My first Laurels!!!
Laureate of Best experimental short of the month for Eclipsed at the Gothamite Film Festival
Nexus video exhibition curated by Julie Grosche and Sajetta with Adham Faramawy, Lola Gonzàlez, Julie Grosche, Savannah Knoop, Molly McFadden, Agostino Quaranta, Elizabeth Orr, Yoan Sorin & Florian Sumi
Pino Pascali Museum Foundation, Polignano a Mare, Italy
June 8th till June 19th 2023
Conscious, Subconscious, (Collective) Unconscious
The Anderson is pleased to present Conscious, Subconscious, (Collective) Unconscious, an exhibition of 30 artists curated by VCUarts alumni Peat Szilagyi (Sculpture + Extended Media MFA, 2020) and Monica Kinsey (Art History MA, 2019).
Conscious, Subconscious, (Collective) Unconscious is an exhibition exploring the ineffable notion of consciousness—the cosmic fluid that animates our existence, yet eludes scientific definition. At the nexus of science, philosophy, religion and art, consciousness research is an often goalless pursuit that draws attention to present lived experience while attempting to understand the function of subjectivity. The works by the artists in this exhibition explore consciousness as it is informed by a culturescape of technology, religion and surveillance; the subconscious as an irrational basis for our desires, fears and most abstract impulses; and the collective unconscious as a realm of archetypes and influences both internal and external to unique identity. By lending physicality or language to otherwise inexpressible experiences of dream logic, perception and intuition, the works in this exhibition function as talismans, holding viewers at the hazy precipice between interior and exterior experience.
In addition to the works on display, the exhibition will be accompanied by discussions from researchers in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and comparative religions, as well as workshops and performances by intuitive artists and spiritual practitioners. Books on topics related to consciousness research and perceptual exploration are available in the accompanying exhibition library.
Participating Artists: Zody Burke
Canela Mahari Chabwera
Julie Grosche & Florian Sumi GM Keaton
The exhibition will last from September 3 to October 1, 2021.
In the premises of Berlinskej Model, Like A Little Disaster will be presenting the works of five artists from different corners of the world: Romana Drdová (CZ), Julie Grosche (FR), Lucia Leuci (IT), Jaana-Kristiina Alakoski (SE), and Katy McCarthy (US). The theme of the exhibition is femininity, with motherhood and sisterly cooperation as a connecting leitmotif. The aforementioned artists will be preparing an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, photography, and videos in harmony and mutual cooperation; works and bodies and thoughts will empathically coexist with each other.
The etymology of the word “milk” – “lac-lactis or glactis” in Latin and “gala-galactos” in Greek – is linked to the oldest “GLU, GLA, GAL, GAR” root that indicates the onomatopoeic sound of swallowing of an infant during breastfeeding. Galatina (Italian feminine singular) Galatine (Italian feminine plural), is the name of a famous Italian milk candy. Galatine are made with powdered milk and honey. They look like solid-dehydrated-chalky-whitish circles. They are porous like all bodies of water. They return to their “hydro-state” through the connection with any other body of water, in this case, the saliva of our mouth. (1)
“Galatine” is conceived as a dialogue between five artists – Jaana Kristiina Alakoski, Romana Drdova, Julie Grosche, Lucia Leuci, Katy McCarthy – whose practices and poetics trigger an hydrophonic choir questioning and reflecting the concept of milk, experienced as material metonyms of a planetary watery mesh that interpermeates and connects bodies and bathes new kinds of plural life into being. Milk is commonly connected to human and, more generally, mammalian species’ experience, to care and nursing and primary nutriment. But milk is also something that goes beyond human projects. “Galatine” triggers a non-human perspective just by emphasizing human extracorporeal implications in the bodily waters of others – human and other animal, but also oceanic, mineral, riparian, gaseous, epiphytic, estuarine, arboreal, tropical, saline, lychenic, meteorological, galactic bodies. We are all just swimming through milky streams. If adult humans manage to keep their mouths away from milk, they often substitute it through its simulacra – mostly provoking well-know disastrous ecosystem damage; coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, hemp milk, oat milk, pea milk, peanut milk, grains milk, barley milk, fonio milk, maize milk, millet milk, oat milk, rice milk, rye milk, sorghum milk, teff