words written in the week of
October 27th to November 2nd
in previous years.
This was 8 years, 6 months, 8 days ago

slowly things settle. is this where I am? is this where we are?

(funny, the use of 'we' when I mean 'you', or 'I'; I'd like to think that it's snippets of Korean coming through; or maybe it's just language tugging you into attention, pronouns that turn heads.)

at one point biking I feel my legs stretch out, as if they were telescoping in and out, effortlessly elongating and shrinking, and it feels good; it feels like an exertion of my being, to feel the muscle fibers firing.

it's also unfair, I think, that things only taste sweet once you jump past the initial hump of activation energy or barrier to entry, that there exists a whole universe of unexplainable delights that cannot be explained to others; the joy of feeling mechanics and ecologies change underneath your fingertips, the sensation of linking processes together that feels like firing an arrow just so, deftly. being able to start from a thought and end in a mechanism in code that does transformative things. designing images and objects that feel crisp, just so. strategies of talking and organizing meetings/projects so that, when you zoom out, you see a boat, a ship, and the crystalline structure of its dependences, its trajectory, the necessary procedures and processes one must push through to make it slide through the water.

how do you explain things? how do you move things from inside your brain to the outside world? it's as if the other minds problem returns again, not as an anguished worry about solipsism, but this time against the impossibility of permeability, the knowledge that what I think and feel is sometimes nearly untransferable to others, or that it takes immense amounts of time.

and lest a future version of me mistake that this comes from a perspective of arrogance, that I Am Right: no, that's not it. It's more like: I am possessed (and so are you) with some spirit, and we see these different ghosts / structures / thoughts / ecologies, and I may wander off into the distance talking with and gesticulating at things that you cannot see, and vice versa.

so here we are in the city, trying to talk about these ghosts we follow; occasionally we follow the same ones, but often we don't. often we collide and excitedly share stories, only to realize that the ghosts we were changing are following different paths. sometimes you glance at someone walking parallel, and realize that they too are following a similar ghost -- but then you've been following/seeking/being possessed for so long, and furrowing your brow, leaning your ear to a faint rhythm, and wandering forward becomes such a well-worn sensation that you merely nod in mutual recognition, following forward. so - for me to describe to you how these spirits appear, and how they feel, and their history and potential future, takes time, if it ever happens. like describing a dream to someone: direct description is always the most unhelpful, and it's always best done obliquely.

--

important reminder to self. don't get stuck in local optima. the only way to get unstuck in local optima to accept inefficiencies, downward-facing slopes. paths on mountains are never straight. simulated annealing and genetic algorithms all have a healthy rate of mutation and diversity to make sure that not getting stuck.

this means: never be the expert, always be the question-asker. experts are risk-resolving devices formed by industries in which the entities at play are trying desperately to resolve complex problems by black-boxing them away.

--

if I find myself angry lately (in a quick and light kind of anger, as if it were a gust of warm spring wind that pushes you off kilter for a moment), it's about things that do not lead to actions. I wish for: actionable steps, movement, pacing. I wish to move. fingers lead to keyboards that do incredible things.

more and more, my faith in words decreases. I have so little faith in the power of words to change things. or, to be precise (and potentially inaccurate, of course): when things are changed, words will be used. but words are not necessarily the primary conduit to change things. or: words alone are not necessarily the primary conduit to change things.

the more precise version is just pedantic: "a car requires an engine and wheels; climbing a mountain requires a destination and a trail; words and action (or words and engineering) are just two parts that are needed." yes, yes.

perhaps what I mean is more like: please, god damn it, let us speak in the medium of inequality, let us meet the material world at its own level, let us encounter it where it exists, not how it is represented. let's not get caught in realms and planes and modes of understanding that are symptomatic of the base issue, word games and pedantics and definitions, where the physical world and the larger ecologies of economics and and materials and politics do not care.

like: building the CNC router in the summer of 2013 with A, carefully fine-tuning its planarity and accuracy to a neurotic level, to of course realize that the motor mechanism and the larger structure compensates / ruins whatever accuracy we had. our mental model of the resolution of data was out of sync with the material realm in which things exist, and we were spinning our wheels on the model, endlessly abstracted.

This was 9 years, 6 months, 11 days ago

sometimes I think about new york a handful of years ago, and what it was like to sit at a table and order ragu, and the buzzing sensation of the world, and dark nights, and a city in which nobody truly seemed to give-a-shit, which was a little bit like dropping a rock down a deep pipe and hearing the pings as the rock skitters its way down. people lazily smoking under scaffolding outside an absent neighborhood that cherishes that desolation feel, evening openings taking an ugly fetishized advantage of chinatown's diligent daytime schedule, the aesthetics of abandon, withdrawal, irony, cloaked nervousness, disguised trepidation.

whose new york was that, I wonder, and if in soho I bite my lip a little then it is because I recognize one of the many epicenters of its grasp, and I do not envy those who have decided to be fully within it.

