I’m sitting in the dark. Nothing wrong with it. Just dark. I’ve been dreaming all night. Fever dreams churned out by sleeping on the floor to the tune of an uncontrolled radiator. I don’t remember much. There were three distinct worlds I inhabited last night.
The first, I don’t remember at all – I just remember that all too familiar post-dream thought of “I should remember this”. It was a hilarious thing… I don’t remember anything but laughter
The second was full of quiet tense waiting. I was hiding with friends, maybe even with family, in an abandoned city. I remember the Enemy coming – people filled out with fear, some of them coming to die, some of them coming to kill. We took two women in the middle of the night. They stumbled in to our adopted home, sending us blindly groping for guns. I remeember mine was like one of those cheap disposable cameras – paper and plastic, bright yellow like Kodak, a little counter on the top. I had used 6 of 8 shots.
The women woke us in the middle of the night – a mother who’s children were long dead, supporting her mother in turn, who was dying. Shawled and cold and tattered, they were looking for a warm place out of the wind. Someplace for the old woman to die in peace. Once we decided they were harmless, we allowed them into the dusty interior of the house.
The house itself seems to have once been a bar, or a pretty nice tavern of some sort. Big, wooden walls, dirt floors, small, glass paned windows.
Small windows, I remember that’s why we picked the place. When men with torches came still later in the night, there was the possibility that they hadn’t seen OUR lights, thanks to those small paned windows. Scrambling for lights, fumbling with tiny switches, grasping those damned tiny pegs on long-stemmed upright lamps – clumsy through gloves – we attracted attention and the dream dissolved into the confusion of combat. My cheap disposable pistol was used twice more and used up, feeling like a staple gun as it thudded slugs home into strangers in the doorway. I remember eyes…
And then there’s this third world. Whitney’s floor.
We arrived in Massachussetts sometime around 5pm yesterday. Beautiful sunshine – it’s rare that we’ve been gifted with anything less than crystalline skies during this whole Trip. Traffic was easy coming up 95 (from Providence) and we didn’t even get lost, despite the best attempts of the locals –
No signs in all of Massachussetts are simple. Even large highways find it neccessary to add in little flurishes and exciting curlyqueues… just to make Life interesting. It’s a land where even the highway engineers seem to deem themselves artists, taking liberties with the desired straight lines of our passage, and leaving signatures only visible from space.
Someday, all of New England will hold the occult signifigance of the Nazca Lines – mysterious etchings scrawled across the land with absolutely NO conceivable purpose.
In DC or Philadelphia, future scientists will discover what were clearly means of transportation – but in Massachussetts, they will be baffled, eventually passing it off to art – that wonderful catch-all for all misunderstood and ununderstood artifacts. Hell, if we didn’t have art, we’d have to understand EVERYTHING.
Back in Providence, Art was our medium. It was our surrounding atmosphere, and it was the profession of most everyone we met.
Staying with Sonny was a treat. AS220 is inexplicable – some sort of combination of all things artsy – from coffeehouse to bar, to cheap dorm-like housing to studio space – it has performance spaces and gallery spaces, showers and a stage. What else could anyone ask for? Some day, I hope to put together some sort of artist’s collective – but rather than the idealism of AS220’s unjuried galleries and stated mission of helping artists who can’t help themselves – I plan to state a different type of idealism.
I’d like to create something useful. I don’t believe that art is an end of it’s own. Those of us who’ve deemed ourselves artists have perhaps been lucky that it’s been thought of as a legitimate end in and of itself – but I think it’s a process – not a solution but a path.
Stop me if I get too preachy…
Oh yeah (ha!) you can’t!
There’s two types of art out there – just as there are two types of artists. There’s that stuff you buy with the dogs playing poker, the beautiful landscapes – the stuff that old men in flattened hats have churned out their entire Lives to make a Living. It’s like carpentry or masonry for them. A labour of Love, perhaps – but a creation of a known thing.
For the second type – it’s a solution to the shit inside of them. There’s some Shakespearian line about “the TRUTH MUST OUT!!” or something – Heather would correct me if I bothered to wake her – and it’s like that for a lot of the people I went to school with: things on the inside of our heads that we MUST contend with. However, perhaps lacking the people/talking/something skills that allow other people to be normal, social creatures – lacking what allows the normal human beast to talk about their troubles, sort out their troubles, and solve their troubles – they work it out visually, or musically… or through blood. Some people have even less socially acceptable ways of dealing with the things in their head. Painting and mass murder perhaps are not too different inside the “artist”s head – just one has become a little more accepted in social circles…
And luckily – many Artists’ work – whether it be the interior working of their heads or working through a visual problem while trying to sort out their own heads – that’s easily mistaken for another kind of art… the nice kind that we want to see hanging on our walls… I mean, certainly, it’s even cool to have the tortured, antagonistic kind hanging up here and there – but all of this has combined to make the artist believe that their psychosis produces a thing that is useful to society – in and of itself….
And I just don’t think that the art itself is enough. It’s a means to an end… and we were taught back at MICA (the Institute!!) that that “means” was enough.
So, make a collective of the people who understand that Art itself isn’t enough. You’ve got to do something with it. There are enough art school graduates pissing on crosses and painting red squares and making exciting blocks that generate interest into the plight of the modern woman on the Isle of Galapagos. Very few are accomplishing a damn thing. Some of them start arguements, most simply vanish into closets… if they’re lucky, they start conversations – but very few ever get in the last word.
