mishmashing, questions on writing about art is hard lol
|Benedict Nguyen||Dec 4|| 2|
to Jupiter in Capricorn, to #sagittariusszn, to December, to this horrific year slowly ending for more horror
to telling off your bullies (nb: bullying in school + white person w/ Blaccent) :
I feel like this selection captures glimmers of a certain kind of obvious absurd-doom that’s somehow still satisfying in its irreverence, or in its mis-matched and still uncanny matching of odd things. if in a few of these blips, that the delight is also laden with odd or problematic references feels even more apt - not just in the ‘yah, everything is problematic’ sense. for the hustlers/succession vid, it’s like: let’s smash these two different pieces of culture that ‘aren’t it’ but that we know you know what we mean by this humor because you still watched the source material anyway (I did, at least). see how the pleasure of stealing something, some brief reclamation of vicarious wealth and ‘having it’ that they both capture feels amplified by both of them together, synced the same bombastic beat and hip thrust. but, as with the bullying video, what are the ____ conditions that made that feeling needed? if that’s not many of the things at once, then…
i’ve spent chunks of the last few weeks working on a few separate pieces about art and performance projects that I was experiencing/witnessing mostly within the same condensed time frame so glad that that last paragraph was so much easier to write than any of the sentences for this Work (as in paid contracted job).
not insisting it was any good, but the fact that I did it! because sometimes, that’s not good enough, but it’s enough
I've been writing as I went, trying to trust the immediate traces that made it to the page last month and the ones that rise from my notes and memory in the distanced weeks since
but also, i’ve also had a harder time trusting the voice from which my writing comes from. i’ve been questioning its instincts and where they come from and how they’re shaped by my mood (ofc), that other piece of ‘art’ I read, watched, or listened to (eek), and just language i’m consuming all the time (ahhhh)
but deadlines are thing. to this first quarter moon in Pisces, I resolve to balance all the ‘holiday time’ socializing available over the next couple weeks with a nap and
so, i’ve mostly been trying to think about these pieces separately but in reading versions that are closer to full draft form, I noticed eery parallels in what I chose to write down. I remember the parallels I felt in first engaging the artists/works, sure. and I questioned whether these parallels are a laziness, the result of the limitations of me as a ‘Writer,’ of me as just one person seeing very different things and remembering what they had in common as a way of making it easier for myself ….
and/or maybe these parallels are real and worth observing and documenting in my writing. even if i’m not pointing them to each other, even if i’m deleting the things they share to make them more singular, more themselves, maybe they’re still felt. but what’s important is that a piece of art work be distinct and—even if derivative or not memorable—fully itself right? is it my job to show why that is?
and/or is writing about art (or maybe anything), some weird exercise in confirmation bias. I not only see what I want to see but I get to re-confirm my perception by having (some of) the words I write be shared ‘in a public record’
to what extent is (or I should say, do I want my) art criticism to be writing to be cultural criticism to be ekphrasis to be an essay to be a snapshot to be self-assured to be …
and sometimes, things shouldn’t try to be everything at once. duh!
I share these question-doubts not to fish for a reassurance but to celebrate iteration, the loops of messy drafts and drafting again, and this particular kind of work that feels like a worthwhile confrontation of one’s ideas, satisfying in its uncertain mess …