words written in the week of
June 9th to June 15th
in previous years.
This was 11 months, 12 days ago

can my body hold this, I ask, and the answer is clear: yes, it wants to. a series of closures cascading against each other, even if the next gesture is the flip of a page. the opening of a new page is a closing of another. a goodbye, said with sincere sadness and tenderness.

I feel in me my galaxies, stars being born, stars dying, waves a-crashing. eddies and ebbs and flows, diluvial flows, trickles, oxbow lakes forming. are these seismic shifts? or water doing what it does? is this a dam, man-made, or is this just part of the river breaking into the sea?

inside there's a cascade of emotions roiling. most of it I hold, all of it I hold together, in the same frame, as 'beauty'. this too is beautiful. in every summer is a portal. I am in mumbai, I am in tel aviv, I am in ramallah, I am in beijing, I am in ulaanbataar, I am on a train going, going, going. this is that trip.


I do not know yet if I can hold what I feel. in its place a placeholder, a holding of a place. a goodbye to a series of beautiful memories, these days of early summer in new york city, june twenty twenty three.

This was 7 years, 11 months, 14 days ago

chronological order is the reverse order of necessity.

I walked into the forest, I gathered sticks, I created a woodpile, I made some kindling, I lit my kindling on fire, I nurtured the flame, I blew on it gently, I turned it into a stable roaring fire, I sat next to the fire, I got warm.

I'm cold; warmth solves that; a stable fire is warm; a stable fire grows out of a small one; kindling helps me start a small fire; I need kindling and wood; kindling and wood comes from trees; trees are in the forest; I should walk into the forest.

At any point, the flow of logic from the necessity/problem can branch:

I'm cold; warmth solves that; a stable fire is warm; a stable fire comes out of my gas fireplace; I should turn my gas fireplace on.

Problems are singular, and solutions are varied. The exploration of all possible answers to a solution thus looks like a tree branching outwards. This is the exact mirror of an ishikawa diagram, in which the complexity of factors contributing to a diagram looks like a tree branching outwards, but in the other direction.

In the center of this diagram is a problem, or a supposed problem.

This was 8 years, 11 months, 17 days ago

listening to arthur russell in an empty room looking at sun glinting off of buildings in the distance; this setting will probably stay with me for a long, long time. to be filed next to: the dated grain and color balance of photographs taken decades ago. nostalgia for the present.

sehnsucht / saudade / mono no aware.

in the present day, there are only people. everything is made out of people. specifically: everything is made out of persons, decisions, eye-glances, the corners of mouths, hand gestures, out of speech, words, language, phone calls, emails, gesticulations.

This was 9 years, 11 months, 10 days ago

1) I come back and everything is suddenly so quiet and calm and clean, neatness abound, and I am momentarily awed by how this is possible. How is this possible? How do systems come into manifestation, so fully, so overwhelmingly?

1.1) The exclamation I make is more like: The fact that everything is so overwhelmingly different everywhere makes you understand the scale of the world, the force of climate, "culture", people, geography, forces, the earth this immense globe of a thing. Like in Hong Kong, thinking - how on earth are these buildings built? How does capital swarm together to create this, at this scale? Is it part of the wonder of an architect to be forever wowed at things (supposedly) within one's boundary of revisualization, reconfiguration? Always making something, setting it loose, and then being dazzled, blinded, stupefied by it?

2) It strikes me during a lull in the conversation at a coffee shop that the logic of physically building things (food, clothing, buildings, projects, etc) is like making a clearing in a sand pit, digging with your hands until you reach the sandless solid bottom, actively constantly pushing against entropy until you've painstakingly increased the degree of order. A luxury condo in a huge city somewhere just requires massive amounts of effort, gargantuan movements in order to transform the world. And it is done by money, not architecture, speculation and narrative, not science.

3) Questions always turn back to ethics, goals, endgoals. Why are you doing the things that you do? What percentage of it is one's extension of one's bodily self and tender psyche onto the world -- and the subsequent desire to make things better? How much of it is the pure joy at flexing one's intellectual muscles, dolphins jumping in water?

