This is the blog for Art for Humans and Paul McLean for 2012.
“Chimera,” commissioned by Alex [source material, “Chimera of Arezzo”][by PJM]
2012 Arts of Protest Series Presents:
Public/Poets and Protest/Space: A Discussion with Four Occupy Poets,
Tuesday, October 23, Machmer E-23, 6:00pm.
Travis Holloway is a Goldwater Fellow in Poetry at NYU and a Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy at SUNY-Stony Brook. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Germany in 2010-11 for a dissertation entitled “How to Perform a Democracy” and, upon his return to the United States, organizer of the first “Poetry Assembly” at Occupy Wall Street. His primary interests include democracy, poetics, and the relationship between public art and social media. His recent work has appeared in The Nation, Guernica, and Symposium, on C-SPAN, and in the co=authored book, Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action that Changed America (OR Books, 2011).
Paul McLean is an artist accomplished in new media and traditional fine art, a pioneer in dimensional production and integrated exhibit practice. He has exhibited in one-man and collective shows extensively since 1986, and is currently represented by SLAG Contemporary Gallery in Bushwick (Brooklyn, NYC). His research interests include media philosophy, specifically pertaining to time and systems; individual and collective expression; and the convergence of 4D methodologies among military, political, business and social sectors. McLean holds a B.A. in English with a Fine Art concentration from the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN), two Masters degrees from Claremont Graduate University (MFA in Digital Media, Masters of Arts & Cultural Management) and is currently a doctoral candidate at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. He is a contributing writer for the Brooklyn Rail and other publications and has been blogging since 1999. McLean has been a co-organizer of Occupy with Art since September 2011, and is a founding member of the Occupational Art School Node #1 in Bushwick. He creates moving images for projection, art environments and the web; net.art, web and print graphics; paintings and drawings; poems, commentary fiction and non-fiction. McLean lives and works in Bushwick.
Letta Neely is a Black dyke artist, feminist, and mother. She is originally from Indianapolis, IN where she survived the busing experiments of the 80’s. In the mid 90’s, she lived in New York City where she was a member of the Black Star Express Collective and taught poetry to youth in the five boroughs. She currently resides in Boston with her wife, niece, and daughter. Letta explores the various textures, technologies and intersections of race, sex, sexuality, class, gender, economics and liberation in her daily living. Hence, her work focuses most intently on the connections and intersections of queerness, blackness, and awareness.
Letta is also teacher, poet, playwright and freelance writer whose books Juba and Here were finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards. In addition, Here was a Triangle Award finalist. She has been New York Fellowship for the Arts recipient (1995), a finalist for both the Massachusetts Cultural Council Poetry Fellowship (2002) and the Astraea Lesbian Writer’s Award (1999). Ms. Neely is a two time winner of the OutWrite National Poetry Slam (1996, 1998) and in 2001 she was named the Best Local Author by Boston Phoenix readers. Her work has been included in various anthologies, literary journals and magazines such as: Through the Cracks; Sinister Wisdom; Common Lives, Lesbian Lives; Rag Shock; African Voices, Rap Pages, Catch the Fire ,Does Your Mama Know, The World in Us, Best Lesbian Erotica 1999, and, Roll Call—a Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature & Art. Her play Hamartia Blues which was produced by the Theatre Offensive in 2002 has been nominated for two IRNE awards. A second play, Last Rites, received a staged reading with the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA and a world premiere production with The Theater Offensive at the Boston Center for the Arts. In 2011, Neely was awarded a fall residency with the Garderev Center and was a finalist for the Brother Thomas Fellowship. Currently, she is a recipient of the 2012 Winter Creation Fund Award from the National Performance Network and along with The Theater Offensive, a grant recipient from NEFA’s Expeditions program.
April Penn is a Boston-area poet who frequents the Cantab Poetry Lounge and has been involved in Occupy Boston protests. She is a member of the Boston Feminists for Liberation and considers herself a poetry blogging fiend with plans to write 365 poems a year for the rest of her life. She originally hails from Hammond, Louisiana and Baltimore, Maryland but loves Boston best of all! She has been published in Amethyst Arsenic, Snake Oil Cure, and Spoonful.
Toroidal Occupy Effect
By Paul McLean
Occupy is not an object.
[Time is the only object.
Everything else is a subject.
True time is 4 dimensional,
An object is not recursive.
A machine can be reverse engineered.
A system can be monkeywrenched.
