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Back in October I posted the names of the Senators and Congresspeople who gullibly (or cynically) approved Bush's war plans: if you want to take another look they're here. It was completely foreseeable at that time that Junior would immediately start moving troops to the Gulf, thus making the invasion a fait accompli (note French phrase), just as his father did in the last Gulf War. But here was Sen. Hillary Clinton's morally convoluted rationale for her vote, stated to the NY Times: "She concluded that bipartisan support would make the president's success at the United Nations 'more likely and, therefore, war less likely.''" From the news today it looks like Bush just gave the finger to the UN, so instead of making war less likely, she made it inevitable. Thanks a lot.
Yipes--some stuff I saved from the New York Times later got censored by the paper! Apparently the NYPD's use of snipers on rooftops and plainclothesmen in the crowd during the Feb 15 protest has gone down the Memory Hole--reported on February 15 but deleted the next day. Here's what I highlighted and saved sometime late on the evening of the 15th and posted at 12:59 am on the 16th (scroll down just past the photos to see the original, with sarcastic comments):
The police did not disclose details of their security operation, but did say that 5,000 officers were involved. [It was mounted during one of the most intense national security alerts since the attacks of 9/11. In addition to the thousands of uniformed officers in the streets, it included sharp-shooters on rooftops, mounted officers, radiation detectors and other hazardous-materials detection and decontamination equipment, bomb-sniffing dogs and plainclothes officers mingling in the crowds.] (brackets added)The article I quoted those words from, as it currently appears in the Times online edition, no longer contains the bracketed language; the two paragraphs have been combined into one, which is now the last graf of the article. The changes occurred sometime on Feb 16. And here's another version saved on Feb 15 by the website Unknown News:
It appeared that the police had not anticipated such a large crowd. At 1:45 p.m., Chief Joseph J. Esposito, the highest-ranking uniformed officer, ordered the department's highest mobilization, a rare measure that brought 1,000 officers from precincts and other commands around town. The alert was last used in November 2001, when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in the Rockaways.
The police did not disclose details of their security operation, but it was mounted during one of the most intense national security alerts since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and it included thousands of uniformed officers in the streets, sharp-shooters on rooftops and plainclothes officers in the crowds.Interestingly, the verbiage I saved included more detail than what Unknown News quoted--perhaps because I captured it earlier in the day on the Feb 15? Their version makes no mention of mounted officers, "radiation detectors and other hazardous-materials detection and decontamination equipment," or bomb-sniffing dogs. It is incongruous that the second paragraph doesn't appear in their version, though, if in fact mine is the earlier save.
March 15, 2003 Update: Both the Memory Hole and Unknown News have added the version I found to their accounts of this. Russ Kick at the Memory Hole found independent verification of what I saved here.
The thought train that would not die. I added the following paragraph as an afterthought to my essay on Jim Lewis' Slate piece on William Eggleston (that's four prepositional phrases in sequence!):
It may well be that Eggleston's "breakthrough" enabled photo departments to collect color photos for the first time, but this is really a minor achievement, important only within the rigid, internecine structure of the contemporary art museum, since color photography *was* being collected a few doors down the hall, in the painting department. Thus, what he really did was give photographers who wanted to use color permission to do something, a handful of years early, that artists were already doing. But to be important, we expect artists to rewrite the rules of the game, not just a few intramural regulations.
If I had to pick a "great man" it would probably be [Richard] Prince, for finally, belatedly extending the logic of Duchamp and Pop art to photography (and being a malicious wit). The reason breaking the color barrier was important was that at last photography could be as permeable to the everyday (commercial, media-defined) world as painting had become under Warhol. More than a color progenitor, it might be interesting to think of Eggleston as a proto-appropriator, photographing banal commercial subject matter in a landscape setting before Prince et al came along and just removed the setting. But that's a stretch--I still think Eggleston is mainly an art photographer, whose principal contribution is injecting the poetry of color field painting into mechanically produced images.
And what comes after Prince? Found vernacular photography, culled from the internet and smartly curated. Highly recommended is a book series called Useful Photography. It's some Dutch curators (artists?) compiling photographs taken from a wide range of sources. Issue #2 is all pictures of things people are selling on ebay. It's mostly abject crap lying on blankets--stereo speakers, model kits, old shoes and hats--but the photos are magical, and all they seem really sophisticated in this context. Here's what the authors wrote on the back cover (the book's sole bit of text):
MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE NOW OWN A DIGITAL CAMERA. MANY THOUSANDS MORE SELL THEIR PERSONAL ITEMS THROUGH EBAY EVERY DAY. EVERYONE IS A PHOTOGRAPHER AND ALL THEIR HOMES ARE STUDIOS.
The folks behind this project are Hans Aarsman, Claudie de Cleen, Julian Germain, Erik Kessels, and Hans Van Der Meer. Buy the book! Eschew photo fetishism!
Here are some concert photos from PSYCH-OUT 2K3, taken by Aya Kanai. Top to bottom: Nautical Almanac, Extreme Animalz, LoVid.
