Today was so variously interesting I have to make some quick notes about it before Duration swallows my memory:
at lunchtime went to a screening of three films by a Pratt colleague, Ethan Spigland,
the first called, I think “Luminosity/Porosity” with an old-fashioned (to me) Teiji Ito-ish soundtrack exploring the interactions of porous materials like stone and brick and cement with light;
the second actually a set of short films (I LOVED these) created in collaboration with Malcolm McClaren (!) to interact with McClaren’s mashup songs (for example, Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” + the Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together”(!)). The images were very s-l-o-w, sometimes looped images from 60s & 70s porno films… but not the sex scenes; rather, what came before and after the sex scenes: a woman eating grapes, three women sitting on a sectional sofa, a cocktail party… Discussion afterwards focused on the expressiveness of these isolated moments, how they (in Ethan’s words) “revealed the unconscious” of the film.
Thinking as I listened to the discussion of what I mentioned to G. yesterday, that to get inside any art form you have to actually do it, never mind whether you do it well, and now that I have a little experience with moving images I knew precisely what Ethan meant. There is a moment in my newest opus where a very plump little girl dances in a monster costume at a carnival, and there is so much revealed in those few seconds… about little girls, about monsters, about plumpness, about carnivals, and how we feel beholding those things, and how SLOWED down the poignancy of her movement is even more penetrating.
But back to Ethan’s films… the third one he showed was of Miru Kim, whose project is to photograph herself nude in abandoned urban spaces. He said he was interested in how she moved through those spaces, and that the photos didn’t reveal that, so his film showed her padding about in factories full of rusty equipment, actually sitting on the giant gears (I thought of Chaplin, but naked), touching surfaces, peeling off paint, gingerly putting her bare foot down on piles of scrap material. I worried about whether she had had a tetanus shot, and whether she was warm enough, and I felt a little nervous for her as exposed Asian female, but not so much, I mostly thought she was brave and beautiful.
Ran from there to take my students to PS 1 where with another teacher they were asked to look at an installation by Florian Slotawa: “Most of the contents from his Berlin apartment, including his washing machine, dining table, wardrobe and kitchen sink, have been transported into the gallery, leaving the apartment absent of key appliances and furniture.” (from the PS 1 site) and while they were being guided by the teacher in thinking about this sort of stark and imposing structure (none of the objects were in any kind of usable position, and were balanced on top of each other), I went across the hall to watch Kenneth Anger movies, one of which I adored:
Eaux d’Artifice, in which a human (a dwarf, it turns out) clad in a Marie Antoinette-era gown, perruque, and mask, glides across what seems like palace grounds; it reminded me of the set of Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bete,… ah, Wikipedia tells me it is the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. (and why am I not going THERE this summer?) Gorgeous arcs of spewing (ejaculating?) water, a fan that suddenly turns golden amongst the monochrome, all set to Vivaldi.
Browsed the bookshop there, noted many books by K. Goldsmith, C. Bok, and even Lisa Jarnot, made mental note that we must get Flarf anthology in such museums because of all the trendy elements: collectives, appropriation, etc.
And then, and then, as if that weren’t enough, got on the 7 train to meet G. because, as Rodney’s poem testifies, “there’s Szechuan in Flushing,” and we ate dan-dan noodles, basil chicken, etc., then got on the 7 again to Jackson Heights so I could re-buy a copy of the old Ramayana DV so that I can cop the scene where Ravenna unwraps Sita from endless colorful saris, and where in the DVD shop I had lovely interactions with two cherubs whose Muslim mother saw me with the DVD and told me to enjoy it with my head and not my heart because it is wrong to worship idols of wood and stone (forgot to mention here how earlier in the day I kicked off Passover by having a BLT for lunch: sorry, ancestors, it was delicious, so crunchy and bacony). And then finally before coming home bought a little triangle of a paan leaf; if you have not tried one before know that it tastes like a cross between brown sugar syrup, bath salts, and a lawn, and it is delightful. It is probably on the trajectory of the stimulus of that weird treat that I have been able to write these notes about my terrific (but exhausting!) day.