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CON: tact: pirate: against: can: with or without: with: against: artist: victim: antonym: sly: with: salvation: the swindle: consumeé: prefix; pris fixe; five courses with wine pairings: ed: double-cross: anti: flagration: stealth: con job, con man; but also the prefix of one of my favorite archaic words, “conglobe”: trick: trast: love will find you: VERSE: title: language: hearse: rote: hear now, her noun, happy now: song: versus: line: pseudonym: stanza: turn: elegy: in the poem: bttm/vers here: alexandrine; rules; abba baab: reverse: poetics: poem: saliva: poetry: my life (poetry): the succor of concentration (versus distraction): rhyme: for you: second—same as first: SENSATIONS: skin: touch: shampoo: connotation: i will sit on your face, gently, and with permission: memory: proprioception: relations: acronym: tickles and/or sex: in-spill: sleep: of perception: the feeling of what happens: thrill; cyclone; weather channel: energy: susceptibility: texture: ground glass: warmth: rhymes with “vibrations” (as in “good vibrations”): tingly feelings: silky: often, if you pay attention.

SESSIONS 2009 www.thesessions.info Editor: Katerina Llanes Design: Ania Diakoff Logo: Edie Fake Thank you to everyone who contributed, collaborated, gave time, energy, and support to this project. It is dedicated to you.


CON: tact: pirate: against: can: with or without: with: against: artist: victim: antonym: sly: with: salvation: the swindle: consumeé: prefix; pris fixe; five courses with wine pairings: ed: double-cross: anti: flagration: stealth: con job, con man; but also the prefix of one of my favorite archaic words, “conglobe”: trick: trast: love will find you: VERSE: title: language: hearse: rote: hear now, her noun, happy now: song: versus: line: pseudonym: stanza: turn: elegy: in the poem: bttm/vers here: alexandrine; rules; abba baab: reverse: poetics: poem: saliva: poetry: my life (poetry): the succor of concentration (versus distraction): rhyme: for you: second—same as first: SENSATIONS: skin: touch: shampoo: connotation: i will sit on your face, gently, and with permission: memory: proprioception: relations: acronym: tickles and/or sex: in-spill: sleep: of perception: the feeling of what happens: thrill; cyclone; weather channel: energy: susceptibility: texture: ground glass: warmth: rhymes with “vibrations” (as in “good vibrations”): tingly feelings: silky: often, if you pay attention.


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Topping from the Bottom Bottoms hold the power. They determine the limits, the rules of the game. Tension builds as you play with the point of submission and domination, with control and release. If we were to think of conversation as sex, two people engaging in tantric discourse, then organizing would be an orgy. Collaboration, like conversation, like sex, is full of complex negotiations, drives, and desires. There is agency in the act of surrender, the intentionality of submission. To bottom to a group structure means setting the frame and letting it go. As the initiator of this project, I would have to play with my positioning, sometimes topping other times bottoming, depending on what the situation called for. It didn’t always work. It got awkward and cumbersome at times fumbling through like new lovers as we went along. But then just as quickly, we would find ourselves in moments of ecstasy energized by our ideas and the spirit of collaboration. A mass of critical thought ready to take shape.

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Ania Diakoff – Historias de Cronopios y de Famas by Julio Cortázar Eric Anglès – Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance by Simon Critchley Christina Linden - The Parasite by Michel Serres Michael Portnoy – Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini Celeste Dupuy-Spencer – Maus by Art Spiegelman Joshua Thorson – American Genuis: A Comedy by Lynne Tillman Marlous Borm – In Praise Of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki Joshua Kit Clayton – Reflections from a Cinematic Cesspool by George Kuchar and Mike Kuchar

Queering the Picture Plane

Travis Boyer – 2009 Action Plan by Suze Ormanz

Considering the need for self-organization in a society where institutional educational structures continually fail us, I set out to organize a group of artists, thinkers and makers to build our own school through a series of self-directed sensory workshops.

Donnie Cervantes – The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Once a month, in a house and on the floor, we met to work out our ideas. We began to understand this, not as any one thing, but a changing shifting gathering for artistic activism. We were ready to turn our singular practice into collaboration, to transform language into action, to make this a femanist queering*, in solidarity, as a politic of perversion, as a politic of play. We searched through our herstories– consciousness-raising, psychoanalysis, music, S/M – and we came up with SESSIONS. Together, we will create temporary autonomous spaces to share skills, make work, and build community. We want to open the center of knowledge production creating ground for collision and generosity. We are a gift economy working outside the modes of capitalist production here to create another context for learning. If we do not see ourselves represented in the mainstreams of cultural capital, then we must secede into our own networked channels. This is about choice. About individual and collective agency. About how through collaboration, we can come together and transform the state of our present future. So the question becomes: What are we here to create, re-create, un-create? In the face of a changing political landscape with economic crisis making way for unstable territories, we will take this moment as an opportunity to organize our work and ourselves into a state of artistic activism.

Ulrike Müller – Bouvard and Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert FFARTS – Ecce Homo by George Grosz Naomi Fisher – Hatred of Capitalism by Chris Kraus and Sylvère Lotringer Jess Arndt – Moby Dick by Herman Melville Andrea Geyer – The Life of the Mind by Hannah Arendt Lucas Knipscher – Call me Ishmael by Charles Olson Anne Hall – End-Time Visions by Richard Abanes Leidy Churchman – Female Ejaculation & The G-Spot: Not Your Mother’s Orgasm Book! by Deborah Sundahl Sergei Tcherepnin – Noise by Jacques Attali Skint – Taking Root to Fly by Irene Dowd Wendy Vogel – Black Sun by Julia Kristeva Joan Retallack – Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein Elena Maderal – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

*femanist, and other “misspellings” of feminism (femonism, pheminism, femynism etc.) were offered by the artist A.L. Steiner as a way to push feminism beyond an essentialist understanding of woman as female. To think of women’s rights as the struggle for equal rights within and against the patriarchy.

Elizabeth Orr – Reason and History by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel SESSIONS – Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet


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Wayne Koestenbaum – Soap by Francis Ponge Katerina Llanes – Coming to Power: Writings and Graphics on Lesbian S/M edited by SAMOIS Sarah Faith Gottesdiener – The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World by Lewis Hyde Gene McHugh – Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature by Donna Haraway Emily Roysdon –Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing by Hélène Cixous Yonatan Zonszein – The Astor Orphans by Lately Thomas Jim Drain – Gilgamesh by John Gardner and John Maier Amy Sillman – Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation by Gilles Deleuze Sarah Demeuse – The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation by Jacques Rancière Adam Pendleton – Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rogers Bartholomew Ryan – Another Country by James Baldwin Leila Hekmat – Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ulgresic Dani Leventhal – Small Acts Of Repair: Performance, Ecology and Goat Island edited by Matthew Goulish and Stephan Bottoms

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Parasitical Operations And as much as this will be an exodus, we quickly learned that it couldn’t be a straight binary secession. For this to work, we would have to pirate from the institution creating a simultaneous dislocation, combination, and reformation. We use parastiting as a strategy to make use of the resources within privatized educational systems and to pervert pedagogical frameworks: imbedded canons, institutional bureaucracy, and inflated tuition. We look to models that have come before for inspiration: Black Mountain College, The Feminist Art Program at CalArts, LTTR, Sundown Schoolhouse, PILOT TV, Copenhagen Free University... From them, we would learn to self-institute, use the home as a meeting place, be transient/mobile/shifting, replace audience with participation, borrow existing networks and resources, grow with intention, make a call with an offering. If you are ready to show up, then you are invited to take part. Artists, writers, cooks, dancers, designers, curators, gardeners, composers, perfumers, masochists, mothers, weavers, and activists. A multiplicity of voices, positions, and locations in solidarity. From June 19-21 2009, we will occupy the site of an old Odd Fellows Lodge in upstate New York. Re-setting the stage of the secret soceity, we will transform the space into a summer weekend art/school/camp/clinic/workshop/cruising/slumberparty founded on the principles of touch – the intimacy of our interactions, the intentionality of our presence, and the belief that the power was always already in our hands. Coming Together

Cas Holman – Grit Bath by Renee French

So here we are. Splayed throughout this book. Ready for you to take us. A preface to our coming together. A way to begin the conversation, the CON VERSE SENSATIONS. The title carries each of our voices both in rhythm and out of tune. We chose blocks for the cover so that you would see this is about building. We gave each contributor, each collaborator, their own spread to re-present themselves. We left blank pages for you to make notes, to invite you to make your mark.

Lee Maida – Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara

With love and excitement,

K8 Hardy – Period by Dennis Cooper Jess Wilcox – Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Alisa Baremboym - The Total Art of Stalinism: Avant-Garde, Aesthetic Dictatorship, and Beyond by Boris Groys W.A.G.E. – Why Are Artists Poor? By Hans Abbing A.L. Steiner – Bodies of Work by Kathy Acker Nancy Brooks Brody – A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion A.K. Burns – Wild Fermentation by Sandy Katz Katie Hubbard – Against Fashion: Clothing as Art, 1850-1930 by Radu Stern Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff – Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

Katerina Llanes, Topping from the Bottom, 2009


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Reading List


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Elizabeth Orr, Invitation, 2009


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SKINT dance and music improvisation s Images from, You Can’t Do That on Television

Caitlin Cook, Jessie Gold, Elizabeth Hart, Emily Powers, Busy Gangnes, Skint, 2009


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Gay Spirits Say… Boo! Towards Sublime Hedonism Fighting for More Fun, Not Less Pain —Emily Roysdon

Slime A mass movement. Oozing, spreading, gushing. Glowing with nebulous neon substance. A sheet. An apparitional costume. Coating the surface like an all consuming partition, separating the hysterical individual from the masses. A forceful divide. Total alienation. I Don’t Know Admitting to a lack of knowledge means accepting an inability to penetrate. Impotence. Forced to the perimeter by an acknowledgement of exclusion. You doubt, you question, you exclaim. Your head is buried under a mountain of lubricated material. Dialogue I know, you know. No, I don’t know. Desires unsatisfied? Always. Emphatically hedonistic? Yes. Capitalist hangover? (A defiant) YES! Determined by positive potential. Yes! More fun with ‘yes’? Absolutely. Hedonism Schools of hedonism define ethics and actions in relation to how much pleasure and how little pain can be derived from a situation or object. It is a rhetoric, categorically organized around qualitative (higher and lower degrees of pleasure) vs. quantitative (total amount of pleasure), as it relates to philosophical individualism vs. collectivism. Hedonism, like many philosophical arguments, is defined by dueling dualities. This begs the question, what constitutes pleasure? And for that matter, pain?

A.K. Burns, Gay Spirits Say... Boo! Towards Sublime Hedonism, 2009


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Pleasure appears limited and specific to personal desires. Likes, born out of an unwillingness to augment comfort zones. The greatest achievement within capitalism is that of the ‘winner’, the most virile. Those who appear, if only for a moment, pain-free. Pain is culturally discouraged except under the interrogation lights on the televised stage. The demotion of pain relative to normative pleasure principles, provides a fertile ground for overexposed freak shows and competition that fosters the desire to see others suffer. The thrill of winning is in part the joy of leaving others in the dust. Pain stripped of its empathetic potency produces a perverse sense of agency through ‘pure’ pleasure. Any number of ‘pleasurable’ activities, when fully indulged, expose the cohabitation of pleasure and pain. Eat candy till you feel sick. Laugh till your side hurts. Fuck till you’re sore. Likewise, common place fetish—piss, whips, bondage and power dynamics—exemplify the overtly subjective nature of pleasure and pain thresholds. Therefore, let us assume pleasure has the broadest of meanings and that pain has pleasurable potential. War Pain acts as part of an emotional spectrum. Violence and war hermetically reproduce suffering; those in pain produce more pain. It’s a type of pain that appeals to a lack of agency. If violence is the acting out of dislocated fear and rage, War is the politicization of violence. Fear thrives off a disaffected sensibility, a lack (a perceived impotence)—communal, fiscal, libidinal—and forcefully seeks fulfillment through a sense of purpose. For those who incorporate violence as a means to an end—the soldier, the ‘terrorist’, the gangster, the rapist, the murderer —the articulation of violence seeks agency through potential fraternity, wealth, or orgasmic satisfaction. To ‘actualize’ ones existence through the annihilation of another is the violent result of a social and cultural denial of pain. Limited access to an expanded potential for pleasure, sets the stage for an aggressive battle against culturally enforced perceptions of impotence. And while violence and war cause pain and suffering, pain and suffering do not require war and violence to exist. This necessitates a divorce, a place for pain to be active and attractive without the glamour of war.

