Daily Postings
Literature : Word Choice

Views

by Leah Dieterich

I am alone at a house in the middle of the California desert, looking out a plate glass window. I look past the porch, which isn’t really a porch, just a slab of concrete. And while the concrete really is concrete, it could just as well be the ashes of the thoughts of anyone who’s ever sat here and contemplated this middle view.

The middle view is perpetually between. It’s the scrubby desert plants, the skeletal remains of mattresses propped up as fences, the tan horizontality. It is the kind of view that settles the gaze but frustrates the camera.

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Film : Essay

Feeling Hou Hsiao-hsien

by Nicholas Elliott

Emotion, both authentic and synthetic, in the films of the Taiwanese New Wave master.

Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Good Men, Good Women (1995) was the first film to have such a devastating emotional impact on me that I had to hide my face from my fellow spectators to avoid setting off a sanitation panic. I’m sorry to admit my reaction was at least partially brought on by the comedown from the MDMA I had indulged in at a Goa Trance club in Brixton the previous evening. MDMA provides a momentary rush of global solidarity, which at that time in London was manifested in the sharing of water bottles with total strangers and, I assume, a lot of chemically-enhanced sex. The morning after was rough. The love of your fellow dancer was replaced by the disdain for your fellow commuter, and the knowledge that the glow had been utterly synthetic rolled in with a forecast of heavy depression. My memory of strobe-lit celebrants with pinhole eyes and whistles in their mouths fit well with the contemporary half of Good Men, Good Women, which edged Hou’s cinema into a present of neon nights and fuzzy dawns.

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Film : Interview

Martha Stephens

by Steve Macfarlane

Directing a comedic travelogue set in Iceland.

Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz's Land Ho! emerged as the no-joke feel good movie of the summer, a gently spun yarn about two former brothers-in-law (Earl Lynn Nelson and Paul Eenhoorn) who reconvene for a once-in-a-lifetime jaunt to Iceland. With unhurried grace, the film puts time and pleasure into revealing how it's not going to reveal too terribly much of any one thing. Instead, Land Ho! becomes a study in counteracting textures, gorgeous, wind-blown landscapes, agonizingly repetitive conversations, and pivotal character details that rise and fall in conversation without being remarked upon further.

As a comedy, Land Ho! has an eye for naturalism and languidness of pace that connects its gags back to real life, not an attendant sub- or specialty genre. Stephens and Katz's readiness to put their movie in the hands of their leads influences its shape and direction, making it a more performative collaboration than the form normally allows. It's a film as strong as it is light, and its depiction of late middle age is a remarkable contrast to the types of old-folks comedies being churned out by major studios today—which, happily, was a topic brought up by Stephens in our cellphone conversation.

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Art : Interview

Assaf Evron

by Abigail Winograd

Art history via conversations

#1—An Introduction

I was first introduced to Assaf Evron by a mutual friend at an art fair in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, he and I began a series of studio visits. Our relationship has become an ideal source of material for an essay about the collaborative nature of the relationship between artist and curator, because our discussions revolve around my insistence on visual coherence—what Assaf derisively refers to as "homogeneity"—and his vociferous defense of heterogeneity as an inherent and defining feature of his practice.

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Music : Interview

Joëlle Léandre

by Whitney Curry Wimbish

Improvisation, instrumental music, and the political function of art.

French bassist, composer, and improviser Joëlle Léandre talks like she plays: with full-on intensity, using the whole range of her voice, offering idea after idea, drawing unusual connections, demanding your attention. She’s a nomad, she’ll tell you, and she’ll take her music where she likes. She’s a bee, she’ll say, gathering inspiration from any appealing blossom. She pays no mind to musical boundaries. Liberty is her hallmark.

When you listen to one of Léandre’s 150-some recordings, you’re struck by the variety of sounds she achieves from the double bass and the number of methods she uses to play not only the strings, but the instrument’s whole body. You don’t like it? That’s OK. As she says in her book Solo, “the object of art is to subvert, to overwhelm, to move to reflection. It’s a celebration of life. The artist is subversive, disturbing.”

This conversation took place over Skype during Léandre’s busy summer touring schedule.

