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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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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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Doing The Time

During my years in Portland I’d ended up in a few different social circles, a trait I’ve just sort of carried since middle school.1 I’ve been thinking about them a lot on my travels, who I’ve known, how, in what context and the length of time spent in that regard.

The latter is of particular interest to me while abroad. Traveling alone is the easiest way to feel completely alone in the world. Almost every action is self-reliance, every decision independent and every problem wholly yours to solve. Language is the most immediate barrier; people are more than willing to help, but they can’t if they don’t understand your question. But even if I was fluent in Spanish, I still wouldn’t be part of it here.

It took time to develop friendships and ingratiate myself into the various scenes I’ve associated with over the years. This idea has piqued my interest of late for multiple reasons; it’s coming up because there are obvious cultural tiers here—true Mallorcans,2 there are residents who are Spanish but from the mainland, residents who are of foreign descent, temporary workers, and tourists. But the relationships between culture, association and time are universal.

Commiseration

My general theory is that most relationships are based in commiseration. If you can’t vibe with what someone bitches about, it’s not going to work.3 However, that process of validating mutual despair isn’t immediate. It usually takes time and includes a variety of other occasions—in the end, it can lead to a bond, We’re in this together.

In the past these bonds have formed valuable unions and revolutionary uprisings; they also perpetuate through Ivy League fraternities into Wall Street and the White House. Yet with such an influential media—owned by a select few who certainly feel a sense of common purpose for more—and a diverse population, using the idea of tight-knit, trusted bonds against the people is easier than getting people together for a common cause.4

Evidence

In America I’d see evidence of anxiety and despair all over; street art is usually decent evidence. I see the same things in Mallorca; anti-fascist tags, feminist empowerment, general beauty.5 Then there are more human similarities: the homeless man using the doorway to a bank as a place to sleep at night, the nervous looks of underpaid shopgirls looking to meet a commission quota, the mother deciding what to buy at the market to save the most money.

Of course, all of these people are part of vastly different ‘tribes.’ The homeless man may spend his days in the park with the fellow downtrodden. The shopgirl may take what she can afford from that commission for a night at the club. The mother is concerned with the grades of her children. All economically oppressed, looking for purpose, relief… commiseration. Unity.

Our goals as humans working together should be to figure out how to promote and help one another in exploring and attaining our true potential. In the past this has been achieved through the structures of categorization Facebook now uses for profiteering—further evidence that these methods are outdated.6 However it’s difficult to trust without the test of time, gathering evidence that a person or idea isn’t there to betray you for personal gain—and, in late-capitalism, that is surely a threat at every turn. But it will still be an essential part of bringing humanity over this mountain of despair that is accumulated wealth for a select few.

The friends I’ve had, it took a lot of time to make them. The ones I’ve lost, it took no time at all to lose. They are perhaps the most fragile intangibles, human relationships. Person-to-person can be volatile enough; such a feat en masse feels almost as overwhelming as it does doomed. But there are few greater feelings than to be a part of something meaningful, and in that there is hope.

      Notes
  • Clique culture has always annoyed me. Be it high school where it’s about popularity, early adulthood where it’s about subcultural affiliation, or adulthood which is mostly class-based (with race, gender and various other sorts of tribalism thrown in to the mix). Just be good to one another, y’all.
  • To which I’d include natives or those with a long family history on the island. I’m not sure how they’d draw the lines.
  • Largely this is why unity among the proletariat in America is so difficult to attain: though everyone is in some sort of existential despair, the nuance of that despair is generally still divided—that nuance is preyed upon by those in power to exasperate that divide, and so people feel alone in their misery, looking at the complaints of someone else and being afforded (to a somewhat justifiable extent) the thought, “You think you have it bad…”
  • Bernie Sanders is pretty impressive in that sense, able to aptly message to a variety of American tribes that their economic despair does have a common root; an increasingly difficult task, given who is against him.
  • I would hope that this is evidence the next great international art movement will be to create a universal sense of a bond between all people, in that creation can be something all can appreciate and find significance within. The way politicians have lost their ability to convince the people they are for all, artists remain largely untarnished by the influx of capital (outside of the Art World© types who are more careerists than anything, looking to take selfies at Art Basel).
  • Once a corporation starts profiting from an idea it’s time to throw it away.