Algoth Niska Booze Criticality/Cocaine Diamonds Ecstasy/Engagement

Indulgence Forget moderation, let’s speak in excess, let’s indulge. Hedonism begs for indulgence. Moderation is about control. One of the primary emotional and sensory functions of the body is an auto-awareness of thresholds. Why control what already has a given set of limits? In S&M the desire of the sadist is never to impose violence but to create a ‘safe space’ to push the pain threshold of the masochist to an exuberant extreme. Likewise, the marathon runner seeks a ‘runners high’ to break the pain threshold and enter an endorphin educed ecstasy. Capitalist hedonism is framed and bound by the notion that pleasure and self-satisfaction are the highest social and cultural goals. Pain is either totally denied or highly managed. This denial and repression is a generative force for engorged capitalism. Sarah Demeuse, A Smuggler’s Handbook, 2009


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To indulge in ‘more fun’ does not equal less pain and why should it? If pain and suffering are persistent matters, then the pursuit of pleasure alone will never eliminate pain. Pain contextualizes pleasure. Pain and pleasure are self-absorbed lovers. Herein lies hedonistic agency along the pleasure-pain Mobius strip, continually revealing and collapsing. What is the pursuit of pleasure when it is not in denial, but proactively engages in pain and suffering? Aliens Acts of extreme pleasure and of extreme pain are sites of total indulgence. This produces a space or moment for dualistic collapse. A collapse from which the emigrant body emerges. An experience that is at once neither and both. The emigrant body is in transit, leaving from. Continually becoming, but never being. The destination cannot be defined because even from the position of immigrant (arriving to), once you’ve arrived you wear the undeniable scent of ‘another’ place. You’re cheating and everyone knows it. The emigrant body is the persistent alien. You occupy the passageway, an ocean, the seepage, because you do not belong to what was or the fantasy of what is. The Orgasm An orgasm cannot be clearly defined, captured, or reproduced. A momentary totality of absolute exuberance. It’s fleeting nature is crucial. It is transient, lacking specificity or place, which is exactly how it escapes definition. Definition is the direct result of ‘perceived’ permanence. If this non-place, non-moment, nonbeing is your occupation, then you are an apparition. A ghost. A spirit. A spirited yes! Back to yes, to the exclamation! A semiotic embodiment of the unmitigated emptiness of this collapse. Terrifying elation! Aaaagh, YES! Ecstatic pain! Aaaagh, YES! The joy and gayety of it all. A ghost who establishes it’s existence through a horrifically surprising… BOO! Heard and seen in a fleeting gesture. Embodied in an exclamation, the fear and shock manipulates perceived ‘reality’. You don’t know, and you don’t care to know. You are the gayest spirit, with sublimely hedonistic potential. Oh, YES! Spiritual Healing Scream for me. No, scream for you. A gut wrenching exorcise. A hysterical celebration of impotence, alienation and pain!

A.K. Burns, Gay Spirits Say... Boo! Towards Sublime Hedonism, 2009


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Katie Hubbard, Carbon Insert for Mirrored Notation and Drawing (required materials: one blank page 8.5 x 5.5 inches, one blank page 8.5 x 11 inches and charcoal), 2009


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SESSIONS Katie Hubbard, Book Pocket (required materials: one yard of stretch fabric and scissors), 2009

Adam Pendleton, Notes for SESSIONS, 2009


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materials: swatch of cotton, steel pin, blood, plain envelope

Lee Maida , Self Dying Kit, “I sit in New York in my room, my reading is interrupted by a pleasant thought of Jason. He’s waiting for my arrival. It won’t occur for another three weeks. I smile. He must be quivering with every thought of me. I stand up and go to my desk. I find a set of long, steel pins. I address an envelope to Jason and walk out to mail it. There is no note. Just the return address. when he receives the pins he’ll know they’re from me and I imagine what he’ll do. He will open the envelope and stand there with the thin, sharp metal in his hands. He will cry sobbingly. I imagine him standing there with deep gasps in his chest and rivers of tears flowing down his cheeks. I never give jason the satisfaction of predictability. When he gets the pins from me he will have no way of knowing what I intend to use them for. I could do anything with him and them. Ind he knows that now. The utter horror of the possibilities will overwhelm him.” –John Preston, Letter to Jason, 2009


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Adam Pendleton, Notes for SESSIONS, 2009


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SESSIONS Katerina Llanes and Ania Diakoff, Land of Silence and Darkness, 2009


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SESSIONS Adam Pendleton, Notes for SESSIONS, 2009


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ASHWAGANDA (Withania somnifera) Elixer & Inhalation “horse’s smell”

3 grams ashwaganda¹ 1 gram dried German chamomile² flowers 2.5 grams white ash bark 1.5 grams calamus root³ 1 gram dried chrysanthemum flowers 13 2” long stalks of hay drops of molasses (to taste)

Place all ingredients in a leather pouch. If you do not have a leather pouch on hand, you might try your wallet or a leather shoe. Pour perhaps 8oz. of boiling water into leather pouch. Pinch opening so that contents may steep 5 minutes. Agitate occasionally. Stretch a clean cloth, preferably a bandana, over a bowl to strain solids. Pour contents onto center of stretched cloth so that liquids collect in bowl and solids gather on cloth. Fold steaming cloth in thirds to allow two layers of cloth between your face and the contents. Press steaming pillow over nose and mouth. Take care not to scald. Breathe deeply until it is no longer pleasurable. Drink elixir. Extraction and Inhalation will produce slight transpiration and possibly trigger muscle memory of past quadrupedic existence as a result of the faint but persistent odor reminiscent of saddle leather, horsehair, hay, and urine.

¹ Considered an adaptogen which is an herb that works to normalize physiological function, working on the HPA axis and the neuroendocrine system. ² The etymological roots of chamomile may be translated as “earth apple” ³ Also referred to as “sweet flag”

(Insert a piece of beet stained cellophane over this image.)

Anne Hall and Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff, ASHWAGANDA (Withania somnifera) Elixir & Inhalation, 2009


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Alisa Baremboym, Vinaigrette : Babushka Pickles In Brine, 2009


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Amy Sillman, The Logic of Sensation, 2009

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Dani Leventhal, Binding Sessions, 2009


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Make Your Own Multiple


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Andrea Geyer, Out of Sorts (posters for public display), 2008


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Ania Diakoff, Electra, 2009

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Yonatan Zonszein, The Twin Painting, 2009


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Cathexis was defined by Sigmund Freud as a charge of emotional, mental or libidinal energy in a person, object or idea. If these energies are “blocked,” energies can be “re-cathected” in other manners: alternative objects can be fetishized, or these energies can be repressed and “sublimated.” For Freud, this process of sublimation was the force that drove artists to create. What happens when, paradoxically, curators’ energies are sublimated? 12

Transcript PONY PLAY

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You’re going to keep your hands in front. I’d like you to do a trot. Variate it with trots and high-stepping and get to that bus and ask him if he’s waiting for Yvonne. That’s a good horse. Yes. You have beautiful high steps. That’s it. He will be rewarded later on with some sugar or even a chewy carrot. That’s it. Proud pony. That’s right. And skipping skipping. That’s beautiful step. Okay now let me see you trot rapidly down the way. How far? To the bus and find out if that’s my bus cos I don’t feel like walking all over the way over… What number are we looking for? We’re looking for, I think, Atlantic. 33 something or other. Whatever it is it’s Atlantic. Just ask him if it’s our bus. Go. I’m going to gallop. (He does.) Gallop. That’s a beautiful gallop. A running gallop. Run run run like the wind Silk. Run like the wind. That’s a beautiful war horse. Oh…. Wonderful. Wonderful. He’s not ours? Prrrrbbbbbbhhh (shakes his head). Allright. I don’t remember what the number was. Okay. So do a couple of tempis and a few skippings. Not as young as he used to be. Hey. I’m 42-years-old. . . I said some dance steps. Some tempi. You know the routine. Some cantering? Yes. Cantering. That’s it. That’s a good boy. Very good. Pet my nose. You. You’re my favorite horse. Neigh! Neigh!

A person who is being analyzed.

Transference is defined in psychoanalysis as the transfer of feelings from one person to another. In analysis, the patient transfers feelings to the analyst that he or she held toward a parental figure. Freud defines this transference as inherently “ambivalent,” comprising both positive and negative (affectionate and hostile) attitudes at one (“An Outline of Psychoanalysis,” 1940.) 14

Bernd Krauss’ residency at the Center for Curatorial Studies in Fall 2008 culminated in a project entitled Today we can talk but we can’t talk today. The project is described as such: “What is the role of process in the work of both artists and curators? What does it mean for a curator to confuse or even swap roles with the artist, for example reproducing the artist’s work herself? First-year graduate students at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) work with Bernd Krauss, artist-in-residence at the Center this fall, to create a process-oriented and heterogeneous exhibition at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild employing a wide range of media and extending beyond the physical space of the gallery.” (http:// www.bard.edu/ccs/exhibitions/past) 15

This definition is based on the conception of the Projects series inaugurated at The Museum of Modern Art in 1971, one of the first institutions to adopt programming of this kind. The Museum website states: “The Projects Series was established … to present work by emerging artists and to bring reactionary, avant-garde art into the context of the museum. The series was intended not only to give undiscovered artists the opportunity to display new work, but also to give the junior curatorial staff the opportunity to initiate and organize exhibitions of art new to the museum” (http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/projects/archives/archive.html.) 16

The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation is the title of a book by Jacques Rancière that takes the figure of Joseph Jacotot as an exemplar, a nineteenth-century schoolmaster who was charged with the task of teaching Flemish students to speak French. Giving the students a bilingual text, he found that they could teach themselves. This serves as a powerful lesson that education cannot be universalized as “explanation,” but rather the role of the teacher is to encourage speech through interrogation. 17

A short selection of texts dealing with this topic: Laurie Adams, Art and Psychoanalysis (New York: Haper Collins, 1993); Leo Bersani, The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and art (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986); Mary Ann Doane, Femmes fatales: feminism, film theory, psychoanalysis (New York: Routledge, 1991); Mary Kelly, Post-partum Document (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Natalya Lusty, Surrealism, feminism, psychoanalysis (Aldershot, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007); Juliet Mitchell, Psychoanalysis and feminism (New York: Vintage, 1975); Jacqueline Rose, Sexuality in the field of vision (London: Verso, 2005); Jack Spector, The aesthetics of Freud: a study in psychoanalysis and art (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974) 18

