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Monday, October 1st, 2012
12:09 pm - minus objects
I don't use this space much anymore, but I'm slowly building a new online presence at my own blog:

www.minusobjects.com

My goal is for everything there to be at least somewhat interesting.

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Monday, January 25th, 2010
1:08 am
COLON CLEANSING WORKS!!!!!!!!

http://www.oxypowder.com/
http://www.oxypowder.com/
http://www.oxypowder.com/
http://www.oxypowder.com/
http://www.oxypowder.com/
http://www.oxypowder.com/
http://www.oxypowder.com/

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The above entry is from when my various accounts got spambotted or whatever. I'm leaving it up because it's kinda funny. The link is almost certainly a scam, though.

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Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
1:38 pm - incidental images from work, chapter 4











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Monday, August 10th, 2009
11:42 am - even more incidental images from work









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Monday, July 6th, 2009
12:52 pm - "free" music, at least in the spiritual sense
I just quickly wanted to mention some music blogs that I've been consulting lately:

Mutant Sounds and Allegory of Allergies.

Both of these blogs have tons of amazing, obscure stuff. The Allegory of Allergies guy seems especially to have similar taste as me.

I know it's problematic to download music without paying for it, but a lot of this stuff is from rare, out of print old records that I never would have heard of otherwise and which you probably couldn't buy even if you wanted to.

Another good one is Experimental, Etc., though that one has a lot of more recent releases too, so I feel a little guilty promoting them. As long as I'm here, I'll also plug Pyrolyse Bred, a blog of mainly 90's indie-poppy stuff, which I do have a soft spot for.

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Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
12:22 pm - google image search for "corn"













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Monday, June 22nd, 2009
11:14 am - review art and the whole world reviews art with you
New art reviews! "The Galleries," in the "Reviews" section of Harp & Altar.

www.harpandaltar.com

Also in all the previous issues, of course.

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I've been a little disappointed with the art I've been seeing these past couple months, though there's been some great stuff. It's been said before, but being really into art is a lot like (what they say about) heroin addiction - you have some amazing experiences early on, and then go to tons of galleries and museums trying to get that same fix. Usually, you don't get there but (unlike heroin) if you keep looking, you do get to feel that amazingness again; and the cycle continues.

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Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
4:00 pm - quote for now
"The solution to the problem of identity is: get lost."

-Norman O. Brown

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Friday, May 15th, 2009
12:42 pm - portrait of the man as a young artist





A dragon I drew when I was 7 or so.






Me as a kid.

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Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
4:40 pm - entry courtesy dafont.com


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Monday, May 4th, 2009
1:16 pm - nutritively





Some ideas from the Brooklyn Food Conference:

- Farming can be very rewarding, but don't be fooled by romantic notions: it's very hard work (and not very lucrative).

- During World War 2, New York City provided 40% of its own fresh produce (at this point there were a lot more large, functional farms in Brooklyn and Queens than there are now).

- On a similar note - there was a point in the 19th century where the city of Paris was actually an exporter of food, not an importer.

- For the first time, a poor child of color in New York City has a lower life expectancy than their parents do. A big reason for this is the lack of nutritious food accessible to people without money.

- Kombucha is good for you.

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Friday, May 1st, 2009
1:24 pm - more incidental/found images from work






















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Monday, April 27th, 2009
2:17 pm - two more ideas from Left Forum:
- Utopia is valuable not as an ultimate goal but as a sort of horizon: moving towards Utopia can be progress even if you'll never make it there.

- It's important to be honest about the economic realities of social movements. For example - there have been a number of communes in the U.S. that were basically successful and self-sustaining, but many of these communities wouldn't have been able to exist at all if not for a few community members with rich parents or some other access to lots of money. If a commune can't exist but for someone's rich parents, then it's not really economically viable.

