Archive for the ‘Wofflehouse’ Category
The highlight reel begins! My bro (er, sis) The Clam came to Prague! And she, the P and I took the midnight train to Georgia Budapest to ring in 2010. (side note: I’m mildly superstitious about New Years, and prefer to do something and be somewhere that will positively affect the year to come. So: thank you Budapest, for starting 2010 out on a good note.)
Incidentally, bunk bed train cars are really, really fun.
But no! The fun doesn’t stop there. The illustrious Sam Chanse also showed up, and the shenanigans in Prague continued:
Lady Chanse and I shot footage for what we refer to as The Greatest Film Ever, which I have referred to before and have even made a painting about but which remains not quite finished, a year later, although I have full confidence that I will complete it. (Hey, it took Brian Wilson a while to finish SMiLE, too.)
Meanwhile, Chanses trotted off to Berlin while the Clam, the P and I experienced the legendary spa town Karlovy Vary for the first time, where the converging lines continued and then tilted, and where the medicine tastes like Christmas in a bottle:
After starting off the year with houseguests and travel, I was both invigorated and overwhelmed, but it certainly set the pace for the year to come. 2010 was maybe not the most productive year for me professionally, but as far as experiencing and sharing the pleasures of getting to live and travel in Europe, hey: not so bad. At all.
As always, the year is speeding up wildly to come quickly to a crashing halt, and I find myself morbidly compelled to reflect and document some portion of it before it disintegrates. As I’ve alluded to more than once, it’s been pretty rough going at many moments here in Prague: I’ve not shared too much of it, because really, who wants to read a whiny blog, and anyway, there have been so many instances of the marvelous this past year that I’ve been seriously reconsidering my whole “mopey” thing anyway.
The short version, of course, is that the P and I moved to Prague a year and a half ago, and I had to come to terms with the fact that for the first time as an adult, I suddenly had no friends, no career, no linguistic supremacy, and no particular wherewithal to figure out how to address these things (despite, of course, having come here of my own volition). I swanned about for way too long in an extraordinary city under extraordinary circumstances, not feeling particularly capable of pulling myself out of it. And now, just as I’ve finally gotten into a pretty nifty little groove here, I’m heading back to California in January for a few months (to teach spring semester at a few schools). I’m of course delighted to go home for a bit, but unless something highly unusual happens, I’ll be happily (!) back in Prague by late May. And, given that I’ve been, you know, reflecting on this past year, I’m finding myself really excited to be heading back to the Ceezy.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on gratitude lately: for all of the undocumented moping that’s gone on (and by the way, thank you, dear friends, who had to hear about it directly way too much), when I look back through the past year in photos, I have to concede that it’s actually been a truly amazing year. I’ll never get this series of posts published if I try to write it all out in detail, so I’ll just share a small selection of photos that are evidence to the fact that I had a great 2010, despite myself. Mind you, teeny selection still = hella, and with my caveat that sometimes it’s not about the photo being good in any aesthetic sense, rather, it’s about the moment being good and a camera being handy. OK. Proceed.
Done and available, possibly in time for Christmas, even!
Mysterious new dark horse publisher Editions Wofflehouse and the fine people at Lulu.com present you with:
Click the above images or right HERE to go to the ordering page.
While it’s almost past ripe to do this, I just jumped on the Tumblr single-theme bandwagon (current fave: Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things), since it actually seems like an equally appropriate context for this project.
Oh, and lookee–
a fancy button that also takes you conveniently and directly to the Lulu page for this fine publication:
I guarantee it’s the only book like it in the world.
I’d had the photo documentation of our work on Wofflehouse for a while, but had never gotten the video thing sorted. Eliza/Neneng, bless her soul, recently belled the cat and finally got a bunch of our video work from 1997-2005 online for your entertainment (and ours).
Here are a couple of choice pieces from notre oeuvre (give the Frankenstein one a few secs to get going):
Mail Order Bride of Frankenstein from Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. on Vimeo
Always A Bridesmaid Never a Bride™ INFOMERCIALS from Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. on Vimeo.
(*=Friends of Mail Order Brides.)
Over the past couple of weeks, I finally got around to adding a couple of ridiculous new image galleries to Wofflehouse, in the PHOTOS section. It’s a section of the website that I’ve semi-neglected, largely because it’s more for personal amusement, less for professional advancement. Also, I’ve increasingly used this blog, as well as my Facebook account, for sharing photos instead.
The galleries are both pretty deadpan:
Anyway, I got more pleasure than anticipated out of putting together these 2 series of photos, and plan on doing much more of this soon. I’ve been reflecting on a few things, due to this.
