Archive for the ‘Allgemein’ Category

SARA CWYNAR

Monday, October 31st, 2016

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

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

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

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


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

www.saracwynar.com
www.coopercolegallery.com

MARY BETH EDELSON

Monday, October 31st, 2016

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


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

www.marybethedelson.com

MARTINE SYMS

Monday, October 31st, 2016

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

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

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

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

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


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

www.martinesyms.com
www.bridgetdonahue.nyc

TODD GRAY

Monday, October 31st, 2016

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

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

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

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

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


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

www.toddgrayart.com

MICHAEL BROPHY

Monday, October 31st, 2016
SCOUT


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

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

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

THE KIT



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

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

OWYHEE



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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

www.russoleegallery.com
www.michaelbrophy.com

TOM MCCARTHY

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

AMIEL COURTIN-WILSON

Saturday, September 10th, 2016
MODESTO 2014/2015

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


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

www.ruinfilm.com
www.chasingbuddhafilm.com
www.warmbloodfilm.com

SARAH BRAMAN

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

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


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

www.miandn.com
www.canadanewyork.com

MALERIE MARDER

Saturday, September 10th, 2016


Dear Michael,

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

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

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

Love,
Malerie


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

www.maleriemarder.com

MIKE DECAPITE

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

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

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

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

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










Click any image to view larger
Photo credit: Don Heiny


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

www.sparklestreet.com

LUCILE HADZIHALILOVIC

Monday, May 30th, 2016
ARUM FLOWERS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

ROSALIND FOX SOLOMON

Monday, May 30th, 2016
I WENT UNDERCOVER IN CAMBODIA



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

www.rosalindfoxsolomon.com
www.brucesilverstein.com

GREGORY CREWDSON

Monday, May 30th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


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

 


Keep separate and one with nature. (GC)

 


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

 


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

 

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

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

www.gagosian.com

FIA BACKSTRÖM

Monday, May 30th, 2016

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

The invisible part of radioactivity. 

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

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

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

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

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

N. DASH

Monday, May 30th, 2016


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

www.caseykaplangallery.com

RICHARD ALDRICH

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

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


The War pt.1

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

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

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

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





Click image to view larger


The War pt.3

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

“Why are they doing this?” I shouted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BASMA ALSHARIF

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

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

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

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

The four videos below are four of my memories.








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

www.imanefares.com

OLIVIA LAING

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

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


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


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




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


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

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

www.olivialaing.co.uk

TRES WARREN

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
WAVE MEDITATION


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

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

Ocean waves
Super 8mm film (2011)

Sound waves
Guitar improvisation & drone loop (2016)

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

www.psychicills.com

ALISSA BENNETT

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

20 East 65th Street, July 5, 1998

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

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

34 East 62nd Street, July 10, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

424 Hudson Street, September 28th, 2006

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

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

700 Avenue C, August 19, 1989

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

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


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

PETER STRICKLAND

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

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

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

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


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

DIKE BLAIR

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

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

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


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

www.gagosian.com

RAHA RAISSNIA

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

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




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


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

www.miguelabreugallery.com

RHYS LEE

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

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

2016



2015



2014



2014 – Collabs

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

www.janmurphygallery.com.au
www.nicholasthompsongallery.com.au

MALCOLM LE GRICE

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

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


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

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

www.malcolmlegrice.com
www.lespressesdureel.com

SUE DE BEER

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

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

These are 7 of my favorites.


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

www.suedebeer.com
www.marianneboeskygallery.com

BRIAN CALVIN

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

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

A BARREL DROPS ALL FALLS


A LITTLE MONEY

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

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


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

www.antonkerngallery.com
www.alminerech.com
www.corvi-mora.com
www.corbettvsdempsey.com

JASON EVANS

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

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

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

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

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


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

www.thedailynice.com

JAY GIAMPIETRO

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ultimate Commute
Click image to view larger

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

www.instagram.com/jaygiampietro
www.magicsquarefilms.com

ARIANA REINES

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

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

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

SAVE THE WORLD

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

JOSEPH SZABO

Friday, November 27th, 2015
FAMILY ALBUM


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


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

www.gittermangallery.com

SANYA KANTAROVSKY

Friday, November 27th, 2015

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


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

www.kantarovsky.com
www.marcfoxx.com
www.modernart.net
www.tanyaleighton.com

MATT DAMHAVE

Friday, November 27th, 2015

THE MACHINE STOPS
by E.M. Forster (1909)

I
THE AIR-SHIP

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

An electric bell rang.

The woman touched a switch and the music was silent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Kuno, how slow you are.”

He smiled gravely.

“I really believe you enjoy dawdling.”

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

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

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

“Well?”

“I want you to come and see me.”

Vashti watched his face in the blue plate.

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

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

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

“Why not?”

“One mustn”t.”

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

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

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

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

“I dislike air-ships.”

“Why?”

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

“I do not get them anywhere else.”

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

He paused for an instant.

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

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

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

“I do not understand.”

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

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

“A sword?;”

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

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

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

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

She was shocked again.

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

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

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

“And besides—”

“Well?”

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

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

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

“In a sense, but—”

His image is the blue plate faded.

“Kuno!”

He had isolated himself.

For a moment Vashti felt lonely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She thought, “I have not the time.”

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

“Kuno!”

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

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

His image faded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Because I cannot leave this place.”

“Why?”

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

“Have you been on the surface of the earth yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Then what is it?”

“I will not tell you through the Machine.”

She resumed her life.

But she thought of Kuno as a baby, his birth, his removal to the public nurseries, her own visit to him there, his visits to her-visits which stopped when the Machine had assigned him a room on the other side of the earth. “Parents, duties of,” said the book of the Machine,” cease at the moment of birth. P.422327483.” True, but there was something special about Kuno – indeed there had been something special about all her children – and, after all, she must brave the journey if he desired it. And “something tremendous might happen”. What did that mean? The nonsense of a youthful man, no doubt, but she must go. Again she pressed the unfamiliar button, again the wall swung back, and she saw the tunnel that curves out of sight. Clasping the Book, she rose, tottered on to the platform, and summoned the car. Her room closed behind her: the journey to the northern hemisphere had begun.

Of course it was perfectly easy. The car approached and in it she found armchairs exactly like her own. When she signaled, it stopped, and she tottered into the lift. One other passenger was in the lift, the first fellow creature she had seen face to face for months. Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul.

The air-ship service was a relic form the former age. It was kept up, because it was easier to keep it up than to stop it or to diminish it, but it now far exceeded the wants of the population. Vessel after vessel would rise form the vomitories of Rye or of Christchurch (I use the antique names), would sail into the crowded sky, and would draw up at the wharves of the south – empty. so nicely adjusted was the system, so independent of meteorology, that the sky, whether calm or cloudy, resembled a vast kaleidoscope whereon the same patterns periodically recurred. The ship on which Vashti sailed started now at sunset, now at dawn. But always, as it passed above Rheas, it would neighbour the ship that served between Helsingfors and the Brazils, and, every third time it surmounted the Alps, the fleet of Palermo would cross its track behind. Night and day, wind and storm, tide and earthquake, impeded man no longer. He had harnessed Leviathan. All the old literature, with its praise of Nature, and its fear of Nature, rang false as the prattle of a child.

Yet as Vashti saw the vast flank of the ship, stained with exposure to the outer air, her horror of direct experience returned. It was not quite like the air-ship in the cinematophote. For one thing it smelt – not strongly or unpleasantly, but it did smell, and with her eyes shut she should have known that a new thing was close to her. Then she had to walk to it from the lift, had to submit to glances form the other passengers. The man in front dropped his Book – no great matter, but it disquieted them all. In the rooms, if the Book was dropped, the floor raised it mechanically, but the gangway to the air-ship was not so prepared, and the sacred volume lay motionless. They stopped – the thing was unforeseen – and the man, instead of picking up his property, felt the muscles of his arm to see how they had failed him. Then some one actually said with direct utterance: “We shall be late” – and they trooped on board, Vashti treading on the pages as she did so.

Inside, her anxiety increased. The arrangements were old- fashioned and rough. There was even a female attendant, to whom she would have to announce her wants during the voyage. Of course a revolving platform ran the length of the boat, but she was expected to walk from it to her cabin. Some cabins were better than others, and she did not get the best. She thought the attendant had been unfair, and spasms of rage shook her. The glass valves had closed, she could not go back. She saw, at the end of the vestibule, the lift in which she had ascended going quietly up and down, empty. Beneath those corridors of shining tiles were rooms, tier below tier, reaching far into the earth, and in each room there sat a human being, eating, or sleeping, or producing ideas. And buried deep in the hive was her own room. Vashti was afraid.

“O Machine!” she murmured, and caressed her Book, and was comforted.

Then the sides of the vestibule seemed to melt together, as do the passages that we see in dreams, the lift vanished , the Book that had been dropped slid to the left and vanished, polished tiles rushed by like a stream of water, there was a slight jar, and the air-ship, issuing from its tunnel, soared above the waters of a tropical ocean.

It was night. For a moment she saw the coast of Sumatra edged by the phosphorescence of waves, and crowned by lighthouses, still sending forth their disregarded beams. These also vanished, and only the stars distracted her. They were not motionless, but swayed to and fro above her head, thronging out of one sky-light into another, as if the universe and not the air-ship was careening. And, as often happens on clear nights, they seemed now to be in perspective, now on a plane; now piled tier beyond tier into the infinite heavens, now concealing infinity, a roof limiting for ever the visions of men. In either case they seemed intolerable. “Are we to travel in the dark?” called the passengers angrily, and the attendant, who had been careless, generated the light, and pulled down the blinds of pliable metal. When the air-ships had been built, the desire to look direct at things still lingered in the world. Hence the extraordinary number of skylights and windows, and the proportionate discomfort to those who were civilized and refined. Even in Vashti”s cabin one star peeped through a flaw in the blind, and after a few hers” uneasy slumber, she was disturbed by an unfamiliar glow, which was the dawn.

Quick as the ship had sped westwards, the earth had rolled eastwards quicker still, and had dragged back Vashti and her companions towards the sun. Science could prolong the night, but only for a little, and those high hopes of neutralizing the earth”s diurnal revolution had passed, together with hopes that were possibly higher. To “keep pace with the sun,” or even to outstrip it, had been the aim of the civilization preceding this. Racing aeroplanes had been built for the purpose, capable of enormous speed, and steered by the greatest intellects of the epoch. Round the globe they went, round and round, westward, westward, round and round, amidst humanity”s applause. In vain. The globe went eastward quicker still, horrible accidents occurred, and the Committee of the Machine, at the time rising into prominence, declared the pursuit illegal, unmechanical, and punishable by Homelessness.

Of Homelessness more will be said later.

Doubtless the Committee was right. Yet the attempt to “defeat the sun” aroused the last common interest that our race experienced about the heavenly bodies, or indeed about anything. It was the last time that men were compacted by thinking of a power outside the world. The sun had conquered, yet it was the end of his spiritual dominion. Dawn, midday, twilight, the zodiacal path, touched neither men”s lives not their hearts, and science retreated into the ground, to concentrate herself upon problems that she was certain of solving.

So when Vashti found her cabin invaded by a rosy finger of light, she was annoyed, and tried to adjust the blind. But the blind flew up altogether, and she saw through the skylight small pink clouds, swaying against a background of blue, and as the sun crept higher, its radiance entered direct, brimming down the wall, like a golden sea. It rose and fell with the air-ship”s motion, just as waves rise and fall, but it advanced steadily, as a tide advances. Unless she was careful, it would strike her face. A spasm of horror shook her and she rang for the attendant. The attendant too was horrified, but she could do nothing; it was not her place to mend the blind. She could only suggest that the lady should change her cabin, which she accordingly prepared to do.

People were almost exactly alike all over the world, but the attendant of the air-ship, perhaps owing to her exceptional duties, had grown a little out of the common. She had often to address passengers with direct speech, and this had given her a certain roughness and originality of manner. When Vashti served away form the sunbeams with a cry, she behaved barbarically – she put out her hand to steady her.

“How dare you!” exclaimed the passenger. “You forget yourself!”

The woman was confused, and apologized for not having let her fall. People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine.

“Where are we now?” asked Vashti haughtily.

“We are over Asia,” said the attendant, anxious to be polite.

“Asia?”

“You must excuse my common way of speaking. I have got into the habit of calling places over which I pass by their unmechanical names.”

“Oh, I remember Asia. The Mongols came from it.”

“Beneath us, in the open air, stood a city that was once called Simla.”

“Have you ever heard of the Mongols and of the Brisbane school?”

“No.”

“Brisbane also stood in the open air.”

“Those mountains to the right – let me show you them.” She pushed back a metal blind. The main chain of the Himalayas was revealed. “They were once called the Roof of the World, those mountains.”

“You must remember that, before the dawn of civilization, they seemed to be an impenetrable wall that touched the stars. It was supposed that no one but the gods could exist above their summits. How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!”

“How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!” said Vashti.

“How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!” echoed the passenger who had dropped his Book the night before, and who was standing in the passage.

“And that white stuff in the cracks? – what is it?”

“I have forgotten its name.”

“Cover the window, please. These mountains give me no ideas.”

The northern aspect of the Himalayas was in deep shadow: on the Indian slope the sun had just prevailed. The forests had been destroyed during the literature epoch for the purpose of making newspaper-pulp, but the snows were awakening to their morning glory, and clouds still hung on the breasts of Kinchinjunga. In the plain were seen the ruins of cities, with diminished rivers creeping by their walls, and by the sides of these were sometimes the signs of vomitories, marking the cities of to day. Over the whole prospect air-ships rushed, crossing the inter-crossing with incredible aplomb, and rising nonchalantly when they desired to escape the perturbations of the lower atmosphere and to traverse the Roof of the World.

“We have indeed advance, thanks to the Machine,” repeated the attendant, and hid the Himalayas behind a metal blind.

The day dragged wearily forward. The passengers sat each in his cabin, avoiding one another with an almost physical repulsion and longing to be once more under the surface of the earth. There were eight or ten of them, mostly young males, sent out from the public nurseries to inhabit the rooms of those who had died in various parts of the earth. The man who had dropped his Book was on the homeward journey. He had been sent to Sumatra for the purpose of propagating the race. Vashti alone was travelling by her private will.

At midday she took a second glance at the earth. The air- ship was crossing another range of mountains, but she could see little, owing to clouds. Masses of black rock hovered below her, and merged indistinctly into grey. Their shapes were fantastic; one of them resembled a prostrate man.

“No ideas here,” murmured Vashti, and hid the Caucasus behind a metal blind.

In the evening she looked again. They were crossing a golden sea, in which lay many small islands and one peninsula. She repeated, “No ideas here,” and hid Greece behind a metal blind.

II

THE MENDING APPARATUS

By a vestibule, by a lift, by a tubular railway, by a platform, by a sliding door – by reversing all the steps of her departure did Vashti arrive at her son”s room, which exactly resembled her own. She might well declare that the visit was superfluous. The buttons, the knobs, the reading-desk with the Book, the temperature, the atmosphere, the illumination – all were exactly the same. And if Kuno himself, flesh of her flesh, stood close beside her at last, what profit was there in that? She was too well-bred to shake him by the hand.

Averting her eyes, she spoke as follows:

“Here I am. I have had the most terrible journey and greatly retarded the development of my soul. It is not worth it, Kuno, it is not worth it. My time is too precious. The sunlight almost touched me, and I have met with the rudest people. I can only stop a few minutes. Say what you want to say, and then I must return.”

“I have been threatened with Homelessness,” said Kuno.

She looked at him now.

“I have been threatened with Homelessness, and I could not tell you such a thing through the Machine.”

Homelessness means death. The victim is exposed to the air, which kills him.

“I have been outside since I spoke to you last. The tremendous thing has happened, and they have discovered me.”

“But why shouldn”t you go outside?” she exclaimed, “It is perfectly legal, perfectly mechanical, to visit the surface of the earth. I have lately been to a lecture on the sea; there is no objection to that; one simply summons a respirator and gets an Egression-permit. It is not the kind of thing that spiritually minded people do, and I begged you not to do it, but there is no legal objection to it.”

“I did not get an Egression-permit.”

“Then how did you get out?”

“I found out a way of my own.”

The phrase conveyed no meaning to her, and he had to repeat it.

“A way of your own?” she whispered. “But that would be wrong.”

“Why?”

The question shocked her beyond measure.

“You are beginning to worship the Machine,” he said coldly.

“You think it irreligious of me to have found out a way of my own. It was just what the Committee thought, when they threatened me with Homelessness.”

At this she grew angry. “I worship nothing!” she cried. “I am most advanced. I don”t think you irreligious, for there is no such thing as religion left. All the fear and the superstition that existed once have been destroyed by the Machine. I only meant that to find out a way of your own was—Besides, there is no new way out.”

“So it is always supposed.”

“Except through the vomitories, for which one must have an Egression-permit, it is impossible to get out. The Book says so.”

“Well, the Book”s wrong, for I have been out on my feet.”

For Kuno was possessed of a certain physical strength.