Wendy Vogel, Why the Next CCS Artist Should Be a Psychoanalyst, 2009


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David Levi Strauss elaborates on this genealogy of the curator from ancient times to the present in his article “The Bias of the World: Curating After Szeemann and Hopps” (Brooklyn Rail, December 2006January 2007, accessible online.) In this article, he begins by emphasizing the shift in the curatorial function in the Middle Ages from the realm of the law (curators began by overseeing various public works departments in Rome) to the level of the ecclesiastical, coining the memorable phrase: “Curators have always been a curious mixture of bureaucrat and priest.” 5

Many recent texts have been written about the origins of the modern museum, among them Eilean Hooper-Greenhill’s Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge (London and New York: Routledge, 1992) which relies on Michel Foucault’s concept of the “episteme” (which structures chronological time according to a number of shifting attitudes regarding “rationality”) to deconstruct the power-knowledge complex of the museum. Hooper-Greenhill posits the modern museum as emerging from dual discourses of taxonomical “rationality” following the French Revolution and of a contemporaneous democratic spirit that wished to turn over the riches of the ancient régime to the (Re)public. Paradoxically, the modern museum now embodies both a populist spirit of public good and the elitist notion of a repository of objects of extremely high value. 6

Harald Szeemann is said to be the first “independent,” or freelance, curator. Szeemann, who held various posts in the 1960s at the Pasadena Art Museum and Kunsthalle Bern, quit his job in 1969 to found the Agency for Spiritual Guesswork and the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT.) He became the first individual to assume complete creative control as the “artistic director” of Documenta (Documenta 5, 1972) and continued to guest-curate at various institutional venues and biennials through the end of his life in 2002. 7

The “Author as Producer” was famously theorized by Walter Benjamin in an essay of the same title in 1934. The “author as producer” was borne of the Marxist revolutionary logic that the author (or artist) might advocate for the proletariat through his work and argued for a socially engaged art, as opposed to the attached, naturalist observer. Recently, curator Nato Thompson updated this maxim to include curatorial practice in his interview with Michelle White entitled “The Curator as Producer” (ArtLies 59, Fall 2008.) 8

One could hearken here back to the notion of art-as-reception to “art as tautology,” argued by Joseph Kosuth in Art After Philosophy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991.) Here, Kosuth draws a line from Duchamp’s “nominalist” readymades (which gained their artistic function by Duchamp’s placing them in an artistic context) to his conceptual production which relied on the artist’s intention. Other genealogies of reception-centered art have stemmed from this conceptually-centered framework and have included practices of institutional critique practiced by Hans Haacke, Marcel Broodthaers, Michael Asher and Daniel Buren, going forward to practices such as Louise Lawler’s various projects, which often assume a “curatorial” element, to Andrea Fraser’s wide-ranging practices of neo-conceptual critique. 9

Gesamtkunstwerk is a German term meaning “total” or “complete” artwork, coined by composer Richard Wagner in his 1849 essay Art and Revolution. Wagner used this term to describe his work, which would transcend the disciplines of music, poetry and visual arts to communicate a universal moralist tale. This is meant to refer to the rather ‘operatic’ ambitions of curators who see their practice as metaartistic, weaving different disciplines to convey a wider-ranging conceptual narrative. 10

See Benjamin Buchloh, “Conceptual Art 1962-1969: From the Aesthetics of Administration to a Critique of Institutions,” (October 55: 105-143) for a more historical definition of this term. For a contemporary artist’s perspective (an excellent example of the artist-as-theorist) see Andrea Fraser, “From the Critique of Institutions to an Institution of Critique” (Artforum September 2005: 278-283.) 11

Anne Hall, Pony Play [tail, hooves, bridle], 2009


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ference of feelings of rage and insecurity against the paternalistic institution, the artist-aspsychoanalyst would serve as the ideal foil for curatorial analysis.14 The CCS artist residency program has already played host to creative reversals of power. Curators have worked to (re-)fabricate artworks, and the artist has worked to actively realize projects with a number of curators.15 This flips the dynamic of the curatorial construct of the Project Series, traditionally defined as a series of site-specific works organized by an individual curator.16 The mode of analysis would expose the curators’ vulnerability, leading to a sense of increased trust between curator and artist. And within the existing structure of the residency program in an educational institution, the analysis would assume furtherreaching implications. Freed from the obligation to produce objects fit for traditional display and sale, the artist would not only level the traditional hierarchy between her/himself and the curator, but would play the “ignorant schoolmaster.”17 It is through this strategic push-pull of discourse that both parties would become more attuned to psychic observation. Analysis would become the mode and result of a collaborative yet one-on-one project, and would sharpen analyst and analysand’s critical reading of the embedded psychic structures that organize the world around us, artistically, socially and politically. Let’s renew the debate about the Lacanian legacy in contemporary artistic and theoretical production by stepping directly into the messy fray.18 At the very least it’s a practical alternative to inadequate mental health insurance for the average student.

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This title playfully refers to “The Next Documenta Should Be Curated by an Artist,” an e-flux project conceived and curated by Jens Hoffmann in 2003-2004. The idea grew out of Hoffmann’s discussion with artist Carsten Höller following their visit to Documenta 11 in 2002, an international contemporary art exhibition held every five years in Kassel, Germany. Hoffmann invited approximately thirty artists to respond to this statement as a proposition, “a question that does not articulate a critique of previous Documenta exhibitions but rather provocatively investigates the relationship artists have to the profession of curating” (Jens Hoffman, Introduction, The Next Documenta Should Be Curated by An Artist [Frankfurt: Revolver, 2004.]) Their responses were collected and published both online and in a book. 2 CCS is the acronym for the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. The CCS founded its graduate program in curatorial studies in 1994 with the aim to “provide practical training and experience in a museum setting and an intensive course of study in the history of the contemporary visual arts, the institutions and practices of exhibition making, and the theory and criticism of the visual arts in the modern period” (Master of Arts Program Overview, http://www.bard.edu/ccs/graduate/#program) Other academic institutions offering curatorial courses of study include the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA, and the Royal College of Art and Goldsmiths, University of London. Non-degree training programs have been inaugurated by institutions such as De Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam and Le Magasin in Grenoble, France. 3

4

http://en.wikitionary.org/wiki/curator

Wendy Vogel, Why the Next CCS Artist Should Be a Psychoanalyst, 2009


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Why the Next CCS Artist Should Be a Psychoanalyst1

The transformation to the role of Curator is ultimately one of discursive identification. From diverse international arts communities, students enter the CCS2 (or other curatorial programs)3 hoping to transcend the manifold (and not necessarily mutual exclusive) roles of freelancer, administrator, manager, associate or even assistant, to attain the status of Curator. With this process of identification, we are expected to bear the heavy psychic and historical weight of the term “curator.” As we learn early and repeat often in our curatorial curriculum, curator derives etymologically from the Latin curare, “to care for.”4 The curator has assumed various historical functions, beginning simply as the overseer of collections of objects, and even of certain governmental bodies.5 The importance of these object-collections grew with the birth of art history and the modern museum.6 As a consequence, the curator assumed the inflated symbolic role of the guardian or gatekeeper of culture, selecting and advocating for objects and artists of enduring significance. With the emergence of the independent curator (that is, without an institutional affiliation) over the last forty years, our professional activity has become unhinged from that of collections management.7 Curators have most recently assumed the wide-ranging tasks of artistic diplomat, commissioning agent and context provider under the ambiguous umbrella term of “cultural producer.”8 Regardless of how one personally defines his or her curatorial practice, it is a field constantly in flux, ripe for re-definition. Yet despite this insistence on the experimental, even laboratory quality of contemporary curating, there is an unspoken expectation that students must emerge from the protective educational cocoon as a fully-formed, self-actualized Curator equipped with a sophisticated-but-not-ponderous arsenal of theoretical knowledge and sensitive-but-critical insight. Most importantly, the curator must possess a cool-headed combination of resourcefulness and flexibility to succeed while working with artists. But after years of role reversal through, on the one hand, artistic practices focused on the framing devices of artistic reception;9 and, on the other, extravagantly funded exhibition structures encouraging curatorial Gesamtkunstwerk,10 the rules of the game have changed. Curators and artists must formulate a position against the dual legacies of institutional critique and the increasing hybridization of the artist-writer-curator.11 Artists may now outpace curators as theoreticians, while curators may be the ones longing for the physical object artists to which have traditionally cathected.12 So we enter the discursive field closer to collaborators, though these very structures are still dependent on the curators’ assumption of organizational authority predicated on deep self-knowledge. Now more than ever, emerging curators could use the opportunity to become not the analysts of culture, but the analysand.13 Through the discursive process of analysis, a fuller understanding of the curator-students’ desires can be articulated. And who better to serve as the analyst than the artist? As the Other to whom curators have often expressed a trans-

Anne Hall, Pony Play [tail, hooves, bridle], 2009


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John Wayne’s Perfumes

In Cast a Giant Shadow, John Wayne wore Claiborne Sport; in Flame of the Barbary Coast, Femme; Dakota, Diorissimo. In The Undefeated, John Wayne wore Unzipped; in Overland Stage Raiders, Opium; Stagecoach, Snuff. In The Alamo, John Wayne wore Anaïs Anaïs; in Jet Pilot, Joop Nuit d’Eté; Chisum, Charlie. In Barbarian and the Geisha, John Wayne wore Baby Doll; in Wake of the Red Witch, White Diamonds; Baby Face, Boss. In How the West Was Won, John Wayne wore Hugo Deep Red; in His Private Secretary, Halston Sheer; Rio Lobo, Realities. In Lady Takes a Chance, John Wayne wore Lucky You; in Sands of Iwo Jima, Sun Moon and Stars; Hatari, Happy. —Wayne Koestenbaum from Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films (Turtle Point Press, 2006)

Wayne Koestenbaum, John Wayne’s Perfumes, 2006


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On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 8:44 PM, Bartholomew Ryan <aluminumchase@gmail.com> wrote: Dear K, Of course while some of what I say I believe, most of the harsher angles I don’t. For instance, I do believe your project has a certain activist potential, and I do think that the premise of the YTJ is pretty silly. Within that I think that there are different ways of animating the political, and there are many ways of thinking of the political. I don’t agree with your interpretation of the right or lack of right for the artist to make a living making art, but other than that assumption there are ways in which we probably align. I should say also, to accompany what I said a minute ago, I have a very fluid notion of what an artist is. I consider myself an artist, absolutely. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive, and reject the notion of the artist as deserving of a special place, righteously outside the commercial to be an artist. That actually constitutes a state of exception around art which I do not subscribe to (of course artists can be entirely outside the commercial, but that is a choice not an obligation, and does not necessarily make them an interesting artist, and indeed nothing about such a decision says they themselves think they should be viewed as an interesting artist necessarily...as those terms kind of dissolve in that case). To an extent what we are talking about is who has access to making a living as an artist. And there there are a lot of problems I agree. I think not participating at times is important. And there has to be a line. And where that line is I don’t know. Because there is more than one way to have potential as an artist, and for art to have potential. Everyone, and I mean everyone we have inherited in our cannon of art is compromised according to the rules that you have outlined... so where does that get us? You know? I mean, I think the formulation of the argument is a kind of pseudomarxism, it has no relationship to the means of production at all, because for it to have it would have to operate entirely on the level of the institutional and material processes, not on a critique of ‘concept’ and there would have to be a direct acknowledgment of one’s own position. I am telling you now, that way is a cul de sac...a bitter and lonely one that will lead nowhere useful. It seems to me that your approach to activism, if it is to have any validity, has to admit that it exists somewhere in relationship to representation and notions of the subject, not who has access to the means of production (an approach that I find useful and problematic at the same time, but virtually the only political position that I can recognize in contemporary art...except a desire to get the hell out of contemporary art -which I have every day- or to transcend its limits), and I submit that on that basis there is more than one way to fry an egg... (Let’s talk about this next time). b Bartholomew Ryan, Thinking (kinda), 2009


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Naming with Blocks If it were not for the defining that inevitably takes place while naming, I would take no offense to the whole act. After going around in circles trying to discuss something with no name, and naming this something without defining it, I began to wish that the same abstract open-endedness which building blocks afford could apply to language and life as well. A block can be a whale or a house whereas A car can only be a car except when it is a monster that is a car, in which case it is still a car. Where is there room to invent and imagine in all these things with names? My mother called me to say childhood has lost invention. She called to express how unimpressed she is by the 6 year old whose mother bragged that he imagined a towel to be a cape. That is not imagination she argued. A cape is not invention. A towel that is a cape is not imagination. A car that is a monster is a car. So in an ideal world with perfect ideal imagination the block becomes a thing that does not exist and is invented in the brain and has no name. How does the inventor tell its story? Trying to name the unnamable is nothing new. This project isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the first to discover the impossibility of allowing something to be undefined yet hold a title. We stumble over similar conditions in our own genders, queerness, art, relationships, work... Each time we examine something sprung from earnestness, born easily, we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help but in the process of naming itâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;define it. Its function has so much more potential than any name could. How can a defined thing have its own mass worth of potential without carrying the rules of its geometry? Or does that geometry become a foundation and disappear when it becomes, like the block, a whale and a house? Questions in hand so we set out to learn by inventing. At some point we decide to define it and further learn what it is in finding its name. In the case of Sessions, the it we are trying to define and explain is happening all along. The process becomes the thing, and if we luck out, someone will draw a picture about it.

