“All art is political”

The first encounter with his work was back in 2008 at the Mission of Chile to the United Nations at meetings I attended there. “A Logo for America”, a flag of the United States made up of lightbulbs turning on and off and flashing the words “this is not America” within the american flag, displayed like a mantra in Times Square in New York. A few years after I saw “A Logo for America”, it flashed up again at midnight one night in August 2014. I started following Jaar ever since, impressed by his ethic and his aphorisms: “All art is political”, ”All art has a critical dimension; when it doesn’t, it’s decoration”.

Jaar, more than just an artist is a dedicated activist for human rights. One of his more political and conceptual installations is the “Rwanda Project”, first exhibited in New York City in 1998. The project took place during the period of 1994-2000. This work of art evokes the place and the specificity of the deaths in the Rwanda Genocide, like the establishing shots of contemporary landscapes in Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah. It shows how the genocide occurred and how bodies flowed down rivers. It’s a representation of an ethical and aesthetic project with a very strong emotional charge. The text tells that over a five month period in 1994, more than one million Rwandans, mostly members of the Tutsi minority, were systematically slaughtered as the world closed its eyes to genocide”. This is how the exhibition begins. The text concludes by emphasizing the strong impression made upon the artist by the eyes of this witness, “the eyes of Guetete Emerita”. “Rwanda Project” wanted to create a volume that represented approximately one million slides, in reference to the one million dead in Rwanda. If Jaar’s 35 mm slides were made into a film it would be over 11 hours long.

But the most provocative and memorable work Alfredo Jaar has produced, is the first part of “The Sound of Silence” in 1995. An installation focusing on the life of the South African photojournalist Kevin Carter, a story about an individual photograph and its impact, and also a story about representation and its unequal effects. An astonishingly moving work on all sorts of levels. The New York Times art’s critic said: “using human tragedy as an artistic readymade has definite pros and cons. Relevance is usually guaranteed; the heartstrings are likely to be pulled” , Jaar’s work raises questions about the relationship between photography and representation; between the medium and its political implications. In a context where reality television shows and web-casting purport to democratize the means of representation. Jaar’s practice is a reminder of the growing gulf between actual representation and its fake imitations.

But the artist’s work involves much more than installations. Rather than showing in museums, his public interventions happen in more political and socially engaged contexts. They involve communities, work with other artists in collaborations, such as in Catia, Venezuela. In Catia, the poorest area of the city of Caracas, an area of the city where there are no cultural institutions his camera became a tool to show a reality. He created a protect called “Camera Lucida” in this impoverished neighborhood where he distributed 1,000 disposable cameras and went to thirty-seven different local institutions, like hospitals and schools to distribute the cameras and explain the project that would later become an exhibition of the photos.

Another social and educational project of Jaar’s took place in Finland where he worked with philosophers and intellectuals and put on show their letters all over Helsinki, with ideas about the brilliant educational system employed there.

After studying few of Jaar’s work, I wondered, what are the boundaries between social interventions and art? And as Jaar himself said one time when he quoted Jean Luc Godard: “It might be true that you have to choose between ethics and aesthetics. But it is also true that whichever one you choose, you will always find the other one at the end of the road. Because the definition of the human condition is in the mise en scène itself ” and then added “I don’t see any difference between ethics and aesthetics, I believe everything we do is political”.

Image by photojournalist Kevin Carter
*This is an essay I wrote for the European Graduate School admission.

who knows if the moon’s a balloon

who knows if the moon’s
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky–filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited,where

always
it’s
Spring)and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves

E.E.Cummings

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Rilke

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
Letters To  A Young Poet -Rainer Maria Rilke

hopper4.3Excursion Into Philosophy by Edward Hopper

Foucault – !

La conveniencia de las actitudes esquiva los cuerpos,

la decencia de las palabras blanquea los discursos”.

de su libro: “La Historia de la Sexualidad”.

 

“The rest had only to remain vague; proper demeanor avoided contact with other bodies,

and verbal decency sanitized one’s speech”.

from: “The History of Sexuality”.

PAUL KLEE “SEPARATION IN THE EVENING”
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for us there is only the trying.

