O SAY CAN’T YOU SEE

Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants v Buffalo Bills

You see, we are all mourning. I was born and raised and still live in ‘Mexico’ but I grew up on MTV, Friends, and 97% of the music I played was in English: I started thinking in English. Writing in English is so much more natural to me than writing in my ‘native’ language; I’ve received racist backhanded compliments for these skills in NY (none taken). I stopped identifying as ‘Mexican’ a long time ago, if I ever did (nope). Nationalism and patriotism are backward attitudes to me—and those are kind words. I often (very often) whistle, hum or sing the Star-Spangled Banner. Some of my friends are stunned when they hear me, but I just love the tune: Even smart people (still) believe in nations. America has perfected some of my favorite ideas: I’m all about ideas.

Since I was very young, just like a huge percentage of the world’s population, I guess, I wanted to live in America. I loved that song, before I could understand the words completely (I mean the one from West Side Story). I went to art school, (which could also be blamed on this Americanized cultural background when one considers how out of touch with the ‘Mexican’ reality this decision was) and art has always been a huge part of how I came to know and experience the world since I was very young, mostly through books.

I first became aware of the current clash between West and East following news regarding the Asian art market, back when I was running a gallery. I had always found contemporary Asian art a bit unimpressive (too flashy, virtuosistic and highly visual— I’m into ideas) and most of the names impossible to memorize. I’m a product of the West, if nothing else, I used to think. I read about the inflated auction figures, I studied the highest grossing artists and I even became incensed by this politically-motivated display of what else? power. Now, this war is fully raging. The dollar could have been killed by the yuan last year, or two years ago. The US made their move, and the ‘Mexican’ power elite (?) approved reforms allowing foreign investors access to oil and gas reserves in the country. Then America got involved in Syria, during the Arab Spring™, to export Democracy™, and then the media started dropping hints about a NEW ENEMY™ and then THINGS HAPPENED and OBAMA SAID THINGS and now they are bombing Syria but it’s actually ISIL™ they’re after. And Irak. And it’s all so crystal.clear, and I mean: did they think that the dollar would be a world reserve currency forever, or that they could just keep printing money, or that capitalism was sustainable??? So yes, we’re mourning. But what a dream it was. Such great ideas— what could have been. I honestly feel like crying rn.

(Daniel G. Lozano, from NUEVAS TETAS ™)

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CY TWOMBLY PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES ®

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I am waiting for a friend, an artist, in the museum lobby. A cute dude is sitting nearby, we exchange a few side glances, he also has bitch resting face syndrome. My friend arrives, pays his ticket, we go to the bathroom and climb the stairs. I’m trying to think about Cy. I have publicly expressed my dislike for this museum as the vanity project of an amateur daddy’s boy collector checking off big names from a Phaidon coffee table book on contemporary art with minor and mini works (‘the cheapest On Kawara you can get me’). #STILLALIVE
However, this being a Cy Twombly exhibition, in Mexico City, and me being there, I had to see it. One friend told me it was crappily curated, but still. I’m walking up the stairs, heaving, thinking about ‘Cy’. I enter the first room, and I don’t know why but I read the exhibition text. It is written in simple, lay language, and while it does tend to romanticize and interpret Cy Twombly’s ‘work’, I can see how it would be an appropriate frame for the exhibition for the intended audience. It is a little bit manipulative, however: ‘mysteries’, ‘revelations’, ‘love, art, beauty and death’, ‘apollonian and dionisyan’ OMFGLOLROFLMAO– update your art lingo, yo.
WHATEVR. I am now trying to see the paintings, and I’m having a bit of trouble just seeing them. No, I do not wish to interpret them, nor do I wish to ‘understand’ (wth it’s not algebra you guys), I only wanna see them. OMG THIS A CY TWOMBLY. STOP. Those are words, that’s a name, these are objects. It’s got nothing to do with these. A CY FUCKING TWOMBLY IN MEXICO. Like, A VERSACE TSHIRT. I think about the aura of the art work, how marketing is obscuring my sight, and I try to forget about it. I don’t want to kneel at Tiffany’s, I do not wish to cry at having touched Madonna, I want to see things with my own eyes, and it’s difficult. I’ve been brainwashed. I’m putting ideas before reality, and for once I feel a need to push against it. HOW can I see this exhibition? How can I experience more than CY TWOMBLY in this room? Do I like this CY TWOMBLY PAINTING ®?
I forced myself to forget about that jerk. In order to forgo any and all interpretation I forgot about the context. Nothing is objective, subjective is all I have, I wanna own it. All that matters is whether I like it or not. I have no other possible response in front of anything I consume. I cannot put myself in anyone else’s shoes, nor see things ‘in their context’. I belong to my present day only. Some paintings do feel ‘of their time’ but I can’t go back. ‘Would I have liked it?’– I dunno. SO, I think: a friend of mine made this and is showing it to me. DO I LIKE IT?—

(Daniel G. Lozano, from NUEVAS TETAS)

#curating

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HAVING TWO OR THREE PEOPLE
IN LOVE WITH YOU
IS LIKE MONEY IN THE BANK.

