s suicide, says, “The chicken won’t stop” and “The chicken stops here.” The chicken tracks across the grooves on the opposite side would make a cool t-shirt. They reference the ending of Werner Herzog’s 1977 movie, Stroszek, where the character played by Bruno S., a street musician, leaves Berlin for the US, to escape the constant bullying his girlfriend’s ex-pimp subjects him to. After his trailer gets repossessed, and an absurd attempt to rob a bank, he ends up committing suicide. The film ends with a sequence showing a chicken dancing. Presumably this is the last movie Curtis, who was a fan of Herzog’s, saw on the BBC the night he hanged himself. All of this, and pretty much everything else, is common knowledge now, and features in the film’s Wikipedia page.

I walk upstairs to smoke a cigarette. I am vaguely hopeless but not angry as I gaze dreamily at Hollywood Boulevard. I think about what Joy Division meant to me then, what the sound signified and triggered. A floating atmosphere of defeat. Things that would unfold later, once I’d patiently deciphered the clues and researched the influences contained in the records. The two news stories I remember most from that time: the Tenerife Airport disaster in ’77, the deadliest accident in history and so close to Morocco. Jim Jones’s Guyana cult suicide on the cover of Paris Match in December ’78, a green-tinted black and white photo of bodies face-down on the ground. Leaders of men, made a promise for a new life.

An atmosphere in search of a sound. Where I grew up in Morocco, the only music we ever heard on the radio or at home was hippie music, preferably from those who had spent some time there in the ’60s—The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Tim Buckley. Or reggae and Arabic pop music. Flashbacks of hanouts, tiny Moroccan convenience stores, plastered with posters of Bob Marley playing soccer or Bruce Lee. They both died tragically. Men out of work hanging out inside smoking and drinking mint tea. How to describe it? Shanty towns a couple of blocks from my father’s house; the poverty, Sunday weddings, a procession, donkey carts, wild dogs tortured by children, unpaved dusty roads, a pungent smell of garbage in the summer that is almost sugary and pleasant. None of it belongs to me.

The country, in economic turmoil, stopped importing goods in the late ’70s, and the record stores that remained open just kept selling their stock as if history had stopped. The first 7-inch I remember buying was Visage’s Fade to Grey during a summer vacation to France in 1980. It was a total aesthetic shock to hear that particular mix of dance music tainted by melancholia, the sound that would later be perfected by New Order, Depeche Mode, and the Pet Shop Boys. An atmosphere in search of a language. ESL, half-understood lyrics, words became triggers. The meaning was always delayed by the discrepancy between the music and the lyrics.

I remember how unhappy I was then while listening to Closer. The drum roll at the beginning of Atmosphere a secret signal, “Don’t walk away in silence.” I can’t listen to their music very much anymore. Its meaning has been emptied out. “Oldness comes to rile the youth who dream suicide,” sang the Red House Painters. I think of the last page of Pierre Guyotat’s Coma, about what replaces that space, “a heart that only pumps blood, and blood that is no longer warming.”


Hedi El Kholti is a cultural presenter who has worked with Tony Duvert, Abdellah Taïa, Gary Lee Boas, Grisiledis Real, Holy Shit and other intellectual luminaries. He is Managing Editor of Semiotext(e).

www.semiotexte.com

MICHAEL BURKARD

Monday, April 30th, 2012

— I have a notebook which I had forgotten writing, some 5 years ago, and I came across it in the Fall. Each page, which I never do in a notebook, was part of a sequence of some 50 pieces or more. I find/found myself doing this over the past 12 years or so, perhaps it was another way to kind of forget that I had written something, to then come across it sometimes, quite a few years later, and read it as a ‘stranger’. Similarly some of the poems below, such as The Artist, I found written on a Neruda book.

DEATH IN REVERSE
Some index for clerical men and clerical women.
Some shadows. Some thin green.
Some index for men and women of the clergy.
A patient throbbing meant for them.
Pain: found. Loneliness: to a wound and an ear.
Starlight odd, much else. Death
in reverse, minimized, backwards.

NORTH OF YOURSELF
“I don’t mean
north of 14th Street,
I mean north of
yourself.”

NECESSARY
A bed in another corner of the house.
Or the house in the dreamer’s dream.

Darkness and more darkness and then a face renamed.
In a neighborhood without much space.

Eva Hesse – partly killed or diseased by necessary chemicals.
Which were also as part of the structures killing the structures.

The space is altered.
Not tiny like your changed name but tiny and still.

