WeWrite #3

Confessions of an Overworked Artist

Brandon LaBelle

Download pdf of the text HERE

He often imagines what might be possible idea #345.782 (in the shower this morning, 6am – getting into gear, 8:20am flight TXL to BGO don’t forget to write to ****): keep a journal where every entry is made on flights (daydreams spinning out of control at 30.000 feet above that vast ocean below – fear of flying, heartracing, those beautiful mountains like a sea of rippling geology) – might be handy for project in Marrakech (must write to **** / where’s that budget!) or for notions of The Imaginary Republic (application deadline – research or competence? – spring 2014 / St. Louis: what are the central questions looming these days around the future republic? democratic crisis, utopian community (Amish? must research (furniture)), architectures of liberation (incarceration? Genet), ecological theory (permaculture (ask J)) – and what of cognitive capitalism (…have to pick up the dry cleaning) or what W told me the other day (studio visit: rain outside, bad coffee, charming eyes) of the psychopathologies of the creative workforce (Freud?) – made me think of Blanchot’s Writing the Disaster (could be the basis for a future seminar – be sure and talk to P)) – out of shaving cream… slow down… the morning suddenly dips I hear the neighbor playing guitar, slow spanish blues… Django? Miles? I wonder where Brian is these days… those forgotten years still underneath, a bed of dreams impressions wishes oblivion behind the eyes: something about primary animation? the drive (Lacan, of course!) – she told me there is no possibility to receive the cover files from the designer… more work to do; dissatisfaction, trembling heart, frantic emails, the ceaseless and relentless reminder of all still left hanging: under the skin on the skin in the blood (Burroughs: the Virus is not the word any longer, but the anticipation of expected correspondence) – cellular, deep unease, perennial connection) make a banner: “I’m tired of e-flux” / you really must get an iPhone (the woman sits across from me, tapping on her pad: relentless boring pathetic – O, but I really must know send this connect access download); the only radical gesture left these days is to not respond… to not know / I thought we could make a newspaper and then I thought shit more work… letters of recommendation interviews evaluation committees can you send me your abstract – must get to the studio, what about those drawings – love… the creative imagination, that ticks away like a pulse, feverish, restless – I can’t sit still, give me a pen – scrap any scrap will do: idea #345.783 Hobo College / as war machine (have to write back to A (would be great to visit Israel) – itinerant knowledge? I don’t know it’s an idea came to me like a flash no like a slow unfurling ribbon picked up by the breeze (the wind of inspiration: Yes!) to float across the grey sky (more guitar… have to take out the laundry) (notes to oneself (RD Laing)) email: **** all those pdfs unread but still on the desktop like a nagging horizon of possibility (of what? a question that must be asked: to unsettle the very patterns embedded in the rhythms of what’s called “critical practice” and that seep into the imagination like a belief system (Foucault: how sinister is the voice that prompts one to undertake particular (unconscious) gestures) and still the impulse remains: to know more (how much?). A labor that is never resolved, that never rests upon the notion of the finished but only the perpetual inclination and momentum that breathing is the basis for extending oneself further (knowledge production, socially engaged, rumors of radical transformation (Marcuse)) – thinking of Chaplin and the figure of the clown (escape, threshold, laughter) – what did Irigaray say: we must remember how to laugh! the news continues: Syria (footsteps outside, early evening, the mind purrs… …. …. …. …. …. …. …. …. taps that shield one from the silence) – idea #345.784 History of Loneliness / chapters devoted to states of lethargy alienation emptiness (the silence of those Flemish paintings) might function as a series of compositions (amazing how music and loneliness are connected…) – Sunday tomorrow, blessed non-day, for daydreams, scribbles, the formulation of new writing / second edition in the works, have to figure out the proposal to SLG (the “sixth housing estate” – thought that sounded good! like a ghost…) thinking about the term “action research” (I like this, it situates itself in the fibers of the body to stimulate various impulses, reassuring ticks, a trickle of affirming nods: yes, maybe that’s it) (what did HONF do with that one project, about recycling hay?) – to democratize energy (voices outside, sounds like *****) hope she is ok – does E come back tonight? the minutes tick by (tap tap), was thinking more about that script (objects? should the table be vertical or horizontal at that point?) should return to Bachelard at some point always strikes me as a resource particularly in terms of escaping these discourses of dissection until nothing’s left for the imagination (O, Candy, O, Monica, O, Prodigy) – “writing is a festival of knowledge” / what a thought! the turn of a phrase as the potentiality to incite so much optimism; must consider the notion of the conscientious objector in relation to taxes (Civil Rights Trail in Virginia (visit – June?); MLK (think about Memphis) – band of gypsies …Jimi and black power); more on “action research” – too macho? – what about “non-action research” (reading about Hobos / consider phrase “you lazy bum” / must develop a project on laziness – though isn’t that a contradiction? hesitation questions and then surrendering precisely to what feels uncertain: “uncertain research”? / seminar on “uncertain practice” could be good – the hesitation, the crisis, the questioning … “doing nothing”: to formulate a series of strategies for resisting the impulse the inclination that imperative which says “Work”: a catalogue for the promotion of a lazy society; or at least a deepening of the knowledge found at the center of reduced production – is it possible to market inactivity? the commercialization of the couch potato (pizza anyone?); winter setting in: hibernation lapse in energy falling asleep at the computer staying in – my friend used to say: “people like going out, but I like going in” / have to send him a note (distance distraction despondency disastrous diet dilemma daydream desire drunkenness delirium – never thought “d” could be so interesting! a litany of dramas found in a single letter (must pick up that Danii Kharms book (M always talked about him) – wonder where he’s buried…. / so much in a single idea …) idea#345.785 “The Danii Kharms School of Laziness”: doing nothing and the production of an inactive research methodology – to go on strike against the general ethos that rivets us to that furious drive toward professionalization: “and what do you do?” – love that film “About a Boy” where Hugh Grant “does nothing” (beautiful… …) California Dreaming (Jeff Spicoli for President); the flood of information (read the other day how multi-tasking has been shown to produce a certain stimulus in body pleasure enjoyability: the sense of fulfillment found in “doing everything” at once, while in fact it reduces the capacity for deep knowledge deep intimacy deep time) – must think about listening, how it requires time, slow time, the time of attention (counter the politics placed on the pressures of attention: the new market place found there on the plane of attention – can we buy and sell attention? (“ambient commons”)) – is not the space of education precisely a form of alternative attention? to dwell upon the body of knowledge, shared time, to spend time (do we spend time? time bank (research)) on a certain trajectory of