4) TBD

This was 9 years, 11 months, 15 days ago

Most of the time in New York, I realize, I am thinking about where I am, and where I am going. A climber of mountains or a wandering traveler focused obsessively on the map, and the dot that means YOU ARE HERE, and the relationship (or distance) between the two, or not. A sensitivity towards change, a plunging in towards further networks or systems that I start to read as an infinite interconnectedness, a play of knots and lines and actors.

One's "full" cognition of "the real network" then falls into this deathly careful choreography of not touching anything, or touching just the right thing; that mission impossible dance, suspended, dangling, balanced. Cut the red wire, blue wire, red wire, blue wire. Gentle touches, sensitive actions, every movement this paranoid reading of the world, in which everything makes too much sense; every moment has high stakes, every engagement a ripple, the butterfly wings of chaos theory. Chaos theory, at least, lets you float the world away to the capricious and unpredictable world of chance; ANT and its ilk would cluck its tongue at you, tell you that 'you know what you're doing when you step there, don't you?', with the simultaneous wonder and horror as if watching a Rube Goldberg machine, a celebration of complexity, an acceptance of determinism.


Oh travel, the ultimate metaphor. Adorno's essay on Free Time (or was it Leisure?) talks about the structuring of leisure time like work; the Kodak Moment, the acquisition of landmarks, the understanding of a journey into discrete units graspable, like commodities. "What did you see?" And instead, you could wander, have connections, surf some couches, talk to people. In relation to the commodity, that would be like play, like building sandcastles, all labor, no commodity, no socially necessary labor time and just labor. "I built this sandcastle and it took me two hours before the water came and washed it away, and I had fun." There is no commodity here, just doing, moving, something that operates orthogonal to the axis of "labor" or "not-labor".

Lately I've been thinking that Marx is a Hater, with a capital H, and Haters Gonna Hate, as we all know, so Marx is Gonna Hate. Labor always generating value, always evaluated in relation to other labor that created fungible objects (thus creating the category of a commodity), always evaluated on a social labor (socially necessary labor time), always doing more work for others, you poor sod (surplus-value). When you labor, you are locked into this deathly struggle, says Marx, the hater. Why are you doing things without being paid for them? Are you not always laboring? (Are you not always moving?) Are you not always producing work? (Are you not always being evaluated on a social level, in comparison to other similar work, in order to produce the category of 'socially necessary labor time'?) Are you not always working for others?


The saddest part about being a traveler, a solo traveler, and perhaps a traveler that does not slot in to the typical spiritual white person visitor to India who wears cotton and baggy clothes and sandals and a scarf, to fit in -- is this degree of underlying hesitancy, reticence, to chance encounters. (Which have been happening all the time.) Just now for the first time I told someone that I've been living in Mumbai for two years, and he melted away, almost, found another target, and I hear another "Where are you from?" in the distance, without looking back. Or that other person who told me that he wasn't asking for money, and invited me for tea over to this shop that sold traditional clothes that you had to wear, he swore, for the sake of safety, because everyone in this city would respect you more if you wore salwar kameez. He says that, and I look at this gorgeous city behind him full of a million shades and contradictions.

But you know, I understand, or maybe I don't understand but I accept, this spirit. I get it, to some extent, I accept it. These are just a few people, not the country, not the world, but small isolated incidents. This person is not India. I have not met India. India is not an encounter, or a person, or a place, or a metaphor, and least of all, it is not an anecdote.

While sitting on the ledge on Marine Drive and watching the spectacular orange sky (along the way, five people stopping in their tracks to take a cellphone photo of the sky), someone chats me up, and I talk, my interest and attention and unguarded friendliness slowly coasting in like the gimli glider, not fully propelled, circling, spiraling downwards.

