ROBERT BLANCHON’s Don’t Smoke in Bed: The Graduate Critique as a Safe Space, University of California, Irvine (COURSE DESCRIPTION, Fall 1996)
The most common complaint of critiques is that they feel like therapy—an assumption of something wrong that I won’t assume. So, if personal observation is not desired and objectivity is the goal, we better enjoy the 2nd class windowless rooms on the Titanic, since it’s been several generations of hard scholarly work proving that objectivity exists only in the abstract—much like the idea of a collective-conscious (here, I mean, one that has anything in common with humanity and its diversity). Many factors read into why crits are usually objective and, even when speaking in the first person, often appear to be delivered as third person perspective. This particular strategy aids in protecting everyone involved; the artists’ insecurities and vulnerabilities are not presented clearly—and best of all, not delivered by another individual (that mysterious literary-based third party), therefore all parties are protected. In the case of the Titanic, we would have benefited greatly by booking first class. It was this group that sat in safety boats watching thousands of 2nd class and immigrants drown. I can’t help but think that Kathy Lee’s grandparents are on one of these boats singing a jingle…if they could see me now…
Our goal is not to run away from being scared, or sharing feelings, most importantly, it’s learning what makes us artists and where and why we feel inspired to create work at all. Additionally, after decades of abusive language (I collect words from Artforum articles that don’t exist in any language, [making these up is] a common practice of the so-called intelligentsia), artists are beginning to return to personal and private perspectives regarding their work. This isn’t to say that falling off your tricycle at the age of three is the foundation of a series of work that tells the world you were an abused child. It’s more about the present.
Ideally, this approach, speaking in first person, will alleviate the anxiety of being attacked, criticized, or simply feeling defensive and therefore withholding yourself from potential insight that may even be revolutionary for you and your work. Keeping in mind the aforementioned, we all must own and be responsible for what we say and why we are saying anything at all. Now only are all artists responsible for what they do, those who respond to work must also cop for who they are, why they think in certain ways, etc. In my opinion, I find it incredibly unproductive to be protecting ourselves from ourselves as artists.
Hence, be prepared to be asked why you’re an artist. Be prepared to respond to those who may wonder why you make work. Know what your work is about. Or clue in on why you don’t know.
[…] I know this may appear at first to be a crit to avoid. However, trust me, I think that once the fear of critiques is diminished the chance for real growing can begin. It’s no longer a matter of whether or not your crit was better this quarter than last. It’s now about you and your work. Period.
3:28 pm • 9 July 2013 • 1 note
LJ Roberts reading their essay on craft, AIDS, and the erasure of craft in the art world discourses. LJ’s embroidered portrait of David Wojnarowicz in the background, and above, the Ribbon Cavalcade Banner, conceived by Frank Moore and Marc Happel, and produced by Harvey Weiss.
3:23 pm • 9 July 2013
STATEMENT FROM THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR THE PEOPLE WITH AIDS: The Denver Principles (1983)
We condemn attempts to label us as “victims,” a term which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally “patients,” a term which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are “People With AIDS.”
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALL PEOPLE
1. Support us in our struggle against those who would fire us from our jobs, evict us from our homes, refuse to touch us or separate us from our loved ones, our community or our peers, since available evidence does not support the view that AIDS can be spread by casual, social contact.
2. Not scapegoat people with AIDS, blame us for the epidemic or generalize about our lifestyles.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH AIDS
1. Form caucuses to choose their own representatives, to deal with the media, to choose their own agenda and to plan their own strategies.
2. Be involved at every level of decision-making and specifically serve on the boards of directors of provider organizations.
3. Be included in all AIDS forums with equal credibility as other participants, to share their own experiences and knowledge.
4. Substitute low-risk sexual behaviors for those which could endanger themselves or their partners; we feel people with AIDS have an ethical responsibility to inform their potential sexual partners of their health status.
RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH AIDS
1. To as full and satisfying sexual and emotional lives as anyone else.
2. To quality medical treatment and quality social service provision without discrimination of any form including sexual orientation, gender, diagnosis, economic status or race.
