ART MAKES FRIENDSHIP speculative

Vignette 1: The mixtape is about production and access to the means. I have to begin, I suppose with the sound I’ve offered upon your entry. I typically avoid concerts and music gatherings because the event of music listening is so scripted … nothing of presentation or a politics, no the only thing element of critique is to whine over the quality of sound. And since so many among us manage to pass this sound-barrier spinning only samples on CDs under endless sponsorships perhaps it is intelligent to find something different in sound that’s worse or outright repellent. 

The sound… they say with a pause pregnant and well worthy of abortion… posing as educated consumers. Borrow that line to go back to your ear buds if you must… but I love watching people displace themselves in public blaring trap from cell phone speakers. The “bad” recordingThe “bad” autotuneThe “bad” sound of teens without real recording support… just Soundcloud making music far more interesting than most of the conversations I’ve had this year. If you attempt to share a mixtape, you will only hear complaint over the quality of sound. That need for the professional to intervene so as to make one worthy of listening probably comes from art school. Perhaps everyone in my life now only went to art school which is why I hear them all saying the same thing instead of listening to something for what it is, allowing potential in something different to become also important. Music like this… sound… like mosquito spray to keep em off is perhaps predictive of the ruse of this new trending receptivity. 

Of course there’s the problematics of me playing it here. Let someone steamroll me on Twitter. But this is the music I listen to when I am doing my cleaning gig and I felt it only appropriate to begin my shift here tonight by framing me and what follows with something that is not me at all. There is a limit to the importance of what I can share here. There is a more important elsewhereMore resourceful More resilient

In blaring music that isn’t me, I am also gesturing toward another not-me, playwright Young Jean Lee whose last piece I saw began with a closed theater blaring LADYLIL KIM AZEALIA BANKS amongst others. It happened at the HAU yes, for those bold enough to attend an identity play called Straight White Men by a Korean American Shakespeare scholar who begins the whole night blaring music that is not having any of this shit. So yes, this was a device that I wanted to reframe or rip off… a means to throw a rope to something else, toward very different entities simultaneously. I will only see what you do with it, I never expect to be spared feedback, but don’t be surprised if I fail to change as per your request. I only proceed in this room now under the bold assumption that should you feel personally called out in any of what follows… that should not become my problem. I have not been compensated enough to talk you off the ledge of inadequacy… please don’t make it my job to assure you that you’re good even though you’re feeling identified otherwise. I don’t need your noise around me.

Take it from me a depressive who cannot be tricked: If you’re getting complete and total approval it means you’ve become useful to someone. That is all.

Vignette 2: a frame for writing 

Passion in writing or art—or in a lover—can make you overlook a lot of flaws. Passion is underrated. I think we should all produce work with the urgency of outsider artists, panting and jerking off to our kinky private obsessions. Sophistication is conformist, deadening. Let’s get rid of it. –BELLAMY

Obviously the artist book I’ve done, for many will fail to exist as a book. It’s small and leans into the idea that writing called Art doesn’t have to be good. I have to be detached from outcome if not outright cagey. This is writing the first failure. I wanted to share things that were not sacred. I thought that I could simply revise my archive and make art from what bits didn’t go with the larger projects. Bits that fell into the wrong outlines, or proposals that produced nothing, could now just sit alongside my even more indulgent timeline of disgust for Europe, Art and whatever the two seem to think they are doing with one another. It is writing in the era of Twitter. It is not about connectedness. It is fracturing theory art and the composure of those peddling it.

How do you write coherently in the era of Trump tweets and reporting on hard/soft/hard/soft/maybe not Brexit? How does the coherent betray us as a representation of our time together now? What is broken writing? How do I honor my working as that from un-working space? WORK SHY? My Silence is Speech (a poem I wrote that consisted of every job title I have ever held and there were more jobs than years I’d been alive in the year I wrote it) that poem didn’t make the cut, because it still felt undone, way too personal, and definitely not food for Art wolves. 

This podium is a guillotine: if I share anything true regarding me, it won’t sound like art.

I don’t like evading meaning, but I don’t wish to digest for you either. I want writing to look like my life, to be able to leave the thoughts as they arise alongside each other. Most of my notebooks are composed of lines I write into my phone while I’ve been working jobs that real artists wouldn’t bother themselves with… When I broke the heart of queer community in Master’s Tool, clearly I was using the language of the learned to whom I was speaking. It wasn’t that I thought the form was so generative: writing like every college student intro/support paragraphs 1-2-3/conclusion… I’ve since almost exclusively observed the way people protest my change. They want you stuck because it’s impossible to love a soul in motion. There’s a line in this book you will hear later that says: The Self is a Still Life. What else does art do but keep you in your place? 

Art does awful things.

Forgive me for not feeling right with the way you’re meaning well.

Vignette 4: surviving liberals

We prefer not to face that when we weaken ourselves through lack of introspection we strengthen the real enemy. –RECHY

Why would I, in Europe write a prayer? I wanted to write a piece that would inspire the atheist elitist to huff, and become agitated immediately after opening it. I wanted to write a piece that could just end the bits of life I lived here… because Brexit caused my Hauptmieter of 5 years to return to Berlin from London and all around me everyone was telling me to just photoshop my bank statements and forge contracts, here in Europe where all this time I’ve been told the Germans are so real, not fake like the Americans… and this fragile Socialism felt also a bit more dead within each bureaucratic burp. I managed to find a place, and there was a social web into which I fell, but most of the lecturing I received in these last 8 months has been careless if not outwardly intended to inspire only hopelessness. I became quiet and vague in all conversations, cause for some reason people just love to tell me what to do… even when I haven’t asked for advice. This knowing better than I, what I am to be doing with myself, and MYSTI, has for years now often manifested itself some the lame invitation to address The Culture. They say: When are you going to make art that’s for everyone? Not just queer or whatever…Why don’t you respond to The German Culture? and this SULKING is that project. This is what you’re getting: me arguing for a worthy subject… over the course of some months when I really thought my time here was done. 

Planet Romeo is a great way to gaze at the unimaginative trough of gay-life post freedom. I once saw a meme the Star of David crossed out, alongside a cross also within the same prohibited symbol… and yes so long as you hate all religion you are able to hate Jews again, and this individual posed intellectual by quoting Zizek’s centering of EU as the first place for legitimate atheism. Who gets to measure the authenticity of absence, absence of a belief in god? Atheism is the least interesting of fundamentalisms. It is however the most effective means to reduce a body to some banal National territory via which all other values materialize as if naturally. So much of this German Culture Speak isn’t about arguing a position it’s about diminishing someone’s capacity to have a position within this geography we share where the authority belongs naturally outside your reach. I’ve no place among those who feel so represented in/of their National conundrums.

I’ve lived with so many Germans and others in various WG formations… I moved 7 times in the first year I lived here. I have since ceased enduring specific conversations—sulking out the room. Having grown up in the house of a single mother in a place where there’s no help for such a woman, I have witnessed the therapeutic capacity of Faith in a society that couldn’t care less. And as a queer, you will not find any easy summary of my experience of Faith so I won’t pretend to render one now because I am not here to make it easy for you to feel power in knowing. An earlier me, used to argue over this German Problem with faith. One of the worst Germans I ever met, drunkenly over our kitchen table got in my face and said: Just think… if the Jews hadn’t been Jewish… Yes, that woman became a mother and works within the NGO industrial complex, but I don’t think she’s particularly unique—I have struggled in witnessing Europeans who I thought smart suddenly bold-faced and angry at the thought that prayer might be useful. (What is psychoanalysis but a prayer before the corpse of your childhood self alongside some practitioner Holy Spiriting your Trinity?) I knew I didn’t like her long before this moment, I knew I didn’t want her in my interior life and I moved out as soon as I could, but yeah there was 6 months of a lot of quiet time alone in my room because someone in the tradition of singing such ballads of supremacy for herself is never going to listen. 

Supremacy is the easy way. But she—who is not unique—and everyone else I lived with in this city self-identifies as liberal and a lover of diversity. She liked diversity so long as we all become the same. She liked the simplicity of get rid of all religion, the way many queers try to say get rid of all gender. Loving diversity is a casual lie told by many in introductory conversation… it is a conformist expression from a speaker who doubtlessly also loves Art… this is a script they’re reading. Maybe this is why I make such unlikeable Art before you now? Here our Statesmen will insist that Art is good for an everyone. This politics of everyone is far removed from the Art I’ve known and what I’ve seen it become. Art for everyone—I certainly don’t work for everyone.

The prayer as the form of this book that I am introducing tonight is an honoring of a past not appreciated in this space we share. It is a practice of quiet that those who love to argue will never find peace within. It is the capacity to find value within a system of values that I don’t share.

How does Art require a god complex … fed by the silence of audience? 

Who wants to be an audience now that the audience is supposed to act?

Vignette 5: dead gay art

They love the dead gay because it makes their mundane way of being intentional and preservative, instead of unimaginative and fascist. They love stepping over bodies labeled loveless in pursuit of that called real love in comparative culture. They love to usurp souls of those who suffered difficulty and who were bold enough to suffer publicly, as cautionary tales and disciplinary regimes for their children; loathe from a far the person who produces and makes love public and who in doing so reveals only laundry lists of incapacity within straight life. 

What follows is mundane: my bones as some bridge toward your authority.

Queer is a body that hasn’t learned to love itself for all the right reasons. 

I was almost hit by a car on the edge of Tiergarten one morning and after catching my breath of gratitude for the small things in life, I imagined the insider perversion of story how it might get told that I would have died cruising and how outside my reality and outside my intimate this would be… No one cruises the park at 9 am. I didn’t die cruising I died going to work. It flooded my memory of all the misdirected unsolicited intervention-ing I’ve endured among the thoughtlessly well intended. 

Like murder in Volkspark Friedrichschain, a place I’ve never cruised, let alone at 3 am… and yet the foreboding: I thought of you right away when I heard. What nonsense. 

Meningitis in Kit Kat! Str8 people I never hear from messaged me out the blue to make sure that I knew I was contaminated and to keep away from those of innocent society. Of course, it wasn’t the night that I work… that one party that happens only 6 times a year… but oh just to be sure they needed to remind me of disease. And I haven’t bothered myself with the time-lining research but I am fairly certain that given the coverage of that happening… it’s general public messaging… that it wasn’t a gay party it was a str8 people thing. Messaging campaigns around gay disease are pretty clear in leaving the heteros exceptionally clean, exemplary so. But again, disease reminds so many that it’s time to reach out to me. I didn’t reply. And my silence in these moments is not a sulk.

Antibiotic resistant gonorrhea … Watch out!

The Berlin bathhouse that burnt down, Steamworks, when I heard the news I was thought “There’s a bathhouse in Berlin called Steamworks?” Again it seems that even those close to me envision my body fantastically among the charred remains of 3 unnamed. In full disclosure after a time I learned that Apollo Sauna had rebranded as Steamworks, so yes I had been there a couple of times in 2010 when I first arrived. And while I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother had come to such a paranoid conclusion, friends who I’ve considered quite smart… strangely become thoughtless in uttering this toxic desire to find me there incinerated. What Freudian slap in the face is it to fantasize me not a body anymore but just a tragic end. Conveniently told by someone who is not I. 