He talks about walking, running, being a florist, having a Japanese girlfriend that visits every six months. She entered his shop two years ago and asked him for directions to an Internet cafe. He gives them, they start chatting, she invites him out for tea; he says he's free in the evening. In the evening she comes back and says, "It's the evening; let's go to tea."

"No time for tea; I have time for beer."

"Okay, beer."

"With beer, I have problem. I put my heart on table."

"I want to see."

And so, he says, she comes back every six months. I want to believe it, so I do, and I believe it even more where he just looks out onto the water and I do too and we share a silence that is neither particularly meaningful, not not meaningful. It's not some sort of pregnant silence that is supposed to say volumes about the world, or about the grand interconnectivity of all beings, but it's like a small demure one, pleasant and proper and nice anyhow.

It is not India. There is no India in this moment, no credits, no statements, no life lessons, no grand moments, in the same way that New York is largely transparent to me right now, largely absent, mostly just a term I hear loaded with adoration in others' mouths, "New York", and I wonder for a moment where that is, whose place that is because it is surely not mine.

I just have a collection of places, interior spaces, outdoor places, rooftops, beds, discussions, talks, couches, coffee spaces, places where I can close my eyes, places where the layering of previous encounters are stronger than recent events. And the same goes for here, wherever this is.

This was 13 years, 11 months, 18 days ago

in the bathroom at tea lounge, closing time (midnight), I lift the seat up deftly with the inside sole of my shoe and as I piss away I look at the requisite cafe bathroom scrawls. someone's written "I hold these truths to be self-evident" in silver paint-marker. it's actually quite neatly written, in fact, fitting cleanly in-between a line of bricks.

and suddenly suddenly, voiding my bowels, suddenly I have changed my mind and now think that the phrase is actually quite refreshing, actually, this idea of 'self-evident'. on one hand it's a stubborn insistence on truth but on the other hand it's an open admission of groundlessness. like: a kid saying "because I said so." like: a kid answering every answer with a "why?" because. why? because. why? and so on. self-constituting constitutions, I am created because I have created.

and I think, when's the last time my values were upended? if there was some sort of guiding text to my own inner model of the universe it was kurosawa's rashomon, or rather it was a post-facto alignment with that which was always there. and I think, do I have the ability to break from that? could I change altogether, suddenly? have these core processes be altered: that is to say, immediately go into this process of: 'x is y, what's x, y, and is? and what's this "what's" as well?'

on facebook a few years ago I watched a strongly-liberal politically-driven high-school acquaintance date a strongly-conservative acquaintance and suddenly turn conservative as well. there's nothing 'honorless' in modifying one's values necessarily, it's just that this idea of mental change itself that is simultaneously completely mundane and horrifically compelling to me. perhaps it's because a) on the one hand people do change all the time, yes, and b) on the other hand to see this performed identity double back on itself so fluidly is to tangibly verify the masslessness of these vectors we call theses, ideas, cores, movements. it's like there's a thought-related p=mv, and so even with the strength of a thesis's velocity, without mass there is no momentum, just a collection of styrofoam packing peanuts thrown into the air, colliding together gently before floating to the ground.

later I am unlocking my bike and I think, of course it's not to say that this masslessness is bad. it's just that I am simultaneously worried and glad about this default model I have; glad that it likes to tinker and pull things apart, worried because is this it? when will the ability to change the kind of change I wish to have change? will I, ten years from now, be thinking with the same meta-processes? I hope not, I say, I hope I have made 'progress', and by 'progress' I mean being-somewhere-that-I-was-not-before, maybe. new ground stepped on. having-moved-elsewhere.

