Ralph Paine – 31 May, 2019
a series of small variously gridded paper tag collages in generic black frames matching the colour scheme some cubist-like collages of wine labels and bottle silhouettes leant up but sagging on small wall shelves & on the window sill a couple of collections of little product boxes plus plastic trinket etc a book cover with the pages ripped out now containing a pamphlet and map & arranged on the island bench top a set of plastic place mats with fanned tea packet labels OK so ya gotta zoom-in get close up figure out the additions and alterations study investigate scrutinise read the titles on the works list & the words on the images and objects… BEMUSE …
The Annals of Everyday Life
18 May - 8 June 2019
Inbound on the Western Line twilight casting its wicked spell over absolutely everything it’s beautiful the city coming alive in a deepening night station to station all superimposed indications and attempted pattern recognition poles cracks wires dead weeds drifts of gravel signs jumbled and bewitched refracted and reflected sudden vistas opening out over the south east little maunga and soft painted clouds smudged pinks ‘n’ greys in a Tiepolo Blue Sky jet circling toward Mangere shadowy backyards roofs receding rambling crazy quilt-wise askew broken jasmine-covered mesh wood tin fences sliding by hedges pohutukawa privets palms sheds ‘n’ stone walls house lights coming on street lights shit did I put out food for the cat or tell Aphra I was going out? sent txt my face in the window lined tired engulfed by some weird puzzlement as to what’s outside & what’s inside what’s on this side on that side as if a live-running lesson in quantum physics cosmic blur RELATIVITY graffiti glow Smooth Crew started it all at Morningside back in ‘79 ghost trees looming this long bamboo hedge always puts me in mind of BH lines of headlights waiting at level crossings ding ding ding ding whooooosh Smartphone zone iBuds she smiles as she leaves through the automatic doors embankments dirty apartment complexes light industrial junkspace Corrections Facility fuck! that amazing imposing frightening stone wall We Are Now Arriving at Grafton Depart Here for Auckland Hospital Fi will have just boarded at LAX be home at dawn it’s been 3½ weeks miss ya so much babe concrete wall after concrete wall minimalist field drawings signed by taggers horizontal shift Time is Light But Space is Colour surface to surface screech squeak hum rattle ‘n’ roll Newmarket turnaround everything’s going backwards through Parn-Hell in front SHE’s talking non-stop in Russian scanning Facebook on an iPhone while HE looks on but says nothing the BOY’s playing with an action doll swoop swoop particles of the future not of the past big slow curves and a gentle slide into Britomart beep tagged off escalator ride and stairs gotta have a piss these toilets ain’t too bad chill uptown stroll through waves of walking bodies traffic cyclists fuckin’ crazy Limes puffer jackets hoodies and sneakers Nike Adidas Converse high tops platform whatever Prada window Louis Vuitton window red man green man 20 secs 19 secs 18 secs winter coats ‘n’ polished boots buskers beggars damn it I’ve got no coins only PLASTIC warm welcoming vibe in Mezze Bar Est. 1992 a glass of merlot a hesitation a little pluck and right next door at The Met and only a lift ride away a Malone preview’s getting underway … From The Annals of Everyday Life @ Mercy Pictures
J introduced me to the galleristas Jerome and Teghan the Pixies as Daniel calls them I grabbed a wine from the kitchen and quickly was talking with a young painter about Deleuze’s “very tricky but interesting” Francis Bacon book “It’s on Sensation” “Yeah Sensation” “The Logic of Sensation” “Yeah the Logic of Sensation” “Figures and Invisible Forces” “Yeah Figures and Invisible Forces” Zen-perfect! Every Painter Recapitulates the History of Painting in Her Own Way “Fuck long time how are ya?” it’s C whew always makes me laugh yet stranger things we talked a twofold tale of Taxes & the Dialectic “OK divide ‘n’ rule … Then gather together and divide ‘n’ rule again … Thesis antithesis synthesis equals State Thinking right?” “Uh huh in a low-theory kinda way money and commodities simultaneously falling together flying apart falling together…” “I’m reading Marx it’s a national debt and taxation thing over-taxation as AXIOM not ACCIDENT hidden contradictions realized but never really resolved endless elliptical circulation or um perhaps spiralling circulation is better Marx is very helpful in my line of work have you seen the online David Harvey videos?” “Yeah a few years back Tessa and I were in a Das Kapital reading group at Unite Union we watched them” meanwhile outta the corner of my eye an intensely bright and super-crisp video’s playing on a big screen TV someone said “Kitchen Table Art” but I couldn’t take nothing in not the works the hang the space Note to Self ring the Pixies for a viewing appointment went back down outside smoked a Marlboro gave one to Ms X said she wanted to buy one but that’s against the CODE said she was travelling to Venice next week and all stupid me could reply was “Cool” and then a sweet young dude queried about Daniel’s Wanking-in-Gallery Toilets Project and I attempted recall