Monday, October 27, 2014

Greetings October 27th








roots-1943.jpg






and race.








When: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 12:30 PM - 2:15 PM

Where: Women's Center - 227 Ingersoll Hall Extension


Yours truly,


N.G.

News Briefs 10.27.14


Ferguson: Still a Thing That's Happening

By now I desperately hope we all know about the events surrounding Ferguson. I'm going to try to do my best to update us on what's happened in Ferguson since Mike Brown was killed. That sentence sounds very hesitant, but that's because so very much has happened.

In the first 12 days following the original shooting, 172 arrests were made in Ferguson, 132 of which were for "refusal to disperse." (I highly recommend reading that entire Amnesty USA report, because it's far more detailed than I could be here.) Police seem to be doing all that they can to stop people from protesting, from intimidation tactics to tear gas to Long Range Acoustic Devices.

Two other people have been killed: the first a seemingly mentally unstable man who either charged the police with a knife in the air or walked toward them slowly shouting for them to kill him. The second, a teenager who either shot at police first or was unarmed (these "or" discrepancies are caused by differences between official police reports and various witness testimony, I apologize for the ambiguity). Regardless of the circumstances, two more people have died and that's tragic.

Mike Brown's autopsy was leaked, though some believe the document was leaked to support the narrative of Darren Wilson's self defense.

A state senator—Jamilah Nasheed—was arrested for blocking traffic while protesting.

Even 75 days after the protests started, guns are still being trained on protesters. I would love to give more official sources of information on this, but social media has been playing an important role in keeping the public informed about Ferguson—and the point stands that without it there may never have been an issue made over Mike Brown in the first place.

These are only a sampling of the events still happening in Ferguson. The idea here is that this event is still happening—Ferguson should not be referred to in the past tense. If this event is going to be important, the public eye has to stay on it, even if it doesn't like what it sees. A final note:

 

—Kyle

Physiognomy is the Real Epidemic in America

Did you know that Renée Zellweger recently had plastic surgery done on her face?

If you have more than three functioning brain cells, you're probably thinking: "That's the most irrelevant and inconsequential piece of information I've heard since pumpkin spice oreos came out."

That's the proper reaction.

The NY Times recently posted an article that responds to people's response over her plastic surgery; it's titled "Why the Strong Reaction to [her] Face?"

That's exactly what I was wondering. I don't have many (or any) thoughts on this because, frankly, if being unable to care less were an Olympic sport, I'd be in the running for a gold medal right now. We need to get our sh*t together as a country. The fact that we're obsessing over one person's personal decision to have plastic surgery is symptomatic of our glaring superficiality (and, oddly enough, belies the image of America that the Amanda Knox story paints - see my "Currently Reading" for this week if you're confused). I'm writing my senior thesis on physiognomy in Victorian fiction and how pernicious it was to judge someone based on his/her appearance. Somehow, I'd like to think that physiognomy is a thing of the past, but when articles and quips about Renée Zellweger's face engulf my Facebook and Twitter newsfeed like wildfire, I can't help but lament the salient stagnancy in our "evolution" as a species. We're still as uncivil as ever, and that's never going to change. 

We have no respect for privacy, no empathy, and a raging obsession over how people look. Maybe if we stopped caring about and investing our energy into Renée Zellweger's face, we'd have found a solution to the Ebola epidemic by now. But, somehow, I don't think Ebola is the most pressing epidemic right now. We are.