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Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
1:26 pm - socialismizing








This past weekend I went with Paper Tiger TV and NYC IndyMedia to videotape at Left Forum. Left Forum is a huge lefty academic/activist conference (mainly academic, I guess) - being there felt overwhelming but also exciting. We interviewed people in our little makeshift studio (see above) and taped some of the panels - cramped affairs in fluorescent-lit classrooms, bless it all... Not to trivialize things, but it was fun to be part of a film crew (even a disjointed ad-hoc one, maybe especially) and to have a press pass and stuff. As you might imagine from such a massive aglommeration of intellectuals and other sorts of smart people, there were ideas bouncing around everywhere. So, here are 18 ideas that were presented to me in some capacity, re-presented here out of context and without any statements of affirmation or denial on my part:

- The environment has to be everybody's second issue. Even if it's not the thing that's most important to you, it should be the second-most important - every issue always comes back to the environment.

- Right-wing anti-semitism (i.e. talk of the one-world Zionist government) is kind of like herpes: it never totally leaves the system, it remains part of the national discourse even when you think it's long gone and then suddenly flares up at inappropriate moments.

- Many of the politics that inform veganism and vegetarianism are reductive and harmful; by saying that people aren't any more important than animals, these approaches equate human and animal experience, and in this sense veganism can be thought to be anti-humanist.

- The left, as it were, needs to get better at giving people reasons to take part in leftist social movements. As it is, the left offers people long, boring meetings, scorn for not being enlightened enough, derision at the religious and cultural things people enjoy, and does not offer enough of a real sense of purpose and progress.

- On the same note, the left needs to make a bigger effort to respect sports and religion.

- Just because Obama's better than Bush doesn't mean he's nearly as progressive as he should be.

- Satanism is a potentially radical religion in that it celebrates the oppressed.

- Communications on the left are plagued with elitism and elaborate rhetoric - that's not how most people talk.

- We can't romanticize the proletariat of the past; the truth is that there are major industries in this country with large collectives of workers (like teachers and health-care workers), even if there isn't the sort of productive manufacturing base that there used to be.

- That said, the global industrial working class is actually bigger now than it's ever been.

- "Middle-class" is kind of an odd label, and it sometimes seems like everyone who isn't either living in a box and eating garbage or flying around the world in a private jet considers themselves "middle-class." One thing that this label does is obscure the extent to which so many people are forced to work, and are 'working-class' in at least that sense.

- When revolutionary movements gain real momentum, they tend to incur the wrath of the police and the military. As such, it would be a very good idea for radicals to befriend police and soldiers and try to get them onto their side. There have been times when the people sent to squelch revolutionary movements refused to do so, because they were sympathetic to the cause.

- There are marked differences between practices of art-making which celebrate radical history, and the appropriation of radical iconography in an artsy way. However, it's good to stop and ask why a political artist may feel that they have the right to use a particular image or symbol that other artists wouldn't be entitled to.

- It's important to remember that there can be such a thing as a politicized artistic practice that isn't just the production of propaganda.

- The postmodernist idea of there being no master historical narrative may have been damaging to contemporary art, as a lot of artists working right now seem to lack the sense that they're a part of a larger, collective history.

- In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, many in New Orleans experienced a sort of spontaneous gift economy based on charity and mutual aid. It remains to be seen if there's a way to harness that sort of energy in the face of larger crises.

- There is such a thing as communities that create alternatives to the economic systems in place - collective ownership of land is a good place to start.

- It may be impossible to sustain global networks of communication and culture if other global systems break down.

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Friday, April 10th, 2009
6:35 pm - attendance
So in addition to the things I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'll probably also be attending this tomorrow, albeit with some trepidation:

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Anarchist Book Fair

Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12, 2009; New York, NY

http://anarchistbookfair.net/

"The goal of the book fair is to enable people to connect with one another as well as to provide broader access to the rich and varied field of anarchist ideas and practices. We're living in interesting times; as they say, crisis equals both risk and opportunity. Now is the perfect time to be exploring those ideas and practices and bringing them into play in our communities and the world."

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Trepidation because I don't really trust anarchy as a contemporary social movement, at least not in its current form... there's more to say about that, but for now I will say that it's refreshing to again be around people who consider themselves anarchists - it's been a while.