milk, triticale milk, spelt milk, wheat milk. In fact, not only do mammals produce milk; some birds, such as pigeons, doves, flamingoes, and penguins produce a substance derived from epithelial cells called “crop milk,” with which they nurture their chicks. Spiders do that and also cockroaches, pseudoscorpions, discus fish and some frogs and salamanders too. Plants emit milk-s too. Latexes and milky resins are secreted both for defence, for care and healing; what’s a new branch but a little baby to take care of? Through guttation some plants secrete small milky and viscous drops guaranteeing nutrition and hydration to the smaller plants below. Stones are made of calcium, many varieties of fossils produce milky fluids. Yes, stones produce milk but, in turn, milk produces stones. And more, casein is found in a variety of objects that we use every day (including tech-stuff); but it happens to be mixed with toxic plastics and derivatives. We are surrounded by milk, it is in us, with us, above us, below us, around us. Too close, too far, from invisible molecules to “our” shining galaxy that is milky twice, because it is the Milky Way and because it is the Galaxy. When infants ask their mothers for milk, they are actually asking for “the whole” Galaxy. Besides all, isn’t it true that the Milky Way was created from Hera’s milk breast?
Stones are porous, like all bodies of water; like all wet bodies, fossils are porous, the bodies of women, and fish, and infants, and flamingo, and Tajikistan, and alocasia, and spiders, and figs, and artesian wells, and galatine, are porous too. These bodies are all caught up in one another’s currents – as they are with the whale’s body, the body of the rain cloud, and the body of the increasingly toxic sea. As bodies of water, we are all and always, at some point of the levels, implicated. If “Galatine” began with the objective of ‘describing the geography closest in’, it has soon paddled a great distance while never really leaving this body that is ‘ours’. It has also paddled in time; milk connects us directly to childhood, but also to other bodies across time and space, where the entwining of bodies might stir ‘the remembered smell of our own mother’s milk ’. As a watery vector between bodies, milk gathers the heritages of the myriad porous bodies that are the condition of our perpetual hydromorphic condition. We all give ourselves up to another wet body. We all become with, or simply just become, other milky seas. While the subject-forming lineaments materialize the body very concretely, they also index its multiple belongings and anchor their subjectivity in multiple places.
The body is always multiple.
Well, yes, this body is also situated as a maternal body. “Galatine” portrays the act of nursing as a vector of powerful and sometimes uncanny affect: “the act of suckling a child, like a sexual act, may be tense, physically painful, charged with cultural feelings of inadequacy and guilt; or, like a sexual act, it can be a physically delicious, elementally soothing experience”. (2)
“Galatine” describes the transit of waters between bodies as a matter of fact, but also as a matter of feeling, of memory, of gendered and sexual embodiment. We might try to parse out the ‘real’ biological flows of milky intercorporeality (DDT, antibodies, flame retardant, calcium) from affective ones (bonding, love, revulsion, fear), but such divisions here falter. In “Galatine” psyche and soma, biology and affect, dwell in and as our bodies in what can be seen as an immersive space for a fusion of meshed gametes, where seemingly disparate bodily factions are nonetheless communicating with each other in empathic narration.
SUMO Prague 2021 is an international gallery exchange project, the second edition of which, entitled The Odd Year II, will be taking place in Prague, Czech Republic from September 3 to October 15, 2021. Eight local galleries will be hosting exhibitions with an accompanying program curated in collaboration with partner institutions from abroad. The project aims to present the local audience with international art and artists new to the Czech context. SUMO will also help foster international cooperation in the field of contemporary art, establishing new networks and promoting exchange between artists, curators, art critics, and other art world professionals. SUMO’s opening weekend will take place September 3–5, 2021.
Like A Little Disaster is a collective of artistic research founded in 2014 by Giuseppe Pinto and Paolo Modugno who run the project together with Giovanni Pedote, Marika Dandi, Lysa Neufville, Giusi Aglieri, Grazia Mappa and Gabriele Leo (PLASTICITY) and all the artists and curators who aggregate and alternate according to the specificities of the individual projects.
