Notes From A Quiet Crucifixion: IV

Posted from The Citrus Report

The sky closed its eye today. For a moment I saw its breath, the fog clearing up and the path in front of me continuing on in endless resplendence. I threw my watch away, tossed it over a nameless bridge while the sun was falling from view. As of this moment I have been walking for an innumerable amount of hours. Time has no use when traveling without rhythm or pattern. I measure each moment in the amount of steps I take rather than the amount of seconds that pass. The road looms and moves long and slurring, a ribbon with unmatched tenor in this or any other moment in my life. I threw my watch over a bridge several hundred paces previous to the events in this sentence. I have been walking, I was walking and I will continue to walk- either until I reach where I am going or until my legs and limbs bleed and I cannot go any farther. If that comes to pass, I will have to wade to my destination, crawling and carrying myself with arms until I reach those streets whose image and name I have studied but have yet to set myself in other than in moments of imagined time and space, the densities of a dream being the things that have carried and brought me here.

I am walking.

I have kept my hands inside my pockets for hours now, continuing to walk, the blood barely circulating through my veins, the cold and its temperatures completely covering me. I feel a sickness washing over me, feel its neck, nape and lips all around me. The woman who I have been imagining comes back to me again, in brief snatches of person- limbs at first, arms, wrists and hands, and beyond that those features of a face before another car drives by me and its lights splash my current reality: I am walking 540 kilometers to get to a city that I have dreamed about since a child, a place whose myth cannot possibly match the one I have built up for it in my head. I see the cities around me, those towns and villages brief on my way and I see them like children congregating in the corners of street and road before getting to the doors and altar of Paris. At times, a person can live off dreams much more easily than reality.
What nameless faces, figures and fugues occupy the mind when it has nothing else to wander on-.


Night now and I have been walking endlessly since Frank dropped me off. Different sets of miles are digested and catalogued by my feet as I’ve begun to find characters and faces in the features of buildings, their architecture, and that other architecture of trees surrounding the path and street.
I crossed the Rhine around nightfall, the sun falling in snatches with patches of light whispering words through the fences of cloud blockading the blue in ventriloquial contusions of movement- unseen strings and vivid color dancing back and forth, as if the fight for day were one battled by clouds contumacious to the spinning of the sphere and the need for night to cover this region of continent and country.


A rain is falling outside my tent and everything that I can see outside is covered in the screen-mesh gauze which lines the entrance/exit of my tent. I try to move my hands but am unable to. Every appendage that juts out from my person is numb- ears, nose, fingers and toes. I can see my breath in front of me and with my breath I try to trace shapes to keep my mind occupied. Dreams have a way of closing in on one’s self, the psyche one of the many endless and endlessly explored hallways of a person. I have been writing every day of my life it seems, however, I have been walking only for one. This was my first night. The stars, when visible behind the clouds, give off an endless shiver of silver, their light reflected in hours’ old reflection of a glinting sun 93 million miles away from where I am and where I am feeling the same amount of distance from the sun from where I want to be. Paris, a few inches away on my map and several hundred miles away. On foot it seems like a destination all at once a mystery writhing and moving; a piece of cloth held by a nameless child whose hands and head are held out the window of a moving car. Cars move by me here just as in that previous sentence’s image and when they do I see their lights like fire- far off they signal out to me, a strange figure walking along the road, and far off further they leave me, going by my back or front side, leaving and pulsing away along the road’s vein at an inexhaustible and ludicrous speed, too fast for my feet to comprehend or ever reach.
I have been walking endlessly and endlessly walking for what seems like forever. It is my second day and all I can think to think of is how grateful I am for Frank who filled my bag with a small amount of rations and food. Upon looking through the bag, I saw a letter from him, covering a small amount of bills and a blade, the both of which gleamed like liquid.

Note: A monolith of roadway that seems as much a wall as it is a flat surface which my feet trudge along upon. I have seen it now, spreading along on the lines and vines of a reality that has since come through in the blight of a mind that cannot stop thinking. It is a breath still lingering on and long, slow slurring and whirring like an endless wind and reverie from a snowless night still freezing in temperature.


