Monday, April 30, 2007

retraction

it's nice that i can retract dumb things i say. moving on . . .

Sunday, April 29, 2007

name & titles . . .


clearly, the items in the window are Louis Vuitton bags, the ubiquitous brown and fleshy logo'ed bags that you see in every mall in America and on every street corner in nyc (well, you see a "likeness," let's say). and so but there is the LV name stamped @ bottom right (it need not preside @ upper left, where we so often find corporate logos . . . LV transcends the need for a traditional title . . . it's performative in the sense that it is what it is). i'm trying to use this reflection as a way of thinking about how i should best go about listing blogs on this site. i want to honor the blog names people have carefully crafted, but i also want a quick reference that leads me to a particular person's site. i've tried indicating both, but it looked awful, crowded, made me scowl like the reflection of the lady in this image (you may want to click to see a larger version), the lady who seems so upset that i'm taking the photo (why?). the woman in green seems happy, just fine with whatever's going on . . . but the woman in beige (which weirdly matches the dun-coloring that distinguishes the LV logo against the darker brown), she's not happy at all; maybe she thinks i'm taking photos so that i can head back to my seedy studio to knock off simulations (i love the expression "knock off" for "copies" . . . there is something about it that wants to be derogatory, but it's somehow not . . . although were i to have an LV, i would want an LV). bags i love? you wonder? i really love the new Fendi bags w/ the equestrian theme; walked into the Fendi store on 5th ave. while i was in nyc for C's and just fell in love w/ it. i've never even cared for Fendi; the bag simply captivated me, as does their promotional video, which you can see, and download, if you like, at their website . . . but you can't find an image of this bag i'm wanting to describe; i imagine they are only sold at Fendi flagship venues, @ places on 5th ave. in nyc . . . guess i missed my chance. ha. ha. so back to the lady w/ the scowl; maybe she's scowling because she thinks it's silly to take pictures of storefronts . . . or maybe the posture (the scowling disapproval) performs a reality for whoever may be looking (someone is always looking) . . . "how provincial . . . " or "why doesn't she simply buy one?!" . . . which seems to indicate that she can (according to fabulous improvisational theater wizard, Keith Johnstone, it's all status games. every move. every performance . . . which means, for me, all action. all symbolic gesture. all rhetoric). so she's indicating status. and this gets me back to how i list blogs here (which i may have sorted out by thinking about logos, so for now, i'll go w/ the blog's name, unless i hear otherwise). but so this is also about writing here, writing publicly (this is what it's about, for me, at this moment). so let's say there's something about writing in public spaces that is not simply about pleasure and convergence but status moves, as well. i like to think that i'm going for pleasure and converence, but i'm certainly also going for confidence, articulation that moves me somewhere (and maybe it also moves a reader, but i may be overreaching to imagine it) . . . i do find it rewarding in that it is writing, generative, recursive . . . i like the ways in which "live" writing seems to liberate my sense of movement, my desire to follow tangents (i suppose i should perform more coolly and say "trajectories") where they may wander, and then it's always surprising to see that they converge in ways that (can) make sense if i/you can withstand the travel. but as for status moves, i guess i'm not quite ready to think about what i'm going for here in terms of status (although it's true that naming is what got me here). i think about Jeff Rice's "cool writing" and sort of don't want to think i'm simply going for cool, but cool is certainly okay (who am i kidding? of course it's okay. it's why i am drawn to certain things and why i've spent/spend so much energy resisting others). it seems like there should be more to it, but so for now, it's all about travel, . . . performance and reflection and fabulous steamer trunks and vanities.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

