This past spring artist Marina Abramavic did a performance piece entitled the 'The artist is present' click me! that consisted of her sitting in one spot every day for over eight hours and staring at people and letting them stare back, without words. She did this from March 14th until the exhibition's close on May 31st. The MOMA had a photographer present to record each visitor and take portraits. Occasionally the photographer would catch Marina's reactions to these visitors. There was also a live cam recording everything in real time. You can see the portraits here click me! My oldest friend and sister person Nandi click me! sat with Marina the most times out of any other visitor to the exhibit. As her face started appearing on the portrait stream repeatedly she caught the eye of a few journalists and bloggers, all of whom speculated as to who she was and what she was doing. Some gossip even started to circulate on Gawker and other sites that she might be Marina's daughter. She also wore the same robe every time she sat. Sometimes she cried, sometimes she stared blankly. Now that enough time has passed since the exhibits end I feel it's probably cool to post these. The truth is that Nandi is actually an artist in her own right. She teaches photography at Parsons. She used Marina's project as a way to do her own piece about her mother. You can read about it here click me!. Anyway, I didn't post all 29 photos, but lets just say the whole thing was amazing, moving.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
So as you can see I've made a few changes to the blog. It is no longer called 'Live From the Penis Gallery' and henceforth shall be known as 'Only Zuul, formerly the Penis Gallery'. You might also have noticed that I haven't blogged in a long while. Why is this? Well, lets see, I turned thirty and graduated and became unemployed at the exact moment I was the most qualified to occupy a professional position, all the same time. It threw me for a fuckin loppity loop and what the hell, it still is. Throw in some personal family stew and it's made an at times crummy summer. I don't have loans coming in September, I'm not eligible for a credit card- this is probably a blessing- and don't have any way to really assure myself that everything is going to be okay, except my own sense of fortitude. Sure there have been some really nice moments, driving to Big Sur on the 1 with Nick and walking along the cliffs, reconnecting with my old friend Sarah from high school and hiking with her once a week, long phone conversations with Charlotte, two visits from Athena and nice dinner parties and other casual intimate moments. In short though, I've been really depressed. Like, really, really, really depressed and doing my best to keep it all together. It's been hard to pick up the phone or leave the house or just really put a smile on my face. Plus I lost my camera. During this lull in energy- compared to last summer which was filled with daily bike rides in the river, endless parties and going to see bands play- I have become quietly obsessed with visiting an old high school classmates facebook profile. She befriended me last year during our ten year high school reunion thing- I didn't go- I never e-mailed her and she never e-mailed me, you know it's facebook, and we weren't even the best of friends in high school, but we knew each other. In the past eleven years while I have been collecting degrees and living with roommates and getting dragged through the snow in Brooklyn and doing cocaine and interviewing musicians and hanging out on fire escapes, doing yoga and sleeping around and then not sleeping around and then going to therapy and then the farmers market and then the psychic, she has married, had three beautiful children, remained in the church, gotten a better job than I've ever had, gone to a real college, i.e not a liberal arts one, one where she had to take math and science, bought a house, become a landlord and uploaded a million facebook albums with titles like '____ 4th birthday!' and '4th of July on the beach' 'our trip to washington DC!' each one of them containing photos of kids in x-mas outfits, kids over birthday cakes, kids in swim trunks, kids with sparklers, kids hugging parents and other kids.
This is not to say that I want kids right now or that I could even handle them. I don't, I can't. But rather I admire her trajectory. I admire her for what appears to be a total lack of distraction. She had things to do and she did them. And there is a wonderful routine and simplicity to how her life appears to be. In the words of the great Gwen, 'I'm simply too complicated for that simple kind of life.' And it's no ones fault but mine. I am a thirty year old woman who lives in a guest house with three cats and has never had a real job with benefits and I live in a world in which this is the norm. And yet, all around me people just like me are having babies. But this in some ways, with these women, seems to be a lucky, happy turn of events, rather than an executed plan of attack. Which places me directly in the hands of fate. I am essentially gambling with living my mothers life. I can so easily be the woman who does not live that simple kind of life. As lord knows I am not actively planning anything these days except how I'm going to pay my phone bill this month. To quote Gwen yet again, 'I'm fateful to my freedom.'
Before babies, before the house, before any of those things, what I have wanted above anything else for as long as I can remember is to write a book. Not just write one, but publish one. To have created something that is read and understood by thousands of people. To speak across languages and lifestyles and touch someone with my understanding of the human condition. To communicate fear and sadness and injustice and happiness and love. Which in some ways, I sometimes feel I might drown beneath the weight of feeling all so much. I've always been an artist, even as a child. I wanted water colors and pastels, and dance shoes, and singing lessons, and a violin and acting classes and journals. I wanted books and musicals on VHS. I can't shake the idea that god didn't just make me this way so I could teach a little someone else how to to get in touch with their inner creativity. I have something to say and the longer I procrastinate writing this thing and the more detours I take, the more I put ever having that simple kind of life at risk. Because I know that if I were to wake up tomorrow and find that I was pregnant and nine months later be a mom, with my life as it stands today, I would feel as if I had let myself down. And that scares me more than anything else.