Posts Tagged ‘living’
Quitting: A Comic
Burning Man / Secret Passage
i can’t expect you to understand how all these people in this video make me so happy but they do
I’m also fairly obsessed with this song.
art vs. craft vs… a lot of stuff
My friend recently wrote a blog post in which she shared what she dreamed it would be like as an artist vs what it’s actually been like.
I was in a pretty serious band for many years and have a background in fine arts (with a focus in painting and sculpture) and I definitely wrestled with some of the same issues while trying to figure out how to actually live out a creative profession* (the ideal vs the reality). There are two aspects of the how-to-be-and-be-happy-and-even-be-successful-as-an-artist issue that I want to address here: art vs craft, feminism, & the cult of the amateur, and the current trend collapsing art/craft & consumerism/consumption.
Your Mom’s a Fiber Artist**
(the art vs craft debate from 3rd wave feminism to the cult of the amateur)
In the past 8-ish years, there has been a huge mainstream resurgence in a category of creative activities traditionally considered more “craft” than Art. Knitting, crochet, sewing, etc are experiencing a post-modern renaissance where it has become cool to play with fiber (and knitting has possibly even jumped the shark since everyone and their mom does it). Outside of the realm of fiber arts, activities like paper/printing arts, jewelry/metal working, home craft, and cooking have gained a degree of legitimacy that even 3rd wave feminism couldn’t have imagined.
[As an aside, it is worth doing some reading about the art vs craft debate (or even just on women and art in general) from the perspective of feminist writers. I am not going to pretend that I am academic enough anymore to do this topic justice, but suffice to say that the association of many crafts (and especially fiber crafts) with women’s work/domesticity has historically relegated them to a lower position in the hierarchy of all-things-aesthetic, whereas fine Art-with-a-capital-A enjoys a legitimized (and historically largely male-dominated) position at the top of the aesthetic pyramid.
Here is a poster by the Guerilla Girls and some links for your aside enjoyment.
- I really can’t believe I found it on the Google, but this is a great article I read in Leslie Fry’s Fiber Arts class at New College.
- A total classic: Why Have There Been No Great Woman Artists by Linda Nochlin
- This book looks interesting. I’m linking to a passage on p. 209 that takes Janson (who indeed wrote one of my art history textbooks from college) to task.
- I also haven’t read this essay by Joanna Frueh in the anthology cited in the Risatti book above but I’m thinking it might be useful.
- Pentney being awesome and academic on feminism & knitting
Back to the explosion of popularity and subsequent mainstream legitimization of the craft-y arts. I am certainly not here to criticize the proliferation of craft-as-art-and-even-Art on the whole, but I do want to point out an unfortunate side effect: much like we have seen with music over the last 10+ years, we are in a period that J sometimes likes to call “the cult of the amateur.” It has become incredibly accessible to become a creator, a maker, someone who concerns themselves with the practice of aesthetics. In a world where you can buy Garageband for you iPad for $4.99, a search for knitting patterns turns up over 8.3 million results, and Urban O*tfitters has a DIY section, how do you determine who is actually Good? What is actually Authentic? How is value/meaning/significance assigned to art now that the angle of participation has widened significantly? I don’t have the answers to these questions (nor am I trying to suggest that we resurrect the cult of Genius). However, I think it is important to acknowledge that as we swing away from the myth of artist-as-special, we risk swinging too far to the other side, where we value the amateur over the professional, the casual over the serious, the mediocre or even crappy over the skilled. And that is not a world that supports and values cultural production by Artists.
(or why Etsy is not all that it’s cracked up to be)
This brings me to my second topic. I have refrained from mentioning Etsy thus far but it is obviously a result of the value of handmade entering our mainstream consciousness. Etsy encourages people to buy items from what they term small-small businesses (“human-scale economies”) and places an emphasis on authorship and provenance in the items marketed there. In theory, Etsy is really, really great and I am wholeheartedly happy that it exists and especially proud of my awesome friends who have shops here, here, and here. But (yes, I just did another “yes, but”).