-Alex Hajjar
         
                                     You Can't Edit Homelessness 

I moved into a five bedroom flat in San Francisco in January, 2004. All I owned at the time was a suitcase half-full of short skirts, tank tops, and knee socks. I also had a hundred dollars (or less) to my name. It was January, and it was cold. There were six of us occupying the flat, along with God knows how many mice (I'd trapped and killed them all. The following week, I'd become a vegetarian.). 
I got a job working for the Human Rights Campaign. At first, I thought it was an ideal job for a young queer of colour, but after one day of getting doors slammed in my face, I realized that it was a shitty job.
I became ill by the third week of working for the HRC. I’d developed a baseball size cyst on my tailbone, and it had become difficult to get around. I would have to have an operation before I could return to any kind of work. After recovery, I found myself jobless, penniless and with a huge hospital bill. I turned to family for help with my rent at first, and they helped as much as they could.
By June of 2004, I was in love and I was homeless. I’d come back from a trip to Ohio to find my belongings comfortably packed away into two garbage bags. My boyfriend called his mother for help, but she only allowed me to store my things at her home for a little while. I contemplated calling my parents and telling them that I had been unsuccessful in establishing a career in the East Bay. In retrospect, I had too much pride to swallow.
Our first night of homelessness was very somber. We sat in the parking lot of Jack in the Box, counting the petty change between us. I wanted something to eat, but my significant other needed drugs instead. He was addicted to a drug that was very hard to kick, however, we were homeless, and we didn’t have the funds to support his addiction. When you’re in the gutter with your lover, you realized the capacity of your compassion and patience. The motivation to help the one you love end their suffering becomes the main objective of the relationship for a while. He went to an outpatient rehab and that was the end of that.
We spent most of our nights awake, and walking around Downtown Berkeley until sunrise. In the daytime, we would sneak into his mother’s house while she was at work, and sleep for a few hours. By late September, I was still looking for a job. I’d been rejected so many times due to the fact that I didn't have a place of residence, or a phone number. Miraculously, my boyfriend’s best friend had just signed the lease on a two bedroom apartment, and offered us shelter. 
It was a blessing, but we still had to find a source of income. With both of us jobless and desperate, we made a bold decision to sell drugs. It was a huge gamble being that he was an (ex) addict, but at the time we had convinced our young selves that this was the only way to make fast money. And it was. It was the easiest money I had ever made. There was so much risk involved, and a lot of power. Because of our profession at that time, we attracted a lot of negative attention to the apartment. The place had a lot of traffic in and out, and a lot of unwanted guests that would get high and not leave. We managed to turn the apartment into a trap house, basically. By late December, our electricity was cut off because no one made it a priority to pay the light bill. We were eventually evicted a few days before Christmas for a long list of reasons. One being that we had allowed a meth addict (who’d stayed in a tent in our living room) to move into our apartment. She’d almost burned it down, twice.
Being homeless for the second time around wasn’t as bad. We stayed in tiny, cheap hotel rooms some nights. We continued to sell drugs for a while until I found out I was pregnant. I was twenty years old, and although I had nothing to my name, I decided I would keep the baby and try to turn my life around. Simply put, I was tired. I wanted something stable, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it very far in life if I continued to live this way. 
We found an apartment in Oakland, and soon after that I began doing secretarial work at a local hospital. I hadn’t spoken to my parents in about a year. In May, I called home. I remember my mother’s voice cracking into tears when she heard it was me. I wished her a Happy Mother’s Day, and that I had sent a card in the mail. I’d put a picture of my sonogram in it. The conversation I had with my mother was very heartbreaking. She’d told me that she looked for me everywhere, and that she thought I was dead. She kept telling me  that she loved me, and I felt guiltier each time she said it. I didn’t have the heart to tell her what I had put myself through. When she asked me where I had been for over a year, I told her, without elaborating, that I had been around. 


-Bex



Currently Reading



Waiting to Be Heard by Amanda Knox

Me: “Mom, I’m officially studying in Perugia this summer!”
Mom: “Perugia? What happened to Florence?”
Me: “Too expensive. The Perugia program is dirt cheap.”
Mom: “You know that’s where Amanda Knox killed her roommate, right?”

Thanks, Mom.

I did not know that’s where Amanda Knox had allegedly killed her roommate. Up until this summer, Amanda Knox was a name I’d heard mentioned on the news or sporadically sprinkled in conversations. Having lived five minutes away from her apartment, and having attended the same university she attended for a month, however, my roommate and I developed an interest in the case. It’s not every day you get to live five minutes away from the location of one of the hottest and most controversial crime scenes in twenty-first century Italian history.

For those unfamiliar with the story, I’ve condensed it and summarized it below. If you’re familiar with the story, you may skip down to my commentary.

Amanda Knox was a twenty-year-old college student studying in Perugia for the 2007-2008 school year to feed her love for Italian culture and language. She chose Perugia for one of the same reasons I chose it: it was a beautiful, medieval college city where the people spoke only Italian. For the Seattle-based honors student, it posed the perfect opportunity to learn the language fluently and immerse herself in a new culture.

