Saturday, February 28, 2009
So I made a drawing, using the photo above as the premise, and the drawing was mediocre, and the drawing sold. And it sold to someone I know, so I imagine I'll have to see it again, at the very least to sign it, which I forgot to do. It was the first drawing I've ever sold, though I didn't actually see a penny of the profit and though I am unsure if it even deserved to be traded for legal tender. Though the experience was harrowing, I've already been telling people that I want to do it again next year (I hate being bad at things! I'm determined that I can do better!).
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tomorrow I am participating in the Monster Drawing Rally at Southern Exposure. Essentially this means that I show up at 8:00pm to a ballroom, and then sit amongst other artists at tables where we draw for an hour and drunken gallery goers attempt to distract us or buy our drawings from under out pens and pencils. The drawing I make tomorrow night could be the first drawing I will ever sell.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I asked this question at the end of the Queer Aesthetics Symposium of Rob Epstein, Susan Stryker and Cheryl Dunye, all queer film-makers who make films about queer stories. To some extent, all spoke of a responsibility they felt to represent queer narratives in film because of an absence in the genre. But I wonder to what extent they feel this obligation—how appropriate would it be to both Epstein and a lesbian audience for him to make a film about lesbian experience? To further complicate an answer to this question, how do other identities of race or class fit in to this feeling of obligation?
It seems that an important distinction to make is the difference between “identifying with” and “identifying as.” Rob Epstein spoke briefly about an experience he had interviewing gay men who had been imprisoned for their sexuality by the German Nazi regime during WWII. In many cases his identity as a gay filmmaker felt at odds with his identity as a Jew, especially in cases where the men he interviewed could not speak beyond their persecution as homosexual men to sympathize with the millions of Jews who were similarly persecuted, enslaved and executed. I think it is significant that the main characters of Cameron’s movies, and moreover, of Epstein’s, Styker’s, and Dunye’s films too, have shared racial and queer experiences with their directors.
I think that, obviously, most directors choose to tell stories which, through self-discretion, seem both important and appropriate for them to tell. In my own work I am interested in the navigation of this boundary line- between truth and fiction. The very telling of a story, which is similar to the display of gender, is a performative act—any storytelling, in this way, is always 'untrue.' But this definition of truth excludes the fluidity of chronology—that events are understood and reevaluated in endless variations after they happened. Once the moment is past, its memory and the interpretation of that memory become moments in themselves.
Last semester I was working on a projects in which I was rendering the front covers of books that I felt strong associations with in my childhood, rewriting the author’s name as my own, the idea being that stories are performances for a public world, and when they are given to that world, they lose their specificity as a single narrative as the story is experienced by others. I was torn, however, when considering what it meant to draw The Diary of Anne Frank—a book which certainly shook my core when I was young, whose story I identified and sympathized with. Somehow the transcendence of personal experience stopped short, however, as I questioned whether or not the story of Anne Frank could really belong to me, a WASP, in my twenties, nearly 70 years later. Who do our stories belong to? What are our stories to tell? What are the limits on identification and appropriation?
I have several photographs that seem spitting images of people I know today and when I look at them I can do nothing but think about that person. Once I made the mistake of emailing an image of one of these photographs to their contemporary alter-ego, someone I briefly entangled myself with in college (a relationship that ended so strangely that it's hard to say if I'll never really know what happened). She emailed me back, thanked me for the image but disagreed that it looked like her at all, though "winsome." Now I don't really think about that person when I look at the photograph anymore... I think about that last email exchange and how strange and disappointing it was to realize how maybe I had never really known her.
It's hard to look at a portrait and not recognize anyone. By this I don't mean a literal sort of recognition, but a more fluid one. The photograph above looks like no one I have ever known, but I recognize her middle-parted long brittle hair and her wide thin-lipped smile. I also recognize the tautness of the elastic bands holding the picture in place and the sandy feeling of the paper undergoing slow decay. This may be a visual relationship that is impossible to articulate through small black marching text-- this recognition of someone who isn't anyone.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Here's the open call:
We want to talk about pity.
Every cent counts! All donations, no matter how meager, will be distributed to their appropriate reci-pity-ent when the space gets deinstalled. We'll also set up a pity-jar construction table at the event. If you have extra jars, pull 'em out of your recycling bin and bring them to CCA! Out-of-state participants can send their testimonials to my home address and we'll find a jar for it. Oh, and you can make as many as you want. The concept was born recently, so it's still getting figured out. Write to me with questions or concerns, tell me what you think about need, and together we'll try to figure out what it means.