Cas Holman, Naming with Blocks, 2009

W.A.G.E, (wo)manifesto, 2008


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and now a word about the cover; Some of the most poetic ideals in progressive education are visible in the toys developed as tools to make learning not something to be mastered, but experienced. Friedrich Froebel designed a system of Gifts- to be given at specific stages in a child’s education. Similar to blocks and the strategy of definition-free naming, by calling them gifts, rather than learning tools or toys, he allowed for the child to define it, decide it’s identity, and use it in an unstructured way. Our group discovered this image of blocks… when flipping though The ABC’s of pnl : The Bauhaus and Design Theory. The picture was beautiful, 16 wooden blocks in a grid. We didn’t know then about Froebel; that this was part of his “Gifts and Occupations”. Cas would fill us in, explaining the idea of block play, an open ended system where blocks act as gifts rather than instructions creating endless possibilities for creativity and discovery. This image we had found was a detail of the Fifth Gift, 26 blocks that allowed for the construction of symmetrical drawing and the entire alphabet. Central to this concept was that all the blocks were used, emphasizing the unity between the original cube and the created forms. These blocks would come to signify our project, each one of us, both individually and together, uniting to build models for critically engaged play and experimentation.

Cas Holman and Katerina Llanes, The Fifth Gift, 2009


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proached the orgiastic with three nude bodies intertwining. Everybody in the room was feeling the heat, and perhaps even tempted to get involved (in ways other than studying the foreshortening of limbs and proportional relationships, if you catch our drift!). But we pulled ourselves together and unleashed the libidinal energy into our drawings, one of them a communal effort approximately 30 feet long and close to life-size. Bravo, FFARTS, we applaud you for your impressive acts of sublimation in the service of very fine art. Please join us for the next session at Celeste’s studio on THURSDAY, APRIL 2. As the weather becomes warmer, this studio (bedroom ok!) becomes more inviting with a very traditional art school feel. Maybe Celeste will also even try to cook for you artists too in friendly competition with A.K. & Katie! That said, t’is time dress to impress - It will be fun to try to do more multi person poses experimenting with garments as well as the naked body. Katie’s glasses in our last meeting triggered this idea. We are looking forward to another earth shattering drawing night. Really we can-not wait! Zeleste & Eureka

Ulrike Müller and Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, FFARTS, 2008-2009


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March 9, 2009 Dear Friends of the Fine Arts, last week’s return to our communal drawing practice was brimming with success, and we want to thank all of you for attending. We had another huge turnout, which is always very fun! And despite the cool room temperature the climate was warm all over from the beginning to the end, and our lovely industrious models kept warm with socks, a vest and a scarf (Jocelyn) and a lumberjack shirt (Lara). (Ulrike would also like to thank Celeste for hosting and for letting her multiple animal companions wander into the pictures.) So we’re back on. And continuing to sail on this sharp breeze, we will be assembling next TUESDAY, March 17, at Katie Hubbard’s house in Sunset Park. To entice you to embark on the long journey out there we would like to announce that our fellow Friend Aisha has offered to cook dinner for everyone participating. take the R train to 26th Street, it’s just down the block from the subway stop, or the N or D to 36th Street and walk north 10 blocks. official postponement announcement: we are not meeting this Thursday because we’re meeting on Tuesday. Until then, hold on to your good spirits and stay inspired! Your friends and fellows, Celeste and Ulrike

March 19, 2009 Dear Friends of the Fine Arts, this week’s Food and Nudes at Katie’s studio was a FLAMING success! Our heartfelt thanks go out to Katie and Aisha for catering to our many every little with utmost hospitality. Riding the line between discipline and anarchy, we apCeleste Dupuy-Spencer and A.L. Steiner, Interview for K.LLANES/SESSIONS, 2009


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dearest belongings, laying on my sofa ,reading my diary and drinking my tea Take the J MZ to Myrtle and walk on Broadway AWAY from Manhattan for like four blocks. XXXX is on the left hand side of the street. You can also take the B46 to Malcom X or the B38 to Broadway. Celeste & Ulrike

March 5, 2009 Hi FFArts!, I can’t wait to see you I’m so excited! It’s been years! Tonight is the night. 7:00 tonight at 1083 Broadway in Bushwick (?) kinda. Come prepared to draw your friends. I have some stuff. Like I have some paper but not a ton. And I have pens and pencils. And markers. I don’t have a lot of charcoal but i do have an electric pencil sharpener! And I have a pair of dogs. Please bring your enthusiastic friends and your inspiration. I am really excited ot see you. Love Celeste

Ulrike Müller and Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, FFARTS, 2008-2009


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December 14, 2008 Dear Friends of the Fine Arts, It has been forever! How the hell are you? What have you been up too??! The Next Thursday is going to be the 18th of December, making it literally over a month since our last (inspirational!) drawing club meeting. It was so long ago that I can hardly remember what happened but I remember it being at Nicole’s studio and I am picturing a fedora, a grape vine, a human skull and maybe a helmet? I mean, it was good. The intricate multi-human poses were getting theatrical and even downright neo-classical. Then Aisha and Katerina went entirely Tolouse-Lautrec on us. Kind of. This Thursday, December 18th we will meet again for our yearly Holiday FFARTS at the corner of XX Street and XX Ave (Brooklyn!!!). I know we are all chomping at the bit to get our drawing muscles working again. Our fingers are just longing for charcoal smears and ink spills.Thanks you to Nicole for donating her amazing studio yet again for the holiday themed edition of drawing club. Please feel free to bring your pose props along, and anything else you might want to have while you draw. (some ideas include: beer candy peanuts beernuts music earplugs, you get the idea.) We will begin at 7pm and wrap up around ninish. We can’t wait to see you there love, FFARTS scribe Celeste February 20, 2009 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 26 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s been months since I have see you here! Where have we all been? I want to process this strange and painfully long break in our sessions but perhaps it would be wiser to not think too hard about our failures and focus only on our successes. First of all, we have all shown unwavering dedication to not only our crafts but also to each other. That’s so nice. Another success is our faith in FFARTS, no one thought for a minute that the organization had died. No, FFARTS doesn’t die. Like every genius FFARTS need her rest too. Well, she has rested. Now she is ready. Please join your FFARTS community at her next meeting. Thursday the 26th at my (Celeste’s) home. FFARTS is a traveling drawing club going from amazing studio to amazing studio. Please join me in my bedroom for our next one. I am excited to open my doors to you and I am excited to pose you among my Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and A.L. Steiner, Interview for K.LLANES/SESSIONS, 2009


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The Next Drawing club is going to meet on November 6th. 7:00pm. F.F.ARTS. the traveling Art Club will be meeting at Nicole Eisenman’s studio on XX Street and XX Avenue. (Maybe she can reply all with the exact address because I forget)... She will be in charge of the goings-on of that night and is over flowing with amazing, funny, and inappropriate ideas for us all. I, for one, am very excited. Remember that the more people who want to come and draw the better the whole world is. I truly believe this in my heart. So bring your friends (the ones who are true appreciators of the long tradition of making and looking at Fine Art) See you then! xoxox Celeste Dupuy-Spencer & Ulrike Müller November 19, 2008 Dears fellow drawers and students of life, on the eve of tomorrow’s drawing class we’re in a bit of a situation, that is on the street, unless one of you spontaneously decides to host this week’s congregation. Nicole’s plans have changed and she can no longer host us tomorrow, and Ulrike’s studio is not heated in the evenings, i.e. too cold to be comfortable. What shall we do? If you’re ready for us to come over with our pads tomorrow at 7 pm, please send an email and include your address (reply to all). If not, we’ll have to keep our drawers on this week and resume on after Thanksgiving. Remember, it’s not only allowed but also encouraged to make drawings outside of group sessions! With kind regards from the desk of the headmistresses, signed Ms. Dupuy-Spencer and Ms. Mueller

Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Katerina Llanes, Madlibs, 2009

Ulrike Müller and Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, FFARTS, 2008-2009


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October 12, 2008 Dear Friends of the Fine Arts, In the third meeting of our club we explored new territory. Not only did we experiment with the multi-model pose and the minute-short pose (thank you Ulrike), we also embarked on new adventures using theatrical lighting and acrobatics (thank you to Megan and Jocelyn). As the first club curator, Celeste would like to thank all the FFARTS for their patience, flexibility, and willingness. Art Club is still in her developing stages and we are grateful that everyone can see her potential and is willing to help to guide her into what we all know she can become. There have been a number of conversations growing around Drawing Club and new ideas are flowing like wine. They are all amazing and we hope that they ALL happen. That is one of the reasons why we think it is important to give every member a chance to curate their own session. That said! On October 23rd Leidy Churchman will be the Club curator, so be prepared to give him your full attention. Also, there was mention that perhaps two hours is not quite enough time. That if people were willing to make the big schlep out to Industry City in the first place, they were probably into to drawing for a full four hours. We personally like the idea but would like to get the feedback from everyone else before we just make the change. That would make it 7-11PM. We found it was difficult to meet any earlier as people work till five (namely Celeste). Please send feedback and ideas! Friends of the Fine Arts is YOU!!! Also, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget that you can invite your friends. Life drawing is a right - not a privilege! Industry City is located at 55 33rd Street, between 3rd and 2nd Aves. (N or D express train to 36th Street). Call Ulrike (347-221 5909) or Celeste (917-596 1700) for directions, or if you have any questions, or need advice and a personal invitation. October 28, 2008 Hi Friends! Thanks to everyone who came to the last Drawing Club, where our curator Leidy Churchman offered Gerry Garcia to us for several intense poses. I think I speak for us all when I say that it was a fun night of drawing, with the costume giving us the opportunity to loosen up and enjoy drawing from life. Jerry Garcia was the new schnapps we distilled from the old fruit, if you know what I mean.