This was 13 years, 11 months, 19 days ago

and it occurs to me while looking at the tin ceiling with fleur-de-lis-es on it that this is it, whatever 'it' is, and I feel the start of a sentence form in my mouth, like I juuust took a bite of a sandwich, or I'm about to blow a large bubble (medium: gum and saliva, june 2010), and it forms there like a coalescing chunk, and it goes something like: "if there's truth, here, then --"

and the rest of that sentence is cut off by a chorus of internal voices hemorrhaging out from my consciousness asking 'truth? capital-t truth?' and another voice says something like: 'no, I know, it's a philip-larkin-high-windows kinda truth.' and noises silenced with a buzz I look upwards at the ceiling covered with tin and I think of things I should do and places I will be, and I have an anticipatory nostalgia, and while everything is lovely and quite lovely, I know that the best bestest besterest part of the evening will be the bike ride back, the spaces not quite mentioned, the part of an evening that's never shown in the film version. abridged from the book version.

and it is as if: I am here always thinking of centers that are not a center, the absence of a center itself being the organizing principle which becomes a center, ala derrida, the idea of brennschluss that is this persistent idea of having-combusted-fully and leapt forward, the gaze at the yellowish-gray skewed parallelogram-ized window looked up at from a street sidewalk; these things all conspire to be this image of desired absence that pulls me towards this night's end. I say my goodbyes and go home and dream about crashing into cars on my bike, dream against it, dream about piercing people-bubbles and talking about things that rather shouldn't be talked about;

and lately I've been doing this thing where the last two (mild) bike accidents, near-punch and near-mugging I've been in have been so fresh and crisp that I can imagine the sensation of immediate danger arriving too rapidly to to think, the little will-o'-the-wisp of "is this really happening to me?" followed by "yes, it is" happening on one-two-succession, like a rapid punch. bam bam. and then I tumble, and then the world turns about and a hypothetical turns into the cold flesh of reality, and I check myself, reoriented. do I know myself? is my body okay? I've always said, when getting up shakily with adrenaline coursing through my veins, looking at myself. is my body okay? and so far I've been luckily enough to say "yes, it is, it is. you are awarded the invincibility of your youth, again."

the point is that I imagine these things more lately, and I don't think that it comes out from a fright or an apprehensive dread but more of a subconscious will to puncture this invincibility of youth that I live in. a friend recently said more accurately that this invincibility was to take one's body for granted, and I think that's definitely true, and resonated with me, the bodily flesh-and-organ and presence that I have is just here, operating on its own level, being taken for granted. sometime in the future I will call it once in a while, tell it that I love it, send flowers on body's day, visit once in a while, but not enough.

but that itself is another center that comes from an absence-of-a-center, the anticipation of the absence of youth, along with the anticipation of the end of an evening. and yes, the ride back was wonderful, and yes, that image of the tin ceiling painted white stayed with me, for some corporeal tangible reason, and after seeing some wonderful, wonderful friends the ride back is filled with traffic lights (points that elongate into lines) and roads (lines that elongate into volumes), and such and such and such and such.

This was 14 years, 11 months, 13 days ago

Moving from place to place sometimes I realize how necessary this all is. Brainwashed to love airports I feel alive running my fingers along the shape of power plugs and the abstract but very concretely abstract shifts in architecture that characterize something more emergent and meta than culture: metaculture, arche-culture, curators of culture and style. 'Culture' and 'style' minus connotations of vertical hierarchy and qualification: 文化, maybe. People flowing. The oft-quoted Benjamin quote from his oft-quoted article channelling Krakauer:

Tactile appropriation is accomplished not so much by attention as by habit. As regards architecture, habit determines to a large extent even optical reception. The latter, too, occurs much less through rapt attention than by noticing the object in incidental fashion. This mode of appropriation, developed with reference to architecture, in certain circumstances acquires canonical value. For the tasks which face the human apparatus of perception at the turning points of history cannot be solved by optical means, that is, by contemplation, alone. They are mastered grauually by habit, under the guidance of tactile appropriation.

And so sifting my feet through change and movement I realize I like this, I really do. Standing in the subway I realized I couldn't read or listen to music lest I miss out on boredom, on this specific strain of boredom sprouting out from the organization of katakana hiragana kanji on paper.

