ha. new years’ eve, with all its concomitant recollections and reflections of things past. how obvious. but the significance of the transition from 2011 to 2012 was deferred for me until this past weekend. not only was it the lunar new year long weekend here, but it was also my 32nd birthday and the one year anniversary of the beginning of the trajectory that has lead me to where i am now.
my decision to leave vancouver happened quite suddenly and though my reasons were largely economic, i also felt guided by an intuition that no matter how painful, a break from my tiny city - of habits, routines and dwindling opportunities - was going to be meaningful and revitalizing.
whether the intuition was real or whether my belief in it prompted the actions that manifested in this meaningfulness is besides the point. call it a feeling. i had a feeling it was time to leave and now i can say, through all the pain, solitude, despair, anxiety, longing, struggle, toil, exhaustion, humiliation, heartache, denial, absurdity and outrageousness, it has been an experience that will forever line and coat the deepest parts of my being.
i me he it
it’s been this time with myself that i don’t think i’ve ever experienced before. identity stripped back. no familiarity. just cues.
how do we tip each other off? how do we raise these flags to others that brings them into our worlds?
i guess context helps. where and how you meet. the outward expressions that are visible in things like clothing, tastes.
this whole time, i feel like i’ve been fighting against my context. i’ve always refused identification with labor. this might be the one reason that i still entertain the idea that being an artist is vitally important, if being an artist can mean a complete rejection of any identification with a fixed idea of how one is to work. i know i’m being an idealist. many of the most “successful” artists today seem to brand themselves precisely as the authors of one fixed idea, endlessly repeated, collected, exhibited, sold. but this isn’t what i wanted to write about today.
i’m amazed at the way people can overlap in existence… that these few friends could have been here at this time, available to be met on whatever terms. how did i meet them? is it luck? do i believe in luck? am i lucky?
one of my dearest friends here invited me to join her family’s lunar new year gathering just outside of pohang, in a rural village in south korea. it was a magical weekend. there was a heightened clarity and crispness to the experience, seeing it all unfold in the icy light of the winter sun. i kept thinking of antonioni and godard films, walking through this landscape of dilapidated agricultural fields and the vibrant colours of corrugated siding, farming machinery and garbage. i wanted to photograph a lot of it - location scouting - but there was too much pleasure in it being lived. must remember the west pohang toll booth. thought it would be a great place to film a dialogue between tool-booth workers.
it was so peaceful to spend time with a family. i played the part of a stranger, my presence a little difficult to explain. that’s the weight of hetero-normativity. grandparents always suspect that men are only around their grand-daughters if they’re planning to get married. regardless of all suspicion, i was welcomed with so much warmth and hospitality. how could i refuse their beef? (my first pieces since the 1990s. i’m so old.) i tried my best to participate and show an appreciation for their generosity. it’s difficult to do this with such limited language, but somehow, certain expressions can make their way across the rift. it was actually kind of blissful to be in this unspeaking co-presence. my mind was free to do a lot of wandering. i felt my age a lot. there were teenagers among the extended family. they practically threw-up in disgust when they learned it was my birthday and that i’d just turned 32. haha. crycry.
we visited relatives in daegu and pohang. i thought of my finnish grandmother a lot. she lived in similar dwellings… provisional, rural, semi-agricultural. i can’t believe she died 6 years ago. it seems impossible to me.
and there it goes… time passing on. i have a few more weeks left here and then, i’m not sure. my sense of a home-base is gone. i do know that a lot of my love is tied up in people that live in vancouver. but apart from them - and they’re almost everything - what is there? the perversity is that when i live in vancouver, i’m kept so busy scrounging up the outrageous rent for an apartment and studio… so much so that i barely get to see the people that are the only reason i’d want to be there.
ah, a long purge.
love to all.▲▲▲