30.12.10

“i try to carry out the most precise and discriminative analyses i can in order to show in what ways things change, are transformed, are displaced. when i study the mechanisms of power, i try to study their specificity… i admit neither the notion of a master nor the universality of his law. on the contrary, i set out to grasp the mechanisms of the effective exercise of power; and i do this because those who are inserted in these relations of power, who are implicated therein, may, through their actions, their resistance, and their rebellion, escape them, transform them—in short, no longer submit to them. and if i do not say what ought to be done, it is not because i believe there is nothing to be done. quite on the contrary, i think there are a thousand things to be done, to be invented, to be forged, by those who, recognizing the relations of power in which they are implicated, have decided to resist or escape them. from this point of view, my entire research rests upon the postulate of an absolute optimism. i do not undertake my analyses to say: look how things are, you are all trapped. i do not say such things except insofar as i consider this to permit some transformation of things. everything i do, i do in order that it may be of use.”

-Michel Foucault, dits et écrits 1954–1988, vol. ii, 1976–1988 edited by daniel defert and françois ewald, pp. 911-912

27.11.10




Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up
again, but differently.

-Jean Cocteau

(just realized a good half of the photos on my computer right now consist of stormy seas or abandoned looking houses, why do some images haunt people and not others?)

25.11.10





Pretty songs! Yeah!

Life has been pretty busy, the weather is horrible, school is picking up in pace and I'm feeling motivated for once. I watched two films by Yugoslavian director Dusan Makavejev on Monday and now I'm writing my final paper on the reappropriation of marxist "sexual liberation" discourses into capitalism, and the dangerous pitfalls of representing the female body in a so-called sexual/"revolutionary" context. Basically, repressive desublimation (Marcuse and Zizek), as well as Sontag and Bataille (taboo, the distinctions made between erotica/art and pornography as similar to the distinctions made between documentary/essay films/fiction or surrealist films). I have a lot of thinking and writing to do, obviously, but this is the crux.
As for the films themselves - "Sweet Movie" is an insane parody, pornographic, semi-fictional, semi-documentary Brechtian montage of insanity. It is one of the only films I have ever seen that truly provokes severe, visceral physiological responses: disgust, physical discomfort, arousal, etc. Much like reading a Bataille novel, except more fun(ny). If you can summon a copy and are into perversion and heavy handed Marxist/political critique and gratuitous sexuality - watch it! I dare not say too much for fear of scaring people away from a brilliant and revolutionary film.
On that note, I feel conflicted about what the fuck I'm doing in grad school. Big surprise. I've become disillusioned and angry with Lacan and basically want nothing to do with psychoanalysis right now. I want to do work in film studies but I feel that if I write an MA thesis on film it will narrow down my options for applying to PhD programs. And I'm not even sure if I want to do a PhD, because I am a little bit tired of theory and the usual philosophy suspects. Not scared, per se - just not as interested anymore. I just want to watch awesome movies all day.
So yeah. That's that. Apologies for the whining.

8.11.10

scooters, vacation, fall





I feel incredibly guilty and sad today. And disappointed in myself, I guess. For not having any Marxist pep this morning and doodling horrific looking bodies instead of watching Santiago Alvarez films in my Brechtian cinema class. For being someone I would be afraid to be with. For having little motivation to write about Deleuze and modified bodies, and little confidence. I wish I wasn't so scattered and sad all the time.
Of course, I write here pretty much only when I get into these moods, so I am in no way trying to say that my life is bad or that I have any reason to mope. Everyone has certain thresholds that they come up against. When I get here there is nothing left to do but scale down my self-created wall of shame and pool up at the bottom until the feelings pass. Wait it out wait it out wait it out.
I've been meaning to write this quote here for a while. Blake Butler told me to read Zeroville so I did, and it is amazing. And each section functions like a vignette, usually unrelated and readable in its own right.

'In America you have this idea that anything about sex is acceptable only if it absolutely is not, under any circumstances, sexy. The Americans are too romantic to make such a film. They are in love with shame.'
'The French are romantic.'
Maria dismisses this with the flick of her fingers.
'Quelle mythe! No one ever said in a French film, 'We'll always have Paris.' Can you imagine Bogart fucking Bergman with a cube of butter on the Champs-Elysees as the Nazis march in? The pornographer? He is concerned with what the characters do, while the artist, the artist is concerned with what the characters are. The man does not pay me for the sex, he pays me to leave afterward. For the lack of consequences.'
'He pays you to leave?'
'This is what Brando thinks will save him in Dernier Tango...sex without consequences.'
'You are paid to leave?'
'This is what destroys him, because there is no sex without consequence.'
'Perhaps last Tango in Paris isn't just about sex.'
'Cheri,' she laughs, 'sex is never just about sex.'

Images:
3. Georges Rousse
2. Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus
1.
Room O (I think) by Yves G. Noir

13.10.10

I FEEL LIKE SHIT.

in other news, an excellent scene from Godard/Gorin's tout va bien:



When Man Enters A Woman by Anne Sexton

When man,
enters woman,
like the surf biting the shore,
again and again,
and the woman opens her mouth with pleasure
and her teeth gleam
like the alphabet,
Logos appears milking a star,
and the man
inside of woman
ties a knot
so that they will
never again be separate
and the woman
climbs into a flower
and swallows its stem
and Logos appears
and unleashes their rivers.

This man,
this woman
with their double hunger,
have tried to reach through
the curtain of God
and briefly they have,
though God
in His perversity
unties the knot.

10.10.10

My Weekend







(ego) / “I”

the web of tragedy invites you into
a web of appropriate signifiers.
the real is adequately corralled off
and your body doesn’t ache any more
when you think of your lack; it has been adequately incorporated.
and maybe you have one more symptom, one more twitch on rainy days -
I always thought “but not you -” and then this novelty, also, wears off, and with it my
familiar self.

Every Thing I touch is new and grotesque, like dead skin against new sheets
the cold of my feet touching a pool of rain water
the sun barely touching my shins on the porch. Everything is so close to being present, here with me. Ultimately I can’t pull anything near enough.
I am drenched in you and your lack, you have been rehabilitated here by virtue of this absence between us.
and I could tell you, “you owe me this, my attempt at preservation” -
but you don’t speak that language.

