June 30, 2020

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Quote

.



We can’t win with the idea that only black people can fight for black people, white people should fight for working class white people, Latinos should only fight for themselves. We can’t win that way. And we have a lifetime of experience over the previous century that is proof of that. And I like to think of myself as an Afro optimist. I think that the black struggle in this country has been a source of inspiration for people around the world, because this is the most exploitative, the most oppressive country, just simply because it has the resources to be different. You know, this is not a struggling republic that has no money and resorts to brute force in order to eke out an existence. This is the richest country in the history of the world, where its ruling class deliberately sets poor and working class people in opposition to each other, to maintain wealth at the top of our society. And we acquiesce to that politically by reinforcing the lines of division that they have drawn in the first place. And so we have to think about solidarity as not an exercise in finding the least contentious issue around which to organise, so that’s not what we’re arguing for. We’re arguing for an informed solidarity based on an understanding of the oppression of black people and a rejection of it, an understanding of the oppression and exploitation of immigrant labour in the United States and a rejection of it. And that’s hard. It is hard. But there’s no other way. There’s no shortcut. There’s no way to circumvent the need for what Combahee talked about as coalition-building and the need for what is actually playing out in the streets right now, which is a multiracial rebellion against capitalism and the excesses of it. And so people want to be in a movement. People want to be a part of an effort to transform this country. And no one should be told that you can’t be a part of it, you know? And so to me, that’s part of what it means to democratise our movements, to open them up and to struggle. You know, we have to struggle with each other. And we can’t have this kind of sacrosanct approach to politics where you don’t get to say the wrong thing. You don’t get to make a mistake. And if you do, then you’re banished from organising. Because the reality is if that is the standard that we are creating, then we’ll never have a mass movement of ordinary people who’d make those mistakes and say those things all the time. And so if it’s you and your 12 friends who had your American studies seminar and your women’s studies seminar, and you figured out what all the language is, then that’s great, and good luck. But if we’re actually going to build a movement of the masses who are affected by this, then we have to have some grace, then we have to listen to people. We have to understand what their struggles are. And we have to find a way to knit ourselves together into a force that can actually fight for the world that we want. And that’s hard. And it’s much harder than just saying ‘you people go to the back because you haven’t experienced what it’s like to be called the N word’. We’re not going to get anywhere with that. And we have to have a different vision of politics to fight for the kind of world that we want.

- Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, from there interview How do you change things?



.

June 28, 2020

An excerpt from the work-in-progress Amateur Kittens Dreaming Solar Energy

.



That day’s session began with Silvering recalling an anecdote she thought might be relevant, though she still wasn’t entirely sure how. Years ago she used to regularly go to a café where a lot of scientists, activists and artists also went. She went there because people were always talking, always some conversation she could join. She had recently been fired from her job so it was a period in her life in which she had a great deal of free time. She was in the middle of one such café conversation concerning various evil things some corporation had been doing to decimate the lived environment and then cover it up when, out of the blue, landing almost as a non sequitur, she heard herself saying: “There must be a way to defeat capitalism. To really finish it off once and for all.” And it felt so out of place, this statement, that everyone stopped talking and stared at her, waiting for her to continue. But she didn’t continue and instead a woman on the far side of the room – strange as it sounds this woman was wearing an eyepatch over her left eye – someone who dropped by from time to time but rarely spoke, jumped in unexpectedly, saying “of course there’s a way. But people aren’t dedicated enough and also they’re afraid that they wouldn’t actually manage to replace it with something better.”

– All right. How would you go about it?

– You form a small cell, a cadre, from whom you must require absolute secrecy. You all need to know each other as well as possible in order to prevent turncoats and infiltrators. And you make a plan, a long-term plan, you have to play the long game. Those in your group each infiltrate a key sector: business, government, media, law, healthcare, etc. And they bring back what they’ve learned to the group. Each member of the cell forms another cell within their chosen sector. Keep in mind this might take many years, thirty, forty, fifty years, something along those lines. What is difficult is to keep members loyal, keep them from joining others instead or simply falling away, but loyalty can be cultivated if you make this the underlying priority. You’re trying to form as many nodes of potential counter-power as possible so when the opportunity arises you can flip the system. The question then becomes flip it to what? That’s the main question to be researched by the original cell, what exactly do you want to create. Also, this plan would probably at some moment involve eliminating a large enough number of the most powerful capitalists. There might be some way to do so other than killing them but I haven’t yet found it.

