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artofmulata

i`m your puppet now…

Category Archives: profound truths

I’m trying to hold a formidable countenance in the face of a blow from a completely unexpected corner.

earlier today my studio was broken into.
the thieves were bold; they absconded in broad daylight with my last half year of work.
on a crowded street and no one saw them.

i was at work at my new job in the pike place market.
it was kind of sad to be at work while pride was happening in the streets above me,
but i saw it as an opportunity to continue strategising my further entry into the art world.

the phone rang a little after 1 and it was my old cohort, ___.

pol, j just got to the studio and  he’s freaking out.
someone’s broken into the space and all his art supplies are gone.
the violated space

oh no. oh no. this can’t be real.
i was convinced that it had to be a mistake.
but it wasn’t. it isn’t.
on the phone with my fellow studio dwellers i had someone survey my space for my laptop.
gone.

i didn’t feel sick. i felt relieved.
i had backed up everything only days ago to an external harddrive.
i could lose one box secure in the knowledge that another would save me.

the computer is just a palette knife.
i didn’t want to lose the painting.
i consoled myself thinking of how smart i was to have backed up all my new photo essays and videos, my latest writings.
i’d lost a lot of digital media in the past and i had bought the drive to specifically avoid that scenario ever again. i even kept the drive in an obscure location away from the laptop to prevent someone from grabbing them both.

i couldn’t guess that my own personal thieves would be so meticulous as to destroy my rooms in their search for valuable cargo.

arriving at the space, i went straight to recover the drive.
i’d take it to a friend’s to leave for safe keeping until we could further secure the place.
but i opened the door to my rooms and realized that wasn’t going to happen.
the motherfuckers had tossed my things every which way.
my violated space 2

my books were dumped on the floor. except for my noboyushi araki volumes; they were gone.
favorite sweat shirt: gone.
two laptops: gone.
new audio inbox for making digital noise: gone.

but the only thing that mattered was that the back up drive should be there.
and you can already see the arc of this tale so you know where this this is going.

today i lost something i can never replace.
two different photo essays on strange objects of everydayness from korea, japan and the states.
4 different sets of nudes i had planned to publish over the next year as a series of handmade books.
my first forays into video art. about 7 near completed pieces.
and a lot of writing. a lot of writing.

i just felt sort of null.
as if a part of me was gone forever.

i got dumped earlier this year by the person who might have been the culmination of every desire i have.
and that nauseous sensation of despair i felt that night is approximately similar to what i am feeling now.
and it makes sense: all my approaches to my own work come from my confrontations with love and sex.
so now i am impotent and heartworn.
and some one has breeched my area.

well, thank god for booze.
i am drinking the first of what might be many beers and soon i will go to a secret convocation of seattle poets to gaze through a telescope at heavenly wonders.
and apparently we will be requested to read a lot of verse of a cosmologically significant nature.

sounds good.
my whole life just dropped into the sky.
i could use a fluid tongue.

perhaps the only way that this can be viewed without risking personal destruction is as a meditation on moving on. not that that is an easy choice. i could just as happily drink myself into oblivion over it. but i think i’ll have to find a more positive approach to survival.

you know, i wish i could i drop some crazy photos into this post that have next to nothing to do with the text, but the lousy creeps also took my camera cable.

ah, pathos. and i am not even angry at the thieves. just hurt. really quite hurt.

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life is never easy.

but sometimes, if you find love, it’s not so bad…

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i just finished reading germaine greer’s article on the artist’s muse.

for the last year i have been contemplating this very same concept. i came face to face with my muse one year ago and i have been enveloped in a heady, headstrong rush ever since. it’s life threatening. it’s altering. it’s a knife to the cocoon. a bullet to the balloon.

this ephemeral being has enveloped all of my thoughts and inspired an output and a desire to output (‘put out’) like i haven’t experienced in years.

but unlike the classic concept of the muse as totalized by ms. greer so sweetly and lovingly in her pitch for the guardian uk, my conception of the muse is more ephemeral.

it is not a model you use.

it is a mental construct, an ideal like the islamic concept of the Beloved. (1 2) a concept that inspires the artist. this unpacifiable being functions as a call to apostasy. one which we should give in to readily. it is better to drown in the milk of creation than to thirst in a desert of stagnation.

