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Irene · Loughlin

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I am in Buenos Aires. I arrived last night for the Corpoliticas Conference, Body Politics in the Americas - Formations of Race, Class and Gender - at http://hemi.nyu.edu/eng/seminar/2007/index.html. I wandered the streets looking for the building. All of a sudden I noticed that people were looking at me strangely, everyone was wearing hats, scarves and heavy coats and I am wearing a summer dress and sandals. It was a bit breezy. I wasn't cold. All of a sudden I am. cold now. The hotel room looks like something from a Fellini film. It is great. Its my first day here, so I'll report what people are talking about later.
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I started Sara's walk the way I exited the gallery when I went into the parking lot to shoot the beer cans. I had been thinking about that particular route, since Josh and I had been talking about it earlier. I was surprised that the parking lot seemed smaller than I remembered it. I walked up the alley on the left of this parking lot, two small cars from the parking lot patrol seemed to come after me. Maybe I’m paranoid. My departure from this area, leaving the cars behind, felt sunlit, under an expansive blue sky, and processional. This reflective blue building was at the altar of the alleyway (fourth picture below) I happened upon another parking lot. A man was cooking in a kitchen of a restaurant? and salsa music spilled out into the alleyway. For some unkown reason I became obsessed with beige things. Mostly building facades and doorways and such. I stopped to take a picture of the beige car and the drawing on the beige dumpster beside it. A man started coming towards me. Parking lot security. He was wearing a beige uniform. He asked me what I was doing. I said I was taking a picture of the drawing on the dumpster. The drawing, a monkey? He laughed. Since I was a child I have hated being laughed at. Todd Janes says they aren’t laughing at me, they are laughing with me. Hmm. I told the security guard it was no big deal. He said it was ok that I take the picture. He went back to sit in his car. I thought that must be a drag to have to sit in a car in a hot parking lot all day. My camera started to die. The battery, which I thought I had charged before I left. Damn. My back started hurting. I wish I had a straight spine like Sarah Wookey or Emma. Jealous. Jesus, I tried to take several pictures of the yellow monkey drawing on the beige dumpster. I had thought before the walk that I would trace the river bank. It didn’t happen. I headed for the industrial sites, which I must be inherently more interested in for some reason. I walked by a long, overhanging blue crane, and through the circular scaffolding. A group of lumbering teenage boys approached me. I got a bit anxious, aware of my heart rate increasing, wondering how we were going to navigate past each other through this narrow walkway. Amazingly they moved into single file and I moved to the right side of the scaffolding, so we gently glided past each other. I felt grateful. As I passed, I looked down. The first boy wore huge white leather running shoes, and was walking kind of pigeon toed. The second boy was talking on his cell phone and said “tell Casey I love her” with the third boy saying “that’s nice” as I walked by. I didn’t know teenage boys said I love you into cell phones, or even passed on such messages. Sweet. I circled the construction site, and took photos of it through the fence. And I ended up photographing more beige things. I stumbled upon a pathway walk in the park between condos. A man lay on his balcony suntanning and tapping his right foot. I wanted to take a picture but I thought it would be intrusive. A woman and a man walked slightly to the left and in front of me up the path. The woman bent over and picked up a plastic cup and spoon from the ground where an iced cappucino’s remains were splattered all over the pavement. She sighed and said, “People are such pigs!” with an angry look on her face, while depositing the remains into the public trash dispenser. I walked on the path behind an old lady with a walker wearing a bright purple pantsuit. I liked the colour, which seemed so bright after looking at so many beige things. I thought about following her, and almost did, but then thought better of it. I made an abrupt about face as she headed on to the Save On Foods, through the parking lot. I took photos of more beige things, like the façade of this Tim Hortons. I then decided to go home. I saw a man with a bright blue shirt and his girlfriend in a summer dress. They were holding hands. The trip back to the hotel was uneventful. I noticed a man sitting with a beige cane on a park bench. Otherwise beige seemed to fade and become less noticeable as I focused on getting back to the hotel.