[To an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility…But the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice - politics.] - Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Occupy is an idea that cannot be evicted, whose time has come. To paraphrase, more or less. What do you think? Did you Occupy Wall Street, or any of the 1500 towns & cities across the USA where an occupation popped up? To do so was to participate in collective and direct action. So occupation is a verb thing. Doing the Occupy, a strange circular pantomime, a version of dance, if not exactly dance, as such, called also a General Assembly by anarchists and/or direct democracy practitioners. The sound circle formation, or sphere, as old as humankind. Until we don’t occupy anymore, for whatever reason, and there have been many given, by many authoritative and even some supportive voices, and it’s not, which is to say, we incessantly self-evaluate, critique, deconstruct, parse, negate. A redress of grievances. A gathering of souls. The only way to catalog Occupy is for Jez to invent the Anarchives. It has been done, or did itself. Occupy is play, then, let’s say. A revolutionary game. Players are called Novads. We have a literature that is time-based, aspiring joyously to timelessness, dimensionally operating in all time zones we know of & don’t, with rules that aren’t, LULZ. We are legion. Nobody is Occupy. Everyone can. What isn’t Occupy, really? Occupiers discovered much is unoccupied, and many otherwise occupied, and an occupation isn’t forever, even if in one aspect it might be, at least in its metaphysics. Occupy is a dream. A network.
Adbusters red-flagged the endangerment of the Soul of Occupy just before the dumb and beautiful May Day protest. We were warned about Move.On and Ben & Jerry’s and co-optation. We were exhorted to be autonomous. Michael Moore and other famous people Occupied with us and moved on. We are the 99 percent. I am the 99 percent, but no one occupied Wall Street like the slaves who built Manhattan, whose bones lay just beneath the concrete upon which we erected a tent city, for a moment. Until plutocrat Mayor Bloomberg and his army erased it with a clearing brutal and effective, a pogrom. Where were the 99%, then? Rise Up! the poster proclaimed. Indeed. A nation of spectators, of prevaricators, of Others, did not. My nation, the mass, as Baudrillard so truly depicted it, in his analysis, returned to its regularly scheduled programming, and some wonder where Occupy is. Occupy is a design form. DIY. Open source. A commons. A wireframe concept spanning a multiverse producing poets and street theater and anthems and marches. OWS was a theater. A puppet show. An incubator for the Illuminator and projections on the Verizon building for the crowd’s procession across the Brooklyn Bridge. A new world is possible.
A non-object like Occupy does not die, but it lives still. The immaterial can exist as such, as a meme, as a term, as a movement, in the abstract, in a universe where everything that moves, is, in a Lakota word - translated into English, its language of occupation - “HOLY.” Wakan. I smelled the patchouli in Zuccotti Park, and 1000 other smells, including smoked dope, pizza, unwashed people, piss, incense… The drums shook all other senses almost all the time, the sticks on five gallon buckets. The signs abounded, and OWS outperformed the Continental Theorists, and seemingly we had a contingency for every situation, provided for by some invisible committee of anarchists, spoke for by David Graeber and Marisa Holmes, etc. When the authorities threatened to wipe us out, using sanitation as the reason, the response was to make the park immaculate, immediately. We had our own media wing, emerging when the corporate news refused to cover our story objectively, like journalists, master of spin appeared to Occupy the message of OWS, via blog, via small screen video, by mobile phone, through tweets and ubiquitous digital photography. Was everyone an artist at Occupy? Or was everyone a reporter? It was hard to tell. The practicum was multi-tasking, if uni-disciplinary. Occupy. […The criticism can also be framed like this: what is the exact status of the reference to a specific historical moment…which asserts that the project of radical democracy is ‘the result of a pluralization of social struggles anchored in the new structures of contemporary capitalism’? Does this mean that ‘radical democracy’ is *merely* the political project which fits today’s constellation of pluralized struggles, while in previous situations, other more ‘essentialist’ and even undemocratic projects were appropriate?] - Slavoj Zizek, Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle
I witnessed a mime on a soapbox Occupy Wall Street. He was good. Where did he come from? How long did he stay? The guy with the dollar bill taped across his mouth foregrounds in my recollection. Because the issue is expression. Free. The evil of the market’s antithesis, subverted by the SCOTUS in Citizens United. The obfuscation is all-directional, too, which explains the necessity, in a homeopathic remedying of the perceptual unbalance, inextricable from communications. In a suspension of endless war. Terror the obverse of Occupation, which is not a job, but a calling. I cannot say with certainty that Occupy is a reflection of anything. Law & Order attempted a simulation of Occupy, and the result was improvised profundity verging on the comedic, a conflation of scripted and unscripted realities occupying one contested space for an instant, and, as usual the cops intervened. The Occupied Wall Street Journal was a miracle, straight out of a Capra film, a newspaper voicing the image of an event hiding in a phenomenon reading as a text, becoming a memorial, to …what? Us? What was possible? The new world order? It’s so easy to be optimistic, when you have each other, and there’s a chance of your picture being published in the paper. Ketchup interviewed by Colbert, Jesse punking that Fox douchebag, Chris and his fake video camera, and the actual one, making a kind of art that isn’t, but isn’t not, too, a mystery of deflection that can be identified as insurrection, but ultimately is for the record. We were historical.