In Perugia, Amanda shared a flat with three other students, one of whom was a twenty-two-year-old British journalism student named Meredith Kercher. In the trials following Kercher’s murder, Amanda’s roommates would testify that there was tension and resentment between Kercher and Amanda over Amanda’s promiscuous lifestyle and slovenly living habits.

On the morning of November 1st, Amanda claimed to have returned home to find feces in her toilet and a broken window. Meredith’s door was locked, which was unusual; and it wasn’t until the police showed up to return a missing cell phone (traced back to Amanda’s flat) that they discovered Meredith’s body lying in a pool of blood. She had been strangled and stabbed twice in her neck.

In a condensed version of the story, Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito (an Italian student Knox had met at a concert about a week earlier) were arrested based on suspicion. Detectives surmised that the break in was staged, and officers found Knox’s and Sollecito’s cavalier attitude toward the murder as alarming. Officers testified that, while they were interviewing Knox’s other roommates—who were, of course, ballistic—Knox and Sollecito were fornicating and amusing themselves. One officer claimed to have watched Knox do cartwheels while waiting to be interrogated.

Long story short: Knox’s and Sollecito’s stories changed a few times while they were being interrogated (although we’ll never know how true this is, because there is mysteriously no recording of either interrogation), and they were both arrested. In the first trial, Knox was accused of being a whore and a “devil” who was the mastermind behind Meredith’s murder. The prosecution argued that—because Meredith was sexually assaulted—that Knox, who was under the influence of drugs, orchestrated a sadistic sex game. When Meredith refused to participate, Amanda and Sollecito killed her.

The case was appealed on the grounds that the prosecution had no solid evidence incriminating Knox, and that the Roman forensics team had royally messed up the DNA evidence (much of it was contaminated). Knox was acquitted and returned to the USA.

But, because double jeopardy is possible in Italy, she was tried again and found guilty, again, on January 30th, 2014. While her lawyer is seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court of Italy, there is a possibility that Knox will be extradited to Italy, where she will have to serve a 28.5-year-long prison sentence.

But, wait, Alex…what does this have to do with reading?

Okay, so Knox published a book recently called Waiting to Be Heard. I’m debating whether or not I should buy it. I read the first twenty pages or so on Google books, and it’s pretty poorly written—not that I mean to be a snob or anything.



But it’s such a fascinating case. The case, particularly the first trial, draws a sharp line between Italian and American culture. The Italian Supreme Court judged Knox based on her attire, her promiscuity, her childhood nickname “Foxy Knoxy,” and her behavior while in Italy, yet ignored the glaring errors the Roman forensics team made when gathering the evidence that was paramount to the case. And, because the DNA evidence was compromised and there’s no recording of Amanda’s interrogation, the arguments the prosecution made with regard to her “obvious” guilt are dubious.

Back in America, Knox received a great(er) deal of support – not only from friends and family, but also from millions of people who were outraged over the corrupt and unethical Italian judicial system. In Italy, Knox was the “devil” – a sick, depraved killer and nymphomaniac who engineered Meredith’s murder. Physiognomy governed the judge’s perception of her. In America, Knox was a sweet, hard-working asset to her community and was incapable of such a heinous crime.

I’m interested in reading the book because I’d love to hear what Amanda has to say. So far, I’ve watched European documentaries on the subject (which paint Amanda as the killer) and American documentaries on the subject (which paint Amanda as an innocent victim of a corrupt judicial system). It’s a remarkably interesting case, and I think the fact that there’s no definite answer is what makes me want to read more of the book.
-Alex Hajjar

Poem of the Week 10.27.14


Nirvana

not much chance,
completely cut loose from 
purpose, 
he was a young man 
riding a bus 
through North Carolina 
on the way to somewhere
and it began to snow 
and the bus stopped 
at a little cafe 
in the hills 
and the passengers 
entered. 
he sat at the counter
with the others, 
he ordered and the 
food arrived. 
the meal was 
particularly 
good 
and the 
coffee. 
the waitress was 
unlike the women 
he had 
known. 
she was unaffected, 
there was a natural 
humor which came 
from her. 
the fry cook said 
crazy things. 
the dishwasher. 
in back, 
laughed, a good 
clean 
pleasant 
laugh. 
the young man watched 
the snow through the 
windows. 
he wanted to stay 
in that cafe 
forever. 
the curious feeling 
swam through him 
that everything 
was 
beautiful 
there, 
that it would always 
stay beautiful 
there. 
then the bus driver 
told the passengers 
that it was time 
to board. 
the young man
thought, I'll just sit 
here, I'll just stay 
here. 
but then 
he rose and followed 
the others into the 
bus. 
he found his seat 
and looked at the cafe 
through the bus 
window. 
then the bus moved 
off, down a curve, 
downward, out of 
the hills. 
the young man 
looked straight 
forward. 
he heard the other 
passengers 
speaking 
of other things, 
or they were 
reading 
or 
attempting to 
sleep. 
they had not 
noticed 
the
magic. 
the young man 
put his head to 
one side, 
closed his 
eyes, 
pretended to
sleep. 
there was nothing 
else to do- 
just to listen to the 
sound of the 
engine, 
the sound of the 
tires 
in the 
snow.

