December 28, 2015

A long and short playlist for 2015 (with commentary)




I said I wasn't going to do this anymore, because YouTube now has too many commercials, but it seems I can't stop.

I've now made YouTube playlists in 2010, 2011, Japan, 2013, 2014 and now 2015 (also above.)

The playlist for 2015 is so long (over five hundred videos) that this year I've also made a shorter one that contains some of my favourites

In previous years, my commentary was about how things I do on the internet now seem part of, or even more interesting, than the rest of my artistic practice. But this year all I'm thinking about is my internet addiction. For the first time in my life I'm finding it difficult to read and I think it might partly have too do with how much time I spend online. 

I have just managed to spend two weekends offline, and will try to keep spending weekends away from this thing for the rest of the year. I don't particularly think I'll succeed. But we'll see what happens.

I think what disturbs me most is how little interest I have in doing anything else.



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December 25, 2015

Excerpt from the introduction to Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART

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It all seems so strange to me – in one sense every time we begin a process I am aiming for a breakthrough, hoping to surprise myself and make something that doesn’t particularly remind me of anything I’ve seen, or if it does remind me of something else, if it does remind me of some other work, or some particular aspect of my own previous work, I still want it to do so in a surprising way. And yet on the other hand I no longer believe in any of these things, they seem to me only like some youthful fantasies that my current understanding of the world can no longer support. What’s important, it now seems to me, must be something else: to make work that doesn’t feel empty, that raises striking questions, where the content and form are inseparable. But also to deal with the collaborative process in as honest and human a way as possible, and for the integrity with which the work has been made to come across as we perform it.

I am still working on all of the same artistic questions I started with thirty years ago, and often wonder if they are now only bad habits, or if the fact that I’m still working on them displays a certain degree of necessary commitment and fidelity to my earliest artistic impulses. At the same time, I’m also working on a more recent set of questions, many of which almost completely contradict the earlier ones, and most often I make no attempt to resolve these contradictions. Everything I do brings me into paradox and the paradoxes only deepen over time.

Nonetheless, as a matter of principle, I remain fiercely against those who say that everything has been done, even if I am somehow, gradually becoming one of them. Because how do they, how do we, know. There is always a certain energy and curiosity in believing that anything might still happen. As well, saying things go in circles has a different emphasis than saying everything has been done, since every time you come around again the things you do are both the same but also, somehow, desperately not the same at all. Yet now it is still 1996 and therefore, at age twenty-five, I very much believe it is possible and important to make something completely new in art.





[Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART is a new book I'm currently working on which will be published by BookThug in Spring 2018.]


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December 21, 2015

Internet Addiction

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I have decided to try to stay off the internet during the weekends. (I just managed my first weekend in more or less ever.) I will most likely fail, but I thought I would announce it here anyway. Each time I fall off the wagon I will do my best to get back on. When it comes to email, ‘it can wait until Monday’ will hopefully become my new mantra. So if you see me on social media during the weekend you will know that I am weak.



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December 14, 2015

Rashayla Marie Brown: "Especially to the radiant child and the wunderkind, I ask you to open your hands and release your anxiety."

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I’m not going to lie to you. There are rewards for this amnesia – people will call you avant-garde or controversial, you don’t seem hindered by oppression, you aren’t didactic, you will gain access into places – alone – because you are one of the chosen ones who don’t challenge the institution. But you will be in the ivory tower, alone.

We can explore such ideas as the post-black, the post-racial, and the post-feminist because our ancestors’ world was a world of firsts before the post. I appeal to you to acknowledge your influences, publicly and loudly. I implore you to do your research and cite your sources. I ask you to share. Do not be lulled by the open gate or window, and then close it behind you so no one else like you can enter. A sense of competition is bred into the art world that makes you feel like you will lose if you aren’t the chosen one. Especially to the radiant child and the wunderkind, I ask you to open your hands and release your anxiety.

- Rashayla Marie Brown, Open Letter To My Fellow Young Artists And Scholars Who Work On The Margins – A Tribute to Terry Adkins


[Read the rest of the essay here.]



