VOL.3, NO.2 NOVEMBER 6, 2013
the cal arts eye
Interview with Perceptual Media
by The Eye
The War on Thursday by Clay Kerrigan
Hot Solids Hard Art
by Geli B. Tripping
No Poppies in the Poppy Field, and Other Qualms of Life by K.T Browne
What is a Revolution? by John Calvin
Through Our Eyes by Sarah Leslie
by Shana Mirambeau
Bugs in Search of Self by K.T Browne
Irks My Nerves
The Calarts Eye is an uncensored, multimetier publication created, composed, and constructed by students, for the CalArts community.
Interview with Perceptual Media by The Eye the eye talks with gabriela garcia medina, erica ortiz and francesca marciano about their production company, perceptual media.
the eye: Hi Girls! Can you tell us a little bit about how Perceptual Media operates on a practical level? What does P.M do?
by Angela Blue
calartseye.com email@example.com @calartseye
by Stephanie Taglianetti
perceptual media: We bring together students from different metiers at CalArts to collaborate on artistic/creative projects. P.M. turns a creative idea into a reality; whether it be a short film, concept photography, performance art, etc. We work as a collaborative group and truely strive to nurture the different artist and artistries within our productions. We oversee production from its rawest state and do whatever it takes to make the final product flourish. We encourage women to take leadership roles within our productions and strive to inspire roles within film for underrepresented minorities. We believe that all people have similar emotional journeys, but we chose to tell them through a lens that is true to our backgrounds. Through doing this we aspire to create a visual platform where everyone is equal. t.e: How do you define P.M’s involvement in an external project? Do you see it as a ‘collaboration’ or does P.M occupy more of a managerial role? To what extent does P.M engage with a project? p.m: It’s definitely a collaboration. P.M’s involvement depends on the type of creative input needed from us. We work together and we do what is best for production. In most cases this means working in collaboration with other artists. In the case of our most recent production, House of Sand, our crew consisted of friends who volunteered their hard work and time. Since we work as a collective, we want to honor our colleagues and return the hard work and time; just as it was given to us. t.e: Do you accept proposal submissions? How does one approach P.M if they have a project they’d like to bring you in on? p.m: We do accept proposals/submissions, however, the way we work is through a community based system. Currently we have four projects in the works. Before we consider any outside projects we are committed to supporting those members of our crew and team who bust their balls for our project over the summer. We believe everyone on board is extremely talented, so we want to see their projects through before we start accepting external submissions. If someone wants to get involved they cannot be afraid of doing the grunt work. What works extremely well about our
continued on a3
The War on Thursday by Clay Kerrigan
I have been hearing some horrifying things around this school lately, from many different sources. For example, I’ve heard that “commons time,” scheduled for Thursdays from four to seven, was created to replace the CalArts tradition of Thursday gallery nights. I have heard that a certain CalArts Official calls Thursday nights “the bane of [his] existence,” and that he would do anything to get rid of them. I don’t know about you guys, but every day it feels like this school is one step further from being an experimental art school and one step closer to being just like every other private university- a sanitized institution focused on the tried and true American goal of amassing ever larger wads of cash. How is this done? Take any formerly experimental medium/venue/ institution, MTV, for example, rip out any part that doesn’t please the widest possible audience, then re-present it as if it were the same product—and rake in the cash. It probably started a long time ago (hell, I’ve only been here a year), but the first big change that CalArts made was graduation. From what I’ve gathered, graduation used to give every graduate walking the stage some amount of time do WHATEVER THEY WANTED. This could have been a rant, a dance, a performance, sending a tortoise to receive your diploma- I even heard one kid chainsawed his way out of the stage. This is the exact sort of event that captures the very essence of an art school- the world is yours, do with it what you will- and here, for possibly the last time in a long time, we will give you a platform on which to do it. Fuck. Yes. This sacred ritual has been reduced to allowing graduates to choose a song that will play for a few seconds as they walk across the stage or something. Not even half as interesting and sounds like a headache, to boot. Many of you may remember last year’s Ban On Nudity. For those of you who don’t know, CalArts, up until last year, was completely clothing optional. While this allowance was rarely used, it was a pillar of experimental artistic ideology based on the understanding that most of society’s adopted value structures are arbitrary and highly specific, that body shame is the temple of repression reinforced by the religious right and anathema to an artist’s cause. continued on a2
Hot Solids Hard Art by Angela Blue with daniel wroe [mfa 2 art]
“I LIKE MAGNETS. I think they are magic.”
q: How do you approach art making? a: I don’t. Backwards? q: What kind of art do you like? a: The kind that happens by accident. Marks of humanity made without artistic intention.
q: What beliefs do you hold close when making your work? a: Scientists are drunk. Einstein championed a messy work space.