1) Vertical or horizontal reading? it strikes me that there might be a sort of air resistance coefficient applied to typography, kinda, except instead of air resistance it's the arche-writing presence of black text on a white page, and the gaze of the eye as it starts scanning downwards, or from left to right. I imagine these three-dimensional, voluminous blocks of text approaching as if on conveyer belts, perspective distorting them into trapezoidal shapes, bulbous dorsal serifs appearing out of the white. I vaguely remember a quote by Haruki Murakami, something about the stern of a ship appearing out of a fog. Something like that. Against illegibility which areas resist first, most easily? This sort of air resistance.

2) one other thing that strikes me is the writing-like, script-like splash of patterns on these tokyo streets. zebra crossings intersecting, slightly off of each other. some panels of red marking broad swaths of asphalt. seen from the side, they too seem like they were thrown at high speed, scrawled marks lying against the ground not too repetitive and regular to seem overly logical but with uncertainly determined angles arbitrary-seeming enough that I start to try to read for an intelligence behind all of this. who wrote this? what is this city saying?

more on this later. (having said 'more on this later' I probably will not come back to this having generated some sense of finitude. I've already burst this balloon growing in my mouth.)

This was 14 years, 11 months, 13 days ago



*emergencies! 011
SATO Tetsuji + SAKAMOTO Yoichi "blank"
Open Space Now! 2009
@ NTT Intercommunication Center

*The Kaleidoscopic Eye: the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection
@ Mori Art Museum (1000yen)

Beauty & Light Exhibition photographs by Pascal d'Aboyer & Morgan Fisher
Opening night -- performance by Morgan Fisher, 8:30pm
@ SuperDeluxe (free)

*Winter Garden: The Exploration of the Micropop Imagination in Contemporary Japanese Art
@ Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (700 yen)

Neoteny Japan -Takahashi Collection
@ Ueno Royal Museum

**+/− [the infinite between 0 and 1]
Ryoji Ikeda
@ Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)

*NISHI Tatzu - What if someone finds out?!
@ Arataniurano


6:30 doors, 7pm start. Y2500.
@ Shelter, Shimokitazawa

random info that's easier to access when on a public site w/o login

Baggage claim: 1st floor (arrivals): GPA or JAL ABC, Inc. probably around 500yen per day.

suica & nex package - at terminal 2 travel center

keisei skyliner. remember to reserve express for the way back. or take limited express?
http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/metropass/index.html (+ metropass)

500 yen (baggage) + (2480 + 1000) (there and back + metropass) + 3000 (capsule hotel? maybe less for 24-hour internet cafe) = around 7000. that leaves me 3000 for food and museums. perfectly doable. NTT & MOT maybe? Hmm. plushy internet cafes is around 1500 yen, I hear; lacks the fun of a capsule hotel but certainly cheaper.

I think the best idea would be to go to Koenji and wander around to shinjuku; wake up really early and go to NTT, the mot museum, maybe stop by akihabara before I take the keisei skyliner/limited express back, leaving by 3:30 or 4 at the latest.

This was 14 years, 11 months, 15 days ago

is this for me? this is for me? for this is me? for this is me. this is for me.

이것도 한 때.

This was 16 years, 11 months, 8 days ago

I've been: It occurs:

I've been: walking in Seoul, creating mental maps, organizing spaces. This is probably the first time that I'm appropriating the city as a conscious choice of location, rather than as a default, flitting from subway stop to stop, grounding geographical location on a one-dimentional colored subway line.

3 areas I've been mostly in, in no particular order:
- 삼성Samsung/강남Kangnam/압구정Apgujung (they're all the same, places to eat/drink/watch movies.)
- 인사동Insadong (sometimes-forced Korean-quaint-old-natural, relieved mostly by the fact that it's a space for the appreciation of A Korean Identity, counter to the more prevalent undercurrents of Korean inferiority complexes)
- Gosh that sounded so elitist/judgemental.
- it's just a part of identifying/feeling capable-authorized of such judgement.
- 종로3가Jongro3ga/을지로3가Uljiro3ga/청계천Chonggye-chun. (Those areas, full of liveliness and in my opinion the more fleshy beating heart of Seoul. Cameras, motors, zippers, lace, semiconductors, pvc, watches, lights, bathroom sinks, art supplies, film, fabric, wood, glass, posters, paint, rubber mats, what not. Raw business in its operation, supplies and dealers, advocates of the corporeal, the unprocessed, the smelly busy active and pure core of things. Boxes lashed onto motorcycles twisting between cars losing themselves in a two-stroke haze cloud sliding down side alleys. Someone sits outside smoking, three hours before dusk. I take out five cameras onto a table into a pair of knowledgeable hands and the atmosphere changes, shifts imperceptibly into mutual appreciation, inspection, lexicon flowing under the table : seal, filter, fungus, pc, synchronization.


