words written in the week of
March 10th to March 16th
in previous years.
This was 11 months, 27 days ago

some things hurt so much that they're hard to talk about straight. Instead you talk about it slant, approach it in wide meandering arcs, hoping that the evidence of what's meant to be said seeps through, a small sliver of sincerity glowing through the cracks.


some things hurt so much that they're meant to be talked about directly, direct to the heart of it, like looking someone in the eye, so profane to just say it out loud that it becomes sacred again. phrases like "I was cancelled, and I'm not sure why", or "the people I loved the most betrayed me", or, "I didn't treat the people closest to me with enough care, precisely because they were close, and I hoped they would understand; I was careless and thus unkind, and I am sorry, sorry to those former friends, and sorry also for not being strong enough to break a cycle that others have struggled their entire lives attempting to break. I am sorry to them."


some things hurt so much that they crack you open, expose your molten core to the crust, or the other way around, rather. your innards, gleaming with hot teeming intensity, erupt, a life force, a cooling but still-energetic fire of the self, emerges to the surface. what's at stake in a life? that, there, you point, underneath it all, that's it; when it erupts, your landscapes transform, familiar paths get detoured, cities get buried with ash. but also: the formation of a caldera, a view, many hikes, and a way to see the world.

from here, you say, I can see far.

what made this mountain was an eruption, an outpouring, a crack. where it came from was the life that teems underneath.


some things hurt so much that you get angry, hurt, sad, confused, depressed, wounded, confused, rageful, angry, disgusted, despairing, numb. some things hurt so much that you pretend they don't at all, pretend nothing happened, feign ignorance, because it's too much; too much to display, too much to talk about, raw emotion upswelling like molten lava. exposure is dangerous. and some things hurt so much that you get sad, sad, sad, so sad, and so sorrowful the way things went, not just because it didn't have to go the way it did, but because it was really beautiful, at some points, those times, really wonderful. remember those times, you want to say? but there's nobody to turn to, nobody to say it to.


sometimes things hurt so much, and they simply do. they just simply hurt. it just simply hurts, and that's it, and that's that, ocean crashes into a cliff, salt spray sprays, it just hurts.


sometimes things hurt so much it's almost funny. almost.


sometimes things hurt so much that it has permanently changed you, your landscape, the way you see the world, the way you understand people. it makes you angry, and spiteful, and condescending, and mean, exactly the qualities that you think those angry mean spiteful and condescending people have, and you know this, but you're there anyways, sneering at people who are always trying to be good all the time, the Good police, in the process suppressing their bad, their Jungian shadow, the parts of ourselves that we're the least conscious of having (thus, self-denial is a good trail to follow to find the shadow) so that it manages to flow out through in other means, you say, angry even though you already know that it's not the answer


somerimes things hurt so much you learn

sometimes things hurt so much you learn another way of being

you emerge from an experience, and you remember

and you get to see, for a moment, maybe even for the rest of your life, what's at stake, what's at stake.


what's at stake in a life? it's clear to you that it's not career achievement; a finite game, as james carse says; a finite game in which there are winners and losers, and in which the game ends if you are a loser, as opposed to an infinite game, in which the rules exist for the game to continue to be played; the joy of the game. it's clear that what's at stake is not financial success; money isn't trivial in a life, but that's not what's ultimately at stake, you say; if it were, you'd find integrity and wholeness among those who are wealthy, but that's not necessarily the case..

to speak or what's not at stake is wholly unsatisfying and deeply boring to list out, you think, because you believe that you (or anybody else who's listening) know what it is


what's at stake is the work, the true work. not art, although art can be work; not labor, not a job, but what's at stake is the work of crafting a life, of living, of dying, of losing people, of holding memories, of losing them too. what's at stake is the task of grieving, remembering, loving. what's at stake is a deep cry, a deep wracking sobbing cry, that happens after you've left a friend's house and seen their beautiful family, kids and adults all a hilarious tumbling kind ambitious sweet joy, and you sit in your car in the foothills of Los Angeles and cry, sobbing, sobbing for your life, as if something suddenly melting, lava into rock but this time in reverse, running hot molten rivulets running out of your chest, down your body, onto the inside of your thigh, that you carefully wipe up with your finger and taste, the taste of yearning, the taste of something molten.


sometimes things hurt so much I too ache, this place tells me, but also, it happened, and it happened, it says. it was beautiful, it says, simply. it was beautiful while it lasted, we were a beautiful lake, with so much water, so much water, it says, a deep booming voice so low you can barely hear it. we had water, and around it two feet tall horses would live, grazing at the grasses thst would grow. that was then, and this is now, and here we are, it says, simply. at its truths, I fall silent.


sometimes you hear a sound like a rattle in the distance, and realize what it is, and the hairs on the back stand up straight, and you stop, as still as you can be, and while frozen for a moment you realize that you even a desert, even this desert, harbors life, as precious as any other. and of course, this is beautiful, and barren, and desolate, and gorgeous, and that is why you are here, in the middle of it sitting in front of your tent, just you and yourself, nobody around for miles on end, here to die so that you can live, here to mourn so that you can glow, here to prune so that you can grow.


