Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read three poems by Alex Dimitrov with art by Paul Mpagi Sepuya.
Seduction and Its Immediate Consequences
One April in autumn you were my story for hours.
The silence of those days became like a shirt.
“His screaming fits were nothing other than
attempts at seduction,” writes Freud in The Wolfman.
How many accounts for how many things and what did we own?
In the movie of their lives there were people
they saw like notes in the margins
and in the vials a bright mess they carried inside.
Michael, Michael, Michael.
If a name is said enough times in a poem
something will happen. But that isn’t your name
and it isn’t a city, so where do you live?
Winter taught me to wear a very thin nothing those evenings.
When the car sped through the tunnel, when the cemetery
filled with the living, when the drink was named
for what they couldn’t quite taste.
And you didn’t decide on the friends or the lovers,
the shoes or the card that was sent and said
come—it’s a party for all of our questions.
And why shouldn’t we have it.
Why not invite what no one can have.
Immediately, he could tell. Even in the middle of the water.
Soon it will all close without warning or lights.
And between the acts, where we live,
after a while you’re wearing too much
no matter what you take off.
But you, filling the room with smoke,
trying hard to be human—
I love you and it’s cinema just to keep looking.
Listen, I would say in my messages…
on a page or a screen, through a window.
I’d follow you home but it’s a very brief night.
Ian Cheng on moral codes, the prescience of George Lucas and making an art world version of Angry Birds.
I first met Ian through our work at Badlands Unlimited, Paul Chan’s art/ebook/whatever publishing company. There, we bonded over our shared love for Kanye West, sardines, and over-the-top summer blockbusters. I suppose it makes sense, then, that his latest works Abax Siluria and Entropy Wrangler seem to take place as action scenes in metaphorical fish tanks. Imbued with his wit and a particular brand of Californian irreverence, these pieces are comical and deeply uncomfortable, often at the same time. His background in cognitive science serves to activate his objects, both physical and digital, with an energy as visceral as it is conceptual. Ian and I recently met at Whole Foods to talk about his recent projects, the importance of what he calls “social realities,” and Angry Birds: Rio.
Dylan Kerr I loved your swamp at PS1. Does it have a title?
Ian Cheng Abax Siluria.
DK Do you mind if I ask what that means?
IC Abax is a sand table, which in ancient times was a format for simulating the topography of the battleground in miniature and using proxy objects to model complex military scenarios. Siluria refers to the Silurian era in Earth’s history right before biological organisms got onto land, when they’re all kind of stewing in the water. It’s also the name of a petro-tech company catalyzing the mutation of actual shit, trash and decay into useful chemical products.
Paper Clip is a weekly compilation of online articles, artifacts and other—old, new, and sometimes BOMB-related.
Matt Porterfield discusses the degrees of accessibility of his films and the process behind his most recent project I Used to Be Darker.
For a guy whose breakout film sometimes felt like a once-in-a-lifetime intersection of Nan Goldin and Andreas Gursky, Matt Porterfield talks about his characters with unexpected kinship. Putty Hill’s tiptoeing reveal of Baltimore’s loneliest working-class peripheries—one fragment at a time, local color simultaneously embalmed and isolated by Porterfield and cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier—finds no obvious echoes in I Used To Be Darker. Cowritten with Amy Belk, the new feature retains Porterfield’s earlier, almost militantly 1:1 realism; that said, the filmmaker has deftly surprised the (many) heads who merely anticipated a (slightly) more expensive still-life docudrama by cranking out his most verbose—and thus, emotionally messy—picture yet.
The film opens on Taryn (Deragh Campbell), a shiftless 19-year-old visiting the Jersey shore from Northern Ireland. After slashing an oil painting of a beach at a despondent house party, she flees these interminable days to surprise-visit her cool indie musician aunt Kim (Kim Taylor), her husband Ned (Ned Oldham), and their same-aged daughter Abby (Hannah Gross). What Taryn doesn’t realize is that Kim and Ned are in the middle of a brutally painful divorce, making nearly every scene in Darker a study in pent-up volatility or compassion, bruised and unrequited family allegiances. The film opened at IFC Center on October 4.
Steve McFarlane Gotta say, you had me feeling bad for Taryn from scene one. Who puts on “Swishas and Dosha” at a party?