Here’s my problem with Etsy. It’s cool that it’s rooted in ideas about alternative economies. In practice, though, I see a race to the bottom (after all in capitalism cheapness wins). In an effort to compete (or perhaps out of ignorance about their value as creators or even in spite of their value), sellers must succumb to market pressure and the premium for artisan and handmade gets thinner and thinner. Sara Mosle wrote about the false feminist fantasy peddled by Etsy two years ago. The NYT ran an article questioning the effort required to run an Etsy business as well. Since then, I haven’t exactly seen things get better. Searches turn up a proliferation of listings made with questionable materials (cheap & made in China), questionable authorship (everyone copying everyone else… owls and deer anyone?), and even questionable sellers (is it really a small-small business and is it really handmade if you are clearly outsourcing your labor and production?). I mean, it’s not like all of Etsy is like that, but it’s definitely there as the dark underbelly of the indie commerce machine. At the end of the day, I think that the market pressures you see in play on Etsy might be the undoing of craft-as-Art, and ironically of handmade as a viable creative profession. It’s very disappointing because it’s so tantalizingly Almost.
Finally, let’s not forget that even for the best that Etsy has to offer, it’s still about CONSUMPTION. I’m going to go way out of my league here intellectually and academically and say that my gut reaction is that when Art/art/craft/Craft seeks its validation through consumerism, artists aren’t really coming out ahead.
It’s my bedtime but I plan to read more about this last point (this, this, and some good old marx seem like decent starting points), to make sure I’m not being full of sheep. Please call me out if you disagree, I’d love to have the conversation or some links to read.
*It turns out that I became a UX designer, which was a good fit for me creatively, but trying to figure out how — and whether — I wanted to “make it” as a musician or a fine artist took a lot of soul searching.
** Dear Mom. I don’t mean this as a dig against moms.
raw thoughts from burning man
written on the plane.
p.s. my hair extensions survived just fine in case you were wondering :D
goggles and glasses
people are scared to say hello is a line from a subhumans song
A few weeks ago I was meeting a friend after work and since I knew I would have an hour to kill I thought I’d stop into WaxTrax, which is a few blocks away from her new apartment. I hadn’t been there in ages and ages (because who buys CDs anymore?). I think this was slightly before I finished my zine so I had it in the back of my head that maybe they still had a bin of zines I could poke thru while I was waiting.
Denver has been having these crazy rains this summer where the sky just opens up and floods down. One of these rains happened the minute that I stepped in the store, an intense barrage of water. I didn’t see any zines — well, there were like 2 or 3 on a magazine rack thing, along with a book called The Rest is Propaganda by Steve Ignorant of Crass.
Now, I had coincidentally just listened to Crass a few days previously and given that I was clearly going to be stuck in the store for a while due to the rain, I thought it would be polite to buy something. So I picked up the book, and I wandered around the store for a while, and I left with it and a copy of the How to Destroy Angels album (literally the first CD I have bought since around 2004 or 5).
The book is really great and it turns out that Steve Ignorant is a really good writer. Though I was once reallyreallyreally into anarchopunk music I really never knew the story behind Crass, and how they formed out of the Dial House in Essex outside of London. I have been really intrigued to read about the culture surrounding that place and time because it is just so different than my life is now (or ever was) and even though I still really love Crass I can now as an adult see how I was never, ever really a punk (cos, y’know, punk is dead). I mean for chrissakes I grew up in the Valley. Anyways there’s all this stuff about squats and other intentional communities, which I find really fascinating and I really want to do some more reading on this topic.
And honestly my life is so so so far removed from any of that that it’s not even funny. I live in a little suburban subdivision plopped down in an old coal mining and farming area. The closest thing to squatting here is the fact that my county has a high foreclosure rate and also a high meth rate and one might imagine that the two lead to occasional illegal abandoned house occupation. And the lack of community here is notable. We’re one of the younger families in the neighborhood, and most everyone is either retired or has kids. Lots of stay-at-home moms and SUVs. I don’t see a lot of evidence of people with left leaning politics and I do see a lot of evidence of people who go to church. On one side of me are neighbors that I have literally seen less than 10 times in the 3 years we’ve lived here. The other side used to be a guy who worked in IT and was out of the country 3 weeks out of every 4. Across the street is a family with teenagers who once watched Mr. Kitty when we were out of town but they don’t really talk to us. There is a family down the street that sells us girl scout cookies and we wave and are friendly when we walk by their house to the mailbox, but that’s about it in terms of purposeful connection with anyone in my immediate residential vicinity.
