Archive for February, 2011

another music video with unicorns and rainbows

by on Feb.28, 2011

Shearon Van Riggins’ unofficial video for MEN’s “Who Am I To Feel So Free” ft. Antony:

here’s the official video:

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by on Feb.28, 2011

I like this little movie about Rodarte, where the sister describe how they were influenced by Japanese horror and clothes that look like they “might be slashed or debris”:

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Montevidayo Consumer Survey: Face-Eating Art

by on Feb.28, 2011

Montevidayans, identify yourself by aggregate by taking our first ever Montevidayo Consumer Survey. This week’s topic: Face-Eating Art.

1. Has Art Eaten Your Face?

2. How frequently in the last month has Art eaten your Face?

3. What should I do if Art eats my Face?





(continue reading…)

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Little By Little

by on Feb.27, 2011

The third track on Radiohead’s King of Limbs, Little By Little, opens with a snare drum hit followed by more of the South American percussion that was a feature of Morning Mr Magpie. A jinky bongo, cowbell, and maraca groove underpins the track, but rather than the band jamming along, this time the percussion is in at odds with the dance. A plodding bass line relentlessly conforms to the beats of the 4/4 time signature, a drudgery mildly alleviated by a guitar that curls around the bass, filling in some rudimentary rhythmic interest. Against this an acoustic guitar is strummed in a manner reminiscent of a Western. The effect is disorienting and discomfiting. Are we at a Brazilian carnival, in a dusty street in the American west, or sluggishly walking home from the office on a grey rainy day?

(continue reading…)

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too much of a woman

by on Feb.27, 2011

A film by Göran Olsson – about the swedish artist Leila K

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with greetings from sweden (part ii)

by on Feb.27, 2011

Nathalie Djurberg

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Collage of Myself: Whitman and Collage

by on Feb.24, 2011

[My old roommate Matt Miller has written a book about Walt Whitman, finding the explanation for Whitman’s legendary discovery of his revolutionary style, not in sexual awakenings or something like that, but in the medial experimentation with collage. This is the U of Nebraska’s description of the book:]

Collage of Myself presents a groundbreaking account of the creative story behind America’s most celebrated collection of poems. In the first book-length study of Walt Whitman’s journals and manuscripts, Matt Miller demonstrates that until approximately 1854 (only a single year before the first publication of Leaves of Grass), Whitman—who once speculated that Leaves would be a novel or a play—was unaware that his ambitions would assume the form of poetry at all.
(continue reading…)

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Chaos Theory

by on Feb.24, 2011

Art thus captures an element, a fragment, of chaos in the frame and creates or extracts from it not an image or representation, but a sensation or rather a compound or multiplicity of sensations, not the repetition of sensations already experienced or available beyond or outside the work of art, but those very sensations generated and proliferated only by art.

– Elizabeth Grosz

Art is not chaos but a composition of chaos that yields the vision or sensation, so that it constitutes, as Joyce says, a chaosmos, a composed chaos…

– Deleuze and Guattari

I’ve been reading Elizabeth Grosz’s Chaos, Territory, Art, which is a detailed study of some of Deleuze’s more controversial (and biological/evolutionary) concepts about aesthetics. Overall, it’s fascinating: she even has a fairly persuasive argument that Darwin and Deleuze shared a similarly radical (and non-utilitarian) sense of evolution, one that stresses sexual selection (with its tendencies toward excess, even self-destruction) over natural selection (which reduces so much phenomena to the single template of I-must-mate-to-ensure-my-genes-will-survive).

There are many elements in this book I plan like to discuss, because I think Grosz writes about art in a highly materialist manner that I find intriguing, but I first wanted to briefly discuss the way she and Deleuze approach aesthetics–the macro view here–and it’s a way that I’m very much in sympathy with. They see art as a plane of composition. As a space that is separate from chaos and yet a manifestation of that chaos. And as a surface that generates sensations.
(continue reading…)

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Strange (Political) Meetings in the Necropastoral 2: Meetings in Art's Face

by on Feb.24, 2011

1. Strange (Political) Meeting s

In my reading of Wilfred Owen, I’ve suggested Owen constructs a continuous spasming necropastoral mask/masque in the charnelfields/skin of Europe. This necropastoral stages strange meetings; the dead meet the living, or the dead meet the also-not-more- or –less-than-dead, the war eats holes in itself to move the speaker around, the speaker and Death moan together, the worms/words move through bodies and continually produce new masticating/speaking heads; in all these modalities before, after, and even event are also spasmed and distended. The ‘strange meeting’ might be enfigured as an ampersand, which is a kind of eaten-away Moebius strip, incompletely delivering impossible contacts, inefficiently flooding, dumping, jamming, breaking out, collapsing, gesturing, speeding up, distending, suspending, petering out. The ‘pity’ of war emerges like goo from these pits, but it is also the force that creates its own distended tissues and pitted surfaces. The Pity is Art. As Owen said, The Poetry is in the Pity.

This spasming, ampersanding, defective interpenetration, with its goo-, moan-, and pity-effects, is of course a model of politics and temporality completely alien from liberal models of the body and the state, of points and events, of agency, of hierarchy, of flowcharts of power, linearity, historical time.

2. Case Study 2: Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl.
In Christian Hawkey’s dossier-like Ventrakl, Hawkey ‘tracks’ the dead poet Trakl through a series of texts, intertexts, countertexts, translations, translation games, interviews, photographs. In a familiarly post-modern (reductive) way, we could say that the ‘holes’, the aperture between Hawkey and his subject or ‘target’, become a field of indeterminacy that then become gradually sedimented with text to create the diagrammatic, essay-like body of the book. But what kind of diagram is this?

