â€˘ Issue 6
Indah Datau Bar Spreader, 2013 wood, steel, nut, bolt, pipe, paint 30x32x8 in
Indah Datau Blanket, 2014 dye transfer print on poly charm, silk satin 58x92 in
Makayla Bailey Orgone Box, 2015 shipping crate, grass, satin, cinderblock, plastic, twine, Kanekalon速 dimensions variable
CJ Heylinger Goler Canyon (from Everything Flows / Nothing Stands Still), 2014 archival inkjet print, 48 x 60 in
CJ Heylinger from SWAMP THING, 2013 archival inkjet print 20 x 25 in Sun Drip, 2013 archival inkjet print 40.5 x 32 in Switzer Falls (From Everything Flows / Nothing Stands Still), 2015 archival inkjet print 60 x 48 in
Nora Berman The gift versus the gifted (bridge), 2014 acrylic, oil, and oil pastel on muslin 80x60 in Free relationship (bridge), 2014 acrylic, oil, and oil pastel on sheet 30x40 in
Past Future Perfect
Future Past Perfect, still from printed book. 2014
1 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 18.
The body without organs is an egg: it is crisscrossed with axes and thresholds, with latitudes and longitudes and geodesic lines, traversed by gradients marking the transitions and the becomings, the destinations of the subject developing along these particular vectors. -Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari1 The work I’m doing now feels to me like a representation of digestion taking the shape of the body, sometimes literally in performative movement and sometimes figuratively with sculptural forms. This practice has a lot of floating parts but is mainly divided into two sections. One is more about themes and influences, and the other is more personal. The personal dimension of the work explains where the recurring egg shape comes from. I see my gravitation toward the form as a contemporary gesture about femaleness’ being centered around fertility and reproduction, where the body is a constant reference. I am drawn to the interrelationships between weight, emotion, the body, physical performance and sculptural forms. That is, I wish to interrogate how weight and emotion are
linked by physical performance and sculptural forms, and use such art practices to explore how weight and emotion are linked to the body. How can performance and sculpture guide reconceptualizations of weight and emotion? Affect—what Brian Massumi describes as a “prepersonal intensity corresponding to the passage from one experiential state of the body to another”2—functions as a way for the work to continue beyond the objects and space itself, living on inside the viewer; affect shifts emphasis from interpretation and object to the experience. Alexander Alberro talks about this in his essay “Periodising Contemporary Art,” declaring that for the contemporary artist,
2 Brian Massumi, “Notes on the Translation and Acknowledgements,” in Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), xvi.
…meaning is almost completely unimportant and that “we don’t need to understand art, we need only to fully experience it,” [and that] he is valuing affect and experience rather than interpretation and meaning— rather than contextually grounding and understanding the work and its conditions of possibility.3 I think understanding is important, but I would also like to leave enough room for a more immediate, affect-based response
3 Alexander Alberro, “Periodising Contemporary Art,” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art 9, no. 1/2 (2008/2009): 69. http://search.informit.com. au/documentSummary;dn=706289443346226;re
that isn’t necessarily bound to a narrative within a conceptual framework. The affective, physical reaction allows the work to resonate with people, and I’d like them to experience that first in relation to what they are seeing. This is a privileging of performance and affective response over narrative and interpretation. The sequence of events in my single-channel video titled Graded points to a sense of place felt internally as I negotiate public space. Wearing a suit expelling wax balls, I ascend a ramp in the subway. The surprising and disruptive presence of my suit, the balls and myself renders the commuters surrounding me active. The changing mass of compacted balls acts as a sculptural appendage and autonomous body, outside of the quotidian. Here, movement turns sculptural appendage into sculptural expulsion. The architecture that defines the space and the position of the viewer both become activated when the balls fall on the graded plane and into the gutters. When a group of commuters enters the frame from behind the camera, highlighted contrast is suggested between the individual performer and the new mass of participants. The effect of the falling, disruptive balls on
Graded, 2014. video still.
4 Joan Retallack, The Poethical Wager (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 6.
Graded, 2014. video still. https://vimeo.com/89056827
the newly arrived participants is gradual, and their consequent activation is delayed, timed only by the autonomous body of the cascading mass of balls. A friend of mine said once that all of my work is about sex, which isn’t totally off, but it goes deeper than that. In the words of Joan Retallack: Paradoxically or not, the whole enterprise [of writing] is entirely intimate. Touching, being touched, partaking of textual transfigurations in the unsettled weathers along personal/ cultural coastlines is irreversibly compelling, incorrigibly real.4 Retallack is talking about writing, but one can apply the sentiment to art-making. I’m drawn to what comes from coupling (in the most general sense of the term); there isn’t a science to it. There has been some research that pheromones and immune systems have a role to play in coupling processes, but overall coupling retains an unexplained complexity even after thorough analysis. Last year I exhibited two videos inspired by a weight-based relationship chart. I “scientistically” developed a theorem to quantify emotional weight created by two
...it may be that, for many now, living in an impasse would be an aspiration, as the traditional infrastructures for reproducing life at work, in intimacy, politically—are crumbling at a threatening pace. The holding
5 Susan Sontag, “On Style,” in Against Interpretation: and Other Essays (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966), 36.
people in a relationship, and then translated this weight into movement-based performance videos. The negotiations involved in coupling often appear to be unproductive and characterized by impasses; transitional moments between the video works are marked by participating subjects pinned under one another or caught by an injury or other impedance. In her essay “On Style,” Susan Sontag notes, “In the strictest sense, all contents of consciousness are ineffable. Even the simplest sensation is, in its totality, indescribable.”5 When movement and gesture are isolated in art an indescribable sensation bound with latent desire is revealed. Desire causes containment, and much of my work explores that impasse. In Cruel Optimism, Lauren Berlant uses the term impasse to capture the state of longing for the good life while negotiating how to contain one’s desire and expectation:
Celibate Seesaw, 2014. plastic, silicone, metal, paraffin. University Art Gallery, Irvine, CA.
4949 49 6 Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2011), 4. 7 Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, 18.
