does this feed?
does this feed?
He planted an Easter cross in the front yard
Strung it with Christmas lights to see in the dark
For God so loved the world that he created tungsten
For God so loved the world that he invented night
For God loved the world so much that Jesus was crucified
to bleed, and sputter, and die
EXERCISE ONE: DISPLACEMENT MAPPING w/ADRIENNE FOSTER
Displacement is a term used in psychology for the phenomenon of transferring emotions from one thing to another (this is a basic description of displacement, but it holds). I’m interested in using displacement to shift the symbolic content that is generated in artworks to something that is not directly connected to it. The subject, then, is not the object. Or something…
It was said in class that it would have been nice to be able to track back to the source of the symbol, but I like that it doesn’t wrap up nicely, that it’s a map, sure, but a really messed up one, a map without coherence, much like the brain. The map has a trail, but it doesn’t benefit anybody to follow it, because, you know, it doesn’t go much of anywhere.
Where does the piece begin or end? I think it’s still going on:
RED post-it note left from the exercise near WSIU TV (photo taken 03/02/11), apparently too out of reach to be a bother to anyone.
EXCERCISE TWO: DURATIONAL PROCESS (OR: Durational Mason)
It is likely that I’m being cagey (or dull), but I really only have three short things to say about this piece:
1. A mason jar is a symbol for preservation and duration, especially of food products.
2. As Americans, we shove oil our faces everyday (usually through the mouth).
3. We are mostly water.
The first time is always the slowest. After that, the oil and water mingle and it becomes easier. The oil sloughs off into the water. The water becomes less like water. (POSSIBLY) UNRELATED: I have this idea to use Mason Jars to preserve one deep breath a day, one jar for each exhaled breath, but I think I’d run out of money buying jars.
EXERCISE THREE: A CUT UP
This is an appropriation of (what I feel) is a repository of rural desperation and loneliness: The m4w Missed Connections on Craigslist. Being interested in applying an arbitrary structure to a pre-existing text, I used to following algorithm (or minimalist poetic seven-line stanza) to expand the obsessiveness and amplify the uncertain sadness that (I feel) is the manifest subtext here (the numbers correspond to the sequence of words):
12345678…and the rest of the sentence if there is one.
I commented on
I commented on the tooth
I commented on the tooth but
I commented on the tooth but I
I commented on the tooth but I really
I commented on the tooth but I really wanted to talk to you.
Using my macbook’s txt to speech function gives a voice to the words of somebody who has decided to give up their ability to speech — the structure of the Missed Connections exchange is inherently desperate, if only because the one who posts is temporally and relationally separated from something they profess to want. It doesn’t seem like a long stretch to claim this structure could cause neurosis, obsession, depression. I think the txt to speech as applied to these stanzas is humorous because it’s mechanical and innately real at the same time.
EXERCISE 4.2: BENDING TECHNOLOGY
I took this as literally as possible, and applied it to the two most vernacular things I could find in my studio:
EXERCISE 4.3: A COLLAGE; PHARISEES PHONIES PHONEMES
I ripped apart a Bible. Well, a paraphrased translation (which, according to the pre-modern part of my brain IS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD); sorry to Eugene H. Peterson, but THE MESSAGE is not, you know, the same thing. This is all to say that I will not be going to hell for this one.
To be fair, I also ripped apart The Catcher In The Rye. Holden Caulfield is Jesus in the part of the new testament we don’t see, the part where Jesus had the time to masturbate everyday, scam temple raffles, and threaten suicide because Joseph didn’t understand that (1.) Jesus NEVER would have broken the dining room lamp because he’s THE CHRIST, and (2.) Fuck Joseph.
Also, the prostitute part. You do the work.
I imagine Jesus an extremely bitter teenager, constantly defensive, unhealthily introverted — far beyond precociousness and well into becoming a shitty bastard. Look, the first time we see Jesus as an adult is when his family asks him to produce wine for their wedding party (which means they all knew he was miraculous and were so jaded about it that they asked him to save them a trip to the liquor store), and Jesus goes, literally (I swear), “Jesus Christ You People”. And he does it, but he doesn’t really enjoy it — and he makes sure they know they’re imposing on his time.
ANYWAY. None of this is in here, but it was the inspiration.
Using red and white spraypaint, SUPER 77 spraymount, matte finish spray, and ARM and HAMMER washing soda. There’s some sort of buried violence that the text represents. The pages have come loose, leaving gashes and fissures where they were once entrenched. There’s both burial and exhumation here, a liminal space on the surface where it isn’t clear whether the text is to be read or covered over for ever.
My film “Home Then Back Again” will screen at Flicker Spokane. Details from their website:
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16TH
MAGIC LANTERN THEATRE
25 W. MAIN AVE • SPOKANE WA
and “Sixty-Six Summer Showboat” will screen at River’s Edge International Film Festival in Paducah, KY on the following dates:
November 5: Maiden Alley Cinema at 7:00 p.m.
November 7: Yeiser Art Center at 1:00 p.m.
All due respect, hopefully, but, seriously.
The Game is simple; it has only one rule:
You’re winning until you realize you’re playing, and then you lose.
Everybody just lost.
I spent just two days of one of humanity’s grandest oedipal moments with mother nature – June 26 & 27, 2010 – on Grand Isle, Louisiana, a little bit of land right on the Gulf of Mexico.
Grand Isle had gotten spit on with oil in dramatic fashion just shortly after the Deep Water Horizon blowout. President Obama showed up, said some things about it being hot in the Gulf, and made sure like one or two really smart guys stayed behind to make sure something got done.