I made a meme!
Opening Saturday, June 26th 2021
On view through July 31st 2021
De:Formal is pleased to present The Rise of the Care Machines, an online digital art exhibition exploring the tension/contraction between motherhood and art. Conceiving the digital medium as a place open to the possibility of new relationships and revealing a whole new way of approaching the symbolic and cultural configuration of motherhood.
What is the impact of motherhood in your artwork? Every artist involved in the exhibition has answered this question in their own way, configuring an artist manifesto dedicated to all new media artists who are making a juggling act between their life and work while also constantly trying to break the barriers of romanticization, working out of love and self-sacrifice.
Featuring works by Ching Ching Cheng, Julie Béna, Catherine Biocca, Sofía Córdova, Jullie Grosche, Faith Holland, Hildegard Holland Watter, Monika Horčicová, Rory Scott and Flavia Visconte.
The Rise of the Care Machines is curated by Wednesday Kim and co-curated by Flavia Visconte.
Amour Amour Amour
Opening: Saturday, March 20, 2021
2317 Westwood Ave, Suite 106, Richmond VA 23230
Open Friday — Monday, by appointment only.
March 21—April 18 2021
“Complete understanding could only be achieved by blood transfusion and memory transfusion–a miracle still beyond the reach of science.” - Virginia Woolf, 3 Guineas (1938)
A choral exploration of the human condition, ‘Amour Amour Amour’ ponders the effects of artificial intelligence, avatars, roboids, ersatz humans, love and what it means to live in the age of Big Data. Through song, the beings connect to one another, to viewer, to infinity, Mother and child appear and question their existence as embodied data. A sort of naive innocence radiates from child, who only seeks to understand. This exchange, between mother and child, evokes feelings of pure, untainted love. Mother takes such care in responding to child’s questions and sharing her breadth of knowledge. One is able to feel entirely empathetic toward these data-beings, reaffirming the thinness of the veil between this ‘real’ world and that ‘digital’ one. Mother and child express their mutual affection through a strange and familiar rendition of “It’s a Small World”, a classic Disney tune and one of the most played songs in the world. Small data points flash in the background like Supernovas in a vast sea of information.
The choir appears chanting the melody of “The Peat Bog Soldiers”, a hymn that emerged during World War II from the Börgermoor concentration camp where prisoners were forced to labor in the wetlands, extracting fossil fuels from the marshes. The chant arose out of protest from the prisoners. As the war ended, the song was disseminated and took on a life of its own. Coming to represent a more universal resistance toward Fascism, hate, and oppression. In 1971, the MLF (women’s liberation movement) re-appropriated the hymn to express their struggle–one of love and equality–citing love as the strongest bond and the only way toward living in harmony. This vast and unfettered love beckons Timothy Morton’s conception of Hyper-Objects, or notions that are so vast, with such infinite temporal and spatial dimensions, that any traditional idea of life-as-we know-it perishes in their wake. Love reaches towards the deep recesses of consciousness and cosmos.
‘Amour Amour Amour’ concludes with a quote from Virginia Woolf who firmly believed that if women were in power, there would be no war. Woolf believed that mutual empathy between gender could only be achieved through “memory transfusion”, calling out science’s inability to provide a platform from which people could better understand one another. The luminescent words appear as though written from behind the veil of the screen, being etched onto the wall through some miraculous event of extension. A reaching-through. A link.
Artists: Farah Al Qasimi — The Army of Love — Meriem Bennani — Hannah Black — Kate Cooper — Emma Balimaka & Adrien Cruellas & Florian Sumi — Cécile B. Evans — Adham Faramawy — FCNN — Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė — Alex Goss — Julie Grosche — Ilana Harris-Babou — The Institute of Queer Ecology — Derek G Larson — Hanne Lippard — Jen Liu — Katy McCarthy — Orla McHardy — Shala Miller — Virginia Lee Montgomery — Shana Moulton — Sondra Perry — Agnieszka Polska — Tabita Rezaire — SAGG Napoli — Stephen Vitiello.
