I’m sort of writing my thesis inside out. Although it’ll ultimately be about art history, I’m thinking about it in terms of schools of thoughts, all the while assured that there are artists that exist out there to justify my points.
Branching off my last post , an article about the technological sublime, I’ve started trying to think about Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror and the relationship between disembodied experiences online and the abject, particularly focusing on the assumed moment of reconciliation between two separately played subjectivities. It is this moment that I am trying to think about as the technological sublime, a moment that, for me, helps explain George Batailles’ understanding of the abject as sacred (and necessary).
I’ve been reading a lot of the scholarship chronologically so I haven’t been able to write or read much about any of this explicitly, so instead I’ve compiled and edited notes I’ve left on the end of various Word docs throughout the week. I also included notes I wrote down after already starting this list, which are mostly about links from FB. Much of it has little to do with anything I’m reading.
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1 I’ve been reading about Bob Flanagan His performance Visiting Hours1 still overwhelms me to think about. I can’t imagine seeing death so intimately in such an aestheticized space; I imagine it would feel as if I was in the room with the devil, but he’s the sweetest creature I’ve ever met. I’d also never seriously considered SM (at least as an actual sexual practice) before seeing pics of the piece (and then subsequently watching his kinda-nsfw NIN vid and Nanzig’s def-nsfw [site no longer live] vid), but I couldn’t help but think about the abjection one must feel2 in living while terminally ill. Or at the least the disassociation one might feel from their body and the uncanniness of shifting between those perceptions.
2 It’s strange how different it would be to stand inside a computer3 and play with its insides.4 I imagine dropping it would feel a lot more significant.
3 Karl Lagerfeld built a Boulevard Chanel inside the Grand Palais and sent celebrity models down it in a bizarre reenactment of the May 1968 protests.5 Reminded me of other acts of politicism in fashion like Walter van Beirendonck’s aw14 headdresses and Rick Owen’s ss14 step team. Felt particularly ridiculous/ clickhole worthy to me, and Karl leading the protest felt a little fascist tbh.
4 Speaking of clickhole, my friend sent me their anaconda parody vid about anacondas and it was kinda funny. I love the idea of having a site that’s comedic aesthetic is being shitty. Also like the idea of clickhole being a producer of tons of weird videos through which I can learn about pop-music-depth science stuff (like ovoviviparity, cloacas, and the occasional breeding ball).
5 On FB today a girl invited me to play Candy Crush Saga. She went to my high school but I haven’t really seen her since she graduated. We used to be really good friends and we’d go to bonfires at her tiny house in the woods and walk down her gravel road as far as we could until one by one we’d run back to the fire terrified. Another girl invited me to play today too. I’ve admired her work for a few years and saw her at an opening once or twice over the summer but I never said hi.
6 Laverne Cox spoke at my school earlier this week. It was cool to see a trans woman be such a movie star.
7 I’ve been dating a boy in the city that I met over the summer. I can’t always remember6
8 Sometimes when I’m reading good articles online I can ride an orgasms for pages and pages.
9 This album transports me somewhere7 between Daft Punk’s Tron and Mica Levi’s Under the Skin.
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1 A press release from the 1994 installation at the New Museum reads: “Now in his early 40’s and one of the oldest survivors of cystic fibrosis, Flangan at a young age discovered a way to derive pleasure from a life experience shaped by pain, embracing an extreme masochism”. The artist/writer/activist, in collaboration with his partner Sheree Rose, created a medical clinic in which he resided for two months. The installation juxtaposed Flangan’s dying body with an anatomical doll that dripped mucus and sperm, his hospital bed with a baby’s crib, medical equipment with sex toys, childhood cartoons with bondage scenes, discipline with subversion.Visitors sat at the artist’s bedside, sharing stories of illness, transcendence, and pain, sharing tears and empathy, sharing love and revulsion, sharing confusion and clarity. Periodically throughout the day Sheree Rose would hoist her partner’s feeble frame towards the ceiling by his ankles, his naked, tortured body an inverted Christ ascending to heaven.
2 Once one’s truly aware that they’re dying then what separates their vessel of a body from the fluids it excretes. Blood pulled from veins; mucus filling the lungs, the pancreas; cum brewing inside. It’ll all merge together as the body decays, leaving a desire to break the skin’s illusion, to pierce the flesh. Masochistic performance may stem from some sort of exhibitionism, but it also monumentalizes the living-abject, the contagion which is forced to live in shame among us, the pain we’re too afraid to touch or feel out of legitimate fear that we’ll find it in ourselves.
3I already sort of think of my laptop as a room. Things exist in it and I get them without realizing the extent of the technology that allows them to seem so tangible. I think of its hardware like I imagine the ancient Egyptian’s thought of the brain. Strange and opaque, it’s absurd to think that there’s anything more in a movement of the mouse then the movement of my finger across the touchpad.
4 Standing inside a computer would make its dinky little screen feel like an analog visual synthesizer, its magical display the direct effect of a much greater effort. It would be cool to have a room that was at once a computer and a display both; a landscape that would glitch and morph as you played with its circuitry.
5 It’s frightening how often my boredom leads to an affirmation of things I don’t believe in. My bored self, with which I am so familiar, is so willing to consume atrocities and mundane idiocies, indifferently, willfully. I should open an incognito window whenever I watch the wave of Facebook stream by. I’m disgusted to think that in the eyes of the internet this part of me is so much of who I am
6A mere emanation; the smell that lingers, his back, covered in the pink lines of his white sheets and pillows, the Vines we watched together, the streetlights of Little Italy, his smell.It all frustrates and excites me, and as it gets more abstract, as our time together gets increasingly fuzzy, compressed into a single moment of disparate images, I become comfortable in the persistence of the feeling.___
“A paradox: the same century invented History and Photography.
7 Been listening to this and the new Flying Lotus album a ton lately. I swear some music makes me so eager to learn on such a neurological level. I feel my brain straining to expand outward (and inward) inside my skull.