words written in the week of
May 15th to May 21st
in previous years.
This was 4 years, 10 months, 19 days ago

wow, lots here. lots lots lots.

density density density. packed. the quality of sun, the quality of sun.

-

so I can remember:

dinner, then n&n (late convo w Y), then Sr J's tour, ecovillage, a consensual burrito. residency talk, S & activist real estate, YIH, Sr G, then a long walk home. T & J, then Sr P & the grand tour, then T, then S & G, then G. then a brief moment of solo wander full of sun.

whew.

-

and what. and what? mini revelations in the olive garden, a buzz or a chill up my back, rosemary leaves in my lapel, synchronicity. fie to a dread of campiness or cheesiness, somber professionalism. serious but not somber, skillful but not square. here's to all of the above.

-

I think the thing about the sun is that it comes in sideways, that it is bright and more dense, perhaps, more sun per square inch, heavier, like a surprisingly heavy orange you weigh and turn in your hand at the grocery story, heavy, taut, expectant, waiting for you and itself. oranges sprayed on the walls, creating diagonal lines sprouting from corners hitting the wall and sliding orthogonal again, windows and plans and an endless ocean somewhere near in the distance where there is just ocean and ocean and sunset.

I wonder - if you live where you can see the sunset over an infinite ocean, are you more nostalgic? more contemplative of birth, life, death, more aware of the passage of time and the history of the past? is silicon valley and all of its startup mentality one response to this infinite nostalgia -- or just self-awareness -- that newness is an allergic reaction to the present, or that newness seems to be just the other side of history; forever leaping ahead to try something different, and then soon after understanding that things the way they are for a reason.

things are the way they are for a reason, I say, not necessarily a good or bad reason, and that doesn't mean it shouldn't change, but there are reasons there, strong ones. I say: stewart brand talks about altering complex systems through iteration, not through redesign; the more complex a system, the more useless a model, and your experimentation setup has to be the world. there are no experiments to prove hypotheses in this mindset; there are actions to go a step in a certain direction.

--

action, action. in some sense I have found some kind of an answer. serious but not somber action; action that does things, that comes through the freedom enabled through commitment, action that is not visible necessarily unless you choose it to be.

the antithesis of action and practice isn't theory, but attention. is this it? I don't like attention. I am suspicious of attention. and this suspicion feels like a breath of fresh air; that actually things click into place and make sense. infrastructure doesn't get a lot of attention, until it stops working and breaks, and all of a sudden goes from an invisible infrastructure to a visible mechanism. the connection between attention and funding feedback loops explains the attention economy, the attention-funding linkage of thought leaders, projects that are funded because they get attention and get attention because they've been funded.

attention means that you dress up. attention means that you poise yourself for others. attention means that you internalize criteria of ideal presentation and focus not on communication (the actual task of meaning, passed from my thoughts and practices to yours) but on poising. and to split hairs, this could be construed as a kind of communication, socioeconomic stylistic taste markers flitting fast across the moment that your eyes lie on the lapel of my jacket, a frission in the air, oh I seeeee, they say.

attention exists in all mediums but moves the fastest over vision. nothing exchanged, really, just a side products of some photons bouncing around, a third party inspector coming by and letting you know what gossip they found. photon sez: it's yellow and dark gray and beautiful.

attention-over-vision, AoV, calcified and instrumentalized, turns into aesthetic and style. a tuxedo. a suit. a dress. black tie.

(I still remember: one of the biggest drop in respect was when I asked K why the professors all dress very normatively, with jacket. He says something along the lines of "because we're not kids; we're adults". cue - line graph of market crash.

the better answer, to be honest, is that a discipline is influenced by those who it interacts with, and architecture, interfacing with the clients and culture of real estate and business and politics, thus generates its own silent and invisible practice of sartorial legitimacy that is, to be honest, quite difficult to buck against.)

--

but what is it? I am starting to know what matters to me. I can smell and distinguish between the things in architecture that I really care about, that generate systems, that are expressive of the body. the body's requirements explode out onto the building, turn into aspects.

it's like: I am creating my own taxonomy. I'm learning how to follow smells.

