Saturday, January 30, 2016

William Blake, "London"

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets
I hear How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Colored people

Carrie Mae Weems, "Moody Blue Girl"

Monday, January 18, 2016

Only built for internet linx

1. This article from the New York Times’ T magazine, on the efforts of artists Mark Bradford, Theaster Gates, and Rick Lowe to create spaces for black art in black communities has been on my mind a lot lately, especially this quote from Mark Bradford: "You get on a bus. You go to a museum. You see art. And I felt it had little to do with my day to day, or anything that was going on in my head.” In Los Angeles at least the physical distance between black communities and art spaces can eventually become psychic distance - “I don’t feel like sitting on the bus for an hour” can easily be rationalized with, “What’s there for me anyway?” Considering how little most art instutitions do to engage with "the black community" - especially those of us belong to the lower middle and working classes - this isn’t exactly a leap of thought. But yeah, I love this and I love what these artists are doing.

2. The smallest parks in Los Angeles

3. "That’s why I hate these New Year’s that fall like fixed maturities, which turn life and human spirit into a commercial concern with its neat final balance, its outstanding amounts, its budget for the new management. They make us lose the continuity of life and spirit. You end up seriously thinking that between one year and the next there is a break, that a new history is beginning; you make resolutions, and you regret your irresolution, and so on, and so forth. This is generally what’s wrong with dates.” Antonino Gramsci being salty about New Year’s

5. This piece on Leslie Jones is excellent except for: "'S.N.L.' often hires good-looking young comics—Chevy Chase, Adam Sandler, Jason Sudeikis…”

7. I really love that this review of Cities: Skyline was written by an actual mayor (whose profile cover photo is a screenshot of Mayor Quimby l m a o)

8. "Her surveillance provides little in the way of edification and a lot in codifying uncomfortable catch 22’s for black women and privacy: visibility is part of achievement in media, but is it worth it when even at the pinnacle of your success the only thing made visible is the racism of those observing you?”

"What is the solution for being constantly watched, if no one sees you at all?"

9. On Pakistan’s “burger generation”

10. “What does it mean to be a landlord and to own property if your tenants can infinitely sublet it? What does it mean to be a tenant if you Airbnb your apartment half of the year? Who knows? But redefining private property rights: How ambitious!

Bonus: some things I like reading about (food, identity construction through consumerism, and shade towards Anthony Bourdain) all wrapped up nicely in one TNI article

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Public fiction

On the train the woman standing makes you understand there are no seats available. And, in fact, there is one. Is the woman getting off at the next stop? No, she would rather stand all the way to Union Station.

The space next to the man is the pause in a conversation you are suddenly rushing to fill. You step quickly over the woman's fear, a fear she shares. You let her have it. 

The man doesn't acknowledge you as you sit down because the man knows more about the unoccupied seat than you do. For him, you imagine, it is more like breath than wonder; he has had to think about it so much you wouldn't call it thought. 

When another passenger leaves his seat and the standing woman sits, you glance over at the man. He is gazing out the window into what looks like darkness. 

You sit next to the man on the train, bus, in the plane, waiting room, anywhere he could be forsaken. You put your body there in proximity to, adjacent to, alongside, within. 

You don't speak unless you are spoken to and your body speaks to the space you fill and you keep trying to fill it except the space belongs to the body of the man next to you, not to you. 

Where he goes the space follows him. If the man left his seat before Union Station you would simply be a person in a seat on the train. You would cease to struggle against the unoccupied seat when where why the space won't lose it's meaning. 

You imagine if the man spoke to you he would say, it's okay, I'm okay, you don't need to sit here. You don't need to sit and you sit and look past him into the darkness the train is moving through. A tunnel. 

All the while the darkness allows you to look at him. Does he feel you looking at him? You suspect so. What does suspicion mean? What does suspicion do? 

The soft gray-green of your cotton of your cotton coat touches the sleeve of him. You are shoulder to shoulder through standing you could feel shadowed. You sit to repair whom who? You erase that thought. And it might be too late for that. 

It might forever be too late or too early. The train moves too fast for your eyes to adjust to anything beyond the man, the window, the tiled tunnel, its slick darkness. Occasionally, a white light flickers by like a displaced sound. 

From across the aisle tracks room harbor world a woman asks a man in the rows ahead if he would mind switching seats. She wishes to sit with her daughter or son. You hear but you don't hear. You can't see. 

It's then the man next to you turns to you. And as if from inside your own head you agree that if anyone asks you to move, you'll tell them we are traveling as a family. 


"Making Room" by Claudia Rankine, from Citizen. Rankine reads this and discusses the making of Citizen here.
Maira Gall