i see my muse as my friend, as wife and mother of all my work. you can follow all the explicit ideas that engenders on your own. if you know what i mean…

when i found her (or, more accurately, when she chose me) i was in a state of deepest creative funk. and in weeks she had resurrected me. in the most literal senses. i was dead when she found me. suffocating in so many ways. and as saul williams (yo holmes!) said, “we all know what a lack of breath signifies…

but back to some semblance of conscious thought. i can wax about the ecstasy of my being chosen forever. ask anyone who knows me.

this idea of a model who gets paid X bucks an hour to get your artistic jollies off is just absurd. i can understand, though. for years i stood around naked and immobile for photographers and painters, sketch brands and horny old guys pretending to not be pornographers (i hope no one ever finds those shots). and i don’t decry them their needs (except that damn perv pornographer. i did not know what i was getting into. folly of youth and broke on the streets). it was the classic method.

not that i have ever been a muse in the classic sense. but i know that at certain points i have been an inspiration for certain people and, um, institutions. and i have found mine in so many places.

and the ones that last, that we continue to return to, are the muse. they are our obsessions made manifest. dk pan always told me that it is our obsessions that we should follow to make our art. i don’t dare contemplate what that means after some of the things that guy has gotten me to do in the name of his art, but i understand his point and i love him.

and while it would be interesting to have some amazing human around to draw and paint and whatnot i don’t really work in those mediums. so i had to find a form of living theater to draw out my demons and let you be exposed to them. when i feel lost and afraid of my self and my work i draw out that modern scrying ball, my cell phone, and contact my muse who gives me the cheek up. or i find an avatar in the form of a friend who i can project the aura of my chosen one upon and listen to their advice. it always seems to work.

i suppose it is a form of black magic. luckily i believe in magic. i don’t believe in god. and my muse always tells me that the universe loves me. so sweet and so true. if it wasn’t i’d be horribly disfigured, imprisoned, dead or on that murderous rampage you read about.

and another reason why that untouchable being wouldn’t work for me is because, as an ex-girlfriend of mine once said by way of explanation for why she ‘did it’ with that bland motorcycle jock behind my eye, “i’m like a cat: i have to play with it until it dies…”

but i want to thank germain greer for her essay. it filled me with rhapsodic joy. i love my muse. i am in love with my muse. and my muse loves me. or i wouldn’t be floating night and day in tears of such profound sorrow, grief and happiness.

do you know that feeling? when happiness strikes and you want to cry and throw up and you get dizzy? have you felt that power?

if not you should drink more.

love.love.love.

hippy-ing out for you tonight,

pol

*special thanks to models ‘dan’ and ‘creampuff’


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make a world map

make it giant in its scale

black out the U.S. with long, thick black bars

hang everywhere

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not resting my heels…

lately, i’ve been working on a new piece. it’s a large scale performance that will be shown via the scraps of its passing, its detritus…

essentially, i’m going to attempt to recreate the site or space of a lynching. i want to bring together various performers and myself and enact a similar spectacle to what might have occurred in the 1920s or 30s here in the united states at an actual lynching. gather together enough actors and other types of performers to recreate a small town hosting a typical lynch party.

there’ll be a photographer, steve miller, to document it via stills. he’s the main documenter. and a wonderful collaborator. there will also be people making amateur video and others making audio field recordings. the exhibition will consist of photos and videos and audio atmospheres attempting to invoke the spectral image of the scene.

but there will be bents to it. i’m not going to say how i’m planning on changing things up, but it’s all to invoke ideas about the nature of class and social violence and to enhance the dialogues on social and domestic violence. i’ve decided to publish a short essay on my ideas about lynchings in this country and how i look at them. view them. understand them. this essay is unfinished, as of yet, but it gives a pretty clear idea of how i’m approaching this project and perhaps some insight into how i plan on accomplishing my goals…

feel free to comment on it either via the comment system in the blog or via private email. hell, you can even call if you want if you have my number. my hope is to divest myself of any trivial approaches in my thinking and the work itself. this is the biggest project i’ve taken on yet and i don’t want to mar it with insincerity. if you find yourself questioning my approaches or my conclusions in this essay please do tell me.