development discourse exchange debate reflection (Carsten Stahmer on time management as central to a better society: time on time off time away time working time spent shared given suspended the generosity of time together (must meet him)) – cold today / CREATIVE WORKERS UNITE in clay or written out (tapestry? textile? clothes? banner…(banner projects: ongoing)): thinking cardboard and markers (don’t think I can paint anymore (would need an existential crisis….)) – that thrust of primary expression heated feverish suicidal (what would Richter say?) – have to look at Schiele again (Munich 1988, summer journeys away from home walking through the night, the city, the lonely thought) those figures: those lines, so much in a line! (Vienna) neck ache wrist ache staring that zone of dizzying agitation propelled by the suppleness of the hand (magic tricks?) the rabbit – down the hole, no more coffee / get up have to dash split the scene hit the road to Chicago – the Big Chi – tracing the lines of the hobo, culture on the margins, Ben Reitman and the radical labor movement (Haymarket, Hull House, Hobo College) along N. Clarke Street searching for the remains of Brandt Hall, where the Industrial Workers of the World was launched in 1905, finding only Dunkins’ Donuts, Starbucks, Walgreen’s and the construction of new apartments that tower up into the early fog; take a photo, take another; video camera in one pocket camera in the other, searching tracing identifying missing capturing a line that becomes a time-media that becomes a narrative of what was and what went missing and what ghosts the present: the psychopathologies of capital (write that down!) / the repression of a certain socio-economic model (Memoires of a good-for-nothing… (reading over the holidays) what about Eugene V. Debs? (library: biography)) then over to Randolph Street looking for the Haymarket Memorial (brutal) – script of a disappeared solidarity (what about Beckett), the “Co-operative Commonwealth” the man of conscience that mutters under his breath (Not I), “what right do I have to benefit from the privileges of wealth while others lie in the gutter?” and then he turns, walks out the door; which route can we take? which avenue might lead to a new type of gathering, the Square of Civic Life? (the quiet winter hills the trees that endure (as Mourid Barghouti suggests – the Square … the Tree … two images together) – the environmental perspective (if we take care of the animals and the trees might we finally take care of each other?) within which the nation-state is suddenly a singular entity within a greater whole) turn left and the street carries forward all the daydreams of a meandering gait (cold under the steps, in the hands, under the collar) the winter bends thoughts toward those books full of palm trees smiles of forgotten friends travels into dry fields the fennel bushes dusting the eyes that trickle with youthful visions (I always come back to those paths those bushes and Brian walking ahead … what did he see as the fog swept in from the ocean? Text project: Memories of First Walks – ? (Rousseau!)) lazy days (that are always so close to that of boredom – can creativity come from boredom?) Paul Lafargue argues for “the right to be lazy” castigating the worker for demanding more work: “O, Laziness, mother of the arts and the noble virtues, be thou balsam for the pains of mankind!” “lazy management” (California style?), institution of lazy leadership, lazy workers, lazy meetings (pizza anyone?), lazy lectures, lazy classrooms (sleep sessions? dream therapy? (sleep concerts?)) – AirBerlin AB7462 ORD – PIT (via Cincinnati: WKRP, the Riverside Coliseum disaster of 1979: The Who concert (a series of works on concert disasters?) #1. The Cure 1987 Inglewood (Michelle crying in her gold dress…) guy with a knife and the band comes on with red-stained shirts – gothic style (they found a suicide note in his car, and Michelle says she needs to go … we talk about the trees and the fog and even now the fennel bushes are shedding their night aromas into the sea-air) – maps of Martinique Israel Pennsylvania: three coordinates within the imagination each veering into different directions and each overlapping (a ghost map of poetic thought (utopia?): association simultaneity montage (“theories of association” – Glissant)) and each containing a radical potential: lines of flight escape routes journeys to the heart of darkness dizzy spell purple haze drift and distraction and a new figure of conscience… O man, books under the arm, TV on, laughter downstairs and the winter sky black as black, slow thoughts that start to demand more: searching for their momentum, searching for the night sky and the assemblage of languages, those that fray with energy and that collapse (sketches of animals / animal studies – black velvet paintings? day-glo colors?) did you get your passport? Visa? That’ll be 225 euro, and see you in two years – red stamps blue stamps waiting in line (always a line – a line searching for its own errancy, its force of imagination – Blues (delays in CPH)) please take a number; must get to San Juan this year; Caracas (talk to M); Montevideo; Arcosanti; more James Joyce – what O always called “the essential book” (the epic drama / Brecht of course, No! Boal) new year’s resolutions – to work and not to work; to take time for another type of work (should exercise more): the work of relations – (Housing: I know this is already a theme; make a list: houses lived in? houses visited? housing estates? houses for sale? houses of refuge? houses of love?) “public housing” / Detroit: Writing House; the Powerhouse Project (what J talked about over cheesecake and my aunt crying laughing); my grandmother’s house is empty… we used to have parties in empty houses; quiet parties… quiet talk sex on the beach, kissing in the fog, seals in the distance (friends … a history of friends); must get back to PV (so much! so much!: the blue fog the deep night the longing and the dreaming – quiet images opening up blossoming the deep pulse of the creative spirit (poetry, always – Brian)) not sure what to say to Z – reading and over-reading, the silence suddenly there in the studio and nothing nothing no thing yet the drive the wish for what may still come: pleasure, no, freedom…: what do we do with our freedom? to give it away (civic duty) steps outside frantic against the sudden wind (loss of sleep did he give me directions? / sleepwalking project!) materials – always comes down to materials expressions a thrust of ideas brought into form (the form speaks?) cardboard tape pens black on black – no, performance! such an essential theme: always returning to the imagination. “The Creative Economy” – what rubbish! (the formation of an international association? (counter-measure counter-nation resistance) the struggles of the creative class? the fevers of the creative economy? cognitive heat? (Albert Camus: “to make art today is to create dangerously”) – between realism and the imaginary, the essential point (the project of the artist: rabid dissatisfaction, unsteady normality, the wild body (Halberstam), queering the political, etc etc) hovers the contemporary: let us pronounce the intersection of radical imagination and the real, what might be called “the all too real” (ghosts? monsters? erotic nightmares – no, the home of nimble ideas) / “rise up Pete The Wanderer, Boxcar Betty, Jack the Mack, the Durango Kid, and Black Violet, to storm the gates and set free the all too real!” (proposal? speculations? could appear on a wall, or in the newspaper, as a spread sheet? black and white – capitalism and schizophrenia………../ overworked: “speak up! can’t you hear! Jurgis! Irwin! Eugene!” (maybe written on a wall (here, here it is … a diary, no a lyric (must ask ****what about Bifo?) / a song (1, 2, 3, 4…), and it begins:

Manifesto for an international association of creative workers

We demand the right to work when we want to
We demand the right to escape all institutional structures, or to enter into institutional work at any time and to alter the conditions of said institution according to the fantasies central to the creative spirit
We demand the right to retain a degree of autonomy
We demand the right to strike, suffer, daydream and produce whenever we want
We demand the right to re-appropriate our own labor without written notice
We demand the right to strike against the instrumentalization of the creative class
We demand the right to sleep and eat as much as we like
We demand the right to hit the road for the big rock candy mountain
We demand the right to have meetings when it suits us
We demand the right to speak to the boss when it suits us
We demand the right to have as much funding as needed
We demand the right to steal any type of corporate greed for the benefit of radical humanity
We demand the right to live out the symptoms that haunt us
We demand the right to speak freely, openly and with a high-level of poetic thought
We demand the right to create non-sense
We demand the right to an international health care program
We demand the right to an international human’s wage
We demand the right to housing all over the world
We demand the right to have no ideas
We demand the right to give everything away
We demand the right to sabotage ourselves
We demand the right to jump off the train at any point
We demand the right to reinvent the social system
We demand the right to vote for no-one and everyone (at the same time)
We demand the right to take responsibility for the earth
We demand the right to skip symposiums and conferences that only waste our time
We demand the right to not show up for appointments, and to show up occasionally out of a sense of solidarity
We demand the right to focus on nurturing the creative energies that might serve to intensify the enormous potential of all things
We demand the right to vacillate unevenly and without warning between discourses of critical practice and the animal intuitions of the body
We demand the right to avoid or disrupt politics, and to put into question the very definition of “the political”
We demand the right to play endlessly and for the benefit of all
We demand the right to rewrite this manifesto

(meet me in Istanbul, Brian, Kate …

sleep…now… now)