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Anton Osver is an artist based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He will be in NYC as an apexart New York City Fellow from October 21 – November 20, 2014.
NEXT NEW YORK CITY FELLOW
 


David B. Smith is a NYC-based artist who is in Dunedin, New Zealand, as an apexart International Fellow from October 1 - 31, 2014.
CURRENT INTERNATIONAL FELLOW

Posts tagged with "Luis Sagasti"

common words

Everybody knows New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world. Everybody finds something familiar in this city. When we watch the world in two dimensions, I mean, in the screen (TV shows, movies, photographs) New York appears continually. If one man of five is Chinese, one image of five is New York. Three days ago the screen that I know opened its third dimension. It’s pretty curious but this city ends up with common places, but it couldn’t with words. We can only say “wonderful’, “extraordinary”, “beautiful” and thousand other onomatopoeic words.

words for a friend

When I was 18 years old I saw Manhattan, the Woody Allen film. I was in the cinema with a very close friend and when the movie ended we said, “extraordinary”, ‘excellent”, and blah blah blah. Today I can say I didn’t understand anything, neither did my friend. But we found something special in the movie, the atmosphere… the contrast between black and white. The movie had a smell, really. In that time we were reading Henry Miller. My friend always talked about him. And thanks to my friend I really got to know Miller. ¨We have to go to New York,¨ we said when we were younger. My friend never wrote a line, he studied music, he went to Brazil three years later and with time became one of the most important percussionists in Argentina and Brazil and, in some instruments like berimbau, he was the best in the world. Well, my friend was Ramiro Musotto and he died yesterday. I want to dedicate these words to him.

Middle Ages

Does New York looks like a Middle Ages city? I think we must consider two aspects if we assert something like this because at first sight we can say nothing farther than that notion. However, I want to hightlight the contrast between open spaces and dark streets, shadows and lights on the one hand, and the city like a big market on the other. To my eyes, people move and run between shadows and lights looking for their own grail.


But I’ve seen something pretty curious: in Manhattan, the sight get lost in the space. You can see the skyline almost in every avenue, the horizon in Times Square indeed. The design of a medieval city is like a labyrinth, it seems as if chance or God’s will traced the map (sometimes it seems the same thing). Most part of Manhattan is exactly a grid, so your sight can get lost in space and then it feels like New York has not weight. In the Middle Ages nothing has real weight except the Church. But the building of the church itself, forced you to look up there. And then, the sight got lost at the end. You find the sky, the real city god traced . By the way, Wall Street does the same!
Ok, we must think what kind of god we can find up there.

Vermeer

The first and the last time we look at something tend to be similar, particularly when one believes that it could be the last one. When we look at something for the first time the astonishment is probably caused by the singularity of what we face. Of course, first times are unlike anything else. But when we think we are looking at something for the last time, although we can never be sure, we try to recover that intensity. We go away with the head turned back, as if it didn’t want to go. But it doesn’t help. There is only one first time. It happened to me at the Metropolitan museum while looking at a painting by Vermeer. It wasn’t the only time, but it was the most intense one. In fact, now that there is only few days left before I leave, this insight becomes more and more powerful.

Oct 1

resident-apexart

the tip of the nail

It seems to me that an apple fell on Newton by chance and he came up with the theory of gravity, and a century and a half later, an ape fell on Darwin and then he came up with the theory of evolution.

Well, we stopped eating real apples when we stopped playing on trees like apes.

When one is, let’s say, 11 years old, before puberty, time is somewhat stagnant, as if it were constrained in the body. The only time that flows is the one that is found in some class hour one must attend. The first experience of something happening is when a baby feels hunger. When a baby feels hungry, his stomach contracts and hurts. Not until his mom comes with milk, is the baby satisfied. So time means pain from the very beginning.

Until puberty, the child conforms and constructs with objects and toys an impenetrable unity where time cannot penetrate. Playtime is no time. Let’s not forget that from one birthday or Halloween to the next, as a child, not one or a million years pass. Time doesn’t pass at all. Today, we experience the passing of time at a speed greater than 60 seconds per minute. After being 40 the passing of time is in someway or another, almost the obliged topic of conversation.

Sexual maturity coincides with the development of abstract thinking. That is why elementary school finishes there. Sexual maturity leads us to a state of “unwholeness” it feels as if our bodies began to crack and time flowed and oozed through them, time comes out as sex body fluids. Indeed, it is the time of waiting for the other one. Time starts to come out of us just as the new capacity to elaborate concepts, and concepts appear and allow us to separate objects from words. (Sometimes we confuse words with objects).

