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Monday May 26, 2003, 02:59

Ok, so it's a downright shame what's been going on here in this web space, and though I fully intend to do something about it, I feel like an explanation is not going to get anyone wandering back here for any deep thoughts or the like. Truth be told, there is a redesign that's like, you know, so close to done but which, unfortunately, looks sort of too much like the rest of the web and not at all like anything I might have actually designed so I'm sitting on it a bit on advice of my design counsel and will bring it forth once I've actually played around with some alternatives and have determined an appropriate course of action. For this space. That really should have tumbleweeds blowing by. There goes one now.

Skipping from here on out anything pertaining at all to our personal life1 (while cultivating a certain arrogance in referring to ourselves in the plural), we would like to discuss momentarily that abomination currently gracing every corner of the Guggenheim known as Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle, a piece that is about the artist's testicles and not much else. No really. Though we decided to go on a Saturday (which is arguably the worst day to attend any sort of cultural event, but especially a museum, in New York City) and though we were forced to stand on a line that wrapped around the corner in order to get into the museum, we can still say with a sense of confidence, that the piece was utter self-indulgent bullshit.

Which isn't to say that it was not executed elegantly and beautifully and that it was not art. We were not oblivious to the fact that there was a considerable amount of time and effort that was put into the concept and overall execution of the piece. But it adds nothing to the world. It does not leave the audience filled with additional questions or answers. It does not set forth any perceivable question and it does not answer any grander questions of the universe. Instead, the five-part film and associated installation that was filmed in the actual Guggenheim museum as part of the artistic process needed to be so carefully deconstructed in the curator's notices on the walls of the museum and in the museum catalog that we felt that we were back in elementary school, reading the answer to the homework and then going back through the story trying to find the piece that we missed the first time through.

It was not strange to find members of the audience scanning through the booklet while watching the movies and trying to match what was happening on screen with its "true meaning." For fuck's sake, at that rate the museum could have just as easily had signs pointing to the pieces of art reading "this lamb represents the Masonic rites of passage" and "these things represent the artist's descending balls." It certainly would have given people the context needed for the piece to mean anything at all.

So context, right? The piece of Cremaster 3 entitled "The Order," which was actually filmed in the Guggenheim, was quite interesting, but not for its subject matter or message (though the double-amputee woman done up like a half-leopard whose purpose it seemed was to kill our protagonist was a perfectly fine subject matter to us) but rather for its spanning of time in a static space. This provided the audience with both the idea that "this happened before because we are watching it and it was filmed and edited and now we are seeing it on big screens" and additionally that "there are pieces of art remaining from before that we can still see that we are now occupying where before there was a man dressed in a kilt being chased by a cat-lady," which is interesting from a process point of view and from the feeling that "I like the way this feels because the connections are able to affect me on the visceral level that art has a way of doing."

But this does not excuse the overall sense we got when leaving the museum that there might have been something larger going on in those five movies but in the end, the artist was just not willing to share with all of us.



1. Which is of course one of the main reasons for people to wander through here and for me to keep this "journal" or whatever else I've called it through the years. For a while, thinking that people really weren't interested in the daily happenings of individuals, we moved away from the person and more towards the abstract views of the world, forgetting, of course, the true meaning of the personal website, that is, the personal itself versus the website. There are plenty of websites out there, and they all serve different purposes, but the ones deemed "personal" hold a special place for us, for it is those sites that connect us to other individual writers, to other real, completely biased opinions on the world. Which is really what was promised to us all when we decided to jump on this whole Internet bandwagon. And really, were I a more visionary individual, maybe I could have really cashed in a couple of years ago. As it stands, all I have is this place, with archives back four years. And I suppose that there is benefit to taking something and burying it, there is also reason for keeping it alive as long as you possibly can. Er, I can.

So I'm taking a photography class. A black and white printing class, which is good for my skill base, though the last class was less than ideal, sticking me with the broken enlarger and all that. Capturing moments of life is still important you see, on a personal level, but it's taken on a different form (or rather, a different format has taken on a higher priority to me) these days. This shift in focus can be seen on this new website that has not had its official launch yet but which can sit unlinked no longer. The new site is a combination of experiments in utilizing a new content tool and an old photographic one. The collection is mostly old, but it will, hopefully, represent a body of work of which I am proud and which will serve as a brief introduction to my photographic style beyond that of pure snapshot. It will, of course, be linked prominently from the redesigned version of this particular site that you are currently reading. How's that for a zinger?

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