but through the low level paranoia and wine-blur couldn’t come up with much INFORMATION and back upstairs J listened very patiently as I went on and on about how having mokopuna heightens my Anthropocene Anxieties so much that these days I just gotta believe in some kinda communal sorcery and magic and back down in the lane again C shouted me a nice Renkon chicken katsu ‘n’ rice and suddenly everyone was discussing what next? and a Famous Beauty of Instagram says she’s off home to read “What are you reading?” I inquired “Two books about Disgust … And yeah a book by Patti Smith” “Kids?” “Nah an earlier one” OK Patti Smith and Disgust (aka the gatekeeper emotion) interesting combo I Measure the Success of a Night by the Way by the Way I uh by the Amount of Piss and Seed I can Exude All Over the Columns that Nestle the PA … At Heart at Heart I’m an American Artist and I Have No Guilt I Seek Pleasure I Seek Nerves Under Yr Skin ended up at Hotel DeBrett CnrBar in the very mellow company of Messers Handscomb and Hurrell ruminating on the pleasures and problems of the Third Age
Call me a friend … A friend of the artist certainly … And perhaps even of yours Idle Reader but of everyday life? can one be a friend of everyday life? can one be its companion comrade lover just as philosophers are said to be lovers of wisdom? and if so how to conduct this act perform the gestures construct the radical affects invent the required tactics and apposite arts of doing? but what is this everyday life anyhows? maybe something so CLOSE & INTIMATE that like St Augustine speaking of Time if no one asks me I know what it is but if I wish to explain it to the one who asks I do not know and yet despite its seemingly ineffable essence somehow I do know that today everybody wants a piece of everyday life it’s a highly contested zone THE highly contested zone and it’s collapsing fast a fuckin’ capitalist war-zone vast field of BIOPOWER control extraction commodification colonisation financialisation so maybe it’s the only thing mode concept kind of life I can still be a friend of yeah that in the formation of counter-moves and via reuse and resistance one can still love defend secretly shelter reinvent give safe passage to everyday life
When Daniel last stayed with us at Hotel Franklin I am pretty certain he was reading Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life there’s a chapter called Walking in the City walking otherwise walking unofficially walking against the grain fuckin’ with the standard cartography ordinary-people Tactics against corporate and state Strategies etc and we’d often done this together that is to say walked the city OTHERWISE especially at night psychogeographic drifts somewhere between The Domain and Western Springs where time was so completely lost as a few spliffs were smoked one could feel that we would never do anything better and now for me certain sub-zones of Fuckland are haunted by Daniel … And our friends … On this occasion he was sleeping in Aphra’s old room and just as when at about 15 she started coming home late through the bedroom window Daniel was doing the same so as not to wake us I guess and yes there are many other documents books etc in this lineage all the Situationist & Letterist stuff feminist black power (e.g. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten) radical indigenous queer Henri Lefebvre’s 3 Vol. Critique of Everyday Life Fernand Braudel’s The Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible a classic from the illustrious Annales School of History simply flipping through the abundant illustrations gives a far more routine yet still very powerful sense of everyday life as a vast and open thematic or should I say problematic? of art 15th-18th century depictions of planting harvesting threshing street markets and bazaars food clothes and fashion tax collectors money changers desert caravans sailing fleets ports and wooden cranes wagons carts and carriages hunting and fishing drinking and smoking woodcutters at work writers at work crowded cafes plague victims and starving armies conversing peasants kitchens of the poor sumptuous banquets bathing water wheels forges tin mining battering fireplaces windows houses towns etc etc etc images from everywhere from Aotearoa Japan Goa to Venice San Diego Persia anonymous drawings and etchings paintings by Veronese and Brueghel the Younger sometimes Braudel calls it Material Life a layer covering the Earth vibrant matter everything that we make and use & today so much has been accursedly added The Stack etc We multitudes of Empire during the Capitalocene … Virginie Despentes in Vernon Subutex 2 pp. 333 & 334: We will not be solid We will unspool We will not be pure We will thread our way We will be neither decent nor upstanding We will not be heroes We will not be conquerors … Of the warped wood of humanity we will not try to fashion steel We will have neither flag nor country We will forget We will forgive We will be the weak and the gentle We are the defeated and we are thousands We are searching for a way