Celibate Seesaw, detail
Celibate Seesaw, detail
pattern implied in “impasse” suggests a temporary housing.6 In the piece titled Celibate Seesaw, I created a structure whose internals are revealed through the spaced layering of the construction material with the accompaniment of a tenuously suspended plastic bag filled with hundreds of wax balls hung from the ceiling above. An opening in the bag slowly releases balls into a large layered series of honeycombed plastic plates covered in a viscous pink silicone rubber. This structure securely balances on one core anchor that is attached to a large white platform. The sculpture is positioned in the center of the room, its semi-exposed interior encouraging viewers to walk around the form and observe. Celibate Seesaw has purpose, suspense, and activation, but no resolution. Deleuze and Guattari wrote about the functions of the “desiring machine” (the productive nature and mechanics of desire) and the “celibate machine” (the producer of intensive qualities) in Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.7 Celibate Seesaw and Deleuze and Guattari’s “celibate machine” are oddly, unintentionally complementary; both the sculpture and the concept interrupt
8 Catherine de Zegher (ed.), Eva Hesse Drawing (New York: The Drawing Center, 2006), 224.
50 ordinary modes of (re)production and open 5050 up the idea of a new organism. I am making a non-productive object that perpetually gets reinserted as a process while it is performing an abstracted anti-productive task. This organless body, which is the sculpture, functions like an egg in Deleuze and Guattari’s metaphorical sense. Purpose and function, which are vital to production and consumption, are rendered irrelevant by the idea of Deleuzian celibacy. Deleuze and Guattari’s desiring machine is linked to domination and consumption, operating according to flows and interruptions. Similarly, Celibate Seesaw performs on its own with a sense of purpose. Because the egg is associated with the female body, and the sac with the male, there is an implied social idea of the body becoming relevant through production (in its broadest sense) and productive networks, while celibacy points to the autonomous body. A key interest of this piece lies in the way it dislocates gender politics and intimacy through its suggestions of attachment and repulsion. The form elicits and explores how the feelings of weight and emotion are linked to the body through movement and sculptural form. I’ve recently become curious about how artists use lists as catalysts for art production. I think you can tell a lot about artists by their
lists and how a list forms and informs the sculptural objects that follow. For example, sculptor, Eva Hesse’s list below suggests circular motion and physical repetition through rhythm and cadence: circumnavigation / circumflexion / circuit / evolution / circumscribe / circuitous / devious / rotation, gyration, convolution / vortex, maelstrom, vertiginousness [sic], vertigo/ rotate, box the compass, gyrate / unfoldment, evolution, inversion / circle-cordon, cincture, cestus, baldric / (complex circularity) convolution, involution, undulation, sinuosity / coil-labyrinth / in and out / eccentric.8 In Movement and the Body, Rudolf Laban uses lexical inflection to physically map out sets and structures of choreography. My own performance, Future Past Perfect, is presented inside a gallery space and embodies emotional gestures through movement and the formation of sculptural objects through a series of impregnated gestures. Specifically, there are two participants (not the artist) in jumpsuits that become filled with wax
Future Past Perfect, 2014. performance installation view. performance, plastic, silicone, metal, paraffin, wood. University Art Gallery, Irvine, CA. https://vimeo.com/116896096
balls. When the jumpsuits are filled, each participant must help the other to move through the space.Through a list-based narration, my role in this performance is to activate movement and capture it. Throughout the performance, the moving participants are continually expelling wax balls and trying to gather them at the same time. The balls are flung, sunk and crammed into the jumpsuits, dropped on the floor and caught while I recite a narrative that includes lists with some of the following words: showing weighing wedging stuffing stretching cutting nesting pouring lighting throwing pecking dabbing poking dipping pushing distancing hedging postulating positioning theorizing speculating digesting investigating The caviar-like mass of balls is encased in plastic and positioned within an installation to imbue them with context. Across my general practice, the balls are sometimes attached to moving bodies, and sometimes act as stand-alone sculptures that are free but always manipulated. There is a loss and return at play in the use of these balls, operating as a spasmic process of ebb
Future Past Perfect, 2014.
and flow from one work to another. This sense of loss and return is reminiscent of Freud’s fort/da operation, described in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, as the viewer experiences a disappearance and a perceived resolution after viewing one work, only to find a kind of anamnesis within a following work. I use the wax balls as a tool for the activation of ideas of celibacy, gender politics, and desire. There is a Freudian transference of feeling to these objects as I work through the symbolic repetition of the ball motif—and the accompanying manipulations, creating new references from this reprised object—under the title of Future Past Perfect, a grammatical term whose lexicosyntactical makeup suggests inherent return.
Future Past Perfect, 2014.
Tommy Coleman Cartoon Graveyard: Teen Dream, 2014 graphite on paper 20 X 22 in
Tommy Coleman Exhausted Shadow Body, 2014 cast latex paint, walnut, brass, latex band足-aid, carpet, OSB board 4 x 7 x 5 ft Threshold Anomaly, 2014 foam, carpet, OSB board, latex paint 2 x 3 x 1 ft
Regine Rode Exhibition view of Die Unendliche Geschichte I (The Neverending Story I), 2014 styrofoam, cast, cement, paper mache Monkey Island, 2014 wood, cement, cast, styrofoam, pigment, color
Amy Garofano Caterwauling III, 2014 wood and fabric 24 x 36 x 1in Caterwauling V, 2014 wood and fabric 22 x 20 x 1 in
Amy Garofano Caterwauling VI, detail Caterwauling VI, 2014 wood and fabric 48 x 44 x 1
1 28.“When I Grow Up.” Rebecca Mead. The New Yorker. January 19, 2015.
