words written in the week of
January 30th to February 5th
in previous years.
This was 3 years, 2 months, 9 days ago

real quick, captured sensations of an old korea, the smell of an airport, and the feeling of driving and seeing the slow mesmerizing steady neon sign loops of department stores loop around, from the back of a taxi, angles always looking back and up. 백화점백화점백화점백화점. 롯데. meanings embedded in a kind of historical past. now I look back on those members and it's like I can imagine what the 90s felt like, a mid-90s sense of koreanness coming into the fore. me, young me, catapulted into korea, catapulted into the united states.

for so long that meant so much, actually, to remember what it was like to be korean and american and to go between both worlds.

around 6 or 7, korean kids asked me if americans also peed the same way koreans do. around that time, american (white) kids asked me if koreans had penises.

now. 1.5 gen. what was primarily a culture-based puzzle has become also a race-based one. there are more dimensions, it's like: there's culture and race, culture without race, race without culture, and neither culture nor race. here are the four domains of discourse spooling into place with these two aspects. in order:

culture and race: the real discourse

culture without race: a nationalistic understanding of ethnicity and race

race without culture: 'let's all get along'

neither race nor culture: being 'colorblind'. whiteness.

but is this really what i came to talk about? no.

what I came to talk about is how, all of a sudden lately, childhood memories seem to pool up, expand, explore, like drops of ink exploring their way through a glass of water.

here I am, listening to music that only makes sense to me.

perhaps new york was a deferring, a postponing of some of these things. laying to rest the 'am I american / am I korean' question for good, apparently, because — to be in a city where neither of those were particularly special or notable, and being in both was not such a rarity was so welcomed. have I forgotten? how lonely and also excitingly curious it was to be be neither? the sensation that I was neither here nor there, always constantly present in the back of my mind. not an unpleasant sensation. I don't ever remember rueing or disliking it. but I do always remember thinking about it.

perhaps new york was then a deferring. and somehow it slid into white adjacency. my early experiences with america was with midwestern whiteness, mostly. a korean being in america was pretty neatly cultural and racial, simultaneously. to balance between the two was also to balance between two very neat things. and then to experiment and explore both american-ness and korean-ness is to explore both korean-ness and whiteness. american art and photography and design and literature and experimentation seemed.. very white. and through the context I held from korea, it was difficult to critically examine this, because many of my (rightfully) critical tools operated along the axis of cultural racism.

(korean isn't free from this. what is it to be korea? decades from now, (or even starting now), korea will have to confront its nature - is it a homoracial society? is the culture and race and identity interlinked? koreans default to saying yes. I can't deny that it's a default idea for me, probably mainly because the idea of a culture and a group of people, fighting against colonization and war, fighting for independence and re-establishing state-hood, is linked to a sense of tight-knit cohesion to me. fighting together, speaking together, eating together. a shared racial history originating negatively out of the racial "purity" of japanese colonialism that would subjugate koreans for their korean-ness.)

(i want to read more about this.)

This was 9 years, 2 months, 4 days ago

Maybe I realize that I am angry; that having just come back from an architecture lecture/conference that effectively banishes "revolutionary architecture" to the corner, I realize that I am angry and upset; that I am upset at the meekness of architecture, at the slavishness and obsequiousness with which architecture faces its own present condition; with the lack of boldness or bravado or naive courage or hopeful idealism that architectural discourse seems to lack; that the flat dregs of the lecture was just the usual refrains of "this is all we can do", “what else can we do”, ad nauseam.

Usually, I pipe up and say things at lectures, more often then not so that I won't have the post-lecture moment of regret. "What if I had said such a thing?" And this time I didn't, because I felt like the lecture was too long gone, too far over the point of salvation, but now I do regret. I regret not asking, "what is your relationship with real estate, with finance, with economics and politics, and if there is none, then why not?" I regret not asking, if architecture can only be whorish, to paraphrase Philip Johnson.

I regret not asking why it is that we understand it to be a common phenomenon that hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of protesters may gather in the street and yell about their desires; that it’s understood that someone’s profit margins are calculated under the hopes that millions of consumers will buy things that are bad for them; that when Kickstarter's budget has already exceeded the NEA's budget we nod our heads sagely in the power of crowdsourcing; that in the hugely optimistic tech startup world it's understood that a single innovation could change everything overnight -- hence the positive co-opting of the term 'disrupt' within the startup world. Yet we can't even begin to conceive of alternatives to profit-driven private housing; we can't imagine that architects should bring it upon themselves to think about issues larger than the design and construction of a single building. And for some reason architects always lose sight of the life underneath the city, of the governing flows and forces that really drive the manifestation of buildings upon an urban field: power/knowledge. Who builds buildings? The strongest flows, the status quo.