Since my information about the catastrophe had been entirely mediated, I went with my super-8 camera in tow with a sense that, you know, I could shoot some footage that showed how BP fucked up by Orwellian proportions, and how the folks on the Coast were behest this malevolent force that they had no real control over. Oil on birds. Oil on fish. Oil on babies. Oil everywhere. I was looking for Oilfest 2010, and that would have been dramatic. Like Biblical Job, maybe, to whom God allowed the forces of evil to spit directly onto his life and then expected him to like it.
Easy narratives abound, of course. They hammer our cortextes with the bathos we crave: entire generations of fishermens’ hopes and dreams lost; black-ops goons from Halliburton descend on the Deepwater Horizon to sabotage the competition through massive catastrophe; Biblical eschatology being fulfilled as the oil rig, like “a mountain ablaze” fell into the ocean, turning our world’s waters to poison. We seek absolution for being implicated here in our own addiction to the oil that’s spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, the addiction that has us make increasingly risky and anti-social decisions to get the fix it demands. We seek absolution but are forced into abjection because we’ve done nothing, really, by any standard whatsoever, to deserve forgiveness.
And also, we really get off on being this batshit insane.
It’s the principle of the motorized vehicle. It’s only really safe until you realize that you’re strapping yourself into a metal tube and flying around on interstates, weaving complexly around other flying, weaving tubes, just mere inches from destruction. We keep driving, and we keep destroying as close to everything we can get our hands on.
On June 10, Newsweek blithely trivialized the spill as it recapped four disasters that were worse than the spill in the gulf, you know, just to put our minds at ease (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/10/four-environmental-disasters-worse-than-the-deepwater-horizon-spill.html).
Grand Isle itself is a one-road town existing in defiance of what should be, but clearly isn’t, God’s will. It’s a low-rent vacation spot with kitschy roadside Daiquiri stands and fried fish joints. The final twenty-five miles or so of highway onto the island are either raised on serpentine bridges above tremulous expanses of water, or sit on tentative strips of asphalt bordered closely on both sides by low shoulders that fall quickly into marsh. The entire area is surrounded by impassive waters that would have eventually consumed the island with impunity anyway. The location is unfriendly to life in the short term, and ultimately unsustainable for life, in the long term. The oil spill just makes that fact more obvious, just like hurricanes have in the past (photos here: http://hkatrina.shutterfly.com/683).
This is not to disparage these folks at all, or to downplay what they’re going through right now. Nobody should be forced from their home for any reason, but there is something about the town that a land-lover like myself admittedly finds hard to understand. In fairness to these peoples’ plight, nobody is really talking too much about what will happen when this year’s first hurricane hits the gulf, lifts all that oil into the air and spits it inland like feces on fans.
While on Grand Isle, my companions and I met a field reporter from Audobon Magazine. He was right when he said that it was nearly impossible to get anywhere close to the cleanup efforts without being connected to BP, the military, or one of a handful of State conservation agencies. I walked to within spitting distance of the Cheramie Road blockade on the tip of the island before I got The Stare from some sheriffs for rolling footage of BP’s idle golf carts on what amounts to a home movie camera. From the 1960s. From Russia.
The rest of the island’s beaches are ostensibly closed, and patrolmen roam the sand looking to remove people who get anywhere near the Gulf and the endless orange levee that has been buried into the sand just at the point of high tide. If you are accosted, as we were, and move too slowly off the beach, the national guard follows like so many Barneys Fife, circling in their totalitarian green and tan ATVs, making sure nothing happens to all the signs.
Official tours are given for the press, yes, but a tour is another constructed narrative that fortifies the Public Relations gulag BP has built up to contain what they really don’t want gushing into the Gulf: Their Corporate Image. There’s no way any part of the tour’s visual rhetoric would acknowledge the suggestion that maybe nobody knows what the fuck is going on. Or that everything about the recovery effort on Grand Isle reeks of being a Boondoggle instead of an actual solution, that the work seems of questionable exigency and efficacy. Or that maybe all the bluster and cock waggling is just being done to assuage public outrage until the oil spill just kills us all anyway.
Most of the houses on Grand Isle, held aloft by flood posts, sport twee names like “Camp No Problem”, “Goodbye Tension, Hello Pension”, and “Say Ahh” that seem blazingly ironic and suddenly self-abasing. My friend bought a postcard that boasted Grand Isle as “Seven Miles of Sand and Sin”. And, crassly enough, tiny signs posted all along Louisiana Route 1 into the island advertise Disaster Relief Catering.
Exxon Mobile has a sprawling facility that sits on the northeast tip of the Island. The facility, without irony, is located on Humble Lane. Nobody who lives on the island (or for that matter, America) was unaware of oil operations in the Gulf, and it really wasn’t a problem for any of us until the spill destroyed the fantasy that the drilling could be ignored.
The real story is not that there is an oil spill that has affected the lives of populations along the coast; that’s just surface. The real story is that Grand Isle, with the oil spill and recovery efforts, is now the apotheosis of Americana; it’s a simulacrum of an oasis built upon an ultimately untenable lifestyle. It’s a strip of humanity takin’ it easy out on the edge of oblivion.
The Game resonates in an absurdist axiom: Life is loss.
The only way to short circuit the game is to find solace or kernel of change somewhere in the mind-numbing sadness without intellectualizing, repressing, or withdrawing from The Truth that the oil spill just made manifest to us:
We were winning until we lost.
DustFilms has discovered that an obvious statement about pop culture is probably more useful and entertaining than pop culture is by itself. The repository Dust Films has built of Literal Videos began with the Ah-Ha gem below. It’s parody sans parody; joke upon joke without any jokes at all.