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholy new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate – but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

T.S. Eliot

Art: Galatea of the Spheres. Salvador Dalí
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today is T S ELLIOT

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

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Play the game *****

PLAY THE GAME.
Endanger your work even more.
Don’t be the top dog.
Seek out the face-off.
But be unmindful.
Have no thoughts in back of your head.
Keen nothing secret.
Be soft and strong.
Be sly, enter the fray but hate to win.
Don’t observe, don’t test, but be ready for signs.
Tremble, quake, shatter, heal.
Show your eyes, wave the others on into the depths,
care for spaces and behold each one in their own picture.
Act only with enthusiasm.
Fail with ease.
First of all, take time and the long way round.
Be addle-brained.
Go on a holiday as it were.
Overhear no tree and no water.
Enter where it pleases your heart and treat yourself to the sun.
Forget your kinfolk, strengthen the strangers, spaces,
a hoot for the tragedy,
spit on misfortune,
laugh conflicts to smithereens.
MOVE IN YOUR OWN COLORS.
until you are in the right
and the leaves’ rustling turns sweet.
Walk about the villages.
I will follow you. –

from: “Passe par les villages”

Peter Hanke

 

Image by Efy Tal
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comporta

“I have stretched ropes from bell-tower to bell-tower;

garlands from window to window;

chains of gold from star to star,

and I dance.”

Rimbaud

henri- italyImage: Italy- Henri Cartier Bresson

Maya

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me”.

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My Gift To You—–Te regalaré un abismo

My gift to you will be an abyss, she said,
but it will be so subtle you’ll perceive it
only after many years have passed
and you are far from Mexico and me.
You’ll find it when you need it most,
and that won’t be
the happy ending,
but it will be an instant of emptiness and joy.
And maybe then you’ll remember me,
if only just a little.

My Gift To You, Roberto Bolaño

Photo: Henry Cartier Bresson- Hyeres France, 1932

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Te regalaré un abismo, dijo ella,
pero de tan sutil manera que sólo lo percibirás
cuando hayan pasado muchos años
y estés lejos de México y de mí.
Cuando más lo necesites lo descubrirás,
y ese no será
el final feliz,
pero sí un instante de vacío y de felicidad
Y tal vez entonces te acuerdes de mí,
aunque no mucho.

 Te regalaré un abismo – Roberto Bolaño

JODOROWSKY – DUNE

“I want to create something sacred. A film that gives LSD hallucinations without taking LSD”

A documentary about one of my favorite directors and his dream. Alejandro Jodorowsky, who more or less invented the midnight cinema in New York City with his fantastic – trip films: the classics “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain,” decided to adapt Frank Herbert’s “Dune” with the French producer Michel Seydoux.
The dream team—a cast that included his son Brontis (whom he put through two years of full-time martial-arts training), Salvador Dali, and Orson Welles and a design staff that included Dan O’Bannon (“Dark Star”), the illustrator Chris Foss, and the painter H. R. Giger.
While he tried to put it in Hollywood the project went unrealized.
The documentary by Frank Pavich, shows us an amazing portrait of Jodorowsky, whos now eighty-five, and reveale the influence that Jodorowsky’s unmade film had in the Hollywood industry.

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Esoteric Klee – Goethe – (and me) part 2

Klee, as a lover of lines, started drawing them sometimes in an ephemeral way, sometimes not.

Klee’s creativity later on included “parallel figurations”; works he did during his “inner circle“: which means those works that are symbolic and universal in their intent and what I would name Esoteric Art: when the picture is conceived as a code, as an interpretation of the world through symbols. About this, Goethe said: “When a thing is not a thing yet is a thing, an image condensed in the mirror of the spirit and yet identical with the object”.

Painting this “radiating parallels” with lines both continuous and discontinuous one can say they’re also related to the principle of imitation in musical composition.

Genius.

Both, my inspiration. Bellow
a little painting I finished last night .

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Possesion in the dream – Eunice Odio

 

Come

Beloved

I will savor you with joy.

You will dream of me tonight.

…….

Come

We shall dine at the site of my soul.

An extract of the poem by Eunice Odio, “Possesion in the dream”

——————————————

Ven

Amado

Te probaré con alegría.

Tu soñarás conmigo esta noche.

……….

Ven
Comeremos en el sitio de mi alma.

Extracto de un poema de Eunice Odio  “Posesión en el sueño” de los Elementos Terrestres”

 

foto de / photo by: Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Nothing is what I thought

Do you like to get intimate with fear ? Do you like to feel disappointed? Normally I would said no. I’d usually ran away from fear and I would hate to feel disappointed.

Within almost four decades I have had certain moments where pain, difficulty and misery have affected me somehow. After the death of my Father – and the process of his disease, a divorce, and other devastating events such as break- ups-, problems at work and other situations, that I sometimes used to call or see them as failures

As many others, I’ve been running away from fear and from the fear of suffering. Instead, I had always put in place hopeto block the fear from coming. The thing is that fear and hope are actually two sides of the same coin. The hope we create in our minds is nothing but an illusion. An illusion like: “everything will be better”, “we will find the right person”, “we will get perfect job”, etc. For now I’d say: hope is not something we really need, because all we need is what we have NOW.

