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Day 33

Notre Dame

—and just blocks away, jubilation, the general hum of voice over voice over voice over voice, frantic crowds, the occasional siren—

once the walls were in view, though, suddenly a silence. when you can see the details—the blown-out windows like a wall shot-through by a cannon, the gradation of singe from the back to the front, the bent, breaking scaffold remaining around the aching frame—the sadness is magnetic.

i spent a significant amount of time on the river last year during my few days in Paris and usually in one view or another of the cathedral. my visit inside was underwhelming—too much a museum—and i was much more impressed by the aesthetic outside and in the Albi Cathedral. but still the totality of history was always a drawing force.

the loss of that, or the ruin of it, is fascinating. the silent awe throngs of onlookers would manage, not allowed to get anywhere near the building anymore, the sidewalks along the Seine were packed with people just looking. as if somehow, and not without irony, in death the building and its presence became even more powerful.

08:00 / 19 May 2019
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Day 32

Last day in Mallorca

this way of staying in motion is a steady pace of intense swells; short periods of normalcy bookended by drastic change. learning/growth/loss. 32 days is just enough time to begin to feel comfortable in this place, to get to know people on a first-name basis, to never be worried about getting lost when going out.

Palma reminded me quite a bit of Alaska; tourist-reliant island towns have a certain identity crisis when it comes to their nature. The tourism is a front to the locals, but without it, the local economy and culture would be so radically different that really what is ‘false’ has a fair claim to being true. In the end it seemed Palma—and Ibiza—were as much about the seasonal presence of foreigners as anything else. I guess that’s how it goes.

Still, there was a prevalent kindness to the people and a distinct appreciation for the beauty and presence of the island—and all that its people had to offer—that so often is used for a sales pitch but, in its honest core, is quite remarkable.

I’ll have more to say about Mallorca at a later date—in a more retrospective way, for this surely doesn’t do it any justice. It’s like saying the sky there is blue. It’s technically true, but there’s so much more than that.

06:00 / 18 May 2019
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Options

In elementary school, I lived in a small town in western Massachusetts. It was like most towns west of Worcester: semi-rural, familiar, broke. Main street consisted of a video rental store, a pizza shop, a barber, and a rotating cast of failed businesses. My mom and I moved back to Alaska after I finished sixth grade—sometime in the mid-90s—and soon thereafter, a Wal-Mart moved in.

The last time I was back east visiting my best friend—we met in the third grade in said town and have remained in touch since—I asked how it was. His family still lives there and he visits occasionally. “Still about the same,” was his reply. I asked if the broken glass in the doorway of an abandoned brick building at the corner of the main intersection had ever been cleared up (I’m pretty sure that window is still broken, and has been since 1990). I asked if the Wal-Mart was still there.

“Of course,” he said. “I don’t know what would happen to the town if that closed. It’d probably collapse. Nobody would have a job.”

The Wal-Mart in Orange, Massachusetts is like one in many small towns in America: it provides for as much of the employment opportunities as it does the goods available to the public. People get their paycheck from the Wal-Mart and then spend it at the Wal-Mart in an absolutely vicious cycle of commercial domination. People can’t shop elsewhere because there are no other places to shop; people can’t start a business to provide an alternative because Wal-Mart would easily be able to price them out. The people have no options. The people are subject to the company, and the company has a reliable bottom line because the meager paychecks they dole out will inevitably, at some percentage, return as profit.

Alabama Mississippi Misery

I think about the Wal-Mart when I read about the abhorrent new anti-abortion laws in the South. Some will argue these are about controlling women. Some will say it’s about getting Roe v Wade overturned. Some will say it’s about the extreme right-wing enforcing their values. Like talking about the various ways a Wal-Mart will damage a community and its potential offerings, none of these opinions are wrong. They just don’t get to the nature of the problem.

For all the rhetoric, the laws against abortion are not based in values, culture, religion, choice or freedom. Like everything else in America, their motivation is profit.

Denying women access to an abortion ensures a greater chance of a child born in to poverty—especially in the South. This child will have to overcome immense odds to attain anything in America. Even if the child were to excel in a failing education system and get to college, the price of higher education means that child, now an adult, will be straddled with debt for decades to come. They’ll have to get a job and pay the bank, pay the rent, pay for food. One way or another, they’ll pay.1

And then there are the litany of other circumstances this child will possibly grow up in to: Working in service, becoming one of a world-leading prison population, struggling on stagnant wages. One way or another, this child is a future contribution to the profits of the same types of men who run and fund the government passing these laws.