Charles Bukowski


Be honest, you wouldn't necessarily think this poem is by Charles Bukowski. Bukowski is known for his crudeness, his propensity for vulgarity. He was, in fact, an asshole. Which just makes this poem all the prettier. It is a departure from his usual work, in its narrative focus (not his Chinaksi alter ego), in its geography (he usually wrote about California), and in its subject matter: peace. Usually his pieces are brusque, ruthless in in their condemnation of both himself and everyone around him. This poem however is about a moment of pure beauty, strange fare for Bukowski indeed.

However, even in creating a single quiet, idyllic moment, Bukowski has to destroy it, though he does so gently. The poem operates in adherence to wabi-sabi, the Zen notion that there is beauty in transience, perfection in imperfection. A simple cup of coffee becomes a sort of totem of utilitarian exquisiteness. The poem makes the logical conclusion that if this understanding of impermanence leads to a sort of enlightenment, then that enlightenment too must pass. The "young man" has found Nirvana but, just like Candide, he must leave this El Dorado. The moment of epiphany is not one of understanding, it is a moment of all-seeing non-understanding and is followed by the immediate melancholy of its passing.

Being a not-very-good poet myself, I also appreciate the language from a technical standpoint; his standard sort of poetry-as-broken-prose makes this seem more like a short story than a poem. And there are cool moments of structural repetition (like windows or sleep always appearing as their own line, or like the line breaks always preceding the word "here"). But the language also works with the Zen aesthetic. It is permeated with empty space, with single lines comprised entirely of "the" or "was," usually mere grammatical filler. Instead of trying to cut this white noise, he emphasizes it, elevates it to the point where it too possesses the same quiet, unassuming beauty of the diner.

Now, I have to admit, until now I really had only heard this poem read out loud. But Tom Waits's reading captures the sweet, tired beauty perfectly. The simple twiddling pump organ playing just under his voice works wonderfully, and I enjoy that he aims for making the poem as readable as possible, ignoring pauses implied by line breaks and adding his own "ands" in places. I highly suggest giving it a listen.


Currently Watching



Currently Watching: “ A Handy Tip for the Easily Distracted,” by Miranda July


Currently, I am on facebook. I will then hop on over to Instagram and watch a few fifteen-second comedic videos. Next, I will be reading articles from CNN, Democracy Now, and possibly exchanging text messages with my best friend about my love life that suddenly disappeared. Meanwhile, I have a midterm and two papers due this week. I will get them done, but not without the unnecessary chaotic stimulation that I am a slave to.

This performance piece by Miranda July is from her full length movie, “The Future.” FYI, if you do not know, Miranda is an actress, author, performance artist, director and possibly a wearer of many more hats. I have not watched the movie yet, but this short piece is relative to my overall struggle with productivity. This short scene is basically a How to on removing the devices that hold you back from getting things accomplished. Even an object as simple a pair of tweezers or in my case, nail polish, can aid in procrastination. These hindrances do not hold power over you. You can put them away, or in this case, trap them. Since midterms are approaching, your precious thing can be your GPA and the possibility of it dropping can potentially be harmful to you. Either way, trying to stay focused under pressure can be very hard for people like me, who is easily distracted. So take a break from whatever it is that you were going to do or were doing, and watch this video.



-Bex






Currently Listening



A few years ago I got into the UK band Pulp big time. Never heard of them? Do not worry. While they were lauded by the music press in their native UK, Pulp never made much of a dent over here in the states. Their hit “Common People” made some noise on the college rock radio stations here, but was a massive hit over there. After the band broke up in the early 2000s, Jarvis Cocker-Pulp's wiry, erudite, and effortlessly cool lead singer and primary songwriter, teamed up with fellow Brit-Popper Jason Buckle to form the duo Relaxed Muscle.

