Bohemian Romanticism

My placid floating through cars on the Amtrak is interspersed with intense happiness. Feel-best neurochemical showers have punctuated the last several days, three of which were a marathon of slumber parties.

On Friday Christan rolled into town and went to Izanami with Angelo. John, Anaïs, Noah and I made vegan pizza. Sean and Mariah came and went, Sarah popped in from time to time and Karl arrived at around 2am. I snuck into Angelo’s room, participating in cross-futon pillow talk and skinny-jean sleeping.

Samantha Harmsworth

Samantha Harmsworth

My grandparents came to Currents and I had them over for dinner. Grandpa Obie and I sat in the back yard and discussed the age of the tree in the backyard. We talked about how watching the clouds float across the sky is better than going to see a new media art festival.

I played my gender set at “Queertopia.” People danced but mostly to the ironically placed dance songs and not to the noise – opposite of the crowd I’m used to. Spacesuits, which Anaïs organized, was the multifaceted happening of the night. Dirt Girl played one of the best sets I’ve ever heard and I remembered how to dance, multitasking by showering in my own sweat. I toned it down with “cerebral dance jams” as Benji dubbed them. Angelo played gentle and dark. One minimal 4/4 beast had me and Benji jumping continuously for 15 minutes.

I snuck into Angelo’s bed again. We looked at his books, in describing photos by Aaron McElroy Angelo illuminated how he is essentially romantic. We listened to records and smoked out the second story window, talking with fleeting, sparkly eye contact. Our foreheads and hands touched as we slept.

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Not to brag, but I am adept at maintaining my work ethic without much sleep. I ran into Juliet Meyers at work while fetching water, she asked if I had stayed up late. I mentioned that my set didn’t begin until well after midnight. Lizzy, who works the floor, was surprised by this double life. In the evening of course I repeated the process.

Benji’s video for spacesuits will hopefully be at a contemporary museum soon. Christian rattled the furniture with bass and chugged water while wearing leather gloves. Axl Contemporary was outside and we offered Juliet Meyers a treat from the gas station. Standing around the bonfire Karl outlined his project, trees with various positions in society enacting their positions in society: a cop tree, a doctor tree, a lumberjack tree…

Anaïs brought coconut bliss brand non-dairy frozen desert – which is the best non-dairy frozen desert. Standing in the kitchen eggs came up. “Yeah, chicks are gross” I said. Karl countered that an egg would only be half a chick, or the empty potential of a chick. I meant to draw a parallel between the cultural thought that human periods are gross, but enforced chicken periods are nutritious. Laughs all around.

This time Angelo and I snuck upstairs together, enunciating the final repetition of our bohemian romanticism.

Currents + Proxies

In one slo-mo swoop I moved into new-old house (former Ghost Olympics) with Sean & Noah and built an experimental new media art installation. That + full time job + sparse parties took 12-18 hours a day for about two months. When the project was finished (ha ha, as if any project can be finished), Tristan and I stared at it, exhausted, for 20 minutes. “This is, cool? right?” Tristan asked. “I have no idea.” I replied.

Pepper's Ghost

Pepper’s ghost experiment with Margeux & Tristan

Tristan Love and I ran into each other at Skylight (also known as Cologne or Dick Village) when I was dropping off a fog chiller I made for their Halloween party. We talked about projecting onto fog and new media art and decided to create a proposal for Currents.

Our piece ended up with the same name as my last, “Proxy,” and is essentially a joke about new media art:

A face floats on a screen of water vapor, it is not immediately clear whether is is interactive, if it is artificial, or if it is a live feed.
Proxy is comprised of duplicate stations. If both are occupied each person sees the other as a live hologram. Proxy tricks people into an immediate (mediated) human interaction within a context of new media art: artificial-artificial intelligence.

Proxy Currents Vapor Projection E M Wingren II-

Last December we experimented with a Pepper’s ghost rig and with projecting onto humidifer vapor. Water vapor was cooler. Tristan got busy with Meow Wolf so I designed and created the mechanics of the project, learning metal-working to fabricate a waterproof design and building a high output water vapor machine. Our friend Matt Fernandez programmed our arduinos to work with a force sensitive fabric (velostat) and helped build a Max patch, which we ran on free-trial throughout the show ;)

After two old towers Dave Mcpherson generously offered us couldn’t run the piece we used my computer. The day of de-install I left for L.A. The train was 5 hours delayed so Noah and I went with our mom to her job sites in the area, talking about modern furniture with her client. Waiting for another hour for the train was one of the first enforced breaks I’ve had in several months. I sat down and wrote most of the application for CalArts.