Even now Silvering remembered the way she felt listening to that little speech. It was such a simplistic reduction but almost no one else she knew spoke in such terms. There was something so enticing about it all, that there was some clear way if only you had the strategy and nerve. She didn’t know if it was true but neither did she know it wasn’t. She also so clearly remembered her response:

– If it’s all so straightforward why aren’t you doing it yourself?

– I actually play for the other team. I just drop in here from time to time to listen in, see if there’s any ideas we can use. Usually not so much, but I always find it interesting. However, now that my covers blown, now that I’ve effectively blown my own cover, I assume I’m no longer welcome. So you most likely won’t be seeing me again. Or at least it might be a while. Because people have such short memories I might try again in a few years. See if I get away with it.

Silvering also so clearly remembered the confidence with which that pirate woman, that “player for the other team,” stood up, walked straight through the café and out the door. She left as if she owned the place. And everything she said about flipping capitalism had also been a footnote in Silvering’s mind over the ensuing years. When she finished recounting, Silvering returned her focus to the circle, asking them what they thought. She hadn’t fully articulated her thoughts before she began, but now it seemed clear she was wondering if these sessions, if all of us here around the circle, might form such a cadre, and what it might mean for us to do so.



.

June 18, 2020

Enters performing at Suoni Per Il Popolo



Enters [Alexei Perry Cox · Jacob Wren · Radwan Ghazi Moumneh] live at Montréal's Hotel2Tango on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 as part of the Suoni Per Il Popolo.



.

May 20, 2020

Vulnerable Paradoxes / May 27-31

.



We've been working on Vulnerable Paradoxes for so long and now it's finally going to happen. When we started it was a live event. And now, for obvious reasons, it will be online. So curious what everyone will say and do. So grateful that so many remarkable artists are participating: Aisha Sasha John + Dana Michel + Dayna Danger + Elena Stoodley + Kama La Mackerel + Kamissa Ma Koïta + Lara Kramer + Mai t̶h̶i Bach Ngoc Nguyen + Malik Nashad Sharpe + Milton Lim + nènè myriam konaté + Po B. K. Lomami + Sonia Hughes

You can find all the details here.



.

May 10, 2020

A pushing into the mainstream of something that wasn't quite there before.

.



Over the last week or two I've been listening to a lot of John Prine, Tony Allen, Kraftwerk and Little Richard. I'm not sure there's any other circumstances in which I'd find myself thinking of these artists together. But I find myself starting to think that they do all have something in common. A certain stubbornness and panache. A pushing into the mainstream of something that wasn't quite there before. There is also something along the lines of Prine being framed as a "songwriter's songwriter." (Which reminds me of this quote from Prine: "In my songs, I try to look through someone else’s eyes, and I want to give the audience a feeling more than a message.") These are all artists who have influenced and inspired so many other artists. I was especially struck by both Dylan and Jagger speaking about how much Little Richard has meant to them (which echoes the extent to which rock 'n' roll is just white artists ripping off black music.) And I can't think of Kraftwerk without also thinking of Afrika Bambaataa. Hip Hop is of course filled with Tony Allen samples and Allen was respected and admired by drummers of every stripe. I've never quite formulated this before, but maybe that's something I should consider more with artists. When they're admired by other artists it really seems to mean something about the breadth and depth of the work, the ways their influences radiate out in every direction.












.

May 8, 2020

Ama Ata Aidoo Quote

.



Do I think it must always be so? Certainly not. It can be changed. It can be better. Life on earth need not always be some humans being gods and others being sacrificial animals. Indeed, that can be changed. But it would take so much. No, not time. There has always been enough time for anything anyone ever really wanted to do. What it would take is a lot of thinking and a good deal of doing. But one wonders whether we are prepared to tire our minds and our bodies that much. Are we human beings even prepared to try?

– Ama Ata Aidoo, Changes



.

May 4, 2020

the joy of using less

.