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December 13, 2015

Karissa Chen: "It’s simply that you cannot imagine you could be wrong, and so you cannot see."

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The thing I want to tell that male journalist with the Asian wife, or even to Michael Derrick Hudson with his stolen name, is that these Asian women whom you’ve reduced to names and monikers and symbols of your discontent — they fall outside of your imaginations. Despite all of your privilege, your belief that you have the right to imagine and shape worlds as you see fit, you lack the capacity to conceive of the multitudes that lie inside the women whom you claim to speak for. Your singular wife. Yi-Fen Chou. My grandmother. Myself. And so many other Asian women I know. We are constantly breaking stereotypes. We have varying, changing dreams, and move through this world expressing ourselves in unexpected ways. We are living, breathing examples of how your constructions of us are paper-thin, weightless. It’s simply that you cannot imagine you could be wrong, and so you cannot see.

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One more point on audacity. I don’t think all audacity looks the same. The audacity that a white man has because he believes he is entitled to something very particular, something very expected is different from the audacity of an immigrant who has no idea what is coming, who plunges ahead despite not knowing, but who, despite all odds, believes she deserves something better, something greater than her imagination. This is the same audacity that will allow her to let go of everything she’s worked for if it comes to it, because she has the audacity to reimagine her future, again and again, as is necessary. She has the audacity to expect better even when the world tells her she shouldn’t dare.

- Karissa Chen, The Audacity to Dream: On Asian Women, Feminism, and My Grandmother


[Read the rest of the essay here.]



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December 12, 2015

Stories...

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The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are not necessarily true.



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December 11, 2015

Zoe S.C. Todd Quote

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e) Listen to people without MFAs or PhDs. Listen to people who have lived experience. Listen to people who are angry. Listen to people who are not being shown at galleries. Don’t tell us to be polite. Don’t police our voices. Just sit with it. Ask yourself why people are angry. Acknowledge any part you play in that.

f) If you have the urge to be a White Saviour and speak for us, just stop. Just turn off your laptop, back away from your desk and go make yourself useful by working in reciprocity with Indigenous people and/or POC. Ask yourself how you can amplify the work of POC and/or Indigenous people without centring Colonial institutions or legal orders or colonial voices.

- Zoe S.C. Todd, So long and thanks


[Read the rest of the essay here.]




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December 9, 2015

Jesse B. Staniforth on “of the North” – Quebec filmmaker uses YouTube and unauthorized music to portray the Inuit

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I highly recommend this piece by Jesse B. Staniforth:


“of the North” – Quebec filmmaker uses YouTube and unauthorized music to portray the Inuit


As well, in a Facebook comment Jesse added this note:

The story I submitted was so much longer than it was supposed to be so a lot of it had to be cut for space (and they did a GREAT job). However, I originally ended with this coda, which I think is worth sharing:

I emailed Mara Gourd-Mercado for clarification about the statement, asking, “rather than presume the Indigenous audience of this film is misreading it, are you concerned that your reading of the film ‘confronting stereotypes’ is grounded in your lack of knowledge and experience of Indigenous communities? Do you stand by your contention that this film is critical of those stereotypes?”

Gourd-Mercado replied, “One of the main things we take away from our conversation last week and that is important for us to express right now is not the RIDM's perception of the film. We need to listen to the opinions that are emerging from the Inuit communities, and to establish communication channels with members of this community. We hope to be able to enter a more inclusive dialogue regarding the film and our programming moving forward. As we stated this takes time and we are ready to put in the work at any cost.”


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December 8, 2015

Some favourite things from my 2015

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(It seems I really do love lists. As is often the case with me, many of these things were released prior to 2015. I have listed them more or less in the order they gradually came to me.)



