Thank you to The Believer Logger for posting my third iteration of the “Various Paradigms” column this afternoon! Very excited to see my piece, “The Sochi Project: Russia Through Two Lenses,” go live today in the wake of the Pussy Riots arrest Tuesday. Discussed: half naked pictures of Putin and the 51 billion dollar Sochi Winter Games, Jeff Shalett’s “What It’s Like to Be Gay In Putin’s Russia,” Rob Hornstra and Arnold Van Bruggan’s photo exhibition “The Golden Years,” at the Huis Marseille in Amsterdam and contemporary Moscow based artist Olga Chernysheva’s installation “Windows,” a meditative look at surveillance and “the heart of everyday Russia.” For the full text, click, here.
Photo of Luke Goebel by the writer’s sister, Marie Goebel.
Excited to spill the beans on a new project I’m working on over at The Believer. I’ll be writing and curating a bimonthly column for the Logger called Various Paradigms. The title is a tribute to conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner’s typographic texts. Weiner once wrote, “Bits and Pieces Put Together To Present A Semblance of A Whole.” This column hopes to follow in that tradition of engagement, intimacy and experiment. Check out this new post with writer, good friend, and co-conspirator on the page, Luke B Goebel! Thank you to Penina Roth for reuniting Luke and I amongst the readers at Franklin Park Reading Series earlier this month. Luke and I met for coffee the next day and talked about the following: The Corona Cougar portable typewriter, gaping wounds, emotional support animals, units of sound, Barry Hannah, Freudian analysts, Texas, the Breaking Bad RV, writing in the “Bounder,” and how to farm out a plane. For the full interview, click here!
Here’s a picture of our stalwart editor, Alan Ziegler, at his celebratory dinner last night. Contributor copies aren’t out till February. But you can advance order on Amazon here!
I’m honored to be reading amongst this crew tomorrow night at Franklin Park. Penina Roth has done so much to bring this continually excellent reading series to our neighborhood. It is with great thanks to her that my 2014 couldn’t start with an any more generous opening. Tomorrow night celebrates the fifth annual evening of Short Fiction. Ben Marcus will be reading from his new collection, Leaving The Sea. Good friend, Luke Goebel, will be reading from his forthcoming FC2 collection and I’m excited to hear new work from acclaimed debut short fiction author Chinelo Okparanta and new star Ryan Chang.
Doors at 8pm 618 St. Johns Place
I’m excited to have an essay up today at The Believer Logger on Kechiche’s provocative new film, Blue Is The Warmest Color. If you ever wanted to know what I think about sex as sentimental wound, here’s your chance! Also discussed: James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Nan Goldin on why Diane Arbus’s work is “all about herself,” Jeff Wall, transgression, dirty realism, Joanna Hiffernan’s netherparts, Mary Gaitskill’s protagonists’ unsatiated longings, John Cassavetes & Gena Rowlands, Barthes’ antipatriarchial “prick,” Sarah Anne Johnson’s new show Wonderlust, and the “mysterious, cunning and dreadful intensity of the very young.” Thanks so much to to the Believer’s Hayden Bennett for publishing this! Check out the full essay here.
I recently took a group of students to see
Sarah Anne Johnson’s show, Wonderlust
at Julie Saul Gallery.
We’ve been investigating
The Screen As Body; The Personal Political.
Johnson investigates intimacy by capturing couples in their own
I was most impressed by the interlocution of Johnson’s own physicality onto the photographs. She often gouges at, scratches, paints or even glitters her photographs to capture the ecstasy, self-consciousness and banality of sexuality.
Her work reminded me a bit of Stan Brakhage’s old 16 mm film work
Mothlight (1963), which he made by collecting moth wings, flower pelts and blades of grass which he pressed between two strips of 16 mm splicing tape. The assemblage was then contact printed at a lab.
Brakhage said he made Mothlight “out of a deep grief. The grief is my business in a way, but the grief was helpful in squeezing the little film out of me, that I said “these crazy moths are flying into the candelight, and burning themselves to death, and that’s what’s happening to me. I don’t have enough money to make these films, and … I’m not feeding my children properly, because of these damn films, you know. And I’m burning up here… What can I do?” I’m feeling the full horror of some kind of immolation, in a way.”
Marina Abramović. Photo Credit: Jeff Dupre/ Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films & Music Box Films
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Yugoslavian performance artist Marina Abramović and ask her a few questions about HBO’s new film Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, a documentary about her 2010 MOMA retrospective by first time director Mathew Ackers. Here’s an excerpt:
As a child Marina Abramovic’s mother told her, “I didn’t kiss you not to spoil you.” It would be easy to say that it is from this early encounter with emotional malnutrition that 65-year old Belgrade-born performance artist Marina Abramovic’s passion for performance was born. The daughter of Yugoslavian Partisans during the Second World War, Abramovic hailed from a highly disciplined home, “My mother was a major in the army, a national hero,” Abramovic recalled in a 2011 interview for the British Telegraph. “She created complete military discipline in the house […] I have enormously strong willpower, which I think is inherited.”
Please check out the full review & interview for Guernica here.
The new issue of NOON just arrived!
The issue features work by Kim Chinquee, Glynis Clews, Roxanne Gay, Brandon Hobson,
Vi Khi Nao, Ted Krinkos, Elan Lafontaine, Clancy Martin, Lincoln Michel, Greg Mulvahy, Dylan Nice, Joanna Ruocca,
Valerie Shaff, several pieces by A. L Sniders translated by Lydia Davis from the Dutch, Lauren Spohrer, Robert Tindall,
Deb Olin Unferth, James Yeh and Anya Yurchyshyn.
As well as drawings by Augusta Gross, embroideries by Karen Reimer and photography by Bill Hayward.
I have long admired the urgency and tenacity
which Diane Williams conjures
across NOON’s pages.
There is both a rigorous candor and a strident democracy
to these pieces as a whole which reflect
the generosity and dedication of NOON’s editorial vision.
It is a humble honor to have a short piece in the new issue,
in the midst of so many dear friends
and voices whom I admire.
We owe Diane Williams a great deal of thanks
for inspiring us with both her own craft and
her commitment to publishing an annual
who’s lens on the world
lifts readers from out of their seats
and leaves them suspended in
an urgent new world.
I recently saw Wim Wenders’ documentary
It reminded me of a performance piece I’d seen in Prague a number of years ago,
whose title I wish I could now remember,
about a woman who gets trapped in a circus.
Set in a visually striking, surreal landscape,
under Wenders’ 3D direction,
Pina Bausch’s choreographies take on
a vivid, visceral, and at times wonderfully comic quality
that marries the best of dance, narrative and experimental theatre.
Wenders’ documentary is staged as a picaresque,
a mixture of various 3D dance sequences which read much like mini-stories
interspersed with brief reflections / interviews
with dancers from Pina’s company over the years.
The documentary’s fragmented, anecdotal quality reminded
me of some of the nostalgic picturescapes of Roy Andersson’s film You The Living.
And too of the elegiac quality of some of
Marguerite Duras’s novels,
most notably Destroy, She Said,
with their focus on staging and the body.
I would love to know more about this incredible woman.
Well worth an afternoon.