By these days it was a demerit to be muscular. Each infant was examined at birth, and all who promised undue strength were destroyed. Humanitarians may protest, but it would have been no true kindness to let an athlete live; he would never have been happy in that state of life to which the Machine had called him; he would have yearned for trees to climb, rivers to bathe in, meadows and hills against which he might measure his body. Man must be adapted to his surroundings, must he not? In the dawn of the world our weakly must be exposed on Mount Taygetus, in its twilight our strong will suffer euthanasia, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress eternally.

“You know that we have lost the sense of space. We say “space is annihilated”, but we have annihilated not space, but the sense thereof. We have lost a part of ourselves. I determined to recover it, and I began by walking up and down the platform of the railway outside my room. Up and down, until I was tired, and so did recapture the meaning of “Near” and “Far”. “Near” is a place to which I can get quickly on my feet, not a place to which the train or the air-ship will take me quickly. “Far” is a place to which I cannot get quickly on my feet; the vomitory is “far”, though I could be there in thirty-eight seconds by summoning the train. Man is the measure. That was my first lesson. Man”s feet are the measure for distance, his hands are the measure for ownership, his body is the measure for all that is lovable and desirable and strong. Then I went further: it was then that I called to you for the first time, and you would not come.

“This city, as you know, is built deep beneath the surface of the earth, with only the vomitories protruding. Having paced the platform outside my own room, I took the lift to the next platform and paced that also, and so with each in turn, until I came to the topmost, above which begins the earth. All the platforms were exactly alike, and all that I gained by visiting them was to develop my sense of space and my muscles. I think I should have been content with this – it is not a little thing, – but as I walked and brooded, it occurred to me that our cities had been built in the days when men still breathed the outer air, and that there had been ventilation shafts for the workmen. I could think of nothing but these ventilation shafts. Had they been destroyed by all the food-tubes and medicine-tubes and music- tubes that the Machine has evolved lately? Or did traces of them remain? One thing was certain. If I came upon them anywhere, it would be in the railway-tunnels of the topmost storey. Everywhere else, all space was accounted for.

“I am telling my story quickly, but don”t think that I was not a coward or that your answers never depressed me. It is not the proper thing, it is not mechanical, it is not decent to walk along a railway-tunnel. I did not fear that I might tread upon a live rail and be killed. I feared something far more intangible-doing what was not contemplated by the Machine. Then I said to myself, “Man is the measure”, and I went, and after many visits I found an opening.

“The tunnels, of course, were lighted. Everything is light, artificial light; darkness is the exception. So when I saw a black gap in the tiles, I knew that it was an exception, and rejoiced. I put in my arm – I could put in no more at first – and waved it round and round in ecstasy. I loosened another tile, and put in my head, and shouted into the darkness: “I am coming, I shall do it yet,” and my voice reverberated down endless passages. I seemed to hear the spirits of those dead workmen who had returned each evening to the starlight and to their wives, and all the generations who had lived in the open air called back to me, “You will do it yet, you are coming,””

He paused, and, absurd as he was, his last words moved her.

For Kuno had lately asked to be a father, and his request had been refused by the Committee. His was not a type that the Machine desired to hand on.

“Then a train passed. It brushed by me, but I thrust my head and arms into the hole. I had done enough for one day, so I crawled back to the platform, went down in the lift, and summoned my bed. Ah what dreams! And again I called you, and again you refused.”

She shook her head and said:

“Don”t. Don”t talk of these terrible things. You make me miserable. You are throwing civilization away.”

“But I had got back the sense of space and a man cannot rest then. I determined to get in at the hole and climb the shaft. And so I exercised my arms. Day after day I went through ridiculous movements, until my flesh ached, and I could hang by my hands and hold the pillow of my bed outstretched for many minutes. Then I summoned a respirator, and started.

“It was easy at first. The mortar had somehow rotted, and I soon pushed some more tiles in, and clambered after them into the darkness, and the spirits of the dead comforted me. I don”t know what I mean by that. I just say what I felt. I felt, for the first time, that a protest had been lodged against corruption, and that even as the dead were comforting me, so I was comforting the unborn. I felt that humanity existed, and that it existed without clothes. How can I possibly explain this? It was naked, humanity seemed naked, and all these tubes and buttons and machineries neither came into the world with us, nor will they follow us out, nor do they matter supremely while we are here. Had I been strong, I would have torn off every garment I had, and gone out into the outer air unswaddled. But this is not for me, nor perhaps for my generation. I climbed with my respirator and my hygienic clothes and my dietetic tabloids! Better thus than not at all.

“There was a ladder, made of some primæval metal. The light from the railway fell upon its lowest rungs, and I saw that it led straight upwards out of the rubble at the bottom of the shaft. Perhaps our ancestors ran up and down it a dozen times daily, in their building. As I climbed, the rough edges cut through my gloves so that my hands bled. The light helped me for a little, and then came darkness and, worse still, silence which pierced my ears like a sword. The Machine hums! Did you know that? Its hum penetrates our blood, and may even guide our thoughts. Who knows! I was getting beyond its power. Then I thought: “This silence means that I am doing wrong.” But I heard voices in the silence, and again they strengthened me.” He laughed. “I had need of them. The next moment I cracked my head against something.”

She sighed.

“I had reached one of those pneumatic stoppers that defend us from the outer air. You may have noticed them no the air- ship. Pitch dark, my feet on the rungs of an invisible ladder, my hands cut; I cannot explain how I lived through this part, but the voices till comforted me, and I felt for fastenings. The stopper, I suppose, was about eight feet across. I passed my hand over it as far as I could reach. It was perfectly smooth. I felt it almost to the centre. Not quite to the centre, for my arm was too short. Then the voice said: “Jump. It is worth it. There may be a handle in the centre, and you may catch hold of it and so come to us your own way. And if there is no handle, so that you may fall and are dashed to pieces – it is till worth it: you will still come to us your own way.” So I jumped. There was a handle, and —”

He paused. Tears gathered in his mother”s eyes. She knew that he was fated. If he did not die today he would die tomorrow. There was not room for such a person in the world. And with her pity disgust mingled. She was ashamed at having borne such a son, she who had always been so respectable and so full of ideas. Was he really the little boy to whom she had taught the use of his stops and buttons, and to whom she had given his first lessons in the Book? The very hair that disfigured his lip showed that he was reverting to some savage type. On atavism the Machine can have no mercy.

“There was a handle, and I did catch it. I hung tranced over the darkness and heard the hum of these workings as the last whisper in a dying dream. All the things I had cared about and all the people I had spoken to through tubes appeared infinitely little. Meanwhile the handle revolved. My weight had set something in motion and I span slowly, and then—

“I cannot describe it. I was lying with my face to the sunshine. Blood poured from my nose and ears and I heard a tremendous roaring. The stopper, with me clinging to it, had simply been blown out of the earth, and the air that we make down here was escaping through the vent into the air above. It burst up like a fountain. I crawled back to it – for the upper air hurts – and, as it were, I took great sips from the edge. My respirator had flown goodness knows here, my clothes were torn. I just lay with my lips close to the hole, and I sipped until the bleeding stopped. You can imagine nothing so curious. This hollow in the grass – I will speak of it in a minute, – the sun shining into it, not brilliantly but through marbled clouds, – the peace, the nonchalance, the sense of space, and, brushing my cheek, the roaring fountain of our artificial air! Soon I spied my respirator, bobbing up and down in the current high above my head, and higher still were many air-ships. But no one ever looks out of air-ships, and in any case they could not have picked me up. There I was, stranded. The sun shone a little way down the shaft, and revealed the topmost rung of the ladder, but it was hopeless trying to reach it. I should either have been tossed up again by the escape, or else have fallen in, and died. I could only lie on the grass, sipping and sipping, and from time to time glancing around me.

“I knew that I was in Wessex, for I had taken care to go to a lecture on the subject before starting. Wessex lies above the room in which we are talking now. It was once an important state. Its kings held all the southern coast form the Andredswald to Cornwall, while the Wansdyke protected them on the north, running over the high ground. The lecturer was only concerned with the rise of Wessex, so I do not know how long it remained an international power, nor would the knowledge have assisted me. To tell the truth I could do nothing but laugh, during this part. There was I, with a pneumatic stopper by my side and a respirator bobbing over my head, imprisoned, all three of us, in a grass-grown hollow that was edged with fern.”

Then he grew grave again.

“Lucky for me that it was a hollow. For the air began to fall back into it and to fill it as water fills a bowl. I could crawl about. Presently I stood. I breathed a mixture, in which the air that hurts predominated whenever I tried to climb the sides. This was not so bad. I had not lost my tabloids and remained ridiculously cheerful, and as for the Machine, I forgot about it altogether. My one aim now was to get to the top, where the ferns were, and to view whatever objects lay beyond.

“I rushed the slope. The new air was still too bitter for me and I came rolling back, after a momentary vision of something grey. The sun grew very feeble, and I remembered that he was in Scorpio – I had been to a lecture on that too. If the sun is in Scorpio, and you are in Wessex, it means that you must be as quick as you can, or it will get too dark. (This is the first bit of useful information I have ever got from a lecture, and I expect it will be the last.) It made me try frantically to breathe the new air, and to advance as far as I dared out of my pond. The hollow filled so slowly. At times I thought that the fountain played with less vigour. My respirator seemed to dance nearer the earth; the roar was decreasing.”

He broke off.

“I don”t think this is interesting you. The rest will interest you even less. There are no ideas in it, and I wish that I had not troubled you to come. We are too different, mother.”

She told him to continue.

“It was evening before I climbed the bank. The sun had very nearly slipped out of the sky by this time, and I could not get a good view. You, who have just crossed the Roof of the World, will not want to hear an account of the little hills that I saw – low colourless hills. But to me they were living and the turf that covered them was a skin, under which their muscles rippled, and I felt that those hills had called with incalculable force to men in the past, and that men had loved them. Now they sleep – perhaps for ever. They commune with humanity in dreams. Happy the man, happy the woman, who awakes the hills of Wessex. For though they sleep, they will never die.”

His voice rose passionately.

“Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives in the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It was robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops – but not on our lies. The Machine proceeds – but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die. Oh, I have no remedy – or, at least, only one – to tell men again and again that I have seen the hills of Wessex as Ælfrid saw them when he overthrew the Danes.

“So the sun set. I forgot to mention that a belt of mist lay between my hill and other hills, and that it was the colour of pearl.”

He broke off for the second time.

“Go on,” said his mother wearily.

He shook his head.

“Go on. Nothing that you say can distress me now. I am hardened.”

“I had meant to tell you the rest, but I cannot: I know that I cannot: good-bye.”

Vashti stood irresolute. All her nerves were tingling with his blasphemies. But she was also inquisitive.

“This is unfair,” she complained. “You have called me across the world to hear your story, and hear it I will. Tell me – as briefly as possible, for this is a disastrous waste of time – tell me how you returned to civilization.”

“Oh – that!” he said, starting. “You would like to hear about civilization. Certainly. Had I got to where my respirator fell down?”

“No – but I understand everything now. You put on your respirator, and managed to walk along the surface of the earth to a vomitory, and there your conduct was reported to the Central Committee.”

“By no means.”

He passed his hand over his forehead, as if dispelling some strong impression. Then, resuming his narrative, he warmed to it again.

“My respirator fell about sunset. I had mentioned that the fountain seemed feebler, had I not?”

“Yes.”

“About sunset, it let the respirator fall. As I said, I had entirely forgotten about the Machine, and I paid no great attention at the time, being occupied with other things. I had my pool of air, into which I could dip when the outer keenness became intolerable, and which would possibly remain for days, provided that no wind sprang up to disperse it. Not until it was too late did I realize what the stoppage of the escape implied. You see – the gap in the tunnel had been mended; the Mending Apparatus; the Mending Apparatus, was after me.

“One other warning I had, but I neglected it. The sky at night was clearer than it had been in the day, and the moon, which was about half the sky behind the sun, shone into the dell at moments quite brightly. I was in my usual place – on the boundary between the two atmospheres – when I thought I saw something dark move across the bottom of the dell, and vanish into the shaft. In my folly, I ran down. I bent over and listened, and I thought I heard a faint scraping noise in the depths.

“At this – but it was too late – I took alarm. I determined to put on my respirator and to walk right out of the dell. But my respirator had gone. I knew exactly where it had fallen – between the stopper and the aperture – and I could even feel the mark that it had made in the turf. It had gone, and I realized that something evil was at work, and I had better escape to the other air, and, if I must die, die running towards the cloud that had been the colour of a pearl. I never started. Out of the shaft – it is too horrible. A worm, a long white worm, had crawled out of the shaft and gliding over the moonlit grass.

“I screamed. I did everything that I should not have done, I stamped upon the creature instead of flying from it, and it at once curled round the ankle. Then we fought. The worm let me run all over the dell, but edged up my leg as I ran. “Help!” I cried. (That part is too awful. It belongs to the part that you will never know.) “Help!” I cried. (Why cannot we suffer in silence?) “Help!” I cried. When my feet were wound together, I fell, I was dragged away from the dear ferns and the living hills, and past the great metal stopper (I can tell you this part), and I thought it might save me again if I caught hold of the handle. It also was enwrapped, it also. Oh, the whole dell was full of the things. They were searching it in all directions, they were denuding it, and the white snouts of others peeped out of the hole, ready if needed. Everything that could be moved they brought – brushwood, bundles of fern, everything, and down we all went intertwined into hell. The last things that I saw, ere the stopper closed after us, were certain stars, and I felt that a man of my sort lived in the sky. For I did fight, I fought till the very end, and it was only my head hitting against the ladder that quieted me. I woke up in this room. The worms had vanished. I was surrounded by artificial air, artificial light, artificial peace, and my friends were calling to me down speaking-tubes to know whether I had come across any new ideas lately.”

Here his story ended. Discussion of it was impossible, and Vashti turned to go.

“It will end in Homelessness,” she said quietly.

“I wish it would,” retorted Kuno.

“The Machine has been most merciful.”

“I prefer the mercy of God.”

“By that superstitious phrase, do you mean that you could live in the outer air?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?”

“Yes.”

“They were left where they perished for our edification. A few crawled away, but they perished, too – who can doubt it? And so with the Homeless of our own day. The surface of the earth supports life no longer.”

“Indeed.”

“Ferns and a little grass may survive, but all higher forms have perished. Has any air-ship detected them?”

“No.”

“Has any lecturer dealt with them?”

“No.”

“Then why this obstinacy?”

“Because I have seen them,” he exploded.

“Seen what?”

“Because I have seen her in the twilight – because she came to my help when I called – because she, too, was entangled by the worms, and, luckier than I, was killed by one of them piercing her throat.”

He was mad. Vashti departed, nor, in the troubles that followed, did she ever see his face again.

III

THE HOMELESS

During the years that followed Kuno”s escapade, two important developments took place in the Machine. On the surface they were revolutionary, but in either case men”s minds had been prepared beforehand, and they did but express tendencies that were latent already.

The first of these was the abolition of respirator.

Advanced thinkers, like Vashti, had always held it foolish to visit the surface of the earth. Air-ships might be necessary, but what was the good of going out for mere curiosity and crawling along for a mile or two in a terrestrial motor? The habit was vulgar and perhaps faintly improper: it was unproductive of ideas, and had no connection with the habits that really mattered. So respirators were abolished, and with them, of course, the terrestrial motors, and except for a few lecturers, who complained that they were debarred access to their subject- matter, the development was accepted quietly. Those who still wanted to know what the earth was like had after all only to listen to some gramophone, or to look into some cinematophote. And even the lecturers acquiesced when they found that a lecture on the sea was none the less stimulating when compiled out of other lectures that had already been delivered on the same subject. “Beware of first- hand ideas!” exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. “First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element – direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine – the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought LafcadioHearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution. Through the medium of these ten great minds, the blood that was shed at Paris and the windows that were broken at Versailles will be clarified to an idea which you may employ most profitably in your daily lives. But be sure that the intermediates are many and varied, for in history one authority exists to counteract another. Urizen must counteract the scepticism of Ho-Yung and Enicharmon, I must myself counteract the impetuosity of Gutch. You who listen to me are in a better position to judge about the French Revolution than I am. Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time” – his voice rose – “there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation

seraphically free

From taint of personality,

which will see the French Revolution not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened, had it taken place in the days of the Machine.”

Tremendous applause greeted this lecture, which did but voice a feeling already latent in the minds of men – a feeling that terrestrial facts must be ignored, and that the abolition of respirators was a positive gain. It was even suggested that air-ships should be abolished too. This was not done, because air-ships had somehow worked themselves into the Machine”s system. But year by year they were used less, and mentioned less by thoughtful men.

The second great development was the re-establishment of religion.

This, too, had been voiced in the celebrated lecture. No one could mistake the reverent tone in which the peroration had concluded, and it awakened a responsive echo in the heart of each. Those who had long worshipped silently, now began to talk. They described the strange feeling of peace that came over them when they handled the Book of the Machine, the pleasure that it was to repeat certain numerals out of it, however little meaning those numerals conveyed to the outward ear, the ecstasy of touching a button, however unimportant, or of ringing an electric bell, however superfluously.

