28 June 2009

Smoke & School?

"I sit at a wooden desk somewhere in the middle of the room, my notebook and pen at the ready. The desk has been carved with graffiti by previous generations of students, their names gouged into the wood with the sharp vegetable-carving knives they sell in the school shop. Several of my classmates are puffing away at cigarettes, and sit enveloped in clouds of smoke. The young bloke next to me has a lump of dough in his hand, with which he dreamily forms and re-forms the same frilly dumpling as he half-listens to the teacher."

Fuschia Dunlop - Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper

26 June 2009

For love or money

"In 1994 I saw, at an acquaintance's dacha, an unusual hook on which clothes were hanging. It was made from an old toothbrush, without bristles, and had been obviously bent over a fire. There was something strange in that moment of recognition. I immediately saw the light, as it were, and recalled similar things that I knew, belonging to my relatives, friends, acquaintances, or acquaintances of acquaintances. Before then I hadn't really noticed them. Now it seemed to me that it would be an interesting task to gather them all together and see them in large numbers - a gathering of equals. The first on the list of candidates to approach was my father who, I remembered, had several strange 'thingamyjigs'. I started my collection with them. Then I set to work on my cousins, aunts and uncles. Then it was the turn of friends, acquaintances and non-acquaintances. After that things started to seek me out themselves. People who liked the idea called me, and continue to call, in order to inform me when, what, and where they had seen something similar. It's clear that the process of searching for things has its own momentum, its own internal logic, and is of a highly accidental nature."

- Vladimir Archipov Home-Made: Contemporary Russian Folk Artefacts, 2006

25 June 2009

"I think art is about the experience of 'subwaying'. When you are standing in the subway, you realise you are part of an inherent group and you have a reason to be going someplace: you no longer have to justify yourself, you no longer have to explain yourself or place yourself, you have a function, you are taking the subway, you are subwaying."

- Lawrence Weiner

18 June 2009


"Yoko Ono requires a phone call from one of her assistants to remind her that she needs to dial in for the Telephone piece" - Kate Moss via Twitter

14 June 2009

Trialogue: beyond the Austrian bourgeois society of the early twentieth century

holding environment? courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorfiot/

"The kibbutnzik was originally adult oriented. Children came into the vision of the small, self-sufficient, egalitarian commune as something of an afterthought. Desirous of rigorous equality between members, it became evident that the birth of children presented a problem because they gave unequally to the work force. Instead of falling back upon models of child-rearing they had experienced, horrified as they were by the passivity of their own father's accommodations to the shtetl, the kibbutzniks started something new.
Children's houses were established and caretakers (metapalets) were assigned to them. The children are placed under the direct care of the metapalets from their first few weeks onward. They are always in each other's presence in the dormitories and play-yard. Their periods with parents are very carefully scheduled as to time and place. Only after graduating through the hierarchy of children's houses, each graded by age, do children have access to their parents as fellow adult kibbutzniks.
In reality the children of this dream are different from their parents' anticipation. They seem emotionally flatter, less vivid people than their parents. They tend to be materialistic and prosaic, not spiritual or poetic like their fathers. Although not suffering from inner conflict like their parents in which the heights of ecstatic creativity and the depths of paranoid despair were expectable mood swings, these children show, in many respects, those responses of the middle range. Group solidarity, dispassionate but enduring love for their farmland, guide their vocational choices.
While experiencing less volatility, these children may be happier than most children of the industrial age. Continually challenged to do, rather than to feel or to be self-conscious about feelings, and having before them the full range of adult technology available to them in the kibbutz, they fantasize less and are more directly satisfied.
And the father figure? It seems to have gone underground as a distinct introject; fathers form no clear cognitive presence for the internal dialogue of thinking and imagining. In the minds of their children, the figures of veneration and allegiance are the peers, the kibbutz as a whole or the parental pair, not the actual biological father.
The distinctive characteristics of the sabre kibbutznik are not finally drawn by the research literature. One reason for this may be precisely the wider range of options available to the sabre for identification. The young kibbutznik's primary loyalty to peers can lead to violent anti-authoritarianism; or to quiet communitarianism; or to bureaucratic preoccupation. Allegiance to the kibbutz itself can yield a return to kibbutz life as an adult, or it can lead to urbanised massenmench, bourgeois existence, or to militant nationalism in a perennially crisis-torn state. Close identification with the parenting pair can, in turn, evoke caretaking behavior, or romantic idealization of the childless partnering of liberated adults."
– Leighton McCutcheon The Father Figure in Psychology and Religion, 1972.