10:30 / 7 May 2019
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Day 12

it’s quite fascinating to me how feeling foreign manifests itself in different ways. the most obvious is skin tone: though urban areas can be diverse, most countries have large swaths of geography with a rather uniform coloring. not matching up is a good way to feel awfully bad very fast.

the next obvious division is linguistic; though English is predominant in most of the world today, there are enough variations—from regional accents to major dialectic differences between, say, American and British spellings and definitions of the same words—that even within one language there are plenty of ways to discriminate1

and then there is, perhaps, the most psychologically dominant but least natural: the law.

laws and the flags they are defined by are the most useless division of humanity and also the most terrifying. these are the borders, along with their enforcement agents, created to force this uncomfortable feeling of being foreign.2 their presence takes the mundane and makes it, if not awful, at least nerve-racking.

today I drove a car, dropping a couple people at the airport. It was a ten minute drive on mostly main roads, the only difficulty being three roundabouts along the route. It was nothing. I’m a fully legal driver—with an International Driving Permit along with a US drivers license and insurance. but still I felt different, nervous, and worried. the constant concern of something going wrong, of possibly interacting with Police, had me on edge.3

feeling different is never a Great Time and fearing repercussions for those differences is just as much: nothing new, experienced by most and overlooked by the powerful in favor of perpetuating said power. but the constant action of questioning myself—What If this, What If that—is the worst way to feel apart from those who are around you. our natural differences are difficult enough to overcome, as greed has shown throughout history: the fact humanity designs more impediments to understanding just goes to show, maybe there is no saving us, maybe there is no point

      Notes
  • though i prefer ‘proper’ english to the American version, I still can’t call a lawn a garden or the ground a floor. it’s just strange
  • which is absolutely absurd
  • it’s a feeling all Americans, especially white men, should probably experience. I’ve had it many times—Morocco being the most unnerving—and it’s impossible to get used to. it’s a combination of paranoia and doubt, a constant fear that even doing things right is doing something wrong. it amplifies with each action that could, at some point, involve the governing body of the state to be involved in one’s individual life.

00:30 / 28 April 2019
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Day 11

a constant and disturbing factor of being an American is the lingering sense of responsibility—or perhaps opportunity, and the rejection of each in expatriating—toward society and culture back in the States. when I was still there I could recognize the magnitude of anxiety that everything from the zeitgeist of culture to the shitshow of politics were having on my psyche. however the scope of that bubble was impossible to see from the outside.

perhaps it’s an over-sensitivity to the passing of time, or perhaps things really are that bad: every time I browse the news, it feels like i’m Peter Parker, Spider-Sense tingling as if a building was crashing down upon me. even nonchalant activities like looking over an Instagram feed are plagued by notions that no hope remains in the world. no lessons were learned in the reckoning that was 2016, or the fallout of 2017, and the entire damn thing is just going to shit.

I ease myself down into a lounge chair, absorbing the glowing Mediterranian sun, as if it’s not the same that provides each dimming dawn to my homeland. Just because I don’t recognize borders doesn’t matter shit to the people with all the guns, and just because a few of us can see the overwhelming flaws of capitalism in the modern landscape of technology and culture won’t stop the bankers laughing all the way to their exclusive clubs.

The overwhelming anxiety of The People worldwide may make them believe that there can be no sense of calm: I believe it’s only because they have yet to see the severity of The Storm on the horizon.

01:00 / 27 April 2019
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count down look out

prior to takeoff

two bags, one camera, no return ticket

(other numbers: $300 cash, thirteen rolls black and white film, twelve unmarked pages in the passport, eleven shirts, ten rolls color film, nine hours removed from the American west, eight pairs socks/underwear, seven months to play around with, six invitations to work, five wires, four pairs of pants, three forms of identification, two lenses, one day at a time)

it’s been 20 days since leaving the west coast and 10 since landing in Europe. It’s strange to me how location seems to matter less—granted, being in America these days sucks so there is that—but more necessary is the changing views. I’ve one or two more weeks to fiddle around in Mallorca before heading toward Paris. Then, who knows. I’m considering Denmark or Ireland.