“The Machine,” they exclaimed, “feeds us and clothes us and houses us; through it we speak to one another, through it we see one another, in it we have our being. The Machine is the friend of ideas and the enemy of superstition: the Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is the Machine.” And before long this allocution was printed on the first page of the Book, and in subsequent editions the ritual swelled into a complicated system of praise and prayer. The word “religion” was sedulously avoided, and in theory the Machine was still the creation and the implement of man. but in practice all, save a few retrogrades, worshipped it as divine. Nor was it worshipped in unity. One believer would be chiefly impressed by the blue optic plates, through which he saw other believers; another by the mending apparatus, which sinful Kuno had compared to worms; another by the lifts, another by the Book. And each would pray to this or to that, and ask it to intercede for him with the Machine as a whole. Persecution – that also was present. It did not break out, for reasons that will be set forward shortly. But it was latent, and all who did not accept the minimum known as “undenominational Mechanism” lived in danger of Homelessness, which means death, as we know.

To attribute these two great developments to the Central Committee, is to take a very narrow view of civilization. The Central Committee announced the developments, it is true, but they were no more the cause of them than were the kings of the imperialistic period the cause of war. Rather did they yield to some invincible pressure, which came no one knew whither, and which, when gratified, was succeeded by some new pressure equally invincible. To such a state of affairs it is convenient to give the name of progress. No one confessed the Machine was out of hand. Year by year it was served with increased efficiency and decreased intelligence. The better a man knew his own duties upon it, the less he understood the duties of his neighbour, and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole. Those master brains had perished. They had left full directions, it is true, and their successors had each of them mastered a portion of those directions. But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine.

As for Vashti, her life went peacefully forward until the final disaster. She made her room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light. She lectured and attended lectures. She exchanged ideas with her innumerable friends and believed she was growing more spiritual. At times a friend was granted Euthanasia, and left his or her room for the homelessness that is beyond all human conception. Vashti did not much mind. After an unsuccessful lecture, she would sometimes ask for Euthanasia herself. But the death-rate was not permitted to exceed the birth-rate, and the Machine had hitherto refused it to her.

The troubles began quietly, long before she was conscious of them.

One day she was astonished at receiving a message from her son. They never communicated, having nothing in common, and she had only heard indirectly that he was still alive, and had been transferred from the northern hemisphere, where he had behaved so mischievously, to the southern – indeed, to a room not far from her own.

“Does he want me to visit him?” she thought. “Never again, never. And I have not the time.”

No, it was madness of another kind.

He refused to visualize his face upon the blue plate, and speaking out of the darkness with solemnity said:

“The Machine stops.”

“What do you say?”

“The Machine is stopping, I know it, I know the signs.”

She burst into a peal of laughter. He heard her and was angry, and they spoke no more.

“Can you imagine anything more absurd?” she cried to a friend. “A man who was my son believes that the Machine is stopping. It would be impious if it was not mad.”

“The Machine is stopping?” her friend replied. “What does that mean? The phrase conveys nothing to me.”

“Nor to me.”

“He does not refer, I suppose, to the trouble there has been lately with the music?”

“Oh no, of course not. Let us talk about music.”

“Have you complained to the authorities?”

“Yes, and they say it wants mending, and referred me to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus. I complained of those curious gasping sighs that disfigure the symphonies of the Brisbane school. They sound like some one in pain. The Committee of the Mending Apparatus say that it shall be remedied shortly.”

Obscurely worried, she resumed her life. For one thing, the defect in the music irritated her. For another thing, she could not forget Kuno”s speech. If he had known that the music was out of repair – he could not know it, for he detested music – if he had known that it was wrong, “the Machine stops” was exactly the venomous sort of remark he would have made. Of course he had made it at a venture, but the coincidence annoyed her, and she spoke with some petulance to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus.

They replied, as before, that the defect would be set right shortly.

“Shortly! At once!” she retorted. “Why should I be worried by imperfect music? Things are always put right at once. If you do not mend it at once, I shall complain to the Central Committee.”

“No personal complaints are received by the Central Committee,” the Committee of the Mending Apparatus replied.

“Through whom am I to make my complaint, then?”

“Through us.”

“I complain then.”

“Your complaint shall be forwarded in its turn.”

“Have others complained?”

This question was unmechanical, and the Committee of the Mending Apparatus refused to answer it.

“It is too bad!” she exclaimed to another of her friends.

“There never was such an unfortunate woman as myself. I can never be sure of my music now. It gets worse and worse each time I summon it.”

“What is it?”

“I do not know whether it is inside my head, or inside the wall.”

“Complain, in either case.”

“I have complained, and my complaint will be forwarded in its turn to the Central Committee.”

Time passed, and they resented the defects no longer. The defects had not been remedied, but the human tissues in that latter day had become so subservient, that they readily adapted themselves to every caprice of the Machine. The sigh at the crises of the Brisbane symphony no longer irritated Vashti; she accepted it as part of the melody. The jarring noise, whether in the head or in the wall, was no longer resented by her friend. And so with the mouldy artificial fruit, so with the bath water that began to stink, so with the defective rhymes that the poetry machine had taken to emit. all were bitterly complained of at first, and then acquiesced in and forgotten. Things went from bad to worse unchallenged.

It was otherwise with the failure of the sleeping apparatus. That was a more serious stoppage. There came a day when over the whole world – in Sumatra, in Wessex, in the innumerable cities of Courland and Brazil – the beds, when summoned by their tired owners, failed to appear. It may seem a ludicrous matter, but from it we may date the collapse of humanity. The Committee responsible for the failure was assailed by complainants, whom it referred, as usual, to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus, who in its turn assured them that their complaints would be forwarded to the Central Committee. But the discontent grew, for mankind was not yet sufficiently adaptable to do without sleeping.

“Some one of meddling with the Machine—” they began.

“Some one is trying to make himself king, to reintroduce the personal element.”

“Punish that man with Homelessness.”

“To the rescue! Avenge the Machine! Avenge the Machine!”

“War! Kill the man!”

But the Committee of the Mending Apparatus now came forward, and allayed the panic with well-chosen words. It confessed that the Mending Apparatus was itself in need of repair.

The effect of this frank confession was admirable.

“Of course,” said a famous lecturer – he of the French Revolution, who gilded each new decay with splendour – “of course we shall not press our complaints now. The Mending Apparatus has treated us so well in the past that we all sympathize with it, and will wait patiently for its recovery. In its own good time it will resume its duties. Meanwhile let us do without our beds, our tabloids, our other little wants. Such, I feel sure, would be the wish of the Machine.”

Thousands of miles away his audience applauded. The Machine still linked them. Under the seas, beneath the roots of the mountains, ran the wires through which they saw and heard, the enormous eyes and ears that were their heritage, and the hum of many workings clothed their thoughts in one garment of subserviency. Only the old and the sick remained ungrateful, for it was rumoured that Euthanasia, too, was out of order, and that pain had reappeared among men.

It became difficult to read. A blight entered the atmosphere and dulled its luminosity. At times Vashti could scarcely see across her room. The air, too, was foul. Loud were the complaints, impotent the remedies, heroic the tone of the lecturer as he cried: “Courage! courage! What matter so long as the Machine goes on ? To it the darkness and the light are one.” And though things improved again after a time, the old brilliancy was never recaptured, and humanity never recovered from its entrance into twilight. There was an hysterical talk of “measures,” of “provisional dictatorship,” and the inhabitants of Sumatra were asked to familiarize themselves with the workings of the central power station, the said power station being situated in France. But for the most part panic reigned, and men spent their strength praying to their Books, tangible proofs of the Machine”s omnipotence. There were gradations of terror- at times came rumours of hope-the Mending Apparatus was almost mended-the enemies of the Machine had been got under- new “nerve-centres” were evolving which would do the work even more magnificently than before. But there came a day when, without the slightest warning, without any previous hint of feebleness, the entire communication-system broke down, all over the world, and the world, as they understood it, ended.

Vashti was lecturing at the time and her earlier remarks had been punctuated with applause. As she proceeded the audience became silent, and at the conclusion there was no sound. Somewhat displeased, she called to a friend who was a specialist in sympathy. No sound: doubtless the friend was sleeping. And so with the next friend whom she tried to summon, and so with the next, until she remembered Kuno”s cryptic remark, “The Machine stops”.

The phrase still conveyed nothing. If Eternity was stopping it would of course be set going shortly.

For example, there was still a little light and air – the atmosphere had improved a few hours previously. There was still the Book, and while there was the Book there was security.

Then she broke down, for with the cessation of activity came an unexpected terror – silence.

She had never known silence, and the coming of it nearly killed her – it did kill many thousands of people outright. Ever since her birth she had been surrounded by the steady hum. It was to the ear what artificial air was to the lungs, and agonizing pains shot across her head. And scarcely knowing what she did, she stumbled forward and pressed the unfamiliar button, the one that opened the door of her cell.

Now the door of the cell worked on a simple hinge of its own. It was not connected with the central power station, dying far away in France. It opened, rousing immoderate hopes in Vashti, for she thought that the Machine had been mended. It opened, and she saw the dim tunnel that curved far away towards freedom. One look, and then she shrank back. For the tunnel was full of people – she was almost the last in that city to have taken alarm.

People at any time repelled her, and these were nightmares from her worst dreams. People were crawling about, people were screaming, whimpering, gasping for breath, touching each other, vanishing in the dark, and ever and anon being pushed off the platform on to the live rail. Some were fighting round the electric bells, trying to summon trains which could not be summoned. Others were yelling for Euthanasia or for respirators, or blaspheming the Machine. Others stood at the doors of their cells fearing, like herself, either to stop in them or to leave them. And behind all the uproar was silence – the silence which is the voice of the earth and of the generations who have gone.

No – it was worse than solitude. She closed the door again and sat down to wait for the end. The disintegration went on, accompanied by horrible cracks and rumbling. The valves that restrained the Medical Apparatus must have weakened, for it ruptured and hung hideously from the ceiling. The floor heaved and fell and flung her from the chair. A tube oozed towards her serpent fashion. And at last the final horror approached – light began to ebb, and she knew that civilization”s long day was closing.

She whirled around, praying to be saved from this, at any rate, kissing the Book, pressing button after button. The uproar outside was increasing, and even penetrated the wall. Slowly the brilliancy of her cell was dimmed, the reflections faded from the metal switches. Now she could not see the reading-stand, now not the Book, though she held it in her hand. Light followed the flight of sound, air was following light, and the original void returned to the cavern from which it has so long been excluded. Vashti continued to whirl, like the devotees of an earlier religion, screaming, praying, striking at the buttons with bleeding hands.

It was thus that she opened her prison and escaped – escaped in the spirit: at least so it seems to me, ere my meditation closes. That she escapes in the body – I cannot perceive that. She struck, by chance, the switch that released the door, and the rush of foul air on her skin, the loud throbbing whispers in her ears, told her that she was facing the tunnel again, and that tremendous platform on which she had seen men fighting. They were not fighting now. Only the whispers remained, and the little whimpering groans. They were dying by hundreds out in the dark.

She burst into tears.

Tears answered her.

They wept for humanity, those two, not for themselves. They could not bear that this should be the end. Ere silence was completed their hearts were opened, and they knew what had been important on the earth. Man, the flower of all flesh, the noblest of all creatures visible, man who had once made god in his image, and had mirrored his strength on the constellations, beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments that he had woven. Century after century had he toiled, and here was his reward. Truly the garment had seemed heavenly at first, shot with colours of culture, sewn with the threads of self-denial. And heavenly it had been so long as man could shed it at will and live by the essence that is his soul, and the essence, equally divine, that is his body. The sin against the body – it was for that they wept in chief; the centuries of wrong against the muscles and the nerves, and those five portals by which we can alone apprehend – glozing it over with talk of evolution, until the body was white pap, the home of ideas as colourless, last sloshy stirrings of a spirit that had grasped the stars.

“Where are you?” she sobbed.

His voice in the darkness said, “Here.”

Is there any hope, Kuno?”

“None for us.”

“Where are you?”

She crawled over the bodies of the dead. His blood spurted over her hands.

“Quicker,” he gasped, “I am dying – but we touch, we talk, not through the Machine.”

He kissed her.

“We have come back to our own. We die, but we have recaptured life, as it was in Wessex, when Ælfrid overthrew the Danes. We know what they know outside, they who dwelt in the cloud that is the colour of a pearl.”

“But Kuno, is it true ? Are there still men on the surface of the earth ? Is this – tunnel, this poisoned darkness – really not the end?”

He replied:

“I have seen them, spoken to them, loved them. They are hiding in the midst and the ferns until our civilization stops. Today they are the Homeless – tomorrow —”

“Oh, tomorrow – some fool will start the Machine again, tomorrow.”

“Never,” said Kuno, “never. Humanity has learnt its lesson.”

As he spoke, the whole city was broken like a honeycomb. An air-ship had sailed in through the vomitory into a ruined wharf. It crashed downwards, exploding as it went, rending gallery after gallery with its wings of steel. For a moment they saw the nations of the dead, and, before they joined them, scraps of the untainted sky.

Matt Damhave was born in Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, in 1978. He is a New York-based artist who studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art (1997-1999). He was a co-founder of Imitation of Christ, and his own work has been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo. His solo shows include, HELP IS ON DELAY, White Columns (2015); and Half Gallery (2008). He also makes audio and visual work under the name UnchiNeko.

www.whitecolumns.org

STEVE KEENE

Friday, November 27th, 2015

— I’m the guy that’s painted about three hundred thousand paintings that have been sold or given away. That’s kind of my day job, but a hobby that I have is making drawings on sheets of plywood. The drawings are made in the computer and engraved on the plywood by a CNC machine. I think as a painter and my skills are with a brush. I don’t know how to draw well but I want to turn lines into color and paint by their density.

My hero is Winslow Homer, the 19th century American artist. His day job was as illustrator for Harper’s Weekly during the Civil War.

My dad was the kind of guy that would spend his weekends with a metal detector. He would go to different sites to try to find Civil War artifacts. I would have to go with him sometimes on saturdays and I hated it.

Back then all I wanted to do was go to the library and look at art books. The intersection of what I loved and what my dad loved were these illustrations from the old newspapers.

These have become stronger to me in color, composition and content. I use these as my main tool for these drawing ideas that I have which I am building in three-D in the computer to be cut by a machine. I’m not there yet – but it feels like I’ve opened a window into another physical world that goes backwards and forwards in time.


Steve Keene was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957. Keene has created album and video set art for groups including Pavement, Apples in Stereo, Molly’s Folly and The Silver Jews. His work has been shown at the Goldie Paley Gallery at the Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, 1997; Threadwaxing Space, New York, 1993-95, and Kunstraum Wien, Austria, 1995.

www.stevekeene.com

NICK WAPLINGTON

Friday, November 27th, 2015

— This is the studio today. It is make shift while I am in LA. I didn’t want to rent somewhere to work as that seemed to forced so once I found this house I knew the garden was exactly want I wanted, big enough to sketch and have between two to four paintings on the go at once. I may also take photos if I can find something to take pictures off that interests me for that reason I am living close to downtown, when I lived here previously I lived in Santa Monica so I am hoping the change of location will spark new ideas. But right now I’m in my head and that is where the paintings come from. The paintings are my inner world, my photos deal with the world outside of my physical existence. I like to paint outside I would do it in London/New York all year if the weather was good enough so this place is a kind of winter paradise for me.


Nick Waplington was born in 1965, in Aden, Yemen, and is based in London and New York City. Waplington received an ICP Infinity Award in 1993, and represented the UK at 49th Venice Biennial, in 2001. He has exhibited widely including the Whitechapel Gallery, London and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. His work is held in a number of prominent museum collections including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and MoMA, New York. He has upcoming shows, in early 2016, at Brooklyn Museum and Jewish Museum, both in New York. WE LIVE AS WE DREAM, ALONE, photographs of SS prison cells in WWII prisoner of war camps, will also be released by Morel Books in 2016.

www.nickwaplington.co.uk
www.nickwaplington.org

GRACE KRILANOVICH

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

— Here’s something: Two notebooks from 1995, my fifteenth year. 1995 was the first and last year I didn’t give a shit about what anybody thought about me. The year I dressed in polyester and spray-painted boots, novelty earrings and a corduroy sport coat. All summer I strode up and down Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, taking in the scummy atmosphere crawling with lovable weirdos—my camera, my notebook and my friend Nickole in tow. We always had a notebook and a camera, and no money.

These aren’t sketchbooks, although there is the occasional drawing. They aren’t journals or diaries, because the writings were meant for public consumption, either snippets for a later story, or a screed to be pushed onto an unsuspecting family member, stranger or friend. These were our public writings, our laboratories for developing a nice blend of sleaze, toxic humor and absurdity. Naturally, since I carried it everywhere, my notebook also became a place for phone numbers, funny quotes, clippings, recipes, mix tape track listings and lists of various sorts. In them, now, twenty years later, I see (and am somewhat surprised by) the use of constraints, the obsessions, the easygoing attitude toward things that don’t make sense, often employing a confrontational style bordering on mock didacticism. Truth be told, we were just messing around, trying to push people’s buttons. It’s play, something I must never forget—play in writing.