--

on teaching: the idea of duty, not responsibility but duty, ripples up into the surface, becomes present, not at all an unpleasant feeling.

what is it to be a good teacher? what is it that you are trying to teach? or better yet, or truer yet - if one does adhere and believe ranciere's idea of an ignorant schoolmaster, or a gym trainer, then what is it to facilitate the process of learning? where does teaching happen? how is one ignorant schoolmaster more valuable than another? how do you create a context in which you exchange words, in the right kind of way?

I feel stretched, elastic, like putty, full of equal parts gratefulness, exuberance, admiration, and concern, responsibility, stewardship.

This was 10 years, 6 months, 7 days ago

--->

for some reason, lou reed dies, and I feel very sad, even though the velvet underground was not that crucial, that groundbreaking, life altering for me.

or perhaps it is exactly because it was so that I feel sad, because I understand these referents to belong to a history that is not mine, never was, because there was no older brother with cassette tapes, no cool uncle from motorcycle trips, no older connections who lived this counterculture, nothing like that. this is not a lament, but an observation, and an understanding of a history that I understand and I tap into but never was mine, nor will be, nor do I pretend that I want it to be.

there was only the internet, korean schoolyard gates, computers, a subway crossing 한강, haggling journeys to 테크노마트 buying up bootleg cds of 만화, that kind of thing. endless planes. midwestern supermarkets. the smell of kimchi in strange, suburban dwellings. carpets. books with stereoscopic images of proteins. the specific half-always-home and half-always-displaced momentum of the oscillating non-visitor. my texture of 'hometown' being as indescribably amorphous as 'family', which is to say, universally encountered, infinitely varied, and impossibly unsharable, incommensurable.

the other day I talked with someone about these things, and I realized I had forgotten how much these things meant, how everpresent and massive these questions had been to me, to the point that I was constituted out of these questions, and that I could never remember a time in which I did not think and agonize about where I was, how I was situated.. culture, race, nationality, language. but somehow questions that turned into statements, or were postponed to a legitimate degree of resolution in this city, because in this city the question of 'where are you from?' becomes inevitable, everpresent, to a degree that tolerance is born out of exposure. the casual warmth of a tired commuter sinking into a subway stop on the A C E 1 2 3 B D F M 4 5 6 N Q R J M Z L S 7 G, in which the race of the person next to them is not even the last thing on their mind, but not even within the realm of conscious consideration entirely, because the city swallows people and prejudices and assumptions whole, meets your gaze as a looming This that you are also already inside. you are already those multitudes. or so it seemed.

more on that sometime later. back to lou reed. oh nyc in those days, I hear, oh nyc. the factory, warhol, the downtown 100, max's kansas city, george macunias's fluxus soho loft cooperatives, a bronx that is burning, gordon matta-clark cutting open a warehouse in chelsea. voguing. the chelsea hotel. patti smith and robert mapplethorpe, dancing about somewhere. the rosy memories of others, not entirely justified.

this is not my history, I know, nor is it the history that I want, and nor will I or do I want to inherit that and continue it forward. and so I meet these phenomena as found, created, real, anthropological almost, in which I read these worlds as texts. you grew up with the velvet underground? and I gaze from an anthropological standpoint, and when I bike around this city I can't help but try to trace the remnants of this one kind of history that is told, that holds such mythic value, for you, and not for me. and so I will partake a little, I will taste a little bit of your food, and in fact, I will join you partially, maybe even be able to cook it myself, say a few words in your language. I become part in the way that the ethnographer and anthropologist becomes a member of the community, distanced but connected, observing and participating.

and so the passing of lou reed makes me feel this warmth, because I looked at you, and examined that world with curiosity, specifically because it was not mine, and because I never really wanted it to be mine (and knew it never would be) I was perhaps more affectionate towards it, so a loss hits harder, or means more. I am sorry for your, our loss. are we already not already together? I know I am an anthropologist, but here are my sympathies, and being the embedded partial biased observer has forever changed my life, also.

-- perhaps that is too vague, but it seems adequate. now.

===

nostalgia for the present, in that things are moving so fast, or changing so fast, that I can look upon this now as a blip. very quick. things operating at the pace of a year. here we go. there it went.

