Monday, April 20, 2015

When Everything is Fine But You’re a Hot Mess

Like seriously. Seriously. I just can’t even today. I have drank too many drinks, smoked to many smokes, slept too few hours and have been reading and re-reading the same damn essays for too long. My eyeballs hurt. Walking in this gorgeous London weather hurts. Trying to drink water hurts. I’m that shattered.

Also on top of all this I did the classic ‘get drunk, message boy, pure regret second after sending’ thing. For the love of gawd, why why why is that something that is allowed to happen? So yeah, that feeling when you wake up and you remember things and you are seized with this panic and you check your phone and you’re like ‘please shoot me now’ once you have realized what you did. But that’s also a tricky thing. Remembering what it is you actually did. Maybe it’s better to just smudge it out, to let certain memories starve themselves in the corner of your mind.

Also, oh my god I have been eating so much and it’s not a good look. Why is food such a thing for people? Especially women and weight and all that stuff. Food, body, consumption are such intense things and it has never been an issue to me in certain ways but yeah, it’s this constant hovering factor. Overeating is an alarm bell of something mentally off balance. Thinking about food/weight is like thinking about money. Don’t do it. It’ll just make you crazed.

Crazed is actually the best word to describe my hot mess self at the moment because I feel like I am on this giant sling shot of activity and maybe today I stopped boomeranging and instead got stuck in a tree. Sometimes the momentum of life feels so much bigger then yourself and you have no choice but to go with it but wow, these last few weeks have been just crazyville staring yours truly. Ugg is anyone still even reading this?

There is also this bug that keeps banging itself into the glass door, over and over again and I just think how dumb it is and that at least I’m not a bug but then I think but wow, I totally bang myself into things (metaphorically) over and over again. Like boys and how they are just like sucking my brain out and making me into a total hot mess at the moment.

Also, my hair is a mess and in that weird growing out stage which is just so blah and also my clothes are a mess because I only came with one bag and I haven’t found good shops in London to buy new things and also the idea of buying clothes just seems like the worst thing ever at the moment. Also London being the city where wearing head to toe sweats is a-ok makes the whole dressing thing seem like such a struggle.

Also, I haven’t seen enough art and the art I have seen is a drag and the openings (private views) are just social swarms and it all feels so bleek. But then sometimes you see something or meet someone who is smart and making good art or is smart and excited about art and then you think things aren’t that bad but then you realize how over it you are and feel depressed about it again.

Wow, I have no idea where this is going. I just have to do it cause I’m a bit nuts and have set this strange task of writing something on here every Monday for the last five years which is actually totally nuts when it comes down to it.

There is a crappy magazine that Soho House publishes (why in the world are people in London so into that place??) and in it there is just pure shit articles and words like “inspiration” and “passion” all highlighted and there is this piece by Reza Aslan and it’s pure bore and in it he is saying how writing should be glamorous and writers should move to LA to get paid for writing and I just couldn’t help but roll my eyes and think how shitty everything is.

Also, I don’t want to leave London in 5 months but know I will have to because no one will marry me. Ugg. Life. But yeah, I have seriously been thinking about staying longer but I’m not sure why. I think maybe I just don’t know about New York and if I would be happy there. Out of sight out of mind for all things New York and that’s a bit scary.

I think that’s it. Sorry this is just a weird piece of garbage writing but yeah, I just sort of feel like a weird piece of garbage today. Feeling like shit is sometimes good though (maybe?) because it can’t get worse and tomorrow will be a chance to be the new version of yourself. One that doesn’t drink, smoke, say stupid shit, do stupid shit, eats well, exercises, accomplishes everything, has good skin, sleeps a lot, drinks plenty of fluids, has boys fall in love with them, is enjoyable to be around and is generally the best person ever. Lolz. Yeah right but hey, one day at a time.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hi, I’m in Milan...

Hi, I’m in Milan and I’m at an art fair which seems to have no need to exist.

Hi, I’m in Milan and the women dress well and their hair looks good and they make walking in heals seem effortless.