(And soon, neither will I.)



1. stills for le gai savoir (godard 1973) 3. le sinthome, lacan and art 4. got ariana reines' book 'save the world' in the mail, been crying over it a little

7.10.10

Classic Rant on Gender Relations! Excitement!

Aw, "boys will be boys." This is an issue I frequently get fierce about. And - I have no idea how I cam across it in my google reader, magic fluke, apparently - Amy King (who is a super awesome poet) wrote this fierce blog post on the topic, probably much more eloquently than I:

Ye Olde "Boys Will Be Boys" Plea

Since starting my MA I've been observing the gender dynamics that exist in the program. And by "observe" I also acknowledge my own complicity in the parade of displays, no one is exempt, sure. Despite this it is frustrating to talk to genuinely intelligent men (boys?) who, despite theoretically recognizing the constructedness of gender, despite being at least to some degree self-reflexive and aware of how silly most gender-related performativity is, still partake in it and reproduce certain rituals.
I was talking to someone [male] about the "trade-off" required when they enter into a monogamous relationship; the male "sacrifices" a particular social position in relation to other men. I.e. they sacrifice the freedom/ability to display their potential power to possess multiple women when they want. But the "difficulty" of this sacrifice is not so much the "giving up" of indiscriminate sex per se but rather, the influence this restraint has on their relation to other men, and the power dynamics between them. Basically, restrain from being promiscuous as (what I consider) a sign of respect. Win the girl but give up the ability to constantly reiterate your alpha-male prowess to your fellow men. The irony of the conversation was that he was trying to be "positive" by saying that "winning" the right girl is a good enough "trade-off" to make the loss of status (in the exchange economy of the boys club) worth it.
Predictably, I have a few things to say about this. On one hand, this kind of male behaviour is usually acknowledged (by men) as stupid and juvenile, and yet I can't count the number of times men have tossed off "boys will be boys" (or an equivalent statement) as justification for their behaviour, as though this counts as a real argument to disqualify residual negative or objectifying effects of their behaviour. It is taken as a given that women should just accept the way that the male social economy works, which, inevitably, also implicitly suggests that women should just accept the position that they are given within that economy. Women can't accept the statement "boys will be boys" as self-contained, pertaining only to men's issues; it inevitably involves women taking on a certain object position/self-perception. When men say "boys will be boys" they not only essentialize "masculinity," but simultaneously place women in a position of virtual powerlessness (it is not a rational statement, so there is no rational response, it is a statement taken as unqualifiable justified/true, hence the manner in which gender difference is conceptualized becomes deterministic, etc.). Unfortunately the male social economy is structured around a barred petit object a /woman (not exclusively, obviously, but in this context, yes), which means that no discourse on men in society can ever be separated from how women are positioned in that relationship.
Implicit in the statement "boys will be boys" as an "excuse" is the demand or statement: "all men do certain things, we work in certain ways, and you not only have to accept this but also understand that you can't understand us." It is also simultaneously an attempt to neutralize the discourse: i.e. essentialize it. In this way, women are alienated from that discourse because they are given no way out of it. Women are alien within the discourse of "boys will boys" as circulating objects of desire, and then they are (generally) expected to just stay silent and accept that this is the way men are. In both situations (i.e.: 1. "winning" the right girl and 2. playing catch-release, catch-catch with multiples to prove your "manhood") woman is relegated to an object used in the service of the male libidinal/social economy. Woman is barely even taken as a sexual object herself! Only an object of display to aid in the circulation of desire between men.
And heaven forbid I take issue with this or voice criticism. Unfortunately the taboo against speaking out against these so-called "neutral" statements about masculinity keeps women (and men) silent. Usually my rants of this nature get called out as "uber-bitch-feministy" man-hating tirades, when in fact I am equally concerned with how these ways of being/speaking influence and oppress both men and women. "Boys will be boys" is not neutral. That's my main point. And neither "women" nor "men" can be reduced to categorical grab bags of bad habits and stupidities. I'd like to think we're more responsible than that.

Love you men, love you women, love anyone in between or on the borders.
xo

6.10.10


Do you recall waking up on a dirty couch in the grey fog

4.10.10

I actually posted this a few years ago but my love for Bukowski has been rekindled recently and I found this vid of Tom Waits reading it - oh my, too much man goodness in one space, all that's missing is Zizek reclining on a couch in the background or something.


your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


its insane to be surrounded by people and pressed into so many spaces but none of those people and none of those places care about you that much. and the ones who do are gone by your own making or fears or instabilities or addiction to change and pain. addiction to repetition and a kierkegaardian laying down or release that keeps me cracked and separate. so that the only currency is cunt and the ability to smile and be places people want me to be, so that no one notices my eyes filling up or my proclivity to crumble and drift off to where no one demands anything and I am deaf dumb and blind.

Its insane insane insane to be so visible and yet not seen.

1.10.10

sore

Disordered affinities
or the awkward
letting in and out

transparent anecdotes
flung into the
center, webs of skin
and the familiar touch of
fingers electric and
eager.

i can only give so much
before I fade into the
golden background,
always eventually the too-absent
object a.

memories hit the light
at right angles;
illuminated silhouettes
accumulate at the cracked
base of your beer glass.

---
Feeling very weepy and alone today, possibly a little bit manic, unable to sit still. I've been dancing around for a while. I feel "dripping wet and limp" but I refuse to listen to Mount Eerie for the sake of my own mental wellness and instead dwell on Joanna Newsom and Brecht. This is probably my favourite song of the year so far. Basically the transition at 3.25 makes my heart hurt a lot. So fucking beautiful.



