In June 2009, Jane Korman with her kids and her holocaust survivor dad travelled to Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany to retrace her parents’ past including Oświęcim (Auschwitz). Jane says:
The installation Dancing Auschwitz, stemmed from my desire to create artwork that conveys a fresh interpretation of historical memory. This way, the lessons of the past will not be forgotten.
Dancing Auschwitz comprises a large photographic image together with three video pieces: a contemporary performance dance, an old video footage of a dance, and a documentary. The contemporary dance and documentary video were filmed during our recent family trip, while the old video footage is from a family home movie from my childhood.
The contemporary dance video portrays the family, comprising three generations, improvising an awkward dance to the pop song ‘I will survive.’(Gloria Gaynor, 1978) This was performed at numerous historically traumatic sites from my parents’ past. The dance expresses an attempt at celebrating life, but also evokes absence, loss and mourning.
I can’t believe people are all offended over this. This reminded me of my beloved grandpa and so many members of my family that refused to talk about the war and now they are dead and their stories are dead and that’s it. What the fuck? How amazing is it that Korman’s dad was able to go back and DANCE. To me, this is a way to re-articulate an experience you had with joy and reclaim a place of struggle to belong to you and own it, not be owned by it.
Sara U is this force in my life I cannot imagine doing my grad studies without. We were the only two peeps in my program that had ‘food culture’ related concerns. But, I thought she was mainstream and she thought I was ‘one of those girls’ that cares too much about fashion. We were both displeased (with our superficial judgements). Except when we finally met second semester, we became instantly connected and now we’re totally the ambiguously gay duo but not really. The other day Sara was in yoga and they had to think of their hero and she thought of me! Ha! Another point: one of our profs actually called me Sara the other day.
She writes me amazing emails like this because she’s obsessed with finding out my ‘real’ age:
妹妹： English Pronunciation ‘Mei Mei’
Definition: Younger Sister
姐姐： English Pronunciation ‘Jie Jie’
Definition: Older Sister
I can teach you the tones when I see you in person. You can call me ‘jie jie’ and I will call you ‘Mei mei.’ In many cultures, age matters. An example: In Japan and Korea you must bow to your elder friends when you see them. I think you should start bowing to me as well.
In the native american culture (I know Im being extremely essentialist but just stay with me for humour sake), they believe that elders can teach them everything. I will teach you all you need to know.
Ok mei mei, I’m off to write my essay and go for dinner.
Toutes portes ouvertes
En plein courant d’air
Je suis une maison vide
Sans toi, sans toi.
Comme une île déserte
Que recouvre la mer
Mes plages se devident
Sans toi, sans toi.
Belle, en pure perte
Nue au coeur de l’hiver
Je suis un corps avide
Sans toi, sans toi.
Rongée par le cafard
Morte, au cercueil de verre
Je me couvre de rides
Sans toi, sans toi.
Et si tu viens trop tard
On m’ aura mise en terre
Seule, laide et livide
Sans toi, sans toi,
^ ^ ^
I want to stick white fluffy stuff all over my walls and pretend it is clouds. Then I want to build boats and make people out of all of my love. All the love I have, I want to just expel into making a small village of little people that will swim in a boat from cloud to cloud on my wall. I watched ‘The Science of Sleep’ and it made think of this, plus I need to let out some of this stuff in my heart.
I remember not just feeling but knowing with all of me, it was inevitable that 2009 was going to be great, and it was. I fell in love with myself, other people, my world, everything. All that stuff that I’m constantly reading about in books was happening to me.
I don’t have internet at my house at the moment so all I do is check my email and Twitter obsessively on my blackberry and all I really want is to blog. Today I’m in East York to use the internet and watch Jersey Shore on MTV. Last night we went out to a hip-hop night my friend was involved with and it was awful. The MC, My Man Henri, who just threw some words into the mic here and there stood in the middle of the stage typing on his blackberry. The other DJ, DJ Grouch was also on his blackberry between mixing records. It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. There was another DJ on, DJ Dopey and at least he was doing his part, but the two of them just stood up there not giving a shit, being so disrespectful to the music. The music seemed like such an afterthought, just throw a new song onto Serato and go. I’m not saying I love music more than anyone else, but I take music very seriously, even when music is fun and silly, to me there needs to be an undercurrent of blood in it, in some way. That’s the way I’ve always felt and that’s what moves me. That’s what I need. Gah! I can’t seem to express anything I think anymore. Grad school. I saw a lot of great art in New York last week. Ok. Let’s just make a list instead. Ok!
january // applying to grad school & ripping my hairs out. Downhearted.
