Perversion within seduction

22 February 2009 | , , , ,

The talk at MFIT went very well. I realised afterwards that this is the very first time I have talked about seduction without any of the padding that you usually have to put together for conferences, in order to fit into the overall theme. I confronted seduction in a public way for the first time, and it was fantastic. I was motivated, enlivened by the subject and its curious manifestations, by its contradictions, by the philosophies that try to study it. I hope it was interesting to the audience; it certainly was great Viva preparation for me. Colleen’s questions were excellent, direct, the sort of thing that relates seduction to real life and they reminded me of that book I would like to write and publish after the PhD. The public also had interesting things to say: the issue of a subjective approach in research came about, and so did the relational elements of the seducer-seducee dyad. I expected them (as I had asked the same questions) but I never heard myself answering them.

Part of the success, though, comes from the fact that the exhibition I was talking about was consistently good, more Manolo than Boucher, diverse, playful and very very seductive. I nearly fell on my back when I saw the encased Louboutin-Rodarte platforms. I had a picture of them for my presentation and Tamsen took an amazing shot of the talk with the image commanding authority over my head. As it should be.

After that, I have been very busy here in NYC. I have done portfolio advice, organised an alumni get together and done a couple of institutional visits on behalf of the School I work for. Still, I have managed to see the Whitney, Paul Graham’s show at the MoMA, the new museum of contemporary art, and the International Centre of Photography. The photographic bias of my choices is due to the fact that I am also here to take some photos whenever possible. Out of these Paul Graham was distinctly wonderful. His display was a breadth of fresh air. He seemed to be saying “Look! Look! Look again!” I engaged with the photos, I understood, I got inspired by his images and their presentation, their richness of colour. Green looked green, and so did the other elements of the visual spectrum. The content was not groundbreaking, but then, it was, because it seemed I had never seen it before. At least, not seen it enough. It reconciled me with photography. I don’t call myself a photographer but in that gallery, I saw what I wanted to do and how I wanted to display it. I really enjoyed it, although the fact that a nice security guy got me a free ticket, since I was only going to see one room, may have somewhat contributed to my joy.

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New York is full of nice people. My New Museum experience proved that the MoMA guy was not unique. The gallery opens at 12. I was baffled when I found out, and also how I found out. I managed to slip into the administrative offices, all on my own, the little spy that I am. It was freezing outside so I dismayed when the security guy told me (completely calm at finding me there), the museum would open in one hour. His mention of a nice coffee shop down the road sounded much better. I managed to read a fair bit of my Serge Tisseron book, something I hadn’t manage all week, and eat excellent cake. When I finally made it to the museum, I understood why it opened so late. The four floors of display contained only 4 pieces!! I found it wonderful, again a matter of engagement. I seemed to be in the minority, though, as some people found the ticket’s value for money a bit of a cheat. This is the first time I have managed to see video work in its entirety, staying for more than one viewing at times. I even had time to live and breathe in the Jeremy Deller piece It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq. I have to say that this changed my opinion of his work and of relational art in general. I found it cutting edge, contemporary, contingent; for once, competent practice rather than just Bourriaud’s theories and a bunch of cool names. I suppose it is like performances: you have to be present, you have to give time. Time, oh time, we don’t realise how important it is when it comes to art…

All and all, the efforts to revitalise and give my work some time (time, again!) and thought have paid off: I have been to Macy’s and Bloomingdales, up and down Fifth avenue (where I was so inspired by a Valentino shop window), and the boutiques of the Meatpaking district. Let’s see if, for the last couple of days of my stay, I can be as energetic with finishing this methodology chapter that is driving me up the wall…

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3 thoughts on “Perversion within seduction

  1. So interesting your reflections about Paul Graham exhibition!! I wish I could visit it!!
    You are right, they are pretty “normal” photos, but they have something “special” too. There is kind of a rhythm that makes you look again.
    Please, publish that book about seduction!! Do it!!
    I love your two last photos of the post, they is something very good and interesting on them.
    We keep in contact, perhaps I will write something about your photos!!

  2. Pingback: On eating alone

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