Response to Crit #2

I’ve been thinking about the outcome of our performance for the better half of the day.

I think the most effective way to describe it was “the most relevant possible failure.”

This isn’t a defense of what happened as an art piece. I feel both guilty and responsible for lacking the planning and control that was necessary for me to keep it contained as a piece. This lapse is something that I NEVER experience; I’m generally extremely (overly) wrapped up in the final presentation of the work, prioritizing it over the progression and process itself. This feeling is foreign. I hate the idea that we abandoned the audience as an engaged participant. It was entirely unintentional and non-malicious, of course. When I was done, but I should’ve taken control of the situation to reign in the boundaries of what we presented. Performance is both incredibly difficult and incredibly new for both of us and I think we struggled with the line between practiced and disingenuous.

However, what transpired, though unfortunate, was honest, uncomfortable, and a strange validation of everything that I had said during the performance and also everything that was revealed about myself. Sophie, who is Roya’s other very close friend wrote a letter to us expressing truth and pain in what I said and the belief that this will truly change our relationship outside of the performance. She ended with repeated use of that word, “validation.” The notes that we received were mixed; half said that they felt lost as we lost control of the performance, and the other half said that it was then that they began to understand exactly what both she and I were speaking of. Some said they could listen to it for hours. That was a comforting (but also heavy) notion amidst my extreme frustration and sadness post performance. Zephyr patted me on the back afterwards. Peter thanked us twice in his notes. I got choked up. These external results, the reaction from the other is what I was searching for. Honesty, somber truth, fragility of relationships were communicated, at least to a degree, to most. Fast/slow/average formation of judgment and contemplation in the minds of the external participants is just as key of a material as we are. We might meditate on the otherness of self, the perception or denial of truth and fiction, the tangibility of community and sympathy.

Ben gave some wonderful meditations on, I think, what the piece in its best form could’ve been/maybe was.  “I (and probably everyone else) will start to analyze themselves or have the courage to be honest with each other about their relationships.”

This is what I wanted. Here was another area where the piece had two (both legitimate) goals.  I wanted reflexivity and Roya wanted introspection. I know my half fell short.

“I do wonder if one of you is more right or if you are just two different dynamics, the overthinker, the narcissist.” – No one has ever given me an epithet, haha. He spoke poignantly about roles that we play in relationships. He spoke about the tangible glimpse of emotion, allowing anger to fester and brew.

“How do you say something truthfully when you would never say it to begin with”- I asked her that often throughout the process of us planning this piece. There was a strange dynamic, one of the impossible things to communicate, where I said everything I meant, but some of which truly never bothered me to the point where I would’ve brought them up normally. It wasn’t a conversation that two people “needed to have.” It was a ulteriorly motivated conversation (for the sake of this performance) that handedly forced healing truths.

Corin’s suggestion of connectivity through costuming or other could definitely have been a more physically engaging and tangible mode to explore.

I feel an urge to share what everyone else felt because that suddenly became the most important thing to me, and crit notes became letters.

Katie said things fell away. They did. She thought Roya had heard me rehearse what I said at first but then began to realize that she hadn’t.

Carrie said thank you and that phrase means a lot right now.She said she knew us to the core now. She said we didn’t need the tea. I agree we didn’t need the tea but I’m concerned because it meant a lot to Roya and she was very upset when I left her, blaming not me, but the tea on the deviance.

She took it pretty hard, the outcome more than the words (I think). I only say this because I felt close to her after the piece, but very distant after the class. I have a significantly easier time accepting instances of failure/imperfection than she does and I was at least o-k because I believe that I learned a lot. But honestly, the word disaster did enter my mind a few times. Maybe disaster with an upside.

The strangest thing is happening now where I feel truly truly close to my classmates, most of whom I’ve only had small interactions with. And god, is that so antithetic to everything about my personality. It’s incredibly difficult for me to feel a genuine bond with an overwhelming majority of people, and I swear right now I feel the most honest gratitude for these distant, new friends.


questions and notes from “reading things”

How do I “tell” a material/object something?

How can I relinquish my own agency to allow the material theirs? To behave how it will?

Can I remove my own interference? No, but perhaps I can move any and all significance away from my initial interaction.

Make the object ask a question rather than the artist asking a question.

Nature of the material is revealed through behavior and interaction. Revealing ones nature as a form of “telling.” One way interaction does not exist. There is a continuous push and pull

How do I remove authorship without physically giving away a thing?