"And there is hesitation
And it always remains
Concerning you, me,
And the rest of the gang

And in our quiet hour
I feel I see everything
And am in love with the hook
Upon which everyone hangs

And I know you meant to show the extent
To which you gave a goddang
You ranged real hot and real cold,
But I'm sold.
I am home on the range

And I do hate to fold
Right here at the top of my game
When I've been trying with my whole heart and soul
To stay right here in the right lane

But it can make you feel over and old
Lord, you know it's a shame
When I only want for you to pull over
and hold me 'til I can't remember my own name"

28.9.10

(mis)information overload. my head doesn't hurt but I feel my brain fuzzy underneath all those layers of bone crushed together. i hate reading books on a screen and it provokes a kind of mania that I want to escape from and promote at the same time: enter google reader like the information overload it is and wade through images and fragments (unread items: 1081) that I only slightly care about as a source of distraction. things on my mind: a desire to sew, a desire to make grilled cheese, a desire to lie in bed with a naked man, a desire to read deleuze like it was a robert duncan poem instead of a mind-fuck, a desire to be submerged in water so hot my extremities feel shocked-cold when they touch the surface. knowledge that I could do 1 2 3 or 4 and feel a lot better but the intertia holds me back. the click of the hot plate on the coffee machine. the sounds of cyclists murmuring to each other. my anger at lukacs after reading "Realism in the Balance" - how could someone so smart so completely misintrepret the pulse of their time? Upon writing that I immediately feel stupid considering my historical position - now, not then. "periods" and/or periodization only makes sense/occurs in retrospect any ways. anyways, I love Brecht. Sure. I'm eating half a tomato covered in salt.

hate you, internet. love you, people reading this.

7.9.10

Last night my cat jumped on my face from above me on the window ledge while I was sleeping. Now I have a group of little cuts on my eyelid and cheek that are sore when I blink. I miss my boyfriend a lot when I am not around him.
Today I met with the professor I will be TAing for. Because of my external funding I am only allowed to teach 1/2 full semester, so I am splitting the job with another girl. I like her and I like the professor. I'm excited and scared to teach. My first class will be Sophocles' Oedipus. I really like my new University. It is a lovely campus. I'm feeling overwhelmed and yet very vibrant. Unsure of whether or not I am capable of anything I've committed to (but still excited to try). Everything is new and scary. Shawn and I have been watching Carnivale - I love love love that show. This weekend is the final weekend before the craziness starts so I'm going to explore this new city and hopefully relax a little bit.
Boring post, I know - just wanted to share. Project myself out into the abyss.

30.8.10

“I have often spoken of what I call the inadequate imagery of today’s civilization. I have the impression that the images that surround us today are worn out; they are abused and useless and exhausted. They are limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution. When I look at the postcards in tourist shops and the images and advertisements that surround us in magazines or I turn on the television, or if I walk into a travel agency and see those huge posters with that same tedious image of the Grand Canyon on them, I truly feel there is something dangerous emerging here.

…As a race we have become aware of certain dangers that surround us. We comprehend, for example, that nuclear power is a real danger for mankind, that over-crowding of the planet is the greatest of all. We have understood that the destruction of the environment is another enormous danger. But I truly believe that the lack of adequate imagery is a danger of the same magnitude. It is as serious a defect as being without memory. What have we done to our images? What have we done to our embarrassed landscapes? I have said this before and will repeat it again as long as I am able to talk: if we do not develop adequate images we will die out like dinosaurs. Look at the depiction of Jesus in our iconography, unchanged since the vanilla ice-cream kitsch of the Nazarene school of painting in the late nineteenth century. These images alone are sufficient proof that Christianity is moribund.

We need images in accordance with our civilization and our innermost conditioning, and this is the reason why I like any film that searches for new images no matter in what direction it moves or what story it tells. One must dig like an archaeologist and search our violated landscape to find anything new. It can sometimes be a struggle to find unprocessed and fresh images.”

-Werner Herzog

via old hollywood

Such a beautiful quote that perfectly encapsulates how I feel after going to watch "The Last Exorcism" and having to sit through a disgusting trailer for the American remake of "Let the Right One In" (called "Let Me In"). Thank Herzog, because he has saved you from one of my classic rants and done it with more class.

My brain is scattered because of the high caffeine and sugar content running through my blood.

A few things.
There is this amazing Blake quote at the introduction of "The Posthuman Condition: Consciousness Beyond the Brain" by Robert Pepperell:

ALL Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors:
1. That Man has two real existing principles: Viz. a Body & a Soul.
2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body; & that Reason, call’d
Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.
But the following Contraries to these are True:
1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
2. Energy is the only life, and is from the Body; and Reason is the bound or
outward circumference of Energy.
3. Energy is Eternal Delight.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1793

I love this. And Pepperell's text in general has encouraged me to start thinking (once again, after a few months of mind rest) about phenomenology and its application to the so-called "post-human" condition. The radical alterations taking place in our bodies and our relationship to our bodies (i.e. via technology) has brought us to an interesting place: only here can we really start to challenge the view of consciousness dilemma as purely cognitive/mind/brain-based. Losing control of our bodies (in a sense) has brought us back to them, which is lovely to me. Since reading Merleau-Ponty I've really started to think about the knowledge of the body. Or, maybe I've just started to articulate thoughts and feelings that have always been floating around.

--warning--huge shift in focus:

Other than that, I just bought this amazing vintage wrap dress from Purple Deer Vintage. Soooo Mad Men.

(Image propery of Purple Deer Vintage)

I've also watched five Bette Davis films in 24 hours. She is divine. Seems like there's two general categories of "classic" actresses, the Audrey Hepburn Marilyn Monroe variety, and the Lauren Bacall Bette Davis variety. Obviously I prefer the latter, but I still love Marilyn - she is so often cast in the stupidest, most ditsy roles. I feel pity for her but at the same I get filled with admiration. Because its got to take a pretty smart woman to pull off such a cliche of femininity. Does that make sense? Her performances reach such a height of silliness that I feel like she's in on the joke somehow, which makes her all the more charming. I have shitloads of pictures of actresses and actors on my computer, but the ones I love of Marilyn are the ones where she looks like she's been caught off guard (which is another fiction, but one I like to indulge).



Also have a huge crush on Monica Vitti since watching l'avventura last week.

