31 December 2016

comedy as prophecy

“Can a nation organized and governed such as ours endure?
That is the real question.
Have we the nerve and the will? Can we carry through in an age where we will witness not only new breakthroughs in weapons of destruction, but also a race for mastery of the sky and the rain, the ocean and the tides, the far side of space, and the inside of men's minds?
That is the question of the New Frontier.”
John F. Kennedy,
1960 Democratic National Convention Acceptance Address
delivered 15 July 1960, Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles

Off topic, but on topic: When are we going to begin the Beach Boys
article? I guess it is just up to the first step. In a way it is
over-tardy, it goes without saying it is like Dan Graham pastiche.
Would there be any way of bringing it up to date? I guess American
fascism is up to date, but certainly not in the Wilsonian sense. After
your historic recreation of the record collection, which speaks to
certain current artistic practices of locating historical facts, how
could this piece of writing take a similarly reflective stance toward
its material?

well, one way would be to look at environmental devastation, the beach(boys), new orleans, sri lankan, tides destroying things, surfing, Walter Benjamin's 1936 artwork essay warning against societies fascination with their own destruction.
maybe i am overly optimistic that Wilsonian fascism is more than just a fascination with having the right north american speed demon.

the text can be an artwork, not necessarily something that fits a program of academic inquiry - thus a poetic free association might work. 


And of course Smithson, within that environmental lament. Perhaps the
Beach boys to him represented a melancholic coastal utopia that he
knew was quickly and with the force of amnesia plummeting into a
future pre-history. And so he could not bring himself to listen to

Brian Wilson, although considered the leader, probably shouldn't be the target of our scorn, rather the entire beach boys band pre- Pet Sounds.

I like the picture you paint of Smithson.

maybe Fillip review would be a good place to submit a proposal for it?

I don't know how to start this though.



It's a good idea. There are reviews which are 1500 words or so, and
essays which are twice that. this is obviously not a review, unless it
is a review of your piece in the Triennale, but it would be nice to
have the space to meander anyway. We send them a 250 word abstract or
something. The rules are on the website. I never got my 75 bucks from


perhaps we could do a 'site-specific' version for the Fillip review, bring in some polemics about that nonsense statement by Lawrence Weiner comparing nova scotia to british columbia, coastal dialectics.

or not.


Did the Beach Boys ever play in Halifax, I wonder. Although how much
impact do they make on a 'sophistication' register. Fuelling a
regionalist art feud could be fun. We could pose as being based in


perhaps an abstract could be :

we propose an artistic "site-specific" article, starting from the claim made by Lawrence Weiner in the last issue of Fillip review that Vancouver was(is?) more sophisticated than Halifax and how that might play out in the pages of a Canadian magazine published in Vancouver by Vancouverites.  We will look at the intertwined relationship between The Beach Boys' fascistic impulse,  post 9-11 environmental histeria, economies of production in Vancouver and Halifax, 2010 Olympics, destruction, Vancouver artists obsession with Conceptual art, the piece 'an object tossed from one country to another', and 'island of broken glass' controversy Vancouver Island.


alter as you may


instead of saying obsession with conceptualism, i wonder if we could make the claim that Vancouver artists suffer from a certain Dan Grahamitus, or Robert Smithsonitus;  a little detournĂ© of the Smithson line that artists of the 1960s suffered from Duchampitus.



aside from the at first glance, very tenuous relationship between the Beach Boys and fascism, there is the more close relationship between california style minimalism of Larry Bell and John McCkraken, Craig Kaufmann and the beach boys which was acknowledged by that curator who did the show on B. Wilson.   I think the car culture and high gloss paint fashions was the link.  Ed Ruscha often makes the statement about the tendency of allowing your love of cars to enter your artwork. Now, where's the fascism? i have no idea. even hippies love cars in california, evidenced by Father Yod and others.

I've often wondered what the relationship is between the Bush regime and the puritan yankee Minimalism of Richard Serra, Robert Ryman, Donald Judd.  When you go to Dia Beacon you feel like there has been some eerie like placement of things.  when does the dominant high culture become entwined with the dominant political culture? Then there is John Chamberlain with his busted car allegories; frightening sublimity.

thank you for entertaining my insanity for a minute.

i believe there is a picture of michael circulating out there wearing a plaid number.

this reminds me that pendletons plaid shirts were the item of choice for surfers.


That's a sweet idea- our own line of surf wear (as illustrations).

surfer's also meaning, Robert Smithson!

Neil Young might be the dialectical synthesis though, with Smithson opposing Brian Wilson and Young at the resolved mid point.  Neil Young isn't particularly futuristic, nor entirely nostalgic.  Merlin Carpenter suggests Young's guitar on rust never sleeps deals in the same analysis of geological time as Smithson's work.

or maybe i am fantasizing about an already made artwork by Sam Durant.



"Wouldn't It Be Nice" is a goldmine on this topic."Wouldn't it be nice if we were older, then we wouldn't have to wait so long" - death drive, anyone? (This has always been K's reading of this song).
Then there's the homespun kitchen facism of "We could be married/Then We'd be Happy".

20 December 2016

The Juggalo President

Justin Trudeau's airplane

The "return of the repressed" is of course a "bad" (read: "regressive") thing—whereas sublimation is what founds civilization. Sublimation, however, is also, according to Freud (Sigmund) a psychic mechanism that is most appropriate to men, who are the "founders" of civilization. Leo Bersani reads a very interesting moment in one of Freud's footnotes (the "lower body" repressed from the "upper body") toward the end of Civilization and Its Discontents. Bersani refers to this footnote as a moment of "textual embarrassment," when Freud argues that one of the first acts of civilization was man's conquest of fire, accomplished through collective urination, interpreted as a form of competition between men, experienced as sexual pleasure and hence symbolically homosexual. For Freud, women are anatomically capable of such a "conquest"—hence their relegation to the hearth, the tending of the fire. This "fantastic sounding conjecture," attempts to accomplish the task of consigning "women" to an act that precedes civilization, rendering them incapable of sexual pleasure, and positioning them as the bearers or upholders of civilization while eliding their ability to participate in its making.
— Lynda Hart, Between the Body and the Flesh