A2 continued — the war on thursday
Revisit by Shana Mirambeau
Last year, this principle was taken from us on the grounds that “we might have visitors or children on campus at any given time.” This happened the same week that CalArts announced that it was installing security cameras. There was a big public meeting held about it, with massive attendance. Students made points about CalArts becoming a police state, security made points about stolen property and school shootings, and administrative officials and assistants made points about feeling safe. A couple of students stripped in protest of the new ban on nudity. The head of security said that this meeting was strictly courtesy, that they were going ahead anyways, and that his door was always open. Students shouted that they were there to talk now, why deflect the conversation? Not a week later, I was on a dorm patio- you know, the wide open one overlooking the valley below? Well, it was a Thursday, I was drinking with the rest of the Writing MFA program, taking in the sunset, getting ready to walk the galleries, listening to music, when a crew of five to six security guards and police officers rolled up to our patio, started taking names, and clearing us out. I asked them why, as we are all over 21, as we are on our campus, as we are at a friends place of residence, as it is Thursday night, as we don’t have the music louder than one would have a television in a bar, and they gave us no answers. We had done nothing wrong, but they insisted on taking our names and having us clear the area. Has anyone noticed the new uniforms the security guards are wearing? Scare tactics, much? Yeesh.
Whisper The Run Push Time Beneath Elaborate Moon Trudge Storm Recall Urge Shadow Moan Yet Language Reveal Frantic Spring Together smear Tender passion Tremble love Chant desire Linger pleasure
And now a certain CalArts Official wants to do away with Thursday nightsthe one night of the week where this school actually feels like a college, but an art school’s idea of a college- where OUR partying is about showcasing new work. According to him, it costs him somewhere in the hundred thousand dollar range every week. I call bullshit. I think that what you want is for this school to become a Pixar feeder school and you don’t care what else you have to shave off to make that happen. You don’t care about ideology, you don’t care about integrity, and you certainly don’t care about running an experimental institution.
3/5 by Geli B. Tripping A review column for things that are just ok.
saturday Saturdays are alright, just don’t expect me to get all hot and bothered over the last practical day of the weekend. Sure, Saturday doesn’t come with the same weekday responsibilities as Sunday, but it doesn’t share the same reckless abandon as Friday either. Today is Saturday and I know that any “reckless abandon” I engage in tonight will be exponentially related to the hangover I grade papers with tomorrow. Saturday. Eh. affordable health care act Thanks ‘Bama! Now I can start treating my Psoriasis like a “real woman” and stop swallowing fistfuls of shark cartilage supplements every morning because I’m too poor to see a doctor. But wouldn’t it have been even more affordable to just reinstate leper colonies and ship all the terminally ill back to Moloka’i? I mean, really. wurstküche (pronounced vurst-kook-uh) Food tasted great, but while I was waiting in line to order my mango chicken sausage I blacked out and woke up in an overcrowded European Techno-club. All that thumping.
