A Talk to Make Sense on Public School

public_school__logoI’ve just added (or had help adding) A Talk to Make Sense, a concept/proposal for the upcoming Utopia School show to the Public School platform.  In the process, I learned that there are dissenters of the Public School system.  Firstly, I’m quite sure that good (even great) ideas erode once they are scaled out in the neoliberal economic sense.  I’m not being a hater here … it is just predictable among markets of which the art market is not shielded.  It begs a larger question, one that I recently ran into with a friendly looking/sounding organization in São Paulo that cancelled a crucial meeting with an urban occupation at the last minute:  Can we assess the deleterious effect (to movement-joining and building) of naming and nomenclature that mimics processes happening (or which have historically happened) at different levels of ‘class’ and access to resource when their follow-through reflects the agency and comfort of their actual class rather than the urgency level of the one they are referencing?  Well, that’s a big can-o-worms…happy to take it up in discussion if anyone would like…

Having a queer place to hang

bgsqdI first met Greg and Donnie because my ex’s school chum used to be their housemate.  She told him and he told me that these guys were making a queer bookstore called the Bureau of General Services Queer Division (BGSQD).  I say ‘making’ because at the time all the other exclusively queer bookstores in NYC had gone out of business (e.g. Oscar Wilde Bookshop).

I wanted to go and see for myself, step one.

Step two, finding common ground with Donnie and Greg (friend of friend, check).

Step three, common ground provides pretext for a double date… them, me and the ex.

Regular attendance at events, inviting friends to join me, and then inviting BGSQD to ‘pop-up’ at some events I had planned in a gallery and performance venue … steps four, five and six.

I would get to know them more and more with each encounter. I empathized with the challenges of starting up a small business (an independent bookstore at that) and cultural space… with their drive to create a sense of community and their thriftiness in partnering with one – and now two – gallery spaces to share rent and find synergies. From the audience, I could see how much Donnie admired Edmund White while giving his introduction … me too. Empathy, yeah that’s a step – seven.

Making introductions to resource people who might be able to add value or assist their project in some way, step eight.

Agreeing to help them think about building a non-profit board, step nine.

Being lonely a couple Saturday nights ago after a day spent by myself writing, needing to get out and be around people … preferably people who I knew and could be myself around.  Going to their website to see if anything was happening:  A band, called The Values, was playing at 8pm.  Perfect. Hanging out, looking at books, listening to music, catching up, inviting friends to stop by, flirting, drinking beers, talking about steps 8 and 9.   Having a queer place to hang, step ten.


Last week I was  in Amman (Jordan) and both Makan House and Books@Cafe have nice queer vibes. This week I’m in São Paulo and here’s a shout out to the Centro Cultural São João.  The Occupation São João where the Cultural Center is located has a political sensibility that I really go for … check out our event there this Saturday.  Oh yeah, Bluestockings and La Casa Azul are great places to hang in NYC for the queer and bookish, too.

Situational Junta

situational juntaThe Situational Junta series is something that I cooked up with Adam Horowitz, Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Arts & Culture.

Please come:

October 21st

November 18th

December 16th

Micro Palpitations at the Chinese Consulate

photo-5{FB thread, 6/15/13}

All points bulletin: On Thursday, I was at the Chinese consulate and found this small heart made out of a staple. While it was hard to gather much forensic evidence, at first glance it appeared to have been thoughtlessly jettisoned behind a stack of scrap paper at a stand-up counter where one fills in forms. After a day of consideration, I contacted the Giacometti-Calder Jr. Foundation for Sculptural Intent due to my growing suspicion that this could be a site-specific installation long forgotten and in need of maintenance (or at least geo-tracking) … but I’m equally open to the reclaimant of this ‘lil ticker’ having had his or her hands full that day and simply forgot to take their heart along with their umbrella and other accoutrements as they dashed out to catch the bus. Let me know …

Socket Wrench

socketwrenchBREAKING NEWS:  Beldan & I retrofitted our unsuccessful Gates proposal (and design) for Visual AIDS: Postcard from the Edge Benefit!  Here’s more about the event!!

For my 40th birthday, I designed a condom!  I had read about a challenge by the Gates Foundation to Develop the Next Generation of Condom, and figured, why not?

I put forward a proposal to design a condom that emulates the feel of an uncircumcised penis.  My friend, artist, Beldan Sezen helped to design a prototype of the condom to go along with my hypothesis.  In the application, I offered a concrete, non-rational-choice-influenced innovation toward improved condomization.  I also thanked the Gates Foundation for being progressive in the field of public health while asking them to transcend their hetero-normative, scientific-model constrained approach.  See their open call and guidelines.

While Beldan and I were cooking this up across timezones (she’s in Amsterdam), I became nostalgic thinking about a project I did back in 2002 right after I finished my Peace Corps service in Cameroon:  While in the Peace Corps, I worked with organizations such as UNICEF and Population Services International (PSI) to make a community radio series on youth sexuality and other issues in the rural province where I was stationed. One night I was at a party with the PSI director in the capital city, Yaoundé and he asked me what I was doing next.  I didn’t know what I was doing next and therefore he proposed that I go to Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic and make a radio spot and TV commercial for the rebranding of their socially-marketed condom.  So, for the next three weeks that’s just what I did.  The resulting product was a bilingual (French and Sango) marketing campaign that consisted of radio and TV content and billboard images; however just after I left civil war erupted and the marketing campaign was never used … Guess what I just found on VHS tape?

The War of the Worlds 2.0

free99 {aka filosophy is cheap}

19 March 2012

6 October 2012

Supplement to October 6th entry

Host an Occupier (HaO)

The Host an Occupier (HaO) initiative started in New York City and now we’d like to see it catch on in other Occupy locations … so, we made this handy DiY guide.  The present iteration of the idea, which was largely Wooloo‘s is reflected in their Human Hotel project.

From Tontine to Lanchonete

After almost three years living in Cameroon in the early 2000s, and coming to understand the tontine concept, I came back to the US and wrote up a concept for a bar tabac that would go by the same name.  Darn it, but I’ve lost that concept somewhere on an old computer.  I remember it, but I’d like to compare it to a newer set of ideas that go by Lanchonete.  I lived in Sao Paulo from late 2008 through early 2009 in residency at Casa das Caldeiras.  I observed that the ubiquitous lanchonete (or lunch counter) is one of the only places that the upper and lower economic classes share middle ground.  For a while, I envisioned this project in NYC and thus started scouting possible buildings in Brooklyn that could hold my idea.  And, then earlier this year I began to see the conditions for realizing it in Brazil.  My original observation and a few interim years of learning how to get projects off the ground have led to a five-year eponymous project in Sao Paulo and about the economy.

I asked some advisors and friends to give me feedback on the Lanchonete plan, and here’s what Lino Hellings sent!