<Re-member my bones some bridge toward your authority… Art does this in its application of biography as means to value. Dead friends give you a great deal of clout

Art makes friendship speculative >

This is the history I carry around… that people inquire after my remains, as if tragedy could never just be behind me: I studied Women’s Studies in Fargo ND under a professor who informed me of the local police investigating a hate crime in which a gay man my age had been severely beaten in his apartment with his hands bound to his ankles in shoelaces. She went on to say that she had called a classmate to see if I was okay. She wanted me to form a movement in the wake of this… but I just wanted recluse and smoke weed and watch Sex and the City. Fine back then, when there weren’t so many queers around to imagine… but this Matthew Shepard Syndrome follows me here even among the self-consciously literate. Let me assure you the 23 years I lived in North and South Dakota only saving money so that I would never have to return was a vacuum out of which life love and acceptance weren’t my prospective goals… Have you ever been threatened with a gun? I was 16 

Mine is not an identity essentialist argument here. Not every gay is stamped with death. (Think of poverty and a conversation about the violence of poverty… between someone whose dad was a janitor versus someone whose mom sold drugs… both these individuals know poverty… but they would describe its violence no doubt differently. This is always where class fails to become one.) The gay stamped with death is simply the gay who is unlikely to find love… those work shy repelled by hetero-co-competitive-working space… those who fail to find community in gay, who delight in unraveling utopias with belligerent refusal… that coming together as queer is rarely something other than an act of violence. Queer is merely the body of a person marked for violence… it doesn’t eliminate violence it lives within it… albeit outside the heterosexual mandate to act normal in violent times. 

The faggot is reduced to fantasy because it is unimaginable that he could source something, anything real from casual exchange other than an STD. And seriously they can’t wait for the next deadly wave to cum and purify this perverted society because they predict it all the time. I cannot convey the regularity with which persons of means to know better say “It’s only a matter of time till the new AIDS happens again.” Not simply those bored in straight life either, queers too think they’re in on this obvious destiny. Since you’re good enough to know that slut shaming is a patriarchal thing, I could speak, or not—not sulk, just simply honor your limitations. The failure of you to remember the last time we spoke honestly and you said this and then I got quiet and said nothing else… that memory failure is another fucking limitation that I don’t get to bring it up later because you’ll never remember… that’s the convenient element of bad memory… when you’re suddenly requiring documented proof of a history we shared in which you always felt superior and no suddenly your memory has gone to shit. Learned friends, tonight isn’t about educating you it’s about getting me free from the noise of your dead disease dreams and Art might not be a space in which that’s possible. AIDS worked well for Art, a bunch of estates steeped in shame and vulnerability became available for money making… the politics lost their meaning fading into mere medium… and generations now still haven’t become able to imagine an elsewhere.

Vignette 6: Artist as identity

Identity is like a turtle shell out of which the subject keeps craning his/her neck to see if and where it might be possible to move: a way of locating, protecting, masking, and disciplining the person. –BERLANT

A significantly less harmful roommate once reflected on how she had watched a documentary about Divine and how there were quote “all these normal people interviewed about Divine” and that she imagined one day herself being one of the normal people interviewed in a documentary about me. It didn’t cut. I knew it was a compliment for her to see me in relation to Divine. There is little else available to register MYSTI in a straight world. But let us be real in that according to her fantasy, I am supposed to eat dog shit and die young. She didn’t mean it like that… she just unconsciously needs it to be like that… because the distance I’ve placed between us… living alongside each other is difficult. She would like the chance to explain proximity to me from her angle. And knowing nothing of my real value system and my staunch opposition to most documentary practice—especially the queer art kind, she thinks the greatest end to a life tragic as mine would be a movie in which I say nothing as some corpse around which persons raise their hands to volunteer as flies who decompose me. I can’t wait until you die is all I hear. You will be more useful when your argumentative personality doesn’t interfere with the bits of you I choose to value.

Is the camera a cock? Taking someone and shooting them?

I am not interested in putting a good spin on a bad thing.

Good art never came from gay freedom. 

Now that art students seem to be spending as much time in University as law students and psychologists shouldn’t we institute an ethics of art making… do they really get to wander about trusting their own instincts while other professionalized fields learn the difference between right and wrong in their first year? 

Let your future become stranger because feeling known is the end of exploration.

Government arts grants often become just welfare for rich kids.

Queer theory belongs to those who went to the schools that taught it. 

Queer art belongs to those who went to art school but refused to master technique.

Rehearsal only erases vulnerability. 

Drug addiction is the new AIDS epidemic. So many of you here are already walking dead.

I need a break from those egos attempting to become Art. 

Vignette 7: misplaced faith

I love that god is the subject you cannot see… while arguments of race and gender often go back and forth about what can and cannot be seen: “I don’t see race” or “If I saw your transbody what would I see” and of course “seeing the face for communication” cause apparently that’s really important here in Germany. With god there’s no seeing to fog the task of believing yourself wrong in a world… made right only by something so far from you that you’re nothing to do with this business of being right. The need for something to overreach your will—corrupt with unabashed self-interest.

Pseudo-radical theory gets used all the time to keep things in order. Preciado/Dean are my odd couple in this devotional and I hardly take them to task in my sulk; I just leave them moneyed and drugged and hopelessly typical. It’s perhaps a way of me killing my own academic drag. Artists only seem look to theory as an argument for more and more Art, when can we find a way to read removal and the even more glorious rapture in what’s already rotten around us. 

My writing is all about talking myself out of something. Lying in bed with difficulty and accusation. If you feel called out it’s usually because we are alike. 

My silence is not to be confused as an olive branch

There is an amount of money after which you will never again experience sincerity. 

Funding is the reward for making queer look tangible and contained to the stage. 

They need to configure a way to make the wealth they have sound reasonable… that is the future they wish to procure… a future where their hoardings haven’t been restructured. Repossessed. Written wrong in some later history.

Casual lies are how most people break the ice. 

We, who queue to shit in the gold toilet, do not worship false idols.

A hetero is he who wishes to see himself reproduced

or she who lends herself to the production of this evil

A homosexual is one who would swallow this whole world with his thirsty rectum if only he were more time rich.

You, the queer, are a spectacle of grief, a living embodiment of the end. 

I might like to make a sulk out of they who never shut up, who cannot observe silence and be changed.

I resist competitive culture because it blindly assumes that we are playing the same game. 

Trust is knowing that you’ll be able to survive betrayal.

Trust is an arrogant position.

The gallery is a culdesac

I spend a lot of time on my art

Spending a lot of time at openings.

We look good together

Let’s converse polite about nothing

Till we find ourselves in another circle

This gallery is a culdesac

I cannot help that you’ve decided I am the problem, but let me assure you the problem never works itself out. 

People don’t come to contemporary art to witness our moment, they come to be better than it & I am here to make it all much worse.

So the sulk and its unsightly nature could be just a prayer before the rotten corpse of Enlightenment, which certainly didn’t save us.

Performed July 2019 DISTRICT Berlin

Advertisements

art makes friendship speculative

Vignette 1: The mixtape is about production and access to the means. I have to begin, I suppose with the sound I’ve offered upon your entry. I typically avoid concerts and music gatherings because the event of music listening is so scripted … nothing of presentation or a politics, no the only thing element of critique is to whine over the quality of sound. And since so many among us manage to pass this sound-barrier spinning only samples on CDs under endless sponsorships perhaps it is intelligent to find something different in sound that’s worse or outright repellent.

The sound… they say with a pause pregnant and well worthy of abortion… posing as educated consumers. Borrow that line to go back to your ear buds if you must… but I love watching people displace themselves in public blaring trap from cell phone speakers. The “bad” recording The “bad” autotune The “bad” sound of teens without real recording support… just Soundcloud making music far more interesting than most of the conversations I’ve had this year. If you attempt to share a mixtape, you will only hear complaint over the quality of sound. That need for the professional to intervene so as to make one worthy of listening probably comes from art school. Perhaps everyone in my life now only went to art school which is why I hear them all saying the same thing instead of listening to something for what it is, allowing potential in something different to become also important. Music like this… sound… like mosquito spray to keep em off is perhaps predictive of the ruse of this new trending receptivity.

Of course there’s the problematics of me playing it here. Let someone steamroll me on Twitter. But this is the music I listen to when I am doing my cleaning gig and I felt it only appropriate to begin my shift here tonight by framing me and what follows with something that is not me at all. There is a limit to the importance of what I can share here. There is a more important elsewhere More resourceful More resilient

In blaring music that isn’t me, I am also gesturing toward another not-me, playwright Young Jean Lee whose last piece I saw began with a closed theater blaring LADY LIL KIM AZEALIA BANKS amongst others. It happened at the HAU yes, for those bold enough to attend an identity play called Straight White Men by a Korean American Shakespeare scholar who begins the whole night blaring music that is not having any of this shit. So yes, this was a device that I wanted to reframe or rip off… a means to throw a rope to something else, toward very different entities simultaneously. I will only see what you do with it, I never expect to be spared feedback, but don’t be surprised if I fail to change as per your request. I only proceed in this room now under the bold assumption that should you feel personally called out in any of what follows… that should not become my problem. I have not been compensated enough to talk you off the ledge of inadequacy… please don’t make it my job to assure you that you’re good even though you’re feeling identified otherwise. I don’t need your noise around me.

Take it from me a depressive who cannot be tricked: If you’re getting complete and total approval it means you’ve become useful to someone. That is all.

Vignette 2: a frame for writing

Passion in writing or art—or in a lover—can make you overlook a lot of flaws. Passion is underrated. I think we should all produce work with the urgency of outsider artists, panting and jerking off to our kinky private obsessions. Sophistication is conformist, deadening. Let’s get rid of it. –BELLAMY

Obviously the artist book I’ve done, for many will fail to exist as a book. It’s small and leans into the idea that writing called Art doesn’t have to be good. I have to be detached from outcome if not outright cagey. This is writing the first failure. I wanted to share things that were not sacred. I thought that I could simply revise my archive and make art from what bits didn’t go with the larger projects. Bits that fell into the wrong outlines, or proposals that produced nothing, could now just sit alongside my even more indulgent timeline of disgust for Europe, Art and whatever the two seem to think they are doing with one another. It is writing in the era of Twitter. It is not about connectedness. It is fracturing theory art and the composure of those peddling it.

How do you write coherently in the era of Trump tweets and reporting on hard/soft/hard/soft/maybe not Brexit? How does the coherent betray us as a representation of our time together now? What is broken writing? How do I honor my working as that from un-working space? WORK SHY? My Silence is Speech (a poem I wrote that consisted of every job title I have ever held and there were more jobs than years I’d been alive in the year I wrote it) that poem didn’t make the cut, because it still felt undone, way too personal, and definitely not food for Art wolves.

This podium is a guillotine: if I share anything true regarding me, it won’t sound like art.

I don’t like evading meaning, but I don’t wish to digest for you either. I want writing to look like my life, to be able to leave the thoughts as they arise alongside each other. Most of my notebooks are composed of lines I write into my phone while I’ve been working jobs that real artists wouldn’t bother themselves with… When I broke the heart of queer community in Master’s Tool, clearly I was using the language of the learned to whom I was speaking. It wasn’t that I thought the form was so generative: writing like every college student intro/support paragraphs 1-2-3/conclusion… I’ve since almost exclusively observed the way people protest my change. They want you stuck because it’s impossible to love a soul in motion. There’s a line in this book you will hear later that says: The Self is a Still Life. What else does art do but keep you in your place?

Art does awful things.

Forgive me for not feeling right with the way you’re meaning well.

Vignette 4: surviving liberals

We prefer not to face that when we weaken ourselves through lack of introspection we strengthen the real enemy. –RECHY

Why would I, in Europe write a prayer? I wanted to write a piece that would inspire the atheist elitist to huff, and become agitated immediately after opening it. I wanted to write a piece that could just end the bits of life I lived here… because Brexit caused my Hauptmieter of 5 years to return to Berlin from London and all around me everyone was telling me to just photoshop my bank statements and forge contracts, here in Europe where all this time I’ve been told the Germans are so real, not fake like the Americans… and this fragile Socialism felt also a bit more dead within each bureaucratic burp. I managed to find a place, and there was a social web into which I fell, but most of the lecturing I received in these last 8 months has been careless if not outwardly intended to inspire only hopelessness. I became quiet and vague in all conversations, cause for some reason people just love to tell me what to do… even when I haven’t asked for advice. This knowing better than I, what I am to be doing with myself, and MYSTI, has for years now often manifested itself some the lame invitation to address The Culture. They say: When are you going to make art that’s for everyone? Not just queer or whatever…Why don’t you respond to The German Culture? and this SULKING is that project. This is what you’re getting: me arguing for a worthy subject… over the course of some months when I really thought my time here was done.