Art School Ruminations: The Individuation Diaries "No Poppies in the Poppy Field, and Other Qualms of Life" by K.T Browne date: August 19, 2013 location: Los Angeles, California age: 23.5 traffic flow: Moderate sky quality: Jigsawed
Dear Editor— There was a time in which I could walk into the supermarket and select my items with ease, without quibbles over gluten or lactose constituents. Yes, there was a time in which, above all, my snacks held the promise of joyous afternoons and simple pleasures; ultimate satisfaction. Bygone and lost to memory are those times now, Editor. Life has since heavied, and I can eat only rice bread. Further, my supermarket experiences have complicated— simple snacks have lost their flavor, their succulence, their ability to joy me. These days, I deal heavily with individuation. I listen to drone. I write poems. The world, Editor. The world. Editor, I write to you on this day because the other night, I had a dream in which I was standing on a concrete platform in the middle of a desert with a tiger crouched beside to me. Oddly enough, I wasn't scared; I had my arm wrapped around the tiger's coat and my head was tilted towards him— I felt that his presence was gentle, and that I was safe. The tiger had yellow eyes and yellow teeth and bits of yellow sediment tucked between his paws. He knew everything. We connected. And although we couldn't speak to one another, I nevertheless felt a strange sense of comfort standing next to him, there on that concrete platform, in the middle of an arid sea— searching. We were searching. This brings me to my next point. Yes. The tiger and I— were searching. Though now, as I write this wide-awake, I cannot say that I even know exactly what it was that we were searching for. All I know is that the tiger and I were looking for something, tilting our heads up to watch the sky, assessing the weather for a message we hoped was woven into the clotted clouds above. But we couldn't find anything of metaphorical magnitude there. Moments later, the sky began to curl and transfigure. It went haywire; starting to blow and plume dust with vigor around us; we coughed, we squinted, the wind sped up. It happened so quickly then— I lost sight of my feet, lost sight of the tiger, lost my friend, lost perception, lost the sky. ***
It was foggy when I awoke in southern California to radio static, an empty fridge, and a closed supermarket. I was restless, yet full of heart. I was hungry for exploration. I put on sunscreen and shoelaces and whirred my engine eastbound. The desert sucks, Editor. There is nothing there but everything. To make a moderately-sized story nano: there were no poppies in the poppy field. There were no poppies in the poppy field. It took me a while to get over it, too. I drove to the poppy fields because I had heard that the poppies there were grand. I even packed a snack. I drove to the desert to the poppy fields because I had heard that the poppies there were majestic atop the landscape, patterning the horizon in hues of red and red and gold. I love the color red, Editor. But when I arrived in the desert at the poppy fields, I couldn't see a single poppy nor pattern. There were no poppies in the poppy field. There were no poppies in the poppy field. Despite this disappointment, I veered onward, trying to ignore the barren terrain. I wandered ceaselessly. I tried to see beauty in the vacant. Really, I tried. But with each step, I only felt more cheated. Why were there no poppies in the poppy field, Editor? Why would something claim a title so acutely disparate from its actuality? Editor, should I stop thinking so much? My mother suggested I probably should. Should I be listening to my mother? Should I be reading commercial fiction instead of the dead French? Should I be watching Breaking Bad? I don't have a TV, nor do I desire one, but I don't want to miss out on a quintessentially American experience. I don't want to go through life without ever bonding with a tiger. I don't want to deal with individuation anymore. I don't want to be not-a-girl-but-not-yet-a-woman. I am tired of these smoggy skies, Editor. Southern California is strange. There is neon and radiation leaking all over the power lines of this sprawling city, and I can't see the sky clearly because the smog is always there. It never leaves. What am I supposed to do when I need to breathe deeply and the smog prevents me from doing so? I can't breathe deeply here, Editor. I can't. I can't see the sky. I can't see the horizon. There are no poppies in the poppy field and the state park does not have proper signage along its pathways and in conclusion, I am lost. I am so, so lost.
I ate my snack. Nut butter sandwich. Good but not spectacular, bread a little stale at the sides. Then I hobbled all the way up to a vista point tucked between two forked pathways and stood on a rock. I lifted my arms, dramatically. I tilted my head skyward, dramatically. I closed my eyes and envisioned all of the things that I wanted, and all of the things that I had. Then I opened my eyes and bellowed into the distance— "EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS FALLING GRAND." I don't think anyone heard me howling unintelligibly because the parking lot was empty and there were no poppies in the poppy field. However, at that moment, I did find it nice to imagine that somewhere, high up in the sky above me, the pilot of a helicopter was watching my dramatic gesticulations, nodding his head, smiling, and thinking as he steered himself steadily homeward— Yes, yes it is. After my outburst, which I have since titled: "KT's deeply satisfying soul defecation", I felt lighter. Then I experienced a moment of profound clarity. Atop that rock, in the middle of the desert, amidst the dormant poppies and arid sea, I sensed, for a fleeting moment that there was a strange grandness affixed to all things. And so it was— that the sky was golden, the trees were green, and in the far distance, somewhere crooked between the mirage of freeways flowing and the sways of city palms, I swore that I saw a tiger. Yes. My dream tiger was there, I promise you, Editor. The tiger from my dream was watching me with his yellow eyes, smiling from some faraway desert yonder, reassuring me that I would enjoy great, great snacks again; and that too, the poppies would come to bloom in time. Then a particle of dust blew into my eye. It tickled me. I blinked. My dream tiger was gone.
