I presented at a conference in Madrid – a city of dirt and noise. It doesn’t make sense to me, but maybe it makes sense to you.
I travelled to Portugal for the first time & fell in love with it as soon as I stepped off the airport express onto Rossio Square in Lisbon surrounded by a bright sky and small uneven cobblestones playfully hurting my feet. I will write about my love soon and with fervor. There is so much to say.
Love at first sight is the best feeling in the world, because love at first sight to me isn’t some superficial lust and desire and awe, but a beginning of becoming.
I will go back to Portugal, yes. But for now, back to Montreal, the city turning into a police state, hurting its citizens and taking apart the things that make it such a great city to live in.
Hey, you! I’m going to Paris to save my life. If you tell me, “oh how romantic… Paris” I will punch you in the mouth, OK?
It’s so boring and obfuscating to talk about Paris as a romantic city. The romantic Paris you think of, is not Paris, it is a fabricated created-by-someone-else fantasy that you believe and play into. Paris doesn’t really belong to itself anymore either, that stopped in the 70s. Most, if not all, Parisians will tell you that.
The day before my flight I am presenting at the Film Studies Association Graduate Colloquium. I am nervous as shit. My paper is scattered and more of a survey than any sort of deep insight I am used to presenting to the world. I will be judged so badly too, because I know all my peers will be there. I don’t know why I let Claudia convince me to submit an abstract (for a paper I hadn’t written no less). Probably because I didn’t think they would choose it, so I dreamed up the fantasy paper I would like to write. I guess I am really excited about my topic, “locative-media” and I possess a fair bit of knowledge about it; it just doesn’t seem to be coming out right now. I have to live with that.
In the park we talk about power and on-going circular damaging dramaturgies.
I sprawled my whole Self all over Marina Abramovic sculptures at the Pompidou. I made a scene. Only three people at a time were allowed. So it was me and my friend for about an hour because no one wanted to come in as I penetrated all her work. Everyone just looked from outside. I was shaking and sweating. It was one of those moments. She’s magic.
My friend has this beautiful single speed bike that’s all red. I want.
Went to Montparnasse Cemetery and made a weird movie about me and Simone de Beauvoir’s grave.
I found many olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette bottles at this tacky nouveau riche people’s house we were staying at for a few days outside of Paris, so I made a game out of it. Don’t you wish you and I were friends? (If you are a girl into electronic music, actually, I’d love to be friends with you. I have no girls to talk shop with and it’s so disheartening).
In Amsterdam I found the best lattes ever at Espressofabriek in Westerpark, which is undoubtedly the best part of the city, and I’m happy my friend and classmate from Digital Methods, Marc Tuters let me stay there for a week while he was away. Can’t you see how pleased I look?
I went to this fancy affordable organic resto, Proef, also in Westerpark, based on my best friend’s fiancee’s recommendation and it was amazing because it was all food I’ve had before done in a totally different way and everything came with a dip or sauce! While eating, things got quite serious with my MUJI notebook.
I bought my bike for 40 euros. It was a broken-down Peugeot that gave my thighs the workout of their life, even if Amsterdam is all flat, but I loved it all the same. Cycling and documenting.
J.O. is always fixing his shawl like a true Parisian.
Contemplating my last morning in Amsterdam after two months of creating a life there and after days of not sleeping.
Last night in the city also meant the spotting of such cuteness while walking through the Jordaan.
Near the Damrak, people don’t obey the rules, they just smoke weed, do shrooms and walk around like slimy zombies.
In Brussels Midi Station the advertising greets you this horribly.
On the sidewalk in downtown Brussels we found piles of letters from different women in France all addressed to the same man. The letters dated from 1987-1990. They were strange, romantic, desperate, familial and mundane. I wonder what happened that these letters ended up sprawled on the side of the road? I tried to make sense of them but the writing was difficult to decipher and was also in French. I want to keep them forever and write to each woman. Why was it only letters from women? From what I deciphered they all knew each other in different capacities, were different ages, and some must have been extended family. Maybe I’ll call Sophie Calle to help me.
Mitsu‘s friend McCloud Zicmuse hosted me in his wonderful house. He basically saved my life with such a giving and peaceful place to sleep for the last night of my Europe trip.
The view from Zicmuse’s place.
Goodbye Europe. À Bientôt. Maybe next time I won’t leave, ok?
I finally found a full version of McLaren’s Negatives online. WATCH HERE. A ten minute intimate documentary about his life and work by Canadian film-maker Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre from 2006. The editing and composting was done by Kara Blake! Blake and Saint-Pierre co-produced The Delian Mode, an experimental documentary about the legendary Delia Derbyshire (I’ve emailed the website twice about getting a copy to watch but no one replied to me! I need to watch it so badly).
I hated Alphaville for its blatant cinematic masturbation but then I started to love it. I want my whole life to look like that.
Transcribing and translating French poetry to work the/my language.
This is where my inspiration lies right now although it’s hard to keep standing with the heavy clouds and rain following me from Amsterdam to Paris to Amsterdam again. I don’t know how long I can take this.