showering

i once had a friend who told me that all problems are solved in the shower. i loved it then and love it now. what's not to love about showering? bathing? i remember that as a kid, 1 of 5 girls, stealing enough time to take a really substantially therapeutic shower or bath was serious-precious. now that i have a home w/ 3 bathrooms, i need not worry about time or space or sisters banging on the door. and while i still enjoy a nice, long shower, i don't luxuriate like i can or maybe should. sure, there are environmental/water-use issues, but i am not honestly thinking about that when i cut it short or decide to put it off -- the longer, more lavish bathing experience -- "until later." it may have something to do with guilt. or maybe it's that i have a sense that i can't recapture that experience, the feverish delight little children display when water is in play. writing this is encouraging me to take up some form of hydrotherapy, and soon (of course, um, i still need to shower, today). and this has little to nothing to do w/ writing, so apologies there . . . or maybe there is something to be said, something about the joy of seeing the water move, flow, slip, . . . the way you can see things even through it and how water changes what you see and how you see it. oh sure, we've been using the concept of "fluidity" in our theoretical work on writing forever now, but it has, or, had (for me) become a sort of stable concept (because of its ubiquitous appearance, especially in writing the postmodern) . . . and so i guess it does help me to see this image, the joy on Fiona's face as the water slips through the holes in the bucket that holds her bath toys. it's freaking-out joy, it's uncontainable, limitless . . . even a little scary. seeing this image inflects the fluidity concept, reactivates it, remotivates me to contemplate its presence in my brain as it tries to write, as it tries to think about writing, as it tries to imagine ways of teaching writing. and, sadly, i'm also moved to think about resistance to the visual in writing instruction, which simply makes no sense to me. because. i'll never forget, after having been put on "permanent suspension" from UF in the 80's, after working a lot of horrid jobs and becoming a successful cosmetologist and then blowing that . . . i went back to community college, where we used Warriner's English . . . and on the cover was this lovely image. i found out, i discovered my first Rothko. on Warriner's English! it was a powerful association for me, English w/ contemporary art. it still is. this image (left) of the book seems to suggest a Rothko, and i'd so wanted to include the actual image of the book, that edition --which i'd love to think i still own but am almost certain it's gone -- but i can't find one. it was a lovely blank white field w/ an all blue Rothko at center. i'll never forget looking for info on the cover image and seeing "Mark Rothko," and then rushing out to find out about him, learning about de Kooning, Motherwell, Pollock . . . thinking about what they were doing and wondering how it represented grammar . . . and Composition . . . (composing made sense) . . . later reading Vonnegut's Bluebeard and wanting to love it because it dealt w/ the abstract expressionists . . . i remember not loving it, actually, but forgiving it because it was about identification, finding a field of vibratory pleasure and maybe, even, power (all that from its "origins" in Composition. ha. ha.). but so back to resistance to the visual in Composition . . . sometimes, the resistance registers visibly in/on the body . . . you can see it, the fluttering frustrated hand, waving away your theory/comment at The Big Conference or hallway chat, the face turning sour, the sense of your opponent simply drying up before your eyes (which are, conversely, overfull w/ tears trying to flow but for your mighty attempt at registering an affect of indifference or "maturity" . . . as though you think maybe you too should dry up and get serious about writing, about written discourse). ach. you see how this is moving. and it's interesting because i am right now feeling as though i desperately need a drink of water (which is not uncommon for me as i have diabetes insipdus, which is not diabetes mellitus -- the insulin requiring diabetes. DI is a condition many people develop after having surgery to remove a pituitary tumor, and i had just such a surgery in 1994 (for a nasty mass called a craniopharyngioma). sometimes, the pituitary is scarred from the surgery, and you can no longer produce anti-diuretic hormone; that's me. there is a medicine, but it's difficult to manage, especially if you have one kidney, also like me (born that way. fabulous). so now it's flowing, right? and all of this forces me to recall the time i walked into the MCA in Chicago (one of my favorite museums) and saw Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ," of which i'd known nothing at the time. it regarded me coolly (who doesn't want to say that?) as i walked in the door. it was the first image i saw (probably explaining my affection for the MCA). i remember staring at it and thinking how beautiful it was and how calming it was and that i felt spiritually connected to it. my husband walked matter-of-factly by and seemed to know the photo, the controversy, everything. he asked me if i'd read the info on it (i hadn't . . . i was vibing out on the image). when i did read the text, the image evolved into a sign from god that all was well w/ the world, even w/ my one kidney and DI and my sense that i was/am a horrible freak of nature. you see, for people w/ one kidney, pee (my preferred term) is a Very Good Thing; when you stop peeing for any appreciable amount of time (and for people like us, we know what that is), you need to get to the ER and fast. for people w/ DI, pee is a fact of life . . . we go a LOT (hear the tune to Faith No More's "We Care A Lot" . . . i always do). so i sort of saw the image as a sign from god that DI (which seemed like a curse) was actually the thing that could help my sad kidney to be okay (it's pretty ugly and looks horribly abnormal . . . it looks blocked because it's stenotic, narrow, where the kidney connects to the ureter; whenever an x-ray tech sees it, they come running back in the room to see if i'm actually alive). so pee is good, for me, and maybe even DI is good, for me, because, well the DI keeps it flowing through, in a way (although ask my husband how he enjoys pulling over all the time and he'll tell you it's not all that; actually, he's sort of normalized the patient response and is always asking if i need to stop, which is very sweet). so but back to the image: i love to tell my students about my experience w/ "piss christ" because when i tell them what it is, about the materials used and the methods of production, about a crucifix that the artist has dropped into a backlit tank full of his own urine, they expect to hear me wail in disgust or even to offer a critique, similar to the one offered by "Sister Wendy Beckett, an art critic, consecrated virgin and Catholic nun, [who] voiced her approval of Piss Christ. She explained in a television interview with Bill Moyers that she regarded the work as a statement on 'what we have done to Christ' - that is, the way contemporary society has come to regard Christ and the values he represents" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ) . instead, i get to tell them that the image is god speaking to me and that my particular lens compels me to see it as a kind of affirmation. but, no, visual images are merely stimuli, arhetorical; they don't have a place in a writing classroom.