*           *

The car pulled passed me and stopped. Along the ridge, on the separate lanes spreading out amongst the trees of highway he stopped. I walked towards the vehicle, seeing very little at the time, my eyes blinded and burned, buried under the falling reservoirs that tried and attempted to come through in the vastness of the rain.
He honked once.
I walked up to the window and before I could speak he spoke.
“It’s raining.”
“I know.”
(We’re screaming over the rain right now.)
“Why don’t you get in? You need shelter.”
I thought it over, glanced at the interior of the vehicle and made a decision that ended up changing who and what it is that I was to become after this journey.
He reached over and pulled the handle of the car.
“Come on, you’re getting soaked out here- come in, it’s fine.”

I get in the car.

He begins to laugh and leans over, extending his arm to cover the space behind my headrest.
“Bet you’re surprised that I speak English.”
I hadn’t even thought about it, but tell him yes.
He smiles and begins a long story about his mother and how she always tried to make sure that he knew English, I say nothing and continue to nod as he switches from one story to the next, going graphically into detail about things that his father did to the family before abandoning them. I apologize for no real reason but mean it sincerely. I think of him as a lonely man, one who just needs to talk to someone.

We talk for a brief while and I begin to feel safe in his company. He tells me he’s going a long ways, that he has to go back to his house in the country and that if I want to I can stay there with his wife or when he gets there he could let me out and I could begin walking again. Both seemed fine to me. I decided to decide when we got there and closed my eyes, an action I don’t remember committing but must have done for the next memory and sentence to make sense.

I opened my eyes. The rain was still coming down in small contrails; streams and rivulets of water bleeding and pulsing along the pane of windshield and glass. The car was rocking somewhat heavily. I turned to John who had both his hands on the wheel.
“On the side road- need to take this to get to my house. Don’t worry.”
I wasn’t worried until he told me not to be. A strange emotion- I brushed it off however, realizing that paranoia is something that can destroy a man.
We continued to drive further down the road, winding until eventually reaching a small house.
“Hmm, Lynda must not be here yet.”
He parked the car and turned off the engine, the car shaking itself still, the sounds of the engine purring in harmony with the rain on the roof until stopping. He stepped out and turned to me through the window-
“Watch the mud, it- actually – wait there – I’ll come around to get you.”
I stepped out and closed the door. He came up to me and grabbed me by the shoulders somewhat abruptly and aggressively.
“I thought I said to wait. I don’t want you dirty. Come on, let’s get inside.”
He touched me in a way that seemed to signal what it was that was awaiting me while we walked into that house- a place so foreign to me that it felt like we were the last two people here and the world whirring by outside of us was merely a set for some other film and all the curtains will soon rise and the credits will fade.
Images can remain in the mind forever, premonitions just the same.

We walked the twenty or so feet to his house, the door illuminated by a lone bulb hanging above the faded wood. He keeps telling me how there are no other houses around, how he likes to be here isolated and I begin to realize that there is no Lynda, he has no wife and that I am, as he says, out here alone.
It seemed with every step his body language began to change and his voice dropped. We walked further, thoughts whirring and running by in my head so rapidly that even now they are all I can think of as I recall and recollect these memories.

Strand of thought
: The only thing I have to do is keep myself from going inside there and I’ll be safe, as long as I don’t get inside his house, as long as I don’t enter his house I’ll be safe.

I step inside the house.
The door closes slowly behind me and his arm, long and thin, reaches forward for the lamp; thin wires of hair protruding from every pore in a haphazard fractal of direction with wrists moving in circular motions and fingers, twig-like in their lack of flesh, reaching up and pulling the string of the lamp.
Pendular light now invades the room, the lamp and bulb swaying to an unknown meter, the chain clinking with every other movement.
“Take a seat.”
He smiles an unwavering smile, a smile that wont leave his face, a smile and grin that says more than I can put down and a smile that I cannot describe accurately for for me to delve into that memory of that face of that smile would be for me to delve into spaces and regions of thought that have since been buried and extinguished beyond the realm of remembrance.

He pulls out a chair and leans in close to me, his breath being felt on my neck before his utterance of three sentences / statements which I will remember verbatim for the rest of my acknowledgeable existence; every word and inflection suffused with a nonchalance so fully formed in every breath of his that it was beyond eerie, minatory or direful. It felt that I was breathing the same air as all the evils of this world and that all those evils had converged and merged together in the form of this one body next to me.