Michael Burkard was born in 1947 in Rome, New York. He is the author of eleven collections of poetry, including ENVELOPE OF NIGHT: SELECTED AND UNCOLLECTED POEMS 1966-1990. He has received numerous awards, including the Alice Fay DiCastagnola award (1986) and the Whiting Writers’ award (1988). He teaches at Syracuse University.

FLORIAN MAIER-AICHEN

Monday, April 30th, 2012

— Existing imagery, eg. postcards and their vantage points are a great point of reference and I often use them when researching ‘new’ photographs – there is no point to start from scratch on a picture that has innumerous predecessors. More copies of a subject make it more valuable to me.

Which is easy for the Alps, as they have been photographed plenty from the early days on (think of the Bisson brothers, or Eduard Spelterini) and it lives on in its cheap brother, the post or travel card.

The sameness of these postcards, sort of the consensus on subject and vantage point might off-set the idea of originality; to me they validate and prove right the depicted scene, and are a reason to acutally take the photograph myself.

My kind of landscape photography is less expedition than reenactment. It is not about the landscape and spritual experience, nor about a pioneer vision. It is just about an ‘original’ picture of a worn-out genre that I hope to find and I am usually happy when I am back home from the adventure.

Snow has always been a tremendous phantasy for me and – growing up in Germany – there was never enough of it. I only got snowed in once in my life in the Swiss Alps: It was an unforgettable 2 days.

In my pictures snow becomes a blank sheet of paper, an imaginative white space. It is the romantic counterpart to the technical side of photography, the fictional over the rational.

Looking at images of the Furka region in Switzerland – the Grimsel- and the Furkapass, all the imagery happened to be taken in the summertime. Since those passes are snowed in and therefore closed during the wintermonths, there are no images of it in the wintertime. Moreover the streets hardly exist anymore, covered and temporarily erased under the white snow.

When I hiked up the Grimselpass in March 2012 – on a maintained trail – unusual amounts of snow had blanked out the entire area, but my photo, almost the reverse of the found postcards, can’t keep up with the spectacular summer scene, so I am not sure what to do with it yet.



Florian Maier-Aichen was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1973. He studied at the School of Photography and Film, University for Gothenburg, Sweden and the University of Essen, Germany before earning his M.F.A from the University of California Los Angeles, CA. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid and his work is included in such public collections as the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Denver Museum of Art, Denver, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. He lives and works in Cologne, Germany and Los Angeles, CA.

www.303gallery.com
www.blumandpoe.com

MIKE DAVIS

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The terminus of the Dialectic as a photomicrograph.

Mike Davis is the author of several books including City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, Planet of Slums, Magical Urbanism, and Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb. Davis has been a fellow at the Getty Institute and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998. He teaches at the University of California, Irvine.

LUCY RAVEN

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

— I file these pictures in my computer under double vision. They have to do with seeing something twice, or remembering something you can’t quite put your finger on having known in the first place. I like to look at them when I’m feeling stuck, maybe because they all seem to pivot on a point just outside the frame, that no one inside the picture knows about yet.


Lucy Raven is an artist living and working in Oakland, California and New York City.

www.lucyraven.com

TAYLOR MEAD

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

I was recently shown these photos. They’ve never been published, and I don’t remember having them taken, but that’s me. I’ve paired them with a poem from the ’80s. You know, whatever.


Taylor Mead in Paris circa 1967
Photos: Shunk-Kender © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation


Freedom is the trick word
of the century

Let’s go to Capri this spring
*
Out of Show-Business into a real love affair.
*
It’s dangerous
–– this world
*
I don’t know whether it’s
good
or bad
or sad.
*
In my field I’m the best!
And I don’t know what that field is ! !
? ?

Spontaneity is better, but
it’s better not to worry
about it––or, you better
not worry about it––or
your grandmother’s
drawers are hanging on
the line or the lawn
has been trimmed,
or Uncle Henry is going
down on the Mimosa.
And Aunt Hank-O-Hara
is doing
too many genuflexions.
And her hands are
wandering––
I may do this play
All by Myself.
God Has No Talent!

The Pod People will all
All take over and we can
crawl in and get warm
A Fellini Movie
Mea Fellina
You genius of the Italian
Suburbs…
*
The Fear of Taylor Mead
The Fear of Taylor Mead
The Unequivocal Street
Celebrity
Fear of his…….