--

and in the midst of it, nuns, convent, sisters. radical community. ritual, practices. in the beautiful sunset I walk among homegrown sculptures and bushes of rosemary and land full of olive trees, my heart breaks a little bit. I'm very glad to grow older, I think actually, to pass these in-between years where I'm too young to be comfortable with not knowing anything and too old to be comfortable with not knowing anything.

for the first time ever I can feel how, that past this point, past a decade or two, how calm enthusiastic curious silly steady contemplative ways of being could settle in. how I can start to think of lives in units of decades, not years. it's startling.

have I been thinking about the l/w project all wrong? maybe: it's not that the personal is political, maybe it's that only the personal is political. if I can care for the bodies of myself and those who I care about around me, and if we're synchronized on a level of commitment and regular practice and ritual, then that's it. what else matters? buildings are externalized bodies, and they're political.

what are externalized thoughts? sculptures, books, literature, art. what is externalized attention? advertising, cheap "design".

what else matters? to live and eat and meditate together; to host others so that their bodies are also maintained and cared for; to work and think about projects together; to practice.

--

if you are reading this, and you are not me (well, nobody who is reading this will be me, the self of theseus, so this is for everyone since even I won't read this but some other I will):

what did we expect? poised language? academic prose? that I cleave myself into two, private and public, mushy and clear-cut? logical, orderly, ordered. the dispositif of an external self is as nearly tied like a half windsor, nearly pressed, organized. does it feel nice to wear a suit, sometimes? maybe, horribly enough.

but regardless. an aesthetics of obfuscation and somberness dominates discussion. to be somber and to be cryptic is to attract attraction like moths, flapping around in confusion because contemporary american Cool is an anti-plea for attention, a reverse psychology of attention. gonna do my own thing, pah! and these moths flutter in surprised confusion around a lightbulb that's been turned off, too. what could it mean? what's inside there? how could we find out?

cool = exploited curiosity + obfuscation of understanding + reverse psychology

enough of this.

--

when we say slowness maybe we mean slowness. calm it down.

--

again: the sun comes in, leaves wander, the sun sets. that sylvia plath quote. a comment from sister G breaks my heart, not in a bad way, but just in a new way, and leaves me contemplating, overlooking buildings that learn and a body of water that undulates, far in the distance.

This was 5 years, 10 months, 30 days ago

where are we? what is this? consistent to my new york world is the sensation of high windows, a grid of dark apertures, occasionally dotted by light, here and there. the casualness to which you understand that, on the other side of that yellow parallelogram, lies a rich, loamy, deep world with its intricate complexities and depth of discussion. this is all the more emphasized by the fact that, you yourself having just left one of those other parallelograms, feel the funny feeling up the spine of a simultaneous excitement and despair at being within a city in which these discussions are ongoing, raging, churning, and despair at the sheer breadth and the lack of connectedness and the non-totality of it all, as if we would be doomed to repeat the same conversation in the living rooms of apartments, over and over again.

--

perhaps I realize that my insistence on metaphors is founded out of a fundamental pessimism of sorts; a deep worry that, at the core of it, the possibility of myself communicating to other is really impossible, or at least deeply improbable or difficult. it's a question of commensurability, or ala ranciere, a question not of values but even of understanding and agreeing on what these values mean. is it ever possible, really, to communicate across skulls? what would that even mean? are we not a bundle of biases and references and masses of heuristics and patterns, narrowly forced through semantic and syntactical structures we call language, like pasta extruding itself out of the nozzle of a pasta machine? what does it even mean to communicate?

and is it necessary?

is it possible, desirable? the best computation machine for real life is real life itself. what if we did things in the world, and together looked at what we did? understanding would be formulated out of the world, together looking at the world. the world doesn't lie. or rather, the world is consistent, consistently lies, consistently shrouds.

what does it mean to use words at all? to modulate things like "intent", which are themselves funny words about the interiority of beings, as if the intent is the yolk of a brain, the golden nugget of a soul.

etc.

This was 12 years, 10 months, 25 days ago

two moments. this, now, reflecting on what happened just before another happening...

one: we're in gowns, sky blue, three hours of ceremonies and pomp-and-circumstance. as we slowly file out orderly lines disorient themselves into a mess. turning around I half-step on a girl's foot. instantly I see her face contort into this expression of disgust and pain and regret as my other hand goes out to steady her and say, hey, sorry, but her features twist and wrinkle into that sort of an expression just so expressive and repugnant. and another instantly: instantly I decide that that's not the kind of life I want to lead; I know this stems from unfounded conjecture but I don't know this girl anyways and won't ever see her again; that that's not the kind of place I want to be like this imaginary girl face twisting along lines of repugnance, horror, disdain. never.

two: swirling lines, folding onto each other. I think of proteins, folding, a hole bored through a phone book skewering names together, specific linkages degenerating into arbitrary connections. folded, flipped, turned.