“You must be tired. Let me show you your room. Best for you to sleep as soon as possible.”

I inhale deeply, deep as I can, and get up with him.
And we walk down a thin hairline of hallway, the corridor stretching through numerous turns and portions of stairway, an Escher-like quest through labyrinthine quadrants, the light leaving my view after the third turn, don’t worry don’t worry he keeps saying, only a few more steps only a few more steps, and we walk with feet shuffling, my hands holding myself up and guiding my walk, I in front and he in back, fuck this is the end fuck this is the end; my hands are running along the surfaces of wall next to me, a hallway too thin for me to stretch out comfortably, still they are there, imagining a place and picture of my surroundings and the fear burning inside me being a feeling all-encompassing until we reach the room and he lights a candle- a flame that burns slow and long, a flame whose ethereal qualities still sing to me and a flame that I watch flicker longer than any other.

I look out the window in back of him: the moon perfectly framed in the pane.
I think of the moon as my mother; the road and destination as some other.
And, though I don’t believe in religion, I begin a prayer.

The candle continues to burn, crying small spheres of wax which harden on the surfaces of floor surrounding us like an ocean of carpet and wood. Our environment is as soundless and vacant as the obsidian hallways that led us here.

He tells me to sleep and I get under the sheets of the bed while gripping the handle of a knife in my pocket, his eyes and gaze sharper than any blade I could ever possess.

-Jason Jaworski

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Still writing about “Kid A,” 10 years on…

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There is a great point made at the beginning of Sean McCarthy’s PopMatters essay, “Here’s Looking at You, Kid: The Echoes of ‘Kid A’,” where he writes “For those that routinely pride themselves in recognizing what a landmark album Kid A was on the day of its release, I’ll take your word for it, but with a slight dose of skepticism.”

Its true. If we were to go back to the first time we heard Radiohead’s landmark 2000 release, Kid A, we remember the feeling that something greater was happening, but were finding it difficult to be the soundtrack of our college dorm. As the year went on the album began to breath, but the from the very first note to the very last heavenly choir, its seemed grand but difficult.

McCarthy’s essay looks at the initial praise and confusion over the release, and how opinions have changed since.

A good read.

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Justin Waugh

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Justin Waugh
Untitled and Defined
By j.frede

During a recent studio visit and interview with Justin Waugh I had a chance to see a number of paintings both completed and in progress, including four works that will be shown at San Francisco’s Belljar Gallery in November. The studio, located in Los Angeles, was bright white with even brighter lights, stripped bare of everything other than the table he paints on, a bookcase housing records with a beautiful Music Hall turntable, and the paintings themselves. The simplicity of Waugh’s studio is relative to the work he produces (note: even the cables for the lights ran up the wall in equally spaced uniform rows).

The disciplined work of Justin Waugh is part color field part draftsman. Following strict measurements from painting to painting in regards to the width of the color bands to the black space that divides them, Waugh has created a body of work that is interchangeable and even modular in appearance.

“I am interested in how they have a sort of prefabricated system and methodology to them that can be repeatedly tweaked and manipulated. In these paintings each band of color is given the same space in which to exist and to react to the band above and below it.  I like how the composition suggests that the bands could go on endlessly, and how the color wraps around the side of the stretcher.  The painted sides reinforce the idea that this is a physical thing, in and of itself, hanging on a wall.” Waugh explained about his current body of work.

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JR has become, over the past 5 years, one of the most exciting and intriguing conceptual artists of his generation. Unfairly, the Parisian photographer has been pigeon-holed in the increasingly flexible and liberal category of contemporary “street art,” but was always that this label short-handed JR. Sure the work was seen in the streets of villages, cities, and towns across the world, some of his best work being in the places not found in your typical travel guide. His art is about engagement, not just with the physical surroundings but the social engagement of the people that live in the neighborhoods he presents his work. JR lives in the towns, interacts with the residents, develops relationships and creates a body of work that is unique and appropriate to what really happens in these areas. Its not one night and work. This is full-on interactive, political, and humanitarian art.