Performing under the monikers Darren Spooner (Cocker) and Wayne Marsden (Buckle), Relaxed Muscle released their one and only album A Heavy Night With Relaxed Muscle. Despite their attempts at anonymity (Cocker in particular wore ghoulish make-up and a skeleton suit), the duo was found out rather quickly as Spooner’s lascivious stage manner and outrageous on-stage behavior (he was taken to breaking balsa wood with karate chops on-stage as well as smashing sugar bottles over bandmates’ heads during concerts) quickly recognized him as the one and only Jarvis Cocker. Tongue, for this electronic-rock outfit, was firmly planted in cheek.



The reason I chose to write about Relaxed Muscle this week is that, well, look at that photo-what else am I going to write about on Halloween? This is the only time of year when society makes it acceptable, hell, practically demands that we adopt a new persona for at least one night. And when Jarvis Cocker decides to create a character for himself that allows for more freedom (this is the man who ran up on-stage to shake his bum at Michael Jackson during an awards ceremony), the results are going to be strange.

While Cocker is no shrinking violet when it comes to writing songs about the darker side of the sexual impulse often with a trace of detached irony, Relaxed Muscle allows him to get in touch with his inner frat boy. Gone are the trademark witticisms that marked his Pulp-era sex anthems, in Relaxed Muscle under the guise of "Darren Spooner, Cocker displays an aggressive stupidity that allows him to dance on the border of high concept art.



The album, a kind of electronic punk, gleefully embraces the worst of macho culture while at the same time lampooning it, thereby revealing the cartoonish fantasy that it really is. Songs like "Rod of Iron", "Beastmaster", and "Billy Jack" indulge in macho posturing that the androgynous, intellectually nimble Cocker spent a career railing against in Pulp with songs like "Misshapes" and "I'm a Man."Relaxed Muscle, with their muscular guitar riffs and penchant for make-up and on-stage theatrics read as Kiss by way of Thomas Pynchon. It is an album so dumb, it's genius.

So, as you prepare your costumes for the Autumnal festivities, remember these words of advice from Kurt Vonnegut from his novel Mother Night "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."


~Justin Gray.

Culture Corner





Negro Gothic, A manifesto: The Aesthetics of M Lamar

Media artist, sculptor, countertenor, pianist, and composer M Lamar held his first solo exhibition in New York. His work is mostly centered on his music and his fiery and melancholic opera-like performances. Most of his visual work focuses on the reinventing of racist history, from the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the lynching of blacks in the deep south, and how that violence has become subtler (often hidden) in modern-day societies. His often radical representation of blackness in the consciousness of non-blacks are at the core of his work and he uses unsettling imagery to convey the tensions between white supremacy and the hyper-sexualization of black males. Lamar’s use of black and white film and still photography can be perceived as an aesthetic blackness that pushes the boundaries of the stereotyping of black males.  


Lamar graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute then pursued a MFA in sculpture at Yale before dropping out to pursue a career in music. He is a countertenor—which means that he can reach the highest pitches in singing. His performances create trance-melodic musical landscapes that are crosses between gospel and lullabies and a series of ominous piano reverberations. His performances maintain elements of the post-traumatic experience of slavery and the pursuit of reclaiming blackness in a positive way within these realms. By revisiting and recreating somber imagery, he paints the backdrop of the dark racial history of the United States. The central theme of Lamar’s latest work is the tapping into the psycho-sexual white-supremacist violence against black males through lynching. Lamar’s message is not simple, rather it is an exploration towards the underbelly of the white subconscious and its identification to blackness. On stage, he brings a mournful scope that he believes has not been explored, especially when it pertains to the historical tortures of blacks—particularly males—by the cutting of their genitals after being lynched. By donning a thick black cloak, heavy eye-makeup and six-inch platform boots he ends up embodying an androgynous figure that is hard to assign a label. The effect of his performance is the gray area between the devaluation of black bodies and the collective trauma that has not been resolved. Essentially, Lamar uses a fusion of operatic voice, multimedia and campy aesthetics as an attempt to grapple with America’s dark legacy of violence against blacks.

