There is a general discontentedness. Something is wrong, missing. What

exactly?


Dialogue, we know at least this.


In place of dialogue we have soliloquy [(Not monologue at this point -- talking to an audience.)]  Talking by one’s self: talking to one’s self. 


Perhaps two or more could begin there. Maybe start by attempting to fully articulate the sources and rhythm of this discontent. To make it intelligable.


How does this discontent come up?

Soliloquy is unidirectional. It is instantly understood as a dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener.


Soliloquy is a device.

On stage, it is a speech in which a character reveals his thoughts to the audience but not to other characters in the play. It is a device whose effectiveness is dependent on an invisible wall.

Soliloquy is unidirectional.

Soliloquy appears to blur the boundaries of public and private. It builds a pseudo public around a private. Piled up on top of one another, soliloquies make up a pseudo public sphere. It is orchestrated and administrated by a body of private institutions.


Soliloquy is also generally the act or custom of talking to oneself or talking when alone.


Soliloquy can be a form of spectacle that mediates social relations.

Art exhibitions stir discontent. Openings  are disappointing until one comes to expect less than mediocrity and eventually crave it somehow (or not).


Also all other forms of spectacle around the art show billed as forms of “public” gatherings: panels, discussions, lectures, and other forms of commemoration. The experiential emptiness of this intensified neo-Capitalist commodification of pseudo-reality neccessarily results in alienation, anxiety and Boredom.


Continuing with this line of thought one can move into the general and suggest that the rhythm of this discontent seems to coincide with the rhythm of the rites and rituals of the art industry. But it is much more complicated. One must also concede that discontent surrounds and is often the content of belated reflections on the rites and rituals of the art industry whether they be to ones self or in the form of conversation with another.


It must be recognized—

In thinking about how our discontent seems to be organized around the schedule of the art industry, we overlook the complexities and specificity of the whole situation. The art industry in Los Angeles imposes its rhythm on top of the civic rhythm of Los Angeles. It rests on top of, cuts, and punctuates it. This is why in order to have a conversation about the rhythm of this discontent one must first bring the rhythm of Los Angeles into the discussion.


The entire mythology of Los Angeles is built on a rhythm it may have once had. Some aspects of it carry on.

Reyner Banham declares that “Every great city offers a mechanism by which a man can impose his will and his style upon the entire world,” and goes on to describe Los Angeles as  such a place. This mythology, which was at one point considered radical urban theory, has always been boosterism. We know it well:


A place where surfer artists can abandon themselves to the ancient rhythms of the sea, where the only thing rushed is the development of roadside consumption apparatuses such as gas stations and food dispensaries. A spread out place where traffic (clear or clogged) regulates lives more than the workday. A place where artists can ask “why not this?” in opposition to New York’s ever looming question “why this now?” A site of surplus real estate/suburban flight/endless horizons and therefore cheap rent.


But things have changed. White flight is now enacted in reverse as real estate in central Los Angeles is manipulated and revalued through boosterism.


The rhythm of Los Angeles life is a confluence of overlapping private and public lives, all permeating and punctuating one another.


An attempt should be made to disentangle these lives and identify their patterns and characteristics.


Boosterism in Los Angeles today consists in re-imagining Los Angeles as the suburban fantasy of a city.


In this figuration, artists are bodies and lives that decorate the streets. They replace the homeless, who are banished from the kingdom, and exist as punctuation to this new lifestyle. One might think here of Christine Sterling’s role alotted to “orientals” in her configuration of “China City” in 1938. Desirable surplus lives that are a subsidiary leisure time consumption component of more directly lucrative lives.


They are welcome “bums” that might occupy the mandated subsidized units in a loft setup without revealing class struggle.


These banal aspects that determine the rhythm of this place. Their seeming banality and ubiquity causes them to be overlooked and it is imperative that they be articulated.


Traffic still plays a role in determining the rhythm of life in Los Angeles to the same extent as mythologized times but differently. When one awakens before dawn one can listen for the oceanic ambience like a massive conch shell hovering over the city to tell whether is is 3 am or 6 am.


