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A Season of Loss

Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one.

-Capt. Willard, Apocalypse Now

I have worked diligently in my life to avoid responsibility—to not be tied to places or people or things by way of mortgages, marriage or consumption. It would seem now that, outside of a large collection of books kept mostly in boxes, this is now truer than ever.

Casey

Casey in the studio · September 2018

In the past months I have lost both my beloved cat and place of residence & work to the unstoppable force of time. Both were bound to happen, yet with all loss the moment itself always weighs more than any prepared strength can hold.

My cat had been ill for some time, to the point she couldn’t even live with me in the Warehouse due to its nature: a confined space littered with various chemicals and too many uneven surfaces for such an aged animal with weak legs. Yet still I had her for 15 years; she moved with me from Savannah to Portland to Austin to Boston to San Francisco and finally back to Portland again, riding alongside me in the car the entire way. Where once there was the necessity of care, a reminder of the good in the world, or simply something to be an excuse to not talk solely to myself, now there is not.

The Warehouse

The Warehouse on First Friday · December 2018

Nobody really knows who tipped off the Portland Fire Department to The Warehouse, but upon his visit the Fire Marshall said he’d never seen so many violations in one space and we had 72 hours to, at minimum, remove any trace of people living there. It’s understandable only to the extent of blame passed around in Oakland after what happened to the Ghost Ship—yet at the same time, we’re all adults who chose to live in this space knowing the risks.

The Warehouse is still working with Portland Fire to get, well, legal, but I’ve already left Oregon and that part of life behind. Now with no cat and no rent, I’ve lost the last two things I felt an unconditional love for in this world. I will still try to show art as long as the Warehouse can remain open; I have a small piece of foam with my cat’s paw imprinted upon it.

Yet now there is now nothing holding me back from the world, except for perhaps the general necessity to make money and feed myself. This is a tomorrow full of potential, but for today, looking back on the past few months and year and years, I’m just sad.

09:00 / 31 December 2018
Posted to Personal

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Late Expectations

I don’t remember many of the conversations I had on election night of 2016; on one hand I was drinking pretty heavily and on the other I was resisting the urge to text everyone in my contact list and say I told you so. I do remember getting more than a few messages saying something along the lines of Well at least this will be good for your art. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

A 2018 anti-Trump protest in Portland

Since November 2016 it seems people have still not adjusted to—and perhaps still cannot comprehend—the new normal our society has been born in to. Children are dying in detention centers. Outside of a mildly successful summer blockade in Portland, ICE and the Trump administration have had little problem in executing this horrific agenda.

Throughout the 2016 election, Trump was constantly pushing the boundaries of how a candidate can run for office in America. While some might say the disgusting fashion to which he accomplished such a feat should be the focus, I disagree. With his campaign and subsequent victory, Trump didn’t just adjust the borders on the field of America’s institutions: he changed the game completely.

The fact that this ‘wasn’t supposed to happen‘ is now why the absurd and grotesque is met with ambivalence and inaction. American society for so long has been regulated by the standards of traditional power that it is now subscribing to the whims of an unregulated force. Protests against all administrations since Vietnam have been students parading in the street on police-approved routes: while this administration is different, the dissent remains the same.

A 2007 anti-war protest in Portland

As Trump disregarded the traditions of the institutions facing him down, so must those who would fight against his agenda. (Of course, he had the benefit of finance and power to provide a safety net with the prospect of failure while any subversive practices would surely be met with imprisonment.)

And so with the world of art, it is unsurprising that most news caters to multi-million dollar pranks and record prices at auction as opposed to anything significantly pushing back against the global spread of nationalism. Perhaps it is because Trump, Brexit and the like represent the same level of absurdity as Duchamp. Perhaps it is because even in the face of social justice-related work on a massive scale, all that results is jail time. Perhaps it is because our ‘good’ leaders still respond to nonviolent movements with the opposite.

Or maybe everyone just got too self-obsessed, sacrificing any notion of true social fabric for the facade of social networks.

Whatever the reason, whatever the response, the fact is that the norms of American society and its adjacent institutions are irrelevant. The psychic death of neo-modern marketing, the plague of individualism and disregard of corporate power all tie back to that which allowed for a man like Trump to be elected in the first place: a society unable to control the beast of capitalism it has unleashed into the world without any sign of art to save it.

16:30 / 30 December 2018
Posted to Opinion

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Begin Again

A page from the Part II sketchbooks

01:00 / 30 December 2018
Posted to Work

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Clear History

(even though this web site has operated with a blog—in some form or another—since 1999, it has undergone semi-annual design changes and annual database dumps throughout the years. thus, the "Archive" is actually only evidence of what has not yet been deleted.)