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Thursday, April 9th, 2009
3:46 pm - incidental images from work



















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Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
12:58 pm - more good art
Courtesy the Guggenheim and Exit Art:


The Institute for PostNatural History - ongoing installation project (@ Exit Art)



The Institute for PostNatural History presents earnest (if cheeky) educational displays of transgenic organisms/animals - that is, creatures brought into the world by processes of splicing and recombining genes. For the iteration of the project I saw (at Exit Art), there were live, luminous fish and a diorama on 'BioSteel' goats - spider-gened goats that produce silk for purposes of military manufacturing. There's a political cast to this work: questions of the potential dangers and ethical quandaries of 'producing' life. Mainly, though, it's an educational project - dispersing information that might otherwise go missing; of course, this itself is a highly political act. (I'd also like to note that I basically have a problem with live animals being used in art, but that's a whole other thing...)

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Linda Montano - "Mitchell's Death" (1979) (@ the Guggenheim)

Inspired by ritual tradition, Montano chants a detailed account of the events leading up to the death of her husband Mitchell, aided by a few important tools (acupressure needles, a gong, a video camera). I feel like this piece highlights the coincidental magical and quotidian properties of death - death is a huge thing, but it happens all the time.

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Emily Jacir - "Material for a Film" (2004-ongoing) (@ the Guggenheim)


In "Material for a Film" (I kinda hate the title but whatever), Jacir presents documentary evidence and artifacts on and around the 1972 assassination of Palestinian intellectual Wael Zuaiter by the Israeli government (a sort of retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of Israeli Olympic athletes by Black September). I like how Jacir presents information: lucid and accessible; not falling into the trap of being overly obfuscatory to prove how smart her work is; her work knows how smart it is.

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Larry Miller - "Mom-Me" (1973) (@ the Guggenheim)

For this project, Miller had himself hypnotized until he believed himself to be his own mother; he then drew pictures and responded to old photographs of him/herself. I love my mom and all, but this project has a sort of immediate grotesque, horrific quality, which is part of its pull. The familiar blended with the horrific - a common theme, yes, but I've never seen it quite like this.

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Monday, April 6th, 2009
4:14 pm - some of my favorite NYC street musicians


Hypnotic Brass Ensemble



They're a seven-piece in this video, but when I saw them recently they were a nine-piece - eight brass instruments (saxophones, trumpets, trombones, tuba) and a drummer. They're actually based in Chicago and come out of that sort of artsy-progressive Chicago jazz tradition. They've apparently performed with Mos Def and other famous people.

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Stumblebum Brass Band



A tuba player (tubist?), a drummer, and a trumpet player who sings in a throaty Louis Armstrong vamp; they're maybe a bit overly affected, but it's OK. Apparently they also had a really disastrous audition on America's Got Talent.

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Ebony Hillbillies



Fiddle, banjo, upright bass and washboard making old-time-y string music. Not to be all goth about it, but there is a morbidity to this kind of music that I think has helped make it so endearing; it makes a lot of sense to hear it echoing around a subway station - it makes sense when it's scaled up.

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Friday, March 27th, 2009
1:02 pm - more adventures of a gallery hopper
I saw some art last weekend, and felt like there was an unusually large amount of really good stuff to see. Perhaps it's true what they say, about art generally being better in harsh economic climates (or in this case art shows, as most of the actual art was made years or decades ago).




Michäel Borremans' "The Storm" (2006) (at David Zwirner)

A short film loop shows 3 men in the flickering light of a waiting room, about to experience something as either objects or agents. There's a tension here between action and inaction - agency and helplessness - and the tension started working on me as soon as I stepped into the gallery.

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Jenny Holzer's 'redaction paintings' (at the Whitney)

By transferring declassified government documents to the painted (well, screenprinted) canvas, Holzer turns the common black blots of redacted information into fields of abyssal energy.

