Friday, December 4, 2020

Anti-Psychiatry (critical psychology) and de-colonizing ADHD care

Rather than assume everyone's good intent, where the PC thing to say is "Now I'm not saying ADHD doesn't exist, and I'm not saying that medication isn't absolutely necessary for those that need it but..."

(which is the ableist, neurotypical version of "I'm not a racist but...")

But I've been getting the runaround so to speak on whether or not the existence of ADHD is a good thing or not. In my experience, I was prescribed Adderall in 2008 without being told it was for ADHD, and then put on an anti-depressant (Wellbutrin) in 2016, and finally an anti-psychotic (Seroquel) to be used off-label to deal with the insomnia which is the only thing I still take maybe once every 2 weeks if I need it.

Previously I was told by my 3rd to most recent therapist that... he's not saying that ADHD doesn't exist, it's just that it's a version of anxiety and depression, unfortunately, as much as he was able to stop my panic attacks, we weren't able to get any further into my learned helplessness because there was this part of me that just couldn't trust how he put my ADHD aside so easily. But he was also backed up by my Kaiser psychiatrist at the time (who was terrible btw that's another story for another day) who said that Sensitive Rejection Dysphoria didn't exist, all I needed was more psychotherapy (and he boosted the amount of meds I was taking to boot.) So I was left to my own devices, learning about the dangers of Seroquel from "The Body Keeps the Score" and put a bunch of ADHD books on my To-Do List.

So that was all of the last 2 - 3 years, where am I now?

Well, I just wanted to show how continuously confusing it is to try to take care into your own hands, it's like disavowing mainstream media and realizing that you need to be able to figure out how to be a journalist because information simply isn't neutral and you have to know how to ask the right questions.

Not to say there's anything wrong with any of the following sources, but just imagine this trifecta of information that's been sitting together in my head, and now I'm starting to see why I'm so muddled even though everyone is kindof rooting for the same team:

So I've got these 3 vantage points (and put in 2 links each so you can get an idea of what exactly I've been catching up on):

1. Jessica McCabe's How To ADHD YouTube Channel: Why Stimulant Medication Helps ADHD -- and How Stigma Can Hurt + How ADHD Treatment is not ADHD Friendly

An informed FUBU movement of ADHD'rs OR is it a cult of well-intentioned mis-informed C.H.A.D.D. members? One thing is for sure, it's incredibly understanding, a resource for many that not only cites its sources but intrinsically places personal experience on an equal footing with the science.

2. Queer Vengeance and their Research Rabbit Holes + ADHD is More Than Deficits.

A guide to how to BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND and re-plant society OR is it one big experimental science fiction novel where we abolish prisons like we did to mental facilities and collectively hold people in power to a level of accountability... only to realize that Instagram was a Trojan horse for their own means of getting and destroying your precious attention? Is anyone else alarmed that the best content is only 1 instagram connection or 1 post away from being THE craziest most ungrounded conspiracy theory... one that gives all the insane but true conspiracy theories a bad name! (i.e. that the Iraq War after 9-11 was a sham, that the government is spying on everyone)

3. Mad in America: Insane Medicine, Chapter 3: The Manufacture of ADHD (Part 2) + Non-Drug Therapies for Adults with Depression (Where I noticed that nothing was listed for ADHD?)

Is this the sources we've always wanted so that we could ground our conspiracy theories in a more robust way or is this just the more academic looking version of it?

So the joke is if you were to get to the bottom of all of the different views on ADHD, you're ripe for a PHD. But that flies in the face of accessibility! Just the other day I wrote in big block letters:

and just to give an example here are 3 real world questions where the rubber hits the road just to contrast 'the research' with the kind of things I think about:

How do I figure out what is actually helping me when I feel like I've been gas lit for years by psychiatrists and parents? For the last six years I've been trying to figure out my 'treatment plan' which includes medications for ADHD, how does one become anti-psychiatry exactly and get help?

What if one therapist says NEVER take hallucinogens you may find out you're the 1/100 that unlocks latent skitzophrenia, another friend says that's BS we'll do acid together, and from personal experience, the only time I did take mushrooms I was pretty emotional but it was an overall meaningful time with friends, so... is it safe?

Lastly, when we talk about being patient with ourselves... how long are things actually supposed to take, like say... writing a blog post? How long are we supposed to wait for people to figure out what people mean by Socialism, Defund the Police, Black Lives Matter?

I've tried tackling this before from the view of self-compassion & the known unknowns this is what I published in my Draft of an ADHD Guide for/by artists:

And then today I was able to sit with all of the confusion and tried to map out all of the various sources of information that were whirling around my head, in part because I'm sure there's stuff I'm traumatically procrastinating on, but also it did give me a great sense of comfort and accomplishment, so there's that.

So that's all I was able to get done today, (really all this just shows is how I lose about 6 hours of my life if I realize that I have a slight disagreement with someone/something...)

BUT, I do at least feel slightly less confused about why everything seems so confusing. Now I get to confuse everyone else with my diagram where if you can't tell the ball can go into the square hole and the round hole, but not the triangle hole, and the pyramid can go into the square hole and the triangular hole but can't go into the circular hole, and the cube can only go into the square hole, but technically if you only took like 75% of each shape, you could probably jam it down through the hole anyways...

Guess what I didn't get to? Talking about de-colonizing care, but if you want a good start, I already mentioned the link, but here it is again because it's just an insightful way into what non-researcher researcher looks like: @QueerVengeance RadPsych (A collection of prev. Instagram stories)

Who also produced these great plain text documents:
(Note to self, make plain text versions of my own graphics above...)