We look at some of JR’s great work here, from Face2Face, to Women, to Portrait d’une Génération. The $100,000 TED prize is in good hands. —The Citrus Report staff

JR / Exposition Paris 2009 – Ile Saint Louis
Uploaded by JR. – Independent web videos.

Uploaded by JR. – Discover more animation and arts videos.

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Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” compared to Radiohead’s “Amnesiac”: A short essay

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Farrar Strous & Giroux, publisher of books, has a blog called “Works in Progress” where our esteemed contributor, Jason Jaworski, found this very interesting essay comparing Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and Amnesiac by Radiohead. This is equivalent to heaven for The Citrus Report.

Having read Pynchon’s 1973 masterwork once, and having listened to Radiohead’s sometimes forgotten masterpiece about 400,000 times, we have a little more background on the latter. But it got us thinking, not only because Radiohead’s W.A.S.T.E online shop is a borrowed title from Pynchon’s Crying of Lot 49, there is this unsettling yet perfect rhythm to both Rainbow and Amnesiac. Sort of rewrites of history that seems familiar but eerily unfamiliar at the same time, almost making you wonder if you lived in the past that these albums speak and what you must have missed in the process.

Here is a nice excerpt. The whole piece was written by Westin Glass, drummer of The Thermals…

Amnesiac makes a perfect soundtrack, musically and thematically, for the eerie green-lit global theater of Gravity’s Rainbow. With vocals like ghostly radio transmissions, unsettling mechanical rhythms that abruptly start and stop, strange artificial strings and pianos, and a general sense of over-sanitized postmodern disconnection (“nothing to fear, nothing to doubt”), the record invokes a melancholy alienation, a mechanization of humanity—the trademark which Radiohead has come to own.

The essay is a bit longer than this excerpt, so read it here.

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Just spent some time reading about “What’s Going On in the Garment District” of Manhattan

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What’s really going on in the Garment District? When we knew that we really wanted to read this story was the 2nd paragraph, when the cited Michel Foucault and his statement that “fear of darkened spaces, of the pall of gloom which prevents the full visibility of things, men, and truths” haunted the latter half of the 18th century.” To us, this just seemed to be the “how can we get a Foucault quote in this? And they pulled it off.

We all know about the Garment District in Manhattan, its right smack dab in the thick of it, 34th Street to 42nd Street between Fifth and Ninth Avenues. After reading for a bit, we got to this point, “The Garment District is an incubator for emerging design talent. We visited some young designers who source, design and produce garments from their living rooms, but most young designers couldn’t cut it without the Garment District’s dense network of suppliers and manufacturers, which enable emerging designers to outsource specialized, equipment-heavy processes.”

Okay, well, that makes sense. Read the whole piece here.

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Banksy @ HMV

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We wrote awhile back about cleverness and the artist formerly known as discrete and undercover, Banksy. We actually broke our analysis of the larger than life street artist into two parts, one about Banksy and Public Space, and the other about Banksy and his celebrity followers. We enjoyed his North American tour promoting the film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, where the artist who normally creates one piece of street work that causes worldwide response plastered city after city with multiple pieces, including a very publicized amount of work in San Francisco. It was the Spring of Banksy, and it never really seemed to be too tired in our eyes.

This past week, Banksy promoted the release of the DVD of Exit Through the Gift Shop with three original pieces installed in HMV music stores in London and Bristol, England. Yes, that’s right, HMV. Music stores. Banksy and the English still believe in music stores, apparently. The new works are well guarded by a hired security team. The pieces have probably garnered more attention in a music store than if Liam Gallagher showed up to play a solo set of his new songs (okay, we exaggerate, but you get our point, it is super popular).

Again, Banksy is causing a huff amongst haters and lovers alike. Bombast, of course it is. Self-promotional, well, that is what Exit Through the Gift Shop was all about. Original, there is no one else in the art game that we can think of who would promote his or her own DVD release by creating original pieces to be placed in a music store equivalent to a mall store. To us, this is again a moment where Banksy going over the normal has paid off. He is bringing the art back to his original fans, perhaps not on the street, but at a unique street level in a music store. The work isn’t for the staid audience in a museum, but for the active who are participating in popular culture at a place that sells affordable art (sometimes bad art, but oh well). A record shop, how clever.

