7.4.17

Feeling tired upon waking. Showering, then lying down again. Eating porridge with apples with Leo and Alexis.

A little grey and muggy, with a jacket on, feeling a dark and angular way and walking quickly over the scars that motorcycles left on the pavement.

Enjoying looking up at plants up high on buildings in Milan.

Long line at Cos installation so I met Kenzi and Lorena at a dead designer’s studio.

After looking at the chairs therein with two tall Russians and the friendly, officious, Italian woman telling us things, we walked to the Marni installation – one of the best. Sipping shaved ice and spinning on a swing.

Lorena-Spin

 

Capitalism is Over may have been my favorite part of Design Week. The micro culture shock that accompanies any visit somewhere new had me reflecting on extravagance, luxury, and the class structures that make those two concepts exist in the first place. (Class structure being a product of capitalism). And products! And how to produce products. Seeing photos of shipping containers and distribution warehouse on old farmhouse walls made me feel so relaxed. Good that these friends who I don’t know are also thinking about this.

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Kenzi, Lorena, and I sat outside with the smell of lilacs, a small bowl of olives, black rice, and 3 beers. The scene was familial. A child hid in a man’s shirt as the man joyfully embraced another man. A woman in high heels wobbled on cobblestone with drinks in hand. The balsamic/mustard dressing accompanying my Pinzimonio di verdure was vivacious. We had pensive sunlit-beer conversations. Lorena read us an entry from her journal from a year ago.

Chewing gum, crossing the street, deciding whether or not to take the metro then buying underwear for Kenzi at a supermarket. Taking the metro, all of us in a line, indifferent to the inefficiency of the machine, laughing at the inefficiency of the machine. Everyone is one thing train feelings. Tired friends sitting together in comfortable silence.

The address I put into maps led us to a park, but then we found the castle, where a DJ played filter-sweep-reliant EDM, accompanied by uncool and lazy visuals, projected onto an elaborate infrastructure. We drank €4 beers (though they accidentally gave me 2 tickets, so €2.50 beers) and sat on the grass.

We walked to the Taiwanese restaurant where Jenny ordered for everyone. A lazy susan made sharing easy. As we were leaving I scared Ainhoa in the bathroom and Alexis laughed as hard as Ainhoa shreiked. (One of the last times we were all out together I started the rumor that Alexis likes to wait for us in the bathroom and then scare us).

Smelled like weed and cologne back at the Red Bull party tent. Same aesthetic and beer prices, but with a longer line and more bodies, none of them dancing very enthusiastically.

We left at the early hour of 1:30, but the level of inconvenience made it seem later. The metro had stopped running, night busses were few, far between, and overcrowded. Every taxi we tried to hail zoomed by, save for one who said he could only take 4 (we were 5).

So Kenzi and I took the night bus, which is free, because there is no place to buy tickets. Crowded on a bus with each other’s armpits. “Crowded on the night bus in a Rick Owens runway jacket” I thought. “This is the lifestyle that is most logical” I thought. And I agreed with myself.

“One more drink?” Kenzi asked, and we went to the Tiki-themed bar where they were playing Buena Vista Social Club. “One more drink?” Kenzi asked, and we went to Bar Basso, where every designer goes as a right of passage during design week. We wondered why. We went to the hookah bar next door (where they were still serving), then stood with our beers as designers postured, as bowtied older-men swept lemon slices from beneath our feet.

6.4.17

The greasy eyelids of travel.

I worked at the Benetton store in the morning, and by worked I mean stood there uselessly, looking like I would be able to answer your question but not being able to do so with words if said question was in Italian. Plus if people at a store are anything like me they don’t want anyone to talk to them and feel awkward having someone watch them. It reminded me of every job I’ve ever had and I hated it. I thought about how much I hate capitalism and how this kind of nearly functionless servitude is a waste of human life and potential.

I took a long lunch break.

There are vegan restaurants in Milan. I had an organic 5 cereal beer with my giant burger and fries. It was sunny and quiet. I went to a vintage store and tried on leather pants that fit me perfectly and looked really hot, laughed at myself, and left.

Walking home, eating a frutti di bosco popsicle, succumbing to my tragic hangover, taking a nap.

Quentin

Waking up to friends around, going to dinner, reservations for 25. Everyone super tired, as if we had all been spending our endless-waking deep in drinks.

