Monday, January 23, 2012

Verbal diarrhea day. Where do I begin? Here are some of the things I've been thinking about / looking at -- I'll try to make it as impersonal as I can.

I'm reading a book by Eduard Limonov titled A Young Scoundrel. I stole it from my dad's shelf because I wanted the next book I read to be in Russian and it's the first one that caught my attention. I can pretty much narrow down my dad's book choices to these two categories: super fancy hardcover "classics" - Pushkin, Lermontov, Remarque, Bulgakov, Mayakovsky - or trashy contemporary Russian sci-fi. And then there's this book. Limonov's name popped out because he is the founder and leader of the National Bolshevik Party and since my parents openly detest any communist/socialist texts and personalities I was surprised to find it on his shelf. When I once told my parents I was reading Marx my dad suggested that I progress to Mein Kampf next (and actually, I did?!) and my mom just said "fu!" (yuck!). Anyway, I find Limonov's bastardized Russian easy to understand so I'm going to stick with it. My parents' politics can be extremely ambiguous at times.

I was reading today how during Stalin's time geraniums, canaries, kittens, floral wallpaper, feather pillows, samovars and lacy curtains were eradicated from Soviet homes under the "Down With Domestic Trash" campaign launched by the Komsomol Truth newspaper. They were seen as kitschy symbols of the middle class, something that interrupts your daily life and work. I find that interesting considering the state of my own childhood home which contained precisely all of those objects (minus canaries and kittens). My parents were by no means wealthy but they clearly craved all the things they were encouraged not to have in their youth.

Today my mom and I talked about how Russian language (especially written) has this ironic and humorously self deprecating tone and how it seems so inappropriate in this (North American) climate. I think it reflects the "Russian" character and it's something I feel ambivalent about - that tone - probably because at this point in my life it's so foreign to me. All the more reason to read Russian books, right.

I joined a Women's Painting Club with a large group of women and it's the most exciting thing right now. It was organized by Lisa Cristinzo in a response to the lull we all experience each winter with our work. At the very least until we start group meetings it's a never-ending daily source of images, posted by everyone, which is amazing. It's like being in school except you're getting exactly what you want out of your education. My favourite thing that's been posted so far is Niki de Saint Phalle's shooting paintings:

There's a really great show by Christine Negus at TPW right now that you should see. It's titled "you can't spell slaughter without laughter" - there are some objects and banners but you should especially see the videos, which are heartbreaking and poignant in the best way. If you can't go please watch the videos on her vimeo channel HERE. Please watch the stars video at least until 1:30.

Good night.

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