Archive for the 'Rant' Category

Dear peeps

Deer peeps, due to the impending arrival of my baby daughter, I may be offline for a few weeks. Never fear, I shall be back!

Vote for “A Community is Not a Demographic”

One things I miss about the good ol’ days of modernity is the massive output of manifestos that artists and activists churned out to contest the prevailing ideas of their world. With names like Futurists, Surrealists, and Bauhaus, people seemed to care a lot about having clear and strong opinions. With the advent of the postmodern world in which all values and morals are relative, it seems as if the Age of Manifestos transmuted into the 30 second sound bite and became solely the province of marketing. Not necessarily so. ChangeThis has a cool project in which people can send manifestos to their Website and readers then can vote for whether or not the manifesto gets published. The goal is to spread useful ideas. I submitted a proposal, “A Community is Not a Demographic,” with the following summary. You can vote here to encourage them to publish it.


In The Forest People Colin Turnbull recounts his experience of living among the Pygmy. He described an uncorrupted dreamworld where the number one crime against the community was hording food from the hunt. The punishment was temporary exile until the offender learned his lesson. Likewise, the memory of my high school punk years has a similar halcyon quality in which the single most significant crime against the scene was selling out. Unfortunately our culture has devolved into a marketing style. So if we are to rescue anything from punk beyond fashion, than it must be the demand for ethical behavior when marketers appropriate “indie culture.” Principles make a real community, because we acknowledge that our behaviors affect each other, just as the Pygmies identified hording as a socially destructive. We need to discard the lamest excuses of the 20th Century, “It’s only business,” and come to terms with the notion that a community is not a demographic.

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Some More Thoughts on the Whitney Biennial Part II

Read Part I here.

The-DoorDadadelica remixes the sublime: the awesome strangeness of the impermanent hybridreal that causes the human ego to flitter when facing the greater chaosmoses. Jim O’Roarke’s “Door 2005” video installation does just that. On the peripheral walls are shuttering doors in stereo, presumably alluding to the doors of perception, and facing you is the slow-mo landing at dusk of an airliner, all accompanied by a minimalist, comforting dreamy drone of sound. (Unfortunately the Village Voice’s Jerry Saltz singled this out unfavorably).

Paul-ChenPaul Chen’s mesmerizing video installation projected an oblong canvas on the gallery floor depicts a silhouette of a telephone pole (a stand-in for a cross) stabilizing our reference point as various objects like cell phones and eyeglasses float to the sky, reminiscent of the rapture. Eventually bodies fall from outside the frame no-doubt invoking the twin towers, but also to another Biblical allusion. Here sentient machines hum along while things blow apart are sublime, ecstatic, and trippy. The reflection off the floor created a beautiful splat of diffused video color on the wall, like a reverse reflection pool. It was funny to see how people were nervous to cross the boundry of the projection as if it were a real object. I was tempted to walk across it just for the sake of transgressing, but I chickened out. The institutional frame of the museum held sway over me.

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Piecemeal Thought on the Whitney Biennial Part III: They Hate America

Read Part I here.

Read Part II here

down-by-law.jpgHere is a note on the Fifth Floor Mezzanine Biennial subshow, “Down by Law“: Yeah, yeah, America (oh yeah, Amerika with a ‘k’) is a terrible dark place of torture, etc. Tell me something new, enlighten me. One piece that really deserves attention, though, is Kerry Tribe’s video of transferred 16mm film, “Untitled (Potential Terrorists).” Riffing on Warhol’s screen tests, she has ordinary folk (actually actors who responded to a casting call) staring into her lens, revealing faces that are more typical of America than those who ran through the Factory. This was a particularly subtle and beautiful portrait of potential: that any one of these people could be a headline or a mug shot some day reminds us that no one is entirely immune from their shadow.

Another highlight is a cool little illustration by Fred Tomaselli, titled, “Self-Portrait,” which presents a constellation of all the bands he has seen (including the Minutemen!).

The show, curated by The Wrong Gallery, is very cluttered, which is fitting since it mimics the small, paranoid feeling one gets while absorbed by fear. I guess I’m tired of feeling crappy about the world.

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