“In it, I proposed a way of reading sculpture as a form of embodied pedagogy—sculptures as objects from which we learn.” relationship to specific objects by Donald Judd

How does one construct an object with autonomy?

“First, an intersectional analysis of gender policing acknowledges that fear is not doled out equally, and that a person of color is already more likely to produce anxiety for a nervous white person in a bathroom.10″ 

Yes. Not equally no fairly. Subjectivity of fear in fear culture delegitimizes its authority in decision making.

When I analyze this dynamic in this way, I am actually able to feel compassion for those who oppose the presence of transgender people in bathrooms that “match” their self-professed gender identities, because the idea that a person’s gender could be self-determined and believed by others as a matter of faith is a legitimate shift into another perceptual system literally incompatible with one rooted in biological essentialism

Naturalism is a prevalent mindset in non-progressive ideologies. I would offer, however, that instead of refuting naturalism (and even behavioralism) as law, one should perhaps assert that even IF these presumptions are true, we are advanced enough as social beings to legislate differently than biology’s narrative. This might address a wider variety of perspectives.

“In thinking about Mark and her succulents, I am wrapping myself around the sustaining potential of relations of care with non-human things.”

Ideas for Steel, ideas for future, etc.

  1. Lately I’ve been fixated with this idea of exploring things that I can’t remember. Not dates, or names, but contextless memories and temporally abstracted feelings. I would investigate the objecthood of a thing that is necessarily object-less and nearly imageless. Two experiences come to mind, one more vivid (and therefore slightly more perplexing), and one more ambiguous. While watching a video recently, the only flashback-like feeling that I’ve ever experienced struck me. It was of a woman doing bobbin lace.
    220px-ursuline_lace_2If I hadn’t watched the video there is a great chance I would’ve never recovered this memory. When I was young I would pick up long objects and place them over each other, mimicking the motions of this weaving, but I was never exposed to this practice in real life and I have absolution no recollection of how I could’ve been introduced to the image of it. There is a simultaneous heat of frustration and dream-like feeling of rediscovery when pondering something that you absolutely cannot remember. My memory is generally extremely precise, which makes this even more poignant.

    The second is a feeling of fabric that came to me while I was lying in bed year ago. It was reminiscent of something but I do not know what of. It’s a feeling of a stretchy, perhaps shiny material going over something, and when I imagine it the forms it contours are somewhat grotesque but I don’t know if that’s correct. I obviously cannot be certain, but I don’t think these memories are dejavu-esque in that they are mental constructions and might stem from an imaginative event; I believe they are tied to something very concrete from a long time ago but I cannot recall anything else.

    What do I do?

    a)  Somehow express impossibility of conjuring form from experience. Going back to the idea of anti-experience. Constructed thoughts, objects, behaviors inherently have a degree of separation from the artist. Make a thing with the essence of the forgotten movement and feeling, even if it deviates from any imagery I retain.
    b) Allow others to attempt expression of forgotten things, or bathe in absence. This would explore notions of gift-giving and hospitality that were discussed in my last critique. I’m interested in the idea of exchange through subjective means. I found a passage by Rosenquist (talking about his F-111) touching on this language today. 16776680_10211129305889132_735373167_o

    2. In the vein of continuous heat. Feelings of heat/cold bring severe, sometimes jarring awareness to the presence of one’s own body. I want to explore my body in physical space, and possibly in relation to others. I was thinking about weight, not numerically but carrying my(one’s) own weight continuously. It seems that I’m only truly happy when I’m in the air (climbing) these days; and it is only then (and when I’m very warm) when I feel aware. I’m thinking about distribution, hanging, mimesis of force, weight. Image vs. Material relationships.

    3. Two performances pieces not for this project.

    a) I’m very excited about this one. My work heavily focuses on assignation and observation of value fluctuations and exaltation. In this vein, but relating to my personal life, I have never perceived what a “true” self is.  I think I talked about this earlier. I curate my identity to a large degree, choosing what I like until it becomes instinctual. And so, within 6 days at some point in the future (it takes 66 days to form a habit), I will design my idealized, handwritten typeface and work daily to become perfectly accustomed to this manner of writing. I will attempt to mimic the writing almost perfectly until I can do it without effort. I hate my current handwriting.