Friday, April 27, 2007

compression

so i realize that i need to compress information in tidy ways, at least for some audiences. so, to ease your reading experience here, i've broken out "links" from "blogs." the links are to, obviously, places i like to go, things i like to read. there are also useful links for working in the classroom (i like some of the design sites for sharing elemental design concepts w/ students and colleagues . . . and me). i needn't have explained any of this, but it's something . . . something to move me to write, emergent [the limits of the field of emergence are in its actual expression]. i remember when we were back at USF, learning how to write html code. janice walker was always just beyond . . . she was very patient with me in my near total ignorance. i knew nothing, but i learned a little and put up what i see now as a pretty awful webpage. whatever. i'm still thinking about design and code, but for now, i'm okay w/ the templates, although i'm against them, in theory, as tools i want to be using. it's always a problem of time. and then i wonder, if i really spend eons working on my little films and blogs and websites, do i need to write that book? is this me rationalizing? because i can do that, rationalize it away. and someone is probably already writing the books i've been drafting in my mind, and, to some tiny extent, on pages. for now, i'm happy posting links and thinking about (maybe) what it means via this lyric, from beck's track "lazy flies" . . . "the skin of a robot vibrates w/ pleasure . . . " and i need to make that video for this song because the lyrics move perfectly with not 1 but 2 Werner Herzog films, Aguirre, Wrath of God, and Fitzcarraldo. thematically, there are scenes in these 2 films that simply vibrate w/ something . . . not exactly pleasure, although for both Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo, their hopes register an affect that seems like transcendent joy, and, despair. related to the theme of attempting transcendece is Werner Herzog's documentary, Grizzly Man, about Timothy Treadwell . . . i'm moved by the film's content, to be sure, but i'm also troubled (not in disagreement, exactly . . . something . . .) by its heartbreaking reflective voiceover, which Christopher Orr reproduces (along w/ commentary) in his review: "Responding to Treadwell's 'sentimentalized view' of nature after the discovery of the dead fox, he [Herzog] declares, 'I believe the common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder.' (Whose soul is supposed to be in turmoil here?) Near the very end of the film, he confesses, 'And what haunts me is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature'" (orr). Orr finds Herzog's reading problematic: "Though his film is ostensibly about Timothy Treadwell, who spent thirteen summers living among wild grizzlies in Alaska before being killed and eaten by one of them in the fall of 2003, in the end it is also about Herzog himself--something that will come as no surprise to those familiar with his work. [. . . ] David Thomson writes that the German-born filmmaker 'is not the ideal documentarian. You feel he has made his mind up about so many things.' This is particularly true of Grizzly Man, which treats Treadwell not only as a subject but as a kind of friendly philosophical adversary. At its most revealing moments, the film takes the form of an argument, between Treadwell's heedless conviction and Herzog's rationalist cynicism, over the nature of nature and the nature of man'" (orr).