We don’t want anything from Banksy other than a continuing story to be written, to not hide away for years scheming away on his next big move (although we are sure that is the next chapter, a long delay of silence). What people need to remember is that this is all fun. The whole Banksy game is fun. The amount that the work goes for at auction is arbitrary, and none of us can afford it anyway so who really gives a damn? Just try and remember that in 20 years, Banksy will probably be a museum staple, and let us hope it happens on his own terms, the way he has treated the last year of his career. Take it seriously because he’s not. He is just performing his own art world joke of “The Aristocrats.”

Thanks to Arrested Motion for the images.

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Stanley Donwood

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This piece was written by the Citrus Report for Upper Playground’s catalog in January, 2010. We are republishing it now in conjunction with Stanley Donwood’s Over Normal exhibition at FIFTY24SF Gallery, opening Thursday, September 2, 2010.

We are going to work in contradictions here. A few years ago, when browsing the Internet for recommendations on a book to read, we came across a title by JG Ballard, although the title slips the brain at this moment. A title search went on to become a biography search, which then became a JG Ballard lecture search. I came across this quote that Ballard had given either in a novel or in an interview. “I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that’s my one fear: that everything has happened; nothing exciting or new or interesting is ever going to happen again… the future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.” This does not sound comforting, nor does it sound like a world one wants to live in. And somewhere in this vastness and boredom you can find the visuals of Stanley Donwood.

Oh, we know what you are thinking. Why would we recommend a Stanley Donwood exhibition to you? Well, first off, within the boredom, vast, suburb of the soul that is our future, Stanley Donwood creates beautiful, horrifying, and need we say, vast canvases and images on the subject. Through his work for Radiohead, album covers, booklet art, and peripheral art for the band, Donwood has created the now famed and companion art for the most critically acclaimed and progressive band of the past 20 years. Ok Computer, Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, The Eraser, In Rainbows… those albums’ content relies heavily on expansive, utopian, and sometimes dystopian imagery, and Donwood has provided the proper collaborative pieces. His work depicts and fights against an invisible (and increasingly in recent years, a very visible) corporate power that controls and manipulates the world and the organization of masses in the midst of technological domination. Its Orwell, meets Huxley, meets Bulgakov meets Ballard, meets Kafka, meets Klein, meets Chomsky, meets Radiohead.

At his most recent solo exhibition, El Chupacabra, Stanley featured 13 fictional characters—“Pandemons,” which he described as “feral carnivorous parasites who are feasting ingloriously on the foully smoldering remains of late-period Western consumer capitalism. Wearing suit and tie, these Pandemons represent white-collar criminal/politicians.” And with this, he stated, “I’ve got nothing against goats. I’ve simply discovered that if I draw a goat, give it the mouth of a rapacious carnivore then dress it in the suit and tie of a disgraced banker or politician it looks fucking evil. There are thirteen Pandemons in the show called ‘el chupacabra’. Thirteen ghosts at the funeral. Thirteen spectres at the feast of the goat. Loitering on the blackened cliffs of free-market economics, cackling as they raise a glass to toast Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Augusto Pinochet. Gallons of paint I’ve poured over them to drown their snickering. But still they laugh.”

This brings us to our contradiction. The boring, predictable, unexciting empty soul of the suburban future that we have come to fear can be a beautiful, haunting exploration in the fine arts.

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Shepard Fairey @ Subliminal Projects

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Nice to see Shepard Fairey coming back to LA, and showing at what happens to be his gallery, Subliminal Projects. The show is called Printed Matters, and it will open and coincide with a Beyond the Street book signing. The show will have a bit of everything that Shepard has worked with, including wood, metal, album covers, and fine art collage papers.

Remember when we wrote this essay on Shepard?

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Sarah Silverman is funny

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And the British are now keen to her, as she has a big personal essay on the Guardian today. She admits to wetting the bed until she was 16. She admits to hating sleepovers. She needed diapers on a school camping trip when she was 12. Just read the link, everything is funny, and Sarah Silverman wrote the whole thing.

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