thanks for reading this far. i appreciate it. the next installment of the “sense of being” photo/text series is in the works, too. i’ve just got a lot of things to work on right now and some crazy surprises for seattle in the hat… as i don’t want to do a half-assed job on them everything comes a little slowly… (p.s. for those who have been asking: yes the woman in the sense of being shots is aware that i am using them; that’s why they were produced in the first place. and she is very pleased with the first installment. she’s an artist as well and is working on a companion piece that we created at the same time, but was done with video. pretty exciting. if she makes it postable i’ll drop a link so people can check it out. her’s should be happening at the end of the summer unless we change it around.)

the essay:

In the 1920 and 30s in the united states a project was initiated to deal with the perceived problem of undesirable natives, freed slaves, immigrants from europe and women attempting to rise above their sanctioned stations, making demands for their rights. White americans occupied a position of dominance and desired to maintain that hegemony. To that end began their perpetration of acts of great violence against these undesirable, but somehow necessary, groups.

Accusations leveled against members of these groups included: rape; hubris; theft; violence; anything that could be used as an excuse to punish some members or individuals. It was hoped that this would harness the remainder to a yoke of fear immobilizing them socially, keeping them trapped in a space of irrelevance. These events happened with great frequency and were sanctioned by members of the white elite and lower classes.

One particular form these public punishments would take on is particularly interesting. Sometimes, in rural america, when a lynching was about to be initiated, the entire town would come out. Schools and businesses would close for the day; everyone would come out to participate. Cookouts, musical entertainment, religious services would occur on site. While bodies were tortured and lives taken, local residents congratulated and celebrated themselves on maintaining the social order.

The Question

The question then remains: what are the effects on our present of these acts of the past. as a project were lynchings successful in their aims. And not lastly, but sufficient for the purpose of my work, with the project of lynching mostly starved out by shifting social value systems does the project continue on ’til this day, masked or transformed so as to hide itself from our discernments and continue on invisible to our senses.

“What are the effects on the present these acts of the past”

An obvious answer to the first question is the endurance of skin color-based distrusts. Whites (male) still hold the greater hegemony and many darker-skinned folks and same complexioned women find themselves distrustful of their continued rule. Even as members of these ‘lower classes’ find themselves exercising more power with in their continuously evolving enfranchisement they still voice concern, resentment and anger at the actions of the white elites. Even as they begin to rise and participate in the class actions of these elites and in turn turn their backs on their former communities in their desire to rise out of their own socially constructed straits (‘poverty,’ racism,’ misogyny,’ ‘genocide, and etcetera).

“As a project was the lynching successful in its’ aims ?”

The last observation leads us to direct confrontation with question two: was the vigilante justice model of the lyncher successful? many would point out the success of minorities post the civil rights era as a rebuke against its efficacy. minorities have risen to lead multinational corporations and participate at the highest levels of national policy making. Some are considered amongst the finest american role models for their intellection and academic prowess where before they were considered no capable of such feats as a dog who would learn
to count. Black americans in particular have become amongst the most notable cultural exports for their contributions to the global entertainment enterprise as musicians, wordsmiths, artists, dancers, athletes and fashion icons.

But buying into and participating in the citizenship franchise is not to be equated only with liberation and freedom (a manumission) from social isolation, constraint and domination. (In many ways) it is the method of this liberation that should have us hesitate and reconsider our immediate response, our answer.

In moving out of those undesirable locales many individual turn not just their backs on their former communities leaving them to their own fates, but some actually turn: new members of the franchise participate in the oppressive tactics of their former trespassers. Chastising the poor for their methods of speech and survival; harassing, condoning and encouraging violence against women and sexual minorities, these newly embraced members of america’s transforming cultural elite repeat the the repressive tactics their forbears withered and suffered under. Let’s not make a mistake here by crudely stating that these people have ‘become white,’ an impossible task, but rather that they have come to see themselves as distant masters.