3. To full explanations of all medical procedures and risks, to choose or refuse their treatment modalities, to refuse to participate in research without jeopardizing their treatment and to make informed decisions about their lives.
4. To privacy, to confidentiality of medical records, to human respect and to choose who their significant others are.
5. To die—and to LIVE—in dignity.
6:57 pm • 5 July 2013
Excerpt from Imogen Binnie’s Nevada
"It’s been her experience that if people look at you and figure out that you’re trans, they are pretty eager to tell you. No matter their demographic, teenage boys like to talk shit loudly so their friends can get in on it, older women like to wink or give a sly little smile, straight men who know they’re boring make angry faces, straight women will give you a quiet little aside to let you know that they are totally onto you, gay boys want to be your best girlfriend (except the HRC type, who think that you’re trying to steal their rights), and dykes.
Dykes are hard to read. Too much expectation and stress.
So the whole time all these people are failing to make all these responses to her, to the fact that she exists, Maria is trying to drink as much coffee as she can. And to solve her relationship situation. She’s like, Jesus, can I get twenty minutes where I don’t think about being trans, please?
Then she realizes she’s been at her table for ten minutes, nobody’s acknowledged her, and actually she is literally halfway toward twenty minutes where she doesn’t have to think about being trans. She makes eye contact with a waiter, he brings her a menu, she orders eggs, fries, toast and coffee.”
12:19 am • 26 June 2013 • 4 notes
DEREK JARMAN, At Your Own Risk (1992)
"Most of the works on our Queer lives underestimate the effect of art in favour of political action; I think this is wrong. I know that my world at 18 wasn’t the gift of politicians but of the identifiable homos: Cocteau (above board), Genet (under the counter), Burroughs and Ginsberg (heard but not read). In 1962, we performed Genet’s The Maids at the college. It causes as much fuss as a political action might today."
12:10 am • 26 June 2013 • 2 notes
Foundational Sharing 5: NOT OVER, June 23, 2013 at La MaMa Galleria
12:02 am • 26 June 2013 • 1 note
Foundational Sharing 5: NOT OVER, June 23, 2013 at La MaMa Galleria
Eric Rhein presenting his poem about queer lineage, family activism, history, memories of friends lost to AIDS.
I walk with the shadows
of the men I’ve known,
and loved, and tasted,
and feel, even still,
the warmth of their breath
against my skin.
11:50 pm • 25 June 2013
FOUNDATIONAL SHARING 5: NOT OVER
FOUNDATIONAL SHARING 5: NOT OVER
Sunday June 23 from 5pm - 8pm
La MaMa Galleria
The event brings together a small group of emerging artists & writers and a queer world of established texts. Together they impact and influence each other resulting in a multi-media, cross-generational evening of foundational sharing between the living, the dead, the sensitive, the wise, the fool, the queer, and the not.
Artists will present their work, and Foundational Sharing texts will be read aloud (copies provided for free for everyone to enjoy). Foundational Sharing is about making contact and finding connections; creating community through shared and dissimilar experiences.
Featuring the work of
Inspired by the writings of
Advisory Committee of the People with AIDS
R. Zamora Linmark
W.E.B. Du Bois
Organized by Aldrin Valdez & Ted Kerr
As part of NOT OVER: 25 Years of Visual AIDS, curated by Kris Nuzzi and Sur Rodney (Sur)
Image: Release (detail) by Frank Moore, 1999, oil on canvas.
12:10 am • 18 June 2013 • 5 notes
Foundational Sharing: NOT OVER
What good is reading if you have no one to share it with? Foundational Sharing brings together a small group of international emerging artists and a queer world of established texts. Together they impact and influence each other resulting in…
7:59 pm • 4 June 2013
4 on the Floor
Artist Curtis Carman responds to Foundational Sharing 4.