Occupy can be an objective. Like in Iraq. Now, in October 2012 we have a year of attaching Occupy to Everything, like Art, which is one of the only nouns that does more than Occupy. Although we do have Occupy Art, occupied art, Occupy with Art, the Art of Occupy & so on. We have no consensus, whether Occupy is art, exactly. Would it be performative, or performance? Definitely not plastic. Street art? Not to be confused with the hastag Occupy, or Occupy tags. Artists are central to Occupy we are told. Is this true? Where are they? Does an Occupy artist have a studio? Is Liberty Square a studio? For some it was and is, like James Rose. But now there is rarely any occupation there. The subject of his plein air drawings and paintings has gone somewhere else. Spain, maybe. Oakland. Alex Schaefer is painting burning banks. Burning Man burned Wall Street. Yet Wall Street is still there, although we have been told its business has moved uptown, or just midtown. The Germans bought the stock exchange during the occupation. We hardly noticed. Of the million cash flowing into the Occupy war chest, artists received little. Maybe 20K. What kind of art can an artist make with a budget like that, when the whole world is watching? It’s easier to just get pepper-sprayed in the face. [Unlike architecture or sculpture, painting can exhibit to us some of man’s most intimate thoughts. It “makes the *soul* of man itself the subject of its creative work.” However, it is not the task of the painter to deal with all emotions. He looks for those which seem to suggest something godly in man and then he endeavors to externalize these emotions in permanent form. For this reason the painter can never be called an imitator. Plato was wrong. The painter captures in his imagination that one fleeting moment in which suddenly men are not simply social, political, or economic animals, but beings endowed with certain strange and marvelous powers. This is a difficult job. The moment is elusive and memory is often weak. But the great artist can nurture this moment and finally set it down so that all can feel its impact.] Jack Kaminsky, Hegel on Art
Occupy is a subject. Therefore, Occupy was teach-ins. Occupy was students. Occupy was school, without curriculum, without principals, without demands. The content is the problem, the context the solution, the equation insoluble, the numbers, like derivatives impossible to accurately measure, because they flow in all directions at once, simultaneously, infinitely. How many occupiers were there, are there? Is a percentage verifiable? Does it matter? Occupy is an idea, but that is not the basis for its strength, sustainability and power (or powerlessness). Occupy is dimensional, so whether an occupation can be evicted is not really the bottom line. The occupation of Zuccotti Park is a point of origination, linked to many others, including the one at Tahrir Square, the Indignados, sure, but also Homestead, also Concord’s commons, which in one aspect, as a locus for revolutionary democracy, is unavoidable as a referent. So, the crackdown on all these most recent revolutions, coded as Occupy, is really a seam, just as the occupations themselves are, winding through our history for at least thousands of years, through the Church, starting with Benedict’s corporation for monk-made wine and such, and its articles of spiritual + financial incorporation, commingled with the Corpus Dei, if you would believe it, through the tyrannies of Kings and Queens of Europe in the West, and the destruction of the tribal, mostly by the Phalanx (always back to the Greeks, or the Macedonians, more correctly), as Vision Circle Societies were crushed by Squares of brutality, of bloody steel and shields, of tactics, ordered movement, conscription and force of command. Through to the colonization of the World, and then the ever-New World Orders of extraction and exploitation, governed always by the Clock and Ownership, Property and artificial Time, until the formation, in the heady early years following America’s successful agrarian revolution against England and millennia of accrued Evil, of man-over-man, man-against-nature, over it, as domination matrix, the imagining by John Marshall’s Supreme Court, in an episode of most banal and Serious Betrayal, with consequences beyond linear or even binary comprehension by man or his counting machines (via Turing), in 1825, of the ensconcing in our national LAW, the species of Artificial Person, endless, of property, of the labor of man, born to own and eradicate man and nature as free and natural entities, sentient, and all of sentience, enslaved to the gift of John Law, a Scottish gambler and genius, who for that King of France, invented paper Cash, for institutionalized purposes, for currency, for purchase, for ownership, for debt, for the divorce of the real from itself by abstraction and reduction, the great fungible flattener, the bane of Levelers, of all farmers, of all revolutions, including the spinning of the orb on which we find ourselves (is it propelled, or destined?)… THE MAKINGS OF THE LAST GREAT WAR, THE ONE TO END ALL OTHERS…
[“A cell for citters to cit in.”
The idea of detention in a closed space as a form of human punitive corrective action seems to have come in very much in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries - at the time perspective and pictorial space was developing in our Western world. The whole concept of enclosure as a means of constraint and as a means of classifying doesn’t work as well in our electronic world. The new feeling that people have about guilt is not something that can be privately assigned to some individual, but is, rather, something shared by everybody, in some mysterious way. This feeling seems to be returning to our midst. In tribal societies we are told that it is a familiar reaction, when some hideous event occurs, for some people to say, “How horrible it must be to feel like that,” instead of blaming somebody for having done something horrible. This feeling is an aspect of the new mass culture we are moving into - a world of total involvement in which everybody is so profoundly involved with everybody else and in which nobody can really imagine what private guilt can be anymore.] - Marshall McLuhan, The Medium Is the Massage
Not exactly. E for effort. D for Derivatives. L for Libor. G for Goldman Sachs. In a democracy somebody is accountable, even if that somebody is artificial, not human. CC: Mitt Romney. Or at least that’s the idea. Or the should-be idea, which is the architecture of legality, the determinant of crime and punishment. Or to put it another way, Corrections. Not for profit. Not for the market. For the future. Not the futures. Justice, by judgment, via Hannah Arendt. At the end of the day, we still have to live together. We do get to choose, to a degree, how that works. At least, that’s true in a free society, or one that aspires to freedom (a revolutionary premise). Beyond Kings. Plutocrats. Dictators. CEOs. Governance Syndicates. Tyranny. Money is not free speech. Slavery is not a word. Neither is only human.
