December 11, 2016

Things I Heard This Week

S told me at a Japanese plum dinner how it seems to him that all Japanese art has a same kind of sensibility: a bit of sadness, melancholy, and a bit of nature.  

Pickled Japanese plum is a very sour thing to eat - it opens up your nose immediately and all the rest follows. Not so many Europeans have a taste palate that can deal with a Japanese plum. At the Japanese plum party the host H. had fun putting the pickles in everything he was making - in the pancakes, the quiche, and the soup - while chuckling: “It’s okay...” It reminded me of Warhol who liked to say: “Why not?”

The Japanese plum party had a name, it was called Tschaikovksy’s Pickle Surprise. Tschaikovsky was gay, H. told me. The Russians consider him to be their national composer, which is funny, so H. said, chuckling once more, and then showed me on Youtube Tom Rubitz’s video Pickle Suprise.

In the bathroom of the host, there was an object with a vagina lying on the white tiles. My friend and I were looking at it, our imagination running wild. The host came in (it’s a special kind of bathroom, one that invites people in) and told us we could touch it. We backed off first, then to be informed it’s a sculpture made out of stone. I really liked the sculpture and went back to see it a few times during the evening. 

A told me she studied speculative design in London. You can also call it critical design, she explained to me. Most design is made to serve a purpose, an ideology. Critical design isn't and it speculates about the future. When she started studying speculative design, her dream was to build a huge machine on high voltage. She did build a machine, A said, but it's not on high voltage.

I watched an episode of Absolutely Fabulous in which Patsy is starting a new job at a fashion magazine in New York. When she arrives, they ask her what her program is, to which she responds: “I want to take the fun out of fashion!” 

B told me how he prints out stuff from the internet to read on paper. He can’t believe people still send these kind of emails which say at the bottom to please not print out this email. As if anybody still prints out stuff. If you read online for 30 minutes,  B. informed me, then you’re using up circa 32 CO2, while if you do the same on paper it’s only 28 CO2. Also, paper is a renewable resource and when you decide to print something out, you very much realise that what you’re doing has its consequences. With online surfing it’s much harder to visualize. 

Art theorization seems a very dry, stiff, and tough thing to do, only for those who have a sec, abstract mindset. The word “theory” itself has the sound of a nut that is impossible to crack. While teaching cultural theory for Node, however, my student T. wrote in his assignment that theorization comes easily: “It requires nothing more than imagination, fantasy.”

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