A highlight of the Currents opening was when Erika Wannenmaker (Ditch Wytch) and her friend Tom said that Proxy was their favorite. Tom encouraged to apply for the Art and Technology MFA program at CalArts. I said that it would be too expensive. He said that he, and his friend (also Tom) are the directors of the program and they hope to fund one incoming student, again, he encouraged me to apply.

I met with Tom and Tom in L.A., eating Papaya salad at a strip mall, meeting Tom’s little dog, admiring resilient trees in face of draught. We talked about art and spectacle, about sociology, I saw Tom’s 19th century voltage tester. I think it is funny that I am not differentiating between the two Toms. One Benji refers to as “The biggest nerd we know.” It was his house in Echo Park, his voltage tester, his pointy-faced dog with cancer. “This is what grad school is like” the Toms  said. Of course I want to go to graduate school.

Another highlight of Currents was Myriam. Her piece was my favorite. It referenced the lineage of spinning disks with slowed-down and sped-up vocal samples. I waited around after her performance to ask inane questions and invite her to “negronis on the terrace” (beer on front porch) but lost confidence and left. Bea and Leo made me go back and actually talk to her. I drove up the mountain to feed my boss’s dog and when I got home Cole and the gang iced me. It was the first time I have been “iced.” It was really fun.

Myriam came over, we talked about paying rent, drinking coffee, and making art. She has a French accent and a boyfriend with curly blond hair. She left. Angelo and Jay arrived. We talked about minimalism and watched the lightning storm from the front porch. The sky is, and always will be a better artist than I.

Root Bound

My boss brought this NY Times article for us to read, I had seen it the day before. I understood its points but felt it was off the mark and held underlying transphobia. I mentioned that the Laverne Cox’s writing was the most poignant I had read on the subject.

A sales associate was doing shipping in the background and piped in: “I don’t care, if you have a penis you ain’t a woman and Laverne Cox ain’t a woman.” I said: “That is transphobic.” My boss asked us to define what a woman is and Noah said: “a woman is someone who identifies as a woman.”

Half the people in the room continued to define gender by genitalia and I came out as trans*.

The sales associate left and my boss said we needed to respect his opinion, because it was probably hard for him to come out as gay, and that there were differing generational perspectives in the dialogue. Noah, Bea, and I argued we didn’t need to respect transphobia.

The rest of the day was weird and tired. In the afternoon Bea offered to correct people when they mis-gender me, stating her empathetic exhaustion.

Bea gave us a ride home. I ate a lentil burger and installed vapor-screens at Currents. Noah and I bought water, onions, and six pluots. We went to K Mart to get a pot for our root-bound split-leaf philodendron, but the gardening section was closed so Noah bought Magic Cards semi-ironically.

River’s mom, who we affectionately refer to as “Kibby” came over. She said the laundry room was creepy. Exclaiming at the charm of the rest of the house she came back to the laundry room again, saying it felt like animals, like that animals had been killed in there, or maybe butchered. I noted that the ceilings are very high for an old adobe, and this may not have been built as a house originally.

They left to go to the Cowgirl, presumably to eat animal corpses.

I felt blue and started the 45 that had ended over again. It is entirely weird that people still eat animals, that the brutalization of non-human species is socially acceptable. It’s not only illogical on massive environmental and health levels but also clearly unpleasant. Who wants to eat the fear-adrenaline of mistreated creatures?

To return to earlier points, it is also weird that people don’t respect other people’s identities. The other night, after mine and Bea’s art opening the marketing director mis-gendered me and I gently explained that I don’t identify with binary gender. She cried and thanked me for sharing. Later she said: “Actually, I really don’t see you as genderqueer.”

Sorry for any inconvenience. I realize now that my identity is invalid.

Ha ha, Lol, That’s Gross

I am a beautiful man and when I am weary I listen to Ros Sereysothea while crafting a magnificent dinner and I cry.

I’m not a man and I’m not crying, but these are the words coming out of beet-stained fingertips to describe this feeling. Maybe I am a crying man inside.

Inside literally I’m gum infection, failed root canal, etc. Did you know you shouldn’t have your teeth knocked out because it will fuck with your chi? But if you do, know that everyone will give you $50 or $100, and in this way you can subsidize invasive dentistry with pure kindness.

