19 January 2015

VOs from 'O Mundo de Lygia Clark'

When I was posting on Lygia Clark I relished the momentary opportunity to upload her son's film O Mundo de Lygia Clark and index most of the performance works shown in the film and their year of creation. As I said, I saw an excerpt from the film outside the installation before the MoMA show opened, after which I found an upload of the film in three parts from, I think, Argentina, which was up until after I got to the museum show. After I sequenced the titles to the times in O Mundo, the video was taken down by the Clark estate, but a few weeks later a full version was posted from somewhere else in South America (not Brazil) so I posted it, which was also taken down some time after I posted. I hope that the film is released online, on dvd, or in some form. I did, however, copy down the text of Clark's voice overs which I don't believe is online anywhere and will paste it here in the absence of objections..

"While walking, I lose authorship. I incorporate this act as a concept of existence. I dissolve into the collective. I lose my own image and my father and everyone becomes the same. I write all the time. I find the link of poetic transference between art and religion. I write texts negating the name as a personal identity of people. I am aware of that walking as the first passing of what is me to the world. I perceive the rhythm, from beach soccer to Mozart. I also perceive the general crisis of expression in literature, in the genres in decline, in theater. Perplexed, I feel the crowds in the subway in the cadence of the accumulation of footsteps, in the passing of bodies that almost touch, but move away, each one bent on the secret path of its private existence. I speak and no one understands. I cannot communicate this change of concept that for me, was so deep and radical as the elastic passage between what it was and what could be. I feel deeply the fall in the value of words which no longer have meaning such as genre, works, individualism. I think and I live death. I feel the crowd creating over my body. In my mouth, the taste of earth. I build my mausoleum and walk out into life to discover sounds with an impressive sharpness. Life was opening up like an affirmation of life but of life still with death. A total void. Fleeting moments of group integration with reality: leaning against the curve of a tree trunk, I feel as if I am the trunk itself. Running my hand over a stone, I become a pin on its cape. The day to day, nihilism, immobility.. I think of death as a solution.

"My face was smooth, unarchitectural, uncontoured, shallow. I perceive one point in the place of an eye. The possibility of recomposition by me, even drawing it. From the plane, the upturned soil. Earth moves continually with the beginning of the earth. I feel a heat that does not emanate from within as if I had swallowed a hot brick. I feel pregnant. A cab heading toward the beach has the perception of a long lost dream. I see myself in the cosmos seated on the back seat of the devil, upon a red parcel, looking down at the earth below. I lose sense of time and see that the earth goes on in the same process, constantly making and unmaking itself. Hours go by that are really seconds. I arrive at the beach. I spend the night in a state of total hallucination. Time goes on, elastic, vast. In one minute, I perceive centuries - a constant vision that seems to me the sum of two sexes, female and male. Within me a child cries in fear. I go to the bathroom. I see myself in the mirror, deformed. My skin is loose. The bones beneath are crooked. I am a 5,000 year old crone. I understand Goya at last. From the verandah, I see the sea, the earth, the air, and it all seems to me like mercury. Sounds penetrate me sharply. They run through my nerves and invade my whole body. The earth goes on recreating itself at every moment. A herd of black goats go by, staring at me with slanted, honey colored, black magic eyes. I am taken over by the unconscious. I crawl down the hill, I pick up the water, the sand, the soil and breathe the air. I feel like corking these elements in a bottle and labeling them to give them an identity. I eat some squids. It is like the landscape being swallowed by me. It is something sensational. Three days and nights without sleep. On the fourth day, I begin to weep, yawn, and collapse with exhaustion. And sleep. I awake and see myself in the mirror. I rediscover my face, the 'me' that was denied me was dissolved. I had seen myself as huge and naked. I was a landscape, a continent, the world. Around my pubis, little men have built a dam. A dam or a great lake into which they can all dive. I feel uncategorized. Where is my place in the world? I am horrified at being the catalyst of my own experiences and purposes. I want people to experience them and insert their own myths, independent of me.

