Language is a Skin, 2014
with Roland Barthes
Julie Ruin – Stay Monkey
The Exposures – Collage of Digital Passion
Usher – Let it Burn (Maths Time Joy Rework)
Cassius – Feeling for You
CocoRosie – By Your Side
Kofi – Didn’t I
The Avalanches – Two Hearts in 3/4 Time
Francoise Hardy – Le Temps de L’amour
Dntel Feat. Mia Del Todd – Anywhere, Anyone
FaltyDL – Meta-Cognist
Sconeboy – loop
Donald Byrd and 125th St Band – Love Has Come Around
The Love Joys – I Belong to you
Rucyl – Heart Awake
DJ Nate – You’re Gonna Love Me
dBridge – Wonder Where
Digital – Ras ’78
Yoko Ono – Remember Love
“Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something. If this seems so clearly the case with grief, it is only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact.” -Judith Butler
I have notebooks of desire sealed up in cardboard boxes instead of under my pillows like children’s stories. I have pieces of paper torn between magazines and books and beds across countries. I take screen shots of your messages in case I lose them. Who are you anyway? I make up a man from many men, because there’s no man for me. Acupuncture has inadvertently made me stop smoking. The thought images compound when I try to ‘clear’ my mind, laying on my back unable to move as the needles will tug at my wrist muscles with a sensation that my hands could rip off my arms at any moment. So I avoid that. That used to be smoking. Sitting smoking scribing. But the notebooks are sealed up now, the Mexican cigarette boxes fallen behind my clothes, and there’s nothing to write about.
A selection of first tweets by my friends whose Twitter feed I read regularly because I find internet histories fascinating.
When NoMorePotlucks contacted me about doing an interview with Danielle Peers and Lindsay Eales for the PERFORM issue, I was elated to explore the performative and theoretical layers of their Crippin the Crutch: Body Tools in Motion performance that debuted in its current form at the Differential Mobilities Conference in Spring 2013 in Montreal.
Using theories of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, whom Eales and Peers firmly state are disability scholars, as well as Robert McRuer, author of Crip Theory (2006), Crippin the Crutch is a choreographed articulation of the complex relations between tools, our own subjectivities, our bodies, and those of others. Those relations constitute the way mobility is enacted personally, politically, and socially. Eales and Peers question how tools of mobility are read, and foreground the insidious ideology that marks these tools as objects to “achieve independence,” which they read as “enacting a passable performance of compulsory able-bodiedness.” Eales and Peers’s theorization of tools posits that anything can be a tool – a wheelchair, a person or a community. The tools must strive, however, to be in an ethical relation with each other, the environment and the people in that relation. I learn that this is part of a larger ethics that Lindsay calls “care sharing.” Care sharing is a state of being that not only acknowledges a constant symbiotic interdependence between all beings but also honors the sharing of care.
On a sunny Sunday morning, I Skype’d with the couple at length about Crippin’ the Crutch, performance, performativity and the potential of exploding the reductive and oppressive ideologies of compulsory able-bodiedness, and how they strive to do that in their quotidian, artistic, activist, and scholarly collaborations. Any ideological framing wants to preclude play and that’s exactly what Eales and Peers do, they play and crip these signifiers towards a more ethical, radical, and explosive understanding of disability.
Read the interview on NOMOREPOTLUCKS.
Everyone seems to do these so here is mine: “The End of Silk Road”, the piece of media that wholly sums up contemporary culture, existence, us, and 2013.
I do a lot of event photography I never post up on my personal site, even though it is something I enjoy and have been doing for a long time.
Part of my duties at my supervisor’s Mobile Media Lab is to take photos of events, people & important stuff. This past spring I was lucky to photograph the Differential Mobilities Conference and capture its unyielding vivacious spirit. Here are some of my favorite shots:
It’s my birthday on November 16.
This birthday—nothing makes sense, smashed to bits, devastated, whatever — but there will be a party! There’s always a #dancecats party with me around.
