words written in the week of
April 3rd to April 9th
in previous years.
This was 1 month, 22 days ago

one thing I am learning: to really see my self as a galaxy, to feel the ebbs and swirls and eddies, to watch them turn around, swirl, swish, thunder onto the shore, painful, stinging, sudden, refreshing, pulling. often times an emotion pulls me towards a direction, and I listen. what is it to be tugged? what is it to feel the gentle pull, and to not move quite yet, to feel that sensation bloom onto me?

is it: insistent, unyielding, unsure, sharp and sudden, nagging, hesitant, curious, gentle, meek, angry, confident, direct, friendly, sweet? a pull has a personality, I think. sometimes the pull is one-sided, a jerk onto the heart, a singular vector that's easily to draw: point, line, arrow. other times it's a dynamic, a system in motion, the pull sets other vectors into motion, a rube goldberg machine of actions and reactions, causes and effects, potential energies stored up waiting to be unlatched, and then unspooling, bouncing, opening: 'and then, therefore, but, because, and as a a result'. the intricacies of a system. of my system.

when I say 'system', I realize that I mean: 'observed intricacies', complexity witnessed, context celebrated. a narrative appreciated. one thing I am learning from P is that a story doesn't have to be linear, or logical (a joke is a logic, arrested), and to instead find a narrative through cooking and plating alike. a reminder from H on how to admire the film; that cinematography counts for something, and that sometimes that's enough.

metaphors and material experiments abound in my mind because I cannot close a gap that was created due to language; words fail me; I add more words, trying to see if I can build a bridge, not letting it sink in that each word is a bridge and a chasm at the same time, a chalk line drawn on the playground that then demands that you jump over it, an invented rule that itself generates the possibility of transgressing. was it always about language? finding one? failing to find one? the inability to talk about the inability to talk about the inability to talk?

--

(me, sitting on the pier, typing near water:)

I'm trying to point towards something, I realize, insistently. look; I point with my finger, gesture with my eyebrows, orient my body. look, look, look. can we look at it? can we see? I think I am finding my body point towards it, first. my body knows, reveals it in my stance; the line connecting my feet oriented perpendicular to the center I am avoiding, or refusing, or unable to look at. can we talk about it? can we sit in the center? next to the woofer, on the dance floor, the air vibrates. our bodies shake. here we are. the reverberatory center of all of this all, you know? (waves hand, vaguely)

isn't this it? isn't this really it? I open a new tub of yogurt, I think, gently lift off the diaphanous layer of paper on the surface, barely distinguishable from the yogurt below. I swivel my hips to maneuver it above the open trash can, admire it for a moment, pinched between thumb and forefinger. is it paper-lathered-in-yogurt? yogurt coalesced into film? no matter, drop it in. isn't this it? underneath that indeterminate layer, the conversations, the pointing at our cores, the getting close to our speakers, observing our logics. mine, yours, ours. me looking at mine. me looking at yours. you looking at yours. you looking at mine. me looking at ours. you looking at ours. us looking at ours. a combinatorics of witnessing, being present.

other questions bloom, as a result, like:

have these questions always been here? (yes)

do I want to keep on asking them? (yes)

do I know how to articulate them? (only through truths told slant)

will others want to ask them with me? (not always, depends on who and when, sometimes, for some, never, for others)

is there more than one way to listen? (always)

will I ever find the answers? (probably not, absolutely yes)

are these questions ones I can ask? (yes)

are these my questions? (yes)

do these questions belong to me? (no)

more questions I do not, in all seriousness, have the answer to:

is it possible to be asking too much?

what am I already unable to see by thinking of these questions as questions?

what does it mean to ask a question, in the first place?

what is the opposite act of asking a question?