This self-perception of ‘distant master’ is what allowed and allows the dominant culture to not convulse into immobilization with guilt from its crimes. Racism and misogyny, nationalism and collectivism allow us to say that ‘we’ are not ‘they.’ Pride in those ephemerals allows us to know that ‘we’ are superior to ‘them.’ These divisions allow us to stand at great remove from our fellows and justify our actions against them as just and necessary. Not only for maintaining social cohesion and order, but also to keep the underclass from giving into their ruling and basest desires and run amok destroying, raping and pillaging everything in its wake.

French philosopher Michel Foucault in a radio interview with young marxist students who had taken a factory manager hostage in a revolt against working conditions of the french poor reminds them that they must be careful in their revolutionary zeal not to repeat the actions of their oppressors. That is a warning that all too few heed on their ride ‘out’ of poverty and ‘into’ the benefited society. That is a warning of suitable challenge for us all.

‘Does the project of lynching continue to this day yet invisibly?’
The third question is the only one difficult to answer. How does one show that which was once so evident: that the question of its existence has evolved to such an exalted state that it has been rendered invisible? That a societal function once writ so large in contrast against every day life has instead become its language? Can i convince you to consider my argument that the lynching project has ceased as a mechanism of interventionist minority control and has become business, big business, and business as usual.

This is not an ellipse back to my answer to the second question; this work is not for the lazy. My perception is that the manner in which we conduct the business of poverty here in the u.s. is the silent continuation of the lynching project. When acts of great violence are perpetrated against our wicker man victims, donald byrd in texas, matt shepard in colorado, everyone who gets raped or beaten (especially the systematic ones), the continued existence of Indian Reservations, the expanding presence of our prisons, the renewed vigor of our economic disenfranchisement of our poorest citizens, then they are generally perceived to be unjust. But very little is done about it to stem their further occurrence and far too often the opposite transpires: minorities calling for the murder of queers and the subjugation of women and, in a conversation i had with a poor person of pale complexion on a long bus ride:

“i don’t care if they have casinos on the reservation as long as i get my cut…”

appalling actions and statements to be sure, but still not subtle enough to back my argument on point number three. Or are they?

stumbled across this photo recently.

at-smokefarm.jpg

it’s from the smoke farm show that the implied violence kids were kind enough to have me in.
looks a real winning kind of guy up there on the old green, no?

this is just a distraction from what’s posted below.
seems like a good idea to keep a low profile on the normal madness that i litter this thing with now that grant gifting orgs may well be climbing all over me soon. i’m not going to take anything down; i’m not ashamed of my work. it’s too far into the game for artists to be distracted by petty notions like shame and embarrassment.

if you’re going to do it you might as well enjoy it and be proud.
it’s not as if we can take anything back.
and why would anyone want to.

if anything the persecutor should learn to forgive, embrace and relax.
it’s probably of the finest causes for the rampaging amount of boredom that swathes this city.
hell, i just spent my friday night curled up with a good history book reading about how jesus was probably a mystery school initiate and john the baptist was the true hero of the gospels. modern day gnostics. i love ’em.

yesterday, in lieu of sleeping, i practiced my patanajali exercises. you know the ones. you start off listening to your heartbeat,
but inside your chest cavity with with a practiced ear. slowly you allow your senses to expand and take in the sound of blood moving through veins and lungs rising and collapsing. eventually, you’re at the threshold of the skin listening to static magnetic hairs sway. then you do the big thing and move out. listen further and further from the body. probably the most fun meditation for a musician out there.

yeah, i skipped a friday to hang out with jesus. but then it did seem like the appropriate thing to do. it was leap day remember? and everyone was trying to come up with cool things to do as commemorative genuflection. at the bank of america where i gathered some pennies from the vault, the very cute teller explained to me that all the ladies there were wearing ties and matching blue sweaters. not my idea of a lot of fun, but who am i to argue with a lack of progress? i wanted them to just give away free money, of course. i asked, too. you never know. it’s the end of the 4 year span; anything can happen. as it was i left a little richer, but only because i’d earned it. where’s that free lunch i ordered a while back?

but what is a person supposed to do? my friends josh and ginger looked at the last thing i slipped in here, ‘sense of being,‘ and proclaimed it boring, beneath me, and chided me further by proclaiming the entire concept of blogs “retarded.” that is a fine and admirable take form a couple of very smart hipsters out in brooklyn. and i listened to them, too. not that i paid any attention. i love the post; i want to do more just like it. and it is hard to take criticism on the deployment of mass media from a guy who used to do pirate radio. god josh, how seventies. how off the london shore. how Voice Of America.

