words written in the week of
April 16th to April 22nd
in previous years.
This was 10 years, 7 months, 23 days ago

no, one is not sure, one is never sure, until one is absolutely and positively sure, until the full force of absolute solidity and conviction hits you; and then you must, or it always has, but after, just only after you crossed the epsilon-thick threshold.

summer will come, no doubt, and with it will come the smell of late-night rain, of newly open streets, of new rooftops, new neighborhoods, new bike lanes to learn, new modes of being. a new skyline out my window, glittering in the distance, cars passing by. projects to come. the smell of green in the air, evening barbeques, the muffled thump of a baseline in the distance, the loose yell of kids, sunsets, bike rides, late nights at bars, that kind of thing. a walk home from the subway station, alone. sitting in a darkened room with a light, wondering.

(if there's any interior space that has quite possibly changed my being it is that one loft space in chinatown, that one studio space, somehow the perfect encapsulation of activity and longing for an immaterial future or an intangible concept. the best way I can describe it is like the space between two sides of a piece of paper on which the most life-changing of words lie. what is there? what happened on that page? can you touch your fingers to the texture of pulp-pressed-flat and trace out the history and the origin of those words? of course not. but the smell of the paper is undeniably another kind of archaeology, maybe even a fictional one that has turned real. the space of a darkened studio, light in the distance, bulbs hanging.)

in the midst of that is a question of presence, of circles. questions. either the hard questions have hard answers, or there are no answers and so the selection of an answer itself is hard. or the answer is just to move, move, move, operate, move forwards. "sorry, that's what I chose, let's just plunge ahead." sometimes it is like that. sometimes it is not.

I am not sure. it comes down to that: I am not sure about ________________. what that means is about my relationship with the future; I am not sure I will not have regretted that I ________. I may. I may not. underlying all of this is a hesitation towards fixity, perhaps. indelible markers. when irrevocable change is your medium, what's your message? do you plunge forth and continue brashly? do you hold still, move in infinitely minute increments? neither, I hope. I am talking about something specific here, really.

...sharp, like a cleaving wedge, like a chisel, scalpel, the fin of a shark in waves.

This was 11 years, 7 months, 24 days ago

if there are any vows to be made, it is to try, for just one year perhaps, to live in process, not in thesis, to live not in plan but in play, to take lines for walks, not towards destinations, to make as you go, to make shit up, which means to some extent unlearn things, disregard my own rules, be inconsistent, have praxis in motion, know that identity is performative, actions not words, travelogues not plans. just set off. there are many ways of thinking.

of course, past-me is always wiser:

... and that maybe movement itself is the busy-ness; you don't grab a point in the distance and march forward towards it with a stiff upper lip only, but that you bushwhack and traipse through brambles, forests, swamps, generating paths, creating movement. this sort of work, I mean, which is like saying: I will always be walking, hiking, biking, skating, riding, jumping, moving. limbs firing, fingers going. working, thinking. and I can see that, that it will always be so.


This was 11 years, 7 months, 26 days ago


the process of architecture is a kind of performance.

how does one live one's life? do you design? are you a planner? an improviser? do you walk by the seat of your pants? do you engage? do you put all your chips in action, and you believe in identity generated in a sense of performance, making-it-as-you-make-it? paul klee, taking a line for a walk? or do you prepare beforehand, like a runner kneeling to touch synthetic track with forefinger and thumb? like an archer, who 1) draws back, 2) aims, 3) lets loose? the pencil knows not where it wishes to go, or rather, it realizes where it wants to go in the process.

newness. lots of newness. if there's any kind of sea change that is occurring, it's to perhaps realize some other aspects of my own self, and to counter them, to amplify some other aspect, to engage in a kind of constant improvisation, which is to undermine the operations of my own operation, which is by default a kind of analytic understanding. What is this? and How is this operating? these operations being, really, a desire for power over the future, probability allowing a wanting-to-know-what-will-happen, and knowledge allowing a understanding-probabilities-due-to-knowing-how-things-work, and thus in this way a knowledge of a model is a kind of guarantee for the future, the charting out future territories.