Friday, February 20, 2009
male donkey (jack) + female horse (mare)= "mule"
female donkey(jenny) + male horse(stallion)= "hinney"
the rare fertile female mule= "molly"
there are no recorded cases of male mule fertility
Common colors are sorrel, bay, bay-brown, black, and grey. Less common are white, roans (both blue and red), palomino, dun, bright-bay, piebald, appaloosa and buckskin. Least common are paint mules or tobianos.
Geldings are male equestrian animals that have been castrated. It is important for mules to be gelded since they are extremely active sexually. Even after gelding, they remain sexually active, especially when not working.
Mules exhibit a higher cognitive intelligence than their parent species - horses and donkeys. This is believed to be the result of hybrid vigour, similar to how mules acquire greater height and endurance than either parents.
Mules are highly intelligent. They tend to be curious by nature. A mule generally will not let the rider put it in harm's way. However, the stereotype of the mule as being stubborn is somewhat unfair and inaccurate.
Mules come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from minis under 50 pounds to maxis over 1000 pounds.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
grief as a vehicle of self-knowledge
temporality of photographs
memory as evidence
identity narrative and performativity
queer time and space
ownership, responsibility and mattering
family and inheritance
loneliness and home
drawing as storytelling
quilting as collection
Monday, February 16, 2009
So basically, I've made another drawing of another ruined thing. This past weekend I read some Judith Butler for my Queer Theory class in which she writes how grief enables us to consider and respect one another. She suggests that we only understand some of our relationships with people once we are grieving them-- as if grief is an emotional window to climb through in order to get somewhere. I'm considering this.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
So somewhere in there I became pretty disgusted because, well, my work is all about love and I love to do my work. Apparently Randall Szott went to grad school for two years and intentionally made nothing during this time. I kept raising my hand because I wanted him to talk more about the intersections about love and work, especially within the context of CCA, which was founded as a craft school. I also wanted to know if he thought a woman or a non-white person could get away with going to grad school and making nothing. To his credit, he kept denying claims that he was an artist and that he was making art by making nothing. I guess, in some twisted sort of way, I found what he was saying funny because he was self-deprecating. But I think that what I was feeling was just a reflection of the recent unfortunate excitement over contemporary white bad-boy artists who make art that is poorly made and poorly concieved-- as if apathy was the smartest thing ever. It is not. People have been apathetic in America generations-- as a graduate of small Ne England liberal arts college, I have met many of them.
Ironically, I had brought a small drawing to work on while I was there, and wound up leaving early because I found the conversation distracting from what I was doing. I'm not sure if a white guy with a college and masters degree should be able to talk to a room full of students about leisure without talking about his race and gender and how they afford him that opportunity. I grew up in a middle-class white family, and accredit the ease of continuing my education to that upbringing. I also witness my parents struggle over their finances and work really hard in order to make everything possible. I think a big part of my work ethic is this insurgent feeling of guilt-- that I owe something to my family, my community, my world in return for the luck I've been afforded so far. I question this guilt sometimes, but for now it keeps me going.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
My three sisters are sitting
on rocks of black obsidian.
For the first time, in this light, I can see who they are.
My first sister is sewing her costume for the procession.
She is going as the Transparent lady
and all her nerves will be visible.
My second sister is also sewing,
at the seam over her heart which has never healed entirely,
At last, she hopes, this tightness in her chest will ease.
My third sister is gazing
at a dark-red crust spreading westward far out on the sea.
Her stockings are torn but she is beautiful.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
This picture seemed appropriately historical for this post(hystorical? hysterical?), a stereograph of frosted rocks in a cave. Colter taught me how to cross my eyes so that you can get the image to pop without the special lens. The geologic subject matter of this particular image made me think of a place my father took me to once when we lived in New Jersey. After a long sticky car ride we got to a parking lot and took a trail to a big field full of boulders which had been left piled on top of one another after a glacier gave up the ghost and melted into the ground. If you climbed up onto the top of the pile and hit a hammer against boulders that were suspended above the ground only by other rocks, they would ring and hum like great big bells (this being because they were mostly comprised of iron/steel). I remember being kind of scared of this rocky field full of ringing rocks. I wonder what this place would be like now, after having been processed by my whirring hystery-making machine of a brain for 20 years.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
After years of depression, I didn't care how forgiving of myself I sounded. I said that what mattered to me was the rescue. I could probably afford a new chair; that I prefer to live among the scavenged and reborn is my own private choice.
A sponge bath, a scrap of sturdy ash plywood from a dresser drawer abandoned at the curbside, eight scavenged brass screws to attach the plywood to the underside of the seat, and a black magic marker to mask the splatters of white paint: this is how the chair was rescued.