This was 12 years, 6 months, 12 days ago

wow wow here we are now here we are you see?

last year:

"I had a wonderful party yesterday night, full of laughter and friends and warmth, and I felt very maternal, glad to have people in my space, full of awe and wonder. a buzzed wild happiness, "wet with a decent happiness", to quote a friend's frequent quote. all of a sudden it struck me (still strikes me) that this place has really changed me, altered my attitude, made me more open to change, relaxed, permissible, flexible, porous, permeable."

you know you see this? this is where I was last year. there we were. wonderful

the thing that really remains, just keeps on going, is the why, the why? the why, the why. the downcast why. the questioning why. the sigh-like why. the traffic-like why, the deep blue autumn night evening why, the height of buildings why, the glimmer of a lit window why, the phone call and an old voice why, the lonely light streaming in large windows why, the quiet radio in the morning lying awake in bed looking at the ceiling why, the walking around and hearing chants and wishing that I were home why, the being homesick why, the falling asleep alone why, the disbelief why, the blockage why,


right now more than anything I feel a fear, but of something very specific, which is like a kind of primordial fear of cliffs, oceans, enormous solid natural monstrosities, creations, formations. fissures. endless deep gorges. enormous gargantuan boulders. and in front of them you shiver, a little, because even if you tried to scrape away at this entity for the rest of your life it wouldn't matter, even if you rolled up your arms and sold everything you had and bought a shovel, or a jackhammer, or a bulldozer it wouldn't matter, because in front of you lies this enormous canyon unfathomable undeniable, there it is. you are at the tallest point in the world. you are in the biggest canyon in the world. you are sitting on top of the tallest waterfall in the world.

and that fear is not a fear of an object, or an event, or something that I don't want to happen, or that I didn't want to happen. or of a person.

really it's just fear of time,
time itself, time's incessant strength, stretching people apart, morphing them beyond belief. it is enormous and hefty. it stretches taller than you can see, hazing into a fog.

(you look at it and it's like the blade of a knife, the blade of the knife, the flat metallic sheen which is not really the important part of the knife, really, and it's funny that the sparkle of a knife's blade is the cliche-visual representation of sharpness, like in movies or cartoons or anime, when really sharpness exists within the point, the meeting of the two blades, the part you're not looking at if you're looking at the face of a blade; so that sparkle isn't even metonymy or analogy but a kind of transference or a transferring analogy, of the excellence of one attribute pointing towards another, the sharp sparkle, that crisp sheen. and so time's size is like this, you're in a field looking at time and your neck cranes back and you realize that what you are looking at isn't time's fearful ability, it's a transference, and the real ability lies elsewhere, is stronger, sinister, latent, happens before you know it, and then the you-of-before didn't know it but the you-of-now knows it. before you know it, knowing-it will happen.)

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.

This was 12 years, 6 months, 13 days ago

and, and? and, and. and.
and now?

This was 13 years, 6 months, 9 days ago

about to fall asleep on a friend's couch, thinking about buildings with psyche (what is it to have a nervous building? a schizoid building? a narcissistic building in which each encounter would be self-reflective, double back on itself, you so acutely aware of the steps you take..) I dream about architecture:

you're part of a small but long-lived culture of worshippers living somewhere on the outskirts of civilization. all your life, you have dreamed of becoming a sculpture: solid, dynamic, in stasis. at the end of your twentieth birthday, you will climb a distant foggy mountain as part of an age-long sacrifice, where you will meet a gorgon who will turn you into the stone sculpture that you have always yearned to be. in front of her gaze you will stop and freeze instantly, encapsulated in that moment for eons and eons.

the question is: in the face of this impending, inevitable, and joyous stasis, this monumentalizing death -- do you perform and act with slow motions, lumber with the weight of an anticipated mass, seek elegance and perfect composition in every pose? or do you jump and twitch and roll around with all the possible nimbleness of fluidity, muscles firing, live moment making you not-quite-posed, a little bit messy and imperfect at moments here and there? listen: petrification happens regardless. do you prepare yourself for it? or is the opposite cherished for the valuable state that it is until you slingshot from rapid energetic loose vitality into a slow, dense, convincingly solid deathliness?



 


This was 13 years, 6 months, 13 days ago

entering dean st I catch the stirrings of an album I hadn't listened to since sophomore year of high school. suddenly everything comes back, all proustian and all, spreading outwards like ink droplets in water, or like a glass of water spilled across a table and rapidly flowing outwards, seeping into books, papers, growing outward and outward, and

and so it's night night night and the subways are all weird, disjointed. everyone's tired, waiting for the next train. when is it coming? 17 minutes later. I'll transfer and then transfer and then transfer. it's a sunday night, and it's 2:40am. and these moments are everywhere, these quiet moments. every once in a while I'll look up and there will be two other people in my train car, on the corners of seats, leaning against subway infrastructure. and then sometimes I'll look up and I'll be alone in the car, and that's that, back to my music, back to a bowed head, back to our cylindrical apparatus rushing through the arteries of this city. nothing but noise at

exiting the subway station. there's the biggest halal cart truck I've ever seen. a deli says: "BREAKFAST 24 HOURS" and it makes me happy, this sense of constant presence. 'we're always starting our day, over here.' I ride my bike and go home and there are no cars on the street and nobody walking on the sidewalks, and I nurse this sensation in my heart and carry it home, like that anne sexton poem about the charles river, eastward on dean st. and think gently about

This was 15 years, 6 months, 10 days ago

...