Taken from SON OF ANDY WARHOL: VOLUME FOUR: EXCERPTS FROM THE ANONYMOUS DIARY OF A NEW YORK YOUTH (1986)

Taylor Mead was born in 1924 in Grosse Point, Michigan. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including TAYLOR MEAD ON AMPHETAMINE AND IN EUROPE (Boss Books, 1968) and, most recently, A SIMPLE COUNTRY GIRL (Bowery Books, 2005). His first venture into film was in Ron Rice’s THE FLOWER THIEF in 1960. Soon after Mead relocated to New York, where he acted on stage and made numerous films, including a starring turn in Warhol’s TARZAN AND JANE REGAINED… SORT OF (1964). Mead was the subject of William A. Kirkley’s 2005 documentary EXCAVATING TAYLOR MEAD, appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s COFFEE AND CIGARETTES (2003), and continues to read at the Bowery Poetry Club every Monday night.

www.churnerandchurner.com

ALEX OLSON

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Alex Olson for Alex Olson.


As demoed by LeRoy Stevens.

Alex Olson was born in Boston, MA in 1978, and she currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

www.shanecampbellgallery.com
www.laurabartlettgallery.co.uk

MICHELLE GRABNER

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

December 4, 2011
Week 13, MetLife Stadium
PACKERS vs. GIANTS
Win 38-35

Passing: A. Rodgers 235 yards
Rushing: A. Rodgers 66 yards
Receiving: G. Jennings 94 yards

The game shall be played upon a rectangular field, 360 feet in length and 160 feet in width. The lines at each end of the field are termed End Lines. Those on each side are termed Sidelines. Goal Lines shall be established in the field 10 yards from and parallel to each end line. The area bounded by goal lines and sidelines is known as the Field of Play. The areas bounded by goal lines, and sidelines are known as the End Zones.


Michelle Grabner was born in Oshkosh Wisconsin in 1962 and lives and works in Oak Park, Illinois and Waupaca County Wisconsin. She is a professor in Painting and Drawing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and she is a regular contributor to Artforum, Art-Agenda and X-tra. In 2010 Grabner co-edited THE STUDIO READER (University of Chicago Press, 2010). She has exhibited nationally and internationally including Musée d´art Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg; Tate St. Ives, UK; Kunsthalle, Bern; Daimler Contemporary, Berlin; Midway Contemporary, Minneapolis, MN; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Milwaukee Art Museum; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Kansas; among others. With her husband Brad Killam, she also runs the artist spaces, The Suburban in Oak Park, IL and The Poor Farm in Northeastern Wisconsin.

www.michellegrabner.com
www.thesuburban.org

SIMRYN GILL

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012


Simryn Gill was born in Singapore in 1959. She lives in Sydney and spends a few months of every year in Port Dickson in Malaysia, the town where she grew up. She uses many different methods and materials—photography, making objects, collecting things, making assemblages, drawing, writing—in thinking about how we inhabit the places we live in. She also makes artist’s books. Some recent ones are: GARDEN published by Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2010); PEARLS published by Raking Leaves, London & Colombo, (2008); GUIDE TO THE MURALS AT TANJONG PAGAR RAILWAY STATION, SINGAPORE, published by Singapore Biennale (2006).

www.amritajhaveri.com
www.breenspace.com
www.tracywilliamsltd.com

MARK LECKEY

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I came across this in a roadside shrine in Italy. The Madonna of the Numinous Palette.

Mark Leckey was born in Birkenhead, Merseyside in 1964 and lives and works in London. Leckey has exhibited his videos, multi-media installations and collages widely and has had solo shows at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2011); Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, U.K. (2010); Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany (2009); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2007); Portikus, Frankfurt (2005); and Migros Museum, Zurich, Switzerland (2003). He’s been included in several important international exhibitions including 10,000 Lives: The Eighth Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea (2010); Moving Images: Artists & Video/Film, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (2010); Playing Homage, Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery, Canada; Sympathy for the Devil, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (2007); Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2005); Manifesta 5, European Biennial of Contemporary Art, San Sebastian, Spain (2004); Fast Forward. Media Art Sammlung Goetz, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany (2003); and New Contemporaries, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK (1999), among others. Leckey has presented his lecture/performances at the ICA, London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2008 Leckey received the Turner Prize and the Central Art Award, Kölnischer Kunstverein. From 2005 to 2009 Leckey was Professor of Film Studies at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His work is included in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Het Domein Sittard, The Netherlands; Tate Gallery, London, UK; The Trussardi Foundation, Milan, Italy; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.

www.gavinbrown.biz
www.cabinet.uk.com
www.galeriebuchholz.de