7/2/10

Exaggerated Manners

Been sort of seeking out inspiring bits in the Universe to help get my thinking organized. I have a lot of notes and ideas and I guess I need to just be more vigilant and where I put each thing. Writing two new stories and one new piece and sort of like, dividing my ideas among them. At least until each thing has it's own legs and sort of know what it needs. It's like houseplants.

I've been toying with the idea of writing various kinds of manifestos. Sort of for my own benefit, really, to be like "This Is What I Am Trying To Do". Here's what I'm working with. Y'know? But I'm still trying to think of what I would say. The point is, my kindred spirit soul sister La JohnJoseph just posted a sort of beautiful manifesto herself.

God you guys yesterday was so hard. I was exhausted. I had that thing where I get really tired and sappy and sad. I had a pretty heartening online chat with La JJ about it. It's really hard sometimes. Just, like, to acknowledge the struggle or whatever. Not trying to have a pity party or be like "My Life Is Particularly Difficult". Just trying to acknowledge that sometimes people can be real jerks and sometimes you feel blue and that's okay. Getting a solid ten hours of sleep really, really helped last night. I feel a bit sturdier today.

But still totally apprehensive! I'd been listening to this art piece about junk a lot yesterday (more on that later) and I had the most insane dream last night. I am trying to recollect it. But in the dream, certain friends of mine (whom I jokingly refer to as comprising a "Drug Cult" when I really mean "Drug Culture" a.k.a "Artistic Community") were all hanging out at a big house party. Obviously, this being a dream it was like a labyrinth and also vaguely familiar, filled with people I sort of knew. Anyways the main thrust of the dream was that we were all using heroin and kept trying to convince the people in the house that it was okay, that we were safe, that we were being responsible. That we could afford it. Basically running from strange room to strange room, looking for a place to fix. Every room was painted white and lit by the moon which came in through windows. All the rooms were connected via strange stairwells and secret passages. It was like the Winchester Mystery House. And in the dream we just kept trying and trying to convince everyone that we were okay and to let us use in their room. It was tense. I don't remember the rest of it. Don't worry though I'm not using and never have and never will. Though I sometimes forget that for a while the only guys I was involved with were, like, ex-junkies. Maybe I don't mean "like". At the time (my late teens) I thought this was kind of hilarious and sort of spoke to a kind of tragic self-mythologizing I thought I needed. Anyway I ditched it. Too spooky. I miss you Chuck.

I feel so ready for the long weekend. I really need to get my shit together. This video really inspires me. I don't know why I never bothered to look for it online before. I first saw this in my junior year of college in a lecture course on contemporary art. We didn't even watch the whole thing but I was transfixed. It sort of changed me in a profound way.

I love you, Bruce Nauman.


For me, the experience of this video is liberating on two levels:
a) Conceptual Art. The idea that this is something that you can make as an artist. The catalog of questions this raises and aesthetics which it speaks to are really inspiring to me, as somebody who considers herself engaged in the art-making milieu.
b) Queerness. My own initial experience of watching this video was (and remains) one of profound attraction. Bruce Nauman's Butt! His stern little expression! Oh my gosh. WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF EXAGGERATED MANNER IS THAT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE? I am also interested in how my own boner for B.N. intersects with the "serious" a.k.a. "nonsexual" world of conceptual art. But then: who says it's nonsexual, right? This video is, for me, about desire. It is a precursor to the kind of work which I saw last night at the CTRL+W33D show at Envoy. But this is old. I am thinking a lot about the experience of being a viewer and being a voyeur. And I am also thinking about the distance between me and Bruce Nauman in this video, in terms of time, location, sexuality, and mediation of film. I'm thinking about the privileging of the viewer in this video and wondering whether or not Bruce meant for bitchy queens 30-40 years later to use this video as masturbatory fodder and then whether or not my doing so means that I (and/or anybody who wants to be part of my "We") can use other materials for other kinds of masturbatory fodder and I'm thinking about Worship and I'm thinking about Us, Together. And Exaggerated Manners.

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