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May 9th, 2011

What I am doing: taking antidepressants, doing yoga, biking, putting coins in a jar to remind me of positive things even though it's hokey as hell, working in the studio every day, trying to eat well.

What I am not doing: continuing to go to that acupuncturist who took an arm and a leg for each visit. I cannot afford it, and am going to spend the next few months getting my finances back in to shape for having gone to him for just a few months. Ugh.

What I am doing: Crossing my fingers and hoping to hell that what I'm doing is enough. Trying not to check the bald spots every evening before bed. Trying to be grateful that my hair is thick and curly enough to cover the spots over,and trying not to curse my family's genetics too much.

November 1st, 2009

"X's art- which is cut off and innocent of any dialogue with the outside world- documents the artists inner struggles and confrontation with the world around him. X is an existentialist artist who discovers and exposes himself through his creative process. His gut feeling is his only compass and he refrains from succumbing to any preconceived ideas or concepts"

Case in point- the more the artist talks about themselves, the less likely it is that their art will impress you. I don't care about your inner struggles- unless they appear in the material in an interesting and engaging way. Your creative process is only of interest if it's a part of the finished product. Example: a performance artist stamps around his studio. The measurement of time via his footsteps is a part of the work, and so the process- the time that it takes to complete the piece- is relevant. If the work is about your personal stuff, write about it in a way that is specific to the art. If your objective is to try and create a cult of personality around yourself, kindly piss off.

Also, you can't be innocent of dialogue with the outside world while at the same time exposing your struggles with the outside world.

And another thing. These 'preconceived notions' that you, Mr. Arty Artist, are not succumbing to. They include art history, theory- a whole cultural constellation. Not doing your homework is not something that I would brag about, personally. No one gets a free pass from cultural context. Trying to ignore it only means that you are not doing the important work of rooting around in your own visual vocabulary- a product of that culture, remember- and creating something new. You are taking the insides of your head for granted, which is a tried and true way to make boring, derivative art.

October 29th, 2009

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 For all my being worried about the performance meeting it went really well. It was fun and a little sacriligious, as you would expect a performance workshop would be at the site of Rabin's murder on the Hebrew commemoration date. I never knew that children stood guard over the monument- you certainly learn something new every day.

I'm reading over the material that Adi (the person I'm collaborating with*) has sent me. This is one more thing that is different from art school. At school, if you take the teachers exercise in an entirely different direction that's a good thing- you're being fresh and creative. When you're working with someone else, you can't do that so much. I've been riffing off of general ideas lately, rather than sticking to specific themes in her writing, and while we've achieved some good moments doing exercises together we haven't been making a lot of progress in terms of content because it's always new. There's also a big difference between creating one visual moment- a sculpture that exists in a room but doesn't move- and creating a series of movements that change and are also unpredictable, since I'm not directing her in the space. "Think of the space as a trap you're building- if you want me to act in a certain way, you need to design the space so that it invites me to do that. It needs to come from the material." she tells me. It's hard, I'm not used to thinking about space and material like this.

It's also fricking hard to find the time to work on new objects while working two jobs. Three more weeks and then I'll be in my new place with its lovely large and unused balcony...

*She sends me texts, I send her objects, she does actions with the objects, sometimes I join her, wash rinse repeat. She's a cool person, has a good head on her shoulders.

October 27th, 2009

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So there's this project that I've joined. It's this artists-wankery group that exists in a bunch of different places where there is or has been a great deal of strife. Considering the past century, that criteria includes most of the world, but that's not the point. We met, a small group of young artists and my former performance art teacher, who was the one who clued me in about the group and invited me to join. And by "young" I mean young as in in-their-twenties. In the art scene an artist is still considered a "young artist" until they're about 45.

Since we're working opposite this Japanese group, the group decided to work on issues of national identity as they are reflected in a personal prism. (work on stereotypes of ourselves as we might be presented to others) That is, we're going to meet up and do exercises in performance while working with the most obvious, overworked, radioactive symbols of Israeli-ness we can think of. A bible, a flag, a dove, humus, a sabras plant, a star of david. Piles of hair. Stuff like that. The objective is to eventually get more subtle and more personal.

I'm concerned about a few things, though.Collapse )

September 16th, 2009

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The thing about archiving is that you have to have a particular type of personality to really do it for the long term. Like sales- if you can't easily approach people and if you can't turn on being personable and pleasant then you can't really do sales. Maybe you'll find a boss to prop you up behind a counter for a while, but they will eventually catch on. Waitressing, too. Cataloguing requires a neat and tidy mind- not a number crunching but rather a number-remembering mind. You've noticed a slip-up in one of the digital file cards? You need to know how far back it goes and looking through each file will take forever. Quick, serially, where does the problem begin? You also need to be able to do the same action over and over (and over) again. Is there some correlation between people who catalogue and people who knit? Somehow I don't think there will ever be grant money for that particular study. Being able to switch between languages easily is a plus, and also (judging by the interns we've had in the department) having the personality and patience of a soybean.