Grace Krilanovich is an author. She was born in 1979 in Santa Cruz, California. Her first book, THE ORANGE EATS CREEPS, was published by Two Dollar Radio in 2010. In 2010 she was also named a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree.

www.twodollarradio.com

LEAH SINGER

Friday, October 23rd, 2015
FLAWED


— As a journalism student, I had a job on campus working at the newspaper morgue: a basement archive where newspaper clippings were kept for research. I used tiny, pointy scissors, to meticulously clip articles from The Christian Science Monitor or The Globe and Mail. The clippings were cataloged and put in folders with titles like, Crime: At Night. It was the beginning of my obsession with seeing the newspaper as a material.

Newspapers often inform my work. I self-published a newspaper series of graphic silhouettes called, copy, which I made on various regional printing presses. I did a lithograph edition of words re-photographed from headlines. I have a formidable collection of newspapers with production flaws. These are some examples. They are always a nice surprise, like accidental works of art. I can see Franz Kline, Warhol, and Christopher Wool. I also see the printing press working this process so hard, churning out huge runs of daily papers with a lucky few receiving the ones that got messed up.

I really should stop my New York Times delivery since I tend to read the paper on my phone these days but I can’t because I want to catch as many of these poetic aberrations as I can before newspapers are really gone.

October 10th, 2015


Leah Singer was born in Winnipeg, moving east to Toronto, Montreal and Tokyo before settling in New York City. She is a visual artist and a writer. Her artist publications are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The live manipulated film and video performances she started doing in the early 1990s in collaboration with musicians, including husband Lee Ranaldo, have toured widely including to The Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Reykjavik Arts Festival, and the JUE music festival in Shanghai. She continues to develop site-specific video installations intended to exist both as static artworks and components to live music performances. She recently contributed video to the multi artist project, THE EXHIBITION OF A FILM, curated by Mathieu Copeland.

OLIVER PAYNE

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

This is my collection of screen grabs of pics of Andy Warhol when he shows up on Instagram.


Oliver Payne was born in London, in 1977. Solo exhibitions include Federico Vavassori (2015); Gavin Brown’s enterprise (2015); MOCAD (2015); 356 S. Mission Rd. (2014), Herald St. (2013) and Nanzuka Underground (2012).

www.gavinbrown.biz
www.heraldst.com

NIGEL SHAFRAN

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Here is my small collection of toilet hygiene inspection notices.


Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, 2014


Rompetrol Village Catalan/Motorway service station, France, 2014


The Star Ferry Company Ltd, Hong Kong, 2015


DFDS Dover to Calais Ferry, 2015


Park Skocjanske Jame Cave, Slovenia, 2015


Morrisons Supermarket, London, England, 2014

Nigel Shafran was born in 1964, in England. He lives and works in London. He has had several books published including VISITOR FIGURES (2015); TEENAGE PRECINCT SHOPPERS (2013); RUTH ON THE PHONE (2012); COMPOST PICTURES 2008-9 (2010); FLOWERS FOR ____ (2008); EDITED PHOTOGRAPHS (2004); DAD’S OFFICE (1999); RUTHBOOK (1995). MACK Books will publish DARK ROOMS in 2016.

www.nigelshafran.com

RUT BLEES LUXEMBURG

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

— On the ground-level of the 70s hi-rise where I have been living since before the millennium runs a local drag of small shops; an optician, a funeral director, an Indian take-away and now FILET. The corner shop had been empty for a long while, and when next doors Drinkers Paradise got changed into a coffee/pizza joint, my neighbour Uta, from the 17th floor, and I decided to take on the vacant lot, and invite artists to make new works for the site. The first was Eva Stenram, whose libidinous photo-works and fabric loungers rendered the shop into the seedy studio of an x-rated photographer during the heydays of the parade.


Rut Blees Luxemburg was born in 1967, in Trier, Germany. She now lives and works in London. Blees Luxemburg has been the subject of a monograph, COMMONSENSUAL, which details projects including the opera, LIEBESLIED/MY SUICIDES, a collaboration with the philosopher Alexander Garcia Düttmann, and documents public art installations such as CALIBAN TOWERS, with muf architects, and PICCADILLY’S PECCADILLOES in Heathrow Airport.

www.rutbleesluxemburg.com
www.filetfilet.uk

EAMON O’LEARY [NOMINATED BY WILL OLDHAM]

Monday, September 14th, 2015
BEDS


— How do movement and our changing surroundings alter the way we inhabit time? In Graham Greene’s novel Travels With My Aunt, an anecdote is told about a character, Jo Pulling, who finds he has only a short time to live. Seeking to make his waning days seem longer he arrives at a solution: he will spend every night that remains to him in a different bed.

“He wanted to slow life up and he quite rightly felt that by travelling he would make time move with less rapidity. You have noticed it yourself, I expect, on a holiday. If you stay in one place, the holiday passes like a flash, but if you go to three places, the holiday seems to last at least three times as long.”

With Jo in mind, and despite my good health, I decided sometime last year to begin documenting my own movements by keeping a record of every bed I sleep in (or at least those I remember to photograph). Some of these I slept in for longer stretches but most were for a single night. Only once did I seek reentry to a hotel room that I had forgotten to photograph – thank you to the Milwaukee Athletic Club, and to all my hosts for their hospitality.


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As for this long century? Greene again: “A man without memories might reach the age of a hundred and feel that his life had been a very brief one.”

Eamon O’Leary is a musician and songwriter from Dublin now living in New York.

www.eamonoleary.com

DOUG DUBOIS [NOMINATED BY LODGE KERRIGAN]

Monday, September 14th, 2015
CLIFFORD WOODS, 1987


— When I was 26, I became a friend and fan of Clifford Woods, a largely unknown and never recorded alto saxophone player. Clifford came up on the west coast with the likes of Harold Land, Dupree Bolton and Chet Baker. On weekdays, Clifford could be found playing in front of the China Trade Center on Grant street in San Francisco; on weekends, his spot was on Union Square in front of Macy’s.

I was a bit of a groupie, recording Clifford’s music, conversations and stories on my Sony Walkman, and making mix tapes for Clifford and his friends. I made this tape right before I left San Francisco – you can hear Clifford playing on the street in Chinatown; talking with his girlfriend, Melita; singing Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac in a stoned, close harmony with a drummer who’s name I can’t remember; and in a conversation with me that’s still painful to hear and hard for me to excuse.


Doug DuBois’ photographs are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NY, SFMOMA in San Francisco, J. Paul Getty Museum and LACAMA in Los Angeles, The Museum of Fine Art in Houston, the Library of Congress in Washington DC and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The National Endowment for the Arts, SITE Santa Fe, Light Works and The John Gutmann Foundation. Doug DuBois has exhibited at The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art and Higher Pictures in New York; SITE, Santa Fe; New Langton Arts in San Francisco; PARCO Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, Museo D’arte Contemporanea in Rome, Italy and The Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. His photographs have been published by Aperture, My last day at Seventeen, (2015) and All the Days and Nights (2009); the J. Paul Getty Museum, Where We Live: Photographs from the Berman Collection (2007); the Museum of Modern Art, The Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort (1991). Doug DuBois is an associate professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University.

FABIOLA ALONDRA [NOMINATED BY MARILYN MINTER]

Monday, September 14th, 2015

“People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad.” – Marcel Proust

This is a photo of Daniel and I in Mexico City, where I grew up. He was my cousin but was more like a brother. He committed suicide 4 years ago.


Born and raised in Mexico City, Fabiola Alondra has lived in New York, Milan and London. She earned a Master’s degree in Modern & Contemporary Art in London. Previously, she worked as director of John McWhinnie’s gallery and rare bookshop and as director of Richard Prince’s Fulton Ryder. She is currently running 303 Gallery’s publishing imprint, 303inprint. She also hosts a private art, book and ephemera salon in Brooklyn Heights and is a member of the radio collective Minerva on Know Wave.

STEVEN STAPLETON [NOMINATED BY BOB NICKAS]

Monday, September 14th, 2015


Steven Stapleton is a composer, producer, and sound artist. Nurse With Wound has been Stapleton’s main musical outlet for some 30 years. He has also appeared on records by other artists and worked as a producer, remixer and, more recently, a critically acclaimed soundtrack composer. He also runs the United Dairies record label, which apart from the NWW output, has released records by Current 93, The Lemon Kittens, Volcano the Bear, AMM, and Guru Guru, amongst others.

www.nursewithwound1.bandcamp.com

PENNY ALLEN [NOMINATED BY KELLY REICHARDT]

Monday, September 14th, 2015
MY MOTHER’S LODGER (1996)





— I hardly called anybody the whole time I was in Portland. Then when I was back in Paris, I was worried all my Portland friends were mad at me. What happened was, when I got to my mother’s house in Portland, something wasn’t normal, wasn’t right. So my time there was completely taken up with that. I had no time for my usual Portland fix, laughing myself silly with old friends. None of that. I had no time for fun.

I arrived at Mom’s thinking she had forewarned her lodger that I was coming from Paris for three weeks and would be staying in my old bedroom, the one across the hall from the one he was renting for the huge sum of $100 a month. I thought he knew I’d be taking the upstairs phone away from him for the three weeks. But when I got to the house, I went upstairs and got hit in the face with an unclean, almost unholy smell, the likes of which I’d never associated with my mother. It had to be his smell. Then I discovered his room was locked with the phone inside. It was upsetting. Even though the phone was jacked in his room, I’d told Mom long distance from Paris that I’d get a long cord and take the phone into my room. First I’d told her I’d like an entirely new phone line installed, that I’d be happy to pay for it.

“No, I don’t think so,” she’d demurred coldly, abruptly. Still her assertive self at 88, iron will intact. The old guillotine flash of anger: “Just use his phone, that will do fine.”

“What if he objects?” I’d said sarcastically across the great waters. I wasn’t totally weaponless against my mother, but she’d gone on to another subject, so maybe I was.

And she’d had her way, a tiny but tough old lady. No new phone line was installed. It was, of course, her decision to make. It was still her house, her great comfort, the place she expected to wake up dead in one day, never having had to leave it for some pointless stop-over on the way to stillness.

Stillness after a simple fade to white, that’s how Mom imagined dying. She saw nothing more elaborate happening. Living and dying were just movement followed by stillness. Mom was an atheist as far as I could tell. I’d never seen her doing any kind of spiritual thing. What Mom believed in was doing the smart thing, for its own sake, not for any ulterior payoff. Doing the smart thing would have its own payoff in the here and now. It was similar to the idea of good habits getting you through rough periods. And if you had to ask what either the smart thing or good habits might be, you were hopeless.

“That’s not smart,” Mom would fiercely snarl at some idiot behavior or other, and if it was me doing it, I viscerally remember the chill that would settle over me, over my not-smart, hopeless self. Whatever it had been, I probably never did it again. I remember too how she’d say “Flap your wings! You’re smart!” as she pushed me out of the nest, and I certainly learned how to flap.

And this woman set good examples for doing the smart thing: For instance, she had figured out twenty years earlier what the smart thing would be to enable her to keep living on into her old age in her own house, alone after my father’s death. One day she walked across the street to the Baptist Theological Seminary, put up a notice for a room to rent to a student, and within a week, she had a girl from The Philippines who was perfect, perfectly reliable, perfectly Christian, perfectly boring. After the Filipina came another perfect lodger, then another. Several of them stayed two years. One stayed four years, his entire experience at Seminary.

My brother and I never worried about Mom as long as the Christians were there. She never worried either. All of us, atheist, or whatever, were reassured by those Christians. We never worried when she went off to China or the Middle East or the South Pacific for a month, leaving her house and her cat in the safe, trustworthy hands of her lodgers. Mom grew fond of several of them, the odder ones I noted. And all of them understood she wouldn’t tolerate any kitchen-table proselytizing. Not a single word about the Lord need be uttered, not a single tract brandished as she sat at the kitchen table happily smoking cigarettes. She would smoke with her left hand and play solitaire with her right, only half listening to anyone who might be talking to her. Mom’s other rule was that her lodgers had to stay in school. They had to stay registered at the Seminary, as this was proof of goodness.

When I got to Portland and smelled that godawful smell and found the lodger’s room locked with the phone inside, I went to bed that first night worrying. Fraught with jet-lag, I heard the guy’s door open in the middle of the night. I jumped out of bed and ran out in the hall in my pajamas.

“I need to have the phone,” I said to the tall shadow in the darkened hallway. He breathed in, turned abruptly, stepped back in his room, shut the door. Had I scared this giant? I was thinking. This smelly giant. Yes, it was he who smelled. He smelled of old sweat and tennis shoes, and something else I couldn’t identify from only one whiff. His smell was startling in the middle of the night. Distracted, I went back to bed and couldn’t fall asleep. The smell lingered. I fretted and thrashed around. The jet-lag kept me alert. I smelled the smell even when I covered my face with the sheet.

The next morning at eight o’clock, I awoke abruptly. I must have drifted off. I lunged out of bed and into the hallway, up against the lodger’s door. “Give me the telephone,” I said evenly. There was no response. Perhaps he, unlike me, was sleeping. I went back to bed and held on to the two sides of the mattress.

An hour later, I arose, went into the hall, and spoke through the lodger’s closed door again, this time authoritatively. “Give me the phone,” I commanded. “NOW.” I heard him grunt in response. Inevitably, I lost control, giving in to sleep deprivation. “ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE ME THE PHONE?” I growled.

“TEN MINUTES?” he snarled back, tit for tat.

“WHY TEN MINUTES?” I shouted.

“I HAVE TO ERASE MY MESSAGES,” he barked.

Oh. Of course. That seemed reasonable. I quieted suddenly.

Back in my room, I sat down in Mom’s old granny rocking chair. Was what was happening important or was it utterly not important, a kind of hallucination? I thought about my partner in Paris, the darling boy. Maybe he was trying to call me right about now, it would be about six o’clock in the evening in Paris. Across the street, the row of towering virgin Doug fir trees on the Seminary campus moved gently in the breeze. There was a still point of calm, of fatigue, of falling back hopelessly.

Ten minutes later, the lodger I’d still never seen tossed the phone/answering machine combo out into the hall onto the carpet, then shut his door. He didn’t slam his door. But he did toss the phone, didn’t set it down. There was definitely something there. How could this person be a student at the Seminary?

I went to pick up the phone and said “thank you,” through the closed door. Then I noticed that the phone cord was just long enough to reach under the lodger’s closed door but no further. I would have to press my face up against the crack under his door to make a call. This was funny, so I laughed. I’d no doubt crossed some kind of threshold and besides, I had the phone in my possession. All I needed was a long cord, and that was easy to get in the old U.S. of A. It wasn’t Paris where it might take all day. Everything seemed easy and in proportion.

When I asked about him, Mom told me that her lodger’s name was Greg. She said Greg was kind of secretive, furtive it sounded like, going in and out at night, so she never saw him at all. He never spoke to her, and worst of all in her hierarchy of goodness and badness, he’d failed to take the yellow recycling bins out to the curb on Tuesdays even though she’d asked him to do so on three separate occasions. She wasn’t alarmed, only annoyed, and I didn’t tell her what had been going on upstairs with the phone. I was beginning to get the rhythm of the experience, the world had reappeared on my horizon, and if the business with Greg had ended there, I wouldn’t have had a story to tell.

I finally actually saw Greg after two days. He was around six feet four, had a flat, bored look and the physique of someone who worked out at a gym. He was wearing Gore-Tex Nike sport clothes, so to my eyes, he looked innocent, Oregon health-freak innocent. Mid-afternoon, he had unexpectedly whisked in the front door and up the stairs scarcely seen, except for the purple and turquoise clothes with the swish on the sleeve. The day after that, a second sighting: I was sitting alone at the kitchen table having breakfast. Mom was still asleep. Suddenly I heard Greg come downstairs and go for the front door, two rooms away from where I sat. I called out to him as he reached the front door where I could actually see him.

“Could you come here?” I called out, friendly like. Greg stopped, jerked his head around toward me, glared, one hand on the doorknob, the other moving slowly toward his hip where it settled impatiently. He did not come any closer, and there was a deadness in his eyes that chilled me out completely, even two rooms away.

My voice wavered slightly when I asked Greg what his plans were.

“Huh?” he said, as if I were stupid, as if I were a crazy person.

This galled me. He was the stupid crazy person, not me. “Are you going to be a student at the Seminary or what?” I asked, straight on, eye to eye, twenty-five feet away.

“That’s supposedly the set-up,” he said with a dead, blank voice, then broke eye contact, turned fluidly and slipped out the door, all of this in a single motion. The fluidity was important. It was threatening somehow, as if I’d seen the devil turn in his cape and vanish into thin air.

When I called the Theological Seminary to ask about Greg, the woman said they had no record of him and suggested I might want to call the police. “But,” I said, “the guy had to have gotten the information about the room through you.” The housing listings are available to anyone who asked at the Seminary office, she explained, and again suggested I might want to call the police. When I did so, the police officer on the other end of the line interrupted my story to say, “I don’t even want to know his name. No crime’s been committed, as far as I can tell. Didn’t your mother check him out, get any references?”

“No, so what am I supposed to do? Let him just … ???” I couldn’t finish the sentence. Bludgeon her? was what I was thinking. Strike her on her little pile of curly white hair?

