for some reason, at moments, i'm beginning to conceive of writing as spaces, that the mental and physical inhabitations i make at different times in my day sometimes converge, the essence and energies of multiple inhabitations slip together.
after putting together the bits, gaps, clusters, and blocks of my museum, and a particularly fatiguing day at the office, i kept putting myself into a tron-like cosmos, airbrushed-computer-looking world lit by blacklight, made of light, pulling my disk off my back, holding it over my head, the grid of tile platform at my feet bending behind me, a continuous surface of light lines...
the subway, and working late several weeks in a row, tends to do this to me. it's happened often enough for me to know that serendipitous delirium is the fuel that fires the front edge of my creativity, expands it into another world, puts me between several mental/spatial fictions at once.
gym diary month 12
as i enter my final month of my first year visiting a gym, i'd like to take this opportunity to reflect on everything that's happened.
yeah right. read the archive.
yesterday troy said "are there any cuties at the gym lately. oh, that's right, you're not looking." there aren't and for the most part i'm not. what used to be my top ten is an eviscerate top two. and they aren't the top two. one ruined a brilliant sacred heart tattoo with some quasi-maori pattern that completely covers his arm in an act of abherrent collage. the other is at the gym all the time, in the same clothes, just like he's in a lot of movies i've seen lately, so i have difficulty distinguishing him from the equipment. if i weren't bored with anonymous sexual encounters, i'd be bored by lack of field to play.
jocko's workout is making me grow, and grow strong. the regularity of the programme is something i've never done till a few weeks ago.
the scale is no longer calibrated. either that, or i magically lost ten pounds last week. the hot water has been broken all week, so no showering or steaming. i don't really have time to steam much. i've got shit to do, like design the museum and eat dinner before i start my 15 hour workdays.
(fortunately i'm not only lazy conceptually, but i occasionally disguise my ideas with insousciance. on that note, i'd like to quote the pixies.)
betty always knows
betty always tells
she laughing desperately
she said it felt like a river inside her bones
when she went down to the well
digipics 4 formal effects
which means serendipity leading you to a technique that is both beautiful and mysterious, something you didn't anticipate, that you can gather rapidly before going back (even in your mind), something to be indifferently collected.
digipics 3 minx in a time warp
like a cinematographer, the owner of a digital camera may slacken time, in addition to the usual ability to freeze it, because of the ability to rapidly see/playback what has been stilled. of course (casual abuser of baudrillard or barthes) self-portraiture is accelerated to such an extent that the camera acts as a kind of a time-delayed mirror. the opportunities are manifold.
one is that series are enacted as previously written, only the setting for the sitter is what changes (fans of cindy sherman, for instance, are already familiar with this).
two is that the series can be rapidly produced and reviewed, allowing for minute changes in the disposition in order to generate one perfect shot, or two, or three, and simply delete the rest, causing the series to appear natural.
three is that the series can almost perfectly eliminate the scenery altogether, if only though the consistent engagement of the sitter, and conflate the subject/object relationship in photography (i think), because even the casual web log reader will be caught in the moment of reflection, looking at themselves by looking at someone else looking at themself being immediate.
taking pictures of myself is something i never, ever used to do. much. parallel is having the blog not be about myself, although the events are largely taken from my life. the distinction isn't intended to be theoretical (like all designers i'm an abuser of theory, not subject to it); it's been a creative decision. it's a technique i've consciously developed after proust's example. however, for the last few months, i've paused proust and been reading the biography of wilde, finished tuesday. what i took from that was that wilde's life happened concurrently with his writing, highly connected through his fabulous life/art artifice, despite the fact that the themes sometimes perfectly camouflage the events shaping his daily life. proust's writing, for me, also subsumes the artifice into the structure of the work, but because he wrote most of the book secluded from the intimate events described, i like to think that i feel his detachment from those events, that that detatchment let him be free to make new connections as he pleased. the switch from proust to wilde (and back again, today) made me aware of the distinction, and to examine more closely the relationship between my real life, the life people perceive in my writing and my work, and my writing itself.