Milan-Table

Hon ordering in Cantonese for everyone. A really good meal! A really long meal. A few cigarette breaks with Kenzi and his friend from Spain or something.

In Arizona in 2000 everyone sings along with Italo-disco, apparently. Sam’s birthday and everyone dancing like crazy.

Arizona-2000

5.4.17

Up at 6:45, train at 7:30, I arrived at the station at 7:28, after eating all the leafs (don’t want leafs going bad while I’m gone.)

I started a grant application on the train. For some reason I find train rides the perfect time to focus on this type of thing. Monica and I met about shipping Petrichor to Athens Digital Art Festival. There was assigned seating and Jonas messaged me pictures from 1st class.

Upon arrival I had an emergency meeting with Angelo and Monica about fabricating the vapor screen I’ve been designing. We finished, had a Thai lunch, and go to Duomo for my Designer Box shift. “Wow!” I felt, and said, when I saw the cathedral itself, and the lil gold mama up top. Madonna.

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It was cool to see my Designer Box piece IRL, and in a window, and I felt I didn’t even do much work – I just made jokes about boxes.

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Here’s what I ended up saying:

Squared is the deconstruction of a box in a box. It reconstructs into modular shelving, with clips to further divide the negative space… Exponential!

The boxes arrive nested in golden ratio, with matching golden clips. Box X Box. Boxboxboxboxbox. 

The kindest comment in the online voting said: “optimiser l’utilisation de nos si belles boîtes!!! Projet complètement dans l’esprit du design utilitaire et responsable !”

It made me think I should have just designed the clips and then people who subscribed to Designer Box could use them with past-packaging.

Silvia and I danced to the shopping hits that bounced off the concrete, explained the pieces. I messaged with jonas.

Silvia and I walked to the Adidas party. I messaged Xtian: “Greetings from Adidas party. I think Nike and Adidas should do a collab… on empty dance floors. Burn!” Ainhoa and I started the party on both dance floors, then left.

Everyone did a standaround, talking about taxis. I Looked up public transit directions and eventually all the other ducks followed me.

No one could get into the Cos party at first. I took another bus to a venue by the airport. Googs had me walking down a highway, as it often does. Now I was the one getting a taxi. At the Cold Cave/Drab Majesty concert they just asked for my Aarci card and let me in for free.

I hung out with Deb afterward, who told me I could have any of the merch I wanted but that felt awkward so I just hung around until they were done taking photos with fans and made friends with a dynamic Swiss DJ (who’s dating Deb). Together we drank from the half-empty drinks that were around. I told the lead singer of Cold Cave his layering was nice, that his set was “okay,” chatted with Deb about the magic of Venice, helped everyone pack up and then went on tour with them. Well they invited me, but I just used them for a ride home ;)

embodiement-of-glamour

Embodiment of glamour.

Niente

As always, a trip to venice started with a group of Fabricanti running for the train. The ticket-checker said “you’re lucky!”

I added a paper mache Venetian mask to my DIY trash masterpiece and took the stage at some thumping party (Ainhoa told me to).

Carnival feels similar to mainstream American Halloween, except with a larger quantity of Venetian masks. I was unhappy to see a bunch of “Mexican” costumes. Other than that there were drunk people being impressed by cardboard costumes (they always are), and drunk people being impressed by my costume (they always are) and drunk people asking if I was a boy or a girl (they always do).

 

“Si una donna o uomo?”

“NIENTE!”

 

Ainhoa told a group of astronauts we were models from California, doing a campaign for Benetton. “Except me” I said “I’m modeling for Commes des Garcons” (making a joke  about my crow costume). The invited us to south Italy to smoke weed.

Everyone drank prosecco from a jug tied to a guy’s back. They invited us to the party at Arsenale. “Will it be actually cool?” I asked. It was around 23:30, the last train is at midnight. I announced my departure. Akanksha and Ainhoa begged me to stay, Alexis was ambivalent, Jenny was hungry.

I continued to walk toward Santa Lucia. Ainhoa climbed a gate. Jenny took pictures. We ran into Giorgia, dressed as a giraffe, wondering who would drive since her and all her friends were drunk.

I continued to walk toward Santa Lucia. Jenny and Alexis came with. We got falafel back in Treviso and the people there asked for our pictures (for their fashion blogs, I’m sure).