another film that explores our desires to transcend is the amazing decasia: the state of decay. you. must. see. it. when i saw it at Sundance a few years ago, the director, Bill Morrison, explained that he chose archival footage (all had to be in some stage of actual celluloid decay) which featured human beings attempting to transcend. so, it opens w/ whirling dervishes . . . there are nuns and children preparing to eat and pray . . . there are people trying to help others in mining & other forms of catastrophe . . . and more. but what's so striking is that these images morph in to and out of clarity, reflecting both in form and content the theme, the truth that we are always, despite our actions, however heroic or spiritual or ordinary, in decay. and while this could be overwhelmingly dark (it is dark), somehow, the film is hauntingly beautiful (thanks, in large part, to the score by Michael Gordon). the film does not aritculate via special effects; it is simply(?) decaying archival footage, edited and scored. there is a clip at the link, above. or here . . . watch.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

sun's "pregnancy"

so, last week i was watching LOST and wondered what had happened to Sun's pregnancy. this week, it's the storyline. but, look at her. seriously. pregnant? it's insulting to every pregnant woman i know. i'm sure that there are women who gain no weight until after, say, 8 weeks, but Sun is supposedly farther along than that, and she shows no puffiness, she's always working (suggesting that she is not tired), . . . it's insulting. that's sort of what you get when the writers make up the central conceit as they go (and maybe this is the best method; it's become a refrain at our house, "they're making this shit up as they go." we talk like that. cause we're so street. ha. ha). i honestly believe that just as viewers are trying to figure it out, so too are the writers. and that too is a little insulting . . . but not so much. i hear often about how novelists and screenwriters create these plans for stories and then execute them masterfully. but i hear much more often that the story begins w/ a simple image or concept, "and then i write." it's always felt like the right way to go, although i have maybe 4 incomplete screenplays still languishing because of it (or, um, it's my fear of failure, my laziness. name it). my latest attempt is moving along, so i'm happy about that. we'll see . . . but it has to emerge . . . and i can't force it. sometimes, i really do wake up and write on whatever's at the bedside . . . cryptic code like "she wants curtains from Kmart, but . . . [scribbled mess i can't make out] . . . " or maybe there's just a word: "sea urchin" . . . or . . . "potatoe". . . or. . . "undulate," . . . these are the "keywords." mike and i like to try to remember our dreams. so, when we wake, we ask each other for keywords. whoever is the most awake gets up to write them down, and, hopefully, they will provide the magic that will enable us to recall the dream. sometimes it works, but even when it doesn't, it's always funny or bizarre or enchanting , . . . the language we carry up out of our dreams . . .

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

dolphin water guns



this is my cousin, Jesse (left) and my sister, Emily. the photo was taken years ago (clearly) in the Florida Keys. we used to spend every summer there until we had a nasty boating accident in 1973. that ended it. but i love this image, the dolphin water guns, Jesse's innocent expression and Emily's outrage -- i don't know what it's about. once, when she was raging mad at my sister, Carrie, she looked at her and declared w/ near-combustible fury, "S, . . . N . . .O . . . S . . . N!" Carrie looked at her cooly and replied, without affect, "snosn?" Emily stood exquistely furious and unable to speak or move or do anything. it was indescribably sad, but, yes, we all laughed -- which made it unspeakably worse for Emily. she had been so certain that S-N-O-S-N meant something . . . which is maybe what i'm thinking about, the things we say and do with some sense that it's important; maybe we're not sure, but we fling it out there, trot it out for display, reactivate our associations with it and imagine someone vibing out on its potential in some time and space (too groovy, you say? snosn).