Hi, I’m in Milan where the food is good but it isn’t THAT good but people keep talking about how good the food is because they are in Italy and the food is supposed to always be good.

Hi, I’m in Milan and the language is beautiful and it sounds the way it is spelled and hearing little children speak it is so melty to the heart.

Hi, I’m in Milan where you realize that the art world is a big art-band-camp and everyone hangs out in cliques and thinks that they are relevant and living lives of meaning.

Hi, I’m in Milan where I forced someone to hug me because its easier to be nice then to be mean and I thought maybe a hug would counter balance what a misogynist douche bag he is.

Hi, I’m in Milan were I’ve learned to say, grazie, prego, si, buano sera, bonjourno and that’s about it.

Hi, I’m in Milan and in an art fortress where I commiserate with my fellow dealers and drink free warm beer to get through the last hour.

Hi, I’m in Milan where things are cheaper then London and that’s just a very good feeling.

Hi, I’m in Milan where men dress in suits and are fit and tan.

Hi, I’m in Milan where men keep asking me if I’m Japanese and then I tell them I’m Korean and then they nod their head as if they knew that the whole time.

Hi, I’m in Milan where I repeat ‘Dolce & Gabanna’ in my head in a loop.

Hi, I’m in Milan where I keep googling ‘vintage prada bag’ in the hopes that my being in Milan will change the search results.

Hi, I’m in Milan where they like yellow food because they used to put gold flakes in their food for medicinal purposes.

Hi, I’m in Milan and I drank champagne and ate strawberries while thinking about my dissertation topic.

Hi, I’m in Milan where the food markets are amazing and they had five types of artichokes and buckets of strawberries and you realize that THIS is why Italy is known for their love of food.

Hi, I’m in Milan where I thought I was dying of cancer because my mouth and throat burned and my eyes welled shut and my face turned all red but then it ended up being allergies which the drugs the pharmacist gave me fixed but they also made me pass out.

Hi, I’m in Milan and had a clarifying thought that the art world is full of not very smart people who get away with it and that is a big reason why the art world is so boring and vapid.

Hi, I’m in Milan where walking everywhere by yourself makes you realize why being in a relationship is nice because walking, eating, and being by yourself all the time sort of sucks after a while.

Hi, I’m in Milan where I am avoiding people for dear life because I think art fairs turn people into bizarro versions of themselves and I want to grab their hand and run away with them to a better place but then I know that they don’t want to go anywhere and they are happy and glad to be there.

Hi, I’m in Milan where I wish certain people where here and know that if they were everything would be fun and good.

Hi, I’m in Milan where there are a lot of doggies.

Hi, I’m in Milan where buying a small motorbike seems both hot and useful.

Hi, I’m in Milan where people drive and park on the curb.

Hi, I’m in Milan where old men tisk at you if you don’t speak Italian.

Hi, I’m in Milan where things close for hours during the day and that seems chill.

Hi, I’m in Milan where they don’t have bars but have well lit shops that sell gelato, drinks, tobacco and sweets.

Hi, I’m in Milan where old people dress amazingly.

Hi, I’m in Milan where there seems to be a lot of large and small construction zones but no one constructing.

Hi, I’m in Milan where the EXPO is going on and apparently it is run by the mafia if one is to believe the graffiti.

Hi, I’m in Milan where it is sort of dirty but not too dirty and there is a lot of graffiti with anarchy symbols.

Hi, I’m in Milan and being at an art fair in this city makes you realize that the art world is a pure globalized capitalism in its most actualized form.

Hi, I’m in Milan and going to a magazine party with the same people in a new place makes me want to barf, cry and then burn it all to the ground.

Hi, I’m in Milan whose windy streets are charming and baffling if lacking google maps.

Hi, I’m in Milan where men eating gelato by themselves in the evening is just normal and great.

Hi, I’m in Milan where I’m dying for a real conversation but am self defeating since I am avoiding having to talk to anyone unless I have to because they want to pay me a lot of money for something.

Hi, I’m in Milan where you can make a new friend at the bar.