- ADHD is more than Deficits
- Things I Learned About ADHD From The Internet (But Never Doctors)

and they also made this meme (that to be honest I haven't done enough HW to understand in its entirety):

What a wonderful time it has been for so many people to be unemployed, it is truly creating the kind of reflection, introspection & protest that everyone WARNED about!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Instructions to self, September flew by, October is almost over... Post ANYTHING. Trying = Starting = Finishing = Relief.

Well, this is strange, it's 4 am, I'm in LA, still pre-divorced but still living with and even still sharing a bed with my parter, it's CoViD times and the election is right around the corner and right now I'm feeling good. 

I'm saying this as this past Tuesday should've been my worst day of the year... I couldn't figure out a why a new used (but expensive) computer wasn't working, and I ended up unintentionally staying up until 5 am then trying to hash it all out. I truly believed that this would fix all of my life's procrastination problems, buuut it turns out you're not supposed to buy electronics during mercury retrograde, so that means it's all my fault.

That all then led me to sleep through a whole morning, missing a therapy appointment and getting a parking ticket because I didn't move my car in time, but I was given the task this week by my therapist to... 'do nothing'... so perhaps ironically, Nailed it.

I have to say, now that 'do nothing' has much more Officially been given to me as homework, (maybe it was only alluded to before?)
there's been more presence in joy, and in being with people, that was all worth the experiment, and I imagine that it's only a hybrid version from here on out... 

I wanted to send out an update... even though it's kind of to no one in particular, and my Time-Blind brain is sayin' let's go with it... so hello.

I think I'm taking advice from my friend Mallory to take motivation when I can, similar to striking when the iron is hot...


- I want to write about how I have a new somatic therapist with ADHD!
- I want to talk about how I ended up in another Navel.LA assembly group this time it's all about "Hip Magic"
- and then I've been in a pseudo book club talking about 'The Entreprecariat' (I say pseudo since Solidarity Club isn't always a book club and I've only read like 16 pages before I started getting lost in this authors way of writing...)
- I want to write about what interesting things that seemed to just happen and while attempting to  'do nothing'... that I hadn't really anticipated, one of those things being: a deep level of understanding myself, and the other is my pure spontaneous joy...

I can say that with my new somatic therapist it's serendipitous that they're providing me with a bunch of missing pieces that I had wished I had had for my ADHD guide on:

 - Boundaries (and specifically HOW to set them) it's like the adventure of Consent!
 - What's the medical (or more holistic) take nowadays on Sensitive Rejection Dysphoria?
 - Advocating for oneself in the doctors office
(As I've learned more about ADHD specific gaslighting in the process of getting help for ADHD)

and also strategies for not beating myself up, so instead of things being just general 'self-care' I was given a plethora of information on grounding, but lots of better language all around it, like when I was describing that I have a problem with discipline, they very matter-of-factly said that consistency in ADHD is complicated/contradictory and maybe to:

"try again, when it feels accessible, if you want to."

which was a much more caring kind of balance rather than... a razor's edge.

And also in short order, there was this slow horror reveal that my trauma goes much deeper than I really know, (not get into it too deep before I understand how to talk about it better) but for example, I qualify EVERYTHING that I do as either good or bad quite unconsciously, and quite seriously heavy.

Feel feelings? Doing 'Good' work
Applying for things? Doing 'Good' work
Making 'Bad' art is 'Good'
Post SOMETHING to represent the last two months, something = better than nothing
Doing 'Good' is the bare minimum (as opposed to just being alive which is not Good enough)

and... I can't really drop the Good / Better / Best or the Bad / Should / Waste without feeling completely disoriented and specifically dissociative.

But I also want to write about a discussion put on by 'The Artists Office' and 'Other Places Art Fair' that ended in talking about strategies to be purposefully, un-Capitalistically, unproductive; and that was sooo nice.

- One artist clears two entire months of their schedule so that there's actually space to just be!
- Tatiana gave her tips on grounding with literal feet on literal dirt, she also inspired me by just describing candidly being talking about deadlines that she totally missed, but then dealing with it all the same, she too ruminates on missed opportunities, AND shit happens.
- The example I wanted to give was going to be about how I've heard of artists sharing the power/opportunities they have by flexing the leverage they have

i. when artists refuse individual awards and share the wealth against scarcity/competition
ii. 'Riders' that performers write into contracts that demand that the rest of the staff be diverse

- and my art piece attempting to visualize anti-FOMO, and asking for help to expand it, but in the end it was better that I just listened, there'll be more discussions on another day, I'm sure.

I'll just give a quick snapshot of where I've told myself it's OK if I can't get around to it (even if I'm not actually trying to say no.)

I've dipped a bit in participating in some other projects where I was previously a bit more active, which I've told myself is okay:
- connecting more with those in the Level Ground Collective,
- Jennifer Moon's Scrooging Missions,
- and I've got a whole 4-hour conversation I'm sitting on with Tatiana Vahan to go over 'Bar-Fund' as a way to lead me into writing an epic piece on Money & Art.

But on top of all of that I have been struggling with finishing the following things in the last 4-8 months:

- Just finish figuring out how to bring Over Over Over Part 3 to a brilliant end...
- Just finish figuring out how to use Unity to complete turning the art into a VR piece...
- Just finish figuring out Medi-Cal and when you can see someone for acupuncture or physical therapy or dental work...
- Just finish up looking at all of your finances since being on unemployment and figure out how long it will be until I've depleted my savings vis-a-vis a complex Excel visual aid
- Just tell people, curators etc. all about my brilliant art practice and post juicy snippets daily and weekly on Instagram
- Just finish figuring out who will write some really good letters of rec for applications deadlines coming up... (I got as far as making a diagram...)

Pandemic aside I just keep expecting to Nike the whole thing (Just do it).

