Tag Archives: Art

Words To Paint Lives By

Be like how snow in March makes dogs run circles. Toast friends over liters of Japanese beer, over networks and signals and interfaces for eyes to burn out on. Leave them behind. It’s been four years and at least we have these words–words to paint lives by. The dogs run circles around words down paths where the grass tastes like sun and the wind-tears we wipe on dirtied sleeves somehow make us feel less dirty. So, my island friend, my one of the seat in which I might someday sit once more, may we drink to your health and to the chance you took, no, the chance you gave, for me to be able to write these words to you four years later. It makes life even better–like snow, like running dogs.

Meat Screams: An Attempt at Johannes Gorannson’s Haute Surveillance

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“The sound the body makes is akin to the sound toys make when they burn.” I sent a letter to Rudolf Eb.er, infested as I was by his Hate Operation and cut-up, assemblage, shrieks, psycho-acoustic shamanism. He wore meat on his face, a white shirt and black necktie: screaming meat. There were sealed vomit tubs in the closet, an unfinished painting by the bedroom. We listened to a live recording from Taipei, smoked Japanese to death. Pictures of unknown bodies. Pictures of the insides of bodies. My autopsies went unanswered–that defenestration from Austria, somewhere in Osaka (not the Overlook or the Shining Mansion on the Hill).

“This novel is written like a fashion show dedicated to the rioted body.” For a noise act in Tokyo, I took a cheap white shirt, a shirt and smeared it–dirtied it red, made it better. The photographs that were taken on the were tinted in the screams and shrieks, moans and anti-language of the foreigner. It yellowed and hardened until it turned fashion. Lesson: sometimes the body can be tearing apart a fish with contact mics, a folk loop.  

“The erotics of writing reminds me of the needle on a record player.” A needle scrapes vinyl, a radio broadcast in a foreign language. There are blurred faces, the way a woman undresses in a hotel room, you are always woman. David Lynch practices Transcendental Meditation. I have heard that in Iowa or Indiana there are people who float, people who meditate until they float as if the body, numbed by transcendence, becomes lighter, becomes Nothing. The final scene of Takashi Miike’s Audition is the slow torture of a producer who is needled numb and sawed to a state of anti-levitation. I remember being fascinated by this scene. Years later I would buy Inland Empire at Walmart.

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“Language is like candy. It rots my teeth. It makes me spazzy.” E.M. Cioran quipped something like: “Writing in a foreign language is like writing a love letter with a dictionary.” I was a mute foreigner, unpredictable as outsider. One who knows how to screw a fork. There are areas in Tokyo, in Seoul, in Beijing where foreigners are allowed to be foreign, allowed to tongue foreign, act foreign: needles, erotics, vomit. These are the areas where we grind chains in underground cabarets, McDonalds drunk with military officers, a man who said, “as an American, it is my duty to protect you.”

“I want us all to wear kimonos. And sharp words.” The kimono as corset, how it flattened the breasts, restricted the gait in a way that made women walk slow, walk in hare-steps, small steps like floating worlds. This was a point of sexual interest for men. I received the male version of a kimono, the yukata, from a friend in Kyoto whose Japanese was too much the birth of who I would become.

“In B-movies the human body becomes more beautiful and less a subject.” Even a gaze, a transformation. Sherilyn Fenn losing her limbs in front of the Warlock’s mansion. I will keep you here to look how things look from where I see them. You can see them, too.

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“You were in the house, on your knees, in a state of wild terror.” It is a rocking chair and the way the face comes stubbled. Maybe it’s Isabella, my meat grinder, white stripped to the neck, covering neck, but this is not Japan–it’s Berlin. She shrieks in a tunnel, murders detectives in the apartment and all for the monster, all for the lack of her being able to feel.

“Go to Los Angeles, go to Los Angeles.” A friend of mine speaks of the feeling of Los Angeles as everything. I watched Mulholland Drive in Kichijoji. They brought concert-sized speakers to the theater. As the sedan crashed over a Los Angeles skyline, I heard American noise. I caught a slice as if I were other and America from where I was sitting was a fiery wreck of charred bodies, sexual blood, and a beautiful starlet wandering dazed down the hill back into the filthy light.