As an artist, Lamar still grapples with issues of identity and sexual orientation. If this sounds too complex, here’s is a quote from Lamar himself pertaining to the issue of identity and sexual orientation:
So for me it's all about what one does as opposed to what one might be oriented towards doing... I believe in sexual practice. From my experience sexual practice varies from situation to situation, so to speak ... I just don't believe in sexual orientation. I realize that it's part of a political agenda with gays, LGBT's or whatever... But I just want to speak to the truth of my experience. The truth I believe is outside orientation and it's about behavior and ultimately sexual freedom outside of a label and, of course, being a practicing artist -- living one's life as art.
Lamar believes in the castration of labels, because the labeling puts a group of people under a discriminatory umbrella. Instead, he believes in the practicing of what you identify yourself with, not with what you are trying to represent in a social setting. The opulence behind Lamar’s work crosses racial tensions and sexual orientation that depicts African American’s much higher susceptibility towards discrimination. After catching his performance at the Participant Inc. gallery in Manhattan on October 5, I had been exposed to a side of American history that they do not teach you in schools. It was a scene that encapsulated the ignorance in our society pertaining to the history of racial violence. Lamar’s work is certainly political, and his art extends beyond the shackles of commodification, but it does so with an aesthetic pull that plunges the viewer into a pool of raw emotion.



Sources:

http://www.mlamar.com/critical-theory/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/arts/design/m-lamar-negrogothic-a-manifesto-the-aesthetics-of-m-lamar.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Aw%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A8%22%7D

http://www.out.com/entertainment/art-books/2014/05/23/m-lamar-artist-laverne-cox


~Ninoska Granados

Illuminations- Killer Heels


This past Friday I worked up the will to go to the Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway. When I say, 'I worked up the will,' it is not because I don't enjoy going to the museum; I'm just usually too distracted by work or school to think about museums. But my friend from an English Class here at Brooklyn College convinced me to make time to go to the Killer Heels exhibit that opened at the Brooklyn Museum about two months ago.
      This mod and transfixing exhibit showed off hundreds of the worlds most outstanding and expensive high heels. These rows and rows of platforms, wedges, and stilletos challenged fashion's role in gender awareness and utility.
While browsing the exhibit, I expected to simply gawk at beautiful pairs of shoes. I was surprised when I had a completely different reaction. Many of these shoes looked beautiful- but also had a surrounding aura of pain in use. Different pairs seemed completely impossible to walk in, and indeed would have been- but various societal standards of cultures across the planet would have made these shoes sometimes mandatory.
For example, the elevated sandal worn by geisha's and women of class in Asia during the early 1900's was constructed from one flimsy wooden sandal atop two rather large, vertical planks of wood. This shoe often elevated the woman up to 10 inches. The impracticality of this shoe and the other ones like it expressed the desire for women's immobility. They were meant to be hindered and to walk slow, the ability to stride and run was the right of a man.
I'm not sure why this exhibit prodded so much feminist angst within me, but I am rather happy it did. I'm glad the curator formed this stunning exhibit as an almost ironic statement about the nature of what we wear and why.
From an objective point of view, even the very concept of the heel seems rather odd. Why wear stick like objects right beneath our heels to force us to walk on our tip toes?
I suppose the whole ordeal is rather asinine now, since in modernity women wear various, comfortable footwear of all sorts. But this didn't use to be the case!
You were seen as strange in the 1920s and early 1800s in cultures across the world if you were a woman in comfortable foot apparel. The sex appeal for women seemed to lie in their ability to be falsely taller and rather hindered at walking.
Anyway, besides my feminist musings, the exhibit was amazing. And I saw piece after piece that shocked and allured me. I urge you to go check it out before the exhibit closes in early November! And let me know what you think :)







photos of pieces currently at the Brooklyn Museum, Killer Heels exhibit. Closing November 6th, 2014.
Remember, admission is by donation- which is awesome for students~~~
Signing off,
Annaliisa

The Canvas: Delineator by Richard Serra

I haven't been to any art exhibitions recently (shame on me), so I'll bring us back to the first time I went to MoMA, just after moving into the Brooklyn Residence Hall (awful place) with Delineator. An oldie but a goodie:


So Delineator can definitely fall (well, hopefully not, it might kill somebody) within that class of art wherein people don't know what the hell they're looking at—let alone whether or not it's art—but they're vaguely sure it's pretentious. I do not fault that view of this piece at all, really: it's literally two steel slabs, one suspended crossed over the other. According to Serra, the idea of the piece is to delineate the space in which it resides—to force to viewer to acknowledge the surrounding area.