I've also been beating myself up because there's also shame around not being able to be consistent about showing up to a practice whether that's art or yoga... it's the whole 'not waiting for inspiration to strike' deal which I've been seeing versions of this motivational quote seemingly everywhere lately?

But with Intention-Deficit Disorder and some kind of trauma that throws me into extremes, maybe a nicer, less work-a-holic way of saying that would be phrase it as: 'expect joy to strike at any moment, act on it if that's ideal, or don't act on it if that's actually ideal.' So yeah clunky, but basically reminding myself that things can be quite inexplicably tough for me...

This is me:

And this is me:

Then this is me:

Because I really...

And this seems too true...

So uh yeah, this is a real ramble of a post, but basically I just wanted to remind myself that among all of the pretty meh stuff, was a lot of glimpses of a horizon. I don't quite know what's beyond my early coping mechanisms that probably are no longer serving me, but I will say that sometimes I do... get 'round to it.

Is there a phrase for the artistic version of actually starting something that you've been avoiding...

that's akin to "the bark is worse than it's bite?"

all I've come up with is "The Relief of Now AND Later", but surely there's some kind of word play that will just *click* in a much smoother way... I can almost picture this motivation, something that I hang in my bedroom so it's the first thing I see when I wake up.

Right now the message I use is, "just try it for 15 minutes..."
The only problem is well.. right now it's 6 am.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Part 1: Precursor to a Perspicacious Vision Board

I keep thinking about making plans, but some antagonism towards work, as well as participating in some reading groups has also inspired me to find ways that I DO want to work.

“The major job was getting people to understand that they had something within their power that they could use, and it could only be used if they understood what was happening and how group action could counter violence…” - Ella Jo Baker

Ella Baker had an audacity to dream big, but she also said the following: 

"This may only be a dream of mine, but I think it can be made real.”

And there’s many interesting notes about the kinds of plans made by George Schuyler and Ella Baker from Irvin J. Hunt’s essay “May Things Fall Apart” (Looking at their interest in co-operatives in the 1930s)

"Planning for the collapse of the governing body was thus tantamount to remaking the body of the black public sphere, turning a collectivity organized around charismatic male leaders into one defined by gender-critical societies, each governing itself into ungovernability.”

Dr. Irvin Hunt went on to say that Ella Baker never wanted to be held up as an exceptional individual (like Biden did during his recent DNC speech) because the whole idea was to have each generation get to work in their time, not to rely on each older (usually male-centric) generation, and to be radically horizontal.

Then I looked up “Things Fall Apart” and I stumbled on this...

I kindof wanted to see it in inclusive language so I re-wrote it thus:

Visual art/ Literary arts/ Performing art/ Culinary art is one's constant effort to create for oneself a different order of reality from that which is given to you or me or any of us.

“Fugitive Planning” in Fred Moten & Stefano Harney’s terms involves “self-sufficiency at the social level, and it reproduces in its experiment not just what it needs, life, but what it wants, life in difference, in the play of the general antagonism”
(Honestly I have to re-read all that to figure out if I really understand it. I know it’s important somehow...)

So a Vision Board… 

Maybe one can update what it is and how it works? So it can take in consideration:
  1. Bene Brown & Whole Hearted Living (See workshops based on it)
  2. The skepticism from one guy on 'Vision Boards'
    (even though he probably wants to sell you his version of an ‘Action Board’…)
    (the secondary title is mine)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A brief introduction to the Allied Media Conference (Transcript of the opening to 'Queer Astrological Technologies, Live from the 2020 AMC!)

While I was in the labor group with Bene & Emaline [insert website here], I realized that not everyone knows what AMC is (even though I still haven't been?!) but I thought this was a nice intro, I feel like everyone I know would love it, so if you want to hear an intro to it, there's a quick short explanation from Autumn Brown that is accessible either by Podcast OR the clips published on YouTube. I thought it'd be neat if I plugged in links to the references mentioned to see how deep and wide it goes!

"Hello beloved survivors, what you are about to hear is a plenary conversation that Adrienne and I  hosted at the 2020 Allied Media Conference, which is a career highlight for me, but might not make sense for you if you’ve never heard of the Allied Media Conference.

So a bit of background,
The Allied Media Conference or "AMC" emerges out of 20 years of relationship building across issues, identities, organizing practices and creative mediums. It started in 1990 as the Midwest Zine Conference in Bowling Green and was really compelled by the concept of Do-It-Yourself or DIY media. Eventually it became the ‘Allied Media Conference' in 2002, that’s when it was re-branded as the AMC, and then in 2007 it moved its home base to Detroit

That move has enabled the conference to draw on the lineage of visionary Black organizing models, and the legacy of Detroit as a Black Power and Labor Movement city. The core of the AMC is the theory and practice of media based organizing, or ANY collaborative process that uses art, media, and technology to address the roots of systemic problems, and advance holistic solutions toward a more JUST and CREATIVE world. 

The 2018 AMC was a pivotal moment for the conference itself and after that year, after that year the conference went into chrysalis, took a year off, so there was no AMC in 2019. We were all SO looking forward to coming together again in Detroit for AMC 2020 and then… the pandemic happened... and the AMC had to transform again with a move to virtual conference for the first time. 

Adrienne and I were so honored to be asked to help open the virtual 2020 Allied Media Conference, because the AMC is a space where both of us have built and iterated on key pieces of our work. Adrienne experimented with her first workshops on Octavia Butler, 'Emergent Strategy', and 'Pleasure Activism' at the AMC, I helped to co-host the first ever healing justice practice space at the Allied Media Conference, and it’s also the space where I led some of my first earliest science fiction and social justice workshops, some of my earliest anti-oppression facilitation workshops...