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The Thing

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The dog, because of what grows on the inside. The radio, because to be broadcast from here is an admittance of our failure to heal. Friend one, because we don’t know what’s under the skin. Friend two, because helicopters from strange places are unwanted on the ice in front of the complex. Friend three, because mind-sinews lack visual proof, lack trust. There are more–we will be safe if we kill those we don’t want to kill. Here we are surrounded by mountains, domed sky, cold spaces to curl up in and forget that this friend is not who he says he is. The more rooms there are, the more we load ourselves to the hilt, pull stacks of guns from cupboards, use scalpels to discuss the foreign, panic, because we know we are alone without love. but we are not alone and that is the problem. The obelisk is a mutant. It is repulsive like the word, “mutant,” when we say it out loud as if Friend four is not Friend four, but a host devouring men. The mutation occurs on the inside. I’ve felt a stir, how it shrinks one to another like the dog or the foreigner. We are alone. I do not want to become a foreigner. It would take too long to convince you of who I am, you who I write this to, you who I used to pull close when the snow-wind fell horizontal like knife to chin. I have a knife in my coat held close to my heart and I will keep it for Friend five, because Friend five is not you. You are not now in the corner clawing the wall to shred my skin from my face. This cannot be you. I’m sorry. I can no longer wait for a reply.

Ken Tanaka + Mari Araki

Eyeslit-Crypt favorite, Ken Tanaka, has made a new video in which he encounters a seemingly random Japanese woman while out for a stroll in Little Tokyo. The woman that Ken meets turns out to be Los Angeles based artist Mari Araki. The video shows stills of some of her magnificent pieces as they talk about rabbits, art, life and latex. Break out the whips.

Ken Tanaka and Keiichi Niita (Video)

In this video, Ken Tanaka meets photographer, Keiichi Niita, who worked with Terry Richardson for a number of years. The theme of Niita’s show was, “Japanese people should be more open.” After briefly speaking with Niita, Tanaka also visits another gallery, which is showcasing work by two up and coming artists, Martha Chan and Dominique Fung.

Mindful Absorption: Fluidity and Mindfulness

Carl Rogers talks about “the fluid nature of the self.” But, how does one achieve such an awareness of the fluid nature of the self? Aside from my recent article, I will expand on a few key elements to this most elusive yet ordinary way of living, hopefully, moving us toward a better understanding of “fluidity” and, “mindfulness” in general.

I think it is extremely important to, in moments of great concentration (of a task, a conversation, a lecture, cleaning the sink) allow yourself to be fully drawn into the situation at hand. The catch is that if you find yourself thinking about how you’re being drawn into the situation, the absorption in the task has ceased to be so. It’s like reading a book and suddenly realizing that you are reading a book. In doing so, you’ve temporarily lost the “story.” When you realize that you are reading a book, you cease to be engrossed in the story or the argument and start to think about other things (sometimes even as you eyes continue “reading”). When you are fully engaged in the book, you lose track of time and, at that moment, you are in the realm of the author. So, the first trick is to permit oneself to “let go” of analysis of the situation and permit oneself to be 100% “into” the situation.

But, I want to clarify that “letting go” does NOT mean recklessly doing whatever you want to do regardless of the consequences. No, not at all. In fact, the opposite. It means “letting go” to the situation in such a way that you are “tuning in” to it more clearly and more in accord with what needs doing or what is being presented to you in the situation. Therefore, the teacher becomes a better listener and speaker, the police officer becomes more attentive to crime, the musician becomes better focused on the production of sound and so on. It is a kind of realistic alchemy for daily living.

Whenever you are having a conversation with someone, you are absorbed in something greater than each individual word that you are saying. Becoming more mindful of what you say and how you say it could help you along your path – “letting go” and “tuning in.” In order to have a conversation, you must enter the flow of the words, while attending to the meaning – you do this automatically, for the most part. Learn to become a better speaker through the control and edification of the words that you use with others. It’s like the old Japanese Butoh-fu poem, “Balance chaos and control, like a calm rider on a stampeding horse.”

For now, and for the sake of “blogging brevity”, I would advise that you do as many things as possible and in the doing of those things, do them well. More than “well”, do them to the very best of your ability. Become mindful of your limits and, if need be, work purposely to change those limits so that they are in accord with where you want them to be instead of where they are by “default.”

I work with a seventy-year-old man who has told me on numerous occasions, that he “doesn’t have a future.” A common reaction to that line might be, “Oh, but you DO have a future. You’ll be around a long time. Don’t worry about it.” However, he is always smiling, attentive and jolly. He is smiling because, more important than having a future, he has a present. Each task he does, each conversation he has, has meaning for him NOW. He does what needs to be done and holds to the purpose of the now. Old age has taught him a lesson. Hopefully, when and if I am his age, I, too, will be as engrossed in the moment as he is. Nonetheless, with those of us, who absolutely must plan for upcoming goals or events in our life, the best way to handle them is with the recollection that what you are doing now is leading you somewhere and it is what you are doing now that is of utmost importance to the quality and control of your life. The question is: Is what you are doing now leading you where you most want to go? If not, you may want to re-evaulate the doing part of your life and change what or how you do things. Change what you are doing now and start leading yourself to the imagined destination that you dream of. Getting there will probably be more fun than arriving, anyway.

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