Traffic decides for us whether to see a show/performance, or how many we can fit into a night or afternoon and which to see.

This becomes particularly difficult given the amount of art experience distribution points around the city, all vying for consumption.


It is literally impossible to see much art in Los Angeles. There is just not enough time to drive back and forth across the city. There is also the daunting task of sifting through all the glut.


We are living through a crisis of artistic overproduction. As a result, we see a proliferation of art galleries and venues as well as an emerging managerial class of curators and administrators to choose from the breadlines and organize the chosen.


Professional choosers are the colonizers of bodies and spaces of creative labor.

Rent has become nearly impossible to pay. Rent is now extracted at multiple sites (property, student loans, parking meters and other tickets, city taxes, etc.), but the most pressing form of rent is property rent. That kind of rent that moves entire classes around from place to place and is perpetuated by artists themselves. The entire mythology of Los Angeles being a place where artists are “free” is based on a rent structure that no longer exists.


All of these punctuations seem to point point to a contemporary dilemma: lack of time.


What we call leisure time is a privilege afforded to fewer and fewer as new ways of extrapolating labor emerge and integrate into our very conception of life.


Leisure time is a prerequisite not only to making work, but also to seeing it, conversing about it, reading about it etc. Due to the cognitive nature of most of our day jobs, leisure time becomes a prerequisite to even thinking about art.











And so we retreat into ourselves.


The art fair is a relatively new rite with its own rhythm. This site of conspicuous consumption is a matrix where galleries go to represent themselves. 


One enters now with extremely low expectations because through repetition one has become acculturated to it. The lowering of expectations is in concert with the linear development that accompanies the cyclical return of the event and propels it forward. 


The rhythm of the fair imposes itself differently on a visitor than a vendor.


One of us once had a two day job at the L.A. County Fair. Selling satellite dishes. More precisely, organizing potential satellite subscribers by determining their potential to subscribe through a series of questions designed to reveal their socio economic status and lifestyle. 


This pseudo public has no periphery it seems. It is one big fat center surrounded by an Event Horizon, beyond which, nothing is seen or heard.


ACT UP taught us that the privatized traumatic experience is a tool of the state.

It shuts down dialogue and isolates us.

It omits our voices from the space of representation.

In our individual fantasy worlds, we are free and unique.

In reality, we are pawns in a game of financial hedges.


What is the “artist” lifestyle?

Who determines it?

In our conversations we all admit that on some level we were drawn to art as a kind of withdrawal from abstracted life. An enhancement of our everyday lives and a refusal to engage in normative lifestyles.


But at some point on this road to freedom we realized that our next move was being offered up to us as a lifestyle choice by some arm of the culture industry.


In fact, it seems we are always just one step behind the co-optation and

commodification of our lives and our strategies of living these days.


What is art’s relationship to a strategy of living if not a part of that strategy?


This soliloquy happens within a certain time frame and on a mechanized schedule. It does not have any organic aspect. In fact it is mechanically attenuated by dominant institutions.


This attenuation is a necessary device that generates a sense of difference only through repetition of the same.


Identifying rhythm is a way of thinking the production of repetitive time and space, which is always concealed by the novelty of curators, themes, pseudo-public pseudo-discourses, etc.

Artists work for real estate for example without compensation, nor any idea that there would or could be compensation, nor that they are laboring as their labor has been dressed up and sold back to them as personal indulgence and fulfillment.


At one time this labor may have actually been a kind of fulfillment, and it might continue to be so, and so this idea of fulfillment and what constitutes it needs to be broken down. It remains to be examined who’s interests it actually serves.


Under this administered notion of personal fulfillment and cultural advancement, “artists” enhance the charters of private agencies that transform their work legitimization and ultimately into profit. 


To think beyond dialectics such as studio/post studio, autonomous/site specific, etc. Rhythm is one way to move away maybe.