First, I take for granted how integrated photography is into my life, and often forget that it is its own creative endeavor due to this. I took my first photography class at an art college in San Francisco when I was 15, and continued taking photo courses and educating myself about the history of photography throughout high school and college. I also worked in one-hour photo labs for ten years of my life. While I’ve rarely exhibited my photos, every Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. project was dependent on both Eliza’s and my photographic expertise. And somehow, I’ve still never taken my relationship to photographic image-making too seriously.
Second, something happened during the shift from film to digital. I stopped working at the photolab in 2000, which ended my many years of getting to purchase and print 35 mm film cheaply and easily. Also, this era was the beginning of the demise of many photolabs, due to increased consumer interest in digital. I had a beautiful Nikon SLR that suddenly stopped getting employed as regularly due to this. While I continued taking it on trips, it was far too bulky to justify carrying around for casual daily use. Also, I was unenthusiastic about compact snapshot cameras, disdaining them as something for amateurs. It wasn’t until I got my first little digital camera in 2005 that I could tote something with ease anywhere and everywhere, but this was still basically just a digital version of aforementioned-disdained-snappy cam. Given my latent photo-snob tendencies, I fell into my own trap for a little bit of not taking my own use of them as anything other than amateur, despite how many more images I was actually making. (And what’s wrong with amateur, anyway?)
Third, the digital camera thing has done a couple of things to image-making by both liberating it and cheapening it. Making a pile of photographic images is now next to free (unless you print it, which is done less and less): you’re only limited by the amount of memory your camera/card has. It also comes with the instant gratification of reviewing images on the display immediately after taking them. This is great, but has also led to a sort of bloated, un-edited glut of images. And it has removed the mystery, and delicious anticipation of what might lie on a roll of film. Anything truly special often gets lost in the shuffle, or not appreciated as much, as it once might have. (This is, of course, both good and bad, as it’s also weeded out the over-fetishization of actually-kind-of-mundane images.)
Fourth, I’ve had an often-difficult year creatively since the move, insofar as making other kinds of art (painting, drawing, video–the things I usually exhibit), and even blogging, at times. I’ve struggled with what to express, at times. But what I’ve only just realized is that I’ve been doing an extraordinary amount of photography instead, and its function has subtly shifted to become more diaristic and expressive. Also self-entertaining. It’s also very much used for “note-taking”: for quickly recording something that I may want to address in a different medium, later down the line. For the many moments where I’ve been at a loss for words, or been unable to figure out how to make a drawing of something I’ve been feeling, the camera has been my immediate, often taken-for-granted companion, instead.
In Bogliasco, I think I figured a bit of this out. My shutter-bugging got truly excessive there, given the circumstances. And the other Fellows trusted/tolerated the presence of my camera at every meal and outing: I became the de-facto embedded photojournalist for our group, and put together a big Flickr archiv of images- sort of a collective visual diary of our time there. In the prior couple of entries here on Wofflings, I also realized I was using the camera differently: not so much documenting the world-at-large, more using it to give a different visual voice to things I’d been really thinking about.
I woke up this morning, thinking about it, so I thought I’d write out a few thoughts before they evaporated. It’s not all so serious, of course: I think any woman driven to compulsively document porta-potties can’t really get too Susan Sontag about her photographic endeavors.
Jamar Diggs (5) and the Wofford Terriers should be preseason SoCon favorites for next season.
Go Terriers! Intaminatis fulget honoribus!
Well, it’s already Day 5 of my Bogliasco Fellowship, ladies and germs: one week in Italy, five weeks still to go. I need to explain perhaps, yes?
Several months back, I found out that I was accepted as artist-in-residence at the Bogliasco Foundation’s Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities. Along with other creatives and scholars, I am working here for about a month.
After some weeks in snowy, wintry (but lovely) Prague, my California self is embracing a Mediterranean coastal climate once more: the weather’s not exactly warm yet, but it’s comfortingly familiar, and today, the sun is out, the orange and mimosa trees are glowing, and I’m revelling in this ridiculous, surreal, sublime place.
I left Prague Saturday morning, figuring to kick around Italy for a couple of days before arriving at the Centro Studi Ligure Monday morning, and so I decided to spend one night in Milano and one in Torino en route.
By sheer dumb luck, the Milano hotel I chose was some sort of alternate-universe fantasy from somewhere in my subconscious, conflating my mint-y nurse drawings, my general fixation with all things durian-green, and Motel Cucaracha.
Plus, much of the hotel staff was Filipino, so I happily delivered some Magandang Umagas in the morning alongside my Buongiornos. (Naturally Milano, like much of urban Italy, is teeming with Filipino workers, which only made me feel even more at home.)
Having neither been to Milan nor really planned what to do there, I figured I’d just drift and improvise. I did the requisite tourist check-ins at the Duomo and the Galleria, moseyed past some large snails, then wandered over to the Teatro alla Scala Museum for a peek at that legendary, gorgeous theatre.
