Widespread infatuation with monetary profit and material goods mediates the construction of public space, commonly producing scripted environments and activities geared toward consumption, every minute demanding a dollar, every hour of passive servility. Fuck that. Let’s explode moments of monotony with simple injections of spontaneity, criticality and fun: all the bountiful means of obliterating daily stasis.
If life gives us lemons, couldn’t we find the trees somewhere? It might be on the side of the road, it might be guarded by a fence and smell like a dumpster. Sometimes the lemons might get misplaced en route to a shopping cart, and are found later in a pair of cargo pants.
If we were tennis players, finding 300 tennis balls on a walk is life giving us tennis balls, but we’re not so they’re lemons. Bouncy things should bounce as hard and as much as possible, or else they are just wasting their time. So we help them to the highest place we can climb, and give em’ a little push. The present joy of free ballin.
Lemons fallen before or when being picked cannot be packed; examining the lemon takes too long to be profitable, so they are waste. But the waste can look and taste and please just like the lemons on the trees for sale. If we put the stickers from the lemons at the store on the fallen lemons, who could refuse a return of perfectly good merchandise, that would “otherwise go to waste, because there were enough already”?
Holding a pet chicken when ordering food at El Pollo Loco is a fun activity to raise awareness of one’s surroundings, introducing a criticality into a scene otherwise directed only toward consumption.
We need present joys–experiences with minimal regrets, grudges, passivity, embracing the freedom and autonomy of each second erupting in pleasure, not relying on processed spectacle. Maybe irrational joys, moments of escape, therapy and catharsis from the drudgery of work or whatever pisses us off. Pulling the pants down on mannequins is fun! Sometimes fountains need to be cleaned, and they especially enjoy bubble baths–dish and laundry detergent work well: “join the Fountain Cleaners Internationale and propagate present joys”
A million instances of alternatives and opportunities are imbedded in the fabric and materials surrounding us, hiding in the cracks of a seemingly immaculate everyday.
Let’s make some of our own rules. We could do it! We’ll convert all of us! But we would be self defeating, so we’d have to make some new rules to destroy the ones already made for us, so we have to keep moving!
Ladybugs and flowers are pretty, but flowers planted in the medians of parking lots seems like glitter thrown on top of pile of shit. The flowers look just as good, if not better, when pulled out and stuffed in the tailpipes of surrounding vehicles. And this way, there’s no need to buy for your lover, the bouquet is in the car!
There’s more gifts to be given! Santa Clausing: an exercise in trickle up economics. In corporate retail stores, we relocate small merchandise into the pockets or folds of larger merchandise. We can create ensembles, accessorizing; “those gold earrings and bracelets would look fabulous with this black bag.” Leave tiny figurines or pictures of Santa Claus as a calling card, because everyone knows Santa gives gifts without asking for anything in return.
One person on a freeway in LA is an ant without the privilege of dialogue. Let’s equip every car in LA county with a megaphone: we’ll start conversations in traffic and make new friends. Making friends and helping each other is many hands making work easy. A team of ants can start their own colony. And a team of ants can be a choir, so why not sing together?
Why not? As the public at large invests hope in others for themselves, instead of investing hope in themselves for themselves, we turn our houses and arms into national museums and zoos, our mouths into baroque opera houses. A better world is possible in a backyard, in a bowl of soup, in a conversation! We want to unleash potentials and spur subversions which build atop the shit until it is covered with produce, community, and love.
John Barlog and Burtle Live and work in Los Angeles
Up in Open Arms: Sea and Space Explorations, Los Angeles, Ca (as Traveling Open Art Display)
A Day in LA: Washington Blvd. Art Concert: (with Carlin Wing) Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, Ca
Performing Economies: Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Ca
Samenhang: MAP Gallery, Leeds, UK
Needle in a Haystack: Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, Los Angeles, Ca
Darkness Cometh: Department of Water and Power, 1257 E. 6th St, Los Angeles, Ca
Berlin Benim: Kolonister 10, Berlin, DE
Exchange Rate/Attitudes and Conventions: Habeas Lounge @ CUNY, New York, Ny, and Remy’s on Temple, Los Angeles, Ca
Art Bang: .CHB, Berlin, DE
Poppying our cherries in the red-light district: Michael Poppyfield Projects, Valencia, Ca
Lights, Camera, Actions: Interventions on Hollywood Boulevard: Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Ca
29025 Eveningside Dr, I-IV: 29025 Eveningside Dr, Val Verde, Ca
Lost Streams: The First Frontier Was The Water’s Edge: Estacion Tijuana, MX
Ausser Haus: (With Al Schulte) Uferstrasse 6, Berlin, DE
“Doin It Live: Performance and Interaction” (exhibition catalogue) February, 2010
“List of Collaborative Practices and Practitioners in LA,” Elana Mann and Sandra de la Loza, compiled by Carolina Caycedo as part of Day to Day, lulu.com, October, 2009
“Performing Economies: Would we like a beer?,” Drew Denny, LA Record, July 20, 2009
“Performing Economies,” Elana Mann, Fellows of Contemporary Art (exhibition catologue) May 15, 2009
“TOAD Call for Submission,” Guan Rong: BDBBDB, Issue 3: Brain April, 2009
“25 Random Things About LACMA”: Allison Agsten, LACMA.com, February 19, 2009
“Neptun Schaumt,” BZ, September 29, 2008, Berlin, DE (tabloid)
“2995 Eveningside Drive,” Ina Viola Blasius and Carlin Wing, Exhibition Catalogue (Lulu)
“Collaborators and Participants,” Fritz Haeg, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest 6, October, 2008
“Ladybugs Attend Art Exhibition Closing”: Morning Edition. National Public Radio, March 5, 2007
“Bag of ladybugs sets off evacuation at LACMA”: Assoicated Press Wire Reports March 5, 2007
“Magritte Attacked by Ladybugs,” Sean Bonner: Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2007
Evelyn Serrano, “Lost Streams: The First Fontier Was The Water’s Edge“(Exhibition Catalogue) Tijuana, MX
Education and Residencies
2008 Deep End Ranch, Santa Paula, Ca
2008 European Exchange Academy, Beelitz-Heilstätten, DE
2008 BFA California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, Ca
2006 Studies in Art at Universität der Künste Berlin (UdK)