Lost my Copy of “The Monuments of Passaic”

It’s been some time since I’ve written a new post – partly because it’s so easy for a new habit (blogging) to trail off, and partly because I haven’t come across anything that compelled me to write. So, I picked a new theme, cursed that I have to pay if I want to customize it, went back on myself and was thankful my cheapness will save me from coding in CSS, and then hoped the new look will inspire me to write stuff to put in it.

As I mentioned in an earlier post appreciating Richard Long, I’ve been walking – doing it, mostly, for some quiet time within which to collect my thoughts. One thing is that it’s renewed some interest in that other artist who piled rocks in galleries back in the 60’s, Robert Smithson. Unfortunately, about a year ago though, I brought a binder full of essays into my classroom to show a student only to henceforth never see it again. And in that event I lost my copy of Smithson’s “The Monuments of Passaic.” I’m interested in seeing it again because my most immediate walking terrain is it’s own human-unfriendly suburban retail/light industrial sprawl; oh, with condos, lots of condos.  I may just go out and buy Smithson’s book of collected writings.

I started taking photographs:

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OK, so I know they’re crappy photos.

I find myself drifting back to a recurring interest in the built environment.  I’ve read “The Necessity of Ruins” a few times.  Maybe I’ll do it again.  It’s a current that first sprung up in my art work about 10 years ago.  And, so, um, I’ve moved a lot – mostly to stave off the financial insecurities that come with being an artist (insecurities I’m still and only have ever been no more than 2 steps ahead of).  Not incidentally, art has never garnered me one of those steps ahead, only teaching it or shilling out my digital media skills to make uninspired web sites and designs for uninspired people.  And, so again, I find myself in a new environment more often than I care to put my crap back in boxes.  Maybe through those relations of coincidence then, I can’t help but find in my environment a symbolic representation of my particular compendium of current hardships and general frustrations.

It seems I’m back to photography again then.  To hash out one of the aforementioned frustrations: that’s a problematic statement itself because: 1. I have B&MFAs in painting; 2. I seem to only be able to find jobs teaching digital media, which I use to marry mechanical reproduction with the more romantic “hand”; 3. Academia does not generally mix media within faculty.  Whereas when I was an artist, I made “art” however I pleased.  Now that I am not an artist and am rather an Assistant Professor of it, I must be an expert in one thing that is a media, and being an artist before being a media-er (painter, photographer, sculptor) does not seem to interest hiring committees.  In other words, doing what I want appears to risk my access to the middle class — and that, seems to be a cultural frustration more so than an art-field frustration.

I guess the big dilemma is when to just say “fuck it” and do what you want?  I took my old 35mm SLR in to be cleaned.  The ol’  digital point-n-shoot doesn’t cut it.  We’ll see what happens.

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