So - sometimes I worry that these arguments I make in a process of being cautious and questioning may be ultimately antithetical to the survival or subsistence of the discourse of art as it is currently. Sometimes I wonder if all critical, cautious thinking in regards to a discourse of art and art history has a similar effect. Or rather -- that a method of critical thought in which foundations are examined and structures are questioned is antithetical in such a discourse as art/art history in which there is no foundation 'justified' or defined using the language of objective rationality. Camera Lucida works precisely for this reason -- because the subjective, phenomenological approach to viewing art seems to offer no pretenses about the subjectivity of its argument.

Here's arrogance on my part, to assert that a discourse are endangered by this awareness. No matter; arrogance and incorrectness don't necessarily correlate..

And the next step might be to say that art itself is inherently a subjectively determined discourse -- which is okay, but then the subsequent questions are -- what does it mean to have a history of a discourse that is subjective? Is this then purely descriptive, just wandering along the riverbanks of a discourse, charting the river's path and chalking the twists and turns to nature's mysterious workings? Or if I do figure out the inner workings of erosion, movement, oxbow-lake-creations -- if I plot these out accurately, then is that it? Utterly descriptive, hands-off, proclaiming to be completely neutral from the events itself?

I guess this is the advantage of history -- an analysis achieved with clean hands, supposedly. Assumption of the existence of a definite event separate from a now that can be analyzed, viewed in a different light. Critical distance attempted through temporal and causal distance.

...

This was 16 years, 6 months, 8 days ago
Events

Exit Art: Electric Lab
Nov 1, 8-10pm.
Performances by The Loud Objects and dance performance with Ben Margolis and Jenny Torino’s neuromuscular stimulators. Q & A and reception to follow.
In the tradition of the performance work pioneered by Stelarc, Torino:Margolis presents "Duet by Proxy," a dance piece utilizing neuromuscular stimulation to introduce multiplicity into a single body.The audience is given remote-controls that operate neuromuscular stimulators that are attached to a dancer. The audience controls some of the dancer's body, and the dancer responds with the limbs remaining under the dancer's control. Hence, the single body ends up performing a duet. Choreography by Kelly Bartnik.

Moondog Rising Festival
Nov 2, 3, 2007
Advent Lutheran Church, 93rd and Broadway
Born Louis Thomas Hardin in 1916, Moondog first made an impression in the late '40s when his music was played by the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall. His unique, melodic compositions were released on the Prestige jazz label. In the late '60s the Viking-garbed Moondog was a pop music sensation on Columbia Records. The last decades of his life saw his evolution as a master composer for European orchestras.
'Moondog Rising' is a unique collaboration between organizations, performers, artists, scholars, and supporters convening in New York for two days (November 2 and 3), of concerts, a symposium, and social action in honor of Moondog (Louis Hardin), a prolific but under-recognized composer.

John F. Simon Jr. - "Winds Across the Inner Sea"
Until Nov 3
Gering Lopez gallery, 730 5th Ave (56/57th st), New York, NY
"Playing between instinct and idea, this series of large-scale compositions combine laser cut Formica and LCD screens with endlessly changing software. Each composition merges the physicality of the material world with the fluid inner world of code. The LCD screen functions simultaneously as a visual element of the surface and a window into the system's evolution."

John Moran - What If Saori Had A Party
October 21-November 4
Tuesday-Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Sundays at 6:30 p.m.
$15 for students
"I am convinced that there is no more important composer working today, than John Moran. His works have been so advanced as to be considered revolutionary."
-Phillip Glass
"Saori portrays a magical, Anime-Children's Show-Host, sealed forever inside a protective, computerized-bubble. Trouble begins one day as Saori decides to have a birthday party; and 'Death' (Joseph Keckler) arrives to deliver the present of 'Youth' (Katherine Brook).
This is Moran trademark style of full-length, high precision music-theater; delivered by 3 masters of the craft: Saori Tsukada, Joseph Keckler and Katherine Brook. This commission by Performance Space 122 also marks the 20th anniversary of Moran's work, which began at P.S.122 with his groundbeaking techno-opera, 'Jack Benny!', in 1987-88."

Dorkbot NYC - November 7
Kuba Bakowski: TV Zero Zones
Thessia Machado: pluck or dot matrix space resonator
Rob Seward: "KILL" "RUN" "HOME"

Asian Contemporary Art Fair
November 8-12
Pier 12

Performa07
Oct 27 - Nov 20
Visual Art Performance Biennial