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Awed by the Brilliance of Van Choojitarom

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Dada Sculpture Today [May. 12th, 2006|05:43 pm]
Awed by the Brilliance of Van Choojitarom

[mood |okayokay]
[music |drums from the high school marching band a mile away]

From Van Choojitarom's weblog The Encouraging Voice of the Labyrinth otherwise known as El Minotaur Blanco.

It is brilliant. Amazing. Wonderful

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dada Sculpture Today

above: some notable American Dadaist Sculptures

Today there is much talk about “our civilization” and how it is doing, whether it is in decline, under attack, or clashing with other civilizations like those two kinds of red you wore at that party because you wouldn’t listen to me. None of this is exactly clear on what our civilization is or is supposed to be. The Encouraging Voice is not an equivocal voice, though it speaks at all times at all points in the labyrinth: we know the name of our civilization and that it is flourishing as never before: for our civilization is one of Dadaism.

What is Dadaism? Dadaism is the operation of the random, the arbitrary, the incongruous and the supremely irrational in the service of creation, the creation of Dadaism, which is random, arbitrary, incongruous and supremely irrational. Dadaism, like différance, miscellany, and reasons you’re not married is a heterology, a sheaf or pile of irreconcilable differences unified only by the sign of inequality ≠. Dadaism is the little elephant inside of your teeth that makes the radio work.

The world in which we live is one of triumphant Dadaism. It is the basis of our absurd and luxuriously wasteful culture, our unquiet science, our unsatirizable Ubu Roi politics. However, like the reality of the devil and loose women, it’s existence is invisible to those who cannot see with the eyes of faith.

To examine this proposition, let us here describe some recent Dada sculptures you may have missed.

The Elevator

What else has a sliding stainless steel door like this? Answer: nothing. Stainless steel doors are featured on vaults, refrigerators and morgues all to signify the same thing: immortality, freshness sealed into incorruptibility, cleanliness. What has all this to do with vertical travel? Vertical travel is uncanny and unnatural. Vertical travel in an elevator is usually achieved by travel through a large dark shaft that no one ever sees. Travel in an elevator, therefore is most like being ingested and excreted, promising more oblivion and ignominy than death itself, which is why there is an effort to put the brightest best face on things with the stainless steel doors in the first place.

Once you enter the elevator you enter into a room, a waiting room, but a waiting room of all waiting rooms. The best have no amenities at all, no mirrors or advertisements. This is because you are only marginally ever in that room: it is a space no one really shares, but everyone inhabits, (much like death also, or life, if you prefer). It is such a wholly innocuous and nugatory space that an entire genre of music has evolved around it. This can be said of almost no other sculpture or installation today.

The sculpture works like this: you press a button; sometimes you have to wait. The doors open and sometimes people (apparently from nowhere) step out. You get in. You press another button (or like me, you press a series of buttons, because of your capacity for joy and button pressing). The room may even play music for you. There is a telephone if anything should go wrong during your short invisible journey. The doors open and you are somewhere else.

Lucas Samaras’ Mirrored Room never did as much for anybody.

What about glass elevators? Glass elevators are deviant exhibitionist visions of the elevator. Eschatologically speaking, they are clearly designed for and by people who believe everything is transparent and do not believe in any kind of afterlife, believing heaven and hell to be aspects of our immanent existence: an academic point since glass elevators exist only in movies and in the perverted mind of Roald Dahl.

The Highway

Highways are the ultimate Futurist theatre: performers are encased in glass, steel and plastic and outfitted with electric torches and horns. They accelerate to speeds in excess of 75 mph. The stage will cross an entire continent or even link continents. It will be ideally observed from a plane or helicopter. The piece will be performed twice daily and have a cast of most every able-bodied adult worker. They will be occasionally be wholly immobilized because they all desire the same thing or for no identifiable reason. Arbitrarily, the performers will be killed in random crashes, but the piece will not end until it is performed on every continent and all resources are exhausted and will have the additional effect of melting ancient glaciers and changing the climate of the planet itself.

The Land Mine

In the true Dadaist spirit, this sculpture is invisible; indeed it is carefully buried. Like many earthworks and installations, it may occupy a whole field and, like so-minded works today, indicate lines of control or areas of contention. It is an interactive sculpture, but unknown to the participant: the interactions include (but are not limited to):

The participant viewer missing the sculpture entirely.

The participant viewer is killed by the sculpture.

The participant viewer is maimed by the sculpture (in effect, remade or sculpted by the sculpture).

Or, most astonishingly,

The participant viewer becomes part of the sculpture, forced to remain motionless in order to stay alive.

A truly radical work in its unparalleled capacity to make the viewer into an object even without his or her even being aware of the sculpture and a globally inclusive one: it is a sculpture that men and women and children of all ages can enjoy, even for generations, without awareness.