The only thing that really exists is the now. In the case of fear/pain, I had finally face it, recently. Even though I’ve always thought it was horrible, because suffering involves crying and pain for hours-days-months sometimes, those days when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep and on, but after all theres something I liked about it. When you finally face your fears and suffer, what you’re doing is that you’re opening your heart. You are growing stronger.  It’s in the midst of troubled times when you see the light. Its one hard but meaningful moment of truth and awareness. “An illumination in the darkness of ignorance” says Pema.  Here- when getting to know your fears and facing sadness and suffering- you are able to realize how much harm you have done to yourself…. and also the harm you have caused to others and from this stating point, a sense of forgiveness and of acceptance arrives. In the case of disappointment I will leave it all to Pema who wise fully says: “When there’s a disappointment, I don’t know if it’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure.”

Pema Chödrön, an American Buddhist Nun and meditation master of a Tibetan Buddhist Practice, wrote a book called “When Things Fall Apart”, a book that both me and my very good friend Efy are currently reading. Will be back with a lil more from it… ❤Image

“Learning How to Forget” : Master Duchamp

That’s what Duchamp said in a recent publication of interviews Calvin Tomkins did in the ’60’s. 
When I was talking to a friend the other night he mentioned he’s interested and currently investigating the moment or lapse that happens immediately after listening to inspiring music and the visualization of that moment before the mind intervenes. I find it similar to what Duchamp said. Marcel Duchamp said he was “learning how to forget, basically to escape from the prison of tradition”, and he wanted to unlearn how to draw. He said Matisse had to systematically unlearn how to draw to be able to produce the work he did. Its about decoding the mind. 

Is it possible to learn how to forget?, to forget how we are thought at school?, how we “normally” react to situations?, how we think?.  Can we do this?. Suddenly, when I think about it, I feel so light and so good. The capacity of forgetting is linked to Freedom, to the possibility of renewal and reinvention of the being and of becoming a child, a creative being once again.

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Christopher Wool at Guggenheim

Worth sharing just a few images of a great show at the Guggenheim. Using mostly Painting as a medium, here he represents the human environment and cultural references.
This paintings, photographs and works in paper are mainly monochrome and large.
His work is passionate and very inspiring; he is definitely one of the great painters of this era.

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here rather than there

When I consider the brief span of my life
absorbed into the eternity which comes before
and after—memoria hospitis unius diei
praetereuntis—the small space I occupy and
which I see swallowed up in the infinite
immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and
which know nothing of me, I take fright and am
amazed to see myself here rather than there:
there is no reason for me to be here rather than
there, now rather than then. Who put me here?
By whose command and act were this place and
time allotted to me? —PASCAL
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Open Studios: Saturday October 26th from 2-7 at PointB -Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Come!

   Open Studios

 
Saturday, October 26, 2pm-7pm
 

SANDRA PARKER

 

ROSE EKEN

JILL ANDERSON

 

CAROLINA SEVILLA

 

MICHAEL MORK

MONICA FERRERAS

RUTH CAMPAU

GRAHAM PARKER

 

AND A PERFORMANCE BY RAZOR HOPE

Please join us this Saturday afternoon at the PointB Worklodge to see and hear what our October Lodgers are up to.

71 North 7th St.
Williamsburg

Modern Miller

“Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.”

The Tropic of Cancer, tropic referred to as the Northern tropic with the sun at its zenith, its an event that occurs once per year at the time of the June solstice. Regarding the second word, Cancer, the author explains the title of his novel: “It was because to me cancer symbolizes the disease of civilization, the endpoint of the wrong path, the necessity to change course radically, to start completely over from scratch.”

Published in Paris in 1934, this title can be read as a metaphor of the City. Indeed, the City is the main character of this extraordinary book I’m currently reading. The ironic relationship of Miller with Paris, a love/hate relationship, with a city that shines like the sun at its zenith, that promises the splendor to the young artist who enters it, but that reveals itself as a disease while the same artist actually begins to live in it.

This aforementioned quote I find brilliant, refers at some point to the huge scandal that this novel had because of its language and its approach to some taboos for that time, the 30′s, especially related to sex. Prohibited in USA and UK for three decades because of the confusion between ethics and aesthetics that seems to lead to its interpretation, the novel was considered immoral and obscene.

I feel now very fortunate to read one of the greatest modernist writings in the universal literature and as Annais Nin said in the Preface “a book that might restore our appetite for the fundamental realities”.

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“Dreams are necessary to life” Anaïs Nin

I am about to finish reading Henry and June, Anaïs Nin’s book. I’m astonished by the way she describes her passions but also her confusions. Reminds me that the path of being truthful to yourself and others is a long one, but it’s at the end the way of achieving true JOY. Those true moments -those one misses because of lies and darkness – are the ones that HOPE and LIGHT will bring us to achieve our dreams, those DREAMS we have when we are awake. Our DAY dreams.