75 About The following three vignettes consider practice and its vulnerable proximities through a socially-focused lens. Like each vignette, practice itself is constituted by often unseen drafts and repetitions, interludes and recurrences. Underlying each narrative is a suspicion of existing structures of power and information, especially of those which profess neutrality but in reality operate within and proliferate normative values. Unified by the tension between visibility and invisibility of process, propoganda, and personification, these seemingly disparate examples of social practice address technology’s effect upon contemporary culture, engaging the question of how to construct and represent intimacy in an age of both immediacy and non-locality. Today, community — simulated or otherwise — is accessible in an instant, but as two citizens of KidZania put it, “ ‘on the phone, you can’t really feel your happiness...What a boring thing, just touching the screen....’ ”1
I. KidZania | Practice as Play In KidZania, a globally franchised edutainment destination where mundane adult work becomes highly-scripted,
2 The New Yorker, “Out Loud: Play and Parenting at KidZania.” Podcast. January 12, 2015.
adult-free child’s play, “z” replaces “s,” and KidZania’s official greeting, “kai,” replaces “hi.” Amidst simulated factory lines and sandbox-site “archaeological digs,” the pieces of the real world that do remain in this utopian Lord of the Flies - Pleasure Island hybrid, are the tenets of all good Western, capitalist systems: capital accumulation, wage labor, and conspicuous consumption. It is debatable whether citizenz’ dissent to unionize heavily contributes to KidZania’s exemplary capitalist epitomization. Economically, architecturally, and socially, KidZania mirrors contemporary urban life on a miniaturized scale. Usually housed within malls, KidZania’s “sky” is kept at dusk, signifying autonomy from the bedtime-calling parent. Yet, despite extravagant efforts to produce every child’s fantasy of an adult-free world, children aged 3-13 are encouraged to conduct the same consumer cycle within KidZania’s walls as their parents do in the real world outside. Equipped with a passport, tracking wristband, and a check to cash for Kidzos (the currency of KidZania), the aspiring adults are unleashed into the “working” world through the KidZania airport. Once
inside, children select their desired career from a lengthy list. Once they’ve chosen to be anything from an actress, courier, factory worker, to a dentist, journalist, or checker, citizenz are then zupervised in a career-relevant task sponsored by major corporations; they might churn ice cream at the Nestle Factory, upgrade cell phones at the Vodafone Mobile Shop, or design cars at the Hyundai Auto Workshop. Throughout these assignments — what KidZania copy calls “role-playing by mimicking traditionally adult jobs,” but what Rebecca Mead of The New Yorker calls “inculcating a child’s integration into a capitalist system” — the verisimilitude to real-world professions is uncanny.2 Would-be news anchors are groomed before broadcast by promising young makeup artists. Budding firefighters put out blazes with real water. Juvenile motorists crash their cars into rubber fire hydrants, and diminutive clerks even guard KidZania’s jail. But, as in the adult world, not all KidZania consumers are created equal. Careers are lucrative and rewarding in accordance with their real-world counterparts, and dollars and Kidzos buy privilege. Conflating customer loyalty and
3 Consult KidZania Loyalty Program copy for citizenship guidelines. 4 Mead. “When I Grow Up.” 6 “Out Loud: Play and Parenting at KidZania.”
5 Consult Jennifer Cypher and Eric Higgs’ “Colonizing the Imagination: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge” for an in-depth analysis of entertainment simulacra.
principles of citizenship, the B-KidZanian loyalty program requires purchase of the KidZania passport to achieve citizenship, using rhetoric such as “naturalized” to refer to KidZanians.3 Such fine print reveals the ideological underpinnings of division in the premier edutainment destination. The implications of this problematic verisimilitude has not entirely escaped certain parents, concerned that these citizenz of KidZania aren’t really playing, especially when play is customarily defined as something much freer and less orchestrated. The children, however, are overwhelmingly pleased by their simulated adult lives. Significantly, the omnipresence of brands like Nestle and American Airlines is a register of authenticity for the children. Considering that the brands’ goal in investing in KidZania is to groom the next generation of ultra-loyal consumers, the ideals KidZania extols may have more to do with capital accumulation than with empathy and virtue.4 In this way, KidZania is the ultimate simulacra.5 Despite the imminent possibility that artificiality may become the center of moral value in KidZania, CEO and founder Xavier Alcona believes that this
transposition of virtue from adult reality to children’s hyperreality is positively, and lastingly morally rectifying. In a land that is perpetually dusk, night may be falling on the era when ideals of citizenship, community, and play existed more separately from capitalist constructs, when individuals targeted and groomed by brands and corporations were not children. In KidZania, parents surrender their educational power not to a wealth of pedagogy, but to a myriad of conglomerates. One refreshing and redeeming ramification, however, is that a major draw for these kidz is respite from the restriction they experience via smart phone technology; the tangibility and purposefulness provided by KidZania trumps the immediacy of social interaction online. Maybe the next generation isn’t as full of techno-zombies as we think. Maybe, as Nick Paumgarten speculates, KidZania will actually allow children to see through the phoniness of the very advertisement and consumer culture KidZania perpetuates, in turn, provoking them to devise “intelligent alternatives.”6 We can only hope that the hyperreal may indeed encourage younger generations to recognize the failings of the very real systems which
produced KidZania in the first place. II. Joshua Wolf Shenk’s Writing Workshop at Machine Project | Practice as Repetition and Transposition For $30.00 on the afternoon of Saturday, January 24th, I was a student of inter-device writing. Blinded by the Sun(set) and dazed from parking at a 45 degree angle on a near-by side-street, I opened the shop door to see nine expectant individuals seated around four paint-splattered plastic tables arranged to form as one. Author Joshua Wolf Shenk sat at the head. The surrounding room was empty save for the detritus of Machine Project’s long-running and sold out Purple Passion Play which cast an air of whimsical after-thought over our meeting: a clear plastic cylinder filled with dollar bills in the back left corner, a butterfly catcher resting on the blue funnel at its tip. Following introductions, we read popcorn style through a selection of texts. Then, Shenk cast us out into the streets. He tasked us to take notes of our surroundings for twenty minutes on our smart phones and for twenty minutes on physical paper. When I returned from my station underneath the shady overhang of a bus stop across from
TAIX on Sunset, the nine of us compared experiences. We concurred that typing on an iPhone informed our compositions differently than did writing on a traditional notepad, both formally and in terms of content. Some found that the analog notepad behooved them to jot down bullet-points of the scene around them. Others found the ease of Apple’s touch screen more conducive to prose. Our consensus was that the emotional, social, and temporal distractions of the iPhone heavily influenced what we composed in Notepad. Anxiety of choice, and constant awareness of whether someone was attempting to contact us, even the presence of the tiny numbers at screentop counting out the passage of the session were unavoidable when composing on our iPhones. After our discussion, Shenk instructed us to compose a longer piece based on the digital and analog notes we took, either in handwriting, on typewriter, or on Mac. Once we had composed our initial piece, we were to redraft it using a different tool. I placed my pink iPhone next to my water-stained Moleskine and transcribed parts of my notes onto notebook paper in the form of a poem.
