Thursday 9 July 2009
1999 SIGN SHOP DAYS-2009
I used to work in sign shops.
Me. I did. This is me speaking to you:
"Hello, I used to work in sign shops."
I used to work in sign shops.
In 1999, I worked in a sign shop where i stared at the back of a writer's head. She is now quasi-famous. She is a lesbian. She had her feelings hurt by me in 2007-because of the internet's abilities,no- because of me. This is me talking to you about real stuff that I did. On the internet. Not what the internet did.
In 1999,sometimes my lesbian writer boss would leave in her fancy car of the month. She was only a year or so older than me. She spent most of her time dealing with her agents,editors,and writer friends from all over the world. We did very little work. I remember she typed so fast she would often have to stop and let the computer catch up. It was 1999. Of my music,she liked Beck's album Midnight Vultures and the Cowboy Junkies.
Sometimes my lesbian writer boss would leave in her sports car of the month. I remember Kid A being released around this time. I would go into chatrooms and talk to people about music. I also played weird computer games that bored me equally. This was a formative time for me with the internet and I did not realize it. The contempt and disassociative relationship I would develop with the internet would stay with me. It would return with a sort of vengeance.
I did not consider the internet real. Or the names on the screen. Even tho'-now that i think about it-a trip to Los Angeles in December of 1999 had me meeting one of the very people I had met in those passive chatroom moments. It was on Venice Beach near Muscle Beach. I walked out to the Pacific Ocean. Somebody yelled at us for walking on the bike path. I found her unappealing. It sort of broke my heart. She was into Built to Spill and was from Idaho. I was rude to her,but not in a direct way. I simply felt awkward and was anxious to meet up with an old friend-the real reason I was in L.A. I left a photo of one of my paintings on her dresser for no reason. I didn't tell her. I hope she is happy out there.
Later in 1999, I began to study Aikido. It was good for me.
That job ended and I left the internet alone for many years. We didn't speak. I would sometimes use it for some of the more common reasons.
I remember a sign shop I worked in. It was in 2005. I was by myself a great deal. Did I mention that during this gap-this space between 1999 and 2005-i had made influential friends and lost a couple influential friends? That I had painted many many paintings? Well- I did. I grew up. We grew up-or I suppose I should say-they grew up.
Names on a screen appeared again. Aikido was a distant memory,but still I clinged to it in my heart-even tho my unhealthy body was revealing other hidden health problems. Health problems that built up and truly revealed their full powers,as it turned out,the very same evening that a famous hurricane clobbered the shit out of New Orleans.
I had returned to the internet.Sitting in my head. Locally this time. Names on a screen again. Trying real hard to be without ego-the bullshit that had become the word i tossed around aikido.. It was an art community i engaged. Names on a screen of imaginary levels of respect. I decided to reveal my ignorance from behind my keyboard. My paintings ,my creativity, had hit a wall. I saw it as nothing to lose.I thought i was going to be embarrassed regularly ,but learning oh so slowly---and what happened? did i learn? find myself? or find others?
So what happened?
I left myself back there somewhere. For better or for worse.
He's lost now. Covered in names and thoughts. I still remeber my lesbian writer's words godammit: YOU GOTTA BE DOING IT FOR YOURSELF.(???)
I will revisit these memories and continue them some other time.
Which brings me to the words that inspired this reflection.
I have taken to heart a certain amount of dedication and desire- and driven myself wihout discipline- and called it emotion. I have gathered words and ideas to weave and whip and write with. To lie with. To perform with. To hide in plain sight with. To masquerade as a quest for Honesty- because "theres no reason to not be honest to names on a screen". Honesty(whatever) shifts- from myself-as something i call a reaction to life. Just as i call art the same thing.This becomes all there is. So now what? Point at it? Show my hand?
anyways...i am still banging against that wall. Call me painter. poet. performance artist.art critic?(art crit as art,if you will) eggtooth. jeff. jerk. whatever...the work is what matters in the end.
IT is either- or it isnt. relative to who for what reason. It sometimes becomes that very reason. To exist by not existing in its perfect normalcy,Its mundane reality. Closing that gap between life and art. Biting the hand that feeds us the freedom. It's conflicted ideals of sense of self and fame and goals and money. and value. and community. Locally. Glocally..whatever. I wrap around on myself and attempt to sneak an artist statement into a confession.
sometimes things inspire me...i just go from there in that moment....seems the eternal symptom is that moment shifts its origin eternally.
anyways..here's Kenny Goldsmith words i read tonight:
KENNY GOLDSMITH'S WORDS BEGIN HERE:
The identity politics battles of the past twenty years have done wonders and have given voice to many that have been denied. And there is still so much work to be done: so many voices are still marginalized and ignored. It’s a long road ahead and every effort must be made to be made to ensure that those who have something to say have a place to say it and an audience to hear it. The importance of this work cannot be underestimated.
Identity is a slippery thing and no single approach can nail it. Also, citing the need for difference, we’re never going to feel the same way on anything — a good thing. We all come from different places and circumstances, which is something to be celebrated. To be prescriptive or to make generalizations regarding circumstances of economies, classes, religions and races is counterproductive.