Maybe I don’t deserve an uncomplicated life listening to J Dilla with a husband collaborator academic artist, children, cats & matching bicycles. Or maybe it’s because those who want me I’ve outlived? That’s probably why I haven’t written anything interesting in this blog other than academic updates in so long. But am I doing a clever job covering up the pain? does it seem like I’m getting shit done? Because I don’t feel it at all. But maybe you read my memory project and read things like this:
Longing for our fumbling fingers the first time our hands met each other.
Mexico, te extraño mucho de menos. Muestra señales de vida, querida.
Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 103809024 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 261900 bytes) in /nfs/c02/h08/mnt/20797/domains/raisecain.net/html/ndxzstudio/common.php on line 304
I watch him sleep between the layers of white bed sheets and trace the world on his exposed shoulders down to his left arm up to mine. It is all I can do as goodbye.
He walks in with a careful step. His hug envelopes me completely. First it’s the ribs, then the arms, then the face. “My M—, oh, you need some energy.”
His girlfriend nods in agreement.
I can feel his fingers over my emaciated flesh as they push between my ribs.
“You look sickly, I am worried.”
I think I should be but I’m not. I stand proud with bags holding up my eyes.
I stood still in the rain waiting for him. A wounded brightness among his doubt.
Affections turned into experiences.
But, for real, are you out there G-d? Can I just have some peace? A little bit? Like even for a year or two? Just slow & steady happiness? I was putting in so much effort. Why did no one warn me that it was in all the wrong ways? I’m learning, I’m learning, I scream, but I’m reminded I’ve outlived the efforts.
I’m the most productive when in love and having sex all the time. Everything comes easy. I don’t need much sleep. I wake up happy & ready. My mind is sharp & my eyes are clear.
Since I can’t have what I really want, bring me poems. I just want poetry, poems, poems, never ending poetry for my birthday. I want Erica Jong, Anne Sexton, Warsan Shire, Wislawa Szymborska, George Eliot Clark, Mary Oliver, Czesław Miłosz, Rumi, Hafiz, Adrienne Rich, Anne Boyer, Margaret Atwood, Sara Teasdale, Keats, Saul Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Sanyu Kisaka, Sharon Olds, bell hooks, new poets, new poems, your poems, your words … give me the words of all the pain and desire in the world and let me live.
PS. This is my work lately…
(Why) do we care about sharpness and quality? (2013)
Save for Web “0″ quality, 15 times.
JPG | 10.73K | 3 sec @56.6Kbps
I am pleased to be one of the curator’s for In Media Res’s Vine and the Short Form Video week.
The 400 word blog post came out of some of the ideas Will Lockett & I had during the planning stages for our short paper for AOIR last winter. We decided to go into a different direction but I’m really excited about the potential of some of the ideas about embodiment, aesthetics and mobile phone practices raised by the blog post. 1
I was also able to coerce a good friend of mine, a PhD student in Film no less, Dominic Leppla to try Vine for the first time.
by Magdalena Olszanowski and Will Lockett
To better understand the creative capabilities of Vine’s limitations, we analyze its formal elements. The interface centers on a timeline: the video recording begins as the user touches the screen of their mobile device, and the recording takes place only so long as they’re touching the screen. Given this touch-and-hold interface, there’s no post-production editing: edits can be made by letting go of the touch before the end of the six seconds, framing a new shot, and then touching again to capture the next image in the montage.
One of the main reasons for Vine’s success is that its specific mode of video content production allows for, both, the appropriation of aesthetic tendencies, such as the GIF, and the distancing from other contemporary aesthetic tendencies, such as the faux vintage aesthetics of Instagram and Hipstamatic.
