Monday, June 20, 2005

I'm back.

Hello. How time hath flown, eh? One month of absence, rectified with a 12 hour flight. What magic there is in this world.

The trip was overwhelming, chock-full of busy-ness, mentally exhausting and stimulating. I was up in the Alps, studying with some of the greatest artists and minds alive, at the European Graduate School.

Incredible connections were made. New projects being developed. I saw a lot of great movies. Elia Suleiman, Claire Denis, and Atom Egoyan showed their latest works.

I got to study with Jean Luc Nancy (just before I left for school I became nervous that perhaps he would die). He did not die.

School is located in a tiny Swiss ski village located high in the Alps, right by the tallest mountain in Switzerland. The town is called "Saas-Fee" and it is surrounded by 13 mountains, so every direction that one looks, there is snow-capped goodness. It is mostly populated by cows and sheep.

I sat with a brown cow on a hillside for half and hour, petting it whilst it chewed its cud. It burped in my face.

I wasn't feeling extremely social or energetic this trip, with all of my energies going into the studies and some quick rigorous hikes thrown in here and there. Most of the folks at school like to drink all night and cheat on their significant others, it seems. I liked to read, write letters (actual letters!) to my boyfriend, play my guitar, and sleep. I woke up early every morning and never missed a class.

The air is amazing and clear, the water is freezing cold and wondrously drinkable... It comes straight off of a glacier up in the mountains.

On the last day of class, after the final lecture concluded at 10:30pm, we had to grab our bags and board a bus that took us to a night train to Venice, Italy. On the train we "slept" 6 to a cabin, stacked up on either side. It was crazy small. And short. Me and 5 gents bunked like stowaways on a midnight train.

The train ride was about 7 hours. When the sun came out, most of us lined up at the windows in the aisle-way, watching the fields pass by. We arrived in Venice around 8am and went to the Biennale Art Show. The Arsenale was one of the most amazing SPACES that I've ever seen. It is now my dream location for directing a piece of theater. My favorite piece of the exhibition was a room by Annette Messager, filled with red silk, and a big fan. Simple, and awe-inspiringly beautiful.

Venice was beautiful. Streets of water, it's really true. Little boats everywhere. Great food! Espresso that feels like a horse kicked you in the face. And the light.... the LIGHT! As the sun was going down, and I was heading to the train station on a boat, and I saw the light. I SAW THE LIGHT. The light which explained to me WHY so many painters and photographers and artists in general would go to such a place. The light was beautiful.

I spent the night at this bizarre hostel, which was actually a campsite, with a pool and a disco and a bar and RV's and hundreds of teenagers and 20-somethings backpacking through Europe. The "room" was actually a tent. A tent, with 2 small cots inside, and a small padlock for the zipper. It wasn't bad at night, but once the sun came up it was like sleeping in a plastic garbage bag in the sun. Hot.

The whole next day I did nothing but sleep and swim and suntan (in my underwear!) and plot ways to get home sooner. How much would it be to change my flight? Should I take the train to Frankfurt instead of flying, just so I could start moving? I was ready to GO! I didn't WANT to do any more exploring of Venice. I made a decision that I will return. I will return with my boyfriend and my band. Venice is one of those places that I want to SHARE with someone. It's too hard to try to explain it, so I'd rather everyone just go see it for themselves.

The food, man. The coffee. The light. So good.

So, after 24 hours of transit (taxi to the Marco Polo Airport, flight to Frankfurt, 6 hour layover, most of it spent in really long lines, 12 hour flight to LA, 1 hour of customs and baggage claim, 1/2 hour of hari krishna) I got home. I spent my first night in my new house, in my new "living-together" relationship. It was good. So good.

Yesterday I went swimming in my pool. Now I'm back in the office. Ain't life sweet?

That's the factual account, more or less. In a bit I'll start feeeeeeeeling stuff and tell you all about it. My head is still spinning, and I'm tired as hell. I've been *sighing* all day. Deep sighs. Good for the soul.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

[enter net]

(part one)

In order to prepare to edit a documentary I shot last summer (and was too emotionally frazzled and/or biased in the aftermath to edit at that time) my editor has asked me to explain the genesis of the project. How it came to be. Which, I realize, requires me to explain the genesis of my relation to that wonderful thing allowing me to communicate this to all of you right now: The Internet.

