From Herman Miller…. The “Envelop” Desk
Conversation overheard on the #18a bus this morning:
A woman in a puffy trashbag-like Northface winter coat is complaining that every artist (from “That Beyoncé” to the Jacksons) lip-syncs. She looks puzzled as she tries to explain her dislike of the practice of dubbing and lip-syncing live performances to the half-asleep, rapidly drying-out middle-aged woman next to her in a blazer roughly the color of freshly laid dung. A heated debate follows with both reaching the conclusion that all live music since (I’m not kidding) Wayne Newton has been pre-recorded crap.
This is where I finally became thought conscious in my morning haze.
Why do we have such an intense aversion to the knowledge that our favorite pop-culture music icons can’t duplicate their studio performances in front of a live audience? Just when I thought I had shed my thick patina of MFA/grad school mentalities, it dawned on me. Baudrillard was right in saying that the simulation of reality is always more real than reality. In the case of music, we prefer the perfect studio recording (without audience noise, feedback, mistakes, off-key renderings of “Its Not Unusual”) to the real thing. In a world where a highly edited version of New Jersey is popular on television, why shouldn’t all live performances of music be edited to the artist/label’s heart’s content?
I wish we could take this a step further and “undo” Milan Kundera’s paradoxical situation in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. I want to be able to create a perfect, studio-edited version of myself, my life, my actions, my speech, my mind… that I am able to summon up and present to the world as soon as I feel a mistake coming on.
Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space has been filling my imagination as I work through the most intense nesting instinct I’ve had in years. His focus on the lived aspects of architecture over the historical and formal are the imaginative quirks that served as inspiration for my work as an artist and as an apartment dweller. At the moment, I am gazing over my apartment as it lays in the throws of a passionate clean-up, updating, and general sprucing.
I didn’t really expect the archeological findings of my new apartment… however, so far I have fought my way through about 15 layers of paint. Each decade is accurately represented:
- 1980′s: multi-colored pastel wallpaper
- 1970′s: citrus yellow
- 1960′s: light green
- 1950′s: light yellow
- 1940′s: back to the light green
- 1930′s: original light butter-nut squash brown…
Ah… time travel.
It is official. I am deeming 2010 my year of… LESS. Less stuff. Less trauma. Less want. Less erroneously placed ambition…
As many of you know, I am moving once again. This time into an amazing, large, and friendly apartment in an Art Deco building somewhere in the confines of Uptown. Think classy but with a certain degree of good humor about it.
In retrospect, my past moves have always been my periods of introspection and healthy purging (of both material and emotional baggage). Feeling like I need to somehow congratulate myself, just a little, here is a brief list of what I have joyfully removed from my life this year.
- Mamiya 7 Camera (finally passed the 9 months without use mark – meaning it was time to sell)
- 2/3 of my ENTIRE library (this was a feat, trust me)
- Unnecessary pots and pans
- All of my old and heavily used dish-ware
- The majority of my wardrobe
- My sofa
- Numerous pieces of art, photographs, etc (still have a LONG way to go)
- Gigantic IKEA bookshelf
And the rest… still eludes me.
As the slide into full-blown winter solidifies, the concepts of failure and reduction have taken over my thoughts. When one thinks of improvement, of being a “better person”, the tendency is to look at what we lack and emphasize what we can acquire. I feel like I have been caught in this quagmire of acquisition for way too long (perhaps roughly 27 years).
These are my new goals.
By all intensive logic, I want less.
I want to fail.
What does it mean to fail? According to Agnes Martin, failure is a state which exists only when one has exhausted all means and possible courses of action. Failure is a terminal condition–an end of possibilities.
Can one consider it a victory to stop doing something? To cease to acquire? To cease to care? Is that really failure? Or is the act of losing all choice, movement, and flexibility that elusive apex of liberation I have been searing for?
Just a bit more Agnes and then I am going to call it a night, crawl into bed, and be blissfully unconscious.
“To progress in life you must give up the things you do not like. Give up doing the things that you do not like to do. You must find the things that you do like. The things that are acceptable to your mind.”
I really cannot think of anything I would like more.