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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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?


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.