Hi, I’m in Milan where you can see amazing art and religious things.

Hi, I’m in Milan a city that seems relaxed and comfortable with itself.

Hi, I’m in Milan and I ate really amazing Sichuan Chinese food and read Adorno.

Hi, I’m in Milan and I walked in the park that has white walkways so all I wanted to do the rest of the day was to find gaudy cheap sunglasses.

Hi, I’m in Milan and I tried not overeating but then I passed a pastry stall and I ate a giant donut.

Hi, I’m in Milan and I can’t stop walking into every pastry and bread shop.

Hi, I’m in Milan and I wish I could stay longer and have more daylight and lay on the grass and drink wine, read, and take a nap with ones near and dear.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What I Did In The Last 24 Hours

So, I totally forgot it was Monday and that this is my blog day so you will get not much but what is in my head and that is a short review of what it is that I did for the last 24 hours and why I am zonked out because of it and why it has resulted in the blah of a post.

8:00pm – Got dressed to go to a party. Wore black leggings, grey sports tank, black turtleneck, silver chain necklace and sparkly bracelets.

8:30pm – Got the 37 bus to Herne Hill hoped I wouldn’t get lost getting to friend's place.

8:45-10:15pm – Hung out with friend. Drank 2 vodka and lemonades with lime in champagne glasses. Talked about art and boys and general culture things. Ate sweet chili chips with hummus and a chocolate bar with toffee. Listened to music. Put on make up, did hair in top bun. Helped friend pick out an outfit. Tried on various jewelry. Added a ring with a sparkly “R” to outfit.

10:30-11:15pm – Trains to Highbury Islington, talk about student protests and the failure of political action and the hopes of it being viable.

11:15-11:20pm – Waited in line and almost didn’t get in because didn’t have ID. Met someone we knew vaguely in line.

11:20-2:00am – Drank beers and smoked cigarettes, talked with friend and new guy from line. Other people came that we knew. Place not very crowed at first but more people came and went downstairs to dance. Danced with friends. Drank more, did balloons. Made out. Talked with boy I knew. Danced more. Did more balloons. Danced more. Crowded and lots of bros in the space so lots of shoving. Boy I know argued with a bro. Left party with boy and his friend.

2:00-2:45am – Walked then took uber for a little then walked more. Talked with people while walking.

2:45-10:30am – Sleep

10:30-1:45pm – Talk, take shower, apply makeup, borrow shirt.

1:45-2:15pm – Walk to find food.

2:15-3:00pm – Eat pho, a dad sitting next to us gets mad at his child, argue about Amercia, talk about other things, check face in the bathroom.

3:00-5:00pm – Walk around Shoreditch, Hoxton, Haggerston, canal, parks, see animals at Hackney Wick Farms, walk and talk.

5:00-6:00pm – Try to nap.

6:00-6:45pm – Train to ICA

6:45-7:15pm – At opening at ICA’s Fig. 2. Talk to people, drink blue drink, look at art. Feel tried and leave without saying goodbye.

7:15-8:15pm – Trains back to Peckham Rye.

8:15-8:30pm – Walk and smoke and think about how I forgot to blog and want to eat and need to shave my legs.

8:30pm – Email friend.

8:35pm – Eat leftover pasta.

8:40pm – Write blog post.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Black Mirror, TV in the Time of Dystopia

I’m not a big TV watcher but when something keeps popping up in my cultural purview then I know I should pay attention. This was happening repeatedly with the British TV show Black Mirror that originally aired in 2011 (I’m obviously out of the TV loop) on Channel 4 and has three seasons. Everyone kept telling me to watch it so I did and it made me think about this time we are living in.  

To cut to the chase, Black Mirror is a show about telecommunicated dystopia whose undercurrents include love, sex, violence and dissociation. Created by Charlie Booker, there is no doubt his intention of mood and focus. The title alone is a reference to the constancy of the screen we are in front of and attached to. In his own words, “If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area – between delight and discomfort…The 'black mirror' of the title is the one you'll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone." This focus rings true throughout all the first two seasons, which I binge watched in less then 24 hours.