I really don’t think that there’s a stable or essential “me.” I am an amalgamation of so many things: books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, televisions shows I’ve watched, all the exchange and sharing of thoughts during conversations with people — the melding of our minds, the song lyrics I’ve heard, the lovers I’ve loved. The discussion that we’re having right now is changing and challenging who I thought I was profoundly. And for that I’m grateful.
In fact, I’m a creation of many people and many ideas to the point where I feel that I’ve actually had very few original thoughts and ideas; to think that any of this was original would be blindingly egotistical. Sometimes I’ll think that I’ve had an original thought or feeling and then, at 2 a.m. while watching an old movie on TV that I hadn’t seen in many years, the protagonist will spout something that I had previously claimed as my own. In other words, I took his words (which, of course, weren’t really “his words” at all), internalized them and made them my own. This happens all the time.
Often — mostly unconsciously — I’ll model my identity of myself on some image that I’ve been pitched to by an advertisement. When I’m trying on clothes in a store, I will bring forth that image that I’ve seen in an ad and mentally insert myself and my image into it. It’s all fantasy. I would say that an enormous part of my identity has been adopted from advertising. I very much live in this culture; how could I possibly ignore such powerful forces? Is it ideal? Probably not. Would I like not to be so swayed by the forces of advertising and consumerism? Of course, but I would be kidding myself if I didn’t admit that this was a huge part of who I am as a member of this culture.
As a previous commenter mentioned, transgendered persons are deeply committed to not being what they were born into. So many people who are not thrilled with the way they were born courageously labor their whole lives to adopt new and fluid identities. Others, such as transsexual persons are in a constant state of remaking themselves. I feel inspired by such fluid and changeable notions of identity.
On the internet, these tendencies move in different directions. With much less commitment than it takes in meatspace, we can project various personas with mere stokes of a keyboard. In this chatroom, I’m a woman; on this blog, I’m a political conservative; in this forum, I’m a middle-aged golfer. And I never get called out for not being authentic or real. On the contrary, I am addressed as “madam,” or “you right-wing asshole.” In fact, Mr. Kahn, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were writing under a pseudonym right now. Not only would I forgive you, I’ve come to expect that the person I think I’m addressing on the internet isn’t really “that person.” Fascinating, no?
If my identity is really up for grabs and changeable by the minute — as I believe it is — it’s important that my writing reflect this state of ever-shifting identity and subjectivity. That can mean adopting voices that aren’t “mine,” subjectivities that aren’t “mine,” political positions that aren’t “mine,” opinions that aren’t “mine,” words that aren’t “mine,” because in the end, I don’t think that I can possibly define what’s “mine” and what isn’t.
BUT — and here’s where subjectivity enters — it’s my choices that make the work “mine.” I have chosen — for some specific reason — a certain text to appropriate or to reframe. For example, in a recent piece of mine, I have appropriated the entire interrogation session between Senator Larry Craig and the policeman who arrested him. I haven’t done a thing to the text, I’ve just reprinted the whole thing. Why? I thought it was such a revealing text, full of prejudice and hypocrisy from both sides. It was something much more profound — even surreal — than anything I could ever have invented. In the end, it’s a beautiful piece of writing.
Sometimes, by reproducing texts in a non-interventionist way, we can shed light on political issues in a more profound and illuminating way than we can by conventional critique. If we wished to critique globalism, for example, I can imagine that reproducing / framing the transcript as from yesterday’s G8 summit meeting where they refused to ratify climate control threats would reveal much more about the truth of the situation than I could possibly say. Often, I feel it’s better to let the text be what it is — generally, as in the case of the G8, they’ll incriminate and hang themselves with their own stupidity. I call this poetry.
I feel as writers we try too hard. No matter what we do with language, it will be expressive. How could it be otherwise? In fact, I feel it is impossible working with language not to express oneself. If we back off and let the material do it’s work, we might even in the end be able to surprise and delight ourselves with the results.
KENNY GOLDSMITHS WORDS END HERE FOREVER.
I've just printed out a 20 page thing of KG'S on conceptual poetics. I am a poet.(that was actually kinda hard to write) I have been in a group called the Atlanta Poets Group for over a year now. I hate it when people sign off with "peace".
(Things that are "hard to write" are an interesting thing.)
i would say it
is because they are honest. but
maybe thats only sometimes.
a friend of mine...mister lowercase..
i wld say his real name but
i bet that wld piss him off for some reason-is of utmost influence on my base formative formally figurings of my core as a creatin' creature. (im just now gettin round to trying to crunch words and visualz together.that ancient thing.
i wanna open a
restaurant and call it: Po Mo Folks.
wanna help me
with the menu
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
If you think you think you should heed the warning of your mother and sister and not risk uncertain sorcery,turn to page 25
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- 1999 SIGN SHOP DAYS-2009
- economic downturn & poetry
- you can't do that on the internet
- CATHY FOX ON BRIAN DETTMER
- I BROKE A TOOTH.(and it's all good)
- POP:molting larvae carry coco puff-piece
- MAKE WHAT YOU NEED/use what you find
- KAREN HENNESSEE AT marcia wood
- It's never too late for coffee.
- ▼ July (32)