New Year celebrations basically bring me to the brink of insanity every year & I could write paragraphs of ridiculous tangents about how time doesn’t even exist or it’s fucking stupid our calendars don’t match up with with our seasons because literally all of this is arbitrary and completely invented, or how there’s probably something wonky with psychic energy when you have seven billion people thinking about ideas like achievement, failure, regret and renewal all within a single rotation of the planet.1 In fact I’m pretty sure the only thing I dig about the New Year is a few of my favorite songs were on the subject growing up.

I’ve already written on my disdain for End-Of-Year shit, especially on websites, but there remains that existential, ingrained pressure to analyze the past 365 days (or, since it’s the end of a decade,2 3,650 days). This has been a struggle. Instead of finding my favorite photos, or even ones I’ve even liked, this is my summary of the year—and, perhaps, decade at large.

31

One frame of 2019

The past year, the past ten, has only pushed people apart. It appears otherwise because screens are fucking everywhere, but as our lives become increasingly commodified and our networks appraised for potential commercial value and cultural influence,3 our individual and collective psyche will be pushed further toward a brink of existential collapse, unable to discern between commerce and our personal lives. We will see the world, glowing, shiny and connected yet feel increasingly alone, in the dark, and powerless. As our environment becomes less natural, fueled by invented and invasive economic schemes, there will be less and less to turn to that doesn’t somehow reinforce those same economies. Our sense of worth will be prescribed by corporations looking to brand it, now that it has become almost completely consumed by the concept that human value is equated with a cash balance.4

(The personal resonance with the image—en route from Boston to Spain earlier this year—is with this feeling, yet also that this year/past 10 saw me continue to drift, though perhaps less frequently than 2000-2010, certainly with more intent. I remain with my head in the clouds, simultaneously in the dark, fractured into various points of observation as the pursuits of Most People simply seem like filling out one of the millions of sets of brake lights below, stuck on a highway in traffic staring at a sign that says Speed Limit 70. The only appeal of that lifestyle is the increasing inability to survive in America without it—a rather hopeless outlook in terms of potential for spending time on this landmass of metrics and ennui.)

This is not to say 2020 is not to look forward to. I have a summer residency in Denmark and some international exhibitions to look forward to (and some more to try for). I have a new studio to develop new ideas in until then. I am on the heels of this year, where I published a massive book and released four albums. The political left is coming up like fire and we are finally taking no prisoners, and the art world’s addiction to neoliberal and globalist ideologies is due for a massive reckoning.

When all the protests began after the 2016 election and all these spineless liberals were full of confusion and anger, everyone was ready to fight. It was, like everything else liberals tend to think, incredibly misguided and poorly timed. Now is the time to fight, and I’m looking forward to it.

      Notes
  • I’m not really in to phrases like psychic energy or the astrology trend but still, there is something to be said for unknown unknowns.
  • I know it isn’t the real end of a decade but I already exhausted myself with the 2000/2001 celebrations and the millennium debates.
  • Cultural influence isn’t any type of legitimate or historical concept about society responding to the vision of an artist anymore but rather a temporary wave in the sea of non-stop advertising, where one trend or another will just be exhausted and a new set of ‘influencers’ desperate for attention will step up to whatever PR agency needs product placement.
  • Once we culturally begin taking screen addiction seriously and concepts like ‘binge watching’ as a negative, it will be for the better. Of course, High Society already sees those who are already on their phone 24/7 as lower class, and constant-connectivity will be seen as the tipping point: the upper class will see its necessity but have the luxury to avoid it, while those scraping to get by will be forced to always prioritize their technology over one another, easily associating who is lower/’the help.’