i'm in a making mode at work: designing a museum in a heated competition with 12 other competitors, some of who were my professors at columbia. when i'm writing my better entries, i'm in discovery mode, that is, not designing anything. each of these periods last several months, and i'm old enough to know when they are cycling. to win the competition, i must switch between my two modes rapidly, see not only what i'm making, but have a perfect understanding of it's poetic connection to the world. i need to telescope my artistic cycles, time-lapse them, flip between the pictures of myself and myself looking at them.
digipics 2 record of the week and its end
my camera records weeks. the san francisco week is almost entirely deleted or uploaded. the chicago/new york week is here only as example, not because anything is terribly interesting about it.
late-nite photo shoot in chicago on monday. many plane rides to and fro. too many. late-nite photo shoot in new york on wednesday. too close to monday shoot in another city. brutally tired. two consolations: new york shoot is of stuff i designed, from space to furniture, and troy is in town and staying with me.
the lovely david j came for a visit. he got on his cooking outfit, but i made him change. we went to moma and saw a lot of pictures, including the room about photography and constructed scenes. in the workspheres exhibit, after i commented that i don't get how some office-of-the-future installation was remotely relevant, he told me in perfect deadpan "if you were from the future, you would understand it". we went to the gym together, twice. it was cold most of the time, even underground. we went to several parties, one uptown saturday that i thought would be boring but was fun (with troy), one downtown sunday for mario diaz that we thought would be wild but was completely pedestrian, as all parties are where the east village funsters are treated as celebrities. meaning not that they acted as celebrities (which is charming) but that they had a crowd of boring 'admirers' (which is tedious).
digipics 1 my personal relationship to photography
my notes on digital photography, an open series. written as assembled notes.
as the photographer i was working with all this week noted, people's relationship to photography is becoming more like that of a cinematographer because of digital photography. people walk around with the camera away from their eye, looking at screen and at reality. before, just squinting through viewfinder. spycam too.
my relationship to digital photography perfects my altered relationship to photography in general, since i've been producing almost all my images for the web: it allows me to perfectly conceive of images as backlit, as images suspended in light. reflective images are always an afterthought for me.
the camera has a 1" movie screen. it's fun at parties, because it can be shared.
the images belong to me. i make them, i take them, i own the camera, i download them on my computer, i can take dirty pics and email them to jonno or david, i can look at them like a book anytime i have the camera. no middleperson developing them. eyes only.
collecting images for specific series
of course, i use the camera to make specific series. so far, the series are produced rapidly, like my survivor series, or glass series, or chinatown signs series, or my selfportrait series.
there are little pictures and big pictures. the images are sometimes just little records of me being there, taken for no other reason than to somehow put the experience into the screen, charge the image with emotion through exhuberance. when this happens, the images are saved for unspecified periods. sometimes never downloaded, just deleted. the greater the emotion, the less time they will mean something, the less time they will be on the flash memory card. i can zoom into the picture on my mini movie screen, so i can look at them close. my big memory card holds 182 fo 640x480 72dpi images. that's a lot. little pictures and big pictures. i get tired of the average ones, when the charge of the moment fails to support the bad composition, and they are happily deleted. but as the images start to get closer to each other, as time sequences get compressed into five or six images apiece, new series get formed, that of 'my weekend' or 'january 01'.
series and bits of time get interleaved, like the fragmented data clusters of files on a hard drive. new series get formed, the sequences get repetitive. it becomes difficult to file them properly on my hard drive: they need to go in several folders each, without aliases (so i can upload them easily). the camera becomes library and actor, author of the body of work as well as participant in each of the pieces.
gym diary month 11. late month 11.
today was the first day of getting back on track. between my sicknesses, personal travels, business travels, mid-winter malaise, and other personal trips, i've averaged one gym trip per week the last couple of months. this is significant, because it's the first time it's happened. a break, or a maintenance period. it's felt okay not to go. it feels okay to not want to do that any more. also, my weight was down to 134 because of my flu, and being under-weight is something i still have a minor recurring complex over.