More artist web pages: Some stalwart art types are still troubled that digital painter Claire Corey's work is "just abstraction" (i.e., no hidden messages saying "smash the state"), but that's like saying Stravinsky is just a composer. Scott Hug included one of her paintings in the second issue of K48 with a handwritten prescription for Ritalin on the page opposite, because the work is so psychedelified. Claire had a show recently at the Aldrich Museum--here are a couple of installation shots. (And I have to say that Bonnie Collura sculpture in the foreground looks intriguingly abject. The poor woman got trashed recently by Roberta Smith in the Times, after a lot of too-early hype, as if to say, with a diabolical laugh, "We made you; we can unmake you.")
The artist web pages highlighted here the past few weeks are very smooth and professional looking, but of course work can be presented "badly" and reflect a certain personality or attitude. For example, I really like this dirt style page by British artist Jon Davey. Check out his photos of "réadymades," and many good links.
Oh, yes, and speaking of Claire Corey again, I redesigned the page documenting the exhibit we were in at the Aldrich in 2000 called "Ink Jet" (with Matt Chansky), adding more pictures. This groundbreaking event left press, curators, and even our fellow artists largely speechless. ("Is this good?" "We don't know." mumble mumble.)
Die Mensch Maschine, 2003, jpeg
Bush vs. Zeon Pigs. I missed the press conference, but a friend reports that GWB looked like John Gill on the original Star Trek series, "kept drugged by his Jacobin lieutenants while they recreated the Third Reich." The difference, though, was that Gill was actually a good, albeit doped up guy, who was sequestered in a locked studio and never interacted with the press, and here, from what it sounds like, the reporters had rifles pointed at them from off camera to keep them on script (with the occasional token "hard question" for credibility). This inspired a daydream where one of those gutless bastards actually stood up and said, at the beginning of the Q&A:
"Excuse me, Mr. President, but you didn't let Helen Thomas ask the first question. That's been something of a tradition here for six Presidencies, and all of us feel as a matter of protocol you should do it. Otherwise you'll get no more questions from us tonight." (Murmured assent from press corps.)
If this person wasn't immediately felled by an Ekosian bullet, the Boy Emperor would be forced to deal on camera with this unexpected revolt, and we might get to see him in a full blown alcoholic rage. The press conference would be a disaster, Bush's poll numbers would plummet, the troops would be recalled...
And then I woke up.
Last night (March 6) I attended PSYCH-OUT 2K3 at Anthology Film Archives, which was part of the New York Underground Film Festival. Here's the blurb from the organizers, followed by my notes:
BEIGE and Seth Price Collective present:
Cartoons & consumer electronics in the 70s and 80s were bigger and trashier than ever and they had freaked kids out to the point of a whole generation got A.D.D. so now they are older and freak every person else out using this same old throw-away trash shit culture mind warp reversal....MESSY. You're either with us or against us.... Never fess.
PSYCH-OUT 2K3 = one night only live performance freak out featuring live music/video by the Extreme Animalz / PAPER RAD crew, NAUTICAL ALMANAC, and LOVID
In between bands there are videos by Leif GOLDBERG and Matt BRINKMAN, Forcefield (from the archives), Devin FLYNN, MUMBLEBOY, Ray Sweeten, Andy PULS, Seth PRICE/Michael SMITH WEB INFANTILISM, Billy Grant and Joe Grillo, US Military Games and anon. Commodore n64 video HACKERZ. MTV circa 1990,
That's LoVid in my underexposed photo at the top of the post, with Kyle Lapidus standing on the right wearing a video monitor cap and Tali Hinkis, also capped, disappearing into the murk on the left. They video-projected sizzling static patterns made in real time with a sound interface that disturbs the raster scan in the guts of the TV; these minimal-but-eye-assaulting patterns towered behind them on a fifteen foot screen. Nautical Almanac and Extreme Animalz also played live, with prerecorded video accompaniment. Extreme Animalz (logo above right) is an offshoot of PAPER RAD, out of Providence RI: to get a flavor of their visual presentation, check out the dense psychedelic jungle of blinking gifs on this home page (while you're there, be sure to look at the cartoons). Nautical Almanac's video was more performance based, with the two masked artists doing eccentric body art type things (e.g., trying to climb into a cabinet wearing a leg brace) inside a ruined building at night. Think Paul McCarthy meets the Blair Witch Project. Their music, which I described here, is intense, bleeding-edge noize that synched well with the frenetic video.
In between acts a variety of short vids rolled: a lot of high-speed, insanely pigmented hallucinations, as promised, heavy on recycled/mutated kid imagery: Ronald McDonald on acid, My Little Pony in slo-mo, and some butt-awful karaoke footage. Other highlights included video art legend Michael Smith in full-on diaper mode destroying a birthday cake and blowing on a noisemaker till he got bored, an Army training film defaced with an 8-bit "PSYCH-OUT 2K3" logo (right on), and Devin Flynn's manic vision of everything in the world competing with everything else. One video really stood out, enough that I want to describe it in a separate post: a ten minute work called Assassins Ride, by Forcefield, another Providence collective which has apparently broken up recently in the (disgusted?) wake of the Whitney/Artforum/NYTimes' drive to turn them into stars. In this eerie piece, three masked figures in overcoats stand around a trash barrel fire, unmoving, while an industrial/tech score pulses. The fire flares erratically, and every so often the screen fills with glowing green light, as if some weird energy is breaking through From Beyond. The mood is hypnotic and unsettling. More later, but above is a frame I snapped off my TV at home, after I picked up a copy of the tape.
[More (or rather, better) images from this event, taken by Aya Kanai, are here.]