Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paolo Virno, On Virtuosity, 2004

When hired labor involves the desire for action, for a relational capacity, for the presence of others -- all things that the preceding generation was trying out within the local party headquarters -- we can say that some distinguishing traits of the human animal, above all the possession of a language, are subsumed within capitalist production. ... Nobody is as poor as those who see their own relation to the presence of others, that is to say, their own communicative faculty, their own possession of a language, reduced to wage labor.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Claes Oldenburg, 'I Am For an Art,' 1961

I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something
other than sit on its ass in a museum.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given
the chance of having a starting point of zero.
I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes
out on top.
I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or
violent, or whatever is necessary.
I am for all art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists
and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse
and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
I am for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting
signs or hallways.
I am for art that comes out of a chimney like black hair and scatters
in the sky.
I am for art that spills out of an old mans purse when he is bounced
off a passing fender.
I am for the art out of a doggys mouth, falling fi ve stories from the roof.
I am for the art that a kid licks, after peeling away the wrapper.
I am for an art that joggles like everyone’s knees, when the bus
traverses an excavation.
I am for art that is smoked, like a cigarette, smells, like a pair of shoes.
I am for art that fl aps like a fl ag, or helps blow noses, like a handkerchief.
I am for art that is put on and taken off , like pants, which develops
holes, like socks, which is eaten, like a piece of pie, or abandoned with
great contempt, like a piece of shit.
I am for art covered with bandages, I am for art that limps and rolls
and runs and jumps. I am for art that comes in a can or washes up on
the shore.
I am for art that coils and grunts like a wrestler. I am for art that sheds
I am for art you can sit on. I am for art you can pick your nose with
or stub your toes on.
I am for art from a pocket, from deep channels of the ear, from the
edge of a knife, from the corners of the mouth, stuck in the eye or worn
on the wrist.
I am for art under the skirts, and the art of pinching cockroaches.
I am for the art of conversation between the sidewalk and a blind
man’s metal stick.
I am for the art that grows in a pot, that comes down out of the skies
at night, like lightning, that hides in the clouds and growls. I am for art
that is fl ipped on and off with a switch.
I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze, like your
sweetys arm, or kiss, like a pet dog. Which expands and squeaks, like
an accordion, which you can spill your dinner on, like an old tablecloth.
I am for an art that you can hammer with, stitch with, sew with, paste
with, fi le with.
I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such
a street is.
I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street.
I am for the art of the washing machine. I am for the art of a government
check. I am for the art of last wars raincoat.
I am for the art that comes up in fogs from sewer-holes in winter. I
am for the art that splits when you step on a frozen puddle. I am for the
worms art inside the apple. I am for the art of sweat that develops
between crossed legs.
I am for the art of neck-hair and caked tea-cups, for the art between
the tines of restaurant forks, for the odour of boiling dishwater.
I am for the art of sailing on Sunday, and the art of red and white
gasoline pumps.
I am for the art of bright blue factory columns and blinking biscuit
I am for the art of cheap plaster and enamel. I am for the art of worn
marble and smashed slate. I am for the art of rolling cobblestones and
sliding sand. I am for the art of slag and black coal. I am for the art of
dead birds.
I am for the art of scratchings in the asphalt, daubing at the walls. I
am for the art of bending and kicking metal and breaking glass, and
pulling at things to make them fall down.
I am for the art of punching and skinned knees and sat-on bananas. I
am for the art of kids smells. I am for the art of mama-babble.
I am for the art of bar-babble, tooth-picking, beerdrinking, egg-salting,
in-sulting. I am for the art of falling off a barstool.
I am for the art of underwear and the art of taxicabs. I am for the art
of ice-cream cones dropped on concrete. I am for the majestic art of
dog-turds, rising like cathedrals.
I am for the blinking arts, lighting up the night. I am for art falling,
splashing, wiggling, jumping, going on and off .
I am for the art of fat truck-tyres and black eyes.
I am for Kool-art, 7-UP art, Pepsi-art, Sunshine art, 39 cents art, 15 cents
art, Vatronol art, Dro-bomb art, Vam art, Menthol art, L & M art, Ex-lax
art, Venida art, Heaven Hill art, Pamryl art, San-o-med art, Rx art, 9.99
art, Now art, New art, How art, Fire sale art, Last Chance art, Only art,
Diamond art, Tomorrow art, Franks art, Ducks art, Meat-o-rama art.
I am for the art of bread wet by rain. I am for the rat’s dance between
fl oors.
I am for the art of fl ies walking on a slick pear in the electric light. I
am for the art of soggy onions and fi rm green shoots. I am for the art
of clicking among the nuts when the roaches come and go. I am for the
brown sad art of rotting apples.
I am for the art of meowls and clatter of cats and for the art of their
dumb electric eyes.
I am for the white art of refrigerators and their muscular openings
and closings.
I am for the art of rust and mould. I am for the art of hearts, funeral
hearts or sweetheart hearts, full of nougat. I am for the art of worn
meathooks and singing barrels of red, white, blue and yellow meat.
I am for the art of things lost or thrown away, coming home from
school. I am for the art of cock-and-ball trees and fl ying cows and the
noise of rectangles and squares. I am for the art of crayons and weak
grey pencil-lead, and grainy wash and sticky oil paint, and the art of
windshield wipers and the art of the fi nger on a cold window, on dusty
steel or in the bubbles on the sides of a bathtub.
I am for the art of teddy-bears and guns and decapitated rabbits,
exploded umbrellas, raped beds, chairs with their brown bones broken,
burning trees, fi recracker ends, chicken bones, pigeon bones and boxes
with men sleeping in them.
I am for the art of slightly rotten funeral fl owers, hung bloody rabbits
and wrinkly yellow chickens, bass drums & tambourines, and plastic
I am for the art of abandoned boxes, tied like pharaohs. I am for an
art of watertanks and speeding clouds and fl apping shades.
I am for US Government Inspected Art, Grade A art, Regular Price
art, Yellow Ripe art, Extra Fancy art, Ready-to-eat art, Best-for-less art,
Ready-to-cook art, Fully cleaned art, Spend Less art, Eat Better art, Ham
art, pork art, chicken art, tomato art, banana art, apple art, turkey art,
cake art, cookie art.
I am for an art that is combed down, that is hung from each ear, that is
laid on the lips and under the eyes, that is shaved from the legs, that is
brushed on the teeth, that is fi xed on the thighs, that is slipped on the
square which becomes blobby