Planet Romeo is a great way to gaze at the unimaginative trough of gay-life post freedom. I once saw a meme the Star of David crossed out, alongside a cross also within the same prohibited symbol… and yes so long as you hate all religion you are able to hate Jews again, and this individual posed intellectual by quoting Zizek’s centering of EU as the first place for legitimate atheism. Who gets to measure the authenticity of absence, absence of a belief in god? Atheism is the least interesting of fundamentalisms. It is however the most effective means to reduce a body to some banal National territory via which all other values materialize as if naturally. So much of this German Culture Speak isn’t about arguing a position it’s about diminishing someone’s capacity to have a position within this geography we share where the authority belongs naturally outside your reach. I’ve no place among those who feel so represented in/of their National conundrums.

I’ve lived with so many Germans and others in various WG formations… I moved 7 times in the first year I lived here. I have since ceased enduring specific conversations—sulking out the room. Having grown up in the house of a single mother in a place where there’s no help for such a woman, I have witnessed the therapeutic capacity of Faith in a society that couldn’t care less. And as a queer, you will not find any easy summary of my experience of Faith so I won’t pretend to render one now because I am not here to make it easy for you to feel power in knowing. An earlier me, used to argue over this German Problem with faith. One of the worst Germans I ever met, drunkenly over our kitchen table got in my face and said: Just think… if the Jews hadn’t been Jewish… Yes, that woman became a mother and works within the NGO industrial complex, but I don’t think she’s particularly unique—I have struggled in witnessing Europeans who I thought smart suddenly bold-faced and angry at the thought that prayer might be useful. (What is psychoanalysis but a prayer before the corpse of your childhood self alongside some practitioner Holy Spiriting your Trinity?) I knew I didn’t like her long before this moment, I knew I didn’t want her in my interior life and I moved out as soon as I could, but yeah there was 6 months of a lot of quiet time alone in my room because someone in the tradition of singing such ballads of supremacy for herself is never going to listen.

Supremacy is the easy way. But she—who is not unique—and everyone else I lived with in this city self-identifies as liberal and a lover of diversity. She liked diversity so long as we all become the same. She liked the simplicity of get rid of all religion, the way many queers try to say get rid of all gender. Loving diversity is a casual lie told by many in introductory conversation… it is a conformist expression from a speaker who doubtlessly also loves Art… this is a script they’re reading. Maybe this is why I make such unlikeable Art before you now? Here our Statesmen will insist that Art is good for an everyone. This politics of everyone is far removed from the Art I’ve known and what I’ve seen it become. Art for everyone—I certainly don’t work for everyone.

The prayer as the form of this book that I am introducing tonight is an honoring of a past not appreciated in this space we share. It is a practice of quiet that those who love to argue will never find peace within. It is the capacity to find value within a system of values that I don’t share.

How does Art require a god complex … fed by the silence of audience?

Who wants to be an audience now that the audience is supposed to act?

Vignette 5: dead gay art

They love the dead gay because it makes their mundane way of being intentional and preservative, instead of unimaginative and fascist. They love stepping over bodies labeled loveless in pursuit of that called real love in comparative culture. They love to usurp souls of those who suffered difficulty and who were bold enough to suffer publicly, as cautionary tales and disciplinary regimes for their children; loathe from a far the person who produces and makes love public and who in doing so reveals only laundry lists of incapacity within straight life.

What follows is mundane: my bones as some bridge toward your authority.

Queer is a body that hasn’t learned to love itself for all the right reasons.

I was almost hit by a car on the edge of Tiergarten one morning and after catching my breath of gratitude for the small things in life, I imagined the insider perversion of story how it might get told that I would have died cruising and how outside my reality and outside my intimate this would be… No one cruises the park at 9 am. I didn’t die cruising I died going to work. It flooded my memory of all the misdirected unsolicited intervention-ing I’ve endured among the thoughtlessly well intended.

Like murder in Volkspark Friedrichschain, a place I’ve never cruised, let alone at 3 am… and yet the foreboding: I thought of you right away when I heard. What nonsense.

Meningitis in Kit Kat! Str8 people I never hear from messaged me out the blue to make sure that I knew I was contaminated and to keep away from those of innocent society. Of course, it wasn’t the night that I work… that one party that happens only 6 times a year… but oh just to be sure they needed to remind me of disease. And I haven’t bothered myself with the time-lining research but I am fairly certain that given the coverage of that happening… it’s general public messaging… that it wasn’t a gay party it was a str8 people thing. Messaging campaigns around gay disease are pretty clear in leaving the heteros exceptionally clean, exemplary so. But again, disease reminds so many that it’s time to reach out to me. I didn’t reply. And my silence in these moments is not a sulk.

Antibiotic resistant gonorrhea … Watch out!

The Berlin bathhouse that burnt down, Steamworks, when I heard the news I was thought “There’s a bathhouse in Berlin called Steamworks?” Again it seems that even those close to me envision my body fantastically among the charred remains of 3 unnamed. In full disclosure after a time I learned that Apollo Sauna had rebranded as Steamworks, so yes I had been there a couple of times in 2010 when I first arrived. And while I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother had come to such a paranoid conclusion, friends who I’ve considered quite smart… strangely become thoughtless in uttering this toxic desire to find me there incinerated. What Freudian slap in the face is it to fantasize me not a body anymore but just a tragic end. Conveniently told by someone who is not I.

<Re-member my bones some bridge toward your authority… Art does this in its application of biography as means to value. Dead friends give you a great deal of clout

Art makes friendship speculative >

>

This is the history I carry around… that people inquire after my remains, as if tragedy could never just be behind me: I studied Women’s Studies in Fargo ND under a professor who informed me of the local police investigating a hate crime in which a gay man my age had been severely beaten in his apartment with his hands bound to his ankles in shoelaces. She went on to say that she had called a classmate to see if I was okay. She wanted me to form a movement in the wake of this… but I just wanted recluse and smoke weed and watch Sex and the City. Fine back then, when there weren’t so many queers around to imagine… but this Matthew Shepard Syndrome follows me here even among the self-consciously literate. Let me assure you the 23 years I lived in North and South Dakota only saving money so that I would never have to return was a vacuum out of which life love and acceptance weren’t my prospective goals… Have you ever been threatened with a gun? I was 16

Mine is not an identity essentialist argument here. Not every gay is stamped with death. (Think of poverty and a conversation about the violence of poverty… between someone whose dad was a janitor versus someone whose mom sold drugs… both these individuals know poverty… but they would describe its violence no doubt differently. This is always where class fails to become one.) The gay stamped with death is simply the gay who is unlikely to find love… those work shy repelled by hetero-co-competitive-working space… those who fail to find community in gay, who delight in unraveling utopias with belligerent refusal… that coming together as queer is rarely something other than an act of violence. Queer is merely the body of a person marked for violence… it doesn’t eliminate violence it lives within it… albeit outside the heterosexual mandate to act normal in violent times.

The faggot is reduced to fantasy because it is unimaginable that he could source something, anything real from casual exchange other than an STD. And seriously they can’t wait for the next deadly wave to cum and purify this perverted society because they predict it all the time. I cannot convey the regularity with which persons of means to know better say “It’s only a matter of time till the new AIDS happens again.” Not simply those bored in straight life either, queers too think they’re in on this obvious destiny. Since you’re good enough to know that slut shaming is a patriarchal thing, I could speak, or not—not sulk, just simply honor your limitations. The failure of you to remember the last time we spoke honestly and you said this and then I got quiet and said nothing else… that memory failure is another fucking limitation that I don’t get to bring it up later because you’ll never remember… that’s the convenient element of bad memory… when you’re suddenly requiring documented proof of a history we shared in which you always felt superior and no suddenly your memory has gone to shit. Learned friends, tonight isn’t about educating you it’s about getting me free from the noise of your dead disease dreams and Art might not be a space in which that’s possible. AIDS worked well for Art, a bunch of estates steeped in shame and vulnerability became available for money making… the politics lost their meaning fading into mere medium… and generations now still haven’t become able to imagine an elsewhere.

Vignette 6: Artist as identity

Identity is like a turtle shell out of which the subject keeps craning his/her neck to see if and where it might be possible to move: a way of locating, protecting, masking, and disciplining the person. –BERLANT

A significantly less harmful roommate once reflected on how she had watched a documentary about Divine and how there were quote “all these normal people interviewed about Divine” and that she imagined one day herself being one of the normal people interviewed in a documentary about me. It didn’t cut. I knew it was a compliment for her to see me in relation to Divine. There is little else available to register MYSTI in a straight world. But let us be real in that according to her fantasy, I am supposed to eat dog shit and die young. She didn’t mean it like that… she just unconsciously needs it to be like that… because the distance I’ve placed between us… living alongside each other is difficult. She would like the chance to explain proximity to me from her angle. And knowing nothing of my real value system and my staunch opposition to most documentary practice—especially the queer art kind, she thinks the greatest end to a life tragic as mine would be a movie in which I say nothing as some corpse around which persons raise their hands to volunteer as flies who decompose me. I can’t wait until you die is all I hear. You will be more useful when your argumentative personality doesn’t interfere with the bits of you I choose to value.

Is the camera a cock? Taking someone and shooting them?

I am not interested in putting a good spin on a bad thing.

Good art never came from gay freedom.

Now that art students seem to be spending as much time in University as law students and psychologists shouldn’t we institute an ethics of art making… do they really get to wander about trusting their own instincts while other professionalized fields learn the difference between right and wrong in their first year?

Let your future become stranger because feeling known is the end of exploration.

Government arts grants often become just welfare for rich kids.

Queer theory belongs to those who went to the schools that taught it.

Queer art belongs to those who went to art school but refused to master technique.

Rehearsal only erases vulnerability.

Drug addiction is the new AIDS epidemic. So many of you here are already walking dead.

I need a break from those egos attempting to become Art.

Vignette 7: misplaced faith

I love that god is the subject you cannot see… while arguments of race and gender often go back and forth about what can and cannot be seen: “I don’t see race” or “If I saw your transbody what would I see” and of course “seeing the face for communication” cause apparently that’s really important here in Germany. With god there’s no seeing to fog the task of believing yourself wrong in a world… made right only by something so far from you that you’re nothing to do with this business of being right. The need for something to overreach your will—corrupt with unabashed self-interest.

Pseudo-radical theory gets used all the time to keep things in order. Preciado/Dean are my odd couple in this devotional and I hardly take them to task in my sulk; I just leave them moneyed and drugged and hopelessly typical. It’s perhaps a way of me killing my own academic drag. Artists only seem look to theory as an argument for more and more Art, when can we find a way to read removal and the even more glorious rapture in what’s already rotten around us.

My writing is all about talking myself out of something. Lying in bed with difficulty and accusation. If you feel called out it’s usually because we are alike.

My silence is not to be confused as an olive branch

There is an amount of money after which you will never again experience sincerity.

Funding is the reward for making queer look tangible and contained to the stage.

They need to configure a way to make the wealth they have sound reasonable… that is the future they wish to procure… a future where their hoardings haven’t been restructured. Repossessed. Written wrong in some later history.

Casual lies are how most people break the ice.

We, who queue to shit in the gold toilet, do not worship false idols.

A hetero is he who wishes to see himself reproduced

or she who lends herself to the production of this evil

A homosexual is one who would swallow this whole world with his thirsty rectum if only he were more time rich.