back on track with a workout regimen by jocko. first time i got a good written-out plan that i want to try out. i did the shoulders day, something i've not been very systematic about up to now. i'm already exhausted from it, and i feel emasculated from the idea that a stud like jocko, one i've never met, or really seen good pics of, can get through all four tough exercises, twenty sets, and i only got through fifteen.
i found someone at the gym tonight who was hot. he looked like a beefier chris meloni. i was hard in a second in the steam room, but he was a little timid, which made me harder, and i had to run, because my baby david was to arrive any moment, and he's the one i'm saving for.
no time for valentine's post: working between last post and this one, completing the last photo shoot for this series of projects i did. i'm exhausted.
valentines. my first valentines where i wasn't deeply hurt because i didn't have one. without negatives, i had a valentine this year, and it felt good. except for the part where fedex didn't deliver my gift because they didn't want to, and i spent an hour raising hell on the phone, using my rare but it exists "this is unacceptable, let me speak to your supervisor" mode, making some provincial manager make his driver go really far out of her way and deliver it tonight, so my baby would get his gift i labored hard on. the fact that they lied about attempting an earlier delivery relieves me of all guilt, that and utter fatigue.
part of me has always detested a common holiday to remember a loved one, in a massive, greeting-card adolescent-romance haze that distracts you from the fact that the best part of being with someone is not a diamond bracelet day or bouquet of roses day to compete with the person in the other cubicle, but the daily love, the invisible quotidien affection, the 1,000 little gifts, the small brilliance, your savvy fave's smirk at an insousciant remark, the things no one else will ever see, because they are never shown them.
another part of me thinks that all of you reading this are my valentines, too, and i yours.
seasonal affective disorder 2: nothing in the world able to pick you up for more than a few minutes. working too hard because it's the season for that, and not staying in one timezone for more than three days in a row for three weeks. having no weekends in that period (free time: saturday evening).
having the weather change around you, sometimes for the worse, in between plane trips and waiting at the airport. tired of cabs to the airport. disliking new york this time of year, because of the weather, even though the february so far has been surprisingly mild, but travels showing you that even good weather is only a mild ointment. ya gotta come back to the city soon anyway.
not wanting to jack off, or have some one at the steam room do it for me. i mean, wanting to want that again.
inconsolably missing david j, especially when i talk to him on the phone.
reading about oscar wilde's trial and incarceration and having it really, really bum me out.
feeling like i have nothing to say, leading to feeling like i don't have anything to write (when i do).
what a week. last friday i was having what was probably a panic attack because the project i'm spearheading was not heading in the right direction. it felt to me like my manpower wasnt working enough. then i was on a plane to san fran, where i had no choice to chill the fuck out. i did.
this week, only three days in the office long for me, i met with all the teams on my project. there's the building project team and the digital project team. i discovered that my role has become critic/director as well as guy who draws and designs. the former applies especially for the digital project: my job is to have other good designers design something that fits the parameters but may be anything, so long as it is brilliant.
i've never really been in this position. beyond the fact that the division of labor in architecture offices can be surprisingly unproductive (visionary architect and his help), i'm used to just growing as a designer through what i get to design, not how i design the progress of the project. however, our studio is implicitly experimenting with models found more in new media and advertising: creative director, art director, designer, producer. and because all of the team is composed of talented people as far along in their career as i am in mine (aka peers), i'm simply engaged in making sure all the plates are spinning in the right direction.
they are, which is satisfying enough. however, something new in the world is actually coming out of it, something that subsumes the several amazing models that we have to look to, something that could only come about because of our team structure. in a sense, the new part of my job is constructing what the project should become, and its effect of the jury, and a perception of it, at the same time the thing actually emerges. it is vital that we have an understanding of how to use the difference between what the project is at the moment and what it should be. it's a variation on the dialectic, really (i think. looking up dialectic): we're presented with directions the project may go in, and i offer suggestions that push it in one direction or another. (it's also opportunistic and tactical, yes. i'm still a good person. i hope.)
