dec 4 2019 - bombastic hip thrust

mishmashing, questions on writing about art is hard lol

to Jupiter in Capricorn, to #sagittariusszn, to December, to this horrific year slowly ending for more horror

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 …

thank ya,
benedict

nov 4 2019 - sensical synchronicity

learning donce moves and meme cultures

a cliché: write what you know

I have usually considered myself among the dancer folks who don’t retain new choreography well. i’d nearly black out in auditions and not remember learning something or attempting to recreate it in front of judgmental people around me and looking down on me from behind the gates they kept

I remember fixating on 2 dance moves, 2 counts in a 16-count phrase — at the complete loss of any of the other 20 dance moves or 14 counts lol

when I was at my dance-busiest a few years ago, i’d write everything I learned down to keep track of it. I discovered my own system for tracking movement vocabulary, sequences, spacing, etc. and made myself someone who could keep track of things.

shifting perspective:

at some point, by writing all the dance moves down, I somehow became the kind of dancer who no longer need to write the dance moves down. I am definitely not the fastest, but i’ve become a much quicker study. teach me, don’t make me nervous, and my body will show you it was sensing, absorbing,

the power of a trusting, patient environment though!

in different dance processes over the last year, i’ve been thinking about what happens when i’m not patient or trusting with myself—where I distort the dance to suit my nerves, where I hold tension. I’ve been aware of what cues help me learn and how those cues become useless in within new frameworks

embodied knowledge is pretty cool, I guess


another cliché: ‘misery loves company’

but wait: i’ve been having weird but totally sensical shared symptoms with folks. maybe it’s too easy, too true to say that folks are just having bad days all around. yayyy what a time, lol, cue #apocalypticbop

but I feel like my particularly bad days are finding resonance in folks i’m talking to or reading on the Twitter (since I'm ‘off the gram’ ya know)

last week, I was having weird chest pains and a few other folks were too

yay for this anecdotal evidence for my Big Argument that it’s disorienting and reassuring that at least some of us are suffering together


overrated and important: full moons

underrated and important: first quarter moons and the moon all the time

I was walking home sunday night at a casual 642pm and could already see in the dark sky (DST needs to end!) a pretty severe looking (almost) first quarter moon and was impressed by the clarity of this awkward half moon time

i’ll bury the notification here that i’ll be skip out on the next few third quarter moons and shift to publishing ‘first quarter moon slushees’ on … first quarter moons


meh: original thinking and inventive forms

blegh: the way that the format of this slushee has been subsumed into meme culture and I really couldn’t help myself, get me off the internet, I’m not


previous slushees: anticipating the quarter moon vibes or writing alongside the day-of feels, delivered on time

this slushee: reflecting on a weird day and sharp moon, sent late.


here’s ur bi-weekly dose of regular gossip

happy first quarter moon Aquarius - I don’t have the words to explain why right now and

oct 21 2019 - for the time being

ideas flowing from compartments to chainmail to chassis

first quarter moon slush’ (yes, always linking to myself) celebrated its 1-yr anniversary / solar return last week on oct 16 - check the inaugural post here (yes, I did it again!)

before I even started drafting this slushee, I was thinking about many of the things I was thinking about a year ago and maybe my oct 16 2018 post’s musing’s of its own existence have twirled in deeper spirals around themselves into this oct 21 2019 post and I’ve mentioned that I can self-absorbed right?

and i’ll acknowledge the latent meta-headache of artists/writers using ‘personal essays’ to question the function of personal essays by dropping this excerpt of a poem that I received in my inbox this wk;

Upward
by Tony Hoagland

[…]
I will keep eating my experience
with a certain
indigestion and
shitting out opinions
to the end.
[…]

I got it from this poetry chainmail that was revived from the early 2000s to circulate in our inboxes in this wild fall that’s happening. I read the above without much context—of how the poet organized it within a collection or who the poet is or what the poet cares about or what it means for those words to come from this specific person

I’ll say that who the Artist is, is so important. it is. Who gets to shit out opinions to the end and be listened to?

a recent article, ‘The Writer as Influencer’ by Allegra Hobbs, makes an eerie but not surprising comparison between the function of writers (supposedly the True Intellectual Artists) and influencers (supposedly the Shallow Scammers). besides making me more self conscious about the navel-gaze-y ness of some of these slushies, it made me think about how artists broadly are leveraging our lifestyles and personhood for clix and cash in a particular kind of way and