Capitalism Is Organized Crime

Make no mistake: These laws are not about anything other than perpetuating a debt-oriented state where controlling the options of people guarantees, in some form or another, a margin of profit. They will use gender-based prejudice to keep the narrative about left versus right, feminism, the ‘radical left’ and ‘family values.’ The talking points will only be there to keep a frustrated narrative afloat in the media while people in need will be offered none.2

The men—and women—who engage in the creation and enaction of these laws are modern tyrants, thieves, and as close as one can get to a slave-owner while still being a public figure. They are rapists and pillagers of the village. They do not deserve an equal say, they do not deserve their power, they do not deserve respect in the least bit. They lack dignity, honor, empathy, and humanity; but they rely on a society driven by a media-based narrative cycle that keeps their lives relatively consequence free.

This cycle of bullshit in America that is allowing for the rise of fascism relies on the inaction of people to fight back for their rights. The obvious way to do this would be through capital—the true heart of these motivations—in denying support to major corporations that contribute to and fuel the corruption of politics. However one can’t shop locally, abandon corporate chains and forge community if the only place to shop in town is the motherfucking Wal-Mart, owned or run by the same people telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.

      Notes
  • This is only considering the child, too—the cost of raising that kid creates an economic boom while making sure the parents/family have limited options with their finances beyond putting it all back into private companies profiting from this circumstance.
  • The complicity of major media organizations in this, and subsequently the ‘journalists’ and talking heads who provide for commentary, is nearly criminal in and of itself. These people should be walking off the fucking set, the control room should be ending the broadcast, the engineers should blow up the servers.

11:30 / 17 May 2019
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Day 31

—brand guidelines, color palettes, “Final_Deliverables.zip”—grilled prawns&meatball tapas—conversations about travel&anxiety / “Being A Difficult Person” with Majo at Flexas—one more day in Mallorca, so a little penultimate celebration—

minet by night

—gonna miss this lil’ gal, who waits outside my door every morning and i’m pretty sure i get along better with cats than i do people—

08:00 / 17 May 2019
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Ibiza

—in another universe i will adopt the sea (it was also good to come across an XR protest among the shops and rich tourists)

13:30 / 16 May 2019
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The Cycle Continues

it used to be that the phrase Imagine Going Back In Time referred to things like showing a jet engine to a caveman; then it was an iPhone to someone in the ’20s. Then it’s something like Trump giving Tiger Woods the Medal of Freedom to someone from 10 years ago.

Now the curve of world-altering difference is nearly immediate. I lose the internet for 24 hours and women are basically illegal in The South1 and people who make their money being professionally outraged are complaining about the NBA lottery because of market share2 and the New York Times is headlining a war with Iran because the last time they started doing this ended so well.3

For being so dumbstruck by Trump during the 2016 election, the media has certainly adopted his full-throated, clickbait-motivated way of doing business. It’s like nobody really wanted to talk about what happened in 2016 because of the collusion between publishing news and advertising revenue, and so the root of the problem is still festering away. Everybody is still going crazy and each day that passes seems like the only way to not get consumed by rage is to ignore the news entirely. We’re all basically Bruce Willis at the end of Die Hard 3 trying to escape the flood.

      Notes
  • I don’t care if it’s following Alyssa Milano or giving women bus tickets out of the south like they were homeless in San Francisco. This shit is abhorrent and something needs to be done, because pretty soon this will be at the Supreme Court and a couple rapists are going to tell women to fuck off once again.
  • Not that basketball or where Zion Williamson plays matters in the least compared to what else is going on in the world, however the discussions about him opting out of the NBA draft because he won’t play in a major market is yet more evidence that money ruins sports. These vultures who make money solely off of basketball care more about his TV time—not for him as a player, not the potential of the Pelicans with him and Anthony Davis, or aspiring professional athlete, but because of its potential advertising revenue were he to be in New York or Los Angeles—than they do the sport itself. These fucking people make me sick.
  • Ha ha just joking it never ended, fuck Judy Miller

09:00 / 16 May 2019
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Day 30

Lost

—the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ibiza is somewhat shocking if you’re not expecting it. Ascending to the battlements—and, eventually, the cathedral—the road is tight and the cobblestone is rough on the feet—and surprisingly slippery—and at first confined by an old archway. A blind curve reveals MUSEU in large type.

I couldn’t find the door.1 The directional arrows were confusing and I ended up above where I should have been—as the older part of Ibiza City rests on basically a giant hill leading to a cathedral, my intended destination, everything goes up. The sun was direct and forceful and I didn’t have the patience to keep looking.2 I continued on to the battlements, and then up to the cathedral.

