hi again! i am back and i have collected more mostly-art things to entertain you. i hope you enjoy this week's assorted potpourri of whatnot and etc! ---martha
some of you may know that i have never owned a smartphone, and i used to have a club of other device-abstainers called the high tech luddites. i made us one issue of a zine (which maybe i'll restart!) and another person made an official club mix tape. i know having a flip phone is kind of trendy these days, and now most of my fellow luddites have smartphones, aaand i finally gave into fomo and got on social media, but i am still a technology-skeptic at heart. so i liked this feature about some well-known artists who are seeing the light and de-tech-ifying their practices or using art as a way to question some of the highly questionable ideas about technology and progress floating around out there. yay!
i wouldn't normally include two items from the same publication in one newsletter, let alone two by the same author. but i liked this too much to wait until next time---conveyor belt art show!!! i was just talking about innovative uses of conveyor belts the other day! all museums need one of these.
i just saw over on variable west's social media that the art publication x-tra is closing down for good. and i had just barely found out about it! : ( it's rough out there right now, but there are still people and institutions supporting artists and writers, and i am grateful to find out about different models for making this stuff sustainable. case in point: the ford family foundation and university of oregon just released the new issue of their art magazine. confusingly, every issue has a different title (this one is called "noon"), but i can look past that because there is so much high-quality, oregon-specific art writing in here. i think you can get a print copy mailed to you somehow too, lmk if you are interested and i'll try to find out details.
NOR research studio has a newsletter called "dispassion," and they've been putting out some really good and kind of intense issues lately. the most recent issue is titled "residency as whiteness enhancer." a while back i paid several hundred dollars to participate in a virtual critique group that promised amazing results, and was kind of disappointed. i also had a conversation about my goals with NOR research studio around the same time (which is partly how i ended up finding their newsletter later on) and their perspective on the artist professional development-industrial complex was exactly what i needed/wanted to hear. reading the latest issue of their newsletter opened my eyes up even more to the potential problems with these sorts of membership programs and how racial and gender-based privilege (and of course the unequal distribution of wealth!) plays into all this. there is a ton to think about here, and i find myself questioning some of the received narratives of success and legitimacy in art that i have been carrying around with me, as well as my own role in perpetuating these weird and possibly not-great structures. if you read this, please tell me what you think! do you have experiences with residencies or professional development programs? do you see any of the same issues mentioned here? let's talk!
wow i am a terrible luddite, here i go suggesting that you look at art on instagram. but in my defense, this is a very good account! i don't know margaret murray but i guess she used to run a gallery, and now she goes to seemingly every single art show in new york all year round and posts great pictures and sometimes little micro reviews of everything! it's incredible! it's an invaluable public service, in my opinion. thanks margaret murray!
micro review: k8 hardy "outfitumentary"
k8 hardy's "outfitumentary" is basically a compilation of more than ten years of video snippets of the artist's daily ensembles. i thought it sounded pretty fun, but then after i got my ticket for the screening, someone told me that it was "really long." i looked it up right before i left the house, and saw that it was 1 hour and 20 minutes long. i was terrified that i would be bored and dying to leave, but not able to because i would feel bad. but i was not bored! not once!
k8's video selfies start out kind of awkward and funny, then they start to get a little mesmerizing: the scenery, seasons, and hairstyles change and the outfits get more and more ambitious, but the straightforward editing and basic formal rules the artist set out at the beginning make the overall effect kind of airless, like there's nothing outside the frame of each shot. there's also a bit of a time capsule effect that is nostalgic for those who did some growing up in the early 2000s. there is a lot of the "indie sleaze" look that some say is making a comeback these days (i am not ready). except for the opening and closing frames, there is no indication of what the dates of any of the outfits are, but music, bits of radio broadcasts, conversations with offstage pals, etc. offer provisional timestamps. finally, for glitchy video nerds like me and the friend i watched with, there is a thrilling video camera-death sequence that results in the abrupt end of the film.
"outfitumentary" also made me think of the ways clothing reveals (or conceals) things like wealth and social status. some of the featured outfits reminded me of things i saw and coveted in fashion magazines and tv shows when i was in my teens and 20s. expressing yourself through fashion can be powerful and fun, but also expensive and time-consuming, and wrought with cultural baggage. watching k8 cycle through a million different looks made me think of how cool it would be if everyone had the means, both material and psychological, to be so vulnerable and free in their self-presentation. i'm at least inspired to try!
i have no idea where/how you can watch k8 hardy's "outfitumentary" if it's not playing at an art gallery near you, sorry! maybe ask about an inter-library loan? if you find it and watch it, let me know!
i am very excited to say a few people took me up on my request for things to include in this email! first, a music recommendation from aaron (of the band s.e.c.r.e.t.s, whose video i shared last time):
this is a dreamy cover of a supremes song by romance! i had never heard this artist before but it's kind of spooky and noir-ish, which are two of my favorite vibes. thank you aaron : )
next, from multimedia artist (and my dear grad school classmate!) natalia rocafuerte, this issue of the journal "dysfunction," about james "billboard" jackson, music reporter and major contributor to Black driving culture via the green book. natalia did a bunch of curatorial research about Black auto history for the automotive hall of fame in dearborn michigan and this is one of the stories she came across that she was nice enough to share with us. thank you natalia <3
finally, i found this crazy residency where you get to train and join a prescribed burn team! i can't do it but if anyone gets into this will you pleeease tell me all about it?? when i was in michigan for school, the parks department regularly did controlled burns of the meadows around town, and it looked so cool. i always thought it would be neat to volunteer for them!
thank you for reading! also fyi i had a conversation with a friend about how terrible and stressful email is after sending out the last newsletter, and it made me want to remind everyone that you can look at all the newsletters on the buttondown website instead, if you also hate emails!
also re: the subject line: did you know that in archeology, you can call pieces of pottery either "pot shards" or "pot sherds"??? either is accepted! which do you prefer?