Matt Porterfield Aha! When she escapes from that party, it’s the most proactive she is, really, in the whole film. In some ways, UGK was a pretty big influence; not directly on the material, let’s say, so much as an inspiration for me. I’ll give you an anecdote: a week or two weeks out from production, we were still finalizing some private equity deals but we had no money in the bank. Driving south on 83, the Jones Fall Expressway, listening to UGK’s “Gravy”:
We grind to eat, and eat to live
This shit for real, these ain’t no tricks
Today’s agenda, get that dough cause the clock is tickin, time is pressin
No second guessin, make your mind up, step your grind up and get that pay
At the end of the day that’s about commitment, and that’s when I decided to get the film’s title tattooed on my arm. I wasn’t “whipping my Mercedes” though; it was a ‘95 Volvo.
Mike Donovan discusses analog nostalgia, living in the garage, and Wot, his first post-Sic Alps solo album.
Mike Donovan is a musician from San Francisco. His band Sic Alps recently called it quits after roughly a decade, though their legacy can’t help but live on. That legacy consists of five albums and almost three times as many 7” EPs of sometimes-scorching, sometimes-sweet garage rock released on such labels as Woodsist, Siltbreeze, and Drag City. Indeed, the lo-fi movement that rode its own wave through alternative music shoals of 2000 and beyond was forged by the likes of Donovan, along with Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Kelley Stoltz, Tim Presley of White Fence, and the Fresh & Onlys.
But now Donovan is set to release a solo album. Wot sees release on October 15 via Drag City. The sound field has been cleared, the overdubs and instrumentation have been paired down, and what’s left is a man, his acoustic guitar, and his songs. Not too much else. Donovan talks here about transitioning to solo mode, living in a garage, and why the Internet makes you seem more interesting than you actually might be.
A selection of images from painter Erik Benson’s newest series, Sleep Walking, as well as stop-motion video showing a painting in progress.
Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read “Manifesto” by Daniel Levin Becker with art by Katie Baines.
We are not concerned with the original intentions of the laws. We are not concerned with the universities’ motivations. We are not concerned with memories or classification. Nothing would suggest we are concerned specifically with efficiency, citizenship, merit, or standard of living. We are concerned with the “good of all.”
We are not concerned with consumption. We are not concerned with demographics. We are not concerned with broader demographics. We are not concerned with global trends. We are not concerned with global religious demographics. We are not concerned with generalities, only chicken. We are not concerned with surveys.
Listen to a collaboration between Bill Orcutt and Loren Connors, recorded August 30, 2012 at Georgia NYC. Following the session, Keith Connolly conducted a brief interview with Orcutt and Connors.
Keith Connolly A part of the premise in arranging this session was to investigate the nature of the blues as it exists in the present moment. At the risk of attempting a definition by that which it is not, I’d like to ask the both of you about some of your extra-musical pursuits: Loren, you are also a painter and have a vested interest in history, especially that of nyc. Bill, I believe you were involved in operating an art-house cinema in San Francisco, and have exhibited a strong, almost pop-art design sensibility, which belies an interest in, dare I say, fashion, or at least a kind of sarcasm about the retro-contemporary. How would you say that these pursuits inform or are interwoven into your music?
Loren Connors It’s all me. One thing affects another. Everything is an aesthetic exercise or a physical exercise. It keeps me going.
Bill Orcutt I agree with Loren – it’s all interconnected. Also for me, I have a ton of interests and tend to do a lot of pseudo-research before a making a record – reading and listening which generally has nothing to do with the task at hand, but usually winds up expressing itself one way or another. Right now I’m reading everything I can find on minstrelsy, a subject I know practically nothing about. I have no idea how this “research” might work its way into the thing I’m making now, but I’m sure it’ll find a way…
Watch Circuit (2013) from Amie Siegel’s exhibition Provenance.
Amie Siegel’s exhibition Provenance, her first at Simon Preston Gallery, might close this Sunday, October 6, yet it constitutes only one of the stages of a larger project that tracks the global flow of commodities accruing cultural and economic capital as they become extracted from their primary context. Specifically, the eponymous video retraces the steps that furniture designed in the 1950s by Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier for a state compound in Chandigarh, India, travelled in order to arrive at refined and enviably pristine interiors in Europe and the United States. Nothing but Siegel’s exquisitely eloquent editing betrays the intricate provenance of the chairs, tables, and desks mutely inhabiting rooms (and even yachts) alongside knowingly curated art collections. The second video in the exhibition, Circuit (2013), above, is a loop of an exhibition at Chandigarh’s Natural History Museum, and speaks to prior imaginings of origin and their dislocation in the future.