After spending more time looking for shade than at the views I returned to the museum. It’s free, which is as a surprise as finding it was, and I put my headphones in as I enter the first room. Halfway through I notice the young woman who was acting as security is staring at me in the pose that translates to any language as I’m sorry I don’t mean to interrupt but I have to.

My camera and bag are both slung over my left shoulder and she points in the general direction of where they meet at my side. She motions toward my chest and so I swing my camera in front of me, to which her expression tells me was not what she’s asking for. I put the lens cap on, that wasn’t it either. Eventually—and for whatever reason—I figure out it’s my bag that is the problem, after she tugs at the strap and motions on her body Bring it around the front.

I’ve never had this experience, where I’m not allowed to hold my bag a certain way. It’s heavy enough to that being anywhere that isn’t at its usual space is awkward at best and straining on a neck I’ve recently injured.

I spend the remainder of the visit—most of it—awkwardly hobbling through galleries, out of sorts and unable to concentrate on the works (that, otherwise, were pretty impressive).

Most of today was in this vein; perhaps not a trauma built to complain about, but enough small things going wrong or forcing me outside of the rather wide berth I keep for a comfort zone while traveling and, I don’t know. Some days are better than others. This wasn’t one of the good ones.3 These things happen. There will be more.

      Notes
  • Not that it would have mattered, as the museum would have been closed for mid-day break by the time I arrived
  • I also have a personal rule where I don’t turn around or go back a way I’ve been, under any circumstance, unless matters are drastic. Like, short of forgetting my passport en route to a train station, I’ll keep going and accept the consequences of whatever my stupidity has created.
  • As far as I can tell Ibiza is a beautiful place with enough charm to avoid its stereotypes of party culture—though I did have to deal with some insufferable Brits there for just that reason—but some days the universe has it out for you and doesn’t give a shit if it’s your one vacation day.

01:00 / 16 May 2019
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Day 29

drawing pages and pages of icons, creating brand style guides, doing general things that agencies use months and charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for in the span of hours over days for the roof over my head and the food on my plate. i must admit i love the workaway program for its hardly subtle subversion of capitalism.

also i enjoy doing things that people charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for over the course of a weekend because these people are idiots and grifters. take the media budget away from nike and you won’t have much left over. anyone who works in advertising is a coward.

01:00 / 15 May 2019
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Day 28

—fraught&fragile, it strikes me as ironic how surrender is never easy. acting in earnest to kill the mind in order to try for a ‘good nights sleep’ is quintessentially what it means to be American. use Netflix or a bottle of wine ten rounds on a video game or two Ambien or whatever. we kill ourselves to try and avoid cognitively recognizing the tragedy and heartbreak of living through a single honest day.

pacing around the courtyard for an hour, i kill time trying to figure out why i kill time. how my mind falters without stimulation. i perfectly understand the grotesque capitalism that surrounds the Market of Higher Education in America, but fuck if I don’t want to be in school again.

i say this from a patio in Spain—without hesitation. just because something is wonderful doesn’t mean it is immune to the judgment of circumstance. understanding and appreciating the context of life is difficult. as much as i’ve enjoyed this month and look forward to the next and the next, my lack of opportunity to create substantial art is consistently nagging at me: you’re doing it wrong. this is the time to build, not the time to absorb and abscond.

my next gig is in Ireland and there will be artists and musical instruments about, and later this summer likely a gig at an art community in Denmark… so I am simply trying to survive for now without an outlet. but still, it is less the lack of a studio and more that I am putting the resource of my time into transience when, for the first time ever, my heart is desiring an anchor, a place to work toward perseverance, a way to wait out the storm. i am almost ready to risk the idea of calling a place home.

Wayne showed up tonight on a rushed visit from England due to some passport complications getting in to France. he was immediately likable and fascinating; certainly a joy to talk with. he asked me for suggestions on how to get to town and where to go, and I spent ten minutes giving him bullet points instead of just putting on a fucking shirt and going out with him. i now have a night to kick myself at this unending inability to just be human.

i’m pretty sure travel is just an opportunity to find out all the different places you can be a total fuck-up in.

23:00 / 13 May 2019
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Day 27

i wasn’t anywhere near downtown but i took a bus and walked through throngs of weekend tourists just to see the ocean… didn’t even get much closer than this. sometimes it’s just the witness of expanse that matters.

01:30 / 13 May 2019
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