OCCUPY is subjective. Your occupation is not mine, and vice versa. The Point of View is fundamental and inescapable. Each one a proposition in all directions, pointing spears inward, outward and all around towards the multiverse, the in all ways possible, the innumerable. Of course the powers-that-be, the Pimps of Davos, the Warlords and profiteers, the Masters of War, the Time-Slavers (look to Switzerland), the 1-4 Reich, the genocidal maniacs, the Princes and Princesses of Darkness, the Torturers, the Management…. Of course they will do anything to destroy Occupy. Just because nothing is there to kill, does not mean they will not relentlessly hunt down and kill it, whatever it is, whoever it is. If they cannot murder it, they will starve it. If they cannot starve it, they will target anyone and -thing that aids it. If none of this works, they will lie it to death, through defamation. If none of their usual protocols work, they will pretend they invented it, embrace it, and then murder it through subterfuge and conspiracy, games of smoke and mirrors, over time, their time, clock time, the Lie, their man-made artificial iteration of Time, non-absolute, for sale, owned, quantifiable, absent Truth, divorced from itself. Occupy was created to win this war. It will win this war. In fact, it already has. Now, it’s only a matter of Time, before the Old World Order crumbles to dust and/or goes up in flames, or surrenders, which would be best, in order to avert so much unnecessary suffering in all directions, in the interim, in the span between now & then, as we cross that bridge we’re coming to. We are awake and alive. This genie will not go back in the bottle. Be warned, though. They, these haters of all human, these demonic fiends, would destroy all of us and everything to keep their power. To maintain the status quo. To “win” our freedom, individually and collectively, we must risk everything, therefore, and with the understanding that this is the unnatural nature of our foe, who is even less than single-minded. Our enemy, who is a great Deceiver, who appears or manifests as nothing like an enemy, has no “mind,” is INSANE. & HAS CHOSEN TO PROCEED BEYOND REDEMPTION. We really only, then, have a few options. Americans, learning this through the first two world wars, then the Cold War, know it, and one, the only one, is total victory. No alternative is also true.
Occupy is an adjective. Occupy Poetry. Occupy Foreclosure. Occupy is an attachment. A peripheral. A utility. A complement. A definer. Art needs no definition. Art is sentient, as object, and herein is its value and meaning. To eradicate the supply chain for the Enemy, separate sentience from any buying and selling. The New Rule: Anything with sentience cannot be bought or sold. Consuming must be stripped of its association with accumulation past immediate need. Certainly, we have much more to untangle, in the messy mash-up of means + meaning, values + value, but we have to start somewhere. The Old Ones recognized this point of order, understood its implications for the development of faith, trust, matters of spirit, harmony, balance. The abbreviation is the gift. Not a bank balance or balance sheet. One with all, all with one, like the 3 musketeers, like Dr. Bronner’s soap, like the 3 Stooges. Economy and Ecology are only distinguishable alphabetically by a four letters. More or Less. Now, is the Time to say, “ENOUGH!”
There’s an significant difference between optimism and confidence, the difference between morale and moral. Morale is conditional. The Moral is a feature of the human, social condition. Conditioning is in the end amoral, unless you/we/I decide otherwise, to be other-wise. A related distinction is the one between riches and abundance. Riches = Cerro Rico, over its timeline as conquered property. Abundance = Earth, if we determine to live on it as our spaceship of plenty, for the good of all, all our relations. The latter is a moral condition. The former is conditional, and the result of amoral conditioning. It’s up to us/you/me to figure this out, and behave accordingly. Harmoniously - or else. By the way, Earth has its own protocols. Talk about “creative destruction!”
OK, what’s a post-break world look like? We can practice this exercise/exorcism of the imaginary, even though the truth is, we can’t afford speculation, in any of its forms; we need dreamed action, not derivative notions. We could ask John Lennon, who was gunned down by a madman - or we can imagine it, envision it, model it, and create it, ourselves. Or at least try to. Why not? The alternative is hell on earth. Which would you prefer? Endless war; slavery; clock-determined consciousness; plastic love; addiction; lovelessness; isolation; poison food, and so on? Or clean living. Permaculture. A Garden of Delight. Heaven on Earth. A promise. Not a promissory note. Not a debt. A condition of existence. A life way. Not a deadline. A Lifeline. Your choice. Our choice.
[Pick it up and pull.]
My latest theory on Occupy (thanks Chris & Blake, plus Buckminster Fuller & dolphins), is that Occupy is an all-directional toroidal phenomenon. As such, we all are playing and whatever Occupy actually is (besides its first name), Occupy is impossible to prevent. It is precessional and has happened already. Is happening, never will not happen, expanding infinitely as ripples (concentricities), as when a stone is dropped into the center of a perfectly-not-perfectly-it-does-not-matter-it-is-perfect pond. The question to ask, maybe - what do I know? - is, “What are the shores?” Is this a metaphor for consciousness-in-a-body-temporarily?