Vine’s developers insistently dissociate themselves from these apps:
Old things are beautiful, but new things should look, well… new. That’s why Vine doesn’t have a play button. It also doesn’t have a pause button, a timeline scrubber, a blinking red light, or dials and a brushed-metal finish to give you the impression that you’re using a dusty video camera. There’s only one nod to traditional filmmaking—the create button, which is an abstracted video camera. (vine.co/blog)
This description can be nuanced in two ways. First, Vine does have a play button; it’s simply the entire screen: Vine is relying on the user’s habituation to the touch screen interface to pare down the number of icons and avoid the simulation of an antique UI. Second, although apps such as 8mm (2010) and Cinemagram (2012) tried to use the faux vintage in order to popularize moving image mobile-social-networks—and Vine is perhaps wise to dissociate itself from these products—Vine is in fact relying on similar processes of appropriation to drive the development of new forms of individualized creative practice.
In other words, we’re arguing that, although Vine doesn’t use the faux vintage to do so, the basic parameters on Vine still allow users to tap into aesthetic attributes that are specific to preexisting image production technologies: particularly looping GIF animations, the jump cut, and framing tropes specific to the embodied practices of mobile image production. The former two appropriations are related to moving image technologies writ large, whereas the latter are common to mobile-device image production. These formal elements of Vine can be tied to the need to create an information-rich creative 6 second video loop within a system of constraints.
I was asked to be part of this fantastic panel for National Communication Association (NCA) at the end of the month.
Legal, Ethical and Technical Challenges in the Evolving Online and Mobile Visual Paradigm
Sponsor: Visual Communication Division
Chair: Leslie-Jean Thornton, Arizona State University
Respondent: Tori Ekstrand, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Author, Magdalena Olszanowski, Concordia University
Instagram is a free, what I term, IB-MSN (image-based mobile social network), centered on personal user-uploaded photographic content with strict rules about its uploaded content, (i.e., “You may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content via the Service)” (http://instagram.com/legal/terms/). Like most censorship laws, the visual expression of sexuality and identity is conflated with violence and hate, reinforcing a reductive view of nudity as pornographic, and therefore inappropriate, unlawful, unethical and needing to be controlled. I argue that, despite Instagram’s content policies, users are finding creative strategies to maintain their imaging practices and circumvent censorship. Specifically, I focus on women and their feminist self-imagining artistic practices that include the body, often in nude or, what Instagram would signify in ‘sexually suggestive ways’ that employ certain technical and aesthetic strategies. These strategies include, but are not limited to, privatizing accounts, using photographic techniques to abstract the body and its parts, nuancing sexuality, but also taking the risk to create artistic nudes and dismiss the guidelines in favor of artistic communication. As such I ask, what are the effects of Instagram’s content management policies on feminist self-imagining practices? I historicize these practices within the lineage of 60s and 70s feminist body art that relied on breaking the boundaries of social and legal policies of what was ideologically acceptable as art. Specifically, I look to work of Carolee Schneemann and Hannah Wilke whose work was often dismissed because of its sexual content (Jones, 2006). Using a mobile methods approach, I conduct interviews with five popular female Instagram users about their: 1) practice; 2) precarious position of posting nude images; 3) strategies for artistic intent; and 4) sharing of work on such a closed controlled IB-MSN. In part, I will also engage in a discourse analysis of their photos and its content and context, including hashtags used, captions, and so on. Finally, I question the ideological subjectivity of the Instagram nudity clause considering its pejorative rhetoric of: “keep your clothes on” (http://help.instagram.com/477434105621119/) that is resonant of commentary towards many feminist body artists.
mid-15c., “communication to and fro,” from Old French entrecours ”exchange, commerce,” from Late Latin intercursus ”a running between, intervention,” from intercursus, past participle ofintercurrere ”to run between,” from Latin inter- ”between” (see inter-) + currere ”to run” (see current (adj.)). Meaning “sexual relations” first recorded 1798, from earlier sense “social contact and relations” (1540s).
1. connection or dealings between persons or groups
2. exchange especially of thoughts or feelings : communion
3. physical sexual contact between individuals that involves the genitalia of at least one person
I feel like this blog has just become an update receptacle and even then I don’t keep up, like the news of Part I of my interactive documentary, microfemininewarfare: exploring women’s space in electronic music being screened at ElectroFringe Fest in Australia last week. Last week, however, I was in New York being too much while chasing memories, tattoos, love & blue eyes. But also being a serious productive cat with meetings and potentials.