27.8.10

psychotropics







The artist of the above is Rasmus Emanuel Svensson, and I got them from the flickr set that includes all of the "globes" in the series. I really love these colour combinations and I've been using them for inspiration in my own collage work.
I kind of feel like this blog is becoming a barren waste land, or else, followed by quiet people. This makes me feel more comfortable with this space, like I did in *2007* - and therefore, more likely to just write what I want when a journal doesn't suffice.
I've been heavily engrossed in "House of Leaves" - it is perfection. Seriously, one of the best books I have ever picked up. And by "perfection" I mean that it coheres well on so many levels - conceptually, as entertainment, as the quintessential intertextual po-mo text, as a confession, as a diary of sexual exploits, as philosophy, theory, as a horror movie. I love it so much.
I'm back in London (ON) after spending the last four or so days in Toronto with my boyfriend. I feel as if my brain is coming back in again after a romp outside. I love my new apartment. I'd like to post pictures of my room sometime. The only thing missing is cats. I've been making jewelry all day after spending 60 bucks on supplies while in Toronto. I will be starting up an etsy shop to hopefully make back some of that cash in the near future, hopefully before school starts up again. I hope some of you will check it out once its up :)
I have been obsessed with etsy recently and all things craft and interior design. I'm sure all that will fly out the window once I don't have unlimited spare time.
There is also something I'd like advice about - not sure if this is the right avenue to go about it, but I don't really give a shit. My psychiatrist has re-diagnosed me with bipolar 2 after several sequences of so-called "hypo mania" in a relatively brief period after a good 10 months of no manic episodes. This on top of my already-existing diagnoses. Now, I'm sure there's a lot of you out there who have had similar experiences and no doubt have a handful of similar diagnoses - I'm really anti mood stabilizers, and I have friends with full-on bipolar who take them solely, but I don't know anyone who has been told to take or is currently on both ssri's and mood stabilizers. I'm incredibly critical of psychiatry in general, and I'm not about to take something that I don't think I *need.* I'm just wondering if anyone has advice about how to deal with the doubt that comes with multiple or conflicting diagnoses and how to negotiate philosophical and psychiatric discourses, or...I don't know. I have also been advised to stop taking my ssri's because they apparently cause more frequent and intense hypo mania, but at the same time, if I stop taking the ssri's my anxiety and panic attacks start coming back full force. Therefore - I feel conflicted about the whole shebang and generally kind of scared of myself getting worse on either front. I've kind of eased up on my criticism of psychiatry since it has significantly helped improve my mental health in the last few years, but I still think a lot of it is bullshit. Email me or comment if you have any advice...
(Also, not-so-strangely had a dream about being forced to do a series of complicated tests that resembled circus acts while being observed by my psychiatrist and other "professionals," including my father. one of which involved having to capture a puppy in a sand pit in the most effective and timely way possible. another involved swings and building sand castles that were continuously destroyed by sprinklers. good job, unconscious, try for more subtlety next time.)

14.8.10




Things I have done in the last 7 days that I should feel ashamed for but mainly just feel ambivalent and peaceful about...as well as things I have done in the past 7 days that have been great and increased my feelings of self-worth, productivity, and/or authenticity:
ate at mcdonalds twice.
told my psychiatrist an embarrassing dream, then started crying, then laughing because of his facial expression.
avoided paying two bills, made 2 customer service reps cry.
watched the first three episodes of jersey shore season 2 while chain-smoking and eating oreos with beer.
played super mario world with ali and got some compliments from her about my "mad skills."
finished reading susan sontag "the volcano lover" and almost done reading "100 years of solitude." only just started to enjoy it.
finished a big job for work.
purchased many things, like books and expensive Japanese paper and designer fabrics and other such art supplies
finished sewing projects, collage projects, and several poems.

as you can see, my life has been unspectacular.
moving on monday, though.
i miss my boyfriend. my body does.
i'm pretty sure this blog will either pick up once i start school or entirely disappear.
i haven't been sleeping or breathing very well.

ph: 2. monica vitti in l'avventura probably from old hollywood
and photo 1...hhhmmm. probably poes mistress or per temeritas

4.8.10

30.7.10

Watched Inception, was thoroughly unimpressed. Watched Dogtooth soon after, was thoroughy blown away. Any way you look at it, that filim is insanely well done. I particularly loved the muted palette, the pastel colours juxtaposed with the blue of the pool and the greens. For a movie about "dreams" Inception is nothing like a dream whatsoever - dreams are not constructed like that. Dogtooth is thoroughly a dream-nightmare. I really wish Baudrillard and Derrida and Marcuse were still around, so I could watch movies with them, and then we could all laugh and cry together at the good parts.

10 minutes and 2 cigarettes after arriving in St.Catharines my Mom took me along with her for manicures and pedicures - a "girl" tradition I am highly unfamiliar with. I don't "do" pedicures or manicures, I feel really childish and get very skittish. I felt like a ridiculous imposter, and accidently ruined by pedicure seconds after walking out of the salon. My mom rolled her eyes and said something about her failing at trying to make me more feminine. I felt a little bit better after that.
I felt like an imposter because when I walked in to the salon I felt like I had entered a secret sect of tired-looking white women, all staring like drones in the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, clutching their purses. But all eyes turned to me when I walked in, and there was a moment of appraisal that I haven't felt so strongly in a while - and then the awkward look away when I proved myself uninitiated. I think that the easiest way to fit in most places is to look bored. If you look a little bit bored, you look like you belong. I have learned how to do this in most bars, on the streets, sometimes - but when I am over-stimulated and interested, boredom is difficult to simulate. Which is why I always become a little clumsy in movie theatres, a little zoned out.
In the salon, there was this little mini shrine, one of those kitsch-chinese displays that I see all the time in mock-authentic chinatown restaurants, complete with lcd-lit incense sticks and scalloped mirrors. It was high up, close to the ceiling, not low enough that anything could have been placed haphazardly. Cheap red and gold plastic. But there was an empty styrofoam coffee cup sitting amongst all that paraphenalia. I looked at it for a long time.



ps. really enjoying tom wolfe - "yah! lower orders. The new sensibility - baby baby baby where did our love go? - the new world, submerged so long, invisible, and now arising, slippy, shiny, electric - out of the vinyl deep"

25.7.10

My 3-card tarot reading last night was Abundance - Prince of Disks - Queen of Disks. The more I think about it, a very straightforward and positive reading, especially considering that I had a really fucked up day yesterday. I think I was a little bit manic. As for the cards - I'm a little confused about the Queen of Disks, considering the relation to domesticity. Maybe heralding a happy home life in my new apartment. I really like the illustration for the Queen of Disks:


Not sure if I trust Aleister Crowley more or less because he looks like this (though I'm thinking more):




My friend Lendl is publishing an anthology of visual and lit works by a bunch of people, including myself. Below is one of my poems that will be included, along with one more and a flash fiction/hybrid piece. If you're interested in a copy you can email me, they will be available in September, I believe. Or you can email him at passivecollective@gmail.com.