You, the queer, are a spectacle of grief, a living embodiment of the end.

I might like to make a sulk out of they who never shut up, who cannot observe silence and be changed.

I resist competitive culture because it blindly assumes that we are playing the same game.

Trust is knowing that you’ll be able to survive betrayal.

Trust is an arrogant position.

The gallery is a culdesac

I spend a lot of time on my art

Spending a lot of time at openings.

We look good together

Let’s converse polite about nothing

Till we find ourselves in another circle

This gallery is a culdesac

I cannot help that you’ve decided I am the problem, but let me assure you the problem never works itself out.

People don’t come to contemporary art to witness our moment, they come to be better than it & I am here to make it all much worse.

So the sulk and its unsightly nature could be just a prayer before the rotten corpse of Enlightenment, which certainly didn’t save us.

Performed July 2019 DISTRICT Berlin

how do we make art of human remains?

MYSTI_MARCH15

Write about Wojnarowicz… who in their right mind would do that? I am not a historian and I didn’t know him, so much of what follows is me having him as some white noise or a cloud of ashes in the wind around me… a body of work not finished being unfinished. That being said, my old gay romeo name ITSOFOMO so perhaps there are bits of him I am more adequately suited to speak of…

I worked for a museum that acquired a piece entitled Anonymous II which consisted of burying a skeleton marked only by GPS coordinates in the gallery, and the trouble of executing the idea is that of finding unidentified human remains. But Kiki Smith once had been gifted a human skeleton by David Wojnarowicz and she was relieved to unburden herself the creepy artifact that haunted her studio. A lonely corpse, this was the last art object I had wanted to see desperately: an object that wasn’t art when gifted to Kiki Smith, had lived a life as non-art human remains in a studio before being repurposed as art by another artist who simply needed a body in order to make an idea work. I’ve left the artist of Anonymous II nameless here, because I think it’s more important to name the doings of artists doing art’s doings than to name the artists specifically. I prefer dropping names out of the picture. Someone naming human remains as art Anonymous, let alone doing it a second time, can afford to be forgotten by someone like me doing something like this.

I lecture, not because I am good at speaking, but because I think it best embodies the now. Modernity is the feeling of being lectured—not necessarily being changed by that lecture though having endured it nonetheless. Its practice is that… telling you the world of its true self and what should become of it. It homogenizes, pathologizes and euthanizes. If indeed Silence = Death, now after years of we’re here we’re queer I‘d kill for some quiet. Pride politics never worked on me, because a great deal of my existence should be shrouded in shame. Gay liberation is not a requisite for good art making. Our presence is not attention-seeking, we the real queers know our way out of this world, how to manage a body remotely from a place that isn’t particularly likeable.

Forgive me, but I will never understand why German students who’ve had health insurance their entire lives attach themselves to the urgency of Act Up, which, above all, was a fight for health care. It was a fight over research funding and pharmaceutical prices. It was about being a mass of dying lovers left unspoken by Reagan and hardly uttered by Bush senior. But for me, AIDS was mostly a bad TV movie. A morality play on promiscuity in which sorry forgotten faggot sons come home to die crying, in mommy’s lap. When my classmates debated the problem of AIDS they insisted upon quarantine and I alone often imagined life to be better on this proposed AIDS Island. When you’re from South Dakota the idea of living on an island inspires only images of white sand beaches and a palm trees. Coconuts.

It’s hard to write of Wojnarowicz in this climate of AIDS activist nostalgia. It’s hard to know how to feel about what came of him… not simply ashes thrown in the wind before the White House but rather as a member of a fetishized group of artists. NYC has churned out so many memoirs of gay death that one might think that AIDS happened in this way, everywhere around the world, all at once, but it didn’t. That clever brand of not being silent has queer kids talking out of turn, acting as if they’re saying something new about Wojnarowicz or the wreckage of human rights in a post-equality frame. Wojnarowicz used the word queerness as “a wedge slowly separating me from a sick society.” No connection whatsoever in his work there… the queer doesn’t integrate, nor does what’s queer ever consume the entire body, no it’s the queer bits of the body that don’t belong to the whole. Really think: was there connection in the acting up of political funerals? Was throwing a lover’s ashes on the lawn of the white house an act of connected-ness, or rather an expression of the absolute nature of abandonment? That it doesn’t matter where we lay our dead, there is no rest to be had? Do they return to this White House to mourn those they left there? How might we mark that place where David and others had been spread illegally? Or is absence of a headstone the better expression of unmanageable loss?

What’s with boring art school kids doing David drag? Isn’t a self-taught artist like him supposed to shut them up? Silence can be the result of political awareness. Perhaps mistaken they might love David for all the wrong reasons. I believe watching all his houses burn brings us to another battlefield, one where rich kids might be unwilling to surrender to other lesser considered themes within his work… its easy to say that we came together to fight AIDS now that its more possible to live with HIV. It’s much harder to abolish the societal practice of imprisoning children in unhealthy homes. Family structure gestates the sickness of our world; the family is the incubator of our sense of doing things the way we do them here…

In a lesser module, let us first think of art and David’s punctuated commentary over its incestuous processes… how art ruled and directed by the rich loves to make readings of illegible bits: “The silence of Marcel Duchamp is overrated” David painted this on a wall as the backdrop of his own portrait. Words like that, refusals like that, helped me to love him alongside his very legible imagery of burning houses and fucking as work. However, these burning houses weren’t simply reference to a past:

dav

The brilliance of Wojnarowicz is that he steps outside art so easily, his willingness to share so much of the intimate scenery of his life can leave one loving his work while still hating art and the reductions of possibility that come from calling something such. When I think of the life/work that Wojnarowicz produced, especially Memories that Smell Like Gasoline, I see not simply a connection to second wave feminist processes of sharing stories about sexual violence but also an even greater call to restructuring society, like those of a long hot summer in 1967, where if you cannot live in your house: burn it down.

What does the queer body do but desecrate the family? Queer art isn’t surplus so much as absence. The most defining feature is absence or perhaps avoidance in/of work? Queer is absence, in family photos, disaffected from the social matrix of professional life. When my bro-boss wants to know what I did on the weekend, do I really say that I put on a dress and got gonorrhea? Absence of vivid response on my end is the queer portion of this straight working life, my job… the appropriateness of my being in the workplace requires me to be boring with every weekend passing so I yawn and say netflix and chilled.

Shulamith Firestone penned the extremely potent Dialectic of Sex: The Case For Feminist Revolution which tragically some of you may not know so I will just say that in a mere side note of her case study she traces the failure of the Russian Revolution to create classless society to its “half-hearted attempts to eliminate the family and sexual repression.” Rooted in the science of birth control, Firestone insists upon an integration into full society by both women and children, namely into working and sexual arenas. She says “’raising’ a child is tantamount to retarding his development” (84) and goes on to illustrate how the mythology of happy childhood serves not the needs of children but the adults “living out some private dream on their behalf” (85). Childhood is still only reserved for those who can afford it and the de-legitimization of children as subjects who might seek employment to better their predicament is hardly on behalf of their human rights when we know that children are already part of our working world provided we not see them there.

Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 1.31.12 PM

Think of not simply of Wojnarowicz’s traumatic memory of being doused in gasoline and taunted with fire, but what of altar boys working under the guise of ceremony within the Catholic Church? Or a world of children traversing borders suffering uncertainty in every classification we imagine basic—rather than allowing opportunity to work a way here we leave them to become in our unseen sexual culture just so we don’t have to see them working, the sight of which might cost us some sense of decency. Survival sex is a way of life for children and young adults who can’t come back home. Firestone’s bold invitation for children to integrate into public sexual life, wasn’t that children aren’t already engaged sexually but that they must be hidden from public in the process thereby making control over abuse nearly impossible especially when robbed of the capacity to participate in waged labor when the circumstances of their lives require them to save up for something else.

Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 1.31.30 PM

Was AIDS in NYC queer rapture? Is that what this nostalgia is looking for—sudden mass disappearance in this world where presence is mistaken or interpreted as endorsement, consent, and belonging? Alternately, couldn’t it be observed now in the American opioid epidemic, that another battle with government neglect and pharmaceutical liability is underway? Or have identity politics eclipsed compassion? Or whom we can imagine to blame and on whose behalf? Was gay activism just cruising, and who wants to extend love or even basic care to an unfuckable addict? And where are we in an art world who built with the money of the drug dealing Sacklers, what does your art do on their walls? Think of Nan Goldin yet again after struggle, she’s become a new voice within a body of people tired in the critique of art and its vampirism. I love the images of her protests at the MET, Guggenheim, and everywhere else they’ve scrawled the name… I love that an artist famous for her photography has now become a face in photos not particularly intimate, balanced or worthy of framing. Protest is the end of art… and any artist making art market cred with protest will be erased from history eventually or rather known only for doing such harm. But back to David, that slow moving wedge and who is to blame in this space “where people go into shock at the sight of our own bodies,” he says it’s the art world.

 

(I didn’t really finish this essay and I don’t really feel I need to…)

gawd MYSTI mansplains

Mine isn’t a project of forging connection… as in faking—lots of drag invokes cliché lip-synching of unoriginal content bookended with verbal black-facing so as to falsify a relation to the world… mine is rather a process of wearing my abject in public… feeling that way publicly… not winning smiles, because surely now is not a time for smiling? When people deny me access to radical identity I yawn. As if all processes of professional development in art or drag don’t disqualify that subjectivity. The working world for whom the world works is too supported by this labor scheme to dismantle it… you will never observe yourself being radical… CERTAINLY NOT HERE… and over time, most of your words will expire. Goddess, I repeat myself—                   But yes, you who feel represented, protected and made special by your National status are but a few White candles burning in a windy vigil for time long lost. Support and safety are only preservative approaches to the practice of life, which is finite. You’ve seconds remaining: We will not unencounter each other. You will simply lose this sense of self… a fleeting essence—not unlike god—whose presence you will recognize, doubt, avoid and cherish almost cyclically. You will be lost until found… bestowed upon goodness or condemnation by forces outside your control… perhaps then laid prostrate before an altar from time to time… an altar to something outside yourself… something that expands beyond territory… lose yourself in a space built to congratulate someone who is not you. Try it…

This is our Neoliberal popcorn moment of children popping up all over the world believing themselves soooo special and qualified in the midst of no work history whatsoever. Raised in Waldorf cults and endlessly channeling money from here to there… everywhere but anywhere that might resemble a culture of “sharing” anything other than an image of self as an enviable subject, a little brat with a self-worshiping gawd complex. It’s hard for our world of queer to recognize itself on the plane of uninteresting. Queer is exception that doesn’t speak well for itself, while the State is verbose exclusion. It’s only one single way of being read, when we know there are many readings of our moment. Geographies of decency are what homonationalists love to establish… all the while law is fickle… making history revisionist… you can always rewrite law, but you cannot rewrite the word of god. Relish now this permanence in which you might encounter a faithful body… in a world unfaithful… imagine now whatever process of outside-d-ness you’ve experienced, the bitterness it inspired and thus its unsavory taste now merely elsewhere on your tongue… taste not yet swallowed. Bitterness is a gift you’ve time yet to spit.