brownie cameras and iPhones, DSLRs and disposables all weilded by hip kids documenting the sequined pint-sized ice cream truck that sits in the empty parking spaces at the 76 gas station. my shins are engulfed in heat the image of the pink and purple dazzle bus is replaced by two women seen through bus-glass — hands move upward in agitated flicks as if waving some onlooker away the automotive hum-and-swish simmers - urban white noise draws me inward until
I glance mountains behind TAIX. Just beyond its shingled roof, two sets of three red and white striped towers rise up, accompanied in blue by 2 lush palm tops and 2 street lamps each turned animately away from each other as though caught in a moment of heated petulance. words flick into the disco of the street and I also rise.
III. Digital Humanities | Practice as Discipline As early as the 1230s, priests and scientists were working to further humanistic endeavors through quantification of the seemingly unquantifiable: text. Given that the location of a word can be conferred a numerical value, the first digital humanities projects were indexes and databases.7 Widely considered the father of all digital humanities projects, a master index of works by Saint Thomas Aquinas, The Index Thomisticus, was born out of the collaboration between Jesuit priest, Father Roberto Busa, and IBM. Although they commenced work in 1940, when the laptop was mere science-fiction, it wasn’t until 1967 that they managed to punch all the cards necessary to complete the resulting fifty-six volume index. During those decades however, technology rapidly improved and around the same year the Index Thomisticus was finally completed, the Rand Corporation’s UNIVAC I, a state-of-the-art computer at
7 Meredith Hindley. “The Rise of the Machines.” HUMANITIES. July/August 2013. Volume 24, Number 4. http://www.neh.gov/humanities/2013/julyaugust/ feature/the-rise-the-machines. Accessed 1-30-15.
Next, I drafted a second version on a manual typewriter, the immense mechanic strain of repeatedly unsticking the broken R key distracting me entirely from the content of my poem. Around 5 pm, we reconvened. We didn’t share our pieces, but Shenk and the rest of us agreed that we should make an app for newsrooms to play the now-extinct din of typewriters, the potent white noise of literary production. One participant, an animator and writer, informed the group that he already has such a thing, called Noisy Typer 1.0, which makes his mac keys sound loudly like the rhythmic instrument: “I put in headphones so I can hear it even when my wife is around,” he said, “because if I can’t hear it, I can’t work.” Below is the final draft of the poem composed during Shenk’s workshop:
85 10 Many thanks to Miriam Posner, professor and master coordinator of UCLA’s Digital Humanities Program.
8 Hindley. 9 Hindley.
the time, completed a concordance of the entire bible, reducing what took Father Roberto Busa thirty years to a mere fourhundred hours. Still, the Index Thomisticus served as “...a focus for thinking about radical possibilities of electronic text, as the emergent collections were considered by their creators through the lens of narrative history, aesthetics, and the politics of networks.”8 Yet, despite the reasonably rapid progress in the field, harbingers of traditional humanistic practices were not convinced that implementation of computational methodology could benefit the humanities. Despite ample funding by the newly founded National Endowment for the Humanities, digital scholars of the 20th century confronted moralizing and fearful criticism. Besides troubleshooting innovative technologies, having to convince zealous skeptics that “‘putting Shelley’s poetry into a computer was not comparable to stuffing neckties into a blender’” was only one in a myriad of problems early digital humanists faced.9 Today, it is clear that the digital age has irrevocably altered practices of all kinds: social, artistic, literary, research-based, cultural. Despite the overwhelming trend
toward unbridled quantification, the fact remains that while we inhabit a continuous reality, the reality of computers is most certainly discrete.10 This discrepancy between URL and IRL (“in real life”) is pivotal. Within the gap between these realities, so intertwined and yet so incompatible, lies the driving impetus for scholars and artists of the digital humanities. Posing pedagogical, methodological, and theoretical questions, digital humanists elucidate the assumptions generated by sectioning off this nuanced existence into finite data. Actively challenging the possibility that technology may become the insidious mediator, medium, and message of research, texts, and scholarly projects, digital humanities meets this wholly transformative technological paradigm at the juncture between tradition and postmodernity. Paradoxically, by recreating the human(istic) world within the parameters of the machine, we reclaim our agency from technological tyranny. Thus, DH addresses the problematic question: what happens to traditional scholarly and humanistic practices in the digital age? Namely, can humanistic scholarship and digital technologies work together, symbiotically
87 15 See: Mapping the Republic of Letters Project.
12 Postman. 118.
16 See: Drama in the Delta, an educational virtual reality video game.
11 183. Neil Postman. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. 1992.
17 See: Smithsonian’s 3DX Project.
13 See: CyArk’s Cultural Heritage Projects.
18 I.e. “Female Scientists” instead of simply “Scientists.” Thanks also to UCLA Professor Safiya Noble, who allowed me to sit in on her class “Information and Power” in winter of 2014.