continued — interview with perceptual media by the eye
collective is that we do whatever needs to be done, and there is little to noego involved, no job is too little because the ultimate goal is the art that we are making, not any one person’s “job.” So we encourage people to come to us who want to help make art (other people’s art as well as their own). We prefer to work with people who are in need of something more than just money to get their film made. t.e: Can you talk a little more about the thematic issues you’re interested in exploring with P.M? p.m: We are open to various thematic issues;our primary interest is to tell a story. It all depends on the inspiration that is derivative of the creator. Our first short, House of Sand, explored the theme of identity and the loss of innocence for a little boy who’s parents get divorced and he starts to blur imagination and reality. It was lightly influenced by Exupery’s The Little Prince. We used a predominantly Latino Cast, our lead actor was Filipino. The Director, Producer, Writer, Production Designer, Costume Designer, Make-Up, Assistant Director, were all women, 80% women of color. We had other women work as PAs as well as Assistant Editers, but most of the leading roles had women at the core. Our second project Repulsion is a photography series that deals with the image of Women in iconic cinema. The Repulsion Photos are PART � of this series. Repulsion, an iconic film by Roman Polanski about trauma, abuse and a woman’s descent into insanity is considered a masterpiece. We wanted to take it and match-frame it, staying true to Polanski’s images but as an experiment to see what it would look like through the eyes of a woman photographer (Aly Whitman), a woman lighting designer (Erica Ortiz) and a female Production Designer (Francesca Marciano), all roles which in the original iconic film were occupied by men. There is a PART 2 and PART 3 to this Photography piece, where we will be match-framing two other iconic International Films (cannot disclose yet), but PART 2 is scheduled to be shot in late November. t.e: To what extent does the personal affect the product when it comes to Art-Making? You cite Roman Polanksi as an inspiration - how do you assimilate his private self (convicted of rape of a 13 year old girl) against the beauty of his films? p.m: This is a tricky question, but more often than not, it is our belief to separate the personal from the artwork. After Polanski’s pregnant wife was brutally murdered by the Manson Family, he raped a 13 year old girl and fled to Europe. Though the “man” is not one that may be admired, the “art” that he makes, for some reason beyond understanding- is incredibly good. If we were to refuse the art because of the hands that made it, then we’d miss out on a lot of great works of art. For example, Woody Allen married his 14 year old daughter, and yet his movies are genius. Orson Scott Carr wrote Ender’s Game, one of the Best Young Science Fiction books ever written, and the author happens to be an outright racist, William Burroughs shot his wife. Tamara de Lempicka was Mussolini’s mistress, Sid stabbed Nancy, Charles Dickens was an asshole, the list goes on. For better or worse, artists are human beings, and while their art does not justify their actions, it doesn’t make their art bad. erica: “The personal” is what tends to drive the inspiration to my work.
What is a Revolution? by John Calvin
It is the reversal of all relations (i.e.… servant becomes master and vice versa). It is a process, not an event. It cannot be won through a protest movement alone. It must have, even after seizing control, a revolutionary party, to ensure that the process is continuing; otherwise society will revert back to the pre-revolutionary system.
