Hard times everywhere. Black lives matter. And Black art matters.

This morning, I woke up to a text message I received last night. 

"I wonder if you are sitting and watching live feeds from ferguson too."

And last night, I wasn't. I saw the news. I read some Aimé Césaire poems. I went to sleep. I dreamt of translating poems. And woke up with those dreams swirling in my head.

This morning, I found that message and Ferguson came rushing in. And I listened to the radio reports. Read the online news. 

And then went back to a book of poems I've been reading. Shane McCrae's book of poetry, Blood.

And something about spending time with his words brought back the enormity of the situation. The fact that, as I read in a friend's post online, it's not the riots that are the great risk or the greatest threat, it's the possibility of more Darren Wilsons.

You stab a man you      break his skull

you want that man to see you

That man won't know he's      / Nothing

if he can't look you in the eye

Reading online of Wilson's testimony: this demon he imagined had been unleashed upon him. The desperation and the mania Wilson imagined in the body, the face, the arms of Michael Brown. The depth of white fear. The shocking, irrepressible white ability to imagine and re-imagine the possibility of danger in a black body.

McCrae has a poem in the voice of a free black soldier during the Civil War era. This voice says:

One day we stopped a train took    Yankee / Money

I held my rifle on a Yankee

soldier he    just looked at me so scared

Like he never knew / What a rifle was

until he saw one in my hands

It seems Wilson was afraid because—as officers always say in these murder cases—he thought he saw Brown reach for his waistband. Even the possibility of a gun in a black hand is overwhelming. The possibility makes for a reasonable fear in the eyes of that grand jury. The possibility is enough to make murder justifiable in the eyes of the law.

The videos I saw online have interviews with witnesses to the murder. They talk about the injustice represented by the amount of time Brown's body spent on the ground. How could they leave his body there so long. How could they not cover his body with something. There were children around, they say. One woman said the blood was red at first. Then, the blood stayed there so long on the pavement that it turned black.

And blood sprayed from the artery

A rose

like if the Lord had stopped

making in the middle of mak-

ing red


and never made their boundaries


As Autumn Knight says in this video: Hard times everywhere.

Autumn Knight: in-situ artist in –residence (006) 2014 from PeopleStaring on Vimeo.


Black lives matter. And Black art matters. And helps.
I was harming others with my lack of mindfulness, and when I realized how much, I was horrified. 

- Carolyn Zaikowski from Meditation, Mindfulness, and Writing: A Conversation at Entropy
Something about posting on this blog feels so much better than posting on the Feisbúc. On FB, I get anxious about the immediacy of the response (this text illustrates this feeling). If I post something, it emotionally weighs on my whole day. I wonder how it is being received, who is reading it, what they think. I start frantically checking the FB to see how what I wrote is being received or not received. I get anxious and stuck. Here, I post something and it disappears (like most thoughts do anyway). And then randomly, someone will say, Oh, I love your blog in a general kind of way and their comment adds flame to the fire.
Racism makes one both hypervisible and totally invisible depending on the context and on the last political incident on the airwaves. Effectively erasing ordinary, daily lives from the consciousness of most and creating instead a brutal stereotypes of troublemaker, terrorist, narcosavage, etc.

Que quemen al Judás, que quemen al diablo, que quemen al EPN...

Les nénuphars.
Les fleurs de lys.
La racine du curcuma. Le poudre.
La racine du gingembre.
Je compte d'y aller.
J'y compte bien.
Les cloches de l'église qui sonnent. Le tour qui date du dix-huitième siècle.
C'est chaud là aujourd'hui. Ici des nuages et du froid.
Ta maman est férue de la lecture.
Elle nous va a expliquer la différence entre le ô et le oh.
L'exil s'en va ainsi.

Notes from charge//a practicum

Here are the things I wrote down in the sessions of charge that I went to:

W.A.G.E. – Lise Soskolne

focused on artist fees from non-profits
non-profits are charities
artist fees – bear no resemblance to the amount or value of cultural labor
you do work – should get paid

transparency & accountability around that subjective history of non-payment since 1973
MOMA retrospective of Hollis Frampton

Irresolvible contraditions commonly used for reasons of non-payment

 - engagement with an arts organization is subcontracted labor
 - getting paid is not in contradiction with criticality
 - you need cultural capital to get paid but the more cultural capital you have, the less you are thought to need pay wage certification

voluntary program that recognizes orgs that use fair payment policies

W.A.G.E. is not art. We use some tools of artists, but we were adamant and decided that it was not art.

 Artist fees are calculated based on an organization’s total expenses found on line 18 of tax form 990 - available on Foundation Center website


Alison Gerber

world of art as a job
 - artist as professional with job/career
 - artists in market contexts

four types of artists – our accounts of identity as artists
1) pecuniary account – bottom-line accounting of costs, expenses, time vs returns
2) credentialing account – art as credential, teaching, selling products/services related to art, being competent in something technical (wedding photographer, professional engineer (who was sculptor), teaching (i could always teach))
3) relational account – art as creating social good, relationships, draws on ancient ideas about art as important for a social good for artists and citizens (“instead of having a kid, we have a community”)
4) vocational account – time is transcendent, no regulated modern clock time, art world is not basis of action, only relevant actor is the self (time for myself = time for my work) (im one of those people who is always working, which is really hard financially) (fit a long held assumption that artists have to create, that art is its own reward)

individuals move synchronically and temporally between different accounts

relational and pecuniary do not co-occur
pecuniary and credentialing do not co-occur
pecuniary & vocational co-occur (dance between love & money)

commensuration – how we agree to value something in dollar terms. we agree it doesnt gauge everything but we agree to use a certain metric (ie $$$)

de-commensuration a disagreement or conflict over value

an existing field of activity (art) becomes something professional (career) art is for

– love and relationships and work and more (like plumbing)
future – draws on contemporary vision of the past

when we talk about value, we are talking not only about money, but about who we are or what is a value

federal law of taxes – business must have a “profit motive”
- but artists have been taught they make art for love not money
- professional artist, working artist, serious artist – these are fighting words
- occasional obscenity and copyright laws

but there are not many authorities to regulate the boundaries
- in the end, the auditor decides if you are an artist or not
“Hay una tensión entre leer y la acción política”, escribe Ricardo Piglia. Interpretar el mundo puede llevar al deseo de transformarlo. En ocasiones, la letra, y la ortografía misma, son un gesto político que desafía un orden bárbaro: “Podríamos hablar de una lectura en situación de peligro. Son siempre situaciones de lectura extrema, fuera de lugar, en circunstancias de extravío, o donde acosa la amenaza de una destrucción. La lectura se opone a una vida hostil”, argumenta Piglia en El último lector. 

El Che Guevara pasó su última noche en una escuela rural. Ya herido, contempló una frase en la pizarra y dijo a la maestra: “Le falta el acento”. La frase era “Yo sé leer”. Ya derrrotado, el guerrillero volvía a otra forma de corregir la realidad. 

Hace años, maestros acorralados por el Gobierno decidieron tomar las armas en Guerrero. Lucio Cabañas decidió salvar a uno de los suyos para que volviera a la enseñanza, instrumento de lucha en un país sin ley. 

43 futuros maestros han desaparecido. La dimensión del drama se cifra en una frase que se opone a la impunidad, el oprobio y la injusticia: “Yo sé leer”. El México de las armas teme a quienes enseñan a leer. 

A ese país le falta el acento. Llegará el momento de ponérselo.

- Juan Villoro. Lee el resto aquí.
Acabe de ver este post de blog que escribió Aurelio Meza sobre el proyecto de Erre y David Taylor:


Buenísimo el análisis de los argentinos estos...
(Gaspar Enriquez, Shine on Mijita, Shine on, 1994, Airbrushed acrylic on paper, Pintado con aerógrafo, acrílico sobre papel. Collection of the Artist)

Siempre es grato ver que a pesar de todo, la vida sigue. Las personas salen a caminar en el centro. Dos hombres juegan dominó en una cafeteria. Los jóvenes se juntan frente a una peluquería a platicar. Un hombre nos ayudó a localizar las cruces de las muertes de Lomas de Poleo.

La palabra del día

pazguato, ta.

1. adj. Simple, que se pasma y admira de lo que ve u oye. U. t. c. s.