I talk about Wal­ter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechan­i­cal Repro­duc­tion too much. By too much, I mean every cou­ple of years. I real­ly should read some oth­er stuff that he’s writ­ten, so I don’t get too pseu­do-intel­lec­tu­al­ly schol­ar­ship-boy­ish. Like I’m about to.

I col­lect stuff, not a lot, but stuff nonethe­less. It used to be base­ball cards, then Tolkien books, then good sci­ence fic­tion in gen­er­al and now beach glass, good movies, and local music para­pher­na­lia. I used to col­lect things as if the things them­selves were pre­cious. Ben­jamin would call this the aura of the art object. He posits that orig­i­nal works of art have greater val­ue than repro­duc­tions. That’s the kind of rea­son that peo­ple go for mint first edi­tions, signed copies, &c. There’s noth­ing wrong with that. I would still love to get my mitts on a first edi­tion Star­ship Troop­ers with the awe­some dust-jack­et, but my collector’s cri­te­ri­on has changed over the years.

I no longer col­lect things as if the things them­selves were pre­cious, I col­lect them because of what they con­tain. So now when I’m at Half-price Books, and I see a hard cov­er of LeGuin’s Lathe of Heav­en with the orig­i­nal dust-jack­et cov­er art, I don’t care that its just the book club edi­tion, I care that it is hard-bound and there­fore more durable than my paper­back ver­sion. The dura­bil­i­ty mat­ters because it pro­tects what is real­ly impor­tant about the book, the sto­ry itself. So I’ll pick up an Asi­mov omnibus and get rid of my ancient paper­backs (which are worth more than the omnibus) because the omnibus will last longer.

I don’t mind that my Egon Schiele came from All Posters or that the Death of Marat in my bath­room (which nev­er fails to make me act dis­gust­ing­ly smug) came from the same. If my art selec­tions are con­sid­ered a col­lec­tion, I have what I have because I like it, not nec­es­sar­i­ly for its extrin­sic val­ue. I try to col­lect expe­ri­ences, emo­tions and moments of com­mu­ni­ca­tion now, not every last edi­tion of the Lord of the Rings. (Although if you want to hook me up, I won’t com­plain).

Caveman Diaries 7, Megachurch, Clan of the Cave Bear, Swindlella

On 13 May 2010, I went to the Front Room Gallery for John G’s Cave­man Diaries 7 ‘zine release; Megachurch’s album release & show with Clan of the Cave Bear and Swindlel­la. Great crowd, great exhi­bi­tion by John G, and great music. Unfor­tu­nate­ly I for­got my earplugs. For­tu­nate­ly, I got my mitts on CMD7, the Megachurch album (which I forced Mikey, Dan & Bri­an to auto­graph) and music from Cave Bear & Swindlel­la (whose Christ­mas CD is bonkers).

This post only took a lit­tle over a week to come togeth­er. I wish there was a faster way to get HD video up to YouTube, but there isn’t. Rock on, guys. Sev­en video playlist is below.

Cirque Imaginaire

Yes­ter­day I went to the Sach­sen­heim for Cirque Imag­i­naire, a trav­el­ing art gallery. There were a lot of arts & crafts packed into the hall, and I squeezed through the throngs with a giant mug of beer.

Two booths real­ly caught my eye, the t-shirts from Psy­cho Rein­deer, and Erin Carek’s sci­ence-fic­tion col­lage work. I picked up the set of rock­et­man coast­ers from her. Erin is also respon­si­ble for orga­niz­ing the art show. The addi­tion of a few good bands helped make the night a great time.

Here are the bands:

And here are a few of the folks there who had stuff I liked:

Metal Sculpture Memory

about a year ago i was fin­ish­ing up my last project for my met­al sculp­ture class. my pro­gres­sion in the world of art that semes­ter was a strug­gle. i was also tak­ing an anthro class about cul­tur­al iden­ti­ties of art. my life was cir­cum­scribed by form v. con­tent. in the class on form (met­al sculp­ture) the teacher had some issues with my ideas of con­tent. i didn’t go for aes­thet­ic plea­sure. i want­ed to make peo­ple feel uncom­fort­able. i didn’t do this by mak­ing a ‘Piss Christ’ or any­thing of the sort. One project was a maque­tte of a mon­u­ment. mine was rather typ­i­cal, a long ver­ti­cal col­umn that had five feet extend­ing from the bot­tom in a cir­cle. it looked sta­ble and banal. that wasn’t the point. but that was the way the class liked it. i, on the oth­er hand, liked it bet­ter my way. flipped over. the five pro­tru­sions reach­ing up to the sky and every­thing pre­car­i­ous­ly bal­anced on the col­umn. (it was actu­al­ly more sta­ble that way any­way). it was slight­ly uncom­fort­able to look at any­way.

anoth­er project’s theme was ‘trans­port.’ i had to make some­thing that would trans­port peo­ple. i thought about mak­ing a cat­a­pult but that was too com­pli­cat­ed. hell this class was only an elec­tive. I decid­ed to make a chair. kin­da the oppo­site of trans­port, eh? it was all made fround ground steel and the chair back extend­ed up and had two lit­tle disc things com­ing out at the head which when some­one sat in the chair looked like big steel ear­muffs. still not get­ting the trans­port idea? well this chair trans­port­ed through the idea of pain. i cov­ered the chair with nails. espe­cial­ly the ‘earmuffs/headphones.’ when peo­ple looked at my chair, think­ing about sit­ting in it was sup­posed to trans­port them to a world about think­ing about sit­ting in a chair. the class didn’t get it. but appar­ent­ly oth­er peo­ple did. the pro­fes­sor told me that he kept catch­ing peo­ple try­ing to sit in it.

out of all the trans­port projects, an arc made from cubes, a gun with a twist­ed bar­rel, a cat­a­pult, oth­ers, mine was the only one that peo­ple actu­al­ly used to trans­port them­selves.

if it sounds like i’m brag­ging per­haps it’s because i am, a lit­tle.