I've been trying to come up with an environmental slogan along the lines of: the joy of using less. About how when we consume less resources, and instead focus on what's most important, our lives have the potential to become better rather than worse. I'm also searching for the anti-capitalist edge to it, since capitalism relies on so much overconsumption and waste. Something about how using less becomes joyous when it's a collective effort toward meaningful survival. But I don't feel I'm quite on the right track.



.

May 1, 2020

Some Bandcamp Suggestions

.


[As you may already know, today (May 1), as well as on June 5, and July 3 (the first Friday of each month), Bandcamp is waiving their revenue share for all sales on Bandcamp, from midnight to midnight PDT on each day in order to help artists and labels impacted by the pandemic. Since, as I frequently mention, I really love lists, I thought I would take this moment to share a few of my Bandcamp suggestions as follows.]


Spellling – Mazy Fly

SACRED//PAWS - Run Around The Sun

Tony Allen - Black Voices

Tony Allen - HomeCooking

Tony Allen - NEPA

The Lijadu Sisters - Sunshine

The Lijadu Sisters - Horizon Unlimited

Paradis Artificiel - Paradis Artificiel

Richard Dawson - 2020

Hélène Barbier - Have You Met Elliott?

Witch Prophet - DNA ACTIVATION

Farai - Rebirth

Irreversible Entanglements - Who Sent You?

Moor Mother - CLEPSYDRA

700 Bliss - Spa 700

dj haram - Grace

Mohamed Lamouri & Groupe Mostla - Underground Raï Love

Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari - Grounation

Nappy Nina - Dumb Doubt

Nappy Nina - 30 Bag

Wilma Vritra - Burd

Meara O'Reilly - Hockets for Two Voices (EP)

Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids - Rhapsody in Berlin Pt. 1 & 2

Angel Bat Dawid - The Oracle

Angel Bat Dawid - Transition East

Ben Reed - Station Masters

Davis - Green Parakeet Suite

Fatima - And Yet It's All Love

Joe Maneri, Udi Hrant and Friends - The Cleopatra Record

KeiyaA - Forever- Ya Girl

Locate S-1 - Healing Contest

Malphino - Visit Malphino

Mourning [A] BLKstar - Reckoning

Mourning [A] BLKstar - The Cycle

NSRD - The Workshop For The Restoration Of Unfelt Feelings

Outro Tempo: Electronic And Contemporary Music From Brazil 1978​-​1992

Outro Tempo II

Good God! Apocryphal Hymns

Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal

Good God! Born Again Funk

Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe 1980​-​1991

Nextlife

Richenel - Perfect Stranger

その他の短編ズ / sonotanotanpenz - 31

Ivy Sole - Overgrown

Mammane Sani et son Orgue - La Musique Electronique du Niger

Nadah El Shazly - Ahwar

RP Boo - I'll Tell You What!

Sweet As Broken Dates Lost - Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa

The Sorority - Pledge

Zatua - Sin Existencia

Mega Bog - Gone Banana

Mega Bog - Happy Together

Mega Bog - Dolphine

Edwyn Collins - Understated

Robert Forster - Inferno

Peter Perrett - How The West Was Won

serpentwithfeet - blisters

Eucalyptus - Fascination In Sound

TOOLS YOU CAN TRUST - Working And Shopping

Marion Cousin & Kaumwald - Tu rabo par'abanico

Deena Abdelwahed - Dhakar

Main Attrakionz - 808s & Dark Grapes II

Sandro Perri - Soft Landing

Nicholas Krgovich - IN AN OPEN FIELD

Elysia Crampton - Elysia Crampton

Frank and His Sisters - Frank and His Sisters

The Mauskovic Dance Band - The Mauskovic Dance Band

Kelan Philip Cohran & The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

MIKE - tears of joy

MIKE - War in my Pen

Ric Wilson, Terrace Martin - They Call Me Disco

Klein - ONLY

Klein - Tommy

Klein - Lifetime

Klein - Frozen

Lolina - Live in Paris

Lolina - The Smoke

Nyege Nyege Tapes - Sounds of Sisso

DJ Rashad - Double Cup

Tirzah - Devotion

Okkyung Lee - Yeo​-​Neun

Nancy Dupree - Ghetto Reality




.