Art is confined (in general) to the gallery space – the walls. “The art speaks for itself and the viewer takes away what they bring with them – only bent by the work” – that’s all fine and good, but if you want to change the world – there’s a lot more work to be done.
Starting the conversation is key. Most work doesn’t do that. If it’s accessible, it states an opinion – and often as not doesn’t back it up. Continuing the dialog is imperative. Most art is static, and can’t do that. And the artist is behind the walls somewhere, believing his work is done. The art then, after all of this – conversation carried or not – the viewer must walk away with the knowledge that they have communicated with someone/something outside of themselves. This is something that can almost ONLY be accomplished by the artist themselves – in PERSON.
I’m ranting. I’d like to create an artists’ collective that focuses on community, communication – the whole week I was at AS220, I only met three of the other artists Living there. There was nothing being done collectively – it was merely a shared Living space.
Anywho, enough about that. Whitney’s asking questions about the Journal, and my train of thought can only take so much interrogation. Heather has woken up and returned to her book, Whitney is diligent and returns to her physics.
And I’ll stick with this for a bit longer.
Where was I?
Providence, Rhode Island….
Constantly in out travels, we’ve re-encountered old friends of mine. Most expected, some not. All with huge, beautiful personalities. Will Schaff was our host on our last visit. The beautiful creator of beautiful things – but I often wonder where he’s heading. He seems to Live very much in the now, and Coca Cola and nicotine are driving his vibrant body into the ground. I come away from my brief visits with him smelling of smoke and worrying.
Not that that’s my place. We all make our decisions about what our task is here in Life and how much time we need to carry that task out. Every day I balance the needs of what I need to do vs what I have done vs how tired I am of everything. Fatigue of Life certainly drags at me, but people and the needs of people, and my need of people keeps me going. Exploration helps, and the Trip is the tool that puts it all together.
Providence, Rhode Island is beautiful. I see why so many MICAns were drawn to it.
Sonny remains quirky. He fills his Life with a security desk surragate job – parking cars at a local lot. 8+ hours a day, sitting in a box – he uses the time to bend wire into fantastic shapes. I don’t know what’s going on in his head – but he shreds his hands for
his art – He’s a toy collector, a Stuff collector (the letters of Vivian Gish? signatures of silent movie stars?) and a pretty successful artist. His works go for a thousand dollars a piece, and they are incredible.
But you have to wonder what’s going on inside. It’s neatly ordered… the time spent twisting wire into all those neatly ordered shapes reminds of the tiny, close packed lines of handwritten books in the movie Se7en. (nobody say ANYTHING!)
–Time out – Whitney has taken a break from her physics studying to go and measure her arm with a tape measure – she seems displeased with the results, places the tape measure carefully back into its drawer, and returns to her work. No body ever talks about putting together a physicist commune, but sometimes, I think it might be better to keep them all in one place… And, as I show a greater detail of Sonny’s wire-work, Whitney offers to calculate my personal gravitational pull. I say no thanks.
It’s pretty difficult to focus on Providence, RI, when Whitney’s trying to compact her cat into a sphere, so as better to ascertain the beast’s radius.
Whitney hasn’t really changed, it seems… and perhaps no-one does. She’s still radiantly beautiful, with perfect skin and long brown hair with gold curls all floating back and forth (I’ve always seen them as red). She was my first real girlfriend back in high school, and we dated for about a year and a half. Often blissfully, occassionally turbulently. The photographic evidence showed that we were disgustingly cute together.
But her deep voice is deepened still more by her cold at the moment, and we are given nightmares by the 3am emissions of her overactive radiator. Boston surrounds her like a cloak of mislaid streets, and she knows her city well, reciting small bits of history here and there. Dropping knowledge like leaves from her autumn toned head. It’s good to see her.
But this whole compressing the cat into a sphere thing has got me a little worried.
Providence, RI – A couple of truly fantastic nights – between the Gray Goose open mic (and really good people), and the night after that (the Custom House Tavern) – where we met incredible musicians and incredible storytellers… including one guy that we invited to come play with us for our Sunday night gig at Zog.
The CD sales are getting better – and we made a good amount of cash at the show at Cafe Zog. We saw a lot of familiar faces, and had the place pretty well filled with 32 people or so. Newbies clustered in to see what was going on, and a lot of people that we’d met on our Providence wanderings were there to make us feel welcome.
For the first hour, we were joined by Rob (Artoro Got the Shaft) who has definitely been one of the outstanding personalities in Providence. He’s an excellent percussionist and filled the first part of the gig with appropriated thunder that we would not have had on our own.
Rob is a creature from Kansas, and as such hasn’t quite caught up with the rest of the world yet – “Rad” and “Scope the scene” are frequent parts of his vocabulary, and Heather’s ever-chic sensibilities were shocked. I was very pleased, on the other hand, as these often sneak their way into MY everyday speach, and I was overjoyed to find someone who justified my words.
Of course, after he told the story of how he had to REALLY clean his bathroom because he’d been attacked by a daddy longlegs while excreting urine from … himself… and that he’d had nothing to attack the beast with (he was afraid of being bitten?!) he switched to “short, controlled bursts” – I wasn’t so sure that this was someone I wanted on my side.
I almost laughed pho through my nose.
On that note, I think it’s time to take a break from all this texting. I just need to keep up so that I don’t have to put all of this solid text time in… REMEMBER ROB!!! 15 minutes a DAY!!!