14 See: Aaron Koblin’s Flight Patterns.
and effectively? The digital humanities takes on this politics of digital and analog networks, between humans and computers, data and machines. In response to cultural critic Neil Postman’s question —“Can a nation preserve its history, originality, and humanity by submitting itself totally to the sovereignty of a technological thoughtworld?” —digital humanities’ answer is yes.11 Thus, what at first appears to be detrimental to culture — the fact that “the computer...makes possible the fulfillment of Descartes’ dream of the mathematization of the world”12 — ends up preserving it.13 Suddenly, we can visualize our flight patterns over the entire continental United States.14 We can watch as networks of letters, the physical manifestations of ideological exchange, criss-cross Enlightenmentperiod Europe.15 Virtual reality allows us to experience the split-second decisions made by survivors of Japanese internment camps in California during World War Two.16 3D printing enables us to engage with material culture first hand, regardless of geographical constraints.17 After several decades of experimentation, we are finally able to benefit from forcing this round world into a square monitor. Paradoxically, through
numerical quantification, we find solidarity. By parsing the world into digestible data, we reveal shared habits, idiosyncrasies, and routines, often to unveil insidious patterns of bias in systems believed to be neutral: databases, metadata, marginalizing categorizations.18 Through practices like data visualization and network analysis, and the development of pedagogies like information studies, we can now transform the numerically quantifiable into the righteously, ethically qualitative. Ultimately, we now have the power to find the human amid — and more importantly, within — the machine.
Untitled Landscape #3, 2014 screen shot and alcohol transferred onto paper 20x15 in Untitled Landscape #4, 2014 screen shot and alcohol transferred onto paper 20x15 in Untitled Landscape #1, 2014 screen shot and alcohol transferred onto paper 20x15 in
9595 On Rubbernecking I must see a ribcage wrapped around a steering wheel I don’t think sitting still for this long will be worth it otherwise I take the time to count the bones in my body and say Good that’s how many I better see I open my door a little and pick up a flare to light a cigarette. I don’t see enough sweat on the emergency workers Something is wrong A paramedic tells me You might be wasting your time I start sweating The asphalt remains black. I glue my cigarette to my teeth and adjust my seat I need the perfect posture just in case. I get closer and only see a police car and a relaxed ambulance I collapse and go into a frenzy The emergency workers take their hats off in respect It was a complete failure A low speed impact. On Wildlife
I open the kitchen window later that night because it still smelled like dinner I will not allow a home to smell like food Just barbaric I let a cool breeze kiss me and then a bat flew in I have only seen a bat one
time before what do they eat? I took a bag of oranges and a bag of crickets and left them both in a safe place I think the bat will like that and I will witness its preference I will learn. Bat continued to fly in a frenzy Maybe I need to encourage I threw oranges and crickets at Bat playing that Bat would appreciate the gesture Bat needed to make a decision I was on my last cricket. I told Bat I don’t know what I did Can we please put this behind us Bat told me I just need to map my way out of here I have a family This touched me so I opened the window wider and Bat left I have made a triumphant friend.
I can ask No you’re not out of gas I know what you’re about to do Please don’t please quit I’m really I went inside and I knew I didn’t need unwashed fruit or tire pressure gauges but I looked at them anyways I think I was being too flirty. I was about to speak when something caught my eye A little box on the counter with chocolate eggs wrapped in foil to make them look like little tigers There were seven. I counted the money I brought in I only had enough for cigarettes or tiger eggs A line was growing behind me I couldn’t do it I collapsed on the linoleum in defeat and shame and closed my eyes when I asked for Parliament Lights.
On Gas Stations I think I need to go I’m either out of gas or cigarettes For the life of me I can’t remember which but I need to go I’ll either go in through the entrance after the inspection or the entrance I take a right at the intersection on and a left inside either way I’m sweating and nothing will matter I just need to take some turn. I’m parking next to a pump regardless of what my needs are right now I am about to ask but car knows me and answers before
Nathan Ward Walking Around Near USC and Seeing a House With a Really Nice StainedGlass Window, 2014 acrylic and flashe Paint 24x30 in False Alarm, 2015 acrylic and flashe Paint 36x48 in
Chloe Hamilton Afterschool Snacks, 2014 medium inkjet print 9x12 in
Excerpts from On Blogging
3 Like life, a blog should meander. What good is a blog that knows from the start what its purpose is? There is, I will admit, a place for well-defined blogs with a clear sense of direction. But if weâ€™re talking about the ideal blog, the blog that can contain the life of the blogger, then we must strive for a blog in the shape of a rhizome. 6 Unlike speech, much of what appears on the Internet lingers in some concrete form. There is deletion, of course, but the very fact that something on the Internet must be deleted in order to disappear means that the default state of things on the Internet is to linger. Not to leave traces, but to be traces. 44 What is the difference between the ghost and the spirit? Is it immanence and transcendence? How about the trace and the vital flow? The memory in us and the memory outside of us. The subject and the subject-in-the-photograph. The scream and the echo. Or repetitions: of the student, of the parrot, of history. The mysteries of agency and being.
88 Blogging is its own creative activity, something beyond mere documentation. In fact, it may not even make sense to talk about “mere documentation,” as every act of documentation implies a translation of some object (of knowledge, experience, etc.) from one medium to another. Moreover, the act of documentation implies the creation of a new object: the document. 107 Stop talking about blogs. There are no “blogs.” It’s not plural. There is only one networked Blog(osphere). Each individual blog is just a different inflection of this single big Blog. 120 Knowledge is all about making the implicit explicit. Blogging, likewise, is about exteriorizing information that previously existed only inside of you. 121 Deleuze and Guattari managed in A Thousand Plateaus to write at the speed of thought. Now with blogging we may all manage not only to write at the speed of thought, but to publish at the speed of thought as well.
Everyone makes a big deal about the Internet being this thing that shrinks our attention spans and conditions us to seek out instant gratification at the expense of more long-form pleasures. This may very well be true, but it is not an inherent and absolute requirement of the medium. One could imagine a book composed of one thousand sections that are presented to readers as blog posts posted only once a day. Where a book such as this may ordinarily take somebody just a few days, weeks, or months to read, when presented as a once-a-day blog it would take at least 2.7 years to read the whole thing. In the blog format, you could conceivably foster a style of reading that is moreslow and more thoughtful than the style in which we read books. Of course, that is all you could really hope to do: to encourage such a style of reading. Ultimately, how a work is read is up to the reader. But neither is this nothing. Such encouragement has its value, especially when readers find themselves in an environment that seems to offer only fickle distraction.