April 23, 2020

"so fierce that the phrase buggy-whip maker became a business simile for loser"

.



I've been thinking about this quote regularly since I first read it in 2015:


"In 1915, as the American economy boomed, the huge supply chain that supported horse-drawn transport—harnesses and horseshoes, wagons and buggies makers (13,000 of them), farriers and blacksmiths, hay balers and feedmills—looked like a robust and vital segment for deploying capital. 1920 was the year of “Peak Horse” in the U.S.. By 1940 it was gone. This was not “low-cost”, incremental progress. It was an economic disruption so fierce that the phrase “buggy-whip maker” became a business simile for loser."


And I thought of it again the other day when I read the headline:


The day oil was worth less than $0 — and nobody wanted it


And then, a few days later, this headline:


Big Banks Pull Financing, Prepare To Seize Assets From Collapsing Oil and Gas Industry


If environmentalists, meaning (I believe or at least hope) the majority of us, find as many ways as possible to seize the moment, I don't see why this couldn't be the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel industry.




[The first quote is from Carl Pope's 2015 article Get Ready for Ugly as "Free Markets" Begin to Deal With Climate Crisis.]



.

April 21, 2020

An excerpt from the work-in-progress Dry Your Tears To Perfect Your Aim

.



A few days later something else happens that is not entirely unexpected but, at the same time, is entirely unexpected (at least at that specific juncture.) The world market for oil collapses. When I was living on the thin strip of land, I was always worried that, sooner or later, they would be invaded for their oil. But now, quite suddenly, that possibility seems considerably less likely. I’m certainly not an economist and have only a rudimentary knowledge of speculation and the stock market, so my explanation of what occurred might be somewhat less than complete. But I will do my best.

When the world market for oil collapsed, to put it a bit simply, some countries were in the process of becoming prepared for such an eventuality and others were clearly not. The country I lived in was extremely unprepared. Predictably enough, travel of any kind, especially long-distance travel, became difficult. (I could still ride my bicycle to get where I had to go.) The stock market crashed. Companies declared bankruptcy. Stocks for renewables such as wind and solar quickly skyrocketed. I don’t believe in green capitalism, and certainly don’t think anything so innocent happened as the market correcting itself, since the market was in a complete nervous breakdown, but something was happening that involved capital at its very core. Much like during some other great depressions, many who lost their life savings committed suicide. Many of the frontpage newspaper stories concerned such spectacular details. I read everything I could, wondering if this was the moment we’d been waiting for, a paradigm shift in the way markets organize themselves around resources.

A continuous stream of newspaper stories focused on different sites of resource extraction that were shutting down or on hiatus. Sucking oil from the ground was suddenly no longer profitable, or at least startlingly less so, and no one wanted to continue losing money at that rapidly accelerating rate, or at least no one wanted to lose money in ways that so deeply went against the current economic zeitgeist. However, no matter how much I read, perhaps only because my grasp of the underlying economics was not thorough enough, I never completely understood what had happened to first trigger this economic tailspin. Over the past few years massive protests against, and sabotage of, pipelines had been on the rise, making business as usual ever-more-difficult to maintain. To what degree had protest and sabotage made this collapse and emancipatory opportunity occur. Public opinion had already turned ages ago, almost no one could now say, with a straight face, that oil has a secure place as part of humanity’s future. So – at least this much I think I correctly understand – when everyone started pulling their money out, everyone else started to panic and follow suit. I thought back to my time walking through the war. So many of the wars fought during my lifetime and before were fought over oil or similar resources, or more specifically the price of oil and similar resources, though those giving the orders would often not admit to this. (I knew wars in the future would most likely be fought over water, but all that was yet to come.)

- from the work-in-progress Dry Your Tears To Perfect Your Aim




[What made me think of it was this: The day oil was worth less than $0 — and nobody wanted it]



.

April 19, 2020

"Those are really my people."

.



"I often say I don’t necessarily relate to people who make art, performance, or literature, but I do relate to people who make art, performance, and literature who think of quitting every fifteen seconds. Those are really my people. I call us the boy-who-cried wolf set, since we always announce we’re quitting but never do, and therefore no one believes us anymore. It seems to me that anyone who works in the arts today and doesn’t have serious, ongoing doubts as to the validity or efficacy of the situation is not facing all of the current, inherent problems and questions with open eyes."