    b) Roya and I have talked a couple of times now about making her cry as a potentially collaborative piece. I’ve been told how incisive I am with words countless times, and while I don’t believe it is to an abnormal degree, I acknowledge the intensity with which I speak. I have inadvertently made others cry. I’ve apologized. Often times they tell me that it’s not because of me. Many, many people tell me because that there is an enormous disparity between how I appear and how I speak. I’m small, female, Chinese, but I speak with unapologetic conviction (sometimes). I’ve been told that this upsets people because it embarrasses them, or it is too atypical. That is somewhat infuriating.
    Roya, a very very close friend allows me ultimate vulnerability. We place trust in each other with the faith that we will remain friends. Though I am on the offensive, I too am vulnerable. My perceptions and judgments of other inherently reflect back on me, as the speaker. This piece would be built on an old dialogue of audience vs. artist, the reconciliation of space between them. [Dan Graham’s Performer/Audience/Mirror] The audience is no longer audience at all, and becomes inextricable from the piece itself. Here, Roya acts as my audience, but the performance has a more standard viewer element as well. Their now-colored perceptions of us as individuals are now intrinsically involved.

    p.s. I’m trying to be more personal. My work is rarely personal and I should improve my perceptual communication.
    p.p.s. I think sometimes I should just throw out my first idea no matter what. Sometimes.


  1. I’m interested in the anti experience. The acknowledgment that (without performance) removal of the artist in the work is inevitable. Regardless of insertion and history, the work is no longer in direct engagement with the artist. Ownership is lost. Corpo D’Ario. While I don’t believe this assert as any artistic ideology, I deeply resonate with notions of natural removal of the artist and the artist’s interference/importance.
  2. I rarely sleep in my own bed anymore. I fall asleep on my couch about 70% of the time. I don’t know how to talk about how it makes me feel to disrupt myself so horribly. I know that I feel anxious about sleep but I require and adore it.
  3. I aggressively reject the statement/sentiment of “who you really are” in relation to myself. Facets of my personality and my interests feel primarily like intentional curations of what I wanted to be. I think more people operate like this than realize it, but I think I do it to a greater extent, and I think I might also be fooling myself. But probably not.

Response to crit no. 1

  1. I smelled like ash and fire for the next two days. My cat became fixated with my sweater. The water ran grey when I washed my hair.
  2. Pine burns cooler than hard woods. The heat became my frustration in lighting the material and the longing for a hotter flame once it maintained the fire. For a material unanimously assigned with this very purpose, it resists interference to an irritating degree. The flame burnt into the grain, revealing paper thin blades running parallel across the surface.
  3. The knife was destroyed by cutting the ginger; the blade splintered into the root.
  4. Everything smelled like smoke: me, my kitchen, my balcony, my clothes.
  5. I need to create spatial challenge in this work. I want participants to smell my clothing, but I did not actively intend this engagement.
  6. The language of hospitality is extensive; I don’t know if I deserve to enter into the dialogue because I don’t know if I’m genuinely a hospitable person. I think that’s why I felt some pull to acting as such.
  7. Everything said about alternative manifestation of heat as a more striking experience or presentation of experience is absolutely true and was apparent to me as well. But I feel dissonance. Other heat, although inevitably present in my life has no significance to me. I’m an incredibly intellectually focused person, and an even more emotionally and physically affected person, but I cannot, under any circumstance, seem to let them cross. I don’t think it’s a problem with personal accessibility, because in my own, I (at least I think) deeply and abstractly perceive the ways that I feel. Any more established translation of my own experience feels inherently disingenuous. The creation of a false wood to burn was not a representation of this disingenuity, but a sort of proof of my own indifference in it once my experience has been translated.

Gordon Hall

Notes while reading:
The “glitter problem” of over representation, while an emotionally accessible turn towards overtness, does seem generally problematic as it reduces possibility for abstracted notions of gender.

I’ve heard non-representational gender politics discussed in relation to ideology or movement (i.e. the masculinity of the sublime and the femininity of fluxus,) but not as much with object-oriented subjects.

An object’s dialogue on non-gender only through lack of performative features? Feels a bit shallow of an assessment, but he will surely return to this idea

Reminiscent of Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway. Post-humanism as non-gendered worldview.

Judith Butler counters gender/sex separation b/c pointing to dualism. Instead, return importance to body. “Born in the wrong body” – alienation from self, inability to actualize physicality of preferred sex

“not a thing but a resistance”

virtual does but not is

it’s late I can’t think