Why is that? I *do* like my home and I *do* like the area we live in and I really *am* a died-in-the-wool suburbanite with a fondness for rural farmland and no desire to ever live in an apartment or city, but at the same time I have situated my life so that it is very isolated from other people. I can generalize about how I probably wouldn’t like any of my neighbors (see above) but the reality is that I’m kind of anti-social and privileged to be able to live in my own single-family home and while I sometimes bemoan the lack of any kind of community in my life I know it’s completely my own fault.
The IT guy was relocated this spring and a family recently moved in next door. They are an extended Indian family (grandparents, parents, kid) and at first I was annoyed because they have a lot of cars and one was parked pretty closed to our driveway, which I am not used to. I know I was being a brat about it so I felt bad and promised myself that I would introduce myself. I kind of waved at the grandfather on my way to work once (he sits on the porch a lot). The grandmother plays out in the front yard every evening with the little girl (who is super cute) and they both said hi when I was walking in with groceries the other night.
Tonight I was taking out the compost and on my way back in the grandmother and little girl were waiting on the wall between our houses to say hi. She doesn’t speak much English but she seems really friendly and nice and eager to meet the neighbors. Of course! They have possibly been making themselves extremely visible in the front yard as a way to introduce themselves to the community.
Is there any hope that my suburbia could be a little less of an unintentional cluster of recluses and a little more of an intentional community? I mean, I have every intention of getting to know the new family but the reality is that I don’t have high hopes of suddenly having drop in art nights and band practices in people’s garages and collaborative gardens and stuff like that. We’re still going to be younger than the people around us by 10+ years. I’m still a bit of a recluse. I still have a bit of a chip on my shoulder with regards to fitting in with anyone. It feels like an unsolvable dilemma. Maybe in 10 years we will have our own version of the Dial House on Jasper Road and we will have some donkeys and some goats and a big garden and community dinners with heather & miles. But I think there is a personality problem I have to work on to get there.
i made a zine
yep, i did.
the last time i did something of the sort i was 15 and i made it with a kid named MK who was somebody i met from the aol punk message boards and my screenname was orangesid and i am pretty sure i wrote about the propagandhi riot at the VFW (that i didn’t “get” to go to).
so then fast-forward many years and i am a designer by profession and let me tell you how
challenging liberating it was not to get sucked into doing this thing on the computer. cos at one point i was trying to pick out what font i was going to use and a little voice at the back of my head told me “no, no, no you are missing the point entirely.” and so i picked up some tape and a marker and 3 months later once i was done procrastinating less busy with work i finally had 26 pages to scan on my copymachineprinterthing. and oh did you remember that when you make real physical printed things the pages need to be in multiples of four? ha ha, yeah, that’s embarassing. so i added two more pages.
so, here it is. issue one of my zine called ‘animal/people’. the theme is love & loss and in it i process a bit about losing mr. kitty and other things. there are some great contributions by colleen, jenna, and heather. and i am really proud of it.
if you would like a copy, then please harken back to the way zines worked last time i did them and
send an SASE and $1 to… wait, i am not going to post my address on the internet. i wonder how much P.O. boxes cost?
so, just email me at lindsdotmooreatmedotcom (you know the drill with the dots and stuff) and i will send you some snailzinemail. and if you would have sent me a dollar in the mail maybe you could donate it to the boulder humane society instead. thank you lovelies.
The Modern Failure
“You are my heroine! And by heroine I mean lady hero. I don’t want to inject you and listen to jazz.”
—Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
Right now my lady hero is my friend Chanelle, who is writing an awesome blog called The Modern Failure. In it she explores “the areas in which the modern woman may feel like a failure (the workplace, the workout, the home, pregnancy, being ‘green’, etc), the origins of the modern woman’s expectations of herself, and why we wake up every day feeling like we are already behind.”
I pretty much think that if you have ever been, cared about, or even met a modern woman human being on this planet, you should probably read it. Right now.
Last Day Of Magic / SX70
You’re pretty awesome. You make it feel like vacation, even when it is just a normal Saturday. I really like spending time with you and hope that you’ll consider hanging out with me until at least August.
Today consisted of gardening, going to a farm stand a few miles away and buying spring greens and strawberries on the honor system, driving around farm land, eating local greens on the back porch while Mr. Kitty lounged and looked pleased, and some more gardening. All the while, a backdrop of amazing billowy clouds set off the snowcaps still showing on the mountains to the west. Erie is pretty good place to live…
mmmmmm. first adult swim time of the summer. oh how i <3 the smell of chlorine!
life like weeds
Life Like Weeds
And in the places you go, you’ll see the place where you’re from.