While there, I happened upon a postcard for—pitty-pat, heart attack of excitement—a Yayoi Kusama exhibition at PAC Milano. For all of the years that I’ve been such a huge fan of her work, I’ve seen next to none of it in person, and so to be in the presence of so much of it just absolutely broke my ribcage open.
The next morning I packed up, left my bag at the hotel reception, then took the metro over to the Triennale Design Museum. Operating words for the design exhibition: thoughtfulness. Imagination. Inquisitiveness. Intelligence. Refinement. Thoroughness. And of all things, the new temporary exhibition also at Triennale was a massive Roy Lichtenstein show, which truly blew me away. Again, for all the years in which I’ve seen his work in reproduction, and often felt uninterested in his ubiquitous place in US art history, I have to say, it was truly remarkable to experience it in person. Between the Kusama, Lichtenstein, and design shows I saw, I’ve been reflecting on a renewed sense of how scale and first-person immersion make all the difference.
Sunday afternoon, I took the train over to Torino, to reconnect with my friend Giuseppe, whom I hadn’t seen in seven years. We were in mutual-clowns-in-residence in La Napoule in 2003, and hit it off so well there that after the residency I went and crashed with him in Italy for a few days, which was when I last saw him. It was so fantastic to reconnect and resume our clowning, right where we left off. Giuseppe also happened to be composer-in-residence in Bogliasco a few years ago, so I was able to pick his brain about what to expect before I arrived there, myself.
I arrived in Genova on Monday morning, bleary and vaguely hung-over from too little sleep and too much grappa in Torino, a little apprehensive about how to present myself at such an elegant residency (I’d read that jackets and ties/equivalent dress for women were expected for dinner each night, and hello: it’s a villa on the Ligurian Riviera…). From the minute I arrived, however, it was, and continues to be, the most extraordinarily warm, welcoming experience. The early-arrival Fellows had lunch together with the staff in the center’s main Villa, (aka the Villa Dei Pini, aka the VDP), and were then escorted to our respective domiciles. I had to pick my jaw up off the ground when shown to my bedroom in Villa Orbiana, up the hill:
And let’s not even get started on my studio in the little stone cottage, nestled in the olive trees, further up the hillside. Sigh.
I haven’t really explored Bogliasco or Genova yet: these past few days have been about settling into the Centro Studi Ligure, puttering in my new studio, and enjoying getting to know the staff, other Fellows, and their partners. And the P arrives this evening, and stays for a week, so I’m sure we’ll do some exploring this weekend.
Sing it, Shirley:
Someone get me a top hat and a red wig. Pronto.
The year in review! OK, the past few months, anyway. Still have some leftovers to address here before a fresher batch of woffles can be served. While I haven’t been doing my usual writing about shows I’ve been in, this is not because I haven’t been showing in the past few months. I guess that I still equate the palpable “real-ness” of an exhibition with my ability to actually attend the exhibition’s opening reception, or see the show in person. Very quaintly analog of me.
Fight, No Flight at Manilatown Center, San Francisco
How perfect is it that I got to show some of the “Flor 1973-78” prints at the legendary International Hotel? Especially the poster below”¦I also had the pleasure of meeting my co-show-ers (is that a word?) Diana Diroy and Aisha Heredia in advance of the exhibition, which was still a treat.
This & That, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco
Christine Wong Yap organized/curated an exhibition-within-an-exhibition for “Socially, Involved”, where she created an amazing international mail-art exchange project. I swear. That woman runs circles around me when it comes to being organized and thinking big. Anyway, I contributed the drawing below:
And then received this brilliant piece by Susan Chen after the exhibition ended:
Art On Market Street, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek
Finally! My parents went to an opening of mine without having to drive more than 10 minutes from home! This was a selection of posters from SFAC’s Market Street program over the past decade or so. The gallery couldn’t include everyone who participated, so I’m grateful to have been included. While the MOB‘s 1998 posters weren’t there, for example, my 2008 Flor posters were. SFAC reprinted a few of them, and hung them quite close to the entrance of the gallery, which was nice to hear.
Stick With the Enemy, Mo_Space, Manila
MM Yu, Poklong Anading and some of my other friends there organized a very democratic, open-invitation exhibition of sticker-based art. I sent in a few original drawings and paintings made directly on adhesive label sheets, and MM then made some of them into printed stickers from files I sent her. The top image was actually 4 stickers: I cleaned up the seams so that MM could print this one more easily. The pink-ish image at the throat is a silhouette of the Czech Republic.