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Text for Showroom 10: Q an (my)(your)(our) ideal(?) exhibition: an announcement FOR INCLUSION, ACTIVATION, EXPLOITATION

The visitors who arrive to find everything neatly laid out to fit their expectations do not grow, do not engage, and never realize their own role in making an experience, in forming a scene, in writing history and discourse. If we participate in this exhibition then it becomes largely about us, according to Irit Rogoff, who also says that we have to dress for the exhibition.1 What are you wearing? You activate this; you inhabit this space; you decide if that is the right outfit. We share this space we are sharing it together. Ulf Wuggenig quotes a 90s text on art economics: “Normally artists and other insiders define what is to be considered art, while laypeople are expected to recognize this definition. (…) In contrast, economists are of the opinion that the individuals themselves should decide what they want to consider ‘art’. (…) The question ‘What is art?’ can be answered by appealing to the wishes of the audience.” I say no: let’s not try to appeal to the wishes of the audience.2 Take a step back. Rather let’s ask the individuals themselves to decide what they want to consider. As consumers we’re used to making choices based on what the industry thinks should appeal to us. We are not really asked to decide or consider; they lay it out for us to think as little as possible. They tell us we are overwhelmed and we want to think as little as possible, that we should take the easiest of the options laid out before us. This exhibition is a place to decide and consider; to be asked to decide and consider; to prompt to decide and consider. As expectations change so eventually will decisions, considerations, and maybe even wishes.

October 8, 2008 Dear Friends Of The Fine Arts, please join us tomorrow Thursday, October 8th at 7:00 pm for the third life drawing session. Same place (Industry City, 55 33rd Street). We will have new models and perhaps some new ideas. Call if you have any questions: 347-221 5909 (Ulrike) Hope to see you tomorrow Ulrike and Celeste

How about we expect the audience to decide what they want to consider. Wuggenig on The New Spirit of Capitalism: “if control tasks are transferred from the management level to the customers, this results in flatter hierarchies and cost reductions.”3 Performing “decide and consider” can be the artwork. We can call it Relational Stalinism:4 demand that the audience become the work. Give them a situation and no objects, no pictures, no projections or sounds to distract them from their duties of deciding and considering. This makes our job easier because we don’t have to come up with anything but that situation. It is even better if someone else gives us the situation, then all we have to do is assign these duties. Assigning participation removes not only the impetus to decide what is to be considered art but also to decide what art to show.

Ulrike Müller and Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, FFARTS, 2008-2009


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September 14, 2008 Dear Friends of the Fine Arts (FFARTS), You have been hand picked out of a large pool of talented people whom we love and respect. Your openness and fearlessness qualify you to be part of this elite yet home spun high art adventure. Under the banners of classical tradition and dyi skill-sharing, we invite you to join us in a bi-weekly life-drawing club. Our club offers the opportunity to meet for 2-hour sessions and to draw from a model, much like we know it from art school, but different! Our ambition is to distill new schnaps out of the fallen fruit of art history (Ulrike). It will be fun and critical—and at times brutal (Céleste). The first meeting will take place on Monday, September 8, from 6-8 pm at Ulrike’s studio at Industry City in Brooklyn (address below). We will take turns modeling for each other, but individual comfort levels will be respected. Bring your drawing materials and a large-enough hard surface (drawing board, book, etc.). We’ll have some cardboard ready also. If the timing is really bad for you, please let us know – we want to draw with you.

See Irit Rogoff, “How to Dress for an Exhibition” in Stopping the Process? Contemporary Views on Art and Exhibitions Helsinki: The Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art, 1998. And also, forthcoming: Looking away: Participating Singularities, Ontological Communities (2009). 1

Ulf Wuggenig. “Burying the Death of the Author” [03_2004], p. 1. Available online at http:// www.republic.net. The argument I’m positing here is not Wuggenig’s. My apologies for taking this excerpt out of context. 2

ibid., Wuggenig is discussing Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism, (London: Verso, 2005). 3

4

I’m borrowing this term from artist Michael Portnoy.

Industry City is located at 55 33rd Street, between 3rd and 2nd Aves (N or D express train to 36th Street). Call Ulrike (347-221 5909) or Celeste (917-596 1700) for directions, or if you have any questions, or need advice and a personal invitation. If there’s anyone that you think would be committed to the idea and heartbroken to be left out, please let us know! We hope you fancy this idea as much as we do. Please RVSP. With love in our hearts and crayons in our hands, Céleste Dupuy-Spencer & Ulrike Müller September 19, 2008 Dear Friends Of The Fine Arts, This week was a flaming success! We would all like to thank each other for participating so whole-heartedly in Drawing Club. Special thanks to Dean, Charles, and Kate for disrobing and modeling for us. Drawing Club could not have happened this week without you! Please join us on Thurseday, October 2nd at 7:00 for the second session. Same place (55 33rd Street). We will have new models and perhaps some new ideas. Until then! Ulrike and Celeste Christina Linden, Text for Showroom 10: Q, 2008


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CHLORINE FLOUR CORNSILK PERSIMMON FLOR DE TILO ALGAL CYANOBACTERIA NATTO CHLORINE ALGAL CYANOBACTERIA {BACILLUS SUBTILIS} NATTO FLOUR FLOR DE TILO CORNSILK TEA PERSIMMON {MANGOSTEEN}¹ CHOLRINE {OYSTER} A PAPER BAG OF {MUSHROOMS} NATTO {EVAPORATING} WATER {PERTICHOR}² {GEOSMIN}³ CYANOBACTERIA {MUSHROOMS} 1 “It’s like diving into a subtly chlorinated pool” 2 In desert regions, the smell is especially strong during the first rain after a long dry spell. The oil yielding the scent can be collected from rocks and concentrated to produce perfume; however, it has yet to be synthesized, perhaps due to its complexity. It is composed of more than fifty distinct chemical substances. ³ Geosmin, which literally translates to “earth smell”, is an organic compound with a distinct earthy flavor and aroma, and is responsible for the earthy taste of beets and a contributor to the strong scent that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell of weather (petrichor). The human nose is extremely sensitive to geosmin and is able to detect it at concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion.

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My friend told me that she read somewhere that the smell of chlorine in a pool is not the smell of the chlorine at all. It is the smell of all the organic matter in the water reacted with the chemical. After mixing so much freshly milled flour with water, its white ozonic weight in the air around the bowl. I leaned over to the girl I was working with and said “Doesn’t this remind you of something?” She blushed, said nothing. I knew I wasn’t crazy for thinking that dough smells like a pool. But she blushed I guess because we all know what skin smells like after you have been swimming, and the chlorine dries on your skin. It smells like corn silk tea—opening corn, smelling the cream colored silk—its plant protein—breathy oxygenated, air taste. Not quite there, I can’t quite get enough of it, even though it coats everything with its empty smell. Sweeter and there is a persimmon, must be the same enzymes, breathy and sweet—flor de tilo. I told this guy that I like what it tastes like, that, Linden flowers, tiny white flowers, and salt. Or algal cyanobacteria, but it’s debatable whether we count that as food: although in fact the smell is right on and it points us towards the sea, another excellent clue. But also a digression because it is a plain flavor really that I am after. Natto is more direct. Soy tastes like cardboard. A cloud, paper taste—clean, just opened, but nevertheless undeniably of a body because we must have those enzymes too. The ambiguity (what did I eat?) is all too exact not to think about the smell on your mouth. I can never get far enough in there, never get the way it tastes on me enough. That’s why we have to do it again and again (en corps). I ate once isn’t that enough? Now I know. But three times a day, are you serious? Breakfast lunch dinner. Any fast, what a relief: now I eat the air.

Travis Boyer, Indigo Girls, 2009

Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff, S1gS2 (I eat the air), 2009


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Scented Letters 1. November 7 2008. A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century, Donna J. Haraway. Individual Scents. 2. November 21 2008. The Emancipated Spectator, Jacques Rancière. Petitgrain (citrus aurantium), White Champaca (michelia alba). 3. December 10 2008. A I D/I/ S A P P E A R A N C E, Joan Retallack. Nerolina Australian (melaleuca quinquenervia), Cade (juniperus oxycedrus). 4. January 9 2009. Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces, Chantal Mouffe. Birch Tar (betula pendula roth), Lime (citrus aurantifolia).

Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff and Katerina Llanes, Scented Letters, 2008â&#x20AC;&#x201C;09

Sergei Tcherepnin, Rainbow Spirals, 2009


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Joan Retallack, A I D /I/ S A P P E A R A N C E, 1998


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Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, Susan in the back of a limo in a bear suit, 2009

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Joan Retallack, A I D /I/ S A P P E A R A N C E, 1998


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Naomi Fisher, Mary: Fire Island, 2004


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Joan Retallack, A I D /I/ S A P P E A R A N C E, 1998


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Donnie Cervantes, Triâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Floral, 2009

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Nancy Brooks Brody, Notebook, 1989


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1974 -1989 Joan Nestleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Upper West Side Manhattan apartment on 92nd St. Deborah Edel and Joan shared these years with the Archives in this home. And so did thousands of volunteers and visitors. Deb and Joan agreed that the first ten years of the Archives would be to build the trust of the communities it was serving. They were determined to keep all of the services of the Archives free, to not seek government funding, and to build grassroots support for the project. To accomplish this, Deb and Joan had carried around early journal issues, photographs, letters, and so on, in shopping bags, speaking to whomever invited them. The venues ranged from living rooms where all present were sworn to secrecy, to womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s festivals, gay church and synagogue gatherings, classrooms and bars.

Donnie Cervantes, Color perception chart #1, 2009


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Director of Mysteries You are very nervous and act with urgency as if you are being hunted. You grab non-PUT-ITS and bring them to a place where you think a mystery has occurred. You explain to them the situation, the evidence, etc. and ask them to solve it. Once youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve presented the case, you can find new people and new mysteries. You also help people to behave more mysteriously. Director of Anything You are the director of anything you choose. Director of Drinks You control what drinks are served in the room, how they are delivered, served, or placed, and the elaborate procedures people must perform to get and drink them. Director of Idiocy/Foolishness You act like a complete fool, which, of course, is the highest art form. You instruct non-PUT-ITS to say foolish things or non-foolish things in foolish ways. Director of Accidents You love accidents. You also love to cause them. Slip of the tongue, slip on the banana peel... Director of Criticism You criticize anything and everything. Director of the Inappropriate or Wrong Thing You are free to interpret this role as you please. Director of Names You continuously name people and things around you (Emmett of Flat Affect, Orit of Blind Nailing, the light bulb that looks for wrinkles, etc.) Director of Meta-Conversation All you speak of is the conversation you are having at the moment. You dissect every element of the interaction. You instruct non- PUT-ITS to speak of their conversations. Director of Systems You control the system of this gathering. Control how the system is evolving and try to change the system where you see any failures.

Eden Batki, Helping Hands, 2007

Michael Portnoy, The Put-Its, 2005


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about the new theatricality in food, and you say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the waiter brought you this amazing architecture of a dinner, bites suspended 2 feet off the plate on thin beams of caramel, offers it to you for examination and approval, and then dumps it in a blender, purees it, and squirts it into a nice recurring pattern on your plate or the back of your hand.” All your sentences begin with “Wouldn’t it be nice if...” Director of Micro-Aerobics You are always leading micro-aerobics classes, trying to get people to move their body parts small distances in weird rhythmic patterns. You don’t mind if anyone follows your counts. You are a loud counter and have a huge smile. You whisper micro-choreographic scores to non-PUT-ITS. Director of Things (& their movement) You control the placement of things and the way they move through the room. You are constantly reconfiguring objects (chairs, cups, shoes, etc.) to make arrangements that please you. You like to take certain objects on complex choreographic routes from one place to the next. Director of Kissing You kiss people and you make the ones kiss who should. You are not quite sure how or where to kiss, though, but you are always making new discoveries. Director of Emotions You are constantly experimenting with the amplitude and placement of emotions. You get angry or aroused at all the wrong times, in all the wrong quantities. You are always giving emotional modifications to the speech of non-PUT-ITS (more eager!, less flinty!). Director of Numbers You speak in rhythmic sequences of numbers “1 1 1 3 1 1 1 3 1 3 thirthty theerthty one-y”. You enumerate things, make measurements, lists. You discuss all human behavior as a collection of numbered phenomena. Director of Endings You control when interactions end. You delight in breaking up budding romances and conversations about the economy. Director of Introductions You introduce people to people, sometimes physically bringing them together from across the room. You give lengthy false introductions, “You must meet George! He is the only living authority on 16th C. hardcore Persian plant-onplant porn.”

