I’m the King of Jubilee Jumbles

artist Nayland Blake natters on about art and other things

Posts Tagged ‘tang

What I did, did I?

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Ok, so here it is: I now have three shows up: new work in London, retrospective at the Tang in Saratoga Springs, and collaboarative video installations in San Francisco. So i think i can say that the harvest season is over. Next official deadline: new two channel video piece for group show in Jan. This harks back to what things were like for me twelve years ago, except then I didn’t have the added workload of running a graduate program. I wish I knew some other way to work, to be honest. This week I was frantically getting the videos for SF made into DVDs and fedexed so that they would arrive on time, Meanwhile there was a huge opening in Saratoga, attended by my Mother and Sister as well as a number of friends. After the dinner, I djed a dance party for the Skidmore students, an interesting effort since the record collection I was using started in the early sixties and ended around ’91. Luckily they all came ready to dance, so the only real problem was that their hopping up and down made the turntables skip on occasion.
I think this post should be firmly filed under count your blessings. Although each of these projects brought up wildly varied emotions, moment to moment , each was an oppurtunity I am grateful for:a chance most people in my field don’t have. I wish that I could proceed through them with grace, rather than by causing drama for the other people who work with me. Drama through shutting down and being uncommunicative. Drama through waiting til the last minute. Yes, everything got to where it needed to be at the right time but it still is at the expense of frayed nerves, for people that I know and care about. SO here’s a public apology to everyone who deserves one.

(side note to the shrink: just noticing that I can’t talk about good news without talking about how badly I’ve behaved – that must get a bit tedious for you, eh?)

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October 19, 2003 at 11:38 am

Protected: Capitulating…

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October 9, 2003 at 9:42 am

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Mid aft slump

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Past the burnout of the past couple of days. Overslept this morning, but that left me in a much better mood than previously. Obviously I needed it. There are still many things to take care of on the rapidly-approaching horizon, but at least my conciousness doesn’t seem as sporadic as yesterday. One thing I forgot to mention about the trip to the Tang was the presence of one quite beautiful man who was a friend of one of the Tang education coordinators and who stuck around after the whole thing. We were introduced and I made some fumbling joke. He was around my height and seemed to be a pacific islander, with long salt and pepper hair and a pointed goatee. He teaches at the university in Schenectady. I’m remembering an open smile and the dry warmth of his handshake, but off course his name flew out of my head the moment it was told me. My particular curse – I can remember the jingles from every commecial I heard at age 4 but never anyone’s name.
All of this is to say I was a bit smitten. Rare indeed.
This is another of those “I’m at work and I don’t wanna be” LJ posts. There’s lots of other things I need to finish, pieces that need making, rooms that need cleaning, people that need contacting. But the fact is I almost get more of that stuff done here. And now once again I’m frightened by the messages on my phone, so much so that I won’t pick them up. An absurtity, which has gotten me into bad situations with those around me and hurt people I haven’t wanted to hurt. Time after time I’ve tried to talk through these scenarios with my therapist, yet I lapse into the same behavior. Last week for the first time he suggested medication, which left me both shocked (usually not his route at all) and a little thrilled (is my dowdy, garden variety neurosis blooming into a glamourous anxiety disorder?).
I am reading W.G.Seybold’s book “The Rings of Saturn”. It is stunning: the overall structure is a solitary walking tour through the east of England, but each chapter mimicks the sensation of walking; spare insiscive descriptions of the landscape give way to chains of association that become historical and autobigraphical essays. The erudition is never forced, and exists in conjuction with sensitive observations of people and places. This is the kind of book I wish I could write, and indeed it’s given me some ideas for my endlessly projected, endlessly delayed Jack Smith/Ray Johnson/Cockettes/et al book. When I type those words I feel that everything I’m doing right now is wrong, and that there’s a much more important task calling me

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October 2, 2003 at 3:20 pm

The big Blur…

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Sitting in the office, bushed and…and…inarticulate. Got up yesterday by accident 4:30 am (ws shooting for 5:15) and took an early train to Saratoga Springs, where my show “Some kind of Love” is now open at the Tang museum. Got in to town around noon and then went from gallery talk to lunch to student radio station to teacher talk to giving slide lecture. The only break was a bout of compulsive shopping at Target when I decided that the headphones I had brought for my cd player were wrong, wrong! and I needed to spend money on new ones. Ridiculous behavior, that was tolerated by Ian Berry, the curator who has put the show together. It’s a small retrospective of video work and walking through it was disorienting, moving , distressing , all at once. Some of the pieces have my voice in them so I was hearing myself from 14 years back or so. I also was not at the Tang to work with the installation crew, so I walked in and the show was pretty much a fait accompli. At this point there are things out there in the world that I haven’t laid hands on for almost two decades. Now when I come upon them I think, what did I have to do with this?
Couple that with the slide talk and Q and A session that followed it: Lots of people and me talking always talking about the work. Trotting out some of the jokes that I’ve been using in my slide talks for ages now. It feels very separate from what goes on when work is made. Once I start answering questions, things pick up, for me at least. I welcome these kinds of forums, and the chance to get to hear from people what they see going on with the work. After an hour and a half or so, the event is over and then it’s off to dinner with Ian, his wife and Mason, the faculty member who was interviewing me. He teaches gender studies and African-american lit and talks about how Saratoga had one gay bar, but it closed in ’97. We talk a bit about the ways that online life is killing off bars and as the meal goes on I find myself popping in and out of presentness. At times the conversation seems to be taking place in another room and I can barely understand what folks are talking about or why. I order cheese instead of dessert and a delicate, lush goat cream cheese arrives, with a warm biscuit and a fig and apricot chutney. Its like the best cream cheese and jelly sandwich ever. Dinners done, Ian drives me to the guest house and I collapse and sleep for about six hours. It’s not enough and I wake feeling hung over. Onto the train where my tiredness and grumpiness makes me ignore the stately Hudson scenery all the way down to the city. Standing in Penn Station a woman comes up to me and says “Hi! How was Bard?” I tell her I was at Saratoga and we say good bye. I’m utterly unable to say who she is, so much so that I suspect that she didn’t really know me either but only thought she did.

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October 1, 2003 at 2:25 pm