Saturday, December 29, 2012

from Joan Didion, "On Self-Respect" 1961

To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are on the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out -- since our self-image is untenable--their false notions of us. We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait: a gist for imaginative empathy, evidence of our willingness to give.

(the whole essay deserves to be transcribed here in full)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

from 'Seeing through the studio: Bruce Nauman' by MaryJo Marks

Recounting time spent in his first studio, after graduating from art school in 1966, Bruce Nauman said:

"If you see yourself as an artist and you function in a studio and you're not a painter ... you do all kinds of things - you sit in a chair or pace around. And the question goes back to what is art? And art is what an artist does, just sitting around the studio."

Some forty years earlier, Siegfried Kracauer had published a short essay on the subject of boredom. Instead of examining, as one might expect, the tedium of modern industrial labor and the repetitive, oversimplified tasks that constitute unskilled work, his topic was modern leisure. Kracauer considered its diversions, however spectacular, just as dull. Moreover, he concluded, contemporary popular culture - designed as escape from the drudgery of work - distracted from life. The critic doesn't complain that the modern subject is bored; rather, that no one is bored enough. He advocates a kind of 'extraordinary, radical boredom.' Neither concerted productivity nor focused play, it entails the fruitlessness of just sitting around, making or doing apparently nothing:

" but what if one refuses to allow oneself to be chased away? Then boredom becomes the only proper occupation, since it provides a kind of guarantee that one is, so to speak, still in control of one's own existence. If one were never bored, one would presumably not really be present at all and would thus be merely one more object of boredom. One would light up the rooftops [like a neon sign] or spool by as a filmstrip."

The remedy? Stay home, Kracauer instructed, draw the curtains and recline on the couch so that

"one flirts with ideas that even become quite respectable in the process, and one considers various projects that, for no reason, pretend to be serious. Eventually one becomes content to do nothing more than be with oneself, without knowing whoat one actually should be doing... Frivolous, one harbors only an inner restlessness without a goal... If, however, one has the patience, the sort specific to legitimate boredom, then one experiences a kind of bliss.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Liz Zanis
Mr. G and G.G. in January 2010
Screenprint on balsa wood, necklace chain
Flux Factory’s Roof in January 2010
Screenprint on paper
6 x 5 x ¼ in. overall
Edition of 36

Monday, March 23, 2009

from Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities...

In the modal feudal journey, the heir of Noble A, on his father's death, moves up one step to the father's place. This ascension requires a round-trip, to the centre for investiture, and then back home to the ancestral demesne. For the new functionary, however, things are more complex. Talent, not death, charts his course, He sees before him a summit rather than a centre. He travels up its corniches in a series of looping arcs which, he hopes, will become smaller and tighter as he nears the top. Sent out to township A at rank V, he may return to the capital at rank W; proceed to province B at rank X; continue to vice-royalty C at rank Y; and end his pilgrimage in the capital at rank Z. On this journey there is no assured resting-place; every pause is provisional. The last thing the functionary wants is to return home; for he HAS no home with any intrinsic value. And this: on his upward-spiralling road he encounters as eager fellow-pilgrims his functionary colleagues, from places and families he has scarcely heard of and surely hopes never to have to see. But in experiencing them as traveling-companions, a consciousness of connectedness ("Why are WE ... HERE ... TOGETHER?) emerges, above all when all share a single language of state.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I had a dream that I was upstate- I think I morphed/amalgamated a beautiful rustic location for the center for book arts with a special retreat place that belonged to WSW, not belonged, but belonged to someone they are friends with and i'd been too before. it was in a verdant, big-sur like woods (but small-scale, east coast) and on a slight rise and i was walking around the outside with someone talking about how it was this amazing place but impossible to photograph - eg this main area that was like a warren of conjoined small log cabins, but we were saying it was just impossible to get back from it enough to take a picture (and weirdly the structure and the fact that in the beginning i was doing marbling in the rustic cba space with dexter sinister and stuart was really anxious). Many details of this dream make me equate it with present work and task related stress, this wood installation that is not getting to france in time for an exhibition etc. Yet the place was amazing, and right before i woke up, or right before i became aware of needing to pee in a way that made me aware of dreaming, i was walking down a path realizing that it was 8.30 and growing dark and time to drive back to the city or wherever, a couple of hours, and i caught a whiff of some woodsy smell that i associated with childhood/long lost places, and i had to sit down and cry.