AMC for both of us and for many other people who have gone over the course of the last decade or so, we’ve experienced it as one of the few national conferences where new work is actually developed and iterated, not just a place where people are dropping in to present on the work they’re doing somewhere else. It’s also a space that over the last decade has shifted to center Black, and Indigenous and POC and queer folx, so sometimes when we’re there it feels like we’re walking into the world that we want to live in?

It’s a really magical place. 

So the conversation you're about to hear is the opening plenary of the Allied Media Conference 2020, where 'How to Survive the End of the World' brought back one of our earliest guests, the queer astrologer, Chani Nicholas. Chani as you probably remember is the author of the NYT bestseller, 'You Were Born for This' (get it here?), and she’s a hardworking astrologer whose work has offered a new kind of consciousness for our social movements in terms of our broader purpose and our practice. 

So we talk about this in the plenary, we talk about the role of the Allied Media Conference inside our movements, and we talk about how to work with 'Hard Astrology' of which there is quite a lot coming our way over the course of the rest of this first year. This 90-minute conversation that we had really helped set the tone of the rest of the virtual conference, we hope that you enjoy our giddy, love filled talk with Chani as much as we enjoyed having it…

Welcome to the AMC 2020..."

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Simone DeSousa Gallery to close its exhibition space, another small business closes during COVID

Images above include a shot of me n Simone in 2014 at my second solo show in the space that’s closing
I know it’s just high ceiling white walls, and @SimoneDeSousaGallery can be proud of being at this spot for a decade, but in the context of ppl talking about trying to support Black owned businesses I can’t not think about Simone DeSousa Gallery as being run by an immigrant, a woman of color (Do we have another word for POC that’s not white-centric yet?) and the difference/disparity of connections and wealth that other galleries enjoy that will weather this COVID storm.

I vividly think about #SimoneDeSousa working so hard to get publications made, international connections, things that those with deeper pockets, bigger names, wouldn’t bat an eye at being able to produce on a whim.

Anyone else hear about the gallery that refused approved PPE loans because their rich family refused such handouts, so... instead the director fired all of the staff who made the gallery run? What if that gallery could’ve taken the loan and their privilege to pay the staff that would be hit the hardest and have THAT go forward as the gallery’s image...

Getting help from artists Karianne Spens-Hanna and Alissa R Lamarre, but also a shout out to the help me and my art has gotten from artist Virginia Torrence too!


it reminds me that #SpiralCollective also used to be on this block with #Goodwells (RIP vegan pocket sandwich) and even longer ago there was Willis Gallery, and of course before that, a place of trade for Indian/Indigenous people, the ‘Three Fires People’ (Ojibwe, Odawa and Botawatami.) There’s a quote I came across that was chilling, look up its context some time: “I had an elder tell me one time that we were conquered by our own love. And I believe that.” - Sue Franklin

I feel lucky to have been represented by Simone who is more concerned about trying to figure out how to support more artists of color than how the gallery might look after posting Black Lives Matter to all of the gallery’s followers…

So I do think that this is kindof a big deal that Simone DeSousa's exhibition space is coming to a close because without loans/support/a flush backer, it simply can't survive the pandemic, when other newer galleries will have benefited from galleries run by POC making something ‘a cool place to be’… 

What if these galleries were to take this time and reflect on the loss of Simone DeSousa’s space and with intention function less competitively, y'know kindof like the artists we know in Detroit? (To show support for how prior to her success maybe ya’ll didn’t think it was safe to open a contemporary gallery in the city...)

Thank Simone for her vision by giving the kind of support that you get automatically. Offer the grant writer or banker you pay that may know of an opportunity for small businesses that she wasn’t able to land, help to partially fund upcoming projects so she doesn’t shoulder that burden on her own funds, have information about ‘Editions’ at your own counter and tell people that Simone DeSousa Gallery had to close down the main gallery space and that is that spaces/projects run by people of color of too few and far between in this city with these demographics.

Kindof my 4th show that I put on with the gallery, was curating 'Over Over Over', this is an image of one of many banners by Ross Sinclair

wonky mini concrete pillars I imagined for future fundraisers for Simone, still available at Editions!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Book Review of "How to Know What's Really Happening" - Francis McKee (2016)

Living in Los Angeles with having two therapists and thankfully COVID ended my dead-end job for 5.5 years, all me and friends wanted to know was... how do we become our best selves, set ourselves up to not hate ourselves and our lives if somehow it turns out that's what we're used to? (Thanks Capitalism)

Anxiety/depression pushes those thoughts away and says, look at this excel spreadsheet, when including a car and your lifestyle and your rent, it costs you $125 a day to be alive, get back on that horse!

So that's the context in which I may have gotten a few art-focused self-help books on getting back into art, but I could never stop having one foot out of the door. I mean, it's great advice and all, but aren't I trying to one day get a cushy job of being an art consultant too? I'm supposed to be making my brand of kool-aid too!

Then I think about my friend Francis and his book "How to Know What's Really Happening" which has come back to me after being on loan for a few years and I wonder...

How does he deal with both sincerity of strategies, his own joy in research, and his own and others' mental health within an art world that perhaps is looking to be only decreasing in funding, increasing in MFA graduates as consumers, artists attempting to be global and relevant enough to translate it into further opportunities for themselves? The last thing I think he was actually trying to make was just another self-help book.

If you think that this is all just interesting tidbits stitched together, then I think it's similar to Maggie Nelson's "Bluets" or Harry Dodge's "The River of the Mother of God: Notes on Indeterminancy, v.2" which all make fascinating references so quick and accessible it hand it makes you wonder why you never get answers this quick when you actually try to Google something.

But there's also skeptical reviews of his book and so I also think that his cover should have warned the reader enough that you were not going to be able to get access to the information you may have been looking for in the first place. If anything, the amount of references and what you can glean from them is more like a time capsule than a little red book that you can wave in the air and memorize to join a movement.