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Art : Portfolio
Literature : Word Choice

One Poem

by Emmalea Russo

1
One cultivates one  Each
Row   makes a simple Grr
One engenders One enters
a G One Greets One   Grd
ns   One Grammars one  A
Group of   1 Growths one
eventually  even Grows e
ast even astutely into G

 

What is G must be greater than my desire to bury G while I secure G in the earth and witness growth. If no reality exists apart from the mind. Does G. If precision is what I aspire to, then I must let G drop down from the alphabet and be here. Rows of seeds and seeds cupped in the hand. G is a gardening. In use and seemingly simple. Learning.

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Art : Oral History

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

by Kalia Brooks

BOMB’s Oral History Project documents the life stories of New York City’s African American artists.

I met with Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe in the late afternoon of a mild October day in an office building in mid-town where the Arthur Ashe Learning Center (AALC) is located. This trailblazing photographer and author of Daufuskie Island (1982) and Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers (1993), Daddy and Me (1993), and African Flower: Singing of Angels (2001) was seated at her desk busy with the details of her newest project, the AALC, which focuses on educating, motivating and inspiring youth. She is no stranger to devotion and commitment. These are the principles that she has always employed in every venture of her life from personal to professional. In fact, her astounding purposefulness has created a space where there is no distinction between the two. All of her work is profoundly intimate.

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Paper Clip

Paper Clip #76

Paper Clip is a weekly compilation of online articles, artifacts and other—old, new, and sometimes BOMB-related.

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Literature : Interview

Jill Schoolman

by Bibi Deitz

Archipelago Books, the hypnotic quality of Knausgaard, and the translator's role as diplomat and ventriloquist.

Jill Schoolman, founder of Brooklyn-based translation press Archipelago Books, gave a talk at Bennington College this summer. I sat rapt in the audience, wildly scribbling phonetically spelled names of writers from around the world and notes about their work. Schoolman speaks in a torrent of rapidly articulated ideas, but she slowed down at the end of her discussion to read a striking prose poem by Antonio Tabucchi called “A Whale’s View of Man” that closes, “They soon get tired and when evening falls they lie down on the little islands that take them about and perhaps fall asleep or watch the moon. They slide silently by and you realize they are sad.” This is the kind of writing that the nonprofit press publishes, by turns tender and startling and deeply literary—the bone marrow of international literature.

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Art : Interview

Eleanor Antin

by Rachel Mason

On influence, feminism, and performance.

One of the lessons I learned from Antin's work is that an artist can make a stage out of anything and step inside of it with the simplest of methods. Her show felt like it offered a possibility: feel free to be a wanderer, create journeys, go on them, and see where they lead you. After wandering through her show, I decided to write to her and ask her some questions. The following is our correspondence.

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Literature : Word Choice

Your Head in the Right Place

by Rhoads Stevens

Now that her mother was dead, Lucille could die, and no one important to her would mind. She could get murdered. She could die of old age or by some disease. She could take a month of medication in an evening.

Lucille was in the shower at her fiancée’s apartment. Her underwear was in the sink, and it was black. Yesterday, just before her mother’s funeral, Lucille had realized she owned no black clothing except for that underwear. When she gave her mother’s eulogy, Lucille had worn navy slacks, burgundy shoes, and a shirt so dark purple that it was almost black but not.

The black underwear was in the sink, where she often put her underwear while she showered, and this habit bothered her fiancée. Her fiancée said it was not clean to do that—a contamination. It could make them sick. Lucille would apologize and say she wouldn’t do it again but still forgot and did it often. And she could not help but feel her underwear wouldn’t make them sick and that it would be better if her fiancée were not to mind.

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Art : Interview

Charlotte Moth

by Jennifer Burris

Infinite configurations: collection, space, and story.

I met Charlotte Moth in August 2012 in Paris, where she lives and works. She was preparing for an isolated year in the residency of Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart following her first major solo exhibition, at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, which had just closed. We spent the afternoon looking through images of the exhibition, which brought together photographs, sculptures, and films made since the beginning of her Travelogue, a collection of images of exterior and interior architectural spaces without chronological or geographical indicators that evolves via processes of accumulation and deferral. The exhibition also included two works by her frequent collaborators Falke Pisano and Peter Fillingham.

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Music : Interview

Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler

by Daniel Bachman

Snowbound recording with harp and melodica and the fine art of titling songs.

