Friday, April 2, 2004

thoughts on wojnarowicz, dogville, matt, site specific room installations, and you

Keeping some form of journal is important for both the practice of writing and the slow articulation of thoughts. You grow so much over a period of time in writing things down, you don't have to necessarily keep a daily journal, it can be composed of ideas, plans, future projects, emotions, things on the mind, places to visit for the purpose of photography, what in certain photography excites you (when you get into this it becomes very helpful for learning how to articualte your senses and also creates a definition of what you are trying to do or what inspires you and from there more ideas spring), what mannerisms and qualities people have that you respond to, why this kind of light as opposed to that kind of light is more appealing. Continually define for yourself what you sense. Most of us respond to or are struck by things first on an intense emotional level and though that is important still it is better if we try to define these senses, for then we learn what our critical outlook is composed of, why it responds to certain things rather than others. We in effect learn so much more about ourselves and also map our elusive selves . . . and a sense of groundlessness, of diverse chance. I try to accustom myself to this sense: trust it and accept it without resistance, as change keeps our senses alive, keeps us coasting and viable human beings...
-David Wojnarowicz, In The Shadow of the American Dream (70)

I just finished taking a long shower, am now drinking coffee for no real reason since I really don't have any plans for this evening and don't even know if I feel like leaving my house, but just like the alertness that I feel when I drink coffee, the engaged sense of living. Today, I finished reading the above book, could not stop to even eat or take a shower. Read it all and then did those things. Diaries are always so fascinating to read, to see people stript bare, and to see how other people encounter the world, how they think about things, what they consider beautiful, and by doing so, by reading their perceptions of the world, it allows us to perceive things a bit differently, to look at noses differently, at sexual encoutners differently -- that there are not only all these ways of seeing available to us, but all these things to see, things we never would notice about people's behaviour or streets, but which, we are made aware of by someone else's fascination with them.

Matt would constantly call things beautiful and try to feel them, to touch the texture of them. That habit of his made me notice a lot of things I otherwise would have just glanced over - it has also made me less hesitant about declaring things beautiful publicly. It was such a lovely habit of his, it was really perhaps my favorite quirk of his, seeing that sincere smile, wide eyes, and hearing the word beautiful intoned like a magic word. Right now, at this very moment, he is having a show opening at Cooper Union. I had been excited about this show of his, about seeing his work for the past couple weeks, and now, I am not there, I will not see these things. But Wojnarowicz says "change keeps our senses alive," and yes, it is true - my senses have been jolted in the past few days by this. I am made sad by the slightest things, I am elated by even slighter things. I am reexamining, perhaps thinking for the first time actually about what it is I want from another human being, what it is I would like to get out of a relationship, whether or not I want one, and how to go about getting it if I do, and from whom? What is happiness and what prevents me from realizing it (if indeed I am not living in that state all the time)?

And I know, I promised to myself and to you readers that I would not think bitter thoughts, and for the most part I have not, but I cannot lie to you and tell you that I have not had some wickedly acidic thoughts about Matt. But those have been counterbalanced by about two to one of pleasant thoughts about Matt. I have composed e-mails, cards, and letters to him in the shower, on the subway, in those late hours right before sleep. I have imagined kind things to say, knowing that perhaps I appear most charming on paper. I can say cute things and make you like me. But the letters not only never get sent, but never get put down on paper. I know that it is a bad idea, that cards and letters have never worked for me in the past, that they have been met with silence, and really, that would be too much. So maybe one day soon I will run into Matt at the Metropolitian, maybe by that day I will no longer want to talk to him, or maybe that'll be one of those bitter moments where I won't let myself, or maybe I won't run into him and we'll instead just drink and dance like I have done a million times before, like I do.

Last night, walking back from Peter's house where we watched Dogville (which is for rent at Kim's video!), I walked past Matt's house and could not help but look up towards his window as I was passing by, and his light was on. That made me sad knowing that he was in there, so close, doing things unkown to me. In Dogville, all the houses are just chalk outlines on a stage and you can see all these people so close to each other but acting as if there are house walls seperating each other, but all of this stuff occuring in such close vicinity and no one knowing. Him, not knowing I was probably within thirty feet of him. It is interesting.

Speaking of bitter though, Dogville is some acidic crap. I mean, I actually cannot lie and say that I did not enjoy the movie, nor can I say that it was not pretty amazing, but goddamn, if it did not make me annoyed with its ridiculous caricature of America. When I got home, I scrawled "Fuck you Lars von Trier! What do you know about my life?" before I passed out in my bed, and I really did intend on writing more on the subject. Now my anger has subsided and I don't have the energy despite the coffee. But honestly, Mr. von Trier, can you get a little more ham-fisted? The mammy portrayal of black women in the movie is particularly outrageous, and I am surprised that I have not heard anything concerning that yet. I was literally mouth open shocked when the mammy started talking at the town hall meeting, "Master, yes, Master this..."

There are some ugly truths in the movie about American behavior, but there are also some insane exaggerations also. "Young Americans" playing over the closing credit imagery of WPA photography and then later photos of the American poor is more than a little over the top. And the fact that its by a Danish dude who has never stepped foot in America perhaps should not be an issue, but for me it is, and again, What do you know about my life? About walking past houses, seeing a light on, and getting sad? About rock and roll and beer, Mr. von Trier? Go fuck yourself with your smug theories about film and about what you think I do here in this land! Okay, maybe my anger has not totally dwindled.

Prior to that, I saw three amazing art shows. Jim Lambie at Anton Kern! Wow, wow, wow! There seems to be a trend of site-specific room installations recently. Or perhaps I am just starting to take notice of them now and starting to think about what exactly they mean, and what the appeal of them to me is. But there is Yayoi Kusama, Assume Vivid Astro Focus, and Virgil Marti at the Whitney right now. There is Sabine Horning at Tanya Bonakdar, and also this trippy Jim Lambie show now. I have to think about these shows more. There is something going on with all of them, some one thing that strikes me as awesome. I have yet to figure out what this is.

There were also really lovely paintings by Joe Andoe at Feigen, and either heartbreaking or funny photos by Stuart Hawkins at LFL. The photos are all of Nepali citizens in grotesque parodies (are they though?) or commerical Western culture. There is one of a guy in some barren landscape sporting a Nelly band-aid and doing a thugish pose. Too many issues of globalization and colonialism to sort out what is being said by these photos. There were lots of cute boys at the LFL opening that Joe pointed out, but I was not feeling it, the desire for other boys. Being dumped has taken a toll on my self-esteem which in turn has had its effect of my sex drive. Right now, I don't have the confidence or the energy, and am realizing that the two are perhaps the same. Confidence and energy. Perhaps this is why when I was with Matt and confident, I was having so much luck talking to boys. It's so funny that when you are alone and lacking in confidence that that is when you are going to have the most trouble finding a person, when you probably most need it. Or maybe it's good that way, cause maybe that is when you least need it, that there are things you and I need to learn first before that can happen.

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