Most artists have an undisclosed sense for the rhythm of the market. Most of these artists are engaged in fashion production.


The fashion engine is mechanism that taps into an internalized and unspoken market logic.


The art engine imagines consequences and alternate realities, reconfigurations of social relations, and use-value (this sometimes works against us).


The ultimate goal of the fashion engine is to make more products.


The ultimate goal of the art engine is to alter perception through thought.


Of course these are extremely romantic definitions from a certain historical artist perspective.


Two other ways of looking at it: What we know to be the dominant form of art today is not art at all, but fashion masquerading as art (fraudulent), or, when we speak of art we should maybe give it a new name since art is itself a vestigial ruin that is by nature a fashion production at this point, as may be constructs like “public sphere, ” etc., but we can allow them to stand in place of anything better until it comes along.

Few artists operate aware of their double agency however. The other, neglected reality of their role in the larger economy of labor produces material results in the world around them.


The best artists have a sense for the rhythm of the market and they manipulate it towards complex art productions. They neither refuse to participate (reactionary position) nor

operate as production zombies (complicit position).

Finding one’s own sweet spot between these poles is an urgent task for young artists today. To find this spot would be to discover and cultivate one’s own rhythm.


This is how a notion of individual creativity can be recuperated and re-politicized—turned productive.


This is where we stand, with no options but to detourn co-opted strategies. Which is really not such a desperate position given some thought.


Low rent, along with an anti-authoritarian stance (born of repression) created an alternative to the rigid New York hegemonic discourse. An attitude of “why not this?” But this anti-position has been perverted and distorted. That question that perhaps should be asked here today is perhaps “why this now?” as the why-not-this relationship to production is inherently geared toward market production and boosterism.


To the benefit of Financiers, art exhibitions (and especially opening events) function as public distractions not unlike street festivals or parades.


One could draw parallels between Charles Fletcher Lummis inventing the first Los Angeles “fiesta” as a diversion from the Pullman Strike in 1894 and art openings today.


Public distractions to mask class struggle and distort class conciousness.

To mask the discontent of the disenfranchised.To mask our own discontent with our lives and ourselves.


But our discontent is not constant, otherwise surely we would surrender to it. Many of us do and in fact all of us submit to it.


But this discontent is broken and divided by periods of hope. To return to the art opening for a moment: the fact that it is disappointing suggests that there was some sort of expectation perhaps rooted in one of these stretches of hope.  It also indicates that once our hope is restored we depend on established institutions to deliver to us what we lack. What was it that we expected?

How to take control and build that?



Last update/revision:

8—18—13

To submit is to yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another, or to subject one’s self to a condition or process: to commit to the consideration or judgment of another.


For many, submission happens before a practice can be developed. It may be difficult for artists in this position to understand what it would mean to surrender their practice. There has never been anything else.


But to submit can also be to offer as a proposition or contention.


We submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable,” for example.

Can we speak of Soliloquy’s internal rhythm?

The fashion engine propels most art school critique. The Master, usually an artist will utter that a work is “too ________.”

This utterance cuts through the room as the word of god, but where would it lead if questioned? Too _____ for what? In nearly all cases the line of questioning would lead to the answer that it is too ________ for the market, whether it be the financial market or the cultural market, the two being inextricably linked as they are pregnant with one another.

Soliloquy even dominates the supposed space of dialogue that we identify with radical pedagogy: the critique.

Students tend to identify the

The form of social space is encounter, assembly, simultaneity. But what assembles, or what is assembled?

The answer is: everything that there is in space, everything that is produced either by nature or by society, either through their co-operation or through their conflicts.

If the museum is a mausoleum, the gallery show is a funeral and the studio is a morgue. In Los Angeles these morgues are filling up. Bodies upon bodies. Artist run around looking for a way to have a funeral. They want to do mourning and get it over with. They are tired from  melancholia.


Los angeles has the potential to produce something rad precisely because it’s conditions are so bad.