141 Blogging can be like improvising on a musical instrument for yourself... like some free-flowing sonorous vibration... some fun that makes your mind buzz like soda... private, ephemeral, energistic... some exercise that feeds your soul... 143 Blogging is a waking dream. In many realms we are beset with too much pressure to emerge... don’t close the book just yet... keep dreaming, friend... your blog can be your sleepy respite from the everything... these four walls are not my prison... each of your ideas is a sleeping nomad... each... take on the howl of life... process it... dream, quietly, lose your fear of sleeping... wake up whenever or never... 157 The blogger is the daemon, the trickster, the ghost, the absent intender. At any one moment you may think you have them pegged, but then you find that they have already shifted and mutated into something other. The blogger is a mobile subject and a mobile object who is constantly thinking, rethinking, sharing, obscuring, being, becoming...
107204 Soon the word “archive” will no longer be a noun but rather a verb (of course, it is currently already both—I simply mean that the latter will overtake the former as the primary meaning). This will come with a concurrent conceptual shift of the archive from a thing to a function. 205 What is an archive? Is it a thing? A function? An event? A place? 244 Blogging is a habit you must maintain. 247 Blogging is writing down every tiny idea you have, in order to a) not forget those ideas and b) satisfy a need of yours to feel constantly productive. 251 Enough with all this standing on the shoulders of giants... forget the giants! Jump off their shoulders, amble about, and do your own growing (so that one day you may perhaps encounter them again). 287 Thinking of yourself as stupid is fine so long as your peers are kind and act in good faith. Not everyone is so kind, so there will be moments when you have to take ownership of your knowledge. Just think:
how frustrating is it to be condescended to by an idiot on some topic that you know much about? Be stupid before your mentor (or your professor, or your process), but before your enemies summon the confidence to be smart. 288 Blogging is not just about the freedom of process but also about the freedom of recollection. When you neatly archive every move you make, you really do worry less about the loss of forgetting. You always allow yourself to newly engage in more movement, because as an archivist you know that to begin anew no longer means to destroy all that is old. Everything you do in the present can now exist and develop on its own terms, and everything you did can also exist, either to be recalled for your present activity, or to serve as a dowsing rod pointing you toward your future activity. 289 Why do we think that the blogger is detached from their life? As a blogger I feel more engaged at every turn. I am constantly reflecting, and this reflection in turn seems to amplify my visceral connection to events. People are
perhaps right to say that the blogger’s constant documentation leads them to have a new relationship to their life, one displaced from either the blind somnambulism or full being-in-the-moment of non-bloggers. But I don’t think that it’s detachment, at least not the way I blog. No, blogging seems not to have detached me from my life but to have immersed me in it, much the way a swimmer (or a drowning victim) is immersed in water.
292 Blogging is, by definition, an activity, a practice. Blog-ing, look at that! It’s a gerund! Blogging is to blog, making “blog” a verb. Wow! Can you believe it’s taken me so long to point that out?
Anja Salonen When the front door is the back door and the garden too, 2014 oil on canvas 5x8 ft
Wherever You Go, There You Are:
Kate Shepherd’s “Fwd: The Telephone Game”
Kaitlyn A. Kramer
“Fwd: The Telephone Game” is an artists’ book made by New York–based artist Kate Shepherd. The book was published in conjunction with the artist’s solo exhibition of the same name at Galerie Lelong, on view from September 12 to October 18, 2014. The game begins with a specific thought— simple enough to be repeated, yet concise in composition. Sentences are not required, but concision is encouraged. The more colloquial, the better. Once the thought moves past the craftsman’s lips, it is dutifully whispered from one person to the next—a train of muffled repetition—until every participant hears its specific sounds. The last person to receive the whisper reiterates the original, often reciting a false facsimile of shaky phonetics through hesitation and laughter. A thought once consisting of meaning, structure, and coherence becomes little more than verbal form, loosely maintained for repetition. In the game of telephone, language’s purpose is erased and reimagined through the process of communication. When this process occurs specifically for the sake of itself, what signifiers of the act are left behind? Communication often creates a diaphanous trace. Particularly when this
interaction culminates in a complete action or object, it can become inaccessible, hidden in the final resolve. Despite spending ample time with Kate Shepherd’s recent paintings, I felt that her process only slowly revealed itself. Her work is composed of distinct fields of glossy enamel atop large wooden panels, painted in almost mechanic perfection, where brushstrokes are invisible. While most of the panels are soaked with cool and deep shades of blue, both wine-red and ochre works divvy up the surrounding space. From a distance, these large panels function as rectangular mirrors, hazy and distorted, reflecting while abstracting the details within the gallery. The viewer, too, alters the surface of the painting when she approaches its vertical disposition. The room becomes a fun house—distorting and obscuring its surroundings while still ensuring each painting’s existence within the spaces it negotiates. This unavoidable luminescence borders on distracting, the enamel paint nearly swallowing the spidery lines that float in the center of each painting. These attenuations, composed with calculated strokes of white oil paint, are almost lost in the luster. It is only within these lines—simple in their
elegance, a perfect complement to the monochrome surfaces they adorn—where the viewer may begin to understand the complex process behind each moment of connection in Shepherd’s paintings. These lines meet at their edges, producing outlines (or suggestions) of figures only legible when the painting’s spectator decides to make sense of the fragments. While specific forms are evident, such as the curvature of a chair, a breast, and bent knees, other combinations of lines require more inquiry. Do I see this woman holding a jug above her head because I recognize it as a jug, or did I arrive at this interpretation because I have seen a similar depiction before? Is this figure truly a woman? These paintings recall references to historical icons and, at the same time, the cracks on the sidewalk that I walk over each day. The allure comes from their malleable expressions. “Fwd: The Telephone Game” implies passing off, a shuffling around before receiving the final call exhibited on the gallery’s walls. The panels bear residue of the repetition and redaction from the series of exchanges that occurred during their making. But it is a quiet representation—one that could go unnoticed without the slender
book, self-published by Shepherd, that charts her decisions. In the book’s introduction, which is typeset in a generic sans serif font, reading like a personal email from the artist, Shepherd begins by acknowledging the weaving of conversation, interpretation, and disparate methods that came together in “Fwd: The Telephone Game,” explaining, “stories change as we pass them along from one state to another.” The tone and transparency of her address as she recounts the help she received from others, in addition to the ways that the process she developed would often fail, suggest an honesty that the work itself reflects. While the formal gestures contained in each of the paintings may be difficult to understand, they offer every point of intersection to the viewer so that she may make her own connections. With a background in both art and architecture, Shepherd has devised a language for her body of work by melding her formal skills: she uses architectural software to sketch figural models for her drawings. However, Shepherd breaks down these traditional practices from art and architecture education, individualizing them
to suit her vision. Her models are neither sculptural nor human, but open-source digital 3D models designed for gaming applications, and digital reproductions of an Alvar Aalto plywood chair. Shepherd introduces them into Google’s 3D modeling program SketchUp, where she meticulously traces moments of intrigue in the digital figures’ and chair’s perspectives and gestures. This new language is not precise and is quite limiting at times; specifically with the range of the lines drawn in SketchUp, which must always be straight, complicating the process of curving and rounding the models’ poses. But his same technology allows Shepherd to move the models around in different perspectives in a physical space, letting her see the many ways that the abstracted lines, drawn over a digital body, can move. She depicts this complexity beautifully in the book, showing the possibilities that straight lines have in suggesting what they are not, referencing the composition of a daddy longlegs. Her prose illustrates this discovery, and is accompanied by a lowquality image of the spider. The form in these pages is simple, like the paintings themselves—lines juxtaposed with the
121121 1 Kate Shepherd, Fwd: The Telephone Game (New York: Galerie Lelong, 2014), 21. 2 Ibid, 20.