In this photograph, which comes towards the end of the book, a face emerges—or does it? Is it a face or a stain? The dark spots propose competing features which nevertheless cannot completely blot out the face. The face and the stains make an assemblage, a strange meeting here, an excess production which goes further than the portrait photograph ‘should’. What does face say to stain? Or does stain wear a face mask: my head, my head? The face-stain are an ill production, erraticness itself, material as errata, out of time and place but stinking, persisting. Or maybe dead. A spasmatic non-chronology. In the strange meeting, they are ill-distributed, defective, a defective ampersand, linking and breaking, blotting out and emitting, speeding up all over her face.

These residues are goos, actives, pitties, piercing through the face of Art and spreading more Art all over its face. These residues are the strange meetings. (continue reading…)

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Morning Mr. Magpie

by on Feb.23, 2011

European Magpie, a dirty pirate

Up until the release of Hail to the Thief in 2003 Radiohead were under contract with EMI. At the end of the contract Thom Yorke was quoted as saying “I like the people at our record company, but the time is at hand when you have to ask why anyone needs one. And, yes, it probably would give us some perverse pleasure to say ‘Fuck you’ to this decaying business model.” Their next release, in 2007 was In Rainbows, which was initially released on the band’s website with no set price. Visitors were encouraged to pay whatever amount they thought was appropriate. Part of the explanation for this strategy was that each of the last four albums had been leaked before the official release date, so the band resolved to leak it themselves. The form of the album (to borrow Joyelle’s formulation) is the leak. Morning Mr Magpie, the second track on The King of Limbs, is a meditation on the art of reproduction in the digital age, a consideration of the value of music in the age of the leak.

(continue reading…)

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Eshleman on Solorzano

by on Feb.22, 2011

[Clayton Eshleman wrote the following “glosses” on the first 12 poems of Mexican poet Laura Solorzano’s Lip Wolf (translated by Jen Hofer, published by Action Books)


1: The swan of poetry, neck-twisted, found dead in its cistern, a sister swan, a “you” desolate, divided, numb—yet miraculously alive, near-form, a beautiful filthy thing covered, a kind of self-tearing nourishment. Aproached, this Muse of poetry tautens
twists, reburies itself.

2: “You” is matrix, the force in nature that self-conceives. Parthenogenetic, it contains its own prize (like a piñata—and like a piñata it hides its prize and must be broken open). “You” as the poetic word, the poet’s shadow (or the shadow’s poet), if spoken unspoken, mouth loss, cow mute.

3: The speaker is also “you-less,” alone, masticating fable and monster, assimilating the spectrum of her livingdying, chewing language as her mortal immortality. She is a mill, in grind with measuring, nibbling the fuse of the flower as well as its signature.

4: The bee-work of language at the mercy of the speaker’s body, vaporous as a cloud. The tension in poetry overturns, is a desert as well as a savior, a savior who is hollow, at home. The speaker begs for a rootedness, something cloud-ungraspable. In the language hive she experiences the explosions of her own excavations.

5: To hold “you” as a house contains statues, orgasmic couplings, this is the task. To come to form in the face of all she sees and experiences. Such is the price of a realized “you,” the price of experience. “You” thingifies as it burns. Its nature is one of combustion and salvation. To fuck until she bursts is to fabricate a torso, a curve in the pruned and burning disintegration.

6: The speaker discovers that the “you” she has made contact with has not experienced the torrent of touching fully. She also discovers that this “you,” so fully without, is knotted within, in the thimble tightness of her own life material. At this point “you” is still incompletely activated, is still nut-hard, uncracked, refusing to be broken into imaginal vectors.
(continue reading…)

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by on Feb.22, 2011

On Friday 18th February 2011, four days after it’s existence was first announced and one day earlier than promised, Radiohead, a band known for their strident anti-capitalist stance, released their eighth studio album The King of Limbs online. This event occurred in the same week that protestors took to the streets in Libya, Bahrain, Yeman and Morocco following the fall of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubark, from power. The protests in the Arab world were to a large degree facilitated by social media networks such as facebook and twitter. One strategy the Egyptian government adopted in the final days of their regime was to close down the infrastructures that supported the internet; in spite of this protestors stayed in touch with each other using proxy servers in foreign countries. When Muammar Gaddafi’s government prevented foreign journalists from taking pictures of the conflict as Libya’s people took to the streets, videos appeared on YouTube showing the scenes the Libyan leader didn’t want the rest of the world to see.

On February 8, before the new album was announced, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien posted an entry on the band’s website saying “I have become increasingly excited over the last 3 months about the possibilities of this form of communication. Yes I am very slow out of the blocks. It’s in the arena of public protest that it seems twitter and facebook are increasingly the means by which popular movements throughout the world are able to come together and mobilise.” Radiohead self-consciously launched their album, which was publicized largely through those same media outlets that were enabling the revolution in the Middle East, into a world that was witnessing the power of social media to bring about political change. The release strategy was an unequivocal political gesture. The question, though, is what the politics of this gesture were. What does it mean for a band, whose success depended on the corporate structures of the music industry and the comodification of musical talent in the mid-1990’s, to simultaneously take up an aggressive anti-capitalist stance, while championing social media networks that themselves enabled the overthrow of political regimes that were most resistant to advances of capitalism? (While it is not always clear that anti-autocratic demonstrations are explicitly pro-capitalist, the repeated refrain is the desire for “liberty,” a term that in the twenty-first century has become synonymous with the freedom to consume; political liberty and economic liberty have collapsed into a point of non-differentiation). (continue reading…)

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