There is a flipside to crisis which is its productive capacity. Productive capacity not in terms of quantity but rather in the form of imagination of possibility.


In europe, art is generally more interesting than in the United States, which is why we can expect nothing rad there.


Even the most mediocre productions find an exhibition space. Education is still somewhat affordable and

Assembly is a question of autonomy not from, but for. This means establishing a source of power other than the established.

You could check out that old building. You could find out who owns that new building, and then frequently write to them about how it should be used instead. You could spend more time on the other side of that freeway. You could go to more protests. You could bring a different friend to visit a different industrial area each week. You could buy food exclusively from street vendors for the next month. You could go to that market and ask other customers what one thing they recommend you buy. You could choose a recipe and buy each ingredient at different markets in different parts of the city. You could walk into that hotel and see if you can get into the pool. You could get off the bus at the wrong stop. You could take surface streets. You could visit a charter school, a public school, and a private school in one day. You could ride a bike for an hour down a street you don’t know. You could go to a City Council meeting. You could call the mayor’s office everyday with an invitation to lunch at Denny’s. You could walk around City Hall like you own the place. You could climb the fence around that empty lot next door. You could try to figure out why that lot is empty. You could pull over and ask to join that trash pick up crew. You could talk to more strangers. You could go to a Neighborhood Council meeting in a neighborhood you’ve never been. You could go to a Homeowners Association meeting in an area you don’t live. You could learn more about squatting laws and email updates on your progress to various realtors. You could figure out if that space is public or private. You could let patrons know what that business’s building used to be. You could learn if any historically significant events happened on your street. You could ask someone at 7-Eleven for directions to the next 7-Eleven. You could ask kids around the neighborhood for directions to other neighborhoods. You could go to every multinational franchise location in your ZIP code. You could go to a brand new big box store and ask people what they think should be done with the building when the company inevitably closes that location. You could visit every restaurant on your street and introduce yourself to anyone who makes eye contact. You could visit every local business on your street and learn the owner’s name, then do the same on a street in the furthest part of the city from yours. You could find a local franchise you don’t know well and go to each location in one weekend. You could go to three shopping centers in three different neighborhoods in one day. You could try to hang around after they’re closed. You could eat while sitting on the curb. You could spend more time by the river at night. You could join more group bike rides with people you don’t know. You could set up a group bike ride to visit as many libraries in the city as possible in one day, and then another to visit police stations. You could sit next to that person. You could sit for fifteen minutes at every bus stop on a major route. You could eat breakfast each day in a different corporate plaza and wave to the people coming to work. You could pretend you work in that building and hang out inside as long as you can. You could spend a whole day on the Metro trains. You could barbeque and play softball in the parklets downtown. You could occupy the parklets. You could find out the monthly rent for each unit of each building on your block. You could call a developer’s office and ask that they define “vibrancy.” You could write a response to that real estate ad. You could measure the interior and exterior spaces of businesses while they are open, particularly ones in changing areas. You could go to every bank downtown and ask where the emergency fire exit is. You could call tenants of luxury lofts and ask that they share one neighborhood secret. You could go to every store on a high-end shopping street and ask if they’re hiring. You could walk your entire census tract. You could walk around the port. You could watch a ship being unloaded and then try to follow one piece of cargo from place to place until it’s on a shelf in a store. You could drive somewhere unfamiliar at 4AM. You could get lost.