allusion of a coherent image. Her honesty is both diaristic and instructional, as she guides her viewers through the subtle components of her compositions to reveal the philosophy behind each decisive line and specific hue, acknowledging the flaws of her process while exuding the comfort attained from operating within this precariousness. In the preliminary drawing stages, negotiations and unexpected deterrents occur. Shepherd must trick her own tool to give the illusion of perspective and curvature in the drawings of her models (which she refers to as “muses”), and then must decide how these drawings will exist upon beds of thick enamel. Next in the process is an involved set of backand-forths between Shepherd and Anees, her technical assistant who prepares her models and renders her drawings in the correct proportions for the panels. Because Anees lives in the Middle East, their correspondence is mostly documented through Dropbox, Google Docs, iChat, screen sharing, emails, and texts, which adds another element of confusion and misdirection to the work as it moves from muse to line, before approaching drawing.
The last half of the book contains examples of files and messages exchanged between the artist and her collaborator, showing subtle mistakes that Shepherd ultimately committed to when it came time to paint. On some pages, Shepherd will copy text from emails about seeing one of Anees’s renderings for the first time (“looks too much like a gaping mouth, funny nose / i’m not doing it”1), requesting fresh attempts with new colors or reassessed lines. Often, she will include the photograph of a final painting along with images of failed attempts (“haha—looks like ice skates / i’ll take it more in this direction”2) during the drawing period. For one painting, Poser. Kate.carrying.02.pz3Awideropenscaled3.s17. SansColumn (2014)—a large royal blue panel with the outline of a standing woman, hunched over, holding a large mass above her head—Shepherd includes variations of planes that the figure would be grounded on, in addition to a photograph of a sketch on a napkin she “drew from a spanish cafe.” Near a preliminary drawing, she writes: do you see that arcing line that indicates the head extending past her arm? my friend lucy ives was here and said “(it shows that) depiction can occur in
In charting the strange influences and impressions she encounters in her creative process, Shepherd creates a catalogue for the delineation of whispers that carry detail from one person to another, in the game of telephone and in the act of art marking. She presents paintings that could be mistaken as the product of a quiet journey, of selfreflection. Instead, she gives her viewers a book and tells of a game of creation. When a painting is deemed complete, it exists as the result of a journey of trials and mishaps, where there is laughter when things get messy, where mistranslation becomes a new point of inquiry, and where even the viewer, confronting the work in its final iteration, can participate in this eclectic exchange. Even here, in these words, another telephone call.
122122 3â€ƒ Ibid, 15.
excess of descriptionâ€? I really like that3
Donel Williams Proxy, 2014 legal document scans
Ricardo Nagaoka Seijin Shiki, 2014 color inkjet print 40x46 in El Gimnasio, 2014 color inkjet print 40x46 in
James Iveson Steller Drive, 2014 Sumi ink on Hosho paper 11x15.7 in National, 2014 Sumi ink on Hosho paper 11x15.7 in
Aaron Peters Point To Star, 2014 archival inkjet print 6.5x9.5 in
A photographer returns to the desert, attempting to replicate an image. Unable to physically rehearse his escape, a prison inmate visualizes routes while covertly constructing the tools of his getaway. Wax-covered balls drop in and out of an artistâ€™s body of work. In the depths of indoor shopping malls across the globe, kids prepare for capitalist adulthood. A painter and her collaborator struggle to communicate. A manâ€™s signature transforms at the end of his life. A bat flies in a window.
Practice can exist anywhere and take any form. It can be sustained for days or decades. It is action and abstinence. Physical and mental exercise. Social and solitary. In speaking of practice, we are reminded of words like goal, routine, method, production, repetition, soccer, performance, yoga, exercise, medicine, training, praxis. It refers to selfdevelopment and change over time, and speaks potently to our most personal desires. Practice involves an intentional selection of one path over another at any given time. However, the word itself, its meaning and its implications are ambivalent, non-linear and far-reaching. GRAPHITE Editorial Staff
• Elizabeth Ahn makes paintings and writes in Los Angeles. • Makayla Bailey is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. Hobbies include people watching and thinking about permeable bodies.
144 of-things. She currently 144 lives and works in Los Angeles.