I'll spoil the 'ending' for you just so that you maybe can enjoy the book on another level other than seeking answers because Francis McKee is a trickster of a very high level (and last I heard it's out of print so I don't feel so bad posting pages from the book up on Instagram...):

How to know what's really happening:

Question 1: Describe one of your most viewed YouTube clips and talk about what in it appeals to you.
Question 2: Who is your favorite historical figure and why?
Question 3: Who is your favorite fictional character and what draws you to this character?
Question 4: What would you do if you were a magpie? (Of the Corvidae family, one of the only animals that's not a mammal that can recognize itself in the mirror)
Question 5: Outline a scenario for your ideal trip.

And then he proves his metrics Must be worth something because it's the same questions used by Fortune 500 companies, NASA, Oxbridge entrance interviews... So if that irony is lost on you, do know that it's not a joke at your expense, it's more of a self-deprecating joke where perhaps we all lose, so it's not just you... solidarity!

In many ways this is a book about dispelling the myths of greatness into bite size chunks.

Don't think you'd understand artsy books like Finnegans Wake? Francis glibly has it down to a few sentences. Want to hear a bunch of strange but true stories about Science (with a capital "S")? Then this is the next best read after the 'Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat'.
I think this book sits next to Paul Preciado's article "Learning from the Virus" because when it says to leave your phone and its tracking behind, McKee ends his by saying "I have decided to leave my baggage unattended" (both the sign of the privilege to travel where the curse is that Capitalism is making Everything look the same and GPS/wifi means you can never be lost again, but also that when we follow the official rules and regulations we are casually supporting that system by being a rule-follower of sorts)

I also think that he's contemplating books like adrienne maree brown's "Emergent Strategies: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds" as well as Ross Birrell's "Justified Sinners" as the kind of books small enough to pass around friends who may be familiar with all of the references but it's nice to have it all in one concise package.
But unlike those two I think he deliberately side-steps the elephant in the room of "but what activist actions produce lasting change?" in order to have exactly those kinds of thoughts;
because he knows that if you, the reader, does not actively update any kind of information into the lens of one's actual, current context, it is just some kind of virtue signaling or only taking in stories for their seductive aesthetic. The book itself is like a Socratic method littered with false entry points to prove a point.

I feel like this book would look at Adam Curtis' HyperNormalization' and say, how exactly do we know that we're better than or not in the disinformation times of the Soviet Union? And then perhaps it would also slyly point out that the film doesn't quite have a favorable view of women...

There's this idea from Jonathan Crary's "24/7" that kindof says "Garbage in, Garbage out" and it tries to get at the low quality of the stream of information we think we need, but where that book says to SLEEP, this book says to have patience, to step further back. Maybe you'll never be able to stop the onslaught of information, maybe because you're not supposed to... maybe you can render it powerless in another way that starts with how you alienate corporations instead of people...  (words taken from Emaline from 'Workshopping Work Beyond Capitalism' assembly)

Maybe we just don't actually know how to respond to the actual abundance that is online as if you're part of one gigantic single mind!

(Francis McKee is pulling from people commenting on other people's Facebook pages, unpublished films where you can see snippets of it on You Tube, and probably a snapshot of 3 months worth of articles from places like Science Alert, Wired, and the occasional tabloid newspaper/magazine. There is sheer abundance if your essays don't stick to whatever you can access via JStor)

You might wonder, who reads the drivvel that comes out of 'The Sun', 'Mirror', or 'Express', but then shouldn't we be asking ourselves how do we really differentiate the stuff we don't take seriously, and the stuff that we take so so seriously. And what if there is something bigger at play here, could pulled quotes from publications called 'The Sun', 'Mirror', or 'Express' actually be meant as a tarot reading? (The book he wrote after this featured tarot)

This little yellow pamphlet might be like an inside joke as a whole, but in the space between the bibliographical references it's got real things that the author themselves lives by, runs organizations by, and that the book has been written by.

Want specifics of what I mean (in terms of how the book is written in the spirit that it is inspired by?)
- He gives a neat history of Mass-Observation (the archive) while the book itself is a quirky archive of whatever was in the news in 2016.
- He talks about a guide-book to know "what's going on" can't really be 'out there' (and therefore not even in his book) "We have reached a point here where the search for what is happening no longer concerns the outer world. It's now the inner realm, the weather in our head, that we must learn to

In between the lines this book assumes that protest is necessary, and that maybe the best "skill set" may be to know how to come back to yourself when all of the information threatens to make you feel inadequate. I think it's a 'meta' reading/action, like the moment you grab this self-described self-help book, you realize that to take it in on your terms you're sharpening your skills in spotting Neoliberal rhetoric, questioning the source that assumes self-aggrandizing individualism (like being 'Woke'), and noting that the lip-service-strategies proposed to eventually deal with climate change aren't going to help us nearly enough when it comes to climate change right now (Lookin' at you Biden). It assumes that we are living our greatest challenges to our lives and need to know that there isn't a message we can buy into, nor can we get away with publishing self-help books (or COVID resource packets or Instagram life hacks) ad nauseum. It's a darkly funny proposition of 'What do we doooo?' and one of his responses is to look at those who thought the world was going to end, and well... I guess since the government murdered them, the world kindof did. But hey you're reading this and you're alive, and you thought a book titled "How to Know What's Really Happening" would be somewhat enlightening, so why don't You figure out how has one person's activity of 'Listening' turned into a book that seems like it's about nothing?