It occurs to me that Virginia Woolf and Henri Cartier-Bresson feel old to me, old, less engaging, more, er, boring. I feel as if I've betrayed part of myself that would try to see if the intensity of my pen-underlines (representing the intensity of my delight and excitement) would sublime through the page and leave rip-marks so soaked with dark that they would slowly chromatograph outwards and outwards. Just just, representational, visual, mimetic, 's no longer cutting it. I get angrier at photography, the action of capturing -- irrationally and without reason, worried that a photo was taken because uh that looked nice and I wanted to capture that nice-looking uh that.

I realize that I read Lolita all wrong all wrong, all trustingly and pre-post-modernly, as a straight love story, a real one, with truth and beauty and sincerity and all that. I read Pale Fire recently, and I realize that Nabokov is all about the process of writing, the role of the narrator in disguising, re-inventing and masking, and the role of the reader (in his novels) to penetrate the narrator's mask and arrive at some apparent 'inner reality' that may or may not exist. In short, the reader's action is in parallel with the narrator, appropriating a viewpoint to create another one, and also, the writer and reader is on opposite sides, with each side wanting to interpret and create and justify...


These ideas, and the effort necessary to realize them. more, more. get on it, taeyoung, self-motivate.

- segmentation of spaces with aural fingerprinting
- portable boundaries
- l+c

This was 16 years, 11 months, 12 days ago

korea korea korea.
seoul seoul seoul.

I'm back and two weeks overdue of some sort of reflection. I'm back and I'm sleepy and I feel like settling into a rhythm, an aesthetics of a lack thereof, ugly apartment buildings and garish red sidewalks, et cetera, this city breathing hey hey jumble jumble JUMBLE and a haphazard lack of attention to overall visual appeal. Instead of focusing on everything fitting together there's a micro focus on individual design, tree than the forest, and the resulting hodge-podge of neon signs jutting: horizontal flat, vertical flat, jutting out neon wires moving up, around, a hearted up and inside out and the longer distance between transfers on the subway and the more time spent standing thinking wondering, the yearly revisits and self-evaluation, all of this.

This city. I find myself criticizing things when I come back, aiming my eye with the proud-chested self-professed position of someone on the cultural fence, neither inside nor outside, identifying with or against. QUESTIONS: Korean identity: blood vs. nationality? Cultural pride: artificial self-propagandizing vs. exoticism/idealization of the foreign? I voice these thoughts in conversation with others but at the same time I know that these opinions have more to do with me versus Korea, a personal agenda rather, Hey I came back let's fight jackets on and everything I missed you and you rubbed off on me and I've got to fight you now because of this sense of identification that I have with you. This sense of agenda and opposition to be thought against, fought against, argued against is somehow my way of nestling back into this rhythm; before I realized it on one Saturday night I was attempting to mark an identification with this country/culture/rhythm/color, lifting my right leg, standing still, making it mine.

This was 16 years, 11 months, 15 days ago

Unique identifier sound created when the door of the room is opened: generated using combinations of ambient light intensity & color, temperature, humidity, etc, and their collective temporal changes. The generated sound is a fingerprint/unique identifier, but meaningful not in its injective function-ality itself but instead the expression of such identification. Opening and closing the door to listen to such sounds creates several distinct spaces separated by time and defined along dimensions of ambient characteristics.