Texts: Julie Grosche Like A Little Disaster Marc Yearsley
12 September / 12 December 2020
ONSITE Chiesa di San Giuseppe – Polignano a Mare Italy No opening hours
ONLINE Sajetta – Visit The eye can see things the arm cannot reach 24/24 – 7/7
Like A Little Disaster:
Sinners will be forgiven. Corrupt will not […]. Open yourself to love. i
Originally, this video project was designed for the 17th century San Giuseppe Church in Polignano a Mare, but with the pandemic and related rules on social distancing, things have changed. The project underwent a splitting process (IRL/online) which transformed it into a two-faced herma, in love with a face that cannot be touched.
The exhibition is actually set up in the church but public access will never be allowed.
It is possible to visit it HERE – so the project exists simultaneously online and in the church where no one can experience it, except through a leap of faith.
Doubting is lawful. The doubt is in the game of faith,
in the game of love.
But nobody is here to check.
The works involved revolve around love (not as a subject but as an experience), conception, romance and intimacy, as well as female gaze and body. The church becomes the blasphemous frame for the projection of works that stage representations of love and sensuality.
Here, the object of faith and belief become simply love.
“The eye can see things the arm cannot reach” is an ultra-private, maybe purely speculative, project that leads us into the intimate dimension of faith. Faith in something that is definitely happening, but that no one can experience, assist or prove it, because to demonstration it is to deny it. Faith that bodies and love are not just an illusion; even during a pandemic.
Love is the son of Penia; poverty, need, missing, absence.
All the works involved show and invoke love for Other (lovers/friends/children/sisters/communities/comrades) but visualized in a way and in a time in which every interaction is denied. The show is set inside a vessel that generally hosts people who believe that the body of Christ really existed, but which now welcomes us, in the vortex of a historical moment that allows us only to believe that the others, their corporeity and their physical presence still really exist.
Interactions are now fantasized and the desire is at its apogee.
The dreamed, awaited, escaped body becomes the image of a reproduction responding to the dictation of desire. The lost body is truly absent; loneliness becomes the space of its abstract presence. Abstraction itself then is nothing but absence and pain, pain of absence – so perhaps love.
The condition of waiting for love-r can be defined as a mystical vocation to imagination and reverie. The lover who waits does not know more effective tools than the imagination to heal, albeit deceptively, the absence of the loved one. While waiting, the lover “manipulates” the object of love, giving it a body, a face, a character, intentions and words, which never match reality. The entity awaited, the mass centre of love dynamics, can actually prove to be nothing more than an imagined object: who, then, is this body for me, if not the fruit of my imagination? Isn’t it an unreal, evanescent body that I’m actually waiting for? Is the awaited body endowed with its own objectivity? Is its image linked, by its very nature, to the subjectivity of those who think it?
Corpus Domini ii
An important aspect emerging from the processes set in motion by the alternation of the works can be found in the idea/image/representation of the body and its ownership.
Quarantine represented an intensely self-reflexive moment, a non-time in which the body did not have to exhibit itself. Consequently, it also represents the dimension of distancing, of detachment, not only from others but above all from social constructs.
Love is the exclusive space of intimacy, separated from society and the roles it imposes; it becomes an absolute (solutus ab ➝ absolútus), dissolved from everything, in which everyone can liberate the self that cannot be express in the roles occupied in the social sphere.
Canonical hours iii – of love.
The videos will appear as visions in random and unpredictable moments of the day (H24 – 7/7). This modality makes a full experience of the contents impossible, in the same way that they cannot be experienced in the church. In this way, the project, to be understood as an autonomous work of art, claims its elusive nature, just like love.
Faith, love, religion, all objects that we cannot fully understand, will be treated for what they are; fading, impalpabilities, evanescences, within the online display.
Between one projection and the other a soundtrack, composed for the occasion by Stephen Vitiello (with texts from Diderot, recited by Tracy Leipold and Julie Grosche), will accompany and guide the visitor in that dimension in which waiting is the time of missing itself. The soundtrack is a fundamental element of the entire project, as well as of the church; it is that which contains and connects the various videos. The soundtrack becomes the space, the space of the absent presence.