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Josh’s work involves a long rubber strap that connects two shoes. Two people insert their feet into the shoes, one on each side. (in this case, I did, and Josh did) First I watched Amber and Josh do this with the pair of shoes connected at the ankle. They struggled to get on the bus. A woman with a cane watching at the bus stop said “that’s just stupid” and the bus driver was angry. Everyone wanted to get rid of them quickly, move them to the back. A great feeling of general disdain prevailed. They struggled to move to the back. I thought of how those with clunky objects, disabling, were the most irritated. (canes, strollers, walkers) I felt embarrassed that we had this choice, to wear these things that slowed us down, while others did not. I thought of my mother, how I was sometimes irritated after navigating my body around her walker for almost a year, sometimes angry and resentful towards that object controlled our movements so completely.
Walking with Josh and Amber, they moved through the parking lot, almost fell over, moved some more. We were amazed that someone actually walked through them and over their plastic strap as they entered the sliding doors of the mall. I lost the camera at that point, jarred by the aggressive movement, my own walking, the entry into the public/private space. We were pretty much left alone, surprisingly. Although living with the legacy of Tagny’s performance from a previous Visualeyez in 2001. (see photo) there was concern about the use of the camera, the walking transgression that unsettled the lulling pattern of walking generally unconscious as people move around each other kinetically every day, unthinking. I thought of my friend’s fear of learning how to drive, of hitting someone with the car he would potentially drive. I think of how often I could have a potential pedestrian accident, disconnected from my feet, walking around with LOTS OF THOUGHTS, and how often this potentiality is avoided. Josh and I traded shoes. His sneakers comfortable but rubbing against the blisters from my Campers, bought a day previous with the excellent prompting of Todd Janes. These purple polka dot Mary Janes with an edge brought more attention than the shoes joined with the plastic strap, as Josh strutted around the mall, looks askance, groups of girls giggling into their hands, boys with contempt, older men strange and questioning, women interested, curious and disgusted. How one look can carry a homophobic weight to it. I tried to buy a dress in the mall for 20 dollars. The line up was too long. We got on the bus and went home.









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I love these pictures of Amber outside of Holt Renfrew. We thought that people would be more anatagonistic towards her in this location, but we were presently surprised. As people pass by, she asks them if they would like to break up with her, and offers a bitter, jealous or …good bye kiss. I have my own special request – bitter and angry. She writes angry on a card, stares at me scrunching up her face, and plants her lipsticked lips over the word. It does look angry. I am pleased. She does bitter for me too, which is standard I guess in the performance, and when you break up with someone. Others seem to not know what to do, passing by afraid to engage, looking over their shoulder saying maybe later. Rejection is key to this work. A willingness to be hurt, like I said before. A willingness to hurt? That’s a good point Karen. A couple suited men pass by. One stops to talk for a bit, touches her on the arm gently, sorry that he decides not to participate. Interesting. I like that everyone feels something about it.. sad and bitter and compassionate towards break ups and the urge to break up.
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Josh at the petting zoo. I am impressed by his gentleness with the little lambies. Its like a scene out of “the last temptation of Christ” The lama makes humming sounds while Josh strokes his neck. I make him wash his hands afterwards. This picture is with Goliath the puppy. Goliath is looking for a home other than Edmonton mall if there are any takers!
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Performing today was a strange event. "drinking in the kitchen" based on Martha Rosler's semiotics of the kitchen. I thought that it would be a kind of melancholy, angry and serious work. but in the end humourously received. a relief. I was surprised how far liquids splatter, lemon juice, lime, vodka, vermouth, the juice of olives, crushed strawberries, and that you can stack shot glasses full of liquid and they are distributable, in the end. surprised that the fridge at Latitude 53 has an exterior icemaking machine that doesn't work, but makes an excellent sound. If you make it there sometime, flick the switches back and forth and activate the ice maker. You'll see what I mean. interesting to be so inept at mixing drinks. I should know how to do that. better. two days prior to this piece, I walked around Edmonton feeling like I had a cotton ball stuffed in my mouth. pre verbal. the feeling started to set in on Monday. yesterday I was a basket case and drooled on the kitchen floor in the morning. whoever thinks performance art is easy, doesn't have to live in our bodies. like going out there purposefully accepting rejection. that's the kind of thing someone who is unwilling to hurt, just doesn't wanna do. the piece strangely synching with the video. at times. not.
I knew it so well I didn't know. the work was nothing like I thought it would be. Somehow I imagined it frozen in space, not living and breathing. and laughing. although I should know better, unpredictable! totally... a pleasant surprise. happy.
Irene
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on Sunday I will be 40
I will be in Edmonton.
Maybe I could distribute cake
in the Edmonton mall.
that might be a happy event.
oh my god they have a
swimming pool in that mall.
I guess whatever helps you
get through the winter.
I will be part of the
Visualeyez Festival.
http://www.latitude53.org/visualeyez/2007.html
I will send photos of my trip.
best wishes to everyone.
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what to do when you get rid of one (or the last two) of your posts in a fit of discomfort or anger or somekinda thing, and then you miss them? is there any ways to recover those posts? someone help me out here. harrahsahara, I think you commented on those posts, which I regret losing your comments too. Next time I won't have a fit. Or I'll cut and past the post to Word or something for safe keeping. Hey check this out, one of the poets here whose work is great...
later xx