I was stumbled on to this essay by Tajja Isen that highlights patterns in work brought out by the personal essay boom of this past decade. i’ll be clear and say it can be absolutely magical for someone whose identities/cultures have been stolen and trampled on and dismissed and exotified to speak from those places with dimension. but Isen’s essay (among many others), is helping me question the economy of art that shapes the norms (and prices!) for such narrow ways for writing about/expressing them

From Isen’s essay:

“I’ve started a ritual to dispose of personal essay ideas I know I won’t write. It involves saying the phrase aloud — “personal essays I won’t write” — like it’s a punchline, or a prayer. […]

The refrain is a joke, mostly, a loving dig at how easy it is to make googly eyes at your navel. But it’s also a minor exorcism: By articulating the urge, however fleeting, to seize an idea, pin it down, and parse its innards, I make myself evaluate the kernel at its heart.”

It’s helping me articulate how/why I only seem to write about the same few things in this slushie — time passing and slipping, #freelanceflailing, burnout, lol. These aren’t neutral topics but they’ve been ones that i’ve been able to mine sentences about for the speedy rhythm of this fqms’ celestial calendar, which reminds me how quickly and slow time passes and slips. and it’s not an accident that I don’t write about other things but I wonder where the kernel of my heart is??

I wanted to share with y’all an excerpt of the poem that i’ve been sending back in the few folks that have sent me stuff:

‘on registering good feeling’ by dear one, t. tran le

II.

I’d forgotten what kind of company Delight is bulldozing shrill no one can get a word in all day Delight entertains in a room of mirrors no matter who else is in the room

^^excerpting poetry is exceptionally stressful, see the original link for the original formatting

last week, after spending 2 months reading a book (which is long for me!), I started reading a new book on the subway and, for whatever multiple reasons, have been speeding through it pretty quickly. I reached a passage and had the fleeting idea of excerpting it for this slushee but instead of noting it, kept reading and forgot where it was. when I started drafting this, I flipped through everything I read and chose this, which I think is different from the part that grabbed me last week but i’m very unsure ;)

“Or maybe none of these things will happen except in my mind and yours, because, like I told you, together we’re making magic, at least for the time being.”

—Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

^^I don’t mean this as an earnest note about some presumptuous relationship between myself and you, reader, but as a nice quote that is itself, beyond what I can say about it

This book had been on my list for awhile and the ‘algorithm’ (I know, I know, i’m a robot too) of what I read now/next favors books that have surfaced multiple times in a certain time period and more than a couple folks have some how brought this book (published in 2013) into conversation over the past few months.

i’m thankful for the in-person talks about books and the smattering of emails from strangers with poems that have a context for them, even tho they might not all say much to me

someone I recently spoke to about my slushees mentioned the lite astrology references I make feel a bit mysterious. I don’t often make it the work of the slushie to explain what it means to me that today’s third quarter moon shifts from cancer and enters Leo and the sun enters Scorpio on Wednesday (!!!). i’ll say I’m drafting this after my 3rd mtg of the morning (and 3 more to come today, lol - I definitely get to check off the #freelanceflailing box for this post ;)) and that while I didn’t plan for this day, I agreed to it - so today’s moon shift feels appropriate lol

and know that might not even mean much to you but it’s funny how this framework of astrologyallows me to be very specific while also talking somewhat around things — a metonymy for big planetary feelings and galactic relationships between the multiverse and this human tapping buttons on a chassis in hopes of articulating something well

to slush,
benedict

oct 5 2019 - it's funny how

(cute animal vids) + I only know how to write about one thing

it’s not my first szn working 7 days a week, nor is it the first one after i’ve said ‘never again’ to myself and for whatever reason, it’s 111am and i’m totally fine that I have to be at rehearsal in 9 hours i’m going to sleep I promise, I’ll write this quickly, fast.

happy first quarter moon in capricorn ;)

i finally handed off one of the tougher grants i’ve worked on this #grantszn (ie, all of 2019 lol) - hard because of my grantwriters’ block (yes, a thing), hard b/c of the length, the questions, etc. i’m approaching a soon-ish date where, for the first time this entire year, I won’t have a grant or final report hanging over my head and when was the last time I reminded you i’m a freelancer not receiving benefits for all these grants lol?????