sometimes things hurt so much, and then they do, and then they will. but they also hold lessons. sometimes you change and get a kind of glimpse, a way of seeing, that allows you to see what's really at stake. sometimes you have friends who share and show that to you. sometimes you have the mountains, the rocks, the plants, and the sun to talk to. sometimes the moon, too, is becoming anew.


underneath it all is the work, the task of living, the task of dying beautifully, it seems. I can see it at glimpses. if your soul knows what I mean, and I've caught you when your antennae are tuned open to the sky, like open dog ears; then hello. how are you. do you see this? do you see this, laid bare, the beauty of a life that will die, made from and with people that will die? what do you make of it all, friend? what of it all?

and so we point at rocks and landscapes, in the valley of death, exclaiming; and so I sit here, moving through fear and fear of fear, allowing myself to grieve. good night, everybody, I say. good night, they finally say back, deep, sorrowful, steady, resolute.

This was 1 year, 1 day ago

another vision, here.

another vision, of a beautiful life, of a way of living, of joy, of a simple joy and delight in each other, of a kind of simplicity and beauty, of children, of the work that is present currently, etc etc

I want to record this moment and look back upon this, this brimming heart, this gratitude for friends, this pride at them, this joy at the ways our lives bend and wriggle, the kinds of paths we take, the choices we make, the people we are at the heart of it all, the ones we love, the ways in which we connect, the regrets we hold, the desires we have. p & j, and e & d, and an evening talking about our lives. is this not what I wanted? is this not what I wanted?

this is, here it is, an evening, in which we are older, talking about our lives, looking back upon what happened. what kind of life do you want to live, j asks me, and without hesitation I answer, it arises straight out of me like an arrow emerging from my throat flying straight into the sky, here it is, and am I not in it already? am I not here, I ask - am I not here, here, here? is this not it?

what more could I want? I am moving, growing, going, being, this path, on this pathless path, finding and discovering. what I know now is what truly matters, and I say to p, this is the work, this task of growing others, of care, of joy, of hilarious delight in the ways people are, this is the task, this is the task, this is the task.

to sit with that presence, yes I am, yes here I am, with a kind of love; here I am, here I am, here I am. thank you, friends, I am proud of you, I love you, I am excited for you, grateful to be witness, grateful to suddenly realize that I will experience a friendship at the level of a lifetime, in deep gratitudes in these ripening evenings, in these moments full of questioning and uncertainty at how the world may turn, as we sit with each other, full of love.

This was 4 years, 4 days ago

here I am, here we are. vibrating like a string held at both ends, taut, with the middle flexing. I am vibrating, buzzing, trembling. here we are.

when things end, or threaten to end, or end, then it seems like the end of a universe. it feels like the world as you know it might collapse. and to some extent that is true. it's the ending of a world, and the beginning of another one that was next to it, or outside of it. there are many worlds, an infinite number of worlds, but there's only one I'm living in, and it's the one in right now. so having this world pass and to accept the transition into another one is so painful, like molting, shedding skin, the alteration of a self. what lies on that other side? well, it's uncertainty, loneliness, curiosity, sorrow, excitement, regret, melancholy, change, nostalgia.

I am not there yet. but I see that I am heading there. I haven't been on this specific path but I've done this before. I'm not sure if I want to. I'm hurt and hurting. I know what this is like. it's like a scab, being pulled off halfway. do I stay and repair? do I tear it off? where am I? where are we?

the disappearance of a we. so sad. so heartbreaking. the dissolution of a shared collaboration. the ending of a join. are you sure? I want to ask. are you sure sure sure? do you know what you're doing? do you know that we'll never be the same? we'll never get to see each others' deep homes again? or that we'll enter, as a visitor as a guest, politely sitting on the couch, looking around, saying "oh hi, it's been a while, I really love what you've done with this room?" the warmth of being there, but not the messy wild energy of moving in together, together, together, together.

I miss being together, the creation of a together, of a living together, of formulating together. I will miss it. I miss it and I will miss it and I feel it breaking, stretching, asunder. it tears at me.

my self hovers, orbits around the center of my heart.

what do I want? am I here feeling this because I don't want to lose something, or because I want to build something? there is for sure a kind of sad curiosity. as if I was told that I can't live in this city and move elsewhere. yes, for sure, I turn my eyes to the rest of a landscape. there are mesas and plains and boats and oceans and forests. these all are interesting. with departure comes a choice, always; it's always a choice not to be here, to move elsewhere. what I am remembering so suddenly that I had forgotten (and regretted forgetting) was that staying was always an active choice, it's always an active choice to stay here, to hold one's self.

and now? why not fling myself, my hurting heart, elsewhere? live in los angeles, san francisco, in the desert, oakland, london, hong kong, korea. settle for a bit, travel for a bit. where do I wish to be? I am aging but I am also younging, and who cares, I am me. i'll be wild.


ultimately this is a two way street, a dance, these are all collaborations, willing movements. I am here to move with someone, and if they do not want to move then that is how it is. I am here in my center, and in the in-between. I am here halfway, ready to be met. if I am met then there is a meeting. if there is no meeting then I will try to be more than halfway. but I cannot lean over, cannot tip over, cannot have the center of my gravity overextended.