I met harpist Mary Lattimore in January of 2012 when I got the tip off that she needed a roommate, and I wanted to move out of a living room I was sleeping in. During the majority of the time we lived together, Mary was off the road and working on her first LP for Desire Path Recordings. The Withdrawing Room features multi-instrumentalist and recording engineer Jeff Zeigler on the first song, forging the duo that that now appears on the collaborative record, Slant Of Light, out September 23 on Thrill Jockey. I eventually met Jeff at our Fourth of July party, where he was the grill sergeant for most of the evening. Dude can cook. I’ve been lucky enough to see the duo perform a lot from early on (maybe even their first show) to now, and I’ve also toured a bit with the two of them. It’s been a pleasure getting to know both Mary and Jeff. The new album is also a complete pleasure to listen to and I couldn’t be more excited to ask them a few questions.

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Art : Portfolio
Literature : Word Choice

One Poem

by Kyle Schlesinger

rifling glove as you well know
one and the same this was the late
never defect back to the wall

at the far end a gloomy bay
books in the black it all began on
whose thousand yard stares

until that day when the last
variegated cloud lifts off the roof
and it was here on the radio

in what was always a beverage
back to the wall while waiting tables
never been any waiting since

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Film : Interview

Tim Sutton

by Gary M. Kramer

God, nature, and Memphis

Tim Sutton’s Memphis, like his earlier feature, Pavilion, is a gorgeously made impressionistic drama. An observational film that emphasizes mood, place, and atmosphere over plot or character, Memphis presents the quotidian aspects of its characters’ lives with visual flair. Sutton creates real emotion from still images, such as main character Willis (played by musician Willis Earl Beal), lying asleep with his arm over his face, or Lopaka (Lopaka Thomas), sitting in a car staring at an ignited lighter. Lengthy tracking shots—down the aisle of a church, or through the streets of the titular city—are also freighted with meaning.

Sutton practically eavesdrops on his characters as scenes create a loose narrative, eschewing any overtly climactic moments. The writer/director’s approach is firmly rooted in documentary, and he envelops viewers in dreamy landscapes that are transfixing. Sutton makes watching glass fall from a broken car window a truly hypnotic experience.

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Paper Clip

Paper Clip #75

Paper Clip is a weekly compilation of online articles, artifacts and other—old, new, and sometimes BOMB-related.

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Art : Interview

Mithu Sen

by Lee Ann Norman

Life as medium: Physical and conceptual notions of the body, sexuality, and identity.

New Delhi–based artist Mithu Sen makes sculptures, installations, drawings, and texts that critique ideas around desire, sex and sexuality, representation, the body, and what it means to be an Indian woman in contemporary society. Sen feels a deep kinship with the legacy of feminism and often infuses elements like hair and blood from her own body into her art as a way of examining our relationship to the material world. The historical legacy her work carries through its subject matter may be heavy, but she manages to convey the lighter side of the human condition through humor and sharp wit. For her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Sen created a large-scale installation of false teeth and dental polymer to question the visible and invisible dividing lines among human beings. During her travels to the US, as she worked to finish and install her work at the Broad Museum, Sen shared more with me about her work and practice that spans genres and disciplines.

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Literature : Interview

Joe Wenderoth

by Paola Capó-García

“Beautiful, stupid, dangerous, life-saving, corrupting, and perhaps all there is.”

In Joe Wenderoth’s most recent collection of poems, If I Don’t Breathe How Do I Sleep (Wave Books, 2014), the speaker is in constant discovery of his limitations. Whether it’s a desire to travel, to offer sympathy, to miss a loved one, to avoid bureaucratic obligations, to assemble a clown, to keep in shape, “to eat of the world you live in,” the speaker visits each poem only to find more despair and more limits. “I very recently came into complete possession of where I am. / Trouble is: / having complete possession of where I am / diminishes the potential of my dramatic arc.” The speaker realizes this during “My Coronation,” where awareness is a coming to terms with playing an unsatisfying role.