I believe that art is most interesting and universal when the vulnerability of humanity is apparent. When I am in the middle of work, I do have to reevaluate and consider who my audience may be. I want to connect with others through my work, not just have it be something made for myself. t.e: In the recreation of these famous still-shots by Roman Polanski, how are the lives of women of color represented? How are they removed from the ideals of the Male Gaze that seem to be implicated in Roman Polanski’s originals? p.m: We are passionate individuals about art. And that happens to be a fantastic film appreciated by all members of P.M. As is Daisies by Vera Chytilova (which will likely be PART 3 of our Photography match-frame project) - a Czech film that also does not reflect the lives of women of color in representation, but it does so in emotional and social experience. Just as in Repulsion the woman suffers severe psychological trauma, in Chytilova’s film the women’s experience is the aftermath of the war in a future that is bleak and that does not take them into consideration, so they fall into a different kind of madness that is more destructive toward the world rather than internal (as in Repulsion). Both films deal with very real human emotions, had they cast women of color, they would equally deal with human emotions, because we live in a society in which it is normalized to cast whiteness, all the characters in all the films are white. Our goal as Perceptual Media is to cast Latino/a actors in all of our work even when matching stills. In Roman Polanski’s film, the main character is definitely afraid of the male gaze. Polanski does such a great job of building this fear and trauma. He only subtly hints at past abuse through a family photo that shows only seconds before the credits roll. In the larger scheme of things though, the male gaze is all around us, its difficult, because patriarchy is so strongly rooted in our culture, it tends to be at the “control-panel” for everything. For example, a man can walk without his shirt on through campus because its a hot day, and if a woman takes of her shirt for the same reason, there are all these other layers (pun intended) that arise—because social politics are complex, and we exist in a world where there is a dominant social construct and so things will be interpreted from said lens; but in an ideal world, that woman should be free to take off her shirt if she’s hot, just as the man can take it off without repercussion. When it comes to art, it’s a bit more complicated because you are asking for attention, you are saying, hey listen to me, I have something to say. But part of what we want to say with the Repulsion shoot and the Photo stills is that 1. for the most part- the art and the artist should be separate. 2) All peopleshould be exposed to great film, just as Latinos or ESL Actors should not fear Shakespeareit is of great urgency that actors of color strive for distant horizons that take them outside of the Hollywood stereotype We should all delve into the international circles of cinephiles and connasseurs, studying great films by Polanski, Truffaut, Godard, Buñuel, Altman, Antonioni, Hitchcock - all of which happen to be men. There should be more women making films yes! but these men should not be crucified for the fact that they were all men making good art, it just means that we, Perceptual Media, should be even more inspired, as women to make our
own work, and to encourage the next generation of young women of color to broaden their vision,to appreciate the work that is out there, and to then make their own work, have their own visions, and raise their own questions; but more importantly to come into a community of likeminded people to support each other through exploration andgrowth. t.e: The P.M mission statement says, “We hope that by creating three dimensional characters, we can bridge the gap that exists in society that divides communities and alienates people from one another.” Can you speak more about the “three dimensional characters” you give reference to? As we live in a multi-cultural globalized world, how do you believe such a character can operate progressively and constructively? p.m: When we say three dimensional character, we mean we want our characters to go beyond the surface traits, quirks and habits. We want our characters to have backstory and an inner landscape, we want our characters to take action for themselves and to have a true and realistic world view. Within my film studies, Latin women are typically categorized into three sections: the dark lady, the latin lover, the female clown. I have found that most minorities are pigeon holed into stereotypes, and I would like to counteract narrow beliefs of what it is to be a minority. There is a beauty to being different, and this has not been represented enough in art and cinema. To find out more about Perceptual Media visit www.thecalartseye.com for Keeping Up With the Eye.
Bugs in Search of Self K.T Browne An Instagram Series by K.T Browne
Through Our Eyes by Sarah Leslie Registering In Lines
Yesterday we were registering for classes—speedily, nervously like mice from a black-and-white Disney Cartoon. In the main gallery, we scampered into lines and waited and conferred. We spoke in sped–up conversations. The lines merged, intersected and interrupted each other. And we, the students joined the lines again and again. As if waiting in line was how we expected to spend our days. As if the Internet did not exist and information had to be processed by hand, our little mice bodies watching; present. We talked to the teachers of the classes we were waiting to sign up for rather than clicking an icon, computers in front of us. We waited in line for our mentors to read over the classes we had fought for and searched for pens, paper, approval. We joined a line that snaked its way back and fourth in a room with bright lights and a concrete floor until we were deposited into another almost identical one. The room we entered was sterile, cold. We filled the room as if we were the focus of an exhibit—all our bodies, waiting with class lists in hand. Men and women sat at tables beside ancient machines. They took our papers filled with classes and signatures and entered our information into the computer on keyboards that made loud clicks. The men and women told us we were registered. We parted with our wrinkled papers and signatures that had taken half the day to collect and stepped though the door with a sign above that read “Exit.” We blinked back in the main gallery and joined the day, finished with lines.