I am here, trying. the question: do you want to try?

from me to me: yes, I want to try with myself. maybe that means for me to leave. or for me to stand where I am and to collaborate. in some ways, this is the hardest test of all, the test with myself, the test to accept what will come.

sometimes I recall what I wrote here in 2011:

and there it is. this enormous thing. do you see? do you see? everything will change. do you see? we will lose everything that we had, and we have lost it already, and it will disappear forever into a nothingness that is like the nothingness of a mausoleum, a museum, preserved as a mark of what-was-once-now into what-once-was. do you see that enormous thing that is coming? it is here, and always, and will be. and in the midst of this all we are looking down and watching it disappear, disappear, disappear.

and there's just time, and change, and of course -- we will no longer be what we could be, but you know what? the most important-remarkable part is: we will no longer be able to even conceive of thinking about whether 'we will no longer be what we could be', you know, you step outside yourself and become totally anew, a not-you, like traveling, like letting yourself loose and lost in the sea of not-knowing-what-to-do and not-doing, and it is like you are raw and amorphous and malleable and just needing to formulate yourself into a being constantly, all the time. you're squeezing playdoh in your hand, you open your palm and the thing totters there, like some sort of egg with mountain ridges lining every which way, palm swirls rivulets gyrating on the surface, and it titters there.

we will not be here, we will not thinking of being here, we will not be thinking about thinking about not being here, and one day we will not think about even thinking, no longer conceive,

the scariest thing of all, this, again, is that it will close off not like an impossibility, but like something-you-don't-even-think-of, something outside the realm of the dialectic of possibility/impossibility, something like the question such as: "can a person eat the sun?" or "does light sleep green?". not unthinkable but not-thought-about.

here you are coming, time, I see you in the distance, coming, I see what you will do, will have it and have this all, will laminate it, plastic oozing between our pores, seeped into our very being, replacing our living-and-lived-ness.

ah, ah. I fear this. but this is also what happens, in life. maybe I will get older and friends will start to pass away, and I will recall this more.


a taste in my mouth. what is this taste? I feel a distinct taste in my mouth. moving back into times. recalling a certain time. endless green. what's next? a lot of unknowns as to what is next. what's next? I don't know. what's next? the curling universe. I was fourteen and I really didn't know.

now I see myself a little bit different. I see the expectations, the shape of ways. I grow, I change. I spit some stale gum out of my mouth. I drink more water. I try a new taste, a sharp one, a hot sauce that shoots into my mouth and punctuates. I care for others. I make deep mistakes. I adventure. I find myself doing things that I didn't expect to do.

I let my body decide. all of a sudden, my body does this. in stillness, my body moves of its own accord. I am doing something, and testing out my desire. moving with it. moving with it by not expecting anything from it but letting it do what it wants to do, which might be to not do. and then I wander.

mostly I just want to reach out to people I care about but haven't seen in a long time.


so. where are we? trembling, moving between. something has ended, that is for sure. something ended. maybe I know that and am trying not to tell myself that. but something has ended.

does something start? who knows. what does my body say? my sorrow, my care, my hope, my love. what does my body say? what does it want?

I know what I want, but what does it want?

i want to let the soft animal of my body love what it loves. to love what I love, to let my body love what it loves. to follow my body. to be curious. what will it do? what will we do?

here, there, there's a new we, a new us. you know, us. we're in this together. let's go somewhere, me and me, you and you, me and you. maybe someone will come along. maybe they're someone we met before. maybe not.

i'm so happy to be in this together.

This was 10 years, 4 days ago

been meaning to sit down to write something for days. ramblingness = set to max

== I'm not sure where I am exactly, where I sit, how I am changing. all I do know is that I am forming great circles, these arcing formations, slow change. good to know. good to know. the arc, like zeno's paradox of the arrow, or what engels talks about in anti-duhring, means that one is always pulling a little bit to the left, always a little bit in the process of self-displacement, and thus always a little bit in friction with one's being. jumping out of one's skin. not-being-here = moving towards there, pulling on the rudder, leaning into the curve, forming these large trajectories of movement in the the direction of acceleration actually points into an invisible center that is never really sought after, just used, almost metaphorical, in the process of loops, turns, curves, alterations.

I am here. I am juggling. I am doing this, and that, and it boggles me a little bit, the breadth and distance of everything that I am doing, sometimes. these numbers boggle me sometimes, 25k here and gone in a moment, and so does this process of instruction, pedagogy, teaching, of pushing desire and criticality and wishing everyone could walk with you, kind of like the moment at which you call out, "hey! let's all go do this!", but on a larger level, both a communal gesture of participation and co-involvement, and at the same time stemming from a self-inquisitive desire to have-things-happen.