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Thomas Hirschhorn's "Universal Gym" (2009) (at Gladstone)

I took this piece - a life-size installation of a gym, made out of mainly flimsy materials - to be about the experience of having a body: how ridiculous it is that everything we ever experience will be experienced through these porous sacks of flesh; that's how we know the world.

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Alfredo Jaar's "The Sound of Silence" (2006) (at Galerie Lelong)

A video/sculptural installation which stealthily uses text, light and image to tell the story of a single photograph, which is also the story of African famine, the rise of visual culture, and a troubled photojournalist. I think that Jaar is remarkable at balancing elegy and politics - he's like a poet that way.

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Tony Oursler exhibition (at Metro Pictures)

Oursler's innovative projected videos have a decidedly offbeat, loony quality to them (at least these days they do - they used to be more severe). I'm not usually that into loony things, but with Oursler you feel some of the edges of a more genuine lunacy.

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Paul Sharits' "Shutter Interface" (1975) (at Greene Naftali)

Multiple film projectors emit sumptuously pre-digital fields of overlapping color-information. This is why people (including me) are so nostalgic for pre-digital things - lusciousness, tactility, intuitable mechanics, pretty mistakes.

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Monday, March 23rd, 2009
2:00 pm - things i plan on attending:
Octavia Butler Conference

Saturday, March 28; Brooklyn, NY

http://www.mec.cuny.edu/spcd/caddi/cbl_nbwc.asp

"Butler is considered a master storyteller in the genre of speculative fiction. Her work explores themes such as race, gender, power, sexism, and spirituality. This symposium is dedicated to exploring her work in particular and the impact of speculative fiction in the literature of Black writers."

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Left Forum

Friday, April 17 through Sunday, April 19; New York, NY

http://www.leftforum.org/

"Left Forum brings together organizers and intellectuals from across the globe to share ideas for understanding and transforming the world. We organize events throughout the year, and our annual flagship conference that takes place each spring. Left Forum provides a context for the critical dialogue that is essential for a stronger Left and a more just society."

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Brooklyn Food Conference

Saturday, May 2; Brooklyn, NY

http://brooklynfoodconference.org/

"The Brooklyn Food Conference will bring together a uniquely broad and diverse community of activists and citizens to discuss and learn more about the critical food issues of our time and what role we as neighbors can play to address them. We will create a Brooklyn base for the food movement, advocating for Food Democracy in our neighborhoods and everywhere in the world. Food Democracy is here defined as a just, sustainable, healthy and delicious food system."

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Grassroots Media Coalition

Saturday, May 30, 2009; New York, NY

http://www.nycgrassrootsmedia.org/

"Please join us as we work together to chart the road forward, and to build a new media: one that confronts injustice; lends voice to our creativity, diversity, and communities; and above all, lays the foundation to convert our collective HOPE for social justice into effective and immediate ACTION toward change."

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Open Video Conference

Friday, June 19 through Saturday, June 20; New York, NY

http://openvideoconference.org/

"Open Video is about the legal and social norms surrounding online video. It’s the ability to attach the license of your choice to videos you publish. It’s about media consolidation, aggregation, and decentralization. It’s about fair use. In short, it’s about a lot of things, and that’s why this conference is going to be so exciting!"

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and, if I can make it there...

Allied Media Conference

Thursday, July 16 through Sunday, July 19; Detroit, MI

http://www.alliedmediaconference.org/

"The 11th annual Allied Media Conference will advance our visions for a just and creative world. It will be a laboratory for media-based solutions to the matrix of life-threatening problems we face. For the past 10 years, we have evolved our definition of media, and the role it can play in our lives – from zines to video-blogging to breakdancing, to communicating solidarity and creating justice. Each conference builds off the previous one and plants the seeds for the next. Ideas and relationships evolve year-round, incorporating new networks of media-makers and social justice organizers. The 2009 AMC will draw strength from our converging movements to face the challenges and opportunities of our current moment. We are ready to create, connect and transform."

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Not to make it all about me, but it does feel really good to be doing more with 'the left', as it were.

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