the latest picture i have of Jesse is from his work in Baghdad (Jesse is in the military); he is standing with a local man with whom he'd been discussing neighborhood issues while drinking chai tea for an hour (an hour's worth of Iraqi chai?! i'll bet that was some conversation . . . ). Jesse used to do this rap when he was a kid. it went, "my name is Jesse/ mmmmm . . . I do not mess around, ha-ah/turn around/ touch the ground/get back up and boogie down, I say peace, peace . . . peace, peace . . . " it was hysterical. now, it's weirdly poignant and hopeful. Emily is now a mother of one and pregnant with her second child. her first daughter, Fiona is my lovely little niece who likes to say "i LIKE it" about everything. it's adorable and innocent and childlike and hopeful, like squirting each other with dolphin water guns and getting bowl haircuts from mom and NOT wanting to have your picture taken because your image is yours and not for the taking, not just now. when i'm ready.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

silly ball gown

well, i'm not sure i can keep this up. i'm no champion performer (like Christine Ebersole, aka "Miss Broadway," left, . . . that's me, nervously playing w/ my hair and gushing like a freak about her unspeakably moving performance in Grey Gardens). i mean, despite Rich's encouragment, writing here may not be the best thing for me. first of all, it's incredibly self-indulgent. second, there is the "i'm writing into a black hole" sensation of it, which is for me both enchanting and disappointing, like the time i tried to throw an impromptu Academy Awards Watching party . . . i'd made up "menus" w/ the lists of nominees so guests could predict . . . i wore a silly gown that i'd had from some formal event past . . . and yes, i ended up watching the show alone, just me and my husband. it's hysterically funny now -- think Paul Giamatti -- but, well, this is my point . . . [take out whiny stuff about recent rejection] . . . so this feeling of rejection, w/ which i am entirely too familiar (working in academe, working in film, . . . living -- see, there's PG), well, it's no good. yes, i'm talking about feelings because writing is about feelings . . . [remove long and possibly offensive digression here] . . . colleagues of mine keep telling me, "it's not personal," which sounds lovely, a lovely way to dismiss someone, but it's always personal. writing is always personal. writing is always standing alone in your silly Oscar gown drinking cheap champagne and wondering why you bother. . . . i hear you, . . . oh, the drama . . . the inelegantly howling agony . . . so yes, i'm thinking that the rejection of blogging is not for me (or for my students, i'm beginning to think). i mean, even as you write, you think about getting rejected (this is pretty much always the case, . . . except when i'm writing to perform, to perform live, which is an entirely different matter, and i sort of think about my audience but am much more invested in a particular creative vision; i learned that lingo from Sundance, . . . their loving, nurturing, slavish devotion to a "creative vision" . . . it's really quite all that). so but well, i've got to write those books. in a way, writing here is giving me the incentive to do it . . . i mean, by comparison, the books i have planned will be of some Mighty Importance . . . ha. ha.

Monday, April 23, 2007

new macbook




i have a shiny new macbook pro. i simply do too much w/ film anymore to keep working with my horrid pc. i still use pcs, but i'll be moving a lot of what i do to the mac. it's beautiful . . . you really must imagine (and feel) the shiny metal casing . . . which brings up the rhetoric of the macbook pro, acronymically "mbp," which surely alludes to something powerful and lovely at the same time because those apple marketing teams are busy bonding (lovely) while doing dangerous extreme sports (powerful) together as they develop fancy & fabulous words to describe your computer and all of the personally gratifying identifications that come from owning, working with, & thinking about it (i'm being fairly serious & not simply going for critique) . . . this issue of how the mbp and other apple products are represented compels me to simply note that you can purchase a "suit" for your mbp, and i think that's terribly funny (i only bought a "sleeve" & 2 different laptop bags, one rolling and one for carrying, although you can remove the wheels and handle from the rolling bag, which is a pretty nice detail . . . and it's all about good design . . . we'll see how good it is when it arrives . . . i'll probably keep just one of them unless it's too difficult to part; oh, and no comments on price! what price le image?!). you know the mbp, supershiny & modern & suggestive of ease and simplicity (and there is truth in it, but it's still a move). and on clever rhetorical moves, is there any round of ads more entertaining than the mac vs. pc ads featuring John Hodgman, who is known for his appearances on The Daily Show but should be lavished with loving kisses for his book The Areas of My Expertise, imaged to resemble a bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap? (it's bizarre to put a question mark so far from the question, but i'll ramble on and try to be correct, and i think that's actually correct, which is bizarre). that mac, played by Justin Long is famous, too; i remember him fondly from Dodgeball. interestingly, while the mac vs. pc ads are effective, i find myself so sympathetic to poor pc that i almost want to hang in there w/ him, but in the end, the logic is clear. i recently manifested with greater personal clarity the superiority of the mac when i was preparing to spend a day w/ faculty at Old Dominion University. i was to lead a 5 hour workshop on multimodality, so naturally i had lots of little films and powerpoints and links to follow & whatnot. when i tried loading up my Toshiba laptop to run everything, it was like attempting to move against a hideous Southwestern monsoon wind (of which i know a disturbing bit because of my 3 years living in Phoenix, AZ). . . . well but so is this a fairly boring post? i wonder if it's like when you stop smoking (if you've stopped smoking) & you become evangelical about it and drive everyone around you mad. so i'll move on . . . although i want to note also that since getting my mbp, i have to admit to a sense of compulsion to create this blog . . . it's as though if you claim to work in new media (i'm not sure i claim it; i will say i'm a filmmaker and a rhetorician and a teacher of writing and someone who likes thinking about images), well, that you must create a blog. it's not true, i realize it, and as i said in my first post, it is for me probably a bad idea. i need to focus on my 2-book project (both on film discourses in r/c . . . 1. history . . . 2. production, especially in the present). it's my summer project because i can't seem to land a job that affords me enough time to work on my writing (but wait, you say, stop blogging and start writing !? . . .). we'll see.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