== student/teacher = being on two sides of a stud wall. walking through an not-yet-drywalled stud wall is to play these spatial games with one's being; at once one recognizes the bare material nature of a wall construction just barely more than the weight of one's being; on the other hand one sees solidity and immovable wall-ness, walls in that they never change, are never changed, will never change, until they do change, in which those new walls then will never change. it's as if walls operate in the domain of unconscious memory, or history -- implements that will never change. have always been there.

(I wonder - are walls still fluid for contractors, builders? If you spend your entire life building stud walls and putting up drywall, do you understand all walls to be infinitely malleable? And to that I can't help but think, no, still no, the power of the black box, of the convenient concept, of perception is too strong. Is every piece of software like magic to me? Perhaps. Does understanding the denotative data and the mechanics behind an operation in any way negate my sensation of awe? Can't I both understand a magic trick and be entirely taken by if? Of course, of course, of course. Will walls and space always be so transformative? Perhaps.)

I think - wow! I am here. To some extent. I am wanting to be going there. I am reading latour, which is like drinking a glass of ice water. I am dealing with these sums. I am trying to teach, and teaching. I am drawing out and circling these great arcs.

to some extent here is a deferral - I am also making work, trying to figure out what is possible, what is doable. How do you have a black hole and a star operate around each other? the tripartite forces of budget, "functionality", and desire, or perhaps budget and desire mediated through "functionality", this black hole trap of a word that threatens to 1) gather all interesting-ness and swallow it and regurgitate nothing but convention; 2) to claim neutrality through the fulfillment of necessary "functions" supposedly outside the domain of design in the first place, and 3) to be a legitimate and understandable concern that deals with the nosy and always interrupting, always inquisitive powers of space to change everything, maybe even everything, and thus also weighed under the 'responsibility' of proper alterations.

functionality, functionality, functionality. to what extent do you push out and make sculptures because you do not give a shit?

or. to notate all the things I do want to do:

not making sculptures because you do not give a shit, or: making sculptures because you give a damn

not forming the default functions because you are scared of change, or: forming more than the default because power brings optimism

compromising on design behind the scapegoat of "functionality" because you are scared of power, or: moving beyond scapegoats because power can only be used deliberately, not meekly

to the future me who will have been past this. wasn't it funny? wasn't it strange to be dealing with those numbers, and feel an immense amount of responsibility for the first time ever? these numbers; they are what they are, and in this practice, when you deal with buildings that are like clothing, except they last for decades or generation; like clothing, except they fit hundreds of people; like clothing, except they have pockets and sleeves and wastebaskets and fresh air enough for hundreds of people; like clothing, except it has to protect you from the elements; is it any surprise that something costs orders of magnitude larger? that an application of paint on a beam costs ____? you are dealing with broad strokes. broad strokes.

in the end. I think I said this somewhere:

in ten years this will all have been hazy memory. in ten years I will chuckle to myself and recognize the same patterns, and I would have just have told myself to make something and be proud of it, to flex my muscles and feel the fibers firing, to know the joy of articulation, description, thought, system, and creation, to make and to make and to make. calculus integration is the technique of aggregating mathematically minuscule areas under the curve in order to find the total area. everything ever made is also an aggregation of the epsilon, the minuscule, the little sliver of x that is multiplied, added over a series of time and space in order to get somewhere. the epsilon of the evolution of a biological species is the genetic mutations that occur of the copying-over of chromosomes. action generates, generates, generates error and thus new value. make and make and make and eventually add it all together.

the last thing I've been thinking about lately.

nothing is an object. nothing is a thing. there are no things, no commodities, no products, no ideas. there are no tables, just a loose assemblage of materials upon which we exercise our pattern recognition abilities, machine learning, and classify these objects into different 'chunks'. do you understand? there is no "car", no "plane", no "apartment", no "meal", no "brunch place", no "vase", no "teacup", no "plate", no "knife", no "hammer", only a loose assemblage of materials that we have noted are these things. the neural nets in our brains, having trained on a training set of data for the past few generations, is now in full testing mode. these concepts are black boxes, like convenient entanglements/summaries of the world. and the more we buy things, the more marx's commodity fetish (with intellectual labor, becomes the conceptual fetish, and with political labor, becomes the reputational fetish) takes hold.

