Tuesday, April 24, 2018
On Page 100 Godard tells Losique (and the audience) that he and Truffaut have "completely, definitely fallen out...in part over money." One Page 101, Godard says:
We no longer have any contact. But it's not by chance that Day for Night won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, because it's a typical American film. "Day for night" is a technical term, it's an effect, the Americans often shoot night scenes during the day with a filter that makes the sky look dark blue. They call that day for night [la nuit américaine] rather than really filming at night. At the same time, I think this film won the award because it did a good job of concealing, at the same time as it made people believe it was revealing what cinema can be. Something magic about which nobody understands a thing but which at the same time attracts a kind of wizardry, luminosity, people moving about in every direction, a world both very pleasant and not. This makes people happy both not to be a part of it but also to pay five dollars to regularly see a film.
Here is another history, not of cinema but of warfare.
Monday, April 23, 2018
A book launch last month for George Stanley's West Broadway and George Bowering's Some End. Both published by New Star, both in the same book -- a flip-book bound by an image from a painting by Jack Shadbolt entitled Encounter (1995).
The picture up top was taken by Renee Rodin.
Stanley read first, and for a brief second it looked like this:
Then Bowering read, and something similar happened, except the picture I took was tilted, so I had to re-frame it, making Bowering bigger, which is true -- he is. Bigger than Stanley. But now he is way bigger than Stanley and getting in the way of the event!
But this event -- it was something. Renee to my left, Jill to my right, with Fred and Pauline in front. Peter and Meredith were there. Daphne. Maria was there, not Gladys. (No one's been called Gladys for how many years now?) Scott was there, and as I watched him listen I thought of that picture of him and Stanley in San Francisco, 1970, when Scott was twenty.
There were others there, but in poems. Jamie was there. Gerry. Phyllis. Al. Peter. These were names Bowering brought with him, including James, who he claims not to know of, but he knows. He didn't read the poem "Please write a poem about James Franco", but I was hoping someone might call out: "Please read a poem about James Franco!"
Stanley brought names, but his entered the room quietly, like he does.
Rolf was there, our host. Jean was there. Someone said Jean was the youngest person in the room, and Jean protested, "No way, Michael's younger than I am. Not by much -- but he is younger!"
There were other younger people there, much younger than me, but I didn't know them. Grad students, I think, which warmed me, made me look at them in ways motivated by a desire to see these Georges read into the next century.
Will these youngers encourage that? I kept looking at them, imagining them lecturing to us, telling us something we are excited to know, asking us how our essays are coming, and no, none of these poems will be on the test.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Vancouver's Capture Photography Festival runs from April 1-28. I have seen none of it thus far, which is a difficult thing to do, given that it is everywhere.
The picture up top is Adad Hannah's An Arrangement (Polka Dots) (2018). The picture is reminiscent of Herb Gilbert's Ditto performance (below), which was part of the Vancouver Art Gallery/Intermedia co-produced Electrical Connection exhibition of April, 1969, except Hannah's "performance" is a picture that highlights objects (pottery) as still-life over authorship (performer) as portraiture?
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Two Xmases ago, while flipping through a New Yorker magazine at the old Shadbolt house on Hornby Island, I found this AT&T ad from the early 1970s. I showed the ad to Hassan, who works in what was once called telecom, and he laughed, took its picture and returned to the kitchen to help Scott with the pasta.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
With my yearly membership about to expire, and a couple hours to kill before the 6:50 screening of The Black Panther, I visited the Vancouver Art Gallery to tour its shows.
On the third floor, John O'Brian's Bombhead -- a nice and spare and fitting companion to the ecstatic vomitorium that is the Murakami exhibition below it.
Bombhead highlights include Adolph Gottlieb's Untitled (1968), Robert Rauschenberg's Pages and Fuses (Page 1) (1974) and David Hockney's Picture of a Landscape (from A Hollywood Collection) (1965) together on one wall, and a series of five Nancy Spero gouache, ink on paper works from 1966-1968 on another
On the ground floor, The Herman Levy Legacy: A Cultivating Journey -- a portrait-heavy exhibition that features work from the Impressionists to the Neo-Expressionists of the 1980s.
Is it me or does Portrait of the Painter Richard X (v.1916-1917) by Chaim Soutine
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
With Anne and Gareth leaving the west coast for Québec this June I want to spend as much time with them as I can.