This book is perfect reading for a laugh when trapped in purgatory for eternity, nothing is funnier than reading "the year 2016" when time no longer exists.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

This post goes against Community Standards on spam [CLOSED]

In the past week two different posts of mine (without being flagged as inappropriate) were taken down by Facebook for other unknown reasons, which is fine, I can just post it here, so it's at the bottom. But it reminded me that I don't think I'm nearly careful enough about decreasing my online footprint in solidarity with those who need to do covert things away from the prying/opportunistic eyes of the gigantic corporations that own and sell our data. Unless someone is in the middle of a protest, how does one really understand the importance of online privacy as well as 'challenging the algorithms' that create information bubbles? I've talked with many people who just shrug and say that we just gave it up and that's that.

Similarly, Rachel also pointed out that we're applying for all of these grants but there is still an invisible labor and a product taking place. We do quite a bit of bureaucratic work just for the possibility that an organization can find us, and decide if they want to help us, maybe use us to help market themselves and in the end the only thing we know for sure is that they have a whole lot more information on us than we do on them.

Before I go on, I thought it would be fun to give a quick hack for anonymity/no tracking that requires no technological knowledge: Share a password to a Gmail account, then feel free to keep editing the draft among yourselves. This was the basis for a group called 'neverhitsend'.

What's the best way to think about it? Is it that we need to 'educate' people to have online hygiene, in the same way that we have to teach people how to be less vulnerable to scammers? It seems like the problem, like with climate change, is that too many people don't know or believe that it's a big problem. I'm one of them... and i've been trying to figure it out for years now, but the furthest I've gotten is paying for a VPN... I'm waiting for a good friend to tap me on the shoulder and show me that everyone else has been on an alternative to Instagram/Facebook, an alternative to Gmail, an alternative to Google Maps, an alternative to Google Drive... the amount of 'free' things that I utilize goes on and on.

Isn't is strange that we kindof use the term 'online footprint' which sounds like one's 'carbon footprint' (especially when cloud based services and data servers actually have a large carbon footprint that is kept mostly a secret). And an online footprint is more like leaving a trail of your previously private information, but supposedly, we approved in some small print somewhere that they could clip on a tracking advice in exchange for convenience. Since there's been a lot of really good memes lately, maybe someone can construct a better analogy?:

Imagine almost everyone wearing an N95 respirator mask (for a timely metaphor) or better yet, one of those heavy duty respirator mask where you can change out the canisters. It's just something we're getting used to needing to wear all the time so there's a lot of talk about using them 'correctly'.

9000 Full Face Respirator Mask | Exclusive Design | Buy Now at Moldex
Outside that conversation about their efficacy a technological discovery comes into fashion where one can add a straw or tube through the mask, and all of a sudden there's the amazing convenience where people to hear you better (you're not super muffled anymore) and it gets recorded or maybe you can now do something novel that never existed before, being able to drink something through a straw without taking off your mask and for the most part it's safe enough. With this technology that can control what goes in and out, you're aware that some people don't even wear masks to protect themselves from viruses, but these companies promise that it'll be just as safe as keeping your mask on. But if you really think about it, you might remove the straw when you realize you don't want to be connected anymore, but you still have this hole in your mask that compromises the whole point of wearing one in the first place. You still have all of this stuff that you wanted to be recorded, but now you don't want it up, and you definitely don't get access to change that either.

I went on a longer rant that equated getting bubbles in the straw were pop-up ads and how you think you're doing this to control 100% of viruses, but I digress...

In terms of getting these messages across I just want to take a moment to advertise for a group that I'm in: Workshopping Work Beyond Capitalism that previously was another group that met up monthly called The Future of Labor, and we made these t-shirts that YOU can also get, but only if you join us!:

Being as private as possible online, just like everything else, has become a politicized issue. I may be generalizing incorrectly but trying to get stronger privacy laws and privacy based apps/programs is perceived as something utilized by the far lefties terrorists that have some kind of connection to the tech sector, definitely not for the conservatives who believe that any kind of regulation will harm the best business practices of the internet of Laissez-faire (not the actual free-ness of it, but the ability to commodify everything from fast lanes to censuring and quelling protests).

But at its worse the, "I have nothing to hide" sentiment that I hear in response, regardless of political leaning, is worrisome.

One of the tasks at hand is to understand the power dynamic, the leverage that changes when we open up systems that we partake in en masse (regardless if it's legal or not, like with downloading free music) and businesses will both act shocked as if the world is ending, but in reality they will always seem to know how to adapt (if it has to) and get more from us than we even know. At it's worse, as I think we're about to find out. Again, it's not until shit hits the fan that we realize how used, how vulnerable we are, that once we're a target for whatever scapegoating reason. At that moment, we're not exactly hard to find, so we better hope that the politics ends up working in our favor and that it is us, not president Trump, that ends up getting pardoned for the things that we say and do. Maybe there's other things that are really bad about it all, but I don't know them, and it hasn't stopped me from posting on Facebook/Gmail/MacBook Pro/ etc. so I guess I'm asking for someone to ELI5, why exactly and how exactly do we get disconnected from these corporate technologies? I want to believe, but from my surface experience with making the switches, it simply hasn't changed my habits.

Ok, this was my post that got taken down, except now with images!:

-- -- --

All I want to do is punch my way through being overwhelmed by all of the resources from BlackOutTuesday, compile all of the various things to sort by topic then compare to figure which advice is most solid/accessible and which may just be outdated,

if it is offered by a white identified person, or a black identified person, and put it into a visual mind map where each link also includes versions of things that may not have yet been transcribed, so that maybe others won't have to stumble through trying to find something again through Instagram stories of TikTok videos crosschecked with Snopes, spend 4 hours a day trying to comb through reposts of IGTV posts that I forgot to Like, or Save or Screen record and then remember what I was doing before getting overwhelmed.