Last night I sent off my first pilot interview questions to my lovely friend Vaccine, who also happens to be one of my favorite artists. She is thrilled to participate in my project.
I want to re-try some things. This is it. Waiting never works out.
View from the balcony in St.Cloud where I stayed at my friend’s house in Paris. It looked like this almost every morning for weeks.
All my photos are turning out really shit lately. I have no idea what’s wrong with my eyesight. Not to say my photography is so great to begin with but I was feeling more self-assured in finding a bit of voice, a bit of perspective and I was able to work through my ideas and materialize them more than before. WTF? Have any of you gone through this? I think it’s the stresses of needing to churn out my MA Project Proposal by the end of this week, totally obliterating any exciting time I could be spending in Paris and making me miss the first week project of my Digital Methods Advanced Class in Amsterdam.
Why am I always so slow and scattered at everything I do? Why can’t I have faith in my decisions?
Below is a photo of me posing with Marina Ambramovic at the Pompidou last week. When I walked into her room of three sculptures I started shaking and bouncing around and had to be calmed down. Being able to be part of Marina Abramovic’s energy made me crazy! I love her! She changed my life.
The Pompidou has this ridiculously amazing exhibition on right now - elles, featuring women artists. It’s not tokenistic and doesn’t feel overly pushy, like here are some women artists and what they did, rather it’s more of a weaved narrative able to work through art history without just projecting ‘giants‘. At first I was excited to be surrounded by women’s art but I’ve also been re-thinking a lot about the category ‘woman’ (because of the focus of my Project) and what the boundaries of gender even are (and should we be reinforcing any boundaries at all?), and I wonder if the Pompidou thought of it too. How do you not reinforce problematic gender boundaries by focusing on gender? Maybe this is where Donna Haraway’s ‘situated knowledges’ fits in. Fitting in Cixous’ écriture féminine also makes sense, but I’m struggling with her work much more than Kristeva’s. Kristeva shakes up your whole idea of Being, and Cixous seems a bit like a French bell hooks to me, which as much as I appreciate its influence, doesn’t really work within my thinking. BAH!
It’s been a few weeks and I’ve let my reaction to Bangface Weekender settle — J & I arrived in London Thursday morning and headed straight to Brighton to stay with Matt, Simon, Jeri and Jonnie (all who I feel in love with immediately), despite the volcanic ash fiasco. Air Canada fucked up and sold our seats so we ended up in executive first and on the subsequent plane with the lovely Teva and David, who were the only other crew coming to Bangface from Canada (as far as I know). Air Canada also lost our luggage for many days, and we didn’t get it until right before J’s set on Saturday night. The coordinator woman-at-large of Bangface, Fran, was also lovely and obliging, especially when it came to making sure we got our luggage when it finally arrived at Pontins. Everyone was so helpful in accommodating us with clothes, costumes, and other essentials, to a point where I thought I was in some fantasy land. I’m beginning to have a really skewed vision of Europe because every time I go my whole self is opened to kindess and sincerity (mostly! of course there was some internal conflict in another house we stayed in that managed to throw us in the middle of it, but we got out before any damage was done to us / unfulfilled egos are fragile).
the backyard of our chalet
From Brighton to Camber Sands, we took the Big Lemon bus, which runs on locally-sourced cooking oil. As soon as we were through the gates, happiness exploded. Bangface necessities excitement, and not just a weekend to get fucked up but an urgent desire to hear good music. And whilst most of us get totally mangled, even that pans out with respect I never encounter in Canada. You also have a kitschy yet cozy chalet to stay in with beds and a kitchen, which I decorated with a fruit platter and other assortments to make it seem quite wholesome.
The clincher at Bangface 2008 was that I was exposed to so much new music, “I got to lose myself in artists I have loved for years but never saw live, artists I knew of but had no idea they were that phenomenal, all in a small seaside town in England.” In 2010 the same happened, unexpectedly, because I knew most of the artists playing, or was not really interested. What really blew me away and what I should have prepared for was the world premiere of Urban Tribe live: KENNY DIXON JR + DJ STINGRAY+ ANTHONY ‘SHAKE’ SHAKIR all up there so serious on stage, as if this is it, this is the world ending. WTF WTF WTF, is all I kept repeating and still do.
Everyone performing at Bangface is so hungry. And we are all so hungry too, knowing how to feed ourselves and the others. Everyone puts in so much energy to be present, to give to the vibe (a guy made foam 303′s to give away). This designer girl even lent me her subtle yet Bangfaced themed green costume jumper to wear and lent J a one piece to match me for our performance! The four other performances I was really anticipating: Loops Haunt, A Guy Called Gerald, Plaid and Luke Vibert exceeded my fucking brains out. My only complaint is that the curation was not as solid this year in terms of coordinating artists. The timing was disheveled (and many agreed). Squire of Gothos following Jimmy Edgar on the Saturday night? Gah! Plaid’s futurist performance that had me convinced I was flying through space on a wing of an airplane prior to Killa Kela’s clown circus before the totally un-rave and straight-laced Orb? Orb was a mistake altogether in my opinion, dudes standing up on stage barely moving is NOT rave. I remember leaving part way through their set, being ridiculous repeating how colonial their tunes were in their use of ‘ethnic crooning vocals’ to create ambiance. If anything Luke Vibert for a tertiary performance to end it all off!