i'm also playing the usual role of guy who designs buildings by drawing/modeling them, so it's not like i'm the only person offering suggestions (i'm not, which actually makes my job easier and produces a better project: i don't have to think of everything). it's just that i seem to be the guy who's seen a specific website that relates to any discussion on hand, or seen the corresponding film (ironic, cuz i'm horribly inconsistently literate in film), or been exposed to a graphic design idea in whatever magazine i've seen (even fashion mags, for shame!), or the building project that we can take this or that idea from and do better than. in short, my design omnivorousness is paying off. i see part of my job is maintaining this sense that the team is working on a big idea, part of a conception of the project in a way larger than simply stupid mute architecture. catapulting the idea into a larger realm, outstipping the competition (some of who taught me at columbia) by having the execution of the idea be broad.
(architecture for a media museum: all the space they need is a power/data port! yet there are countless perceptual/sequential/spatial issues to involve, most of them involving film, web, and organization).
seasonal affective disorder: not having in your catalogue of pleasures that of showing your body to the sun and to others, taking off your shirt while leaving your levi's engineered and redwing steel toe boots on and laying on a series of hot rocks, looking hard and soft, or hard and hard, getting a little hard sitting next to a sexy guy and at a beach with others, showing that too.
i played around with john, victor and jessie's friend. very good kisser, nicely hairy, fun in bed up on a hill. it didnt feel like anonymous sex. is it anonymous sex when you pick up someone who's read your blog for some time and who you have seen pictures of for a while and thought was cute? (fun out of bed. john was a gracious guide, tireless, sensitive to my tastes yet willing to lead and show me the good stuff.)
if they already have seen your tattoo and mention that during your first hour together, you aren't strangers at all. it just means that the things we perceive through the computer are things we consider to be real. is ours the first generation for this?
the village voice did an article when star wars episode one came out about star wars original, and how the kids (me) who grew up with it had their reality replaced by it. john and i had long coversation on black sands regarding this and battlestar galactica. and in search of.
such a curious city, a hidden garden, over a landscape like venice, buildings that seem to float on a shifting terrain. also like venice, a time warp, no seasonal temperature variation, and on the bay of an ocean.
like new orleans, its own culture of frontier thinking. and public wickedness and always sex.
john said form is everything, reading my mind, my admiration of miralles, my admiration of new york (which is also my weakness, in new york working is everything, working sometimes form, the buildings all try to be the most beautiful but this impulse is almost always destroyed by lease-making priorities). but i'm not writing about buildings, or films, really.
when i got back, mike said there's no ambition out there, by which he meant that it's a different life, a life-style, echoing the discussion john and i had on black sands about people being interesting but not having interesting jobs, a statement said twice. an interesting symmetry: mike and john would like each other. both of them would agree that the unusual thing about their twin statements is that doubting ambition is the virtuous twin to having it.
i was so stressed out when i left new york on friday, i almost had an anxiety attack. the minutae are not important, because the big picture is that i sometimes forget that patience and space and letting life's events travel at their own speed is what keeps me creative and sustained. john said form is everything (because his favorite filmmaker is hitchcock, and i love it when people are inspired by the greats and seem to be poised to do the same) which is a logic that puts a set of beautiful gestures in motion, in a series. all that is different is a situation in place, like the fabric of san francisco, homogenously 19th century, occupied sometimes by hippies, sometimes aging clones, sometimes leather lesbians, sometimes filmmakers, sometimes architects.
i've never considered my musical tastes to be anything except sometimes out of the mainstream. my mix tapes were never anything to write home about, although the titles were kind of cool. however, i usually don't even get popular songs till theyre long gone, at which time i am singing it's praises. in high school, i pulled out my dad's original white album and came out after listening to it saying "hey dad! these beatles are pretty good!"
the thing i like about napster is the immediacy and the complete disengagement of song from album. i also feel free to catch up on all the other stuff people like but i have no clue about. i can hear part of an unfamiliar name on the radio, and the search feature does the rest. this playlist is my current. i'm always deleting songs and adding (like that slew of belle and sebastian stuff that i had to get rid of cuz it was too slow). i'm kind of happy how it plays, and always like it when a mix goes all over the place.
