when lights are low.

"Together they are a long skin interface, flowing sweat, close as muscles and bones can press, hardly a word beyond her name, or his...one night in the dark quilt-and-cold refuge of their bed, drowsing to and fro himself, he licked Jessica to sleep. When she felt his first warm breaths touch her labia, she shivered and cried like a cat. Two or three notes, it seemed, that sounded together, hoarse, haunted, blowing with snowflakes remembered from around nightfall." - Pynchon, GR

I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow; therefore, I am extremely frustrated. I know, that's the point, and maybe there is value in that. Every 100 pages or so it starts to make beautiful sense for a few pages and the other 90% feels like I am bashing my head against a wall. I don't really enjoy having to do extensive research every other page. Pavlovian physiology is interesting though. And I'm brushing up on my mythology. And I now know shitloads about the Blitz and other such WW2 facts. But what I love are the little bits of mystic gorgeous descriptions of sex and miscommunication and loss that are absolutely brilliant and wrenching. Still, GR is the opposite of a phenomenological text - ultra cognitive - and it doesn't give you any breaks as a reader, or any place to settle in and get comfortable.
I am listening to music appropriate to Autumn and watching the neighbours across the street separate on their respective porches, letting their children mingle together on their still-unkempt spring lawns. The little blonde girls have so much energy and noise that steadily declines. And their voices slowly quiet down and their little bodies get limp and then the sun goes down and the lights go on upstairs. Young people migrate out of their houses, all heading south a few blocks to busier streets, and the laughter of children is replaced with the cynical, syrupy giggles of drunk girls in stilettos.
Tonight is dedicated to poetry, reads and the mixed media piece I started a few days ago. I wish I had a work room or office to scatter pages around, but presently my bed is my best bet.
I want to tattoo a Walt Whitman stanza somewhere on my body. Which stanza, which poem?


I didn't enjoy An Education but I relate.

When I first came here I was not wide-eyed but extremely porous and everything was radically beautiful and depoliticized and every step outside was a breath of fresh air and a slap in the face. Every street corner was the first line of a poem I couldn't finish. And each new man was an entry-point into understanding the streets. You're fucking him but you're thinking of the city and it gets you off fast. And I was like a jittery wet kid just learning to masturbate, my body stuck at the front at concerts, vibrating against the speaker. My eyes permanently damp and closed really tight so as not to breathe and each song got me close to climax that released itself like a swell, not a bang. Becoming an adult is learning how powerful people are and the terror of desiring bodies all clenched and holding themselves in. And I learned about the obligation of being an object and I learned that men coerce and pull. Romance is not a well framed sepia toned print with soundtrack and a clear foreground, romance is abandonment on an empty street in chinatown at four AM so drunk the city looks like sticky wet paint. Learning romance is realizing the cruelty I am capable of showing myself.

"It is the possession of a role which provides the impetus to go out in the world, to act at all. The more numerous roles, the greater the number of excursions" - Susan Sontag from The Benefactor

ph: them-thangs.com


Wangechi Mutu

Pictures are super super inadequate, especially in this case after having seen the actual in real life a few hours ago much much larger - but this work in particular reminded me of Aurel Schmidt's work that I posted earlier this week. And I'm sure both are 100x better in person. The above is "This You Call Civilization" by Wangechi Mutu.
And I just have to say - I absolutely love Wangechi Mutu's art. The wounded wall, the extreme collage, the hybrid sexualities, everything - very cyborg-theory Donna Haraway - and so visceral. If you ever get the chance, see her work. Unfortunately we're hoarding it all to ourselves at the AGO right now.
Here are some related links and more photos if you're interested.


Heidegger, and other things.

So, yesterday was amazing. My boyfriend is amazing. I realized today during my psychiatry appointment that I feel ashamed when I communicate positive news to people. I'm not really sure what that means. Most of what I dwell on is negative, which frustrates me. I'm not a negative person, per se, but I feel more invested in unravelling and delving into so-called negative emotions. I've always assumed there is more to uncover and more to learn from more difficult things, but the more I ponder the less I think that is true. There is a lot to uncover from positive emotions as well, and significant room for self-discovery in that arena. I think its partly an age/maturity thing that makes me dwell so heavily on the negative-dialectic side of the existential dilemma.
I got out of the shower yesterday to find a beautiful 1953 typewriter wrapped up in a gorgeous vintage case on the kitchen table as my birthday gift from Andrew. Finally, a typewriter! And we spent the rest of the afternoon in High Park at the mini-zoo and basking in the sun by the pond. Then popsicles red wine and horror movies. Toronto surprises me, often.