Podrías revisar ese viejo edificio. Podrías averiguar quien es el dueño de ese nuevo edificio y escribirle frecuentemente sobre como piensas que se debería de estar usando. Podrías pasar mas tiempo al otro lado de esa autopista. Podrías ir a mas protestas. Podrías llevar a un amigo a visitar un área industrial diferente cada día. Podrías comprar comida de vendedores de la calle exclusivamente por el próximo mes. Podrías ir al mercado y pedirle a la gente que te recomienden algo para comprar. Podrías escoger una receta para cocinar y comprar cada ingrediente en una parte diferente de la ciudad. Podrías ir a ese hotel y tratar de meterte a la alberca. Podrías bajarte del camión en la estación equivocada. Podrías usar las calles en vez de la autopista. Podrías visitar una escuela privada, publica y chárter en un día. Podrías usar tu bicicleta en una calle que no conoces. Podrías ir a una junta de la asamblea de la ciudad. Podrías hablar a la oficina del alcalde todos los días para invitarlo a comer a Denny’s. Podrías caminar por la alcaldía como si eres el dueño de ella. Podrías escalar la reja del terreno de al lado. Podrías tratar de averiguar porque ese terreno esta vacío. Podrías detener tu auto y ofrecerle ayuda a la gente encargada de recoger la basura. Podrías hablar mas con gente que no conoces. Podrías ir al consejo vecinal de un vecindario que nunca has visitado. Podrías ir a una asociación de residentes de un área en la cual no vives. Podrías averiguar sobre las leyes de allanamiento de morada y mandar correos electrónicos al corredor de bienes raíces sobre tu progreso. Podrías averiguar si ese espacio es público o privado. Podrías decirle a los clientes que tipo de negocio había en ese edificio antes. Podrías averiguar si han ocurrido eventos históricos en la calle que vives. Podrías preguntar a alguien en el 7-Eleven las direcciones para el 7-Eleven mas cercano. Podrías preguntarle a los niños del vecindario direcciones para ir a otro vecindario. Podrías ir a todas las sucursales multinacionales de tu código postal. Podrías ver como descargan un barco, luego tratar de seguir el paquete descargado hasta que este en su lugar final para ser vendido. Podrías ir a todos los restaurantes de tu calle y presentarte con cualquier persona que haga contacto visual. Podrías ir a todos los negocios de tu calle y averiguar los nombres de los dueños, luego hacer lo mismo en la parte mas lejana de la ciudad. Podrías encontrar una franquicia local que no conozcas bien e ir a todos sus locales en un fin de semana. Podrías ir a tres centros comerciales en tres vecindarios diferentes en un día. Podrías tratar de quedarte después de que cierren. Podrías comer sentado en la banqueta. Podrías pasar mas tiempo en el rio durante la noche. Podrías unirte a grupos de ciclistas con gente que no conoces. Podrías organizar un grupo de ciclistas para visitar todas las librerías que puedas en un día, luego lo mismo pero para visitar todas las estaciones de policías. Podrías sentarte junto a esa persona. Podrías sentarte por quince minutos en cada estación de camión de una calle principal. Podrías desayunar en una plaza corporativa diferente cada día y saludar a la gente que este llegando a trabajar. Podrías pretender que trabajas en ese edificio y quedarte adentro lo mas que puedas. Podrías pasar todo el día en las líneas del metro. Podrías hacer una parrillada y jugar softball en los parklets del centro de la ciudad. Podrías ocupar los parklets. Podrías averiguar la renta mensual de todas las unidades de los edificios en tu cuadra. Podrías hablar a la oficina del desarrollador inmobiliario y preguntarle si te puede definir la palabra ¨vitalidad¨. Podrías escribir una respuesta al comercial de la inmobiliaria. Podrías medir el área interior y exterior de los negocios cuando estén abiertos, particularmente los que cambian de lugar. Podrías ir a todos los bancos del centro de la ciudad y preguntar donde esta la salida de emergencia. Podrías hablarle a los inquilinos de los edificios de lujo y pedirles que te compartan un secreto de la vecindad. Podrías ir a la calle de tiendas elegantes y preguntar si están contratando. Podrías caminar toda tu sección censal. Podrías caminar alrededor del puerto. Podrías ver como descargan un barco, luego tratar de seguir el paquete descargado hasta que este en su lugar final para ser vendido. Podrías manejar a un lugar desconocido a las 4AM. Podrías perderte.







The individuated subject is both more useful and more manageable; ‘the individual is not, in other words, power’s opposite number; the individual is one of power’s first effects’