I’m having thematically recurring dreams in which a medley of my (ex)lovers come in and out of various situations. Every night is a different mix with different expectations. I’m also having dreams about Chiapas almost every night, still. Everything sticks to me like that. Is there a way to just have sex all the time? Like with breathing—you do other stuff but you have to keep breathing but then sometimes you take time to focus on breathing and find your body’s orientation. Could not the same be of intercourse? You just do it all the time while living life and then some of the time you focus on each other’s bodies completely?
2013 has been all about waiting. Is waiting synonymous with patience? I don’t know. I didn’t even realize that my snail tattoo is also part of that theme. Of course it is, yes, all of it. Sanyu told me something I’ll never forget: “When he is ready, if you wait, he will come back.”
Here is something better from Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse:
The lover’s discourse is of an extreme solitude
attente / waiting— Tumult of anxiety provoked by waiting for the loved being, subject to trivial delays (rendezvous, letters, calls, returns)
Am I in love? –yes, since I am waiting. The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn’t wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game. Whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover’s fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits.
Waiting is an enchantment: I have received orders not to move. Waiting is woven out of tiny unavowable interdictions to infinity.
Ever since I took part in a month-long intensive course in Chiapas with the Hemispheric Institute this summer, I cannot stop thinking about femicide, the gendered killing of women because they are women. Being concerned with violence, and violence against women is not a new thing for me—my personal history would never allow anything but. But… this has provided me with a new way and a new language in thinking about the gendered violence politic. Being exposed to the notion of femicide has also given me a strength to pursue some feminist issues in my art and scholarly practice I did not think were relevant, worthy or of import. I recognize that the brutal killing of women takes place everywhere and has been happening since the beginning of time, but I am interested in the particular case study of Juarez and why it was in the 90s that the concept of femicide came about.
I just finished reading:
The Femicide Machine
Sergio González Rodríguez
The Femicide Machine is a short, sharp, and dense contextualization of femicide in Mexico framed within neoliberal policies of Latin America and the USA, by novelist, journalist, political force, and PhD Candidate Sergio González Rodríguez who began his femicide investigations in Ciudad Juárez in 1996.
A 5521 kilometer-long open wound the salty ocean won’t let scar
“Wild tongues can’t be tamed, they can only be cut out” —Gloria Anzaldúa
My Top 3 #lastfm Artists: Julianna Barwick (35), Slow Dancing Society (28) & Lubomyr Melnyk (19)
Your art/work is what makes me hold on & admire you. I’m in awe of the chance of experiencing the vast unknown w/in your work —with you.
Olfactory memory, how your tentacles suffocate me so tender
Brazilian jazz you make my love my body —Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Astrud Gilberto …
Staying home to read poetry. Staying home to learn new words to love you with.
Chile’s made some great poets—Pablo Neruda: “As if you were on fire from within. / The moon lives in the lining of your skin.”
London, chasing light with you has been a pleasure / The moments our speeds cross paths I burst with energy & love for you with me.
My Top 3 #lastfm Artists: Lubomyr Melnyk (24), Slow Dancing Society (21) & Austra (21)
i’m eating a squash/spinach salad & drinking a gluten free beer I snuck in at the club in Brixton while everyone dances to drum’n'bass in Brixton
The sun bouncing around the English countryside & through my train window, hello there
“We are each other’s orientation devices. We self-alienate in relating by recognizing the other as both that which grabs us and that which turns us away and into the world.”
Lancaster, your tender sunset & wind out my window are so lovely. Thank you.
Attempts at sleep with music on headphones when not having slept for a really long time always imparts amorous beguiling images.
Love as responsibility towards the Other.
Where is my Colonel Sanders & his magic of “Abbreviating Sensory Processing of Continuos Information” ?