2013 Feb 9
- Briefly saw very crowded openings at school.
- Last time I saw Katie before she moves to Boston 😭.
- Biked over the bridge really fast to drinks with a bunch of old coworkers. It’s been a long time since I quit my job. They’re pretty much all off being CEOs of stealth startups now.
- Woke up late and did nothing all day. Like read Alicia Keys syngergy news.
- Received an email from my pal Lawrence in administration saying, “In order to meet the information dissemination and posting needs of the Cooper Union community, the Posting Policy has been updated.” Followed by an 800-word long set of rules in six sections basically declaring that unapproved posters are banned at Cooper from now on. So I solicited new entries to cooperunion.info/posters and threw together a little poster of my own that I have to plaster up soon. Information dissemination and posting needs? This is what administrative busywork and micromanagement looks like.
- By the time I biked to school just in time for sculpture I heard it had been cancelled.
- Walked around the LES with Aaron and ended up at Mission Chinese which was spicy.
- Biked to the Bruce space for drawing, which is a nice place. There was sort of nothing to do and no work to look at yet so we just talked slowly for a long time about whatever.
- Went to school. Figured out how to pull Markdown into InDesign. Messed around with the Bylaws trying to figure out a continuous horizontal diff of the five versions, but it felt slow, finicky, and kind of like something I should teach a computer to do. But that didn’t seem immediately doable, so I just plotted all the bylaws next to each other on a giant sheet of paper (42 in tall) and started diffing by hand in my studio with markers, using Kaleidoscope as a reference.
- I was Instagramming while I worked and Inka joked that it looked like a conspiracy theory, which reminded me of this awesome bit from Chomsky.
- "It’s just normal institutional analysis, the kind of analysis you do automatically when you’re trying to understand how the world works." Yup.
- Biked home at 2am when I was done. It’s easier to stay late when I don’t have to think about the subway.
- That’s a thumbnail of the final diff, here is a readable-sized version. It looks all fucked up because I had to cut it into scanner sized pieces for re-digitization.
- Showed the diff (before cutting it up) in Dennis’s class. We talked about the actual content of the document. People had questions. I pointed some things out. Joe seemed disappointed that I hadn’t found a smoking gun and thought that a synthesis would be a more useful form. Probably true. Mark Lombardi was brought up. Which means I am now going to go back in time and kill Mark Lombardi so that he stops showing up in all my crits. I don’t think I was trying to make art but if I wasn’t showing a governance document inside the same institution it might be more aesthetic. Like Lombardi.
- Porter showed some white frame things. Joe showed his show.
- Then we had our Student Judiciary trial for the lock-in. Here we are huddling and looking over documents before going in:
- It was actually really fun to sit with fellow-students and go over the facts and be reminded how in-the-right we were about the actions we took and the degree to which we thought things through.
- Bio was boring. Ate peanuts in the back of the room and spaced out. Got a text from Jakob that our punishment is…a seven day ban from the round elevator. LOL, YES. Students effectively dropped the administration’s case against us while still humoring them. Left class as soon as it was over to retrieve my formal letter:
- That evening the Art Faculty circulated by email the most beautiful fucking letter which they had presented to the President a week earlier, rejecting any tuition based plans at Cooper. I was sitting alone at my computer, but literally started clapping and making weird little involuntary noises. This is a huge milestone on the Free Cooper front. Anybody can scream and you can block them out, but when 1/3 of your faculty mutinies, you listen. Spread it around on social media.
- Went to a party at our Neighbors with Tyler. Walked around our reverse apartment for a while just looking at how differently they’d decorated it.
- Left for karaoke and pizza.
- Pushed the faculty letter out to press. It’s fun having a kind of workflow post-lock-in for getting anything we want to say out there. Feels easier than I would’ve thought before.
- Went to a gross party.
- Biked up to Gramercy for brunch with old friends. Funny hearing about their jobs. JOBS. Made me more ready than ever to go OFF THE GRID.
- In Art History listened to an engineer present about Dali and Surrealism. Which made me wonder what I would sound like talking to engineers about thermodynamics. That should happen more.
- Art in America picked up on the faculty letter. Posted it up around school with Jamshed faces which were quickly removed per the new posting policy.
- Kristi posted notes from the letter presentation meeting with faculty and Bharucha. They were widely shared. Even Village Voice picked up on them. I had a hunch when I got involved with Student Council and convinced everyone to start throwing notes from everything on Github that people would go nuts for real transparency, like meeting notes, however boring that sounds. This confirmed that. Haven’t seen so many people engaged in a while.
- Met Galen for coffee. We first met when he ran up to me at school and said somebody had told him to talk to me and I should read a book by Marvin Minsky. Which I did half-read and still think about. So we’ve stayed in touch. We rambled about a lot about things we’re working on. He said something I don’t hear around here a lot, which is that this place overrates individual geniuses and it might not be so bad to step out of that game for a while.
