20181217

Indian restaurants in New York City make me feel like home. The interiors are decorated with art from the same sweatshops. Handmade wall ornaments painted in earthly hues, paintings of nature made in haste. Illustrations showing mythological figures, sports heroes and a distant relative. Some blinking lights, paper flowers and cityscape prints glued on walls, with peels revealing the sockets. Seeing the Brooklyn Bridge on the print makes more sense here then in Helsinki but it feels dislocated even so. The music is the same too. If I didn’t know better I would think these restaurants are designed by the same corporate stylist.

20181213

Can the Yellow Vests Speak? (2017) Édouard Louis. An analysis of the protests rhetorics.

For the dominant, the popular classes are the perfect representation of what Pierre Bourdieu calls a class-object; an object that can be manipulated by discourse, one day represented as the salt of the earth — the authentic poor — and the next day as racists and homophobes. In both cases, the underlying intention is the same: to prevent the popular classes’ speech, about themselves, from ever coming to the surface.

[…] the gilets jaunes movement is still a work in progress, and its language is not yet fixed in place: if there does exist homophobia or racism among the gilets jaunes, our responsibility is to transform this language.

[…] the gilets jaunes represent a sort of Rorschach test for a large part of the bourgeoisie. The gilets jaunes force them to express their class contempt and the violence that they usually only express in an indirect way.

20181212

On M.I.A. (2018) Momtaza Mehri. A celebration of the artist life and career (with some critical readings of M.I.A’s genre-flirting). Prompted me to listen to her again. I don’t agree with the sellout bits. It’s always a decision artists make and have to live with (you can be a sellout and a good artist too). Interesting text for learning about “Political blackness” in the UK context.

Authenticity is an unstable pedestal rooted in meticulously cultivated performance. It is externally adjudicated. No one understands this more than a slippery art school ingénue like M.I.A. Selling out means something entirely different when you come from no money. There are people who depend on you.

The class solidarities that once united communities facing street violence and economic disenfranchisement were bastardized by race professionals into the politics of lobbying and local government, a process abetted by New Left radicals in the name of political blackness. Tariq Modood tracked this phenomenon’s journey from factory floor to think tank, decrying a ‘false essentialism’ that assumes ‘all non-white groups have something in common other than how others treat them’.

Coalitions rooted in the denial of difference are bound to uncritically reproduce the very hierarchies they aim to dismantle, stifling criticism in the name of unity. Those excluded from hegemonic universalism should be the last to adopt reductive universals of their own. Too often, such gestural solidarities depend on the silencing and disciplining of dissenting black voices. ‘Despite our desperate, eternal attempt to separate, contain, and mend, categories always leak’ Trinh Minh-ha writes in Woman, Native, Other.

Learning that the Swedes (who Finns partially were) took skeletons of stone age Finns to collections in Stockholm.

20181211

Heard Andrew Lafkas in a Pennies from Heaven #9 event, organized by Control & Bánh Mì Verlag. This was one of the best gigs I’ve visited in the city. Lafkas played a contra-bass. He started the concert by droning individual strings for very long, which heightened our sensitivity to the resonances of the instrument. After the drone-phase be begun strumming the strings, while partially muting them. This caused string harmonic tones, which Lafkas focused on for the rest of the show. He produced a string harmonic melody, simultaneously with a bass line (caused by the striking of the strings) and the strings hitting the neck of the bass developed into a percussive beat. His performance was very physical and intensive.

Spicy Takes – Is Intersectionality Class-Cucking the Left? by Zero Books. A humorous and provocative attempt to reaffirm an alliance between Marxist class analysis and intersectional feminism.

Took some time and transferred all of the posts from hevoslinja.tumblr.com to this site. All of the +90 entries are designated to the Hevoslinja category (Finnish only). This was done due to changes in the tumblr service. Also transferred all no-chair-design.tumblr.com entries to this blog. Had to do some cleaning (removing broken links etc. There is still work to be done). All of the +50 entries are designated the NO-CHAIR-DESIGN category (English only). Also transferred the trans-mars.com blog entries from 2005 to this blog. Those entries are found in the TRANS-MARS category (Finnish).

20181203

Visited a screening of Mediums (2017) by James N. Kienitz Wilkins & Kodak (2018) by Andrew Norman Wilson at Union Docs – Center for Documentary Art yesterday. Wilson was supposed to give a talk after the screening but he cancelled. After the films we heard Wilkins (who also co-authored Kodak) interviewed by Aily Nash.

Kodak was an media archeological analysis of film (both as a material and technology). The movie centered on Kodak as a company, looking at the ideological premises which fueled its development. The story is tied to Wilson, whos father worked for the company. Some of the footage was from their family archive. The film made a critical examination of Kodak’s key innovations (how cow brain gelatin was introduced as an emulsion and how processes were streamlined for efficiency) and an analysis on the development of the culture of photography. Photo-culture was presented  as a cult of newness, which is trying to combat death, by collecting (and worshiping) fragments of time that technocratic superstructures enable mortals (consumers) to freeze  (“You Press the Button, We Do the Rest” – Kodak slogan). The story was narrated by a man who suffered from some kind of amnesia (mad-cow disease?) and tried desperately to piece together the story of inventor George Eastman (sometimes believing himself to be partially Eastman). The movie ended up in a portrayal of virtual reality, which was presented as a hell were all of the residues of peoples (captured in frozen moments), were re-animated and doomed to live in the past.

Mediums was a faux-sitcom located at a courthouse staircase. The actors were faking to be people who were called for jury duty. The people were trying to make sense of each others and their roles as possible jurors trough intentionally clumsy dialogue. It was a classic Brechtian educational theater as a movie experience. Occasionally the actors started mind numbing monologues, which provided the audience with very specific information of very specific matters (Such as: Franchising legislation, model-faults of specific cars, organization of NYC health insurance organizations, copyright legislation, actors unions missions etc.). The monologues felt very lighthearted, but I imagine people dealing with the specific issues learned a lot. The discussions after the movie didn’t engage with the movies cynical take on art as a vessel of social change (the director explained that the monologues were only meant to highlight the actors as vessels for the text the director had written). People were more interested in contemplating the relations which the actors had had with the obscure dialogue.