I have a show coming up in January. Here is a small preview: http://roygbivgallery.org/exhibitions/january-2014/
New things coming.
We are alone now.
The reflection of ourselves that was once apparent in one another has become murky, distorted to the point of destruction. Erased by the image of its own distortion. All beings are under assault. All beings are in the process of being stripped of their singularity, dwarfed by competition, cost-benefit analysis, suspicion, alienation, paranoia, and the like. We exist not with one another, but against each other, constantly trying to out-do before we are out-done, busy “keeping up with the Joneses.” However, “keeping up with the Joneses” is not really as much about keeping up or staying in the race, rather it is more about outpacing and eclipsing. This jungle, this “war of all against all,” is perhaps the closest realization of Hobbes’ theorization of “the natural condition of mankind ” that humanity has yet known. Likewise, the conditions which constitute the state of nature are perhaps some of the best characterizations of life within “political society,” the pinnacle of human achievement.
The Image of the Death of the Collective Body.
“I am me, you are you, and something is wrong.” 
Finance has slipped into every pore, every synapse, every instance of convergence. We no longer do anything without careful calculation, always in financial terms.
“Look to the person seated to the right of you. Now look at the person seated to the left. There is a good chance that one of these people will hire in the future, so it is in your best interest to become friends.”
This is what we were told at our college orientation, that each of us (meaning the student body) should be friendly with one another not for the mutual benefit that comes with friendship, not because our collective, collaborative potential was far greater than our potential as individuals, not because we found ourselves in a relatable condition, but because our friendship could possibly be of some economic advantage in the future.
This malevolence is omnipresent.
“Hey Chicago! I want to marry you in Minneapolis”: the slogan of a campaign ran by Minneapolis Mayor Rybak in a “predominantly gay Chicago neighborhood.” The intent of the campaign is to make same-sex couples aware that they can be legally married just over the Illinois border. Instead of this being debated as an ethical issue, it is framed as a financial one. “One study says gay weddings could boost Minnesota’s coffers by $42 [million] over three years. ”
The end result of this total financialization is the division of the collective body, its absolute reduction. Each piece compartmentalized and partitioned, in effect, diminishing the body to the sum of its parts, or less…put at odds with one another. A body comprised of parts trying to destroy one another before they are destroyed, a war of all against all. A body with an autoimmune disease, a body putting itself under siege.
But it is not so much that the body has an actual disorder; its just that it believes that it does. It is said that the body is sick and that the community isn’t safe, that each interaction should be birthed in suspicion, that there was a mass shooting last week, and that we can expect more. That terrorist attacks are on the rise and that the “terrorists ran [a] store in the mall. ” It is said that we can never be too certain who our neighbors are, and so we watch them wearily from the safety and concealment of our homes, and rarely reach out to connect with them on a level that extends beyond this suspicion and voyeurism.
“The world is unsafe. Competition is the only effective way to manage society; it is inherent to human nature. Communism failed, look what happened to the Soviet Union. Capitalism is a necessary evil.”
This is the image that has been cast over us, and in true Baurdrillardian fashion, the image has become the thing itself. Now, instead of having our neighbors over for dinner, we are sure to lock our doors. We create quasi-impenetrable fortifications complete with a motion detector and a security system wired directly to the police station.
The image precedes reality.
Yet, “at the end of the day a possibility lies dormant at our tired fingertips, in the restless glances out of the window at cars stalled in traffic under the metropolitan sky. It is the possibility to discover that we are all whatever singularities, equally lovable and terrifying, prisoners in the meshwork of power, waiting for an insurrection that allows us to change ourselves. ” The collective body is there; it never left; it simply lies dormant beneath the image of its own extinction waiting to awaken. At the very least we have the singular conditions within which we find ourselves, the alienation, the ecological crisis, the economic crisis, whatever crisis. More than that we have the shared loss of one another and everything that is lost with it.
Solidarity is here, this is simply a matter of branding.
Loss and Collectivity
If it is true, as Aristotle said, that “[h]appiness depends upon ourselves,” why are we so miserable? Perhaps its because we have no one to turn to, no support-group. Perhaps we don’t have enough anti-depressants. Perhaps we didn’t accumulate enough “likes” on the photo we posted a few hours back. Regardless, we look inwards and find that little remains. Somehow cutting our attachments didn’t quite work out and with few options left to try, we now preoccupy our depression with desperate attempts to convince ourselves that we are happy. We are addicted to placebos. Maybe that’s why the aforementioned quote seems to be the object of so many memes which are reblogged and liked by thousands of individuals. Reblogging won’t save us. In fact, no preoccupation or mediation will. There is something fundamentally wrong with this image of the “rugged individualist” or the cut-throat CEO. Something is absent. “[T]he glamour and the glitz isn’t real, you have a much better time mucking around trying to make your mates laugh.”