Love. Is that the medium for this movement/event? Besides its name. Is this the rippling water? Can we think of Occupy, or ourselves, like a White Lotus, floating in the muddy water of our pond, sustained through Dark Matter (a book by Greg Sholette)… Finally, are we occupying a life that is better than any movie we could ever hope to watch? Am I? Did the “me” I thought “I” was ever exist? Knowing-not-knowing this, what will I/we do now, with the time we share?
One good answer, I would suggest: Found a School of Life, an Occupational Art School. We are doing it. It’s (in) Bushwick. There are nodes in Brazil & Colorado. Come join us. It’s fun.
October 21, 2012
Bushwick (special thanks to JenJoy Roybal and Chris Moylan, Alex Carvalho and Jez Bold)
Chris and Paul met with Corey at Human Relations Friday. Ben, a writer and poet, joined the lively conversation. We workshopped/brainstormed an OASN1 + HR collab. Details TBA.
Prefatory Remarks for a Panel at Bushwick Film Festival, 2012
By Paul McLean
I want to thank Kweighbaye for inviting me to participate in this panel discussion today as moderator. I come to the task this way. A couple of weeks ago I invited Vancouver-based film critic and historian David Spaner, who was in New York City to push his fantastic book SHOOT IT at the Strand Book Store and give a presentation at the New York Public Library, to visit the Occupational Art School here in Bushwick. David, hoping to have an encounter with the free radicals of Occupy arts, generously made his way here, and one of the couple of people who came for his talk was Kweighbaye. She got a copy of SHOOT IT, and the propositions for today’s panelists derive from her reading of it. I have a few copies of the text available for purchase, and we have arranged for discounted orders of SHOOT IT with Drama bookstore in Manhattan for any who’d like a copy. I highly recommend it.
So, I am not an actor or director for film as such, like our other panelists. Randy Wilkins, Chloe LaBranche and Billy Gerard Frank are directors. Ernest Waddell is an actor, although I’m curious to hear at some point about his avocation as an abstract painter. On the surface, I’m the Sesame Street one-of-these-is-not-like-the-other person at the table. That’s not exactly true.
My focus over the past thirty years has been dimensional art, which, since around 1999 has included work with moving images. I have produced over 200 videos and animations for exhibition environments, the web and sometimes these movies have been shown on screens. I have been fortunate to have access to the professional production house, editors and the film, video and commercial moving image people who rely on the studio services a production house provides. I’m going to mention Ground Zero in Nashville, as the place where I got my chops, and where I got an intensive in the cinema economy.
Several of the other places I’ve lived and worked (Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Austin and now New York City) have significant film, animation and video production industries. The movie and art creative communities do intermingle, and much of what I do know about making movies is anecdotal, resulting from encounters or collaborations with filmmakers, videographers, animators, actors and those individuals who blur the distinctions in the traditional job categories, the New Media Artists.
For instance, I ran into John Sayles at a coffee shop in Austin, recognized him and approached him to thank him for Matewan, which was partly filmed in my hometown of Beckley, West Virginia. We had a very nice conversation about that. Once, I saw Spike Lee in lower Manhattan – I think he was doing location work – and more or less had the same kind of exchange I’d had with John Sayles, although with Spike it was a lot shorter, and typical New York: “Yo, Spike!” followed by a finger-gun duel, if I remember correctly.
I can go on, but I think what’s important is using this hour, not so much to emphasize the who-you-know aspects of our histories, or even the what-we’ve-done lists, although that has to come into it, of course. We should speak from personal and shared experience. But I think what’s so important about David’s book is its mapping of the evolution of filmmaking, which is significantly impacted by economics, politics and ideology. Today, after about a century of movies, we have enough data to show us what the patterns are, and what the stakes are.
I want to put it this way. A person, almost anywhere in the world today, is being forced to make a first choice, if that person is entertaining the idea of shooting a picture. Will your movie, or your movie career, such as it is or might be, prioritize the bottom line, or will it prioritize something else. A story. A language. The documentation or furtherance of some form of human expression. A person. A conflict. Corporations, as artificial persons, really only “care” about one thing: the bottom line. Money. Where does that leave us, as aspiring storytellers, when the machinery of expression is channeled into a single currency?
Shoot it starts with a basic premise. Why do movies that come out of Hollywood generally suck so much? Out of all the amazing stories in the world, 8 billion of them and counting - and cinema is now supposed to be an art form for a global community, right? - …Why are the only stories, repeatedly told, about comic book heroes, for instance? Well, the truth is, as David points out, there is a vast qualitative divide between the global and the international. The way Spaner frames it, the global is homogenizing and artificial, and the international is local, and rich, and diverse and real.