And if you are a crying man inside maybe you have been working 12-17 hour days and need to touch sleep or the earth, wash your pants and take a shower for the first time in 7 days.

To The…

Many months

A 15 syllable laugh. A 13-15 syllable laugh.

A condensed memory feeling. Memory capsule. Glass waves, beach followed by sleep followed by coffee, followed by beach. True love etc.

Cold nose in the desert.

Drinking cold windowsill water while the heater blows on bare legs.

I know I say or think it > once a day, but fuck it, let’s go to the beach.

This beach I want to go to today is cold. The waves are choppy and gray, it is windy and the sky is gray. My hands are freezing. I am having so much fun here!

Some Saturdays

Some Saturdays ago I stayed up until 5 talking with John. It was me doing dream inventory and John being a critically good listener. I drew the bomb on the chalkboard and talked about accepting death, he said: “It’s the next thing.” When death is the next thing that’s the tautological truth. I had work the next day but was typically and recklessly happy to lose one sane state of mind for another imbued with the chemicals of a meaningful friendship.

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I was to DJ with Dirt Girl and Snarls at Dick Village (Skylight – upstairs at Meow Wolf’s Skylab). The wafts of cologne and top forty drugged us to that dance floor. By the time I was playing my conceptual set of bird calls (a metaphor for gender roles) someone was stabbed on the dance floor and we had to evacuate.

We peed at the Meow Wolf space and waited for John to return and unlock the door to the Rat Bag. Benji and I jumped on the trampoline. Because I am an older sibling I cannot stop myself from bouncing other people higher.

While leaping we wrote Party Girl lyrics, pretending we had access to the alcohol that was locked inside, and pretending our band was more than a concept. We puked on the trampoline and from its plastic-mesh filter withdrew a tray of sparkling cocktails.

4-2

– Viewpoint radically shifted.
– Nice email from Shobhan at work, thanking Bea, Jessie, and I for moving/assembling thirteen 500 lb. stainless steel tables during a thirteen hour day, commending our muscles and willpower.

– Shlomoh concert in Albuquerque, which just ended up being Jayden not getting in, he and Noah trying to avoid panic attacks in  downtown Albuquerque, and me waiting in line to get metal-detected 3 times to coordinate keys/backpacks. Jessie called me while I was in line and told me Cole had told her of his longstanding crush on her. I drank a beer and listened.

– Driving back home we talked about how things are not bad, they are ironic. It is a good coping mechanism to have a hyper-developed sense of sarcasm and irony. The main feeling I had was big, white, and empty, maybe a plant here and there. Today I woke up and I was not dead and the world wasn’t over. I am so excited to continue to be me.

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Well-Lit

The large, well-lit room, this is the part of the dream I woke up with. Everyone sat in a circle. There were these materials we had to disseminate, some particles put to paper and arranged in monochrome patterns. Someone dropped a black dot with a circle around it in the middle of our circle. A huge subsonic feeling shook the air and I realized it was a bomb, that we would all die in instants. First thought: “no”, then inevitability. Wished I could see my family but realized every human was equal. Radical non attachment and acceptance, feeling my last moments of life with neutral intensity.

Fake Bomb

It was so embodied, so real, but this was a fake, made to create the effects we would be experiencing with the real bomb. So the next one was pulled,  just a piece of paper dropped into the middle of our circle. Looking at the pattern of the third piece of paper, mostly black with jagged white lines, I assumed this would be what ended us. “Really, this is how I always hoped to die.”

This is the first time I have accepted my death.

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Human

Dad pouring cornflakes into jar, somehow related to grandpa Ralph’s legacy of food stuffs.

In juvenile detention, realized I had been there for a year and not known I was incarcerated. Climbing and flying around the space.

The guard took me out to lunch with Bea. He had ordered for us. A plate of flatbread made out of fat that could be used to eat curry etc. He handed me a little pastry with red filling coming out and asked if he could lick the bottom. I asked what kind of fat the flatbread was made from and he said “human.”

Some Point

As the ship was sinking I realized it was intentional. They were thinning the population. A guy with freckles, wispy brown hair and a brightly colored jacked was floating dead with a smile on his face. People’s fabrics were flowing behind them, everyone seemed dazed and resigned to death. Dad gave me a beer at some point.