“I recommend you talk to your attorney,” the policeman said, and that was that. I went downstairs and told Mom the Seminary had never heard of Greg and that the police suggested we contact an attorney. This was the first time she seemed alarmed. She got out her address book and gave me her attorney’s phone number and then watched me with wide attentive eyes like a frightened child. She seemed to get smaller by the second. With her looking at me like that I had no choice but to play the parent role, to make the switch, to act as if I knew what I was doing.

Mom’s attorney, who’d had no more to do with her than the four hours it took to prepare her will, told me when I called to stop referring to Greg as a psychopath as it was potentially libelous. He said the only thing that sounded aggressive to him was Greg’s throwing the phone out in the hall. “And even that’s pretty iffy.” Then he painstakingly explained the basic points favoring the tenant in Oregon’s Landlord/Tenant law, some of which Mom and I were on the verge of violating. “I don’t think you want to end up with a law suit on your hands, do you?”

I wanted to forget about it for awhile. I told Mom it was probably just some misunderstanding and went back upstairs to escape. Upstairs, I found the light flashing on the phone indicating a message. My partner had called me, the darling boy. I saw that it was eleven P.M. in Paris, his favorite time to call. He gave me three contacts to call in the States but said not to call him back because he was going to bed.

I went downtown to my brother’s office to send a fax, also to get out of the house. In the parking lot across the street from my brother’s office, a car piled high with junk backed up into mine (my mother’s), and I got out to see if there was a dent. A tough-looking red-neck girl got out on the passenger side of the offending car, crossed her arms akimbo, glared at me. I smiled at her, probably rather arrogantly, and said, school-teacher-like, “That’s why it’s illegal to pack your car so you can’t see out the back window.”

“That ain’t illegal,” the girl said, standing her ground and then some.

“Oh, yeah?” I said, impervious to harm.

“Yeah,” she said, itching for a fight, reaching one hand around to her rear jeans pocket to extract a switch-blade.

I don’t know what came over me; it must have been the jet-lag again, but I said, “I’m a police officer. Could I see some I.D.?” The guy driving the car screamed “fuck,” and drove off laying rubber. The girl ran after him and he slowed to let her jump in, and then they took off hauling ass. I could only figure they had a load of contraband midst all that junk.

My brother upstairs in his office was cute and funny, quite lovable actually. He couldn’t believe I had actually impersonated a police officer, as he put it. “A crime in itself,” he pointed out. I managed to forget about Greg until I got back to Mom’s, went upstairs to my room and noticed Greg’s smell. He’d come into my room! I sniffed around and found that the smell was coming from the bed. He’d lain down on my bed! Christ! I ripped the bed apart, threw everything in the dirty clothes, re-made the bed. Then I went downstairs and told Mom. She looked at me strangely, like a waif. This parent-gone-to-child-thing was entirely new to me and made me go strong in the opposite direction. I was completely, utterly in control.

“Oh, he probably used the phone and made himself comfortable,” I said to her reassuringly, convincingly.

“Well,” she said, looking me right in the eye, perhaps not entirely buying my parent behavior. I would have to do better, I thought to myself. She pulled herself up and continued firmly, “I’ll tell him not to go in your room again.”

We didn’t lay eyes on Greg the rest of the day, so Mom had no opportunity to say anything to him at all. That night when I went to bed, I left a note for Greg out in the hall on the floor in front of his door. Please use downstairs phone for your calls, it read. I was wide awake when I heard Greg come in, pick up the note, snort. My heart lurched. He could easily open my door and shout at me or do pretty much anything else he wanted. I got no sleep lying there across the hall from this creepy character, fretting that I certainly couldn’t do much to protect myself or my mother should the need arise.

At 2 A.M. I got a phone call for Greg, the first one. It was from Sacramento. “Why hadn’t Greg sent the title to the car like he’d said he would?” I said I’d take a message. The guy said “What for? Greg’ll never call back.” So Greg was using his real name. Or at least the same name he’d used before in some other nefarious setting.

My brother phoned the next day and said I had a fax from someone in Paris. “Read it to me,” I said, and he tried but struck out on the impossible French penmanship. I had to drive downtown to get the fax message which said essentially that the fax I had sent my partner had awakened his wife at two A.M. Paris time. Well, fuck you, what do you expect? Fuck her! Who the fuck cares?

Back at Mom’s, I tried to find serial numbers on the two bicycles Greg had stowed in Mom’s garage. The police weren’t interested when I couldn’t find any numbers. They weren’t interested in just a description with the make of the bikes. No, they told me, “over a hundred bikes are stolen every day in the Portland area.”

Mom was getting gradually more apprehensive, and we went through what she needed to say legally to Greg the next time she saw him coming or going. I thought it was important for her to do this part herself. She was ready for him at breakfast the next day, and when she perceived him sneaking out the front door out of the corner of her eye behind her thick, post-cataract glasses, she found her courage somewhere, stood up and made hell-bent for the front door, flapping her wings, an 88-year-old hero. From the porch she shouted at Greg to come back, that she had something to say. Then she came back inside and sat down on the couch, very short of breath. Greg came back, stepped inside and waited. Mom stood up and said to him, a little breathlessly but to my eyes solid as a rock, “I don’t think this is the right place for you, and I don’t think you think so either, so you can stay 30 days from today, but if you want to leave before that, it will be fine.” Letter of the law.

“Hm,” Greg grunted blankly, no affect at all, not happy or sad, neither surprised nor angry, but flat, like a man whose next move you could not predict with any certainty. Then he was out the door with that familiar threatening fluidity.

“What did that mean?” Mom turned and said to me.

“You were great,” I told her. “Just great. You did the smart thing.”

For the next three days, we didn’t see Greg at all. His employer, Ron, at Giant’s Gym on Sandy Boulevard called four times on that crucial upstairs phone, each time leaving a message. The phone was the key. Greg had known that once I got the phone away from him, I’d start to get his calls, and I’d know everything. He hadn’t imagined I’d suspect him even before the first call.

The first couple of phone messages from Ron were bland enough, just asking for a call back. By the third and fourth, Greg was apparently not showing up for work. After the fourth call, I called Ron back. In utter frustration, he told me there was $500 missing from the till at Giant’s the last day Greg had worked.

I called the attorney back, and he told me to remember not to call Greg a psychopath, or a thief, to stick to what he’d actually said or done. I left a written message on Greg’s door to call Ron.

I didn’t hear Greg come in that night, but I did see him come downstairs the next morning wearing a little backpack and carrying a satchel. My mother was sitting in the living room doing an Aubusson needlepoint for me to take back to Paris. Greg saw her and stopped. Almost like a human being, he said, “I’m going to stay with my friend in Vancouver, I’ll check back with you in the morning.” I called a locksmith right after he left and had the locks changed. On the phone, the attorney told me that after five days, I could write a letter to Greg and attach it to the front door, telling him in legalese that as it appeared he had abandoned the premises, we had stored his belongings, which turned out to include a Bible, at the Theological Seminary, and he could check with the Dean of Students.

We never saw Greg again. Of course he didn’t check back in the morning. I lived in dread of hearing his key struggling to get into the new lock and then a frustrated Greg blowing the lock to smithereens with his Magnum .357. I didn’t think Mom was living in dread. She went right on smoking cigarettes, reading, playing solitaire, working the daily cross-word puzzle, watching television while she did needlepoint. She went to bed at eleven, slept soundly ‘til nine, and relied on good habits to get through a rough period. The police detective I called said he was sure Greg was long gone, that if his name was as he had stated it to us, there was a man by a similar name with warrants out on him for assault and larceny in both Washington and California. I kept my ear cocked to the front door, especially in the middle of the night.

I went back to Paris to get some sleep and see if I could restore my working relationship with my partner. Mom on the phone sounded fine although she was coughing more. She had a new lodger, hand-picked by the guilt-ridden Christian Dean of Students. The new lodger was a girl, and she was in the old mold. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was the one who would find my mother one day when she didn’t wake up, after she’d gone to stillness, faded to white.

Penny Allen was born in Portland, she lives and works in Paris. Her films include PROPERTY, PAYDIRT, THE SOLDIER’S TALE and LATE FOR MY MOTHER’S FUNERAL.

www.pennyallen.info

AMAT ESCALANTE

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

— This is unused footage from my second film. The women are Alexis and Elena. The man with the palm trees on his shirt was sitting outside the sound stage, on the sidewalk next to a gutter. I asked him to come inside and be a spectator. Filmed on 35mm Panavision Anamorphic.


Amat Escalante, born in 1979, is a self-taught filmmaker from the city of Guanajuato in Mexico. He began his work in cinema at the age of fifteen. After making two short films, he wrote and directed SANGRE, his first feature film. SANGRE became part of the Official Selection Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 where it was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize chosen by International Film Critics. His second feature film, LOS BASTARDOS, also premiered at Cannes in 2008, in the Official Selection Un Certain Regard. HELI is his third feature length film, and was part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Official Competition in 2013, where he received the award for Best Director.

SHANNON EBNER

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

I took this on a road trip in 2011. I thought it said TIME but just remembered that it says DUST. Living in Los Angeles in what is now 2015 it should say WATER.

Shannon Ebner was born in 1971, in Englewood, New Jersey. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

www.altmansiegel.com
www.wallspacegallery.com
www.sadiecoles.com

FRED KELEMEN

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015


Fred Kelemen, GLOW OF THOUGHT, 1981, Oil on oil-painting-paper.
©1981 Fred Kelemen

Fred Kelemen is known as a director and cinematographer. His film FATE (1994) received the German National Film Award in 1995 and other awards world wide. Since then, he has made a number of films as director like FROST (1997/1998), NIGHTFALL (1999) and FALLEN (2005). He also collaborated as cinematographer with several film directors, such as Joseph Pitchhadze on SWEETS (2013), and Béla Tarr on JOURNEY TO THE PLAIN (1995), THE MAN FROM LONDON (2007), and THE TURIN HORSE (2011).

www.fredkelemen.com

NORITOSHI HIRAKAWA

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

— Since the performance of A Struggle for Heaven at the Yohji Yamamoto boutique in New York in 1995, I have been working on creating many dance performances that appeal much more deeply to myself and also better engage my inspirations. Over the past two decades I have been focusing on performances, rather than on exhibiting my artwork in other mediums, and my exhibitions have became more like accompaniments to these performance. Some art curators and dealers of my work requested me to create more dance performances on occasion of viewing my performance-oriented exhibitions these past years.

My latest dance-based work was performed on May 15th 2015. It was only a one time performance due to special circumstances–Marisa Newman approached me to create a performance as part of the event program at NADA Art Fair in New York. The title was decided as Reverie from a prior conversation with Marisa. Although I did not know yet what to do with the offer, I began on what would come to be a month’s worth of preparations, starting with casting dancers. After the audition was finished and I had chosen four dancers, I went to Singapore and Japan for other activities. In the meantime, I bought a book of Buddha and delved deeply into the story of his life. I was thinking of connecting the story of Buddha and the roles of each dancer.

I returned to New York less than two weeks before the date of performance with the story not yet clear, and at the same time, found out that one of chosen dancers had dropped from the performance. It was supposed to consist of two female dancers and two male dancers but now had changed to be three female dancers and one male dancer. After Raz Mesinai agreed on composing the music, just a week before the performance day, I started writing the scenario and completed it the same evening for a forty minutes long dance performance. I had only two rehearsals…one was four hours during the day before the performance, May 14th, and one hour on the day of performance just two hours before the real performance. The final composed music was made in the middle of rehearsal on May 15th.

The actual story was very spiritual, associating physicality with non-existence, but on the surface Reverie appeared very sensual and physical. Also, watching the performance was a bit like solving puzzles with viewers trying to piece together multiple layers into one picture, though this effect was incidental. Reverie was completed with awareness that it was supposed to be performed in the venue of the art fair, which gave each movement a different nature of functionality.

Reverie features dancers Ariane Bernier, Carlye Eckert, Lisa Clementi, Pavel Machuca. Clothes by Thomas Chen, Emmanuelle NYC. Produced by Marisa Newman Projects.







Noritoshi Hirakawa was born in 1960, in Fukuoka, Japan. He originally studied Applied Sociology and today works with photography, film, installation and performance. The artist believes that human activity forms the culture in which we live today and proposes to push the boundaries of perception in order to further culture as such. Hirakawa’s work has been exhibited over 300 times, including at the Venice Biennale, Venice; Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul; Museum fuer Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Centre Pompidou, Paris; MoMA PS1, New York; Kunsthalle, Vienna; MOT, Tokyo etc. The artist has also collaborated with poets, musicians, choreographers and architects and presented his work at Das TAT, Frankfurt; Danse Montpellier; at Fondation Cartier, Paris; Casa Barragan, Mexico City. Noritoshi Hirakawa has lived and worked in New York City since 1993.

JONAS WOOD

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

We live in LA but we just went to NYC. We go there a lot and our kids love NYC, thank god. It was a fun trip.






Jonas Wood was born in 1977, in Boston, Massachusetts. He recently presented solo exhibitions of his work at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; the High Line, New York; the Lever House Art Collection, New York; Anton Kern Gallery, New York; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Recent two-person and group exhibitions include Blackwelder, with Shio Kusaka, Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong; Greater L.A., New York; Mixed Signals: Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; and Newtonland: Orbits, Ellipses and Other Places of Activity, White Flag Projects, St. Louis. Wood’s work is featured in the public collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among others. His paintings are works on paper and currently on view in a two-person exhibition with Shio Kusaka at Karma, New York through June 13, 2015. Wood lives and works in Los Angeles.

www.davidkordanskygallery.com
www.antonkerngallery.com
www.shanecampbellgallery.com
www.gagosian.com

WILL OLDHAM

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

— The longest period of time during which I had a steady, regular band was two or three years, and it was two or three years ago. For a long time I had wanted to perform a record called BABBLE, a record written by Kevin Coyne and sung by Coyne and Dagmar Krause. It’s one of my favorite records. It’s a daunting and challenging record to listen to, much less to think about performing. But I fantasized about touring this record one day. All I needed was to find a singer to sing Krause’s role to my Coyne. I’d thought about asking Chan Marshall, and Shannon Wright, and Polly Harvey. But I wasn’t sure that any of them would be a good fit and I didn’t want to begin a conversation that would ultimately go nowhere. I’d been playing music with Emmett Kelly for a few years and had begun to discuss with him my BABBLE fantasy. One day he called and said that he thought he may have met someone who could sing the woman’s part. He suggested Angel Olsen, who he’d seen and heard around Chicago. She came to Louisville and we said hello, and then she recorded a demo of one of the BABBLE songs and sent it to me. This took guts, and in her recording she displayed a tension and a range that felt strong and ready to spring. So we had the principle parts cast and what was next was to flesh out the band. I’d known Danny Kiely in Louisville for years, and we had played together when Oscar Parsons put together a deluxe line-up of his Thomas A Minor & the Picket Line band that included me as Bonny in order to play at a private lake called Funtown. Danny knew my mother through the Louisville visual art scene, and he’s incredibly solid as a bass player and warm as a human being. Van Campbell had put his power duo The Black Diamond Heavies onto mothballs and was looking for music opportunities. I had known his brother Ward for many years, and I’d met Van over in England when we both performed with the Oxes one afternoon. Van’s dad played drums, and Van brought an earned and inherited fluency to the kit. I’d met Emmett during late nights in Chicago, and after I’d seen him perform with Azita one night in Louisville I knew I wanted to see what we could do together. Our first work together was in Reykjavik, at the recording session for THE LETTING GO record. By the time of the BABBLE trip, we’d also written and recorded a record together called THE WONDER SHOW OF THE WORLD, with Emmett billed as the Cairo Gang. Emmett also introduced me to Ben Boye, who joined us first on a trip through the Mid-Atlantic states playing keys. I think the bulk of the BABBLE band was on that trip; it was a summer trip and we played Tom Culton’s organic vegetable farm in Lancaster, PA as well as recording a Sufjan Stevens cover with Dan Smith of the Danielson Family at his place in New Jersey. We had Meg Baird with us, and our tour manager was Sabrina Rush, and Sabrina joined in on the recording session playing the violin. After the Mid-Atlantic trip, Emmett brought Angel into the fold and we had our ensemble. We rehearsed the BABBLE record and booked a short run of shows with the Babblers, as we called ourselves, opening for Bonny Prince Billy, which was also us. I bought fleece hoodie-footie pajamas for everyone in the band (our Babbler costumes), and we told local promoters that we were traveling with an opening act from Shreveport, Louisiana (the Babblers). Each band member had to provide his or her own lighting on stage, and we didn’t use any other stage lights for the BABBLE set. We just performed the record in its entirety each night. The first show was Babblers-only (no Bonny set) at a former Mexican record store in Chattanooga called Discoteca. Van set that gig up. It was snowing outside, and the roof leaked. There was no dressing room, so we changed into our hoodie-footie suits in the van (the bathrooms at the ‘venue’ were pretty dismal, although the walls of the bathrooms had really nice graffiti). We took the BABBLE show up to New York City and played at Town Hall. On the way back to Kentucky we scheduled one last-minute Babblers gig in Columbus, Ohio and we got paid with pints (and pints and pints) of Jeni’s Gourmet ice cream. For me, these shows were all about the BABBLE set although we still did good long Bonny sets and put our hearts into those headlining sets. We didn’t mention to the promoters or audiences along the way what we were doing, just that the headliners and the support acts would be sharing equipment.