remember that time I caught on fire at work and was like, nah can’t afford the hospital without health insurance, I’ll nurse my 2nd degree burn at home lol - catch the full story in (the now shuttered 😪) the Establishment (published in 2018, remember when?)

it’s of no surprise to you that i’m writing about overwork and burnout (get it? 🔥? it’s not even irony!) again because, as i’ve written in these slushies, before, I sometimes wonder if I know how to write about anything else

me tryna be productive after a 12-hr work day:

me tryna look at that 200 wd question on a grant for the nth time:

it’s funny how I know how much i’ve worked, really, which means it’s also obviously obvious to me how much (and how little!) i’ve done in whatever period of time i’ve existed but I sometimes don’t even believe in myself to do the thing—which slows me down and makes me more tired. helpful! it’s also funny how imposter syndrome follows everywhere and there’s really no way out of that self-consciousness, is there? this isn’t false modesty or compliment fishing (but if ya wanna, lol) ;; this is a failure to have the confidence of a mediocre white man. oops

^even when ur teaching ur boss basic shit about how XYZ works

was chatting with a friend about burnout and how the systems don’t exist to help and how to deal with that and there’s this:

&:

& and there’s me spending my money like this (bless):

and i’m still not over this profile of Constance Wu — written by Jiayang Fan for the New Yorker. a choice quote:

“Because, here, what we say has a lot of reverence,” she continued, frowning. “Pay attention.” In our subsequent encounters, Wu spoke directly into my phone, as if recording an audiobook.

excellent stuff.

& another meta thing- this one took me an appropriate amount of time to laugh at:

also, nb: this slushie wrote itself so quickly from stringing and elaborating some un-precious thoughts i’ve considered tweeting but haven’t been in front of a computer or willing to deal with my phone app so it’s funny what my brain holds onto in the age of the internet, I deleted instagram from my phone for a bit, k good night xo, b

~~

pps. good morning, this is slushie #25. yes the math says that ‘first quarter moon slush’ will celebrate its first solar return with the next slushie! the consistency i’ve demonstrated - I am impressed. with myself :

sept 21 2019 - slow burn making

as they lay dying, like the cat

I can’t help this is where I am the; repetitions and obvious statements are a revelation in themselves and yes, this is me being generous to myself and it feels okay :::

I definitely knew this slushy was coming but couldn’t extract a framework for it. I have many so many thoughts about many things, some of them are in word-form, and I realized most of them aren’t ready for you to read so i’ll invite myself to write about this moment of gratitude for the abundance of discourse circulating inside my skull, even though this wealth of thought is exhausting

and I leave it there because I think a semi-specific list of topics would be more annoying than the wordy truism (what I basically meant was: can you believe people have multiple thoughts! at the same time! omg!) but we know I can’t not write the latter so…

happy 3rd quarter moon in gemini y’all

happy end of virgo season - in which my systems are in the same shambles as my life but these ideas, possibilities, relationships, processes, projects, wants, worries — they marinate, things wait, things are patient for a time in which they’ll be ready to live the lives they were meant to

even if some of them are just being insufferable in their current impatience, lol

they’ll evolve, or maybe, not

and also, some people look at me and:

#performance

and it will be a long time (the ~end of capitalism~ lol) before these reminders stop being useful:

the mood, really:

and yet, there are people who can walk like this #performance

I remember strutting down the runway for #nyfw a couple weeks ago and not fully being in the expected headspace for that kind of day and yet I kept walking and for that

~*~*~

in case you’ve missed any one of the Jia Tolentino tl/dr; s out there, the media is a big smoke machine and yes, I read all three of these pieces with equal parts glee and disgust. #trainwrecks

sometimes, pieces are months in the slow burn making but when they emerge from the oven, they don’t feel overly precious. just deliberately existing and i’m thankful for generous people like Monique Truong

i’m also thankful for the impending ending of this virgo szn - not be cause it hasn’t been instructive and itself but I am ready for time to keep washing me away or maybe, keep circling the non-human affects (you know, burnout, overwork, the ones I can’t not write about) as they lay dying, like the cat surrounded by these parading turkeys :

to autumn and to crunchy leaves for all,

your very fave bn

ps. plug: loveconductors present ‘ghoul|take III’ at ISSUE Project Room on Wed Sept 25 at 8pm. reply back for discount code or if you wanna come to the dress on Tue Sept 24

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