Holding Environment (note to curators - Love your art(ists) like you love your bad habits)

"...Following the death in 1999 of Castelli, whom Hanne esteemed both personally and professionally (and with whose gallery she exhibited from 1973 to 1995), she found her annual visits to New York far less enjoyable. When, shortly afterward, smoking was banned on major airlines, she reluctantly transferred from Lufthansa to Air India for long-haul flights. After that carrier, too, was forced to conform, she preferred to stay at home. Our meetings thereafter usually took place at her family domain—a cluster of historic brick buildings that served as both residence and extended studio facility—in Harburg, just outside Hamburg. Always gracious and appreciative of the efforts I’d made in undertaking the transatlantic trip, Hanne would begin each meeting by giving me an extended tour through rooms dense with books and artifacts collected over decades, in order to reveal her latest treasures. Some of these objects might be rare and beautiful, but many, equally prized, could be kitsch trinkets bought from sources she’d long cultivated in the United States and Europe. Then, after seating me on a very low chair, as we consumed a bottle of champagne, she would play the newest recordings of the many scores she’d composed...."

Lynne Cooke. Passages Section: Open Work, Lynne Cooke on Hanne Darboven (1941-2009). Artforum International, Summer 2009

8 June 2009

photograph courtesy of artist Jo-Anne Balcaen

"Every few months, Venkatesh goes to the same set of coffee shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn and talks to people who come in and sit down....Venkatesh also asks people if they work for themselves. Over the years, he has observed the rise in the number of people who say yes. This year, he estimated, at least half of his coffee-shop sample was made up of the self-employed. Increasingly, they talk about their fading prospects. In 2005, 16 percent in Manhattan said they were out of work, were looking or had recently given up looking. In April of this year, the figure rose to 37 percent in Brooklyn and spiked to 53 percent in Manhattan. Many of the coffee-shop patrons told Venkatesh that they had maxed out their credit cards and had no savings.
... Venkatesh sees a difference in how freelancers talk about the recession compared with workers who have been laid off. "They're more alone, and they can't help but feel like they did something wrong because they're losing relationships with individual clients" he says. "They think of themselves as ministering to their clients, so they also feel guilty about no longer helping them."

Emily Bazelon "What happened to all those liberated, self reliant, self branded free agents?" New York Times Magazine, June 7 2009.

TOBEY. coked up in the club? a new fragrance for men & women

2 June 2009

"Years later did I enter a mine, its entrance a weeping hole in a cliff that formed the riverbank, the floor being no more than a foot above the level of the river rushing by. A small stream fed into the river with a little sandbank on which a group of muddy kids and women were waiting in the rain for earth to be carried out, it being their job to to wash this for gold. The miners were too poor to have anything but candles, and because the tunnel took a right-angled turn, it was pitch black most of the way. It became clammy and hot and progressively harder to breathe. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to heave a pick and iron bar all day at the pit face. My flashlight revealed intricate roof supports as we sloshed through the sludge. I felt I was choking and then saw the light after turning a bend. Two elderly skinny guys stood there scratching their heads, surrounded by boulders two feet in diameter. An unholy mess. Somehow I had expected a nice flat floor and a neat right-angled wall of stone at which they would be chipping away. A real tunnel, you might say. Instead there was this gruesome disembowelment of mother earth with everything at sixes and sevens, oozing muddy water and nameless fluids.
As I turned to go back, I began to feel curiously at home and cozy in the mine, perhaps because I knew I was on the way out and could start to reflect on this as an experience that I now hand over to you. This is the basis of many theories of history, personal no less than worldly. at first the human being is so immersed in reality, in this case horrific, that she or he has neither consciousness nor self-consciousness. There is no Other, just the interior of the pitch-black mine penetrating your being. Then comes the second part of the story. Evolving differentiation enters the scene. Subject peels off from object allowing for consciousness of self.

Aha! I am having an experience!"

Michael Taussig - My Cocaine Museum