• Tommy Coleman, originally from South Florida (later living in Brooklyn), is a sculptor currently based in New Haven, CT. creating work that reflects upon the way a person • Nora Berman is navigates anxiety in an artist living and culture throughout working in Los Angeles. the everyday. Often Her work consists of times fueled by his painting, sculpture and observations of social performance. Nora is media, literature, or also a co-curator of pop-culture, Coleman McPoems, a poetry utilizes his perception and performance of language and event held at various narrative as a tool to McDonald’s locations create art that is in the in Los Angeles. She vein of theatre or stage received her B.A. from direction. His attention UCLA in 2013. is focused on the way his art can shift the • Marissa Y. Clifford is role of an audience to an artist/writer/hybrid- the role of a participant
by creating spaces called with affected, overwhelmed by material performing uncomfortable roles, and using text as a proscenium for framing unexpected interactions. After receiving a BFA from Cooper Union in 2009 Coleman lived and worked in Brooklyn and is currently attending Yale MFA in Sculpture (2016).
• Indah Datau grew up in the San Fernando Valley. She studied Art at UCLA and continues to live in Los Angeles.
• Heather Delaney is a New York/ Los Angeles based artist. She has exhibited in New York and California and recently received an MFA degree from University of California, Irvine. This past year, her work was included • James Curry-Castillo in two international is a blogger and exhibitions for a student. He grew performance and up in San Diego, video, including Rapid California, and has Pulse’s International since moved up the Performance Art coast to Portland, Festival in Chicago, IL Oregon. You can learn and NurtureArt more about his life, his in Brooklyn, NY. writing, and his art She was also included at jamescurryiv.com. in the New Wight Invitational at the
University of California, Los Angeles. • Amy Garofano is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. Her series, Caterwauling, is part of an ongoing study of the way that forms in design and architecture encode social attitudes. She received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2012. • Chloe Hamilton graduated from UCLA in 2014. She makes ceramics, paintings, shirts, and takes photos. You can find her on the web at chloegwedolyn.com. • CJ Heyliger grew up on the Colorado Front Range and currently
146 lives in Los Angeles, CA. 146 He received a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015 and a BFA in Photography from the Art Institute of Boston in 2006. CJ is a founding member of Sun System Press, a publishing collaborative he shares with Cole Caswell and Bryan Graf. • James Iveson (b. 1983, UK) is currently undertaking an MFA at UCLA. • Kaitlyn A. Kramer is a writer based in New York. • Ashley Moody is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond,
Virginia. She is currently studying graphic design.
a chance to navigate diverse areas of Los Angeles. He was born in the small town of • Ricardo Nagaoka is Santa Cruz and moved a 21-year old Japanese to Los Angeles less photographer, born in than two years ago. Asunción, Paraguay, Picture making is his where he lived for half way of feeling out of his life. He later an area and finding moved to Ontario, a grasp on it. Aaron Canada in 2005, where plans to graduate he lives as a Canadian UCLA by next year and citizen in the city of has nothing planned Oakville. Ricardo is after that. currently studying in Rhode Island, USA • Regine Rode (b.1982 at the Rhode Island in Germany) studied School of Design (BFA under painter and in Photography, 2015). sculptor Markus His body of work deals Oehlen at the Academy with issues within of Fine Arts in Munich, immigrant subcultures Germany where she through his own graduated with honors personal narrative. in 2014. She currently lives and works in • Aaron Peters lives Los Angeles and far away from work attends the Graduate and school, giving him Fine Arts program
at Otis College of Art and Design. With an emphasis on Sculpture and Installation, she raises the question of the relationship between utopian and dystopian environments and fantasies, often referencing historical events. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and institutions in Germany and in the US including The Bolsky Gallery, Los Angeles, The Raymond Gallery, Pasadena, Galerie Goldnuss, Bogen, The GoetheInstitut, Munich, Selecto Planta-Baja, Los Angeles and numerous artist spaces and colleges. • Anja Salonen is a painting student
148 148 at CalArts, currently working in Los Angeles. She seeks to make work that is immersive, creating a sense of seamless unreality, which removes the viewer from the banal, provoking both introspection and external reflection. • Brooks Turner explores the mystery and immensity of the cosmos within the human condition through sculpture, video, research, interviews and writing. Inspired and confounded by nothingness and something-ness, Turner searches for poetic meaning in the juxtaposition between the Big Bang and human
1149 49 consciousness, the stars and our neurons, the emptiness of the universe and the emptiness in every atom in our body. From Minneapolis MN, Turner currently lives and works in Los Angeles where he received his MFA in sculpture from UCLA in 2015. • Nathan Ward was born and raised in Los Angeles. UCLA 2014. • Grant Wells is a visual artist currently working towards his Bachelors degree in Fine Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His work is a new look at the American landscape through the lens of current
technologies and how they influence the perceptions our surroundings. • Donel Williams is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Los Angeles, CA. His work investigates a personal identity shaped by a strong relationship with an elderly stepfather, the most prominent figure in his life. Williams explores the personal impact of observing his stepfather’s battle with aging and illness and their lasting effects in both mental and physical spaces.
Elena Yu Editor-in-Chief Emerald Woods Assistant Editor / Head Editor, Art Catherine Yang Head Editor, Essays / Head of Development Mary Catherine Clark Editor, Essays Lydia Janbay Editor, Essays Nilo Goldfarb Editor, Essays Gabriel Garza Editor, Art Jesy Odio Head Editor, Multimedia Daisy Sheff Multimedia Writer Sophia Arriola Multimedia Writer Eunice Kim Multimedia Writer Gabriel Brenner Development / Distribution
Issue No. 6 ÂŠ 2015, Los Angeles, California ISBN 978-0-9916356-1-0 Designed by Content is Relative Printed by Typecraft Inc. Wood & Jones GRAPHITE Interdisciplinary Journal of the Arts is created through the Hammer Museum and the Hammer Student Association of UCLA. The production of Graphite was made possible, in part, by the Undergraduate Student Association Council of UCLA. The GRAPHITE editorial staff would also like to thank Noelle Valentino, Academic Programs Coordinator for the Hammer Museum. Her devoted support and guidance have helped make this journal possible. www.graphitejournal.com email@example.com All rights reserved. May not be reproduced.
Published on Jun 11, 2015
Published on Jun 11, 2015
Graphite is an L.A. arts organization dedicated to producing critical and creative projects in an integrated physical and digital space. Our...