---

for my future self I will say: this was a grand time, wasn't it? a wild time, a ride, an experience, a passage, a shift. so far I have learned how to feel my galaxies, and go on slow walks, in which I find my center of gravity, locate it in my body, all the while moving my legs. shifting the center while keeping it stable. how does the center of gravity move around? if you could chart it as a point on the x-y plane, leaving behind a trail, I imagine it creating a periodic loop of some sort, moving pendulously, with rhythm and regularity, stability and change-

--

a repair manual, distinct from a user manual, is always more voluminous. it plunges you in when you open it: no intro, little fanfare. diagrams, indices, legends, keys. terms, parts numbers. an exploded section. a detailed closeup. troubleshooting. further instructions. on page 39 you see the parts laid out, suspended in mid-air. this screw goes over here; that screw goes over there. much attention given to the logic of fasteners, washers, assembly order.

to repair is to open up. lay it bare. see it for what it is. here you go. arrested, momentary, presented. a stuck carriage, clogged tear ducts, joints in need of conviction and coaxing. machinic metaphors for life, again, returning and circling back. mouth-to-anus, eating, producing, shitting, metabolizing. internal pressure pressing against pistons, turning a wheel. an action potential rippling across the membrane of a cell, contracting muscle fibers with incredible force. am I a train, a plane, a pair of legs, a car, a bicycle, a boat? are we (all) a ship, a peninsula, a flotilla, a party, a platoon, a school, a city, a wilderness? which centers of gravity do we hold?

--

(amidst this all:)

the memory of a walk. diagrams emerging with the surprised certainty of mushrooms fruiting overnight. a) a slow, steady flow. b) an excited, energetic movement. a line connecting the two, and the dance it makes, twisting, inverting, dancing, orbiting, leaving a series of lines on the pavement. the tender and joyous sensation of a tug on each end.

the feeling of leaping. of finding. of settling into a place, finding a position for the body. of finding, of yearning.

--

these seasons of being present.

This was 2 years, 1 month, 15 days ago

here you are, future me. aren't you curious about what I'm thinking during this pandemic? where are my words? do you wonder?

well, here they are. let them spill. I'll knock this glass over and watch the water run run run, gleefully, find its way, notice a landscape, move the way it wishes to move.

--

- you know already, don't you, d, t, ty, self, provolot, you? don't you? you know, don't you?

- I do. but what does knowing mean, really? is it the solidity of knowing that I am responding to? or the knowledge itself? it is really tempting to put things in to absolutes, you know, to feel the full weight of decision in satisfaction, like pulling an arrow back against a bowstring, fully, properly, and letting it go. decisions like launching arrows, we want to feel. but is that knowing, or deciding?

- does it matter? we're already in the middle of deciding. does it matter? friend, notice what you're saying. does it matter in that context?

- I have no words.

---

I miss things. I miss the energy, I miss you, I miss being in love, I miss loving, i miss being loved.

--

yet, here we are. so revealing. here we are. so much stuff in my fingers. it's a pandemic.

what is it like?

I am concerned. I am worried. I am also relieved. things are going as I thought they would go. who people are is starting to show, to become amplified. I am worried for the people who I care about. I am also surprised.

it feels like forever, and never. right now it feels like this will go on until early june. it feels like we'll emerge but not have parties for a bit. it will be fragile, and confusing.

I want this to lead to a better world. I want to be healthier, and to be healthy. I want to knit bounds and bonds together. I want to trust in people and to commit and to take care. I want to support the people I care about. I want to give and receive, to ask for and to be asked. I want this more in my life.

I see the relief of the things I had been suspicious of being thrown into sharp focus and truth; yes, the janitor and the contractor and the nurse and the shopkeeper, these are essential things, these are important, the work is the work. what supports us is physical, material. action, operation, care. the work feels solid. the work is about our bodies. what supports our bodies? what kind of work cares for our bodies?

what am I in this? as a designer? a carer of spaces? who cares? I care? I want a better world. I want it now, and tomorrow, and next month, and next year, and next decade, and next generation, and next century. I want want want want want it. I want to be alongside people who wish for it, who yearn for it, who want that kind of future. and at the same time I want to play for it. to play to make it happen.

--

i am tired. exhausted. yet also exhilarated. updated. i am so bright and shining. distilled water. condensed soup. my flavors so visceral, so strong. I am spending time with myself. I do like being with me. we, we are together. the royal we. the us. isn't that us? over time, we unpack ourselves into a constellation of selves. I am a castle, an island, a universe.

i am so full.