Books:

Bodymap – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
In an I – Popahna Brandes
May ’68 and Its Afterlives – Kristen Ross
Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde
Lee Lozano: Dropout Piece – Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer
The Fourth World – Diamela Eltit
Bodies of Work: Essays – Kathy Acker
Tattooed Forever – Dalia Rosetti (story in Animal Shelter 3)
Her 37th Year, An Index – Suzanne Scanlon
Garments Against Women – Anne Boyer


Writing: 

Anything and everything by Hannah Black
Anything and everything by Jackie Wang


Music:

Aina More – For People With Short Attention Spans
Rapsody – Beauty & The Beast
Lexii Alijai – feel-less
Shamir – Rachet
Little Simz – A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons
Vince Staples - Summertime ‘06
THEESatisfaction – EarthEE
John Carter – Fields
Kelela – CUT 4 ME


Exhibitions: 

Cuts Make The Country Better – Edith Brunette and François Lemieux
Talk Show – el instituto / SBC Gallery


Performances: 

its not a thing – keyon gaskin
Resistance Solo – Miguel Pereira
Uro – Anna Natt
J'AURAIS AIMÉ TRAVERSER – Elaine Juteau in collaboration with Andrée-Anne Giguère and Luis Felipe Ortega Gil



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December 6, 2015

Under the good intentions, the beach

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Sexism and racism in art
I now feel these are the questions
I will spend the rest of my life debating
as Raymond Boisjoly tweeted:
“...as if art was more important than
our responsibility to one another”
I have never particularly liked to argue
because I’ve never particularly
thought I was right
but like anyone I can easily be
pulled into an argument
especially on the internet
and then what
am I learning something?
I want to remain open
to listen, but the tone of the arguments
so often makes me feel
like arguing instead of listening
(not even talking about fascists or
trolls, but about complex, genuine,
distressing disagreements)
people generally don’t change so much
will anything I say
change anything you think
or vice versa, how or why?
I have been accused
of letting guilt run away with me
but what would it be like
to live in a more just world
and what is the correct
attitude to take us there
when I’m doing my best to
understand your argument
to listen, to be open
but all I really feel is disagreement
there is very little in my daily experience
that gives me any real sense of possibility
yet I know I must keep feeling
possibility regardless
regardless of our differences
regardless of my despair
I don’t want to get too lost
in the details
whether this work of art is sexist
or that one is racist
if you respectfully disagree we
can respectfully disagree
I don’t want to spend all my time
attacking works that ethically suck
would instead prefer to spend my time
praising works that are ethically
and artistically glorious
when something is sexist or racist
we have to speak out against it
loudly and clearly
even with the possibility that later
we might see other aspects
how to speak out yet avoid
these endless, go nowhere debates
stay off the internet
what is my opinion worth
so much less than my actions
I do so few actions
apart from making art
and I believe in art less than ever
but strangely, almost against my will,
I still somehow believe
all of this I write
from the bottom of a depression
which might not even be a depression
an alienation, a loneliness
a never-been-able-to-have-close-friends
an internet addiction
that has in some sense converted me
so I now see so much more racism and sexism
in art and in the world
and I thought I saw so much before
before the internet
when I was also lonely and alienated
my loneliness and alienation
also forms of luxury and privilege
the really fucked up thing about me
is I can always walk away
I never get that attached
this must be a defense mechanism
and how do we argue
without letting our defense mechanisms
carry us away
and how to make people feel structural inequality
how to make people feel structural inequality
how to feel structural inequality
fully and violently, so it would completely wrench my gut
gut me to the core of my privilege
gut me towards action
this isn’t a real poem
just some thoughts in the shape of a poem
when people are being killed in the streets
dying from lack of resources
in stupidly profitable wars
killed by their loved ones
we need poems of pure rage
this one is not
I do feel rage
don’t know if I have any right to it
can feel how I take up too much space
but not how to share the meager resources
our racist and sexist world grants me
I am starting to make attempts
through these attempts I begin to see
just how hard it is, how it doesn’t just work
everything in my life and work
an endless trial and error
the definition of praxis
and these attempts draw me into further debates
as I try to understand
why people say the things they do
if we could all replace our childhoods
with something more open
more generous
if I could snap my fingers
and capitalism would be gone
replaced with something
more caring and more hopeful
what kind of debates would we have then
what would they feel like
who would they be for
who would we be



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Raymond Boisjoly tweet

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Still thinking about this tweet from Raymond Boisjoly: "...as if art was more important than our responsibility to one another"



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