Berlin HBF

HBF

oh berlin how i have missed you

Pike Place

Pike Place Market · Seattle, 2019

it’s strange to think this time next week i’ll be back in america. it’s going to be an interesting fall.

Paris In Color Paris In Color Paris In Color Paris In Color Paris In Color Paris In Color

a few film shots from May. still getting used to shooting at 50mm with the M6. I love it, but I haven’t discovered the right ranges to be at for scenes yet.

(this type of shit really does happen quite frequently. one time when I was in Spain—basically only to connect on international flights—the new King had his coronation and big parade and drove by in front of me. I just bought my tickets for Berlin and they’re right in time for Art Week, totally unplanned.)

“It sounds like you need to write a manifesto,” and with that lunch was over.

The good thing about working with anarchists is that the conversations can remain agreeable, at least until the inevitable time when someone—usually me—shakes their head while bemoaning the State Of Everything. Then: somebody vents, everybody nods, anxiety increases, despair looms.

last year: Medika, Metalkova. This year: Christiania and now a small anarchist-principled art residency in the north of Denmark. I look at all this in wonder, knowing full well the general impossibility for a presence like this in America

part of it is that Anarchy as a commodity is valuable in the USA twice over: those who don’t understand it have an easy, pop-culture reference of teenagers with pink hair to disavow it with, and those who would seek to control everyone else can simply use the power of the status quo to initiate fear using class and material wealth as mechanisms of division.

the rest is just ownership. capitalism thrives on inequality and division, and the principles of, say, a legally gray co-living space are roughly the opposite.

still, it’s nice to spend time in these places. making art is difficult in an age when every action is meant to be a sales pitch for every creation one is involved with. Richter did Capitalist Realism, I’m busy working on my manifesto for Anticapitalist Expressionism

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

The first thing I notice is how everyone is smiling. Like, everyone. This place would be a cartoon if it was in America. There’s not a lick of insincerity. And this is leaving the fucking airport, where I thought it was a rule that basically everyone is miserable, always, everywhere.

This part of the world is often used, in one form or another, as a political talking point in America about places that “get X,Y or Z” done right. The clean streets, effective and modern transportation infrastructure, seemingly robust economy, not needing to worry about health care or police shootings (or, really, shootings much at all).1

Copenhagen felt like Amsterdam without all the vice tourism, which is nice because it uncrowded the streets a bit. Even at Christiania, with its turned-eye hash market, everything was relaxed. Energetic and wonderful, but no drunks on parade the way one might find around various downtown areas back in Holland.

I think the only depressing thing about travel is with each new city and culture I experience, it piles on more evidence as to exactly how much America has got wrong. How much we’ve veered off-course as a country, as an idea. How bad things are and how much it would take to get remotely back on track, toward an idea of a place where people would actually smile at one another leaving the airport.

  • Of course these are mostly leftist talking points; the right would probably like the fact most of the people are white, but nationalism is for suckers.

Airport security has to be one of the grandest displays of security theater ever. It’s marvelous how completely random standards seem to be from one place to the next.

En route to Copenhagen and both of my bags are taken for a hand search. A corkscrew is removed from one and a small bottle of shampoo from another, both thrown in the bin. These are things that I’ve traveled with not only for all of this trip, but also on previous trips in and out of Europe.

This is all just an annoyance because if someone was plotting to carry out a destructive act, they would likely make sure none of it involved trying to be sneaky with airport security. We’re all just putting little bottles of liquid in little plastic bags (environment be damned, apparently) as a way to pretend that something has changed other than how much power the state is willing to enforce over the people.

It’s so patronizing when minor inconveniences are played off as making me ‘safer.’

even with a long-standing history of revolution, unrest and the remarkable culture that stems from it, the deeply romantic aspects of Paris make it the saddest city I’ve ever been to. —the combination of everything gives it such a high bar in terms of social makeup: political, artistic, caring—

and though New York is an uncaring city, given that it’s American it still lends opportunity, or at least welcomes anyone who can generate some economic kickback. that’s not necessarily my vibe, but at least it’s not fuckin’ England.

London is a brutal city. it’s beautiful in the way a luxury store is, where by default it is there to say, if you can’t afford, don’t even ask. the city itself seems to operate as a grotesque advertisement for a caste system.

I guess who can blame them, the Brits have had a system based on inherited wealth longer than most, and at this point the despair that comes with it must just be so deeply ingrained in their social consciousness that the rest is useless. but roaming around, I see America’s future.

It’s not so much an admitted sadness, but an obvious one where nobody has any hope of getting beyond a certain place in life, and even if they achieved an extraordinary amount, somebody else would always be looking down on them just because of their name.

this culture is trash.

Castletownbere

Last Light in Ireland

Small towns seem to be alike all over the world. Word travels fast, people without names know who you are despite the fact you do not. The days fold in on themselves, at first seeming endless until suddenly they have vanished.

Ireland is a special place. Not that the people are any better than the rest of the world, but the country they’ve built certainly is. Plastic bottles along the shoreline and oil draped across wakes of fishing boats were reminders that nothing is ever perfect, but it’s a far cry from the horrendous bouts of violence that have gripped America for decades now.

It’s an awkward transition this time, as I thought initially I wouldn’t need to leave the border. I’d shifted into a place of semi-permanence, now back into transience. Being in London, almost the total opposite of a quaint Irish town in so many ways, is the right kind of shock. (Especially considering I have the same view of England as the Irish tend to. Long live the Republic.)

As the world carves itself to pieces, Ireland seems to be the one place staying above it all (even with Britain’s best efforts to take the entire region down in flames). Even the heatwave didn’t really hit there, only remarkable singalongs in comfortable pubs and friendly smiles that didn’t lack sincerity in the least. So long as I am not there, I will miss it.

Palma

i’m currently in London and had a hectic last few days in Ireland, thus the radio silence. things should calm down shortly and I’ll get back to regular writing. for now, enjoy this scene from Palma.