This was 3 years, 1 month, 17 days ago

korea korea korea, america, america, america, where are you.

한국말로글을써볼까.띄어쓰기없이그렇게한꺼번에이렇게pilepilepile

memories of a teenager, of going back home, summers in korea, splitting my life into two, oh america, oh korea, oh new york, oh seoul. oh places. oh what is it like to live elsewhere. oh what is it like to separate the strands of parents, family, country, city, culture, childhood. to realize that you grow up with places, and so you can never go back to a place without going back to your age. that place when I was 12, or 18, or 25 going back to korea. seoul. my seoul, not your seoul, not their seoul.

my seoul doesn't exist anymore except for me, because it was not just a korean seoul, it is the eternal 'do I belong here' question, manifested, not in a 'i don't belong here' but in a 'I am here, sitting, thinking about how I have been here and not here, and I am not quite fully here, and I have always not been quite fully here;

this has always been me, this arriving-towards a country, leaving-away a country, and during college and onwards it was possible to naturalize it, to get comfortable with it, to arrive at new york as if it was not AHMERICA but of course it is.

korean-american isn't it, actually, I wonder what that's like. I wonder what it's like to be korean-american. I am neither, some sort of suspension of disbelief, and I say this without any self-pity (if anything, it's a neutrality bordering just barely on pride), it's a kind of magic trick, a whole generation's reckoning slid between my parents and I, a bit for them, a bit for me. a generation slid halfway.

--

these words are mine, so if you come here and read this, goddammit, if you misinterpret what I say, then this is ALL ON YOU, do you understand, this is my place, with my words, and if you don't understand what I mean then this is all your fault, okay? if you misunderstand here then so be it. you don't understand. that's on you. go to another page, website, text, avert your eyes. you came here. you tried to read. you got it right, or probably got it wrong, it's on you.

here, these are my words. they work for me. these are codes, processes, unlocking memories that are mine and that you'll never have.

adjacencies. overpasses. poi from a frozen fridge in the 운동장. going back home, taking the bus at 잠실역. 줄 서있던 기억. everyhing2 days. 드래곤라자 and 바람의 마도사. moreover the sense of splitness. taking that bus along the highway passing by factories. thinking about the aesthetics of things. phases in which I would be so distasteful of korean urban aesthetics, not knowing the _________________ I was carrying around, or knowing it and wrestling it not as racism but as culturalism.

the familiar thing is thinking about who I am and taking a bus home, a subway home, walking by myself. moments of solitude. going to galleries, museums, centers a year later. korea changes, and it doesn't.

when you visit a place every six months, the city slides by like a stop-motion animation, things are both unexpectedly similar and unexpectedly different. one year everyone's standing on the right. one year the buses are a different color. going from a home, to another home, to eventually sliding to becoming somewhat of a traveler. isn't this familiar? walking the alleyways of 종로3가 like some sort of ritual. here I am, as a practice. when life starts to be less in rhythm, in society, sliding through in my own practice. what is this like. what is this like.

what are the doors closed when I talk about the inability to share this? when I visit korea I am returning home, not returning to a homeland. how will I speak in Korean in the future? what will I write in Korean? what is that like? I have not left and I have not returned; that much is clear; I have not left and I have not returned.

어디가, 넌 어디가니, 어디로 가니, 누구랑 가니, 누구를 만나러 가니
언제 돌아오니, 언지 돌아올거야, 언제 가니, 언제 갈거야
나중에 보자, 내년에 보자, 많이 컸네, 공부는 잘하니
어떻게 할까, 누구를 볼까, 누구랑 말할까

한달 정도는 한국에서 살아볼까.

This was 5 years, 1 month, 15 days ago

in my arrogance I decide that I do know what I know, and that the smells I follow are worthy of following.

here's the image in my head: an austere, simple space, with light and sound, and friends nearby. all day I roll a problem around in my mind, in my mouth like a peach pit, tasting its wrinkles, popping it out of my lips and holding it in my hand, feeling it press against my palm, placing it in my pocket. inquiry and discovery and thought.

are you your environment, or are you you? what does you even mean, anyways, what form of essence and personal sovereignty do we have to defer to in order to establish a 'you'? cybernetics sez: we're ourselves and our environments, locked in an endless feedback loop, or not 'locked in a loop' any more so than the rain falling is 'locked in a loop' but the product itself.

how much do you trust your gut, and how much do you place yourselves in positions that change your thought process?