Maybe a good way to describe the tone of the show is to start with the first episode that is entitled “The National Anthem.” Here the plot is simple and twisted. Princess Susanna has been captured and her hostage(s) threaten to execute her at 4:00pm that same day unless the Prime Minister has unsimulated sex with a pig on live television. A brutal and effective storyline.

All of Black Mirror’s episodes are split into parts and these parts plop you into the next fold of the story. There is continuity but it’s a show that demands you pay attention and to make mental leaps with it. In the case of episode one, the parts are split in trying to think of alternatives, trying to find the captors and then finally the PM having to do the ghastly deed. Throughout, the spectator, those that are witness to the PM’s enforced bestiality on screen and you as the viewer, are central and complicit. The twitter feeds, the popularity ratings of the PM, and the media coverage of this ransom demand are all central to this storyline.

This is where the dystopic comes in and where the lines of mediation, mob think, and the grotesque capacities of human spectacle and the desire for it are centralized around technologies that effect the body. In the first case the technologies that articulate populist opinion effectively willed a man to have sex with a pig. In other episodes it takes on more directly embodied usurpation.

One such episode is “The Entire History of You” in which most people have a “grain” implanted near the back of their ear which allows them to record, and replay everything that they see and experience. They have a small button like device in which they can search and replay their archived lives and when this occurs their eyes film over white and they have a catatonic gaze while reviewing their past. This story was about the obsessive minutia of a husband and wife and an affair. The precision of replay, nitpicking, finding evidence and restructuring truths is all done through this memory retrieval device. It is unforgivingly anxiety filled and brutal in its relentless evaluation of self and others.

This implantation of a self is taken to a bizarre extreme in “Be Right Back” in which the husband dies and the wife using new software technologies literally replicates his body and personality through the archived avatar of his online content. This is a very familiar storyline, Frankenstein, and even more recently the movie “Her” but in this instance it is not the animalistic monster created by Shelley nor is it the stylized disembodied uber consciousness of Spike Jonze. Here it is creepy, sad and undesirable but oddly inescapable and understandable.

Other episodes have a touch more violence in them but throughout technology is the primary interlocutor of communication between people. Whether it is lovers, children, or politics, technology is this constant device, tool, and force that is an echo chamber for the human condition.

Booker peddles this line quite finely, is it a blessing? Is it a curse? From what I have watched it seems like it just is and that in itself is terrifying. The settings in which these episodes take place feel like near futures. The technologies are different but they are believable as well. They seem inevitable and possible which unnerves because of that closeness. In each episode all the characters, settings, and storylines change. You don’t get attached, you don’t get beyond the retelling of a circumstance and this also doubles this eerie disconnect. They are not characters in the long, connective, narrative arch format but are interchangeable and contained. This touches close to your own subjectivity because aren’t we all just one piece in a large storyline?

The themes of the technological dystopia are fascinating to see in this format because although it is dealing with some heavy stuff it is a TV show and it knows how to work within this medium. It very successfully is addictive and is hook-you-in type of TV, (which makes the whole mediation theme even more potent). But besides its formal successes I think Black Mirror has cultural poignancy because it reflects the times we are living and we seem to be sliding into the pit of this new time and feeling.

Anthropocene, Accelerationists, Late-Capitalism, Postmodernism, these are all buzzwords of the last few years and this is deeply a part of the art being made in all forms. Visual artists are making works about the body, the cyborg, animated disembodiment, and technologies of the self in the form of engineered processes and materials. Music has become hyper mechanized for the purposes of making the perfect formula song or to stretch out the scope of collective experience with sound waves. Movies are apocalyptic, intergalactic, and barren traumas both large and small. Clothing is rive gauche refugee. Science is the brain. Psychedelic drugs are popular again. Disconnecting, unplugging and not using social media is on an uptick. Finding a tribe, a crew, or a community seems more like a necessity then a socialized desire and the return to the land as a hermit or survivalist seems more appealing everyday.