"I feel we are about to make a great return to that epoch in which art was so anonymous and there was no artist as a name or as a myth. I think everyone has a potential for creation. But if the person is conditioned in an unfavorable milieu he/she will not create and the blockage is the consumer society and present-day conditioning that make many people keep their sensitivity to themselves. Via small worthless objects like elastic, stones, and plastic bags, I form sensorial objects, the touch of which causes sensations that identify themselves at once with the body. Hence the name 'Body Nostalgia,' an analytical phrase in which I would decompose the body into parts and mutilate it so as it might be recognized through highly sensual touch."

10 January 2015

What's up for two more days, v. XXV, I mean one more day..

Two of the sculptures in the Museo de Barrio's presentation of the relatively small but historic Marisol retrospective speak to the time and place of her birth; one is of Magritte who published his first essay in La Révolution surréaliste while she was in the womb,* and of whom she did numerous sculptures.  Picasso is the other: one unintended link between this show and John Richardson's Picasso and the Camera is the depiction of underwater life, for just as she was becoming a hot art commodity in New York she disappeared to go scuba diving for a time - followed by other solitary meanderings - evidenced in this show by a large, smooth-edged fish.  The Picasso show documents the influence of anarchist marine biologist Jean Painlevé around the time of Marisol's birth.

For me, speculation on the influence of Picasso on Marisol gets interesting when I wonder whether her given name, Maria Sol Escobar, was inspired by Picasso's Crucifixion finished several months before her birth, in advance of the Picasso issue of Documents which featured Bataille's essay "The Phantom Dawn," mentioning the Roman god Mithra - who "rode, and later killed, the life-giving cosmic bull, whose blood fertilizes all vegetation" then banquets with the Sun God. Picasso told Geneviève Laporte that he relished bullfights as they were the sole remaining ritual of Mihraism. Marisol's parents were wealthy Parisian art patrons and Documents was much discussed that Spring, coming out a month before her birth. Picasso would have likely discussed Bataille's essay with Michel Leiris before its publication. Mithra is the orange and red solar figure to the right of the cross (to the viewer)..

..in between three Marias: the Holy Mother in white before Christ, Marie-Thérèse Walter in the middle and the blue, skeletal head of Mary Magdalene below Mithra.  The head of Stephaton to the left with his giant moon-like sponge "doubles as a crescent moon, an emblem of Virgin Mary." Marisol's parents hailed from Venezuela, whose first flag, flown on the mast of Francisco de Miranda's ship Leander in 1806, had on it a sun and a moon, the moon in this case symbolizing the Apollinian triumph over darkness.

Picasso's symbolic use of legs out of joint recurs in her primary later work on paper at El Museo, 1974's Lick the Tire of My Bicycle..

The bicycle precariously glides between pistols firing, perhaps reflecting the trauma over her mother committing suicide when she was eleven, leading to what she describes as ten years of total silence.  The cyclist riding outside time and space is reminiscent of Duchamp's straining rider ascending a looped line on musical notation paper in 1914's To Have the Apprentice in the Sun**:

So if you are nearby the plants across the street in the Conservatory Gardens want you to keep them warm this Sunday.  Within walking distance is her 30 foot long Self-Portrait Looking at The Last Supper at the Met, up til March.  El Museo's collection has its enjoyable paintings but currently features Nuyorican Conceptual works amid some interesting sculptures.

* Just before returning to Belgium when the gallery repping him in Paris closed.
** Given to Philly by Walter Arensberg but never displayed..

03 January 2015

What's up for two more days, v. XXIV

Nam June Paik at the Asia Society fills up the entire gallery space of the museum,  but as previously noted in this space, it's not much considering the many Paik holdings in nearby places and their permanent collection is not to be found amid such shows.  The show focuses on his development of the robot, and fans of Paik's are treated to some of his earliest videos and has later 80s robots, which utilize carefully matched antique sets for robots ending with a large Li Po (above).  As one enters a large video screen plays his 31 yo - almost to the day - one hour US/France mass market TV broadcast of Good Morning Mr. Orwell which I had never seen* including his films of Cage and Cunningham along with art pop luminaries.

Paik, to the NYTimes: ''I never read Orwell's book - it's boring. But he was the first media communications prophet. Orwell portrayed television as a negative medium, useful to dictators for one-way communication. Of course, he was half-right. Television is still a repressive medium. It controls you in many ways. You tend to adapt your schedule to it, and also you get from it stereotyped images.