(NB: Like Serra’s Tilted Arc may be expensive to uninstall).

These are only the most cursory notes for what could easily be a comprehensive and apodictic program that I have only refrained from further elaborating because its thesis is so incontrovertible, trivial and self-evident. It is clear just from these few examples that Dada sculpture and art has never been as popular and prevalent as it is today, that indeed our civilization is dependent and even coextensive with its creations.

The question then becomes of how this total phenomenon has hitherto eluded any other observer to which we can make an equally unequivocal reply: First, The Encouraging Voice is a tool of unusual acuteness and perspicacity. Secondly, there is one all important index that seems missing from Dada sculpture and art, from Dada itself today , despite its total an global success: namely that none of the work of the great Dadaists and their legacy were complete without laughter, without the emancipation of recognizing the absurd and wonderful aspects of Dada creation. Like the Surrealists, the Dadaist creations were designed to be “useless for fascism”, but in their very inutility and absurdity, vehicles of great joy and promise. In a universe of highly Dadaistic creations, today’s Dadaist (in which we can include everyone) seems to have fallen deadpan into their creations and so we are faced with a gnostic reading of the Twentieth Century: a joke that has somehow been forgotten and mistaken for reality itself, that has fallen into the banality of everyday misery.

for you, V, not forgotten

WEEK: 47; WORDS: 51,510
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My Rowlf the Dog Entry for Muppet Wiki [Apr. 18th, 2006|04:05 pm]
Awed by the Brilliance of Van Choojitarom

[mood |piddling]
[music |lots and lots of birds chirping]

(the fantabulous work of Van Choojitarom from El Minotaur Blanco

My Rowlf the Dog Entry for Muppet Wiki

Rowlf the Dog is the loveable floppy brown-eared Muppet dog who plays the piano. He is usually found in the Muppet Theater's orchestra pit. He can play in any style, from classical to honkey tonk. He often tries to upstage others by giving the keys a bang with his fist or barking out a witty remark. He also plays the silly surgeon Dr. Bob on the recurring The Muppet Show sketch Veterinarian's Hospital.

Rowlf is always cool and relaxed, and his sense of humor often revolves around his dog-like nature. He is a big fan of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Anthropomorphic, but not in a creepy way. Brown and shaggy like a familiar towel. Rowlf would always be good for ride home. So it’s late, so it’s closing, time, so what? Even if he drank, he wouldn’t drink that much, and on the way home he would stick his head out the window. Rowlf would let you have as many of his cigarettes as you needed then. He’d find something good on the radio. He’d take care of you, but he wouldn’t make a big fuss over it or screw it up like Fozzie. And he wouldn’t guilt trip you on it like the K-man. Man, being driven home by the K-man is worse than jail. And takes twice as long.

No being driven home by Rowlf the dog is alright, you’ve both got you’re heads out the window dragging in the night air: he’s singing a good song, you’re puking your guts out. It don’t bother Rowlf: he’s a dog. Later you’re back at his place, and you can even have a beer if you want, but if you’re too drunk to open it, he’ll gently slip it out of your hand and slide a little bowl of crisp, buoyant puppy chow in front of you, in cool, cool tap water. You’ll talk about whatever in his comfortable bachelor’s kitchen. If the paper’s there, he’ll read a bit, looking at the editorials and checking the dog track for anyone he knows. He keeps musicians hours.

Sooner or later he’ll roll out a little blanket for you on the comfy sofa. There’s a lot of dog hair on it, but so what? He’ll be sure you have a lot of water. You’ll hear him humming when he hits the can (it’s funny, because there’s a little fire hydrant in there). You’ll smile a little and it’ll be nice to drift off and only a little spinny.

Best of all, all the things that you tell Rowlf, all the stupid things you say and do, he’ll never bug you about it or mention it. And if you cry a little, or a whole lot, it’s okay, because Rowlf is brown and shaggy like a familiar towel. And he won’t be weird about it and you won’t remember. He’s been around. He knows what it’s like.
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Van the Man Fan Club [Mar. 15th, 2006|01:15 am]
Awed by the Brilliance of Van Choojitarom

[mood |tickled with myself]
[music |clicking of fingers on the keyboard]

Welcome one and all to the community dedicated to work, life and genius of Van Choojitarom. He has a blog over on blogspot, El Minotaur Blanco, but we in the Van the Man Fan Club felt that not enough people were being graced by his genius over there. So we (the royal we, we note) decided to make this community. Please share ancedotes about Van, fragments of his writing or art, photos of Van in action or things related to Van's interests.

The next few entries will be some of Van's most recent writings lifted (with his gruding permission) from his blog (see link above).
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