20180709

Got a semi-bad sun burn on my shoulders.

Preparing for tomorrows test-shoots (more on that later).

Met with the July batch of ISCP artists (fun looking people, mainly painters and photographers) and got a breakdown of the “services” ISCP provides for residents. I didn’t write everything down (which I regret as there was a lot to take in). ISCP takes residents on field trips and to gallery/museum openings, organizes various types of open studio events (Open Doors Thursday, Summer / Winter open house events), they organise artist talks (between visitors, residents & staff), third Thursday (of the month) informal gallery tours, critic visits (to which we can book appointments, I booked an appointment with Sara Reisman), aid in productions, some sort of coaching services and there are a lot of tools artist can borrow too. It’s great.. Like a Art-School-Social-Factory-Rehabilitation-Center. Residents are expected to spend 20h a week at the ISCP facilities and to be on location on Thursdays (and to have their studio doors open, for talks and informal meetings). I’m learning to cope with having my home and studio in separate addresses… Constantly forgetting to take gear (hard-disks or flash-drives) with me.

HP Lovecraft’s Racism (2018) Zero Book. A short extract on a longer podcast investigating Lovecrafts political views on others (he’s a racist but it’s complicated).

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Launched the New York Sock Repair & Exchange service. I’ll send invitations to friends tomorrow right now.

Collected a set of bike tires from Harlem yesterday. On the C train back to 14th st. – 8th Ave I accidentally touched a lady with my elbow when reaching for my phone. She responded immediately by pushing back. I didn’t sense any hostility in her act, she only wanted me to acknowledge her boundaries. I apologised but she didn’t acknowledge me.

People in the public (and free!) McCarren Park Pool changing area hide their nude bodies by arranging towels as wall high barricades. They crouch behind vertical towel towers just slip into their bathing suits. There are different changing ares for males and females, but nobody was nude! It’s weird to see grown men act so immaturely. Everyone is afraid to be though of as a pervert – Which is why they execute weird performances to show that they are not perverts (which is a perverse in itself).

Old Hippie Remembers His Commune Experiences (198?) David Hoffman. A man remembering how a hippy community collapsed.

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50% min. 80% chocolate + 50% credit = Profit.

Thousands of Tiny Futures (2018) Jussi Parikka. Complicated but interesting… The text introduces useful concepts such as “fossilized sunshine” (oil). There is strong emphasis on infrastructure. Geomancer (2017) by Lawrence Lek seems worthwhile. The short extract portrays the horror an AI will feel moments before it becomes self-aware (Just like in the Lovecraft I just read!).

Archaeologies are also maps of futures – or more likely, they complexify the linear temporal coordinates as past, present and future. […] In this context the media archaeological perspective to fossils would not be merely about searching for an image of a future fossil, but to understand how the image itself is premised on the existence of fossil fuel.

Gulf Futurism and other artistic futurisms are, in many ways, artistic discourses in this context of toxic environments. Toxicity of course comes in many forms, where chemical toxicity and political pollution go hand in hand.

From future fossils and apocalyptic far or near futures scenarios as imaginaries we shift to the technological counted futures that are the standard operating procedure of financial markets.

This proves the point that imaginaries of futures are not inherently or necessarily anything progressive in the sense of addressing planetary scale justice, but need to be complemented with the analytics, aesthetics as well as imaginaries of counter-futurisms (cf. Parikka 2018) – the work of not merely dreaming but creating infrastructures that imagine and count for our benefit.

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Visited galleries with other residents of ISCP (Didn’t get to know people yet but at least I recognise them). We went to Ronald Feldman Gallery and got an introduction to the space by Mr. Feldman himself (and gallery staff). Feldman was excited about the works he talked about (the works on display had an artist-as-archivist/witness emphasis). Their summer exhibition includes Dressing to Go Out / Undressing to Go In (1973) by Mierle Laderman Ukeles, who is represented by the gallery! The frame of the artwork had a cleaning cloth attached to it. Feldman talked very highly of Ukeles and made her sound like a superstar, which strangely, made me doubt Ukeles. Her work as the Artist-in-Residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation was framed as the foundation for contemporary artist-to-institution residencies. We were told that Ukeles started to work with sanitation workers because they were underappreciated and that their work was considered “dirty”. This made me feel uneasy. Why were the sanitation workers considered “dirty” and by whom? How does her art effect this? The “dirtyness” and underappreciation of sanitation workers made her initiative to work with them appear more noble (which is definitely not intended). Someone should do a project with Wall Street Bankers – They are surely more dirty then sanitation workers! Her exhibitions in Europe were celebrated.