💎

In Berlin you can eat garden-weed-spread on toast and drink steamed white wine with a teabag in it.
You can go to the sweatiest basement, from the pointiest wind, and back.
In Berlin you can come home to Kamille making 150 vegan perogies.
Falafel is €1. You can buy a warm beer and walk outside with it until it is cold.
Aside from that, they do a great job game-ifying their recycling.

10.2.17

The main processing of the Jitter/Javascript workshop took place while asleep – I would be coding in dreams every morning for weeks.  I got drinks with a varied group of interesting nerds after the workshop. I had been chatting with a new father/professor and a kid who had his own music visualization company for the past several days, and sitting next to an Italian girl with both great questions and great hair. Probably the most advanced of the group was this German woman who, I learned, programs self driving cars for a living.

Isaac and Luna met me at Sameheads, which was a different bar from when I was on mushrooms. We chattered away like North Americans who are friends, and had a walk-and-drink to luna’s lovely apartment. We danced around her big room of windows and plants with one of those rotating-multi-color-light toys.

Sweatiest Basement, Pointiest Wind

Like myself, I wasn’t worried when we were running late for the bus, or when the Tabacci wouldn’t sell us bus tickets, or when the bus didn’t show up, or when the next bus was 18 minutes late.  Kamille was not amused.

I stood calmly in the non-EU line, told Kamille to go ahead, if I missed this flight I’d see her tomorrow. The visa check woman told me to rush, which made me uncomfortable, Kamille helped me take cuts in line, which made me uncomfortable. We ran to the gate, only to wait in another line for half an hour.

Always trust your gut, I guess, and mine says: “don’t feel rushed or be rude under any circumstances.”

“I am the idiot of this plane!” I announced, having sat in the wrong seat, then heaved my 20kg bag through the air like “check out my new dance move.” “You are not an idiot” said the person beside me. “I know” I said  “I’m actually the genius of this plane, did you see my new dance move?”

I had developed a cough over several days of disturbed REM cycles and coat-lack. I got some cough syrup right outside the stop for our next transfer and a beer at the späti next door. Kamille said “grazie” as the door swung behind us, then laughed.

Lying on Kamille’s bed, snuggling and naps intercepted with thoughts of the night’s plans, she offered me a piece of chocolate. I don’t know German ingredient words, but wondered if there were traces of animal products. “Oh well, you can’t assume all freegan chocolate will lack milk derivatives.” I thought. Oh, also, the chocolate was packed with psilocybin.

As we set out, I felt this clear transparent field over everything. I was a new lucid-me, peeking my head out over the atmosphere: “New drug, new feeling” I said, or something along those lines. And it was true.

The patterns of infrastructure, specifically within the framework of U-Bhan, were a reminder of how the built environment is our collective mind, all of us existing as one within it, and as it.

I sat in the crosshatch of yellow and blue, within clunky, serpentine train-movement, cracking open from some point in my sternum, becoming so spacious that there was no me to be anyway.

Hoku always said I should take mushrooms and I always said “no.” I wanted to write him a letter – let him know I had casually joined into a part of him that could never be accessed fully.

“The only part of Hoku that exists is me remembering him.
So I am Hoku right now.

Thanks Hoku.
I love you.”

Tears were streaming down my face. 

“We are just water with feelings” said Kamille. My trips in Berlin have been defined by the deconstruction of daily reality, and emotional transformations – particularly surrounding the death of loved ones. It was all matter of fact. I was my normal open self, but more so.

“It feels good to be here, inside the cold
It is a fun and “cool” experience…”

I laughed at my own joke, in the maze of construction, in the un-built cold, a cold that had nothing to do with our intentions, but which existed as something more real than our ideals.

From the pointiest wind to the sweatiest basement. Laughing in the line for the bathroom while not being in the line for the bathroom, talking with the fashion boys in the line for the bathroom: “Is that Prada, or Nada, and which one is more authentic?” 

Fonzi was with his two hot friends, in a literal underground. One of them like: “Berlin is sexy… but cool.” I gathered his tobacco, rolling it into three instances of forgotten cigarettes and a kiss on both cheeks. We separated out the sounds with our musculature, describing with our bodies some ways that its sculpture could work.

“Opposite rain room.”
“Undoing time in a scroll.”
“Reverse waterfall.”

(Fonzi and I talked about time and digital media).