God sustains a soul in a world who will not feed it. We have to learn this… what god does that we refuse…. that we cannot… before we dismiss the power of faith: Have you ever watched someone pray over a lottery ticket??? It happens all the time. Like in The Color Purple when Celie writes her life letters to god… before switching to the woman she falls in love with… God exists as a placeholder… a recipient of her private pleasures, confusion and her even more dangerously private suffering. Imagine a time before the idea of instagram when a private life was broadcast only to god… not a puddle of followers… when you individual were not a deity but a follower of god…. when life’s turns were not your construction but rather a gift… something you couldn’t earn or deserve, and for which you can take no—absolutely no—credit. What do you do with all this proverbial credit you’re bickering about? Let’s just say we could prove you were the first blogger to bleach your genderqueer eyebrows… let’s pretend this was a provable position… what do you get on that ‘cred’? That’s hardly engaging conversation. I can’t praise you for such superficial race-to-space parameters of authenticity. So many people are too used to having a say in conversations… but no… these conversations will simply happen to us… without our say… these matters are not ours. Like, maybe it is just wrong to buy and apartment, even if that’s what your parents made you do with the money they gave you… maybe it’s still just wrong… can you live like that, just wrong? Not striving to be justified in being wrong? Maybe 2 apartments in 2 cities makes you 2 faced by nature… Perhaps you feel your greatness requires that kind of omnipresence… but in most cases I find these types just wish to avoid the lingering stench of their own rotten souls.

I will say it… A non-spiritual person isn’t a subject, and they can never become one because they’ve never been made to feel that way appropriately. The non-religious those who’ve never known god are only a cult of self. You’ll hear of spirituality among queers but only in the most washed out dishonest way… they take up the sanitized (read: somehow sane when made secular) Ti-Chi, witchcraft… gay shaman healers riffing off every world culture in the most surface albeit deeply racist ways just to create a scene in which they might jerk off and cry together… they claim karma instead of accountability… as if you shouldn’t do bad because you only want to avoid bad… not because harming others is just wrong… The religious devout assumes that state of faith above and throughout all other identities… profoundly unique today when all the other taglines of modernity become awash without faith to any one in particular. God is not a mere ingredient in your appropriation of self-care… If you don’t live in a State that cares not whether you live or die… one that kills you or lets you be killed without care… then you are not in need of self care because you are cared for however nominally you might like to indulge yourself otherwise. Self-care is not dying of a broken heart when your dad is placed in a fatal chokehold repeating I CANT BREATHE… when your child’s name is Kalief Browder… and you didn’t live because he just couldn’t anymore. The way Nationalist violence kills with covert strikes of unmanageable grief. White Nationals belonging… go ahead and suffer… you’ll survive. What of all the suffering for which there is no image to wake us? Or suffering whose images are classified top secret in production of that sacred space called safe where we feel we belong?

God gets argued away with theories of empowerment for man-kind and those who wish to reproduce a slightly updated version of that same unimaginative conflict of a self in the world. Intellectualism is mansplaining… it is full of itself, and itself alone… it justifies itself with only itself… an agenda of only its own… full of holes in its theory of storytelling and yet explaining, mansplaining, away as if these holes aren’t there… as if the soul merely skips over the hole… denying the gravity of the hole… denying that the hole can consume entirely the theory surrounding it… the theory becomes only the rim worthy tongue… wiggling like some mucus covered worm… the hole can take it all… disappear it… inconveniently shit it out again. The hole can take the entire story and make it dark… internal… internal is dark… gone without trace is devouring… not without pain pleasure pain… the way they are sisters 69. Remember dears you’ve done me no favors by listening to all this… so please release me the burden of dealing in your questions… which could only take generative form when posed internally as prayers answered by silence and alone time. A sense of correctness is the maximum we deserve, but only coupled with a hearted knowing of how deadly our error margin is, regardless our intention.

gawdMYSTImansplains

ROSE COLORED GLASSES

“Nobody knows more fully, more fatalistically than a fat woman how unbridgeable the gap is between the self we see and the self as whom we are seen, no one, perhaps, has more practice at straining and straining to span the binocular view between; and no one can appreciate more fervently the act of magical faith by which it may be possible, at last, to assert and believe, against every social possibility, that the self we see can be made visible as if through our own eyes to the people who see us” WHITE GLASSES

RoseColoredGlassesMYSTI

You’re all built to argue against the following with greater authority than I, so my approach is out of step and detached from outcome. Misplace for a moment where you are going and settle for a second on what you have right now. I am going to begin immediately Eve Sedgwick’s essay White Glasses and I am not going to introduce much. I know we will begin lost. Sedgwick starts the essay with its title the object… her fascination with her friend Michael Lynch’s white glasses upon their first meeting… and her immediate compulsion to copy-mirror-belong as his image. This is the way we find, right? If we can regress to a time before we knew fantastic people. People who inspired in us a way to look and admit finally that pantomiming is becoming… perhaps only made real by first being made fake. Culture is a copy. Persons touting their own uniqueness should be recognized as those forgetful of their source material, because art, perhaps more than any other sphere, is an occupation that requires redundancy. It has to recognize itself within you before you proceed in becoming it… making it. Agency or autocrat… whatever terminology, be it feminist or rugged individualist, fail here in that art must first recognize itself. I will continue to quickly read Sedgwick… because my writing is pointless without the writing of others… as she writes of a friend in declining health from AIDS related illness becoming what she identifies as an opaque thesis in the simultaneous revelation her own diagnosis of terminal cancer and his unexpected recovery. The way sickness seen outward becomes internal… The queer wannabe world hasn’t recovered yet from its acting up… because the overwhelming sentimental within political death obscures this project of being sick and unaware.

Full disclosure: I stand here limp dicking philosophy. I am so disinterested in entry that I merely obscure its opening… stand in the way… refusing to shatter that which is broken only by its own will. They will do nothing and I will be the one to do that nothing to them. There is no such thing as a parasitic relationship to academia. The blood you suck changes you. You thrive on imbalance … undoubtedly you will encourage the wrong thinkers and flunk the ones who truly challenge your existence. Degrees are now a requisite for barely clinging to middle class life. Whose blood do you suck the institution or your students? Know that many many many people who still believe in the power of education envy your position, you lazy self-sacred cows. Our encounter is not passionate… your broken bits are only those you recognize and profess as such… and so the wholeness of your world—merely some microscopic view of self—gives you the right to be broken too… publicly broken in… the right way. Whereas the broken self of most is not an outerwear… we can’t keep our jobs… we can’t keep going

RCG1

My stumbling into philosophy was encouraged only by those who wrote it right by wrapping themselves in it… wearing it like a poorly fitted smock of sentimental value… not armor just something to conceal the irregularity of our parts. So I assure you my recommended reading isn’t to make you feel unread or behind, it’s just a reflection of how dependent I am on a short list of thinkers and how lost I am without them…

In one vignette, Sedgwick argues with the AIDS Quilt and its flawed political memory over action… feeling nothing until succumbing finally with one single patch whose genius stroke of dis/honor by a consortium of lovers and friends states: HE HATED THE QUILT. Collapsing instantly the trite object of political memory and the forgetful walls of names… these vacuous spaces… these gigantic stones quarried and moved for whom again? Grief doesn’t just get sown together like this. Memory doesn’t weigh you down it sends you floating away… Sedgwick sees loss and feels nothing until this moment… this shared hatred of the quilt… this ironic patch requires absolutely every single stitch, and yes every soul lost within these stitches, to be so wickedly authentic. Authenticity requires casualties it is composed of them. You are remembered in the space of forgotten others just like you. He hated the quilt so we buried him here within it. Completely un-removable from his object of protest to which his protest only finally enables the actualization of quilt’s intention.

RCG2

A cannon or a collective is this exactly, a trite happening animated only by those who undermine it… reveal the readymade… the way that naming is just that: redundant. Named and done. Identified and placed among the representative. Good is easy memory practice… remembering yourself that way is an ambitious blindness… thinking that you make good in times like these. Because we so rarely recognize ourselves without meddling foreign objects, curating our surroundings with them…. the insults of identity will outlive everyone of us here regardless the eloquence with how we manage, manipulate and extort from these expectations… our lives as jokes… identity is also just a logo sometimes… how you can be seen, and remembered for nothing in particular. Recovery isn’t found in all this re-memorializing… this culture of authenticity is the denial of our very fraudulent nature given that speech… culture… or whatever your baseline may be… is always superseded by its method: your will to copy. Quietly copy?

Celebrate a forgettable self and find freedom in persons who cease trying to be remarkable. Elevation is not the modernity project mass generalization, however is… Art will become conversational… and that is its only radical potential. The sensational is worn out with the expectation that it should be such and the tendency to yawn immediately thereafter… controversy in art paves the way to nothing, repeatedly its only sensational. Controversy is medium for dialogue that only congratulates all involved. We want art to make us feel things but we don’t want to feel exhausted             I cannot finish this paragraph

Was the AIDS Quilt just the first barrage of MEMES? Where do we locate the political loss in this flood of personal-public overshare? How do personal messages like these address trauma in a media moment that fetishes trauma… but only the traumas of those we like to see… personally? This personalized touch in politics, in art, in art that exposes only the unbridgeable gap between the two isn’t for me a legitimate encounter… it’s a forced encounter. I either wish not to see… or you wished not to have shared and these poles would be fine if this was resolvable between us, but there is no recipient in all of this expulsion whose only premise is that the trials of a biography might explain away a lot of bad behavior. Who among us is gonna transcend from MEME to masterpiece? ! ? Survive a call-out and make our dialogue richer? ! ? Whoever you are: You must have a personal approach, but a distant touch. Maimed but not desperate. Timely and timeless. Pertinent but not topical. A will to relinquish power you know better than to trust yourself with all the while still holding court.

RCG3

Misrecognition as her mother tongue, queer is as she always was: unfit (especially for reproduction). This is what makes her unsavory abstract politics that get too personal and really bad art… unfit for both. “Drag is a copy for which there is no original” someone said this… Butler, Munoz? Unimportant really. Queer isn’t about authenticity per say but it is an avoidance of that which came before you… it is unheroic like that. The ACTUP nostalgia that plagues art minded is in my mind this same avoidance because once Netflix produces the documentary someone has already removed the source material from your grasp. No? I invite the queer among us to take off these rose colored glasses… especially in countries unacquainted with healthcare crises… and live a little more now… work a little more on material that is present for you now. This Tumblr culture of placing an image where your heart is and this image assumed as good as a heart… sharing a MEME instead of a mental note… a product in place of a means to an outcome… this for me is the way knowledge was always manufactured. Universities were the first social networking platform. Your authenticity is derived from cultivating discrete audiences… dancing one way in art… shaking ass another in academia… brutal breath play in radical politics… Recognize the tentative nature of being as one with something to say… given the normalization of compartmentalized life, its schizoid lag. Life is fractures between which bridges are only imagined.

Objects must stand on a body in order to mean something

The body is a pedestal… a vitrine with fingerprints.

RCG4

Perhaps this AIDS quilt is just another element of togetherness, a representation of togetherness, I resist? In my most recent performance, I remembered my own pedestrian approach to art history… loving Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party… a piece I can only reflect upon in the negative now… for its teachable problems: massive amounts of uncompensated skilled labor (please if you want to donate time and skill do it elsewhere not in art), essentializing all of womanhood—the “whole” world (read only western) history—into a table… is it art, or another trite monument of names? Is this really a permanent installation or has this type of memory practice been forgettful from the beginning? I wrote: “A separatist future is upon us. We work to erase this moment no? Claiming postmodernity in times like now hopes to erode with only lazy vanity the power of an encounter that has already destroyed us.” Working in deficit… I wanted to better articulate a negative social contract.