All these things are happening, have been happing, and will continue to happen but this current feeling of peaking, or more as I said, a slipping into this state seems to be reflecting a turn of something. Maybe that turn is already here, maybe it has already happened. I’m not sure but there is anxiety in the air, there is a frenetic impulse to build, burn, escape, and to start anew.

Black Mirror is just one example of this larger trend and watching it I had an affirmed thought for this near future’s survival and that has to do with love. Love is the only thing that will keep us human. In Black Mirror technologies have affected the interactions of the body and sex but most intensely it perverts love and therein lays the greatest disquiet.

If this feeling I mentioned is the new state of things, if this is now the tenor of our times, perhaps, with hope and effort there can be a way to make love and the relationships that we have with others not doomed to the same imaginings of Black Mirror. This is the strangest thing about this new feeling. It feels doomed, procedural, and more then anything inevitable.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

This Week’s Art To Do List

Debora Delmar Corp., Upward Mobility at Modern Art Oxford

Does everything seem really, really, busy at the moment? For me yes, I feel like I am pinging and ponging this way and that and looking back at a week I just see a giant blur. I keep getting a blank space in my head when someone asks me what I did over the weekend and I know it was lot but it seems like just too much of an effort to recall.

London is different then New York when it comes to seeing things as spaces are spread out and it takes longer to get to them. Instead of going to the Lower East Side and bopping around and being able to see five shows in under an hour, in London you see one show a night maybe two if you plan it right. This is a constant source of grouchy murmurings on my end but it does change the viewing experience. You stay longer, you end up talking and meeting people you vaguely know and it feels less frantic overall. Private views (what they call openings) are more like mini parties then the stateside equivalent. They last longer and there is firm resolution to stay because frankly it took you over an hour and two busses to get there so damn right you are going to stay for a clip. While this is not a pace I enjoy overall, it does force you to tamp down that auto feeling of ‘must find escape route’ at art events. London is a stay-a-while type of place and no matter what, there’s always a pub, after party, dinner or drinks that follows so it’s not all that bad.

Below is a list to help me plan out my upcoming art week and if any of these interest you, swing by and say hi.

Isa Genzken Geldbilder at Hauser & Wirth [Wednesday]
One of my top five art babe crushes that I am excited to see what is new in that bag of tricks of hers. It will probably be massively crowded but hopefully it will have moments of sightlines to this new work. Her retrospective at MoMA was good but poorly installed.  Let’s see how they manage it in a gallery context (fingers crossed it’s not a visual pile up).

Columbidae, Essex/Olivares, Mélanie Matranga, Barbara T. Smith and Dena Yago curated by Laura McLean-Ferris at Cell Project Space [Thursday]
I always end up at the shows at Cell Project Space and only a few times have I been impressed. It has a certain curatorial vibe, which leans towards cool technology mixed with short and fast exhibition schedules. But I keep going because I know that it may just be possible that something will hit that “yes” button in my art brain. This is a group show with a denser vibe so let’s see if buttons will be pushed or not.

Serpentine Cinema: Rachel Rose and Anna Zett at Hackney Picturehouse [Thursday]
This is a double billing of videos by Anna Zett and Rachel Rose. They both seem smart and their films seem curious. There will apparently be animated dinosaurs, a violent hail storm and the Palisades. I doubt I will be disappointed.

Debora Delmar Corp., Upward Mobility at Modern Art Oxford (Private Preview) [Friday]
My girl and so proud of her! A whole museum full of DD amazing, its going to be so sic!

Chloe Seibert, Chloe Seibert Who’s He at Interstate Projects (NYC) [Friday]
Lil bit of a fudge here but gotta rep my crew. If you happen to be in NYC then this is a MUST see show. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Open Studios at Open School East [Saturday]
This is an amazing example of how things can be different if there is some will and a way. This is a free art school which supports and connects artists outside of the MFA, go into debt model. They will have an open studio for their participating fellows. Not sure what to expect but I’m sure it will be varied and diverse.