[Examples of differing information where it's all good advice but slightly different: Dealing with myths/methods of dealing with tear gas between Rana Nazzal (Milk not water!) @Ajadventure (Liquid Antacids not Milk!) then Danielle Guldin (Knowledge that helps one stay calm not Baking Soda! although now I feel the need to track down where someone recommends baking soda)] 

In terms of resources and accessibility most likely when you'd come across a resource it's not always transcribed or translated or summarized or all 3. Should you go off of who is giving the advice and how they describe their qualifications? Do you go off the # of likes, # of views, the # of shares? Was it first put up on Twitter, Tik Tok or IGTV? Does it have the right hashtags? Or just trust that since it hasn't been flagged since being up at least a week, it must all be good enough information?

This is what I mean by being overwhelmed... how can a non-organized person access this information when we already assume we're informed consumers... but also we assume that when we save all of these posts we'll just somehow magically want to find the time to go back and read all of it. 

Just like the original anarchists' cookbook, it has the naughty fun of being information that you shouldn't know but unlike right now, it feels like the Library of Babel version of that.

Everything below is what I just sent to a friend, tag anyone who you think is on the fence, i gravitate towards accessibility (even from just a glance):

  • After WWII people in Germany actively looked out for ‘Neo-Nazis’ to keep them in check, the Me-Too movement made public a Black list of high up sexual predators, now there’s a list of the police brutality JUST during the peaceful protests: 

  • Ok, now that you know activism (pretty white ppl) is not going to kill you, what next?: 

  • 5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence (From White People 4 Black Lives)
  1. Come out as anti-racist and invite others to join you. Be public and vocal about which side you are on, share details of the actions you are taking to make this commitment real, and invite others to join you.
  2. Join fights to defund the police. It’s local budget season and right now across the country towns and cities are deciding how your community will spend its resources. Join your local group already doing this work or plan an action to tell decision makers what your community really needs — like mental health services and affordable housing — instead of more funding for police.
  3. Make a commitment to “organize your own” for the long haul. White communities are used to uphold the power structure and business-as-usual. When we break away and join movements for justice, this can help tip the balance of power and win real change. For too long, those at the top have relied on the silence of white folks to keep things as they are — and then we all lose. Our work is to organize in our own communities to bring more white people into struggles for justice, and to support the efforts led by people of color.
  4. Focus on building our numbers, not being right. To end police brutality, white supremacy, and to build a movement to get us all free, we need to move people with us — namely people who are conflicted or watching from the sidelines.
  5. Help resource the work of Black-led groups that are fighting for police accountability and abolition. Find and support a local group in your community or move your money to the front lines in Minneapolis. Make sure folks most impacted have the resources to stay in the streets and dream up the most powerful, transformative pathways forward.


Monday, June 1, 2020

Woah, I found my doppelganger! Another Treatise on 'Doing Nothing' (TLDR version)

While reading articles written by someone in this artist-in-residency with me, I stumbled on an article by another Filipino person who also wrote a long rambling essay about ‘Doing Nothing’ (where mine’s about doing nothing during the Pandemic)
Also, does doppelganger always have a negative connotation? I thought it just meant like a similar person but with one thing different, like they have a mustache or something. My doppelganger gets along with her parents, but also may also live in California, Jenny Odell.
I thought some people with ‘Time-Blindness’ might like the TLDR, i was supposed to get groceries for dinner at least 4 hours ago...
Precursor by Deleuze: We all know that too much of something sucks. Saying Nothing is a relief and it comes right before you actually figure out what you want to say.
1a. Clarifying Negative Space as ‘Nothing’ is neat.
1b. Curating also takes just as much work as making something.
1c. Jenny Odell creates the term ‘Observational Eros’ to describe how things are great when you realize there’s lots of ways to look at things longer, not changing a thing, in many different and artistic ways. Check out my out about how zany the marketing was for computers.

2a. Transitioning from James Turrell’s sky rooms to Architecture that forces you to slow down, possibly even literally get lost.

2b. Gardens are cool. Labyrinths are cool.

2c. Pauline Oliveros created the concept of ‘Deep Listening’ and ‘Nothing’ was hopefully Anti-War.

2d. Turns out that Bird Watching should’ve been called Bird Listening / Bird Noticing.

2e. For every two things you think you know, it’s actually 10 things, case in point, once Jenny O moved on from birds to humans she realized her mom’s been speaking Ilonggo / Hiligaynon not Tagalog her entire life.

2f. Architecture has a way of creating seclusion, oh and btw, when was the last time you thought about your own mortality?

2g. Famous naturalist John Muir once blind made a pact with God to stop inventing cool things and to start studying some sweet fields.

2h. Time is cyclical, Jenny is following in her father’s footsteps, becoming an observation-loving, foam-loving, time-taking, creative Odell. (But we all still exist in multitudes.)