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Director of Closeness You are in charge of the way people get close to each other while interacting, both physically and emotionally. Director of Jokes You are the most experimental joke teller of all the PUT-ITS. Your jokes are more like prose poems than jokes. You speak only jokes and every joke begins “Two PUT-ITS were walking down the street.” You want non-PUT-ITS to be a s creative as you when telling jokes so that you might be able to laugh. Most of your jokes trail off after a few sentences and have dirty words, sex parts and malformed ethnic slurs in the wrong places. Director of Interviews You interview people, but jump right in there as if you’d already been talking to them for an hour. It’s also quite fun if you ask them questions as if they were someone else (“So, what kind of subterranean artworks did you commission when you were asked to redesign the sewage system of Detroit?”) And please don’t worry about things like transitions or witty comments -- question. question, question. Director of History You are the authority on the history of the PUT-ITS. You love to tell stories of the good old days when things were even more creative. You like to instruct nonPUT-ITS to act like the great historical PUT-ITS. Director of Ideas Your conversation is a series of ideas. You have no idea what these ideas are unti you speak, and you speak quickly and with much energy! You present your idea as a statement (never “I think … “ or “My idea is…”) and you try very hard to progress the idea with the person you are talking to, until have reached a dead end. Then you present a new idea! Also, you help non-PUT-ITS create ideas by whispering instructions (ex. “Say an idea about the THE UNFINSHED”) or questions into their right ears, or lines to say into their left ears. Director of Vocal Sounds Your main concern is the complexity and variety of vocal sounds and vocal sound arrangement. Occasionally you wish to convey something intelligible to someone else but once you start to make sounds towards that end, you forget the intention. Director of Projects You use every interaction as an inspiration to conceive art projects. So, someone is talking about their Jewish upbringing and you say, “Picture this: Marble Yarmulkes-- the weight, the guilt and the yearning to be noble!” Director of Innovations You see the next step in everything (mostly impractical). Someone is talking

Michael Portnoy, The Put-Its, 2005


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The PUT-ITS will often whisper into your ears. Although what they say might seem odd, puzzling or off-putting, at times, they are just trying to get close to you. Please don’t look at anyone who whispers to you. Right Ear: Everything they whisper into your right ear is an instruction and you must not mention this instruction to anyone. This is for you only. The instruction might seem impossible to follow, but do not question the PUT-ITS and follow the instruction immediately or the PUT-ITS will become very watery, and you might slip. If a PUT-IT whispers a question into your right ear, this is also an instruction, and you must ask whomever you are speaking to a question that is inspired by the PUT-IT’s question. Left Ear: When the PUT-ITS whisper into your left ear, you must say exactly what they say. They’d love to be able to carry your throat around, but they are not that generous. After the PUT-IT stops whispering in your left ear, continue speaking in the manner or style of those words. The PUT-ITS have no stable identities. They are always trading their identities or inventing new ones. So don’t think that just because 10 minutes ago you talked to that PUT-IT over there with the special nose, that he is still the same “person”. If you are lucky, a PUT-IT might give you her identity. Their identities are written on pieces of orange paper and if offered, you must put your hands on their cheeks until you feel the identity leave them, and then grab the orange paper and step away with it until you know who you are. The following identities were written on orange slips of paper and handed to the PUT-ITS. Additional directorial roles were created by the players but not included here. Director of Hierarchy You must make constant assessments of various hierarchies in the room. You place people and adjust their behavior according to their current position in particular hierarchies, or the position you’d like them to assume. Director of the Order of Words or Faulty Translation You like playing with the order of words like some people like playing with wood blocks. Before you speak each sentence, see each word as a block and do some rearranging. You also speak and instruct others to speak as if you are doing so through a very bad translation machine.

Edie Fake, Coat of Arms, 2009


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Instructions given to the PUT-ITS You are one of the PUT-ITS—a society in which communication is deeply experimental and each exchange is viewed as a work of art. You are extremely curious and want to interact with all of the non-PUT-ITS here. The more you interact, of course, the more works of art you create. (You may also interact with PUT-ITS, of course, but you do that all the time, no?) You have no stable identity. You are always trading your identity or inventing a new one. Your identity is written on a piece of orange paper. You hold on to this paper until the works of art you have created with it cease to interest you. Then you find another PUT-IT and trade identities. You simply go up to another PUTIT and take the paper out of his hand and give him yours. Nothing is said. Step aside for a moment to understand who you have become. You can give your identity to a non-PUT-IT. You offer your orange paper to her and then you let her take your identity away. Then you go and find a blank piece of orange paper and quickly write for yourself a new identity and set of behaviors. You have two very special abilities. 1. When you whisper into a non-PUT-IT’s right ear, they will do as you say. You are trying to help them create better works of art with their interactions. When you whisper a question into a non-PUT-IT’s right ear, the non-PUT-IT will ask their conversational partner a question inspired by your question. 2. When you speak into a non-PUT-IT’s left ear, the non-PUT-IT will say exactly what you say. When you leave their left ear, you will have given them a new manner or style of speaking. Instructions given to the non-PUT-ITS We’d like you to meet a society of people called the PUT-ITS. Their communication is deeply experimental, and they view each exchange as a work of art. The PUT-ITS don’t look any different from you or I, except for the orange piece of paper in their hands, and there are many of them near you right now. You should try to interact with all of them. However! There are couple things to remember:

Edie Fake, Coat of Arms, 2009

Michael Portnoy, The Put-Its, 2005


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The PUT-ITS The PUT-ITS is a conversation game for two groups of people: the PUT-ITS and the non-PUT-ITS. The number of people in each group should be the same, up to 20 players in each. The PUT-ITS are a society of relentless experimenters in communication, who view each exchange as a work of art. Non-PUT-ITS are the others. Each PUT-IT is a director of a specific category or parameter of interpersonal communication, as determined from a shifting set of identity cards with role descriptions (Director of the Order of Words, Director of Things and their Movement, Director of Mysteries, Director of Meta-Conversation, etc.). The PUT-ITS was first played in an empty black box theater (Kaiitheater, Brussels, 2005) and then in my salon for strangers (Session, New York, 2006).

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Marlous Borm, Letter to an Artist, 2009


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Elena Maderal, Hand-me-down, 2009


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Emily Roysdon, LOVE, 2006

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Lucas Knipscher, Information, 2009


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Eric Anglès, open edition ygr, 2009

Eric Anglès, open edition ygr, 2009 Lucas Knipscher, Information, 2009


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Leila Hekmat, Simin, 2008


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Walt Whitman with Typo (number 2) Are You teh New Person Drawn Toward Me? Are you teh new person drawn toward me? To begin with take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose; Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal? Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover? Do you think teh friendship of me would be unalloyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d satisfaction? Do you think I am trusty and faithful? Do you see no further than this façade, this smooth and tolerant manner of me? Do you suppose yourself advancing on real grounds towards real heroic man? Have you no thought O dreamer that it may be all maya, illusion?

Gene McHugh, Walt Whitman with Typo (number 2), 2009


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Leidy Churchman, Self Portrait (Sexual), 2007


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The Five Heads of Joaquin Murrieta You wonder where he was riding, Joaquin Murrietta, horse thief, Mexican robinhood, headless man. Throughout the Mother Lode region of California there are dozens of saloons, bars and hotels where Murrietta is said to have robbed or slept. Or lose one t, the man, the name, you never could tell. Oh oh history that slippery California was young then. It was barely California. It was more Californios. And so many liveoaks to fall dead under. Already in the West too, hangings had become popular. The burl and gray scrabble of their branches spreading, offering a fleeting Sade against the sun. Later Bataille would welcome it. When under another, a lightning-stricken oak, they would meet, in France. With each coming day, the eager SS logging so many pale trees closer. Beyond what I am, I meet a being who makes me laugh because he is headless. But here there were 5 of them, all Joaquins, and 1 Harry Love, hairy too, hunting them. Harry/Love, they made him Handsome in the many translations, each one more popular than the rest. Wet hats in the creek and pistols that had grownâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as if overnight maturing from juvenile to grotesqueâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;so big. It was a mined and mining time. Dark drainage, quickly leaking into stab rav pink. 1853. The year of the stabbing, but Joaquin was not stabbed exactly. Beheaded. Decapped. The uncovered circle of guts, the moist jewels, irrelevant once they took it. Cry the outlawry.

Jess Arndt, The Five Heads of Joaquin Murrietta, 2009


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His brother was hung and Joaquin horsewhipped. Or his young wife was gang raped and in one version she died alone, or not at all, or finally, in Joaquin’s Mexican/ Cherokee/ not Chilean, although they said so/ not White arms. And only then, which Joaquin? The Five Joaquins also counted Joaquin Botellier, Joaquin Carrillo, Joaquin Ocomorenia and Joaquin Valenzuela. He is not a man. He is not a god either. He is not me but is more than me; his stomach is the labyrinth in which he has lost himself, loses me with him, and in which I discover myself as him, in other words as a monster. Wrapped first in his own bloodied shirt, then shreds of burlap, then brandy (good California pot-stilled brandy, not eau de vie not pisco not German Schnaps), the head was carried through the mining camps where Joaquin Murrieta’s face was well known. Oh the head the head! The head is in the way of what wants to come out of the neck. They would have claimed him. Acephale, the secret society of decapitation, the secretest of small-houred societies so secret that each member welcomed imminent execution and yet not one would agree to swing the axe. Acephale, arranging themselves, cloaked, at midnight in the much-desired but not yet perfectly blueeyed pais. Acephale, so close to the fatherland, a member of which after initiation must refuse to shake an anti-semite’s hand. But then, Bataille’s mother was suicidal. His own father was syphilitic and also blind. That must have been the cause of all this unheading. And truly, it was either the head or the body that was important. Not both. Acephale all body. Joaquin, all limbless head, as between the jostling brothels the sapling-fresh saloons the jars (for now there was more than 1) moved freely. Loosed in a juggler’s macabre and many-armed throw. A parade of so many heads.

Kathy Acker, The Languages of the Body, 1990, (Dug out from the archives by Ulrike Müller)


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Resting, aquariumed in thick glass on the bar-top, sometimes his own sister did not recognize him. This one with the bugger-lips, this one with that unmistakable scar, where in front of the double-mirror and the manifest destiny the weary cords of neck swam free in the golden-brown solution. As if a head could be pickled. The brandy browner perhaps, because of the blood. Five Joaquins when there should have been but one. A drunk raises his head, I saw that one yesterday in Saratoga, feels followed by them. Even Love himself, master of all ceremonies, began to long for drink alone. Beyond what I am, I meet a being who makes me laugh because he is headless; this fills me with dread because he is made of innocence and crime; he holds a steel weapon in his left hand, flames like those of a Sacred Heart in his right. He reunites in the same eruption birth and death. Where was he going, Californiosâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; own headless horseman? Knees then palms flapping, chickening wildly against the lungless earth. An ejaculation, a corpus deserted, the viscera spilt in blooming disarry. It was always order vs. disgorgement. This final felling making way for California to become. The cleave-mark around the neck, you could have said he was born with it. Waking at sundown from the fragrant cover of brushpile. Scratching out the few lice, nubbing his horse its final hay. They chopped him too, as if horse and man were the same body. Hot, shivering. And did he at last throw his hands behind to ward the blow? Or did he tell himself at that arriving hour, as Bataille once but later did: How sweet to enter filthy night and proudly wrap myself in it. It is always midnight under the oaks.