--

my gut, my gut.
my gut says that buildings (as opposed to spaces) are tremendously exciting but so contingent, like politics, so exciting and interesting. would I ever run for office? does an experimental politics design practice sound engaging? but what about on the ground, in the field?

I have been coding since I can remember, and dealing with software is as important to me as reading/writing -- that is, a core part of what I do yet not necessarily a core part of who I am (here is the 'you' again, sneaking in at any moment). I don't have to be a writer, despite the fact that I know how to write; I don't have to be write software, despite.

BUT perhaps the privilege and arrogance that software has given me is: it must run. it must execute, and do something, and exist out of your control, and operate as a puzzle to solve. software operates as both deterministic and unpredictable, organized and puzzling.

philosophy or art theory/criticism is fun, becomes deflated after a while, like a dead flaccid inflatable dirigible impaled on a pole and waved around like a flag. where are the mechanisms or thoughts or ideas that make it tick? ideas internal to a person only work to generate localized fields of attraction; ideas external generate magnetic fields, alignment. do I want to spend my life working on something that is contingent on the social authority and identity of its author? that seems like a colossal waste to me.

the built environment is like the most complex environment whatsoever, at all scales. it's simple, but complex. it's full of risks in every dimension, where not just time but materiality exert its ruthlessly anisotropic direction: measure twice, cut once, no undo in two spaces. a perfect environment for heuristics, rules of thumb. moreover, while the resource metric that drives time (labor) is the same in any practice, the resource that drives material is capital, money, and in such an anisotropic one-way practice, cost becomes king.

mix aesthetics into this - oh god, aesthetics, the terrorizing tyrant of conformity and compliance - and you have a recipe for a microcosm of a totalitarian society. aesthetics, demands you march in lockstep. aesthetics demands an allover composition. aesthetics is like a delicate mobile that demands to be tentatively balanced, then screams angrily to be never to be touched again. aesthetics is fragile, fickle, easily broken. aesthetics claims to allow diversity, but only in the way that it wants it to, in just the right ways. and when aesthetics gets social, watch out. the best way to get towards aesthetic cohesion is repetition, rhythm, style. aesthetics is never cooperative, never social.

so here we have a society. one member, time, the ruler of us all. material, who is both expensive and uni-directional, stubborn and weighty. aesthetics, who is shrill and sly and bats its eyes gently and a closet totalitarian in the name of expression.

--

now what? where do we head to?

dizzying variants, possible landscapes. I suppose that what is clear to me is that I want to know how the world works, first and foremost. what are its mechanisms, now and later? how is it opinionated? how can I test my hypotheses, by trying things out? what things are funny and interesting?

of peach pits and landscapes.

This was 8 years, 1 month, 17 days ago

it's 2:41 and as I stop outside the wet steps to my apartment I hear birds chirping. are city birds always awake, nocturnal, circadian cycles skewed also, I wonder? I don't know. the city indicates itself only as a glow, a smooth gradient from white haze to darker haze. it's either 2:41am or maybe it's actually minutes before sunrise, and it feels like the morning before a flight, when everyone seems asleep and gone from your life and in the end it's just you with bags packed going towards this other place, and no amount of words will prepare you for that familiar transit sequence of departures, taxis, buses, cabs, overhead intercoms, that familiar shuffle of bustle, someone else's workday, someone else's dreaded commute, someone else's excited jaunt, someone else's life-changing passage.

This was 8 years, 1 month, 18 days ago

it's always sad to move on. I speak not about other people, but from internal states, versions of your being. moments when you say,

"ah-ha, my god, I've changed, what was interesting is no longer interesting; what was not interesting is now suddenly interesting; I find myself oriented towards other views, other things, other aspects of my being."