Possess

The pussy-pushing thoroughfare:
unsubtle notation you've written out and
pulled over your body,
now becoming a map without edges or an
incomplete song showing itself in the patterns of your
damp body hair. like a miracle or demon the
pulse of symbols
push against all surfaces.
We read it: never listening with eyes shut tight and a
half smile, like in the movies.
directions protect you
and the parting of each curtain of skin
is a process of dismantling:
not colonization, just curiosity for what you lost.
open up for the double-entendre
embedded in the surface of narrative
[still hot and raised]
and your hands still sticky
from self-service.

15.7.10

we are plural and dispersed and I love you!







I continue to have dreams where I am exposed to a friend or a stranger's art project film etc. and feel completely repulsed by what they show me - cartoon characters from my childhood being slaughtered and raped, half-human hybrid beings being tortured, group murders on stage. My disgust and fear during the dream is vivid, and then when I wake up I realize - fuck, all of that stuff is inside of me and worst of all I condemn myself for it. Return of the repressed?

I've been reading Jameson: "Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," just finished up Bataille's "Literature and Evil" and I'm currently about half-way through the theoretical section of Barthes "Mythologies." I packed up all of my books and only left out the theory, hence my lack of easy reads. The question that has been on my mind is one of Jameson's:
"Can we infact identify some 'moment of truth' within the more evident 'moments of falsehood' of postmodern culture?" I'm sure the 'Answer' is yes, it usually is. But I feel that new theories of the 'hope' inherent in postmodernism need to be articulated by the latest generation. Jamesons's "Postmodernism...or" was initially published in 1984, and I am struck doubly by how outdated and obvious some of his theories are, while also thinking how genius he is - he taps into things that people are saying now as if they're original. And one of his comments struck me in particular - "there has been a mutation in the object unaccompanied as yet by any equivalent mutation in the subject. We do not yes possess the perceptual equipment to match this new hyperspace...in part because our perceptual habits were formed in that older kind of space I have called the space of high modernism." I feel that my generation is maybe different, maybe this time is composed of entirely new kinds of subjects, hyper-subjects. Maybe not. I'll be thinking about it. Also - I flinch away from using terms like "subject" and then feel simultaneously ashamed and pissed at myself for giving a shit about whether or not we can still talk about "the subject." Pow.




1.2.3 - various tumblr's, if you know or want recognition or removal, let me know.
4. - fuck oui jean-luc godard

2.7.10





Here's a little eye candy to take away from the heaviness/cynicism that has been my blog lately.
These are some of the ones that really struck me, but Kander has a tons of amazing work.
Krisatomic/BOOOOOOOM/Nadav Kander
In other news, I found out that I am getting a big scholarship from the government via sshrc. I feel honoured and happy.
I am reading Baudrillard's The Ecstasy of Communication, Bataille's Literature and Evil, and Perdido Street Station by China Meiville. All of which singularly and combined make for some fucked-up, evil dreams. I really need to record them more quickly than I do.
Any recommendations for great science fiction novels, other than the usuals of Gibson, Philip K.Dick, etc.? I'm house-sitting for my Mom and step-dad next weekend in their spacious home with a pool and a garden and a full fridge, and I'm half terrified of feeling isolated but mostly excited to have the house to myself. I'm planning a little spiritual/intellectual retreat. There is much to be done.

28.6.10

g20 rant 2 - sorry in advance

The G-20 aftermath is still going on and its getting more complicated.
I just want to clarify some things I may have swooped over in my original post. For one - I "support" peaceful protests. I think that protests in this case are silly and based on false ideas about government and economic control, but I still agree with the fact that people have the right to do so unimpeded.
I feel like this whole event was just an opportunity for a bunch of hip leftists to show off the fact that they are "politically active." The groups that were out actually drawing attention to a particular cause - I get that. But those who are just running around saying "fuck the g-20" were mainly (based on my own observations) well-dressed white kids for whom protest is just another facet of their "alternative" lifestyle. You're fucking participating in the perpetuation of exactly what you are protesting in your regular lifestyles, and yet you have the audacity to act "holier-than-thou" and insult anyone who in any way disagrees with what you think. Call me jaded, I definitely am. Nonetheless, yeah, I agree that you should have the right to go about your protesting, even if I think its a silly performance.
I do have an issue with violent protests, however. The groups that used black bloc tactics were distinguishable from the peaceful protesters/"curious" on-lookers. And the fucking police, as usual, with thier habit for abusing power (coupled with poorly submlimated libidinal energies, ha) incited the show. I was on Queen Street before the protests started and there were at least 10 cops on every corner, yet, strangely, no one around to prevent a bunch of cop cars being set on fire at Queen and Peter. I think these kind of "oops" situations were orchestrated by the powers-that-be. How else could they justify the millions of dollars used for security? A show is necessary, with all the actors playing their parts. Step back a sec and let people do stupid shit so belated over-reaction appears justified. Smart thinking, assholes.
Police corralling of everyone yesterday (peaceful protesters, journalists, etc.) into a little box at Spadina and Queen is unacceptable and disgusting. Police detaining people and "bargaining" the protesters about their release is also disgusting. Apparently, police yelled at protesters to move back, and if they did, they offered to release some people. That is not effective policing, that is an unlawful hostage situation.

2 final things, though - although I think both groups did their best to aggravate the situation, I'm glad to see Canadians being less passive than they usually are. Even if most of them didn't know what the fuck they were protesting.
A lot of online discussion has resulted in insults and battering between people with different opinions. Shouting personal insults at someone because they don't agree with you is just as anti-democratic as the fucked-up action of the police. The facts change based on the perspective, they really do. No one has the definitive version of what went down.

