Funkadelic's "Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts" appears on "Standing on the Verge of Getting On," Westbound Records, 1974

Funkadelic’s “Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts” appears on “Standing on the Verge of Getting On,” Westbound Records, 1974

Angela Davis once talked about the importance of being able to imagine liberation. If you’ve only known a world where you’ve never been free, it’s difficult to envision something else. If an autocratic regime becomes the new normal, and we are only able to respond with opposition, we have yet to imagine true self-determination.

When I make art about positive psychology, optimism, or happiness, I’m really talking about getting familiar with your inner life—paying attention to your mind and heart. A strong sense of self fuels the courage of one’s convictions. From where I stand, cognitive behavior strategies and real political agency are both points on a spectrum of self-empowerment.

Funkadelic’s song, “Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts,” is sort of so perfect that I will only say three things: it speaks to these themes, is 12 minutes long, and is probably best heard in a listening party of one. Get out the good speakers, silence the distractions, and sit back; some of the work to be done is within.

Works

Funkadelic’s Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts

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Erik Drooker, Flood, Dark Horse Books, 1992

Erik Drooker, Flood, Dark Horse Books, 1992 [Source: Drooker.com]

Eric Drooker, Blood Song, Dark Horse Books, 2002

Eric Drooker, Blood Song, Dark Horse Books, 2002 [Source: Drooker.com]

Today, a pot of pink daisies jolted me from a low-level state of sadness and self-pity by reminding me of a scene in Eric Drooker’s Flood. I probably last read Flood almost a decade ago. But its emotional power hasn’t diminished, even via memory.

If you haven’t yet read Drooker’s graphic novels, do! They’re amazing. I’ve discussed some of the stunningly elegant compositions at length in my workshops. And moreover, I think of them especially now because Drooker doesn’t shy away from depicting the terror of state violence, nor affirming life, creativity, and resistance. There is empathy, joy, and ferocity in these stories.

One of the most remarkable things about Hidden Figures (also recommended) is how it makes vivid the mundane and constant ways that systems of injustice dehumanize all involved. I hope that we are entering period of sustained resistance, and though powers will do everything they can to misdirect, exhaust, and numb us, we will insist on being staying human, listening, and keeping our hearts open.

Citizenship, Works

Eric Drooker’s Flood and Blood Song

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With my 1,000-balloon project and interest in happiness, I enjoyed learning about this UK artist’s project. It’s cool, ambitious, and experimental. And it’s about challenging fears. Welcome, 2017.

Noëmi Lakmaier, Cherophobia, 2016, a 48-­hour durational living installation with 20,000 helium party balloons.

Noëmi Lakmaier, Cherophobia, 2016. Photo: Grace Gelder // Source: East End Review.

“Cherophobia is a durational 48-hour live installation. It is an attempt to lift the artist’s tied and immobilised body off the ground using the force of 20,000 helium-filled multi-coloured balloons. Cherophobia is a performance and a gathering, a one-off event that intertwines people in their shared suspense and anticipation. It takes its title from a psychiatric condition, defined as ‘an exaggerated or irrational fear of gaiety or happiness.’”

“Commissioned by Unlimited, a festival celebrating extraordinary new works by disabled and Deaf artists, in September 2016.”

Checkout a sweet video. More project info at noemilakmaier.co.uk.

Sights

See: Noëmi Lakmaier’s Cherophobia

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​Susan O’Malley, Advice From My 80 Year-Old Self, 2015 // Source: Kala Art Institute.

​Susan O’Malley, Advice From My 80 Year-Old Self, 2015 // Source: Kala Art Institute.

Print Public
May 7 – June 27, 2015

Opening Reception: Thurs, May 7, 6-9pm
Open House: Sat, May 16, 12-5pm
Kala Art Institute, 2990 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA
Plus various events at Kala and the neighborhood

Taro Hattori
Taraneh Hemami
Susan O’Malley
Sue Mark
Swell
Imin Yeh

This is the exhibition and final phase of Print Public, a two-year place-making project along the San Pablo Avenue Corridor in Kala’s West Berkeley neighborhood.

Sights

See: Print Public @ Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA

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Not because it’s easy, but because it often isn’t:

Susan O'Malley, One Minute Smile (participatory performance documentation), 2013

Susan O’Malley, One Minute Smile (participatory performance documentation), 2013 // Source: SusanOMalley.com

It’s an invitation to us, really. To try to smile every day, even on the days when we least want to.

—Susan O’Malley
Community, Works

Susan O’Malley, One Minute Smile

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Lygia Clark, Óculos’, 1968 // Source: FT.com (From the World of Lygia Clark Cultural Association. Photo: Eduardo Clark)

Lygia Clark, Óculos’, 1968 // Source: FT.com (From the World of Lygia Clark Cultural Association. Photo: Eduardo Clark)

Works

Lygia Clark, Óculos, 1968

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Lots of strong works on view in (Im)Material, a smart exhibition exploring the visible and the invisible. Curated by Kevin B. Chen, it is on view at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Fort Barry, Marin through February 22. I loved seeing new developments by Bay Area artists alongside many artists new to me.

Soyoung Shin, Byron Au Yong, Susie J. Lee.,  Piano Concerto – Houston. Source: soyoungshin.com.

Silent, captivating video portraits of musicians mimicking a performance. Perhaps the closest I’ll experience to synesthesia. Soyoung Shin, Byron Au Yong, Susie J. Lee., Piano Concerto – Houston. Source: soyoungshin.com.

Randy Colosky, Ghost in the Machine, 2012, steel frame with 1" aluminum tubes, courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Love this super simple form with interesting optical effects. It isn’t any more elaborate than it needs to be, yet offers much room for perceptual discovery. Randy Colosky, Ghost in the Machine, 2012, steel frame with 1″ aluminum tubes, courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Detail. Randy Colosky, Ghost in the Machine, 2012, steel frame with 1" aluminum tubes, courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Detail. Randy Colosky, Ghost in the Machine, 2012, steel frame with 1″ aluminum tubes, courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary.

Jennifer Brandon, Cast VIII, 2014, archival pigment print. Source: jenniferbrandon.com

Again, simple idea, nice execution. Strangely formal drapery images that appear solid, but are in fact pieces of plastic sheet that hang in the air for a millisecond. Jennifer Brandon, Cast VIII, 2014, archival pigment print. Source: jenniferbrandon.com

A densely layered papercut photo print using an image recovered from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Amazing craftsmanship around a very powerful history. Mayumi Hamanaka, from the Invisible Lands series. Source: mayumihamanaka.com

A densely layered papercut photo print using an image recovered from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Amazing craftsmanship around a very powerful history. Mayumi Hamanaka, from the Invisible Lands series. Source: mayumihamanaka.com

Anyone who has lost a loved one will recognize these collections of possessions as memorials to people. The futility of capturing one's loss and grief is only underscored by the objects that remain present. Kija Lucas, Objects to Remember You By: Collections from Sundown, 2014, archival pigment print. Source: kijalucas.com.

Anyone who has lost a loved one will recognize these collections of possessions as memorials to people. The futility of capturing one’s loss and grief is only underscored by the objects that remain present. Kija Lucas, Objects to Remember You By: Collections from Sundown, 2014, archival pigment print. Source: kijalucas.com.

Sights

Sights: (Im)Material @ Headlands Center for the Arts

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