''But,'' he continued, gesturing with an arm on which a shirt cuff flapped listlessly open, ''I want to show its potential for interaction, its possibilities as a medium for peace and global understanding. It can spread out, cross international borders, provide liberating information, maybe eventually punch a hole in the Iron Curtain.''

That last phrase speaks to the location of Orwell's 1984 dystopia in the Soviet Union - spoken less than a year President Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech at the height of US-Soviet tensions.  By coincidence, Raymond Williams wrote his book about television (1973) two years after his book on Orwell (1971), in which he said "the structural relations that we have since seen between a militarist economy and a controlled consumer affluence amount to more than a historical development that Orwell did not forsee."   "Television" recalls "[The 1920s small family home] created both the need and the form of a new kind of 'communication': news from 'outside', from otherwise inaccessible sources. Already in the drama of the 1880s and 1890s (Ibsen, Chekhov) this structure had appeared: the center of dramatic interest was now for the first time the family home, but men and women stared from its windows, or waited anxiously for messages, to learn about forces, 'out there,' which would determine the conditions of their lives.. Some people spoke of the the new machines (radios) as gadgets, but they were always more than this. They were the applied technology of a set of emphasis and responses within the determining limits and pressures of industrial capitalist society." (27)  Neither book addresses directly Orwell's view of the medium.  Paik is credited for predicting the internet; people watching their friends' videos on their phones, transmitted by sattelite has created an operative decentralization at a time when military imperialism has refined its use of media for propagandizing.  While the newspapers would be unlikely to publish the Pentagon Papers today, Assange and Snowden demystify centralized narratives from a transmission of their own making and become featured themselves in mainstream media, leading to a legislative vote that almost strips the NSA of its funding for surveillence.** Ginsberg and Beuys' music are featured in Good Morning but devoid of political statement, even as Beuys' "Sonne Statt Reagan" came out less than two years earlier "Ob Polen"..

Around the corner "Paik's possibly most famous video work".. "meant the Buddha now watched his videotaped image on the screen opposite".. "During the 'Projekt '74' exhibition in Cologne, Paik took the Buddha’s place in his recent creation.."  Kay Larson suggests in her recent book about Cage that the rigor of Paik's Buddhism was enforced by John more than Paik's Korean upbringing, after Paik had cut the tie of his mentor during a piano performance, annoying Cage, a performance I saw Walter Lew amusingly re-enact with Aldon Nielson's wardrobe a while back. "Cage made it explicitly clear that Paik had no interest in seeing the truth contained in Suzuki's diagram on ego,*** much less in practicing the kind of discipline that had defined Cage's life and path."  Cage did gush over Paik but this is perhaps another de Toquevillian case of the American selecting out spiritual content that another would associate with theocracy.  Larson paraphrases Cage's early 60s Darmstadt lecture on Indeterminacy "Dualism is a serious intellectual flaw, from the Mahayana Buddhist standpoint, since it perpetuates the ego's sense that a world exists apart from the self. In Cage's recollection, dualistic thinking is a painful product of a mind divided against itself." Buddha TV, created a few years later, can be imagined as a provocative response to Cage's charge that Paik lacked consciousness of this dualism, showing the world that includes the sitter (Rodin's Thinker is another Paik subject) on the screen as Paik would affirm the usefulness of the medium.

* T'was up just a day or two ago but has a copyright block now;
** but doesn't; in the federal bailout vote, the two parties traded off which representatives would risk their incumbancy by voting for it since the calls came in against it 10-1, but assured its passage;
*** The ego described as the egg shell between the chick and the world that forms, in two dimensions, an unenclosed circle, filled with emotional content.

02 January 2015

Monday evening..

I met a young male named Spicer (Jack would have liked him). Half-heartedly "Any relation to ...." After I described Jack S., Young Spicer was fascinated, hanging on my every word thereafter, repeating "How do you know about him?" "They didn't like him in New York, so he moved to San Francisco." "New York City?" "He was alcoholic, passive aggressive, and obstructing of others." "That sounds like my family."