To use a travel-wandering analogy, which I always think is so helpful, it would be something along the lines of:

"oh, it's different; I thought I wanted to round that corner and find an alleyway, but something has changed; maybe it's the fact that I did just have lunch, but I would like to go wander through that cemetery instead; or maybe it's the fact that I started talking to these other people and we decided to go explore a plaza; either way, alleyways are nice, but no longer as interesting as they are as other things. And so I wander that way."

Or: I am in Jerusalem, on the Israeli side, and it is 2012, and still a similar version of me. I am reading Marx, still, and it is after Occupy, yes, but now I am imbricated in the process of this central dilemma that seems to have been this (gordian) knot for so many, and I am reading Tom Friedman, and Robin Wright, and Rashid Khalidi, and Edward Said, and Haaretz, and Eyal Weizman, and way more, and being caught up in this struggle of a mind, because everything is so tangible, so important, so much at stake here, in this small country of a place, so many bodies on both sides talking about being shot, or bombed, or terrorized, or terrorized, or unfairly searched, or unfair captured, and onwards, and everything has the vitality and urgency of war, in the way that soldiers talk about it sometimes, how everything becomes more vivid, sharper, crisper. And I am in the process of wondering how to talk about these things, what they mean to what people, where it feels a little bit like any mention of this brings a hush down upon a room. Yes, yes. And so I am in Israel for the first time, and we are in Jerusalem, wandering around, looking at thousands of years of history, and with the continuous realization that this is the place that invented history, almost, this is the place that invented one idea of religion.

And then (and even though this paragraph break is very dramatic, in this life sometimes things are not so rapturous/rupturous) I enter onto a clearing with a friend, and we have been wandering some bazaars, and we realize we can go up onto the roof. And so we do so. And then the roof has this other network of doors, clotheslines, scattered toys, the young IDF soldier with her youthful ponytail and youthful assault rifle slung casually on her youthful shoulder. And it is sunny and gorgeous and it is so easy to fall in love with this tumultuous rich gorgeous palimpsest of a city, and it sounds like kids playing running after each other (with the serious full-intensity playfulness that kids playing will have), and the IDF soldier glances at us, and looks away, and now I like this city, of course, I have liked all aspects of this city, these countries (?), these places, all of these cities, I have liked all of this, all of this has felt so vital and interesting so far, and so crucial, so connected to the presence of my body, my body in relation to steel bars at checkpoints, in relation to gates, in relation to 1" thick plexi, or 2.54cm thick plexi, and the starbust-like drill/drain hole pattern in the plexi that is supposed to let sound through, and the heat of the sun, and the industrial fans that are both A) a godsend B) just amplify the herd-of-cattle like feeling that the materiality of these passages offer you ----


And where are we now? What was my point? I circumnavigate around it.

I need, want, need crucially for things to 'touch the ground', more importantly, to touch the body, to have some impact on a being. 'Body' being inclusive of mind and psyche and ground for cognition. 'Body' being inclusive of the fleshy material that we are constituted out of; the chroma of our skin and the historical categories that constitute these very constructed and very real categories we call race; 'Body' being inclusive of conceptual thoughts that are altered because one lives in a warehouse and changes their mind about What Architecture Is and What Space Is; 'Body' being inclusive of a casual comment in a cafe about a late friend that leads to a succession of sorrowful emails and a gorgeous ceremony on a gorgeous day and a strange train ride out to nowhere; 'Body' also talking about the sense of wonder when one Python library and a Grasshopper process mesh together to do wondrous things with wondrous geometry; all things that have impact, that have weight, that lean against the world, like arrows on a node-graph diagram pointing at these things. These things, I feel, are crucial.

And sometimes wanting and needing these things will constitute a decision, a decision to go this way and not that, to turn left where one could have turned right, or to walk 42.1 degrees clockwise from north where one could have, epsilon being infinitely small, theoretically had an infinite number of departures and could have ended up at an infinitely large number of places.