I’ve spent much of the past year with Occupy. One of the chants that arose, whenever the police would engage in public and brutal suppression of dissent, attacking the protesters with pepper spray, sound cannon, plastic bullets and batons, has been, “The Whole World Is Watching!” Because of the monopolization of exhibition venues, screens, by Hollywood, Incorporated, the whole world is watching the junk that routinely is produced by the studios, which is in large part only made for a fractional demographic of the movie-watching public. I’m talking about 15-25 year-old males, who dig hot babes, explosions, car chases, gear and muscle. Just take a moment to review the list of movies screened here at the Bushwick Film Festival, or at the other festivals that have happened in the past few weeks in Brooklyn celebrating independent non-commercial movies and moviemaking, or others like the Irish film festival closing tonight over in Manhattan, and you will discover that the content that is not in those stupid CGI-driven cartoons really is important, and usually much more relevant to your life. It’s more moving. It’s more honest. It’s more kind. It’s sweeter. It’s gentler, or in a real way, sometimes much more brutal, frightening, despairing and poignant.
To close, I’d like to honor you all, at this table, and those who put BFF together, the filmmakers, crews, actors and writers who contributed to the festival, and especially those of you in the audience here to celebrate the achievements of those passionate people who decided to buck the system and just shoot it! I hope today we can spend a few minutes to answer our 4 propositions, but also to get to the bigger questions of mutual aid, artistic openness, and monkey-wrenching the corporate model, which in my mind is destroying not just the local, indigenous story, and people, it’s compressing civilization into a commercial package that is neither humane nor sustainable. It is a vital tool of tyranny, actually. If I have one question to add to our proposed questions for the panel and those here in the audience, it is, “What does free cinema look like?” If I had another to add, it would be, “And what are we going to do to make it and get it to the people who want to be free?”
2012 BUSHWICK FILM FESTIVAL PANEL
SUNDAY 0CTOBER 7, 2012
3:30 - 4:30pm
We will open with a panel discussion with Directors Randy Wilkins, Janice Ahn, Billy Gerard Frank and actor Ernest Wadell. The Panel discussion will be moderated by Paul McLean founder of Art For Humans. The following topics will be discussed.
- Filmmaking – Indie or Studio? What are the pros and cons?
- How has the internet and technology changed the face of filmmaking?
- Is self-distribution helping or hurting independent filmmakers?
- The effects of American films dominating the world box office.
Paul McLean is an artist accomplished in new media and traditional fine art, a pioneer in dimensional production and integrated exhibit practice. His research interests include media philosophy, specifically pertaining to time and systems; individual and collective expression; and the convergence of 4D methodologies among military, political, business and social sectors. McLean holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN), Masters from Claremont Graduate University (MFA in Digital Media, Masters of Arts & Cultural Management) and is currently a doctoral candidate at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. He is a contributing writer to the Brooklyn Rail and other publications and has been blogging since 1999. McLean has been a co-organizer of Occupy with Art since September 2011, and is a founding member of the Occupational Art School Node #1 in Bushwick. He creates moving images for projection, art environments and the web, and has collaborated with filmmakers regularly over the past decade and a half on a variety of projects.
Billy Gerard Frank
Billy Gerard Frank was born in the West Indies on the island of Grenada. He moved to London as a teenager where he began painting and exploring experimental video art and installation and was part of several film and art collectives. In 2001, he moved to New York to pursue graduate studies in fine art at the National Academy of Art and the Art Students League of New York. His multimedia work has been exhibited in New York, London and the Caribbean, and addresses issues of migration, race, and global politics, relating to gay identity and minority status. Recently, this has evolved into a profound investigation of the disenfranchised in the age of globalism.
Since 2005, after studying filmmaking and media arts at The New School University, and New York University, Mr. Frank has worked as a director, producer, and production designer, in both narrative and documentary films. His narrative short film, Absence Of Love is currently on the festival circuit and had its premiered at Palm Springs International Short Film Festival this June. www.absenceoflovethefilm.com.
Mr. Frank is also in development with a narrative feature film, Cantos of Another Country that weaves together multiple fragmentary tales, set against the backdrop of the 2005 civil unrests in France, when unforeseen riots erupted across the country, as young Muslims and African residents in the poor Banlieues of Paris violently clashed with the police.
Passionate about telling stories that probe beneath the surface, Janice Ahn elevates both the lyricism and grittiness of human experience. She works in narrative and documentary forms as director, producer, and writer.
Ahn earned her Film MFA from the New York University Graduate Film Program, where she was a recipient of the Tisch School of the Arts Scholarship and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholarship. She received the Warhol Foundation Grant as a 2008 film/video artist in Santa Fe Art Institute’s Residency Program. Ahn graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with an English MA, English BA, and Art History minor. As a Performance Studies Ph.D. student, Ahn studied performance and the “performative” before leaving to pursue filmmaking.
Ahn’s films have enjoyed inclusion in many festivals, including Cinequest Film Festival, CineVegas Film Festival, San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, Independent Film Project Buzz Cuts, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, and MethodFest. Her cinematography and editing work has screened at Slamdance Film Festival, IFC Center, Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop, and other international venues. Ahn has produced and directed for Ogilvy, Cisco Systems, and the Museum of Art and Design.