The Caged Bird Still Sings
For Maya Angelou

No sight of sky
No height
Nor width to fly
Yet the caged bird still sings
Still sings, still sings
The caged bird still sings
Soaring above misgivings
Singing
Dreamsongs to which it clings
The caged bird still sings
Glad tidings of freebird things
It sings, it sings, it sings!
Mighty hymns of wind-riding wings
The caged bird still sings
Still sings, still sings
Singing as if...
The ceiling is the sky
Singing as if...
To sing is to fly
The caged bird still sings
Still sings, still sings
The caged bird still sings


Klyde Broox
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I just heard on the radio that today is the anniversary of John Lennon's death. I have been thinking about John and Yoko lately, what a brilliant couple they were, so ahead of their time, John naked, embracing Yoko's full clothed body, that comment on gender expectations...turning it inside out in the 70's. I'm glad they pissed off so many people. I hope we all have such creative partnerships and love in our lives.

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Lincoln Alexander is reading from a book he wrote about his life tomorrow downtown. I'm excited, I've admired this man's work since I was a teenager. In general I think he would advise that I should stay in school, so I will. :) Maybe I'll get the chance to ask him tomorrow, keep you posted.

Lincoln Alexander was Canada's first black Member of Parliament when he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1968 as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, representing the riding of Hamilton West. In 1976 and 1978 he served as an observer to the United Nations. During his term in office he concentrated on bringing attention to education and youth issues. He remains an active spokesman on race relations and veterans' issues. The Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway (known locally as "the Linc"), a freeway through Hamilton, was named in his honour, though Lincoln Alexander has never held a driver's license of his own. More recently, Alexander was recently declared the Greatest Hamiltonian in a reader vote done by The Hamilton Spectator. In November, 2006, his autobiography Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander: A Memoir was published (ISBN 1550026631). The book’s title was something Alexander’s mother often said to him during his childhood. “Those words, her words, have been at the core of what I’ve accomplished in my life,” he said. “She was right, of course. My education has always been my empowerment.” He said he’s always felt indebted to his hometown and to Canada because they’ve enabled him “to be myself. I’d like to think that this book repays that debt somewhat. It’s aimed at people who think they can’t do something or think they’ll never make it, and I’d like to think I’m helping convince others to never give up.”
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