A flight gets lost in the world somewhere, for a good month, and for me that means that the conceptual clarity of a globe mounted on a pedestal, and the optimism of GPS and cellular networks becomes altered a little bit, modified by a sense of sheer scale, a reminder of scope and size and scale. Nothing is quite different, the volume of a sphere is still 4/3 * pi * r^3, planes still fly in great arcs across our Mercator-projection maps, accidents still happen, yes. But sometimes I am reminded of the way that mental models are so fallible; both sources of comprehension, knowledge, and misunderstanding; and that they need to be constantly adjusted, modified, re-drafted, re-designed, corrected. A plane gets lost, and hundreds of people are locked in anguish, tens of thousands of people are mobilized and strategized, and millions of people watch from all over. And in the midst of that is a plane and an event which is an entanglement of so many real factors that manages to rework our ideas of, right, of course, how large our planet can be, how much the volume of a sphere and the projected map are not contradictory, not illusory, but just one acupunctural inquiry along one section line that is neither parallel nor intersecting.


And again. This means a kind of loss, a kind of decision. All I can do is to wander on the paths necessary, and if it means that sometimes I lose travel partners, then that is so sad, but inevitable. We can still remain friends, if not travel partners, but the reason I'm traveling in the first place isn't to seek what I already knew that I wanted to find, but find things that I didn't realize I could even imagine to look for...

This was 12 years, 1 month, 17 days ago

little rectilinear glass vial reminds me of: the underside of a curve, low ceilings, heads butting against beams, the window open to the sound of the sky, soporific haze. more more more more more more more more more more more more.

This was 14 years, 1 month, 17 days ago

jean-francois lyotard, postmodern condition
gayatri spivak, can the subaltern speak
judith butler, gender trouble
steve dixon, digital performance
mark tribe, new media art
visman and krajewski, computer juridisms
oliver grau, media art histories
lev manovich, the language of new media
henri lefebvre, the production of space
chantal mouffe, deliberative democracy or agonistic pluralism
jacques lacan, the purloined letter
adorno, culture industry stuff

This was 15 years, 1 month, 13 days ago

I step outside and close the door, gently so that the latch doesn't retract. For a brief moment I wonder whether it's still five am inside the room, whether there are shadows cast away from the window, light source = sky haze, from streetlamp to cloud to sky to this window.

Someone sleeping in profile, chiaroscuro attempted partially, sunken eyes and the corner of a mouth creating small eddys where lit skin meets shadow, swirls briefly, and settles into a clean line of compromise: here, you'll take cheek, I'll take half of this unapologetic lip.

As I pull the door towards me in the lit hall way the latch makes two sounds, ! !!, progressively louder. I wonder whether I've woken you up.

Standing in the hallway on wood-print floor, I hear someone crying quietly, then someone else's reassuring whisper. I feel ashamed for hearing something unintended for any audience. I gather up my shoes and slip out in socked feet, waiting to tie my shoes in the stairwell.

Before I step outside the building I already understand that it is raining outside, or was raining outside, by the newly reflective quality of asphalt, diffusing lights overhead into color fields. Texture felt instinctively in the humidity of the night, the way the air hits my skin, feels like cotton sheets dissolving.

This preoccupation with a home and house isn't going away, I don't think.

Kurt Vonnegut just died. How will it feel like, I wonder, to keep on seeing these deaths as decades pass, maybe marquez, delillo, rushdie, ondaatje, another going here and there and to watch newer writers close to my age, then below my age, pop up, throw their weight and leave gentle imprints on history, cycle through? Here is, was, will be literature, soon passed and gone and coming again?

*

It's 20xx and I'm looking out of a window somewhere. Slowly I start to say:
-- All of those writers that changed my life when I was barely alive are dead, gone, with no more hope of continuation, just with quiet mourning. A few decades later, now, nothing has really changed, perhaps computers just the tiny bit wiser, rapid prototyping machines still yet prototypes, the internet a bit lower on the signal-to-noise ratio. Newness revolutionizing the world still now.

-- One summer when I was nineteen I read Underworld, by the late Don Delillo, and even though I only really read it once, it stuck with me, constructive interference was strong, and it was the main reason why I kept on returning to New York, to see her summers and to relive memories of those thirty years ago, when I was still just a kid, a student, thinking about my future and wondering about direction, so lucky, perhaps more aware than I am now, free from constraints and with the ability to decide.