Ahn recently wrote, directed, and produced Triangle, a short film about a girl named Chelsea who waits for her turn to play the triangle at the end of Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4. It features a Korean and Korean-American cast, as well as the youth ensemble founded by Yo-Yo Ma’s father. Triangle won the Directors Guild of America Jury Award in the 16th Annual DGA Student Film Awards.
Born in the Midwest and raised in California, Ahn resides in New York City. She currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts and Columbia University.
AWARDS Film MFA, New York University Graduate Film Department - awarded 2010, Directors Guild of America Student Film Jury Award, Warhol Foundation Grant, Seoul Film Commission Support Recipient, First Run Festival Achievement in Experimental Form, Eastern Oregon Film Festival Best Cinematography Award
Randy Wilkins is a Bronx-bred director and cinematographer. Befriending legendary filmmaker Spike Lee and by the director’s urging, Randy enrolled in NYU’s esteemed Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program where he earned a chair’s fellowship and a Master of Fine Arts in 2009.
Randy’s most successful film to date, “Osvaldo’s,” earned an exclusive license agreement with HBO for broadcast as well as numerous awards and festival screenings. Professionally, Randy has been raised through Lee’s Forty Acres and A Mule Film Works, Inc. His new film, “Docket 32357,” is playing the festival circuit as he develops his first feature script “The Gunnery.”
Ernest Waddell is a New York City-based actor. He is perhaps best known for his recurring roles on two television series (each role, coincidentally, being that of a gay man): Fin Tutuola’s son Ken Randall on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Omar Little’s boyfriend Dante on The Wire. His credits also include the television series As the World Turns and One Tree Hill and the film The Poker Game. He is also an amateur abstract painter.
FALLACIES OF HOPE
by Paul McLean
[NOTES or DIMENSIONAL LINKS + REFERENCES & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS]: Yvor Winters via John Matthias, In Defense of Reason; the graduate seminar for the Ward-Phillips lectures in poetry at Notre Dame University, Indiana, on The Words of the Tribe: Primitivism, Reductionism and Materialism in Modern Poetics, in which I sketched, mostly; Project Gutenberg/Internet Archives The Makers of British Art (EDITED BY JAMES A. HANSON: J. M. W. TURNER, R.A.; after a visit to Human Relations in Bushwick; Sorley MacLean’s “The Shore;” Baudrillard, Simulations; Looking Back at the End of the World; Foucault, The Order of Things; Turner’s painting, “Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On)” and the title of the painting from the poem the painter attached to “Slave Ship…” for its inaugural exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1840.
The Voyage of the Zong
FAIRLEAD: One arrow, four arrowheads on a wheel spinning
98,000 miles per second, the real a gyro synthetic trim tab
paradise device; all words now structural, data LIKE SUGAR
CUBE chunks visualized LIKE LEV DOES in the digital constellation,
floating in a cloud of half’n’half in my OSLO redeye; a burning bank - imagining
near-50 Alex’s tragic apocalyptic conflagration of a derivative world
to be navigated by Antikythera mechanism;
the divine projection of the divinity of Badiou’s Omega sets;
the language a formless form in all directions numbered;
a point in nothing equals every speckled wing; a programmer
is god, his equation, his algorithmic power frame crazy-quilting
for God a shroud in the Turing machines, not mainframe or the State
Maine, not a lobster but an Apple factory in China inducing
public, performative, provocative wage-slave self-immolation
:[Steve Jobs is no fucking hero genius, & no damn artist!];
Fuck that hoary Bernaysian numbing inhumane narrative - 4 WHAT
IS TRUE [?]: CEOs dead and counting past Enigma towards splendors
of a second life, to which the body she clearly believes
to be integral to American cultural experience…
[Strap his lifeless limbs dismember’d as FIGUREHEAD to this slaver vessel
splitting the mists of damnation on its journey to HELL]
ESCUTCHEON: [C. Cobb’s Campaign for a Plaque at Wall Street,
Commemorating the MANHATTAN Slave Market][Bones in the Dirt.]
I am beginning to realize the value of failure of memory,
- as forgiveness; the meaning of fiestas, like ours tonight, of
dour black faces mouldering & telling; gross episodes gybe the moving image screen;
WE THROW THEM OVERBOARD, STILL IN MANACLES
Your Sin, Captain, is an independent one. Free of detachment.
Faux-Liberated, you proper-titled it: — Your *owned* thing; “IT.”
