December 13, 2005


kurt schwitters' merzbau 1933

(the whole house burned down eventually ... sounds exactly like what i need right now!)

it's strange but fascinating that this article on installation art from the village voice has a title that exemplifies the state of my head right now: Clusterfuck Aesthetics
A manic-depressive panic attack in the face of profound information overload
. WOW! this is just the title of the blog entry i've been meaning to write for the past year that somehow never was squeezed out of me! this article covers briefly Paul McCarthy, Jason Rhoades, Sarah Sze, and Phoebe Washburn.

"It is an architecture of no architecture, a gesamtkunstwerk or "total artwork," whose roots are in opera, Dada, the Merzbau, and the madhouse. Whatever the subject—be it bodily fluids, pop culture, or politics—terms that describe this sculptural strategy include grandiose and testosterone-driven.

"Nowadays this all-at-once gambit can be seen as a way to compete with the paranoia and havoc of everyday life; a homeopathic dose of poison whereby ruins are created to counteract ruin; a manic-depressive panic attack in the face of information overload; a rejoinder to minimalism; a way to fill space and get attention."


andrea said...

wow! i have postponed checking out many of these things you post- i'm trying to stanch off these "tangents" that will lead to further and further "tangents". in other words, it's going to take me a while to "catch up" with all of your posts!

but Sarah Sze! i have neither heard very much of her nor sought very much of her. but her name caught my eye in the movie "The Gleaners [and I]" (French: Les glaneurs & la glaneuse). you might like this movie, although it doesn't showcase her prettiest, most fanciful stuff (you can tell that i don't frequent art museums...i don't speak the lingo!)...

but, "SZE"! she came to berkeley about a year ago.. that name poked my eyes from an Art Practice department poster (the art & anthropology departments share Kroeber, remember? in-fighing galore!). SZE and NOGUCHI are two sculptors i wish to know more.

the first time i heard about "merzbau" was actually through a japanese "sound-artist" (?) named Merzbow. later, my then-boyfriend adopted a small cat, who was then baptised "meowsbow".

this post makes me want to show you some of the materials for an anthro class i took: "Art & Power: Utopian Imaginations". it was taught by a russki. perhaps all the powerpoint presentations are still reserved online. i definitely still have the Readers. and i definitely left the class with the same bitterness that laces itself with most anthro classes. but you definitely would have enjoyed auditing the class, at least. we watched "triumph of the will" and "the wonderful, horrible life of leni riefenstahl"; learned about laibach and malevitch. etc.!

jean said...

what other films did you watch?

i watched 'life of leni ...' for a film class but i don't think i could pay attention to it. i think i was just absolutely over the whole nazi-gestalt / aesthetic thing at that time after taking all those architectural history classes (with the marxist slant, of course).

do you sometimes feel totally overloaded by meanings and interpreting 'representations of power' (they just seem to repeat the same themes: monolith, technology, geometric order, co-opting) that you just want to enjoy something purely aesthetically? for example ... my renewed interest in fascist architecture -- totally hot pre-minimalist lines! that class sounds interesting, though; would like to know more about laibach and malevitch ... and futurist / constructivist RUSSIAN propoganda posters! so much genius! yeah!)

did you know sze won the genius award? (i just read they give you $100,000 per year for five years) pretty sweet deal. sze was involved with 'the gleaners'?? i never watched that film.

noguchi i never cared about, because i perceive him as the token 'oriental sculptor' of the not-subtle midcentury modern folks. or maybe i'm just racist against japanese ... ;p

oh yeah! merzbow! nerdNOISE, andrea! alas, i am very allergic to cats (i couldn't work in certain architecture offices bc they have resident cats); my family had 5 cats at different times when i was a kid -- strange how allergies develop later in life. for example, my doctor told me certain people who move to the bay area will develop an allergy to the sycamore trees after their 4th or 5th year. this happened to me!! i never had allergies before this time. so, if you have any mysterious allergies ...

andrea said...

well, i actually FAILED that anthro class. but i kept the syllabus, of course. i wish i had actually read the futurist manifestos, though- very beautifully written. they also make me want to watch a japanese cartoon movie, "tetsuo". the soundtrack is by chu ishikawa.

we watched quite a few videos on the informational side, including one about german degenerate art, as well as one about the hollywood blacklist. one video was a choreographed advertisement from the u.s.' mccarthy era, named "design for dreaming" (1956). and we watched the music video for laibach's take on "the final countdown" on the last day of class.. it was awesome!

the most "important" film we watched (besides the leni riefenstahl ones) was by dziga vertov. have you heard of him? he has "seminal" stamped all over his body. frantic, rhythmic, playful, metronomic, syncopated.. i love him!!!

i'm currently more alienated from communist art than i've ever been... but i suppose that the soviet communist art materials examined in class were my favorite of all. yes, the art is stiff and static and might as well star mannequins.. but i enjoy seeing the same "aesthetic" in p.r.c. communist art, and even in certain californian cities' presentations of themselves.

like i said- i know next to nothing about sze! she wasn't tooo involved with "the gleaners"... she wasn't interviewed or even filmed. but her works were!

yeah, i have a love-hate-racist relationship with japanese folk, too. but what can you do...

and i've heard so much about allergies in the bay area! it's baffling. i have never had any allergies in my life, yet...

andrea said...

"the whole house burned down eventually ... sounds exactly like what i need right now!"

p.s. me, too! i've been re-shuffling and packing up elements of my berkeley room like mad. i need to do this whenever things start dragging their feet in the mud.. and i need to do it more than ever, because i'm finally moving out within 6 months!!

gathered all my extraneous toiletries (some are still sealed!) into a bag to distribute/unload as "housewarming" gifts to the friends that are moving. i'm also helping them move their shit! this is my vicarious life: other people's housing.

i'm not you, but i think that "a change in environment" will definitely help. move! move! move! i'll help you! in fact, i would move with you (if you didn't mind), but i still have a contract. i've never actually intentionally moved into a place with other people, because most people are flaky.

i hear that housing prices will coincidentally lower within 6 months, too. better do some scouting! jobs in the l.a. area can't compare to the ones in the bay area.. so, bay area it is! (for me)