I'd argue that, right now, one of architecture's revolutionary potentials lies in the possibility of creating an infrastructure for a few -- not because this would be a selfish ego-oriented architecture dreaming of a libertarian vogelfrei freedom, “free like a bird”, but rather because the possibility of existing and sustaining alone thus immediately opens up the possibility of existing together, freely, within a space. The possibility of outliers, dissenting opinion, alternative viewpoints is possible when the maintenance of the individual is not contingent on a larger mass of people or a majority. Hence the use of the camp, the tent, the sleeping bag, the jacket, as the primary tool for assembly and protest. Why is it that architecture cannot even begin to match the hopes and dreams of newness, productive growth, self-transformation through change, that the world of outdoor camping and travel gear attempts to conjure up? Or in other words: What has architecture done for optimism and political change that Coleman, North Face, and Marmot have not?

This was 9 years, 2 months, 9 days ago


new year's resolution, 2013. a month and two days late.


be certain. move with momentum that imples a desire, not a dogmatism. feel free to change your lines of sight. lean inwards. remember to let yourself trust yourself, the best parts of yourself, to be able to count on the solidity of your own being that you have built up from base principles. everything is constituted out of feedback loops that either negatively oscillate or positively accumulate into intensification. all the cliche things originate out of seeds of truth, as you know, that repeat, return, continue to circle back towards yourself as newly gained, even more newly gained understandings.

yes, of course -- oh yes, of course -- oh actually yes -- oh no, actually, really, truly, yes -- indeed, completely absolutely yes, yes -- if yes were a given, then even more a complete affirmation --

this year's seed: follow what you desire, no, really, what you desire, no really I mean truly desire, even within what you desire there are things you must desire, no but I really mean desire, I mean really truly, and yes you could be there, a fully desiring self, but I mean even beyond that, even after that's done and settled and sought and fought for and moved towards and arrived, I mean --


and of course desire is never an uncompromising unyielding dogmatism in of itself, but is itself an organism in the process of sustaining itself, moving through fields of conditions, spheres of activity, flowing through and beyond and despite and due to forces, desire itself occurs in action, or is a kind of action -- the same way that "taking a walk" is not a dogmatic formulaic procedure, but rather a process of continually rebuilding and renegotiating momentary desires towards a longer, continual, active, comprehensive happening.


to know my flows.

This was 10 years, 2 months, 8 days ago

post-discussion high. oh oh oh oh oh.

in the end, all you can hope for are people, though, really. a saturday full of surprises; waking up in the literal midst of a music video shoot, walking to a gorgeous brunch, a little work-session, then crossing the street just to run into some dear friends, together traipsing around the innards of a warehouse taking freight elevators up and down peering into dark spaces and imagining new lives. and then: friends and new friends from all corners of this city congregating together to talk about a tome, to root insides its innards and to find our own places, expansion of the text, enthusiastic engagement, the best possible chemistry. and afterwards a bonfire and a couple of beers and talking, talking, the smell of smoke in your hair to remind you afterwards of the shape of excited words emerging through each others' engaged eyes.

everything just constituted out of people, really.

This was 12 years, 2 months, 8 days ago

I feel like it's been eons since I've written here.

nyc la korea japan korea la nyc; like a little palindrome that rests on the strength of the center pivot point letter, racEcar, back and forth.

it's a new year.

I have a lot of ideas.

and not enough time to write them all.

here is something I jotted in my phone in tokyo

--

Travel should be the breaking of meta-routine. Routine is when you can do something over and have it be absorbed and natural. Not having a routine is to be indecisive about what you are going to do, what actions you are going to undertake already inscribed within a domain of actions possible- a metaroutine of sorts. To really travel boldly is to not know what you will do while not knowing what you can do.

--

Just as I was about to sleep the earth had its own sleep-jerk for me and I felt the ground move, or at least I thought I did: a gentle undulation. The funny thing is that I register mild earthquakes with a slight sense of nausea- as if everything were shifting sideways, or like in those cheesy 80s videos where they took Mylar sheets and rotated them all askew so that the lead singer's face goes around and around. Involuntary blush of the cheeks. Which, I suppose, is what losing your ground should be like. I'm always just so surprised that I internalize this so much, that I have swallowed inwards and embodied the stirrings of mom Terra and cannot stand even the mind-bogglingly macro scale of movement that which is really a sort of arthritis, bones cracking and scraping past each other I imagine, crustacean/beetles earth having exoskeleton problems, hiding a soft innner core.

--

good night.

This was 12 years, 2 months, 8 days ago

I feel like it's been eons since I've written here.

nyc la korea japan korea la nyc; like a little palindrome that rests on the strength of the center pivot point letter, racEcar, back and forth.

it's a new year.

I have a lot of ideas.

and not enough time to write them all.

here is something I jotted in my phone in tokyo

--

Travel should be the breaking of meta-routine. Routine is when you can do something over and have it be absorbed and natural. Not having a routine is to be indecisive about what you are going to do, what actions you are going to undertake already inscribed within a domain of actions possible- a metaroutine of sorts. To really travel boldly is to not know what you will do while not knowing what you can do.