But the other is absent; I invoke the other inwardly to keep me on the brink of this mundane complacency, a temptation. I appeal to the other’s ” truth” (the truth of which the other gives me the sensation) against the hysteria of seduction into which I feel myself slipping. I make the other’s absence responsible for my worldliness: I invoke the other’s protection, the other’s return: let the other appear, take me away, like a mother who comes looking for her child, from this worldly brilliance, from this social infatuation, let the other restore to me ” the religious intimacy, the gravity” of the lover’s world. iv
i Pope Francis, from the mass for Italian parliamentarians (28 March 2014)
ii The Feast of Corpur Domini or Corpus Christi (the “Day of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ the Lord”), is a Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Western Orthodox liturgical solemnity celebrating the Real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist.
iii Canonical hours are an ancient subdivision of the day developed in the Catholic Church for common prayer, also known as the “Divine Office” or Opus Dei (“work of God”).
iv Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments.
Like a Little Disaster invited me to do a screening back in January. Originally, I would have screened a solo presentation of a new video work consisting of two microorganisms falling in love. As I started work, Covid-19 hit and the world was forced into lockdown. In the video, titled Tender Isolation, one of the bacterium creates a coronavirus-like organism in the image of the second bacterium as an act of love. Like the virus, in the piece, love is spreading but I wanted love to become contagious.
As lockdown continued and friends and family started to feel further and further away, Like a Little Disaster and I decided to co-curate a show and invite artists and art that we love; to stay connected through a thread that seemed vital. The initial show was intended to be screened in a 17-century church in Polignano a Mare. In the course of events, it moved onto a digital platform but remains simultaneously screened in the church where no one can enter for sanitary precautions. From a speculation to another we are forced to believe that it is happening and that we will be able to touch each other again.
The 17 min interlude sound piece from Stephen Vitiello between each work turns the exhibition format into a long continuous soundtrack. The demanding viewing experience can become, if you let yourself be lulled by it, a presence, a new companionship to enhance your environment. The eyes can see what the arm cannot reach is a private and intimate show meant to be consumed in the intimacy of isolation. It is a display of love, joy, bodies, sensuality, politics, existentialism, feminism, cannibalism, sentient organisms, women, mothers and children, motherhood, femininity, identity, belief and love. It is a dream group, a vision of an ideal, a paragon.
Singing is twice the prayer
The reproductive number of a virus is the expected number of infections an average carrier will cause. A superspreader event takes place when that reproductive number goes nuclear. Close to 1000 superspreaders have been a disproportionately potent vector for the coronavirus. Considering the early and ongoing confusion about how COVID-19 is passed between people, and the asymptomatic nature of many carriers, superspreading is an obvious result. Overwhelming recent evidence suggests that the virus can spread via aerosolized droplets that remain suspended in the air. Undetectable particles from an invisible source.
There is an apocryphal quote attributed to St. Augustine and often relayed in Catholic teachings, “He who sings well, prays twice.” A kind of cheat code for the inattentive. One notable early COVID-19 cluster was traced to a choir practice in Washington state, where a single person sickened 52 over the course of a few hours. Singing, then, is an efficacious way of dispersing the virus. And now, for the first time in thousands of years, churches are empty and dead silent. The faithful will have to pray at home, twice as hard, but for what?
At least in the United States, the accelerant of an airborne, interhuman virus has been intensely clarifying. Suddenly it appears (it has always been) that one fight bleeds into another, that precarity is endemic, that the pit has no bottom. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, all you can do is look, revealing for many what others already knew – help was never here, isn’t on the way, and if it happens to show up, it might kill you.
This show started as an idea in a world that was fundamentally not so different than the one we are in now. Certain variables have been removed and others amplified by a corrosive sickness, revealing just how schematic the disorder within is. It has since become clear that there is little reason for optimism that any sense of a return to normalcy will be accompanied by a sense of safety. Whatever the original concept was – it doesn’t matter now – the show then needed to function for a differently attentive audience; isolated, abandoned, sick, bored, anxious, unemployed, scared.