It was this band (Emmett, Ben, Van, Danny, Angel and myself) that began to slowly prepare for the recording session that would produce WOLFROY GOES TO TOWN. Between the Mid-Atlantic trip and the recording of WOLFROY, we did a couple of mini-band trips. Emmett and Danny and I went out west and played some shows in the Pacific Northwest. Happily we were joined by Phil Elverum playing drums and then Ashley Webber sang with us at a couple of shows. On another trip, Emmett and Angel and I traveled throughout the state of Florida playing at record stores and live on the radio. These shows were about getting our WOLFROY harmonies cemented, and about introducing Emmett and Angel to the wonders of Florida. In St. Augustine we were joined at our gig by Shahzad Ismaily (who banged on a Styrofoam cooler) and Aram Stith (who played guitar). It was a lot of fun.

We finally got the WOLFROY songs together and played a show of just that heap of songs. The show was at Millennium Park in Chicago on a beautiful Monday Summer evening. And around that same time, we went into the Poor Shelter in Louisville, KY and recorded ten of the twelve songs written for that session. This was all six of us, plus Shahzad, who ran the recording machine and played and sang here and there on the session.

At one point, Emmett, Angel, Ben and I went over to Europe and did some shows as a foursome, and then Emmett, Angel, Van and I went down to Australia and played some shows, including a show in a cave near Margaret River in Western Australia. It keeps costs down to travel as a smaller group, and we can also get perspective on the songs by bringing forces in and out of the rotation.

Our last big trip as that six-piece was similar to our first trip together in that we created a new band and once again opened for ourselves playing an entirely separate repertoire. This time we learned a good long set of Mekons songs and traveled as the Chivalrous Amoekons. For our stage costumes, I asked the great Nashville designer and tailor Manuel to create shirts specifically for each band member. Our first show as the Mekons cover band was in Lexington, KY at a benefit show for the radio station WMMT out of Whitesburg, KY. Also on the bill was the great Louisville-based Vietnamese multi-instrumentalist Long Phanh Nguyen. A couple of days later we took our Mekons set and our Bonny set overseas and played a week in Switzerland and a week in Italy. The Mekons have three primary lead singers, and so did we on that trip. The Mekons have long been a crucial inspiration to me, and it was a joy to occupy some of their songs for a while in a legitimately illegitimate way. We had a night off between the Swiss and Italian shows and we spent that night in Parma. The next day we found a brewery out in the countryside outside of Parma called Panil. The lady of the brewery, Patricia, set us a table in the field next to the brewery. She brought us Parma ham and Parma cheese and some of the freshest most delicious beers I had ever had. Patricia told us that Panil has a festival every year in the springtime, and she said that we should come and play the festival the next year. I’d also visited the oldest covered theatre in Europe that morning, in Parma, and had begun trying to figure out a way to perform there. Over our beers and cheese and ham I promised the Babbler/Amoekon troop that we would reconvene the following year, in Italy, and that we would perform together at the Panil festival. However, that is a promise that I did not keep. One force or another wedged itself into our lives and that was to be the last trip (as of this writing) on which the six of us would travel and play all together. Ben has released a great solo autoharp record. Angel has put out a couple of full-length records under her name. There have been Cairo Gang releases and Bonny Cairo tourings. Van and Danny continue to play boatloads of music in and around Louisville. The Babblers and Chivalrous Amoekons bands were among the freest and funnest of times I have had performing live music, because I was traveling and performing with such excellent people while simultaneously embodying some of the music that has been vital to my development as a musical being.

This writing was inspired by Wade Hall’s biography of Pee Wee King, HELL-BENT FOR MUSIC.


Photo by Ashley Stinson

Photo by Connor Lynch

Will Oldham is a singer songwriter and actor, and a native of Louisville, Kentucky

www.dragcity.com

PEGGY AHWESH

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

— The Pittsburgh Years is an audio and transcription archive that has slowly developed over a period of 20 years or so. The archive is a collection of voice recordings from messages left on my answering machine by out spoken and charismatic Pittsburgh native, artist and poet, Natalka Voslakov (1952-2011). Like Andy Warhol before her, Natalka’s art form was talking, and she would use the phone as an excuse to expound on a wide range of topics, knowing I would save the messages, which I did dutifully from 1990-2010. She was one of my dearest friends and though we drifted apart after I left town in the 80’s and our lives were irrevocably altered by time and circumstances, we maintained a healthy correspondence, me by letter (whereabouts of which are unknown) and she by answering machine (some of which have survived) in speech acts that she described as ‘performance monologues’. The recordings are quotidian speech acts, confessions, rants, gossip sessions, philosophical diatribes, political opinion, etc and as a whole are a valuable record of an individual subjective voice- now a historical voice- someone who experienced life in a particular time and place. Like a secret diary, the experiences and events on this small and confessional timeline of life’s ups and downs is valuable as this individual gives insight to the broader culture. The Index of the archive reflects the range of noteworthy topics raised, including, for example: Geishas, Medical Marijuana and Psychics. The emphasis on sound, and the voice of a woman, an un-famous working class woman at that, is ephemeral and could easily be forgotten. I marvel at the wit, deeply political world view and sophisticated presentation of self that Natalka so knowingly offers in these recordings. The Pittsburgh Years as audio and transcription, proposes to engage the current discourses on the archive in a fun and artistic way, to be an experiment in the aesthetics of listening and to honor memory in a legacy project.

THE GEISHA LIFE

You’re the only one who ever, ever understood…and I thank you so much for recognizing that, my greatest work of art was myself. But that was only my unconscious memory, not conscious—of the geisha life. And I was gonna say, why, did I not end up…like, for example—um, born clairvoyant Marvin said, if I had succeeded in killing myself… I…could, would have faced the ultimate Goddess/God which I cannot begin to comprehend, but, but—physics will prove THAT, eventually and all the other such things. Um, I could’ve been wiped out FOREVER because of the religion, that I was, born into. However in Japan, when I hung myself, as a young geisha…who had the same problems that I brought to this lifetime. I was allowed to come back, it was not a problem because, in that religion, which was Shinto, that I followed—and also um, that is not…that is a belief that is OK. Listen, I was ready to make some really classy fake letterhead and go say, I’m making this film and get a, get a car and get in and drive—but, you know, I would’ve ended up in jail…and, I don’t need that. I spent enough time in quite a few—nonviolent protesting, um, I’m proud of that. Um, also some of the ah, you could call ah, psych wards, I was in. Yeah, dual diagnosis lockdown unit, which, um—like, bad people get money easily, from art world grants and from mainstream, or whatever you want to call the alternative. I’ll tell you where I’m at now. You’re, you finish what you gonna do but I’m in the middle, but the middle is the new age—I’m ahead. This is the new territory. However, MY BEING TRENDY—and I do loathe LA, by the way—but, you know, I couldn’t pick up my kids and move them there. And, when I was here for six weeks with no phone and no TV, um, and all that, when my grandmother was passing, and all that, I caught up a lot of my back issues of my reading. Unfortunately I couldn’t move the books around or unpack them. Now, do you remember growing up when they had those frickin, um, you know, um, paper glasses for 3-D—like Swamp Creature? Now—Samsung—that’s out of Korea, um—and I like Samsung stuff too, they’re really good. OK, so. THEY actually have now a flatscreen where you gotta wear fucking glasses to see it? Do you know how fucking over that is, in Tokyo they HAVE flatscreens, you don’t need the motherfucking glasses! Isn’t that stupidious? It’s like, OK James Cameron… Now, we all know we’re on the Titanic…and, we are third class steerage, all of us in this country, and we are just a FIGMENT in your great 3-D mind, with glasses. This means, if it’s now in America—OK, the basic rumor for 3000 or for 2501—it’s already over in Tokyo. They hold these products off, so that they can send them to dumbass Americans, so they will pay the full price when you can go to Tokyo and be overwhelmed at how behind we are. OK, but what I’m saying is: number one, how am I gonna deal with this. The more—I’m gonna keep gettin—you know what—I just wish I had a liquor store around here. I would go and buy some good vodka. I really mean that. I mean—I’m sorry, you don’t mix vodka with the drug I’m taking, but I’m ready to be loonie was a tune, as the Looney Tunes we grew up watching. I’ll tell you what, if they STOP everything, I will call WTAE, Channel 4, The Action News—they’re always looking for something weird. I will camp out and I will go crazy and I will tell them what happened—what they did, and that I would have, and you know what, unfortunately, Dr. Yonger from Pakistan is bound to throw me into Western Psych or wherever—well, you know what, just, you know what—I don’t want to go back there. Like I want to sit around making motherfucking macramé, with beads? I will be on TV. Besides the fact that I’m making out a will, which I did leave for Mr. Shaffer’s box which he didn’t even return—crying and screaming and going berserk—I was gonna keep myself awake as long as I can, like how Hunter S. Thompson used to do and go wacko, completely. Thank God I don’t believe in guns or violence. But here’s the point, I’m gonna forge ahead. FUCK the attorneys. We’re in the new turf now. You know Pirate Cove? You DO know that the only country, that Sweden is the wild…to um, to um, absolute anarchy um, with the Internet, in fact it’s the only country, fucking Sweden… allowed, the CIA and the goons from the US to take and take all their servers out—from Pirate Bay? And, they are yeah, there. And you know why China’s rising and we’re falling? It’s real simple. Because they’re not fucking stupid like we are. Their leaders, are building the middle class—and I’m telling you, the things that we don’t know and we don’t hear that to go on there—the underground clubs. The only influence we have on the world, is…um, our cultural input—the rap movement, the punk movement, all that—the UK and us—and we were part of that in the film genre, in the Super8—but it’s over, it’s the past. I don’t want to live in the past. You can’t go back to being who you were, but you have to become who you must be. You know, fuck the ATTORNEYS. FUCK all this shit. The age of Enlightenment and—rational thought, of scientific thought—started, way back, when Galileo was put on the rack and tortured by the pope…to deny, to take back what we know, is absolutely correct, that…you know, we, we do not evolve around the sun. I mean, we revolve around the sun, the sun does not revolve around us. That was the beginning of the age of the Enlightenment, the enlightenment of everything—of the political changes, of the scientific revolution. We’re just at the beginning—and that is a bitch, that’s the worst fucking time to be anything or anyone, to be a philosopher…to be—you know, I mean look. LOOK. Look at this sorry ass United States of Ambien. It makes me want to puke, vomit and throw up. The point I’m making is, I would rather— you know, FUCK ATTORNEYS.


Peggy Ahwesh was born in Pittsburgh, PA and currently lives and works between Brooklyn, NY and the Catskills. She is a media artist who got her start in the 1970s with feminism, punk and amateur Super 8 filmmaking. Her work has exhibited worldwide including at the New Museum, New York, NY; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; The Tate Modern, London, UK; Guggenheim Museum, Bilboa, Spain and her films featured at the Whitney Biennial, NY (5 editions); THE AMERICAN CENTURY, Whitney Museum, NY; and at “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution” 2008, P.S.1, Queens, NY. Her works are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, among others. She has received grants and awards including from the Jerome Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, NYSC and the Alpert Award in the Arts. Peggy Ahwesh is Professor of Film & Electronic Arts at Bard College where she has taught for many years.

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SARAH CONAWAY

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015







Sarah Conaway received her MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2001 and a BA in Philosophy from Bucknell University in 1994. Her work has been featured in solo and two person exhibitions at The Box, Los Angeles, Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zurich and Bellwether Gallery, New York, and group exhibitions at Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris, Richard Telles Gallery, Los Angeles, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, Taka Ishii Gallery Modern Tokyo, and the inaugural edition of the biennial, MADE IN L.A., Hammer Museum, 2012.

www.barbaraseiler.ch
www.theboxla.com

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AURA ROSENBERG

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
THE MISSING SOUVENIR


— The Siegessäule (victory column), is a Berlin monument and popular tourist attraction that commemorates Germany’s 1870 victory over France in the Battle of Sedan. That battle ended the Franco-Prussian War and, as a result, Germany became a nation state. In 1873 Kaiser Wilhelm I unveiled the monument, which served as symbol of German unification. Its proportions were inspired by Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s neo-classical architecture. In 1939, the Siegessäule changed. Adolf Hitler moved the column from its original location in front of the Reichstag to where it now stands at the center of the Großer Stern roundabout in Berlin’s Tiergarten. He placed it along an east/west axis running through the city that the Nazi troops were supposed to traverse on their victorious return from Russia. Albert Speer broadened its base and added another section that made it taller than before.

Walter Benjamin’s memoir, Berlin Childhood Around 1900, opens with the inscription “Oh brown baked victory column with winter sugar from the days of childhood.” With this Benjamin suggests that, in winter, the monument resembled a gingerbread house covered with confectioner’s sugar—perhaps one that his mother had baked for him.

I discovered Benjamin’s memoir in 1993, shortly after coming to Berlin for the first time with my husband and young daughter. It comprises forty-two short texts that describe vividly remembered places and events from Benjamin’s childhood. Benjamin started writing it in 1932, shortly after leaving his beloved city for what he feared would be a prolonged exile. He considered this project an inoculation against homesickness. The entries are more allegorical than autobiographical—covering such themes as love and loss of home, hunting and being hunted, the lure of exotic places and a passion for reading and writing. His text, Die Siegessäule, reflects his aversion to the monument by describing the symbolic mosaic that covers its interior and the celebratory military parades that he was forced to attend.

From 1993 until 2001, whenever I was in Berlin, I shot photographs based on these image-rich texts—texts which Benjamin himself described as snapshots of a bourgeois childhood. Sometimes this was as simple as going to a location he mentions or photographing events from my daughter’s life at school and with friends. For an exhibition of this work at the daadgalerie, I decided to commission a baked version of the victory column. First, I planned to give the baker a souvenir of the monument to copy. However, searching through tourist shops and antique markets yielded nothing. At the victory column itself only souvenirs of the golden angel that sits at its top were for sale. Curiously, the base of the victory column houses an exhibition of models of monuments from around the world—in sharp to contrast its own souvenir-less status. In response, I produced a small edition of victory columns. They were ten inches tall and based on the original version, before Hitler’s enlargement. They served as prototypes for a subsequent edition of 1000 that I made for the 2004 Berlin Biennale.

The word “souvenir” derives from Latin “subvenire”, which translates “to come up from below”—virtually the same as its meaning in French. Souvenirs are a way of remembering, holding on to memories, so that they remain present. The absence of a victory column souvenir suggests the opposite—a desire to repress not only memories of the monument, but also its troubling past. As far as I know, my edition may be the only group of Siegessäule souvenirs available anywhere. Only Die Siegessäule, Berlin’s leading gay and lesbian magazine, deigns to acknowledge this symbol, admittedly with a degree of irony. My desire to produce an edition of souvenirs is not so much a celebration of the monument as it is a way to confront its traumatic history.

Aura Rosenberg received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA from Hunter College, NY as well as attending the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. Her work has been exhibited at, among others, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria, Le Magasin, Centre D’art Contemporain, Grenoble, France, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Philadelphia, Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Hamburger Banhof, Berlin, Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin, Swiss Institute, New York, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zürich, MAMCO, Musee d’art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City.

www.aurarosenberg.com

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BARBARA HAMMER

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

— Homage To Sappho, 1978, was a performance in front of what is now the old Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco directed by me. The impetus was to “put lesbians, lesbian art in the museum and not pussy foot with the project label”. I asked a group of acquaintances to join me on the sidewalk, wear white, and be prepared to be active.

I asked them to write a list of lesbian artist names on the white paper that was laid out on the sidewalk with the intention to circle the museum (didn’t make that goal). We filled up balloons that had the name of a lesbian artist inside with helium and released them over the city. What you see is a large weather balloon but we also, as I remember, used smaller balloons. I have some photos of me posing under the museum sign with black hat and white suit suggesting that I should be in the museum not left on the sidewalk. So it was an inner/outer event.

The passing public were surprised, curious, stood around and watched. I don’t remember inviting anyone in particular nor the press (naive at the ‘art game’ at that time). The documentation is the history along with this little story.

Even as late as the 1990s I made a film, The Female Closet, on the lesbian photographer Alice Austen who was featured in a show at the NY Public Library and still there was no ‘lesbian text’ on display with the photographs, nor in the bio. Over and over again, but never again.





Barbara Hammer lives and works in New York City and Kerhonkson, New York. She is a visual artist primarily working in film and video. Her work reveals and celebrates marginalized peoples whose stories have not been told. Her cinema is multi-leveled and engages an audience viscerally and intellectually with the goal of activating them to make social change. Hammer has been to Yamagata both as a judge (1994) and with a competition documentary (2001). Since then she has been honored with five retrospectives in the last three years: The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Tate Modern in London, Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Toronto International Film Festival and Kunsthalle Oslo in Norway. Her book, HAMMER! MAKING MOVIES OUT OF SEX AND LIFE, was released in 2010, through The Feminist Press. Hammer is well-known for making the first explicit 1974 lesbian film DYKETACTICS, and for her trilogy of documentary film essays on queer history NITRATE KISSES (1992), TENDER FICTIONS (1995), HISTORY LESSONS (2000). She received a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013-14) for WELCOME TO THIS HOUSE (2015), a documentary on Elizabeth Bishop, which will premiere at The Museum of Fine Art, Boston and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

www.barbarahammer.com

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AÏDA RUILOVA

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The actress Karen Black and visual artist Raymond Pettibon having a moment of rest on the set of my film Meet the Eye (2008).