JENNY HOLZER

NEWSFLASH: online dating IZ HARD. Sure, you may ‘curate’ your online presence all across different dating sites and apps, with slight or major variations depending on the site’s or app’s personality (a little more skin on grindr, a little more smiles on tinder). Once you master this, you will attract exactly the kind of people you want to attract, through certain cues and keywords which you will learn through experience. If you could, you’d wear your 100 matches as a badge, or put them up on your fb profile (attractive people are attractive lol). However, if what you want is having actual deep exchanges irl, you will have to endure a long and difficult mutual screening process online. You may think you’re learning the basics on time, but the truth is you’d have to guess, foresee and adapt your ‘brand’ to each person you talk to. Humans are difficult. Some will stop talking to you if they feel you’re seeking them too often. Others will resent you if you don’t give them all your attention. Everyone will be trying to get inside your head and guessing your motives, as will you. He’s not answering cause he’s busy/ he’s just not into you. WARNING: don’t ask any of your friends for advice, this will seriously fuck up your head as the number of guesses will increase exponentially. Dating in 2014 is not just about having the hots for each other, your online interaction style also has to be compatible with that of your what potential something-something. Dealbreakers: Bad hashtag game. Basicness. Hospital selfies. Fashion blogger wannabeism. Pigeon toes. Duckfacing. Unhidden facebook friends. Mutual friends. Shared romantic partners. Etc. Spelling is a whole other chapter. Their spelling may be borderline preschool which #basic. Or they may be obsessive to the comma, in which case you will be compelled (you will) to up your game. You’re well versed in internet spllng, cause #internet, but you need to prove you’re an intellectual match for this stuck-up writer wannabe. So– good luck adapting every single aspect of your personality to each of your 100 tinder matches alternatively, never add people on grindr to facebook, BEWARE, BE SAFE, DON’T GET YOUR HEARTS (TOO) BROKEN. Oh, and there’s a terrible catch: you wanna feel something and actually connect to another human being and care for it? You need to let go of all your defense mechanisms, lol.

 

(Daniel G. Lozano, from NUEVAS TETAS)

urltrans

Recently, Facebook quietly rolled out a feature that allows its users to choose their gender between 50 different options *google it*. I already changed mine. Some of my facebook friends did so too, and thus began expressing themselves via a simple switch.

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Besides changing your preferred gender, you can also choose a different pronoun, even a non-gendered option like ‘they’. While this change can go unnoticed, it represents a welcome advance for a community that thrives silently, even if already out of the closet. This has brought about an interesting discussion, and some pretty nasty infighting too, which on the other hand, still opens the discussion on some relevant issues. The thing is, URL life poses a real possibility to lead more than one life simultaneously. This is apparent perhaps primarily since the advent of chat rooms, which later evolved into dating sites, where humans can look for hookups and be open, via an alter-ego, about their sexual proclivities (for starters).

Since the beginnings of facebook, it created for many people the possibility to come out in an understated, non-personal, and semi-public manner. You had the option, in your about section, under ‘interested in’, to choose between men, women or both. It is important to note, on the act of coming out, that this is one that must constantly be performed. It is always possible, in a heteronormative society, to be assimilated. We are constantly confronted by homophobia, and, for us ‘out’ individuals, each of these instances calls for action, and a choice always presents itself between shame (i.e. a quiet acceptance of the homophobic attack, which it always is even when not ‘directed’ toward us) or ‘pride’ (which is really just a refusal to take this shame). For these instances of perfect assimilation, the word ‘passing’ is used in the community to describe them. ‘Pass’ as what? as an heterosexual, cis individual (one whose physical appearance corresponds linearily with their gender, identity, sexual orientation, demeanor, etc). On facebook, this passing requires nothing more than choosing a gender-conforming profile picture, toning down your personality on written interactions and self-presentation and choosing the opposite sex in the ‘interested in’ section of your profile.

But just as it facilitates passing, it also facilitates the opposite. For most people, it is still very hard to understand what being ‘trans’ means. Part of this confusion stems from the fact that the prefix belongs to two different communities at the same time: transgendered and transexual individuals. The differences between them are not very clear, too. There is even another word that creats confusion: ‘Queer’. This term, appropriated from the language of bigots, serves as an umbrella term for anything that is not cis. And thus, it undermines the belief sustaining the need for these definitions. It is a critique against essentialism; the belief that things, or in this case people, can be defined and should, as there must be something essentially different to each identity, and equal among all of the same ‘kind’. Queer is a term that implies identifying oneself with a refusal to accept all the rules handed down to us by society about how we should be, act, express ourselves, or fuck. Even str8 people can choose to be queer, if they do not support the present state of things.

Back to the word ‘trans’ (which also could be applied to transvestites): Given that the prefix could mean three different identities, that are not umbrella terms like ‘queer’, a lot of defining ensues, with the requisite exertion of power and authority, even within the LGBTTTIQQA community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, transexual, intersexual, queer, questioning and asexual). On my facebook feed, I have witnessed some of these pretty nasty fights. One, for example, had to do with the perceived discrepancy between the gender one person chose on facebook, and their profile picture. You see, the trans community is one of the most ostracized. Thus, for someone who thinks of themselves as trans, to have someone who, in their opinion, is ‘passing’, call themselves ‘trans’, can be interpreted as offensive.

Part of the problem that leads to the perception of this offense is how omnipresent trolling is, in URL life, or irony, one of its most common tools. What some people forget, even in ‘the community,’ is that identity can only be defined by oneself. We go through stages in our self-understanding, we change (which is also something acknowledged by the word ‘queer’, as it presents, being an umbrella term, the freedom to consider ourselves in constant flux, fluid, undefined) and it is always us who must think about who we are. It has nothing to do with how we look. I, as a queer person (or genderqueer), also consider myself transgendered, but not exclusively. Being trans does not always require sex reassignment surgery. Some of us can’t afford it, or know that it wouldn’t necessarily satisfy our dissatisfactions with the physical world and our physicality. It is so that URL life can provide an actual possibility to have a say in who we are to others, what we are, and how we present ourselves. Don’t get it? Fine. We each did it for ourselves.

 

(Daniel G. Lozano, from NUEVAS TETAS)