20180714

The West (2018) ContraPoints. She’s referencing Kwame Anthony Appiah (notes from earlier). An entertaining video highlighting contradictions that make up the definition of “the west”.

A young kid in the Sternberg Park children playground had a snake with her. She wore it around her shoulders and waist while walking around a water fountain. Kids swarmed around her but they soon got bored and continued with their games.

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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.

20180704

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]

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Wrote the text “JOBINTERVIEW” on my studio wall (in cat size letters) to keep me grounded. It’s written in turquoise. If I could start over I’d write “THE DANCE COMPANY”. There is ample room in my studio so I still might.

I cycled to Manhattan today to meet other residents from Finland at the Fciny offices. Crossing the Williamsburg Bridge felt like entering a new world. The skyline was thick with smoke. Someone had written cynical words on the cycling lane pavement: “Self absorbed”, “Smothered”, “Rich”… etc. The words, written in faint white spray paint formed a welcome mat for entering Manhattan. A lot of cyclists sing while they ride and some play music from their boom boxes.. They sing to make themselves noticeable on the road – Being visible makes riders more safe (the same logic applies to working with horses). Americans speak and laugh loudly. I guess this habit could be read as a safety measure: When people hear each other perform they can locate each other and set their bearings straight. Are people who talk loudly afraid of something?

My time in New York feels like an investment. I now have 177 days to yield profits from this trip. I operate on a Day-Currency which is slipping trough my fingers when I make bad investments (like wait in traffic lights). Messaged Jesse and plotted new Ore.e Ref. services:

  1. “Product photos in New York service for Artisans”
  2. “The Temporary New York Sock Repair service”

In the first service artisans could send their craft items for me in New York to have them photographed against the Manhattan skyline. The second service is self explanatory: People could send their socks to me in NYC and I’d fix them (and take photos of them against the Manhattan skyline and wash them in the East River before sending them back).

This city is teaching me about scales. I have some ideas formulating on this matter but nothing clear yet (things felt clear for a second on the bridge but I forgot everything when I returned home).

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I’m having trouble finding performance art venues which list their events online in a sensible fashion. Grace Exhibition Space has a newish site but the schedule of events they offer is messy (found the exhibition spacey on Broadway yesterday but it was closed). Panoply Performance Laboratory seems interesting but I can’t figure out if there are events in the space or is it primarily for projects. I’ve signed up to multiple email lists but they seem to be quiet (perhaps people are on vacations). Eyebeam is the most promising email list I’ve signed up for so far.

Having trouble communicating to Helsinki. Signal app is not 100% reliable in a non-roaming/wifi setting (this was the case during our trip to Brussels too) and I can’t send SMSs abroad from my US phone. I’m now getting regular SMS messages to my Finnish number (Signal messages come delayed) and using my US number with an alternative Signal installation. Also installed Wire on my US phone (which provides nice setup options for multiple devices).

Received my ISCP (International Studio & Curatorial Program) studio keys and got a short introduction to the facilities. The building has three floors and two gallery spaces. The room I was given is incredible. It’s a +20m² space with a 5m high ceiling. I found some basic tools (there is a soldering station for Synth DIY kits!) and a computer & scanner/printer. I’ll take my computer and other tech to the studio today. This is the first studio I’ve worked in. All of the art schools I’ve studied in have been poor or in the process of being shut down, so I learned to work in cafeterias or at home and to perform in public spaces.  I don’t know what to do with all of the space I now have at my disposal. I’m thinking about making a mural.

Olli was at the ISCP before me and I brought a bike from him. He left it at my studio and I rode it home. I feel like a rock star – Driving around Brooklyn on my cool new bike!

What would a public park look like if it was built from the perspective of bees? (2018) by Regine. An overview of Erik Sjödin project with bees. He’s approach reminds me of the species-sensitive-design concept. The Political Beekeeper’s Library seems like an interesting archive. It “looks at books where parallels are drawn between how bees and humans are socially and politically organised”.

The shelter explores what a public park would look like if it was built from the perspective of the wildlife that use the park alongside the humans.

Increased biodiversity in parks in the form of flowering plants, buzzing bees and chirping birds etc can provide aesthetic pleasure to park residents and be relevant besides from the intrinsic value nonhuman life has. Biodiversity doesn’t have to conflict with human interests.