--

Just as I was about to sleep the earth had its own sleep-jerk for me and I felt the ground move, or at least I thought I did: a gentle undulation. The funny thing is that I register mild earthquakes with a slight sense of nausea- as if everything were shifting sideways, or like in those cheesy 80s videos where they took Mylar sheets and rotated them all askew so that the lead singer's face goes around and around. Involuntary blush of the cheeks. Which, I suppose, is what losing your ground should be like. I'm always just so surprised that I internalize this so much, that I have swallowed inwards and embodied the stirrings of mom Terra and cannot stand even the mind-bogglingly macro scale of movement that which is really a sort of arthritis, bones cracking and scraping past each other I imagine, crustacean/beetles earth having exoskeleton problems, hiding a soft innner core.

--

good night.

This was 14 years, 2 months, 7 days ago

Walking down an avenue on this indecipherably warm New York day, a waft of wetness (scent of the quality of having-just-rained) sweeps by. The faint smell of cooking and grass-through-melting-snow reminds me of Seoul and Boston simultaneously -- it's as if the wetness of buildings and asphalt is some magical, sticky substance that binds all of my cities together and collapses them into a single location...

This was 14 years, 2 months, 7 days ago

What did I say about Derrida and Godel? I was so off. Forget all of that.

Much like how I dislike the application of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle to illustrate the vicissitudes of modernity, I don't think Godel's incompleteness theorem necessarily functions as an argument against and outside the structures of thought, or discourses, which is what Foucault calls them. Or perhaps, if I knew more math, I could talk about the guaranteed inconsistency or incompleteness of a system of mathematics and somehow make a connection with 'axioms of math' to 'axioms of thought'. As it stands, I can't.


A few years ago I remember asking (probably incoherently) my friends C and S whether or not non-change was also part of change. That is, let's say that a certain individual's life is based on movement away from the current state, and his motto and guiding principle is "always change". Then shouldn't his principle in life itself also be subject to itself? Shouldn't he "always change" from the idea of "always changing", and in other words, enter into the status of non-change, or stagnation? If change operates on itself, doesn't it exit itself?

Is this a reiteration of the genie and the "I want you to not grant this wish" idea? I'm inclined to say yes, because of the same principle of paradox-through-self-applicability that's at work here. But my question here is maybe outside of mathematics, because I'm interested in a personal guiding principle, which is really the result of the genie's wish. If I am reading and thinking, constantly editing my own thoughts and self-debating, then isn't this process of self-debating also debatable? Isn't self-editing editable?

But this is really idle thinking, outside the realms of applicability, to an extent.


I feel that if I write in my moleskine periodically, I lose momentum, some sort of inner pressure that enables me to think coherently. Like the photoelectric effect, there exists a threshold frequency where it's not the quality of thought but the quality of bottled thought that enables me to be coherent elsewhere.


it's funny how the connotations involving plastic are: flexible, adapting, changing, moving, new, and also: cold, mechanical, non-individualistic, repetitive, unyielding. Modernity in a nutshell..


There's this wonderful and heartwrenching quote by Beckett spoken at the start of Foucault's essay "The Order of Things". Here's how it goes:

"You must go on, I can't go on, you must go on, I'll go on, you must say words, as long as there are any, until they find me, until they say me, strange pain, strange sin, you must go on, perhaps it's done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story, that would surprise me, if it opens."

-The Unnamable

This was 14 years, 2 months, 9 days ago

one thought: the idea of having a superhero be a mere human individual with great amounts of wealth and possessing technological skills/tools (aka Batman and Iron Man) is really an symbolic formation/extension of the freedom and power of writing: writing unhindered by constraints such as wealth (or plot constraints), elevating even mere humans to superheroes, using everyday language to enthrall audiences.

This was 15 years, 2 months, 7 days ago

Dug around, found this from a few years ago. Spring New England, with greening trees and sodden grass, raw hearts abound.

on days like this I look outside and I think ----

the books are playing. the lemon of pink.

I guess I like the way that trees turn black brown as water slides down glass and stops on screen windows. the way that hardly anybody goes outside and those that do hunch down into their jackets and jump along puddles. the way it's silent and coarse and smooth and cool like perfect bedsheets that you slip into at night after a tiring day thinking about what happened today writing things on the inside of your eyelids scratching ideas into the plaster wall next to you. thinking about places kilometers or miles away from nowhere.

downstairs the glow of the sky seeps in through the windows of the door and leaves that lazy haze in the lobby. it's mornings like this when you wake up half-empty but content or full and sleepily alive. at the same time I think about what I've done and the wrongs and all and there's this unearthly mix of emotion blended all up with slow sweet sweet ----