If you know me, you know I have an unabashed hard-on for vocoders, so Jimmy Edgar‘s live set should have gone on for hours. I discovered Loops Haunt in Brighton on our three day bender last year on Red’s laptop and there he was and just like that it happened. There’s always so much happening at Bangface. Seeing Scott preform live was like, yes, yes, this is how it should be. Like the Urban Tribe set, it was just so realized, even though he said it was some of him just trying out new things. I could insert some music journalist words here to describe his sounds, but not now, just listen.
A Guy Called Gerald did a live show using Reason (!), pulling out drum n bass that reminded me why drum n bass will always be my #1 love forever and ever. From beginning to end – heart thumps and footwork madness. If you know anywhere I can find videos, clips and/or MP3′s of this newest incarnation of his live performance, please send them to me! Equinox, who I’m a giant fanboy of, cos no one does amen choppage like him, except maybe his mentor Bizzy B, played a bit of a one-note set, but to his defense, he was first on and the technical shit was all still being worked on. Luke Vibert followed and pulled out the most intricate acid set I’ve seen from him (that includes jungle and all that goodness too! of course!), footwork footwork footwork! Walked in on him during his second set on Saturday, playing an oldskool garage track I had on a mixtape from 2001 in the Queen Vic room, in which he proceded to play all genres in only the way Luke Vibert knows how. Who the fuck loves to play music as much as this guy and has been around, and done all the genres so so well?
I had missed many performers (Joker, Bizzy B, Ratpack, Cooh, Murderbot, u ziq and some others) on the Saturday night preparing for my VJ set for J’s LIVE PA, which was so exciting to finally see as a whole. The Queen Vic had sweat pouring from the ceiling. Everyone was bouncing. Matt told us later he threw out his back from all the amen time stretching. Europe desires J so much, in this beautiful vulnerable way Canada never will. As for the VJ’ing, I was assured the projector and screen was set up properly and even though I went and asked three times, I should have actually tested it myself, because it was all out of focus and totally skewed. I had to play a very limited clips that could work in such circumstances. Lesson learned. After that, everything went 100% rave.
We had the most well-suited team in our chalet // Jimmy, Scott, J and I // we spent much of the Weekender together drinking Nescafe Extra Gold Instant Coffee.
At one point I took over Scott’s MacbookPro to judge him on his music taste and found a missing part of myself, a piece that I fell into but am now emotionally unable to make peace with. It came on and instantly I fell and fell and fell for three minutes and 22 seconds into the deepest well Murakami wrote about. “Rewind on that one.” I yelled from outside our chalet where I danced until I rushed back in to play it again. “Good call,” they all said. At that moment, I felt so much love. Fuck. Later the next night, everything was really intense and sharp (my heart is racing now!) I had to listen to it again. The stereo wasn’t hooked up properly and J + Scott managed to hook it up in no less than 30 minutes with full effort. “So I’m in a room with two music geniuses yet y’all cannot get a stereo hooked up to a laptop?!” And then it worked and then I found the deep well again. There was movement inside all of me, movement I hadn’t felt in a really long time. I was being opened and aired out (and yes, causing me to let it all out on the Monday early morning). I guess yeah, the song changed my life. Actually. It was the first song Warwick recorded in 1964 and the lyrics, as it usually is with these things, couldn’t have come at a better time.
Many people stopped by our chalet. Here is Jason being all serious with Dinn, pointing to his Reaktor Patch. Chrissy Murderbot also managed to keep close and cause a shit load of ruckus when HE BROUGHT HIS MOM AND PROCEEDED TO LOSE HER AT BANGFACE!! You know we’re totally making a teeshirt, “I lost my mum at Bangface.” At some point on Sunday night, so you can imagine my state at that point, Chris challenged me to a game of table hockey , but did I ever school him in how to be a winner. Despite never having played before, my Canadianness eclipsed his tenacious Americanness.
The Countryside Alliance Crew practices for their performance, including their closing anthem Super Sheep Shearer, a very very special rendition of Super Sharp Shooter.
Wassim, of Centrifuge Agency, one of my new heros, has already retired from academia as a post-doc at 29, fed us balloons and took us to the beach.
Camber Sands is a typical gaudy seaside town in England where most houses have crocheted curtains, fitting the festival of RAVE so well.
You cannot see the giant sandstorm that scratched our eyes out in this serene photograph though.
coda: Just like in 2008, I cried so much when it was all over. It was so perfect, so musical, so giving, and I was able to be more outgoing and not just hide on the dancefloor or in my room. J said he noticed such a difference in me, an openness that seldom comes out. Usually, in new situations I retreat and my actions are perceived as bitchiness but they’re just social anxiety, fear of loss and misanthropy really. The inspiration this time was different, it was concrete, it was like, hello Magda, you are doing shit so don’t stop, don’t be so insecure, and just do it, you know you have to. Until 2011. Bangface is the best thing that could ever happen to life. Everyone I talk to agree. Did you go?