Aïda Ruilova was born in 1974 in Wheeling, West Virginia and lives and works in New York. Ruilova was a nominee for the 2006 Hugo Boss Prize. Her work has been featured in the 50th Venice Biennale, the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and the 4th Berlin Biennial, as well as Tate Britain, London, ZKM, Karlsruhe, The Kitchen, NY, and the Museum of Modern Art, NY. Her recent film HEAD AND HANDS: MY BLACK ANGEL was screened at the Rotterdam film festival in 2013. Upcoming exhibitions include EXCESS BEAUTY at Salzburger Kunstverein and PUNK at the CA2M Contemporary Madrid Art Center 2015.

www.aidaruilova.com

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LARRY CLARK

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015


Larry Clark is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential American photographers and filmmakers of his generation. He is known for his raw and controversial photographs and films which expose us to sub-cultures not widely known about, with themes of sex, drugs and rock and roll prevailing. Clark burst into public consciousness with his landmark book TULSA in 1971 and has continued to use photography and film to explore issues pertaining to youth culture. Clark’s first feature film, KIDS in 1995 was hailed as “an instant classic” and “a wake-up call.” KIDS was followed by the films ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE (1998), BULLY (2001), TEENAGE CAVEMAN (made for TV in 2001), KEN PARK (2003), WASSUP ROCKERS (2005) and the short film IMPALED (2006). The photographic series LOS ANGELES 2003-2006 chronicles four years in the life of Jonathan Velasquez, who was the inspiration for his film WASSUP ROCKERS. Clark’s most recent film THE SMELL OF US, was released in France last month and will make its US premiere in one week as part of the Film Society 15th Annual Film Comment Selects.

www.luhringaugustine.com
www.simonleegallery.com

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BETTY TOMPKINS

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

When I started the Fuck Paintings in 1969 I used porn photos that my first husband had gotten from Hong Kong or Singapore in the 1950s as my source material. My idea was that if I eliminated the hands, feet, heads and cropped in, I could get a beautiful group of forms combined with the punch of very exciting subject matter. These are from that group. Now I use photoshop to get the final file. Not the same thing at all.


Betty Tompkins was born 1945, in Washington D.C. She lives and works in New York and Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Selected solo shows include Art Basel Feature, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Basel, Switzerland (2014); PAINTINGS & WORKS ON PAPER 1972-2013, Sarah Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida (2014); WOMAN WORDS, Dinter Fine Art, project room #63, New York (2013); FUCK PAINTINGS, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (2012); SEX WORKS, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, Switzerland (2011); NEW WORK, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York (2009). Group shows include THE SHELL (LANDSCAPES, PORTRAITS & SHAPES), Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France (2015); REAR WINDOW TREATMENT, Louis B. James, New York (2014); A DRAWING SHOW, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York (2014); SUNSETS AND PUSSY, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2013); BETTY TOMPKINS AND DADAMAINO, Home Alone 2 Gallery, New York (2013).

www.bettytompkins.com
www.galerierodolphejanssen.com
www.gavlakgallery.com

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TOMI UNGERER

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Everything is a source of inspiration and thus of redemption. Objects land and pile up in my workshop, waiting for an idea to give them a new life, a new identity. It takes but an incision across an old buoy to turn it into a frog.


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Tomi Ungerer was born in 1931, in Strasbourg, France. He lives and works in Ireland. Ungerer is best known as the award-winning author and illustrator of such beloved 1960s children’s classics as THE THREE ROBBERS (1961) and MOON MAN (1966). While producing children’s books Ungerer was also making campaigns for the New York Times and the Village Voice, biting satirical illustrations about the business world, and brutal pictorial responses to racism, fascism, and the Vietnam War. Ungerer has also made graphic erotic drawings throughout his career, gathered together in publications such as FORNICON, TOTEMPOLE, and EROTOSCOPE. Awards include the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, regarded as the Nobel Prize of children’s literature, and, in September 2014, the Commandeur de l’Ordre national du Mérite. Ungerer’s first U.S. retrospective, ALL IN ONE, is up through March 22nd 2015, at the Drawing Center, NY.

www.tomiungerer.com
www.drawingcenter.org

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LES KRIMS

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
SATIRE INSPIRED BY WISHFUL THINKING, THE CULTURE WARS, AND THE LEFT’S [SHE]NANIGANS

For a time in the States, growing criticism of liberal culture’s strident agenda offered signs that the left was quivering, getting grayer, loosing its grip, starting to shrink, beginning to molder and leak. For example, the death of the Marxist theorist Jacques Derrida, on October 8, 2004, provoked an astounding revisionist article: “The Theory of Everything, R.I.P.,” by Emily Eakin, published in The New York Times (October 17, 2004). Several of Derrida’s contemporaries and acolytes admitted to Ms. Eakin, that they had hoped and believed their “theories” would foster a Marxist revolution in the West (amazing!). This admission backdated to the beginning of the 1990’s (no doubt Christmas Day, December 25, 1991, when Gorbachev declared the Soviet Union extinct), their disavowal of, and distancing from, Derrida, and the various flavors of revolution he and they were cultivating in their dreams and classrooms. The article had the effect of highlighting these academics’ hypocrisy, and the fact that theory had failed as an effective anti-capitalist, anti-American weapon. I thought: How much further up their ass could these schmucks possibly shove their heads?



PERFORMING AEROSOL FICTION, Buffalo, New York, 1968


In 1978, I was the “featured photographer” at the national convention of the Society for Photographic Education—an academic organization consisting of leftist college photography teachers, which then most closely resembled the Comintern. Two years later, my work was the target of ad hominem, pre-Borkian, libelous attack by radical anti-porn feminists, published in multiple issues of Exposure—the Society for Photographic Education’s “learned” journal, sent to most every college photography program, curator of photography, and collector, in the United States.

Around the same time, Franklin Furnace, a New York City based feminist collective milking the system for grants to collect and advocate for artist books, mailed an unsolicited library index card bearing my name, to hundreds of public and university libraries in this country. The card listed some of my publications, along with a quote attributed to me, stating I thought my work was “shit.” (This defamation was settled out of court.) Activist liberal “educators,” and straight-up psychopaths, began to attack my pictures with the clear intent of causing me as much harm as possible.

By the end of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency, in 1981, as the interest rate for a home mortgage inched above a hernia-inducing 21%, I had, for over a decade, been making satirical pictures inspired by leftist ideas of questionable merit. My own politics were an admixture of moderate Republican and quasi-libertarian notions—it was a free country, and my zealous, lefty-liberal colleagues were supposed to be tolerant of all views. I liked Lenny Bruce’s idea that a truly religious man had only one suit.

With increasing frequency, moderate views were attacked by kangaroo courts springing up willy-nilly in liberal academe. These activists were devoted to what would become known as “political correctness.” Their ideas had germinated at elite colleges and women’s studies programs, byproducts of dubious disciplines and experiments in affirmative action. Sight, for example, was criminalized (ever hear of “Lookism”?), as well as male dating conduct (codified dating rules, with academic “courts” manned by devotees of Andrea Dworkin, enforced judgments with totalitarian, steel-fisted zeal). Trendy theory would eventually spawn a hodgepodge of wackiness, which had the effect of spreading political correctness throughout academe.

I taught photography at an “urban” college, held the rank of professor, and was tenured. I loved making photographs, exhibited my pictures internationally, and believed I lived in a free country. By 1982, I’d sold hundreds of pictures, owned a winter and a summer Porsche, and, at 40, had just purchased my first house—a 16-room fixer-upper (my darkroom was as big as the apartment in Brooklyn in which I’d grown up). Life now was far from tough.

However, I found my pictures and job under continual attack. I adopted George Herbert’s notion, deciding that living well would be the best revenge. The left controlled the arts and humanities in academe. Dissociating myself from the S.P.E. seemed prudent. Much like Br’er Rabbit after he’d been tossed into the brier patch, I’d live as comfortably as possibly among academe’s flaccid thorns.



MARXIST VIEW; BARK ART; ART BARK (FOR ART PARK); MADAM CURIOUS; A CHINESE ENTERTAINMENT; IRVING’S PENS; SOMETHING TO LOOK AT SPOTTING UPSIDE DOWN; HOLLIS’S HERSHEYS; AND FOUR WOMEN POSING, 1985/2001

Since the early 1980’s—my free speech protected by tenure, and the Constitution of the United States—I’ve inhabited a gobbledygook-free zone. I enjoy the knowledge that my pictures changed the practice of art-photography. In the ‘90s, I enthusiastically embraced Photoshop, computers, scanners, and ink jet printing. This new technology enabled the most productive period of my life. I steer clear of delusional malcontents.

An epilog: The deceased radical-feminist-activist, Andrea Dworkin, excreted hateful aphorisms: “Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women’s bodies;” “Romance is rape embellished with meaningful looks;” and “The only good man is a dead man.” (Francois de La Rochefoucald said: ‘Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.’) In a June 6th, 2005, New York Magazine article, titled, “The Prisoner of Sex,” Ariel Levy, its self-proclaimed feminist author, offered the upshot for Dworkin and her “movement”—the radical movement behind the attacks on my pictures. “With the possible exception of the Shakers, it is difficult to think of an American movement that has failed more spectacularly than anti-pornography feminism.” Pornography is now, “…a source of inspiration for all of popular culture.”

I deplore pornography; and am not a prude. I believe Ms. Levy’s assessment of Dworkin’s failed ideology is correct. However, only a misguided, double-tracking New York liberal would characterize pornography as “a source of inspiration.” The only thing pornography seems to inspire is masturbation.

While supporting Dworkin’s agitprop, liberal print media discovered that porn’s sensationalism attracted a larger audience. The prospect of larger audiences, and increased profits, quickly modified media’s hack formula: If it bleeds it leads. All manner of tits, ass, vile language, and retarded behavior have been added to the fires, floods, and mayhem broadcast and published daily as entertainment.

Photography was politicized in the 1930s, and used by the left to promote social engineering and attack capitalism. I thought photography could be other than propaganda inspired by Socialist Realist art. This might not have occurred to me if I’d studied with activist teachers who man (or wofem) photography’s collegiate barricades, and indoctrinate future activist photographers. By the mid-1960s, the millions of photographs made of ghettos and wars had failed to bring about a Marxist revolution in America, or change much. Serious photography, narrowly defined by a handful of powerful leftist curators, picture editors, and critics had devolved into the intractably moribund, the terminally tedious. In contrast, other areas of art were experiencing -ism after -ism of “innovation.” In the 1950’s, New York City had become the center of the art world. But by 1968, the Witkin Gallery was the only gallery in New York City devoted to showing photography. Art galleries and many artists did not consider photography to be art. This has changed in the last 40 years.



MONEY $ MAKER[S]. TASTE OF BUFFALO, SATURDAY, JULY 9, 2011



WOMAN WITH THE LETTERS “F” “U” “C” “K” TATTOOED ON THE FINGERS OF HER RIGHT HAND, RIDING A BUCKING MECHANICAL CHICKEN WING. NATIONAL BUFFALO WING FESTIVAL (”WINGFEST”) 2013, COCA-COLA FIELD, BUFFALO, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013.


Fractured fairy tale (a phrase coined for certain Hanna-Barbera cartoons), and allegory are equally apt terms to use to describe some of my pictures. Early on, it seemed important to underscore the illusion, the “fiction,” which is the photographic image. I fused photography with the plebeian character of conceptual art’s subjects, materials, and methods, to shape my working methods. Satirizing leftist practice in photography eventually marginalized “activist” photographers complicit in corrupting and ghettoizing photography, making room for other manner of expression.

Digital equipment was ten times costlier ten years ago. At one-tenth the price, it’s now many times as good. “Workers” can now afford and own the means of production. A student can make technically perfect photographic images and prints with a few weeks of training. The affordability and environment for making photography is as close to a workers’ paradise as things can get. Capitalism, not communism, made this possible.

Making visually and intellectually entertaining pictures, unconstrained by what’s now euphemistically called progressive ideology appealed to me—it was certainly the less traveled path in the mid-1960s. William Hogarth’s art, William F. Buckley’s artful needling of “crypto-fascists,” and Tom Wolfe’s shrewd assessments of the art world helped to nourish and hone my art—helped me to make sense of what I experienced. The pictures in this selection are often sampled from larger sets of pictures (e.g., “A Trick for Man Ray,” is from a portfolio of 19 photographs called “Idiosyncratic Pictures,”), or are single-image works, without siblings. Some fabrications are simple, some complicated (“A Marxist View,” for example, took over a year of adjusting and testing; “Les Krims Performing Aerosol Fiction,” was made in an afternoon). Simple is not inherently better than complex.

Entertained by Ansel Adams’ analogy of printing a negative to interpreting a musical score, some older images are now perfected or reinterpreted using Photoshop. “Candid” pictures are all altered digitally. It’s been my practice to “spin” pictures with “titles.” These can take the form of short stories or rants, in effect creating transparently propagandistic work, meant to conjure standard, liberal, media practice.

“Satire Inspired by Wishful Thinking, the Culture Wars, and the Left’s [She]nanigans,” is an apt banner for this selection, and for the times in which these pictures were made.

Les Krims,
September 8, 2010 (Edited: 12.11.2014)

Les Krims was born in 1942, in New York City. He lives in Buffalo, New York. Selected recent solo shows include LES KRIMS, PARIS PHOTO, Paci Contemporary exhibition at Paris Photo, Paris, France (2014); DESECRATOR, Paola Meliga Galleria d’Arte, Torino, Italy (2013); LES KRIMS: SATIRE INSPIRED BY WISHFUL THINKING, THE CULTURE WARS, AND THE LEFT’S [SHE]NANIGANS, ARTISANworks, Rochester, New York (2010); LES KRIMS, Galerie Serge Aboukrat, for the publication of a 15 print, original print portfolio, of a selection of pictures from FICTCRYPTOKRIMSOGRAPHS, published by Chez Higgins, Paris, France (2008); AMERICA NUDE, Galeria PaceArte Contemporaena, Brescia, Italy, December (2007); LES KRIMS, WISHFUL THINKING: SATIRE INSPIRED BY THE DECLINE OF THE LEFT IN AMERICA, Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris, France (2007). Recent group shows include BLACK FOREST, Candela Gallery, Richmond, Virginia (2014); TRANSFORMATIONAL IMAGEMAKING: HANDMADE PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE 1960, CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, New York (2014); AMERICA ’70-LA FOTOGRAFIA TRA SOGNO E REALTÀ, Paci Contemporary, Brescia, Italy (2014); 3X1 NON SOLO FOTOGRAFIA, Paci contemporary, Brescia, Italy (2013); THE POLAROID YEARS: INSTANT PHOTOGRAPHY AND EXPERIMENTATION, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York (2013); IT CAME FROM THE VAULT: RARELY SEEN WORKS FROM MAG’S COLLECTION, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York (2013); WHEN COLLECTING WAS NEW: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE ROBERT A. TAUB COLLECTION, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (2013); 50@50 SELECT ARTISTS FROM THE GERALD MEAD COLLECTION, University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, New York, August (2012); FLESH AND BONE, PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE BODY, The Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon (2012).

www.leskrims.com

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AMY O’NEILL

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

The Wish Books were eagerly anticipated catalogues delivered by post on the days following Thanksgiving. Here is my wish list compiled from a 1976 Wish Book.


Amy O’Neill was born in 1971, in Beaver, Pennsylvania. She currently lives in Queens, New York.

www.oneillamy.com

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MATT WOLF

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

I’m currently making a film about a woman named Marion Stokes. She was a radical activist, a counter-cultural TV producer, and for thirty years she recorded television 24 hours a day on multiple channels. Her 50,000 VHS tapes are now being digitized by the Internet Archive.

In my research, I met the television scholars Lynn Spigel and Kate Newbold, who are collecting and studying TV Snapshots and Photography, an obscure amateur photography movement from the pre-­VCR decades.

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Lynn Spigel: I became interested in television photography when I wrote my first book, Make Room for TV, which analyzes a lot of advertising images for TV sets. I had a photo of myself as a little girl, posing in front of my TV set. I wondered if other people did the same, so I searched flea markets and thrift stores. Since then I have collected around 6,000 photos from the late 1940s-1970s with people posing in front of their TV sets.

 

Kate Newbold: In exploring case studies for my dissertation on early television and amateur archival practices, I found several images online of TV screens that individuals had photographed from the television sets in their homes. The images reveal single snapshots of all different kinds of 1950s and 1960s broadcast content: baseball games, comedy series, variety shows, parades, talk shows, even commercials. These images seemed to index a desire to remember television or save it, or perhaps simply slow it down, for contemplation after the broadcast event.