I’ll never be able to afford to buy a home but I’m at least not gonna sit on a fucking couch giving all my money to Comcast and Amazon for the rest of my life.

11:00 / 25 April 2019
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Day Six

“the Portland weather has followed you here,” Antoine laughs as we drink a coffee and look at the gray skies above. “They say there are 360 days of sun a year in Mallorca, you’ve been here for the five that aren’t.”

just my luck

(i am working rather intensively on my current job so day-to-day life generally is similar to that in the States: eat, sit at the computer, play with the cat, walk around, drink too much coffee)

i played guitar for the first time in weeks which was a nice reprieve from worry… after a positive review of my work progress, i sat alone and looked at the wall. no art studio, no alcohol, no guitars, no weed and no friends means there is very little way to celebrate anything.

the recurring sentiment among folks i know in America is i’d love to just up and go to Spain et cetera … but the actual circumstances beyond that broad and generalized notion, the specifics of life and the emotional battering ram that follows regardless of the location, is far different than the sunny beaches and endless pleasantries that may be projected

reading the news is still frustrating and I am so glad to be away from the rather contrived system of American discourse, but perhaps that is simply evidence it’s time to leave politics behind completely. there is so much beauty here but beauty has never been enough for me. the surface of a bomb can be polished and painted until the moment it ends the world.

23:30 / 21 April 2019
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Day One

“I’m sorry, I was asleep.”

It may just be the braces along the top row of her teeth, but the flight attendant looks twelve. She’s apologized at least three times in the seconds I’ve been blinking myself awake for not taking my order previously. Before I know it, she’s recollecting a list of available food options for the flight: a cheese plate and some flavorless-sounding sandwiches.1 I thank her as much as possible—I loathe the treatment some feel they’re entitled to force upon the service and hospitality industries, so I am always trying to make their lives as easy as possible to offset some of that balance.

The young woman offs to collect my order of ginger ale and I glance at the clock. 17:12, just after 9 in the morning on the west coast of America. As good a time as any to wake up: the day began in Boston 12 hours ago on a 777 to Heathrow. I look outside and see a smooth blanket of clouds crash into the French Alps, peeking through like rocks in the shallows, disrupting the natural pattern, the tufts of white now radical in their shape and form.

Above the Alps

I am en route to Palma, Spain on the island of Majorca. Today is the first day of… whatever this is. Though I left the west coast a week ago, it was spent visiting friends and family in New York and Boston—an interim before abandoning America’s routine of chaos for one a bit more my pace in the rest of the world.

      Notes
  • it’s British Airways so the food isn’t bad it’s just … British. England managed to colonize 80% of the world and steal all their spices and basically used it for naught, as English food remains somehow more dull than America.

22:00 / 16 April 2019
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the Boston Options

across four days in New England, stretched between friends&family, the black cat slinks through my spread of personal effects strewn across the floor. essentially all that I have on my person is all that I have in the world anymore.

time remains a flat circle—

In The Basement (Dan)

—as Dan shows me his space in a Framingham warehouse and the first guitar I pick up in 3,000 miles shares a wall adorned with a Moroccan flag and I instantly think of what is now never again. A pixel breaks blue on the screen, flashes and dies.

in 24 hours I’ll be leaving the country with a one-way ticket to nowhere in particular. I’m speaking more in the future tense.

20:30 / 14 April 2019
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Begin Transit

exiting the Nassau stop in Brooklyn and a fog sits cold, somewhere between a heavy mist and a light rain, still but moist. I walked miles and miles and miles under the pretense of looking for a spring jacket or a couple good black-and-white photos in Union Square, having just come from the awkward and under construction MoMA (that did, however feature Richter’s Baader-Meinhof series—

, which, especially given the history, and the present, was quite stirring). I’d mindlessly covered most of Manhattan south of the Park with ease. I only shot half a roll of film. I’m not challenging myself enough.

I keep waking up in other people’s lives, having not thought enough as to what that means of late. I’m sleeping on Ilir’s couch and it’s the last sentence of the first page of a new book and I hope this one is better than the last.

22:00 / 9 April 2019
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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.)