no things are done in a certain way, there are just traditions, history, and certain trajectories that fall into more smoothly. the ruts in the ground that delineate frequency and history are not deep grooves with metal channels; they are large sloping indentations, really, and the ground is constantly eroding. there are no roads, just desire paths. there are no dictionaries, just words, evolved in usage. there is no "way" to reroof a roof; there is history, tradition, and the eye and hand of the contractor bending over to operate and do work, over the years

does that make sense? everything is made. everything is constructed out of labor. nothing comes to us as pre-formed concepts until it has passed through the fat-trimming optimization process of the market, which takes concepts + objects as inputs and continues the cycle over and over again until the initial objects become perfectly honed versions of their ideal selves. and in such a way we would be doomed into falling neatly into these slotted categories/definitions of the concept; the cup becomes hyper-distinct from the bowl, distinct from the plate, distinct from the serving plate, distinct from the cutting knife, distinct from the butter knife, distinct from the steak knife. who is to say that a steak knife cannot be used as a butter knife? etc.

which is of course, not to say that concepts are arbitrary thus worthless, etc. etc. to take a page from latour's book (+ foucault), all constructedness makes sense. constructedness is valuable and meaningful, or rather is the source of meaning. the question of the conceptual category/definition of the "roof", or of "art", or "sculpture", or "reception", etc. etc. is teased apart, or at least should be understand as a placeholder that could change at any moment, like relations between soccer players in a game, that hold momentary formations while hurtling across the field.

what I feel from this all is -- everything is labor. everything is constructed. everyone is 'winging it'. there is nothing that is not built out of people. everything is resting on the efforts people, which is both immensely startling and comforting, surprising and damning. the fabric of our existence right now, right here, both stretched thin and grounded deeply, at the same time.

so here's to movement.

This was 11 years ago

on a train from 부산 to 대구, mar 16, 10:34pm:


sudden realization: the necessity of decisions, the necessity of clear directionality, etc. at some point the answer is to pursue directionality itself, not for the sake of an endgoal necessarily. today on a train heading to a boat heading to a bus, I find that I have suddenly made two decisions: one about another nascent being's future existence, another about my own self-definition. things clicking, churning, manifesting into being.


narita -> shinagawa -> kyoto -> shin-osaka -> okayama -> chayamachi -> uno -> naoshima (miyanoura) -> naoshima (honmura) -> naoshima (miyanoura) -> uno -> chayamachi -> okayama -> hiroshima (station) -> hiroshima (genbaku dome) -> hiroshima (station) -> kokura -> yahata -> kokura -> hakata (station) -> hakata (tenjin) -> hakata ferry terminal -> busan (port) -> busan (yeongdo) -> busan (station) -> kyungsan -> daegu -> busan (airport) -> narita -> tokyo (ueno) -> .... -> tokyo (ueno) -> narita -> nyc (jfk) -> nyc (brooklyn, dean st)


I like this, these trains, the texture of pure transit distilled into a small little flask, heated and dispensed into small little cups, sipped calmly on a small bar on the second floor of a building next to a narrow little stream. movement, movement, the reading of signs, the understanding of maps, lines, symbols. which way is true north? where am I now? you are here, that is there, and if that map says this, then it means I must walk this way, right? right. re-navigation, re-orientation, positioning. walking. looking at things. looking at things that catches one's eye. small details that pop out and make themselves known, little artifacts of infrastructure unconsciously (or not-deliberately) embodying the lived experience of a place.

there is no 'essence' here, but rather just performed being, actively created this-ness, the presence of existence.

foucault's guilt of demarcation, definition, clarity, distinction seems to me to be rooted in a kind of anguish - the lens of power relations, production, domination, warring, all this seems, at least right now, to be a non-sequitur, or at least a very specific defined lens. right now calmness, slowness, and deliberateness seem to me to arise out of rituals, gestures, repeated acts that are done because they are done, because they have happened before, or even better yet, because in the act of performing an action or a ritual, the implied future repetition of the ritual renders the present act into an already historical action. simply put, because you will do X in the future, the X you are doing now is already soaked with a kind of fixity, presence, permanence.

to continue about this foucauldian guilt - is not any and every decision a kind of 'closing off' of the world, according to this view? this perpetual carving out of the world, slicings into two, here and there, this and that? are there not other ways of seeing things that prevent the scope of the world and the field of action to be a plane of paper? einstein's bouncy stretchy space-time 'net' and the unbounded space of activity that both foucault, ranciere, and numerous others carve into these discrete shapes (tangrams shapes, island cut-outs, divisions, distributions) seem to originate from similar renderings of the world as a field, two-dimensional and to be split, stretched.

in deciding to drink tea, chai tea bag, a bit of milk, every day, I engage in a ritual. the train-travel ceremony has its play of route map, ticket, gate, map, wait, walk, enter, seat, sit, watch, stand, gather, exit. rituals or gestures or these circular ceremonial movements are not quite negations of actions, not the negative anguish of "I can not do anything but these actions; everything outside the bounds of these actions are forbidden". rather it feels like, at the moment (and at the moment everything about me right now is to decide to feel rather than to necessarily strictly only-intellectually conceptualize) that ceremony and ritual generates a joyous mode of creation and establishment that falls neither into the trap of distinction, separation, demarcation, elimination, but generation, specification, elaboration, positive affirmation.