After Feldman we visited The Drawing Center. There was an exhibition by Terry Winters but I wasn’t in the mood for drawings. The center had worked with The Center of Urban Pedagogy which seems like a really interesting organization. They have produced a comicbook called I Got Arrested! Now What? (2010) which is intended for juveniles who need to learn more about their rights.

The tour ended at the The Grey Art Gallery which presented the “Landscapes after Ruskin” exhibition. Lucy Oakley’s (Head of Education and Programs) gave us a very convincing tour (she was backed up by an intern whose name I forgot). The curator of the show had developed an interesting interpretation of “The Sublime”. The sublime is not about experiencing universal beauty (in landscapes, forms etc.) which is impossible to describe & becoming aware how insignificance humans are compared to nature… It is also awareness of ones mortality and a sense of the frailness of human life. The exhibition linked the anthropocene with the sublime, arguing that these are similar experiences! In both cases we (the spectators) feel ashamed of ourselves… Either for our pompous believe that humans are the owners of the world (The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is humbled by the majesty of the mountains) or for the fact that we have tainted the world with pollution.

This has an interesting link to horses! Students of the Horse & Performance course felt ashamed in the face of the horse (when they failed to execute care taking tasks in an orderly fashion).

The galleries used miniature Greek columns as space dividers or as roofing panels – This is extremely interesting. I think we don’t need to see artworks… We need texts which frame the way we see the world (or fail to frame it, which is fun to witness too). What the curator intended to pass with the “Landscapes after Ruskin” exhibition would have been accomplished with a clever text. After reading it we would have understood media like this in the context of the contemporary sublime.

I’m riding my bike shirtless (it the only way to go).

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At the same time I decide to use a canvas shopping bag in Helsinki, ten people who just moved to New York, use two plastic bags for every five items they purchase (in our local shop bags are reinforced with bags). The approach Heather Davis offers (in The Queer Futurity of Plastic, 2016) is the only way forward. We have to learn to digest plastic or surrender our environment to creatures that can. People who repair sneakers will be our best guides in developing futuristic queer-plastic-knowhow. Recycling is a fashion (not a praxis), a way to stand out or start conversations… Nothing more. Using pallets to build furniture is crazy. The most sustainable life-style is to have no-life-style. The amount of free stuff on craigslist is incredible.

Concerning scales: A lot of things that don’t make sense in Helsinki, make sense in New York City. Like wireless headphones and smartwatches (many people I meet here have either or). In Helsinki seeing wireless headphones is rare, they are a luxury product. Their wirelessness does not add value. In NYC removing the 20 second hassle of opening a headphone cord knot, ads just enough value to justify the purchase. The same applies to smartwatches (they provide information on the current time, social relations and navigation).

People seem to play music all the time (it’s the only personal space they can afford).

Stonewall: The birth of gay power by Sherry Wolf. A very interesting text looking at the violent history of LGBT+ movement in US (the act of “coming out” on the street is political).

Despite there being no explicit laws against serving gays, many bars refused to do so, and there was no legal recourse since kissing or dancing with a member of the same sex and cross-dressing were considered disorderly. It was in this context that the Mafia came to run many of the drinking establishments that catered to gays, lesbians, and transgendered people in New York City. The Stonewall Inn was no exception.

Shedding their internalized homophobia may have opened gays and lesbians to occasional attacks, but it also allowed them to claim a sense of self-respect that was incompatible with life in the closet. “Coming out,” John D’Emilio explains, “provided gay liberation with an army of permanent enlistees.”24 In a strange sense, the right wing’s fears that gay visibility would encourage others to either experiment with homosexuality or at least be tolerant of it turned out to be accurate.

“We reject society’s attempt to impose sexual roles and definitions of our nature. We are stepping outside these roles and simplistic myths. […] At the same time, we are creating new social forms and relations, that is, relations based upon brotherhood, cooperation, human love, and uninhibited sexuality. Babylon has forced us to commit ourselves to one thing…revolution.” [extract from underground newspaper, the Rat]