The point of this post, however, is this quote from Heidegger, which made me smile this morning on the subway:

"Truth, as the clearing and concealing of what is, happens in being composed, as a poet composes a poem. All art, as the letting happen of the advent of the truth of what is, is, as such, essentially poetry. The nature of art, on which both the art work and the artist depend, is the setting-itself-into-work of truth. It is due to art's poetic nature that, in the midst of what is, art breaks open an open place, in whose openness everything is other than usual" -from "The Origin of the Work of Art"

One of my problems with conceptual art (conceptual in the purest, po-mo sense) is that there is no opening up, no "revealing" in confrontation because the "thing-ness" is entirely immanent, like a case for ideas only accessible via the cognitive. I am conflicted because in a sense conceptual art performs what Heidegger talks about when he differentiates between the object-side and subject-side (the "thing-ness" of the work vs. its "work quality") but in his words, those two sides are collapsed together in our experience of the work. But in conceptual art those lines seem strict. The "thingness" of the work is maintained as thing, as purely representational. That seems to be how conceptual art works, but that kind of separation is counter-intuitive to how humans experience things, or how we would if we weren't all only semi-aware of our bodies. Maybe this paradox of contemporary art is itself an expression of our historical time, and thus a revealing of "truth" in a sense. But it seems more and more the phenomenological component is downplayed purely for the sake of the purely cognitive. A lot of conceptual art is just "thing-ness" without the beauty, until you sit and think about it for a while, and then it opens itself up. Sometimes. And maybe that is also the fault of the whole "exhibition value" theory from Benjamin. But I find less and less inspiration from contemporary art and more and more inspiration from being-in-the-world. Sitting on the side of a grassy hill and watching people touch each other, watching old men shift their weight on park benches, watching the way light moves across water. Sometimes, contemporary art feels dead to me. At most, an interesting diversion, but never something truly beautiful. I am definitely old-fashioned and nostalgic, and maybe all those modernist-theorists and their ideas aren't applicable to art "now." If that is true, I am disappointed, because I think art and poetry should still be about revealing something new, and feeling, and beauty. Authenticity, sure, but sometimes what passes as "authentic" now is just dead-ness, it doesn't add anything to our experience of life. Art should be accessible and we should be accessible to art.
There are, of course, great and interesting things going on. But very rarely do I sense that "rift" Heidegger goes on about. And I am nostalgic for that, even if being 23 in 2010 in North America means that I've only ever experienced echoes and reproductions of it.


strawberries and pink lemonade.

I want to get Josef Alber's book Interaction of Colour.
Here's an article about it at Lined and Unlined.
I used to be fairly indifferent to colour-block art, until reading Merleau-Ponty.

Dominic Wilcox's new-ish installation, "Field" is really lovely. I've always been a fan of his things, especially war bowls.

I'm feeling conflicted about Aurel Schmidt.
1 and 2 (detail from):
"So Damn Pure" pencil, colored pencil, beer, blood, pepto-bismol, wine, grape crush, imodium, coffee, kool-aid, listerine, tang, urine, comet, daiquiri mix, spit, acrylic on paper
3 (detail from) 4:
"Master of the Universe / FlexMaster 3000" pencil, colored pencil, acrylic, beer, dirt on paper

It's my birthday weekend so I'm going to do what I want. Watch lots of film-noir, visit the AGO to see the Lucien Freud/Rembrandt exhibition, and read a lot of Heidegger.
Feeling a lot less psycho. Lesson learned: don't stop taking heavy psychiatric meds cold turkey and go outside more often, especially when its so gorgeous. I'm trying to be good to myself.


I'm going to read more Judith Butler before bed.

Fuck, I'm nuts paranoid today. I don't know what's wrong with me. I haven't felt this way in a while, it feels like insurmountable doubt floating up and somersaulting against my chest, or like a man is inside my ribs pushing his hand, or maybe his head, against the skin. There is half of a dead squirrel outside this building, cut straight in half on the sidewalk, with the spine out. What to do with that? I don't know what to do with myself except fuck and eat and smoke and curl up in bed, all of which would be nice right now but I'm feeling scared of the bedroom for some reason. I don't know why. I want my boyfriend here who is light and easy and tall and hilarious but he is across the city. Ever get terrified of something and then figure out what's really going on and feel this intense, euphoric relief that's kind of dissapointing at the same time? Metaphor for life? Like the feeling I get that split second after a great orgasm, and my whole body feels a little tired, pleasurable but forlorn because the climax is done and really, its just a climax. I'm sorry, this is so silly and I feel strange.

