Thursday, April 16, 2009



artists certainly can create the illusion of time-travel. there's a certain brand of artist that picks the pockets from the past and recreates a living alternative world, immune for as long as the artist lives, from the realities of the mainstream. and I dare say such artists are very precious librarians. . . that present a carefully designed past.

there's something of 1910 in huckaby's place, as well as something deeper from a 19th century southern countryside. there are overarching tones of asia, and also the brutality of body in this magical fiction e.k. huckaby lives inside. on Huckaby Rd, he shares the country-ish block with mcmansions, and subdivisions named "the chimneys," yet e.k. roams 30 acres of land, planting groves of bamboo. here, he stubbornly holds back time. . .thank god there are people like him.

. . .and he's open for visits. we had coffee in his kitchen as music boxes were somehow amplified throughout the house. the windows were open, blowing off the dust from a lot of encrusted objects, including photographs and paintings.

I was surprised to find out he actually grew up in the suburbs. I now better understandand why, perhaps he was attracted to expound into, artistically, this other bygone southern lifetyle. I, too, am a product of those historyless, identityless suburbs, and tend to fictionalize pasts as a result.

lots of good books around, stately shelves are made from cut up doors and installed in the dark central hallway. . he has a clever code: vertical books, he's read, horizontal ones are yet unread. his bedroom is painted the most wonderful dusty purple, with black trim. . .his bed sits in the center of the room surrounded on the walls by a collection of funerary photographs, most of them turn of the century. ( amazing! )

as we walked through the woods looking for sprouting bamboo, I said something about the layers of memory this place must have for him. . .he retorted that not all of them are so romantic. . . he remembered hogs being hung from that tree there, being disemboweled.

his manner is gentle and patient, but his objects present sharper edges, a morose love of age . . .I relate. I also see a sense of humor there. . .and, of course a refreshing fearlessness of mortality. I think he enjoys sneaking up on you in this subtle way. he's confident. he has all the time in the world.

here is a quick list of objects that left an impact: bones, a real placenta under glass, stuffed birds, a fox with glasses, decaying paper lanterns, a geometric glass box, a slice of brain wedged beween glass, saws, teeth, a lot of white rocks in piles, a stack of black books about myth and the devil, a girl with a candle inside a large glass lantern, a real maxfield parrish print, busts and clocks, a wax telephone on red velvet in side a plexiglass box, a resin-thick painting of a thousand lamps, boxing gloves, seeds.

I asked him if he was a theosophist or spiritualist. he said, he has his own version of theosophy. . . (note to self: ask him about that on the next trip to wonderland.)

here's a really great interview robert cheatham did with e.k.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


"several factors make widespread revolt less likely today. Our cities are no longer dense, overcrowded industrial centers where unionized laborers and disgruntled strikers might take a public stand. Concentrated inner-city poverty has declined, too, so don’t expect 1960s-style ghetto unrest."

Our urban centers are instead corporate hubs and the victims of this recession include hundreds of thousands of white-collar workers. For obvious reasons, these folks tend not to have the particular sense of grievance — that a select few are receiving preferential treatment, that they’re on the losing end of a rigged game — that usually sets off a conflagration."

Feeling Too Down to Rise Up
(Op-Ed -new york times)
March 29, 2009

(photo courtesy of isolina)

but of course the writer is an established new yorker (columbia u, new york times, etc. . .), he seems quite nostalgic for the kind of urbanity places like new york city used to provide. he nails it when he demeans today's urban centers to "corporate hubs."

(interesting to note, that this was published just days before the "Financial Fools day" G-20 protests in London, which seemed to contractict this. . .)

another related note: I've been watching new york chef and food critic anthony bordain's "no reservations" on dvd. . . the most recent episode went to las vegas, where bordain just freaks out over a commercialized replica of his home city inside some casino: new york city converted into a "T.G.I. McFriday's," he complains. . . (and as he walks through "venice" he calls it: "gondolas in swimming pools inside a mall". . .) . . .in the end, he states sadly to the camera:

it may seem as though las vegas reproduces new york city, but actually its more like. . . new york city is becoming las vegas. . .

(and the removed las vegas is in a sign graveyard for tourists)

alas, from two new yorker's points of views, A+ American cities are not the edgy cultural-political wonderlands of yore. . . so it makes you wonder, then is there really no one gathering physically for dissent, and also for counterculture experience, as this author worries out loud? are there really not enough numbers for resistance to the monoculture?

i really doubt it.

perhaps as the "public" gets more pervasive online, and urban centers only hubs of glassed-in safety. . .the subcultures must become more secret, and more remote. perhaps it's not the urban centers which will provide the space for these gatherings. . but the wildernesses (in all senses of the word. . .) interesting.