A church-cum-gallery with a show that won’t open, where what you see and when you see it is out of your control, if it is seen at all. It cannot be a distraction, it most likely won’t even be watched. A matter of faith in a collection of mediations from disparate, displaced artists. Body languages – sexual, sensual, platonic, feminine, fragile, obsessive – more precious and frightening than ever before, hinting at matrystroka-like micro dynamics amidst macro disasters. A cropped frame, inside a reluctant and unwelcoming venue, revealing asses, guts, nails, mouths…picking, touching, eating, smelling, cooking, waiting, scrolling. A show reformed from the ground up by disease, violence, and rebellion.
You cannot just walk in, walk through, visit, select your experience, consider, and leave at will. States of boredom and relaxation, isolation and connection, desire and impotence converge in one focal point. A screen, if you have one, appears less reliable the more you have to rely on it. And it has always been a poor approximation. Without the rhythmic physicality of face-to-face, conversations stutter and overlap, looking hard and never making eye contact. So much now, to the exclusion of much more, is a matter of faith; that the other is seeing you, that the wine is blood, that there may be a different, better world to return to.
We are the virus?
There was a meme that circulated in the early parts of global lockdown which started with a tweet:
Wow… Earth is recovering
– Air pollution is slowing down
– Water pollution is clearing up
– Natural wildlife returning home
Coronavirus is Earth’s vaccine
We’re the virus.
Wow! Daydreams of the apocalypse, with the rapid and total restructuring of society, of course provide momentary relief from the compounding terrors of the present and our ominous future. A reductive, binary struggle that levels the playing field and brings order to a chaotically cruel world. The reality of extinction level events is that the most likely ones are not only not spectacular, but are already underway, measurable and accumulative. Each summer hotter than the last.
One version stuck with me: “Nature is healing” paired with an image of Lime scooters floating in a canal. It’s a better reflection of reality right now than a slight decrease in carbon emissions during lockdown. 2020’s silver lining is that it’s easier to see that there isn’t one. Nature IS healing, it just doesn’t look how you’d expect. Here in our brave new world lies useless broken e-waste from an unprofitable startup rusting in a shallow grave.
While reductive, “we are the virus” begs questions it believes to answer – what is the ailment and what is the remedy? The available metaphors to discuss hyperobjects (and the virus is one) – wartime, self-care, silver bullets – always rest on the parallel trajectories of the personal and the universal, the problematic “we”. We are all in this together and you must do your part. This is happening to us equally and happening because of us. And when the fix is in, the now will be a distant memory from an ahistorical timeline. You are supposed to forget the details, to disregard the connective tissue, to miss the trees through the forest.
The sicknesses are many, and varied, and historic, and disproportionate. The cures? Non-existent and never offered. The peculiar nature of coronavirus symptoms for most – asymptomatic or dying – is a reflection of the untenable binaries. Everything must shut down but nothing can fundamentally change. Everyone must stay home but no one will pay for it. What’s left of the economy must reopen. A series of increasingly intractable delusions held ever tightly.
The American government, top to bottom, remains uninterested and inept. The workforce collapsed, was not protected, and will not recover. Entire sections of the economy are gone forever. Health care, tied to employment and already barely there, fully retracted. Rents, mortgages, bills, and debts pile up with no absolute relief. The stock market is pessimistically thriving because of the writing on the wall, not in spite of it. Multinational distribution corporations and pharmaceuticals are raking it in. Health insurance profits have doubled. In New York City, nearly all patients on ventilators died.
It would have been a beautiful and simple solution to mint a trillion dollar platinum coin and distribute enough money so everyone could stay home and everything could shut down. Instead, we have sustained technological, economic, social, and political collapse. The disintegration, while overwhelming, is specific and understandable. The virus is theoretically everywhere, while it actually ravenges the already fraying seams of the most dehumanized zones – prisons, nursing homes, fulfillment centers, slaughterhouses. Stagnant, punitive, immoral spaces of numbing repetition and alienation, recirculating deadly air to people who cannot afford to be anywhere else.