Brian O’Doherty: we have now reached a point where we see not the art but the space first … Malone’s From The Annals of Everyday Life @ Mercy Pictures takes O’Doherty’s adage to the LIMIT what’s at first apparent is only the unmodified living space of an ordinary circa 2000 central city apartment white walls and ceiling charcoal carpet frosted glass wall mounted lights four or so black painted bar stools evenly spaced in front of horizontal windows facing east over High Street in a side area a low black leather sofa facing a big screen TV and near the front door spotless and devoid of clutter a black and stainless steel kitchen with island bench and vinyl floor covering there are artworks here but at first glance they simply blend in fuse seamlessly with the space could’ve been here since the apartment was first occupied a series of small variously gridded paper tag collages in generic black frames matching the colour scheme some cubist-like collages of wine labels and bottle silhouettes leant up but sagging on small wall shelves & on the window sill a couple of collections of little product boxes plus plastic trinket etc a book cover with the pages ripped out now containing a pamphlet and map & arranged on the island bench top a set of plastic place mats with fanned tea packet labels OK so ya gotta zoom-in get close up figure out the additions and alterations study investigate scrutinise read the titles on the works list & the words on the images and objects … BEMUSE … ADMONISH … INFORM … ALARM … Try to scan it all dis- and reassemble everything in ya head or by fiddling around with the containers trinket pamphlet map make an effort crack the code decipher the clues it’s like that great passage from D&G’s A Thousand Plateaus: the world begins to signify before anyone knows what it signifies the signified is given without being known yr boyfriend looked at you with a funny expression and this morning the postie handed you a letter from the IRD and crossed her fingers then you stepped in dog shit you saw two sticks on the footpath positioned like the hands of a watch they were whispering behind yr back when you arrived at the office it doesn’t matter what it means it’s still signifying but I’m one step ahead of Malone I’ve always had him figured I’m smart smart as I know all his moves I have power even in my impotence Jerome calls it Escape Room Art as if we’re locked in an apparently empty space in search of a way out … And then suddenly it all lined up and I was sure I’d discovered my way outta there my escape route as it were my witch’s flight Portal to the Outside intimate outside
We settled down on the black leather sofa and Teghan switched on the big screen TV Malone’s Czerska 18 M296 Warszawa Polska (2010-2012/2019) started playing on 18 min 35 sec video loop an ever changing and sliding asymmetrical grid pause transform pause transform of what felt like 100s of photographs taken in the artist’s Warsaw apartment luxuriant and beautiful shots super saturated colours wonderful precise sequencing and blends My Purpose is to Tell of Bodies That Have Been Transformed Into Shapes of a Different Kind shots of dried flowers grapefruit clothes drying on a rack a piece of smoked eel berries and jars of preserved fruit various cheeses brain-like walnuts arranged in lines on bench tops plums bananas shots of delicious looking cooked meals an apple pie kitchen prep on chopping boards rye breads espresso machines and coffee beans views from the apartment out across to other apartment blocks great big ones and beyond them tall steaming chimneys there’s dried mushrooms pulses a pumpkin scatterings of pills and pasta cabbages plums and many many shots of Anthurium plants kwitnący ogon in different stages of bloom and decay soaps bright logo emblazoned jar tops eggs broken on floors two cut halves of a half-rotten apple rows of books an elegant grey sequence with rotten smoked ‘n’ dried pears all covered in fecund clusters of white fungus with newspaper and a postcard of the Eiffel Tower various stains naked self portraits of the artist ever so tenderly perceived and and and and and its exciting mesmerising therapeutic & reassuring with its occasional voice-overs of Malone whispering soft little riffs to us the whole thing’s tranquil seductive ritualistic that is to say meticulously performed and it took me way outta there way out along the smooth contours of a de-territorialised Earth
And the return? Epicurus … More likely than not today’s Epicurean is figured as an aficionado of the refined sensual enjoyment of food and wine someone for whom the pleasures of kitchen and table vineyard and market day are paramount the name Epicurus is associated with such activities as the endless pursuit of new and exotic cooking ingredients the sampling of vintage wines and distinctive cheeses the procurement of expensive kitchen utensils and recipe books attendance at specialist cooking classes new restaurants and funked up food stalls a kinda Universal Tourism yeah even when staying at home … Always in possession of a meandering distracted taste for culinary traditions (read Ethnicity) today’s Epicurean seems satisfied reassured by his or her pleasurable habits and these will include the habit of forever acquiring new habits new pleasures new experiences no doubt a 24/7 global media ensures that we are neither unaware of nor uninvolved in this as SPECTACLE … Epicureanism is marketed advertised curated performed