On Sunday Gareth and I met in their backyard for tea and garden observation. Following that, we drove to Iona Island for a walk.
Gareth took the wrong turn off the bridge and we ended up at that market town known as McArthur Glen, where well-known brands have shops subtitled "Factory Outlet," and you can get a Japadog that tastes like the bucket it came in.
The picture up top is of the north end of McArthur Glen. In a small gated area you can read in both English and Salish a didactic entitled "Who We Are From."
Below is a 1966 Dan Graham picture of tract housing in Bayonne, New Jersey:
On our walk back Gareth pointed out this oddity:
"What are they trying to protect?" he wondered, and I took its picture in case anyone might know.
Monday, April 16, 2018
I was unable to make Tim Lee's Robert Smithson talk at the Polygon Art Gallery yesterday. But Smithson was on my mind this morning after reading Carolina Miranda and Jeffrey Fleishman's Friday L.A. Times article on how images -- "fake" or otherwise -- are "shaping" politics.
Up top is Christos Dikeakos's picture of Smithson's Glue Pour (1970) performance at the UBC Endowment Lands. Below is Sgt. Louis Lowery's 1945 Iwo Jima flag-raising on Mount Suribachi, taken moments before Joe Rosenthal got there to take his own photos -- but with a bigger flag.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
A neighbour's plum I have eaten from for the past 25 years. Sad to see it come to this. But that's life, from gestation to birth through its slow decay -- like the last registrations of this chord, given to us by the Beatles in 1967.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Friday, April 13, 2018
There is so much Saskatchewan in the news these days. Seems every time I turn on the CBC I hear Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve-born Buffy Ste. Marie sharing her wisdom and insights with Roseanna Deerchild. The music Buffy is making now, at 77-years-old, is astounding.
Another newsmaker is the Remai Modern in Saskatoon, which looks amazing, but is not without its contradictions, as brought to light by scholar and curator Jen Budney.
But there is devastation, too. The murder of Colton Boushie at Biggar; the botched crime scene investigation, the bogus trial (no indigenous jury members) and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, Gerald Stanley, has resonated beyond provincial boundaries.
More recently, the traffic accident involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus and a semi-truck. Sixteen dead.
On April 8, 2018 freelance journalist Nora Loreto noted on Twitter the millions of dollars raised through a Broncos GoFundMe campaign, before tweeting this into the grief stream:
The response to Lareto's decontextualized tweet has been intense. Not just tweets from those in search of an outlet for their grief, but from Maclean's magazine, where Loreto has published her writing.
Rather than remind readers that Loreto's tweet was issued within the context of a larger conversation concerning systemic and structural racism in Canada, rather than remind the public that her tweet is consistent with the kinds of emotional and intellectual bloodletting encouraged of all Canadians through the findings of the 2008 Truth and Reconciliation Commission, rather than further encourage those who might be offended by her (decontextualized) tweet to examine and talk about the grief that ails us in the course of our everyday lives as not unrelated to the grief of those whose children were "scooped" and given to the families of another cultural milieu (Buffy Ste. Marie?), or imprisoned in residential schools, Maclean's took the proverbial low road and turned its back on one of its own (a journalist, freelance or otherwise) by treating her as if her comment was off-hand, malicious, when it was anything but.
Should Maclean's have issued a statement in support of Lareto's comments? No, not a statement, per se, but a thoughtful editorial that has the potential to re-direct her comment from the hands of those who only know their anger to the kind of teaching moment that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has asked of all Canadians through its findings.
Back in 2013, Saskatoon-raised Joni Mitchell enraged many Canadians when she told the CBC that "Saskatoon has always been an extremely bigoted community. It's like the Deep South..." The context, in this instance, was her exhaustion with a city that kept trying to honour her, but kept failing to raise the necessary funds.
"At one point," says the CBC, "there was a museum proposed to recognize her work. Mitchell had suggested it have a first nations component [Mitchell's father. William Anderson, is of Norwegian and Sami descent]. The idea eventually fell through."