This was 14 years, 10 months, 22 days ago

Seoul has a lot of interesting stuff going on!


A.L.I.C.E museum

예술의 전당 한가람디자인미술관 (Seoul Arts Center - Hangaram Design Museum ), 6/2 - 6/22
This looks incredible, despite the fact that it's targeted towards children (which is nice, I suppose, the idea of media art being directly interactive and accessible enough to be kid-fun). There's a lot of works I've seen before -- Samorost, Cloud by Jenova Chen, Shadow Monster by Philip Worthington, etc. ALICE stands for "Alive Liquid Interactive Creative Expressive".

Lincoln Schatz - generative video installations
Bitforms gallery, seoul 6/1 - 7/14, opening reception 6/1
"Visualizing the memory of an environment, these works reconsider fixed
notions of history, time and place. Each unique artwork records, stores and displays video that recounts its record of exhibition, building a distinct visible aura."

Nurri Kim -- Space Between: Archive, Memory, Repository
Insa Art Space, 5/25 - 6/10, Talk 5/29 5pm
This seems interesting. Memory versus archive: "How does an archive work, as compared to human memory? Are there meaningful distinctions between "memory" and "storage (archive)," and how do these ideas frequently get confused in our overwhelmed technological times? " Somewhat related to an article about MyLifeBits and Gordon Bell I read in the New Yorker about obsessively recording and archiving personal data.

Weather Forecast
Nam Seoul Annex building of the Seoul Museum of Art, 5/11 - 7/1
An exhibition in which artists-in-residence interacted and exchanged ideas upon the topic of 'mobility'.

Sound Art 101
Ssamzie space, 4/24 - 6/17

Springwave 2007
Various Locations, 5/4 - 5/30
A festival encouraging collaboration with foreign/other contemporary artists to create a stronger sense of contemporary art in Korea. May be nice, but is almost over.

Part of Springwave 2007:
Instead of allowing something to rise up to your face dancing Bruce and Dan and other things, Tino Sehgal
5/7 - 5/30, 11-6pm at Total Museum of Contemporary Art
5/27, 2:30pm performance with Nadia Lauro
"I consider communism and capitalism as two versions of the same model of economy, which only differ in their ideas about distribution. This model would be: the transformation of material or – to use another word – the transformation of ‘nature’ into supply goods in order to decrease supply shortage and to diminish the threats of nature, both of course in order to enhance the quality of life. Both the appearance of excess supply in western societies in the 20th century, as well as of mankind endangering of the specific disposition of ‘nature’ in which human life seems possible, question the hegemony of this mode of production, in which the object hood of visual art is profoundly inclined. My point is that dance as well as singing – as traditional artistic media – could be a paradigm for another mode of production which stresses transformation of acts instead of transformation of material, continuous involvement of the present with the past in creating further presents instead of an orientation towards eternity, and simultaneity of production and deproduction instead of economics of growth."

Part of Springwave 2007:
I hear voices, Nadia Lauro
5/3 - 5/30, 11-5pm at Total Museum of Contemporary Art
5/27, 2:30pm Performance with Tino Sehgal
"I hear voices is a project articulated around a visual installation, a ‘live architecture’ and a performance. I hear voices, a kind of science fiction landscape made of hairy mountains, offering a cozy resting place to the spectators during the whole Springwave Festival. It is an immersive space, a cross between a ‘mental garden’ and a ‘warming-up area for the audience’, inhabited with a special event the 9th and 10th of may 2007."

Part of Springwave 2007:
Hey girl!, Romeo Castellucci/Socìetas Rafaello Sanzio
5/24 - 5/25, 8pm at Arko Arts Theater, Main Hall
"Hey girl! is a project about movement and about
gesture. In the end it will be a kind of dance. A series
of pictures strung together but seemingly unconnected.
One might say, a revue of acts that starkly reveals
aspects of human relationships. A portrait put together
out of the vast archive of partly forgotten gestures of
the West."