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Literature : Word Choice

Three Voice Overs

by Joanna Howard

I am reading a book about brain plasticity while John attempts to hook up an arcane device (DVD player) to our very modern media-viewing system. The arcane device will allow for the viewing of an arcane medium (DVD) in particular an arcane medium from an unrecognized/unpermitted region (in this case region 2, Europe/UK). The hunt for cables and mounting and dismounting tools begins early in the morning and ranges all over the house. There’s some concern on both our parts that the attempts to introduce this arcane device into our very modern system might bring all media-viewing to a crashing halt. All this so we can watch an Alan Bennett play staged and performed for television (arcane-but-evolvable technology) in another, forbidden regional format (BBC). I have already seen it; I went through a similar but less complicated process of media accommodation several years ago in another house in order to watch this play. John, however, hasn’t seen it even though he would have been living in that region when the program aired on its intended technological medium. The play, oddly enough, is called “An Englishman Abroad.”

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Film : Interview

Hilla Medalia and Shosh Shlam

by Liza Béar

The two filmmakers on their new documentary, Web Junkie, about rehabbing the addicted youth of China.

For those of us who’re not aficionados, the cinematic YouTube trailer for World of Warcraft’s third installment, Cataclysm, announces blood and gore, crude humor, mild language, suggestive themes, use of alcohol, and violence. WoW is classified as a MMRPOG, a massive multiple role player online game, and the 16,998,014 trailer viewers, with a fourteen to one like-to-dislike ratio attest to its worldwide popularity. Still, it’s a video game, and small potatoes, you may think, compared to the devastation endured by civilian populations in the real world, and the concomitant, ubiquitous imagery thereby generated by the carnage, putting us, as the artist Carolee Schneemann recently emailed me, in “a whirligig of grief and outrage.”

But what if your sixteen-year-old son dropped out of school and spent forty days straight at the computer playing WoW? Or lied and spent nights at the Internet café instead of staying with friends? In China, obsessive Internet use by teens has been classified as an addiction and the number one public health threat to teenagers. Desperate parents are tricking or forcing their sons into one of 400 rehab centers run as military boot camps, where if you don’t make your bed in the morning, at night you sleep on the floor.

Two award-winning Israeli documentary filmmakers, Shosh Shlam (Good Garbage and Last Journey Into Silence) and Hilla Medalia (To Die in Jerusalem and Dancing in Jaffa), who have made a dozen films separately, collaborated on the just-released film Web Junkie, which follows three Chinese boys going through a treatment cycle in Daxing, Beijing, the first of these rehab centers, where the filmmakers lived for four months.

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Film : Interview

Daniel Dencik & Michael Haslund

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Melting glaciers, Metallica, and the Arctic.

Expedition to the End of the World is an adventure documentary filmed aboard the Activ, an Arctic schooner that set sail in Northeast Greenland with a crew of artists, philosophers, and scientists. Greenland is an enormous country, but also the least populated in the world. The film showcases the great island’s icy beauty, its towering glaciers and lonely blank horizon.

The characters on board are akin to caricatures, referred to merely as “the geochemist” or “the artist.” Each crewmember has his or her own specialty, but each is there for an indistinct purpose: to observe, to experience, to ask existential questions. The expedition has no formal goals. Everyone is mixed together in a hodge-podge of expertise. These artists and scientists venture into the landscape, and are struck by its immensity and power—but as one crewmember puts it, “what we are really struck by, is ourselves.”

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Paper Clip
Art : Interview

Daniel McKewen

by Madeleine Stack

An outsider looking in.

For a number of years, Daniel McKewen taught a class at the Queensland University of Technology that functioned as a drop-in critique and discussion session for whoever was around at the time. We almost always ended up talking about film and the media, which for a number of years have formed the content of his video-based work. Last summer, sharing a workshop in the subtropics, we worked side-by-side in a steamy tin shed, doors thrown wide to catch whatever breeze there was. As he obsessively polished a bronze sculpture to mirror-finish, he offered his steady and reasoned advice to whoever came knocking. The advice was usually: Keep doing it. At the 2014 Sydney Biennale and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art’s NEW14 exhibition McKewen showed video-based work focusing on popular media, cinema, and fan culture, but his newer pieces consist of sculpture and drawing. His work, culled from familiar sources, aims for the jolt of recognition before the quotidian is made strange. We spoke about harvesting laugh tracks, the politics of art funding, and his upcoming show at Milani Gallery in Brisbane, which deals with the global financial crisis.

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