27.6.10

quick rant between Bataille and Meiville

So a lot of pseudo-anarchists are ruining any attempts at "peaceful protest" and the riot police are out and the city is chaotic, all because a bunch of rich dudes just finished a lovely gourmet dinner at the Royal York and are now conducting a silly 4-hour discussion that might as well be a talk show segment. What pisses me off is the so-called "anarchists" writing shit like "class war" and "capitalism sucks" on various public areas. It just seems like such an arbitrary time to start giving a shit about issues that have been around forever, and such a pointless way to "protest." Since when do you care about capitalism? And why are you only caring now? And if you're stupid enough to think bashing in a few starbucks windows is in any way a sufficient response to capitalism...you suck. The fucking leaders in their plushy chairs don't give a shit about protesters, peaceful or no. They have kilometers of space and concrete and police body and plastic between them and "the people." It's all just theater anyways. We all know that presidents and government leaders aren't the ones who make the real decisions. They are symbols. And now we are fighting symbols with symbols. Typical post-modern pseudo-drama.

Police cars on fire and kilometer-long polic riot lines are a rare site in Toronto, though. Cool pictures here.

ps. I get it, I do - yeah, capitalism sucks, yes I am well-versed in counter-cultural and Marxist theory. I still don't agree with either side.

18.6.10

When we are in bed together; that is the only time you are heavy.
I cannot handle everything you want to fit inside me.
After we are done the space under my skin under my belly button hurts a little for the rest of the day. I think “maybe no one should ever let things inside them, no matter how good it feels to be full”
If I press my finger into my belly button, hard, I feel it at the base of my cervix. A thread pulls from point A to B. Like the jolt of foot –extending, laughing - when you hit your knee. I like my belly button because of the scar that looks like a nail clipping.
The body is proof that cause and effect is still a rule and a guarantee against chaos theory. That the universe will keep me planted to its fate. That my lungs won’t explode, even though I feel pressure and sadness filling them up.
When I get serious and sometimes cry,
you either laugh, light and nervous, or become very solemn and look away as if I am hurting you.
I wish I could cry less like someone in a new wave movie,
Less composed and less decorative.
You are the only one who has not told me: “you look even more beautiful when you’re sad.”
The only one who disregards the script.

16.6.10

Today is the first day in a while that I've had to just do my shit at home, eat strawberries, clean stuff, catch up on shit in my google reader (500+ unread items), browse etsy, and most importantly, watch some x-files. Pretty much every actor on that show sucks except for the main two. And everyone speaks in deep voices, and everyone says things like "you have no idea just how deep...the truth goes" all the time. Its great.
In 10-ish days I'll be moving out of the apartment I've lived in for almost 3 years. I'm moving out of this city for a few years to do my MA. And I'm not sure exactly how I'll respond when the shit hits the fan and everything is different. My psychiatrist made me nervous on tuesday, he started talking about establishing some sort of coping strategy/plan-b if the changes instigate any "warning signals" of another breakdown. If anxiety is really just avoidance, then I am anxious about the plan itself, and not the changes - at least at this point. Or {insert psychobabble about repression, projection, avoidance, whatever}. What is the best way to adjust to big life changes? I'm confused.
Losing people isn't so hard if its me leaving, and not them. And any lost relationships will be indirectly lost, not intentionally broken. I feel selfishly comforted knowing that I won't be the one left alone due to another person's actions, abandonment, rejection. And I'm trying really hard not to go into self-preservation sabotage-any-relationships-you-are-afraid-to-lose-later-on mode. It sucks that everyone just grows out of most relationships. Most friendships have expiry dates, when it just stops clicking. I get that feeling pretty often.

13.6.10

cliche stereotypes maybe not

Maybe I could fuck (art), make it new again because bodies and friction are always new always shedding always reassembling. Bodies are auditoriums and every adolescent breath is worth something. Every assembly is an orgy. Maybe we could make babies together and while experiencing labour pains I could say fuck yes this is something fresh. Maybe I could orgasm at the point of entry. Maybe I could drink myself out of the smoke machine so that my whole body is a white column moving upwards towards the light. Your beautiful faces will be illuminated with words. There will be very little self-restraint at last call when they let the lights release themselves a little. You see more, but with less clarity.
Maybe there will be a conference and we will all do research and decide what it means to be new and sincere and on the internet, and we will all do sufficient research beforehand in order to look as smart as the next person wearing similarly alternative clothing (with the right amount of disdain towards mainstream fashion) and we will all have interesting hair cuts that showcase our individuality and we will all have different names for the tragedy of post-modernism. Let us decide on a name so that we can write a manifesto and feel passionate for a minute until the next trend sweeps us into a new film. Name-dropping is a subtle and important tool. We all know about everything that anyone mentions on html giant. We are all cultured and each of us has chosen the perfect drink to represent a sufficient degree of je-ne-sais-quoi and respect for the too-delicate social order of artists in vintage { insert } and fedoras.
There will be minor difficulties and structural collapses. My lungs will die and curl into each other like lovers /hovering in a smoke-filled veranda/ without genital responses. My breasts are pulsing and heavy and I feel this is what it means to be a woman on television. There will be the hollow sound of another man pissing in the next room (but you will never see his cock). There will be intimacy. Two strangers dancing on the linoleum of a basement dance floor are evidence of god. There is a woman lingering against you holding onto her purse wanting you to BE with her moving while holding onto something inaccessible. There will be little to no thought and only action - only bodies sliding together wet and reborn
.

5.6.10

Persona

I've watched three Bergman films in the past 24 hours. One of which being Persona, which is amazing, wonderful, gorgeous. And difficult like all of Bergman's films. Its a challenge not to look away and compose myself, take a break. It would be easier to take in that way, but I resent my compulsion to do this. I managed to watch all three without pulling my eyes away. I always feel like I'm doing something a little bit dangerous while watching Bergman. I've watched the intro upward of 20 times. Warning: cock, animal slaughter, violence. Y'know. In case you're not into that on a sunny Saturday afternoon. And the last segment...mirror stage, anyone?

