Monday, February 18, 2013

This and That During a Cleanse: David Joselit on Marcel Duchamp, Mission Chinese, Edgar Allen Poe

February derives its name from the Latin word februum which means purification and back in the Roman days this was a time for the ritual cleanse, Februa.  The happenstance of this and my own personal desire to purify has me in the midst of a cleanse and I am feeling the effects via body and mind, as in I think I may have already lost 2-5 pounds in 24 hours and my brain don’t work right via lack of nutritional synapses.  They say that after the, ‘wow my body actually has a lot of literal crap in it,’ one gets to a euphoric state.  I’m not sure I will make it there as my default during this seems to be to fall asleep in almost any position, but I will try to at least get through it another day or two.  During this time, staying home is sort of key and all the things you do with people like talking, eating, drinking, moving, keeping your head up, has to be put aside as passing out in public is not a fun look.  In this time, between naps, I have been looking at and thinking over a few things in the safety of mind and computer land. 

Below are a few of these things.  Sorry this is such a blah post but really, typing is making my arms tired.

David Joselit’s Lecture, “Beyond Repetition: Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades” – Presented at The Miami Art Museum in May 2012, Joselit’s hour or so lecture discusses the themes of repetition and the circulation of images through the lens and references of Marcel Duchamp’s work and processes.  The lecture in itself is a bit staid but Joselit is highly accessible to those who may not know much about Duchamp and some of his key pieces.  I watched this because I am working on a project that investigates ideas of repetition and also of reconstruction and archive.  Although the lecture is cursory, it was a fine way to spend a little of one’s time to continue to think about these ideas and to mull over the history of these themes within an art historic and specific context.  I wish Joselit went a bit more in depth with the big ideas of this and it’s relationship to the uses of circuitous image and art making in our current times but it was for a specific audience and a specific setting and that is understandable.  Those who don’t know much about Duchamp or want to have a little more thought on him, watch this.  On another but related note, the form of lecture and lecture as event is in itself something that seems to be having a new presence and signification as well.  In the case of Joselit this is not so distinct a situation as he is from traditional academic practice.  What is interesting is how artists and art purveyors outside of academia are now participating within this.  What that implies about authority, transmission of ideas, and who is legitimate and relevant to the dispersal of ideas and conversations is something to think about indeed.  Art as idea is getting to such a distilled point that the idea of exhibition of objects may one day get to the point of just cursory, a mild contribution to get to a point of being validated and have reason to be a participant.  This is a bothersome idea in some ways but fitting and possibly even rejuvenating.

Mission Chinese – It’s not good.  I don’t know why people think is it so good.  I went on two occasions and only at times when there was no line to wait for.  If I had to wait on line to then eat sub-par food I would have been actually pissed.  With each meal there was a selection of different plates shared and the first go at it I thought maybe it was a fluke of a day but the next affirmed all the indifference of the first.  The food was dry, the spices spicy but not complex, the rice was bad.  The rice!  How?!  Things ordered didn’t come out, the music was blasting for no good reason and things were warm but not at a temperature they should have been served.  I mean who cares if there is another not very good restaurant in this city, there are so many, but what annoys me as a bandwagon mentality.  People kept saying, “Oh you have to go there, you’ll love it.”  “Have you gone yet?  It’s really great.”  Well, someone, and that someone at this moment is me, has to let anyone who wants to know if they should go: Don’t go.  If you go hopefully you have a better experience then me but really, the food sucks.  Sorry to be cranky about it and if you liked it, good for you, just know never to ask me to dine with you there.

Edgar Allen Poe - Has a Bad Publicist – The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl, woo-hoo, doesn’t really matter much to me, but seeing those poorly designed uniforms in black and purple with the raven emblazed made me think once again about Edgar Allen Poe.  I’ve been saying this for years but will say it to the world wide web that Poe is actually a really good writer but he has been unfortunate to have a tinge of cheesiness that has inflicted other good things turned terribly bad like Georgia O’Keefe, The Doors, the Situationists, etcetra.  This happens because things that are ‘cultural’ at first and originally inhabit a ‘sub-‘ world and then they become ‘popular’ and embraced by the public at large are considered dumb.  I know that today we are all so über cool in our tween, tumblr, consumer, capital culture, irony, post-irony, post-internet, post-life thing but this type of cultural classism is still very much happening.  Back to Poe.  As I said he is actually really good, things like this first half of his A Dream Within A Dream, 1850 is super:

Take this kiss upon the brow
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

So great.  Yes, 1850 is so not very 2013 and language and styles tread on but the core of Poe and the subjects, allegories and his distinct verbiage should be recognized today and for generations to come.  This I know he is, in some ways, but just because he is known, even if in name only to the en masse, doesn’t disqualify his art or his influence. 

I know the above seem like a mash of nothing but really this is how my brain is pathwaying itself in this lack of calories experience.  Till next time, I’ll be dreaming of pizza and Korean stews and sandwiches and giant bowls of pasta.