february // applying to grad school & feeling it
march // waiting for results
april // Getting acceptances! Preparing for Sensoria v6 with Instra:mental
may // Threw my most successful and fulfilling party ever with Instra:mental on May 9. Made friends with Al. Cried for two days after. Went to Warsaw a few days after to take care of family stuff that didn’t end up getting resolved. Stayed in a farm in Oburki, on the outskirts of Warsaw with my mom’s old love’s brother, Jurek, and his two giant dogs. Jurek showed me a passage from his novel in which one character describes how much she loves dancing to drum n bass and what it does to her body. Got drunk at a party with Polish film & literary crew. The love they had for each other made me sad that I’ll never have that type of camaraderie with anyone. I thought a lot about the lack of explicit struggle most of us in Toronto have and how it is struggle those artists had, that made them stand by each other through death, AA, mental hospitals, break-ups and break-downs.
june // My new friend from France moves in with Steve and I, he becomes my bike buddy. Decide I want to go to Europe for the summer and go wooff. New friend helps me choose two great farms on the north west coast. I tell my job of almost four years I am quitting to travel and go back to grad school. This month is really intense.
july // Canada Day is always the best “holiday” of the year. Always so good to me.I wonder if this is just to let me know how Canadian I really am.On the 15th is my last day of work and everyone is bawling. Lots of lay offs happened prior to me leaving so the family is closer than ever. I am treated like a princess. I cry and cry as I leave the building. My parting gift is a kalimba! Poutine at Poutini with Chip and Maya is my last meal. That evening I get on a flight to London. The 17th is Club Autonomic at Fabric. I last till 6am dancing my body out sober. I can’t stop. dBridge makes me feel welcome when I get ridiculously shy. London this time around is perfect. J and I split up, stays in England working on his album while I go organic farm. In France, I am having epiphanies. Over and Over again. Everything good that can exist is happening to me, all at once. I meet people, people that I never get to meet in Toronto. People so ready, so willing, so open. Maybe because I was all those things and it’s difficult to be so in your hometown?
august // More Europe. I miss Miranda July’s sculptures at the Venice Biennale. J and I meet up in Venice. Venice is better when you can reference your experience after the fact. Venice is also impossible to get to by train from Avignon and after four change-overs, train delays and missed connections I made it to the tourist hell zone that is downtown Venice. We made do by leaving those areas and finding our own Venice, because that is all you can do with the city it seems. While in Kefalonia, Greece I make J a birthday meal in from vegetables picked from the backyard garden, pasta brought over from Bari in Italy, wine brought over from Penestin in France and feta and oil from the region. Brighton is the best few days of my life. I still yearn for it.
september // Back to Toronto. All the love starts pouring out. Grad school starts. My bestie and roomie4life Steve leaves for France.
october // I dye my hair bright copper. Break downs start. Poutine over & over. Inspiration. So much desire for output. Make first short film.
november // Everything is turning in and out. School is leaving me totally alienated from the world and I’m enjoying it. My bike buddy & I bike across the city and back to Leslie Spit for my birthday and we spot a woodpecker and eat grilled cheese at the Leslieville Cheese Boutique. Grilled cheese is one of my favorite foods of all time.
december // Biking in December for the first time with my bike buddy’s aid. We go see In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni by Guy Debord at the Cinematheque. Debord’s bleakness and righteousness is exactly what I am looking for right now. The day the semester ends I’m off to NYC. From the aiport we drop off our things at J’s brother’s place in Brooklyn and head over to Santos Party House to see Falty DL, Mike Slott and Hudson Mohawke, one of the best DJ performers I’ve ever seen. Girl gets testy and pushes my $10 drink. I for once keep my cool and she can’t stand it. We stay at Mitsu‘s warehouse loft in the Bronx. We see art and more art and more art (Georgia O’Keeffe and Cindy Sherman and Marina Abramović). I have my most successful shopping day ever in the East Village. I get back to Toronto two days before new years.
I have no idea what I want to do in 2010. I’m usually so determined. Always with a plan. Always with a map. Now … No idea other than just to output more and more and not care if people think my work or experiments are trite or silly. Grad school is one of the best things I’ve decided to pursue.
I wish people would be honest in how they feel about me instead of keeping it inside and pretending. Don’t do me any favours, I really don’t care.
You: have a nice day
Me: You too
Me: Have a nice day
Me: And me
You: and you
This is Dalida. She is a goddess, but really an Egyptian-born French singer. Three of her lovers committed suicide after being with her. I took her photo from all angles, especially to showcase her hair. It reminds me of mine. It reminds me of the story of Samson and his locks. I am pretending to be between them right now. Saul Williams in a poem, This Type of Love says: “…I want a love that makes me want to cut off all my hair. Well maybe not all of the hair, maybe like I’d cut the split ends and trim the mustache but it would still be a symbol of how strong my love is for her.” Yes! I say this so much as an extension of my love! I am so fervent about my long hair. It’s everywhere. Playtime!