4.6.10

Conceptual Art and Philosophy.1

My recent adoration and interest in Marina Abramović’s performance piece “The Artist is Present” has encouraged a lot of personal research about conceptual and performance art, and in particular, “feminist” and queer performance art. “The Artist is Present” has received a lot of blog/internet attention, deservedly. I think a lot of people feel that it is important, seminal, beautiful. A post on performance art will come later (I’m trying hard to avoid always reading works from a Lacanian perspective; maybe I should just give up and start calling myself a post-Lacanian feminist). In the meantime, I’ve been prompted to revisit conceptualism so that I can actually form educated arguments about it instead of whining, as per usual. I’ve been awake since 5.30 furiously reading a book called “Philosophy and Conceptual Art.” The following are some notes concerning problematic issues and my general responses.
Firstly, there seem to be two main camps of conceptualists: the first and the most “true” (i.e. Lippard straight from the 1966-1972 period) promotes the dematerialization of the [art] object; implies that the “idea is king” and that conceptual art should be non-perceptual (and thus, has a linguistic correlative so that description can be substituted for perception). This view also considers conceptual art to be “non-aesthetic” and a radical break and subversion of modernist codes, incorporating elements of banality, kitsch, repulsion, etc. The second is a little bit less radical. It suggests the work of art is not primarily an “object for viewing,” although sight is still a necessary part of experiencing the work. Basically, the perception of the art work is inferior and necessarily informed and guided by cognition. There is no “essential” or unified meaning to be worked out; all interpretations are legitimate and work art can/should provoke diverse responses.
First off, no work of art can be non-aesthetic, or non-perceptual. Part of what defines art is the fact that it is presented (even an empty room as “art” is a presentation of absence, a negation of space that is presented as something more that the thing in-itself, as something that provokes a response). As Lamarque notes in his essay Perceiving Conceptual Art, art can be anti-aesthetic, but never non-aesthetic. If the purpose of conceptual art is to subvert traditional modes of aesthetics, it does this not by abandoning aesthetics, but by creating an entirely new code of aesthetics in dialectical opposition. This is why, in my opinion, conceptualism is obviously an extension of, rather than a break from, modernism. Danto says, for example, that a work of art is only a work of art in that it is in some way distinguishable from the “mere real thing,” and thus, the work always has an “end” in sight realized through aesthetics as the means. Aesthetics are not confined to “harmony and beauty,” aesthetics can equally provoke less unified and traditional responses. I would argue that conceptualist aesthetics are the new normative guide for what counts as “good” or “bad” art. Conceptualism is responsible for the establishment of a new set of aesthetic “guides” appropriate to the time, place, historical period, etc. We’ve seen this time and time again – new codes subverting old ones that subsequently become standard.
It is also an illusion to think that conceptual art can be non-perceptual. Especially taking into consideration the fact that a lot of conceptual art depends on the re-contextualization of common objects situated in controlled environments to produce a certain experience. This experience is necessarily both cognitive and phenomenological, involving the body of the viewer in relation to the space. As a big Merleau-Ponty fan, I would argue that nothing is purely cognitive, and our experience of art depends on a specific mode of being-in-the-world. Reading a description of a concept-art work may invoke similar cognitive responses, but the sensory experience of the work in its specific environment will change the viewer’s experience, and most likely their intellectual experience of the work. In this case, I feel like conceptual art is equally “perceptual” (albeit, in a totally different way) as, for example, an 18th-century painting. Often the ideas are produced from the perceptual context, and not vice versa. Repositioning the art object or placing a work in a museum or other space is not an act of removing narrative; at most, it is an act of changing what counts as narrative, and creating a new perceptual space/relationship. And the desire to do this reflects the ideologies of post-modernity as much as modernist paintings reflect the oft-hated ideologies of that time.

And finally (for now), there is an illusion of subjectivity and the denial of normativity. Curry writes:
“The idea is that the process of engagement with the work, while it essentially involves knowledge not made available by vision alone, is a directed process: directed, that is, towards a visual engagement with the work. Works are intended to be looked at, but they should be looked at in the right way, with a proper understanding of the work’s circumstances. It is not, on this account, the agglomeration of the looking and the knowing that constitutes a proper engagement with the work: there is also a relation of priority that holds between them. The knowing is the necessary means to achieve the properly informed looking.” (Curry 42)
If this is true, then there is present in conceptualism a biased prioritization of the cognitive, the “knowing” quality over the “looking” that looks a lot like the modernist prioritization of the “looking” over the “knowing.” I guess that is pretty straightforward. But, this also implies that the conceptualist’s alleged support of completely relative interpretations is an illusion – as soon as you establish a hierarchy of experiential modalities, you enforce a normative way of looking, knowing, experiencing the work. The modernist extreme is replaced by the conceptualist extreme, and both enforce at least some degree of objectivity by privileging one type of interpretation over its opposite. The alleged encouragement of unlimited subjective responses to a conceptual work is undermined by this privileging of one kind of interpretation/experience over another.

I was ready to apologize for the length before I realized – this is my blog, and if you want to read, read. If not, that’s okay, too. As much as I appreciate readership support (I really do!) I sometimes miss not having to worry about writing for an “audience,” however loving and unintimidating the audience may be. And yet, I still post this, because I am interested in what people (if any) have to say in response. My next post will be a [shorter] take on (de-) historicization, conceptualism and Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Are you all signed up on MUBI (formerly The Auteurs)? I’m obsessed.

25.5.10





Elizabeth Weinberg's photography makes me want to be away and in the country, in clean lake water, free to go topless, free enough to make eye contact with people.

23.5.10

Tonight is Deleuze, Neil Young, Antonioni's L'avventura, the last few chapters of Gravity's Rainbow and white pomegranate tea in abundance. I'm feeling delicate and withdrawn. I'm oscillating between feeling okay with this and feeling anxious that the old agoraphobia is coming back. Sometimes I don't go out because I don't want to. Sometimes I don't go out because I feel like it would fucking hurt a lot. Its not so much fear as it is anticipatory exhaustion and anxiety. Ironically, staying at home and reading dense philosophy and gut-wrenchingly gorgeous but intense films or painting or writing a new short story (started a few days ago, it will probably turn into nothing) is equally painful. I can't explain it. Things impact me way too much. I wish I could turn the sensitivity-meter way down and be buoyant and light.
I've been watching films by Joe Swanberg recently. His latest, Alexander the Last, is really...quite lovely. His older films are less interesting but use the same aesthetic; something people call "mumblecore" (...?). From what I've read, mumblecore seems like a bullshit-genre with derogatory implications. Genres are easy to pin on works of art but they're quickly weighed down by it. I'm pulled in quickly to films without a plot. I like when films reflect life - "realist" cinema can't do this anymore. But I find glimpses of this, I guess, emotional/visual realism in certain films. In one article I read, the critic compared Swanberg's aesthetic to Rohmer's - quite a stretch, but I think there are similarities. Both film-makers appeal to me, even if the former falls dangerously close to cliche. But life is a cliche, so any attempt at "realism" usually negotiates with and uses cliches. Hatred toward "cliches" is a postmodern trend. Why are people (myself included) so consumed with authentic expression, even after accepting the fact that nothing is new, and everything is either recapitulation or bricolage? We theorize about the lack a subject, or a plural subject, but a lot of what we do (the "real" beyond theory) still points to an obsession with unities and a unified self.

