Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Idea City" 2005, acrylic on wood and then some Photoshop. Click to enlarge.

In the Fall of 2005 I was working on a house that sat across from Van Hise Elementery and Middle school. Everyday at around 7:30 the little children would line up to be let in. Soon they would be bored to tears and looking forward to recess. Meanwhile, I painted the house. The above painting is made out of the negative shapes cut from primer applied just above the garage. I took a picture of each square, so as , , x38. Then took Photoshop and got rid of the white and then began to play around with the shaggy red squares. I wasn't about to write any of this before my roommate walked in and said:"you should tell the story of how you made it."

Yesterday the MacArthur grant winners were revealed. David Simon, the guy who made The Wire and Treme, amongst other things, got one. If you follow the link you'll find a little video interview with each winner. Mr. Simon's is particularly interesting to me because The Wire taught me more about how the world (or at least the US) works than most anything. In the video he speaks about moving from journalism into TV producing (when newspapers started to go bad in the mid 90's), and that he basically does the same thing in television that he used to do in op-ed journalism, that is, making arguments. Which is a helpful way to think of The Wire; as an argument rather than a drama. That the "Dickensian" nature of the characters was actually a side effect of the ideas in play. By that I mean each season targets a particular area and makes a case for how, in general, the US is no longer concerned with dreaming and progressing as a unified group, and instead is splintering into factions of small groups out for themselves. "The end of empire," as Mr. Simon calls it, and we're steeling ourselves for famine.

On a sad note, RIP Michael Gizzi, a poet and one of my teachers in graduate school, has died. He was one of the warmest parts of a particularly cold two years in Rhode Island. He stood in for CD a few times in workshop, and I took a class on improvisational writing with him. He was always supportive of me and my work, and was one of my favorite people at Brown. He will be missed.