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Gob Squad and the Slow Vogue

Gob Squad, Creation (Pictures for Dorian), REDCAT, October 19, 2018  Watching The Gob Squad’s Creation (Pictures for Dorian) at REDCAT brought home to me the fact that you can get away with saying anything so long as you say it with a British accent. I’ll go even further—you can, in fact, do anything and seem up to the task and on top of things, so long as you drop a few word along the way in a British accent. Brits will get naked too, I learned at REDCAT, even when they’re older, and they’ll stand there, revolving slowly on an art-model dias, the flesh rippling around them, and manage to achieve a kind of elegance, a grace even, amidst the pillowing wreckage. I also learned how very, very avant-garde they are, … [Read more...]

Picturing the Cosmopolitical

The Photography of Jay Mark Johnson— When I first moved to New York in the early 1980s I lived in a loft on Great Jones Street with two Greek American brothers and it was an interesting scene. The younger brother was my friend John, who I went to school with in Philadelphia. His older brother Mark was a photographer who’d been living in San Francisco and was now playing in a band. The loft was big and run down and in the front room bands from the downtown post-Punk scene would come rehearse, some of them fated to be famous. At night we’d often walk East to drink and shoot pool at this Ukrainian bar on 1st Avenue called The Blue and Gold that had been around for a long time, and that’s where I met Jay Mark Johnson, who has found in his … [Read more...]

Theatre for Cartoon Demons

Olwui Okpokwasili’s Poor People’s TV Room, REDCAT , Los Angeles Premier —  Related Posts: Attaining the Singular, Death and the Avant-Garde in our Neoliberal Nightmare I had a vision not long ago. It wasn’t a particularly visionary vision, but it was very specific in a David Lynchy kinda way, and it involved a dark, fluid space alive with various currents and lit up with a spectral glow. The fluid was heavier than water but not quite as dense as oil, and out of it the quarter moon arc of a human profile would now and then appear in the form of a whirlpool-like structure, and I understood this to be the way a coherent self arises out of the flood of sensations and perceptions before dissolving again back into the underlying … [Read more...]

The Facebook Supremacy – Part 2

Related Posts: The Facebook Supremacy - Part 1, Owning the Means of Connection, The Koons Moment, Sacrifice and the Dream of Form Outside a small market on Sunset I pass a destitute Latino man intently focused on a lottery scratch-off. What catches my eye is the sense of urgent vitality in his movements. He is lit up, charismatic even, and because I am thinking about this post I am struck by how his excitement resembles the way I feel when I'm about to present some new photo or announcement (or maybe an astute analysis of current events) on my Facebook page. How positive will the response from my social network be? How much affirmation will I encounter—scratch-scratch-scratch. The dopamine is flowing, my … [Read more...]

The Facebook Supremacy – Part 1

Related Posts: The Facebook Supremacy - Part 2, Owning the Means of Connection, The Koons Moment, Sacrifice and the Dream of Form For a few years before the 2016 election I was a pretty faithful Facebook user. Photos of my dog, my family, birthday greetings and posts announcing events I was participating in or that I simply liked—seemed like a harmless and very convenient way to stay connected. It wasn’t just superficial either—sometimes there would be non-trivial exchanges of ideas about politics, culture, important issues of the day. It felt good to post a little thought sequence about this or that, and have people like it. Hey, I have to confess, it gave me a little lift to check back and find that a post had been liked … [Read more...]

Lean On Me

Hybrid-dharma and the Issue of Ownership — Sometimes late at night traveling with my father I'd wake up knowing nothing about where I was but feeling Steve McQueen close, as close as the black sky pressing in on the walls of the motel room. Lying back on the bed I’d imagine the surrounding area as I’d seen it in the headlights a few hours earlier—a landscape of industry and crime and V-8 engines charging out toward vast cobalt skies. I remember traveling through Vegas on one of those long trips, and though the city has been re-made several times since then I half expected, on a recent visit, to find the old flashing neon, and the long heavy cars still gliding through the night. At 5:00 AM in the morning I went looking for … [Read more...]

Teen Age Lust and Far-from-Equilibrium Dynamics

The History of Timelessness — Related Posts: Money and the Time Suck, Toward an Experimental Politics of Nonviolence, Of Fargo, Dopamine and the Image of Nectar The first time I heard about Jeffrey Epstein it had to do with reading glasses. There was this rich guy, I heard, who had built a huge house not far from Santa Fe, I was told, and the staff had been instructed to stock each of the thirty plus rooms with two pairs of reading glasses, one for Epstein and one for his domestic partner. Epstein chose the location for its proximity to Santa Fe Institute (SFI), the influential think tank that had been founded in the 1980s by the physicist Murray Gell-Mann, a Nobel laureate. Epstein, you see, has a mad love for … [Read more...]

Art and Practice with The Heart Sutra

Toward Re-organization — Related Posts: The Aristotelian Detour, Field Mapping, Toward an Experimental Politics of Nonviolence Most of us spend our lives avoiding the Heart Sutra, but it pursues us anyway like a heat-seeking missile, even while also rising up around us like the petals of the famous lotus flower. Allow me to explain. Blossom of Inexhaustible Kindness, 2013, by Tom Wudl We tend to assume that, at least in principle, there is nothing we may not know. The idea that being born, say, in the second half of the twentieth century in the US of A might limit or shape what we may know seems odd to us, insulting almost. And yet periods of history are defined by styles of thinking, root ideas and … [Read more...]

Money and the Time Suck

Whitesplaining Extinction to Junot Diaz, RECAT, February 17, 2017 — Related Posts: The Radical Middle, Toward an Experimental Politics of Nonviolence At REDCAT recently I heard Junot Diaz address a packed house and found myself wanting to whitesplain money. Diaz, the author of Drown, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Her, and the winner of a MacArthur Fellowship and many other prizes, geared his presentation to the young artists and activists from black and Latino communities who had made the trip downtown to Disney Hall. Rejecting the typical format of literary readings, Diaz stepped down off the podium and took questions from the audience, calling especially for “African-American sisters” to … [Read more...]

Death and the Avant-Garde in Our Neoliberal Nightmare

The Ontology of Tantrum — On the eve of George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 I happened to attend a performance of Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis at UCLA and, oddly enough, it was the perfect work of art to draw me back from the brink. I thought of this again after finding myself on the edge of an even deeper abyss following the debacle of November 6, 2016, when two recent productions served a similar purpose. I’m talking about Marissa Chibas’s The Second Woman at Bootleg, and Letter to a Man by Robert Wilson and Mikhail Baryshnikov at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Both productions managed to cast new light on our increasingly dire situation in the US, reminding me in very different ways of the ferocity with which our right wing elite has been waging … [Read more...]