 

In the morning Kamille and I stayed naked under diffused orange light. When we got up we went to a street market, walked through mud, muddled through mulled wine, ate falafel.

A man on the street asked to take our picture. For his fashion blog? JK, if this dude had a fashion blog I would be 2 very’s worth of surprised. Who knows why he wanted our images – to show to strangers on the metro? To curse us? That seems more likely.

We didn’t take a small shelf from the street. We went out for pho at the vegan Vietnamese place, with Fonzi. Walking back in the cold wind I sold the idea of continuing to do so, rather than wait for the metro.

✈️🎉🔥😎🌼💖✨

The feeling of waking up in a new city with a blank itinerary, and a beautiful date brings you perfect coffee in bed.

I learned the word Blümchensex after having had it.

Deep, sweet, dreamy intimacy.

Dear blog, remember when I was saying that all I wanted to do was to fall casually-deeply-in-love? I fell deeply, repeatedly, into serotonin-laden eye-contact – on U-Bhan, in a dark bar with reclaimed furniture, at a vegan “raw meat” Syrian restaurant…

Within an hour of arriving in Berlin, I found myself on a date with Kamille. We shared a big meal at an Indian restaurant, later reflecting that this was a good way to start our marathon-date, because we both ended up with new-love-appetite-lack in the days following. The word for it in German is more elegant, but I have forgotten what it was.

It’s inevitable to share words about words when you’re dating a trilingual-trans-Polish-girl.

11 Kamille

Continuing to fill the archetype of “cool friend who lives in a cool city” Alfonso now lives in Berlin. We met up at at a smoky hole-in-the-wall bar with good, loud jazz – talked about the line between as the thing; ephemeralism and minimalism as privileged life-choices; post-WWII-hoarding, the next wave of re-settled refugees as hoarders; firework-wars between neighborhood-kids on New Years and the days preceding, and how to get from party to party without ending up in the cross-fire. 

In our conversation about social class/the ability to consume ethically, we realized we both had scars from the crystals kept in pockets of our second-hand denim. Fonzi was about to explain. I laughed and said, “oh no, of course I know why… we’re both from Santa Fe.” And speaking of where we’re from, we discussed the Great American Road Trip, but in Europe.

My process of living in/moving from cities involves the collection and dispersion of houseplants. “No” said Alfonso, “rent a car and take your plants with you.” He has been doing road trip photo series anyway – we’d make it an art project. 

Tucked between bio food groceries, luxury cosmetics, and a designer rug store in Mitte is a dark graffiti-covered alley, leading to controlled-rent housing-projects. You wouldn’t know they were there if you were passing by. I found myself in the Leftist/Female/Lesbian/Trans/Refugee project in on New Year’s eve (unsurprising). 

One of the refugees who lives there made a giant vegan feast. Everyone danced together to a mix of traditional Cameroonian music and international pop hits. The whole city was full of fireworks, neurochemical and otherwise. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!

Moments after walking through parks and streets of magnificent multi-directional noise-music (midnight fireworks, in close proximity to bodies) I learned that the community I was with had thrown a solidarity party for the Oakland fire victims. Around this time Alfonso messaged me and told me he loved me. I started weeping and it was the highlight of my trip.

Last New Year’s I spent the morning studying for the GRE. Sarah and I joined Crocket and Sandra in LA on a whim. In the afternoon I ran into the ocean in a black turtleneck and skinny jeans, then walked around wet for a few hours. I wondered where I would be in a year.

The answer is Berlin, in exactly the same outfit, but wet in a different way.

Snack Bar Nino Bixio

I departed from Fabrica later than usual, Ángeles on the back of my bike till the bus stop, and when I got back I was feeling a way.

So I walked in a direction and stopped in a bar on instinct (and on flashing lights, and on “bar aberto”)

My phone had run out of Cloroform so as I sipped my Spritz Campari I admired the reindeer and spruce decorations hanging from a bamboo plant on the counter, and the small spinning plastic globe making multi-colored light patterns on the ceiling.

I thought about breaking the fourth wall in music videos, whether that is too trite or appropriately homey, and watched the tween kid take a blue water bottle from the fridge of overpriced corona and show it to the bartender.

“Mi piace la musica” I said to the bartender, motioning up, “Buena Vista Social Club.” “Ah si” he replied “di sur America.” One of the people crowded around the only table at the tiny bar sang along.