It is not me that I’m missing, its you.
The loss of self that is experienced through severance from the collective body, is due to the fact that self is made whole when shared. We can act in isolation, but it is not until we are gazed upon by another that our actions are made meaningful. “[I]t is about the pleasure of sharing the breath and space of the other. Love is the ability to enjoy myself thanks to your presence, to your eyes. ” With all ties cut, our actions lose the power to impact; thus, their worth is contingent upon another. We do not derive strength or self-actualization through stark differentiation from our peers, rather from contributing to a collective of similars. “Nothing of [us] is original. [We are] the combined effort of everyone [we]‘ve ever known. ”
We are in dire need of a collective body.
As a point of distinction, the collective body we lack is not a prescription for some selfless immersion into the whole in the direction of a homogenous, banal mass. The collective body is not an affiliation or a club. It is not a mold that impresses its image on those who compose it. It is not so much a “thing” as it is the ability to see that I am inherently linked to you. It is an unspoken bond; it is a love which “is never directed toward this or that property of the loved one (being blond, being small, being tender, being lame), but neither does it neglect the properties in favor of an insipid generality (universal love): The lover wants the loved one with all of its predicates, its being such as it is. ” It is a fellowship of individuals who comprise a whole which possesses attributes not reducible to that of which it is composed, and in an ecological fashion, the whole is made better and strengthened through each diverse module acting on its own accord. Yet, there is a reciprocal benefit, as each body is liberated and enriched through its affiliation with the collective. “Being free for man means being acknowledged, considered and treated as such by another man, and by all men around him. Liberty is therefore a feature not of isolation but of interaction, not of exclusion but rather of connection…I myself am human and free only to the extent that I acknowledge the humanity and liberty of all my fellows…I am properly free when all men and women about me are equally free. Far from being a limitation or a denial of my liberty, the liberty of another is its necessary condition. ” Michael Hardt refers to love as a “training ground for democracy,” but perhaps it is even more than this; perhaps the two are synonymous.
Love is a Battlefield
“From now on, all friendship is political. ”
To love is political, not in some obscure or obtuse way, it is perhaps the root of all political action. “[The] true revolutionary is guided by strong feelings of love. It is impossible to think of an authentic revolutionary without this quality. ” To love is to overcome the power relations which dominate life as it is; it is to vanquish the financialization of everyday life; it is to splinter the image of the death of the collective body. Primarily, it is an act of resistance, a microcosm of another world, or at least the first steps towards one.
The war that is waged against the collective body is a total war, it leaves no facet of life untouched, and so every instance, every convergence, every moment of pacification, every conflict, every television show, every morning commute, every friendship, every meal, and every moment of boredom is potentially a combat zone.
Isolated and detached from the collective body we wither, so if we are to save ourselves, it will be in the process of finding one another. The collective body is not something that needs to be created or repaired or revived; it must simply be awakened. It is a forgotten appendage, yet it is not foreign. It surfaces from time to time. In moments of “catastrophe,” whether it be natural disaster or economic crisis, it makes itself apparent. Love emerges through the singular condition and the contextual-irrelevancy of the images that once haunted us, only to be repressed as things are normalized; it is in this normalization that the actual catastrophe occurs.
“We all know it, we already know all the important stuff, like: don’t trust politicians, don’t trust big business and don’t trust the media. Trust your own heart and each other. ”
 Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes
 The Coming Insurrection, The Invisible Committee
 WE ARE ALL WHATEVER SINGULARITIES, Claire Fontaine
 Russel Brand, http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2013/sep/13/russell-brand-gq-awards-hugo-boss?CMP=twt_gu
 The Coming Community, Giorgio Agamben
 Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
 The Uprising, Franco “Bifo” Berardi
 Mikhail Bakunin
 Call, Anonymous (probably Tiqqun)
 Man and Socialism in Cuba, Che Guevara (via Michael Hardt)
My work installed for Sculpture X Symposium. I’m giving a short talk about it on Saturday at 10am in the Canzani Auditorium.
Part of my project at Werkplaats/ISIA Summer School
Piece from Lookin’ Back
"Despite the obvious convenience and reach that technology provides, there is an inherent fragility to these mediums. Your hard-drive fails, you lose your flash drive, you obtain a virus while downloading porn, you drop your phone in the toilet, your memory card corrupts, you spill coffee on your computer, you lose your password, .jpgs degrade, and so on. As our lives become increasingly immaterial, data loss is not merely the loss of data, rather it is, to some extent, the loss of self.
This project is an early attempt to bridge the gap between the digital and the “real” (whatever that means) insofar as this website cannot be accessed until it is printed. In this way, it maintains many of the benefits (namely accessibility) of technological dissemination while simultaneously forcing the permanence of tangible documentation.”
Piece from Lookin’ Back
Video from Lookin’ Back