As late as 1995, I still had no real experience with the net. My use of computers was limited to word processing and some really lo-tech games. I preferred pinball & shooting games (where there's a "real" hand-held "gun") to any video game, save for an arcade version of Mrs Pac Man, which holds a special place in my heart, surely having to do with the fact it is one of the only games that I'm actually "good" at. (High Score at the late Pac Man Arcade, Pasadena (RIP) circa 2001)

My first insight into the wonders and possibilities of the web came in 1996 when my boyfriend at the time told me that he had seen the most awful thing of his life online. What he had seen was a series of photos taken by a girl and her lover... after they had murdered her husband, they proceeded to cut off his head, hands, feet, and genitals, and pose the parts in different humorous tableaus, smiling and posing with the various pieces. The guy posting the pics was a right-wing Christian, militant about the first amendment, and believing it to be important to show the hideousness of this sinful world in all its ghastly glory. My boyfriend told me that I did NOT want to see these images, no matter how much I may think I did. I believed him, and by the time I changed my mind, the pics had been taken down, and replaced with the autopsy report for Nicole Brown Simpson. No pics. I was disappointed.

In '97 I moved to Los Angeles and got a job working for an internet sex toy company, JT's Stockroom. It was actually the first adult toy store on the web, starting as an all-text e-catalog around 1988. At this time the shop was run out of the apartment of the owner, and everybody did all the jobs. I worked in shipping, leather manufacturing, and customer service. Part of my job was linking the site to other sites, so this enabled me to spend a good amount of time searching the porno-web.

It was at this time that I first discovered the Stile Project, a busy hive of all things porno and gore, with some flash-animated games and random jokes thrown in for good measure. It was there I encountered the Random Image Generator. It was there I discovered a most strange masochism in myself.

I'm a sensitive girl who has always played tough, in an effort to flex the much-needed muscle of toughness that sensitive people, such as myself, seem to need to develop in order to not be annihilated by the breeze of this world. Or, perhaps I'm an incredibly insensitive girl, who, still able to experience a shred of feeling, seeks to obliterate it from myself by force.

10 minutes a day on the Random Image generator was my formula. There was no way of knowing what I was going to get. Sometimes a beautiful woman, sometimes a close up of a healthy vagina, sometimes a close up of a diseased and festering vagina, sometimes a man with a metal post rammed through his skull, sometimes a man with his face blown half off, sometimes a joke, sometimes a cute kitten. Thank god for the kittens.

Everything that I do in my life has to fulfill a certain criteria of interestingness, and there are always multiple motives, conscious and unconscious, for everything. For example, my working at the Stockroom was, quite simply, a way to make money, however, it was also borne from a desire to work in the sex industry, and working in the sex industry was a way for me to explore things within myself. It gave me a certain access, and it also went over well in storytelling. Really, what I did was work an office job, however, an office job at a sex toy company is immediately more interesting than an office job at an insurance agency. And mine is a life that has been extremely preoccupied with making the "most interesting" choice in any given situation. Both for my own experience of living, and for the sake of others. Who are these others? The audience. Those that may see or hear the stories of my life.

The working at the sex toy company lost its "interesting" status when I started graduate school for Theater direction and amateur boxing, simultaneously. With these new, and most physically active, developments in my life, the Internet job, and the Internet itself, was almost completely deserted. Maybe I was occasionally using email at this time, but not often. Occasionally researching or image searching. Word processing.

Following an injury which took me out of boxing and made me realize the value of health insurance, I returned to the Stockroom full-time after 3 years of absence. 3 years of internet abstinence.

Full time. Working on a computer. Paying bills. Working on a computer. Sitting there. Working on a computer. Same spot, all day long. Working on a computer.

Again, I was responsible for linking the Stockroom to other sites and generating traffic by any means necessary. Again, I had a free pass for searching the porno-web. Exploring and exploiting its now vast reaches and resources. This time I would fully enter the net. I would get caught in the web. Obviously, I haven't' gotten out yet.

Friday, June 03, 2005

i had written something long, and then it was lost.
now i have to go to class.

in the lost document, i describe the town, my whereabouts, my bed, and the noise (or lack of noise) in this region.

i spoke of a coming tide of revolution. a beautiful one.

the last line was something like this:

here, in switzerland, you can drink the water.

that is all i can relate right now. i must go up the hill to class. i'm the TA for this one. Victor Burgin is the teacher. Author of "The Remembered Film" and In/Different spaces.
it is a hike to the school. high atop a mountain it sits. next to some sheep. one sheep has a bell on its neck. rind a ding ding all day long. how can that not make a sheep go mad?

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Hey everybody. Greeting from the mountains. It is cold and sunny here at the top of the Alps. It is quiet and there are lots of sheep.

Sheep, and philosophy students.... what a pair!