Friday, 2 December 2011

Take a Picture, It Lasts Longer: Kitchen Sketchbook 1

I was like why would anyone make a painting, like, ever? Like what's the fucking point, it's 2011. But lately I've come to see the value of materiality in objects and images: a bold assertion of corporeality, an antecedent instinct which appears as a primal scream in the face of virtualization. Not that there's anything wrong with virtualization; it's simply the state of things (as Baudrillard would say, with a big libidinal shrug), neither good nor bad. But mark-making - and corporeal assertion - suddenly looks like an act of radicality in the late-capitalist liquid modern: bodies on the street; sharpies on cardboard. This feels instinctual, like a reclamation: LOOK at us, LOOK! The peasants are revolting - messy, meshy, immediate. The aesthetic tropes of the new revolution are borrowed equally from folk and outsider artforms and the propaganda materials of Glasnost and Perestroika. It's a singularly handmade, unvectored kind of aesthetic. And what am I doing about it? The last time I saw my own handwriting was when I signed my tax declaration. For the rest I'm typing slender little aphorisms into an iPhone, toc toc. Neatly parsed into 140 characters. Tick, tick. A whole life spent online. Tick, toc. I never used to be so afraid of the instinctual-libidinal song that flowed from my crayons and magic markers: what the hell happened? Is it a feminist issue? Either way I figured I should get some practice in mark-making in order to overthrow the counter-revolutionary horror of imperfect speech. Fuck the spell-checker and fuck helvetica. And fuck the sleek graphical interface of the new world order.

So I installed a whiteboard in my kitchen and bought some markers. It's not revolutionary but it's a start. Free your mind, etc, and the rest.

"Every grand theory & noble sentiment ought to be first tested in the kitchen - and then in bed, of course."
- Charles Simic

[London, December 2011]