I can do this work. And paying the bills is paying the bills. It's just, yanno. A GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS WHY AM I NOT OUTSIDE 


September 14th, 2009

לקראת ראש השנה מוזיאון ישראל עשה מכירה לעובדים של כל מיני דברים מהחנות- פגומים, עודפים וכו'. חלק מהדברים היו מציאה של ממש, חלק מהדברים הגזמה של ממש ("אבל אם זה היה שלם היית משלמת על זה 450 שקל!" נכון, אבל כרגע הוא סדוק וחסרים בו חלקים), בסך הכל היה נחמד.
מצאתי לי ספר שרציתי הרבה זמן, אבל אף פעם לא יכולתי להצדיק לעצמי את המחיר- קטלוג של תערוכה על רישום גרמני, עבה וכבד כמו שספר אמנות צריך להיות, עם סקירה יפה של 500 שנה והדפסות מדויקות. כל הכבוד למחלקת העיצוב של המוזיאון ובמקום 180 ש"ח הציעו אותו ב30. עד כאן הכל טוב ויפה. ווהו ספר חדש.
 אחרי העבודה ניגשתי לחנות הטמבור החביבה עליי (לא עניין של מה בכך, ד"א, רוב חנויות הטמבור הן בלתי אפשריות מבחינתי) כדי לקנות את מנת הגבס-בשקית השבועית שלי. הבחור מאחורי הדלפק שואל על הספר, אני מראה לו את הספר. "ובאושוויץ, היית?" הוא שואל אותי. אני עונה לו שכן, ובזה מסתיימת השיחה, וגם האנקדוטה.

September 13th, 2009

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The vast majority of people coming into the library at Anna Ticho just poke their heads in to see and then move on to other things. I know that lots of people are busy- if they're siteseeing they want to see as much as possible in the least amount of time, or they're just not that interested in rooms full of books. It's because I feel so differently that I don't get it- why wouldn't you want to spend time in a room full of books?

September 1st, 2009

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It's not that living at the folks is terrible, really. They've been generous in letting me move back, and not having to pay rent expenses for just this short while is going to make a huge difference in the amount of money I take with me when I move to Tel Aviv. All things considered, I'm grateful. Of course, the members of my family do have their little annoying habits. Like my Mom's habit of talking loudly to herself, or the fact that the TV stays on all the time, regardless of whether there's anyone watching it. But "annoying habits" is a far cry from "If I have to put up with these people for one more minute I'm going to start hemorrhaging out of my eyeballs". So I've been taking deep breaths and just going with it. It's not perfect but it sure could have been (and has been) a whole lot worse. Perspective, I haz it.

I do feel stifled, though. The household is loud and built around people spending time with each other as much as possible- there isn't a lot of room for privacy, or for even just sitting on your own and reading undisturbed ("So what are you doing? How was your day? Just wanted to say hi, just wanted to check in!"). I'm alone with my own thoughts for very little of the day, and that's not really comfortable. Add to that that my job is cataloging (you do your job better if you switch your brain off during the workday), and a point is reached where you're just plugging to get through. Plugging is not fun.

It's only for a month and a half. It's only for a month and a half.

August 19th, 2009

When self-publishing a pamphlet on whatever subject, giving it the photocopied-a-katrillion-times-over look does not make it more radical. Along the same lines, when printing your own t-shirts, using spray paint does not make it more DIY.

If what you're working with is radical, it (the contents printed) must upset the status quo and it (the media it's printed on) must subvert it's own material context. If you're giving people something they expect to get, you're already doing something wrong.*

Additionally: DIY means Do It Yourself. Even if you've done it beautifully and professionally (see: most of etsy), if you've done it yourself it still counts as DIY. "But it's supposed to look handmade!" is not an excuse to make something sloppy, especially when I'm more than happy to show you how to do it better. It is, in fact, kind of insulting to human beings.

*What about instead of a zine, we made a giant flaming puppet

August 17th, 2009

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The boy I met in Germany was blond and had very blue eyes. Looked like a Saxon though he claimed to be Celt. Seb was half British and half German, and had recently decided to add his mother's maiden name to his own. He was interested in reclaiming his German past and while I very much approve of rummaging around in your personal history for recyclables I'm a bit astounded by wanting to be German, wanting to take on that burden of history. He doesn't see it as a burden of history at all, and refers to it as "my country's Fascist past", as though it were some sort of regrettable error. I wonder if I am the first Jew he's ever met. If I'm not, then to what extent do Jews who are not Israelis think about the Holocaust at all?

While watching terrible television with Omer and Asaf, it comes out that I don't like blond-haired girls. Or rather, that I just want their hair. Or don't want them to have their hair, or something. I'm embarrassed by this, but there it is.

At camp in Germany (yes, yes, I know) I feel like I am the only one who is reminded of the Holocaust. And it might be fair to say that I'm not reminded of the Holocaust per say, but of those bits that were drummed into me by dint of my growing up here. At first if feels obscene, this lack of  involvement. I want to run around the camp saying to people, "you know there was one, right? Like, right here. Here." But after a while it feels liberating. Like you don't have to commemorate if you don't want to. Or that you could live in a spot where history occurred- that building on-site with a Star of David in the brickwork, no-one could tell me what the building used to be- and still do your own thing. That remembering didn't necessarily have to overshadow what you were doing in the present. 

Not that I managed to escape that  in any way- doing performances where I'm sifting through ash with my bare hands, looking for bits of metal and glass. Not that escape is the point. I just felt kinda..stereotypical, is all. Jewish girl goes to Germany. The undertow of national identity is stronger than wishing, I guess.
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