But, yaknow, art is an interaction, and it may just be that Delineator is the most interactive piece of art in MoMA's gallery: there's a placard that specifically invites you to walk on the art. In a space where touching the art is usually considered blasphemy, I jump at the invitation... and then I lie on it.

See, I think Delineator is best experienced lying down. Because of the void of meaning in the piece (coupled with the void of, well, the piece, being that there's a room full of empty space in which it resides), so much can be done with that experience. At its heart, Delineator doesn't so much delineate the space for me as it makes the space a projection of your mental sphere: you're lying under a ton-and-a-half steel plate, gazing into it like you gaze into the middle distance above your bed at night: what does your mind do? My mind tends to work like some sickly ouroboros thing—it revolves round and round the same ideas and doesn't pause for breath before moving onto the next thought (maybe some of you can get that from all these never ending sentences with far too many clauses)—but somehow underneath delineator I can breathe. Maybe that's just the whole impending sense of doom, though.

Mekon the Elder’s Candy Review: How to Eat Twin Bings!





The Twin Bing is a candy from the Midwest. Chocolate and crushed up peanuts enclosed around a chewy, cherry nougat center, the Twin Bing is the most delicious candy treat known to mankind. It is deceptively delicious. On the first bite, you might not be impressed, “What’s the fuss?” you might think, “I have eaten milk chocolate and peanuts before-do you seek to deceive me, stranger?” But then you will take another bite and taste the sweet, transcendent rush of cherry flavored nougat at which point you will say, “I am sorry I doubted you-here, take my first born child as recompense.”

No need, friend. I was like you once. Guilelessly meandering about the Earth, unaware that I had not eaten the greatest candy treat concocted, most likely by the guiding hand of Dionysus herself-a gift she has deigned to bless our fragile mortals shells with whilst we trudge through our waking days of insignificant triumphs and emasculating hardships.

I mean, these suckers are really good!

Step One: What to Wear
One does not simply eat a Twin Bing. One must sit at an oak table, the edges gilded and clean, in a suit of fine soft wool. If of the fairer sex, then a silk gown, loose and flowing, of an emerald or violet color will do.

Step Two: Presentation
The Bings should be placed in the center of a bone-white China plate; the dusky lumps laying in stark contrast to the fragile colorless void of childhood innocence that surrounds them. The Bings represent the sin that we all must fall victim to, but that in falling into that sin, we experience the ineffable beingness of humanity and it is through sin that we find pleasure in life and without it, we are mere empty vessels damned by our very inexperience.

Step 3: Utensils And Their Purpose
One should have at the ready three pieces of sterling silverware; a butter knife, a fork, and a 3 ½” paring knife, freshly sharpened. Of course, for the common eater, this is not always possible (The Twin Bings do not judge the eater for their lack of wealth and are open to all consumers, but for God’s sake: no plastic handles!) The butter knife and fork, of course, are to be used to cut the Bings up into dainty, bite-sized pieces and eaten at a leisurely pace. One must take the time necessary to truly savor the Twin Bing; each morsel an opportunity to reflect on the capricious and whimsical nature of reality and one’s private, epic struggle to find meaning within it.

The 3 ½” paring knife is meant to be kept at one’s side (left-handed or right-handed, whichever the case may be) and should be used with pitiless abandon in the case that a predator attempts to snatch a Bing away whilst one is eating. The cherry nougat in the middle of the Twin Bing reminds us that we must always be prepared to spill blood to defend what is ours and that the reward for treachery will be doled out with a brutality that can only be matched by its swiftness.

Step 4: Clean-up
After a time period of roughly three hours, one should have finished eating their Twin Bing. Take the China plate-the object that impertinently reminds us of our lost innocence-and smash it onto the ground. Embrace the unquenchable lust for pleasure that drives one to reach for ever higher heights and think not on the price that must be paid in the name of personal progress.

Step 5: What’s Next?
You have now had your first Twin Bing. It is a treat that you will tell your kinfolk about and it will be written of in the secret histories. What to do next? Easy: repeat and enjoy!