Namely grant writing… the way that I find it impossible to maintain sincerity in asking for buckets of money—because mine is not a practice that utilizes money as a medium in self-exploration. I wouldn’t apply for grants at all except for the spite I carry for those raking in the dough… so at the very least I like to cloud the reading of those granting with a bit of tasteless… when applying for a media grant I decided to propose something that reflected the nature of grant writing… wish listing. I want to make a wishing well in the shape of Chicago’s dinner table… represent the abridged art history that is the dinner party scene and give on lookers the opportunity to throw some pennies and hope that makes a difference. The liability of my craftsmanship… my gay villain compulsion to destroy the vibe of an opening… ANY fountain built by me would only make a mess… water running about the gallery… the grind of an electric pump no longer pumping water just burning itself out…

KW made the mistake of asking me to take over their Instagram account in the week prior to my act of speech. Where I grudgingly observed one particularly hopeless German academic/arteest hybrid sharing a foto of an ACTUP tshirt against censorship … in place of actual commentary related in anyway to the White appropriation of an image of Black suffering. At the time there was this plague of controversy on the destruction of art and the way some interpreted Hannah Black’s writing as a call to censorship instead of engagement. Let me just clarify that censorship is what governing bodies and institutions do, not what individual artists writing about art do… The flatness with which White art decided itself well-intended and reasonably executed rather than deluded and power hungry, placed a sharp distance between me and a few close friends… Flatness is distance across which we no longer hear each other. Is it also this the thing called ethical loneliness? [Read perhaps: Jill Stauffer Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard which I’ve only recently discovered quoted in Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely.]

RCG6

My initial idea regarding Instagram was a poem writ over a series of MEMES… in which one stanza read: HEY DANA GIFT YOUR PICTURE TO IVANKA, SHE’LL LOVE IT. The poem had other underdeveloped interludes but I wanted to link dana’s misplaced politics to richard prince’s random political conscience in returning money he made from ivanka’s purchase of one of his works… as if returning the money to ivanka is a scheme for restorative justice! As if he hasn’t taken already buckets of bloodied money… this could be a moment in which artists like him whose work increases the portfolios of those truly poisonous to renounce their own value… transcend to a non-monetary exchange of content alone… take the millions they’ve already made and just live on that… but of course that’s not the case. The trump family cannot simply be the wages of extreme wealth… no people like prince who require buyers like these take the details of trump… his brand of outrageousness… somehow to mean they as individuals are what’s wrong, not extreme wealth. There can be no basic wage without a maximum. Sometimes a ceiling is hardly that… Sometimes speech is only about making White noise silent.

Anyways the week I was to debut on Instagram… imhoff and crew were dancing under their glass ceiling and everyone was tired of bullying Black… it wasn’t really right to keep my rotten eggs on the shelf… so I did lesser inspired, defeated and poorly designed MEMES over a series of photos I took of two parallel piles of vomit and a cautious pigeon discerning from which dried puddle to eat. I thought it would work like a stop motion animation my little pigeon checking both piles of pollock before gorging… but Instragram doesn’t swipe like that… and it cropped the first one and I bitterly had to re-Photoshop the rest… and I was so bored being an artist who cant gram is just…    But seeing venice that week in tiles assured me my absentia in the years to come.

Is Instagram the AIDS Quilt?

If I were to quilt a MEME today, what would it say?

IAMKEVINSPACEY

Bathhouses, darkrooms and Tiergarten… my life is full of un-consensual touch and intergentational sexual exchange is my expertize… As if work environments aren’t sexual spaces… get a job at a restaurant seriously most of the work is enduring all of the hooking up, breaking up, making up dramas that straight people marinate the world around themselves in… perpetually straining to work love and sex together. The fact that most affairs in heteropatriarchy [Italicized here to prompt MYSTI to read this word in her power-hungry rich riot girl voice] originate in the work environment renders without question that work structures are an erotic sphere, people to cum to work looking for love, working for love. However, whose sexuality is present and whose must remain hidden is another bit of work that cannot quite spit itself out in a tweet. Why can’t you people leave your wedding dresses in the closet where they belong?!? Married life is sexual exchange made public. I am one hundred percent in favor of gathering around a table in which we plan and make a public social contract of prohibited behaviors; however, my recommendations will be about making silent some types of sex you people don’t even know are gratuitously public sex.

Art working is still largely silent… unshaken… because just that, sex will land you places. What does #MeToo do for people who exchanged sex for positioning? Coupling in art isn’t just tabloid material like Hollywood… NO it is a medium. Power coupling is a solid strategy for success. Be careful whom you fuck, make sure they’ve good table etiquette… this is part of how you package yourself in a constantly working world.

Why not create “safe” space for coming forward outside accusation? Why is identifying as the violator so unheard of, so impractical when it’s the most feasible status given the workings of our world? I don’t think MEME activists are ready for that kind of accountability… I think MEMES are mostly a timestamp on social media… a moment to look back and feel like having participated… having been awake… when more and more it seems like pressing the snooze button… to delay alarm… You will be shaken from your sleep and you will not feel rested. Settle for a lesser modern self in the coming years and prepare to have your work taken from you and reworked into a cautionary tale. In this way dana was just a MEME. If we believe that art brings us some place else… what must be done then with the art that didn’t? Does it get to hold space as absence of an elsewhere—material witness to our refusal to go elsewhere?

RCG7

There’s this warped thing that liberal arts kids do with social justice mania… separatism IS a classist position, being one who can filter the entirely of your social and working existence. Sometimes I think I am the only man in a room of womanist-separatists and then I find I am also the only one without an MFA… from a big shit school. It is easy to suggest that’s what everyone should do… until you look at the problem of not being able to remove oneself from an unliveable situation. We have this grotesque assumption that being together in diversity arrangements will be likeable… rather than just bearable. So much of the explosive anger we observe is individuals begging to be seen so let us like little boys step into mommy’s heels and relish invisibility… going perhaps under the radar, being neither subject nor object, just unnoticeable. This is the space in which you find your frame. The words of others are not a mirror in which to see yourself or find parts of yourself… they are a much needed distraction from that neurotic process called getting your own life together… placing the broken bits of your shattered rectum together so that you might not shit the bed again. There’s always the betrayal of understanding… becoming understood and therefore done, finally… the way we refuse those who dare forge an understanding of our work. If we are working to make sense of this mess of being… working to make one speechless… working without words… or words become otherwise as art… then clearly the language we select around the event… will be sloppy and insufficient. No one likes to be named… some of us simply struggle with the absence of struggle—I wish there was a foolproof diagnostic for this condition… The mythology of struggle is that it justifies the power that you now possess.

We are devastated by a belief structure that essentializes experience: the experience of holding vision or becoming a voice…. Art requires elevation… especially when grasping objects (whose existence will surpass ours many times over) and placing ourselves inside them… animating them because our bodies just won’t do… It’s become impossible to imagine a world in which we will last. So what is to be made now, in my opinion is the aesthetics of fading away without trace. The age of fame… posting pics of every… meal… deluding ourselves that followers follow rather than judge… turn every word into a screenshot against you… take your personal as political, social ransom. As if this whole forum of networks appraising their own effort won’t just collapse when the monetary shake down happens some years time.

RCG8

I talk about myself a lot… mostly because I assume no one knows anything about my previous attempts at artworking and I discourage any effort to ‘research’ them now. The way I just want to be changed in the process of my doings… become marred unrecognizably from what I was all this time… I have to rethink these things as I go. “The greatest thing about performance is its capacity to end,” among other incoherent ramble… but yeah… I take claim to performance…. though performing is hardly what I do. The struggle to even just read aloud… the event is when in public my private writing becomes awash. Lost in my own argument is where I prefer to erect my flag… territory I claim. Doubtlessly there are better persons to fill this space… and yet now, or in moments I will leave … make space empty again… which is always preferable in my mind to the work of objects. A performance is said and done. That’s it. But with the objects… the work curators extend to keep them in the room … It’s the easiest thing in the world to revert when speaking of pain and difficulty… to stay frozen in that… not let words change us… not allow objects tied to memories of a former self to vanish… insist they must exist as always… not die… disintegrate and disappear as they eventually will… as they were made to do.

Whether it was the news or bad-made-for-TV-movies… AIDS was a media moment when everyone around you turned suspect. Regardless your place in the world, the plague was upon us all, even when it was nowhere near… even when no one around you… not a single person died… you still felt plagued. A comprehensive mind check… how you could think about certain types… how healthy their lifestyle could even be…. AIDS is for most smothered in sentimentality, but our backward gaze now has us worshipping its rage… we love angry politics. Today, anger is ours… regardless how far from its source we find ourselves. How far we and our loved ones are hoarded away from police violence, terror cells, eroding socialism, contaminated water… we believe anger is our appropriate response. Our world is shrinking in theory, but expansion is ours all this time. What is our world now so seduced by anger? Why is anger considered the only potent response to a media livestream of conscious… that has reflexively little to do with our way of life? How did we get sentimental about anger? We feel the discomfort that we’ve been prescribed and yet we dislike the powerlessness we experience as a result of not knowing how to prevent the impact that is not yet upon us… we suffer only of low frustration tolerance. Resistance is said to be the right… to stand up and fight… a shadow, ours cast by a flicker of light so far from us we only ever feel the dark. Our illuminated corner of the earth will only experience darkening and this revolution will be done to us… we dirty bottoms will shit the bed, and cry most appropriately, begging for more forever again thereafter.

RCG9

So back to Sedgwick that way that I am wearing her writing as a smock to obscure the uniqueness of my parts, the inadequacy of my speech… this essay of hers is epic but still a foreign body to me really. Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens was the first theory that made any bit of sense for me. Walker encounters the work of an anonymous black woman… in the Smithsonian Museum… a quilt unlike any quilt pattern observed in history. There was no way I was gonna see myself in some history… some portrait of success available to me at the time… pre-internet South Dakota… I had then no object to copy… but the devastating realization that I had spent too much time already reading arguings of things unimportant was uncovered in this masterwork. I was taught Walker all wrong in university… the idea that Walker was breaking all the rules rather than simply participating in a different literary tradition without thought or care for how the cannon might consume her. My teacher praised her exception and stated: You guys know you can’t write like this right? What a way to teach Whiteness by allowing 4 pages of pure genius to slip into anthologized canonical disciplinary training and then teach against it… No white writer ever did something so selfless… that’s not their way of writing… honoring the nameless. What this document does to modernity and its way of writing history is not even to address it as a subject. We cannot quantify the ways in which we are wrong… and standing here only on wrong.

Let those, at my end choose to do with me what they will… if a mass of paper must be what I become let that mass of paper become piñata… in the shape of MYSTI. Yes, put my ashes in a piñata and invite my enemies to have a go at it… do it in Tiergarten so that my lovers can walk all over me, in and out, as always I let them do in life. Let mine be the death of unrest… let mine be the post-political funeral where what’s made of me is just that, the representation of me agreed upon by a consortium of those who feel called to do so in my name, with my name… MYSTI: the drunk years? The life as a Revolting Queer years? The fat years? The Fargo years? Red wine stained lips? Should no one come to the queer community piñata planning MYSTI memorial committee, that is fine also as a happening… the surest means of bringing to form the way I lived only to inspire forgetfulness … PLEASE let the self identified violated argue amongst themselves whose feelings and negative affect earn them the right to deal the first blow with baseball bat or broomstick… who deserves a second chance… the right to attempt without a blindfold… to make visual memory of their contact with my very real remains. Let bully democracy… bully collectivity play out its way with me… make a piñata out of me… fill me with that you hope to find when you break me open. If a pile of paper is a lifework let mine become piñata.

RCG10

i might simply drift past you… a hiccup in purple… a careless cocksuck with no contact info… memory without name.

1

The mastermind mixed media social practicer is someone else’s drag, not mine. What happens tonight is exactly the same as what I do at Get Fucked with Olympia… or elsewhere… tonight is perhaps longer…. but really there is no effort on my part to ascend when invited by institutions instead of individuals who organize club nights… this isn’t a reflection of ethics it is actually an acknowledgement of the limits of my ability and interest. These essays hopefully to blend into one another because they’re part of the same book. I speak to specific persons… I do not make claims for the universal… speaking to/in/of everyone. So if you don’t feel addressed in what follows this is not my concern… it is from the beginning not my project to make you fit for my address. We don’t all sit at the same table… and even if we did we rarely have the same conversation… memory always serves to justify a singular position at the table the way we say it all our way instead of being changed.