As The Plot Thickens, Manila Contemporary, Makati, Philippines
It was a little touch-and-go with this show due to some shipping logistics, and I wasn’t entirely sure that it was going to happen until pretty close to the wire, but I’m so glad it did. Manila Contemporary is a gorgeous new venue, and Sidd Perez, the curator, was so fantastic and diligent. The show really came together beautifully in the end. It was an honor to get to show with Brenda Fajardo, RM de Leon, and Stefanus Surya Wirawan. I presented 5 new paintings from my new “MacArthur Nurse” series.
So that’s it for the 2nd half of 2009…I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes up in 2010.
The great Samantha Chanse is coming to Prague in January, which seems like a great creative kick-off to the year. We’re both already conspiring on a collaborative piece we’ll do while she’s in town. No other major shows officially confirmed yet, but I’m really looking forward to the artist residency I’m undertaking at the Liguria Study Center in Italy in Feb-March, where I’ll be focusing on a new body of work: a teaser sketch for the impending ridiculousness here:
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
Clearly, I’ve not been writing much in the past few months. End of year/new year is something I take fairly seriously, despite the fact that it looks suspiciously like I’m adhering to some sort of mainstream tradition. It feels like I have 2 basic points in the year where change occurs: the first is usually in September, probably due to that combination of school year beginning and my late August birthday. The second, this one, feels more like the result of the fall months: I tend to be the most productive, and/or reflective, during this time. Â Granted, plenty happens at other times of year (like oh, say, moving to another country in late May), but for the most part, fall/winter is regenerative, hence the refresh.
I haven’t been blogging for a few reasons, thanks for asking. It’s been an unexpectedly hard adjustment to Prague, complicated by my inability to really let go of the Bay Area. My return back there for a month in Oct/Nov was both comforting and complicating: I’m so defined and validated by my Bay Area experiences, friends, and family that a month of unadulterated love and validation there it made it even harder to go back to being anonymous and uninvolved with a Prague community. Being a serious and regular international traveler is one thing: I’ve spent months at a time in other countries. The thing is, I’d never lived outside the Bay Area, in any open-ended, extended way, as an adult.Â I found myself unexpectedly grieving a great deal for my Bay Area roots: I wouldn’t quite call it homesickness, but I definitely missed all the cozy, loving familiarity and friendship. While Prague has slowly but surely revealed itself to be a remarkable place, it has really taken me much longer than expected to understand my new raison-d’etre here.
While I was back in Cali, I went out to dinner with some friends: we got to talking about blogging, and I confessed that I’d dropped seriously off on it for a while. When asked why, I said/realized that because of my move, I felt seriously unclear on who my community, and by extension, my blog audience, might be. The things that drove Wofflings were primarily a, personal art-world shenanigans, b, repping for friends, local exhibitions and causes I wanted to support, c, Filipino stuff, and d, semi-personal reflections on creative practice. Among other things. In leaving the Bay Area, I felt unsure on how to write about some of this further. As I’m finally settling in more gracefully at long last, it seems as good a time as any to reassess the what and why of Wofflings, in order to get back at it again.
In the last two posts here, I was also feeling really awful about what had been happening in the Philippines, a place I love as much as the Bay Area, but which also feels much, much too far away again. Beyond the subjects I wrote about, I know that friends there have been undergoing other tragedies and drama in Manila and Luzon, and then in the past month, the horribleness in Maguindanao, too. I couldn’t resolve how to return to blogging about more personal, trivial matters after all of this.
And in my exceedingly slow, awkward adjustment to Prague, I felt utterly lost about how to connect to my new surroundings, let alone blog about it. I wasn’t interested in writing a travel/expat “Prague experience” blog: although I have come across some that are really nice, I haven’t felt like the world needs one more foreigner in the Czech Republic writing about it. And it made really no sense to blog about my protracted moping and flailing about.
It really only feels like I’ve settled in, authentically, this past month. Talk about a protracted adjustment period. I’m forever re-realizing that I’m a slow starter, but quick once I get going: it took well into my 2nd semester of grad school before I felt comfortable there, too. Give me about 6 months, I guess, and I finally pull it together. Partly it’s finally having a few friends and social life, mercifully: partly, it’s that my Czech is much improved (dÄ›kuji, Jana SlavÃkova), putting just the daily tasks of reading and simple verbal communication within reach at long last. The Pirate’s work chaos seems to be subsiding somewhat, and I’m finally making art again and working a bit on a new gig (more on that shortly), which means he and I aren’t on such polar extreme opposites in our daily routines, either. And it’s also that we have some sublime, regular go-to spots, which make me appreciate this place all the more. It’s nice feeling like you know a place. In any case, I’ve stopped feeling as isolated as I was for quite a while there.
So. In any case. Expect an end-of-year flurry of long-overdue posts, and a return to woffling here more regularly in the months to come. I’m still sorting out a format, but in any case, I’m back at it. More soon.