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]
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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
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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

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