 

Toyo Ito

Just got to know about Toyo Ito, architect awarded with the 2013 Pritzker Prize and creator of the original “Home for All Project”, designed to help communities after the tsunami in Japan in 2011, a project created to give relief to the housing problem in the area and which considers integrating the natural environment, taking into account the history and weather conditions of the zone with a kind of anti modernist approach and design.

For example The Sendai Mediatheque, one of his important projects, survived the effects of the earthquake as here he and his team invented a system of bundled steel tubes instead of the traditional columns.

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He took into account elements as water, in a virtual and physical way. As he points out, water is like the internet: that fluid water that links us to the world.

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His goal is to create communal spaces and contribute to create a “new kind of new society”. At the Mediatheque he used an AC system that may be compared to the biological activities of a tree and he used natural light as one of the main characteristics for this design.

Toyo Ito and Associates offices

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The Sendai Mediatheque its a project that he worked on for 6 years that embodies the proposal for a completely new concept of architecture. The complex includes mediatheque, an art gallery, a library, an information service center for people with visual and hearing impairments and a visual image media center. during the open competition and subsequent phase of basic designing, the primary effort was on demolishing the archetypal ideas of an art museum or library to reconstruct a new idea of architecture called ‘mediatheque’ utilizing the state-of-the-art media.
This process of reconstructing the architectural concepts as he points out “not only extended to hardware but to software as well”.

Facing side of the Sendai Mediatheque

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3rd floor of the Mediatheque

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Libertad

Nos gusta la buena música y ningún silencio nos asusta.
Cuando salimos de ride, la conversación y la risa nunca cansan, uffff y nos encanta sentir el viento cuando el carro avanza.
Tenemos 30 o 40 pero niñas en el alma, poco plan, mucha emoción, oh oh oh…las bebidas no cabían en el cajón.
La lluvia llego el primer día para quedarse, para las chicas magnífica excusa, más placeres, más diversión.
Mujeres de universos paralelos, el vino o el humo, lluvia o fuego, celajes o estrellas, de fijo nos gusta la profunda dimensión.
Pasa el tiempo pero no cambia nada, sólo el corazón que se ensancha de saber lo que tenemos, esa sensación, que cabemos todas en el mismo órgano, que vibra con cada historia, esa amistad, esa exaltación, estrógeno; amigas! que rica LIBERTAD, es nuestra máxima expresión.

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Ernesto Cardenal and I – (Genius)

An extract of the poem of Roberto Bolaño. 

Father, in the Kingdom of Heaven
that is communism,
is there a place for homosexuals?
Yes, he said.
And for impenitent masturbators?
For sex slaves?
For sex fools?
For sadomasochists, for whores, for those obsessed
with enemas,
for those who can’t take it anymore, those who really truly
can’t take it anymore?
And Cardenal said yes.

Art by Robert Longo

 

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Padre, en el Reino de los Cielos
que es el comunismo,
¿tienen sitio los homosexuales?
Sí, dijo él.
¿Y los masturbadores impertinentes?
¿Los esclavos del sexo?
¿Los bromistas del sexo?
¿Los sadomasoquistas, las putas, los fanáticos
de los enemas,
los que ya no pueden más, los que de verdad
ya no pueden más?
Y Cardenal dijo sí.

Twilight – Crepúsculo

These nights I have slept without smoke and without fear.
No thunders, no lightning, just a twilight that persists, with extreme colors.
A sunset shot ended the light blue and artificial smoke in the sky, no one could stop it.
Today, I will write poems for myself, I said, like birds establishing their own flight.
But that sunset persists, neutral, without descriptions, full of heat and kisses.

Estas noches he dormido sin humo y sin miedo. Ningún estruendo, ningún rayo, solo un crepúsculo que persiste con colores extremos.
Un atardecer disparado que acabó con el azul y con el humo en el cielo, nadie lo pudo detener.
Hoy escribiré poemas para mi misma, digo, como los pájaros que establecen su propio vuelo.
Pero ese atardecer persiste, neutro, sin descripciones, lleno de calores y de besos.

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The act of Falling and Rising

Reading about Merce Cunningham and the concept for “Winterbranch” -which first performance dated circa 1964, he referred it to as  “the facts in dancing”; “two such facts are the act of falling, and unless one stays on the ground, the subsequent act of rising”.  This is sort of related to the boxing dance; when falling on the ground -to the count of 10- you can always come up and continue fighting. Also connected to the “cause and effect law”, the rise and fall, the in and out of many situations in our lives are like the dance Merce Cunningham envisaged in 1964, we all fall for a reason: to rise.

Image: Merce Cunningham’s “Winterbranch”

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