how do I explain? it is kind of like the idea of a desire path, or an informal trail, where constant movement and constant usage itself creates an existence. in the case of a desire path, the existence of the path coincides with the negation of grass, so it's kind of an unfortunate metaphor. perhaps maybe it's like the smoothness of an old wooden banister, or the dip and sag in the midst of stone steps, or a garden that is watered daily, or the smoothness of eroded rocks by the beach. a pair of shoes that fit your feet perfectly after being worn for thousands of hours in the sun, rain, snow, grass, concrete, wood, etc. or maybe it is like a bi-weekly reading group that meets, and meets, and meets, and in the process have created communities, strong senses of belonging, the dearness and love and intimacy and closeness of friends who you respect and care for quite deeply.

in this context the question of action is not the negation of a limitless field, since to believe in the initial concept of a limitless field of action that one demarcates awau is to already believe in a zone of conceptual freedom that one closes off: the epistemological analogue to a hobbesian 'state of nature' where freedom and lawlessness are one and the same, where it is only through an agreement, convenant, that we restrict ourselves to agreed-upon actions and call them laws. and this I utterly disagree with. this agamben-ian distinction between bare life and political life, or arendt's public vs private existence, cannot help but strongly argues against the sentiment that these things are all founded upon the primacy of the zero state that is then inevitably sullied with the act of decision. within this framework any kind of decision is thus a closing-off of the world, and whether or not the decision itself is interesting/fruitful/productive/good, there is a kind of underlying emotional anguish behind the idea of 'cutting off' or 'closing away' an avenue of action. banishing entire swaths of possibilities away, supposedly.

and now, on this trip now, I feel that I can see clearly how dangerous and sinister and horrible this approach is, the anguish of decision, the idealization of a pure untouched field, the negative (negating) qualities of any kind of action, a desire to not impose. the action thus created arises out of ignorant conviction, or hyper-careful self-awareness, or simply a kind of emotional non-relevance, the utopia/anguish/play triad that foucault defines as the three modes of 'relevance to a history' that he charts out for the relationship of a text to its discourse. bad, bad, bad bad bad bad bad bad bad.

and what's the alternative? well, who knows for sure. an alternative, one of many:

instead of conceiving of the nation-state as the origin of a covenant that inscribes the boundaries of acceptable action upon a field, perhaps the organization/community/government is the concretization/fixing of already-existing traditions, agreements, 'ways-of-being'. these 'ways-of-being' fundamentally arise out of the negotiation between people's processes. the unspoken agreement is the constitutional element, 'the way things are done' already existed before the presence of laws, governments, organizations. this is not a fetishizing of tradition or continuity. more like: 'the way things are done' is defined in performance; it is what it has been; there is no 'essence' here but the active self-creation of the present. 'the way things are done' is defined in relaton to action, and past actions. and thus it is when a community feels like the 'ways things are done' need to be fixed and universalized, with a unified language with clear consequences, the law is born, and thus is born the organization that enforces this law, and thus is born all the other accessories and accoutrements of laws: disciplinary beings, organizational structure, etc. etc. etc.

and there is no 'bare life' and 'political life'; there is not even a polis and a private home; it is all actually perhaps borne out of a more miasmatic swirling mass of flows, since the primal distinction is not actually a distinction but a gradient. what is the difference between a shared preference and a common habit and a communal pattern and a communal tradition and a societal guideline and an ethical expectation and an unspoken rule and a LAW? only degrees of intensity, I think actually, these things all existing on a continuum without any sharp inflection points at which X becomes this rather than that. '

the field of activity is less of a flat field that is cut into pieces, but more like a dense wrinkled bunched-up tablecloth that creates valleys and peaks and zones and mesas and plains. there is no such thing as a demarcation here, really, because it is all demarcation, it is all distinction, it is all a series of continually changing and reformulating clusters and formulations and topographical modulations that create a series of zones and shapes and forms. do you see? there is no anguish of the cut, simply because there is no such thing as a cut. it is all a cut / there are no cuts. the myth of the cut is the myth of the isolated action, the singular gesture that can be seen independently. instead all there is is a series of perpetually interconnected actions and events defined in relation to each other, so that any action will always have ripples in the world. action in this context is a re-bunching of the table-cloth, perhaps, which is perpetually a re-bunching and a de-bunching for different part of the tablecloth.

this is not to say the act of "demarcation"/re-bunching does not contain political implications for visibility, silence, awareness, states of being subaltern. the ethical expectation and the societal norm bring with it other forms of exclusion and imposition onto the being. but rather to say - the question of 'how things are done' is always about being communal together, about negotiating what I want and what I cannot have because perhaps you want something else, and then thus about continually reshaping the boundaries of what I am and why I am what I am, and thus what I do want in the world.

do I want this? and if so, how are the way things are done? and if that then, what are the implicit ways things work, and how are the wrinkles created, and in what way do certain events happen? all events, no structures, performances, not essences. no demarcations, but rather continual reformulations.