louis vuitton in space

you find such great design in nyc. some of it is perhaps not intended . . . so, the reflection of the buildings across the street from the Louis Vuitton store, where, inside, you are not allowed to take pictures . . . i had so wanted to capture images of the "archives" . . . a collection of steamer trunks and small vanities, surely from LV's early years . . . they were stationed well above the floor on nearly unseen shelving units, so that they appeared to levitate above you. it was beautiful. but so i'm thinking that they so fear knockoffs that you can't take pictures. funny thing is that LV knockoffs are, especially in nyc, so ubiquitous (some are very good) that who needs an image? . . . maybe it's about preserving the aura of authenticity (Benjamin) because, well, LV bags reached cult status ages ago, art status among certain networks of shoppers, fashion people . . . many of the Murakami bags were pretty fabulous (i ran into Patty Hearst at the Sundance Film Festival a couple of years ago as she was coming out of the bathroom carrying her black Murakami LV . . . i commented on *the bag* but not on her celebrity, and i like to think that we had a little moment). i searched like a freak for the Murakami LV cherry & brown bag (can't recall the name . . . it had a bow and a lock, a lovely juxtaposition) . . . i searched on ebay for weeks. knockoffs were easy, but the real LVs ranged from, at the lowest end, maybe $1000.00 and then started their climb. it was exhilarating in an addictive and curiously pleasurable way . . . although i never got one and now it's pretty much over but will surely continue to resonate as retro-chic for some time to come (Marc Jacobs, responsible for the collaboration w/ Murakami, has fairly mastered retro-chic, except for his more recent granny-chic "mistakes" that veered too close to frumpy and wandered away from clever).

. . . but so the buildings across the street, how they situate LV in a space, which is ironic because this image shows me that LV dominates the region in ways that do the situating. what are those buildings? who knows? cares? it's LV that provides the shiny, reflective surface, enabling their visibility (from this scene). we even see discrete windows, which indicate discrete office units and the spectre of the individual who ordinarily occupies the space (i think here of Fassbinder's Despair, which i loved, an affect you won't find in Phillip Lopate's less than favorable but--as always--entertaining--review essay). but so this imagined individual . . . merely a hint of a suggestion, really, because Louis Vuitton is the only individual we see. they could be very important buildings, those reflections, but from this stance, nothing else exits (even the sky is diminished) but the iconic image of a name. and, despite feeling that i should probably be horrified by this image, i find it incredibly beautiful.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