--Text from author; Georges Bataille.

Jess Arndt, The Five Heads of Joaquin Murrietta, 2009


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Bard has a curatorial program eight months a year And an MFA program when we’re not here It’s more than a bummer The weather’s great in summer Imagine the projects that would appear

There once was an artist from Dallas Fort Worth Who was minus a phallus of girth What she lacked in shaft She made up for in craft Clearly, she had no dearth

Kathy Acker, The Languages of the Body, 1990, (Dug out from the archives by Ulrike Müller)


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A little event called Sessions Stirred up a lot of questions Artists and curators came Realized they were the same And ended up swapping professions

All Marxists please take heart I hear recessions are good for art No more diamond encrusted skulls Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll watch as the market lulls This downturn may be a fresh start

Limericks make great curatorial writing Essays are not quite as biting Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s much easier to rhyme Than quote Barthes all the time And do all that textual citing

Jess Wilcox, Limmericks, 2009


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Kathy Acker, The Languages of the Body, 1990, (Dug out from the archives by Ulrike M端ller)


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Jim Drain, Beaux-Arts, 2009


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Rhinassylicious Thinking about art, one resonant phrase for me is “Radical Action”. It sounds pretty cool and worth aspiring towards, no? I don’t know why it comes to mind, as I can’t recall a specific conversation I’ve had with those words, but for some reason it does, especially when I think of discussions related to activism, art making, and reworking society. I can hear echoing in the back of my mind some random person I know saying, “X requires some radical action!”, and I’m bobbing my head with it until I realize I don’t understand what that means in practical terms. So, just like I do for hundreds of things daily, I Google “Radical Action”. Top of the list is Radical Action Discipleship (RAD). Horrendously beautiful web design and Mountain Dew demographic marketing slogans for an extreme Christian training program. “RAD is Survivor, JESUS style!”...”Dude, RAD is you! RAD is a group of hungry, fired up, Jesus loving freaks from all around the world, seeking to be a disciple for the King of kings. Can you dig it?” Yeah, I can dig that, but wait a minute, with ultimate submission to Christ in some reality teevee show model. Hmmm. Maybe. Jesus had some nice ideas (radical at the time). I’ve got to give that old codger props, but that whole organized religion, one path to salvation, dogmatic cult vibe? Guess not. Don’t miss some sweet graphics and sloganeering at radministries.com, though. Best site I’ve seen all week. I like their selection of the rhinoceros as a mascot. It reminds me of that damned Eugene Ionesco play I read in my high school french class--an allegorical story of how in various and conflicting manners, we’re all susceptible to losing our humanity; that is everybody except the pathetic drunkard. That reminds me, I need to go to the corner store. Next result is radicalaction.org. This seems to be some kind of languishing blog for Howard Sosbee, someone with an ideological commitment to “Radical Action”, but whose website is overshadowed by the godaddy.com banner ads and cookie cutter web design. He laments the devastation of Katrina, the nation’s dividedness over immigration, forthcoming economic collapse, universal health care, and the war in Iraq. And to each of these issues makes the call for “Radical Action”. He outlines various steps that qualify what “Radical Action” means to him, some of it quite practical and pragmatic, and others which sound downright authoritarian. I love his ending quote on health care, “”Who will carry the ball?”, which implies that he is the advocate, but not instrument of “Radical Action”. While I sympathize with some of his political intuitions, this is way more boring than those Jesus freaks, and maybe even more de-humanizing. I don’t know if I can carry Howard’s balls, especially while I’m rock climbing for Christ in the mountains of Georgia.

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And I don’t know what they risked. I guess I want that. I want to feel a little passion. I want to put up a high school art show. I’m not a minimalist. I want to make a mobile, can’t decide out of what. “I Pledge Allegiance to Shit” is what my Born Against t-shirt said in high school, my first punk show. A soldier saluting a coffin. I got sent home one day for wearing it. Maybe I can find it on eBay. I almost got up to do just that as I wrote it. I’m horny but I don’t feel like doing anything about it. It’s the end of my period. My flower pharmacy panties are ragged out. I have a thing for pharmacy panties. Especially if I am in a foreign country. I want to touch the average woman. In Austria they had thongs at the pharmacy, could you imagine? Here they call the condom section family planning. We have a language problem in this country. It barely gets hot up here and that makes me homesick, though by now I don’t know if home could be used properly in that world. I guess there is a forever argument regarding that one and formative years. I’m probably too old by mainstream standards to walk around with my ass hanging out of my pants like this, but I guess that’s the beauty of it. I keep having to battle my personality aka performance against my work. It’s like S says about how people decide to take things seriously or not. By now I’m not going out of my way to suntan in order to keep my skin looking nice. I’m concerned about wrinkles. I have deep dream fantasies of places to call home. Houses on the beach left with the past inhabitants’ possessions, thrifty vintage furniture, and always a closet of vintage clothes. Every one of these places unfolds and becomes a labyrinth of undiscovered bedrooms and closets. Our parents all expected us to do better than they did, only this time the American dream didn’t work that way. None of us expect to do better, doing as in money having. Although we all hope for it. It leaves us in this hole of expectation without work. Not that I can compare myself too much, if I did have the same values, I would be doing “better” most likely. So here I AM an artist and what do I have to hold on to? Some respond RIGHT ON SISTER, I am feeling you. Others are confused think, she’s asking me to look at her and look away at the same time. I feel compelled to look. Someone says FUCK YOU TOO.

K8 Hardy, Paper, 2009


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confusing to other people, it’s the notoriety. I’m not supposed to complain about that. It’s just alienating when you’re broke. And I’m an elitist, and educated, total cultural elitist. Downwardly mobile they used to say and still some may say about me. It doesn’t stick though anymore. My generation can’t expect to do better than their parents, like our parents could. So there is a downward shift and then slap on being an artist, slap on fighting to be an artist, and downward the finances go. Maybe I’m just in shock cuz I was raised middle class. Isn’t that so embarrassing for some people? Yet they don’t know what it’s like to have nothing to lose. I wonder how much my not boring life is worth. It sure is fetishized. Glamour. Is that what it costs? It feels like poetic vindication to all the boring straight people out perhaps. They’ve got the Internet, TV, and magazines but not the people. Is that mean? I really don’t want to sound mean but then I’m afraid I couldn’t write anything down at all. I’d like to just walk around and let my tits accidentally fall out of my shirt, or just hang out. I’m an exhibitionist so it gets me off. Ask an old crotch and she still may say it’s an awful offense against women. I’d like to offend men and women simultaneously. I’d like to do a performance with an amp so I could get so loud. I have so many fucking ideas like an idiot high school boy with a boner and a guitar. Timing again. It’s weird when someone gives you flowers. Every time my dad fucked up or made me mad I would get flowers. It’s like the offense of making your girl cry, not an apology. Flowers make it all better. I like getting flowers now. Maybe it’s the city or the person sending them has better taste than carnations. Really it’s the luxury and color and gesture. Is that killing the earth? I like to spray myself with perfume before I go to bed. Roll in it. Especially the ones I don’t wear out anymore, like CK1. I was 16 going to gay clubs in Dallas by myself. It was hot. That smell permeated the whole fucking club and that whole time period. You couldn’t turn around without smelling it. I would bring an apple to the Village Station, the three story-12 room mega dance floor gay club in Dallas, and dance for hours on end. I was exhilarated. Just dancing, no drinks. The thrill of gay movement and being on a floor without being ogled or mauled by men was beyond any free space I had ever known. It was mostly men there. A separate room and bar, of course, for the drag queen shows. I was transfixed, the only white girl with bleach blonde hair trying agressively to be front row. Often then I was the only white girl and I really enjoyed that. I feel subservient to the politically righteous conceptual artists of my peers. They frame themselves in such a safe way, who could argue? If you did, if you dare to disagree, then you disagree with the politics. Sometimes I feel like that is what is put on the line, challenge me and my feminist work and that means you are ignorant and patriarchal.

Continuing down the google results we find “Radical Times Require Radical Actions” at bettermanagement.com, and a blog entry on the “Carnival of Radical Action” with a context sensitive ad for robotic prostatectomy, which can give you an aesthetically pleasing five pointed scar instead of one long garish slash. Nice. The results continue, from climate change to amazon booklists, corporate strategy to anti-fascist logo design, art practice to the practice of celibacy for young christians in love. “Radical Action” is generally called for in all domains, sometimes with specific details, and other times just with undiluted radicality, plain and simple. The fundamental uprooting called for claims to be anti-status quo, but what is today’s status quo, but a universal entrepreneurialism that embraces an anti-status quo attitude in order to preserve existent power structures. This kind of logic is embodied by Radical Thinking(tm)’s corporate management strategy, “Radical Thinking [leads to] Radical Action [leads to] Radical Growth”. By the way, the radicalthinking.com website also has some sweet flash graphics where the text “Your Guide to Recipe Management” undergoes a brutal ravaging by an underlying animal, “Radical Thinking”, that literally tears the website in half. Totally radical. I wake up in the morning tearing away the sheets from my bed, fantasizing that I’m the “Radical Thinking” monster tearing through some oppressive institutions of social control to lead the human race towards the awesome land. Shit! What’s my fucking problem? I’m turning into a god damned rhinoceros! I need to take a step back. How can I avoid succumbing to the sex appeal of this “Radical Action”, intertwined with management, entrepreneurialism, religion, shopping, extreme sports, and when it gets me really excited, sweet tacky web graphics and prostate surgery ads! I guess it’s not *that* bad, but it doesn’t leave me much space to individuate myself from new Christian movements, zealous corporate managers, anarcho-circus clowns, speculative policy makers, or other modern era assholes. And despite my love of tacky web graphics, I feel like I want something freakier or maybe flatter than the self proclaimed Mountain Dew Jesus freaks. I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s not “Radical Action” I must aspire towards, but “Radassical Action”, which according to urbandictionary.com would be “better than rad. more powerful than bad. and truly assylicious.” The “more powerful” bit might be dangerous, but “assylicious”? Okay, that sounds pathetic enough to retain its humanity. It’s not even in urbandictionary.com. Maybe this will help me keep my skin thin for the next few years, until the top Google result for radassical is Mo’ RAD, “The Ministry of Radassically Assylicious Disciples”.

