Monday, August 11, 2008


not to mention Handsome Furs.  this is on its way.  in the meantime, Yann Martel sends Stephen Harper some important reading material.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


While building on artistic strategies of appropriation, the artworks included differ from the cool, laconic pillaging of the late 1970s ‘Pictures’ generation. In a world where copying, sampling, cutting, and pasting are just a click away, artists such as Felix Gmelin and Dario Robleto take paradoxically embodied and labour-intensive approaches to repetition. Discussing his use of confectionary from a Felix Gonzalez-Torres installation as the basis for a work of his own that he is remaking for the show, Robleto wonders, “Can a creative gesture begun by one artist be passed like a baton through the years to be continued or completed by another artist in another time so that it never has to end but fulfils Gonzalez-Torres’ ambition to become ‘endless copies’?

(quotes, photo from The Power Plant - Not Quite How I Remember It)

i never cease to have new experiences forged from the same idea. possibility juxtaposed with tragic event hits me with the force of a wrecking ball no matter how many times it is played out. i don't mean flowery possibility in the sense of hope, but possibility as a turning point or change as the result of tragic event. in fact, the less conditions are improved via the change, all the more affective. so we have the Pictures generation, the artists apparently so inundated by media and its proliferation of images that they were left to cut and paste their way to newness. but this is essentially what art does anyway, figuratively. Robleto's works at the Power Plant, visited last week, are nothing to look at at first (think magazines). a reproduction of the iconic Lucy, the Australopithecus incomplete skeleton found in Ethiopia (see photo above), serves as a
memento mori  until full significance is gleaned from the placard.  The caption accompanying the sculpture reads:

Dario Robleto, She Can't Dream For Us All 2005-06, bone dust from every bone in the body cast and carved into the fossilized remnants of “Lucy” (Australopithecus afarensis), bone cores filled with melted vinyl and audio tape recordings of Sylvia Plath reciting her poems “Daddy” and “Lady Lazarus,” homemade paper (pulp made from mothers', wives' and daughters' letters to soldiers in the field from various wars), ground iron, calcium, water extendable resin, pigments, lace, silk, walnut, glass, 106.7 x 121.9 x 61 cm. Courtesy of D’Amelio Terras, New York.

as part of the exhibition NOT QUITE HOW I REMEMBER IT, the idea of possibility abounds not only from a re-or-mis-interpretation of any history but also a recreation of it, the tragic event here being death, rubbing itself cooly against the old made new (Plath's poems, vinyl, letters).  Bon Iver does this too, in the familiar lonely sounds of an acoustic guitar and eyebrows-raised falsetto, warbling about an indistinct lovetragedy among images of overcoming love's finality through life: loons, crows, snow, moons; again, the notes we've heard before, always known but reassembled: new. Gregor's sudden transformation into a cockroach in Metamorphosis, his death and the reinvigoration of his sister in the final lines of the story are not shocking in the muddy slowness with which they occur.  his bland travelling-salesman life turns new (but not better) as he recreates himself and Gerte is freed from her duty to Gregor when he finally dies, only to fill his shoes as...?  the possibilities are grey.  

the beauty of these lies in possibility/hopelessness.  because although something can seem new, unknown, even momentarily - oh.  it is not.  robleto's She Can't Dream For Us All, bon iver singing a love song for his cheating lover and Gregor's desperation in clipping a picture of a woman from a magazine and setting it in a frame beside his bed all produce the same feeling i get from finding beauty in a city - in a wall of remnant posters, sighing sidewalk cracks, colourful garbage huddled together in the hug of a curb, a torn, ochre-velvet couch stacked against spray-painted, blue garage doors.  there is nothing to look at here.  and yet.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Gunslinger", by Edward Dorn and Beginning

Time is more fundamental than space.
It is, indeed, the most pervasive
of all the categories
in other words
theres plenty of it
And it stretches things themselves
until they blend into one,
so if you've seen one thing
you've seen them all.
- Edward Dorn

Enough time can pass to eradicate ideas. This is cliched and true. I've started three blogs in the last two years, each new idea swathed in expectations for my own time and dedication. Each bit of writing left to flail despondently as I sacked it for teaching, picking at my nails, or felt comfort in the inevitability of failure - fine. In a breath of new resolve (one many manage to exhale when the case demands it) I'll start again, hoping that, for real, time has erased earlier ideas because they weren't useful, and that the good parts of predecessors with manifest themselves into one, accidentally. Goals for this writing project are as follows:

1.) Be poetic while making a concerted effort to eliminate cheesy-ness.
2.) Write about the common links found in music, art, literature.
3.) Music, art, literature discussed will reflect what I am currently viewing, listening to, reading
4.) Academic writing should be avoided
5.) Entries should be short and pointed
6.) I will add to this list as I experiment

The first line of that Dorn quote seems awkward but feeds into a valid point - time really slaps you in the face.  And I suppose it is in the violence of the future that I wish to record something and have it thrive in the past.  Records comfort - also fine. 

So, this writing is largely for my own comfort - but I certainly wouldn't be writing something posted on the internet if I wasn't prepared for others to read it. Hopefully, eventually, there will be something here that doesn't all blend into everything else we've seen before, but something that retains enough experience to reassure.