(is this the case? I think to myself. surely these binaries can't be true; interestingness and efficiency aren't diametrical opposites within architecture; the same can't be for this kind of analytic/performative dichotomy either, but it's tempting, or at the very least seemingly accurate.)

there is, on one hand, the fun of being performative, of enacting change in action, of being unsure, and slowly understanding to be comfortable with unsureness, which is in of itself a New kind of thing, yet of course can't be confused with the possible negatives of being unsure, which is to say being okay with unsure might be a good thing that may have bad consequences while being sure might be a bad thing that has good consequences. and how do you weigh one over the other? sometimes you can't splatter paint on a horizontal canvas and call it an allover composition. or can you?

it occurred to me the other day that art history is one of the most fascinating, problematic disciplines, as a discipline, because the societal/economic processes that involve art practice are so far from art historical practice; on one hand, the world of studios, materials, messy pants, production; and on the other hand, white gallery walls, abstracted textual analysis, the aesthetic autonomy, if not of the painting itself, then of the discourse, of the gleeful freedom of visual formal analysis, of a relentlessly clean and planned approach to aesthetic understanding. at a methodological level these two things collide. what about art-historical essays written as loosely as artworks may be created? but rigor is not the issue: what about art-historical essays as process-driven as artworks are?

are you uncertain? why? why not? why is certainty something that is important to you? why is knowledge that is something that is important to you? do you plan before you create, or do you figure it out as you proceed? how does your practice and process change when it intersects with other regimes (or rather, regimens) of process -- physical construction, immaterial design, payment schedules, the 24-hour light/day cycle, weekly cycles? physical construction necessitates a long planning stage, a waterfall model of relationships between planning and execution. software design promotes aglie or spiral models of development that are iterative, recursive, allow for constant modification. etc. etc.

in the end the question is again: are you uncertain? why is certainty something that is important to you? why is it important that one does not make mistakes? why is it regrettable that time flows in one direction?

in fact, you could think of someone, fully having recognized time's own character (unidirectional, immutable, unchangeable), embarking on large-scale catastrophes in order to fully take advantage of time and to create and formulate possibilities of regret, nostalgia, memory, longing, a kind of full medium-specificity. Q: what does time do best? A: Making you miss that-which-has-already-passed-by.

the creation of accidents. buildings that aren't built correctly. books that fall apart at their bindings. maps that give the wrong directions. streets that cave in. planes that are always late. cars that break down next to vast cornfields. hereafter one misses, longs for, desires, remembers, and thus finds, embraces, wants, experiences, in the inverse of all these relationships; the effect generating the initial impact.

I keep thinking to myself: things will always have been more clear-cut in the past, and will become more and more blurry, fuzzed, indiscernible and uncertain in the future. which isn't to say that we shouldn't try for clear-cutness; it's just that perhaps one needs to learn how to navigate these things, to juggle more and more, to hold these things like transparent orbs suspended in the air, split seconds of tranquility and calm, muscle memory grasping one orb as it falls, then snapping it back up into mid-air, calm, to know how to navigate these more and more complex landscapes. because 'discernability' is perhaps what happens after you've already carved out a landscape of probabilities after already having created a model: the possibility that I will be hurt, or that I will not be, or that this will work, or this will not, or that I will enjoy what I have created, or that I will not,

or that the space that I will create this summer will be solid, that it will shine in my mind's eye like a tight, compact object, like the last bite of a dish that you carefully curate on your fork, or like the sharp taut whine of a ball bouncing against the ground, or the tenth minute that you're biking down the west side highway in such a carefree way that you feel your mid-20s youth enshrined in the firing of muscles down your calves and in the wind against your face, or the denouement of a film in which you simultaneously realize that this is it but you also mourn the death of this nearly-living being, or rare moments when you realize that what you want is not what you think you've wanted, and you turn your body and align your being into the right direction, and decide to sprint a little. or way more than a little.

This was 12 years, 8 months, 2 days ago

if there is a question it is of ambition and the alignment of one's self-value and the liking-of-my-want-to-do-things and the disliking-of-my-valuing-doing-things. I like doing A, but I would like to not judge myself against how much I have done A. eating is a good metaphor maybe; I like eating food. the amount of food I have eaten, that is, as long as I have actually eaten something, is unimportant to me. this seems to indicate that a kind of nonchalance is necessary and/or productive. 'really, it doesn't matter', he thought. or: 'the boy for whom nothing but X really mattered was good at everything but X'. but how pessimistic.

the questions are endless, and will continue on, questions of process, movement, control, understanding, mindset, attitude, experience. the rainy mist on one's face. dew of an early morning. the sensation of liquid tiredness running through my veins, the uncertainty of sleep, the straps of a backpack digging into my shoulders, the whoosh of a car passing by.

if I am to aim towards process, not goal, trace, not stopping-point, then it's really the process I should cherish, the feel of pen skittering across paper. and moreover, the cold mental answers are pretty simple; I mean, it's sort of obvious what I need to do, that is to go to the beach every day, metaphorically speaking, in the words of a friends' uncle, who would say that the most important thing in life is to 'go to the beach every day', and so supposedly he did. he did. I have this image of someone walking to the beach, every day, a constant pilgrimage, onwards and onwards. even at the meta-level the 'goal' of this thought process is not the question; it's the texture of the process taken towards this end-point that's important;

what I mean is to say that I am nomadic, and the city swirls underneath my feet, and I am here and there and here. where am I sleeping tonight? many places, many places. I am pregnant with the city and give birth to a new surrounding every time I exit the subway it seems; there is crown heights, bushwick, bed-stuy, stuy-heights, long island city, prospect heights, east village, west village, chinatown, soho, murray hill, upper-west-side, harlem, morningside heights. and there is five hours of sleep, and time stretches itself sideways and elongates, like a waterballoon-balloon being wrapped around the faucet, taut and tearing, tearing and taut.