Fly your blackjack then, traitor, & I will VOTE against you & your dread terrorist kind…
Mine is an ensign, signifying our percentages in WAR, WW3; murky figures distorted
- filmy residue propelled by electricity through the network
of the city of my body; the museum is a hard drive across
the desert of seconds and minutes scattered by the 4 winds, ah-tay-a-topa
until for some purpose the particles coil into a dream,
gathered by the simple beauty of magnetism, attraction
[on this morning’s stroll down Huntington beach, I stumbled
upon the Corpse of Turner, washed ashore, malodorous
wrapped in sea flora, like the coral of the Great Barrier
Reef, in decline; horrid smoke pouring forth from his nostrils,
Eye bulging & flesh burgeoning, swol’n, plastic ties
upon his mangled wrists, the scars of gnawing fish bone-deep showing]
-to dance, for eros, for death, for one more day, by breath
assembled into the first howl of a newborn freeborn boy, & his name
is Lachlan David, a chiefly reproduction, with an Old Testimony & faire
wynds for currents at his back, conceived to be a MONSTER to boist’rous slay
the crimson & cursed deceivers & tormentors of good folk. Chance
has naught to do with it, lad. It’s all in which stone you pick.
Leave the BOOTY for the RABBLE. You have a practice, and tools,
she said, with love, cradling
his UNCIRCUMSIZED APPROXIMATELY
Aboard a Zabrum, We Spy a XEBEC
Thought packets suspended in a medium, “this
perspective, this panoptic machine, this
machine of truth, of rationality”-“Throughout
its density, even down to the most Archaic
of these sounds that first rescued it from
its state as pure cry”-“the dimensions
of the world to the temporal dimensions
of life and body, a decisive quantity is
the *moment*” and Google can translate
every document of each instance and number
between zero and one
Needless to say; SLAVERY and freedom abide
not one another in our Constitutional body, the balance
created by a ballot, a choice, a selection,
defining a certain cause; if not causation
speak it freely, MAN - tell it, this epic;
anyhow, any way you can do it, a yes or a no,
a romance of pronunciation, a declaration
as such; you are not a prisoner to greed & hate in the bowels
of Potosi; WITNESS! *THAT* banal evil tourist; the mountain
EATING MEN to collapse upon you; or being manslaughtered
as the storm bears down on [the scenario]
of Turner’s gravest painting - a ship UNDER DURESS
“Aloft all hands, strike the top-masts and belay;
Yon angry setting sun and fierce-edged clouds
Declare the Typhon’s coming.
Before it sweeps your decks, throw overboard
The dead and dying - ne’er heed their chains
Hope, Hope, fallacious Hope!
Where is thy market now?”
[WALL STREET][NYC][A CITY BUILT BY][ON BONES OF]
[SLAVES]: obomney, et al. + Blankfein, Dimon [+]
“The fact that the boy painted her portrait, and
that she had the patience to sit to him, throws a side-
light on the obscurity in which these early days are
Turn to the gale, Tatanka. THUNDER. HA!HA!
The tale of the past four years of promise dashed. We are hung. Hangin’. Just Chillin’.
Chillaxin’. Today, I saw it for what it is, and no Johnny sings of emancipation, not in Bushwick
of homecoming or races, or loosing the caged brothers & sisters, anywhere. Horizontal, leaderless.
No drum beats a mournful tattoo for the fallen, nor pipes of Grace in the hills. The blades still
in scabbards. \Poems drop to her knees as supplication to this frail, forlorn justice/
:like wood buckets of skin-blistering oil, hurled from rocky parapets, bad news pouring out the grim “cloud”
raining down upon the rovers, the diggers, the revelers, the levelers; in their mass, volume;
WHILE the novads, they persevere, as diaspora, adrift, like shelled seeds strewn on the concrete.
In waveform motion, woven together, our great and revolutionary gamers, “PREVAIL” kaleidoscopic.
[ENCODED INTERCEPT, TO FOLLOW, with High Technical Difficulty]
[Attribution: Anonymous sources]
“When as yet a mere boy,
[astounded by its artificial size & breadth]
*ON JEFFERSON & SCOTT! FLUSHING*
at an age when others at
DESCEND INTO THE DARK WATERS/
EMERGING AS DARK MATTER
[:the glitch starts here.]
- imploring: hashtag EXPLORE, hashtag poiesis
[transmission garbled: first attempt to SHARE, meaning, with you, clearly, my FRIENDs, in this common space (NOW)]
…preparing for some remotely future career,
[brackets, pickets: on Manning Williams in Charleston, South Carolina;
re-enacting his laying himself down amongst his confederation of submariners
& American painters, proud][
at a(n) unpronounceable [TIME: /THE ONLY OBJECT]
…when many have not yet even made up thei[(r) minds][i
marRy my MC (4) j(AZZ)
(THI)s as ^ Q ^ e
… hastag BLACKWATER]
nature of their life’s occup[IED]
> JAY again - (JOHN JAY? J TRAIN? JAY STREET?)
j? = j. SMOKE IT!
Turner was already actively
[& SPATIAL OCCUPATION (completed)]
[something went wrong]
[THE ARTISTIC conclusion]: [“So I am to become a nonentity, am I?”]
[added][EVERYTHING ELSE IS A SUBJECT]…
…she posted male nude drawings by Sargent in her tumblr
And if we were together
on Calgary shore in Mull,
between Scotland and Tiree,
between the world and eternity,
I would stay there till doom
measuring sand, grain by grain,
and in Uist, on the shore of Homhsta
in presence of that wide solitude,
I would wait there forever,
for the sea draining drop by drop.