“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

sylvia plath, the bell jar


here's to going forth, to new forms of action.

This was 11 years, 1 day ago

transit, transit. the sensation of simultaneous self-effacement and self-definition, in the way that rocks eroded by water encounter, at one point, the expressed distinct boundary of the rock vs. the non-rock, or, air.


earlier yesterday I went to this project built by tadao ando, minamidera, in collaboration with james turrell. religious experience, nearly.

you make your way into a pitch-black room, hand hugging the side of the wall, grasping onto architecture in order to find your way. after five minutes, your eyes start to adjust to the dim, dim light. in the distance a hazy rectangle pulsates, as if receding and approaching, stepping back and forth. wave-like, perhaps, as in fort-tilden-in-summer waves, as in pensive-sitting-and-watching-waves. after a while your eyes adjust, you see the walls step forth into the background, the building starts to make itself known. one-point-perspective dawns on you. and then you step forth into voids, spaces, fields of power, these abstract zones, etc etc etc


etc. etc. the inevitable fallibility of a written description of bodily experience. is this always the case? will this always be the case? I mean, there's literature, fictional narratives, expressed connoted creations ('art'), sure. but sometimes it seems that beyond our meek attempts at transmission, there is nothing but the monolithic and mute force of nature that is the non-transitivity of lived experience, the knife of "you had to be there" that slices these boundaries between us, cleaving and inscribing little territories, enclaves, suburban cul-de-sacs, voronoi-shaped sectors, zip codes, regions, gated communities, demarcated fences, property lines, country borders, barbed-wired colonies, tax lots, categories, taxonomies, distributions, partitions, segmentations.

two people stand next to each other; one is deathly sick and suffering, the other absolutely healthy. how is one to say that space is not different for these two people? that time doesn't move at a glacial pace when one is in the midst of sickness? minutes stretching into hours? if you are perhaps a materialist or a rational scientist, the swirling mass of material (bodily fleshy emotional chemical corporeal visceral) experience constitutes being itself; no day but to-day, no me but this bodily-me. within that context, being sick is not an imposition or an overlay of chaos onto an orderly system, but rather a plunge into a new kind of systematic balance; one in which the physiological/chemical/biological cycles of the body are altered into a mode that happens to involve (differing amounts of) pain, suffering, agony, etc. there is no 'higher' order, just 'another'. time is different, not longer, shorter, but for a moment there, you are a different being entirely.

in any case, trying to share lived, bodily experience feels unbearably solipsistic. ex) what are descriptions of lust like? are they not always first-person narratives? or, for that matter, what about descriptions of pain, war, suffering, ecstasy, and so on? and in the midst of this solipsism of the bodily, trying to talk about a turrell piece.


calm satisfaction, pure delight. at one point my eyes adjust and I see the room, and it is wonderful because on one hand I understand the simple geometry of the architecture; on the other hand, this low confusing subdued level of light renders it optical, this continually flickering haze. fuzz in, fuzz out. and then I walk towards the light, and suddenly I realize that I can outstretch my arm into the rectangular oculus, and I feel nothing but space, or absence. that sudden moment is like that little gasp when you trip and you suddenly realize that you are about to fall.


I always forget how wonderful it is to meet people, how there are so many people in the world, how joyous it is at times to drink them in like a breath of fresh air that skims across your face, left to right.

This was 12 years, 1 day ago

honestly, watching someone dance in the midst of their youth, in the midst of my youth, through a video posted online, all I can think of is:

there are things that are solid, and there are things that are fluid, and there are things that last for a long time because they are solid, and then there are things that will last forever because they are fluid, like they will last forever the same way that gestures do, movements, dances, little turns of the head, forever emblazoned in memory,

(I mean, after all, what is information if not the memory of movement at a micro scale, magnetic fields flipped this way or that, representing information, this way or that?)

and I chew on the inner lip in the solid understanding that it is worth it to be loose a little, because things always grow solid; it is important to be unyielding a little, because systems always induce their own kind of change. it is important to be happy with yourself. it is almost spring, or rather it is spring, because spring is always defined by the condition of having-it-almost-be-spring, the condition of clutching your clothes around you because you overestimated how warm it would be tonight, the condition of looking around joyously and looking forwards to a summer not-yet-having-past, of voices outside,

and right now it seems: in the end the only thing valuable is just reckless rawness. all things must come from careful calculation and reckless rawness, in just the right doses, but not so much anything in-between.

This was 14 years, 8 days ago

1) earlier today I was at a bar and generally feeling good, that sort of magical extension of the self that happens when you're comfortable, and all of a sudden bill evans comes onto the air, and I am instantly transported back to my last year in high school in that large room listening on that duct-tape-wrapped cd player, all the small things, the smell of grass, the color of morning sun, etc.

sorry. can not speak more because this is an utterly personal (not private) memory. the memory is in relation between me and me. and thus all you see on a nodal graph of how-to-explain-things is a little arrow going outwards and turning around to come back inwards, like a little mini ouroboros saying here here here here.

