Posts by: Ari Messer

Today’s Weather

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Right now New York is calm, and this of course feels eerie. It’s a good time to catch the last weekend of Today’s Weather at Sit and Read in Williamsburg. Zero1 Magazine just ran my catalog essay for the exhibition.

The gallery recently posted an awesome time-lapse video of the artists at work and a free PDF version of the haunting little book that goes along with the show, which features Ian Campbell and David Muenzer’s “improved” vintage oil paintings and found Polaroids.

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Lovely Faces

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“Welcome to the only dating site that lists real people, sincerely posting their real data and picture. You’ll feel comfortable watching them. Just like in Facebook.”

To construct Lovely Faces, the third column in their phenomenal Hacking Monopolism Trilogy, which began with Google Will Eat Itself and Amazon Noir, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico borrowed info from one million Facebook profiles, then ran the pics through face-recognition software.

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Ari Messer: The Last Book I Loved, Ablutions

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Why is the second person such a natural and addictive tense–perhaps the only honest one–when writing about drug abuse and a foggy recovery?

For years, you haven’t been able to stop asking this question. Reading Patrick deWitt’s Ablutions: Notes for a Novel, you are asking it again, vocally (a real dinner-party silencer), by mistake or with motivations hidden from even yourself.

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Animating Howl

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In yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle, I chat with artist Eric Drooker about animating Allen Ginsberg’s Howl for the film of the same name as the long poem, and his resulting new book, Howl: A Graphic Novel.

One thing that was edited out of my piece was this sentence: “Howl: A Graphic Novel reads like a panoramic urban altar, demanding something deeper than just the reader’s attention.” Maybe readers are afraid of sacrifice?

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Chordal Wheeling

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There are geeks, there are music geeks, and then there are the chordal crusaders, the modal moradeurs. In their own words, “powerambient” band Chord summons the feeling “of a single note being rendered into an unsolvable riddle–a harmonic Gordian knot that creates an almost pastoral feel of being blinded by the sun.”

At Brooklyn’s Issue Project Room on Sunday, Chord brings their singular sound to a phenomenal Important Records showcase, which includes everybody from folky Arborea to the microtonal Duane Pitre.

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Drinking the Network Electric

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The only literary event more cloying than a boring reading is a networking event without alcohol. The Faster Times, “a new type of newspaper for a new type of world,” is out to remedy this situation in the same way they’ve been smartly remedying sickened news models.

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The British 20 Under 40

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Great Britain is making its own lists. And Great Britain is still publishing novels.

If you believe the rumors, the raging historical narratives are printed by hand, folded into folios, carried from London’s dust into the countryside in the talons of birds that never made it across the Atlantic, placed on a round table in the middle of Sherwood Forest, then torn open by the teeth of hunting dogs.

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Men with Balls

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“This show is an act of complete personal indulgence. When the good people at apexart approached me about curating something in their space, they made a huge mistake. After some polite back and forth, Steven Rand said to me directly, ‘We’d like you to do something that reflects your passion.’ I responded, ‘Well, football or what you call soccer is my passion.

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In the Art Rags

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Rollo Press is continuing the slowest book swap in the world.

The often-thrilling little outfit has been playing around lately with Linus Bill, a photographer who has taken to silkscreening because, he tells Interview, “Until I made those silkscreens, I was never satisfied with how my work looked as prints….With the silkscreens, you really work with color.

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Amor Fati

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The group exhibition Amor Fati (Love of Fate) opens at the Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland tonight.

Curator Lian Ladia has put together a potent mix of artists who aren’t afraid of politics and aren’t afraid of the subconscious. Highlighted by a “visual anthropological sculpture” by SFAI instructor and Bay Area gem Carlos Villa, the show includes work by Malaquias Montoya, Kwatro-Kantos, Faviana Rodriguez, and painterly duo MIJU, to whom I once wrote a letter as a review.

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In the Art Rags

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Larry Sultan is dead. The photographer behind Pictures from Home passed away from cancer on Sunday at the age of 63. The SF Chron, NY Times, and LA Times have similar obits. In 1990, Catherine Liu (yes, that Catherine Liu) talked to Sultan for BOMB about his home movies project; in the interview, Sultan says: “I want to measure how a life was lived against how a life was dreamed.”

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Lights in Your Throat

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The 2009 music release schedule is winding down, so people have started making their arbitrary top-whatever lists.

While such rankings might be more potent some years from now, when we see which albums are actually still in rotation (like tomorrow’s Leonids meteor shower, where “trails laid down by the [meteor's parent] comet in 1466 and 1533 are expected to be the chief contributors to whatever happens”), some late-season releases and tours guarantee that this presidentially revolutionary year will be known as the year of the resurrected voice.

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The Rumpus Interview with Alasdair Gray

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Writer and artist Alasdair Gray is his own best nightmare. It took the modern Scottish bard twenty-five years to finish Lanark: A Life in Four Books (1981), his fat, strangely inspirational novel of urbanism gone awry.

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When I Was Young

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“And he came to interview me and suddenly I felt like he was trying to corner me. ‘Oh, what’s it like being a terrorist,’ and ‘You’re just doing it for shock value so people will buy your records.’

“And then he said, ‘When I was young…’ and I was like, ‘What?’ and he said, ‘Oh, when I was young, before I formed my political opinion, I used to think John Lennon was cool.’

“And I was like, ‘So that means after you formed your political opinion, you didn’t think he was cool, because you thought they were all, like, wanky left-wing liberals.

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Cape Farewell

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Established by artist David Buckland in 2001, Cape Farewell coordinates cultural responses to climate change. One dope thing they do is send groups of artists, musicians, educators, writers, and scientists into the arctic–not forever, just for a trip. Past expeditions have included Feist, Amy Balkin, Vikram Seth, Jarvis Cocker, and Gary Hume, creator of the Hermaphrodite Polar Bear, below.

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