3a. Rich people also do nothing, non-rich people have to be sick to be allowed to do nothing.
3bi. Back to Deleuze: You have the right to remain silent.
3bii. “8 hours for work, 8 hours for rest, 8 hours for what we will (which is specifically associated with rest, thought, flowers, sunshine)
3biii. And rowing a boat with a porkpie hat while your lady friend holds a newspaper up so you both can read it. Also it takes place in free public spaces like parks & libraries.
3c. “In a public space, ideally, you are a citizen with agency; in a faux public space, you are either a consumer or a threat to the design of the place.”
3di. Gentrification and Capitalism both have awful ‘productive’ values.
3dii. Consider how they colonize either time or space (things both important for creativity)
3diii. We no longer have strong unions, freelancers lost any structure that was gained by labor activists, and yet our downtime is now uptime online, and we still think time is money.
3ei. Remember those zany computer ads? Dun dun dunnn… They all promised with new technology we’d have even more free time. 
3eii. Don’t ‘Respect the Hustle’ we are cogs in a machine, the ‘Results-Only Revolution’ that has an infinite leash seeping into every personal moment until you can’t tell where work ends and you begin. 
3eiii. Franco Verardi describes this defeat as, “We are all capitalist’… and therefore, we should all consider life as an economic venture” But he also later goes on to relate our senses and our ability to make sense.
3f. If you ‘are what you eat’ then it makes sense why we feel like crap while searching for ‘truth’ online.
Not actually in this article, but I was wondering why it didn’t use the term Neoliberalism because I thought that had a lot to do with breaking ones identity and time into discrete sellable bits, and then I realized I don’t really know what it is, here’s a shot at it, Neoliberalism: Corporations delivering social services today that have an even deeper engagement in the project of expanding the ‘free-market’ (as in market construction & market freedom, not free time), now since the 70s it’s on a global scale of privatization and marketization (as well as deregulation, confronting the power of unions, and claiming that states are inherently inefficient), so the quality of our lives are being affected by new approaches to macroeconomic policy, but not just by a small circle of elites, but broader beliefs, practices and institutions.
4a. Decrease the fast-paced, overwhelming election news, increase Birds (the winged animal).
4b. Crows are so smart they even decide who goes to heaven. I, for one, welcome our new Crow overlords.
4c. I try not to be weird about this at all, and I am always prepared with peanuts for the smart birds. They will teach you their ways, if only you too become Animal.
4d. Why did I intuit to go to a rose garden to shed off toxic politics? I did it to be in relation to other living things and to be more grounded, literally.
4e. So ‘Nothing’ is being in the present, and it gets pretty Real.
5a. Don’t stop being an activist, but that especially involves taking down time to heal, see: Audre Lord
5b. Jenny Odell creates #NOMO (the necessity of missing out) to break free from #FOMO
5c. Gordon Hampton, acoustic ecologist says “Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.”
5d. SOLIDARITY by encouraging listening.
5ei. In how information circulates, consider the difference between connectivity & sensitivity. Connectivity is instant, like how something either goes viral or not, but it’s still within a bubble of like-minded people, but also only on a surface level of relating to one another.
5eii. Sensitivity doesn’t require being like-minded, but it’s definitely about coming into contact with something, which is bound to happen over time, and one or both entities may come away a little bit changed, and now aware of what may shape one another.
5eiii. Sensitivity takes time, and care, but do we care to take the time? 

5f. You get 2 things from Nothing: Self Preservation & the Cultivation of Sensitivity.
5g. Growth isn’t always so great, See: Cancer, Feeling restless towards further productivity, Too much of anything to the point where you feel like you’re losing touch of your body.
5h. Maintenance gets a bad rep, especially in relation to so-called ‘development’. Perhaps its the maintenance workers that are doing Occupy Rose Garden keeping condos at bay. 
5i. Did you hear about the artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles who vowed to shake the hand of every sanitation worker (all 8,500 of em)
5j. Back to the Rose Garden. Always read the plaque. The ones here are people voted Mother of the Year in Oakland since 1954. To be Mother of the Year, you must have “contributed to improving the quality of life for the people of Oakland — through home, work, community service, volunteer efforts or combination thereof.” 
5k. And how about what is considered women’s work?
5l. Rebecca Solnit has qualitative data to prove that people are not simply desperate and selfish after disasters. Also just like how people in combat create super deep bonds, so too do people who help each other in places that look like a bomb went off.
5m. But maybe everyday is a struggle, and our coping mechanisms may help protect us in the moment but may also alienate us from each other. Maybe what we need to protect are those things that make us feel human.
5n. Things that make us feel human (or animal): non-instrumental, non-commercial activity for thought, for maintenance, for care, for conviviality against being in denial that technology won’t save us, that we’re in soft fleshy bodies in the wilderness, that we don’t live forever.
5o. But y’know what’s actually the next closest thing to living forever? Spending as much time as possible to lose yourself in moments of enjoyable nothingness, even if it’s not innovative or ‘good for business’.
5p. These smartphones are kindof like a sensory deprivation chamber…
Epilogue: As much as I enjoyed showing all the ‘nothing’ digitally, it wasn’t as rewarding as retrieving things that meant ‘nothing’ from the SF dump, and also all of my time spent in the rose garden hasn’t led me to know what i’m doing at all, where i’m going… but there’s something about listening to Gordon Hempton’s podcast (who wrote One Square Inch of Silence) and it’s this sound of thunder… [there’s a link to it]
-- -- --
Then I recommended:
“24/7” by Johnathan Crary
“Routine Pleasures” Exhibition Catalog curated by Michael Ned Holte
“The Undercommons” by Fred Moten
“Sick Woman Theory” by Johanna Hedva
“Learning from the Virus” by Paul B. Preciado
-- -- --
Ok never mind about the TLDR thing, brevity isn’t my strong suit. Also I was very glib with things the authors said and the authors referenced, but it helped me focus to get through it, and I took a side journey to learn more about Neoliberalism, so that’s something.
TLDR to the TLDR;
How To Do Nothing:
- Get to a nearby garden and just sit and listen to everything that’s alive, especially make connection with birds.
- You can tell that ‘Nothing’ is a thing because of how artists (including myself) have framed it.
- Rest is nourishing and political!
- There are many Neoliberal forces that are about using every waking moment to be efficient and productive. Doesn’t that sound exhausting? Let’s question that paradigm. But also, hit the Like button below this article…
- Notice how all of the ‘essential work’ and ‘essential workers’, including women seem to be treated as if they’re meant to do this work behind the scenes? Artists have also made invisible labor more visible!
- Get away from your phone, have an existential crisis, it’ll make you feel alive.
- Write a ton about nothing