"Oh, that’s me. That’s me, Howie. Give it to me right here in the trunk of your Gremlin." Oh my good garters Aldrin, what in Heaven’s name is going on here? Sometimes, I think eventually everything becomes a blur and starts melting together and that turns out to be who you are. I seem to be mixing up jumbled lines from some old rock tune (Zappa and The Turtles playing ‘What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are?’ live at the Filmore East in 1971) with thoughts of this lovely evening thanks to you and your friends. Pretty cool stuff I thought, I felt, I saw, I heard. So, "Thanks ever so kindly." That’s a Marilyn Monroe quote by the by my dear. Please, if you happen to reread that part of this note, do so at that point with a very breathily and slowly spoken "thanks," [pause], "ever so," [pause] "kindly" in mind. Girl, can we talk?
Like I already mentioned, but it’s so worth repeating, I had a great time tonight and really enjoyed the works and dialogues. Now that I’ve gotten home and have access to my reading glasses I read the pamphlet and understood better the relationships between the quoted or referred to texts and the work or ideas presented. I’m sure it was in the email, but I’m like Dorothy on the internet, three clicks and I’m heading to Pluto in search of gremlins, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Toto. Or was it Tonto I was looking for. I’m so into revealing masks that don’t fool anyone. Actually, if I was looking for Tonto, that would make me The Lone Ranger, right? All this mirroring can twist a girl’s hairdo into something one might see in an arcade of fun house mirrors. Very Jacques Lacan, wouldn’t you say? Is it any wonder language is such a disaster? I figure metaphors are like costumes and I just keep changing outfits as often as possible and usually stick with the ones that are most comfortable and fun. Slippage is my thrill spot. I used to work under the name Miss Construed. I open the box and immediately throw out the directions before assembling. Lo and behold, the box is my head.
Aldrin, I must confess I came to see the duster. And so, I have seen it, in a most lovely and eloquent way. Another confession, I googled “Queer Theory According to My Grandmother” before I came to Foundational Sharing to see that duster.
Please pardon my imposition, perhaps you would indulge me while I try to flush out a bit more of something Lee Ann had mentioned. I heard her refer to a style of sound (the Donna Summer example) pertaining to the waning of Disco music and the emergence of House music as “Four on the Floor.” It’s that driving, heavy electric bass sound that is so present in dance music since the 1970’s. It’s a great metaphor, one that I hadn’t heard before. But, I know, or at least think I know, where it comes from.
It’s a bit of double entendre or rather triple entendre. In both discos and warehouse clubs the music was the only thing that mattered and the right equipment was available. The sound was so unbelievably hooked up. Rock concerts were still happening and the sound equipment for those events were designed to rock out a football stadium or a hockey arena. So, a disco might have a huge net stretched wall to wall 15 or 20 feet in the air to suspend the speakers blasting music down. Additionally, the bass typically came from stadium concert sized amplifiers placed one in each corner. Four on the Floor, as it were. Also, during the height of disco music, there was a range of cars that were considered super cool. Cars, like Mustangs, Camaros, and GTO’s (called then as goats) which were sporty for the time and came with giant, gas guzzling, super fast engines. They also were available with four-speed manual transmissions. The gear shift was on the floor. There were four gears, hence the term, “Four on the Floor.” So, with a little tinkering in your garage you could supe up your car into a race car to not only drive it, but scream down the street tearing up everything in sight and getting ready to blast off into outer space. A Gremlin, on the other hand, was an ugly subcompact car made by the now defunct AMC (American Motors Corp.). Only hippies, poor college students, and nerds drove them. Lastly, the music was so hot you knew you were definitely going to get laid after dancing all night if not right there on the dance floor. Adjectively speaking, “Four on the Floor" is a base term for doin’ it ‘doggy style’ on the floor. The person on the bottom, obviously, would have all ‘fours’ on the floor. Regardless of your gumption, I leave it entirely at your discretion whether to convey this last bit of meandering information to Lee Ann.
Sometimes the world may seem like it’s upside down. It’s because it is. I usually just throw on a little makeup and a wig and find things usually right themselves eventually. More often than not this is due to the presence of people such as you and your friends. Thanks ever so…….
Image: Curtis Carman, DQS (element 10) copy, 2005, collage, 9 x 12 in.
2:56 pm • 19 March 2013 • 2 notes