- an excerpt from Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART



.

April 13, 2020

And it's the exact same virus.

.



There's something I've been thinking about a lot. In Germany the fatality rate is estimated to be around 1%. And in Italy the fatality rate is somewhere over 10%. And it's the exact same virus.

The virus is one thing, but political factors surrounding it - the ways governments and societies handle the situation - really seem to have a rather large role.

I might have known this before but I never quite understood it in such a visceral way.



.

April 9, 2020

Last night I couldn't sleep...

.



Last night I couldn't sleep. And I started thinking about how, in the early months of 2020, before the lockdown, I went to a series of cultural events that, each in their own way, completely blew me away. It felt like I was on a roll. There were four amazing Drawn & Quarterly book launches: Lisa RobertsonKai Cheng ThomDesmond Cole and Kaie Kellough. Each of these events was completely packed, almost too packed, and each of these writers said so many things, almost too many things, I found so thought-provoking and moving. And then there was Le Short & Sweet recyclé XXL, which also was an almost never-ending stream of artists and moments where it continuously felt like something was really happening. Then the last event I went to, the bilingual reading Épiques Voices, that also just had so much striking and performative work in both languages. And since then I have not been in a single over-crowded room. Already it all seems so long ago.



.

March 23, 2020

Boycott

.



Boycott Amazon.
They are pandemic profiteers.



.

March 21, 2020

Ideas for Pandemic Short Stories

.



A large number of healthy young people volunteer to contract the virus and live together in a luxury quarantine hotel in order to, over time, boost herd immunity.


In the early days of the pandemic, before many people know what it is, a young man contracts the virus and immediately decides to pay a visit to the now elderly priest who abused him as a child.


In a misguided suicide attempt, an elderly man tries, and fails, to contract the virus.


Waiting in line to get tested for the virus, two strangers meet and fall in love. When they receive their test results one of them has tested positive and the other negative.


People sit alone in their apartments wondering how long this will last.


A young, would-be dictator considers the possibility that “voluntary social distancing” might be the key to his future success.


For the first time in history a socialist is about to be elected president. And then the pandemic hits.


An activist group devises a means of protest in which every protester stands exactly six feet away from ever other protester.


A meeting at which everyone arrives, washes their hands, sits six feet away from each other, and talks.


A politician, having been told the pandemic is completely under control, takes a wrong turn and ends up in one of the poorest neighbourhoods, where he learns things aren’t under control at all.


A new couple meet and fall in love just as the pandemic strikes and spend three months locked in their apartment having sex in every possible way.


The virus rapidly spreads through the police force.


At the factory where they assemble the virus tests, the poorly paid workers contract the virus and spread it through the tests.


As he lies in bed dying of the virus, an elderly right-wing billionaire – who spent his entire life fighting against public services (especially against public healthcare) – reflects on the fact that if there had been more effective healthcare the virus might not have spread so rapidly and therefore he might not be dying now.


A mutual aid group acquire a ventilator and teach themselves how to use it by watching YouTube tutorials.


During a rent strike, the landlord comes over to meet the tenants as a group and, for the first time, they end up having a real discussion about all of their lives.


A vaccine is developed and the world rejoices. But soon scientists discover it is only effective in fifty percent of the population and no one can figure out why.


A woman recounts the life story of her parents, who tragically both passed away at the exact same time.


Two science aficionados are arguing on Twitter over whether the actual fatality rate is 1% or 0.8%, when one of them receives a text message that his childhood best friend has died.


The author recounts reading two different online articles about the virus, as each one presents a set of facts that are basically opposite to the other.


An anti-vaxxer has a deep crisis of faith.


A Hollywood screenwriter pitches a superhero film in which all the superheroes catch the virus. The pitch does not go well.




.

March 20, 2020

Rob Horning Quote

.



When Gene Simmons insists that he wants to “rock and roll all night and party everyday,” we should understand that as an admission that not only does he fail to do those things, but he is in dire need of convincing himself that he actually wants to.

- Rob Horning



.

March 18, 2020

Bernadette Mayer Quote

.