People of color are nearly 2 times more likely to die from the coronavirus. Black people are 3 times as likely to be murdered by police. Race and class, the lethal comorbidities of the two most out of control crises of right now: the coronavirus and the police. Both unleashing irrevocable traumas unequally. Both exceptional in America.
law and order, body and blood
As soon as going outside was a dangerous proposition, it became a gesture of the lengths you were willing to go. The early protests that received an inordinate amount of media attention were against lockdowns and masks. Aggrieved parties, mostly white, mustered their courage and directed their outrage at staying home and covering up. One man in an interview was brought to tears because he wasn’t allowed to buy grass seed, an unbearable loss of buying power. Paypigs briefly taking to the streets for their own debasement. If only such depth of emotion was activated for quite literally anything else.
Those protests could not be sustained because they were a deeply embarrassing and unfocused reflex. The debate that continues, to the extent that it masquerades as a debate, is an expression of powerlessness from individuals with very little to live for. Petulant, empty, and selfish. They went outside quickly and loudly before returning home to sit in front of the television like everyone else they knew. They had a little time to kill. For others, there was nothing but time.
Life in the U.S. is violent, punitive, racist, and immoral. Over the past decade, through a combination of social media and bystander documentation, state-sanctioned executions are streamed worldwide. That robust and expansive catalog of police violence grows each year. George Floyd’s murderers forced the rest of the world to watch. And no matter the evidence, they stick to the script. Don’t believe what you see. Wait for the facts. This is tragic but explainable. Any context, of course, is unforgiving and unconvincing. That cursed video, right now, drove people from their homes not for an afternoon, but night after night after night. What seems like a flood is more an oversaturation, a long-sprung leak finally rotting through.
Masses of people offered their only solution, risking health and safety because we had no choice. Flirting with sickness and death to draw a line in the sand, standing alongside those who never had the option to not be there, for those who had always been there. To commit to memory the names of those that were taken from us, a running list grows every day. To amputate these diseased organs of policing and prison. To destroy the tools of oppression. To take and redistribute the basic resources that have been denied. To believe and then produce the beginnings of something better. To practice love when it is most unexpected.
Cops love too. They love power and order, they love to believe that their purpose is pure and immutable. But they are woefully unqualified – what do we pay them for? Attempts to sap the revolutionary energy of the protests with calls for solidarity and kneeling were short-lived. The lame antagonism of cosplaying soldiers, humiliated and defeated, at least shows how tenuous and ineffective the police state has always been. They lash out as they retreat, ceding ground immediately. Despite the world crumbling around them, they were caught off guard. So they welcomed allies and guarded their symbols.
Driven by their defenders and fanatically guarded, the monuments to racist genocide, designed to humilitate, became a sideshow. Their mealy-mouthed representatives raged impotently to protect a fragile ideology. The irony is that those objects only matter to those standing in front of them. The people tearing them down know this much – it is an inevitability, a layover along the way to something else. Table scraps, not a full meal, so tear them down and move along. Power speaks with a forked tongue but cannot identify its subjects. The statues have nothing to say. They never did. They are hollow inside. We aren’t listening anyway.
When you strip away literally everything people have, under a total social deconstruction, and force the most vulnerable and oppressed to pick their poison, so many impediments to apathy or disassociation are gone. There is nothing to feel good about, no peace to be found, no reason to leave and barely anything to keep you busy. And yet, for some, there is nothing to live for but one another.
Now more than ever would faith and spirituality be a welcome practice. The mantras of self-care are a secular faith, code-switching the here-now for the ever after. But self-care is mostly self-soothing for the overclass. Religious faith, frigid and disembodied, is so restrictive it is rarely interesting. Jude Law, greased up in his papal swimming briefs, is no joke. Raw, delicate, unavailable sexuality, made more powerful because there is no charged boundary, no flirtation with temptation. You can’t have him. Only a true believer can make another.
Now more than ever would love, expansive and humanistic, be a salve. There was something explosive and self-replicating from the cathartic solidarity on display. Boundless compassion becoming the viewing window, staring down and moving through anything that blocks the frame. Now more than ever would intention be a cure. The malls are closed, but the people who worked there aren’t dead yet. We need to speak to a different audience. And we need different people to speak. And if that isn’t possible (here, with this show, to the people with time, access, and interest), we need to talk about different things. We must remember, and show up, exactly where we are needed. In the downtime we’ll be here, alone, scrolling interminably; heavy eyelids under soft blue light, praying to feel something while we fall asleep.