reactivating cult status despite mass liquidation of aura, authenticity

i am spending lots of time these days w/ Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. it's something we do, i hope -- go back and reread w/ greater care and investment those things that we glossed in grad school because of time, pressure to perform on tests, etc. the piece is so rich. i'm wondering (and maybe this has been explored): can good design reactivate the rhetorical magic of "the original," w/ its place and history-bound associations and ritual status? can good design involve placement and articulation within limited networks of circulation (well, of course, right?)? can this happen even in light of what Benjamin considers to be the "liquidation" of a work's aura of authenticity (and thereby its magic)? he points most directly to film for evidence of the massification of a work of art to the extent that it is diminished in its magical (ritual-oriented) nature. this is what people remember about Benjamin's piece-as-critique (thus, the title) . . . but reading carefully, can we discern contradictions that point us in the direction of something more promising? i'm thinking about certain films, the ways in which they are historicized and how they evolve within certain networks of association (i.e., the "arthouse," which in an odd way invokes the "outhouse," and all of its marginal associations with the [underground or unseen or hidden] real, or maybe it calls up a notion of art-as-home, which underscores a sense of the real . . . we also have, "the French New Wave," which has its own distinct aura and sense of authenticity and cult status . . . "one of us"). i'm also thinking about how maybe good design can reactivate aspects of a work's earlier aura . . . how Andy Warhol's interview footage, now playing on YouTube, can recapture a sense of the playful and irreverent attitude of artists working in Warhol's factory, and how, by emailing a link to that video we participate in a sense of the original, a sense of belonging to a cult of carefree rebels, a band of outsiders . . . i'm thinking about M Dot Strange's work and especially his YouTube stuff, its cult status . . . thinking about how, every year, at the Sundance Film Festival, people line up hours before a screening, hoping to get tickets, largely for the sake of "bragging rights," as in, "oh yeah, i saw it at Sundance" (an "origin" . . . remember The Blair Witch Project?). so, maybe it's about how certain digital and media exhibition networks enable us to reactivate scenes of authenticity despite the massive shift from an original state to a digitized or cinematic version . . . or how film can situate itself in webs of discourse that carefully surface or recuperate a sense of the underground (Sundance Institute members are very careful, planning all the time, to keep Sundance Sundance . . . to keep it indie, despite the Paris Hilton sightings, the SWAG, . . . and I believe that there is in this an earnest devotion to an ideal, but there is maybe also very smart marketing at play, as well).

Friday, April 20, 2007

shiny

the shine may be wearing off, after only one day. you write something, sort of hoping that no one reads it. then, no one reads it. you read it a few times, wonder if the aesthetic is working . . . but it's sort of lonely. so, the question: what's the point? i'm going to keep this blog up for a little bit and see if something interesting answers back. in the meantime, here is one thing my sister said that i thought was really funny in its simple truth: "the second bowl of cereal is almost always a bad idea." i love that. but, so, see, . . . who needs to hear that? . . . victor vitanza once told me that my use of my sister's funny language in a piece i was writing for pre/text "didn't sound like you" (me). funny. it wasn't me. but i stole it, and i loved it. kind of like plagiarizing a "great quote" i found for my comp paper (that's student X talking). you know you shouldn't do it . . . you should at least cite it, but you so want that to be your language that you just, kind of, take it.

valeria

i am looking at my calendar. it features butterflies (aw). April's butterfly is the Valeria Boebera, and they are pretty much brown and white and lovely in a spare imagistic way. i just looked up "imagistic" to see if i am using it correctly. i didn't find it, so that means it's the appropriate academic thing to do, make up a more complicated version of the term. but what's awfully cool is that the nearby word "imago" lists a synonym, "imagines," which is apparently the "fully developed stage of an insect" (ta da!). that's lovely. so the Valeria, in the image on my calendar, is surrounded by these lovely French butterflies called Lysandra Coridon. i love that the Valeria (with its hypnotic and calming associations to valerian root) is cradled by French butterflies that appear in "soft focus" because of the muted nature of their coloring (camel at the edge of the wings and a soft aqua in several gradations toward the center). aqua like a Tiffany box, live the silver sage retro phone i'm going to buy at Restoration Hardware this weekend. almost easter-egg blue like my new discovery, G. Lalo stationary.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

continuing . . .

but it looks as though i'm going to do it. am doing it.

my new blog

i probably shouldn't do this.