produced practiced on a Grand Scale and thus in a manner often fascinating and sometimes even wonderful but that’s on a good day on bad days I find myself referring to this mode of obsessive/compulsive consumerism as Foodie Hell … How to be done with all this? how to exit slow down jam the global marketing machines? how to take back everyday life? might we try first by conjuring a different kind of Epicurean one who would retain at least some kinda fidelity to Epicurus himself? Epicurus was a ancient philosopher and so the coming Epicurean could just turn out to be a distant-in-time-and-space follower of Epicurus’ actual teachings someone as if excavating an archaeological site digging down retrieving a past specific to the demands of the to-come yet this would not be to exclude automatically all lovers of wine & food etc FAR FROM IT! so now everything’s getting somewhat convoluted paradoxical because in a strange twist of fate the contemporary association of the name Epicurus with the excesses of pleasure seeking gastronomes is derived from completely distorted and often slanderous accounts of Epicurean writings and life-ways accounts produced by antagonistic and oppositional Greek Roman & Christian authors accounts concieved by his enemies as anti-Epicurean propaganda … What today can be said then of Epicurus and his ancient adherents’ true teachings of their suggested life-ways and enabling guidelines?
We Shall Make the Best of Our Lives by Seeking Pleasure and Avoiding Pain this by attempting to live without fears and worries the two greatest fears being religious fears and a fear of death Epicurus teaches that reality is ontologically one there is no separate realm of eternal ideas or such like and this reality is composed of two modes bodies and space plenum and void and is infinitely vast all that exists is part of this reality this nature this immanence thus we have no reason to believe that the human or anything else is unique or privileged many other worlds & zones exist have existed will exist the human gives itself its own humanity in whatever form it may … So always live knowing that you are like all other entities and they are like you random yet somehow fortuitous groupings of invisible primordia we are born grow decay and return to the Great Reserve whence we came fold back into the vast (im)potentiality of Nature Naturing … So EITHER we rule out all gods from the start and say that there are no grand designs no cosmic conspiracy theories no divine acts of vengeance or reward OR we say that gods exist as natural beings of some kind but they have ZERO concern for us they are not the gatekeepers of good & evil rather they live blissful lives somewhere off in the void hence awareness soul mind psyche consciousness are of this world embodied entanglement bodies touching awareness touching bodies touching awareness and so on NIL IGITUR MORS EST AD NOS/DEATH THEREFORE IS NOTHING TO US no hell awaits us nor any heavenly nirvana and thus we are free to embrace and love this life however brief these other lives and if Seek Pleasure sounds like an open invitation to self indulgence to collective indulgence nihilistic excess etc Epicurus contends the opposite which is to say that for him the unrestrained indulgence of food wine drugs luxury possessions etc will not help avoid pain will in fact only hasten to destroy the only Earth Bound life we have will invite sickness deprive us of true friendships condemn us to a life difficult to sustain but crucially Epicurus also contends that this life requires no moral prohibitions but only caution a little tentativeness mixed with an unconditional love of freedom and autonomy it’s all a matter of dosage NO pleasure is evil in itself nothing is forbidden but be aware the actions that cause certain pleasures entail annoyances and may even cause extreme anguish and torment both to oneself and to other persons (many of whom may not be human) countless times greater than the pleasure itself HENCE it is best to live simply let yr happiness depend on common things because ambition high office fame & fortune will trouble you will cause greed and corruption all around will attract envy condemnation thieves kidnappers assassins so live unnoticed become imperceptible but avoid especially the excesses of avoiding excess shun asceticism and high-minded purity … Might then the coming magic formula be Seek Planetary Pleasure Avoid Planetary Pain? perhaps but now in rush all the deliriums manias and unaccounted for machinic desires all the mysteries and aporias associated with the Unconscious and the idea of personal/collective Freedom of the Will
Whence then has Daniel’s enchanted video come? what was it that propelled me on my magical line of flight? what chaosmic forces is the video harnessing? surely not those of Foodie Hell but just as surely not those of some purist Foodie Nirvana if I’ve suggested that these forces arose at once from Epicurus’ Garden and at infinite speed launched me out into the fertile void of an Epicureanism to-come then perhaps this is only part of an answer … Perhaps the other part is Daniel’s absolute mania for rendering the hidden nature of everyday life VISIBLE … Yeah Sensation
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