Something shifts and as Wittgenstein would say, and anybody else not normal, to take some pleasure in being obsessively careful, to quietly comb out the baby’s hair and take one’s time, to decorate the children with ribbons and whisper to them, to prepare special foods, secret inducements, to linger conversing about the dreams in bed, to encourage the counting of peanuts, these are the methods of the usual, inducements to the ordinary, to pass the time, to adduce pleasure, to encounter danger, to see silver spots before the eyes without fear, the safest form with which to take risks, the advertisement of the days of misery if I can still look up and see the man with the glove and a chance image of the accumulation of objects, the storehouse of pictures which will not work out in memory, there’s only one time when you can’t be doing this or that kind of work and have something like a drink make it easier than it is, and that’s when you’re giving birth to a baby but there’s nothing new about that.

– Bernadette Mayer, from The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters



.

March 17, 2020

One of my first thoughts in the early days of the pandemic...

.



One of my first thoughts in the early days of the pandemic was: social distancing and closing borders, those are things dictators like.

I knew I had to be careful how I said such things. These were also scientifically proven strategies to reduce exponentiality, contain the situation and reduce harm. Any hint of denying the science couldn’t help but remind me of climate change deniers, people only making the situation worse. Nonetheless, how science is interpreted is always political and metaphors of contagion have most often been used in politically heinous ways.

I have to admit, from a political standpoint, and from most other standpoints as well, nothing about it felt good. (But, of course, a pandemic isn’t supposed to “feel good.”) Already, for my entire lifetime, people were so isolated and alienated. Working together and solidarity were already so difficult to achieve and I couldn’t see many ways in which social distancing might make any of it easier. And obviously so many on the far right want nothing else but to close as many borders as they can find. Pandemic or not, closing borders seemed like little more than a band-aid solution and it felt extremely dangerous to think of it positively.

And yet, or so I told myself, as I always try to tell myself, in any situation there must be certain possibilities for emancipatory change. Beyond distancing and closing, there was some way for all of this to shine a brighter light on what is missing. To clarify the many ways we must continue to care for each other. To lead to greater openness in the long run. But I am extremely worried this will not be the case.



.

March 16, 2020

Momus: Oblivion

Sometimes the speed at which Momus produces songs makes them really effective:

February 22, 2020

The Air Contains Honey residency at Ursa

.



In 2018 Adam Kinner and Jacob Wren wanted to start an orchestra. They wrote a number of songs, each consisting of a one-sentence quote, and called it The Air Contains Honey. Now they are inviting an ever-shifting and significant number of their friends to join them on stage. For the first three Tuesdays in March, at URSA, the orchestra of professional and amateur musicians will gather in search of a warmth and community spirit that they may or may not find. For the audience, and for the musicians, too, it will be a chance to hear an orchestra that discovers its sound as it goes. 


Three Tuesdays in a row: March 3rd, 10th & 17th


This is only the beginning...






.

February 19, 2020

the final footnote

.



The final footnote in Georges Bataille's final unfinished book reads:


"I don't intend to deal in this work with the question of the means of acting effectively. However, I will set out the principles of such action elsewhere."


We're still waiting.



.

February 12, 2020

star systems

.



Thinking about all the ways art (in every discipline) is and isn't a star system, how at a certain point in some artists careers opportunities apparently continue to accrue because of their name and almost in spite of the work, and also how the search for new artists is connected to a fantasy that they too might some day find themselves in this confusing yet enviable position. And also all the artists who have had some but not that much success, where the appreciation seems to me to be more directly connected to the work they're making right now, but this also might be a kind of illusion. And how the many different ways I understand integrity in relation to making work has changed so much over the years to the point where I'm not exactly sure what I mean by it anymore but know it's something I still believe in even as my understanding of it continues to change.



.

January 2, 2020

PME-ART in Vancouver

.



PME-ART will be coming to Vancouver for PuSh with three different events:

February 5th & 6th: A User's Guide to Authenticity Is a Feeling
Facebook Event

February 7th: The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information
Facebook Event

February 8th: Bring Your Own Record / Listening Party
Facebook Event

This is our first time ever performing in Vancouver, proving that anything is possible.



Bonus: PuShy Questions with Jacob Wren from The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information



.