�. When It All Falls Down �. Fuck Me This Way, World �. The Shadow We Carry Behind �. I'll Be Watching You �. When The World Presses Heavily Upon Me
The CalArts Commission for Sustainability: Create, Conserve, Sustain presents beat the monthly electricity contest!
Are you an eco warrior? Is green one of your favorite colors? Do you believe in a sustainable world? Do you love CalArts but feel it uses too much electricity? Do you like Pizza? If you answered yes to any of these question then this is for you! From January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 CalArts spent an average of $80,908.41 a month on its electricity bill! We know, that’s too much. So here is the plan. For November of 2013 we want to beat it and we need your help. If we can beat the bill by 5% or more the CalArts Commission for Sustainability will throw the biggest Pizza Party you have ever seen… for the whole Institute. Yes that means you Administration, Faculty, Staff and Students. We need all of your help and all of your efforts. what you can do? 1.
Turn off the lights. It saves electricity and electric lights generate heat and add to the load on our air conditioner (and tell your faculty member, friend, mentor and buddy to as well)
Unplug anything that does not need to be plug in all the time (computers, phone chargers, nightlights)
Dress warmly (seriously, dressing wisely can help you retain natural heat. Wear closely woven fabrics, which add at least a half degree in warmth)
Irks My Nerves Stephanie Taglianetti De-Evolution: It’s What’s for Dinner
I have always had pet peeves revolving around food and beverages. I generally avoid most common eating-places because of some of the habits that have transitioned from “gross” to “generally accepted.” Social eating is not something to be self-conscious about, but I most definitely think it is something to be aware of. We shouldn’t be ashamed of what we’re eating. However, I think we can be ashamed of how we’re eating. Some eating practices should be left to the privacy of your own kitchen. My gravest offenders: finger-lickers. I don’t mean to yuck anyone’s yum, but are finger remnants really “the best part” ? The particles of food that have grabbed on to your most probably not prewashed hands are meant for soap, water and a towel … not your lips. The entire sensory experience of finger licking gives me the chills. I cringe when I see the grease and scraps of food stuck to a finger. I see the two options displayed at eye-level with my potential offenders as they stare down at their contaminated fingers: LICK or WIPE. I wait eagerly hoping the latter is selected, but more often than not I record another causality. My stomach turns as I hear both lips and tongue embracing fingers; the suckling of grime and the “how many licks does it take” game played on each. And then … after all that … a clean napkin is used to wipe away the spittle that remains on each finger! My heart sinks. My body caves. I am lost, confused and broken-hearted. I do not understand. Inside I have my arms outstretched, hands grabbing the air while I ask the universe, “whyyyyy?” I do not think that I will ever accept this offence, and often wonder how it has become somewhat of a “norm” in social eating. What kind of eating habits drive you nuts? Submit your responses to this week’s question or tell me your pet peeves @IrksMyNerves on Twitter!
4. In the dorms, wash clothes in warm or cold water, rinse in cold. Also, fill washers and clothes dryers but do not overload them. 5.
Only flush once (unless you really…you know…like…need to flush twice)
Bring a lamp with an energy efficient bulb for your office or workspace
Use natural light whenever possible
Keep doors closed to avoid extra heating and cooling charges
Turn off computers and other electronics when not in use
Spending your holiday in L.A?
10. We can do this as an Institute and as concerned citizens for our planet. And if this works, look for more contest, pizza parties and zany green fun! Let’s get started and let’s get sustainable!