If I share hurt queer feelings, this desire is to share knowledge… the site of learning that is negative feeling. I don’t hope to access power or legitimacy… I merely hope to clarify how I came into possession of these feelings of knowing. So a story of a 12 year old who wore his hair in braids, the only incorrect body in a cafeteria sitting at the girls’ table… with no desire whatsoever to conform… this is a trans narrative, a neither nor moment. Confused for girl constantly and disciplined thereafter. The walk home from school was verbal harassment from older teens and grown men… occasionally throwing garbage at me… pickups with gun wracks… boys trailing me for blocks shouting that I will die, violently. A world promising me death at 12 changed me, albeit not into an object of pity for which you congratulate yourself but rather simply a rare knowing that many know not. Those boys, those men felt good about themselves a violence I myself wished not to repeat. Feeling good is rarely dignified once knowing sets in… Those making money from queer these days are kids who were born to make money… or perhaps merely to curate the spending of money. I am an unsilent witness to the fact that there is no movement among us. There is not a collective us involving me and knowing me has little to do with the task of dissolving us. My words I know they present themselves poorly by nature… by the way that I am… not a particularly social being. I hope not to be known but rather to be felt. Feeling wrong isn’t as violent as knowing wrong.

Finding absolutely no value in anyone around me, I came to art in disbelief that value would become legible there… One of the most inspiring artworks from my very limited scope in high school was Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, probably for its legibility but now for its teachable problems. Then, I was so in love with a dinner party that I wasn’t invited to. I am really in favor of being absolved the pressure of invitation. The dinner party is always about assemblage of power. Chicago arranged the seating, the naming… their representations on a plate… dinner’s served now eat my representation of you… seated where I’ve placed you in my theory of our togetherness… but these beings aren’t and were never together so this reading of history as a dinner party for those who managed to achieve invitation reveals the cruelty of memory particularly discerned memory called history or worse this bourgeois imaginary called Art. This is only ever a reduction. How much of the project of acquiring a name is merely the allowance of such white lies?

2

Our names will be recognized for what they are not… this is the hyper document we make together in the now… in addition to the hopeless project of representing something outdated to a world that comes together via the elimination of histories that write us apart. A separatist future is upon us now. We work to erase this moment no? Claiming postmodernity in times like now hopes to erode with only lazy vanity the power of an encounter that has already destroyed us. How do I change the table? Make the gathering a bit more of what it is for me… a murky pond… perhaps a bit of money and wishful thinking.

I write grants these days mostly from a hopeless position… but also from a Catholic guilt, having survived a single-parent household where I learned that I don’t deserve the money in any larger scheme. When tasked with the distant fantasy that I want to be an artist who spends money… money in the form of a media-arts grant, I wrote that I wanted to be the artist’s voice, one that illuminates the room… YES! You my lovely in the dark until my words shed light on your path. I regurgitated the language of museums as failed public squares… that architects build mausoleums for art instead of meeting places for persons with ideas… I said my vision was to install a public space like pond inside a gallery… triangular benches with a fountain in the middle, LED lights to a sound board of my recorded artist voice dimming and flashing with each word I speak… somehow lighting your way. What the granters could never know: I have no desire to build a fountain that works… mine would doubtlessly leak out perhaps only a characteristic passive aggressive destruction. Yes, my pond leaks… spills over and sprays. I love the idea of gallons of water rushing through a gallery because art that doesn’t move like that should be destroyed… by art that moves, like that. The grinding noise of a pump no longer submerged in water suddenly dueling the faggy tenor of my voice become electrical hazard… my mixed media are actually punishment and liability to anyone who supports my artistic wish fulfillment. A book unreadably wet that never made it to print. She sets fire with water.

Relax save your anger… hoard now your inner peace. We are not working on the things we said we would. Whatever anger you host toward me is just a prop to keep you in the play of yourself. How do you embrace difference but admit the inadequacy of your parts? I speak always from my flawed experiential. I am not a cosmopolitan… I hate travel, and truly, my experience of encountering difference happens not in art… but elsewhere. If I were a fully funded thinker… I might have the time to competitively differentiate myself from Samuel Delany’s Contact Relations and that might illuminate my position for some of you, while simultaneously obscuring it from others. I will always be called an unqualified thinker and an elitist every time I read. I dread the day that everyone concedes my goodness. I want only to walk through language the way I walk through a park… mostly hopeless, certainly unattached and yet knowing that at any moment… Delany, my first queer theory love, reflects on the necessity of sex with a public… saying that “if every sexual encounter involves bringing someone back to your house, the general sexual activity in a city becomes anxiety-filled, class-bound, and choosy” Times Square Red Times Square Blue. When two subjects have nothing to gain, they have only perhaps even less to say. It’s nice to walk away from the job that is art making and be freed the binds of its own identity practice. Why aren’t the politics of job-identity under fire? And it is this simplicity of being that I prescribe myself in lieu of endless clawing at infinities of intimacy… deeper, deeper and finally deepest knowing is what cohabitation cultists profess when I always thought it was about splitting the bills or the blame of making brats.

3

Expertise is a simple way of refusing speech. If you assemble literally no version of a remarkable self then the terms of these others who declare their own love fantastic and relationship skills rich then these terms also fail. You are not special. Art and the external becoming alien with the practice of art… constantly drawing within. The internal is so uninteresting because that was it for me: An internal oozing obvious all over public. People deny me the status of art all the time, which is another doing or non-happening that I refuse to be moved by… or within… or however they wish to manage me. They interrupt, talking entirely though it… fingering cellphones shamelessly… the greatest thing about performance is its capacity to end. A painting on the other hand needs to do a bit more work if it hopes to survive the digital rearrangement of our work environment… that the very people who refuse to attend museums might out right share their reasoning for doing so… knowing full well already that what exists inside is only a misrepresentation of how a world—not the world—reflects on itself. Anyone who has ever worked in a museum knows that the public is hell bent on destroying art regardless how it evokes feeling, or perhaps even more frequently, non-feeling.

I dissolve within the group social. I am at best misrecognition as someone who wants to share when in fact I just want to disappear. Isn’t that what your words do, build a case against yourself? Arting over dinner so often becomes the quest of immortality… becoming a little prince or a Pagan goddess with many names so as to always be called forth…. I am not. present. I will be forgotten in the rumble of things happening now and I am uninterested in futile gestures of being otherwise. People have never been more visible or so forgettable. At the thought of dinner parties, I carry my yawns like baggage to the table and drink until I no longer care about what is being said. How does someone who hates dinners become an artist? How does one experience connection even? How does she see a table of platitudes as such a bad thing? Can’t she just play along like our hearts mean well? Does she have access to that pronoun? Are we playing along? Should we protest now? Or yawn and wait it out?

4

YES. I am hard to love. I hate cut flowers. The table is a disciplinary apparatus. Affluent gentlemen love dinner tables. I hate them. I love their wine. It goes down so easy. Then I am talking but never in a very impressive way. I misplace fact… share thoughts with feeling instead of a feeling of right. When I bed a serious man… I think only for a second his politeness is character, because it’s never lasting. Money does that… spends its charm quickly… flies away suddenly. James Baldwin wrote that “Fear and love cannot long remain in the same bed together” Just Above My Head. I fuck my fears all the time and vacate almost always immediately thereafter… exemplified in the following very abbreviated sexual CV of men very identified with their job titles:

5

A German diplomat to Afghanistan was a total ATM. He first needed the table to perform the pageantry of a date. Though, one salami brötchen and a terrible coffee was all he needed to fuck. The table between us dissolved into a sleep over that turned into morning coffee when he asked if I’d ever been to India. He seeded promises. Showing me his gigantic flat filled with artifacts and over his profound culinary inadequacy we dinned while I allowed differences between us to exist, he attempted to demolish them. He called me long distance from Kabul 5 times in the course of 2 weeks having only known each other for 4 weeks total. I hate talking on the phone. When his personal chef asked for a raise after working for 2 years which he denied, the chef quit so he called me to complain that now he wasn’t eating… barely sleeping… only helped to think about me. I hate people with personal employees. I just do.

A policeman woke me 4 times in the course of a night with his tongue thrusts to my hole. I would have to beg for his attentions anywhere else. He wanted me to stay for bread and cheese and salami breakfast, which is a cultural happening I refuse because my stomach just can’t take that shit anymore… My refusal of his table that first date was actually just drunk sex to his ipod mix of sad college music for white people… my refusal was his end. He needed me to sit at the table and eat the same things to feel that what we did was okay or going somewhere finally. I hate flirting with bread in my mouth.

This New Year’s dinner declined on my behalf by an actor… a tablecloth dinner of professionals. He was happy to tell his sister that he was instead slumming it with a lower class American artist… and in turn so eager to convey her understanding that someone like me might feel out of place at her dinner. Actually I’d only known this bored money faggot for a month and I didn’t want to meet his sister… her husband… their sons… their serious girlfriends and her business associates. But this actor’s ears were selective. He was bred to understand greater truths than I could produce. My sex life is most often an act of self-hatred….

6

What part of the table… the romance of eating together makes “truth” especially when considering the duress of the table… I hate nothing more than consensus of white folk eating together. The dinner so easily becomes an altar of the self… the person who assembles us… in whose name we assemble… I’d sooner sit before a queue of eye-watering bukkake. A place at the table is a prison falsely presuming a place in the conversation. Let us for a moment acknowledge there are those who fail in hearing the screams of white elephants. I cannot believe at the end of this moment you hope to be built up… instead of drained… haven’t you had enough? A dinner feels to me like this… a communal blood letting… watch each other bleed… exhaustion… pale broken beings. Put your assets on the table… tell me everything except the bad. I prefer an identity of what I am not, a negative social contract if you will. Another live-feed terror event gets told in bullet by bullet updates… facts as we know them become otherwise in a minute or afternoon… status unconfirmed… too much dust in the air yet to settle the whole story, but this is blood. Bullet by bullet updates of blood, people watch it drip all night… awaiting any and every moment to feel hunted… This untethered storytelling makes great table talk… Empathy? Or, another excuse to check your fucking phone? Revenge porn? But you’re too bland to be persecuted. You didn’t avoid the tragedy that became of your life already… what’s so precious now?

What beautiful life affirming practice might MYSTI propose in lieu of a table? A wank with a stranger and that brilliant bit where for a moment we need not be named… It’s not lonely. Lonely is the charade of togetherness while holding your tongue at the table… gaining nothing from speech or its absence. Networking grown in the petri dish of dinner parties festers in the air a grotesque reeking clenched anus competition to be delightful company. My love Lee Lozano wrote “WHERE COMPETITION THRIVES FRIENDS CANT EXIST.” YES, she’s talking about NYC circa 1970 and whatever romance for the art world of NYC ends when we observe her. She’s such an inspirational figure within the negative social contract… Embrace for a second conversation as a standstill or a standoff… designed only to break your spirit with misunderstanding.

7

And so obviously justification is the departure point from me. I seek not to justify my position here. Justification is a competitive impulse. There’s no special component that made me worthy of monetized thought. I speak from the disbelief that I accept a fee for speech. Standing here in a sense of justice would be impossible, for me. Feel robbed tonight of your chance to speak. Rest assured I allowed you no opportunity, and invite you to none now. Feel robbed of your right to engage… to feel engaged. I might simply drift past you… a hiccup in purple… a careless cocksuck with no contact info… memory without name. What does naming do in limiting the process of knowing by refusing the larger boundaries… territories or BARF planetary terrains of non-knowing? I will never know what you get out of this… what wishful gaze “liked” this sight.