- Almost walked into traffic for like the fourth time that day.
- Had a nice dinner with Alex and Tyler for no reason, so was perfectly late to Student Council. My secret goal with the notes is to go to less meetings. But the meeting was kinda rad, we basically changed the annoyingly formal mission statement to: “We’re a group of art students. We’re whatever the student body needs their presence within the existing bureaucratic structure at Cooper to be. We go to meetings, take notes which we share, and vote on behalf of students. The school gives us money to throw parties.”
- Ranted a little in my projects wiki.
- Woke up early. Tiptoed into Alex’s room and took his blazer. Dressed a little fancy.
- Stopped to buy a legal pad on the way to school.
- Met Kristi on the 7th floor and we took the stairs up to the Peter Cooper Suite for the follow-up meeting between art faculty, Bharucha, and three trustees(!). The fact that they decided to show up means things are escalating sufficiently. The meeting was exciting but exhausting. Maybe because I was taking notes as fast as I could the entire time.
- Village Voice picked up the faculty letter.
- I showed Walid my wiki and the diff before the meeting on his iPad because we were sitting next to each other. I think he called revisions the saddest thing ever. Like how you always feel you need the palimpsest and have to reduce thresholds for memory to a keystroke. Giving equivalence to everything’s entire history. I was like, hmm yeah I guess…so what?
- Then had his class. I was sleepy and bored. We all talked for a long time in a way that didn’t really make sense to me about my wiki. Which, to be fair, isn’t really anything to talk about yet. And I had no idea what to say, only that in retrospect I am glad I didn’t write a “grant proposal”. We argued about artists’ writing. Which for me is also complicated. When you do things that involve writing, what’s your work and what’s your meta-writing? I have a feeling there’s no distinction for me. Next week he wants bios from everyone. I thought of my graph as my bio. Walid says writing proposals and bios isn’t just being complicit with the system of curators and biennials and whatnot. Probably the biggest mindfuck since MWB.
- Blacked out on the floor of my studio for an hour. I can’t believe, at this point in time, that I was ever really into the idea of studio furniture or the idea of taller ceilings bigger thoughts or this dream of building a house completely along desire lines. Sleeping on the floor for a week during the lock-in crushed any vestigial remnants of my interest in how bourgeois chairs help you think.
- Dan had an extra ticket to a fancy alumni event so I met him there to haunt administrators with my presence and drink martinis.
- Jam: “you know, I make a mean martini. I’ll make you one.” Me: “I’ll come up to your office and we’ll have some martinis” Jam: “no we can’t do that, but you can certainly come over to the house and I’ll make you one, as long as you promise to not occupy my home!” Me: “😇”
- Lawrence: “what are you going to use this photo for?”
- Even my shit smells like martinis.
- Artforum picks up the faculty letter.
- Tyler, Audrey, Aaron showed in Niki’s. She was kind of on fire. Said some really good stuff. Bowed to non-sequiturs.
- Talked about student council’s notes/transparency project with Kristi, who was apprehensive about posting her notes after having been approached all week by students, faculty, and reporters. I’m happy she’s thinking deeply about implications and best practices and misrepresentation and responsibility because my priority has been moving fast. It’s a good combination and I feel like we’re going to come out of this with something like Flickr’s Community Guidelines, but for Institutional Transparency(!).
- Spent a bunch of hours cross-checking Kristi’s notes against my own, which I agreed to do before publicizing them.
- Had Seth in the morning. Dilan and Kristi showed. Couldn’t stop staring out the skylights at the monolith across the street where a lone construction worker was jumping up and down on a sheet of glass facade to slide it into place.
- Released more notes. I’ve heard nothing but concerns about open meeting notes, but in practice have seen only widespread excitement and involvement.
- Worked on making the student council site less barebones, now that we’ve been using it a bunch.
- Watched William Wegman videos with Aaron and Tyler for a bit. They’re great.
- Overslept Dennis. I was TOLD there would be a blizzard, so I stayed home, even though it didn’t start snowing until later, because I was in no mood for my high school-ish bio class. Kinda burned out. Read a chapter from How To Be Idle which is kind of my bible/most important reference book. It’s hard to tell if it’s ruining or making my life. Attempted to blog but couldn’t really get much of anything done. Hung out at home. Watched SVU, Spongebob, and Godard with Alex and Jo. They were all exactly the same. Went to bed at a reasonable hour.
- Jackson Heights for Indian with Aaron and Tyler.
- Aaron and Tyler making fun of me for blogging my life until I lost my will to live, let along blog about it. Pretty good impersonations of me having revelatory moments tho.
- Saw the World’s Fair Globe and gigantic Robert-Moses-commissioned model of NYC. Reminded me of Seeing Like a State.