 

Lynn Spigel: Many of the photos shot off screen were part of an amateur/hobby art craze that Kate talks about, a hobby that men mostly pursued. Some of my snapshots, however, are actually amateur photos, especially a large amount of them that are pornographic shots, and which appear to be taken by male amateurs or semi-professionals for men’s camera magazines.

 

Kate Newbold: The most interesting aspect of the TV photographs I’ve seen is their imperfect nature, i.e. the myriad distortions, blurs, double imaging, and grayness that often reveal to me the very amateur nature of this practice. I think that many saw television as a live and temperamental beast they could tame with their camera lenses.

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Lynn Spigel: I guess in part people wanted to have a visual memory of a televised baseball game, the moon landing, the JFK funeral, or just the more everyday flow of TV images like Ed Sullivan’s face. I recently purchased a photo album one woman created that’s devoted to off-air photos from a 1990s soap opera.

 

Lynn Spigel: I found many photos of African American families posing in front of their TV sets in the 1950s and 60s. Histories of television have had little to say about African American audiences for early TV. The snapshots offer new visual evidence for ways African American families framed their own experiences with TV, apart from the often-racist stereotypes found on 1950s and ’60s network programs.

 

Lynn Spigel: These photos are sold for quite a bit of money online, and it’s interesting that they have accrued value just at the point at which analog TV (and the old boxy sets) are in rubbish heaps across the nation. It’s interesting to me that when the TV object became obsolete, the photo of it became valuable.


TV snapshots copyright Lynn Spigel, and additional images courtesy Kate Newbold

Lynn Spigel is a Professor at Northwestern University. Her book TV SNAPSHOTS: AN ARCHIVE OF EVERYDAY LIFE is forthcoming from Duke University Press.

Kate Newbold is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University studying early television history and culture in America.

Matt Wolf is a filmmaker in New York. His documentary films include, WILD COMBINATION, about the avant-garde cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell, TEENAGE, about the birth of youth culture, and I REMEMBER, about the artist and poet Joe Brainard. His slideshow about the artist David Wojnarowicz appeared in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and his forthcoming film about Eloise illustrator Hilary Knight will air on HBO this Spring.

www.mattwolf.info

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HANNA LIDEN

Sunday, December 28th, 2014
STACKING AND SPIRALING















Hanna Liden was born in 1976 in Stockholm, Sweden and lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include I HOPE THESE RUIN A PERFECTLY BAD DAY, Maccarone, New York (2014); Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome (2013); AS BLACK AS YOUR HAT, Half Gallery, NY (2010); FALL TEN, Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich (2010). Group exhibitions include COME AS YOU ARE AGAIN, Salon 94 (2010); THE ISLAND, Miami (2010), ADAPTATION, The Powerplant Toronto (2010); FRESH HELL, Palais de Tokyo Paris (2010); NEW YOKR MINUTE, Macro, Rome (2008). Liden was also included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

www.maccarone.net

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MATÍAS PIÑEIRO

Sunday, December 28th, 2014
SOUVENIRS FROM A VISIT TO A MUSEUM


Six month after shooting The Princess of France I found I had accidentally brought with me to New York the digital camera my mother lent me to use as a prop in the film. The camera was used during a scene in the National Fine Art Museum of Buenos Aires, in which Gabi Saidón’s character, Jimema, takes pictures of the exhibited paintings. I enjoy giving an actor a secondary activity that doesn’t have to do with the main action of a scene. In this case Jimema takes pictures of the Museum’s collection, throughout a scene between Ana and Victor. Here there is a page of the script:

 

11. INT – Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Day

VICTOR, ANA and JIMENA visit the empty halls of the Museum. They are talking as they each walk at their own personal pace past the paintings on display. Jimena takes pictures of the paintings with her small digital camera. Her interest in the actual works seems partial. The rooms are dark but the paintings are well illuminated. ANA seems rather distracted by a yet unexplained situation. She tries to keep the conversation easy.

VICTOR
Ana.

ANA
Oh, yes, sorry, here are the keys.
Make yourself at home.

VICTOR
Thanks.

ANA
Go home and take a nap if you´d like.

VICTOR
No, I’m fine.

JIMENA
I thought you were arriving next week.

VICTOR
Yes, I was.

ANA
If you had warned me, I´d have left them under the rug.

VICTOR
Don’t worry. I was nearby.

JIMENA
How are you doing?

JIMENA takes another picture. She doesn´t seem to pay much attention to the conversation.

VICTOR
I’m fine. Well, actually, so-so.
Have you seen Natalia lately?

ANA
No.

VICTOR
Is she seeing someone?

JIMENA
No idea.

ANA
Have you gone to Natalia’s?

VICTOR
Yes, but she wouldn’t let me.

 

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Still from THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE. Gabi Saidón as Jimena in the National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina. August 2013.

The little red light in the still above shows that Gabi was actually taking the photographs, that her character, Jimena, says she is using for a personal catalogue. Months after the shoot, back in New York, I found these photographs still on the memory stick of my mother’s camera.

Below are three groups of photographs taken by Gabi Saidón, as Jimena, while we were shooting these scenes. They are not regular backstage photographs, there are the actual photos that the actress was taking from inside the scene, playing her role, take after take.

 

1. A painting: FLORÉAL by Louis Joseph Raphaël Collin.

TAKE ONE
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The oblique angle shows that Gabi is not in the right place for taking her picture but—presumingly—in the right place for the camera that is shooting her. Not much attention seems to have been given to her photography. It was the first scene, shot on the second day of shooting, and also, our first day in the Museum. It was early in the morning. I like doing many takes. Sometimes, it is the first one which is best, but this was not not the case.

 

TAKE TWO
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Same framing, more blurred. It seems as if we are repeating what was done before, maybe to understand more clearly what is not working. It’s a mechanical take, not a good one, but one to point out what to polish. In an attempt to start putting things in action, we tend to say: “Let´s rehearse by shooting”. I may have been more focused on the movements of the other actors, rather than in that of Gabi’s. Her character is somehow a satellite around those of María Villar and Julián Larquier Tellarini. Her position is the last to be taken care of. She is patient.

 

TAKE THREE
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In focus, better framed. Here Gabi seems to be thinking about the photo she is taking. Maybe she’s entertaining herself while I dedicate more time to the other actors or maybe she starts feeling more in control of her role and actions. This photo could be suitable for her character’s catalogue.

 

TAKE FOUR
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Movement. Gabi was asked to move as soon as she was taking the picture. Her photography has to give in for the benefit of the shot organizad by the DoP, Fernando Lockett and myself. The choreography between the three characters seems not to be working though. The battle of the verosímil. More takes were to come. I might have been confusing speed with rhythm.

 

TAKE FIVE
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She first takes the photo and then she moves to her second position. It looks ridiculous if not. The angle is always complicated for her photo, but that doesn’t show in the camera that is capturing her.

 

TAKE SIX
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Changes. I changed her position so as to see if the problems that we were experiencing would solve themselves by having a different approach. There was no need from her to move after taking the photo. It would look fake if she did so. Her framing is much better and it is in focus. It is her best photograph. And still, the take was not good enough.

 

TAKE SEVEN
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Back to previous position. Apparently, something was not working under the previous change. She might have been to far away from the other two actors, or maybe it was too problematic for the sound assistant to record her lines without appearing in the frame. However, Gabi took the framing from that previous take to this old position of hers. She incorporated it. Her photographs are getting better and I feel that as Gabi´s photography progresses, her performance and the scene progresses as well. I enjoy when the actions performed abandon the “as if” mode, which means that the actor starts doing the action instead of just doing pretending “as if” they would be doing it. In this case, Gabi goes from pretending “as if” she was framing and taking a picture of the painting, to actually photographing the painting, caring about the action she is carrying out for the sake of the action itself. The spectator may not realize this immediately, but I think it ends up showing in the frame; uncontrollable details are possible and it’s good for them to appear, bringing in some fresh air to the shoot.

 

TAKE EIGHT
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Back to the start: “as if”. Seeing this photo now, I realize I was a bit lost when doing this scene.

 

TAKE NINE
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Last take. There´s nothing new in her photo, there might have been nothing new in our scene either. Maybe we ran out of ideas, or I was too confused or everybody was simply tired. Gabi’s photograph here is less accurate than the very first. I remember being worried about a silence between Julián and María, and about not finding the exact position for one of his final movements. Something was not going well. Again, this was the first scene, shot on that second day of shooting, in our first day at the Museum. We were still warming up. At take nine, I thought that we got it. Maybe I preferred to move forward to the next scene. We did have limited time to work there.

Months afterwards, while editing, I decided to cut this scene out from the film. There was something that was not working. It could have been a problem with the position of the actors in relationship with the delivery of the dialogue and the coherence of their actions. I don´t know. We’ll solve it in the next film. But it lacked its proper rhythm.

Lost in a borrowed camera, photos taken by Gabi Saidón/Jimena document the inner doubts, hesitations and decisions that made our working together.

After a screening of The Princess of France at Toronto Film Festival’s Wavelength, filmmaker and friend Jean-Claude Rousseau talked to me about a film he had once wanted to do with one of the painting he suddenly glimpsed in one scenes of my film. It would have been his first feature film, a fiction film. He was surprised to learn that the painting was now in Buenos Aires. He promised me to send me a picture of this abandoned project of his once he got back to his home in Paris. Eight years before, I promised to send him a series of three photographs he took with my analog camera in a visit to the Teotihuacan pyramids during a Film Festival in Mexico. I never sent him the photographs. I couldn’t find the negatives, nor the positives. I hope one day, back in Buenos Aires, I will find these photos and finally send them to him.

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Photo by Jean­‐Claude Rousseau

 

2. María and Julián around a statue.

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TAKE FIVE
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TAKE SEVEN
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3. Dana, sound woman.

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TAKE TWO
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TAKE THREE
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TAKE FOUR
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TAKE FIVE
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TAKE SIX
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TAKE SEVEN
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A very short film by Gabi Saidón:


All photos and video by Gabi Saidón, Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 2013.

Matías Piñeiro was born in 1982, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He directed the short, Rosalinda (2011), and several features, including THE STOLEN MAN (2007), THEY ALL LIE (2009), and VIOLA (2012), which premiered at the Festival. His most recent film is LA PRINCESA DE FRANCIA (2014)

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BIRGIT HEIN

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

— Here is a drawing from one of the youngest generation of ‘this long century’. It shows Kleopatra as Tiggr’s grandmother. You can identify her by the snake in her left hand. My grandson Jasper made it in 2009, when he was 7 years old. At that time he identified himself with Tiggr, his deeply loved cuddly toy, and at the same time he saw himself connected with ‘Tutty’, our name for Tutankhamun. We visited Nofretete (Nefertari) in the Neues Museum in Berlin. She is also seen in the drawing.


Birgit Hein was born in Berlin, in 1942. She is a filmmaker, performer and author of numerous publications on avantgarde cinema. She worked with her partner Wilhelm from 1966 to 1989, together founding XSCREEN, an organisation for subcultural events and underground cinema. She curated the film section at Documenta 6 1977 and the exhibition‚ FILM ALS FILM, Cologne 1977, together with Wulf Herzogenrath. Her films are in international collections u.a. im Musée d‘Art Moderne Paris (Centre Pompidou), Cinematheque Royale de Belgique, Museum Ludwig Köln, Sprengel Museum Hannover. From 1990 to 2008 she was a professor for Film and Video at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig. She is also a member of the fine art section at the Akademie der Künste Berlin.

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SUSANNE SASIC

Friday, November 7th, 2014

— I travel all the time for my job, and sometimes take photographs. I bought a decent camera for work to document my show designs but wound up using it more to entertain myself while traveling. I take photos looking out of windows on planes and moving vehicles, or from hotel rooms. I like a distant vantage point. I don’t carry a camera with me on the street in Tokyo or Paris or London, only in emptier cities without landmarks. I look for low horizons, big skies, anonymous buildings, empty streets and lone figures. No monuments, or interesting personalities, and not a travelogue.

I always wanted to travel when I was a kid, by now I’ve been all over the place. It’s the best part of my job. I don’t get to choose where I go, it feels random but it’s limited to locales where a big rock band might play a show and draw an audience, which still leaves a large part of the world untouched. I rarely travel on my own time. I might stay a while in a city I like when a job happens to end there, or go visit friends in a distant place, but I won’t be exploring the Amazon jungle on my time off. Growing up in the ‘70s the Nixon/China TV news left an indelible impression but China is one place I’ve never been, I will have to make my own way there eventually. I like crowded cities not nature. Walking all day long in a frantically busy city is the best possible day off when I’m working, the rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other all day long on a city sidewalk is meditative and energizing at the same time.

I’ve always liked to draw, photography in the pre-digital age was never immediate enough for me in comparison. Digital photography is now so immediate as to be instantly everywhere all the time, a complete inversion. I’m a slow photographer though, I don’t photograph everything all time, and the photos get mulled over, edited and then sent out to a few friends who might be interested. I always think I will eventually use some photos as part of a production design but I never do. I’d like to think I’m training my eye but maybe my eye is as sharp as it’s going to get.

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Susanne Sasic was born in New York City in 1964. She lives in New Jersey. She is a lighting designer and production designer of concert tours and has worked with Nirvana, Sonic Youth, R.E.M., the White Stripes, St. Vincent, David Byrne, Arcade Fire, Stereolab, and Beck.

www.susannesasic.com

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NATE LOWMAN

Friday, November 7th, 2014
RAVE THE PAINFOREST

 

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Nate Lowman was born in 1979 in Las Vegas, and lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Maccarone, New York (2014), Massimo de Carlo, London (2014), The Brant Foundation, Greenwich CT (2012), The American Academy, Rome (2011), and The Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo (2009), among others. He has participated in dozens of group shows at numerous institutions, including P.S.1/MOMA, The Serpentine Gallery, The New Museum, The Guggenheim Museum, and Palais de Tokyo.

www.maccarone.net

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RICHARD YOUNGS

Friday, November 7th, 2014

— Alastair Galbraith had told me that becoming a parent was a whole new way of falling in love. When my son Sorley was born in 2006, I found out he was right. New worlds of emotional and creative possibilities opened up to me. In some sense, I stopped caring, and with that discovered a whole new depth of caring.

If you’re reading this and have heard my name before it is probably as a musician. The expanded emotional base from which I now operated changed how I made music. Cyril Connolly said, “there is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall.” I couldn’t say that anything I’ve done has attained greatness or even if it is art. But, here is some anecdotal evidence against his notion. Before there was a pram in the hall I struggled over several months to write and record half of what became an album called Autumn Response. Once Sorley was born I wrote and recorded the other half in an afternoon. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation, but now I can’t tell which bits are which. They all seem of a similar quality. Of course, music is only a part of my life. I have changed too. I am told I am a lot more open-minded. I have time for people very different from me and for opinions not my own. When someone means so much, my ego can mean so much less.

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Richard Youngs is a multi-instrumentalist from Glasgow, Scotland. Youngs began releasing albums in the early 90s on various independent labels. His music ranges from pure experimental, instrumental, minimal, and avant-garde through to folk-inspired songwriting and progressive rock.

www.nofansrecords.wordpress.com

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BASEL ABBAS & RUANNE ABOU-RAHME

Friday, November 7th, 2014

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Basel Abbas, born in 1983, in Nicosia, Cyprus, and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, born in 1983, Boston, United States, both live and work in Ramallah, Palestine, and New York. Abbas and Abou-Rahme work together across a range of sound, image, installation and performance practices. Their work explores issues surrounding desire and disaster, spatial politics, subjectivity and the absurdities of contemporary practices of power, often investigating spatio-temporal resonances in the relation between the actual, imagined and remembered. Their practice increasingly examines the immersive, experiential possibilities of sound, image and environment, taking on the form of interdisciplinary installations and live audio-visual performances. They have exhibited and performed internationally and most recently founded the sound and image performance collective Tashweesh.

www.carrollfletcher.com
www.baselandruanne.com

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PHILIP HANSON

Friday, November 7th, 2014

SEEN IN THE MORNING, EN ROUTE TO THE STUDIO

Covered-over graffiti
Faded gang signs
Empty pedestals
Reflections in water
Signs overwhelmed by other signs
Vertical graffiti on posts
Shadows of fences
Fences behind fences
Architectural decoration: elegant and crude
Signs peeling off
Signs chiseled out
Lawn decoration
Signs shaped and hanging out into space
Neon stylization
Grand entrances for little buildings

Philip Hanson, Chicago,
October, 2014

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Philip Hanson was born in 1943 in Chicago. One of the original Imagist artists, Hanson has been a signal Chicago painter since he first came on the scene in the late ’60s. Hanson’s work was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. He is the recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been included in group shows at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (1969 and 1972); the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (1969); the Sao Paulo Bienniale (1973); the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center (1977). He was the subject of a solo retrospective at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield (1985).

www.corbettvsdempsey.com

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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RHEIM ALKADHI

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

PHOTO MANUAL BAGHDAD

 

 

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

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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

 

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The terrace cinema
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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.

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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.

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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)

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“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.

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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NICK DARMSTAEDTER

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

this is my dad

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