And in the faces you meet, you’ll see the place where you’ll die.
And on the day that you die, you’ll see the people you met.
And in the faces you see, you’ll see just who you’ve been.
In this life like weeds, in this life like weeds.
Eyes need us to see, hearts need us to bleed.
In this life like weeds, you’re a rock to me.
I know where you’re from, but where do you belong?
In this life like weeds, you’re the dirt I’ll breath.
In this life like weeds, you’re a rock to me.
All this talking all the time and the air fills up, up, up.
Until there’s nothing left to breathe,
And you think you feel most everything.
And we know that our hearts are just made out of strings
To be pulled, strings to be pulled.
So you think you’ve figured out everything,
But we know that our minds are just made out of strings
To be pulled, strings to be pulled.
All this talking all the time and the air fills up, up, up.
Until there’s nothing left to breathe,
Up until there’s nothin left to speak.
Up until the data parts in space.
today i logged into facebook to find an unexpected reminder of my college friend pavel’s death from a heroin overdose 5 years ago today. it is crazy how often i still think of pav but i also know that i have conditioned myself to remember him whenever i hear lou reed. since i used to wake up to ‘pale blue eyes’ every day, it wasn’t a huge leap to keep him in my consciousness.
this is probably the first april 19th in 5 years that i haven’t thought about him on my own. it is scary when memories begin to fade, scarier still when you think of how the memories that haven’t faded are the ones you have rehearsed. bowling. napster. go board. bowtie. red shirt. borrowed chair. radio show. messy room. hunter s. thompson.
i really wish i still had the memories that fill the holes between those words.
Everyone calls someplace home.
Everyone is from someplace. Everyone lives someplace. Everyone calls someplace home.
The other day I was talking to someone who had moved to Denver from Minnesota 2 years ago (I took note because I am also from Minnesota. If you could hear me say that word you could tell). He was explaining that he knew he wanted to move someplace less cold, with liberal politics and good schools for his children. He took an online survey that was supposed to let you know where you should live and his matches were Denver, Austin, Nashville, Minneapolis, and Cincinnati.
“Cincinnati??” I said. “Who wants to live in Cincinnati?”
“Do you know anything about Cincinnati?” he responded, pointedly.
Tonight at dinner, my grandpa mentioned how much he likes Colorado and that is a very nice place to be. He moved here two years ago, when my grandma passed away.
“You like where ever you live,” my mom responded.
I think my grandpa is wise.
I went to college in Florida, which is about as far as you can get from Colorado in terms of culture and weather. For the first 2 years, I felt like I was driving around with blinders on because I had no peripheral vision due to the flatness and trees. I also found out that I am allergic to fireants. I spent 4 years lamenting about how Colorado was so great and about how much I missed it and about how people from the east coast _just didn’t understand_ what it was like to live in the West. I think back now and know that this must have been so tiring to the people around me.
Last week, J and I went to Florida to see our supergreatamazing friends. We spent a magical week doing chill chill chill. We also saw amazing birds, animals, and plants, ate beer-battered hotdogs on the key, sunburnt ourselves at the beach, had boat drinks in the tourist quarter, breathed at yoga, and watched good local music. Spending time with them makes me love Florida. Spending time with them makes Florida feel like a second home.
Everyone calls someplace home. Whether it changes 20 times or whether you stay rooted for your life, everyone has their reasons for where they land, where they leave their hearts, and where they want to be. Denver. Sarasota. Taiwan. Santa Barbara. Brooklyn. Maui. Manila. Chicago. Alaska.
you are beautiful
One Little Word: Unfold
If 2009 was a year where I was surrounded with people hunkering down, persevering, and making it thru, then I hereby declare that my word for 2010 will be Unfold.
Unfolding is something that can happen physically, mentally, and spiritually*.
I look forward to good things unfolding on this year’s horizon.
*funny for me to mention since I comfortably/firmly an agnostic and don’t really care for that word, but it is appropriate as related to good soulful yoga living. Kinda like a secular version of adhyatma vikasa.
New Years Fortune Cookie
If our New Years Eve and New Years Day were a fortune cookie, this is what John told me it would say:
You are risk takers. You are willing to take on risks to find happiness.
What a crazy night, but I love that way of looking at it!