Friday, 26 February 2010

Three Artists

This week I’d like to draw attention to some of the activities of my artistically-inclined sisters.

A reader recently asked if the gynocratic utopian community where I live in Marchmont has division of labour. Well I can tell you that we do! But it is more “Tiering of Being” than “division of labour.” (Tiering is less squeezy-cutty than division, and Being is more inclusive and holistic and heroic and psytrance than labour).

For example, I tend to handle matters connected with reason, instrumentality, the coordination of means and ends, NPower, etc. That’s not to say I don’t have my artistic side. My Associative Democratic verse (q.v.) is the chosen brand of culture for 8 out of 10 paradises in potentia. Like a little post-Futurist, I base my work on sound scientific principles (incorporating, of course, a sound degree of Feminist Perspectivism about scientific objectivity. It really isn't that hard!).

I did also attempt some conceptual art in the late 90s. Using a sort of pleasantly room-temperature seaweed emulsion thingy, I started making casts of vaginas, which I was going to put in a wall. “This Is What A Vagina Looks Like” or something – it may have been Posie’s idea – anyway after going through what seemed to me like quite a lot of vaginas I arranged them in a delightful 4x4 grid, and was just browsing for an opportunity to uncurtain (un-"squirt"-en?!) my vaginas when I caught wind of an artist who had embarked on exactly the same project, beginning around the same time as me only with a bit more fervour and/or proficiency who already had 5x5 vaginas.

What was I to do? The more I researched my rival, the more our concepts seemed in harmony. There was really nothing in it except the extra nine vaginas. We had hit upon the concept independently, and I struggled in vain to differentiate our motives, methods, aesthetics. The other artist was a man, did my vaginas wear more soothed expressions? They did not. They were comparably troubled.

We even had one vag in common, my friend Posie's as it happens! 2:2 on mine & 2:1 on his, so if you flip from mine to his it looks like Posie is rising into the air! It also raises an interesting question about the necessity of material realisation of conceptual art. Surely it’s enough to hear about the vagina wall, to have the concept of the vagina wall?

Of course, each individual vagina cast is sensuously, subtly unique – very much a rationale, a critique of homogenous porn “pussy” – but the conceptual variation of my vaginas was homogenous with the conceptual variation of Ted I think it was’s vaginas, if that makes sense. Moreover he had, and as far as I know, still has his heart set on 20x25, too – that’s five hundred vaginas! – so in the end I was a sport.

I know, I know, we should combine vagina collection grids. But I am still enough of an artiste to stamp my boot at that suggestion and, if not quite take a razor to my work (because, damn) then at least get my neighbour to help me move them into the garage behind the kayaks. Like weird Battleships. Repress repress!

So anyway this week I’d like to draw attention to some of the activities of my artistically-inclined sisters.

First up is Blood Diaper, a.k.a. Haley Dolan, a.k.a. Bread of Many, a 3’4” Yankee-Doodle polymath for whom the Major-Domo has stretched the guidelines on conjugal visits on a pretty much permanent basis, and I think it shows in her stationery:

What you should really do is buy some of B.D.’s stationery and then write her hundreds of thank you notes and odes on it. There isn't the slightest chance any of us in the utopos would be alive without it. The presence of the hot air balloon has proved invaluable in constitutional-interpretative controversies. Bread of Many is Blood Diaper's dedicated 'tionery blog, & in the rare minutes where she's not striking at the heart of Hallmark with one of her Praxis Giveaways, you can buy her stuff in her Etsy shop. She doesn’t only make stationery. She is an unremitting and compulsive mixed-media improviser and collaborator; anyone and anything entering her sphere of influence is liable to be shlurgled in and spat out as music, text, comics, video, disjecta membra, prosthetic rejectamenta placentas, Dungeon Masters momenta, grassroots proposals to protect local communities from skeletons falling out of pterodactyls, et cetera. More funding for special broad belts on the pterodactyls I guess. Here: Art Blab on Youtube, with Bucket. Fruit and meat, likewise, & Haley & Bucket on MySpace. Some more music from her Praxis Dude show (giant file, hopefully it will stream or something). Look closely: you can make out a youthful Keston Sutherland on steak & cheese panino!

Chloe Mona Ivy Head paints drunk women.

Hmm, she also needs to update her web site. Of course the pics don't do the work justice anyway: some of her canvases are huuge, with molten lava Googly Eyes the size of your toes, & some of them (the icons) disquietingly tiny, almost missable, yet totally potent, like veiled revenant .tar files. A set of three of them are in the Norma Rae Common Room and I just can't go in there.

The kinda Art World / Aesthetics yaddayadda on Chloe's stuff would be something like: Ivy Head explores the relationship between Happiness and Terror, & especially how the two emotions can strobe or combine in religious / booze & drug-induced ecstatic states. Her research is conspicuously gendered, perhaps because the less deeply-written dimensions of identity simply melt in the emblematic Chloe moment.

Felicity, awe, love/fear, the sensuous theological . . . how happy is it actually possible to be, metaphysically speaking? Is the limit condition defined as the sum of every particular individual happiness, of every particular individual being -- harvested, without compunction, from the little lads on the green and the psychopathic paedophiles frolicking at its rim? Even ladies & gays? Or is it less, or more, or . . . ? I don't fucking know! This is secular work -- Chloe doesn't literally believe Jesus is magic, etc. -- but the theological aspect makes the case that delirium cannot be reduced to a pathology of reason. Delirium has its own shit going on!

The Thomist idea of beatitudo, the exercise of the noblest mortal faculty (not boozing, but Reason), on the object of infinite value (guess Who?), & beatitudo's complicated but probably-very-boy-clever antecedant in Kant's idea of the sublime, seem to cast supreme happiness as a kind of error of reason (at least, in this world), whereas Chloe's work performs the inverse: reason as an error of happiness.

Now if that's an ambiguous but fertile-seeming Art World yaddayadda with which to approach Chloe's paintings . . . just forget it! This is work that puts experience first. A better critical gloss would be that "Chloe is this troll lady painter who goes goop de goop de goop goop goop."

Finally, and very quickly, because she's gone to Texas now which to be honest is a bit of a stab in the nuts for the gals -- the extremely wonderful Jenny Nuttall a.k.a. Violet Nut. She writes to us from Texas and none of us know what she means! This is some sort of print:

So: three artists who deserve the levels of exposure associated with a Tube flasher with 20x25 vaginas under her mac. Now revel!

UPDATE: Jamie McCartney, that man is called!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Some Aylett tidbits

1. Revised edition of THE INFLATABLE VOLUNTEER is out now from Raw Dog Screaming - and the first publication of the book in the US (see

"In the constant apocalypse nobody cares if your skull is made of wood or your friends are flying ants. Corrosive phantoms are two-a-penny in such a high-res environment. Minotaur Babs improves the shining hour by snogging horses and has a style pedal attached to his arm so he can punch people in the manner of various celebrities. A basement of whispering apes is the source of all wisdom. Bob is propelled through a hull door with only a parachute between him and the slamming palm of god. Placid vampires suggest shapeless and impractical management policies. But how much of the narrator's vortical tale is designed to annoy Eddie and waste his time? A volley of poetic stand-up, this intense splurge contains some of the most unnerving excuses in print, all a-scramble with phosphene electricity and casual resentment. You will emerge from this revised edition glowing like a dashboard saint."

The Inflateable Volunteer is kind of refined Aylettium, trace geniality and accommodation sucked out. The revised edition eradicates the reactionary efforts of the Republican Guard of Sub-Editor Compromise.

2. Aylett comic strip 'Johnny Viable' is in issue 2 of Dodgem Logic, along with a good Alan Moore comic about a heroic penis in space, some post-civilizationist manifesto, etc. I gotta warn you that 'Johnny Viable' feels a little bit like Aylett coasting on auto-pilot. That's still better than most contemporary creatives at the top of their meticulously-cognitive game.

3. Aylett's REBEL AT THE END OF TIME (set in Michael Moorcock's "End of Time" world) will be published by PS (UK) later in 2010. W10t!