Joshua Kit Clayton, Rhinassylicious, 2009


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Perspectacle The works in this show can present an argument about the conscious nature of narrativity in relation to a subject proper (as in the difference between “we are the people” and “we are a people”). Here, the unifying word I will choose to name these subjects is “Queer.” The Queer subject doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with sexual predilection; “Queer”, here, can simply mean a subject with the experience of being outside of banal normality and passivity and endless deferment. “The singulier universel is a group that, although without any fixed place in the social edifice (or, at best, occupying a subordinated place), not only demands to be heard on equal footing with the ruling oligarchy or aristocracy (that is, to be recognized as a partner in political dialogue and the exercise of power) but, even more, presents itself as the immediate embodiment of society as such, in its universality, against the particular power interests of aristocracy or oligarchy…” –Slavoj Zizek, “A Leftist Plea for ‘Euro-centrism”, Critical Inquiry, 1998. The Queer (ad)vantage is circular, wide open; it is in the looking awry, in the enjoyment that occurs when you are either horrified or you laugh knowingly at subtextual information that for most everyone else in the theater, unless they too have perspective, remains and must remain (for their egos to remain solid) hidden; it is in the constructing and recycling and molding of our own cultural comprehension. We have had to encode/decode media and meanings in order to be able to enjoy ourselves through the bogs of our cultural “common denominator” and create images of ourselves, those who are compelled to live for ourselves. “[Our] inner sky may remain autonomous and depend only upon itself, but on condition that by means of [our] wisdom, which is also knowledge, [we come] to resemble the order of the world, take it back onto [ourselves] and thus recreate in [our] inner firmament the sway of that other firmament in which [we] see the flitter of the visible stars. If [we do] this, then the wisdom of the mirror will in turn be reflected back to envelop the world in which it has been placed; its great ring will spin out into the depths of the heavens, and beyond; [we] will discover that [we] contain ‘the stars within [ourselves]…’” –Michel Foucault, “The Order of Things,” 1970. We are the people.

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I still believe in the male gaze. Seems like everyone has given up on that. Different ideas. I’d like to dress up as each of my friends and take their portrait, a portrait of me, an homage. Maybe I’ll do it but I wonder if it’s worth it. The underwear were merely a symbol for the body. The location of the most disgusting form of abjection. I chose the underwear for the location. I buy used underwear. Everyone says they don’t do it. I mean, I check the crotch and make sure it’s not stained, and only if they are like really cool or interesting. And of course I wash them before I wear them. A friend lost my favorite pair of crotch-less panties while performing in the Miss L.E.S. Pageant. Can’t blame her for that. I got them from a Saver’s in Springfield. Now used crotch-less panties no worries. They were low-cut, black lace, from the 70s. I like to carry around my twenty-something half finished notebooks and journals. I want to finish them because I don’t want to waste the paper. I wish I was an ecoterrorist, but I try to get close. So I try to carry them around with me wherever I go if it is a significant amount of time. I have little ones and regular too. At a certain point a journal will become so time specific that I can’t possibly add to it. Then I will tear out the unused pages and recycle them, making lists and notes and whatnot. I’m so jealous of those hyper organized people. They probably keep their lists in their journals and never fall behind deadlines. The fancy ones are nice. I can’t afford them all the time, but then who cares. If they get too precious yr fucked because the pages’ value combat the value of your words. You see someone with those pristine perfect notebooks, perhaps in black leather? You wonder, what kind of ideas are going into that special notebook? Probably ones that are continuing to make that person richer. I digress, but details like that are always on my mind. I’m not jealous, just aware. Details, like I was saying. Signifiers as others properly note. I look cute today and I would like to go somewhere and be appreciated for it. Guess I’d like to go thrift shopping or somewhere public or something in a cruising zone but my money is so tight I can’t even afford that, much less the cab I would need home. I suppose most people could resolve that problem on the Internet, a blog or whatever. I need immediacy, human contact, and human feelings. I need to feel desired. I’m really pushing it now in a total new over the edge way. Credit cards are maxed out, no more savings. It’s weird to identify with what the politicians are saying, like hey that’s me. No Health Insurance, no nothing, broke. hahaha. Borrowed some cash from a friend. Never done that before. Big fucking sigh. I’m freaking out about food but I still continue to look glamorous and that is so confusing. No not the looking part, that’s

K8 Hardy, Paper, 2009


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suspect. I feel like there must be something conservative lurking around it. And these days you can guarantee if something is called a Women’s group, it’s usually for conservative means. It’s scary how activist terms can get co-opted to the point of becoming innocuous. Yet still I am part separatist and have no problem with making statements about Men. Oh Power. No problem at all. Bold statements regarding the still dominant sex, but oh how those women dream that’s behind us. It’s oh so embarrassing for straight people. Ha ha ha. Must we really bring that up? Let’s just party and have a good time. tickle tickle he he. Me and my girlfriends are liberated. Stereotypes can’t contain the people within them. It’s violent. So take me on my own terms, or lay yours out so that I can see them. Take a position. I’m wary of silent terms, unspoken, invisible ground. I’m still not fitting in. I’m a collision. You know what I mean? Should we decide what to do together? I’m stuck in a pattern. I want to continue. I want clarity. The emotions are muddled. I have a deep commitment. I have conceptual questions. I want to check out. It’s time to look over all my notes and find some more meaning. I need to keep adding meaning, searching. I make no apologies. I want everything to be clear to myself, not to you. And coffee. Why does it have to be so bad for you? Is it? Everything is bad. All the artists are sober tea drinkers eating lots of greens and staying in shape. No more drugs, we run our studios like a tight little business ship. You can’t be a mess if you want to succeed! I’m flipping pages. I’m looking at old super 8 movies. Animals I filmed at the zoo, incessantly walking back and forth, pacing in the cage, back and forth and back and forth in black and white. It’s kinda hard to watch. I think about Guantanamo. I think about this upcoming election and I get freaked out. The elephants are out of focus. The footage from France with the topless girls on the beach makes you want to question your participation in perversity, that’s the United States at work in your mind. My jeans are dirty. The special black jeans from Trash & Vaudeville where the punks have been making the same cut of jeans since the real deal. The ass has ripped so many times, just came back from the tailor at the dry cleaners, and I feel like I am walking around with a diaper on. It’s weird but my ass still looks good in them. I wish I could afford new clothes. Some avant-garde designer with the freakiest weird shit, who knows if they even sell it to stores even.

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CONE Matthew Robert Lutz-Kinoy, 2005, USA, video, color, stereo, 21 min loop. SYNESTHESIA (excerpt) Tony Oursler, 2002, USA, video, color, stereo, 3 min. CAT ZOOM Brett Levin, 2007, Youtube video, color, silent, 1 min. WAYNE’S WORLD Ryan Trecartin, 2003, video, color, stereo, 8 min. OVER MY DEAD BODY Dale Hoyt, 1983, video, color, mono, 15 min. HAARP’s RAINBOW AEROSOL’S JULY 6, 2007 Dboots, 2007, youtube video, 2min. THE DRAMA OF THE GIFTED CHILD Cecilia Dougherty, 1992, video, black & white, stereo, 6 min. THE WOMAN WHO WENT TOO FAR Colin Campbell, 1984, video, color, stereo, 10 min. WHAT IS GENIUS? from NSM Fashions Sarah McKiel, 2008, video, color, stereo, 2 min. LOVER COME BACK (excerpt) Delbert Mann, 1961, 35mm/video, color, stereo, 10 min. LOVE COMIX Barry Shils, 1982, video, color, mono, 8 min AWAKENING OF DESIRE Simon Hughes, 1997, video, color, stereo, 4 min. PROTEST RUSHES (excerpt) Artist (curator), 2008, S8/video, color, mono, 3 min. NEW REPORT ARTIST UNKNOWN K8 Hardy & Wynne Greenwood, 2008, video, color, stereo, 12 min. THE SPEECH Doug Hall, 1982, video, color, mono, 4 min. OFF (excerpts) Tony Oursler, 1999, video, color, stereo, 2 min. ...

Joshua Thorson, Perspectacle, 2008


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Objects are less important than process. Process will never earn a dollar. As related in point #2, the (O)ther Tribes, have a whole foreign language of process. Communication and dialogue create friction, a small warmness. Lying is done with language, writing, and also the space between words. Gaping holes of nothing, caverns of emptiness, the liminality of abject unknown. A preferred space to occupy, like a country. Let us not forget power. I don’t always want to be an artist. Part of it for me is about carrying around a heavy load of ideas and an intense drive to write about them. By writing I mean making art. By writing, I like to imply the gesture of my hand so may I also call it painting? Is it controlled? Is it messy? Is it queer as a two-dollar bill? Politics are intrinsic here, activating questions and thoughts in the world we live in today; all wars considered. It’s a load of dirty clothes for most in the United States. However, I wear dirty clothes every day. Cleaning, putting away the mess, taking the visibility out of mess, making mess invisible, belongs to the privileged. Visibility now marches into the room, on the paper. I think of my basic gesture as the American middle finger flying in the air of defiance. We’re supposed to be rebels anyways. I will name the specificity of my stance. Two able bodied legs supported by the ground in the United States of America, foreign soil. So who owns what and why? Who claims to own the unknown thing that dares not bare its name? If one had to live in a closet, lying out of necessity, does the closet ever leave the room? Persona is a reaction to Patriarchy. As everyone searches for their true self, they use the fake one they have been given, or fail miserably at that effort. Authenticity is slippery. Mimicry is the tenet of femininity. It’s easy to obsess over the little things, scrape off the top layer of eye shadow your sister’s friend gave you from her stash of samplers at the department store where they both work. She’s a make up artist. It’s another kind of great artist. I look at the scraped up dirty little pads of packed powder and wonder if the germs from all the rich ladies, because it is a nice department store, I wonder if they could seep all the way to the bottom, totally saturate the rectangle of color. No matter, I’ll let my immune system work it out. It’s so rude when an acquaintance maybe friend says, “I’m going out with my girlfriends tonight, me and my girlfriend, I just love all my girlfriends, and I really need to have girlfriends.” The gendered friendships keep slapping me on the face with their hallowed placement. Now every time I here a sex signifier I become

K8 Hardy, Paper, 2009


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Re-working In the In-Between, Shaking It Out The Process is Power conference caught my attention because it addresses two important issues for me: 1. Process as a foreign/other language inside one dominant language; frequently spoken by Lesbians but not limited to this Tribe; most often used outside of Patriarchal circles. 2. Process as a metaphor for working used most often in relation to Artists. 3. These are topics I am currently investigating in my new work, “Notes on Lying”. What motivates me? I am an artist and an outsider, both simultaneously and distinctively, so now a total of 3. I studied various fruits in my education, each one sliced or deconstructed an/other way, an endless amount of variations- but not quite infinity. Yet, when confronted with “Process” I tend to let it go. As I release this grip, or hailing, there creates a void, torn open through rejection. This void is an open space, never able to be filled or closed, “that which is not one”. The Gap. And so I stand empty-handed before myself, and before my reader. But I’m convinced this situation needn’t remain so. I think if we stretch the limits, we might find some wonderful tools for the for regarding of Process. In a theoretical world, there are as many ways to view a situation as there are gaze of viewers. For this reason, I will use simply my own, sketch it briefly and then illustrate some results. I don’t pretend to present any ground-breaking or revolutionary ideas in this text, just to shift my point of view, and possibly yours. Fluidity, fragmentation, and pleasure are associated with the metaphorical ground breaking. The nascent intellectual current is conceptualism, a modality that creates a structure with hierarchies, symbols and signs. It gives process a rigorous, “one, two” and then falls to the floor. So it’s not what I’m looking at, it’s not the finality, but the backwards unfolding. When I say backwards, I do invoke a form of linearity, but don’t limit it within actual directions. The focus on “Process” by which meaning has been achieved inherently reveals feminist concerns. Inherently you may ask why? Inheritance is a patriarchal mode of moving power that distinctly and forthrightly excludes women, when I use the word woman now, just briefly to make my point, it is to classify that which is outside heteronormative patterns. Here I assert that again, my concern is not much with what has been said or made or produced. I postulate a different strategy, a risk, for the inscription of Process. If to speak is to act and I say perform, perhaps performance is a form of lying? That’s philosophy. But it’s hard to answer if you consistently question what is Real.

Katerina Llanes, Lavender Menace, 2009


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Katerina Llanes, Leather Menace, 2009

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SESSIONS  

sessions by katerina llanes & co

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