1. scream like a baby, david bowie, 3:15, formerly i am a laser for ada cherry. because i'm unable to locate the latter on napster, i have the former and i have to act like i know how the lyrics work in it.
2. this mess we're in, pj harvey, 3:57. david likes this song.
3. the chain, fleetwood mac, 4:31.
4. you and your sister, this mortal coil with kim deal, 3:16. i love kim deal.
5. i want to be a homosexual, screeching weasel, 3:05. jonno listened to the first few lines and said "i'm already offended". it's one of my favorite songs because i heard it when i was coming out, and the final lines "you're so full of shit, why don't you admit, you don't have the balls to be a queer" defined perfectly the complexity of my nascent sexuality awareness.
6. oh bondage up yours, x-ray spex, 2:48. via jocko. i don't need to act like my tastes are actually this sophisticated.
7. draw attention, frank black, 3:23. pre-pixies demo presumably on a simple cassette player. brilliant lyrics. the reason i like frank black is on this: he can use his voice, singing or laughing, and an acoustic guitar to play and beat on, to create his edginess. i'd love to get my hands on more of these. via a search on napster called "frank black demos".
8. how many licks, lil' kim with sisqo, 3:52. perfectly dirty, like a female dirty-mind era prince.
9. independent women part 1 album version, destiny's child, 3:44. their groove still gets me going.
10. fuck the pain away, peaches, 4:08. because it's always on when i go to phoenix.
11. heartbreaker, pat benetar, 3:28. because it works.
12. officer, the pharcyde, 4:00. because this version is like the one they released on tape when i copied it in 1993. the cd version is slower and doesn't bump at ALL. "you mean you're takin me home to where your homeboys are?" "but they're not home..."
13. doesn't really matter, janet jackson, 4:18. continuing the motif, black female vocalists romantic groovy pop-esque for soundtrack. "and i can't believe you're mine."
14. to be young, ryan adams, 3:04. via abel, who also worships wilco. "one day you'll be lookin back, you were young and MAN you were sad."
15. 20th century boy, t.rex, 3:41. i wanna be your toy. always in jukebox at library.
16. climing the sun, the breeders, 3:58. demo from a vinyl single to the breeders fan club long ago. my first mp3, downloaded long, long before i could actually play it.
17. forced to drive, the breeders, 3:15. same at 16. kim deal is just as good sloppy. courtney love, take note.
18. grunngae, the breeders, 2:35. early demo of cannonball, which starts fast. better than album version.
19. overcome, the breeders, 2:47. napster search "breeders demos".
20. rave on, the breeders, 2:47. see #19.
michael: you're my daddy. but if you patronize me too, i'll make you unhappy.
maralyn: you're FIERCE, girl! you are! work! ("i'm ready" like a snake after taking out dentures).
kel: you're so gorgeous, i want to suck you off. don't worry, i won't tell. i'm sorry you got kicked off. lesson: don't be square.
keith: sexy too.
texas guy: the show idiot.
jeff: you talk too much, although you are funny.
guy with earrings: witty and cute. when kel is comforted and gone, and you get kicked off, we can play out your latent homosexual fantasies too. or mine. whatever.
it's the first television show i feel like i'm projected into. (it happens all the time with movies). i dreamt i was in it a few nights ago. i was thinking all week about how i wouldnt say such stupid things and would build trust, but am nagged by how difficult this would be given the survival tests and extreme hunger. i vaguely wonder how i'd look on camera, but don't really worry. would it work to use my homosexuality as a phsychological tool after the first season's winner did it with such panache?
the show feels somewhat immediate, but there's a feat of suspense going on because the camera is hidden so well. so many unknowns happen off-screen. like the blair witch project, or the matrix, this show folds its narrative technique into its narrative. and like these films, the story is suspended in the texture of the landscape it's shot in. in survivor, the events happen in a suspension fluid of some kind of non-timely present because they don't seem to actually happen in any chronological order. there's no sense of the day passing: it's as if the day has been formatted for television. events are reassembled by some unknown video editors into real-time, amplifying the suspense.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.