Underneath all this trivial intellectualizing is a lot of self-doubt, mainly stemming from concerns about next year. I don't know what to write my masters thesis on. Any advice on how to figure this out and/or ease into grad school? Some people are telling me not to worry about my MA thesis, but I still feel as though its a big decision.

18.5.10







I am thinking:

That moment - when you reach the focal point of the parabola. The steady upstream is upset and the subject hits a wall and everything splinters and fractures. The parabola is never the same, the downward tilt is obliterated and you're suspended for a split second, waiting for gravity to kick in so you can get a grip of your body again. Maybe a new trajectory is formed and the old is never seen again in the same light. The new is birthed from one of the splinters; it slowly congeals and progresses by its own momentum. Each intersection is a bit painful. Looking back you can only ever observe progress through the screen of debris.

I am reading:

"The most solid materials perish, as do the mightiest thoughts. And the greatest book ever writen can convey only a tiny fragment of the artist's real emotion. No, we are only building tombs for posterity to admire with our words. We are trying to record the changing ego, but the Self will not be revealed thus. We are only throwing off sparks."

- Henry Miller, from his letters to Anais Nin.

Here's a great essay on Miller and Whitman and the relationship between the two. I suggest reading it.

Art is by Linda Spjut, Anders Berggren, and Nhu Duong, from here.

13.5.10

rockets/entropy



Reading Martin Amis' Times Arrow and Dead Babies to complement (or, take a breath away from) Gravity's Rainbow. To give some brief background before I dive into this post - Time's Arrow is written backwards. So we start with a man at his death and slowly move backwards through his life. All dialogue is reversed. Amis is really easy to read compared to Pynchon. In case anyone hasn't read GR - its a clusterfuck of a narrative, switching back-and-forth between characters, POV, and time periods.
Yes. So, I've been doing some research into the concepts of entropy/physics because both the Pynchon and the Amis tap into and use these concepts. I've always been vaguely aware of these ideas but I've never done legitimate research about it. According to thermodynamics, energy is always exchanged between regions of a "closed space." Heat flows from warm regions to colder regions, but not vice versa (yes, yes, grade school science makes a comeback). As a result, there is always a consistent increase of unusable energy building up within a particular system (you can think of this in terms of a room, an individual - but also, obviously, the world-at-large). This unusable energy is entropy - and entropy and disorder in any particular space increases simultaneously. Leading to fears of an energy-world-death and all out anarchy. *Here I'm reminded of that scene from Godard's "Two or Three Things I Know About Her," when we're watching the coffee spinning in the cup...I need to watch that again*
Tied in with this is the concept of time's arrow, which is a philosophical concept superimposed onto thermodynamics to describe how humans view ourselves in relation to this energy exchange/increase process. Typical anthropomorphizing - we have an innate understanding of time as linear, moving forward as entropy increases, like a wire sliced through a wave of steadily-increasing energy. Essentially, "
the inescapable increase of total entropy in a closed system marks the direction of time." So, in a fucked-up way, "progression" is the expulsion of energy that propels humanity forward, towards an unknown "target." And all of history is a rush into anarchy fuelled by the skittish paranoia produced by entropy. I think these concepts are so interesting in relation to the po-mo attitude - which is characterized by a kind of blasé inertia coupled with a manic desire to fragment, to destroy creatively. The symbol of the rocket in Gravity's Rainbow perfectly illustrates these concepts - the ambiguity, Slothrop's desire to move but his lack of a direction or destination, the paranoia, the frustration caused by the lack of any real "self" transferred into sex as violence or violence as sex, or "just" violence, plain and simple. And the immanence of the rocket except as a symbol, except when embodied with the energy of a bunch of sexually-frustrated men rushing into a new period because they have nothing better to do and not enough self-awareness to understand what's making them so impatient. Insert comments about phallic symbols here.
So of course it makes sense that po-mo lit disrupts the linearity of time's arrow, as though post-modernism itself is the "destination" that we've been leading up to since the modernist period. Anarchy has arrived when time is no longer a legitimate or trusted marker.
I love reading about bodies bodies bodies decaying, moving, fucking, shitting, hurting, standing still momentarily to take a breath, incapable of doing anything but creating - mostly by accident. I don't know why I love being reminded of my corporeality so much. But I think the whole process is brilliant, horrific and a little bit dissapointing, all at the same time. Just being human is the most mundane and incredible feat possible.


I got my science info from Richard Menke - "Narrative Reversals and the Thermodynamics of History in Martin Amis's Time's Arrow"
Illustration: Tilman Faelker

9.5.10

Yet another incredible post from transversalinflections. This is Deleuze (and Badiou, Pasolini and Foucault) used well.

8.5.10




Pasolini retrospective entitled "The Poet of Contamination" at the Cinematheque July-August!
Orgasms ensue. Too bad I'll be semi-migrant those months. Spending a week or two in New York City, most likely. Today, though, it is lovely outside my living room window. Hopefully some more thunderstorms will happen today, because I just got a giant job to do for work and will spend the next day holed up, writing. Candles and Ceremony's new album Rocket Fire, infrequent Gravity's Rainbow breaks and cats sleeping in lazy piles on an unfinished canvas. I'm also going to watch Catherine Breillat's Anatomy of Hell. Any film with the following character list:
The Woman
The Man
Blow-job lover 1
Blow-job lover 2
Man in bar
Boy with bird
Little girl playing doctor
Little boy playing doctor (2)
Pharmacist 1
Pharmacist 2...is quite possibly my cup of tea, if only for the fucked-up Bataille-ish drama I'm expecting.
Art is from Zak Smith's page-by-page illustrations of Gravity's Rainbow.