In closing, here are some honest and inspiring words from Celeste Leray-Leicht, one of the grieving mothers whose son was a member of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, as quoted from the April 11 online issue of the Hockey News:
This is the kind of comment that I hope Maclean's and other news agencies pick up on in order to, in the words of Joni Mitchell, "turn this crazy bird around" and publish something generative -- not something inculpatory.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Travelling through my bookshelves yesterday I found a copy of Madeline. Flipping through it I noticed a mistake.
After Madeline's eleven classmates return from their visit to the hospital, where Madeline is convalescing from her appendectomy, they sit down to supper: six on one side of the table, six on the other.
But if Madeline is still in the hospital, who is the twelfth classmate?
The twelfth classmate could be Brigitte Bardot, I think to myself.
I went online to see if I was the only one to notice, and of course there are as many notices as the internet is old.
"and that's all there is --
there isn't anymore."
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Yesterday I googled "wrath of affect." Nothing came up, so I guess I'm stuck wth it.
Yesterday, while sitting around reading and waiting, returning to Franz Fanon in order to return again to Glen Coulthard, scribbling notes, checking something in a dusty reference book ("Négritude is, however, a universalist concept, which owes a great deal to its French, or even Parisian, intellectual origins, and it is very different from traditional African tribalism." The Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought, 2nd. Edition, 1988),
wondering about this "owing", whether the articulation of what I, in my own and equally complicit subject position, "owe" indigenous scholars like Jeannette Armstrong, Marcia Crosby, Shawn Wilson and Leanne Simpson, who have taught me things about about the land and language and social relations, and what I "owe" eurowestern thought through readings
of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Luce Irigaray and Chantal Mouffe, placing over them like decals words like intersectional, how the personal is positional, never truly satisfied, never truly gathering and subtracting, sweating over everything while holding back the tears, something to sing about, like these crackers:
Monday, April 9, 2018
Kinder Morgan Canada Limited issue a press release yesterday. I have pasted it here (bottom) because texts like these have a way of rearranging, disappearing. Also because texts like these are carefully and collaboratively written, not just with the help of editors, but with public relations people and lawyers, and therefore are worth studying for the information they convey ("content") as well as their rhetoric ("form"). When Franz Kafka was asked why he studied law when he wanted to be writer, he said that of all the professions, law was the closest to writing.
Sunday, April 8, 2018
In a recent tweet, Canadian Art Associate Editor Yaniya Lee linked to Nasrin Himada's* "For Many Returns" essay. While reading the essay I was reminded of what Fred Moten said at the outset of his October 2017 Or Gallery talk, when he asked, "Why can't I just like an art work?" What I thought was a naive comment was obviously a provocation -- and I missed it.
* Photo above from Himada's This Might Not Work.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Friday, April 6, 2018
Last December I attended a group exhibition opening at Unit 17, a gallery located in a small, single-level building near the corner of Bayswater and 4th Avenue. Behind the exhibition space is a kitchen, and across from it, the studio of artist Derya Akay. In back of that, a large parking lot, where a magnolia grows against a cinder block wall.
I took a picture of the magnolia, lit up by my flash. Looking at it later I thought of Goya's El tres de mayo de 1808 de Madrid (1814), an execution illuminated by its own gunfire.
Yesterday afternoon Derya sent me a picture of the magnolia, now blooming.
Tesekkür Ederim, Derya!
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
A friend requested a look at a piece I wrote a couple weeks back, and I shared it. Friend responded an hour later with comments, and to say that "we are still in this fucking branding meeting that our dean insisted we attend."
The pictures up top and at bottom are vista-blocking image supplements designed for those who insist that the "Flatz" (rhymes with "Platz") is no more than a capitalist accumulation project. Whether ECUAD was involved in this mural/hoarding campaign, or whether PCI Developments used its own people, is unclear.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
For the past forty-plus years those who own and operate a vehicle in British Columbia have had to bend down between once and four times a year to apply a sticker to their rear licence plate. But for all my time living in this province, not once have I seen anyone do so.
Monday, April 2, 2018
Madagascar is home to a variety of floral and faunal oddities -- from lemurs to a periwinkle used in chemotherapy drugs like vinblastine, which, along with cisplatin, saved my life over half my life ago.
How odd, then, to hear that Madagascar is the world's leading supplier of vanilla, and that a "perfect storm" of events has lead to a four-ounce bottle of vanilla bean paste jumping from $5.75 in 2014 to $32 today.