As I got up to pay the bartender asked if I was from Germany. I said no, sono Americano/a, di Nuevo Mexico, and he asked if I spoke English.

In perfect English he said “I don’t speak English, but I am Chinese.”

The guy at the bar, drinking red wine with the bar tender, asked where I work. “Lavoro a Fabrica.” He asked something else to which I responded “scusa, no capito molto Italiano.”

Jerry, sitting by the window, spoke English, and was called to translate. He asked if I might like to stay a while longer and bought me another Spritz Campari.

Jerry is from Nigeria and has a wife and kids here. He lost his last job and does whatever he can. “Nothing illegal though.” We talked about how good it is to have mechanical knowledge, and the need for voltage converters. He kept saying “you’re welcome to Italy.” I kept thanking him.

After asking  my name Jerry said “sorry, are you a girl or a boy now?” “Neither” I replied. “I’m confused” he said, “are you talking to me as a girl or a boy?” He kept saying he was confused, I kept replying “that’s okay.” Really, he was just being perceptive. He seemed  weirded out when I didn’t magnetize myself to either binary pole, but continued to be my bar friend.

At the end I smoked outside with Jerry and a Dominican man (who was providing the cigarettes) we all spoke Spanish.

“See you next time” they said as I departed. I found my bar.

Also, not sure where to insert this part of the ambiance/character: the bartender had a sweet t shirt with dragons on it.

Rental Winter

Is the culture of cats different in other countries? Like, is does the way we treat cats across cultures affect the way kitties behave, say in meow style?

I worked all day on one of my patches with minimal distraction (save for constantly updating my Spotify playlist based on what was the most danceable). Whenever I solve problems it is in quick flashes of logic. More and more I realize how important taking breaks is for efficiency.

Cigarette-epiphany.

Today I finally raised the seat on Lil’ Jenny Bike. I sat with Isaac, Akanksha, and Antti at Mensa. Isaac asked me about my goth Rihanna cover band.

Like every day, I intended to do P90X in the morning and go to the post office. I almost convinced myself to go to the post office but ended up cleaning the kitchen and painting over a blood stain on the wall instead.

I have felt deeply tired, like almost unable to talk to people for the past few mornings. Last night I got 8 hours of sleep, not even a 3am mosquito interruption. Am I fending off sickness? It is because it is suddenly colder? Have I been doing something differently to my brain-body?

Alexis and I realized that the laundry detergent we have been using is actually dish detergent, which is a classic “I am living in a new country” kind of mistake. It is hard to get the dank smell out of laundry, even with the help of the heater. Maybe using the wrong kind of detergent is related.

I emailed Cutler and Gross twice about the size of screw needed for the model of sunglasses that I just spent a third of a month’s salary on (used, at > 50% off) and now cannot wear because the screw popped out. They did not give me an answer.

I ordered tiny screws for sunglasses repair and none of them worked.

The monitor I bought didn’t work and now I’m late shipping it back. I probably should contact them but they already gave me the address and I don’t want to be told no. I am worried that if I send it it will be very expensive and I won’t get a refund, or it will be impossible. I guess I’ll wait until Saturday to avoid being late for Fabrica.

The crotch of my Nudie Jeans is so blown out from biking that they are ~2 sexy 4 work~. I ordered a repair kit from them but the black denim patch is not as big as the hole. The Chronicles of Never jeans that I ordered from Grailed didn’t show up and Marta helped me track them down. Giovanni gave me a ride to the Villorba post office during a lecture from the Rotterdam kids (who were for some reason around). We got a coffee and I felt phresh for the rest of the day.

I could barely get the pants over my knees but determined that I was going to make them work and did what tru fash1 bros do and took a bath in them. They have stretched around the knees significantly. They are going to work and they are going to be my favorite jeans… damnit.

Though the measurements seemed right, the beautiful Attachment coat I got from Grailed is slightly snug in the shoulders. Japanese tailoring vs. Scandinavian bones, I guess.  I am wearing it anyway because it is cold, and once I re-sell it on Grailed I will give it a hug and thank it for a job well done. Then I’ll use the funds toward the debt from which they came.

Rental winter.

I dearly want to tie up the nuisances around the edges of my existence – like all busy, broke and picky types who just moved across the world, probably.