Harper: In your experience of the world, how do people change?

Mormon Mother: Well it has something to do with God so it's not very nice. God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and then plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your bloody tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out and the pain! We can't even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled and torn. It's up to you to do the stitching.

Harper: And then get up. And walk around.

Mormon Mother: Just mangled guts pretending.

Harper: And that's how people change.

-one of my favourite bits from Angels in America

ph: Eli Karakoc


I'm feeling really exhausted, of everything. It's hard to put things in perspective because, obviously, I've done nothing but write papers the last 3 weeks and I have one left and my brain is sore. And I'm not taking care of myself, my body is falling apart. I haven't left my boyfriend's apartment since Tuesday. I need to go out and breath and buy some fruit and make a smoothie and stop being on the internet. I am so tired of being inundated with information but its like I compulsively seek it out when I need my brain to stop thinking about misrecognition and fracturing and Kushner's fault lines of creation. Doesn't anybody get sick of shit, the parade of fucking naked girls online, the fucking disaffected irony of things, the constant updates, the endless google reader-wheel, the making-of-plans, the mutual masturbation of facebook? I want to be out in-the-world but I don't want it to be full of people. I'm really sick of blogging too, I feel like this is a waste of time, but - I compulsively do it anyways. Habits die hard.
ps. I put on comment moderation because of all the spam. Its really irritating to me.

Photo sources
1 + 5 unknown
2 sacha heron
3 baubauhaus
4 a journey around my skull


Today is a pretty amazing day, except for Miley Cyrus playing on my Mom's radio and her manic window cleaning resulting in heavy vinegar-spring smells. Meh.
[Disclaimer: The following paragraph is a silly departure from my usual blog subjects, but fuck it]
I love my siblings. They are some of the most interesting people I know. Ali and I went to the giant craftstore yesterday and I got a bunch of materials for these little art projects I've been wanting to do. We also went to the BEST Value Village, and I purchased a bright red vintage luggage bag for 2 bucks (I have the same one in blue and I bought it for 40 from a boutique in Kensington in TO) and...wait for it...2 vintage (1978) Star Trek puzzles!!! They are so epic. I'm thinking I'll matte and frame them and put them up in my new kitchen come September. Nerd-kitsch-vintage decor - - my favourite. The horrible thing about chain thrift stores in Toronto is that good things are snatched up immediately by hipsters who then re-sell such items for 4 times the cash at their trendy vintage boutiques. Things like that don't happen in suburbia.
I watched "The Blind Side" yesterday against my will and actually liked it. But, as per usual when I'm watching movies with the fam, horribly obvious manipulative-measures are used that my family is oblivious to. So I add my running commentary and inevitably, recieve a lot of eye rolls from my conservative step-dad who is "just trying to enjoy the movie." The main thing that bothered me is the fact that the "projects" were filmed in green and black sepia-ish tones while the "white" spaces were literally full of fucking sun and peaches and happiness. The film seems to lack self-awareness of the crazy dichotomy it sets up between these two spaces. And I understand that there are horrible differences between black and white America, based on how the system functions. But not all black people in America are sitting on the curb sharpening knifes and threatening female passerbys. There's just no space for liminality between the racial boundaries of this film.

So yes. Just sayin'. Happy Easter.Oh god, the Backstreet Boys are playing on the radio now (and non-ironically). What is going on.


Good morning. Kind of. Hopefully for you, at least.
I'm feeling tired. Last night I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's while doing work, which cheered me up. I always cry and fall in love with that writer, and when she finds her cat at the end and they kiss in the rain...phew...I can't even stand it. I'm incredibly sappy. And then I watched a bunch of youtube videos of Gene Kelly dancing and singing all over the fucking place like a maniac. I love musicals, non-ironically. Sheer pleasure.
I stopped taking my meds so I'm feeling a little out of it, although really not much more than usual. First stop meds, second stop cigarettes. I want to be free of chemicals and full of sun.
My flash fiction is in the April decomP. I named it "Innocence and Panic" from the first section of Scenes From a Marriage. I guess it was kind of inspired by Bergman, or something.

Innocence and Panic at decomP

Happy day of celebrating Jesus' brutal murder, by the way. My mood is appropriate to the occasion
. I would rather be in any one of these sexy libraries: