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When I used to look after Poppy, sometimes she would get completely riled up out of nowhere. A little growling animal, gurning and trying to push her forehead through my stomach. This was an unadulterated violence and very beautiful. I would have given anything to be able to reciprocate. But I'm too strong, too adult and I could already visualise her small broken body if I had ever let myself give in, even slightly.

This is something to do with sex...

And it is ecstatic.

- Jay Tan


A portion of my research for the thesis and graduation project will be conducted through interviews with friends who have 'alternative' sexual practices, for example spanking, tattooing, and harder S/M interests. As well as friends who feel fucked up (fucked up meaning that they feel confused or troubled about how to it's possible to be in the world). I want to know how they know they're sensing (aka feeling). In addition to these interviews I will practice violence on myself in private, a process that I will track and record through written entries. I will also develop different attitudes, sensibilities, and dispositions throughout the year. These attitudes/sensibilities/dispositions have been emerging directly in my writing practice as words or phrases which I lift from the writing and translate into a sculptural practice (translation here as a process, making sculptures that feel like the sentiments words carry, and then developing productive redundancy, ie over-abundance, through writing again over top of the sculpture. This over-writing reminds me of 'capping,' a phrase used in graffiti to describe the act of writing over someone else's name with your own, in which case graffiti as a mode proliferates even though individual ownership is destroyed and constantly in flux). This might have something to do with sacrifice. Sacrifice coming from the Latin combination of sacra (sacer) meaning sacred, and facere meaning to do or perform. So here I am thinking of the processes of consecration that are ubiquitous in the performance of culture. Especially maybe 'visual art' culture. The title of my thesis/graduation project refers to a relationship between infinite emptiness and sacrifice, the privileging of emptying out (as compared to, say, filling or stuffing) but also the intense melancholy of aimlessness, anger, and other emotive models that correspond with the feeling of being empty (vacant, void, words we use to describe the experience of feeling meaningless). Emptiness might be standard due in part to the continual sacrificial practices that we are asked and forced to engage in while playing out the fantasy that we are proliferating autonomous structures and selves.

These words and phrases provide the framework for further making. One sensibility, for example, is being bent, which is to say twisted screwed or the mental condition of being deflected or turned. Altered from an originally straight or even condition. Disposition is a tendency of mind, an arrangement or an order. From the astrological usage “position of the planet as a determining influence.” So how to be disposed to unevenness. I wonder how these conditions are set up or actually how to sustain them in the context of The World. I’m listening to music on Youtube that my father used to play on vinyl in our living room. It’s really bad 90s music, but also classics from The Doors and The Beach Boys. I think Jim Morrison was his favorite musician. I felt like we were floating when my father used to play these songs. Turned up so loud I was afraid of the force coming from the speakers I would talk to him but he couldn’t hear me. Dicere is to tell digitus is finger dico is the root which means “I say I speak I talk.”

Like wondering about attentiveness, how to attend to systems. The body, power. Violence as an ecstatic display of systems. Systemic sensation that could produce the failure of the body - death and other subjects - as a kind of sympathy. I am using the word system to describe the ways that things work together. Systems are a gathering of parts that form unified wholes, they are interacting bodies under the same force. Syn means together, so I mean attention to togetherness. Violence could display this togetherness because it could tear things apart. It is ecstasy because it is exhaustive, because it drives out. Ecstasy and system share a root word, histanai, to cause to stand. Ecstasy was used by 17c. mystical writers for "a state of rapture that stupefied the body while the soul contemplated divine things." Violence is a way of alleviating the body. This could be sympathetic, if we are discussing the feeling of the soul, or how we belong together.

The realization of these attitudes leads me to a research question: who can you speak when I-say I want to fuck me-forever and if you stop I feel-like my whole body-leaks desire on the world I-wish I believed I could talk-speak but-I-don’t-know-how when I-want to-need-gut up brain is skulls. This question is about ecstasy, what is the mental state that leads to the ecstasy of the body?

My research method thus far combines rigorous reading of both philosophy and experimental poetics with more overtly body-related experiences. This combination of research processes helps me to discover the different ways in which I can develop subject positions. Rather than developing a fixed ideology or method, I place value on a kind of studious re-evaluation of how I experience the world. This happens through a constant negotiating of limits and boundaries; it has been clear to me where boundaries lie in reading, but I think the influence of these boundaries on my 'everyday' 'life' is a fruitful process of transcription that has lead to very positive research developments (I use transcription to describe this process because it refers to a genetic phenomena - "a DNA transcription unit encoding for a protein contains not only the sequence that will eventually be directly translated into the protein (the coding sequence) but also regulatory sequences that direct and regulate the synthesis of that protein"). As I slowly lose my sense of self, I have noticed that I am increasingly open to the magic of identification - magic in the sense that we cannot explain how the sound of speech is developed as a meaningful symbolic system (one that we recognize ourselves in). This applies to both a sculptural and textual practice that is also about continual re-evaluation: parts can be added or subtracted or re-adjusted or imagined and this I am hoping allows for the proliferation of dynamic identities within a singular work. In order to avoid the trap of politics in which agency is granted according to which identities are recognizable and accepted, there has to be a more rigorous undoing of the structures that keep most people silent or invisible. I don't want to respond to your names, I don't even want my own. My practice at Piet Zwart thus far has involved a gradual undoing of recognition, which makes it hard for me to write about 'a larger context' for this proposal because I don't have such a sense anymore of what that means. I am thinking then of context like a mythology, as I wrote in a text work last year, "Eros, the ancient Greek god of desire, "mated in the deep Abyss with dark Chaos, winged like himself, and thus hatched forth our race, which was the first to see the light" (Aristophanes, Birds). Desire meeting chaos, fucking and producing the first race to see the light – illumination through bodies. I wonder if desire is what fuels recognition, the desire to be the “you” of the call, to be subject to the imperative, to demand or expect but also, in the Latin sense of desiderare, to await what the stars will bring." Antonia Hirsch gave a lecture on Copernicus where she mentioned circulation, orbiting, and desire. I was wondering how we understand the pulls that make up our desires. To me this would be context, what is it that makes me want, and how do my desires orbit and circulate in the larger context of the world, the stars. In the same way that the Earth orbits around the Sun, for reasons that I don't understand, that I'm not sure anyone understands, in terms of their initial actualization. To me this unknown-but-sensed is the interval that Lisa Robertson has been talking about in her seminar on Aby Warburg - the definitive moment of desire - not when you receive the text message reply but the interval between sending yours and desiring a response.

I am currently working on a series of texts about work by other artists that I like. In order to write these texts I position myself in the pictures, behind the viewer. Here is one example:

I’m trying a little girl facing left she has short dirty blond hair that covers most of that side of her face. Must be her stomach protrudes slightly like the way kids’ stomachs tend to do, no fat only muscles that go slack and taught all at once. Her right hand sticks out slightly, fingers like a dick. It’s trippy at first. But then it’s just her hand flesh is pale white-ish except for her legs which got some sun shoulders straight and back no sign of breasts but that stomach sure does stick out behind her two big balloons – one orange, one white, like wobbly inflatable cocks and I guess that’s the point the unconscious the backside what only we can see I don’t feel like a voyeur but I keep seeing her little fingers they really form this dick shaped phantasm fuck that the chairs are orange they’re old she’s young but someone’s been sitting she’s only about a foot and a half taller than the chairs’ tops and this orange balloon hovers behind the chair it’s smaller than the white one a scuff of old paint peeks through the new stuff right along the baseboard so much for white when color washes off.

I want to be multiple in my intentions. I can imagine that this feels possible when you work with other people. I work alone, and I struggle to know who I am when I am writing. I think about writing that I want to receive from others and often I reply to this. So in the context of this proposal we'll call these texts that I reply to 'fictional,' or they're more than that, because they 'do not exist.' But I'm sure that my desire produces them. This is a question for me almost always - how to produce desire - it seems easier in the body/text/work, but in terms of writing a proposal I have trouble starting. I don't think about viewers when I make work but recently I have realized that this is what I will learn this year, because I am starting to understand that this is art. I want my work to scare me because of same kind of clarity with which my desire for a text message could scare me. Communication is scary when you want it, because when you want it you might get it, or not. I think this is like being alive.

Alliveness that happens in the space opened up by relating: 1 + 1 = 3 but not like a dialectic more like there will always be a third thing, or fourth, or fifth...this leads me to the hyphen, my amateur speculating that is the product of a poetic interest rather than a rigorous linguistic investigation. This year I have incorporated hyphens into my practice. The hyphen is a way to create compound words. In grammar verbs or words that do not exist together can be brought into relation through hyphenation. Hyphen comes from ancient Greek meaning "under one" or "in one." The terms were used by the Greeks as a symbol that could be written below two consecutive letters as a way to indicate that they belong to the same word. This was before a space (indicating 'new word') was used regularly. I am thinking here about a mark or shape that directs a reader to read things together. It seems that we imagine that all words in a sentence, and then a paragraph, and then a text are to be read as one might read a body (as a sum of parts that are identifiable but that mean something as functions only in the context of the whole that they compose), and so I am excited about a gesture of togetherness in an already unified expression. For example, when I write 'body-leaks' the hyphen forms a boundary, so even though all the words belong in the sentence in order to be read and make meaning, body and leaks belong together individually, before belonging to the whole. They are together, we could say, as opposed to merely being together. The have a relationship that is prior to the formulation of the sentence. They are beyond being, if not before it.

Go fuck yourself

To cause to stand

Set forth as things (or persons) or the world. The world means the age of man, whereas the cosmos means the delicate arrangement of making order out of chaos. Chaotic man moves earth and dirt Moves history Regions (Bodies) And heavenly bodies are not the earth Are not in contact with what is. Immoveable mighty chains are cast Without beginning and without end Are passing far The self-same place (Abiding in what is). Habitually resistant habits wait, they fall behind We fall behind resistant parts are static states Ecstatic states When time is slower still.

A gather-practice. I will make a porn film in relation to a sculpture-installation text.

This will be about how to get fucked up in an already fucked up world, like the example of sympathy in its earliest English usage, in medicine to describe the process of healing a wound: the healer takes blood from the body with a cloth, and applies ointment to the blood on the cloth, because that blood is sympathetic to the blood spilling from the body. So here I'm thinking of a twist - what might be more sympathetic - rather than try to heal the wounded, you get wounded too. That would be feeling together. And then maybe it becomes harder to tell who was sick in the first place, or how you got it. So the idea of the proposal is honing in on sculptural/textual/filmic practice that actively develops boundaries that can blur distinctions between sickness and health, life and death, hot and not, being fucked up on power and being fucked up because you don't have any. So like maybe these positions are all sympathetic to each other but we cannot be sympathetic in our occupation of them. I will write in part about violence in my thesis, explaining or articulating why someone, someone like myself would desire to die, or be reduced, like obliterated. How can I work with representation as a by product of a different (prior) process. I have been working on accumulative texts and sculptures for some time, and actively neglecting distinction, but I want to practice boundaries in order to make particular strands of thought and practice more (and less) explicit. Like where to make the wounds.

The film will be shot in the set I have been building in my studio - on one side that I am calling 'THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID' on the other side that says 'FORGET IT.' These two sides will be used as two structures, on the 'THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID' side will be innuendo, and on the 'FORGET IT' side will be straight forward dialogue. Innuendo will be passages from the script that are about metaphysical, poetic description. This will in all likelihood (she wants to do it, and she added me on Facebook the next day, but I don't know if she will still be interested when I shoot the film ) be narrated by a girl I met at a party who showed us (Phil and I) a video on Youtube (shot and directed by Dennis van Vreden) of her doing a kind of Norah Jones style jazz cover of Crazy in Love by Beyonce and Jay-Z. She looked so glamorous in the video, which was in total contrast to the incredible erotic potential of her self in person. Phil will play Crystal, and I have yet to cast the man. Dennis will operate the camera, and I will discover a few more artists to help me so that I can focus on directing, dialogue, and mapping out the shots.

The sculpture-installation text compnent will establish several formal strategies - for example bagging, floor paintings, reading, and signs (please note that these descriptions are both provisional and in progress). Bagging, for instance, is the process of placing shit in bags (shit here refers to sculptures of a certain size; I am using the word shit in order to express a colloquial, casual sense of value - which is to say things that are made or produced but that are also easily re-produced, in terms of their ideas but not in terms of their forms - which is to say they can be substituted by different works - their value coming not from their individuality as objects but rather from the processes that they result from and to). The other process or strategies will be examined in depth in the written thesis document. In addition to the extended porn video I will install several shorter videos that have been and are currently in production, for example the HI DAD GO FUCK YOURSELF animation that I made this year. These shorter videos will incorporate both found footage and originally composed video segments. This is something major to work towards - how to install all of these things together, making sense across media and the space of the gallery itself. This relates back to my new idea to consider how viewers feel invited or repelled by different formal and conceptual boundaries, to use this interaction as another medium or form to work with and at.

Deep fast fortify sinners before the law exceedingly the lord is law is a loaf eater is overfed and unconcerned. Let me tell-you. Crushed (like obliterated).

Very active or intense belonging to life is:

When all my sensation are a sky, I'd reach for the world between your legs. Is co-existing, becoming darker can search up-skirt photos of Demi Moore or other sites (for selves).

Following the world could lead to bigger tits Because you can upgrade to plus size boobs if you want to.

You can see the world on Google maps But some countries don't have street view yet So it's harder to know what they look like.

But you can for sure watch a group of men jerk each other off, or fuck pumpkins, and that's all access you don't even need a subscription.


Kathy Acker - Blood and Guts in High School, Giorgio Agamben - Means Without Ends; Infancy and History, Georges Bataille - Visions of Excess, Laura Riding Jackson - Anarchism is Not Enough, Tiqqun - Sonogram of a Potential