This was 15 years, 6 days ago

some things I am always aware of:

If I say something like, "this is such a nice night", then will you understand? is that just a side comment? when I say things like these is there co-incidence, co-understanding on the part of you and will I get this flicker of recognition in the eyes that too enjoys this chill breeze coming from the river? wafting through pre-war buildings sun having already set a few hours ago?

watched the watchmen, opening night.


It occurs to me that changing the ending performs this double twist in terms of ideology and principles that ultimately untwists Moore's cynical intention. In the film, intra-species nuclear disputes are not solved in terms of a further xenophobia. What the squid does in the 'graphic novel' (another dangerous term here) is that it generates a new other against which all of humanity looks against; there is a spark of ingenious cynicism in this gesture, as it's really Ozymandias's (or Alan Moore's) reiteration of human nature, not a modification of it. Another other. But replacing the squid with Dr. Manhattan changes this beyond a simple scapegoating - Jon is deified, held as a watchful ideal; as Dan Dreiberg mentions, Earth will be safe while "people think Jon's watching them". Peace comes from an affirmation of a god-function; this anti-communist east-vs-west othering becomes neutralized because there is a god and he is alive again. And because this god, after all, was human, there is an internalization of this governing that happens that is not otherable: 'someone is watching you and he used to be human'. Something invades you, is internalized within humanity, changes its nature.

On the other hand, the Watchmen are supermen, attempted to be Ubermenschen, to save humanity, vigilante police. Ozymandias's squid generates a terror that ultimately renders these supermen obsolete, or at least irrelevant. Dr. Manhattan is the continuation of an ultimate superman, watchman, who is now constantly here, and rather than becoming obsolete there is an absolute relevance and pertinence that a governing-ubermensch-figure takes on. Not only is it a reiteration of the comic-book hero, there is no kernel of critical cynical gesture here that understands the twisted joy of having a solution for peace and the reiteration of ideologies of violence coincide.

This was 16 years, 5 days ago

I am sitting up in bed wondering why I can't sleep, wondering why I decide to stay up this late. Here are the questions I think about:

What is ambition? What constitutes ambition, and what creates ambition?
If I spent my life trying to reach out and touch things that only I could see, would that be enough?
How does the real world factor in this? When I make my choices, where do I draw my lines? How should I ration out my mental priorities onto physical realities?

Lately I've been smelling this sensation, and I'm not sure what it is. It's a mixture of spring and movement and change and nostalgia, of travel and high skies and long shadows against bright brick walls, and because it smells like nostalgia I'm instantly wary because I'm always wary of nostalgia. I have these very specific visions and I'm not sure if pursuing these visions is enough. There are restrains I have to navigate, pull gently -- are these seatbelts? How do I navigate these storms? Why do I think the way I do?

What are my discourses, my influences, my originating dichotomies?

This was 16 years, 5 days ago

This image by Berlin Dada co-founder Raoul Haussmann reminded me of a myth about Krishna:

Once, when Balarama and the other cowherd boys were playing, they complained to mother Yashoda: "Krishna has eaten mud."

Yashoda was concerned for his welfare, and scolded Krishna, whose eyes seemed to be full of fear. Grasping him in her hand, she said to him: "Why have you secretly eaten mud, you unruly boy? These young friends of yours are saying so, and so is your elder brother."

"Mother, I didn't eat any mud. They are all spreading false accusations. If you think they are speaking the truth, then you look into my mouth yourself."

"If that is the case, then open wide," she said.

Lord Hare Krishna, whose supremacy cannot be constrained, but who is God assuming the form of a human boy for play, opened wide. Yashoda saw there the universe of moving and non-moving things; space; the cardinal directions; the sphere of the earth with its oceans, islands and mountains; air and fire; and the moon and the stars. She saw the circle of the constellations, water, light, the wind, the sky, the evolved senses, the mind, the elements, and the three guna qualities. She saw this universe with all of its variety differentiated into bodies, which are the repositories of souls. She saw the time factor, nature and karma.

from Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God ; Śrīmad Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Book X
part 1, chapter 8, 32-39

At least in the early 20th century, in a time when god is dead, as Nietzsche says, art seems to have stepped up to take up the partial responsibility and privilege of that "godterm". Marcuse (in "The Affirmative Character of Culture"): "The truth of a higher world [in art], of a higher good than material existence, conceals the truth that a better material existence can be created in which such happiness is realized." This is a direct invocation of Marx's methodology of a critique of religion: "religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering..."

The Dadaist eats mud, the mundane, the shit, the degenerate, and reveals his mouth to show a universe -- but this is modernity's universe and a Modernist's universe, and therefore is full of chaos, nonsensicality, and the infinite potential of the independent signifier. The Dadaist's universe is so complete that he swallows in the mud of the linguistic signifier, ABCD, the constituent blocks of meaning, and in regurgitation, wrenches them apart from the signified, assigns to them the limitless power of creation...