This was 13 years, 7 months, 28 days ago

more and more I feel viscerally that those phrases, "take care of your health", 몸 조심해라, eat well, things like that make more sense, are more tangible and immediate. everything is the body and everything comes from the body, and of course at twenty-two nearing twenty-three I do not feel this yet, do not know this yet.

it's as if the mind-body duality, descartes' bracketing, all of the cartesian separation is this undying struggle to separate the mind away not necessarily because it is eminently possible (it may be) but because it is thought not to be, borne out of a monstrous pessimism, almost. I have this image of philosophers and thinkers raging against the night, knees giving away, back bending over, and writing desperately to render a world anew.

what is this gentle preoccupation with thinking about worrying about getting old? maybe it's because I feel the invincibility of my youth so wholeheartedly, how I don't know that I don't know -- and not only do I not know, I know that even the attempts at knowing not-knowing will fall flat. I am still here and I am so nimble, lithe.

This was 13 years, 8 months, 1 day ago

if there's anything that happens, really, if there's any effort to making things happen it's the silent movements underneath the shadow as sun comes in through my window on this sunday as the sun sets, it's the typings that you do inside, the epsilon of movement and effort that you carry in alone. I repeat this like a mantra as I put on my socks to go see friends, galleries, worthwhile creations, dip briefly into the stew of cheaply drunken revelry coating the floor like standing water the height of three-inch heels. here's an excursion into the city and its light where the magic lies in the absence of magic, onion-skin moments, the hairnet underneath the wig, the backstage quiet of a play, a movement uninterested in presence that it becomes its own presence. for me, anyhow.

and afterwards the lovely moments can be and often are an eastward walk back home, or on bicycle, feeling the resistance of the bridge concrete against my pedals as I'm above the east river, sodium yellow lamps, the moment my fingers are poised above a keyboard, things like that. everything happening in the epsilon of action. there are no real grandiose moments, just an endgoal and an endless series of minuscule ones, just as there's no "real" film but a series of still frames.

This was 15 years, 7 months, 26 days ago

what was I going to say? I had these things to say but forgot what they were.

I think my thoughts run in cycles of two weeks: two weeks of lucidity, then two weeks of muddled fog, and so on and so forth. It might be interesting to log each day and see how I've been operating.

this piece of blog/entry will slowly get more incoherent as I go on, because I know it'll already serve as a dumping ground for those incoherent elements of thought..

what's the danger in writing a coherent essay against a topic that argues against foundational terms? if coherence is a foundation, and anti-foundationalism is a foundation, how do we move outside/beyond this paradox? or how do we modify this paradox from within?

terms that mean much more to me now than what they did before this term: difference, other, space, foundation, discourse, structure, origin, coherence, presence, formal, sensible, archeology, genealogy.

I really like this stuff. I really do.

At the same time, I realize that I have just bought into a discourse about discourses, an exchange about structures, and by this imposition of all this post-structuralist post-modernist terminology upon my thinking, I am buying into a tradition -- that itself wishes to live without traditions. How can I reconcile this? Would I have been better off thinking about watching Rashomon my senior year of high school and having that be some sort of subliminal theoretical foundation for a worldview?

and now I know that this worldview can be perhaps Kantian in the sense of a noumena/phenomena split, except maybe in my view of Rashomon there was no noumena, only phenomena..

And once I have this lexicon, there's no turning back, no moving outside of this movement outside. I'm worried. There's no rest, these ideas hound me, which is good and bad, good because I feel like this is true (whatever true means, of my structure that produces knowledge-power), or proper, or maybe in alignment with Foucault's "not wanting to be governed quite so much", and bad because I've just bought into a giant structure that makes sense to me, about the power of structure, bought into this discourse/structure about having an awareness of discourses. If you enter our hell, then we'll teach you the lesson that hell is bad..

Am I being governed by a meta-discourse attempting for less-governance? Or no, I'm just learning a shared knowledge, a language with which to communicate with other people. Is language this discourse, this shaping power like what Saussure (and Sapir and Whorf, kinda), argue? Maybe I'd be better off mute? And then maybe, hell is indeed other people, because other people implies a society and therefore a language...

of course not.