someone else accused me of rampant narcissism. wow. i wasn’t sure what to make of that. i’m still not. i’m an aries though: we don’t respond well to criticism.

look, i’m writing this to put space between the two articles. if you want to see it and that’s why you’re here then by all means scroll down. but i hope you’re of age and not someplace where looking at those photographs will get you terminated. that’s right… you have been warned. and if it does offend you then please go talk to a spiritual advisor. no more strange and viscerally peculiar letters of retribution. i’m saving them. i’m going to make posters of them for the exhibition.

p.s. i don’t know who took this glamor shot, but i would love to give somebody credit.

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my god, what a week it’s been. i finished writing my grant proposal for my massive secret art project friday. when i turned it in to the artists trust the very cool heather joy who runs the shop was there to greet me. unfortunately, i hadn’t eaten in a few days and hadn’t really slept in a week so i just smiled, said thank you, flashed ’em as winningly as possible and walked back out sans the application.

as i walked down the street i started crying. exhaustion. emotional and physical. i have never written a grant myself before. it’s sort of… stressful.
what i really wanted
was a drink.

so i called my friend angela who was kind enough to have kissed me thru last friday night’s depression. and we decided to meet at the six arms, home of the cutest bartender in the city. and the ruby ale that i love to drink whenever i go there.

on the way i saw a ‘buy obama!’ sign. wait. sorry. ‘VOTE obama!’ sign.
it was liberally flanked by a couple of ‘ron paul’s.’

i’m not sure why, but this just sort of disgusted me.
i hate the presidential campaigning/office in this country the way that some people deplore the commercialization of X-MAS or the psuedo-pathology that is valentine’s day.
hate it hate it hate it.
generally, i just spew in my head and pray that no one will ask me why i think it’s better to not vote. it can be so difficult to explain what a sham the whole thing is to people who honestly should know better.

one of the more common refrains i hear is, ‘but won’t it better if a democrat wins?’
like it was so cool the last time one of those guys was at the helm of our rudderless waterbucket.
remember how nicely the economy turned up? and people were happier? weren’t they?
unless they were poor and getting thrown off welfare or living in the balkans or wishing for some real sovereignty (nafta? the gatt?).
and i am refering to personal sovereignty, not nation status. come on, you have a philosophy degree; you can, therefore, follow what i am saying.

so i saw those 3 signs: Paul-Obama-Paul
and the first thing i wanted to do was to kick them out of the ground.
just stomp them into oblivion.
but the folks who had placed them were still there.
and they were looking at me funny because i probably looked so hostile.
and i had just stopped myself from attacking their less-than-handy-work.

oh, but i wanted to, though…

i got home the next day (don’t ask, but yes, mother i am still a virgin) and collapsed in front of my trusty laptop all thoughts of the presidency gone from me like monkey shit tossed between the protective bars of the cage of the supra-simian mind (uh. that’s us i’m referring to there). i collapsed i tell you, i co-lapsed. and stared into my laptop to check out digg and metafilter because i am stupid and they are my television.

and i found those wretched videos of hillary and obama.

what the hell was will.i.am on when he thought that his obama video would actually be anything other than pablum? i mean i know that his black eyed band of peas is sub-vile, but did he really have to try and go all wycleff-honest on us? you look stupid in the hat will; take it off. and that speech is not the next i have a dream, is it? shit. maybe it is. literacy levels have been dropping like infant mortality rates in the western hemisphere.

so i did something weird after i watched that obama video: i watched a hillary song and dance routine. i posted them both at the bottom of the whatever technical term applies to these entries. i can’t speak on the hillary piece. it is sublime in it’s ichor. i suppose that all of us who loathed ET for it’s stomach-turning depiction of a world that had only ever inspired feelings of rage and no impotence (practiced miscegenator, here) would notice that there was a form of subcutaneous information sharing happening here. no, no, i really, really can’t speak on that here. it’s just too stoopid, hillary.

on a lighter note i fell in love this past week…

obama will i am video


hillary i am not video

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