Sunday, February 23, 2014

Houston in the Blind

RAQs Media Collective, Photograph shown during a lecture
Glassell School of Art, Houston

February 22, 2014
Houston, TX

One of the three members of RAQs Media Collective, a trio of art curators and polemicists, opened the lecture today mentioning a quote from the movie Gravity, "Houston in the Blind."  It means, "Houston, we can't hear you, but if you can hear us..." [bxA]

As the lights dimmed in the auditorium, he said he wouldn't know if the work reached us unless we ask questions at the end.  People need to be around other people for art to happen.  Exhibitions are waiting for us to show up, just like the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil was there today, waiting for the three of them. 

Kairn, my academic friend with whom I traveled to Nigeria last summer, invited me because the RAQs trio is here to scope out Houston with focus on the oil industry, somehow or other.  At the end of the lecture they mentioned something about hydrocarbons being the memory of life. 

In the interest of time (no pun intended) and at risk of sounding like a wanker, here's a quote from an article describing what's going on with the clock in the original exhibit:

Escapement was an attempt to pass comment on a very contemporary form of existential crisis – one familiar to BlackBerry-obsessed, airport-bound, biennial addicts – that would feel more at home in a 1990s anthropology reader than in a commercial art gallery and that bears scant relationship to most people’s lives. Nicolas Bourriaud’s recent ‘Altermodern’ manifesto also explored similar themes, as he set out his vision of cultural hybridization, perpetual travel and a new universalism, each a manifestation of contemporary globalization, to him signalling the end of Postmodernism. Could the clocks in Escapement ironically symbolize Postmodernism’s own 12-step recovery programme? As the clocks strike ‘epiphany’ (if you’ve managed to make it through the heart-racing 12 hours that preceded this), the enlightenment of altermodernity is presumably attained.



Friday, February 14, 2014

Virtual Valentine's Day

Arlington, TX - Photo for Webinar Powerpoint Presentation

February 14, 2014

I pasted the heads of our leadership team into cupid bodies and sprinkled them throughout the Powerpoint slides for our Everyone Update webcast today.  We're forever looking for little ways to keep our virtual company connected.  I'm always never sure I can survive this job because I am what Glen described the other day as touchy feely. [bxA]

At lunch I told my CEO that the cupid slides are an example of the virtual vacuum that sucks the life out of me.  I create something meant to humanize a humdrum webcast that we present to an audience on "mute." The only indication I got that my silly effort was worth the sleep loss, was an an early morning email from my CEO asking Glen & me, "Can we add a graphic to the IT Update slide?  It's boring."  

In response to my vacuum issue he told me, "Yeah, a lot of people have problems presenting public webcasts because there is no audience response or interaction."  Our company has been presenting twice-weekly public webinars to technology users for many years.  

We don't know what to do about me so we changed the subject to choosing the venue for our annual company trip.  This year we're taking everyone to the Caribbean, either St. Martin or Jamaica.  Since I'm the finance person, people question me about the extravagance, but I am in agreement with the CEO on this.  We must invest in connection.  In person.  On site.  Every now and then.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Plastic Baby Epiphany

Houston, TX - King cake baby on a Valentine's Day plate at my parents' house.

February 9, 2014

I've been traveling too much for too many weeks while the "next steps" ideas percolate.  I'm on the cusp of either becoming more settled, or blowing everything up again.  I don't talk about it much because...[bxA] I don't talk much anymore...but I seem to be making things happen despite myself.

I dunno.

The idea was to come back to this country and reconnect.   It's been three years and I've done a decidedly disastrous job of blurring into the virtual impressionism of American Life.  I miss the ocean and the moon and knowing exactly how much garbage I produce because I have to keep it in a bag with my belongings until we get to shore.

I scoped out an apartment today to see if maybe moving to Houston might make me feel grounded, or otherwise compensate for how much I miss Everywhere Else In The World. 

Nikki took me window shopping on 19th Street in the Heights where we saw a sculpture of a little yellow bird in a cage.  We agreed we could never do that to a bird. 

I then quietly lamented for several long minutes that I may never live by Regents Park again.  Gosh how I miss those birds. 

That reminds me, a good friend of mine recently killed a chicken to write a story that... well... I guess I shouldn't say until it's published.

It's just that it always goes back to the chickens.  I went to a chicken farm in Lagos last summer, btw.  Another story that never got written.

Anyway, I was thinking that since I got the piece of cake with the baby, maybe I'm due for an epiphany.

So right now all bets are on that baby.