I make no claims of preserving truth. Embodying history. I will be wiped out. I prefer the aimless years I spent here trolling in comparison to the driven or professional years of friends and former colleagues cultivating, achieving—or dare I say merely maintaining—a position of power they were born to hold. My position isn’t better, but TRUST ME, it’s not worse. There are those dying to make themselves nameable… but no matter the effort the intention or even the product… the naming and recognition of the name is outside this bloodletting. The project of feeling known wars with the declarations of being known and whatever this state is supposed to produce… given that common knowledge is only ever unspectacular, who wants to feel like that?

9

The political only does away with the appropriateness of your being. The political magnifies your failure to make right with ample opportunities to have done so… it misplaces the legitimacy of knowing with a placeholder that promises no naming or duration…. a placeholder that is only a refusal of your ability to argue… the way you’ve always gotten your money made. Right, everyone knows those who pride themselves on the ability to negotiate… and we know these moments when negotiation becomes petty screaming ego tantrums… we know that arguments are marked and that some, for a myriad of reasons, are just incapable of arguing their worth at least not convincingly enough to pay out. Check your own feeling of worth and consider now those you steal it from.

The fountain, called Wishing Well, embodies quite actually a vacuum of moneyed desire. It consumes your money… and lets you the opportunity to hope wish or pray that art-looking helps you manifest in the world. It absolves me the labor of reading aloud so poorly… The politics of assembling thought… this is not a position from which we feel finished accomplished or proud… it’s a bruise, draining. Thought is cold… a cold shoulder to those it doesn’t address… even while perhaps claiming to work on their behalf. The political hand touches the hot stovetop many times in the process of learning very little. Let my leaking pond wish itself otherwise.

Suspending the naming project is a means to stop the cult of the individual (whose name we only love or loathe arbitrarily from indulgent un-imaginary) while refusing the bits of identity that fail us time after time. I prefer the contested territory of the stage it allows a direct access to your boycotters… yawns… I am not drunk on thought I’m drunk on booze; it is charm and cowardice. Personally, I am never convinced by live performance… I don’t expect you to be either. I look at you—your puddle of hopeless, useless want looking at me called art—and I feel invincible.

10

AXIOMS TO SHUT US BOTH THE FUCK UP:

A regime of justice will not seek our approval.

Your right to more will be revoked.

Your contributions might just be repurposed at cautionary tales. (Again, done so without your approval.)

There is no career in culture and feeling otherwise is simply the ecstatic release of losing your soul.

There are many much better uses of your time… time now long since lost… even just tonight.

Self destruct is that thing we’ve been doing all along… that’s the pressure in the air around us… that’s the ALL CAPS FACEBOOK THREADS UNRAVELING

What can I as an artist do honestly? I can wish you well… But, I cannot affirm you… that would be criminal in most cases.

PAINAL INTERCOURSE

Sarah Schulman recently wrote a rather kind—perhaps over-kind—response to queer sensitivity discourse in our shared social networked lyfe. It is an obvious yet somehow long overdue assessment of over-stating harm under the title Conflict is not Abuse. She does respond to several urgent needs in American culture: reduction of police intervention, a greater responsibility to each other, a truer rendering of terms like abuse and also the insular-made-isolated by technologies that are supposedly making us more connected. That denaturing of interaction, loss of facial registration or tone, fails in connecting us to intention… our intention to be or feel together… if indeed that’s what we are still doing. I have my own reservations about Saint Schulman as she survives her own writing always so right… She’s a righter of history if you ask her. She argues that we owe one another an ordering of facts, a timeline of conflict before departing relationships.

The flaw of her project, I believe is that we are all coming to these urban post-educated (extreme education if you will which stems from extreme wealth and preserves it) assemblages wishing to feel together. This is a bold assumption. I believe all the A-List dramaturgy, pill popping, chronic travel disorder (as if compulsive traveling means you encounter anything but daily fresh clean sheets) between and within LINKEDIN evites are all smoke and mirrors of being—separate. You stay in the room long enough to leave an essence of having been present but not present enough to say something stupid, or simply reveal the comprehensive childproofed life you live calling home constantly for money. Fame—or the lesser strategy of possessing Followers—is a culture of being alone no? Who in the end wants to have credit attributed to another… or worse a series of fortunate events that made talent or praiseworthy being possible? Right? You didn’t learn the flute because you were so disciplined… first someone bought you the fucking flute and tolerated the noise you made with it. The drug/alcohol addictions of parents clouded in affluence instead of criminality… a dad who gambles with his bonus check rather than the rent money… These are things that irrevocably shape possibility and certainly denature the purity attributed to accomplishment.

BUT, in our queer times, contextualized continuously in real time by tenured minds Privilege is the vocabulary word designed to assess these measurements of being… and it has quickly eroded into a mere accusation. Above all let me admit that I benefit from and contribute to dialogues of privilege tallying, but let me for a moment try on this ill-fitting dress that says those of us talking privilege sit already at her table, stuffed full, too bloated to move. So increasingly the concept of privilege is a silencing mechanism, a delegitimizing mechanism at a table of lazy minds who fail to recognize that the term is actually a placeholder for those you do not encounter because of your very own trajectory immeasurable in circumstance versus the self who acted within, or rather inseparably via, that very same circumstance. Or is the intention simply learning the terminology so as to refuse change?

Before I go too far I would like to dilute the power of the term, by recognizing that smart people speak in fads… Problematic is a kinship term to the more articulate Privilege. My first encounter of organizing within queer strIcture… problematic the word was dropped at the end of every conversation like a power period. Problematic was so easy to say because it kept you from having to define the parameters of the problem, it’s ripple effect and your investment in its identification and consensus as problem. When we perpetually find problems external, we manage the space around ourselves as safe and the things we have become unquestionably ours. Safety is only a control. Sometimes the problematic is an understandable violence… someone might simply not know of contemporary discourses… and sometimes it is willfully violent registering itself otherwise via knowledge of the very terms designed to bring name to these events. Problematic was the magician’s cloak 10 years ago. What is our magician doing behind his cloak? Maneuvering a magic trick you stupid fuck. Problematic in my experience was never about problem-solving it was the way of being right about wrong, children of matriculation pointing at wrong together, no more or less.

Privilege is no doubt more articulate, but it has surely already lost grounding as useful in anything other than problematic power play. Because while the poetics of privilege stem from very real encounters within women of color feminism, these writings replay all too well now… 40 years later. Vocabulary, what we name things, what we allow ourselves to be called, who we allow to name us… if we have an say whatsoever in the project of being named… if that naming process is done to call us forth or simply label us aside… the wording evolves; however, in the course of just a few years unimaginative academics fail time and time again to keep their terms useful. Metaphor and almost libertarian culture of comparison cement space for power over these words. We will never feel together, they know this. Their eager invocation of vocabulary is merely to shut you up, replace you with nothing but space for their conveyor belt of self.

A moment of silence for those using words like these…

Does someone need to remind you that you didn’t buy your flute? Does someone really need to commend your choice to spend your parents’ money on traveling abroad, learning languages, and accruing academic degrees in feeling… expertise in hopeless nuance? Good for you these are indeed better purchases than inpatient yoga-orientated drug rehab. But even when rich kids go to drug rehab we are supposed to congratulate them. When they make a shit film with a bunch of money and unpaid interns… we are supposed to watch and go “Good Job. What are you working on now?” When confronted with these options of defining parameters of praise for individuals accustomed to unlimited affirmation, I prefer silence. Because I don’t have the words you need and I know you will always get your needs met regardless what you do with me… how your words work—even just between us—in your favor.

My grievance is the academic roots of feministing and queering programs. Many people grieve my academic drag… saying I merely reproduce the violence of speech acts claiming such specialization. So I am gonna step out… and unlike Schulman, I won’t describe personal experiences in unconvincing third person god’s eye narration… I will share outside abstraction an encounter with a friend who works in American academia… he somehow always has money to travel internationally… has lived on multiple continents… currently acquiring extended funding for his phd… and has casually been to Berlin a few times since I moved here. We are different people. This is fine because I prefer difference. When asked for my what have you been up to elevator speech during a gap of unemployment when I was actively not leaving the house so as to not spend any money not knowing when the next job might come along. I said I am writing a book. He rolled his eyes in my face! I do get that, when someone doesn’t like what I do. I try not to stake a claim of legitimacy over anything, because illegitimate is more my speed. Regardless, his instinctive response was a wave of truth I need not tread. When I found out that he wrote a book, I ordered it and read it regardless our theoretical differences, I felt I should.

He was squeezing me in before meeting that AA Bronson who currently he’s writing on… I told him I am quite weary of Bronson’s shaman shtick, that in our shared early Berlin years I’d seen him appropriate Eastern spiritual rituals verbatim as contemporary art… and that these performances or happenings were so un-spirited there was no other conclusion but for me to let the old man die. I didn’t say “Don’t write about AA Bronson” I said “Careful, he’s tricky these days” to which my more and more distant friend said, “Well I can’t even think about that.” In the midst of extending funding on his degree (therefore having time to engage with the difficult not just the heroic) he willfully turned a blind eye to his subject’s dangerous tendency to appropriate cultures for substantial monetary gain. Again, I allowed him the easy way… he can do whatever he wants but truly this is the only way history makes heroes: Willful omissions of thought. Suddenly a non-witness or at best an unaccredited mind, I tried to change the subject to critical evaluations of the university apparatus: Didier Eribon, Fred Moten, and Sarah Schulman… he conceded bits but somehow acquiesced with the hardly tortured lament: “But I have such a hunger for knowledge” he said. Yes, years of grad school, language learning and continent hopping he will still lean on blatant cliché. Hunger for knowledge reads to me a picky eater. Here is where I sort of depart as a lesser subject from him… when conflict isn’t a conflict so much as a non-knowing, or specifically in this case a refusal to know… a needing not to know. Nonflict. Do I really owe this bitch a timeline?

Those good at flipping professional, love to tell me I’m misreading virtually everything, this is the nature of professionalism as identity. There is no struggle in professionalism and yet a professional mind always conceives itself as having struggled, but never in the midst of potentially losing. The places that produce real queer, really read feminism… These are not cheap schools and their endowments could serve many, many more students, instead quality of education is made only by its scarcity. Somehow after achieving access to the best education money can buy, queer fashion victims and rich girls graduate still mad at patriarchy or a plague of -isms—these very systems which colluded in the making of daddy’s money which paid for the cultivation of their vocabulary… which is not however the equivalent of an ethical standing.

So they shuffle entitlement to rage around in some tarot deck of pained privilege… celebrating ignorance under the title of karma… reading futures all the while believing they’ve got the vocabulary to speak truth. The fraternity of the traumatized… that pain somehow produces purity… as if trauma belongs only to those who speak it well. Trauma in my experience rarely reflects intelligently. Somehow liberal art-ing becomes group therapy… therapy that produces competitively dynamic and powerful individuals… in stark contrast to the recovery available in lower classes, like Alcoholics Anonymous, where participants are made to believe themselves powerless to their addictions, perpetually addicted and irrevocably so. Rich kids get a different therapeutic vocabulary. They become actors in a world… shapers of justice… builders of a timeline in which we all get our due eventually… eventually in art-working they ditch the conventional CV and deny the education that made them so typical, so fit to belong within their successful peer group… a generation of thinkers fermented in the same rotten barrel of money… suddenly bored again so they create a mythology of avoiding self instead becoming animal, psychic or furniture… not sacrificing a single thing.

How does one pay reparations on such a degree? How do I insert a placeholder in a timeline with someone who knows better than I? Silence holds place Schulman. It is an event and a response. One can feel named by silence if they choose to gamble self with terms whose meaning cannot be argued… silence holds place for being named differently… outside your terms, outside the terms of us. One could write a whole book insisting that they have right to an arguable timeline of naming or they could listen for what silence says in a world of words that can only argue otherwise… around… and against that silence which recognizes you so well, names you so appropriately.