I'm looking for dogsitter(s) for Thanksgiving and Winter break. frida & bruno (1 yr old shepherd mixes) love artists! They will show you the sights of Culver City and Leimert Park. Stay at my place and make some $ Interested? Let's talk. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brought to you courtesy of Calarts Commission for Sustainability create, conserve, sustain
Editors: Emma Kemp & Shana Mirambeau Designers: Amanda Lui & Isaiah Montoya
Book Club Jemima Shadow A Good Page from A Good Book
Eye On Eye Shana Mirambeau Letter from the Editor
As I began to write this letter, I, of course traveled through the usual trajectory of ‘what am I going to say?’ At first I wanted to share a poem and then asked myself, ‘Is this appropriate? Editor savvy? Something respectable?’ Then my mind segwayed into thoughts of being an artist in “The Real World.” I realized I was basing what I felt was “respectable” or “appropriate” from the residuals of a conversation I had with a friend, who has yet to understand my choices to continue to pursue my passion for writing.
narcissus and goldmund by
Also published as ‘Death and the Lover’ this is a novel about existential crisis and so everyone in art school should read it. In the story, Goldmund wanders for years and years through Medieval Germany in search of the meaning of life. He has many love affairs with Gypsy woman until the Black Death makes everyone ugly and Goldmund experiences humanity at its lowest point. The influence of Friedrich Nietzsche's theory of the Apollonian versus Dionysian spirit is so obvious.
Recently, as she and I were speaking about Graduate school and my chaotic schedule she asked, “What are you going to do after school?” Of course, I was taken back by such a question - it used to be such a source of anxiety for me and whilst I expect it will reappear again in May once I graduate, it was something that I wasn’t presently thinking about. Thanks to a daily yoga practice I worked through much of the stresses of the “when & if” posse. Finally, I have reached a place of lovely balance with my schedule, though of course such a perspective could shift multiple times daily, for we all know that attending CalArts, a.k.a The Crazy Train, is an environment like no other. I prepared myself for the inevitable that came in full thunder when she asked, “I mean, what are you going to do when you get into “’The Real World?”’ Hmmm... Concepts of “The Real World.” This saying has always bothered me as something that I feel is embedded in the comparative roots of selfvalidation. Within the same moment it takes for one to reach for their cup of soy latte double shot espresso, another is rehearsing for a play, walking their dog, composing a song, wrestling with a character in their novel, laying in the grass, playing guitar - the list goes on because all of our lives are real, significant and shifting. Ultimately, life is a series of choices. Truth be told, being an artist has always posed a threat to some (shall I say the ‘human robot?’). We, as artists, choose to live in fluid states of the unknown, engaging in the complexities of the
multiple lens within the political gaze of the human condition. This is not to say that the cliché “starving artist” doesn’t exist but more often it seems we are starving for everyone to open their eyes and stop throwing the weight of silent domains that keep them in a perpetual compromise. Always alluding to “that’s just the way life is”, a way to disengage, remove responsibility and fall into the crowds. So I say Fuck it! Because last time I checked, I was grappling with the non-fiction parts of my vignettes. Reliving the racism that still follows me and a hope for the questionable “American Dream” that my parents still haven’t seen; a possible illusion. There has been nothing un-real about our experience. My choice in being a writer, the artist of words, is to tell the many stories that inform readers and engage them the multiplicity of life. The real is in the everyday, so never be fooled by the insecure projections of others. Let’s all continue this journey to always question, create and think critically. Lastly, I leave all of you with this; Up cement stairs, pass rows of colorful flowers swaying in the wind, open double glass doors. Dancers to my left combining pivot points with heavy beats, salsa streaming from the band on the 12 o’clock lunch hour and bodies sitting in mid view enjoying lunch. Others walking up and down the main gallery making eyes with current artist perspectives, which are written on walls, painted on canvas and framed with a camera’s lens. I walk down cafeteria stairs and pass a voice reciting lines, colorful posters of various interest on the wall, I hi-five the hands of a quick stepping animator on a time crunch and proceed down stairs. Smoke touches my nose from the cigarettes being accompanied by the bodies in the patio; I follow the scent of coffee to my right, Tatum. As I move around sprawled bodies lying on couches and sitting in medal chairs with laptops in frontal view, the usual line has been deleted and I get a cappuccino quickly. Outside, I pause; I love the color of trees and their yellow submarines, Welcome to CalArts!