Media Creation as Research


First things first: I’m a musician, a writer, an interdisciplinary artist. As much as my head wants to be a full-time street activist yet again (read: typically broke, frequently in jail, almost always at risk, positives notwithstanding), the reality is that the process of making art across multiple disciplines as a critically engaged practice is more than enough, both in the “real world” and within the confines of academia alike.

Some of the things on my mind of late:

  • What does it mean to make art in a serious fashion anymore?
  • What does a liberated definition of cultural ownership (aka intellectual property) look like?
  • Why is it so incredibly difficult to find a range of texts exploring this in a contemporary fashion?
  • Why is it that some of the best books on the subject were written decades ago?
  • In terms of privilege, why is it that when someone contemporary does get work published in this regard, they’re frequently white?
  • Who are my contemporaries who are taking the process of making art as a form of research seriously? Do they teach? Do they not teach? If so, where? If so, why? What obstacles and forms of institutional support and encouragement are they encountering? Do they work independently of performance-based programs and/or practitioners?
  • Should I ditch the entire idea, and live in a van full time? While I have seriously thought about this – free to cheaper rent, the ability to be anywhere, perform anywhere, teach anywhere – the package as a whole is not quite as tempting as I originally thought it might be, fond-and-sometimes-contentious memories of touring notwithstanding.

Books that are presently helping me through this process:

  • The Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, Anna Anthropy
  • Decomposition: A Music Manifesto, Andrew Durkin
  • Creative Life, Bob Ostertag
  • Writings on Music, 1965 – 2000, Steve Reich

In the “to read” queue:

  • Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker
  • Meta/Data, Mark Amerika
  • The Most Radical Gesture, Sadie Plant
  • Art and Technics, Lewis Mumford
  • Dialectics of Enlightenment, Max Horkheimer and Theodore Adorno

People whose work is providing inspiration:

  • Don DeLillo
  • Anna Deavere Smith
  • Steve Reich
  • Bob Ostertag
  • Tuxedo Moon
  • Janelle Monae
  • Matmos
  • Kathy Acker
  • Julio Cortazar

Books and essays that have helped me in the past:

  • Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Empire, Gregory Sholette
  • A Room of One’s Own (essay), Virginia Woolf
  • Theory of the Dérive (essay), Guy Debord
  • The Waves, Virginia Woolf
  • Sleeping with the Dictionary, Harryette Mullen
  • Mercurochrome, Wanda Coleman
  • The California Poem, Eleni Sikelianos
  • Iduna, kari edwards
  • The Sonnets, Ted Berrigan
  • Kindred, Octavia Butler

“Living the artist’s life” books (for insights regarding my creative process and workflow):

  • The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp
  • The Renaissance Soul, Margaret Lobenstine
  • Creating a Life Worth Living, Carol Lloyd

More thoughts and such as I process this through a bit more. <3 and shout-out to @codemesh, @librarianshipwreck and @tinyfist for thoughts, recommendations and support.

why i don’t trust politics (even when it means not trusting myself)


the left overall in the USA is completely busted-yet-still-functioning, almost without exception.

people (organizers/planners in particular) keep doing the exact same things over and over again, even when they’re broken, or detrimental.

there’s just enough of a positive sentiment around outcomes overall that people think “it’s working”.

it’s not, it just feels like it, sometimes.

a functional definition of “working” has to include getting past where we’ve been for years, if not decades, in a positive – and advancing – direction.

as it stands, we’re stuck with the same approaches, with ever-lessening progress.

to make things worse, things are busted in a variety of ways, and people’s levels of access and power vary, both institutionally and individually.

so we argue, constantly and call it praxis or transformation or whatever.

it’s not, it’s just more of the same.

all of which is made worse by most people not just being flat-out-right or flat-out-wrong, just mostly right, give or take, about what they know best.

or even worse, cape on behalf of oppressed people, with no idea of direction, goals or even if said caping is making things better or worse.

then we argue about the caping.

just as its been for decades, just faster and more intense.

i do have hope, just not when people keep on repeating themselves.

which everybody does, but not always in the same way.

mobilizing and organizing aren’t the same.

i think we’re stuck, in general, at not building the sorts of movements that could lead to at least understanding the differences between mobilizing and organizing.

h/t: @er0tikka, @lavlobster, black agenda report, and as always, my twitter timeline

An excerpt from a longer piece I’m working on.


Fear, death of fear, fear of dying. Death has been all around me, and yet, I’m still here. I’m getting accustomed to not walking through the valley of scriptural solace – Ginsberg, Rumi, Solanas, amen. I never did like Valerie, which according to shadow law, means I always liked Valerie, even though she probably would have shipped me off as a work slave to a so-called feminist paradise in Utah or Queens. My life has been full of contradictions – mixed-race urban hippie redneck black power force multiplier. Intersexed, gender transitioned femme dyke. Recovering twink wannabe that never fit into gay culture, now I know why, don’t expect me on the talk show circuit any time soon. Public intellectual and somewhat-former performance artist turned page poet and featured guest on the talking head segment of the Burn to Build channel (now on Situationist Channel i). Anarcho-socialist, nature-loving collectivist-industrialist. Tech-head intergenerational unionist. On and on. INFP and ENTJ personalities inside one hybridized body – one for everyday life, the other for threats and conflict. The mere act of existence is full of numinousity. Whitman looms large, multitudes at the checkout line of everyday life.

The March of the Machines


It’s morning at the beach,

it’s not time to ascend.


Buy our hand drums,

our tempo track,


our polytonality.


Oud –


Robbie the Robot is waking up.

Meanwhile, longing —

Full Spectrum Aquatics


Turtle is exploring options in the following areas: planet colonization, strategic immortality, weaponized nanobots, cellular warfare (both kinds), intelligent exoskeletons. Shrimp is aware of all these things (Shrimp reads), despite and/or because of Turtle’s ongoing efforts in schools, colleges and universities, both public and private.

Turtle gets together with advisors and a select group of key strategic allies to evaluate and assess the disruptive advantages of “Project Lure” (Turtle’s response to all presumed potential adversaries discovering any Designated Enemies Of Turtle), in the case of decisive military action going counter to plans. Shrimp has a full-time job and a limited social life.

Turtle has assets, spies, allies, mortars, planes, counter-planes, warheads, custom ICBMs, intel, counter-intel, counter-counter-intel and so on, all of which played key roles when they struck the Urchinian village, estimated population 294. Being a city shrimp, Shrimp has no plans to get married.

Operation Krill never occurred to the now-indefinitely-detained blue crabs until Turtle operatives convinced them of its merits. Shrimp yawns a bit, then goes back to sleep.

In the Turtlemania movie, the scene where the scampi test as being “somewhat sympathetic” to 17.9% of audiences in 35.3% of key markets will be deleted, because terrorists. Shrimp is not a terrorist. The Turtlemania book is pulled.

Turtle vociferously proclaims that shrimp – in particular, the malfeasant sort of shrimp who fall in with the wrong sort of crowd – will ever be tolerated “because we’re of the sea,” before pushing back a tear. The Turtle-loving, shrimp-detesting crowd cheers, and the feed is broadcast worldwide. Shrimp decides not to tell her co-workers anything, before swimming off for lunch.

Download PDF: Full Spectrum Aquatics