Isn’t God the great Tempter, prohibiting Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden tree?
What kind of fruit is that? There are two traditions on this topic. An apple, leads us to a sexual reading belonging to the Middle Ages. The other possibility is that the fruit was a nut. So when you break a nut into two pieces, you find a fruit resembling a brain, meaning, both the apple, i.e., sex, and the nut: i.e., abstract thinking, break the indissoluble unity between the child and the objects, in other words, one way or the other we are forced out of paradise.

Everything we do after that, are attempts to re-establish that primordial unity: in art, love, and work. The problem is that we keep on biting the wrong apple. True paradises are uninhabitable and they reside either in inspiration or memories; we never remember the ants of the best picnics.

Most of our behavior patterns have a religious pulse in essence. Understanding “religious” etymologically; i.e., re-ligare: rejoin or re unite. All our activities, desires, have an ultimate aim: to be whole, that ultimate unity is family, couple, belief, art.
Happiness lies at the tip of the nail of the ring finger. It does not occupy a bigger place than that. I remember a night when I was with four friends, drinking good wine, talking about literature, and aspects of certain intimacy. We were at my friend’s study and it was winter; and outside it should have been snowing, I was happy. We all laughed, but the apple appeared at the tip of the nail on my left hand. I realized that my nail had grown a little, and while we went on talking I took my finger to my mouth and started biting my nail and at that moment, I did this: ….I bit off half a nail. The talk went on being animated, everybody continued laughing and no animal realized that Adam had abandoned paradise. I spent the rest of the night taking my finger to my mouth and blowing to calm the pain.

Being happiness such a fragile “something”, I think one should pursue other things that truly depend on our own free will. Without being bipolar or anything like that, within the same day we are happy, sad, melancholy, restless, excited and so on. That is why I think one should pursue intensity; meaning, to celebrate the presence of what we have in front of us, as we did as children. Dissolving distance between the subject and the object. That can only be achieved if one considers himself the subject; i, e realizing that one is only one once in the history of cosmos. When we become aware of that, we uncover the reality of our own finitude. Consequently, we embrace the object, and celebrate it in its purest singularity.

(Meanwhile, we abandon our present, modifying our past with Photoshop, not knowing that in the future we will never show anyone that photo.)
What wouldn’t we give to eat apples or chocolate when we were kids, abandoning all our being into a piece of candy. There was no more truth than that: eating chocolate.

Sometimes I think poetry has, in some way, for the individual the same function as religion; that is to say, the return to a state of unity. I said poetry. Poetry is that something that as it reveals this world, it creates another. It means both coming back to our homeland and adventuring into the unknown at the same time. Through poetry man becomes aware that he is something more than a mere object in transit. Poetry lies in paintings, movies, performances, when they are something more than plastic language or visual articulation. It is all about transcending languages using one’s own language.

Nevertheless, we can find ourselves confronted with a dilemma: can a stream of thought and action such as Nazism produce art? Examples such as Celine, Lenny Riefenthal, Ezra Pound and so on confirm that not only ethics and aesthetics are different and separate realms, but that philosophical thinking such as Nazism serves also to reach unity. However, it is not the same the silence of an idiot as that of a wise man. The construction of a totality cannot be performed by or upon the exclusion of the other because we are the others (as Rimbaud said). One is oneself because the other exists.

I have traveled 4 thousand kilometers to come back to a place I have never been before. It took to me 14 hours to arrive to a place I left 30 something years ago.

It is all about being able to see everything as in the first time, to recover the shining that things really had the very first time. The habit, the triviality of day-to-day life, the circularity of routine always ends up darkening our vision, making it opaque. It doesn’t matter whether I get hurt when I bite my nail, it would be as if I had never done it before. That is all that matters. I hope to be able to convey part of this recovered intensity into my own literature work.

Oct 2

resident-apexart

Luis Sagasti

Luis Sagasti, a writer, lecturer and art critic, was born in Bahía Blanca, Argentina in 1963. He graduated in History at the Universidad Nacional del Sur in 1992 and is now a lecturer of History there. From 1992 to 1995 he broadcast the Radio program “Shit, Summer’s come” (¡Maldición! llegó el verano). The humor of the program made it a ratings success and it gained a cult following for Bahía Blanca’s youth. He was Curator in charge of Education and Cultural Outreach at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Bahía Blanca (1995 to 2003). He published the novels El Canon de Leipzig (The Canon of Leipzig, Editorial Simurg, 1999) and Los mares de la Luna (The Seas of the Moon, Editorial Sudamericana, 2006). His essay “Perdidos en el espacio” (“Lost in Space”), and the novel Lenguas muertas (Dead Tongues) were published by Editorial Sudamericana in 2009. He is currently working on a novel entitled Fine Arts.

Luis visited apexart from Bahia Blanca, Argentina, from September 8, - October 6, 2009. He was recommended by Guillermo Martínez, a writer based in Argentina. Visit his Resident Page for more information.